Tag Archives: neighbors

Drama of Apartment Hunting

We thought we might want to move into a new apartment.  Save some more money, move into a location that has more green area and basically go see what’s out in the wide world of Massachusetts apartments .  We’ve been in our current location for 3 years, but our rent keeps going up and it’s a bit absurd….so we thought we’d go look.

In reality, we miss thunderstorms.  Where we live now, we’re a weather vortex.  No thunderstorms.  Very little snow.  Notta.  In three years, I can count on one hand how many thunderclaps we’ve had here.  Everyone else gets them, but not us.  After studying the weather patterns, it’s obvious we need to move north or west.

So there you have it….the search is on for a thunderstorm location.

I have been using an online app that allowed me to filter by every requirement imaginable:

Location, cost, allowable pets, travel time to work, a/c in unit, how many bedrooms… etc.

On the weekend, we set off with a list of 6 apartments, we visited 5.  Came home with one potential.  Out of the others, the 6th location’s office was closed due to a showing and we waited but they didn’t return.  I was okay with this as one set of homies were hanging out in the back of a pick up truck and the another set of homies were having a party in the commons.  The other three, as you may guess, provided blog material that I couldn’t make up.

Let me walk you through the contestants.  Mind you, on the app, these looked like winners!  And yes, the communities have had their names changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent…so it appeared.

Contestant #1: Castle in the Woods.  Going north of town…the online description was lovely.  You could even rent units that had a turret!  I want a turret.  We arrived and proceeded to do our customary drive through the development.

All the buildings were set within a wooded development.  It was a very cute tudor style concept.  We drove around and around.  Kids playing in the pool.  Several areas for grilling with picnic tables.  A few people of various nationalities walking around the development.

We go to the office, explain our requirement:

  1.  Washer and dryer in the unit
  2.   Access to outside via balcony for The Girls
  3.   Air conditioning

Everything else we can kinda work around, but these are must haves, without question.  Without these, we don’t move forward.

We are then taken on a tour of an available 2 bedroom apartment. Great, one is available, so this is perfect, as looking at the model is never ideal.  As we make our way over to the unit, the manager tells us, “All 2 bedrooms with w/d are on the first floor.” By first floor, I mean, subterrain.  Yes, as in underground.  This defeats our number 2 requirement of, “we have to have a porch or balcony for The Girls.”

Huh.  Okay.  We proceed into the building where you could have popped open the “security door” with a screw driver.  Inside the apartment, the laminate floors were bubbling up and the musty/mildew smell hit you like the odor of strong blue cheese.  Not to mention the rotting wood on the outside of the building.

We inquire when the buildings were constructed.  1971.  Oh, so these are retro original designs?  Great.

Upon the conclusion of the tour, we get back into the car and I’m trying to be somewhat positive about the whole experience.  “Well it had a lot of cabinet space.  We could make the stackable washer and dryer work.”  The Mister looks at me after awhile and says, “It was a shit hole.”

Whew, what a relief, cause I didn’t want to live there.

Contestant #2: Fields of Fancy.  We next drive to the location,  west of the city, as I had found a cute little development that had HUGE balconies.  Perfect for The Girls.   The website mentioned newly renovated interiors and the property is next to a big state park!  Sounds perfect.

We make the 45 minute drive, from the northern apartment hunting locations and drive through the development for first inspections.  Several red lights begin to flash in my mind:

  • Some units have curtains that are sheets or blankets – not usually a good sign.
  • There’s also some screens on the ground and some rain gutters as well.  Warning sign number two in my book.

However, we drove all the way over, so it’s worth stopping in to at least check it out so we can say we saw them.

After a few minutes, we find the leasing office, park the car and make our way inside.

  • Warning sign number 3 shot through the air like a flare,  when we saw the note posted on the door indicating that access to the pool was an additional charge.  What?

We go inside anyway.

The leasing agent currently has someone at her desk and the resident is very upset.  The Mister and I try to give them some privacy, which is hard to do, when you’re standing in an office area as big as an elevator car.  Luckily they had a coffee area off to the side, so we made our way over there to view the floor plans that were posted on the wall.  The Mister proceeds to make a coffee and the conversation begins unfolding like a movie.

