Category Archives: living alone

New Roommate

So back in September, I decided I’d had enough of living alone and decided to share my space with someone else.  She’s pretty quiet, likes some of the same TV shows I do, and never gets in the way when I have friends over.  On the other hand, she completely refuses to clean up after herself, doesn’t do any of the cooking, runs in circles around the apartment when I’m trying to relax, and doesn’t understand the boundaries of a closed door.

Introducing Little Bit.  This picture is actually one that was sent to me by my sister this past summer, when we were trying to find someone to adopt her.

Little Bit, her mom, and her brothers were strays that lived in my sister and brother-in-law’s garage.  When she and her brothers (Oscar and Tuffet) were born in 2010, my sister continuously sent me pictures of them captioned like this:

Pwease wuv us 😦

Because my sister is a cruel, cruel woman and likes to torture me with pictures of homeless kittens.  Unfortunately, my life and work schedule would not accommodate a kitten.  I worked over an hour from home and also worked a second job a couple nights a week, so I’d often be gone for 20 hours at time.  A kitten needs more attention than that.  No one adopted them, so they grew up in the garage.  Then in 2011, my sister moved out of the state, so we had to find homes for the cats and new kittens.  Oh yeah, because mom (Little Black Kitty, or LBK) and Little Bit had each had a litter.  We’re pretty sure Oscar was the father of both litters…. It was all very Flowers in the Attic in that garage, apparently.  Gross.  Big Sister sent me that first picture above and said it was too bad that I couldn’t take a cat, because she really thought Little Bit was the cat for me.  My sister is a master manipulator, obviously, because I took a look at that little face and decided she should come live with me.  I found a coworker to adopt her kitten, and brought both cats home with me (until we could be sure the kitten was weaned).

Little Bit, so named by my sister because she was so little bitty, was not at all sure about the apartment.  I kept her in the bathroom while I was away from the apartment or asleep for the first couple of days, until I could be sure she was box trained (She already was.  Because she is awesome).  But I’d open the bathroom door so she could come out while I was home and awake.  The first time I did this, we spent at least an hour like this

There was SO MUCH NOISE in my apartment for the poor scared kitty.  And after just a week, I took her to the Anti-Cruelty Society to have her spayed (where I found out how rare it is to have a totally black cat with no white on her anywhere.  She’s so special).

Wherein Little Bit makes me feel like a complete asshole for leaving her at the vet, because now all she wants is to lay by me and be petted and knead her paws 😦

When she finally did come out, she went directly under the couch.  And she stayed there pretty much until I quit my job in November (oh right.  BTW, I quit my full-time job without another full-time job lined up in mid-November.  More on that another time).  After I quit my job and was home nearly every day, she started to warm up to me.  She’d come out and play with her toys…

She’d play with things that were not toys too… one of her favorite games to this day is flipping her little pieces of kibble out of the bowl and tossing them under the rug.  She then proceeds to dive under the rug, mighty huntress that she is, to track down those sneaky kibble bits.

Around Christmastime, after I’d been home nearly every day for over a month, she started coming up on the couch and laying just out of reach.  Then she discovered the fleece blanket on my legs, and she’d lay just so she was touching that.  After a week of that, I got this

That poor Little Bit.  She’s so stressed out.

Now it takes her about 2.7 seconds to hop up on my legs once I stretch out on the couch.  She has lain on my lap while I was sitting up exactly once, during a snowstorm when the apartment was extremely cold.  I did some consulting work last week that required me to be on a conference call in the kitchen for about 6 hours a day for two days, and she tolerated it until the last hour each day… she’d come running into the kitchen, mew (which she very rarely does), and run back in to the front room.  As soon as I gave in to her demands, sit down on the couch, with the space heater blowing on us, she’d hop up next to me, stretch out so her nose was in the warm air stream, and hug my leg.  And she’d stay like that for hours if I let her.

