My House is Broken and My Car is Gimpy

The house that I live in has both a front door and a back door, and I’m the only one in the house who uses the back door because I park my car back there. On Sunday morning, I went out back to shovel the driveway after the snowstorm, and when I went to go back inside, I noticed that the deadbolt looked a little weird.

ImageI took a picture of it and locked the door behind me because, as much as I didn’t want to think about it, it looked like a break-in attempt. The next day when my roommates came home, I showed them the picture. “I don’t want to be an alarmist,” I said. “But I think someone tried to break into the house.”

My roommates agreed and we were all pretty unnerved. I was very thankful that, due to the snow, my car was parked around the corner instead of next to the door like it usually is. While there’s nothing really worth stealing in it, I don’t know that that would have mattered. Since then, a new deadbolt had been purchased and “Beware of Dog” signs are up on both doors. Sometimes, we get a reminder that we live in a city. I’m just glad it wasn’t a more brutal reminder.

Today, as all of America is aware, was brutally cold. I think it was five degrees or something when I got in my car to pick up produce and then head to work. My car seemed to be driving kind of weird, but besides the fact that my car got inspected a week ago and passed, I also didn’t think much of it because people all over Facebook were complaining about how the extreme cold was affecting their cars. So I ran my errand and drove to WalMart. As I unloaded the groceries, I noticed the my right rear tire looked weird. I looked closer, and what I saw was this:

Image

Not good. After I let Jackie, with whom I was switching, know what was going on, I called AAA to come and help me change my tire. I’d never had a flat before and I had no idea what to do. They told me that they could certainly help me, but they were running behind and it would probably be about three hours. This made me grateful that I had managed to get to work before noticing the tire; at least I could work while I waited. As it happened, the guy arrived less than an hour later and made quick work of my tire. As he got back in his car, he called, “Have a better day!”

So tomorrow I get to have my tire looked at/repaired before I take my long trek to my first rehearsal for August: Osage County. I am SO excited to get started on this show!

Advertisements

Ugh

My day didn’t even stand a chance.

I actually was in kind of a good mood this morning. After what felt like years of rain, I got to sleep with my windows open last night and woke up (after sleeping in) to sun. The house I live in is being sold, so after I had breakfast, I immediately stared making the final preparations for the people who were looking at it. I had worked on my room last night, so it only needed a few touch ups, but I started getting stressed out when I got downstairs. Downstairs (the living room and kitchen) has been kind of messy since I arrived in this house, but since the only thing I keep down there is food, I don’t want to “clean up” only to have my roommates unable to find their things. After all, I know how much I hate it when people touch my stuff. But I knew I needed to at least tidy up, and thankfully, my roommates were not only okay with it when they got home tonight, but thrilled.

The prospective buyers and the realtor were scheduled to come to the house at 1:30 and stay until right before I had to go to work. At 1:10, I got into my work clothes, hurriedly ate lunch, and decided to oass the five minutes before they arrived reading my book. At 2:25, I was still reading uninterrupted. This would have annoyed me in any case because I hate when people are late, but I also had to work at three. Luckily I was working at a store within walking distance of my house, because the realtor and her clients showed up at 2:40.

I was really nervous about showing the house. I’m shy around people I don’t know and terrible with small talk, and now the people I would have to talk to were also going to be looking in the closets and under the beds. Also, I am the newest resident of the house, so I know the least about it. Basically, I was the WORST POSSIBLE PERSON to show it off.

So the realtor and her peeps come in, and the realtor apologizes and explains that they were “a little” late because there was a baby included in the trio she had brought. The baby, admittedly, was adorable and smiley, but I was still annoyed. They started tromping through the house and it immediately became obvious that the buyers did not speak English, but Japanese. The realtor also did, so communication wasn’t a problem, but it was extra awkward to be following them from room to room, unable to understand all of the comments they were making. Then, after making me wait for over an hour, they only spent about seven minutes in the house. Awesome.

I made it to work on time, amazingly, where I took my roommate’s place at the booth. Since the store was right across the street from our house, he would spend part of his free days at the store watching his trainees do shows, then give us some pointers to improve our presentation. I had expected him to stay, but it still threw me that he was watching, and I did an awful show, and that put me in a funk for my entire shift.

