I took today off to have cleaners come to the apartment and clean it. I was told they'd arrive between 7:30 and 8, so I arrived bright and early to let them in. But they didn't show up until after 9! I was going mad with worry! I even started doing the cleaning myself, thinking they stood me up and I would need to manage the impossible mess on my own.

Thankfully they DID show up. And they were as horrified by the mess as I was. But they somehow managed to tackle it. They didn't clean everything, but they did take on the very worst of it. The apartment looks as good as new now!

While they cleaned, I walked down to the local panera to make use of their internet. Our marketing agency was going to miss mailing deadlines if I wasn't able to keep the copy and art routing today. I demanded they give me cake for working on my birthday.

The cleaning job was worse than the cleaners imagined from my descriptions over the phone, so they charged me a bit extra since it took them an extra hour. I felt that was fair. However, they should have told me how much extra it was going to be while I was at lunch so I could have stopped at an atm. I was $5 short!

I felt like a jerk giving them less than they asked for, until I remembered they were over an hour late. Also, they stole all my sponges. So I feel less like a jerk. Those were some good sponges too!

After they left, I took care of some minor touch-ups. They had missed cobwebs in a few spots and missed washing down one entire wall in the kitchen. But that wasn't too bad. I also went around trying to scrub up scuff marks with my magic eraser. I should have brought two. Those things are awesome!

And after that, I walked down to starbucks to kill time and do a bit more work. I had a gift card I won at work, so I didn't even have to spend my own money! I got a salted caramel hot cocoa, which I didn't like very much because it tasted burnt. But it's not a big deal. The cup is mostly a prop to use their internet until ben can pick me up after he gets off from work.
Monday night we brought over an epic amount of stuff to goodwill. And the employees were nice to stay open about 10 minutes later when I told them we had another carload to bring over and would be right back.

Between monday and yesterday, I made tons of phone calls to maid services. That is quite an achievement for me. Phones are so scary. I managed to book one that will clean the entire apartment top to bottom AND shampoo all the carpets for only $240. Much cheaper than I expected. I'm now seriously considering hiring maids to come by once or twice a month to clean up the house. If a heavy duty job like the apartment is that inexpensive, I bet cleaning the house will be almost nothing!

Last night I moved furniture around the bedroom (these slider things were a back saver!) and unpacked more boxes. The kitchen is almost done. I need ben to build my kitchen work table before I can finish though.

I think I'll get to work on the living room next. I can set up my bird's new cage and my computer. And get my houseplants off the floor. Then I guess I'll start opening boxes in the spare rooms and finding places for everything else.
One thing I forgot to mention was that my dog was at the new house. And ben and I were trapped at the apartment. So this morning, we were furiously shoveling the car out to rescue her. Of course when we showed up, she acted like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. She wagged her tail at us and returned to the couch to nibble on her cookie.

Heat has been restored to the apt, so I'm going to work from home today. I brought my dog with me. So I can still feel like I rescued her even if she doesn't care.
Currently I am trapped in my old apartment with no heat. But I have electricity, so I'll just try to distract myself from the cold.

Last night was the worst commute of my life. Not exaggerating. Five hours long and I came home with the beginnings of frost bite.

First of all, the trains were packed. But I did get a train without waiting longer than 10 minutes, so it wasn't that bad actually. The real problems started when I got to the bus station.

The line for the buses snaked around the platform and up the escalator into the metro station. I waited 90 minutes for a bus; and most of the waiting was spent out in the snow and wind. Eventually a bus did arrive. Not MY bus. But A bus. By this point I wasn't even sure my bus would EVER arrive, so I hopped on this one figuring a bus that goes part of the way was better than waiting out in the cold. Bonus: I got a seat!

I was really glad for that seat too, because it was a two hour bus ride. It only took us about 15 minutes to get almost to our exit because the buses get to use a special lane. But there's one final mile of highway that needs to be passed before we exit. And that's where we spent most of our time. The highway was a parking lot. And to make it worse, people did in fact park their cars and start walking home.

I do have to compliment everyone around me through the waiting and the bus ride. Everyone kept their spirits high and were more than willing to share their food and drinks with other riders that were feeling hungry or unwell.

After we finally got off the highway, it became extremely clear that we weren't getting to the park and ride. The roads here were parking lots too. The driver finally got us as far as the cross street and let us loose into the snow.

