Monday, November 30, 2015

What’s a Percolator?

An interesting time at Starbucks this morning.

It’s been complete chaos last few mornings at the drive-thru location. Lines have been long, backed up into the street to where us customers began queuing up in the lot next door, waiting turns to get into the drive through lane, or looking for parking on the lot to walk-in.

When I’ve been lucky enough to find a parking spot, inside was just as bad as outside with long lines.

So deciding this morning to once again give making my own coffee a try, I drove 2 miles to the drive-thru intending to purchase a pound of beans.

It was nuts! Couldn’t get into the line, couldn’t queue up, couldn’t find parking on the lot, so backtracked and drove two miles back to the complex, past the complex, 2 miles to the walk-in location, where I can always find parking on the lot.

Once inside, I chose a pound of ground Christmas Blend, walked to the counter and asked the barista, “Will this work in a percolator?”

“What’s a percolator?” said she.

My mouth flew open in surprise and, for a second, I was dumbstruck, my thought being … Oh my God, I’ve become a dinosaur, while everyone behind the counter began laughing, as did customers in line behind me.

Once recovered, I prefaced my explanation to the barista as to what’s a percolator with, “Well, in the olden days, we used …” but, before I could finish, the customer in line behind me stopped laughing and interjected, “You’ll need a french press for that.”

“I tried a french press a few years back, didn’t like it”, said I.

“Yes, I didn’t have much success either, but if you use a percolator, the grinds will fall right through.”

That explains why, when I tried making my own coffee in the percolator four years back, it didn’t work out because there were grinds in it. That also probably explains that, when I bought a high-end coffee maker, there were grinds in it too, so I returned it, gave up trying to do it myself, and began hitting Starbucks every single day.

“You’ll need a thicker grind,” she directed towards me. “Give her a Turkish”, she directed towards the barista.

“OMG, I’m so glad you’re here”, said I to the helpful customer.

“I use to work here, that’s how I know.”

So, still not knowing the answer to her question, what’s a percolator, the barista set the grinder to Turkish and I walked out with a 1 pound bag AND a prepared cup for the day, with plans to start making my own coffee tomorrow morning in my years and years and years and years old percolator which, judging from the barista’s reaction, is now not only extinct but completely foreign as to ever having existed in the awareness of this young generation.

Only thing I'm worried about is, I thought the beans were already ground, so did grinding them yet again to turkish make them even finer or coarser? Guess I'll find out tomorrow morning.

On tap for the day is more de-cluttering. This time, it’s going through the bedroom closet ... getting rid of shoes and clothing I haven’t worn in a long time and don’t see a future need for.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lighting Ceremony 2015

Awoke to 39 degree weather this morning.

That explains how it was that I’d had the personal heater going during the night, right smack dab at the foot of the bed, and STILL felt chilled to the bone when I got up.

I wonder how cold it has to be before it begins to snow, was my first thought; I’m gonna need warmer jammies, my second.

Seriously wondering about how cold it has to be, I googled it … “If it is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or colder inside the clouds, it will snow.”

We’re getting there.

The mess I made in the living room yesterday did indeed get a whole lot worse before it got better and, when all was said and done, I’d cleared out seven containers and, coincidentally, hauled seven hefty bags full of stuff down to the dumpster. Hopefully the two dumpster divers on the property won’t go tearing the bags open, making a mess, looking for recyclables -- which is what I’ve learned they are diving for.

Piled in a corner are the empty containers and extra Christmas decorations awaiting granddaughter’s decision as to what she’ll take before I offer to other residents or drop off at the Salvation Army. So the storage room de-clutter project essentially a done deal, it was on to setting up the patio.

Setting the timer for 5:00, I was bundled up warm on the couch, watching my own little 2015 display come to life, while most of the city was freezing their butts off at the Mission Inn’s Lighting Ceremony.


Friday, November 27, 2015

The Day After

It’s a cold, chilly 42 degrees here in the Inland Empire this morning. A morning walk is out-of-the-question! Not just because it’s so chilly, because I could layer-up and take it, but because the plan today is to use the energy elsewhere.

Thanksgiving out of the way, it’s on to my second favorite holiday ... Christmas, Halloween being my first. Thanksgiving I can do without.

The reason I enjoy Christmas so much is because of the decorations. I’ve mentioned before in this blogging journey that my favorite memory from childhood was mom piling all us kids up and taking us downtown to see the store Christmas displays. As an adult, I’ve endeavored to recreate those window displays on my patios.