I held out for a long time, getting a cat.  I didn’t want more responsibility than my houseplants required.  However, this little kitty adores me like nobody else.  She thinks we’re litter mates, always lays so she’s touching me, chews on my hand when she’s sleepy, tries to trip me in the morning if I’m ignoring her, and will softly pat me on the leg if I’ve gotten distracted and stopped petting her when we’re sitting on the couch.  She likes to watch the X-Files and Dr. Who with me, and tolerates The Bachelor, and would all the potato chips if I let her eat people food.

Welcome to the apartment, Little Bit.  You still won’t do the dishes or bring me a beer, but you have added more to this little home than I thought was possible.

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BEEP

My smoke detector is extremely sensitive.  If even the teeniest bit of something drips in my oven, it sets it off.  I suppose this is good, since it decreases the odds that I will someday burn up in my sleep from an apartment fire, but it gets really annoying when I cook.  Especially since I do have a tendency to wander away from the kitchen to do other things while my dinner is burning cooking.

So one day, shortly after I moved in (okay, that’s a lie… it was almost a year.  I’m trying to make myself look better here), my smoke detector battery got low and the thing started beeping.  You know that beep.  It’s SO annoying.  And since I knew that the sound carried (my neighbor’s needed its battery changed a couple months prior.  I heard every beep for 2 days), I wanted to change the battery right away before I went to work, so it wouldn’t annoy people.  Because that’s what kind of neighbor I am.  I didn’t have time to go buy a new battery, so I grabbed one out of the kitchen drawer that I knew still had some juice in it.  I stuck it in and went on my merry way.

When I got home, I heard the tell-tale beep as I was about to unlock my door.  Apparently that battery had less juice in it than I thought.  I turned right around and ran to the grocery store near my house, where I picked up the cheapest 9V battery they had.  At a grocery store, that’s about $24.

I returned home, determined to be a responsible renter and not let the building burn down with no warning, and replaced the battery.  Hooray!  Responsible Adult Mairin is here to stay!

Two minutes went by…

WHAT?!?  I knew that battery was good!  Maybe I didn’t put it in right.  So I climbed back up on the chair, removed the battery, waited a second, then put it back in.

SHIT!  Now I was really getting annoyed.  My smoke detector is one of the old-school ones, where the part that beeps is the part screwed the wall.  I got a screwdriver, removed it from the wall and sat down on my kitchen floor to “fix” it.

I unscrewed as much as I could unscrew to see if something was loose and not touching the battery.  And then it happened.

Now I knew (knew!) that there was NO WAY that the sound I was hearing could possibly be coming from the spot where the smoke detector had previously been screwed to the wall.  And yet, that’s what I was hearing.

HOW ARE YOU BEEPING?!!?

I just froze.  I had no idea how to handle this.  My brain couldn’t make sense of what was happening and therefore decided it wouldn’t even try.  I stood there like a fool for a couple more minutes.

Wait.  IS it coming from that spot on the wall?  Is there anything else that could be beeping?

Whatthe?!?

Apparently I have TWO smoke detectors!  In my defense, this second one is in the shadows, blends in with the wall, and is above my not-very-high line of sight.  However, it’s also right in front of the door when you walk in.

I should probably be more embarrassed about not seeing it, but I’m so glad I wasn’t hallucinating, I don’t even care.

On Being an Adult

I just had to reach out to my Facebook network to ask if I could match a sweater to a pair of pants.  See, a congresswoman is coming to my office on Wednesday, and I’m part of “giving out directions to visitors” committee.  So I definitely need to look like a responsible adult.

Facebook is awesome.  I can get my friends to tell me how long to boil beans, what shirts match what pants, and if I should be concerned about flaking bricks on my building.  I honestly don’t think I could live on my own if not for online help from people who are more adult than I am… or from support from people who are just as clueless as I am. 🙂

Anyway, apparently grey pants and a brown cardigan are totally acceptable together.  Who knew?  I certainly didn’t.  This is why I need help doing hard grown-up things like “dressing myself”.  Otherwise I would look kind of like a jobless hippie most of the time.

Next up, I’m totally learning how to put on make-up.  That should make for some exciting blog posts.