His concerns went something like this:

“If you don’t do something.  If something happens to my wife.   If something happens to my dogs.  I will sue this entire company.  I am calling the police!  I will bring ICE in here and haul out the illegals by the truck load!”

At this point, I look at THE Mister, shake my head and tell him NO.  He says, “I’m not going until I get my coffee.”

The resident continues, “My wife’s right bumper of her car has already been pulled off and there is a scratch on her car!  She is a legal resident of the United States.  I am going to sue this place if anything happens to her or our dogs.  I even spoke to the woman who lives downstairs and she’s happy I’m doing something because those guys in the car are nothing but trouble.  I will bring ICE in here!”

I give The Mister the look again. This is getting awkward.  We need to go before we become part of something.

Without looking back, we make our way to the door and exit.  The Mister, with his coffee in hand, of course.

We get to the car, The Mister advises, the coffee is nothing but dark colored water….and he dumps it out.

Obviously,  Fields of Fancy is a big nope.

Contestant #3: Welcome to Paradise. Another western development, that looked gorgeous online and was advertised as spacious homes was Welcome to Paradise.  All two bedrooms faced a green belt, it’s near the commuter rail, has granite kitchens, theatre room on site etc.  I truly thought, this could be a good possibility.

However, when we pulled up, we should have taken our cue when an unattended car, left in reverse, rolled into one of the employees’ cars….which rolled into a resident’s car….and dented the shit out of it.  But you know, accidents happen.

We were off to a great start.  They have limited 2 bedrooms come open due to their popularity – a good sign.  But they may have something when we are looking to move.  The agent advises she does have one unit open for viewing, A9, the new tenants are due to move in next week, so it’s currently vacant.  It’s the exact floor plan we’re interested in so we can quickly go view it.

Fantastic!  She advises, “since the last tenant has just moved out and the new ones have not yet moved in, we haven’t turned it yet, so it will be a little messy.”  By turning it, she means they haven’t had the professional cleaner come into the apartment yet to prep for the new tenants.  Not to worry, we won’t care.

The three of us head over to the building next door and head up to the 9th floor to see the unit.  It’s like going to a fancy hotel.  Very she-she.  You walk into the main lobby and they have a big round reception table with flowers and then a bank of elevators behind that.  On the 9th floor, we get off and step on plush carpet and the walls are a beige and royal blue color – very nicely chosen.  I think, I could do this.  Very nice.

Once at A9, the agent knocks on the door, just to make sure and then inserts the key.  She opens the door and the first thing that catches our eye is a Whole Foods shopping bag.

?

She opens the door a bit more and yells out, “Hello?!  Welcome to Paradise management, is anyone here?”

She opens the door a bit further and we see several pairs of shoes and flip flops and an areas obviously set up for a baby.

?

Then a voice comes from the back of the apartment, “Yes?”

The agent says, “I’m with Welcome to Paradise management, is it okay if we enter?”

The voice and now person, who is a young man…with baby crying in a bedroom in the back somewhere says “Yes.”

I look at The Mister and think, “SQUATTERS!”   Then I take a step back and think, “We aren’t really going to go in are we?”

Next thing I know the agent it going in and apparently so are we.

OMG.

The previously tenants very obviously had NOT moved out at the end of their lease, 3 days ago.  This gentleman had apparently been sleeping, by the looks of it and was caught completely off guard.

Not to mention, so are we!

Here we were standing in his hallway as the agent explained the layout of the apartment.

All I could think was:

  1.  I’ve never seen so many pots and pans in my life piled up in a kitchen.
  2. I don’t know what to say.
  3. I don’t even know where to look.
  4. Could the earth open up and swallow me?

We get past the pot & pan collection center, to the living room area and all I could utter was, “it’s remarkable how spacious it appears.”  Then I wandered over to the sliding glass door to look outside.  Yep, there’s trees out there.

At that point, the agent advised we wouldn’t be seeing the bedrooms.  Heavens no, I thought.  This poor man is about to have a coronary right here on the spot.

We all thank him and go back to the hall.  She locks the door and then we all look at each other, “Well that was awkward.”

