Saturday, January 29, 2011

On vacation

We are off to Jamaica (same place as last year) where we hope to see this view again.

See you next week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An update and why we can’t sell

The update:

The burst pipe is in our ceiling/neighbor’s floor over our walk-in closet at the back of the apartment in our bedroom. The water came in through the walls and ceiling and reached the living room. We currently have some holes in our ceiling and will need that to be replaced along with portions of the walls.

Our wood floors are the hardest hit and are already bowed and buckling. Since we live in a sub-grade space, the floors are wood over engineered wood and they float (can't really put normal wood floors on top of concrete). Since they float, there are ready-made channels for water to flow and that's exactly what it did. When we step on boards in the living room, for example, we see water seeping up. It should dry out quickly—this is winter after all, and the driest time for Boston. But the floors are ruined.

Next steps involve figuring out if the condo association makes an insurance claim or goes with a special assessment. The risk in another claim is that we had a huge claim from 2009 and apparently there was another water situation in 2004 (don’t know any details about that). The condo association runs the risk of not being renewed next year if we file yet another claim around water. But a special assessment won't go over well with the owners either. Now I'm really glad I won't be at the condo association meeting. I would have a hard time biting my tongue.

Once the financials are settled, then the painful reconstruction starts. With three cats in the house, it's a chore to make sure contractors shut the door so they don't get out. And all the commotion freaks them out anyway. Add in my travel schedule and Kent's travel schedule and well, I get overwhelmed just thinking about managing this mess.

Why we can’t sell:

The very technical picture (fear my mad PowerPoint skills) shows how the seven apartments make up the condominium association. Originally, 1 and 3 Claremont Park were two separate brownstones, but the lady who owned both buildings ended up making a one floor apartment that spanned both buildings.

So we have two buildings joined by one apartment which means we have one condo association. The blue units are the garden units and both flooded last year (we live in number 7). The Ferals live in apartment 2 and they are the ones who had the frozen pipe for three days and refused to let the plumber open any walls to find the leak. In fact Mr. Feral spent an hour yesterday morning lecturing the master plumber on how to do his job. As you might imagine, that didn’t go over well.

The Hatefuls live in apartment 4; they are the ones who are suing the condo association and the people in apartment 5 (for proper serial construction, we'll call them the SuperNice).

Until the lawsuit is settled (and it has nothing to do with our 2009 flood and everything to do with their sense of entitlement about other issues), no bank will underwrite loans for apartments in our building. The potential risk of a huge special assessment is just not one any bank will take. So we are stuck.

Once we can sell, believe me we will. And we are seriously considering renting. Given how we haven't yet landed someplace we believe will be our home for decades, and how volatile the job market is, we think we need to stay flexible with housing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I was going to rant about the Ferals

That's what I call our upstairs neighbors. But instead I'm going to rant about whatever huge pipe that's burst and has flooded us again. Water is coming in from the back walk in closet and has reached the living room.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

An actual conversation

Me: (peering into the just opened container of 18 eggs) That is IT. You are not buying eggs any more.

Kent: I'm fine with that . . . how come?

Me: One egg is entirely missing and three more are broken!

Kent: Huh. I didn't notice.

Me: ::eye roll::

Do you check the eggs you are going to buy before you buy them? Surely I am not the only person who does this.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Part beaver?

Eddie is obsessed with eating cardboard boxes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Odds and ends

First, here’s a picture of a very typical Wally pose. He likes to have his body on one level and his head on another level. What you can’t see in this picture is how very furry my fleece jacket is from numerous lap sessions with Wally.

Here’s how many links the jewelry took out of my watch (seven).

And here’s the watch on my wrist—so pretty.

We are getting more snow today; so far we have about another six inches on top of all the blizzard x two remnants topped with sleety ice. I’d take a picture but really just search my blog for any winter post since I moved to Boston and you’ll find plenty. It all looks about the same.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Send more gnomes

We use a gnome we got at Target to hold the iron security gate open during the day. Our apartment is a "garden" apartment, which means we don't have a lot of windows--in fact we have just three. Two are normal sized and are in our living room, and one is a small window at the bottom of a window well and is in our bedroom. So our back door is mostly glass just to give us more light and more scenery. I sure don't want to look through bars because I don't need to add jail to the cave atmosphere we have going on. So the gnome is on duty every day, holding that door open.

I think we need gnomes to hold open both doors into the bathroom. You can get to our bathroom through the hall or through our bedroom:

And because it's a tight fit, both doors are split doors so they don't have latches on the sides or proper handles. Instead they sort of lock in at the top. We chose split doors to keep the visual and physical obstructions down. Previously the door between our bedroom and the bathroom hit my closet in the bedroom, and the hall bathroom door obstructed half of the doorway into our bedroom.

Well Mr. Wally has figured out if he bangs one half of a door against the wall, it wakes me up and then I pat my side of the bed so he can stop banging the door and get some petting. He's been doing this more frequently and last night was the worst: four separate incidents BANG BANG BANG. I am not amused and I need to find a better solution than the damn cat training me to reward him when he wakes me up at night.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dear snow,

Please stop.