So, having looked forward all year to this day after thanksgiving, when I can officially deck the patio, today is about stringing lights onto the railing, hauling out that Costco tree I’d lucked up on two years ago, and lighted gift boxes I’ve accumulated.

I want more. I want to fill up the entire patio with lighted gift boxes, keep seeing boxes I’d like to add to my collection, but the electrical outlets and connectors can’t handle more.

Yesterday had been busy, as it was impossible to get laundry done Thanksgiving Eve. Residents had all three laundry rooms going all day, but Thanksgiving morning was a different story. I had the laundry room all to myself.

While laundry was going, I began de-cluttering the outside storage closet, so I’d be able to get to the Christmas decorations this morning.

With all the lifting of containers, bringing them indoors, sorting contents into “keep” and “discard” and “not sure yet”, going up and down the stairs to the dumpster, to the Laundry Room, I’d gotten a workout.

Good thing I’d opted out of the morning’s Turkey Trot, thought I, or I’d not have had energy enough.

Crafting materials and 5K costumes turned out to be my biggest hoard. I did manage to clear three containers but, in the process, I’ve cluttered up the living room.

It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

In browsing through containers, I found a really nice quilt top I’d made some years back that only needs filling and backing, notes the kids had written to me when they were young, notes to each other, love letters from old boyfriends, newspaper clippings relating to one of those boyfriends who became quite famous as the attorney for one of the 9/11 defendants, a picture of my favorite niece from 1980, et. al.

I will finish that quilt … eventually, and those notes and clippings have sprouted a whole new scrapbook idea. Though the items don’t flow in a connected manner, I'll scrap them and write something about them from the standpoint of how things are now.

The Nosy Neighbor across the quad, downstairs to the left, says she’s already gotten the inside decorated for Christmas and will soon get started on her patio. The across-the-quad upstairs wife of the now out-of-a-job maintenance man is also hauling out her decorations, but not to decorate the patio, as they must vacant the unit by the 20th. She’s begun the process of hauling out to package up.

After having watched her bling out that patio on a monthly basis for years, it’s sad to see it now so bare.

All those squeaky wheels complaining to the Office and to Corporate last month, about the November Calendar of Events not being issued until the 6th, had an impact. December’s calendar was issued in a timely manner … on the 25th before the office shut down for Thanksgiving and the Day After.

We won’t be able to get into the Community Room until Monday.

I also see, on the calendar, that the office has given itself quite a few days off this month, effectively locking us out – the 9th due to staff training, the 10th because of Human Rights Day.

I didn’t realize there was such a day, let alone a holiday and, the fact Nurse Ratched is still here, tells us this management group doesn't give a darn about "Human Rights".

Then, of course, there’s Christmas Eve, Day after Christmas and New Years.

Also on the calendar is a December trip to the casino, a Presentation on the 1st by the local bus company, which I’ve already heard has been cancelled, and a December 22nd Annual Holiday Party.

Surprise, surprise, management is not making it a potluck.

But don’t get too excited for us, because management is instead charging $5.00 for “Music, Treats, Food, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.”

I’m not the least bit interested -- and not because of the $5.00 charge, though I do think inasmuch as previous years were completely catered that it is cheeky of management to throw us this year’s “Annual Holiday Party” at our expense. I’m not interested because firing the maintenance man has resulted in a dark cloud over the complex. There wasn’t much enthusiasm by residents in attending management sponsored events to begin with. Now the air seems to have been let out of the enthusiasm of those few who did participate, myself included.

I would much rather us residents blow management’s event off and organize our own Christmas pot luck.

I have a feeling response will be so low that management cancels the event altogether.

Works for me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve

Awake at 5:30 this morning, instead of the usual 3 a.m., I’d planned a walk around the complex, then out-the-gate and to the market. Not to purchase items, but to return.

The granddaughter, who’d moved into the adult complex next door, had requested a ride to/from a job location she could not get to via bus yesterday so, I’d dropped her off in the morning and, at the end of her work day, picked her up. Since I was out and about, I made a quick stop at the market.

After unloading groceries at home, I’d found items I’d not put in my cart, nor which showed up on the receipt as having been paid for.

Since there was a bar separating my items from those of the customer in line ahead of me, and since the guy took an inordinately long time to pay for his items -- time enough for ALL his groceries to be off the table and into his cart before the checker removed the bar and began scanning my items, I don’t get how the mix-up happened.

