Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I love food.

So, how about a happy non-baby related post?

I really like food. I love cooking (most of the time), especially baking, and I really love to eat. It's just fun! I know that makes me sound like a cow, but I can't help it! I also really love hearing about the things my family cooks, like my sister Kristin who lives in Utah. She Facebooks a lot about what she's made for dinner. I somehow always manage to read it when I'm hungry, and my mouth starts to water every time! Everything she makes just sounds so yummy!

I also have really fun memories of food when we would go to visit my sister Sharon when they lived in Kentucky. She would make such fantastic desserts! Yum....I really want some chocolate truffle cake now. Also, I remember having a Passover dinner with her family once. That was really neat, and something I'd like to do again.

I have lots of opportunities for fun cooking/baking. I really love making treats at Christmas time. Especially fudge, which is so easy and so delicious! Also, there are some traditional foods in Brett's family that we make, like Czech food at Christmas and baklava at Easter (which we'll hopefully make tonight, yum!).

I was really excited for St. Patrick's Day this year, because I've been looking forward to making corned beef and cabbage. I remember having it growing up, and I always loved it. Last year I attempted, and as I recall, the meat was sort of on the tough side. I think I overcooked it that time. At any rate, this year I let the beef and cabbage cook in the crockpot on low all day, and then made some red potatoes when it was time for dinner. It was so delicious! The meat was perfectly tender, and the cabbage was tasty. The potatoes were good, too, but it was really the corned beef I was looking forward to! We're going to get another thing of corned beef to make, because we really want to make Reuben sandwiches, but now we don't have enough leftover beef. Because I ate it. I couldn't help myself, it was amazing.

I'm also really looking forward to summer when berries are cheaper again. I love fruit and yogurt bowl, and I'm so ready to have some yummy smoothies! I love berries, and peaches, and I'm really excited to eat lots of them! I seem to crave fruit all the time these days, so it'll be nice to actually find some good produce without spending an arm and a leg!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

About the apartment complex (Sorry, it's really long)

I said I'd post about this, so here I go. Some people I've already talked with about this, so sorry if this is old news!

We've lived in our current apartment for just shy of two years. The first year wasn't terrible, although I wasn't entirely thrilled with the maintenance, which was rather lax. Just after we resigned our lease, the apartment above & across from us, which had been unoccupied for quite a while, was rented.

Anyone who knows me will know that I am certainly not racist, and I try really hard not to judge people based on stereotypes. The people (either 3 or 4 actual residents, it's hard to tell because there are so many going in and out of that apartment) who moved in are from eastern Europe, and it's terrible, but the most accurate description I can come up with for them is Eurotrash. I know it's mean. But really.

Shortly after they moved in, we noticed that they were throwing trash off their balcony onto the ground in front of the building. And cigarette butts. And beer cans. And glass beer bottles. We reported it to the lease office several times. The time we found the shattered glass bottle in front of the apartment, it took maintenance 48 HOURS to come clean the glass up from the sidewalk and nearby grass. So there was quite a history of us complaining about the slobs above us.

In addition, these people have FIVE VEHICLES. It started out as four, but then they got ANOTHER car. So, there is a huge utility van, a minivan, and now three cars. And where do they park them? All lined up in front of the entrance to the building. Now, the thing about our building is that it is the first right off the street, so there are...maybe six or seven parking spaces right in front for us to use. With all four units in our building occupied, that means there are, right now, 11 cars to be parked. And the slobs above us move their vehicles so seldom that unless we're lucky enough to get a space near the door, we can pretty much count on having to walk a fair distance every single day for most of a week.

Brett and I have complained no fewer than four times in the past six months about the parking situation. My biggest thing is that, especially now that I'm pregnant, it is ridiculous that I should have to walk uphill half a block lugging my laundry/groceries/etc. because the people in that unit are so inconsiderate. It's rude even if I weren't pregnant! The lease office basically told us they couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it, because there's nothing in the lease that limits the number of vehicles per unit. I think that's stupid, and I told them that since clearly it is a problem, it might be advantageous for them to look into an addendum to the lease. Well, I wasn't that nice about it, but...same idea.

