Friday, June 29, 2012

It Could Have Been Worse - Day 30

This 30 day writing gig has kicked my ass.

It made me tired.  It made me feel panicked.  It made me feel inadequate.  It made me feel blue. 

There is only one thing I can say about "It could have been worse", and that is, yeah, it could be a month with 31 days. 

To celebrate finishing the exercise, I awarded myself with a pair of summer shoes.  They are so much celebration shoes that I can't even talk about them.  I have them on and plan to have a gin and tonic to show how thrilled I am to have this competition over and done with.

It's like when you quit banging your head against the wall.  It just feels so good!  Don't get me wrong, it's been real!  And it's been fun!

But it hasn't been real fun! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is There A Statute of Limitations That Applies Here?

This is my next to last post on the "30 Days of Writing" challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of "We Work For Cheese".  It's been fun, but now I've decided to do a little serious confessing to a crime I committed a few years ago.

Today's prompt is "Outside the Rules", but perhaps this would be more under the heading of "Outside the Law".

I don't know what made me do it.

I've asked myself over and over "What were you thinking?"  I guess the answer was I wasn't thinking.

My husband and I were awaiting our new court date, since Ron, (the landlord from hell), had filed an appeal on the first court's decision that was in our favor.

One evening, we may or may not have had a couple of margaritas.  Then we may or may not have discussed what a butt head Ron was for putting us through all this court stuff to get our security and cleaning deposit back from him. We were upset and annoyed.  Sometimes those emotions are worse after a little tequila.  After having a little more tequila, I had a brain storm. That's always a bit scary.

I suggested that we vandalize the house we had rented from Ron.  At first my husband was not at all sold on my idea.  But I did my best "Eve with the apple" routine on him and he finally came around to my way of thinking.  It was nearly 10 PM and late enough I thought we could take a run over to Ron's house and nobody would be the wiser.  I suggested that we both dress in black and wear black watch caps to disguise ourselves a bit.  (Of course, we did have the bright red Miata, but that was something I really didn't worry about.)

On the way to the house, I had my husband stop at a 7-11 and I bought a dozen eggs.   Giggling to ourselves, we pulled the car up in front of Ron's house and saw that there was nobody looking out any windows in the nearby houses.  Now, keep in mind, we had lived in this house for 5 years so neighbors might recognize us and our car should they peek out a window.

We quietly sneaked up the front stairs and violently tossed the eggs at the house.  We were snorting with barely controlled laughter.  All at once, we saw headlights approaching and we froze in our tracks.  The car slowed down in front of a house two doors away.  We both lay flat on our bellies and waited.  We heard someone get out of the car and disappear into the night.

By this time, it wasn't so fun anymore.  We were terrified. We left the remaining eggs on the front landing and quietly got into our car and raced home.  For numerous days we waited for the police to show up and arrest us.  (I was convinced the cops would be able to track our fingerprints on the egg shells and the egg carton.)  The guilt I felt was incredible.  And I made Alex a nervous wreck by constantly talking about the possible charges that I knew would be coming.

I shoplifted a can of Aqua Net hairspray when I was 13.  That was terrifying and I never did such a thing again.  This was worse.

Days passed and nothing happened.  Weeks passed.  No visits from the police.  No calls from Ron accusing us of egging his house.  I still wasn't sure we were out of the woods.

We went to the 2nd court date and I felt so guilty I didn't even care if we lost our security deposit.  I just didn't want to be exposed as a vandal.

I wasn't.  Whew!

Let me tell you folks, crime doesn't pay.  Or sometimes it might.  But in this case, it really wasn't worth it. (Ron, if you are reading this, "You had it coming, Sucker!")

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Turning Point

Is That A Spider Or A Yellow Labrador Retriever? 

I've always been sort of an easygoing woman.

Generally, it takes a lot to get me riled up.  Oh, don't mess with my kids or my pets, but other than that, we'll get along fine.

I'm not inclined to fight over the small stuff.  In fact, the small stuff may irritate me but I won't let it get me in an uproar and take action to make my point.  I let things slide.  It's easier that way.