I can almost see his annoyance at having braved the crowds at the grocery story, only to get home and find he’d have to go back because items are missing.

At any rate, it’s nothing I can use AND, since I didn’t get charged, my conscious requires the items be returned.

So, when I’d planned this morning’s walk, the route was to take me around the complex a few times, out the gate and then around the neighborhood in a manner which would take me past the market.

Problem was, when I took a look out the window to see how inviting outside looked, saw that everything was wet from a late night/early morning rain, plus it was a chilly 52 degrees, I decided to hold off until outside got a little warmer, a little dryer, a little more inviting.

Since the carpet has been looking somewhat spotty since those inspectors walked all over the place in their boots and heels, I'd also planned to shampoo the carpets today, and there’s laundry to be done, so quite a bit to do dependent on what today's weather will allow.

Inasmuch as I’m not doing anything special tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, I may push laundry off to tomorrow when everyone in the complex should be involved in the Holiday, or at least watching the Macy’s Parade on TV, giving me the laundry room all to myself.

I actually came thisclose to signing up for a local Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot but, feeling reflective and meditative, instead of wanting to be around a lot of people, noise, chatter, I decided otherwise.

Looking back on Thanksgivings past, after years of hurt and disappointment, I’ve been less and less involved in family gatherings since 2001.  It was in 2004 when Thanksgiving became just another day for me and I was so fed up with family nonsense to where I began opting to spend time alone.

Then there was that year in Long Beach when I stepped back in to help a family member.

THAT year was so terrible for me financially and emotionally that I’d blogged Thanksgiving 2011, “I am so done with this family — lock, stock, and barrel — every single member, without exception. Dealing with this family has severely damaged the quality of what was my life and is now affecting my health.”

Since then, I’ve been happily on my own and though the Tempter is once again tempting me to give family a try, I’m not biting …. literally and figuratively. No thanks to bringing me a Thanksgiving Care Package, a plate of whatever is served. I’d rather do laundry, shampoo the carpet, enjoy my hard earned quiet and peace of mind.

It is now 9:00 and outside still looks uninviting. Rain is not in the forecast, but it sure looks like rain will be happening, so I’m off to drive the items back to the market, instead of walking, then run by Starbucks.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Ran into our now out-of-a-job maintenance man this morning.

“I’m really sorry about what happened to you”, says I.

“That’s what I get for giving my all”, said he.

Having worked in Corporate America, dealing with racist department heads and functionally insane bosses, I can identify with that statement. But, judging from my own experiences and how, in the end, it always worked out for me, I know it’s going to work out for him as well, so I said, “People can do things to inconvenience you, people can do things to hurt you, but it will work out in the end.”

“Well, right now, I’ve got to find a place to live.”

I’d already heard Nurse Ratched wanted him out of the complex, but feigned ignorance, “You don’t want to stay here?”

“I do, but xxx (Nurse Ratched), won’t let me. I was hoping to stay in the same unit, but she says I have to reapply and go on the waiting list.”

I had to laugh at this, because this management company has been scrambling to fill their many vacancies for over two and a half years. There hasn’t been a waiting list since they took over and ran so many long-time residents out.”

“So there’s a waiting list now? All the units are filled?” asked I.

“Well you know how it is”, says he. “It’s what she’s saying, and I’ve only got until the 20th of next month to get out.”

Later, on my way to the scale, I passed Nurse Ratched in the office hallway. Her boss wasn’t around, so all pretense of being friendly was gone. Just like before, she got that haughty look on her face, ignored and looked through me as though I didn’t exist.

Fine by me. Maybe next time she speaks when her boss is around I’ll have the gumption to blurt out, “Why do you only pretend to be friendly when your boss is around?”

At any rate, we’ll soon have a vacancy in the quad I hoped never to see. Our now out-of-a-job maintenance man has lived in that unit, worked on this property for 13 years. Once Nurse Ratched gets him out, she’ll probably move another of her relatives in. She’s already installed her mother in a unit.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wild Goose Chase

After checking the website yesterday morning, I saw Pattie LaBelle Sweet Potato Pies were back in stock at Walmart -- $3.48 as opposed to $40.00 on Ebay, so off I go.

I don’t even like sweet potatoes but, wanting to know what all the hype is about, I thought I’d pick a pie up to share with the group in the Community Room.