While I can’t say that our apartment hunting was a failure, it gave us some great stories and we found one possibility up north!  Most people would only be lucky enough to experience just ONE of these experiences on an apartment hunting mission.  Leave it to us…..we get multiples.

I’m almost afraid as to what will happen the next time we go in search of our next nest.  We are creating the next list, stand by.

 

 

 

 

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Disneyland + The Mother = Long Shot

You ever get asked to participate in something and think to yourself, “Sure. Sounds fun. I’ll do it.”  Knowing all along it isn’t going to work?

Obviously, it’s a sign, the second you hang up the phone the Vegas bookies start running the numbers and setting the odds on the various outcomes of said adventure.  You and the bookies are fairly certain the event will have a dubious ending.  You proceed, caution flag raised proudly, you’re already wearing  hip waders.  No stopping now.  What the hell.

Yep, that about covers the trip to Disneyland with The Mother.

A few weeks ago, I had a business trip that took me from east to west coast and I worked in a quick visit to see The Mother in between meetings.  I was looking forward to exchanging cold weather for hot sunshine.  Little did I realize, I was trading snow for the “storm of the century” listening to the weather forecasters of LA.  Although, having the opportunity to drive in torrential downpours was something I haven’t had the chance to experience since I left Miami.  It was a pleasant reminder of Mother Nature’s many talents.

During my visit to southern California, The Mother  had one thing on her mind.  In the past, usually she wanted to go to a particular restaurant or a local venue of some sort.  Nope.  Not this time.  Determination was set on a new target.

Disneyland.

Apparently, unbeknownst to her, having lived in the desert for over three years, Disneyland is basically  a stone’s throw away from her door step.  Relatively speaking.

To verify, this accuracy, The Mother checked with MapQuest, AAA, the neighbors Tim & Susie across the street who frequently drive the highways and as well as with the local grocery checker at Albertson’s supermarket.

So.

If you’re a rolling stone.

In good weather.

With a decent tail wind.

Jump on the I-10 and head west out to the wild west…to the land of the Great Mouse.

Throughout my trip, The Mother had a mantra… “don’t do anything that would hamper missing the day’s adventure to Disney.”  Roger that….going to see The Mouse….got it.

Our plan was to depart first thing Sunday morning.  Day trip only.

My only request was we MUST depart early, because The Mother would definitely need an electric scooter due to all the walking.  On a previous visit we went to the local zoo.  Unfortunately, they don’t have motorized scooters thus we rented their version of a standard wheelchair.

Not quite a normal wheelchair.

Not quite a a wheelbarrow.

It was more like an adult bucket seat push cart.

I nearly killed myself trying to push that plastic contraption in the desert heat.  There’s a reason wheelchairs are made from fabric, not plastic! Mind you, I am all of 5 foot 1 an a sip of water on a good day.  I was sweating like a sumo wrestling champion sitting in a sauna.   I probably left a sweat trail like a slug leaves a slime trail.

Gazelles? Missed those.  I was laying under the tree over here, panting like a cheetah trying not to let the sweat sting my eyeballs and turn my mascara into a ghoulish creep fest. But hey, let me in to see those dwarf goats.  I’m just going to sit with them for a while and communicate with them baaaaccccck to the mothership.  I digress…..

We needed a motorized scooter for Disneyland.  If I had to elbow my way through the crowd to get a scooter, by God we were getting a scooter.

Before bed, The Mother looks up the weather for Anaheim and it’s to be cool with an 11% chance of rain.  I figure that’s a high percentage of rain for California.  I say if she doesn’t want to go, I’m okay with that.  Best not to be miserable and we can go next time.

The Mother hesitates for a moment.  Nope.  We’re going.

I go to bed, knowing….you know how you just know?  You just know in the pit of your stomach.  This isn’t going to go well.  Trust the gut.

You know you can’t talk someone out of something.

No matter what you say.

You could tell them they’re going to throw up on their shoes.

They want to go.

You could tell them they’re going to be miserable.

They want to go.

You could say 400,000 people will be there.

They want to go.

You could say it isn’t really what they will want to do.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to make my /your eyes bleed.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to be a disaster.

They want to go.

Why fight the process.  It’s easier in the long run.

To just go.