In 1989, Alex and I were renting a house in San Francisco.  Our landlord, (I'll call him "Ron" because that was his name), was a weirdo.  Ron came over to check the house about once a week.  He had some excuse that he needed to check the paint, the plumbing, the electrical, the back yard or some excuse.  He complained bitterly about former tenants to us as well.  He had rented the house previously to 5 young men who were in college.   He said they had nearly destroyed the house in the 2 years they had rented from him.  He sued them for damages and was awaiting trial when he told us about having to clean, make repairs, and so on.

(Probably, a house full of college guys is not my first choice of a tenant, but I'm a simple Mexican woman, so what do I know?)  Ron had planted an idea in my head that he was not going to be like every other landlord I had ever had.  I had never had even a portion of a security or cleaning deposit withheld after I moved out.  I left places I rented as clean, or cleaner, and as good a shape, or better, than they had been when I moved in.

A few years passed, and Alex and I were considering buying a house in Alameda across the Bay from San Francisco.  We found a nice place and turned in our notice to Ron that we would be moving.  Ron told us he had plans to sell the house after we moved.  He even brought over paint and carpet samples for me to look at so that I could tell him what would look best.  (The house had not been painted before we moved in, by the way.  It seems the college guys had not messed up the walls.  Just everything else.)

We had lived in this house for 5 years.  And we had paid Ron $1,500 per month in rent over a 5 year period.  We had also given him a $3,000 security and cleaning deposit.  When you do the math, we had paid Ron $90,000 in rent.  That is a chunk of change.

Alex and I came back to clean the rental house after we had moved.  I told Alex we didn't need to concern ourselves too much with the carpets and the walls because he was planning to paint and re-carpet.  There were no holes in the walls, but they obviously needed a paint job, and the carpet was fine with a good vacuuming.  On impulse, I took our little camera and took photos of each room as we completed the cleaning.  I also took photos of the inside of the oven, the top of the range and the interior of the refrigerator.    (Because we were thinking of buying a house, we really wanted our $3,000 deposit back.)

A couple of weeks after we moved, we got a letter in the mail from Ron.  There was an itemized list detailing why he was charging us the entire deposit of $3,000 so we would be getting no refund on the deposit.  Further, he was charging us another $75.68 for his costs.  Ron enclosed a self addressed stamped envelope for us to remit the check to him for $75.68.

Alex and I were both in shock.  The house had been left in perfect order and we had the photos to prove it.  Ron had included charges for burned out light bulbs and his time to replace them.  He also charged $1.00 per wire hanger and his time to remove 4 of them that had inadvertently been left in closets.  Further, there was the matter of a small plant that had obviously been run over by a car's tires on the side of the driveway.

There was no choice.  We took him to small claims court and we won, not once, but twice, as he appealed the first decision.  Our photos were proof of the state the house was surrendered in.  Ron had photos of his own.  One of his photos showed a dirty corner of a room from the floor view.  Fortunately, there was a spider in the photo that looked the size of a Labrador Retriever.   I think he was using a 500 to 1 zoom lens on his camera.

The judges ruled in our favor and we did get our money back.  That's the first time I've ever said "Oh hell no!" about something related to just me.  The funny thing is, if Ron had just given us back $1000, we probably would have not bothered at all.

That's actually not the complete end of this sage.  There is more, including an act of vandalism which will be confessed to tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

By The Side Of The Road - Day 27

You have to keep in mind, I'm not a well woman.

Oh, I'm well enough, but with a whack back, I'm going to make this quick, true, and dirty.

When I was a child, if my Dad saw a dead animal on the side of the road, he taught us kids to roll down our window, spit out the window, and say "Not my family!"

Growing up with that, it's surprising I didn't end up ritually killing little animals  by the age of 9 and later being a serial killer.

My Dad actually didn't think doing little routine was a bad thing.  Somebody taught it to him I'm sure.

The things you do as a kid (and as a parent)!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Divine Intervention - Day 26 - Not Over Yet???

I had plans.

I was going to re-arrange my closet this afternoon.  I had a date with Marina to take the dogs to Coast Guard Island to run.  I was going to pull some weeds and pick up some plants for the garden.

Then I leaned over to pull on a pair of jeans, and I felt that horrible "Whap"!  Whatever my plans were, they aren't any more.  When the low back "whap" happens, life as I know it has changed for about a week (and not for the better!)  The pain is bad, but he spasms are worse.  There really is nothing to be done for it.  I just have to wait it out.

