Lisa vs the Laundry Anonymous

For the last several weeks, while we wait to close on the house, we’ve been snuggled up in an extend stay hotel. While this sounds super romantic and before you picture us like Eloise or even, $deity forbid, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, hotel living is not as gorgeous as one may expect or sounds. For example, we have a kitchenette which gives us a full-sized fridge and dishwasher, but no oven and a two burner flat top stove. The only dishware and cutlery we have is a two piece setting with a few extra plates. One pot. One food strainer. The sink is not large enough to do hand washing so we tend to run the dishwasher half-empty. And of course, the one cabinet in entire place holds all the dishware and the one pot. There is no room to house food or added cookery items, even though there is no cabinetry above the kitchen/stove/dishwasher area. Incredibly poor planning.
We were planning on bringing with us our non-perishable foodstuffs and cookery but there is no storage in the kitchen, or really anywhere in the suite. Those items are now in storage! A single, 10 hanger wide armoire and two medium 3-drawer dressers for our clothes and personal effects. Even for two people who donated bags and bags of stuff to Salvation Army before the move and only took enough to last a few weeks, it’s a little beyond tight. There is no additional storage space for personal items, bathing items or even shoes anywhere else in the suite.
I’m still seething with another example of why hotel living sucks with an example from tonight when I had a laundry war going on with Anonymous. This extend stay hotel is frequented by pilots, flight attendants and traveling business people and to make it more attractive, they have laundry facilities on every floor which is awesome. What is NOT so awesome is incidents like tonight when someone in the mistaken guise of being kind, pulled our laundry out of the washer and threw it all in the dryer and turned the dryer on high heat AND took over the washer, when I had a bag dirty laundry still sitting on top of the washer.
Now, I’m irritated as with living in a complex for the last several years, I\’ve gotten in the habit of setting timers to move laundry from washer->dryer (wash is 30 minutes, dryers are 1 hour) every time we did laundry so not to trap all the machines. Since hotel used same washer/dryer brand as the complex, I set my timer on my iPhone for 30 minutes appropriately only to find that at 33 minutes after I had thrown the laundry into the wash, someone had thrown the laundry into the dryer. The irritant comes in because half the load were items that were NOT TO BE TUMBLED DRIED.
I yank open the dryer door, pull out all the not-to-be dried stuff, throw in my fabric sheet and continue with the drying. Once I get back to our hotel room, I set my timer for 45 minutes to see if I can finish the rest of our laundry since Anonymous has taken over the washer. At 40 minutes, I waltz down to the laundry area to discover that someone had pulled our laundry out of the dryer and thrown it on top of the dryer, put their stuff from washer into the dryer and filled up the washer with another load. The load in the dryer was in there for some unspecified time as the dryer was stopped but the clothes were hot to the touch. They probably assumed since our (now few) items left in the dryer were already dry, so what was the big problem with taking a few extra minutes from our load?
I stomp back to our suite, wanting to wage war against the assholes who fuck with my laundry while Justin is rolling his eyes at my melodrama and my angry fist shaking. Reporting it to the management is fine, I GUESS, but it doesn’t really solve the issue because I have NO idea who it was, so I didn’t go running to management with my tales of woe. I was thinking of pulling some bullshit passive aggressive move (such as pulling their laundry from the washer, putting it on top of the washer and letting the washer continue on) but decided that I couldn’t be that much of a dick. 2011 is should not begin with war waging over stupid laundry, but hey, I have a theory that the more shitty NYE/NY day is, the better my year.
Thus, here is why hotel living is not the bee’s knees and why I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here.
So I didn’t plan on turning this entry into some sort of rage against laundry anonymous because this entry was to be more of a short, hey these are my resolutions for the year, as inspired by Kate, and instead I paint a picture of me skulking about hotel hallways waiting to pounce unsuspectingly on Laundry Anonymous. I think of myself more of a “I’ll get you my pretty!” kind of person. With that, my resolutions and continuances will come tomorrow.

1. Drats. The realtor pulled all the interior images of the home and no, we did not buy the house at $115K.2
2. Then I got sucked into updating with information about our new neighborhood that was missing, which in fact raised our walk score. Woo!

To: Consume: Craft THIS!, Martha

Roma tomato, fresh moz on spelt farl.

Last night I was busy making farls and finishing up a hat I was knitting, all while whilst wearing an apron.
The prior night, it was me prancing around the kitchen making homemade granola and hummus. While wearing an apron. And nearly every night it has been the same image: Me in the kitchen brewing up some witchy potion while wearing an apron.
I’ll let that image settle for a bit because if you know me and the above image seems fucking ridiculous to you because Lisa without coffee, cigarettes, and some processed food living in the fridge, you would typically be correct. I’ve run into the bathroom numerous times in the last few days to make sure my ears didn’t suddenly sprout pearl earrings and my tattoos were still in place. My hair was still twisted up in Lisa-poofs and my piercings were all present. I am slowly turning into Martha Stewart’s bastard punk rock daughter.
But to be fair, this isn’t a new development – it’s been going on for quite some time.
Granola made with oats, apricots, banana chips, almond slivers, raisins, cashews and dates.