The Three-Day Pancake Saga – OR, how it takes me forever to do things

I work in a cubicle. Not tiny, but it’s not like I can add an easy chair and a rubber plant or anything. During the best of weeks, it’s not really an ideal environment for humans. And last week was not the best of weeks. I had horrible back pain (more on that another time), I have never-ending spreadsheets to work on, and we have an audit coming up soon. I was not in the best of moods.

I color-code my spreadsheets, because that’s how my brain works. But by the end of the day on Friday, all I saw was this:

I asked a few coworkers to come out and have an adult beverage or two with me after work, but everyone was going to see Harry Potter (Sadly, I was not). One coworker came out for one quick beer before the movie, and then we went our separate ways.

On the way home, I decided I really wanted pancakes for dinner. That would make me feel better! I was so excited about the prospect of breakfast for dinner; I may have even tweeted about it. I told everyone about these delicious pancakes I was going to make for myself.

I got home, put my pajamas on (it’s usually the first thing I do), sat down to check my email, and then went to make my delicious pancakes.

Oh MAN! I was out of milk. Well, not really out. But the quarter cup left in the milk jug was not going to suffice for pancakes. For a few minutes, I actually thought about walking the whole two block and a half to the grocery store to buy more… but I did not. It’s pretty much physically impossible for me to get dressed and leave the apartment again after I’ve put on my pajamas. So I poured the last of the milk on some cereal and ate it. It was not the same thing.

Saturday, after hanging out with my sister all day, I decided I’d make pancakes for dinner that night. I went to the store, then putzed around for a while, and around 8pm (I sometimes forget to eat meals), I figured it was time to whip some up. Then my friend texted me and invited me to come out with her and some other friends. Well, pancakes aren’t really a “getting ready to go out meal”, so I whipped up a veggie Italian sausage and some fries and ate those. The sausage may or may not have fallen on the floor and then been washed before eating.  If there are no witnesses, things like that simply do not happen.

I threw on some end-of-the laundry cycle going-out clothes (which means a clean t-shirt and my cleanest jeans. I know. It’s shocking that I remain a single woman), and left my apt around 9pm. I ate the rest of the fries when I returned sometime around 3 in the morning. (I may have also almost signed up for online dating, but I fell asleep on the couch before I could post my profile. Thank. God).

Sunday, I slept kinda late, since I’d been up most of the night.  I cleaned up my kitchen (how it gets messy when I forget to cook, I have no idea).  Then I finally started making pancakes.  When I was done, I realized that I had only an hour to get to a store to look for something for my sister, so left the pancakes in the oven and ran out for that.  Finally got home, re-heated my delicious pancakes, and enjoyed my dinner.

I even made enough to bring them to work for breakfast the next morning.  It sounds weird, but I really like cold, plain pancakes.

 In fact, I think I’ll make them again this weekend.  Which means, by Wednesday, I will definitely be having pancakes.

A List

I suck.  I’ve been trying to hard to post something a few times a week, and I just haven’t done it.  I have no excuse.  So tonight you get a list, no pictures.  Sorry.

1.  I do have several posts that I’m working on.  I’m having difficulty denoting “zombie” when all my figures are of the stick variety (have I piqued your interest?).  I plan on figuring that out before Saturday.

2. [REDACTED  I haven’t had a vacation in 2.5 years.  [REDACTED]

3.  I don’t count the 4.5 months I was unemployed last year as vacation.  I was too worried about buying groceries and not becoming homeless to enjoy not working…

4. It’s ten pm and I just made dinner.  Chili mac and a glass of wine.  Because I’m classy like that.

5.  You know when classy backfires?  When a certain unnamed fast food restaurant decides to call their milkshakes “cafe” drinks and change the cup around to one that doesn’t keep the lid on and it explodes all over your kitchen when you grab it.  I cleaned everything… but the floor is still sticky in random places…

6.  I’m studying for the GRE.  I didn’t have to take it for my first round of grad school, but now I do if I want to go further.  Fun fact: I love math.  I got my degree in theoretical mathematics way back in 2002.  And yesterday, I missed nearly every question on the dang practice test that required the usage of basic geometry.  I now quite literally have flashcards that quiz me on the area of a circle.  It’s so sad. I haven’t used this stuff in 15 years.

