A Day I Thought Would Never Come

newstove

Of course, now I need to mount a campaign to get the revolting countertops replaced, and maybe some new paint on the wall, but let’s not be too crazy. I have a STOVE that WORKS. Now I have to re-learn how to cook without compensating all the time for crappy equipment.

The Saga of the Stove.

We’ve had a piece of shit stove since we moved in. My first call for maintenance on it was due to the undercarriage of the stovetop being completely rusted out. Their solution was to line it with a piece of thin metal sheeting. That was six and a half years ago.

A year and a half ago I called because the oven stopped regulating its own temperature (it was never accurate) and everything was burning. Someone from maintenance looked at it and said he’d get an electrician and I never saw anyone again.

A few days before Thanksgiving I called because the rubber seal around the door has come loose, so whenever I bake smoke is basically pouring out of the oven. Makes it really fun to stand in front of while, I don’t know, cooking a Thanksgiving dinner. I spoke to the building manager and he said he’d send someone up that day.

This morning I called and left a message because we still hadn’t seen anyone. I did not scream about cooking a fucking turkey in a broken oven, but I really wanted to. I also resisted the urge to inform him that the oven has not magically fixed itself. Just reminded him that it’s been two weeks and I’d really like someone to look at my stove.

Two hours later, my favorite maintenance guy knocked on the door. He is also Sam’s favorite maintenance guy. Last time he was here (for the broken toilet), Sam got out his tool set and imitated him. I mean, come on. It does not get any cuter than that (except when he imitates his Daddy). Anyway, Victor took one look at the oven and said there was no point in fixing it and he’d order me a new one. He apologetically said it should be here on Wednesday.

I’ve been waiting almost seven years, dude. Two more days doesn’t hurt a bit. Though I admit, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Ugh

Remember back when I got enough sleep to get pissed off on a regular basis? Nowadays I am so tired I just whine a lot, but tonight I am Pissed Off.

We had a nice evening out, made possible in part by Sam taking a super-late nap. We went to a wine tasting at which Sam ran in circles in the middle of the room until it became too crowded; we then took turns walking him up and down the block. On my turn I knocked on a door that looked friendly (there were pictures of old movie stars and pit bulls!) and Sam and I became the first ever guests on Be The Marriage, which I understand is now Be The Bank and soon to be broadcast from a private island with scooter-drawn rickshaws.

Which brings me to our arrival home tonight. Late nap or no, Sam got tired as kids do and we headed out. When we pulled into the garage, some dude was sitting on Will’s Vespa. I’ve seen kids (not little kids, teenagers or early 20s) on it before and scared them off with a glare, but this was the “security” guard. As you might imagine, I am not terribly impressed with the caliber of guard hired by our building. (For anyone who is new: When I was pregnant I was mugged IN OUR GARAGE. The guy took my car and the police classified it as a carjacking although I was not in the car. The security guard was nowhere to be found but mysteriously showed up ten minutes later.)

So I glare at him, but mostly concentrate on getting Sam out of his seat. Will takes the pointed but friendly tack of asking if he’s comfortable and then saying, “Don’t they give you a chair?” Dude says yes, he has a chair, but he likes it better on the bike.

OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD.

I was fully prepared to kill him with my bare hands, but Will thought it would be wise to leave it be so that he doesn’t do anything to Vera (that is the bike’s name). I see his point but we have put up with SO MUCH BULLSHIT and I feel like this, as minor as it is, might be the last straw for me.

Not that anything will change, since management never does ANYTHING (ask me if my oven has been fixed–go on, ask) and we cannot afford to move EVER.

BETTIE SMASH.

