Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I'm trying to get work done here not because I should really try to get my shit finished, but rather to save on electricity. In fact, I'm going to have to sleep relatively early or at least work by candlelight on this tiny thing of a computer. All this reminds me of eight years ago when I first came to Providence from Conn and my roommates hadn't yet moved into the house I was staying at. I was convinced I was going to starve, go bankrupt, or both if I didn't eat anything but cheap pasta and canned tuna. Something about being accountable for an entire apartment seems to engender my most miserly of tendencies.
I say this just as I've sunk cash into a home theater PC, along with a very meticulously selected flat screen TV, which since I've spent time and money into researching and building the damn things I have to be neurotic in making sure they're protected AND making sure they're not gulping my power. So I got one of these things and it better work as advertised. Each day it takes for the thing to arrive I die a little inside, mostly in the form of electricity. In addition, the motherboard I used can't take my TV tuner and the wireless keyboard I got for the HTPC has a defective trackpad, but the cost of returning both would exceed the $30 rebate I'm about to get. I could go on, but writing all this crap down makes me realize how absolutely dumb this is.
In better news, I got up at 9AM today because the FedEx dude came early and delivered my two area rugs that match my placemats. Now I have two giant placemats on the floor. The one in the kitchen actually distracts you long enough so you don't notice that the floor is sloping pretty severely towards the middle from both ends. Anyway, for the most part, the rugs "complete" the rooms, so I'll get pictures up of the kitchen and AV room up soon.
Now here's the part where I try to sound either smart or funny. Let's do funny. Au Bon Pain is playing the We Are The World sequel. This is now the center of Hell. I forgot that Justin Bieber opened this song. Couldn't they get Nicole Richie? Also, damn, this version does not hold up over time, and it's been what, 8 months? How's that for topical humor? It's a good thing I don't do this for a living or else I'd have to go back to graduate school or something.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
In part I was awake because I was having materialist fits the night before after failing miserably to buy some furniture on craigslist. I was stood up so to speak by a lady who was selling a TV stand and didn't show up, and then I couldn't get anyone to help me pick up a coffee table in Lincoln. I had to call her back to cancel the pickup, but accidentally called a woman in Warwick about a TV stand that I had decided I didn't want. Telling her husband the sad story of my supposedly cancelled trip to Lincoln, he offered to deliver it to me. Now I was stuck with furniture I wasn't all that enthused about. I had weird bit of adult-style frustration that I was bending over backwards to save $5 or $10 and had come away with nothing for the effort. Mad at myself for being so frustrated, I figured that I could do one on over the universe and build something instead of waiting for it to give me pressed wood at a killer discount.
With the problems the HTPC was giving me, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep before I had planned to jump on a garage sale around the corner and pick up a coffee table. I was reminded of the time we set up a garage sale for my grandparents in Carson City. Before we knew it, old ladies were waiting like stalkers in their cars parked across the street from my grandparents' house. I decided I was going to be an old lady; I was going to passive-aggressively stare at the people setting up and feel like some sort of hitman, but one that assassinates underpriced housewares.
I did come away with a small coffee table that looked pretty 70s, if placed in the right context (I guess we could say that about a lot of things), and my friend Francisco did thankfully come to help me move the TV stand up the stairs. A few minutes with a hacksaw later, and I had "modded" the TV stand to fit the HTPC and I had a coffee table that looks (to me at least) like I'm in the basement listening to early Chicago. I then very, very slowly moved a good majority of my things from my room to up here, including my bed, from which I am now blogging this very blog blogstastically.
I took my first shower up here tonight too. Remind me to CLR the shower head, lest I keep getting spritzed directly in the left eye every time I turn to grab the soap. National Grid, you done good.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
So I slept with my phone next to my pillow last night because National Grid had informed me that they would call to announce their arrival to turn on my gas service any time between 8AM and 8PM. Seeing as I've turned into a vampire over the past 8 years, and seeing as how excited I was that I was going to start paying my own gas bill (hooray!), I didn't sleep at all the night before. When the door buzzer bleated at 10:20, I was thankful that they gave me 4 hours of sleep.
I pulled on some clothes over my PJs and answered the door. A thin man with a hard hat and a bright orange vest was happy to see me. And crap, was I excited to see him! But it turned out that he was testing for gas leaks and over my rapid babble-squealing about turning on the hot water heater he said his being here was simply a coincidence. Out of sheer curiosity for how this amazing substance for which I was about to pay a monthly fee was monitored and transported, I followed him to the basement. This all sounds very much like a bad porno...
