What the Hell is Wrong with People?

April 20, 2007 at 11:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I had a rather disturbing conversation with my next door neighbor tonight. I’ve written about him before. Not only does he smoke cigars in the hallway, but he’s the kinda guy who traps you in uncomfortable and very opinionated conversations. Tonight, he was complaining about his dog–a 10-year-old Beagle that actually belongs to his wife. He proceeded to explain to me how much he hates this dog, that it pees everywhere all the time, and how he’s going to kill it. I sort of laughed, uncomfortably, but then he wasn’t laughing with me. Uhhhh….ok. I see you’re not kidding.

So then, my gun-toting, avid Republican neighbor explained that he kicked the dog so hard the other day that its eyes rolled up in its head, and that his wife refused to let him take the dog to the pound. So his only options are to kill it–either by poison or choking it. Uhhhh….ok. At this point I’m nodding and twittering in that nervous, get-me-the-hell-out-of-here kind of way. I mean, how do you respond to that?

The only good news to come out of this conversation was that he is moving out this weekend. Jesus, I hope he doesn’t kill his dog. And I hope he’s a better father than he is a pet-owner.

I am such an asshole

March 28, 2007 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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On my way back from taking some old stuff to the dumpster, I noticed a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a note set up on our ledge outside our apartment. It was a card from our upstairs neighbors, who I’d written a note to about the noise problems the other day. He writes, “Sorry about the noise and hope there are no hard feelings. I am an amputee and hop to get from my wheelchair to bed or to the bathroom in the middle of the night…”

Snap.

So, not only do I feel like a complete asshole, but I’ve got these chocolate chip cookies sitting on the counter calling to me. It’s all I can do to resist running over there and stuffing myself, and then face the consequences of yet another painful, sleepless night. Throwing them in the trash would make me feel even guiltier. Maybe i can talk James into taking them to work tomorrow.

the weekend

March 26, 2007 at 9:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’m an idiot. A complete moron. I succumbed to my stressed-out urges and consumed beer, mayo, tomatoes, tartar sauce, chocolate, and mango key lime pie Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, and then spent my weekend paying for it. With almost no sleep, despite my ambien cocktail, and pain through the night and day, Saturday was almost a complete wash. James and I both haven’t been sleeping well, and we spent most of Saturday trying to catch up. Thank god for Mythbuster marathons.

Sunday, feeling marginally better, James packed up almost all the books in the office while I put away our winter clothes. I was finally able to get rid of my old desktop–I decided to donate it to a local elementary school in need. The teacher, who teaches a class of autistic children, emailed me to ask if I’d be interested, and graciously came and picked up the computer. He even wrote me up a detailed letter explaining what they were going to use the computer for, which made me feel all warm and squishy inside. James has an autistic cousin, so this held particular meaning for us as well.

We spent most of the rest of our afternoon hefting a huge pile of old clothes to the clothes donation bin, and then hefting a huge pile of groceries back home again. It occurred to us that this will be the last time we’ll need to carry such a load home on our backs, and we did a little happy dance when we got home. I plan to order Peapod one more time while he’s gone that will last me the three weeks before I leave for Istanbul.

This morning, as with many mornings, we were awoken at 5 AM by a loud THUMP on our ceiling. It seems these new neighbors will also require a note from their restless downstairs neighbors (heh heh, that’s us). Gonna run up and tape it to their door later. I’ve still got one more month here, and with my ambien no longer working, I won’t be able to stand for this. James called in sick today so he can pack a little more–I’m glad to have him home, but he picked the worse possible day for it. Our deadline for three magazines is today, and my internet has been working intermittently since last Thursday. It’s been a very frustrating week, and I have a feeling today will be just as bad. Our apt. building has a computer lab, so I spent Friday running up and down two flights of stairs so I could retrieve and upload files from my jump drive to our FTP. I hope I don’t have to go through that again today. Hopefully Jimbo went to work today.

