Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I can see how my intentions could be misconstrued...

It's cold out, very cold, so today I dressed for warmth: my sole pair of wool knee socks, black pants, tan Mary Jane heels, and my comfiest, warmest-sweater-that-doesn't-scratch. The sweater and socks just happen to be ... scarlet.

I've gotten a lot of comments today about looking "festive."

"Wearing red at this time of year," one coworker told me, serene in her own black and cobalt, "people are going to assume you did it on purpose."

Oh, well, whatever. What's wrong with looking festive? I FEEL festive! My social engagements are concluded; I only have two presents left to buy; I get to work at home tomorrow and once and for all tackle the big job task that's been hanging over my head (work at home! that's practically like getting a corner office.); there are movies to see, books to read, and French Vogues to peruse once the clock strikes five on Friday.

Happy holidays! Just in case all the free time goes to my head and I don't blog before the New Year ;)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Send me your links.

When I said I was looking for room painting ideas, I wasn't kidding! I have to choose colors by next Friday and I've never thought about room-painting before!

I do not like bright. I need something classy and delicate.

Update: right now I'm sort of leaning towards buttery yellows, nothing too gold or marigold. Just something glowy, soft, and warm. I think you have to have a lot of light coming in if you're going to do a blue or a green--I'd consider a soft purply blue or a muted pale sage but I'm concerned such cool colors will look bilious and sickly. I think I'd like to stick to warm colors, but as much as I like deep red and pumpkin orange rooms, I know those will make the space look smaller.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I have a lot of things to say:

(a) I so wish I lived in England. On Christmas Day they're showing a TV film of one of my favorite (favourite) books of all time, Ballet Shoes! And it stars Emma Watson, who is one of the few teen actresses I really like. In addition to seemingly have her head screwed on straight, she's got great style.

(b) Speaking of great style, I found this blog and I'm hooked. There's something about going thrifting that is so much more exciting than any other kind of shopping. What kind of diamond might you find in the roughs of the Goodwill racks? It's like treasure-hunting.

(c) But I shouldn't be reading blogs at all because I started tallying and got to 2000 pages, before I stopped counting in terror, of various manuscripts that I have to read, including about 450 TONIGHT. Maybe it's a GOOD thing I forgot to TiVo Wednesday's ANTM. So DON'T TELL ME WHO GOT KICKED OFF.

(d) I'm getting more excited about the apartment--they offered to hire movers, they're letting us pick the paint colors and pick the best kitchen appliances of the existing apartments to have moved into the new one; and we found out that it's been renting for about $600 more per month than what we'll be paying for the first year! That convinces me that, uh, duh, yeah, the one we're getting is better. We still have to work out the details of what we'll have to pay for year two, but I'm hoping it gets resolved as amicably as the rest of the conversation has been so far.

In between all the reading I have to do, there are paint chips to be sought out and Christmas presents to be obtained, and brainstorming for either is sure not going to be happening during the work day now that Crunch Time 2008 is upon me. But in two weeks and one day I am FREEEEEEEEEEE for eleven days! Eleven days which will be mostly taken up by traveling but NOT TO AND FROM WORK.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Extra extra

Thank you all for the funny jokes! They helped to cheer me up. The job thing that happened is still not ideal, but it's vaguely better than it was. Just keep plugging away, I suppose!

So, here is that other thing about my landladies I was going to tell you. Before Thanksgiving (when we'd been living there for about a month and a half), we found out that they had up and sold the building. To a couple expecting their second child. Who wanted to take over our apartment so they could renovate the bottom two floors together to be their home.

They asked us to consider moving to the third floor apartment (which is really the second floor apartment. As in, we enter our apartment under the outside front steps, whereas for this other apartment, you go up the front steps and up one flight of stairs) for the same rent. And, of course, under the terms of our lease we were free to say no, that we wanted to stay in our apartment. (But then we would just have to move out in September when it expires. Which, for those of you who were with me during this PAST apartment search, let me tell you, the rental market's getting worse, not better.)

Last night we finally got to see the apartment, and I think we're going to do it. Don't get me wrong--I really like my apartment. In fact, now that I know I'm leaving it, I feel somewhat mournful. Our pretty bathroom! Our lavish, huge bedroom! But if you take all things into account the apartment upstairs is a better deal.

The bathroom's not as nice
It's a little shabby throughout--the floors are a little battered
No garden access

The bathroom has a tub. Jets in the shower are luxurious, but there's nothing like a good old bath once in a while.
The floors are battered wood, which is better than grungy linoleum by a lot
How often are we in the garden in the winter? Which in the Northeast, is like eight months out of the year? (Just kidding. But damn, it's cold today.) In exchange for the garden, this apartment is bigger. More square feet, more rooms. Depending on how we set it up, we could have a bedroom, living room, dining room, walk-in closet/office, office, kitchen. Vs. the bedroom, living room, kitchen we have now.
Much higher ceilings and so probably more light (we were there at night)
They're going to paint it for us (do you have any color suggestions?)
I didn't get to examine the kitchen too closely, but at least it didn't have the awful plastic faux marble finish that we have now
We won't have people clomping around above us
We're waiting to hear if they'll allow us to extend our lease (as Chris put it, moving twice in one year is bad enough. Moving three times might kill us. Which, for me, is four times, 'cause I moved out of my place and into Chris's in August. But since Chris did all the heavy lifting it's pretty much four times for him as well.)

