Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the universe wanted me to be hot this weekend

This is the part where I wish I could say that this past weekend started off swimmingly.  

That would be a lie.  

The pool at the apartment complex where I live was set to open Saturday morning, and I had grand plans to spend three solid days in the water.  I even bought a fresh tube of sunblock and a new towel.  The only thing missing was my pool pass, and I decided to stop by the leasing office after work on Friday to get it.  

I filled out the form, reapplied my lip gloss, and smiled for my OFFICIAL POOL PASS 2012 PHOTO.  The woman in the office handed me a sheet of pool rules and said, "Alrighty, passes take one week to be processed, so stop by next Friday."

Well.  You could say that news put a bit of a ripple in my plans for a long awaited poolside weekend.  

As soon as I got back to my apartment I checked the flyer we had been sent early in May outlining all important pool-related information, and sure enough in bold letters it said, "POOL PASSES TAKE ONE WEEK TO BE PROCESSED.  WE SUGGEST COMING IN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE."

And that is why you should read your mail.  And also why I didn't swim this weekend.


Since I found myself with an unexpected WIDE OPEN Saturday afternoon, I decided to go to my parents' house because THEY LOVE IT WHEN I DROP BY.  It turned out that there was some manual labor going on, and by that I mean they were working on a pond and needed to wash, move, and arrange several TONS of rocks.

Two years ago my parents got a new roof, siding, windows, a fence, and a deck.  The whole shebang.  And then we would sit on the new deck and my mom would say, "The one thing that would make this perfect is a pond," and my dad would say, "Well, we're not getting a pond."

I don't know what changed exactly, but Houston, we have a pond.
Actually what we have is a small lake, complete with two waterfalls and native Pennsylvania fish that my dad caught.  And my parents did this entire thing themselves!!!  I think they should have just added some concrete and called it a pool!

That evening Matt came over to my apartment before we went out to dinner, and as soon as he walked into my bedroom he said, "Oh geez - turn your air conditioner off - don't you smell that?!"  It turns out that the mysterious strange smell I had been noticing all week actually signified a problem with my air conditioner, and after Matt removed the cover and inspected the interior I knew I would be paying my friends at the apartment office a visit once again.

They love me there.

Unfortunately since it was a holiday weekend not much could be done right away, and it just so happened that the meteorologists were making a VERY BIG deal out of an excessive heat watch.

Oh, the heat.  

It was excessive.

I spent Sunday and Monday nights with the windows open and this little fan blowing recirculated 85 degree air in my face.

It was every bit as refreshing as it sounds.

And the worst part was that I had NO ACCESS TO THE POOL IN WHICH I COULD COOL OFF.

It was worth it in the end though, because when I came home from work yesterday I found a brand spankin' new air conditioner, COMPLETE WITH A REMOTE CONTROL.


It's been a long time since I felt as fancy as I did last night when I adjusted the temperature of my room while I lounged in bed.

The only thing that would make me feel fancier is if I could get the apartment management to build me a pond a la my parents' outside our front door.

I'll work on it.  Rome wasn't built in a day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

i fought the law, and the law was surprisingly accommodating

Well, last week I swallowed my pride and marched right into city hall to explain my little meter mishap.  The woman I spoke with was extremely understanding and after a few clicks of her computer mouse, declared me parking ticket-free.

Crisis averted.

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents were away for the weekend so I spent a few days back at home holding down the fort with Emily.  I arrived after work on Friday, and I took my things right upstairs to put in the guest room, which is the bedroom I lived in until I moved out in December.  I've seen it since I moved out, but this time the furniture was rearranged and the shelves were cleared, and I said to Emily, "Wow!  It looks so different in here!"

"Yeah," she said, "except the curtains are still upside-down, which is how you hung them whenever you got them."

Four years I lived with those curtains.  Never once did I realized that they were hanging upside down.

And now I'm thinking maybe I should have majored in interior design.

On Saturday we woke up early because we had things to do and cars to drive.  That's right.  Emily just got her driver's permit, so Saturday morning we took a trip over to a local office park so that she could get behind the wheel.  She had gone out with my dad twice before, and I was impressed with her skillz.  After a little bit I decided that she could use some more work on her turns, and at that exact moment A BRILLIANT THOUGHT popped into my head.  

I directed Emily toward two islands with some decorative shrubbery and told her to drive figure eights around them.

She put that car right into park faster than you can say turning radius, looked at me, and said, "OH NO. NO WAY.  I AM NOT DRIVING DRIVING FIGURE EIGHTS AROUND THOSE BUSHES."

The reasoning behind her refusal had something to do with the fact that she will likely never have to actually drive figure eights on the roadway, but to that I say, YOU NEVER KNOW.

