25 August 2006

life lessons suck

I've learned a valuable lesson today.

Our landlord decided that instead of charging rent weekly, he wanted us to start paying on the first of the month. So over the course of August, we've been in the process of switching over. The month's rent was divided into a per-day rate. On the 6th we were given a balance on what we owed for the rest of the month. We paid $250 of the $400-some-odd we owed, leaving us with a balance of $177-some-odd dollars. Arthur stopped by today, asking for more rent. "You're supposed to be four weeks in advance," he said. "But two weeks ago you told us you wanted us to start paying a month's rent on the 1st from now on, and you gave us a balance to pay to catch us up for August. I paid $250, and we owe $170-some-odd dollars." He was quiet for a minute, and said "let me go figure it out." He went to his apartment to do some math, and I scrambled to find the note he had written, where he spelled out what we owed, and I noted my payment. I was still looking when he came back.

"The difference is $213.69."

No, no it's not, I thought. I said "okay, just a second..." and ran upstairs to check my bank balance. Also to see if maybe the paperwork I now desperately needed was near the computer, or on my dresser. Nope. Not in the breadbox, not in the junk drawer. My only means of proving we didn't owe him this mystical additional $40 was nowhere to be found. I don't know if my face betrayed how angry and frustrated I was. I'm not sure if his math was wrong, or if he is blatantly trying to rob us blind, but it's my own fault. We've been very careless with filing important papers (and mail!). If we had a filing system in place, I wouldn't be paying extra rent right now. If I am, at that. Maybe his math was wrong before, and I would've benefitted from his error. We'll never know for sure, will we? I'm spitting mad, moreso at me than him (though I'm still pretty pissed at him - he took my moment of frantic searching and non-check-writing to restate the amount I needed to make the check out for.)

That's it.

23 August 2006


I suppose it's time to write a new entry. Moderately interesting things have been occuring, but I haven't been able to find the writing mood. Not to mention that everytime I sit to compose e-mail, I wind up regretting it (somehow my e-interactions have been taking place in a brain space where intellect and humor used to sit). No mail is better than bad mail. Ditto when it comes to composing an entry.

I received a credit card. I applied for it because my prior "in case of emergency" option is illegal in most states. I've been doing nothing but paying down debts since last summer, which wound up helping my case considerably. They sent me notification of approval in advance of the card, saying the card itself would arrive a week later. After two and a half weeks, I started worrying. Maybe someone else received the card, and was currently financing a trip to Mexico with it! (Mexico, Maine, that is. No one would ever give me THAT much credit.) I figured I should call the company to make sure it had been sent, or to see if they changed their minds at the last minute, having realized that giving me credit is generally a bad idea. But the paperwork was nowhere. Turns out, Jeremy thinks he might have thrown it away. He has no memory of it, but says he frequently throws away mail that looks junky. I searched the apartment, just in case, and turned up nothing. So the new plan was to hope that the credit card would magically appear in the mailbox. After a few days of nothing, I gave up. I decided to sift through our old mail again, which generally gets stashed in the breadbox. I threw away old utility bills, outdated statements, saved a few necessary items. In the middle of the stack (sandwiched by a few March bills) was a blank envelope with my name on it. Unopened. Just for the hell of it, I opened it. It was MY CREDIT CARD! I never did find the old paperwork, but that's not important. It arrived! It felt like a miracle. We couldn't stop laughing about it.

With credit card in hand, Jeremy and I decided that getting a TV stand and maybe a bigger TV would be good...something to spruce up the place a bit, give it something resembling character (something other than the character of an ancient 19" sitting on top of a tupperware bin). So Saturday we headed to Target in Brunswick (because it's closer and better than the one in South Portland). They had a poor selection of TVs, and no stands that were worth the price they were asking. We thought maybe we'd each find a few necessities there, to warrant the trip. Not so much. Their clothes were nothing that would look humane on me, and Jeremy could find nothing he wanted. We settled on a stack of washcloths (very autumnal washcloths) and Desk Set on DVD. We went to Bookland from there, and left empty-handed. When did I become so fiscally responsible?? Jeremy treated for dinner at Ruby Tuesday afterward, then we headed home.