Color me highly annoyed when, arriving at Walmart, I learned the pies were NOT in stock.

The website lied.

On the off chance I was looking in the wrong location, I approached a sales associate.

“I saw online that the Pattie LaBelle pies are back in stock”.

“No, we’re out. But check the website to see when next available.”


But okay, sure, I’ll keep an eye on the website since it worked out so well this morning … not.

At any rate, since I don’t like sweet potatoes anyway, I’ve completely lost interest. If I happen to be there and see one, I’ll purchase it, but I won’t be going out of my way for it.

There being a Starbucks on the next corner, I stopped in and saw a cute holiday ornament. I need another Starbucks ornament like I need a hole in the head, but couldn’t resist adding to my collection.

In spite of management having announced the Community Room would be open on weekends, it was not open yesterday.

They too lied.

We are once again locked out when the office is closed.

It may be, having fired our on-premises maintenance man, there is now no one to open up, but the excuse management is giving is that the locks do not work.

At any rate, once back at the complex, I decided to spend the day cooking meals for the refrigerator. I put together a pasta-free minestrone soup and a turkey loaf. Looks to be a week’s worth of meals, maybe more.

Also, inasmuch as it’s getting close to the day I can pull the Christmas decorations from storage to deck the patio, I washed the patio windows. While doing so, I took a look at that “unlocked hot water heater door.”

As you can see, there’s no lock to lock.

When construction guy and his crew came through a few years back -- the crew hired by management, the crew us residents complained about because they were doing such shoddy work, part of the shoddy work complained about were the mismatched knobs – one takes a key, the other does not.

Construction Guy and his crew were also the ones who put in those cheap ceiling fans. Fans which began to fail; one of which fan caused that finding of a blinking light in a resident’s unit.

None of this had to do with maintenance, so I’m really interested to learn what findings Nurse Rathed used to fire our maintenance man.

It’s so sad to see him cleaning his tools out of the maintenance shed. Even though Nurse Ratched made his work-day as hostile as she could, I think he found purpose and meaning in the job. He’d confided to me early on that, he’d previously retired but took this job with previous management because it was either another job or get a divorce. His wife, whom he’s been married to since right out of high school, found his being underfoot all the time to be disruptive.

It’s going to be tough for an individual like him, even at 78 years of age, to adjust to slowing down and smelling the roses. It’s going to be worse if Nurse Ratched forces him off the property, away from us … his friends.

The quad feels eerily quiet, because we are identifying with his hurt.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Unkindest Cut of All

Our long-time Head Maintenance Man has been fired.

Yep, Nurse Ratched fired him.

She’s been trying to run him out-of-here for like forever because 1) He was with the previous management group and she wants her own people 2) Though he does his job and takes a ton of crap off her, he does so in a non-subservient way and Nurse Ratched requires subservience.

He was fired end-of-day Thursday, but I didn’t find out until stopped and given the disturbing news by a resident while out walking yesterday morning.

Later that day, down in the Community Room getting the details, I found residents close to tears at the injustice of it.

As the story goes, a week or two ago, Nurse Ratched told our regular maintenance man that, “If we don’t pass this inspection, you won’t have a job.”

Our regular guy generally swallows her threats and insults but, being at his breaking point lately, this time snapped back, “You won’t either”.

Nurse Ratched was not pleased.

The complex did pass the inspection, with a few “unfavorable findings”. Exactly what those findings are is unknown at this time. One resident said the inspectors noted a flickering light in her ceiling fan, they found that unlocked water heater door in my units, so it’s safe to guess based on these piddly things, the other findings were also minuscule.

Yet and still, freshly upset with our maintenance man’s failure to be subordinate, Nurse Ratched used the findings as leverage and blamed not the parade of “Head” maintenance men she’s brought in over our regular guy, but ALL on our regular guy and convinced corporate to let her fire him.

Not wasting any time, Nurse Ratched has already hired an additional maintenance man and promoted the New Head Maintenance Man to “Supervisor”.

I was surprised to learn, though you’d never know it because he’s always moving, always working, and is unbelievably strong, that our regular guy is 78 years of age. Consequently, talk is he may have a case for Age Discrimination and, having been fired, Unemployment.

He’ll be losing his employee free unit across the quad from me, but told others that he wants to convert to staying in it as a renter, because this is where all his and his wife’s friends are, but that Nurse Ratched is not in favor of that. She doesn’t want him on the property and, as you can see, one way or another, Nurse Ratched eventually gets what she wants.

