Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Apartment Review

Once upon a time we lived in an apartment in complex that was well taken care of, whose managers we liked (and were even friends with) and in which we were neighbors with several close friends.

The apartment also had some down sides.

Such as the 1970's furnishings that came with the apartment (and had to stay in the apartment unless we wanted to spring for a storage unit). The couch (it's the plaid thing in the background, and while you're looking, also note the ugly lamp and the stack of bikes...yes. They lived there for a year in the front room, then they moved to the kitchen):

Not only is it ugly, it's uncomfortable in just about every possible way: namely, your back has to be straight (no slouching) while your bum sinks toward the ground because there isn't much seat support. Every time our friend Dave would come over (Dave is a Big Boy) we would ask him to not just sit on the couch but to also bounce on it, in an attempt to break the couch so we would have an excuse to buy a new one. (he was never successful. I guess the couch's sturdiness is another of its faults).

Then there was the heater. It sounded like the engine of a small airplane, which meant that we couldn't have it on when we had company over (unless we didn't want to converse with them at a polite volume) nor could we have it on while we slept because...we wouldn't have slept.

Then there was the lack of insulation between our apartment and the one above it. The first tenants had a baby who seemed to squall only when I was on the verge of sleep. I used to think that I had inherent maternal instincts that would emerge in such situations: the only "instinct" I discovered is that I can go from sleep to full wakefulness in the matter of moments upon hearing a baby's cry. Doesn't even have to be my own child. My actions (and words) after waking are far from motherly, though.

Those tenants eventually moved, and a single male moved in. Sweet relief. Until he started playing video games IN HIS ROOM at 3am. Why couldn't he have played them in his living room? Why did he position his speaker directly above our bed? At that point, I started speculating on conspiracy theories.

The apex of my frustration on this point came one day while The Rock and I were enjoying lunch together. We were eating in silence, probably tuckered out after a mountain biking excursion. No neighbors could be heard. Sweet, sweet silence. Then, with perfect clarity we heard our neighbor start to cough then proceed to throw up in his kitchen sink. I know it was his sink because his kitchen is directly above ours and I heard his footsteps as he ran above my head to make it to the sink in time.

And let's not forget the mysterious Fly Infestation of 2007, in which I killed at least 20 flies in an afternoon, then had as many, if not more, to kill the next morning. Where were they all coming from? I checked corners, potential holes in the wall, I even looked behind my fridge. There was no rotting food in the fridge or garbage can, our dishes were done, our counters clean.

As recorded in my journal:
"Dude. My stomach is all tense because I'm upset about the disgusting number of FLIES in our main room--thankfully not in our bedroom or bathroom. Tonight I killed 15 and there is still at least one more flying around. I don't know where they are coming from and I've been killing them since yesterday. It's gross. (But I'm getting better at killing them. And, yes, I am using a rolled up magazine as the killing stick. [side note: Made me wonder what the upstairs neighbor thought was going on in our apartment, because, remember, there really isn't any insulation between us. I'm sure he could hear me banging around and yelling such quaint epithets as, "I'm going to KILL you" and "DIE! DIE! DIE!"] I bought fly paper and hung it up. (so far only ONE fly has fallen for it). That's why (after waiting 30 seconds to see if more would join their comrade) I went on a rampage."

Five days later I wrote this: "The fly problem was solved. I'm not certain of the cause, but I am grateful for the absence of flies. The Rock and I both prayed for the flies to be gone, then I patched the holes in the window screen (with Masking Tape--ah, the wonders of tape) AND ran the cooler all day. And there are no more flies. Which is good because (and this is only one reason) the electricity no longer works in our bathroom/bedroom--so I wouldn't be able to hide in there anymore--at least not without turning into a mole man."

Har har.

Alright. I've got one more thing about the apartment, then I'm done.
Our front room usually looked like this (note the beige blanket covering the couch...my solution to the plaid problem):

One night (and this happened two or three times while we lived there) we saw this:

The first time it happened, the couple with the baby lived above us and I thought they had finally taken their fights to a whole new level. I was mad about it because it damaged a picture frame and mat...but I was too chicken to say anything about it.

Then, we got photographic evidence that we weren't crazy. The night we took the picutre we realized that it happened when there was rain. As in, the rain from the outside of the apartment soaked through the bricks to the inside of the apartment. Very harmless, but creepy looking nonetheless.