However, for the rest of the session we steered clear of any trick maneuvers.

Steered clear.  Get it?

 Lest you think our afternoon o' fun ended there, let me assure you that it did not.  After our driving session we went to the car wash because OH THE DAMAGE that the pollen is doing to my car.  I even shelled out a few extra bucks for the Special Rainbow Polish because I was feeling fancy and fiscally frivolous.  It really just looked like a lot of blue soap.

 The rest of the weekend consisted of Matt taking us out for dinner, lots of singing (me) and subsequent eye rolling (Em) and then renting one of the worst movies of all time.  We were about twenty minutes in when Emily looked at me and said, "Well if YOU want to watch something else, I wouldn't be mad."  You better believe I had Made of Honor in that DVD player in twenty seconds flat.  HELLOOOO Patrick Dempsey.

On Sunday we ate chicken pot pies for lunch and then went driving once more.  I wanted to give Emily another opportunity to have a lesson with one of the World's Greatest Drivers.  

I just won't be giving her any advice on parking meters.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

i think these shades really make a statement

My parents are away for a few days so I'm back home holding down the fort with Emily.

And also putting fashionable accessories on the dog and taking her picture.

I'm sure she's so happy I'm here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

fighting city hall

 I should have known that today wasn't going to go well when I reached up to put my hair behind my ear on the drive to work and realized that I hadn't put any earrings in.  Since I got my ears pierced eleven years ago, I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone without earrings.  To me, forgetting earrings is worse than forgetting shoes.  I am not myself without them.  

And of course I couldn't forget my earrings on an ordinary day.  No, today was the day I was going to meet the two new lawyers who will be working with our office.  I may or may not have sat down dramatically at my desk this morning and cried WHAT WILL THE NEW LAWYERS THINK OF ME?  WOULD IT BE WEIRD IF I MENTIONED TO THEM THAT I NORMALLY DO WEAR EARRINGS?

My coworkers informed that yes, that would be weird, and so all morning I practiced a hair-shake maneuver that caused my lovely locks to fall over my plain ears so that when I met the new bosses they wouldn't think, "I wonder why Laura wasn't wearing earrings."  

Of course I knew that there was also the possibility that they might think "Gee I wonder Laura kept shaking her hair over and over like that," but listen, everything's a tradeoff and that's a risk I was willing to take.

After the introductions I had to go over to the courthouse to drop something off.  I knew I would just be a few minutes, so instead of using my parking pass to park in the garage across the street, I decided to gather up some loose change and pay to park on the street.  This reasoning behind this strategic decision was two-fold, because not only was I feeling moderately lazy, but also it was drizzling outside and I could not afford to ruin my hair when it was the only barrier between my un-bedazzled ears and the rest of the world.

In recent months the parking department has done away with individual meters and instead installed one kiosk on every block.  And so, after I parked Old Blue in spot 106, I strolled over to the kiosk and put in a whopping $1.35.  I thought I could have gotten away with just a dollar but decided to throw in a little extra in case I was inside longer than expected.  ALWAYS THINKING AHEAD, I AM.

I will now present Exhibit A, my receipt.

 I went inside, did what I had to do, and came out.  I rounded the corner and Old Blue came into sight, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a ticket in her windshield wipers.

I will now present Exhibit B, my ticket.
I stood by my car completely puzzled for several seconds.  I fished my receipt out of my bag to verify that I had indeed paid and wasn't losing my mind.  And there I stood in the rain, seeing in black and white that it was only 12:32 and I had enough money to stay in spot 106 until 12:57.

And that's about when I realized that my car was actually parked in spot 105.


I hung my head and drove back to the office where I promptly sought legal advice.  I made sure to ask one of the lawyers who has been there a while because I didn't want my first impression on the new lawyers to be HI, I'M LAURA AND NOT ONLY DID I FORGET TO WEAR EARRINGS TODAY AND AS A RESULT AM ALL OUT OF SORTS, BUT IT APPEARS I CANNOT HANDLE BASIC STREET PARKING.  NOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO ME TO COMPLETE ANY OFFICIAL LEGAL TASKS?

Anywho I was advised to take the ticket and the receipt to the parking office and explain my situation.  Although I don't know if I have much of an explanation other than "OOPS."  

And so tomorrow on my lunch hour I will be fighting city hall.  

And you can bet that I will be wearing my fanciest earrings.

Monday, May 7, 2012

it's like sonic running out of tots

Saturday was my favorite kind of day.  My eyes opened for the first time around 9:30, and I lounged around for an hour or three while I drank my coffee and read and wandered around the apartment looking out the windows and thinking, "I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO TODAY!!"

After all of that relaxing I got dressed and ready for the afternoon, which consisted of painting my nails and watching Lifetime TV with Michelle and hot rolling my hair just for fun.