Late Night Theorizing

March 23, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve been having internet problems for some time now, and I think I may have finally arrived at a theory to explain my apparently unexplainable connection loss. It all started last summer. I would find for a day or two out of every month or two, my internet slowed down to a crawl, and I’d get all sorts of errors while uploading and downloading files. It usually happened on Fridays, and without fail we were always on deadline and it was worst possible time for me to lose internet. Then, strangely, after 6 PM, it suddenly started working again. I’ve had the cable company out five times, I’ve talked to our network guys at work, and no one can offer a reasonable explanation.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised that yesterday I lost my internet almost completely, right in the middle of trying to finish up three magazines. This is our absolute busiest time of year, and typically, everything has been pushed off to the end. I spent five hours in a state of red-hot fury, turning my computer on and off, unplugging and replugging various equipment, sitting on hold with the cable company, while the work piled up. I gave up at 5 and met James for drinks with some of his work friends. I got back at nine, and with some marginal improvement, I worked until 3 AM finishing everything that had piled up.

Today I’m exhausted. But somewhere in last night’s delirium, I arrived at a theory. It explains everything, and best of all, it gives me some direction for my hatred. See, I figure I’ve got a neighbor somewhere nearby—let’s call him Jimbo—and he’s the source of all this mess. Jimbo is 35, single, and the bane of my existence. He has amassed lots of vacation time, so every month or so he takes a long weekend, sits at his iMac for 8 hours, and downloads music, streams video, updates his blog, watches porno, plays real-time video games, etc. And while he’s up there tying up valuable bandwidth, I’m down here tearing my hair out. It would explain why this only happens once in a while, and why my connection is usually good in the early morning then gets bad in the middle of the day. Then it clears up at six—just in time for Happy Hour. See? It all fits.

So watch out, Jimbo! If I see you in the hallway, I’m giving you a swift kick in the donkey balls. And you’ll totally deserve it.

the disadvantages of living in a big building

February 6, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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It appears some pipes burst on the 4th floor, and the fire alarms in the whole building were going off every 2 minutes for about 30 seconds at a time. The fire dept blocked off the whole street and tromped the whole building looking for the leak. one of my neighbors said he saw water gushing out of the side of the building and onto the sidewalk. Glad I don’t have to walk outside, heh.

Spent about an hour out in the hall getting to know the neighbors (in between insanely loud blaring every couple of minutes). It beat sitting in my apartment with earplugs on. i met the old couple who keep shutting the fire doors–ironically they were complaining that someone keeps propping them open, lol. They were really sweet, so now I kinda feel bad. If the one next door would lay off the cigar smoking, I wouldn’t mind leaving them closed. Anyways, my neighbors were all very friendly, and we all commiserated on how crappy the building is. It was really gratifying to know I’m not the only one who thinks “french doors” in the living room is about the stupidest idea ever. interestingly, one of my neighbors mentioned the abysmal rating our building is getting on apartmentratings.com. I don’t think my experience has been that bad, but the consensus tonight was that we live in the best part of the building. It’s annoying that they can charge so much for apartments that on the surface seem very upscale, but have a lot of structural problems. At least the people who work here and the maintenance people are friendly and do their jobs well. In our experience, anyway.

Just went down to check out the damage, and the whole lobby is flooded. They’re going to have quite a mess on their hands in the morning. Yuck.

Ding, dong, the neighbors are gone!

February 2, 2007 at 12:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Well, almost gone. After much fanfare, our second most annoying neighbors directly upstairs moved out. They were up until 3 AM tuesday night (incidentally, so was I), then up again yesterday morning at 7:30 clompingandtrompinganddroppingandbangingandhammeringand being complete assholes. And then there was blessed silence. Until about 10 o’clock tonight, when they came back to drop more heavy shit on the floor. The building manager said the apartment is available Feb. 5, so I’m hoping for some peace and quiet by Sunday. I almost considered moving upstairs myself, but the rent is $100 more, and it’s not worth the trouble. So, I’m 2 for 3 on the neighbor front. The guy next door who smokes cigars in the hall just had a kid, so I’m hoping they decide a 1-bedroom apartment is too small for them. Here’s hoping!