The New Maintenance “Supervisor” seems nice enough and, currently, is totally on the Nurse Ratched bandwagon, especially since she’s given him a promotion. But he doesn’t know her the way we know her. Consequently, us residents are prophesying 30 to 60 days before he wakes up, smells the coffee and high-tails it out of here.

Mark your calendars.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Criminal Activity

This is what I came across while out walking early yesterday morning.

Some disturbed human had broken out all the windows and rifled through the contents of a moving van on the property.

Fifty minutes into my walk, the calvary arrived to remove the doors, shake out the broken glass, put new windows in.

Talking to one of the neighbors later, I learned there’s been a rash of auto break-ins on the East side of the complex. She said the resident with the moving van also had her car broken into … twice, “That’s why she’s moving. She can’t keep having her stuff broken into.”

I couldn’t imagine the break-ins could net anything of value and, since her car had also been broken into ... twice, I assumed it was a personal attack on the resident and said, “Sounds like she’s being targeted.”

“No. My car’s been broken into as well. My dad has lived here 17 years and this is the first time there’s been this kind of problem.”

My mind keeps going back to that strange group of women with the dark auras. Though they walk around looking tough, like they could cut you without thinking twice, I can’t say they move fast enough or appear strong enough to run around vandalizing property their own darn selves, but there is that big guy I saw walk them into the Harvest Breakfast, and one of the women did walk away with a whole tray of enchiladas, and another one in that group did smooth swipe The Seer’s take-away plate from right under The Seer’s nose and, since they moved in, knickknacks from the Community Garden have gone missing. So I’m feeling very comfortable in speculating there’s a connection between their moving in and the rash of criminal activity. I’d never say it out loud to anyone else, but I’m comfortable with thinking it.

If I were a resident in that area, I’d get myself one of those motion detector cameras, put it in the window and focus down on my car, so as to catch the perpetrator(s) in the act.

God forbid the criminal activity finds its way around to where I park, south side of the complex, because the car is parked away from my windows to where I can’t focus a camera.

I’m hoping my area remains safe; however, there being a plus to every minus, should a problem arise, I’m thinking I should put all the stuff Apache’s giving me in the trunk so the perpetrator will take it.


Along around 11:00 yesterday, there was a knock on the door. I opened to find Nurse Ratched and not one, not two, but three inspectors … all female, ready to do what supposedly is the very last and most important inspection.

The ladies were all business with their little clipboards, scattering through the place like roaches when the light goes on (and no, we do not have roaches here).

I couldn’t keep up with who was where … what this one was doing … what that one was doing, but it was a complete and thorough inspection, as I could hear the toilet flushing in one room, garbage disposal going in another room, smoke detector going off, burners on the stove clicking, cabinet doors being opened. One even looked under the sink.

So much activity all at once was a little unnerving, as I unsuccessfully tried to find a spot to stay out of the way, but at least it was over quickly.

One of the inspectors went out onto the patio, opened the door which houses the hot water heater and informed Nurse Ratched that the door leading to the hot water heater was supposed to be locked, and wasn’t.

Doesn’t seem to be a serious infraction, but it’s an excuse for Nurse Ratched to yell at the New Head Maintenance Man because, had he not been so chatty, he would have made it out onto the patio and inspected that area.

Before leaving, one of the inspectors asked, “Does the dishwasher work?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never used it”, said I.

The room stood still and all looked at me like I’d just arrived from another planet, so I continued, “It just seems like a lot of trouble when I can wash them myself.”

For some reason, they found this amusing and a conversation ensued with all three, one saying, “You’d hate me because I wash my dishes, then wash them again in the dishwasher.”

The conversation ended with my saying, “I’ve never used a dishwasher in my life. Don’t think I even know HOW to use one.”

They all left laughing and, as Nurse Ratched exited, she turned and gave me a pleased approving smile. Maybe because I released the tension she must have felt with the inspectors by causing them to loosen up and laugh, but who knows with her. So, I'll continue to remain leery of her.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Now it Makes Sense

I couldn’t believe my eyes when, heading out yesterday morning for a Starbucks run, I found a notice tacked to the door … “On November 18-19, 2015, a representative from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) will be completing a physical unit inspection … This is your notice that your apartment may be subject to such an inspection.”


