Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sweetheart Potluck

Though Activity Director’s late nod to Valentine’s Day ─ yesterday’s Sweetheart Potluck, was well-attended, the event had nothing to do with Valentines or Sweethearts.
It was too late. The seniors were over hearts, flowers and sweets.
The Community Room decorations had already been switched out for the next thing.

And instead of the plethora of desserts one would expect for a Valentine’s Day event, the menu was savory not sweet ─ Sandwiches, Chips, Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad, Lettuce Soup.
Lettuce soup was new to me. It looked delicious and everyone said it tasted so.
I couldn’t risk the soup containing ingredients I can no longer have, so I passed on it ─ and everything else. I did however later do research and located several recipes online, finally finding a recipe I can incorporate into my meal plan.
Greedy Grabby not only contributed to the potluck, but went all out with a platter of Grape Leaves, Rice with Chicken. (Trying to make amends perhaps).
One dessert did end up on the counter ─ Two containers of store-bought cupcakes.
Monthly birthday celebrations are a thing of the past. Another resident, wanting everyone to know the day was her birthday and wanting a celebration, brought her own cake.

I can’t decide if that was being desperate for attention or to be applauded as a ballsy move.
Apache, waning for attention, stood up and announced he was wearing his Success by Trump Cologne and asked how it smelled.
No one took the bait but me.
“Smells like skunk”, said I.
He laughed. He likes me like a sister, so I can get away with denigrating his hero, whereas he ends up in an argument when others do so.
Later, I was more truthful and said I couldn’t smell anything.
Apache offered his wrist for me to sniff. “Oh, I smell it now. But it smells weak, like the traitor”.
That was the truth. The cologne isn’t very strong. You have to focus to catch the aroma. It’s weak.
But to each his own.
A few residents, who were not present last time I showed up, were surprised to see me. Saying, they’d been asking around as to whatever happened to me ... “Did she move?”
Guess I’m going to have to get out more often.
Inasmuch as Apache is our unofficial mayor, the person willing to tackle Corporate, residents bring their issues to him. He in turn rats management and Corporate out to the county folks. (There’s an issue going on now where management took advantage of not having a manager and locked the doors for four days. No one could enter the office area through the front, no one could get to the Game Room. In fact, Assistant Community Manager wasn’t even in the office and the maintenance guys were observed, through the windows, to be in the Game Room playing pool. Apache got on his phone, turned them all in, and is once again persona non grata. Corporate has had enough, wrote him up for creating a "disturbance", trying to get him outta here. Apache, of course, like a true Trump supporter is enjoying the fight and has no intention of backing down.)
I was sitting with Apache when a resident in a wheelchair rolled over to tell him someone had stolen all her towels from the dryer.
Seriously? Stealing laundry? How low can a person go.
Apache said he’d report it.
In all fairness, I don’t see what management can do about that. There’s no camera in the laundry rooms, so we’ll just have to not leave our laundry unattended. Apache, on the other hand, sees it as one more nail to hammer management with.
Before I headed back upstairs, after the event, I popped into the office to put in a Maintenance Request for my overhead kitchen lighting. Assistant Community Manager took the request and asked, “What’s your unit number?”
All of a sudden I drew a blank.
My mind went completely empty ... there was nothing there. I could not remember where I lived!
She had to look it up on the computer.
At any rate, the Assistant Maintenance Guy showed up pretty quick, replaced the burnt out tube and, before leaving, pointedly asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
I quickly processed that statement as strange … nothing any of the many maintenance guys has ever said to me before and not sure if I was reading more into it than was intended.
The women around her have in the past been very flirty with the maintenance guys. I know one who told me she’d asked one of the guys out on a date. Other maintenance guys have told others they’ve been sexually harassed by some of the women. I believe it because Apache has also been approached, only he likes it.
So, it wouldn’t be out of realm of possibility that this new guy thought I might be one of those women and threw me a line.
Deciding the best course was for me to play dumb, not take the bait, if there was bait to take, I stuck my head back into my needlepoint and tried to sound nonchalant with “No thanks”.