Also, in looking into 2 bedroom apartments, we checked with the lease office to see if they could offer us a good deal. Well, not only do we have to reapply and re-submit all of our financial information, but we also have to pay $150 administration fee and a $300 transfer fee. WHAT?!?

So, even after all the complaints we've made (including me going to the lease office to speak with a manager TWICE), I came home from apartment hunting last week to find a lovely little notice on our door. It informed us that we had 24 hours to remove the cigarette butts from the grounds in front of our building or we would be fined.

Yeah, that's right. After we had been complaining for MONTHS about the slobs upstairs, WE were the ones who got a notice. I looked around at other people's doors--no papers there. So, at least in my mind, we were the only ones to get the notice. (I just realized how much I'm typing in all caps. Can you tell I'm still irritated about this?) So I called Brett, because I was immediately ticked off since Brett and I don't smoke, and because hello, I'm freaking pregnant! Of course I don't smoke! I better move on, I'm getting all worked up about it again. He told me to go talk to the manager about it, so I headed over to the office with the notice in hand.

I'm just going to say right here that I probably could've handled the situation better, but I was really angry, so I did the best I could. I informed the receptionist when I walked in that I was a resident and I wanted to speak with a manager immediately. No doubt the tone of my voice and my body language made it obvious something was wrong. She asked what it was concerning, and I showed her the notice. She told me that everyone in the building had gotten the same notice. I told her that was nice, but I still wanted to speak with the manager. She asked for my ID. I asked her why she wanted it, because I'd never been asked for it before. She said it was so the manager could look up my account information. I could hardly see why that would be necessary, but I figured I'd save the arguing for the manager, so I gave her my license. She disappeared.

Several minutes later, she finally came back out and asked me if I was ready. I managed to bite back my snarky response, and instead just told her yes. She pointed me in the direction of an office. It was a different manager than I usually dealt with, and I have to say, the girl in there had to have been younger than me. First impressions really do mean something, and I was NOT impressed with the girl behind that desk. She had bleached blonde hair (not that I have anything against blondes, but when it's an obvious bleach job combined with the rest of the way she looked, I have a hard time taking them seriously), and she was dressed very unprofessionally. She looked like she was getting ready to go clubbing, not to work!

At any rate, I sat down, and long story short, explained the problem to her and why I was fairly offended by the notice. She reiterated that the notice had been put on everyone's door. I told her that didn't matter, that I had no way of knowing that, and since they were aware of who was actually the cause of the problem, that they should go to the people responsible instead of hassling the rest of us. She replied that if we weren't the ones doing it, then we should just ignore the notice. Um, excuse me? I pointed out that the notice threatened that we would be fined if we did that. I also told her that, considering all the other problems we had had with them, we didn't appreciate getting a note on our door demanding that we pick up someone else's cigarette butts. She started getting really condescending, which is when I lost it. I can deal with outright rudeness, but I HATE it when someone talks to me like I'm stupid. Ack, self-editing. I was about to say something really mean.

So, I lost my temper. I didn't yell at her, but I definitely raised my voice, sort of in Mom's very emphatic tone. It's not really yelling, but it's quite obvious that I'm unhappy and that the conversation was pretty much over. I told her that I didn't appreciate the office's complete unwillingness to resolve any problem that we brought to them. I again enumerated all of the complaints that we'd made about the residents above us. I pointed out again that we'd been looking to move into a bigger apartment, and that their refusal to negotiate their ridiculous fees meant that we would be paying an exorbitant amount to stay in the complex. (I have to admit here that I really like using big-ish words when I lose my temper. It confuses people. And as petty as it is, it's so much fun to see the look on their face that says 'what did she just say?' Yeah. I'm kind of evil.) Then she made a really big mistake.

She told me to calm down.

