Sunday, March 18, 2018

Missed Opportunity

Having tried to head to the University campus for the last three weeks to collect Poké Balls, only to be thwarted by errands or rain, I found myself with nothing pressing to do today, and a dry somewhat sunny day, perfect to head out, catch some balls, log in walking miles, except I didn’t. I let the opportunity for fresh air and exercise pass me by and settled for sitting activities -- television and needlepoint.
Yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was a major success.
The green deviled eggs went fast.

They weren’t as green as I’d have liked, but I didn’t have enough food color left in the bottle to get the darker green I would have preferred. I also thought the filling was a little dry. 
I used Rea Drummond’s recipe, but replaced the ingredients with gluten free products -- gluten free mayo, gluten free mustard, gluten free pickle juice, so I could eat and not get sick. I don’t think anyone noticed the difference – if they did, no one said, but if I were to make them again, and I probably will, I’ll just add more mayo than the recipe calls for, and a touch of olive oil, to counteract the dryness coming from there being none of the dreaded soybean oil in gluten-free mayo.
Apache hooked up a karaoke machine for after-dinner entertainment.
Entertaining it was as none of us can sing, though we tried, which made karaoke a hoot and a holler.
Ran into something interesting on Friday, when I attempted to get cash from the ATM.
The machine, located in what had been a safe area, next to where Starbucks had been until it relocated across the street, is now pretty much surrounded by a homeless encampment behind the building and up in the hills.
Getting out of the car, I took a step or two towards the machine, eyes on the cellphone to capture Poké Balls, because the ATM has not one but two PokeStops surrounding it. That was not a good idea. Knowing of the encampment, I should have stayed alert and aware of my surroundings. But, fortunately, before stepping too close to the ATM, too far from the car, I looked up and noticed a scary looking guy standing next to the machine, talking to himself. 
My instincts told me he was playing crazy while actually waiting for the right victim to draw cash, at which time, he’d probably knock the person out and take off with the cash. So, I fast backed into the car, locked the door, turned in the seat, snapped a photo for this blog and took off.

I did think about calling the police about a suspicious looking individual lurking around the ATM but, after the poor response I got from them when I called about the pervert who tried to corner me in the mailbox area and exposed himself, I told myself calling is not worth the effort and promised myself not to bother them again.
At any rate, I won’t be returning to that ATM. Inasmuch as it was the only one in the area where I felt safe, now that it isn’t -- with the encampment, I’ll be driving to the bank from now on.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Good morning and Happy St Patrick’s Day.
Caught a glimpse of the new neighbor moving in yesterday. This would be the person moving into the unit across the quad previously occupied by Grumpy – the woman who was quite nice, but complained about anything and everything.
Grumpy relocated to the Long Island area of New York just in time to experience the nor’easter, and is probably complaining about it right now, wishing she were back in California.
New neighbor is a guy, so we’re finally getting some testosterone in this quad, but he’s not tall, not handsome. He’s coming to us from Minnesota and is battling cancer.
If I only caught a glimpse of him, how do I know all this?
Community Manager announced it in Thursday’s Residents/Management meeting.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought it was TMI (too much information).
Suppose new neighbor wanted to deal with his medical issue in private.
If it were me, I know I wouldn’t appreciate it.
Back in 2012, shortly after I first moved in and was becoming acquainted with residents, I quickly learned that, when I could not place a resident’s name to a face, I was given a rather blunt description – usually something about the person’s physical appearance that later became obvious to me, like “The woman with the big butt” … “The woman with one tooth in her head”, "The woman that looks like a man" … or “Pepe Le Pew” because the man always had a bad body odor. Fortunately, as I later learned, residents were much kinder in describing me as “The walking lady with dreadlocks”.
Since we’ve all been told about the new resident’s condition, when his name can’t be placed to his face, he’s sure to be referred to as “the man from Minnesota with cancer”.
And it didn’t end there. It was said we have eight new move-ins, one move back and an eviction in progress. One of the new move-ins is bedridden, another is just out of rehab. (That’s not drug rehab, but medical rehab).
As for the move back, it’s not unusual for residents who’ve decided they don’t like it here to move out, find the grass is not greener elsewhere, reapply and move back. 
A woman, who was one of dozens who left us because they couldn’t tolerate the former Community Manager – that evil Nurse Ratched, reapplied but has been denied.
There are only three reasons for that – a criminal record, which I know she does not have, a problem on one’s credit report, or being over the income limit.
At any rate, going to be a lot of new faces around here.
This afternoon, the Residents Volunteer Committee (RVAC), disappointed with Activity Director’s St. Patrick’s Day Hotdog Potluck, is hosting a celebration of its own -- corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and karaoke.
You might remember, at last month’s Residents/Management meeting, the Community Manager disbanded the RVAC, saying all events had to go through her in future.
The committee brushed that off as her being stressed about the urgency to pass the then impending super bowl of inspections, kept right on with their meetings/planning. And today’s event is not a potluck. The committee is providing everything.
Even though we don’t have to bring anything, no longer feeling the need to close myself off, instead feeling open again, I was up early this morning, doing what I said I’d never do again – making deviled eggs, dyed green for the event, turning my thumb green in the process.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Residents/Management Meeting