Monday, February 25, 2019

No Host Oscars

Because of all the speeches, I stopped watching The Oscars years ago. However, wanting to see how it went with no host, I gave it a go. No host went well, but could not get through the speeches.
I saw who presented, who won, watched them head for the stage and, as the speech began, I flipped the channel and caught up on what Worse Cooks in America was up to and whatever else was on at the time until tuning back into the Oscars hoping the speech was over. Most times my timing was right on.
I’ve not seen any of the movies, except for Black Panther, but have heard so much about each film that I’d formed opinions. 
From all the hype, I was surprised Roma didn’t do better.
Again, based on all the hype, Green Book’s win and Glenn Close’s loss were a complete surprise.
I’m still in awe at how Christian Bale was unrecognizable as that bulbous beast of a man in Vice, and yet appear so slim and attractive in the audience.
I read somewhere that in addition to makeup, he’d also gained weight. I’d like to know how much weight he gained and how he dropped that excess.
I was happy Black Panther did well. However, at the risk of inflaming the community and losing my Black Card, I would have been surprised if it had won Best Picture because, though I was proud of the movie, I didn’t think it was that good.
I was expecting Panther to be a lot of his suiting up and righting wrongs, like Bat Man. Instead, it was all about protecting the kingdom from Killamonga and not near enough of the suit.
Much as I like superheroes, Panther is not a movie I’d watch again, unlike the multitude of times I’d watched and rewatched the other superhero movies.
Speaking of superheroes ... what a sweetie Chris Evans is.

A facebook friend and I went back and forth over Billy Porter in a tuxedo dress designed by Project Runway’s Christian Siriano. I thought it was all that, but friend said she wasn’t a fan because the velvet looked too bottom heavy.
I’m sure it was and Billy probably had to build some leg muscles to carry it off, but looking fabulous is hard work.

Tomorrow is the Sweetheart Potluck. Tomorrow is also Pizza Tuesday.
The two events lumped together like that, especially since Valentine’s Day was days ago, seems so not worth it. However, inasmuch as the potluck is the only event we’ve had in a good long while, I imagine it will be well attended.
But for the fact I'd signed up to bring potato salad, I'd skip it. Not wanting to let anyone down, I picked up a tub at the deli while out and about yesterday. Of course, I won't be eating any, what with the ingredients being soybean oil, red bell pepper, and modified corn starch. Not just because they're on my no-no list but because I’m just now recovering from a gut episode caused by that Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia ice cream I’d stored after the Idiot in Chief declared a national emergency.
I’d been doing so well, with no tummy upsets in such a long time, and I didn't see any ingredients I was aware of being on the no-no list, so I thought I could have that indulgence.
Not only did the ice cream torture me for five days with nausea and tummy upset  (it may have been the cherries), but it started up the sugar cravings.
An apple won’t do right now, so feeling sorry for myself, and to satisfy that sweet tooth, I stopped by a place for an indulgence I’ve tested and found cause no gut issues.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Pizza Tuesday