A Night In The Lonesome

Zelazny.jpgIt’s October, and here in the Klein household that can only mean one thing: it’s time to celebrate all things wicked and macabre. Every night Will reads a chapter from Roger Zelazny’s masterpiece A Night In The Lonesome October; as of last year, when I discovered a mistake in the final chapter, every year I will gnash my teeth and fret about his passing which means that I can never ask him about the fate of a character…it is times like these that I hope there is a heaven. We also decorate, stringing cobwebs and pumpkin lights and hanging ghosts and witches. We drive around, searching for decorations. Sometimes we wear costumes. Always we cultivate family traditions; this year that will be more true than ever, now that Sam is here.

This year we have taken on a major project for the month of October. And to be honest, I am terrified. Which is perhaps a bit melodramatic of me.

Back in March or April we began to pack up all of our “extra” stuff. Books. DVDs. My not pregnant clothing. The china. This was done with two purposes in mind – preferably, to be ready to move before the baby came, but more likely to be able to comfortably have the birth here. Obviously neither happened, but we continued to pack and store our things in the loft in an effort to be comfortable in the main living space while we waited to move.

Last month we made a decision: we are not moving. Yes, there are myriad reasons that we should get the hell out of here. But. We have finished (save a final copy edit) a damn good screenplay and wish to shop around for an agent while beginning work on script #2. We have Will’s unemployment checks and I am earning a small stipend for my work on wikiPregnancy. Though we are unbelievably poor, we are also blindly hopeful about our future as writers and want to give it a little time. And so we stay in the affordable apartment. For now.

In order to make living here bearable again, we are now faced with the task of unpacking everything we packed. I know. It’s absurd. But we never believed we’d be throwing caution to the wind like this and really making a go of it, so we were banking on security and with that security a new home. Fuck security.

This weekend we cleared out the loft – which means boxes and furniture on porches and piled in the living room – and cleaned it thoroughly (Cory came over and kept us company, which was excellent). Next weekend some strapping lads will come over to help Will move a couch and the TV upstairs. The loft will become the den, the living room a combination sitting room and office with eating area. We may even get really wild and rearrange the bedroom so that Sam’s bed is not right next to the window, where he gets cold.

We will have to get rid of a lot of stuff. A lot. It makes me uneasy and frightened. But eventually the apartment will be nice.

And then we will decorate for Halloween.

What’s that you say? It is already the 3rd? I’M NOT LISTENING, LA LA LA, WE HAVE PLENTY OF TIME. Go away. Or better yet, come over and help! I will feed you.

a few things

on moving

There are some very real reasons that we should move. I doubt I’ve made them clear because I don’t really care to think about it.

Everyone’s been so kind to me that I really don’t want to seem rude, but you just don’t (couldn’t possibly) understand: this apartment is HELL. People keep saying that I will have a lovely birth here, and I know that isn’t true. I may HAVE to give birth here, but I want you to understand why I am fighting it.

The building is unsafe and falling apart and management DOES NOT CARE.

I was mugged and carjacked and nothing was done to secure the doors or increase security so the other tenants would be safe. NOTHING.

Our roof leaked for a year, and not just drips but RAIN on our heads.

The downstairs neighbors play music so loud that our apartment SHAKES. The bass is so loud it could start a series of explosions.

The across the hall people are the in the hall people most hours – I think there are ten people living in one apartment, mostly kids, and the door always has pot smoke reeking out from under it and the Aerosmith music goes up to eleven and the kids run and shout and do their homework outside of our apartment. Oh, and once THEY called the cops on US for reasons unknown.

There is TRASH in the hallways.

Car alarms go off every five minutes. (That last one may well be true of any neighborhood in LA but it sure doesn’t endear me to this one.)

But? It is rent-controlled and we have been here long enough that for what we pay here we could barely rent a studio elsewhere. So time and time again circumstances have told us to LEAVE and financial setbacks have prevented it.

This isn’t nesting. It isn’t some fantasy about everything being perfect. It is a DESPERATE need to explore every option and try to get the hell out of here as soon as we can.

But I don’t deny that we have a nice shower here.

on co-sleepers and money and gifts

I am so uncomfortable with this whole thing that I have almost deleted my earlier post six times this morning.

