Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Series of Letters

Dear Bike-Riding College Douchebags-
Please learn that bikes are vehicles.  Like cars.  And should thus be riden (driven?) in the streets.  Not the sidewalks.  Also, when riding (driving?) your bike in the street, please ride with traffic, not against it, as you are a vehicle in traffic, just like a car.  ALSO, when riding (driving?) with traffic, please follow the appropriate rules of the road, just like a car.  Stop at red lights/stop signs.  Ride (drive?) through green lights with traffic.  Do not stop/hesitate in the middle of the cross road and stare at me blankly when you have the green and I am waiting for you to cross so that I may complete my left-hand turn that you should be keenly aware of thanks to my blinking left turn signal.

Dear Upstairs Neighbor who has Three Dogs and Walks Around like an Elephant in Wooden Clogs-
I like dogs.  I'm sure I would like your dogs.  But please stop trying to teach your dogs how to tap dance.  It worries Zelda.  Her nerves aren't what they used to be.  Also, listening to them try to dig to China through our ceiling when you come home and call to them on your way up the stairs is also not cool.  And if you decide that they need some exercise, might I suggest taking them for a walk OUTSIDE as opposed to playing fetch INSIDE in your hardwood floored second floor apartment.
And one more thing.  Please take off your shoes when you come home.  You are not all that delicate of a walker that high heels are ok in a hardwood floored apartment on the second floor.

Dear Behind Us Neighbor-
I like dogs.  I'm sure I would like your dog.  Except for the fact that when you leave for the day, your particular pooch feels the need to howl, yowl, yip and cry as if it were being kicked repeatedly.  Part of me feels bad for it, until my ears start to bleed.

Dear Couple who Thought it was Appropriate to Leave a $2 tip on a $25 tab When You had Me Running Around for More Dressing, Napkins, Drinks, Straws, and Who Knows What Else -
It isn't.  But thanks anyway.

Dear Woman Who Left Me a $9 tip on a $31 Tab -
Thank you!  You made my day :)

Dear Town of Wilkinsburg-
There have been full cans of trash on our curb for two weeks!



editor's note:  since i wrote this blog and stashed it away for later publishing, we have discovered when trash day is.  Fridays.  not Mondays, like we were told by the rental company. Friday.  there.  one thing solved.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our New Digs

Our neighborS (plural) have dogS (plural) and it's kind of funny and kind of sad to see how alert Zelda gets when she hears the scuffling or barking.  The ones that live behind us might just get an anonymous gift package including, but not limited to: a Gentle Leader collar,  a Barker Breaker, and some Doggy Downers. Other suggestions are welcome.  Little yippy buggers back there.

There's also a guy in the house next door whom we have lovingly nicknamed T-Pain, given his resemblance to the rapper.  Each afternoon he brings a big rubbermaid table and wooden dining chair out onto his front porch and sets up with his macbook, a plate of food and a glass of orange soda.  It looks like he is studying something, but we haven't struck up any conversations yet, so I'm not making any assumptions. 

When we visited in June, we were told that this apartment (and the whole building) was being totally renovated.  Refinished hardwood floors, new appliances, fresh paint, new duct work and heating systems, nearly new (repurposed) cabinetry and closets, and secure storage in the basement were promised.


A few new Definitions I have learned since we moved into this apartment.

"Refinished Hardwood Floors" = Hardwood floors that once were new and lovely, and that could be salvaged by a good sanding and stain job are instead coated with a thick, shiny, oily brown paint(?) that is peeling up already.  The flooring in the kitchen actually looks new, but is made up of  two different kinds of boards that don't really match.  Not bad, just strange, I suppose.  I could just be being picky. 

"New Heating System" = Exposed vents and ductwork (that we were sort of warned about) that look like afterthoughts in some rooms.  One of the closets (that looks like it used to be a walk-in utility closet) was cut in half to house the heating unit. Other accessories include irregular holes in floors approx 2 inches around from where the old radiators were pulled up.  One such hole was found to be plugged up with a piece of cardboard that had been filled with caulk and then painted over into the hole.
Which, on a side note, leads me to a certain clause in our lease that states that "mice are inevitable".  Well, sure they are, when you leave perfect little mousy sized holes all over the place that practically scream "come on in, it's nice and warm in here!"  Idiots. 

"All New Windows" * except for the two big awkward square ones in the living room and the strange wee tiny one in the bathroom.  Those can stay old, dirty, and heat-seeping.  Let's see how well that new Heating System holds up....