So, we'll see. If it happens, the move will take place after the New Year. I'll keep you posted.

I've been very happy in our little hobbit hole, which is the first place I've lived in and felt proprietal towards, but I think this might be a nice thing in the end.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

And then we came to the end.

You should all leave a funny joke in the comments, because today is one of those days where my ob-jay is issing-pay me off to the extent that I'm seriously considering developing a terrible stomach virus and going home to consume all the red wine and chocolate-covered cherries in the house while watching Audrey Hepburn movies and contemplating what to do with the rest of my life.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Yesterday, being the first day of December, the first thing Chris and I did after we ate breakfast was go out and get our Christmas tree. I guess it's about five feet tall or so. I named it Sammy. We got some white lights and a tree stand at the hardware store and set it up in the living room across from the couch.

That evening, after we cooked dinner, Shelby came over to help us decorate it. I pulled out from under the bed the box of Christmas ornaments I've amassed over the past couple years--"amassed"--which is to say, six or so. (The most cherished of which is the snowman Erika and David sent last year :) .) We put a Christmas CD on, and Chris went down to the basement to bring up the box of ornaments that my mom had brought up for me and Shelby in October.

He came back up empty-handed and looking shocked. "The entire basement is cleaned out," he said. "There's nothing down there at all."

He went up to see the landladies, and Shelby and I sat nervously on the couch. I hadn't looked inside the box when my mom brought it initally, but though I knew it to contain some plain glass balls and some other vintage ornaments she'd gotten at an antique store for us, I was really worried that it also had the ornaments that had been on our trees growing up--all the ones we made as children. Not just mine but Shelby's, too. And I was worried about Chris's stuff--some winter clothes, a box of books, his old laptop with his college writing on it.

When Chris came back down, he told us that the landladies, although they'd given us permission to store stuff in the basement, didn't know that we actually HAD stored stuff (and didn't bother to ask) and had hired a guy to clean the basement out and throw everything away.

I was pretty upset, to put it mildly.

After a little while Shelby and Chris rallied, and we made hot toddies and put them in a thermos and went to the Rite Aid to buy Christmas snacks and supplies for making some new ornaments. We decorated the tree with candy canes and a box of colored balls on sale for $3.99. We watched Fawlty Towers on DVD and made sugar cookies, and Shelby slept over on the sofa, so the evening was saved.

Then this morning after Shelby went to church and Chris went to work, I was watering the tree, and there was a knock on the door. It was one of the landladies. She apologized profusely, and begged me to let her give me a check.

Well, what kind of price tag am I supposed to put on all those memories?

I was really nice to her. I said it was nobody's fault, and to please forget about it, and that I was so sorry she was up all night feeling distraught over what she'd done. I declined the check offer five times. I offered to shovel the front sidewalk (it's snowing). She said that's okay, she was on her way to do it now, and left.

Now I'm typing this because I feel bad all over the map.

I feel bad that I was so nice when I'm still really, really angry at them. I don't care if it was an accident. Why can't people be COMPETENT for once? All it takes is a phone call: Did you store stuff in the basement? Why is it so hard to DO YOUR JOB? I'm angry at myself for being a pushover, and for acting like it was no big deal when I'm in actuality still sad about it.

I feel bad that I AM so upset, over material belongings. I have my family, I have my loved ones; I'm so lucky. Yesterday was the happiest day, this incident aside. Why can't I shake this off? Am I so shallow that I still want to punch the wall when I think about it? (Yes.) I feel mad that she had to come down and bring it all up again, because I had been feeling better about it after such a nice evening.

I feel bad that my mom and my sister trusted me with these precious materials and I couldn't take care of them. I feel bad that so many boxes of Chris's are gone. If all my college writing disappeared I don't know what I'd do. I feel TERRIBLE about that.

I feel bad that all those times Chris complained about the landladies I tried to see the other side and to stand up for them. HE WAS RIGHT.

I feel bad that I didn't make them give me a check for all the stuff that's gone forever. And I feel bad that they feel bad. And I feel bad for feeling bad that they feel bad, because I'm still mad so I hope they DO feel bad! And I feel bad for being so mean as to be glad that they feel bad. (This is like a Dr. Seuss book.)

However, I do feel better after spilling this out, so thank you for listening, Dr. Audience. Now I can hopefully get on with the holiday season, with peace and love and joy, and not with feeling bad, because that's a waste of perfectly good eggnog.

Update: When we got home tonight (after seeing Enchanted--more on that later) there was a check for $200 taped to our door. But we're going to take it back to them tomorrow when we have to see them about something else (more on THAT later). Neither of us feels right about it. Still, the gesture was nice.