Yesterday’s Residents/Management meeting was civil, jovial even –- that is until a resident brought up the pit bull. Not much got said because the Community Manager refused to discuss it, allow discussion about it and quickly changed the subject.
She was, however, willing to discuss the departure of Assistant Maintenance Guy (AMG), saying she was only doing so because she wanted to dispel the rumor that he was fired.
Body language speaks volumes. She looked down, rather than out at the crowd, while saying, “He had some issues he had to take care of. We were actually very sad. We took it hard as a team. He brightened up our day.”
I did hear from a reliable source that Community Manager had cried when AMG left. That she’d hoped writing him up was enough, but Corporate was pushing to have him fired, so he quit rather than wait to be axed.
I still think he should have let it happen so he could at least collect unemployment, but there’s no one but himself to blame. He let his pride and ego lead him into battling when he should have just sucked it up, put on a game face and played the game as I learned from experience is how you survive in a corporate culture when you’re a minority.
Community Manager has a soft heart. In addition to managing this complex, she has a husband, small children, is a youth minister at her church. She’s a nurturer. And all this caring and support of others -- getting involved in the lives of residents to the degree she does, is cause to worry about her own health problems and well-being as she tries to navigate between nurturing us residents and her staff while pleasing Corporate.
It’s obvious how heavily AMG’s departure weighs on her, because she mentioned him several times during the meeting. First to explain why there’s a backlog in handling maintenance requests -- because AMG isn’t here and he was fast she said; and second to explain why no one was doing this that and the other -- again she said because AMG is no longer here. Also, when a resident entered the room well after we were on to other topics, she felt compelled to let that person know the departure of AMG had been discussed, and “He was not fired. He had other things to do.”
Community Manager also touched on the dead guy, saying only “Mr. G______ passed”, and that some of his furniture was given to a new resident who “Literally has nothing”.
Again with the nurturing, she asked if we had items to donate to this new resident.
Also discussed was the laundry room.
I’d been wondering why I was sleeping straight through and not being awakened by someone doing laundry at 3:30 in the morning. Not since I’d convinced my downstairs neighbor that was where the sound disturbing her peace was coming from, that it was not me roaming round at 3:30, have I heard a sound from the Laundry Room.
Turns out there’s a master lock on the Laundry Room door – the lock we do not have a key for, and Apache has been going around locking that master in all the Laundry Rooms at 10PM, reopening at 7 AM.
How in the world did they get a resident to perform this duty … a resident who pays for his unit when we have Head Maintenance Guy and Assistant Community Manager living here rent free?
How wacked is that?
One of the two can’t do it?
I’ll have to ask Apache how he got roped into this. I have a sneaky suspicion the office used my name. I never complained about the sound, that was Little Miss Looney downstairs who did the complaining. But if the office told Apache I’d mentioned to Looney that I’d been awakened as well, being as protective of me as he is, he would have agreed to do it.
At any rate, Apache doesn’t seem to mind, but they should at least take something off his rent for putting himself out like that. 
Other announcements were an Easter Potluck on April 3.
Inasmuch as this is Activity Director’s event, I wonder if it’ll be something illogical like sandwiches or hotdogs again.
I’m done with her tacky potlucks, so I’m out. Probably won't even do a walk-thru to take photos for our Facebook page.
Lastly, the complex passed that super bowl of government inspection.
That’s good news for Community Manager because Corporate was all over her about the necessity to pass to the point where it looked like her job depended on it.
Out of the 178 units on this complex, only 24 were inspected at random. Community Manager said, with the exception of two units that were “very disappointing”, she was “impressed” with how well residents maintained their units.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Slave to Technology