"These numbers don't move very fast," I said, observing the gas meters, hoping to learn something about the nuts and bolts of natural gas.
"Nope, they don't," the dude said.
"So, how do you know if there's a leak?" I asked.
"Oh, this thing'll tell me," he said as he maneuvered a long wand attached to a box over the pipes.
Beep. Or rather, the box let out a short squeal. "Oh," he said nonchalantly.
"Was that a leak?" I asked.
"Oh yeah, but it's a small one," he replied. "I'm gonna go outside to check if there's a leak outside too."
So after our porno dialog, I left him to catch whatever sleep I could in the living room, phone tucked near me so I wouldn't miss the call. I didn't get much in: a pretty resonant, rhythmic slamming of metal-on-metal scared off any of the melatonin fairies in my head. The dinging and donging went on for about 20 minutes until I decided to check up on my new friend outside. He had been smacking a large pole into the flower beds out front, then probing the holes with his squeak-box. Apparently he smacking the gas pipes under the house, then testing to see if he had made anything leak. I guess that's what you do.
"I did 30 houses today already," he told me. "I do about 75 or so a day, but these things slow me down."
Anyway, he eventually stopped and made a call to the higher-ups to send a team over. I went back inside, satisfied knowing that he'd finished slamming and tried to sleep a bit more. My phone rang. It was National Grid. They were coming in 15 minutes. I told them they had a dude out here already, but he was checking for leaks. At this point, I was less excited and more tired. In the back of my mind, I didn't think this gas thing was going to turn out so easily completed a task.
I met the new guys outside as they were talking to the leak tester. He thought they had responded to the call real fast; they kept saying it wasn't their specific task, but they'd look into it. They eventually made it down to the basement and started to check the meters and heaters. One of them seemed to be a trainee, but was an old hat at gas plumbing. When I first saw them at work, they were painting some kind of substance onto part of the pipe that registered a leak, but told me that they weren't the leak crew and they were going to turn on my gas just to have that task done, then when the leak crew came, they could turn everything off, then on again. "After about 45 minutes, you should have hot water upstairs," they said. A minor hooray.
So I had "breakfast" and Andrew came home and I informed him of all the fun that was going on. I went back to obsessing about big screen LCD screens with low response times and high resolutions until we got a knock on our back door. The third ghost of National Grid future appeared and told me a bunch of stuff I already knew (see how fast a learner I am?) -- that he was part of a crew that was going to replace some pipes and that everything would be fine by early evening. If I could just get people to move their cars, they could get started. Andrew had gone to bed after a night shift at the hospital so I got his keys and drove around the block to park on the other side of the street. As I parked, the Nat'l Grid guy came by the window of the car and said, "Well, could I get you to park around the corner, 'cuz water is on that side" -- he motioned to the opposite side of the street -- "and that means gas is on this side, probably."
It turns out that even if I moved Andrew's car, some random lady had parked in front of our building and we had to try to find the owner before Nat'l Grid could start work. By this point, our loud weird neighbors had decided to park themselves on their stoop and watch the business going on. I went down to the florist down the street (www.anewleafflorist.org) and got a couple houseplants and came home, sat down, and smelled gas.
I scrambled around my room to turn off everything I could. Then I bolted out of the house. As soon as I popped out of the front door, I saw Nat'l Grid had jackhammered into the sidewalk and one of the workers looked at me and said, apropos of nothing really (well in response to me literally jumping out of the door), "We know, that's why we're here. Thank you!"
I left the house in case it blew up. I like to think I was responsible for shutting down a city block, though technically that's not true. But heck, sounds fun, no?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
So I've moved a few things upstairs, but most everything is in a holding pattern until a friend of mine bequeaths to me her stuff. The place is still a tad bit scary when you're alone up there at night, especially without much furniture, but that'll be taken care of as the week goes on. Last night, I was up there until about 1-ish doing some measurements in the front room (eventually an AV room), and I realized as I was going back downstairs that our building has its hallway lights turned off late at night. It's like walking into a pit of despair, but less melodramatic. I might have to set up some adhesive tap lights or something. But then once I get down the stairs, how am I gonna turn them off?