It was just the day before when the New Head Maintenance Man had come in to do his inspection … fourth inspection this year. Not all that much got inspected, as we mostly chatted and, as he was leaving, complimenting on my cleanliness and neatness, he said, “Well, this is it. There won’t be any more inspections this year.”

I was skeptical saying, “Sure, right.”

He laughed, “You’ve heard it before. It’s what they all say, huh.”

Sure enough, not 24 hours later, another inspection.

This being the CTCAC, it all makes sense to me now … kinda, sorta because, having worked in the Contracts Department of an agency partially funded by state and federal monies, I’m familiar with the “auditing process”. Auditors would come in to look through our financials, records, inspect property to verify that where we said the money went was actually where the money went. I’m not exactly sure how this process relates to our individual units, except maybe management says it’s using the funds for paint, carpet, appliances, upkeep of complex grounds. And just like when we knew the auditors were coming, the CEO became anxious of losing his state and federal funds should the auditors find anything amiss, each department was ordered to check, double check, triple check that everything was in order.

There was a flurry of activity on complex grounds the day New Head Maintenance Man gave me that inspection. Emergency Carpet Cleaners were called in because some of the units that had been inspected were found not to be up to code insofar as condition of their carpet.

Management informed those residents that carpet cleaning was mandatory, cleaners were called in BUT, residents were informed they would have to pay for it.

It seems to me that if it was management’s decision, management should pay for it but, whatever. Residents were only charged $45 (a bargain), and informed the cost would be added to next month’s rent.

One good thing coming out of management’s endeavors to make certain everything is in order around here is that difficult to open near gate has finally been fixed. I slide my card in, the gate opens without having to jiggle the card around, and I left turn into my parking spot, landing perfectly each and every time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

All I Want for Christmas

Having had one of those toss, turn, unable to fall asleep until around 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning, only to be wide awake at 6:00 ready to seize the day, I was so exhausted last night from lack of sleep, and deviled egg drama, that I was in bed just before 8:30.

I know I keep saying I’m done making deviled eggs, but this time I really mean it. If we have a Christmas event, it’s going to be something from Costco or the Deli – tamales maybe.

At any rate, dead on my feet at 8:00, I was in bed before 8:30 and felt myself drifting off as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Suddenly, I was startled back into wide awake when suddenly the windows began rattling and the whole building shook.

EARTHQUAKE!!!  … 3.4, at 8:41.

So, of course, I could not get back to sleep and it was another night of thoughts running through my head, putzing around the unit, browsing the internet, playing Candy Crush, AlphaBetty Saga, meditating. Finally, well after midnight, it was back in bed, but not to sleep ...  to read a few more chapters of my favorite author's latest.

I think it was about 3:00 when I put the book down and finally got four hours sleep before I was, once again, up and ready to seize the day.

There won’t be a lot of seizing today … a walk around the complex maybe, needlepoint and catching up on recorded TV programs. Having all but caught up, except for programs recorded just this week.

I was stunned when I viewed last week's episode of Scandal ... A gentlemen from the fictional (I think) country of Bandahar asked for asylum. In return, he told Olivia of a facility, masked as a cola factory, but was actually a cooling facility for massive super computers, which were being used to stage cyber attacks against western targets.

Why did that stun me?

Because that's essentially what that guy who'd tried to pick me up, back in September, in Home Depot said.

Instead of coming at me straight, his approach was, “Excuse me, but did you know the soviets (he might have said Israelis) are planning a cyber attack on America ... wipe out all our electronics?” 

I still am more appreciative of a straight-forward approach, but how interesting is it that the guy was talking reality -- that there is a country planning cyber attacks. The only other option is that the guy wrote the episode for Scandal, and though he looked well dressed and prosperous, I don't think so.

It occurred to me on Monday, when I was out walking, that I’d not seen Tent Guy for a while -- not camped out in his tent, not walking his normal route. I began to assume either the unusually cold and windy weather had caused him to move on or the owner of the lot had him chased off.

It was also on Monday when I mentioned his absence to the resident who said he goes to her church.

“He’s bought a car!”

Good on him.

“I saw him at church on Sunday and he said he’d bought a car and is about to be blessed with shelter.”

Tent Guy’s timing, on getting a car and shelter, is perfect because there is now a For Sale sign posted on the land. The owner is looking to sell the property for purposes of development.

All I want for Christmas is a Starbucks, so I can walk across the street to my morning cup, rather than drive … oh, and a Gym. Preferably one of those women only circuit training ones.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving Potluck

Busy morning.