Sunday we went to Portland. "Maybe South Portland's Target will have a better TV selection," we said. "And we can check Best Buy!" We had an impossibly difficult day, in part because the weather was rainy and miserable. Of course, everyone has to go to the mall when it rains. Seriously, you'd think it was the weekend after Thanksgiving, it was so congested. Absolutely everyone in the mall was an asshole. It didn't help that Jeremy and I have become accustomed to a certain calm relaxity (I made it up, and I like it!) that comes with small town living. It made dealing with the mall that much worse. We quickly left, hoping that the closer it got to 6:00, the less insane it would get. We went to Burger King for lunch, where I can only guess that three people had called out. They had one girl on register, two people in drive-thru, and one person assembling the burgers. I'm sure they couldn't have predicted how busy it was going to be. We were in line for half an hour. I was never mad though, because anyone who's worked at a fast food establishment could feel this girl's pain. Not to mention, people in front of and behind us were loudly displeased. She was going to require the kindness and patience that we planned to give. From there we went to Target, to find nothing. Not much differentiation, it turns out. We quickly left, made a coffee pit stop, and ventured back to the mall. It still sucked, but significantly less. We entered Best Buy modestly. Something a little bigger, and something to put it on. There were a few moderately-priced items that weren't awful. But they looked really heavy. Clearly, we decided, there's no way that would fit in the car. Even if it did, we couldn't possibly get it into the apartment! So for funzies' sake, we looked at flat screen TVs. So light! Pretty, too. Sure, it's over twice as much as we planned to spend, but it comes in a box that looks like a briefcase! I could lift this with one hand! Juggle it! Living within our means only makes sense half the time! Suck it up, and buy something nice that'll last awhile. Think to the future! So we bought it. And a TV stand that would accommodate it. With Jeremy promising I wouldn't have to look at the first credit card statement, I charged the hell out of it. And you know what? It's awesome. Turns out, part of the cable that the cable company doesn't know we have includes high-definition channels (because in case it wasn't assumed, it's a high-def TV). We watched the rainforest in high-def, parts of Sin City, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Ladyhawke (??!?) in high-def. We were riveted by PBS in high-def's documentary on Tupperware. And there's a show about beavers on Friday that will have to be watched. After we went to bed, all we could talk about was how beautiful the TV was, and the beautiful crap we watched on it. You could actually live in our living room now. I'd say it's worth every penny. After we pay it off, we're thinking we should get a bed.

16 August 2006

dying sucks

One of the first things I saw this morning was an AP article about Bruno Kirby's death. It has effectively ruined my day. He had leukemia I guess. That sucks. I'm going to stop there, because all my kind words for Bruno Kirby sound like jokes, and I'm not intending to be funny. So out of respect, I'm cutting myself off.

Know who else died this year? Peter Tomarken. His plane crashed into Santa Monica Bay. Much like John Ritter, he was a figure I noticed and admired for as long as I can remember. Maureen Stapleton died on the same day...March 13.

Anyway, all this death thought inspired a trip to Wikipedia for a list of who's died this year. LOTS of people are dying. Most of the names aren't familiar to me (which inspires a weird guilt in itself), but there are lots of them. And the causes are varied and, in a surprising number of cases, unfair. For Kirby Puckett, 45-year old baseball player, to die of complications from a stroke? Sucks. Lots of cancer, lots of "complications". Both Ohio's and California's oldest residents died at the age of 112 this year. Bill Cardoso, the guy who coined the word "gonzo", died in February at the age of 68. Doesn't say how. Darrin McGavin (star of Kolchak: The Night Stalker; also known as the dad in A Christmas Story) died at 83 of natural causes on February 25. Actually, I had no idea he was that old. But still, it sucks.

It's never who you'd expect. Rare is the day my mind would turn to Bruno Kirby, or how he's getting along, but I'd never think about the fact that he's going to die. I certainly wouldn't have expected him to die this soon. Someone who'd been long-suffering doesn't sting as much. Johnny Cash, for example (whose death, for me, was overshadowed by John Ritter's (Ritter died September 11, 2003; Cash died September 12)). But maybe Bruno Kirby was suffering. His misfortune just wasn't as newsworthy.

There's one less funny guy in the world. I'll leave it at that.

01 August 2006

america's next top tart

My work schedule this week consists of twelve-hour shifts at the Blueberry Festival, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. In the meantime, I have nothing to do. Jeremy decided to work a "Hell Week", which basically means he's taking a shitload of overtime. So he leaves a lot earlier and stays a little later. Unrelated, but noteworthy: we ran out of oil on Saturday, and have reverted back to cold showers until we can get more oil and convince Arthur to come light our pilot light (or whatever it is that needs to be done to the furnace after it's gone bone dry). It's almost charming, since last year at this time we had the exact same problem (but with less cable). And luckily, the next couple of days run the risk of reaching 100 degrees, so cold showers are almost a blessing (while still being really annoying).

Last night I discovered an America's Next Top Model marathon, starting at 11:00 and ending at 9:00 tonight. I've never seen the show, but people who's opinions I tend to respect seem to enjoy it. So my tentative plan is to dress up like a model ("sluttily fashionable". And lots of eye makeup), and, with the poutiest mouth I can muster, watch it. I'm guessing this will be fun for the first four or five hours. By that point I'm hoping to be too hooked to stop watching. Dressing up for television is kind of fun. Sad, too. But that's never stopped me.

Time Warner Cable sent me a letter yesterday to inform me that they were taking over for Adelphia, my current cable provider. I'm not sure what will go into the changeover process, but I'm afraid they're going to realize that we're currently receiving WAY more cable than we're paying for, and will rectify the situation. Probably right before the new season of Real Time w/ Bill Maher (August 25)! I'm hoping they're as clueless as Adelphia. I also need to find out if their rates are different from what we currently pay. Of course, there's no way in hell I'm going to call and let them look at my account!

It's August. I'm already thinking about September, and how ready for it I am.