Speaking of purchases, I spent a little too much time last night looking through the Craigslist furniture and free sections. Stuff is not as cheap on CL as one might be led to believe. Even a quick once-over at Overstock.com produced nothing really convincingly cheap in terms of furniture. I just want a dang coffee table man! But, I did find a somewhat ok deal for area rugs -- bamboo area rugs! -- that I'll stick in the kitchen and the front room. By the by, they match my placemats. One man shouldn't be this excited for bamboo area rugs.
I will end this very domestic post with a couple of frustrations. One is that the 30 minutes or so Andrew and I spend trying to light the pilot light to the hot water heater was all for naught because my gas was off. So, I had to make requests for both electric and gas from National Grid who continue to add to the list of things I need to fax them. FAX THEM. Because they don't have walk-in locations. We're up to a W-2, copy of driver's license, and my rental agreement. Then I was told to call back in two hours after I had sent the fax. I was told over the phone that I have to wait 24 hours, then, no, I have to wait for 4 hours and I could call back after hours. I called back after hours and they're closed. Hooray! At least I haven't had to wait too long to be told they're idiots. The end.
Monday, August 23, 2010
While the previous tenant left behind some quite useful furniture -- a long kitchen bar/table with two very tall stools, an over the toilet hutch, and a few trash cans -- I don't have nearly enough stuff to fully populate this place. Luckily my friend Julia is moving to Minnesota and she's selling me a good portion of the furniture in her old apartment, so that should help. The problem is that the way I have everything laid out, I'll have one completely empty room (the front room), one lightly furnished one (the bedroom), and one that'll probably be overdone (the office). This isn't counting the kitchen, which looks more like a dancefloor now more than anything.
So after I went on a few shopping sprees for the essentials (trivets!), I vigorously swiffer wet-jetted the floor but not without protest from Sean who had been helping me clean the kitchen. As much as I'd like to stop him from going through all the trouble, he's gonna try to bring his parents' steam mop and go over my floors once again. He's crazy. But at least he's cleaning for me! And basically for free!
I'll supply pictures once the place looks more homey. I'll be moving in fully September 1st, hopefully with electricity, cable, and all my bills coming to the new address.
Friday, August 20, 2010
how you holding up?
pretty good. got 9 hours sleep last night, so i'm not too tired. browsing hulu, not interested in anything
And that, dear readers, is what an expectant father thinks about. So no baby yet, but maybe tomorrow.
The internet and babies are, I think, a good combination. Much like how tortillas and beans provide complimentary proteins, the internet and babies provide complimentary (perhaps combinatory) laughing fits. Just think about it, Daniel, you could dress this kid in Ralph Lauren and make him or her an internet star. I think it's nearly equivalent to being the non-famous child of a famous person: a little awkwardly cool. I get the impression that raising a child for the first few days is some combination of fear -- how do we keep this thing alive!? -- and surprise.
Best wishes to Daniel and Nikolin!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
See that unpalatable photograph of what look like oily kidneys? Those, my dear reader, are figs. And while typically I don't take very good foodtographs, this one seems to be the worst one I've ever taken. Look at how the light smacks down on them like vomit, how that blue bowl looks like a bedpan, etc etc. See? I don't want to eat them either after writing that. I have just psyched myself out of eating figs. New York Times food critics: take notice.
Actually I just got up from a 9PM nap; the kind of nap that'll seriously fuck with the rest of your sleeping. I attribute it to $5.99 worth of penne pasta I picked up at Eastside along with my groceries. I briefly considered sleeping outright, but I figured that I'd get up 4 o'clock in the AM, which isn't prime time to get anything done, other than try to go back to sleep at which point I'd get up at 12PM anyway. That is not to say that 12PM is not a good time to wake up, but why sleep for 14 hours? I'm not flying to Australia.
I just ate all those figs I said I was too grossed out to eat. The astute reader will notice now that the power of snack is stronger than the power of the blog. Also I did try to actually sneak in the phrase "the astute reader will have noticed" in an academic paper once, in a footnote. The reader found it and said it was too "blue." Goes to show that only old white guys can sound like old white guys.
Anyway, I leave you with this: Fight Football League. It's Italian (I'm not sure I get the stereotype) and it involves trying to throw a soccer ball into a black box while the opposing team literally tries to punch you in the face. Watch a few minutes of the game clip and don't tell me it doesn't remind you of some kind of old-timey gang fight. Also, it's stupid. The end.