6.  I already did 6.  And now I’m too lazy to delete this second one.

7.  Would it be bad to eat an entire box of mac and cheese?

8.  Probably.  Especially since I added a can of chili.  Culinary master, I am.  (note: why doesn’t WordPress recognize chili?  I think the last word it didn’t recognize was burrito.  I think WP has serious issues with bean-based foods)

9.  I won’t be posting anything tomorrow.  Bears play the Pack tomorrow night.  If you don’t know what that means, I’m not sure we can be friends.  I will be at a bar with people for whom this is an equally important issue.

10.  It’s now ten after ten.  I still have to do laundry, bake zucchini bread and some cookies (don’t ask why. I have no idea why I do these things) and maybe granola if I have time.

11.  I was going to stop at 10, but then I just wanted to say this:  I started making vocab flashcards for the GRE last night (I know, you can buy them.  But I am poor.  And cheap.  So I’m buying cheap-o notecards and using the list in my book).  Anyway… I have almost 200.  And I’m not even all the way through the E’s.  Seriously?!?!  There’s only like 30 questions in the verbal section!  Grrrr.

That’s it.  Sorry you had to read this.  Maybe I’ll post a little something tomorrow.  But it definitely won’t have zombie stick figures in it.

MW v. Yogis

Remember these guys?

 

The Yoga Jerks… we’ve had some issues.  Under the first owners, they left a note outside my door, telling me my TV was too loud during their meditation session on Tuesdays, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, and could I please turn down the volume at this time.  Now, I had just recently moved in, was aware of how thin the floors/ceilings were (because I heard my upstairs neighbor constantly), knew that the TV was probably pretty loud so I could hear it over my jet engine furnace, and wanted to have a good relationship with the neighbors since I planned on being here a while.  So I left them a charming little note telling them that of course I would turn down the volume at that time.  I even included my phone number and told them they could call me if I was making too much noise.

I really liked the first owners.

This past summer, it changed hands.  It went from “Yoga Studio” to “Yoga and Movement Studio”.  I really wish I still didn’t know what that meant.

We had a mishap early on, where my kitchen sink overflowed and due to a structural issue in my kitchen, water flowed straight into a tiny gap that apparently led straight into their studio.  Oops.  I was extremely apologetic and the owner was very nice about it after I explained what happened.  It happened once more (dishes shifted in the sink while the water was warming up and I wasn’t in the room) in the early winter.  As soon as I realized what had happened, I ran downstairs to apologize.  In the midst of me apologizing profusely and offering to come down with my own towels and clean it up, the staff person simply turned around and walked away.  That’s when they officially became the Yoga Jerks.  And apparently when they decided to go to Passive-Aggressive War.

Later in the winter, our sometimes absent landlord had not gotten around to shoveling in front of the building.  So apparently, the Yoga Jerks decided to do it themselves.  This is the result:

 

In case you can’t tell, that’s the entire front of the building, the entire width of the sidewalk, shoveled completely clear… except for the 3-4 square feet directly in front of the door that leads up to my apartment.  There’s no way that’s an accident.  Sure, it’s not the Yoga Jerks’ job to shovel the walk… but only a real asshole is going leave 1 1/2  shovelfuls of snow in front of the door.  Message received, Yoga Jerks.

And then the gonging started.  They have a giant gong that, according to their website, is “relaxing”.  I can’t possibly imagine how.  They like to use it in the evenings, when I’m at home trying to chill after a long day at work.

 

That damn gong vibrates my entire apartment.  It sounds like they are right in the kitchen.  But I was going to be a good neighbor, so I dealt with it.  I even tried using it to my advantage, thinking I could get free “gong baths” (seriously, that’s what they call it) out of this.

 

Ok, so it’s not the most relaxing thing to me… but it’s just a little gonging, right?  I can live with this.  This is still better than living above a nightclub or a bar or something.  Well, if you give these Yoga Jerks an inch, they’re gonna take a mile.  A mile of Zumba-ing.

