Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Smell Dead People!

My friend Michelle, over at The Surly Writer, has been looking for a new apartment.  The mention of apartment searches brought back memories of the apartment I had years ago in Colorado.

My ex and I had decided to move to Canon City to look for work, since his sister lived there and said we could easily find something.  No job prospects, but we were young and the idea of living near the mountains was very appealing.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  So one September, we loaded up the old Fiat sedan and made the drive from Iowa to Colorado.   

First things first, as soon as we arrived we started looking for an apartment.  We looked at a few, but they seemed kind of expensive, what with not having jobs and all.  Then we spotted the ad in the paper. 

For Rent:  Half house, garage.  $95/month.

Score!  We called and made an appointment to see the place, hoping nobody else had snatched up this bargain before us.  The person on the other end of the line seemed overly glad to hear from us.  We wondered why, but didn't think too much about it. 

The apartment was perfect!  Lovely old brick building downtown,  with a living room, parlor, kitchen and a bathroom on the first floor, (which would be perfect for a darkroom for the photographer ex.)  Upstairs were three bedrooms and another bathroom.  Plus a private back yard and garage.  We'd take it!

We couldn't resist asking the question, though... why were they offering the apartment so cheaply?  Did it have heat?  Did the roof leak?  Were the neighbors loud?

No, no problems with any of those things.  There was just the small issue of the smell in the parlor.  Well, we had to confess we did notice an odd aroma.  In the interest of full disclosure, the landlord told us the sad story of the previous tenant.  An older lady.  Who died.  In August.  With the windows closed.  Whose acquaintances didn't realize they hadn't heard from her until about two weeks later.

Ah... that explained it.  It also explained the strange stain on the oak floor in the parlor, which she had used for her bedroom.  The stain in the shape of a body.

Turns out the lady left a bit of herself in the apartment.  Which was kind of off-putting to all the other prospective tenants.  But, since the ex's father was a medical examiner, we were used to weird stuff like that.  Didn't bother us in the least.  A contraire!  We thought it made for scintillating dinner conversation with guests!

Strangely though, my sister-in-law and her husband never wanted to come to our house for those scintillating dinner conversations.  They were happy to have dinner with us... just not at our house.  And when my sister, her boyfriend and my mom came to visit, the boyfriend was none to happy about having to sleep in the parlor.  Geesh!  What's with these people?

Some people are just so picky about where they eat and sleep! 

So, Michelle, I think I know where you can find an apartment... cheap!  And the smell's probably long gone by this time!  Score!

Friday, March 25, 2011

We've Been Robbed!

Those who've been around here awhile know that I'm a bit of a clutter hound.  Hence the moniker, "Cat Lady Without Cats".  I haven't reached epic hoarder proportions, but I've come close a few times in my life.  So, when I turned on the television this week to watch The Middle, it was like they were filming my life.

The episode opened with the beleaguered Heck family crammed in the car while "enjoying" a spring break family road trip.  Frankie Heck's cell phone rings and it's the neighbor, telling them they've been robbed!  Horrors!  Immediate change of plans!  "Go directly home, do not pass go, do not collect $200!"

They burst into their home, where the neighbor explains how she arrived to take their mail in for them and saw the chaos left by the robbers.  Shocked faces on all the Hecks!

But wait... their eyes begin to shift back and forth toward each other.  The neighbor is thanked profusely and ushered out the door.

Nothing is missing!  The house is exactly as they left it!

Ridiculous premise, you say?  Not so!

Been there, done that!

Twenty five years ago, we had just moved into our house and were in the process of fixing the place up.  The living room was filled with ladders, tools, the odd beer can here and there, papers covering the floors.  Our temporary "lounge" on the second floor consisted of a futon on the floor, a television, more discarded newspapers, and pop cans.

One day after work, we came home to find a side window smashed in and the back door open.  Two policemen responded to our call for help.  As they walked through the house, inspecting the premises for signs of illicit entry, one of the officers asked...

"So, they toss the place about a bit?"

Dead silence.

Yeaaahhhhh.... the burglars did this to our house!  That's what happened.  On the bright side, nothing much was taken, probably because the burglars couldn't find anything.

