Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Hey all you Oregonians!

Today's primary election is one of the first time in history that Oregon's primary has really been a topic of discussion on the national level or has really made any difference in the outcome (at least, for the Democrats). So if you haven't turned in your ballot yet, get it in! The one Republican I know who might read this should vote too, although I'm sure you will.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Day Two

Today was much better than yesterday. Last night, around 2, I finally tried to pump up my air mattress and it worked, so I actually had a bed. I only got a few hours of sleep because the movers were supposed to come at 7:30 -- they got here at 9:30. Something about bad traffic at the truck stop. But all my stuff was here and they were very nice. One of them lives here so he gave me his number in case I need to hire someone to move me to the other apartment in two weeks. I'm thinking of asking the apartment complex to pay for it, rather than their idea of getting the maintenance guys to help. Somehow, I would feel more vindicated that way. Plus, the guy was nice, fast and professional, so it seems like a good option.

After they left, I wanted to go back to sleep, but instead decided to brave the heat (about 95 degrees) and go to the grocery store. I realized pretty quickly that my desire to wait as long as possible to buy a new car may be overshadowed by my desire to drive a car with air conditioning. I forget how much you spend just buying the "basics" on a first grocery run. More than $100 and I didn't even remember to get salt. Must remember to find a cheaper store than Fred Meyer for non-organic stuff.

I spent most of the day buming around the apartment. The huge pile of boxes that can't be unpacked until I move again will irritate me, but at least my kitchen and bathroom are set up now. I cooked dinner (vegan chili) and dessert (vegan chocolate cupcakes with delicious frosting) and used my new Dyson vacuum, which really is awesome. It got all the cat hair off the sofa and a bunch off the floor that I didn't even know was there. It's already worth every penny. I'm so not a person who likes to clean, but I bought this specifically for the cat hair problem, so it's great. I think I may take it to my mattress, too, but I'm not sure I want to know how much dirt is on the mattress.

I'm discovering that this apartment was very clearly built for taller people. I can't reach the air conditioner dial, ceiling fan cord or peephole without a step stool. At this point in life, I am of course used to having issues, but I'd think they'd at least put the air conditioner where short people can use it.

Right now I'm sitting on my balcony listening to someone's wind chimes. Even with the mix-up, I do like the complex -- I think. It seems to be well-taken care of (although there is some graffiti on a tree outside my place that I don't think was there yesterday) and the private balcony is nice. I think the unit they're moving me to is on the ground floor, which is better because I can let the cat out, but not quite as nice. Of course, all the other buildings kind of face mine so people can see me out here, but it's closed in on the sides. It's cooled off very nicely and is quite peaceful. It may even get dark enough to see a lot of stars.

I realize I'm posting quite a bit on mundane things, but this is sort of an adventure for me. Also, until I meet some people, I have nothing to do in the evenings but sit around on the Internet. I'm posting this while watching TV shows online (my cable channels suck). Right now it's "Sex and the City" with subtitles in what appears to be Chinese.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It can only get better ...

They say a bad dress rehearsal means you'll have a great opening night.

Here's hoping the same holds true for a bad first day in a new town.

I got up early this morning and got on the road on my way to my new life as a real adult with a fabulous job, high salary (and low cost of living) and grown-up apartment.
I gave my cats their pills to sedate them for the ride and took off. Nala cried loudly for the first half hour or so, but Azzurri is a little champ in the car. I'd left an hour ahead of schedule, had some good tunes, and thought "this will be a nice drive."

After about two hours, it started to warm up, so I stopped to buy water for my faithful companions and used road maps to shade their crates. There was still some whining whenever I stopped or slowed down, but hey -- I'd whine too.

With about an hour left in the ride -- the ugly, boring part of the drive when I had to follow directions -- Nala started to pant. If you don't know -- cats should never breathe through their mouths or pant. I realized it was because the car was too hot but worried that the tranquilizer, which was technically not prescribed to her, was making her sick. Then Azzurri, the asthmatic, started to do the same thing.

After at least 30 minutes of driving around lost (less than 5 miles from the place the entire time), I got to the apartment complex and brought the cats into the office so they could be in air conditioning while I did my paperwork.

That's where things went wrong.