First thing on the agenda was to de-clutter the unit, in preparation for yet another inspection, by putting all the containers of scrapbooking supplies back into storage.

I’d received notice just yesterday that someone would come in between 9:00 and 5:00, but had advanced notice of the inspection because other residents had spoken of already going through the process.

We have these periodic inspections here at the complex. Supposedly, just two -- a biannual and an annual to:

For me, these inspections have been cursory. After the a/c filter and smoke detector are handled, nothing else is looked at. I’m just asked, “Is everything okay?” I say, “Yes”, and they’re gone.

It’s odd however that, this year, there have been so many inspections, this being around the fourth – each labeled biannual and annual, so somebody somewhere is confused.

Needless to say, I’m suspicious. What exactly are all these inspections for? Especially since other residents have told me that, this time, the person coming in checks absolutely everything … opens closet doors, looks in the tub, turns faucets on, flushes toilets, open kitchen cabinets, test the stove and even open refrigerators.

Opening kitchen cabinets and refrigerators sounds like a welfare check. However, just in case it’s not and what they’re checking for is illegal activity, I thought I’d better label the leafy green refrigerated herbs, so as not to be mistaken for anything other than what they are.

Cilantro and Parsley
I don’t think the ginger root can be mistaken for anything possibly illegal but, just to be on the safe side, I labeled it as well.

I probably should have played it even safer by hiding my two cosplay katana swords, but chose to leave them as they are.

Next on the agenda was boiling eggs for today’s potluck.

I was hoping the inspection would be early and out of the way before I began stinking up the place with the smell of boiled eggs but, on the off chance I ran into the eggaster (egg + disaster = eggaster) I had a few deviled eggs ago, where all 48 failed to peel, necessitating a run to the market for more eggs and a do over, I needed to get the eggs out of the way in case of a repeat episode.

Everything I’ve read tells me to purchase eggs up to two weeks before event, which I did, but it doesn’t always work because, sure enough, the egg peeling turned into another eggaster … all 48, so it was off to the market for more eggs, and a run by Starbucks.

Fortunately, the second batch of 48 peeled easily, and I was busy decorating, with the egg odor mostly gone along around 1:00, when the inspector showed up.

He introduced himself as the "New Head Maintenance Man".


Here we go again, with Nurse Ratched hiring someone over the Head Maintenance Man whose been with the complex forever, making him once again the Little Head.

This is the third person she’s hired over our regular guy, in the hopes of forcing our regular guy out. They all get fed up with her, leave, the regular guy remains, but he’s getting dangerously close to his own breaking point. So it’s a toss as to who gets fed up and leaves first.

At any rate, the new guy seems nice. We had a good conversation while he did his inspection, which wasn’t nearly as thorough as I’d been told. He did open the refrigerator, to "make certain the lights work". He changed the a/c filter and checked the smoke detector.

I didn’t see him do much more as we chatted, upon learning we'd both spent time living in San Diego.

As he was leaving, he said, “Carpet is the cleanest I’ve seen.”

That’s because I’m anal about it and clean it almost monthly.

“A very neat apartment. I haven’t seen many of those.”


“You missed the Bird Man” said I.

“Bird Man?” said he.

“Yes, we had a guy who turned his unit into an aviary, letting birds live uncaged.”

“Actually, I heard about him. He took his birds with him but, when we went in to clean out the unit, there were around 100 birds still flying around. We just left the door open and let them fly out.”


So after the New Head Maintenance Man left, it took me about 45 more minutes to finish decorating the eggs to look like little turkeys (something I saw on Pinterest) and head down to the Community Room, expecting the 22 residents who'd signed up to attend plus maybe another 10 moochers.

Sure enough, the turnout was around 30, including that strange group of women with the dark aura.

Didn’t seem to matter not everyone contributed as, once again, there was more food than we knew what to do with … turkey, ham, several different styles of potatoes, several different styles of dressing, gravy, rolls, macaroni and cheese, string bean casserole, a few casseroles I couldn’t identify, cakes, pies, cookies.

The baker made potato salad, so I allowed myself that, along with the deviled eggs and a lettuce salad.

I’d had a nice long conversation with my depressed, demoralized, lonely neighbor the day before (more on that later) and urged her to attend. The event began at 2:00, she did show up, but late, around 3:00. Good news is she looks to have made a new friend, because I saw one of the newer residents later return with her to her unit.