I know that my friends are just trying to be helpful but I feel that there is some mistaken understanding that Will and I are dirt poor and can’t afford to have a baby, which isn’t true (either part – that we’re that broke or that you think so, unless you do think so, in which case there is a problem bigger than I am ready to address). We have food in the fridge, so much that I can’t find anything. We have the money in the bank right now to go buy a crib but I’ve planned to spend it on other things. We’re doing OK, just not OK enough to move and buy furniture – which, um, I don’t know many people who are. The real problem is that I suck at budgeting and planning.

But the point is that I am overwhelmed by kindness and a little concerned that people may have misunderstood my complaining as asking for something, which I wasn’t. I know I put the wishlist info up publicly, but I thought people might send a onesie or something, you know? But I guess I just have to deal with human kindness because it seems that someone has bought the co-sleeper. So, you know, I like all three colors. The green is especially cute.

I just don’t know how to feel about any of this.

to do.

The universe keeps telling me to slow down. I don’t listen. I stick my fingers in my ears and yell “LA LA LA I can’t hear you, Universe” because I want to do everything.

But…I can’t.

So the universe, peeved with me for refusing to listen to its gentle whispers in my ear, has its revenge: a head cold. This will make me slow down!

But…I don’t. I know this could be worse for me in the long run.

But.

I have to work. If I don’t work, I don’t pay the midwife. If I don’t pay the midwife, well, that won’t do.

I have to pay the bills and keep the household running. If I don’t…well, it’s bad enough that I’ve stopped doing housework, and at least I have the excuse of sciatica and an excruciatingly sore back for that. I must contribute. Will can’t do everything himself, and the credit cards must be paid.

I have to write. I’ve already given up writing on spec (temporarily). I must at least keep up with the occasional review (especially the one I promised for next week and haven’t given any thought yet).

And I have to make preparations for baby. Baby is coming whether I am ready or not. So I must at least have the necessary diapering equipment and somewhere for baby to sleep. The latter has me worried. I haven’t budgeted for the co-sleeper. Is it too much to hope that someone will buy it for us? I don’t know. I don’t really expect any gifts. I mean, it’s our baby, not our friends’ baby.

Then there is the moving thing. It seems impossible. Move in the next four weeks? Move where? With what money? But the thought of giving birth here makes me hysterical. I don’t know if I can do it, and there aren’t any options but home. So home has to change, but I don’t know how that can happen.

Is it any wonder I can’t sleep? (Actually, I think the sleep issues all revolve around my bladder and its frequent fullness, but the worry can’t help.)

I can’t slow down. I’m going as slow as I can. I’ve shed all non-essentials from my life (blogs are so essential). This is as stripped-down as my life gets right now.

So what do I do? How do I get everything done? How do I take care of myself and still accomplish what I need to accomplish?

In a few short weeks, my priorities are going to shift drastically. I will be mother first, wife second, and my own last. I know that. I’m ready for it. I hope fervently that I will be able to keep up with my stuff, but I’m willing to slow down for my froggy.

Until then, I mustn’t slow down. I can’t. I won’t.

No matter how daunting my to do list may seem.

things and some stuff

  • I am totally addicted to ebay. I have often pondered whether I would become hooked if I started bidding. Apparently so. I’ve won several diapering items, and there are a few others I’ve got my eye on. I’ve bid on a birthing DVD and a wonderful (secret) item for the nursery. So far I have not bought anything I don’t need. I can see “need” getting a new definition in the near future…