No flash flooding today, but another storm expected tomorrow, I figured I’d better head to the deli and pick up potato salad for Thursday’s Sweetheart Potluck, get that out of the way while it was dry outside.
The seniors actually celebrated Valentine’s Day at bingo on the 14th. I’d gotten a text from Apache asking if I’d come down and take pictures for the facebook page, as there was a crowd in the room and lots of themed prizes on the bingo table. That was one of the days when the storm was at its worst, so even though it didn’t deter other residents not one bit, I said no way.
“Might be pretty interesting” says he.
That was intriguing, but no way was I going to head out in the downpour.
I later learned it was interesting because he’d received ten Valentine Cards, some with telephone numbers on them.
Not at all sure I believed him, wanting to see those cards, I thought I’d catch up with him in the Community Room this Pizza Tuesday, before leaving the complex to pick up potato salad.
I arrived too late. He’d been there and was gone. However, it was lucky I stopped in because there was a notice posted indicating the Potluck has been rescheduled to next week.
Activity Director said it’s because, with no Community Manager, there’s no one available to issue her cash for sandwiches, chips and drinks she’d planned to provide.
Us residents are just to bring side dishes and desserts.
It was also lucky I stopped in because I got to witness first hand when Activity Director spoke to the room saying she’d received complaints about how some of the ladies handled themselves last Pizza Tuesday. She’d reviewed the video tape, seen with her own eyes and inasmuch as this is a recurring problem with people she isn’t going to name (we all know who ... Greedy Grabby and her crew), that she will be reviewing the tape each week when she’s not here and if she sees these same people behaving badly again, they will be banned from Pizza Tuesday.
It’s about time she took a hard line with that group.
I clapped at the end of her speech.
And yes, the Community Room is wired. It looks like a command center in the Manager’s Office with a screen that shows what’s going on in various locations of the complex while recording at the same time so management can play back to a particular time.
Oddly enough, not everyone knows they’re being taped and a few culprits have been caught sneaking around, taking things that don’t belong to them, getting themselves banned, but still a lot goes unobserved and management rarely reviews the tapes to track complained of incidents.
At any rate, with the giveaway under Activity Director’s control this morning, there was plenty to go around.
Some of the pizzas were heart shaped.

So with no activities this week, all the interesting 5Ks too far away, too cold outside to walk or hunt Pokémon, it’s back to vegging on the couch.

Friday, February 15, 2019

National Emergency

Waking up to news a national emergency has been declared, I rushed to the market for emergency supplies.

Everyone stay safe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

If You Build It They Will Come

With news of yet another rain storm coming our way (Round 4) and it not being too chilly, I ventured out yesterday to take care of business.
First was to drop into outgoing mail that check to the Federal Government.
I still don’t get how, after a lifetime of opting for zero on the W4, which always netted me a healthy refund of what essentially was my own money, this year I had to pay over $800.
It doesn’t make sense, but inasmuch as I can’t opt for less than zero, looks like I’ll be spending the remainder of my life giving back.
Second was to catch up with the seniors in the Community Room, observe Pizza Tuesday.
Absence does appear to make the heart go fonder.
Having not seen me in ages, I got a nice reception. Nicest was Church Lady, “We haven’t seen you in a while …  you’re looking bright and full of wisdom”.
My buddy Apache was in the room, as was the Cougar ─ the 80 something woman who’s expressed an interest in him.
I teased him a bit about that and he tells me she’s not the only one ─ Two other women are chasing him, one of which is his next-door neighbor.
I think he’s enjoying it, but living dangerously with his plan to give all three a balloon for Valentine’s Day.
Before I headed out of the Community Room and on to next on my list, Apache got into an argument with Greedy Grabby and her crew over their trying to take more than their share of pizzas.
This probably sounds like I'm disparaging a particular ethnic group, but I'm calling it as I'm seeing it and only applying to this specific group of women who happen to fall into a particular ethnic group Greedy Grabby is from Syria. All the ladies in her crew are from Syria, and those ladies are really tight, travel in a group and really remind me of gypsies ... swarming into a place, taking what they can get away with. In fact, I just learned, when caught in the storage area of the local senior citizens center, taking coffee, they got themselves banned from the center.
Going to pay closer attention next time I see them in the corner market.
Last on my list was grocery shopping at Sprouts.
That’s usually a 20-minute drive, but that changed when a new Sprouts went up, four weeks ago, only 8 miles away.