OK, I wasn't raving at her or anything. Yes, my voice was slightly elevated, but it was in no way inappropriate. I wasn't yelling, I was still seated, I wasn't threatening or wildly gesticulating. Other than my angry, emphatic voice, I was fine. Granted, I had a really big adrenaline rush, so I was trying not to shake (I haven't confronted someone like that in a long time, hence me not being used to it and getting shaky). But really, I wasn't going crazy on her. So, I decided I was finished, and I told her so. I told her that I was done coming to them to resolve the problem, since it obviously wasn't doing any good, and that she should be aware that because of their continual refusal to do anything to resolve said problems, that not only would we not be renewing our lease, but we would also make sure that people were aware of how problematic the complex was. I stood up and started walking out. She sort of half-shouted "Have a good day!" to me as I walked into the main part of the office that had all the cubicles in it. As livid as I was at that point, I probably should've known better but I couldn't help myself. I turned around and in front of her employees told her that I would have a good day the day I moved out of that place and no longer had to deal with her incompetence.

Yeah....I was pretty mean.

I know this is a really long post, but this just took the cake: last week we got a notice that for security reasons, they were changing the locks on ALL of the apartment doors on...last Friday, I think. I thought it was stupid since we're moving out in a couple months, but given my last encounter with them, I decided not to go talk to the office about it. So I got home from the hospital, hoping to grab a quick nap before having to get up, eat, and go to work. Well, they had already changed the lock, so I went down to the lease office to pick up the new keys. There were about 15 other people in the office also waiting to get their keys.

I waited for almost an hour! Yeah. An hour. And why, you may ask? Well, the person from maintenance hadn't brought back that set of keys yet. And could they page him? No. We just all had to wait. So, fat pregnant woman was locked out of her apartment, tired, grumpy, hungry, and having to use the bathroom (which they have in the office, but still). The funny part was that three or four people came in to inquire about leasing, and they had to wait. And while they were waiting, they talked to the disgruntled residents who were also waiting. I actually had a pretty lengthy conversation with one guy, and basically told him not to rent there unless he had no other choice. Ha. Take that, West Pointe.

Have I mentioned yet how thrilled I will be to move at the end of May?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My back hurts.

So, not the most creative title for a blog post, but I'm feeling decidedly un-creative today. I'm not really sure why. Maybe because my back has been aching for the past several days, therefore making it incredibly difficult to sleep (although the Benadryl helped a lot last night, so thanks Mom), which means that I'm tossing and turning all night and getting little rest, which only exacerbates the problem. Yuck.

It hasn't been a really eventful week (or two, or however many), and so I haven't felt like I have anything to write about. Little things happen, or I can't stop thinking (and worrying) about being pregnant, but then I feel like, why would someone want to read my complaints about my pregnancy? Or not even complaints, but really any part of it? And then I realized that, although I do hope people find my blog at least halfway entertaining, that's not really the reason why I'm writing it. I'm pregnant right now. That's a huge part of my life, and it affects everything I do. So if people don't want to read about me feeling fat (which only happens sometimes, like when I try to tie my shoes), then they don't have to read my blog. I'm just saying.

Anyway, probably the biggest thing that's happened lately is that Heather (my sister Heather, not Brett's sister Heather) had to go to the hospital a week ago. Long story short, she had a kidney stone that blocked drainage from her kidney, and she got an infection that reached her bloodstream, and she was septic. She'll probably post about in on her blog (which is amazing, by the way, if anyone hasn't already read it I would really encourage you to do so) in the next few days, so I won't steal her thunder. Suffice it to say that she was in the ICU for a week, and she's doing much better and got to go home last night. I was up at the hospital pretty much every day...actually, maybe it was every day expect yesterday, because I had to work. It's not crazy fun or anything, but I like being with my family, and I think it helps to have people to visit with when you're stuck there and can't do much else.

I've started the apartment search, since our lease is up on June 3rd and we are most definitely NOT staying in our current complex. Wow, I really dislike the people at the lease office. I'm going to have to post about that later. They're idiots, and they refuse to do anything about the myriad of problems we've reported, and I can't stand them. Plus, they are SO condescending when I try to talk to them, and if there is one thing in this world I can't stand, it is being talked down to. So. At any rate, I was really proud of myself, because I typed up a sheet so I could be all organized when I went around to different lease offices. I looked at seven different places, and I only spent 20-30 minutes at each since I didn't look at any of the units. I figured we'd narrow down the list to about four, and then go tour the places when Brett could go with me. It's fairly clear which two are the frontrunners, and there's one place in particular that we really like. So, we'll just have to see. Either way, we'll be moving at the end of May.

Thank goodness.