Ben had tried to dig our car out to come get me, but he couldn't compete against the snow. So I was left at the park and ride with no way home. I had to walk. Which actually wasn't as bad as standing because at least the movement was keeping me warm. However, I noticed during the walk that my feet were feeling more and more like clubs as I went.

While walking, the sky was flashing and booming because we had THUNDERSNOW! Although I was miserable at the time, I can appreciate the epicness of it all.

Trees were falling all around me as I walked. TRESS! One large one came crashing down right into the road. Luckily no one was hit. If it had fallen just a foot more to the right or left, it would have hit someone because there was nowhere for anyone to go to avoid it.

Lots of people were out trying to move the trees. And some people were even nice enough to direct traffic to help people avoid more roads with fallen trees. The local gov't may be totally incompetent when it comes to dealing with snow, but at least everyone else was able to work together and try to get through it the best they could.

After I had totally lost feeling in my feet, finally a kind person drove by and offered me a ride. Her car was so wonderfully warm. She was actually lost because she had to detour from a road covered in fallen trees. I gave her directions to the road she was trying to get to. I think it was a fair exchange of favors.

And then I was finally home! Ben was concerned about the loss of feeling in my feet and filled the bathtub with warm water for me to soak them in until circulation returned. Some of my toes were extremely pale. When the water finally started to warm them, they itched like crazy! Poor sad toes....

Ben and I watched some more My Little Ponies, and then went to bed. Except we had no blankets or pillows or pjs or even a change of clothes. But we did have an air mattress! We went to bed in our work clothes and fuzzy robes, using my dog's stinky bed blanket for warmth. BECAUSE WE LOST HEAT. And was anyone going to get out in this weather and fix it? No, of course not!

So we slept for six hours before it got too cold in the apt to stay still. I hope my bird is going to be ok. We still have gas and electricity though. I have pots of boiling water on the stove to try to keep things in here a little warmer. And ben is trying to shovel out the car with our stupid little travel shovel. The full sized shovel is at the house...

I have a 2 hour delay for work. I can't believe they are asking us to come in. I don't even know how I am getting in. The buses are running on a saturday schedule. I would try working from home in the apt, but...no heat. Yeah... And the house has no internet. Awesome.

So what have I learned from yesterday? When the office lets you leave 2 hours early for weather, leave 3 hours early.
Yesterday was a day of cleaning. Today too. I managed to scrub the bathroom ceiling so hard, the paint came off. Oops. I'll need to have maintenance come in and fix it.

Despite all that, the bathroom still looks gross. Everything is stained. :(

The kitchen is a disaster too. But at least I got most of the dishes cleaned. And then I cooked and messed it all up again. *sigh*

I'm just not good at cleaning...

One day when I am rich, I will pay someone to keep the house clean for me. It will be fantastic.
Angry Chipmunk

All morning this little guy has been sitting on that porch screaming what I assume translates from chipmunk to "Get off my lawn!!!"
I cannot sleep. :(

There is a SWARM of flies in the bedroom. They appeared yesterday out of seemingly nowhere. Today I discovered a bag of half eaten tacos under a chair. It was rotten and maggoty.

I am NOT happy.
I took advantage of the nice weather today to clean up my back porch area and get my summer garden started.

The adventures with Alvin had left many pots knocked over, spilling dirt everywhere. Plus there was chips of cement all over from all that bad snow. (And someone stole my back porch sandals!)

But with a sturdy broom and some patience, everything is back in order. (And Alvin isn't allowed to run wild anymore or his owner gets kicked out of the building.)

Summer 2010 Garden

Noname helped.

I planted two cherry tomatoes and four cucumber bushes in the back row. The front row has strawberries already growing in one pot, and carrots in the other pot.

I'm excited about the strawberries. I planted them last year (in both front pots) and they mostly died. It made me really happy when two grew back, plus one new shoot that's all the way to the left running free. It looks like maybe a 3rd one survived, but just barely. I'm not sure it's going to make it.

And it looks like this year I'll actually get some strawberries! Yay!

Strawberries
Today I was told to do in 8 hours what normally takes me 8 business days to do. I was not pleased.

Somehow I managed it. (I cut a lot of corners.) And then made sure they knew they owed me pizza and ice cream.