In spite of ongoing construction of other businesses, it was a quick in/out first two times I went to this location, plenty of parking. However, all was chaos this last time.
The parking lot was full, orange cones strategically placed to direct traffic in certain directions, and there were armed security guards. Not at Sprouts and not because of Sprouts, but at and because of a newly opened business called “Cane’s” ─ Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.
The aroma coming from the fried chicken was intoxicating, but not so intoxicating as to warrant armed security guards manning the crowded drive-thru.
I watched as those cars unable to squeeze into the drive-thru lane, and those wishing to park, took up the lot ─ some driving crazy, frantic, ignoring the cones because they spotted an empty spot and wanted to get there first.
With other businesses soon to open, and the lot already crowded, I think I'm better off driving 20 miles to the Rancho location.
Valentine's Day is tomorrow. In case you didn't know, I'm not big on that sweetheart stuff.

President’s Day is Monday. Nothing expresses my feelings about that day like this from facebook.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Round Three

It was a weekend of the sky leaking yet again, so it was needlepoint and watching television with this cute little Pokémon Ralts.

For the first time since its inception, I did not watch Walking Dead because ... over it.
Abraham is long gone, Glen as well is long gone, Rick is recently gone, not sure what happened to Maggie, Jesus was killed by a Whisperer, Daryl and Carol have become boring, I did plan to keep watching to see where Negan goes from here, but lost interest once reading this is Michonne’s last season. I have no interest in any of the new characters, so I’m done.
Thankfully, the sun’s up today, neighbors are out and about but, though outside is dry, it’s still a little too chilly to lure me out.
Along about 10:30, I heard a commotion on the stairs.
It was Head Maintenance Guy (HMG) and one of the temp maintenance guys hauling up the new stove.
Color me surprised.
When on Wednesday, January 30, my oven died and was pronounced not worth cost of repair, I really didn’t believe, with a corporation as large as this one, there was a backlog ─ I’d be getting a new stove but not until the 11th.
Though I’d nevertheless been patient, I fully expected HMG to force me to make a stink by coming up with an excuse to further extend the wait once the 11th came and went, but he surprised me by bringing in the new stove first thing this 11th morning.
Miracles happen every day.



The glass door is a welcome change, as is an oven light.
HMG suggested I run the oven for a while before baking, so I’ll save making my healthy wheat-free bagels for tomorrow and test it out with oven-fried chicken tonight.
The convection oven I purchased to tide me over will still come in handy. It hurt my back so much to bend, stoop, multiple times of pulling the tray out to check, push the tray back in, pull the tray out to check again required to broil in a conventional that I stopped using the broiler. With the convection, I can broil to my heart’s content, no stooping required, plus sweet potato chips come out crisper.
So off with the cheap oldie that HMG tells me has been discontinued.

No surprise there, I think Corporate got a deal by purchasing them from a discontinued lot in the first place. It cost them though because one-by-one they’ve failed and have been replaced to where HMG tells me only three remain in the complex.
You really do get what you pay for.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Culture Shock

Did my taxes this morning and was I surprised.
Thanks to this new tax plan imposed upon us by you-know-who, I ... a retiree expecting the usual heathy return must instead, for the first time in more years than I can remember, pay him.
What the heck!
If you’ve not yet done your taxes, get ready to be surprised ... and not in a good way.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dead Guy Update

The image that popped into my head was spot on.
The Navy Vet with the dog that looks like Rin Tin Tin was the resident Apache meant as having passed away.
Problem is .... Navy Vet is very much alive and his name is not “Gene”.
Apache got it twisted.
“Gene”, the guy “They found dead in his unit” turns out to be that guy that tried to make my acquaintance by hanging around my quad.
He lived on the back side of the complex, but would come all the way over to sit on the bench in my quad.
Not suspicious in itself because the spot, with its parklike view, is nice.
However, his back was to my unit, inconvenient for watching my comings/goings. So what he did was to walk to the opposite end of the quad and sit on his walker, which gave him a bird’s-eye view to my unit.