Usually, when I get notes for my shows, I am really good at applying them and I always sell more, usually double, than I did the last show, but today was just downhill in every way. Not only was I apparently unable to improve my show, but during my fourth one, I was harassed twice. First a man started yelling about all the great things the machine could do, which would be helpful if he hadn’t been drowning me out for longer than was acceptable. He left after I refused to acknowledge him. Then an old woman who had previously been enjoying the show asked how much the machine was. If this question is ever asked before we get to the price part of the script, we just jokingly say, “A million dollars,” which usually makes the person laugh and calm down. This woman just rolled her eyes and then answered a phone call.

I’m pretty good at blocking out distractions when I’m performing, whether it’s onstage or doing these work shows. So I was ignoring this woman’s loud phone call until she made it impossible by saying even louder, “I’m trying to get a free gift, but I guess this girl is going to MAKE ME WAIT THROUGH A DEMONSTRATION.” I gave her a bit of side-eye, but kept going, and eventually she hung up. But then she just got worse. After everything I’d slice, she’d sigh dramatically, wave her hand in the air impatiently, and say, “Uh huh… Uh huh…” After doing this for two minutes straight, she finally exploded with, “Can you just give me my gift? My friend’s waiting for me outside.”

I was completely thrown by this, and furious about it. Without looking at her, I shoved a gift into her hand. I wish I could say I kept going without missing a beat, but I completely lost my train of thought. And when the show was over, I called my roommate and tried not to cry and then cried and bought some M&Ms. The show ruined my whole day, and though I didn’t do as badly, numbers-wise, as I thought, I don’t wish to ever have one like it again.

(Un)Happy Jewish New Year!

I am not Jewish, which is possibly how I ended up house managing a Rosh Hashanah service at the Big Famous University today. I didn’t know what event I was working, so I was very grumbly as I rose at 5:30 this morning after a terrible night’s sleep and was at work by 7:15. When I found out it was a Rosh Hashanah service, I thought, ‘Well, that least that’s interesting.’ And I guess it was, but I didn’t get to see much of the service; I did hear the entire three and a half hour service over the speaker, though, most of it in Hebrew, which is very nice to listen to.

When I found out that I was managing a religious service, I figured it would be a pretty easy day; reports about last night’s service were that they arrived late, left early, and didn’t cause any problems. And in general, it was an easy day. But there are always one or two people who have to make sure my day isn’t TOO easy. Today, I had two.

I was a little annoyed because the woman running the service didn’t arrive until the minute she wanted the doors to be open, making it hard to be prompt in doing that. But after that annoyance, she was nice, so I let it go. There were only about 120 people expected to attend, and since the ground floor of our auditorium holds 800, we were instructed not to open the balconies. People wandered in and out of the service the entire time and for about an hour and a half, things ran smoothly. Then all of a sudden, this man, probably in his sixties, storms into my office. Öne of my ushers, Ceara, was sitting closest to him, so she said, “Hello, sir, how can I help-” He ignored her and stomped over to me.

“Are you in charge?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Your staff is telling me that I can’t sit upstairs in the balcony!”

“That’s true. The auditorium holds 800 people, so there are plenty of seats on the ground level.”

“Well, I have children, and for the past few years, we’ve been allowed to sit in the balcony. ”

I was wondering what age this man’s “kids” were, considering that he was kind of old to have small children. But I answered, “Sir, the kids are allowed to sit in the seats on the ground floor.”

“I want my kids to be able to run around and talk. How are they supposed to do that on the ground floor?”

This, too, was confusing. There’s no partition between the balcony and the rest of the auditorium, so if the kids were making noise on the balcony, it wouldn’t be quieter than if they were on the ground floor. In fact, it might be louder. And even worse, while them running up and down the aisle might not be good, the steps in the balcony are EXTREMELY steep, and way too dangerous for little feet to be navigating. There was no way that allowing kids to “run around” up there was a good idea. I was also kind of annoyed that, if this man’s kids were that disruptive, he had brought them to the service at all. As a kid in church, I was expected to sit quietly, as were all the kids around me, and most of us did it fairly successfully- and if we didn’t, we were chastised and/or taken out of the room. And considering the tone this man was taking with me, I knew he was able to sound menacing enough to shut a kid up.

