Monday, June 30, 2008

Into my own hands

Do you see this? Do you know what this is?

This item is none other than The Offending Doorstop.

My pleas to the management and the grounds crew were for naught. The ultimate consequence of calling the management was merely the frustration of having to explain to our stripey-haired snippet of a manager that the second set of doors (the set that does not lock, mind you) was not installed for security reasons.

Snippy Manager: "Well, actually, the doors are for security reasons"

Me: "I believe that the primary set of doors, the set of doors that locks, I mean, is there for security reasons. Among other reasons. Like the fact that most buildings have doors; it's a custom, really. But what I am saying is that the second set of doors creates a small atrium designed to moderate the temperature of the building."

Snippy Manager: "Oh, no. Actually, um, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't do that."

Me: "Really. This isn't intuitive to everyone, I guess. Well, the hallways are significantly hotter when the second set of doors is propped open..."

I then spent a good five minutes explaining the theory behind double paned windows and the effectiveness of good old fashioned air as an insulator, but I've got a hunch she wasn't listening.

Me: "I thought, perhaps, we could place some kind of notice on the door, maybe something like the sign posted by the trash chute reminding tenants to please take their boxes down to the dumpster rather than trying to fit them down the chute."

Snippy Manager: "Well, actually, we don't want to have signs all over the place. It doesn't look good when we are showing the property to new tenants. Um."

Me: "I doubt your new tenants like to see the door propped open in July, keeping the ambient temperature in the hallway at a ripe ninety degrees either."

We engaged a somewhat extended civil squabble, but I could tell that my insight was lost on her (please forgive me) pea-brain. She even defended the idea that the doors needed to be open in order for the floor to dry after being mopped. Puh-lease.

I hoped our conversation would have had some kind of impact on her, but the next morning, as Ryan and I embarked upon our day, the door was (you guessed it) propped open. Naturally. I bent over to get a closer look at the doorstop. Three seconds later...

Me: "It's in my hand!!!"

Ryan: "Huh?"

Me: "Look! Look! It's in my hand!"

He turned around and saw the visage in the photo at the top of this page. The doorstop is no more. I keep thinking the Feds are coming for me. I think I need a little more excitement in my life.

Yesterday, I saw Rotundarino making her rounds when I was leaving for work. She met my smile with a scowl. It must be hard to be the loser, but, then again, I wouldn't know.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Yesterday, I met my nemesis. The Propper.

Incidentally, thanks to those of you who contributed ideas (genius, all of them) for me to print off and post on the door of my building. I should have just directly requested limericks from Flood and Jen, and a letter-to-a-stranger from Kelsey, because I had a pretty good idea of who would be most likely to contribute and, let me tell ya, ladies, you did not disappoint. Clever as can be, every one of you. I wish any or all of you lived near me. We could have limerick and letter-to-a-stranger writing parties. As it is, I just have these parties by myself, which is nowhere near as fun.

As it turned out, your masterpieces would have been wasted on The Propper who, as I discovered yesterday, is none other than the rotund, middle-aged Latina lady who cleans the building. Given her difficulty communicating in spoken English, I doubt your subtle wit would have packed the punch with her that it did with me.

As I departed the building for the first of many times yesterday, I discovered her standing outside, chatting with a groundskeeper, just a few steps from the PROPPED OPEN DOOR. I approached her, friendly at first, to tell her my plight and request her aid.

Me: "You see, ma'am, someone keeps propping the door open, even though it is hot as Satan's kingdom outside, and it is heating up the whole building! If you see the door open, would you mind shutting it? I try, but I can't keep up with whoever is propping it open."

Rotund Cleaning Lady: "They don't air condition the hallways."

Me: "No...they don't... Surely you understand that when the hallways are ninety degrees it is harder to keep the apartments cool than when the whole building is relatively cool? Right? Right?"

Rotund Cleaning Lady: [looking stumped] "I open the door so the floors will dry after I mop them."

Oh, great plan, rotundarino. In our desert clime it could take as many as twenty three seconds for the nine-foot-square section of tile (which is largely covered by a non-skid rug, might I add) to dry. Wouldn't want to pose a hazard to the tenants. Much better idea to ensure they die of heat stroke in the privacy of their homes.

Me: "Well, I think the floor would dry pretty quick, since it's so hot. So very,very hot. So spanking, blazing, unrelentingly hot. And it is expensive to run the air conditioning. So if you could help me out by keeping the door closed as much as humanly possible, I'd sure appreciate it."

And then, thirteen seconds later, with great relish, I reported her to the management.

Today when I headed out to the grocery store, the doors were all closed. Praise Allah.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The first law of thermodynamics

I am about to lose it. This is not a joke; someone is going to get hurt. You wanna know who?

The first person I catch propping the door to my building open when it is over ninety degrees outside. That's who.