The End.

I know this really isn't that bad of a housing situation (as demonstrated in Bridget's post, see next sentence). I'd like to thank Bridget for her post on her current housing situation for setting me to reminiscing about my days in a crummy apartment. Her post is quite funny in a painful sort of way. --Lu

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One Great Father's Day Idea

This link was sent to me just this afternoon, and I thought it looked pretty awesome and tasty.
Let us know if you give it a try! http://bakerella.blogspot.com/


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday Night Dances

So, I work with teenagers (and tweens) at my day job (so much less formal than a courtroom, though, much heavier on the drama), and this Friday we are having a Dance Party. They requested it and I agreed to host it.

I've been planning a playlist--because no, I will not let them be in charge of it. Heaven forbid. It would be rated R for Raunchy.

Tonight I purchased some songs that I loved to dance to as a youngster (and that I think they will willingly dance to...I thought they were too cool for some of these songs, but surprisingly, they have made references to some of them, and just yesterday one of the "coolest" kids busted out the macarana for no good reason. Yes. I love tweens.) Just listening to the songs has taken me back to those awkward, yet very anticipated Saturday Night Stake Youth Dances. Wow. I loved those things.

Here's a few of my favorites:
The Electric Slide
500 Miles
Cotton Eyed Joe
Chicken Dance (so utterly annoying, but you get to act like a chicken!)
Macarana (though it's never been a favorite, just hearing it takes me back to those dim cultural halls of my youth)
Dancing Queen (yeah, I thought the song was about me).

Maybe you have some suggestions, songs I've forgotten...I'd love to hear what they are (even if you've never attended a Saturday Night Stake Youth Dance, surely there's some song that when you hear it you think of a Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual you attended in your youth.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This American Life Favorites

This is short but informative---
I've been listening to the favorites from the NPR affiliated This American Life program, and I highly recommend them, at least the ones I like:


Go to "Our Favorites" there at the top. Some recommendations of shows to start with are:

Giant Pool of Money
The Watchmen (found on the main home page----one of the follow ups to Giant Pool of Money)
Teenage Embed, Part Two (and Part One)


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Froot Smoothie

check out my refreshing summer treat over at lufoodstorage. --Lu

Movie Recommendations

My dad took me and The Rock to see Up for my belated birthday present (I love getting a trip to the movies as a birthday present, but there wasn't anything out back then that I wanted to see. In fact, The Rock's birthday present to me is still on hold because it seems that HP6 will NEVER make it to the theaters. Does anyone else feel like we've been waiting way too long for that flick?!)

As a warning, if you are a bawl-baby like me, you'll probably have a few teary moments during Up. (who would have thought it would be that kind of show). Also, there are a few things that are slightly annoying and/or cheesy in a grin(grimace)-and-bear-it kind of way. But those elements didn't detract from the good parts of the movie enough to make me regret seeing it. I love a movie that makes me laugh (and cry, too, if it's for a good reason.) This one did both.

If you haven't yet seen Love Comes Softly, may I recommend that too. I think the book might be even better, but it's been so many years since I read it, I can't give a reasoned opinion on it right now.

It seems that I appreciate more and more stories that depict what I consider to be real love. Love based on something beyond instant attraction or an irresistible, fatalistic pull toward someone else. Maybe it's because I don't buy into the notion of fated love, or love that sprouts from an unknown source, undying and unyielding no matter what. That would be too easy. And I have yet to see an example of that kind of love in a relationship in the Real World. I'm happy to be pointed toward such a relationship, though, if you know of one.

That isn't to say that I think all relationships in the Real World are painful or unhappy. I know that's not true. For instance, so many things about being with The Rock come naturally and easily. But it didn't just happen out of thin air. Both of us have characteristics and personalities that allow us to get along easily with each other. And when I was making the decision to marry him, I looked for those things. As much of a hottie I think he is, that pales in comparison to Who He Is. Who a person is (their character) is what you look for when you are thinking about success in the long term. Jane Austen was all over that principle--just read Pride and Prejudice again if you don't believe me.

So when a movie or a book has characters that actually love each other because of the kind of people they are, I love to immerse myself in the story. Which is why I appreciated Love Comes Softly--it feels real to me in a way that most romance books/movies don't.