When I got home, I took my adorable puppy for a walk. Where she was savagely attacked by alvin.

Actually, alvin wanted to play with her. But all noname understood was that a HUGE dog was running right at her. She tried to run away, but alvin got caught on her leash. They were stuck together! Noname freaked out completely at that point and tried to bite alvin. So then he tried to run away but was stuck on noname's leash.

It was not a good scene.

Once I got them untangled, I told alvin to go home and I carried my dog away. Alvin kept following me though! And jumping on me! Not cool!

Then a woman got out of her car and started walking to her apartment. Before I could shout to her, alvin had run over and jumped on her back. She screamed, then started yelling at me. I explained that alvin wasn't my dog. Luckily she listened and stopped yelling at me.

Alvin tried to follow her home. I tried to distract him so she could get inside. It didn't work, so she went to sit in her car while I walked away in hopes he'd get bored and find someone else to bother. I think it worked because alvin was gone and there was no one in the lady's car when we were done with our walk.

Noname was traumatized by the entire thing. Poor baby.
Today was another dentist appointment, so I was working from home this morning. Unfortunately, the power went out! No good!

I crocheted for the hour or so I had to kill, then went to my appointment. There we discussed yanking out my wisdom teeth. I signed many many scary forms. My next appointment is for the 4th. I will be very very drugged for it. I'm not looking forward to it.

After the appointment, I had several errands to run. I did some shopping and changed my name on my bank account. Then I picked up chinese food for a late lunch/early dinner.

The power was still out when I returned home, plus it was getting dark, so I took a nap. The power finally came back just before I went to pick ben up from work.

I feel like I lost my whole day. Blarg.
Poor alvin! His horrible horrible owner has left him out in this terrible storm!!!

I brought him in and dried him off. He was cold and covered in snow. But ben had me throw him back out when I was done warming him up. My dog was trying to bite him, my bird was flipping out, and my husband was noticeably uncomfortable.

I feel so bad for that dog. I'm thinking about calling animal control to report neglect. I don't know what else to do. Has anyone ever had to report a neglected animal? What happens to the animal?
We got to leave early yesterday due to the storm. At first I thought it was a bit silly since it wasn't sticking at all, but once I got out to virginia I saw they had a couple inches already.

It was tough getting home cause work let us out before the express bus started running. I took the local instead, which doesn't take me to my apartment but takes me within walking distance. Visibility was so low, however, that I missed that stop. No problem, I told myself. There's another stop a few blocks later that is only slightly further away.

The local bus' route changed!!! They don't go anywhere near that second stop. I had a very long, cold walk home. And my snow boots decided to quit about halfway through my walk. Not a good time to need new snow boots.

Thankfully maintenance had been keeping the sidewalks clear when I got home so I was able to give noname a couple decent walks. She didn't enjoy it, but I enjoy not cleaning up pee.

A bit around midnight our power started to flicker. But it held out through the night. I'm glad. That would have been awful.

It's still snowing out there and I'm not sure how I'm going to walk my dog. I have not seen maintenance up and about yet to start shoveling and plowing. I'm not even sure they could make it to work. The weather reports say we have 15 inches already. Not as bad as last time, but as I mentioned, it's still coming down. So we'll see.

Random note: Every time a branch on the tree outside our door breaks, a giant pile of snow falls and the whole window is covered in a snowy death explosion. It's kinda cool to watch. (Though I am glad to be watching it from inside my nice warm apartment.)
I think poor Alvin is out in this snowstorm!!! :(

I can't see him (it's pitch black outside), but my dog is flipping out at the back door.

If he comes up to my back door, I'm stealing him. He can stay in my nice warm apartment for the night, even if it makes noname crazy. No dog should have to stay out in the snow all night! :(
I got locked in the bathroom!

Maintenance totally lied about fixing the doorknob! Ben had to take apart the doorknob to save me.

It's a good thing I don't live alone. I'd never get out!

I think we are going out to eat now, to make up for the traumatizing experience.
I met a dog named Alvin tonight.

Noname was barking furiously at the back door. When I got up to look, there was a big black dog wagging its tail at the door.

I could see it had a collar and tags and it didn't look threatening at all, so I locked my dog up, grabbed a treat, and opened the door. The dog walked right in and took the treat. I told him sit, which he did, so I could read the name and phone number off his collar.

"Do you have a dog named Alvin," I asked?