In the fall of 2006, I was having problems with digesting food – meaning that regardless of what I was eating, hardly anything was coming back out (to put it politely). For example, I was physically ill in the sense that eating pizza really heavy on the sauce meant I was up later in the night throwing up or having rot gut. If the pizza was light sauce, I had terrible heart burn. I used to have a cast iron stomach! Why was this happening? In the late summer of 2006, after numerous days of no bowel movement, I took myself over to the ER to find out what the hell was going on. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me, gave me a extra strong laxative and recommended a local nutritionist who diagnosed that I had some sensitivity to nearly 100 different types of food.
In the last four years, I’ve alternated between being really good and being really bad with my food. That whole discussion is worthy of several blog posts in themselves, but it’s been awful for the last few months after we came back from our honeymoon. Not only have I been randomly sick (again) but the weight is not coming off, rather, it’s packing back on. Justin was also gaining weight and feeling overall of crap. Deserts from Pronto! and Astoria tastes FANTASTIC going down, but later? Not so much. In fact, most restaurant/processed food gives me issues in some form or another, not always immediate it eventually does happen. Based upon Justin’s prior experience when he was training for half-marathons and my food issues, we decided to implement the following as of last week:

  • No sugar (including raw, brown, white, and fake sugars). Honey/Stevia/Agave/etc are allowed.
  • As little gluten as possible.
  • No foods listing HFC as an ingredient.
  • No pasta, no store bought bread.
  • Little to no meat.
  • Heavy on fruits, nuts, whole grains, veggies, cheeses.
  • If I want to eat something, I have to find a lisa-happy version. Bread, for instance, has been replaced with Spelt farls which I can tolerate amazingly well.

I’ve been taking photos all week of the food we’ve been eating and uploading them to Flickr. And nearly every single thing we’ve had to eat this week has been made from scratch, with fresh goods (organic if available) with my own little hands. While what we’re eating is pretty simple, it’s amazing how much of our appetites have dropped since we’re not eating (as much) crap as we used to. We’ve also started doing mat Pilates every morning for 30 minutes into our daily routine. While we don’t think of this as weight loss or diet gimmick, but as a 180 lifestyle change, we’re still keeping track of our weight, making adjustments as needed.
The first week weigh-in, I lost 7.5lbs while Justin lost nearly 3. Where as it was pretty common for me to have some kind of “issue,” ranging in varying degrees of bloating/nausea/heartburn, this is the first week in a long time I haven’t had that. And I’m not terribly concerned about the huge weight loss either, because it’ll adjust itself in the next week or two.
It’s not so awful to be Martha Stewart’s punk rock daughter – as long as the only pearl necklaces are the ones given to me by my husband1, I’ll think I’ll be just fine.
1. I don’t have to explain this one to you, do I?

A room of one's own.