PS I hate you, go away.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Of wrists and watches

I thought I’d have an interesting post about wrist size and my complaint against most watch makers but as it turns out, I do not.

I bought a watch from Amazon (you can see it here ), for four reasons. First, I like how it looks—it has a small face and I don’t have large wrists and sometimes watch faces look silly on my wrists. Second, it’s silver (I don’t wear yellow gold). Third, when reviewers mentioned the watch, they said it was great for people with small wrists. Finally, although it's more than I normally spend on a watch, it wasn't stupidly expensive.

So I ordered it. It’s definitely exactly how it’s pictured on Amazon, it’s silver BUT there is no way it fits small wrists. The watch measures eight inches long! Then I got curious about whether or not I even have small wrists but so far everything I’ve turned up online indicates my wrists are solidly average.

And that's why I don't really have an interesting post. My wrist measure six and one-half inches around and on most sites, that's listed as average. Given that mine are supposedly average size, I have no idea why bracelets and watches never fit my wrists.

I'm keeping the watch and I’ll get it re-sized because I do like everything else about it. I just don’t want a watch I can slide over my hand. That’s ridiculous.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Last week on my return trip from Hawaii, I didn’t have enough time while changing planes to get a jumbo cup of proper coffee. I don’t drink the airline’s coffee because it’s just brown water and why bother? So I ended up with a honking big headache, even though I drink just two (strong) cups of coffee a day and don’t drink any other caffeinated drinks.

Kent has had a stomach/ lower GI virus and hasn’t had coffee until today so he’s got a whopper of a headache too. Of course he does drink a lot more caffeine than I do so to my way of thinking, his headache is more appropriate. I thought mine last week was just mean.

Do you drink caffeinated drinks? How do you manage when for whatever reason, you cannot get your normal dose?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ding, ding, ding

We have a winner. Jenni, the pet sitter we had come by yesterday for a trial run, sent me an email that said:

It was a success! No animals or people were harmed :)

In fact, she emailed a bit later and said Eddie came by while she was scooping the litter just to check her out but didn’t hiss or anything.

I am so very relieved.

Of course then I had to email the Cat Nanny and let her know that we were trying someone else for our vacation later this month. I dislike sending bad news emails but yesterday was a day for just exactly that kind of email, since I had to share reduced contracts and budget cuts with the contractors on my team.

Now I’m working from home because we have a blizzard in Boston.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I missed you too

How did a week pass since I last posted?

For some reason, I’ve had a little more trouble readjusting to the Eastern time zone this go-round—mostly I just can’t fall asleep at my normal time which makes getting up really hard too.

Today is the trial run with a potential cat sitter. We met her Friday after I got back from Hawaii (I am confident I looked as stupid as I felt, man was I tired) and neither of the boy kitties hissed at her. In fact Eddie deigned to allow her to pet him. She used to work at our vet’s and is now in nursing school and also appears impossibly young. She’s stopping by this afternoon while I’m at work to see how the cats behave when Kent and I are not here. She charges a little bit more than the Cat Nanny but it would still be cheaper (and better for the cats) than having one boarded at the vet’s AND paying for a cat sitter.

I feel a little bad for the Cat Nanny though. I’ve mentioned before that she is disabled (had a bone infection in her hip almost 10 years ago); the money she earns caring for cats helps supplement that and I know we’ve been a good customer. But at the end of the day, I need to take care of my cats, not the nanny. I still feel bad.

Wally has been needy this week with me, swarming me when I get home and generally acting like Velcro—unless he’s getting into things. I sometimes think he does that just to get the attention. Bad attention, good attention, he doesn’t care.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A small splurge

I bought this print in Hilo. Look closely and you'll see why I bought it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Random thoughts that don’t add up to anything coherent

  • I leave today for Hawaii (again) and get back Friday night.
  • Kent leaves Saturday for Europe (again) and gets back Thursday.
  • I don’t like this pattern.
  • But it’s better for the cats since we haven’t solved the cat sitter issue.
  • Wally hissed at Eddie loudly and constantly for three days—day and night, no kidding.
  • I keep thinking I’m hearing Chloe snore, but it’s Eddie.
  • I have my suitcase out in the living room so I don’t wake up Kent, and Wally has done his best to unpack things, starting with the socks. That cat is obsessed with socks.
  • Coffee is good but sleeping till a more civilized 5AM would be far better.
  • I didn’t get Christmas cards out this year; by the time I was actually home enough to consider doing so, it was far too late.
  • The snow from last weekend’s blizzard has almost vanished (except in our patio which is a heat sink). The temperature yesterday reached 61F.
  • I’m going to show the picture I posted of the snow in our patio to the class participants in Hawaii. Hey, they get excited over leaves that have changed color.
  • More than a few friends have commented that 2010 was awful for them and they are hoping for a better year this year.
  • 2009 remains on record as the worst year for me and I hope never to repeat a year like that again.
  • No New Year’s resolutions for me; I generally don’t wait until the first of the year to make changes. I’m way too impatient for that.
Do you make New Year's resolutions? If so, what are they for 2011?