July 29, 2010

july 29

By Small and Small: Midnight to Four A.M.

For eleven years I have regretted it,
regretted that I did not do what
I wanted to do as I sat there those
four hours watching her die. I wanted
to crawl in among the machinery
and hold her in my arms, knowing
the elementary, leftover bit of her
mind would dimly recognize it was me
carrying her to where she was going.

-- Jack Gilbert

today, my stepfather would have been 45. though we have learned how to get on without him, we miss him in ways large or small every day, each of us in our own separate fashion. me? I think of him every time I play softball, and feel especially proud when I win the weekly game ball (our MVP prize) -- which I did last week. I don't really believe in heaven, but on days when I have a good game, I hope that he can see me somehow, and know that I am thinking of all the summer afternoons spent playing catch in the front yard.

happy birthday, steve. we miss you.

July 26, 2010

success

you guys! it's summer now! I decided. this weekend was my weekend to Finally Get My Shit Together, and boy did I rock it. I. Rocked. It. I freaking annihilated my to-do list. I unpacked the hell out of my apartment. I got home from my half-day on friday (the opera offices close early every friday in july, every year. awesome.), cranked up some 80s tunes, and started cleaning like my life depended on it. which it kind of did, because I was a serious lunatic this last week or two, complete with emotional meltdowns. unpretty. I had to leave briefly to go tend to the horses (and show off my bruise -- barnmates displayed appropriate sympathy/understanding), but when I got back I put on my fierce cleaning face and got cracking. I had made the executive decision to keep working so long as I didn't feel as though I'd drop over with exhaustion, so I ended up going at it until 3 AM.

3 AM, people. that is some hardcore unpacking right there.

the next morning I bounced awake at 7:30 and figured I might as well stay up, so I managed to get some laundry done and mostly finish the job by the time I had to leave for my noon riding lesson.

kitchen:
kitchen: after

living room:
living room: after

living room, vol. 2:
almost there

bedroom:
after.

the cats are also pretty pleased, especially since I now have a little bit more time and can occasionally be nice to them, rather than yelling at them to GET OUT OF THERE or GET OFF OF THAT or STOP EATING THAT NEWSPAPER, LUNA. (seriously, that cat eats lint and newspaper and whatever else and then throws up all over the carpet. why did she never throw up when we lived in a place with hardwoods?).

cat model.
distinguished cat is distinguished

naptime
caught a certain someone conked out under the extra coffee table

oh! and my bruise even looks better.
bruise: day 10
still looks like I've been clubbed with a baseball bat, though. and it's still lumpy. and it still hurts when I walk. ah well.

ALSO, I won the war against my old landlords. after sending them my polite-but-clearly-refusing-to-pay-this-bill email, they didn't get back to me for nearly two weeks. then on friday I got an email with a statement attached. "here is your final accounting," it said, and the final total? $6.94. cue triumphant and mildly defiant happy dance.

other things I did this weekend: bought new bras (seriously, it's a party in my shirt today, I had no idea how badly I needed them), rode my horse TWICE, wore dresses, kissed a certain someone, drank margaritas, ate a gigantic bucket of tortillas, sported sunglasses, painted my toenails teal, made iced tea. I hereby announce: summer has arrived.

July 20, 2010

evidence

DSCF6668
hay-related bruise, day 5. it still hurts to walk.

current state of the apartment (as of last night):

somehow I'm supposed to sleep there
(bedroom)

DSCF6664
(hallway)

kitchen
(kitchen)

help.
(living room, from kitchen)

DSCF6662
(living room)

now do you see why I feel like a raving lunatic?

July 18, 2010

impaled

current number of large bruises on my body (unofficial tally): 11

on thursday, while doing my routine feeding, I had to retrieve a bale of alfalfa hay from the top of our haystack, six bales high. this happens sometimes. the way you do it is you find something tall to stand on, you grab the hay hooks, and you tip the stack over (sideways, NOT TOWARD YOU). all six bales fall to the ground. I've never found a better way. those bales weigh nearly a hundred pounds each; you can't just lift them and bring them down.

I have mentioned here before how dangerous hay can be. what happened on thursday: I went through the above manuever, choosing for my 'tall thing to stand on' the rear bed of the bobcat we use to haul hay, because it's significantly more sturdy than a ladder, and less likely to topple. I backed the bobcat just in front of the hay column and then braced myself to yank the bales down. after that, maybe because I was trying to slow their fall (and therefore not break the wood pallet on the ground below), my hand got stuck in the hay hook I was using, and the column of hay pulled me helplessly down with it, impaling me by the breastbone on the back corner of the bobcat's tailgate. I would have gone headfirst into the ground had the tailgate not caught on my shirt and bra, leaving me literally hanging upside down by my clothes two feet from the ground, my arm still attached to the hay.