So I told him again that I would not be opening the balcony for him and his family. Besides the fact that it wasn’t safe, opening the balcony would involve sacrificing one of my few ushers to go up there and, I’m sure, babysit the children while the adults ignored them. My staff didn’t deserve that, especially since I was sure, if a kid got hurt, they would be blamed for it and not the negligent parents (who, I found out later, were the children of the man to whom I was speaking; he was the grandfather in the situation.)

The man was floored that, no matter what he said, I would not let him upstairs. “We have ALWAYS been allowed to sit upstairs. The RABBI lets us sit upstairs.”

“I’m just following the rules laid out for me, and you’re the only person who has asked to go upstairs. I’m not going to open it for one family.”

“I’m sure there are other people who have wanted to go up, but that belt across the stairway makes them think it’s not open.” (Kind of the point, sir…) “And they may not say anything but let me tell you-” And here, he leaned in very close to me. “I will.”

Of course, after I said no again, he threw a tantrum and demanded to seethe event contact, whom I couldn’t find. He grudgingly headed into the main level of the auditorium (sans children- I didn’t see him with children, even the grown ones, at all today), but not before growling, “Let me tell you, young lady, we’ve ALWAYS been allowed to sit in the balcony.” I half expected him to add, “You’ll be sorry for this!” but instead he just asked for my name, I’m sure to report me. But I’m not worried. After all, he can tell my boss every little thing I said and did, and it all just adds up to me doing my job.

I feel like part of his extreme anger is that he didn’t enjoy being told what to do by me. After all, I look like a teenager and, even though I’m not one, I’m still a person decades younger than him who is denying him something that he feels he has the right to. I’m sure he thought he could bully his way upstairs, but I had been forced to get up before the sun. I was not in a bargaining mood.

This wasn’t the only instance of guys thinking it was their special day. Another man, this one even older, tried to insist his way upstairs by elevating his illness. He peeked into my office and was like, “Miss, I have to sit upstairs because of my-” and he held up a nasal spray. I was confused as to why nasal spray would require someone to sit upstairs, and I told him that we weren’t opening the balcony. “But I have this awful cough,” he said, hacking pitifully, “And I already tried to sit downstairs and people complained. HILLEL MEMBERS!” he told me,  as though the Hillel members being particularly annoyed was going to influence my decision. I still told him no, he asked to see the event contact, and when I found her, she also told him no. He continued to cough as if to prove that he was actually sick, but the case was the same as with the children: there was no soundproof barrier in the balcony. The man waited around the lobby (where you could still hear the service) for awhile, finally saying poutily that he’d just stay out there. And glory be, his cough was cured- I didn’t hear it once for the hour he was sitting there. It’s a Rosh Hashanah miracle!

The rest of the day ran smoothly, and we even got out an hour early. One day, I aspire to be like these men- totally focused on only my wants and not caring how hard I make other people’s jobs. It must be nice to live like that…

Video

In – Between

About a week ago, I handed in my two weeks’ to the touring company. With the colder months approaching, the tours will be slowing down. They will pick up in October because of Halloween, but with September being so bare bones, schedule wise, I figure I might as well spend that time training for the new job (live infomercials in stores) instead of waiting to get thrown a tour.

I didn’t get a response to my resignation e-mail, and I thought it was my boss being her usual passive-aggressive self. I expected to log into our scheduling system and find myself inundated with tours during the time I had declared myself done with the job. Instead, my calendar is blank for the entire month. Again, I figured this was her passive-aggression, but today, I got an e-mail from my boss basically saying, “I’m so sorry, I’ve been out of town for the past few days… Can you please work for us through October?”

I said I’d see, but I thought it was interesting how a boss who abuses her employees thinks that I would be quick to say yes to working for her more, when I had another opportunity. This is the boss who got annoyed that I had to go my uncle’s funeral, and the one who expects me to have extra hours laying around in my day to work if she demands it.

But this company is understaffed, so I am in a position of power: they need me, and I can say yes or no. My boss asked if she could fix it by giving me more hours. “Tell me how many more you need, and I’ll try to make it work.” She doesn’t seem to understand that even if I worked all day every day for them, I still wouldn’t be able to support myself, but I don’t see how that can be a surprise; she knows how much I earn and she also knows how much it takes to live. Plus, her treatment of me certainly hasn’t, until that e-mail, shown me that my time was of any worth to them.