In Utah the temperatures are extreme. I would estimate we get about six weeks total of temperate climate per year and the rest of the time it is either freezing and snowing (and trapping massive quantities of airborne filth against the mountains for us to breathe) or so hot that my face hurts and I never want to leave the house. For this reason buildings in Utah are almost always constructed with two entrance doors such that a small atrium is created between the two to minimize the loss of warm (in the winter) or cool (in the summer) air from the building. I think it's a great design. It seems to be be effective. So what I want to know is what kind of total bozo feels the need to prop the inside door open when it is hot as blazes outside? WHO? WHO ARE YOU!?!? YOU IDIOT!!!!

I go in and out of the building several times a day and each time I unprop the door. You bet I do. What I want to know is why someone keeps repropping it? Most of the energy in Utah is produced using coal, which is obvious if you look at our grimy skyline. And, even if you have no remote interest in the earth you are raping, at least perhaps you notice the power bill that will be higher if the hallway is ninety degrees than if it is seventy. Do the math, folks. Run the numbers. You are controlling the ambient temperature in the parking lot.

I am nearing the end of my rope, which is to say, I am considering staking the place out and lecturing anyone who dares to prop under my watch. I don't care who they are or how many groceries they are carrying. All I care about is the flagrant disregard for the physical laws that govern our universe and the impact on my nervous system of said disregard. It's time to take action. No matter how impractical, I will probably never stop fantasizing about the stake out, but I have a hard time seeing how I am going to find time to hold a 24 hour stake out when I can barely find time to post on my really popular blog. For heaven's sake.

I am inclined to leave a note on the door, but every brainstorm ends up including both a detailed explanation of the first law of thermodynamics and threats to slash tires if I find out who the proppers are. This tone, somehow, I doubt would be optimally convincing. If, however, you would like to pen a few thoughts, a limerick perhaps, about why they should leave the blessed door closed, I will print and post it. Rage has blinded my creative side.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Perfect Day

Yesterday was a perfect day.

We got up not too early and not too late. We drank our green smoothies and they were delicious.

And then we cleaned. The house. We cleaned the whole house. Both of us. With the cleaning. And the house became quite clean. Which I love, but only seldom achieve. It was very satisfying.

Zillah wants my lamp!

Shortly after we finished with the cleaning, our friends Jen and Alex, who had driven up from Hurricane, came over for lunch with their two delightful children. We had a very pleasant visit and wish they would leave their comfortable situation out in the country to come live next to Pioneer Park with us.

Immediately upon their departure, we hightailed it to Ikea, the happiest place on earth. Ever since I landed the new couch I've been in a real mood to improve our living quarters. I had spent significant time on the Ikea website (very significant, embarrassingly significant) determining what would be the most needful, and by needful I mean fun to buy. We had a great time, as only a couple with a little unexpected money in their pockets on a beautiful, cloudy day at Ikea can have. While we were there, we bumped into Jen and Alex again; I felt glad that I had made such a compelling pitch of the wonders of Ikea that they felt they needed to check it out, undeterred by their toting two very small children.

We bought a Great Deal of Things and came home to commence assembly. If you've never had the distinct pleasure of Ikea furniture, you're missing out. All the satisfaction of having built something with none of the actual effort! What could be better!

We put Ryan's new reading chair together (we figured, if he was going to spend 15 hours a day sitting in a chair researching stocks it was better that we upgrade the thrashed Papasan chair I bought in college; the new chair was far less expensive than our anticipated chiropractic costs. Thanks Ikea!) and then Ryan's mom, in town for the week, came over for a visit. We all went to dinner at Sage's cafe, and had a vegan good time. She got to try tempeh, I got to see how cashews and raspberries can be transformed into "ice cream" (*Tip for vegans: stop calling vegan food by normal food names. It isn't pizza if it has a dehydrated flax crust and no cheese, brownies aren't made from dates and black beans, and a milkshake has milk in it. Just call it something else. Like healthy good tasting raspberry cold dessert, or some other really catchy name you think up.)

Perfect days don't lend themselves well to funny posts. Funny is what you use to make hard days acceptable. Yesterday was so great, it doesn't have to be funny. I hope today is too great to be funny, too--I'm off to build a bookshelf!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Up for grabs

I got this lamp from a dear friend who used it in art classes she taught to delinquents, during their still life unit. She got it from another dear friend who had it in her apartment during college. It was a very important apartment, as I also lived there. She got it from her great-grandmother. As you can see, this lamp has had an illustrious history. And now it is ready to continue its journey. At your house.

Anyone? Anyone?

For some reason I find myself too attached to this lamp to simply take it to Savers; I would like to see it go to a good home. If that good home is your home, let me know.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Boys will be boys, girls will be girls

Based on the fact that he has had his hiking boots for a decade of heavy use, Ryan decided that it was time for a new pair. I learned through hard experience the woes of his searching for footwear, but went along for the ride nonetheless and discovered an interesting quirk of my own in the process.