The day of our big adventure arrives and our plan was to depart at 7:00AM.  I am awake early due to stupid jet lag and do not hear The Mother stirring.  Silently, I think, maybe we aren’t going…..

At 5:50AM I hear The Mother yelling through the door, “Donna, are you getting up?”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

I get into the shower and proceed with the morning routine.  When I get myself pulled together, I go out to the living room….there’s heavy fog outside the window and grey skies.

As I am putting my shoes on, I say to The Mother “You know, this is your last chance to back out. The weather doesn’t look so good with the fog today.”

She is surprised I suggested we not go.  What do you mean?  Of course we’re going!  After all, there’s only an 11% chance of rain.

Alright then.  Coats, sunglasses, jackets, lip balm, purses etc…..let’s go.

Two hours on the road in and out of rain showers and sun spots, we arrive to Disneyland.  The mecca of fun, happiness, laughter and of dreams that come true with the sprinkle of magical fairy dust with Mickey Mouse leading the way.

It’s starting to drizzle again.  But over that way, the skies look clearer and certainly it will clear up.  We agree, the shower will pass.  It just isn’t supposed to rain at Disney right.

Of course.

The first parking lot’s ADA area is filled, so we  traverse the lot like a drunken snake towards the exit with a neon pink exit sign flapping like a flamingo under our wiper.  This indicates to the Disney parking attendants we’re aiming to exit like mice in a maze looking for cheese….so they don’t continue to point us into a parking spot.

As we’re making our way through parking area,  a family is literally walking down the middle of the aisle.  Not a care in the world.  Why should they – it’s Disneyland!  Their minds are filled with memories from the last time they were here, where they threw up,  where they lost Billy, how Mary got ejected from the water ride because she thought it was a wet t-shirt contest and how they can’t wait to see their favorite characters.  They’re excited.  It’s Disney.

Did I mention?

Patience is a virtue.

Three.

Two.

One.

“You think these people would get a clue and move over.”  Advises The Mother.

 

Yep….as I continue to creep along behind the family.  “Well, this is how it’s going to be today.  Lots of people.  Lots of lines.  This is Disney.  You know, it’s not too late to head home.  Now’s the time. Last chance.”

Nope.  Not changing our mind.  We’re going to the other parking lot.  We’re going to Disneyland.

About 15 minutes later, we make our way to the Toy Story lot, park and make our way aboard the shuttle bus to the entrance.

NOTE: For those that have experienced any Disney park, you know what it’s like….the shuttle buses, security screening, ticket purchase and entrance lines…..all within the main entry area.  This is where we’re located.

By 10:00AM we’re through security and head over to the far side of the entrance gate to get in line for the electric scooter.

It continues to drizzle.

We get The Mother signed off on an electric scooter for $70 and head back to the ticket line, where she decided to wait off to the side while I venture into the serpentine line for our day passes.  Not long after being in line I start to hear, “DONNA!” (Can’t be for me,   right?  Ignore.  Ignore.) More people begin shouting, “DONNA!”  I look up and at the front of the line….there’s an arm flailing above the crowd with a flapping hand attached.

The Mother.

The Mother waving at me.

…..along with the crowd shouting my name, “DONNA!”

Good lord.

I start to duck under the rope barrier.  Excusing myself  along the way…

“Sorry, that’s me….I’m Donna.”

I get up front to The Mother….” What’s going on?”  I’m thinking maybe she played the ADA card and got our day passes some magical easy way without waiting. I mean this is Disney, anything is possible.  Right? The Mother says, “Let’s go.  I’m not waiting in line for this.  There’s too many people.  It’s raining and I’m not paying this price. It’s so disorganized.  Do you want to stay for this?”

Nope. I nodded my head.  Looked at my watch 10:37AM.  Knew it. Okay, let’s go…..

On the way back to the car in the shuttle, The Mother asked if I was mad….as she pinched my cheek, no less. I told her sometimes you can’t talk people out of things they want to do, but I knew we’d end up going home.   It’s kinda like going to the dentist and getting a shot of Novocain, which you don’t want to do in the first place.  But you take the shot and as an added bonus….you get to talk funny afterwards!

 

Alright then. Who placed the bet for: 37 minutes at Disneyland’s entrance?