What’s that?  You don’t know what Zumba is?  I didn’t either… not until the Yoga Jerks started it.  According to Wikipedia, Zumba “combines Latin and International music with dance in an effort to make exercise fun”.  According to Mairin, there’s a lot of stomping, yelling, and loud music with a heavy beat designed to piss off your neighbors.

They Zumba in the evening when I’m trying to watch TV:

They Zumba on Saturday mornings after I’ve had a late night out:

And they do not respect the time-honored tradition of apartment neighbors telling each other to shut up:

I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Every time I heard/felt their stupid Zumba music, I found an online Polka station, turned the speakers toward the floor, cranked up the bass, and blasted Polka music into my floor boards.  I specifically chose Polka because the beat is so different from Zumba beats, and I was hoping to trip them up.  Also, I like Polka.  We were in the full throes of the Passive Aggressive War.

I broke first.  It was a Wednesday night a couple weeks ago… I got home from work at about 6 pm, ate a small dinner, and went straight to bed.  I was scheduled to work the midnight shift at my 2nd job that night, after which I would go directly to my day job in the morning, so I wanted to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before I had to start getting ready at 10.  Right after I fell asleep, they started Zumba-ing.

I pounded on the floor, exhausted.  No dice.  They probably couldn’t even hear me.

So I decided the time for passive-aggression is over and I was going to confront them face-to-face.

Let me remind you that I’d been asleep.  I was in my pajamas, which meant I was wearing a giant pink T-shirt that says, “Meat is murder.  Tasty, tasty murder”.  So I threw on a bathrobe and my flip-flops, pushed my sleeping mask (what?  I go to sleep in the daytime, it’s a necessity) up on my forehead and headed down.

I stomped downstairs, still mostly asleep but thoroughly pissed off, and attempted to enter the Yoga Jerks’ studio (through the street entrance, mind you)… it’s locked.  As I was about to start pounding on the door, I suddenly realized that I was standing on the sidewalk in my bathrobe, hair all over the place, sleeping mask on my forehead, and a wild look in my eyes.  I do not want to be that person.  So I hurried back upstairs (before I attracted any more attention on the sidewalk) to call and left a polite message asking them to turn it down.

I don’t remember everything I said.  I imagine it was mostly incoherent, since I’d just woken up about 8 minutes ago.  Then I tried to go back to sleep.

You know what a pillow over your head does in cases like this?  It drowns out all ambient noise, such as the fan, traffic, my little radio playing ocean sounds… everything except the damned Zumba beats, which are now clearer than ever.

Apparently, my voicemail successfully got the message across that I was pissed though, because I got a call back as soon as the class was over.  I didn’t answer, since I was unsuccessfully trying to sleep for the last hour before I needed to start getting ready.  The gist of the message was:  “We’re allowed to have classes until 9 pm, according to our lease, so tough break… it must really stink to live about a dance studio.  We’ll try turning it down a bit”.

Thanks Yoga Jerks.

But then they actually did turn it down.  Last Saturday morning, after I’d been out very, very late, their Zumba did not wake me up.  When I’m awake, I can still hear it.  It’s still a little annoying, but this is totally doable.  And I’m so relieved, I could cry.

Now, if we could only figure out how to turn down the gong.

Science!

I’ve been MIA recently… this second job of mine is sort of kicking my ass.  I am working an overnight or two a week, and then going straight to my regular day job… so it’s throwing my schedule all off and makes me tired and boring.  Good news is: I can now pay all my bills AND buy groceries each month.  Very exciting 🙂 

Enough about that.  It’s SCIENCE TIME! 

A coworker told me that I could clean my drains using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, which would bubble up and fill the drains.  I’ve been so excited to try this, so I decided tonight, since I finally had cleaned every last dish in the sink, I’d finally check this out.  Now, I’m not totally sure what it was I was expecting….. that’s a lie.  I know exactly what I was expecting: 

Remember those volcanos you used to make as a kid?  Same mixture (minus red food coloring… trust me, I nearly put it in tonight).  Remember how they were never quite as explosive as you thought they would be?  Well, I thought this would be like I used to think those volcanos would be.  