Ok, ladies, who's gonna back me up? Who wanted to be twins with their best friend in elementary school? Come on, you know you did. I myself tried on occasion to select friends with long blonde hair like mine and coordinate such that we would have our hair "permed" (the overnight wet braids? 'Member those?) on the same day. Sleepovers were particularly appealing in that they afforded the opportunity to coordinate outfits and hairstyles to the minutia. I, being a highly uptight child, was very invested in maximizing twinliness in all of my friendships as frequently as possible.

However, I didn't realize that this impulse still smoldered within until Ryan and I were sitting in the shoe section at REI.

Me: "Honey, look! Those are the same as my boots, but for men! I love mine, you should get those!"

Ryan, looking perplexed, asks for the boots in a size One Million.

Ryan, to salesperson: "Nope, these aren't the ones. Can I try on those others in a size One Million?"

Me [beginning to panic]: "Are you sure you didn't like those? They sure looked nice. I really liked them. They are expensive, they have to be good. Maybe you should try them on again?"

Ryan: "Naw, they rubbed my big toe. I'm going to try on those others."

Me [relinquishing dignity with every passing second]: "But, um, we could be twins! You know? Twins?"

Ryan: ?

He left with the others. I'm still not quite over it.

Once we arrived home, he, naturally, took the boots out of the box, put in the new insoles, etc. He tried them on, he pranced around.

And then he held up the box, said "Hey! Watch this!" and punched a hole through it.

I could scarcely believe my eyes. He exuded precisely the same energy as a small boy who has gleefully knocked down a lovingly constructed, perfectly even tower of blocks. He fairly shined.

Of course, I giggled. What could I do? He didn't see what was so funny. The impulse was unavoidable; who wouldn't want to punch through that big pristine piece of cardboard?

I asked him to let me take a picture of him with his arm through the hole he created, but he said I was strange for thinking it was so funny and so, to show me what, in fact, would be funny, he stuck his head through. The better to blog you with, my dear.

I am the least inclined person I know to dress up little girls like cupcakes and call male toddlers "soldier", but I did think that this incident shined a little light on male and female, innate or instructed, and I kind of think it's pretty cute either way.

Recipes for your families

I have started another blog dedicated to making extremely nutritious food happen. I invited a couple of pals to join me as they have demonstrated an ability to eat amounts of green vegetables that would make a cow shudder (if you feel this describes you, let me know; I'd love a guest blogger or two). The new blog will likely include less mom-teasing and also fewer mentionings of cookies than this one, so I don't expect it to be as much of a crowd-pleaser. I fully intend to keep this blog going, but if I'm slacking and you find you miss me, you can find me here, up to my eyeballs in chickpeas and arugula.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

somewhat better reporting, same sad c-story

Have a read if you're up for more reasons to avoid c-section at all costs. (Thanks for the link, Bri).

Monday, June 2, 2008


Hello, Darlings. What on earth are you doing awake at this hour? Oh, me? Just sitting around, you know, checking your blogs in case you decided to post while I was sleeping (between two and four a.m.).

I used to be the world's premiere champion sleeper. I could sleep on the floor, in the middle of the day, in the hot and in the cold. I could sleep in a house and with a mouse. Some folks can blame their thrashing, sheet-stealing spouses when they wake in the middle of the night, but my spouse is a docile sleeper and causes me no problems. So when I wake up at four a.m., I'm still mad, but I don't even get the satisfaction of having someone to blame.

It didn't matter so much when I was actually a childless housewife, but nowadays I have three (count 'em!) forms of gainful employment, so when I don't sleep at night I can't make up for it with a three hour nap [cue the violins]. However, the real tragedy is not that I will be too tired to work. That is not an option. The real tragedy is that I will be too tired to Jazzercise.

Two weeks ago I decided to get back on the horse from which I fell when I moved to Utah in 1999. At that time, I had been an avid, though teenaged, Jazzercizer for many devoted years. You may have presumed that Jazzercise is for middle-aged women only, and you would have been close. I was definitely the only gal under thirty five in the class, but I was dedicated, so dedicated, in fact, that I considered (briefly) skipping a school music trip to the Bahamas to avoid missing two classes. It was a religion.

When I moved to Provo, there was no Jazzercise. I searched the website and traveled a twenty-mile radius to find only defunct classes. I tried to slake my thirst by joining the gym and trying out all the classes, but never even came close to the warm welcome of my old friend. Eventually, I learned to live without Jazzercise, but life was never quite as rich.

Until last week. I checked the website again...just in case. There was a class listed, not too far away, but could it be trusted? I had been disappointed so bitterly; could I risk my heart again?

As you can see, I look fabulous in a leotard, so I decided to give it one last try. I arrived early enough to watch the clientèle arrive one by middle-aged one. They looked about right. They were friendly. A little nuts. Ready to shake they booties.

I knew I had truly arrived when the instructor announced that Jazzercise would be featured in the Freedom Festival Parade this year. See you there.