Tonight’s TV:
Ok, what is it about Thursday night that ever damn show I want to watch is on at the same time? And due to a DVR mishap, I missed one of my favorites, 30 Rock. Oh well, guess I’ll catch it in repeats. It looked like a good one, too.

Tonight’s The Office was moderately funny. I find this show is hit or miss, and this was somewhere in the middle. I love that Dwight was “99.9% sure” that the ben franklin hired for the bachelorette party wasn’t the real ben franklin. The clips of him quizzing “ben” were hilarious.

Grey’s Anatomy left me breathless, as usual. I think this is the best show on TV right now. Best line: Kerev saying, “Dude, now she’s Callie O’malley.” I’m glad George and Callie eloped to Las Vegas instead of drawing this out into a typical long engagement/elaborate wedding season. Though, they may play that out with Burke and Christina instead. I love the storyline with Grey and her mother, and very sad when her mom goes back to her old mental state. Each of these shows seems to run with a theme, and tonight’s really resonated with me. The idea that family and marriage can bring joy to your life, and it’s perfectly fine to be “ordinary.”

Tonight was the premiere of The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central. I had high hopes for this one, but I found most of the laughable moments had been spoiled in the clips. Parts of the show seemed awkward, even downright bizarre, but Sarah’s little wrap up at the end left me rolling on the floor in giggles. This might be one of those shows that grows on me.

Neighbors

January 17, 2007 at 9:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Growing up, my family knew all our neighbors. Mom, Jill and I would take walks after dinner, and invariably we’d end up in lengthy conversation with one of them. My parents and the neighbors across the street would play penny poker every month. Our neighbor next door would buy big candy bars just for me and jill for Halloween. We even had a couple of summer “block parties”–potluck parties where they’d block off either end of our street, and everyone would drag out tables and chairs. That’s what can happen in suburbia.

My experience with apartment living has been radically different. There’s less opportunity to pass neighbors sitting out on their front porches. And because of the close proximity and shoddy building standards, more opportunity for annoyance. Despite our fancy digs in DC, James and I are wishing for a house these days more than ever.

We’ve met our neighbors next door, who seem like nice people, although the husband once stopped me in the hall to have a rather disturbing conversation about illegal mexicans and “the gays.” I can forgive a little bigotry now and then, but what I can’t forgive is cigar smoking in the hallway. He’s out there puffing away, meanwhile my kitchen smells like a cigar bar. On top of that, there are some elderly neighbors who shut the fire doors in our hallway at every opportunity to keep out the draft. I’m sure the cold is annoying for them, but what’s more annoying is the cigar smoke filling the hallway. So I’m out there constantly opening the fire doors (which I would assume is a fire hazard to keep them closed all the time, so I don’t feel bad). Upstairs we have neighbors making unexplainable loud noises–heavy things being dropped, inane stomping, hammering. This is a rental unit. What possible renovations could they be making?! One afternoon I swear they were laying carpet. STOMP…tink, tink, tink….STOMP. For a moment I thought they had moved out (and i did a little happy dance), but the next week they were still at their noisy ways.

There is one glimmer of hope. One of our most annoying neighbor complaints concerns the neighbors across the pool from us. Our apartment overlooks the pool in an alcove, facing several other apartment windows. These people set up their track lighting in their living room to point directly OUT and INTO our bedroom windows. Wouldn’t be such a huge problem, but for some reason they leave their lights on ALL NIGHT LONG. Seriously, until the sun comes up. I had to buy heavy drapes just because of them. But this past weekend I noticed blessed darkness, and no furniture in any of their rooms. During our 60 degree nights, I was actually able to sleep with the windows cracked, huzzah!

I know suburban neighbors come with their own set of idiosyncrasies, and people these days rarely even know their neighbors, but at least you’ve got a lawn between them and you. Right now we’ve just got dry wall…and it’s very thin.

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