So with my not being scheduled for September, for now it looks like this past Friday was my last tour. I was surprised not to be working over the weekend, but since I worked a few jobs for most of the week, it was nice to get to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. Then, when I was awoken by thunder yesterday, I was more than happy to stay cozy in my bed with my laptop while the rain pounded against the window. But by midday yesterday, I was restless. The novelty of having the whole day to myself had worn off. When I have a whole day every now and then, it’s a gift. But now I’m in the position of that being the norm for possibly a week longer, and that’s kind of killing me. Thankfully, I am working at the university on Thursday, so hopefully that will make me feel useful again.

I’m also in between two beginning stages of taking anti-depressant medication. I took my first pill two Saturdays ago, got my dosage upped this past Friday, and now I’m waiting for it to actually start working. It might take another four weeks, which kind of sucks, but I’m just hoping it works at all- otherwise, I might have to start all over with another one. But it’s too soon to tell either way.

USPS Makes Everything Complicated

Since I’ve moved, I needed to fill out a change of address form. My mom told me I could do it at the post office, but I don’t know where the nearest post office is to my new place. So I decided to go on USPS’ website and find out. While on the site, I saw the following sidebar: Change of Address? USPS Makes it Easy! Click Here to Fill out Your Change-of-Address Form!”

‘Easy?’ I thought. ‘I love Easy! It’s my favorite word after ‘free!” So I clicked on the link and it led me… to a dead page. Or, an error page, to be more correct. I tried a few more times, continuing to get a page telling me that my internet service obviously sucked. Meanwhile, in other windows and other tabs, my internet was trucking along just fine. I let out an exasperated sigh and decided to call them instead. The machine on the other end told me that I’d be charged for doing it over the phone. Awesome. I hung up, figuring I’d take care of it in person the next day (today.)

I fully planned to figure out where the nearest post office was, drive over there, and settle this once and for all. But then, after a day at work, I turned onto my new street by habit. And it was raining. And humid. And I had to work on my monologue. And I JUST DIDN’T WANNA.

I kind of did, though. Mail is important. I decided to try the website once more. Admittedly, my internet can sometimes be crappy. Maybe today it would be better.

Eagle, my foot. The USPS is about as helpful and swift as a rock... at least in this case.

Eagle, my foot. The USPS is about as helpful and swift as a rock… at least in this case.

Nope. Still the same result, and after already spending too much time dealing with eBay and PayPal today, I was soooo not in the mood. I picked up my phone (which does not have a pretty cover, thanks to eBay and PayPal TOTALLY SUCKING.) The machine again informed me that I would be charged, but whatever, it’s $1.00, and, as I found out, you pretty much get charged no matter what. So I stayed on the line until I reached an agent.

We worked through my old address and then she said, “By the way, the card that you’re charging has to be linked to your old address.” This was a problem. My debit card, which is the one I was planning to use, is linked to my parents’ house, since I lived there for a good year after I got said card. And even if she asked for another card, the only other one I have is a credit card, which is also linked to my parents’ house.

But this was a bridge yet to be crossed, since she didn’t seem to care when I told her this information, prompting me for my new address. I gave it to her, all was well, and then she asked me for my card number. I supplied it for her, and a few seconds later…

“Oh, that didn’t go through.”

“So what should I do?” I asked.

“Well,” she said. “We can’t change your address unless your card matches up with your old address.”

I wanted to be a smart aleck and tell her that that WAS my old address. 1994 is pretty old. But I didn’t want to anger the woman who had power over my receiving my Netflix. Oh, and you know, my paycheques. I had already had to drive to my old apartment once to pick up a paycheque that arrived two days after my leave. And unfortunately, unlike my parents, who are still at the old (old) address, there is no one left in my old apartment to intercept my mail.

But the actual, important, big question was, how was I going to change my address when I’d already moved but did not possess a card with my (newer) old address on it? Get another card with that address on it to charge it a dollar just so I could get my mail? That seemed outrageously complicated and would take a lot more time than was logical.