I sat up in a daze, in that aftershock haze where you are just barely keeping yourself from screaming out loud or sobbing. I sat on my knees in the bed of the bobcat, my breath coming in shaky heaves, and took a tally of what hurt. I looked down at my shirt: no spewing blood. no obvious broken ribs. then I looked inside at what was burning: an 18-inch long gash running, like a seatbelt, from the top of my right boob to the middle of my abdomen. it was bleeding lightly into my sports bra and was already bruised in one place. my leg was also in a lot of pain, and had already lumped up, though I was not, at least, bleeding through my breeches.

I must have sat in the back of the bobcat for five minutes, just trying to pull myself together. I hurt like hell. my hands were visibly shaking. it was an accident I don't know that I could have prevented, because I never saw it coming. I suppose that's how accidents go.

I hadn't actually fed yet, so I had to go and throw hay into stalls, hoping not to plaster too much of it onto my open and vaguely bleeding chest wound. I took off my sports bra in the bathroom (OUCH) and then realized how much it hurt just to have my shirt touch my chest. putting my seat belt on was excruciating.

on friday I had to work from home because it was painful to wear anything but the baggiest shirt; there was no way on earth I could put on a bra. (I still haven't). today, the bruise on my thigh is larger than a grapefruit, still swollen, and a range of colors from yellow to nearly black. I actually haven't the faintest idea what I did to my leg -- I guess I hit the bobcat first with my thigh before impaling myself on the tailgate? the leg bruise is in many ways worse than the chest wound; it's much deeper and still painful to walk on. the chest wound has scabbed up and is, at least, less raw than it was on friday. the trade-off is that it's turned into the most unbelievable bruise, yellowish-green, covering half of my right boob. I wish I could show it off but for obvious reasons, I can't.

if I showed up to the beach in a bikini now, it'd look like I'd been mauled by a small bear.

moral of the story: you can never be too careful with hay bales. take my word for it, kids.

July 13, 2010

aftermath

well, I'm in. I had one of the longer and more miserable saturdays I've had in my life, and there's way too much furniture for my new apartment, but with the help of seven of my dear friends, I got everything moved.

I have been delaying writing this blog post so that I could include a picture, but I still haven't found the camera. other things that remain AWOL: my most-used frying pan, q-tips, trash bags, all of my shoes. the cats enjoy springboarding from one piece of furniture to the other, and I'm a little nervous that the screens aren't enough to hold them when they sit in the window, a concern I never worried much about in my old place, which was on the first floor. the kitchen counter is covered in miscellaneous detritus. I have two kitchen tables.

last night I continued to feel that sense of vague despair that comes with standing in front of a herculean task you feel completely unfit to accomplish. all the furniture I own, with exception of bed and dresser, was in the living room; half of it was upended so that it would all fit. getting any of it even remotely into the right place was like playing a torturous, heavy, life-sized tile game. or a really crappy version of tetris. then, I discovered unsettling things, like how when I set up my 7 foot bookcase in the corner, it listed unnaturally forward. either the carpet is uneven or the floor is; either way, I daren't put any books on the thing until I can brace it to the wall in some way.

{when's the last time you read a blog that used the word "daren't?" YEAH.}

other stuff: the kitchen sink is really small; the hot water in the shower last night stayed on for -- no joke -- about four minutes (though it was fine this morning), the neighbors down the row from me have weirdly set up shop outside my door. seriously, weird. they set out two chairs and some plants, like they live there. I'm going to take it up with the landlord but I'm waiting to compile a bunch of things that need fixing.

as for my struggles with my former management company: well, they continue. I had to send them the following email on monday, in reply to the most recent bullying notice I'd received on my door, in the mail, and in an email:

I'm writing to let you know that I have received these notices and that I need someone to explain to me -- in writing, please -- why I owe rent for the entire month of July when my lease reverted to month-to-month on July 1 and I gave my 30-day notice on June 10. It sincerely does not make sense to me that I should owe 20 days of rent on an apartment I am not living in when I gave the legal amount of notice, as required by the state of Oregon and as stipulated in my lease. I'm not trying to swindle you, dodge a payment, or anything of the sort, but simply do not understand why I'm being charged $1100 for 10 days.

As far as the most recent 3-day notice is concerned -- the notice which states that my rental agreement will be terminated if payment is not received by 7/11 -- since I effectively terminated my rental agreement on June 10, as of July 10, I don't quite understand the purpose of said notice.