The laptop’s annoying blue screen was something I could live with and was living with. However, the backspace key becoming inoperable was the Achilles heel that sent me to the Geek Squad yesterday.
Thanks be to the Universe for that Achilles heel, because it was a keyboard corruption issue, covered by the warranty, and the warranty was set to expire in 10 days.
Dodged an expensive bullet there.
As things stand, the laptop was shipped out to the service center for keyboard replacement. When returned to the geeks, they will do a factory reset – wipe everything out, make it as though just purchased, out of the box. I then go back, give them the virus protect and Office cards to reinstall and, supposedly, things will be “technical bliss”.
Inasmuch as my faith in Windows is nil, I seriously doubt things will be blissful because Windows 10 will run yet another unstoppable update and another and another.
I think I heard some time back that Bill Gates might run for POTUS. If that happens, he won’t get my vote because, if he runs the country the way he’s running his Microsoft Windows Product, we’ll be plagued with daily updates, malfunctions, crashes, corruption, aggravation, frustration.
Oh wait … we’re already having those from the current POTUS aren’t we.
I’m such a slave to technology (television, cell phone, computer) that the idea of being without any one of those for a day, let alone a month, would ordinarily drive me to drink. Fortunately, I solved being without a laptop when Windows 10 sent the HP in for service last time. I’m coming to you now from a backup – the little Dell. Inasmuch as updates are now beginning to run unstoppably on the Dell, it’s probably just a matter of time before this laptop fails me as well.
Oh … and that blue screen on the HP meant the operating system had been corrupted.
All in all, that’s a lot of damage to a laptop not yet a year old. One that I only used for blogging, manipulating photos, browsing the internet, Facebook, Instagram, playing Candy Crush and AlphaBetty Saga.
I asked the technician if I could turn it in as a down payment on a MAC. He never answered the question, instead said, “You paid a lot for this laptop”.
He got that right, too much to be having these kinds of issues.
He went on to say, “It’s top of the line”, that it’s got a this and a that, etc.
If this is top of the line with all these issues, I’d hate to own bottom of the line.
At any rate, we’ll see how things are when the laptop is returned to the geeks, they do what they do and all is said and done. But honestly, I hope the laptop gets lost in the process, so they’ll have to pay me for the loss and I can take the money and head over to the Apple store.
By the way, there were three other customers in for laptop repair. All three were the same brand as mine … HP’s with Windows 10.
This afternoon is the Residents/Management meeting.
Since I bungled arriving at the correct time last month, and missed all the action, I’m setting my alarm for 2:45 to make sure I’m downstairs by 3:00.
If it’s raining as hard at 3:00 as it is now – rain so heavy and so hard that it sounds like the angels are throwing rocks at us, I doubt many residents will attend.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Prompt Service with a Smile