After a while Michelle and I decided to clean the apartment from top to bottom.  In just over an hour, we had cleaned every inch of the apartment, even scrubbing the kitchen floor on hands and knees because WE MEANT BUSINESS.  I think Michelle may even have said, "Go big or go home" when she broke out the can of fancy orange-scented Pledge.

Once the apartment was clean I decided to go get my car washed.  There is a place near my office where you can get your car washed for just THREE AMERICAN DOLLARS and let's be honest, you can't beat that price.  

Unless it was two dollars.  

Anyway I had to swing by the bank before I went to the car wash because I didn't have any cash and I was unsure if the car wash accepted debit cards.  And I didn't want to find out that they didn't take cards when my tires were already on the track and Old Blue was about to be doused with three dollar soap.  Could you imagine maneuvering your way out of that situation?  I would be willing to bet that the motorists behind me in line wouldn't appreciate my failure to research acceptable payment types.

It was about 3:30 when I drove to the bank, and as I drove I thought about how happy I am that PNC is my bank.  They are so friendly and have great hours and I even composed a letter in my head to the big bosses telling them that PNC should stand for "Pretty Nice and Convenient."

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot I noticed that there was only one car in the lot.  Typically Saturday afternoons are busy at the bank, and I laughed as I looked at that one lonely car and thought, "NOW WOULDN'T IT BE FUNNY IF THE BANK WAS OUT OF MONEY?"

And then I walked up to the ATM and saw this message.
 And no, it wasn't funny.

It was Pretty Not Cool.

 I turned Old Blue around and went home, which was ultimately a poor decision because you will never guess where my dirty, pollen covered car ended up the next day.

In a valet parking line.

That's right.  I went to a wedding shower at a fancy place where valet parking was the only option.  I've never had a valet park my car before and I am almost embarrassed to admit that I was nervous handing over the keys.  Would he turn the lights off?  Would he put the emergency brake on if he parked on even a slight incline like I do?  Would he press the lock button twice just to be sure?

The good news is that Old Blue was returned to me safe and sound at the end of the shower.  The bad news is that there was no complimentary car wash, so tomorrow I will make another attempt to go to the car wash.  

Here's hoping the bank found some cash.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

next time i'm requesting the ground floor

Well hello.  How are you?  I am away on a work trip right now, watching Million Dollar Pools and trying to decide which bed to sleep in.  Since I started this job in September, I have been on several overnight trips, and as such, have become an expert in the whole hotel thing.  My arrival routine has been perfected, and I can check in, unload my bags, park my car, fill the ice bucket, and locate the vending machine in about thirteen minutes flat.

I was going to attempt a personal best twelve minute arrival routine today, but unfortunately things did not go as planned.  When I checked in, the woman at the front desk told me that my room would be on the fifth floor, and that although the lobby appeared to be the ground floor, it was actually the third.  

Since that meant I only had to go up two floors to get to my room, I decided to take the steps and just count that as my exercise for the...week.  

I climbed up the two flights of stairs, but when I opened the door into the hallway, all of the room numbers started with 6.  I figured that in my quest for convenient exercise, I had inadvertently gone up an extra flight.  


Not really.

Anyway, it seemed like an easy enough fix to just walk down one flight of stairs from the 6th to 5th floor.  So that's what I did.  But when I opened the door, all of the room numbers started with 4. 


Since I couldn't figure out how the stairs worked, I figured I would have to give the elevator a try, an option that also gave me cause for slight concern because I've been known to commit an elevator navigation faux pas or two in my day.

Luckily there was some literature in the elevator informing perplexed patrons like myself that floors 4 and 5 are actually on the same level.


 Finally, and I do mean FINALLY, I located my room on the 4th/5th floor, and I am sad to report that it's not quite as fancy as the other hotels I've stayed in.  The pillows aren't as fluffy, the carpet isn't as plush, and the toilet isn't as...level...
Not to mention that sound coming from the mini-fridge mimics an aircraft at take off, and as I was typing this post I pulled out the nightstand to plug in my laptop, and discovered two unidentified pills lying on the floor.

They seem to resemble Advil Liquigels, but I'm just going to follow the old saying and let sleeping dogs unidentified medication lie.

After I surveyed the accommodations, I decided to unpack my things right away before I got settled in with my new Damsel in a Dress nail polish and some HGTV.  And five minutes later the bathroom counter looked like this.

 All of this equipment for a trip that's less than 48 hours long.  Not pictured is a set of hot rollers that I brought along JUST IN CASE.

No one will ever say that I travel lightly.

Or that I'm low maintenance.

On the bright side, at least I'll look good if I get lost in the stairwell again.