So, I can relate perfectly to the Heck Family.  They're my kind of people. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where it's AT!

Mark Zuckerberg is not the only social network maven out there.  If you're a blogger and you want to be where it's at, come on over and hang with the cool kids at Tribal Blogs.  Jen Brown from Redhead Ranting is the genius behind this group.

Jen has worked tirelessly to make Tribal Blogs an active social network.  (Jen has even configured a swell Tribal Blogs toolbar that you can download for quick and easy access to the site.)  This is the place where you can get blogging tips, share ideas for posts, network, get into some heavy tech talk, engage in some serious discussions and just plain have fun

The chat room at Tribal Blogs is a great place to network with bloggers in real time.  In fact, the Tribal Blogs Saturday Night Slumber Party that is a staple of the chat room has become one of my favorite places to be.  It's a wild and crazy barrage of mixed up conversations as multiple fingers fly over the keyboards.  Hilarity abounds, interspersed with periods of thoughtful, compassionate conversation. Sometimes there are even prizes!  Last night at the Slumber Party, Meleah of Momma Mia, Mea Culpa won a free ticket to the Tribal Blogs Conference.  Here's a real time photo of her getting the good news:

Oh, yeah!  Winning!

Jen's latest accomplishment is organizing  Tribal Blogs Conference 2011, to be held June 23-25  in beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The featured speakers include Jen, Margaret Andrews from Nanny Goats In Panties, Kathy Frederick from The Junk Drawer and Rodney Lacroix (Moooooog) from Mental Poo.

So, if you're looking for a new place to call home, come on over to Tribal Blogs.   Then you'll always have somewhere to be on a Saturday night!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Paddy's Day Carnival!

I went to a great St. Paddy's Day parade a couple of weeks ago.  My friend Julie took a bunch of pictures of the best costumes we saw.

There was this antennae-wearing "babe":                                         A not-so-little "leprechaun":

The best costume in the "Senior" category:

And then there were these guys in the "Miscellaneous" category, having a blast with Audrey....
(You will note, they are wearing tasteful green bras to honor the occasion.)

Wait.... this wasn't the St. Patrick's Day parade?

It was the Mardi Gras wine tour?

Oh, crap!

Well, in my defense, they did say it was the St. Patrick's Day Carnival and they have a big carnival for Mardi Gras.  You can't blame a girl for getting a little confused.  Besides, after you drink enough, they all kinda blend into another... 

I don't care what you call it... just get out there and have a good time today!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Be sure to stop by Humor Bloggers Dot Com to see who else is participating in the carnival today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of a Cat Lady's Sister

Today is my sister's birthday.  60 years ago she entered the world as Number 1 Daughter.  The first two years of her life were pure bliss and life was good... until one day her parents brought home a new baby.   Her world was shattered.  Suddenly there was a crying, annoying sibling taking up her beloved parents' time.  

As the years went on, the younger sibling continued to put a crimp in her plans.  Number 1 Daughter was neat and orderly.  Her bed was always made, her toys neatly arranged on her shelves and her clothes put away tidily.  Not so, her younger sister.  It was sheer torture to have to live with a budding Cat Lady.

All through high school, Number 1 Daughter was doomed to share a room with a hoarder.  At one point she went to the parents in tears, insisting that the only solution was to have E-Z-Way Refuse Service back their truck up to the bedroom window and shovel out all the sister's crap.  Needless to say, it was not a match made in heaven. 

Of course, Number 1 Daughter did get her revenge on occasion.  Saturday was cleaning day at the Larew house.  While my brother and I were kept busy doing all the chores, my older sister was busy making beautiful charts and graphs of what needed to be done and the schedule for doing them.   Fools!  We were fools!

It's amazing how sisters end up on opposite ends of the neatness spectrum.  Lord knows my older sister suffered severely because of my lack of order.  The day Number 1 Daughter left for college was perhaps the happiest day of her life.  She was free!  No more sharing a room with a slob! 

So on this, my sister's birthday, I offer this heartfelt apology....