Virginia Woolf once proselytized that a woman needs a place of her own, “a room of one’s own” in which they could think, create and have their own space without outside interferences. The slim book by the same name sits on my To Be Read pile, with the hopes that one day I will have the space of my own (and to finish the damned book!).
I think about having my own space a lot these days, not necessarily my own apartment, but a place where I can go shut off the world, lounge on a chaise reading or writing and basically just having time for me. How Justin and I have existed nearly half-a-year in a 600 sq ft apartment where everything we do is broadcasted to the other is still kind of a minor miracle. How Justin survives with his “desk” actually being the dining room table, no room for his things except for one large closet and a corner by his “desk,” again, a minor miracle. Granted when he moved in, he came with just a carload of things, mainly a box of books, clothes, and some personal effects — but everything else in the apartment is me.
We can’t wait to shed our skins from this dump and get our own place to make “ours,” because everything in our apartment reeks of a mish-mash of collegiate chic and IKEA furniture. While the bed, dresser and couch are less than a year old, they were not first selections or picked out with care but chosen because they were best of the lot of what was presented to me at the time.1
Soft household goods, such as sheets, towels and the like, are carry-over from stuff I purchased over the years. Nothing really matches (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – shabby chic?), but there is no cohesiveness to the mess. Towels I bought a few years ago are starting to go yucky, sheets are starting to get threadbare and there is only so many duvet covers one can purchase before you just have to realise that the duvet itself probably needs to be replaced.
What’s interesting about Justin and I is that our approach to home furnishings is directly related to how we grew up. His family saves everything so he loves minimalism while my family saved nothing so I border on being a pack rat. Things purchased, regardless if they are for personal or communal use, are based on negotiation. Purchasing new shoes for me requires that I get rid of two pairs. Buying new sheets would require ditching two existing sets. Buy one, get rid of two. The paring down of my closets and soft goods has been amazing. However, I refuse to budge on paring down books and media because I am determined to have a library in our (eventual) new home.
When we move next year, we’re getting rid of mostly everything. What we will be keeping will be incredibly minimal. The bed will be relegated to the guest room and we’re purchasing a king sized (He’s 6’6, I’m 5’11.5″ and the pug — we do not fit comfortably on a queen bed). We need a couch that is at least 12′ long to allow us to both sprawl or some kind of sectional were choosing to intertwine our legs is not about necessity but about wanting to touch, so the current couch will be secondary.
We want new furniture, so the IKEA stuff will be sold or donated via FreeCycle or Craig’s List. I’ve been carting around electronics that may or may not work for years, those will be donated or recycled. My TV, which was awesome when it was purchased in 2006, is slowly dying and will need to be replaced.2 But we’ll end up giving/selling for cheap when the time comes because when we move, we’ll not keep most of these things with us and purchase new when we arrive at our new destination, regardless of where that may be. But what is important to both of us is space — lots and lots of lovely space.
There is no room for us to ramble without tripping on the other. Justin gets the advantage that with my schedule, he gets alone time when he gets off of work since I will not be home until many hours later. Typically 2-3 days a week, I’m gone 10-14 hours a day which gives him time to himself, which he finds to be incredibly important. I don’t get that kind of alone time because when I get home from doing whatever, both he and the pug are there – as whatever gym events/errands that he has to run will be done well before I get home. 600 sq ft in some areas (Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, San Francisco) can be considered to be “spacious” if the design of the space is done right but even with the open plan our our apartment, we’re still crowded since we lose so much wall space to floor to ceiling windows and radiators. (This is one of the many occasions where my skills as a Tetris master come into play. Whoever said gaming was destructive clearly did not look at Tetris, Breakout, or Pong.)
This paring down, we’ve often discussed, is a direct result of consumerism — we buy cheap because it is cheap and what we can afford at the time but because of this, we end up spending more because we often have to replace the item. I recently created a Wedding Registry on Amazon so we could, privately, start keeping track of items we’d like to get when we move and I balked when he added salt and pepper grinders that were roughly $120 for the pair. His reasoning is that the mechanism on most grinders were such that after some time, the ground seasoning goes up into the shaft and not on the food. Our current grinder is currently behaving in this manner and we seem to spend more time trying to “fix” the damn thing than get pepper out. He found a set that used a different type of mechanism and shouldn’t have this problem, but really? $120 for the pair? His argument is that he would rather spend the cash on quality rather than deal with cheap and keep replacing, as we have been doing so much of lately.
I get his mentality, but after being graduate student poor for so long and the idea of having a disposable income in which spending $120 on grinders is not really a big deal still appalls me. Recently, I started researching combination espresso/auto coffee machines and it seemed most people were happy with the $100 Mr. Coffee combo than the Krupp’s or other higher end brands. While this was surprising to me, as I was expecting the prices to be much higher, crowd mentality rules, right? A few days later, Justin gave me a link to a coffee “system” that seemingly did everything under the sun, including being programmable via the Internet. The cost for such a treasure? $2k USD. That is not a typo — and I think I visibly blanched. Do I love coffee? Sure, but to spend $2k USD on such a machine, I’d expect it to give me sexual favors and start smoking a cigarette when it was through. I’d rather spend say up to $500 USD for such a machine and bank the $1500 towards something else, such as putting money down for a new car or putting it towards my retirement. You know, something sensible.
But a room of my own and a room for Justin, where we can each not worry about the others habit since it will not be communal space. We’re so freakin’ excited about the prospect of nesting, of getting rid of the old and coming on with the new, that it seems to be all that we talk about these days.
And we’re okay with that.3

1. My family knows someone who owns a local G-Rap furinutre store so we were given preference for stuff from the showroom for a great deal. But since the store is quite small, I had the choice of say four couches and maybe a half a dozen dressers to choose from.
2. The volume randomly doesn’t work when you turn the TV on, but works when you turn it off and then on again. The tube needs to be degaused but we’ve searchd high and low on the web for instructions and can’t find them. The TV has also started emiting a loud whistle that randomly pops in and out. We’ve troubleshot possible causes of the whistling but nothing seems to be working.
3. While we may be okay with it, not sure how Wednesday will feel about all the space. She tends to favor whomever is where she wants to be over one person or another. She seems to get antsy if she has to choose between me in the bedroom or Justin in the dining room.

Material World: Well, whores will have their trinkets

The poster to your left arrived on my doorstep today, a gift from Justin who saw it online and knew that I “had to have it.” What makes this poster even more special is that the online print run was severely limited due to the production of the poster was specifically for an event (now passed) and as an autograph tool. My copy is currently still pristinely rolled up in its tube and I’m barely containing myself from fondling it.
Later, when I called Justin to thank him for this unexpected gift, we got to talking about my upcoming move to east side of the state and his plans to move to Chicago sometime in the next few years; “When the market bottoms out,” he says. One thing we discussed was the framing and placement of the poster, primarily noting that he did not bother to get one for himself and secondly, that he’s not a print kind of guy. Which brought the discussion over nesting and when one does and doesn’t nest. Our answers seemed to be in unison that in our current locations, our walls are devoid of anything personal. I, personally, have a stack of prints sitting in storage and now two other prints (the Spaced poster and a James Bond poster I bought while I was in the U.K.) that are still in their tubes, waiting to be aired in all their glory. And come to think of it, I have a lot of prints that I’ve gathered in my travels that still have not seen the light of day.
Continue reading “Material World: Well, whores will have their trinkets”