This occurs once or twice a year.  It's especially bad when I'm home alone because I have to feed the dogs.  That involves leaning over.  Oh, I could call someone to come and help me, but I'm in too much pain to be friendly.  Who wants to help somebody who gasps and screams with every slight movement?  I'm sure some folks would be glad to help me if that was my back and my butt featured.  But alas, it's not.  I got her off the internet because I thought she was cute.

So, Nicky, I should get an extra 500 points for this post.  I mean, really.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Worst Christmas Ever - Day 25

"Let's do something different."

I think it was my great idea.  Christmas had become a chore over the years.  I had a mother and three sisters and their families to consider and consider them I did.  I considered them every year for over 25 years.

My sisters all had husbands and kids.  The kids all had boyfriends or girlfriends and / or significant or insignificant others.  My own kids had husbands, wives, and kids.  By the time you got through counting noses, there were a shitload of people.

First getting the tree.  Then getting the gifts for 30 or so people.  Then getting the menu planned and the shopping done.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I was working full time and this "Christmas" thing was stressing me out.

While it was fun, it was usually fairly drama filled too.  Somebody (or several people) would end up feuding.  Somebody (or several people) would have too much eggnog.  Somebody (or several people) would get mad.  Somebody would act inappropriately with somebody's husband or wife or aunt or uncle.

All of the festivity was also quite expensive as well.  And, I got tired of it.

I suggested to Alex that we board our pet and go to Carmel for Christmas.  There is a wonderful place called the Highland's Inn.  I got us reservations for the 23rd, the 24th, and the 25th of December that year.  Because of the Christmas holiday, we had to book and pay for all 3 nights in advance.  The Highland's Inn is quite expensive when you reserve one of the Ocean View condos.  But we were all set.

I had made the arrangement about a month in advance and let my entire family know about our plans.  I had assumed someone else would "step up".  As we were getting to mid-December, nobody had made any kind of a plan for a Christmas get together.  This set my teeth on edge, but I would have lost my million dollar deposit if I had cancelled so I bull dogged right ahead with our trip.

We got to the hotel mid afternoon on the 23rd of December.  It was really all that and a bag of chips.  Our condo was equipped with binoculars so we could whale watch from our balcony.  The accommodations were spectacular.  We looked out on the Pacific Ocean from almost every window in the place.  There was a huge jacuzzi tub.  There were the fluffiest terrycloth robes imaginable.  It was a paradise.  Both Alex and I agreed that this was the most luxurious place we had ever stayed.

After a marvelous afternoon and evening, we went to sleep listening to the sound of the ocean.  Bliss.

Christmas Eve morning, we went out for breakfast.  I told Alex I was feeling a little shaky about leaving my mother alone on Christmas.  He said he was too.  We looked at each other and said, "What do you want to do?".  Uh huh.

In the afternoon we packed up and left the hotel.  Yes, we did have to pay for the extra two nights.  We showed up at my mom's in time to take her to a Christmas Eve dinner at a local hotel.

It was not nearly as lovely as the Highland's Inn, but it was a much better idea than staying in Carmel feeling miserable and guilty.

Roast or Toast Another Blogger - Day 24

This is the first time in the whole challenge that I really couldn't decide what to do.  In fact, I thought about not posting at all today.

I wouldn't have a blog at all except for the encouragement from the lovely and talented Jayne Martin (In Jayne's World).

The thing is, I've read and admired so many wonderful writers that I really couldn't single out just one.  I considered naming a few, but sure as hell, I'd leave off somebody who really should have been named.

I've laughed.  I've cried.  I have read posts that made me feel angry, happy,sexy, and sad.   I've gotten so much understanding and kindness from so many people.  You bloggers are my inspiration and my friends.   I love reading a post that cheers me for a whole week!  You have given that to me many times.

I love Nicky at We Work for Cheese  so much that I've asked her to be my sister-wife.

Nicky's coming to visit me next month and I'm hopeful she will stay, but knowing that would make Jepeto miserable, she may decide to go back home no matter how many stilettos I tempt her with.

My sincere thanks to all of you for brightening my life!