Annie... I'm sorry I was born a slob!
It was never within my power to learn your tidy ways.
I regret the angst I caused you.
I love you, but I could never live with you!

Then again, when push comes to shove...  who's the one with the cat?

Happy Birthday, Annie!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Greasy Saturday...or... Jimmy Big Balls

I know it's Mardi Gras or Greasy Tuesday, but I started the celebration early on Saturday.  I got together with four other women to take in the Cayuga Lake Mardi Gras Wine Tour.   Upstate New York is known for the Finger Lakes, which are in turn known for their wineries.  Seems the hills between the lakes are perfect for vineyards.  Throughout the year the wineries host special events to lure people out.  (Like we needed an excuse to go drink wine.) 

Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. we managed to get to eleven different wineries.  You've gotta start early if you're going to get your money's worth!  But we weren't just slinging back the wine...  we were also partaking of the Mardi Gras tastings at each winery.  The offerings included everything from jambalaya to bread pudding slathered in maple syrup vodka.  Yes, you read that correctly... maple syrup vodka!  That packs a punch, especially at the end of a day of drinking! 

Picking up beads at each winery was another part of the fun.  And we didn't even have to show our boobs to get them!  Here's my array of beads, less the boobs.....

I definitely scored on the mask and crown beads! 

As we approached the Thirsty Owl Winery, a woman who was just leaving told us to be sure to look for "Jimmy Big Balls".    Well look we did, checking the guys out up and down.  Ahem... 

We found Jimmy behind the bar and he was a delight.  Not because of the big balls he sported around his neck, but because he serenaded us as he poured our wine.  At one point everyone at the bar was swaying back and forth, belting out the tunes along with Jimmy in between belting back the wine.

Jimmy Big Balls

At the next winery we got to go down into the bowels of the earth, amongst the huge stainless steel vats of wine to claim our prizes...

 Audrey going incognito.

From there it was back into the light to drink amongst the oak casks at our next stop.

A couple more wineries and we were done for the day.  A good time was had by all...

Now I hear we're supposed to atone for our gluttony by giving up something for lent.  On second thought... I'm pretty much of a heathen, so I think I can skip that part. 

Happy Mardi Gras!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why Now?

How could this happen?  For five months I sat around watching television every day without any seriously good gossip coming to light.  Sure, I got to watch Bill O'Reilly rile up Whoopi and Joy on The View and I saw Congressman Chris Lee take a Craig's List nose dive right out of Washington.  But those were momentary thrills.   It's only now, the week I return to work, that the proverbial shit really hits the fan...

Yes, Charlie Sheen waited until I was back at work to have a manic melt down that makes Tom Cruise look positively mellow.  Damn you, Charlie!  How am I supposed to get my fanatic fan fix if I'm no longer lolling around all day in my pajamas to watch the story develop?

Seriously, how could you do this to me, Charlie?  Did I not care enough about winning?  Was it because your real life treatment of women was cooling my enthusiasm for Two and a Half Men?  Were my veins sadly lacking in tiger blood?  Was my last girls' night soiree not bitchin' enough for you?  And although I'm not a rock star from Mars, I might be from Venus.  Isn't that close enough for you?  I could be high on Charlie Sheen!  But you won't let me.  No, you rejected my attempts at voyeurism by waiting until I was no longer available to worship at the altar of Charlie Sheen.

But that's okay.  I can cure myself of my disappointment.  I can talk myself down, now that I know your secret of success.  I'll just use the power of thought.  I have an amazing brain that's so powerful it would melt your face off.  Forget those loser 12 step programs!  I'll think about it and make it so!   I'll raise my victory sign to my cheek like I'm holding an imaginary giant stogy from your walk-in humidor and tap my fist to my chest and all will be well.

Two Seconds later...

Hey!  It really worked!  I no longer crave news of Charlie Sheen. 

See this hand motion, Charlie?   

At least I still have a job to go to.  

So sorry my life is so much less bitchin’ than yours, Charlie.... I planned it that way.

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Check out Tribal Blogs to see who else is participating in the Charlie Sheen "Rock Star From Mars" Blog Carnival.
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