I was staring into my wallet when I saw another card peeping out of the side pocket: my annoying job-related debit card, which holds my payment from my job at Big Famous University. It’s the worst thing ever; instead of direct deposit, which absolutely refuses to be set up, I get my payment on a debit card. BUT guess which address it’s registered under?!

Excited, I said to the agent, “WAIT! I have this debit card from my job. Can I try that?”

“Do you get bills from it?” she asked.

“No…”

“Then it’s not going to work.”

It had to work. It was my last chance of getting my mail. “Can I try it anyway?”

She sighed, annoyed. “I guess. But it’s not going to work.”

I fed her the numbers. A silence. Then…

“Oh. That actually worked.”

HALLEMAILJAH!

Shape up, USPS. Your system is flawed.

Ice Cream Trucks Mean It’s a Neighborhood

Over the past few days, I’ve been slowly moving into my new place, which is about 20-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from my old apartment. It was probably the smoothest move-out I’ve had yet. As I talked about last summer, I’m pretty awful at moving, so this time, I was really trying to be thorough. For the most part, I was good, though as today has been going on, I’ve been remembering the things I left in the fridge. Oops :/

My new place is actually IN Philadelphia; for the past five years, I’ve been living in the suburbs of the city. The area where I now live is still residential, but is in an area much, much busier than I’ve ever lived in before. Yesterday as my dad was helping me move and we drove down the street, I kept saying things like, “Look! A laundromat! A restaurant! A store! Sidewalks!” and my dad said, “This is a neighborhood.” As if to prove it, an ice cream truck drives by about four times a day. Ice cream trucks are the final word on whether a place is a neighborhood.

I’m living with two friends (a guy and a girl, who are a couple) from college and a guy I just met yesterday. It’s a small house as opposed to an apartment, with a garage and everything. My room is much smaller than my last room, but it’s nice and it’s ALL MINE. This is the first time in five years, save for the summer months, that I have not had a roommate. While I loved all of my roommates, I am so happy to finally have my own space, and for the lowest price I’ve paid yet.

Part of the reason for choosing this place out of the three I had on the table was that it is near to a subway station. At all my other places, I took at least two modes of transportation, usually with an added long walk, to work. Here, I can take one train to a stop very close to my jobs. Today was the first day I was trying out the new station. I left an hour, just in case, because the place is HUGE, with a multi-level parking garage. But it wasn’t hard to figure out, and the ride to work is only 25 minutes- hooray!

But my journey came to a screeching- or rather, a shattering- halt before I even pulled out of the driveway. Our garage/small driveway is behind the house, and there is a gate on each side that, if you wish, can join together and lock people away from your property. Just before I went to bed last night, I noted that someone had parked really stupidly right behind our driveway, and I made a note to myself to be careful when pulling out of the driveway. I remembered this as I was on my way to work today, but unfortunately, being super concentrated on not crashing into the stupid person’s car took my attention away from the Problem Child Gate, which, even after living here for less than 48 hours, I have figured out likes to swing around willy-nilly. So this morning, the PCG had decided to try to hug my car, and as I backed out, the edge of the gate came into contact with my left side-view mirror and smashed it to pieces.
This was bad. It was bad because my dad was going to be mad at me, but also because, if you remember, I’ve just moved to a busy area, where having all your mirrors in good working order is kind of required. I made it to the transportation center in one piece, but knew I’d have to do something about it after work.

Getting home after work was an episode, though. I take the subway a lot, but I only ever take it between 2nd and 34th Streets. The stop near my house is across the river from 2nd Street, all the way at the end of the line, but I’d always seen 2nd Street (and the river) as the final stop. So even though I got on the right train home, heading across the river, I panicked, second-guessed myself, and changed trains, riding for twelve incorrect subway stops (about twenty extra minutes) before realizing that I had been right the first time and taking another 50-minute ride back to my actual stop. *sigh*

When I got home, I had to add an auto shop stop to my already-planned grocery shopping, but as it turned out, I had to go to THREE auto shops… none of which had what I needed (a temporary mirror.) I went home, put away my groceries, and talked to my dad, who said that for my own safety, I HAD to get a replacement mirror of some kind before I drove around tomorrow. I knew he was right, so I tied back PCG and drove off again, to Target for tape and some sort of cheap mirror. Pathetic, yes, but all I can do at the moment.