 

And yes,  I was able to get a full refund on the electric scooter.

 

 

 

 

 

Did I Already Tell You About…..

Years ago…. like almost 8 years ago….I got divorced and bought a cute little condo out in Auke Bay, Alaska.  It was a tiny little place.  So small you had to go outside if you wanted to change your mind.

It was all mine.

All 600 square feet.

I could sit out on the deck and watch my favorite birds – Blue Herons – fish in the wetlands.  When bored, just throw some herring up in the sky and watch the Bald Eagles come swooping in to pick up their snacks.  Talk about excitingly scary!  It was awesome.

When I moved in on a Saturday morning a bunch of people came to help me carry in the boxes.  My new upstairs neighbor happened to arrive during our moving chaos.  I yelled out a hello to her and introduced myself.  We’ll call her Mary.  Right about this time one of my oh so funny friends decided it would be hilarious to loudly inquire where to put my box of sex toys.

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

MY —

WHAT?

We all got a good laugh out of it.  Mary didn’t know what to say and immediately went inside her condo.

Let me give you a visual of Mary.  About 5’3 and probably about 150 pounds.  Thick calves.  Outfit of choice?  Skirts and colored tights.  Shoulder length corse black hair – wavy.  Coats two sizes too small.  Probably mid-late 20’s somewhere in there.  Works half the year for the government and half the year at a bank. Sure.

Got it?

Good.  You’ll need it later.

Along with the sex toys.

Six months went by or more.  One day I look out the window and I see Mary coming up to the building wearing exercise tights.  She had obviously gone running.  Huh.  Okay.  Well, I’m not a runner so good luck with that one.

A few days later I notice Mary with a guy.  We’ll call him Josh.  Now you need a visual of Josh.

Think Hobbit.

That should do it.

Okay, you need more visual assistance?  He is about 5’3 also.  Wears baggy sweat pants and t-shirts.  Constantly has that Don Johnson 5:00PM shadow going on.  His laugh is atrocious.  Down right ridiculous.  Like a hyena.  This guy thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips….sadly he isn’t even the stale pickle (without snap) on the plate.

Not to mention he walked around like a Neanderthal.   I mean really Hobbit Man can you do something about those lead bricks you call your feet?  Even elephants don’t make that much noise.

The guy made me weary and I never actually met him.

Over the next few weeks the Hobbit comes and goes from her condo.  He’s obviously visiting from somewhere else and isn’t local.  He’s always over visiting on the weekends. I’m thinking maybe he’s a fish processor or miner.  Maybe he works on a barge or something.  Who the hell knows?  I don’t care.

Suddenly one day the Hobbit shows up and he has a beat up Toyota truck.  Rusty and a total POS (please read as Piece of Shit).  He’s here for a week and gone for a week.  Here for a week and gone for a week.

One night I hear him on the phone – cause he’s stupid loud.  Now, he’s just pissing me off. Going on and on about starting up some business.  Later, out at the dumpster I see boxes and cartons from some manufacturing company for “Buzz Bites” energy bites.

Hobbit + POS + Buzz Bites = you have to be kidding me.

Please note:  You are going to need to reflect back on both of their visuals, the idea of Buzz Bites and yes, the sex toys.

Finally, one day I go upstairs and knock on their door.  The music was so loud, even the people in my head were vibrating around.  The Hobbit answered the door as Mary wasn’t home.  I politely ask him to turn down the vibes before my chandelier becomes a nightlight.  I also explained how the noise travels very easily and if he / they could be a little more considerate that would be fantastic.

Oh, yeah, sure.  Not a problem.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.

Weeks go by and I’m sound asleep in my snuggly little bear bed one morning.  Slowly I drift out of my sound slumber and I’m like, “what the hell is that noise?”  I am half asleep and it starts again.

What the hell?

*More noise*

Now I am sitting up in bed.  The noise stops.

Huh.

I lay back down.

*Noise starts again.*

Wait.  One.  Minute.  You.  Pain.  In.  My .  Ass.  Neighbors.

I am fully awake.  The Hobbit and his thick calved girlfriend are screwing.  After a yodeling like crescendo….the Hobbit yells a Tarzan like yelp:

“OUTSTANDING!”