"Recycled/Repurposed Cabinetry" = 2 hanging and one standing cabinet in the kitchen that came from Goodwill, were not repainted or cleaned at all, and the standing one has a counter with a backsplash attached crooked and sideways.  In the middle of the kitchen.  With the drawers facing the hallway.  Also includes One Large Cabinet in the living room that would make a really great coat closet except that it still had the wierd racks in it that look like it was used for cafeteria trays or science lab trays or something.  Jake has since fixed that (read: removed the stupid racks and hung a closet pole), so that particular piece is actually rather useful now.

"New Appliances in Kitchen" = hmm.  ok, no this one's ok. Totally brand new fridge and gas stove (WOO HOO GAS STOVE!!!!)

"Storage and Coin-Op Washer/Dryer in Basement" = Well, yes, they are there, just not in any sort of working order....  There is one washer and two dryers (for 6 apartments) and the washer looks older than me and dirty, and the dryers have what looks like engine oil puddled in them, and no coin slot, therefore no way of turning them on.  I've found a less-than-shady laundromat a few blocks down from the restaurant where I work.  The storage units are in fact there - made from what looks like doors and shutters that have no doubt been pulled from this very building over the last few months - but they, unfortunately, are not securable due to gigungous holes in the framework and missing slats.  That's Jake's project for this week, since we told the rental agency about it a week ago and they have ignored our requests.

"Freshly Painted" = Yes, indeed, it was done recently, but either with such old paint, or by such a heavy hand that the doors to the built-in cabinets in the living room and the door to the bathroom don't close. Yes, the door to the BATHROOM doesn't close.  There's also tons of drops of this lovely thick paint all over the floor under the oil-slick of a treatment, which makes for some really pretty texture.....

A few minor notes, though no less frustrating:
~ Half of the outlets are installed upside down.
~ The security system for the entire building is in our living room, and chirps wildly starting around 8am.
~ Nothing in this apartment is level, square, plumb, or straight.  All of our furniture leans. Wildly. Drunkenly.

Not all is lost.  The place has really cool high ceilings, lots of natural light, a bigger kitchen than our last place - with a GAS STOVE!! (have I mentioned that yet?  I'm really happy about that), and room for a dining table!  We haven't had a dining table since Bristol!  The build-in cabinets in the living room are pretty neat (now that Jake has scraped enough paint out of the hinges for them to close), and there's a nook that's the perfect size for the big hutch we just acquired from my aunts.

Look at that, 2 posts in a week.  I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

resurrection. in pittsburgh.....

This time I'll try to actually keep up on this thing.  Try. 


yes, Updates.

well, Engaged!  yay!  May 9th.  wedding date May 28 (next year).  planning from Pittsburgh - priceless.

Jake got into Grad School!  ( I think I will continue my trend of capitalizing words that seem Important or Intimidating.  If you don't like it, stop reading)  Carnegie Mellon, to be precise. 

Which leads us to Moving to Pittsburgh!  Which we are currently in the latter stages of.  Read: unpacking tons of shit and trying to make it all fit into our wee apartment.  There have been 3 carloads of things taken to various thrift stores, and we STILL don't know what to do with all the stuff. 

Prior to Moving to Pittsburgh was a week of very well-deserved and highly anticipated Vacation.  Which led to the death of my car.  The Little Red Wagon (aka Strawberry Pearl) blew a spark plug into/through part of the engine, which led to various fluids leaking into and out of said engine, which would have cost way more than the car was worth to repair.  So we are a one-car couple in the Burgh.  Which is fine because Jake gets free bus rides with his student ID.

Which leads us to Stefi Learning to Drive Stick and Then Discovering that Pittsburgh is Nothing But HILLS!  We're all fine here.  I'm learning quickly and my patience is growing, and I have a wonderfully supportive and patient teacher, so it will all be fine.

I am still waiting to hear from the Monroeville Pier1 about transferring, but the manager I spoke with on Sunday seemed very interested and in need of someone to take day shifts (woo!  day shifts!)  and I still have to swing by the little bar/restaurant I filled out an application with when we were in town in June.

AND!  I've decided to start sending out my Theatre Resume again.  Maybe I'll have better luck in this town.  Maybe I'll be able to handle the stress better.  Maybe I'll be able to make a living this time. 

We shall see.