As far as pet rent for June is concerned: as I have repeatedly reminded your office, my 1-year lease waived pet rent. I factored July pet rent into the prorated amount ($358.06) I paid your office at the beginning of this month.

Please understand that I am trying to make a good faith effort to do what I believe is required of me as outlined in Oregon State Law and in my rental agreement dated June 2009.

I vacated the apartment as of 11 PM July 10, 2010, but did not leave the keys in your mailbox because I did not know what your move-out procedures were. If I should drop the keys to your office, please let me know.


what a headache. today I got an email in reply & braced myself, but it just said, "I'm out of town, I'll look into this at the end of the week." meanwhile, one of the other employees at the company called me looking for my keys, seemingly oblivious to any of this other nonsense going on. she was totally pleasant. someone's moving into my old place tomorrow. all I know is, I don't like being bullied. and by "don't like," I mean it makes me want to cut a bitch.

on the day after the move, scott & I -- blog! that's my boyfriend! I didn't tell you his name -- ran a half-marathon. isn't that what YOU want to do after hauling heavy shit in 90 degree weather for an entire day? me too. we'd generously been given free race entries to a new event on the condition that we blog about it for the blogger friend of ours who initially helped set up our first date. you can read our writeups here (mine) and here (his). I ran it in 2:18 -- a PR only by default, since it was my first half. I was very truly just happy to finish.

July 7, 2010

independence

from Hark! A Vagrant
(from hark! a vagrant!)

over independence day weekend, I spent a great portion of my time putting my belongings into boxes. I reached that place where I either had gotten a great deal done, or maybe nothing; I honestly couldn't have told you. I moved three giant carloads of stuff from the old apartment to the new.

independence: I would like some. freedom to sip margaritas at outdoor patios; freedom to drive somewhere aimlessly with the windows down, to spend a saturday dragging my flip-flops over the sidewalk on an afternoon walk, to swing on a hammock in someone's backyard. maybe grill a hamburger. stroll through the market. I do some of these things, but I do them with the ever-present, ominous weight of everything else that needs to be done creeping upon me.

I'm doing too much. lately I feel held hostage by the things I love. it's a terrible place to find yourself. when I'm doing one thing, I'm haunted by all the other things that need doing. my brain is scrambled. did it get this way because of the move? I want desperately to believe that it got this way because of the move. I want moving to solve everything, but I have an inclination that it won't. and yet I'm not doing a whole lot more than I was, say, last summer. so what the hell is going on?

I feel insufferable when I'm like this. I hate talking about it because it's a problem that feels so self-perpetuated, and yet I don't know how to come out from beneath it. simultaneously it's all I can complain about. it's long been the great regret of my adult life -- my saddest lesson -- that one really can't do all that one desires, if one has this many desires. there is not enough time.

also, I'm suffering from a couple of stupid, minor, nameless, but nevertheless bothersome injuries. things hurting lately: both feet, hip flexor, back, knee. I am not running at all, and for so many reasons that upsets me. I hate the idea that I'm losing my running base; also, running is a great outlet for me and without it I feel unmoored.

can I at last tell you how the worst thing of all is how I continue to feel that somehow there must be a way to get this all done; to do it cheerfully, and efficiently, and with time left to perhaps read a chapter of one's novel at the end of the evening. I feel this way despite years of struggling, and therefore I continue to feel moderately down on myself for not being better at cramming everything in.

I'm moving saturday. I want to be able to promise you that there will be no more whining on this blog after then. that after saturday it will be all cheerfulness, and I will be happily painting my toenails. it's summer, goddamn it. but I can't promise. I'm crossing my fingers anyway.

July 3, 2010

small victories

  • finally fixed my laptop, whose internal fan has been running constantly -- for no reason -- for almost two weeks.
  • updated my address with various insurance agencies, subscription services, doctor's offices, and banks
  • rode my horse for the first time in two weeks. I thought she was going to be unmanageable, but she was a sweetheart. she didn't give me any trouble (except one little buck which was kind of my fault) and moved like a total dream. my instructor said, "some days she looks like a $5,000 horse, and then there are days like today when she looks like a $20,000 horse."
  • broke the psychological barrier and packed some boxes. I got my keys to the new place last night, and moved a tiny carload over today. threw open all the windows, plugged in an air freshener, and stood in the living room scratching my head, trying to decide on the future configuration of my furniture.
next on the agenda:
  • sell a bunch of said furniture
  • take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill
  • pack my entire kitchen
  • ride my horse again! twice in two days!
  • heal from my random, softball-induced injuries (hip flexor, foot)
  • get to the other side of this mountain of stress, already