First, I dumped some baking soda in the drain.  This was made difficult by the fact that the sink was kinda wet, and my drains have these little guard thingies over them. 

Yes, there's onion bits in my sink. I was prepared for my drain volcano to take care of those...

 

Hmmm.... this isn't a good start: baking soda all over the sink... not much in the drain.

 

Time to pour the vinegar and watch my drain volcano clean my sink AND provide loads of entertainment for me… this is SO EXCITING!!!! 

fizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzle.......

 

That’s IT?!?!  That’s all?  How the hell am I supposed to get my cleaning done if it’s boring and doesn’t involve awesome explosive foam?!?  And not only did it suck for me, but then I tricked everyone into reading a blog post made up pretty much of pictures of my empty kitchen sink.  Suckas! 😛 

Ghosts

I can’t sleep.

Because I watched Supernatural.  Which is about ghost hunters.  Really hot ghost hunters, but it’s really hard for me to focus on that, because there were creepy little ghost children.

When this show came out, I really wanted to like it because I love The Twilight Zone and loved watching The X-Files with my dad.  But the truth is that it scares the crap out of me so much that I can’t make it through an episode without muting and/or changing the channel at least once.  And of course the first episode I watch in years involves creepy little ghost children.

I’m afraid of ghosts.  I’m terrified of ghost children.  And little girl ghosts mean I won’t sleep all night.  I blame these chicks:

[photo of the shining twins removed because it creeps me out that people find my blog by searching for “little girls”]

Seriously.  Just looking at them ensures I won’t sleep for the next two days.  HOW ARE YOU SO CREEPY!?!?!?!

I really regret looking that picture up on the interwebs now.

Moral of this story: people with overactive imaginations should not watch scary tv at night.  Especially if they live alone.  And NO ONE should watch The Shining.  Or look up its pictures online.  Ever.

Ax Murderer in My Closet

I have a routine when I’m getting ready for bed – about 20 minutes before I plan on actually getting into bed, I turn the fan on in my room, brush my teeth and wash my face, and then can just go right to bed when I’m done watching my show/reading my book/playing my game, etc. 

Sometimes, when I go back into my room, I notice that my the white-noise button on my alarm clock has been pushed.  Logically, my brain is aware that I likely automatically did this when I came in the room to turn the fan on.  And yet, the (larger) illogical part of me is certain that the guy hiding in my closet has turned it on (why?  I have no idea.  That’s not the part I focus on).  At this point, I will need to check every closet, under the bed, the pantry, the space between the oven and fridge, behind the shower curtain… all to make sure there isn’t a blood-thirsty murderer just waiting  until I’m about to fall asleep (I’m sure he has his reasons for the timing) to kill me. 

This little nook-checking routine also happens when I don’t remember leaving a light on when I left the apt, and there is one on when I come home.  Because obviously, the ax murderer turned the light on while hanging out waiting to hear my key in the lock, before jumping into position in the furnace-closet.

The furnace closet.  The furnace closet is in my room, and I’m convinced a fully-grown, ax-wielding man could easily hide in there.  [I have not attempted to get in myself to see if this is possible, because I’m afraid there’s the slightest chance I’m wrong (it’s rare, but it happens) and I will get stuck and die in there because I live all alone and no one will notice I am gone until it’s too late.]  The door is behind the door to my room:

You KNOW there's something spooky hiding in here...

And, as you can see, the inside could totally fit a person and some weapons:

Unfortunately, adding to my paranoia, I also have a tendency to watch crime shows and scary movies.  Alone.  At night.  And then try to go to bed.  You know how when you hear a noise and you hold your breath and hold perfectly still?  Why?  Do I really think the ax murderer, who has obviously gone through the trouble of breaking into my apt hours before I get home, hiding in the furnace closet, and waiting until I turn out all the lights, is going to be so fooled by the fact that I am holding perfectly still that he won’t see me?

When I lived near my parents, there were nights where my loving father would drive his truck up to my house, park it in the yard so the headlights would shine around the corner, and go through my entire house, checking closets and turning on lights.

My name is Mairin.  I’m almost 30 years old and I’m afraid of things that go BUMP in the night.