Yesterday, I informed the office my oven was being temperamental.  Most of my cooking is done in the oven – baking, roasting and the oven temperature had begun dropping in the middle of roasting/baking.
I couldn’t believe it when Head Maintenance Guy (HMG) responded to my maintenance request not in two days, not in two weeks, but in two hours – and with no signs of an attitude.
I almost thought it wasn’t he – that some being had taken over his body, but then, while inspecting the oven he asked me, “Do you have an oven temperature gauge?”
There he is thought I.
A typical HMG question to ask of a resident, as if I’m a tool gal and have gauges lying around.
“I don’t even know what that is”, was my reply.
At any rate, he had the oven repaired in 20 minutes, indicating it was the “thermostat”, showing me some sort of wire thingie that had a burnt-out section.
After he’d left, I sat for a minute to ponder why he’d been so prompt and so pleasant.
Best as I can figure, since we’ve eliminated his body being taken over by a discarnate entity, that he was flattered.
HMG currently has two assistants. Don’t know if they are temporary workers or tryouts for permanent, but both are even younger than HMG.
I don’t know anything about them, don’t know if they’ve been bonded and management is responsible if they turn out to not be trustworthy so, to be on the safe side, when the office asked if it was okay for maintenance to enter my unit if I wasn’t home, I said, “Yes, but only A____ (HMG)”.
That didn’t mean I was personally requesting him -- flattering him, only that, though he’s earned a reputation of being slow and lazy, I know him, his wife, his children, he’s bonded by the corporation, so I’m comfortable with his going in and out of my unit when I’m away.
However, it would be just like him to misconstrue “Only A____” and be flattered.
No matter, the oven is fixed.
Wish I could say the same for the laptop.
Not only am I still living with the blue permission screen, but Windows Updates have overridden the virus protect I purchased and installed something called Windows Defender, and there’s now a disconnect between the system and the keyboard causing my backspace key  to no longer work.
So today I’m off, in the rain, to turn the laptop into the Geek Squad.
Wish I could turn her in altogether as a down payment on a MAC, because I am so done with Windows.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Skinny Toes and the Dead Guy

While bent over rummaging through the needlepoint kit yesterday, my eyes landed on an item on the floor.

It was my toe ring!
How’d that slip off, thought I.
Slipping it back on, I noticed it no longer had a snug fit and was likely to slip off yet again.
Either the toe ring is getting bigger or my toe is getting skinny, thought I.
Heading down to the scale in the Community Room to see what was up, I was surprised but pleased to learn I’m down an additional 6 pounds for a total of 27.
Residents had been commenting “You’ve lost a lot of weight”.
I didn’t see it because I’m still top heavy and thick around the waist. I did, however, notice how much thinner my face is and now, with toe rings slipping off, evidently my toes are getting skinny. Hopefully the areas between my face and toes will be next to whittle down. 
While downstairs, I ran into Handsome Guy. He was not happy.
The Government Inspector had a problem with Handsome Guy's Dish equipment being attached to his patio rail. Consequently, management issued Handsome Guy a 3-Day Violation Notice.
Handsome Guy is proud, much like Assistant Maintenance Guy was, and is much offended at a 3-Day Notice, saying “Management knew I had Dish when I moved in” and “Nothing has ever been said about it being mounted to the rail”.
Thing is … it’s in the lease agreement that we are not to attach anything to the rails, that Dish is to be on a tripod thingie and, further, insurance is required if one has a Dish.
I’m sure all this was explained to Handsome Guy in detail during the lease signing because management painstakingly goes through the lease page-by-page and has us initial each and every specific rule/regulation as proof we’ve been advised and understand.
But he’s a guy. I doubt he paid attention to what was being explained, just signed and initialed as directed.
I’ve not yet heard how Handsome Guy is going to resolve the issue – his options are to obtain insurance and relocate the Dish equipment to a tripod within 3-Days, get rid of Dish and go to regular Cable -- that doesn't  require insurance, or throw a hissy fit like Assistant Maintenance Guy and leave.
We’ll see.
Also, while downstairs, I ran into Apache who introduced me to his deceased neighbor’s brother – here to clear out his brother’s unit.
It was said that the Dead Guy lived here 20 years.
Twenty years and I don’t ever remember seeing him, though he wasn’t always a double amputee (both legs) and when he became an amputee still managed to get out and about by use of a mobilized chair.
His missing caretaker is still missing. The brother hasn’t been able to contact and question her, the previous caretaker has gotten involved and she too has been unable to contact and question her replacement.
Very suspicious that.
Also suspicious is the brother being told he can remove nothing from the unit because it has already been rented.
Brother was cool about it, he doesn’t want anything and said management would be giving him some monies, but I don’t get how management gets to keep all the furnishings – including a big screen TV Apache had asked the brother if he could have; the brother said yes, but management said no, it stays with the unit, that the woman moving in literally has nothing, and can use everything that’s in it.
I’m guessing that means it’s another person sent over by the County which, since brother doesn’t care, at least the furnishings are going to where it’s desperately needed.
I hope management at least cleans the place, paints, puts in new carpet, but who knows.
It all makes me wonder about what happens to my furnishings when I die. I wouldn’t mind if what I left behind when to where it was needed, but I’d like relatives to have the option to come in, take what they can use, sell what’s worth something and, if there’s anything left over, management can have at it.
I’m going to approach the subject when my lease comes up for renewal and may even have a paralegal develop some sort of stipulation to attach to the lease to prevent management from doing to my cold dead body what they’re doing to Apache’s dead neighbor.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Junk in the Trunk