  • We found the perfect apartment. Well, no – it had the ugliest aqua carpet ever, but it was spacious and bright and airy and wonderful in pretty much every other regard. And the carpet was so kitschy it might work. OK, the cabinets were ugly. And the closet in the spare room was yucky and one of the shower doors was askew. I am grasping here, because it was out of our price range and I might cry. Galley-style walk-through kitchen with a small work area on one side complete with washer/dryer and a dining area on the other side open to the living room. Two balconies. A den area with wet bar, also open to the living room. Two bedrooms down a hallway. Two full baths. Huge walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Another balcony. The building has a pool and jacuzzi (both currently in slight disrepair) and a workout room. Two parking spaces. The neighborhood we dream of living in. Eleven or twelve foot ceilings. *sigh* Can I borrow a few thousand dollars?
  • Ha ha! I said “nursery” two paragraphs ago. That implies that I am actually making preparations of any kind toward that end, and that I expect to have space! Ha ha ha!
  • Not knowing where we are going to be living or where Will is going to be working (assuming that either will change, which please god let both change and soon) is not healthy. I am so tired of worrying.
  • UPDATE: It looks like it is happening. Why do I have so much trouble letting people do things for me? It is still up in the air whether we’re having a baby shower. I don’t particularly mind either way (though I admit: I love presents) but it needs to get figured out. All that actually requires is my patience until later this afternoon when my friend gets off work and we can talk about it. I don’t have much patience. Even tiny insignificant uncertainties are still uncertainties. See above: No more worrying.
  • Mmm, banana.
  • I don’t like being such a worrier. It is time-consuming and panic-inducing and I just don’t care for it. I wish I knew whether the constant worry is a symptom of our circumstances or a mental defect that is merely being triggered by circumstances. I prefer the former because it will ease up when things change/get better. I hope.
  • Sometimes I kind of wish that somebody else would take charge of my life for awhile.

Thus ends the depressing portion of the afternoon.

560 square feet

Today Will and I found ourselves inadvertantly looking at two entirely separate condos for sale. One was very modern (in a somewhat art deco building) and enormous and lovely. It costs just under a million dollars. So: HAHAHAHAHA! The other was more traditional, teensy and homey and wonderful. It is priced so reasonably we could have made an offer on the spot — and we have approximately $50 in savings. But: TEENSY.

We will not be making any offers.

Since we weren’t planning to buy anything today other than breakfast and some shirts for me (snap-front cowboy shirts for nursing, because we are genius), this isn’t really an issue. Except…well, we are desperate to get out of this foul apartment. I would very likely kill or at least injure in order to get out of here before the frogger’s arrival. So although we are looking for a rental, buying is very appealing in its permanence — the idea of not having to do this again next year or the year after makes me cry with joy. So I must simply keep telling myself that in a one bedroom one bath 560 square foot condo, we’d have to do this again next year or the year after, and we’d have to sell.

Emotional Weather Report

Yesterday we watched Undeclared on DVD until I had a near-nervous breakdown for some reason or other. Something about the college setting really upset me. Let us not speak of it.

Today we tackled our ongoing project of packing up everything we own that isn’t needed to feed, clothe, or entertain us. Due to my seething hatred of this apartment and our inability to move until we know where Will is going to be working next, we’ve decided to turn the loft into cold storage (only not, you know, cold). The process is turning out to be very interesting. It is amazing how little I, the bossy perfectionist, care about how much of anything is done when I am pregnant and overexerting myself.

Downstairs, while far from emptied of unnecessary things, is already looking fabulous. I mean, OK – messy. Messy! But so much better and less cluttered already. Now we need to get boxes. So many boxes. Have I mentioned before that we have at least one thousand books? We have. Oy. Vey.

I don’t remember ever being this tired physically. I have a very low capacity for this sort of thing these days, and while Will did most of the heavy lifting and carrying, I pitched in enough that at one point I became convinced that if I moved one more inch I’d go into premature labor and that would be the end of that (“that” being pretty much everything that is good in the world). I felt much better after I sat down for a bit.

When it was over (for the day), I ordered Thai food while Will filled up the footbath. Then he beat Lego Star Wars, which may be the greatest video game of all time. Now we are just trying to stay awake until at least, say, 9:00.

And listening to Tom Waits.

The end.