Then….Hobbit leaps off the bed (I know this because the change in my piggy bank rattled on the floor and I’m pretty damn sure T-Rex is extinict) and takes off running for the bathroom with her right behind him.

Good lord of mercy give me a break.   You have to be kidding.

On my way to work, I go upstairs and tape a note to their front door.  I left no doubt in mind what I was talking about as I simply wrote, “Good morning!  Just so you know I do hear EVERYTHING downstairs.”

Being kind and polite can go a long way.  Emily Post and Sarah Lee both think so as does Dear Abby.  I am certain this will solve the problem.  Don’t we all want to be good neighbors?

A couple days go by and guess what….I am sound asleep….in my snuggly bed…..again.

T   H   U   M   P

*

*

Thump.

Thump.

*

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

 

“I’M THE MAN!” 

 

Oh my god.  News Flash: No, you aren’t.

I am so not even kidding – I nearly fell right out of my bed with laughter and disbelief.  Yes, he yelled that.  Out loud!    Did  I fall down an acid lined rabbit hole when I wasn’t looking and I’m on a trip?  What the hell….can I rewind that?  What did you just yell?  Really?

Am I on Fear Factor?  No, wait it’s Candid Camera.  Oh – wait…I got it!  I’m on America’s Got Talent……. Snap.

I’M

THE

MAN

!!!

 

Who says these things?  Buzz Bites…..heavy calves….baggy sweatpants….

Really?

That’s it.  I’m ready for the next event.  I have my game plan.  You ignored my note.  I tried to be nice.  Now, I’m putting on the latex and grabbing my whip.  I’m so excited I feel like I should be the one yelling out.  Let the games begin.

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

It didn’t take long.  That night I climb into bed and before I can get into my dream sequence involving the ocean and floating along with the currents….BAM.

Hit the rewind button from earlier….

T   H   U   M   P

*

*

Thump.

Thump.

*

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

Cue the yodeling.

Cue the Alaskan Minxy:  FINALLY – MY MOMENT HAS ARRIVED!

I leap up out from under the covers.  Standing in the middle of my bed…..jumping up and down like a two year old….I begin a rousing round of applause while yelling at the very top of my lungs:

“BRAVO!  BRAVO!  GOOD JOB!  BRAVO!  BRAVO!  EXCELLENT JOB!  BRAVO!”

Silence.  Cue the crickets.  Silence…………………………………………………

Then a burst of laughter for like two seconds – then silence.

Problem solved.  Never another peep.  Every time I ran into Mary from there on out – she never made eye contact.  Well, what’s awkward for you, is not awkward for me.  Thank you very much.

Lesson:  don’t mess with the Minxy.

Answer:  What?  No, I’m not telling you if I actually have a box of sex toys.

 

The Neighbors: Part One

We live in a cul-da-sac where you notice everything everyone is doing.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

For example, neighbor girl marries an illegal Mexican to keep him legal….you notice the party.

Dogs keeps pooping in your yard….you know which yard to return the poop.

Neighbor says he’s been watching you shovel snow and it didn’t look like you were having fun….makes you go back inside until later.

You see what I mean?

The other day I came home and for a moment questioned if I had turned onto the wrong street.  What the hell is that?  I slowly approached my house and gawked at the neighbor’s home.  This would be my literally next door to me neighbor.  You couldn’t not notice their house.

Apparently, the Halloween elves pooped on their front yard.

I park and survey the situation from my driveway:

Multiple giant furry spiders, giant cobweb, hanging skeletons, purple lighted bats, orange lights, green lights, hanging Frankenstein, a yard of giant metal sunflowers in all colors, two enormous stuffed crow people…and the grand finale a giant pumpkin with ghosts – inflated by a motor….anchored securely to the yard.

As I stand there slack jawed, my neighbor from across the street yells over, “That’s going to be hard to compete with…what the hell is all that?”

I give him my wide eye look and walk into the garage.  I know exactly what I’m looking for and head back out front with my treasure.   I locate the nail to the left of the front door and hang up my “Happy Harvest”wooden pumpkin sign.

We’re decorated.

Now time for a glass of wine.