Posts Tagged 'apartment life'

Things they don’t teach you in school


Does anyone really know what Permanent Press means? If so, could you kindly enlighten me?

Ten or so years ago I started doing my own laundry. More because I didn’t trust my mother not to shrink every item of clothes I owned (and this was around the time I started earning my own keep, so they were really MY clothes) than to be a responsible teenager, I learned through trial and error what could be washed together, what definitely shouldn’t go into the dryer, and when not to ignore the “dry clean only” tags. And I’ll tell you, even now as a “grownup” I still can’t figure this shit out.

I discovered the value of bleach one day after I spilled one too many shots of espresso on my white polo work shirts. I found out that dryer sheets really do get rid of static and sweater fuzz. And in the past few months I’ve realised the incredible value of the magic elixer that is fabric softener. At every juncture, I feel like I’ve had a mini-epiphany. But I’m left to wonder… why didn’t anyone ever just tell me how this stuff works?

The answer, I believe, is rooted in one of my long-standing criticisms of the Feminist Movement. We ladies of today have gained so much from the work of our mothers, aunts, crazy cat ladies who scream on the corner–the idea that a woman can walk into a brokerage firm (bad example… oil company), plop down her resume and college degree and get a powerful job. Ok, we still don’t get paid as much as men in general, with a few notable exceptions, but we have come a long way from the age when men would even let us drive a car, let alone run a Fortune 500 company.

Now that I’ve placated all the rabid feminazis, here’s my issue. My brother took home economics as part of his 6th grade arts rotation. He also took French, Latin, and Music, which suggests that enriching ones liberal arts knowledge does not exclude a practical education in how to run a home. I, however, took no such class. Everything I know about cooking and cleaning I picked up through osmosis, or learned from Martha Stewart (insider trading? whatever I LUVS YOU Martha!). But what I never understood is why I should be considered less of a strong, independent female for knowing how to roast a killer pork tenderloin. Would I look better wearing a crisply ironed shirt to work or a wrinkly mess?

I just can’t tolerate it when people take ignorance as a mark of pride. Why is it acceptable for a young woman to be all, “tee hee, I burned my microwave frozen dinner,” but turn her nose up at my ability to cook a whole Italian dinner from scratch?

This is why I’m writing a cookbook… eventually. I just wish someone would write a book about laundry. Thank God for Google.


The war downstairs

Is it wrong to wish death upon your neighbor?

Not death, necessarily, but I’d be lying if I said this woman wasn’t far from death’s door when we moved in a few months ago.

To understand the backstory here, imagine this blog post as one of those really clever episodes of Mad Men or Alias (remember that?) when they start at the end, jump backward an indeterminate span of time, and show you in 42 minutes how the lead character winds up with a bloody nose or at gunpoint or something (in this case) less dramatic.

The folks who lived in our apartment before us moved out because they started smelling cigarette smoke wafting in through their windows and convectors. But the price was right and conditions prime for us to get the heck out of dodge (aka our dank pit downstairs (aka Tom Ridge’s house)), so we rationalised that the smoke probably wasn’t *that* bad, and the lady who lived here was preggers afterall and was probably being sensitive to smells… and we signed on the dotted line. The building manager told us that the source of the smoke was in all likelihood an older woman who was no longer healthy enough to go outside for her ciggy breaks. Id points out that *MAYBE* the ciggy habit has something to do with our downstairs neighbor’s fragile health, but far be it for downstairs neighbor–let’s call her Ashtray–to recognize irony this late in the game.

To add insult to injury, I received a phone call from our building’s front desk while shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond for grownup’s candy and toys new apartment essentials the day after we moved in, inquiring with me exactly when all the banging and loud noises would stop, because evidently it’s rather unneighborly to construct affordable Swedish furniture in one’s own apartment. (And because evidently I’m apartment mom, but that’s a whole other story.) Ego has rarely seen me more enraged. So less than 24 hours in our new abode and we’ve already opened hostilities against one (but, let’s be honest, probably several) of our neighbors.

Secret Sam watching football. Isn't he cute?

Ashtray lights up at around 4 or 5pm weekdays–quitting time for most adults with normal people’s schedules–then moves to one of the back bedrooms at around 8 or 9pm–bedtime for most adults without insomnia, which mercifully doesn’t describe me or Ego. The result is a predictable pattern of wafty smoke that governs by when we should close our windows and/or shut off our heating units. Overall, not the most annoying thing about living here, but still just annoying enough that it prompts stiletto dance parties and the smuggling of secret noisemaking dogs into our apartment.

We often find ourselves wondering when she’d just die already, give our lungs and linens a break. But until then we’ll just combat her stinky habits with an army of scented candles, an artillery of Febreeze, and the hope that when she goes, she doesn’t leave a lit cigarette behind. Because like smoke, fire rises.

June 2018
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