First, I noticed that my mailing address was different from what I'd been told it would be, which seemed weird, but I figured I must have misunderstood the first time. (Cue the low bass note starting to play)

The amount listed for my rent was correct, and I didn't read the apartment description because I knew what I was getting. A two-bedroom apartment away from the street (specifically requested/demanded so that my cats will be safe if they get outside). The apartment was supposed to be in a single-floor duplex unit. It was supposed to have walk-in closets (my favorite feature of the place) that were described as being so big it's like a second room.
And cue the cellos.

The woman from the office and I walk over to the new apartment to look at it. The grounds are beautiful and it seems like a very safe part of town. So far, so good.

We get into the apartment and it's 1) on a busy street and 2) on the second floor of a four-unit building. But it's cute. Not as big as I expected, but cute and clean.
The music is faster now

I look around. The bedroom is huge. The "walk-in closet" is bigger than a regular closet, and yes, is large enough for me to walk into, but is not a walk-in, despite the woman's attempts to tell me that they call it one because you can walk into it.
Cue the even faster music, louder, intense bass, a few brass instruments

I start to open the door to the coat closet -- "Is this the other bedroom?" I ask?

"This is a one-bedroom."

At this point, while trying to explain that I was promised the exact OPPOSITE of everything about this unit, I pretty much lose it. I'm hot, worried about my cats, irritated, sad about leaving my friends (but very excited about the job), and have PMS. I cry. I hate crying in front of people because I think they'll think it's emotionally manipulative, so I cry because I'm mad at myself for crying.

Turns out there are two "sides" to this complex with duplicate apartment numbers. On one side, apartment A6 is the unit I was promised. On the other, it's the one I got. Someone who used to work here placed a different person in MY apartment, sticking me with this one.

They're going to move me to a two-bedroom unit -- as soon as one opens up on JUNE 4. So, I can't decorate or unpack because all my shit, (plus a few hundred worth of new dishes/pots/pans/rugs/lamp, etc. that I bought today) has to be moved in two weeks. The women in the office were genuinely nice and apologetic and worked hard to make sure the transfer will work without me paying additional fees, and they'll credit the extra rent I paid (since this unit is far cheaper). But still. I was promised one thing, and I NEEDED the features of that apartment -- specifically, being far enough away from the road that I won't have an anxiety attack if my cat gets out -- and was very excited about it. Now to add to my stress about moving I have to move again (the office woman said she'll help and that her fiancé and the apartment maintenance guys will help) and it will be weeks before I can feel settled and comfortable.

Other BAD and/or annoying highlights of the day:
1. Had to ask to borrow toilet paper from a neighbor because I hadn't packed any and wasn't going to be leaving again for a few hours.
2. Had to use a pair of pants to dry off after a shower because I hadn't packed towels and again, wasn't leaving for a while.
3. Discovered that the air bed I bought to sleep on tonight (because the movers have my real bed and won't be here until morning) won't work because the pump has to charge for 12 hours and I didn't know this until 4 p.m.
4. Discovered that of the 25 channels I receive with basic cable, only 13 are worth watching (one of those is the weather channel, which I'll look at maybe once a day, and two are versions of C-SPAN, which will be great on election nights but not thrilling late at night).
5. Tried to take photos of the new place and discovered that my camera and/or BRAND NEW memory card is broken and won't save pictures or stay turned on.

GOOD highlights:
1. My cats did not die of heatstroke and appear to be adjusting just fine, although they still want to go out.
2. A neighbor does not password-protect her signal, so I had a very strong wireless signal for hours before the Internet/cable guys got here.
3. The Internet/cable guys showed up on time. They were nice guys who teased me a bit (flirted?) but I wasn't in the mood. But I'll admit it was funny when the guy managed to convince me that it's illegal to download porn in this city. Under other circumstances, I would have gone into a lecture on the Supreme Court's rulings on pornography on the Internet ... but everything else had happened at this time.
4. After my spending orgy at Target, I found out that if you flash an Oregon ID at a store in Washington, they won't make you pay sales tax. I plan to take advantage of this knowledge for as long as possible.
5. The new (too expensive) Dyson animal hair vacuum that I ordered last week is here already, so I can clean the hair off my sofa when it gets here tomorrow.