The man on the line said, "Yeah, is he bothering you?"

I learned that Alvin is allowed to run around at night and that he lives one building over. His owner came by anyway to pick him up and explain that he's not a bad pet owner, just "a country boy at heart" and can't stand to see animals locked inside all day. (Um...then how about you don't own a dog until you have a yard for the dog to safely play in?)

While we talked, Alvin was making himself at home, falling asleep at my feet. He seems to be a good dog. I hope he doesn't suffer because of his irresponsible owner.

Alvin came back a couple minutes after his owner took him away. He was trying to get my dog to come out and play. Maybe we'll try that in spring, during the day when I can easily see both dogs. (They're both black! If they ran into the dark, I'd never find them!)

When tempting my dog outside failed, Alvin started to destroy my gardening supplies I think. I can hear things being knocked over. Now he's jumping up on my back door. *sigh* Poor Alvin needs some friends. Or an owner that doesn't leave him outside all night.
I have been reasonably productive on my day off. That makes me feel good.

I had maintenance come in today to check out the bubble in the bathroom ceiling. They cut open the bubble to find all the drywall there rotted away, but the leak appears to have stopped on its own. They are going to have someone come in during the week to put new drywall in. I hope they are right about the leak because otherwise that will be a waste of good drywall.

I also had them fix the bathroom door which had become loose and sometimes would not open no matter how much you turned it. We'd get stuck in the bathroom sometimes if we closed the door all the way. Hopefully that is fixed now too.

Then I did laundry. While I waited for each load, I crocheted my beach dress. I am trying really hard not to mess it up this time.

Also, I went to the leasing office and picked up our new parking passes. It made the lady happy that I actually read the letter she sent out and had all the papers I needed. Noname was unimpressed by the new decal, but she enjoyed the walk.

I wanted to walk to the food store today, but time flew by too fast. It'll be dark soon and I don't want to be out alone after dark. I might drive over when ben gets home though.

And now my dog is sitting on my lap making it very hard to type.... Too bad for her the dryer just turned off so I need to get up soon.
I am not having a good day.

So after I missed the bus, the next bus came late. So yeah, that was fun...

Then work was exploding all day. I was stressing about deadlines that I missed days ago. I needed someone to review one thing for me AND SHE LEFT. EARLY.

I was ready to kill.

When I finally gave up on the day and went home, a man tried to push me onto the train tracks. He was running to catch the train and pushed me over. I just barely stopped myself from falling down. I even screamed.

AND he missed the train! He nearly killed me for nothing!

I felt like I was going to throw up the entire way home. That's a bit too much fear for me to handle.

All I wanted to do was go home after that, but of course my bus was late. Again. When he finally did show up, he drove horrifically. It did not help my nausea at all.

Eventually the bus got me home, but not before a huge man crushed my foot while I tried to get off the bus. The pain faded after a while, so nothing was broken but I was limping for maybe half an hour from the pain.

I was glad to be home with my dog. She cuddles me to cheer me up. But while we cuddled, I heard someone try to open the door. I got up thinking it was ben checking to see if the door was locked before he pulled out his key. I'm glad I checked through the tiny window though! There was a strange man walking away!

Some strange guy just randomly went up to my door and tried to get in! Not cool at all! So now all the blinds are shut and my dog is on orders to kill. I hope ben comes home soon. Today is trying to kill me.
I HAVE CONQUERED THE SNOW!!!

And am now exhausted.

I went out at 9am to start shoveling. The official report is 20 inches. About 2.5 hours later, the left side was completely clear and I was about halfway done shoveling the back.

The neighbor who parks to the right of me came out just then and started to "shovel" his car out with an ice scraper. It was very very sad.

So I made him a deal. If he finished shoveling the back of my car, I'd let him borrow my shovel to dig his car out.

He gratefully agreed to the deal. So now I am inside where it is warm and comfy. My car is cleared for the most part. (The parking lot is another story, so I won't be going anywhere anyway.) Hopefully I'll get my shovel back.

My plans, in order, are:
- Drink water
- Eat food
- Take shower
- Take nap
Windy nights are scary because the wind howls through the trees. :(
Thing I forgot to mention yesterday:

It was so quiet in the apartment, you could hear my bird fart. Over and over again. That tiny animal is just constantly farting the day away. Eww.

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