Do you know how hard it is to find a mirror? I’ll tell you- REALLY HARD. I figured I’d just buy a cheap makeup case or locker mirror and fasten it to my car, but they apparently don’t sell those at the moment. The only mirrors I found were magnifying mirrors, which wouldn’t make my driving any safer, or super fancy (expensive) decorative mirrors. But FINALLY, after about forty-five minutes, I came across a large hand-held mirror. I thought it might be too big, but it’s actually the perfect size, and when I got home, I stepped on the handle and snapped it off, removed blue plastic from around the edges and back, and package-taped the mirror over the shattered remains of my side-view mirror… and it actually doesn’t look as stupid as I thought. It still kind of looks like someone who was really desperate fixed it up, but I don’t think it could have looked any better.

So now that THAT drama is over, I have to concentrate on memorizing this new script for work (a ghost tour, run by the same company I already work for.) I can’t wait until my first test is over- then I can return to normal life, which involves decorating my new room, reading, and not crashing into gates.

That Tour Was a Little Too Exciting

Today, I was scheduled for two historical tours. The first one was at 10 am, and the second wasn’t until 1 pm, so I packed a sandwich and a book for the in-between time and set off for work. My first group was one of three groups from an elementary school, my charges around eight or nine years old. They were, comparatively, a pretty good group- besides the constant inquiries about whether we were going to go into any of the historical sites (No. No no no no.), they listened and asked good questions.

When we were about three-quarters of the way through the tour- so, about 45 or 50 minutes in- I was leading the group of kids and chaperones down a street when there was the sound of breaking glass. I turned around in time to see my tour patrons being showered with sizable pieces of glass, all falling from somewhere above. We all just stood there stunned for a few seconds after the glass stopped falling, looking up. Then everyone started getting a little freaked out, realizing what had just happened. No one was screaming or crying, but everyone, included me, was very obviously shaken by it. The pieces of glass that had fallen on us ranged in size from very small to about as long as my hand. I asked if everyone was okay and got a yes, so I moved them away from the site, and as I did, a man ran to the doorway of the building and stared at us.

Outside of our next stop, the teacher asked if we could stop. She asked how many of the kids had been hit; five raised their hands. Four of them claimed to feel no pain, but one girl was pressing her hand to her head and saying it hurt. The teacher checked her head pretty thoroughly, but there weren’t any cuts or bumps. Still, the teacher requested that we end the tour and go back to the museum where we started.

I led the group back to the starting point, where I asked for the hundreth time if everyone was okay and the students sat on the grass and started on their lunches.  I stayed and talked to the teacher, who was on and off the phone with the school and the school nurse. The girl was still complaining of pain, so I ran into the museum and asked if they had a medical professional on site. Amazingly, they didn’t. The teacher requested ice for the girl’s head, and I had no idea how I was going to get it, or carry it. But then I remembered that I had a sandwich in my backpack for lunch, so I took my sandwich out of its bag, put the sandwich into my backpack, and took the plastic baggie to the museum’s cafeteria, where I filled it with ice at the soda station. The teacher handled the situation in a very level-headed manner, but she was worried about the girl’s mother, who, apparently, is wont to sue, even though the whole thing was an accident.

Eventually, there wasn’t any more I could do, so I went back to the incident site and took a ton of pictures on my phone, and as I was doing that, the guy who I’d seen run to the doorway appeared. I wondered if he would kill me if I went over and asked him what had happened. I did, and he was very nice, and also very worried about the kids. He waited while I talked to my boss on the phone a few times, then waited with me while my boss made his way to us, and then for another hour as the three of us waited for the police. Yes, it took the police nearly an hour to get to us. We were hoping that an officer would walk or drive or horse-ride (seriously) by, but not a single one was to be found. When one did drive by and stopped when we waved him down, he told us that we weren’t his call and that someone would be by soon. “Soon” turned out to be twenty minutes later, and after all that waiting, giving the report only took about seven minutes.

Because the officer took so long to get there, I missed my second tour and went home early, where I had to transfer all my pictures of the incident and write up a report for my boss. All of this, after the excitement of the afternoon, was tedious, but having been in car accidents, I know how important an accurate report is. It will be interesting to see what comes of all of this. Whatever happens, I can safely say that I do not want anything like this to happen again.

Previous Older Entries