After returning from picking up items at the Amazon Locker on Wednesday, I received a call asking if I wanted biscuits and gravy, cooked by The Baker, from the in-progress Community Breakfast.
“I would LOVE biscuits and gravy, but I don’t dare” said I (because my gut wouldn’t like it).
Asking how the breakfast went, it was “Few showed up, but it was peaceful”.
Translation: None of the negative energy people were in attendance.
Good to know, but I remain being Emmet, with me not in it.
My time is being devoted to completing that needlepoint project.

Progress May 2017 - March 2018

Getting towards the tail end, I’ve already decided on the next project.

In between catching up on television programs and needlepoint, I've been researching trunk organizers.
One of the items picked up from the Amazon Locker on Wednesday was one such organizer because, the new car, with all of its bells and whistles, has left me with no built-in cargo bin, such as was in the Saturn, so I'm dealing with a lot of loose junk in the trunk – pair of athletic shoes just in case I’m ever stranded and need to do a lot of walking, a just-in-case umbrella, car cleaning products, the many bags I now have to lug around since the 2016 Bag Law (Stater Bros, Ralphs, Trader Joe, Sprouts, Walmart), not to mention a place to put my groceries so they don't roll around.

With the organizer picked up on Wednesday, it’s better, but not good enough. Plus, I still need something to hold groceries in place.

I’ll keep it, but I’m still researching options.
Elsewhere around here, the two-day inspection is over and done with. I only saw one inspector -- a big beefy well-fed looking guy, just what you’d expect a government inspector to look like. He was in no shape to go up and down stairs, checking all 178 units. Nor was Community Manager, herself seriously overweight with resultant health issues, in good enough shape to escort him to all 178 units. In fact, I observed them both sitting on the bench across from my bedroom window, taking a breather.
Instead, units were inspected at random. I couldn’t tell if “random” consisted of one or two units in each building, or random units on the complex. I know The Seer’s and next-door neighbor’s units were inspected. I was passed on and I don’t think either of the two downstairs units in my building were inspected, nor did I see any of the units in the quad across from mine being inspected.
Will be interesting to learn at the next Residents/Management meeting (the 15th) if the complex passed.
With only one out-of-shape inspector, I’m assuming it did.