It’s what she wanted … company. Well, not everything she expressed to me, but it looks like she has someone to visit with this evening, as they're talking so loud I can hear voices coming through the walls.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Secret Admirer?

After having not done a lick of walking since the Halloween 5K, I woke up this morning ready to get back into a daily routine. It was 43° when I headed out to do a few miles around the complex. My long sleeve athletic top wasn’t cutting it. Thankfully, I’d wrapped a hoodie around my waist, just in case. Once I added the hoodie to the athletic top and pulled the hoodie up, I was sufficiently protected against the cold and it felt good to be out again, but catching a glimpse of myself in a car window, dressed all in black, hoodie, dark glasses, I looked dangerously thuggish.

I should have taken a selfie. Next time I will.

About 45 minutes into the walk, I ran across Apache.

“Hey, I have something for you”, says he.

Having just had a leg operated on, Apache is getting around on a walker. There’s a compartment in the seat of the walker, which he opened and displayed needlepoint patterns and tatting thread.

“Do you want to take it now or later?”

I was incredulous, didn't want to take it at all, but said “I’ll pick it up in the Community Room later because I’m still walking.”

Apache is a really nice person, always thinking about others, always doing something for others.

HOWEVER … it was just a few weeks ago when a thought began to form that Apache was thinking about ME personally a little too much, always trying to do something for ME personally a little too much.

At first, I wrestled with the thought, tried to push it away because, to me, Apache is just one of the girls.

He’s not gay nor effeminate but, having grown up with a house full of sisters, having still a close relationship with those sisters (Two of which I’ve met, one of which visits and I’ve come to know well), he enjoys the company of women and is generally felt by us to be one of the girls.

So, I wrestled with the thought, tried to push the thought away that Apache might have a little crush, but I began to remember …

“I was thinking about you when I saw this computer paper. Do you want it?”

“Oh, no thanks. That won’t fit my computer. It’s continuous paper for those industrial machines, but thanks.”

“Hey, you have a computer. I was thinking of you when I saw this computer puzzle game. Do you want it?”

I really didn’t but took it saying, “I’m really busy with needlepoint projects right now. So it will be some time before I can give it a try.”

At the time, I didn’t think anything of Apache’s “I was thinking of you”. I figured it was just his personality to be thinking of others.

BUT THEN, with Apache now knowing needlepoint is my thing, it was just a few weeks ago when he brought me a tote bag full of needlepoint patterns and tatting thread. The patterns were all cats – I only do Indians, Cowboys, Boots and there’s a big difference between needlepoint floss and tatting thread, but that was when the thought began to form that Apache was thinking about ME personally a little too much, always trying to do something for ME personally a little too much.

Not wanting to hurt Apache’s feelings, I accepted the patterns and thread but said, “This is a lot. I’m going to share” and he was okay with that.

The plan was not only to share, but give everything to the resident (Older Sister) who’d asked for my old needlepoint patterns – the patterns buried in storage that I won’t be able to find until the Christmas decorations are out of the way.

I take the tote down to the Community Room and, as I’m giving the contents away (Older Sister was happy to take all the patterns, another resident wanted the tatting thread), who comes walking in but Apache. I’d told him I was going to share, but catching me giving it ALL away, I mentioned to him that these patterns were cats and, for some reason, I only enjoy doing “Indians, Cowboys, Boots” and the tatting thread were a whole different craft.

“Oh, okay. I’ll tell my sister.”

Why would he tell his sister?

Is he having her look for stuff for me as well?

At any rate, that's when I began feeling uncomfortable with the "Thinking about you."  So uncomfortable that I began staying away from the Community Room. You’ll notice that posts of the last few weeks has me making brief runs through the Community Room to check on the sign-up sheets, but not hanging out with the folks.

So now, Apache is walking around with stuff for me in the compartment of his walker. This time more tatting thread and I caught glimpse of not cats, but a house.

I'm thinking he saw me out walking and timed it so he'd be outside his unit for me to run into when I came back around.

I don’t imagine it will do any good to tell Apache once again that I can’t use the tatting thread or the patterns, as he’s bound and determined to gift me and, at this point, there’s so much craft materials being given to me that I don’t think even Older Sister will want it.

I could give it all to the Salvation Army, but I have a sense those are the places he’s browsing, looking for craft items for me. So I guess I’ll add another container to storage and label it, “Stuff from Apache I Can’t Use.”