From there he worked himself up to asking to ride with me to the market. He felt creepy so of course I said no, and it all ended when he got a friendly back the heck off from Handsome Man.
I’d see him around (I avoided making eye contact), but never saw him hanging around my quad after that.
No one knows what he died of or who the “they” are that found him.
Poor guy. 
I did feel bad for not extending myself, giving him that ride ─ but not bad enough to be a bleeding heart and fall for his act. 
Been there, done that far too many times in my life and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being too nice, too friendly, too willing to go out of my way to help, it’s “No good deed goes unpunished”. 
It took some hammering, but I’m not so easily manipulated these days, my heart has hardened. 
Hard hearted though I now am, I’m not completely heartless. So, I reached out to Activity Director, asked her to check in on his needing transportation to the market as I didn’t think it appropriate to have bypassed all his immediate neighbors, come all the way over to my quad, sit in a spot where he could view my comings/goings and ask me.
I mentioned some time ago that Activity Director’s job has been transitioning away from Activities and more into Outreach. In other words, she gets paid to be a bleeding heart.
When I followed up, she said she’d made contact but was not allowed to tell me if he’d indicated he needed help.
I’m thinking not. He just wanted female company.
Oh well, it’s all grist for the mill now.
I also learned why my attempt at matchmaking failed. The Navy Vet is already married. He has a wife in his unit. Evidently, she’s in poor health and doesn’t get out.
Who knew.
Further Update: I just got another message from Apache ... “Hey, I think your stalker passed away”.
He figured it out.
The sun is shinning today, but it’s still cold ...

So I’ll only go as far as the scale in the Game Room today to see if this sitting all day is having a negative impact my weight.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cold Weather Woosie

After six/seven straight days of unrelenting rain for the second time since surviving the storm of a few weeks earlier, I was beginning to think the sky was broken, had a hole in it.
I’d look out the patio window and wonder how it was possible for that much water to fall from the sky for so long.

And it was cold. So cold inside that I was dressed in layers ─ socks included, with the heat going and still felt chilled to the bone. Sometimes my fingers were so cold I could hardly hold the needlepoint needle, and my feet were so cold I considered purchasing a heating pad.
I actually researched a few online, was thrown off by the negative reviews, across the board, every make, every model ─ mostly about heating elements burning out, and made my own heating pad by warming up a towel in the microwave, then wrapping it around my feet.
Even though my DNA Story indicates 9% Scandinavian, I have a low tolerance for cold weather. What’s normal to most is freezing for me.
Made me think of that promise of double pane windows that will now without a doubt NOT materialize since Corporate fired the Community Manager that cared enough about us to plan for that upgrade.
The opening for a new Community Manager has finally been removed from Corporate’s website, so I’m assuming that means Corporate has found itself another punching bag.
As to how long that individual will last, we’ll see.
I did want to head down to the Community Room yesterday, Pizza Tuesday, but didn't want to go to the trouble of bundling up, plus boots, plus umbrella. I wanted to go there not only to find out if there’s news as to when the new manager will appear, but to double-check on a death notification my buddy Apache texted me on Saturday.
His message was “You know the guy Gene he passed away had dog always laid in grass”.
I don’t bother with many residents by name ─ it’s generally just a good morning or a wave when I see a resident, and there are any number of residents with dogs that lay in the grass, so I replied “Not sure who that is. What did he die of?”
No reply so, as the storm outside raged on, I didn’t give much thought as to who Gene might be. 
I never felt stir-crazy from being indoors for so long. I had Season 2 of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to watch (hated what she did and who she did it with at the season finale), that new book to read, needlepoint of course, plenty recordings of new television programs to see and decide they warrant further viewing (I’m over Manifest, over Roswell, New Mexico, still love Young Sheldon and thus far liking The Passage), and my unit is located in that vortex between a Pokéstop and a Poke Gym so I can hunt from my couch.

Cute that when it’s raining outside, it also rains in the game.
Also, during my forced insideness, I learned how to make sweet potato chips in the convection oven. It’s slow and low in a conventional oven, but I get the same results going fast and high in the convection. It just takes closer watching to prevent burning and the results are actually crisper than the low and slow method.
THEN yesterday, out of nowhere the image of the Black Guy who’d sit on the bench with the dog that looked like rin tin tin lying in the grass popped into my head.
Oh No! Thought I, That’s the new resident I’d tried to fix Church Lady up with.
Though the attempt at matchmaking went nowhere, I’d see the guy around, we’d smile and wave at each other. What I know of him is that he’s a Navy vet and didn’t appear to be ill in any way visible so, though I trust my instincts and the image that popped into my head which tells me that’s the Gene my buddy Apache is referring to, I want to verify it’s he.
The sun is shining, it’s not wet outside ─ for the first time in like forever, so I’ll detour through the Community Room for verification as I had out to run errands before a third hole in the sky opens up.
I did not watch the SOTU. I just couldn’t take looking at his smug orange superior looking face.
There was, however, no escape from seeing snippets on this morning’s news and I was disgusted by what I saw on both sides of the isle.
Why do they continue to encourage him with standing and clapping when they know he gets off on the roar of the crowd?
Ignore him.
Wear ear plugs.
Sit on your hands.
Take a valium.
Fall asleep like the kid did.

And what's with the pissy look on Melania's face?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Roughing It

I’ve been without an oven since Tuesday night. Maintenance diagnosed the problem on Wednesday as a heating element not working/a value not opening. Inasmuch as this is the second time the oven has gone out and, according to maintenance, the part needed this time costs more than a new stove, I’ll be getting a new one.
As to when ... maybe a week, maybe longer. 
Inasmuch as I can’t live without an oven, I ran out and picked up a little counter-top convection to tide me over.

I managed to squeeze it into my very limited counterspace and, so far, the convention works great for bacon (uncured of course) and salmon. I even roasted broccoli in it. Not so great for those sweet potato chips I’m fond of snacking on. The convection is so small that I can only make a handful, and the cook time is two hours. So, not worth it that sweet potato chips are off the menu until the new stove arrives.
It’s been one thing after another with the cheap appliances Corporate brought into the community when they acquired this property in 2013 and dove into a so-called renovation.
Long-time readers will recall the renovation included chopping down all our beautiful trees, replacing perfectly working appliances with smaller cheapies, installing a ceiling fan in each unit, changing door knobs, updating the gate and garage doors, exterior paint, then pronouncing the $3.2 million they conned the government out of as well-spent.
Looking at the cars that rolled up on the property when Corporate bigwigs arrived to view the completed renovation, it wasn’t hard to deduce from the cheap appliances, shoddy workmanship on this end that the bulk of the $3.2 million went to Corporate administration.
Such is the way of the world.
However, you get what you pay for.
Corporate has been saddled with having to fix and replace and repair this that the other ever since.
So there’s that.
The March Activity Calendar was posted to our doors in a timely manner. The only activity is a Sweetheart Potluck on the 21st.
I’ll be very surprised if the event is well-attended, but maybe, because it’s been a long dry spell insofar as events since the first of the year.
I’ll tear myself away from needlepoint long enough to go down, take a few photos for the community’s Facebook page and to see what the 80-year-old chasing my buddy Apache gives him for Valentine’s Day.
It occurred to me that her nickname here on the blog should be The Cougar because ….. significantly older lady (80ish)/younger man (60ish).
I’m not knocking it. Been there done that with the 35 year old when I was 50ish, but let it be known  I didn't  chase him, he chased me.
Last thing of note is the new read I’d preordered.

Haven’t had time to get into reading it yet, but must be amazing because I saw on the news this morning that the Orange Traitor is doing that which he didn’t do with Omarosa’s book and didn’t do with Bob Woodward’s book ….... he suing the author.