Archive for January, 2010

Grey Hair!

I found my first grey hair yesterday! I know I should be bummed out or something, but I think it’s kind of cool. It’s a milestone, like getting your first tooth or a drivers’ license or whatever. I feel distinguished!

Of course I found it on the most annoying day of my plant care career– I think that was probably what turned my hair grey in the first place!

Here’s a boring rundown of my odyssey at the Harvard Business School Chapel…

I get to the chapel and one tree is dead. DEAD. It takes a lot to kill a tree, mind you– trees do not die easily! These trees are in a giant greenhouse-like thing and planted in terraces of dirt like real plants, not in pots like houseplants. So one sweet olive tree is stone dead and the other one (this one is like 20 feet high, the one that died was only about 5 or 6 feet high) is on its deathbed. I freak out and call the office.

The office sends Jill & Luis over to check out the damage, they determine that it’s a combination of too cold (the thermostat was set at 74, but the temperature reads 50) for the delicate tropical plants + some disease.

So I go to water the rest of the plants and discover that my hoses are all gone. In fact, all the hoses in the building are gone– someone has cleaned out the boiler room where all the supplies are kept and there is nothing there… except a little American flag stuck to one of the beams. I get annoyed because the day before was Election Day and Massachusetts had lost Ted Kennedy’s seat to the first Republican senator elected in MA in 38 years. I blame the flag planter!

Anyway, I call the office again to tell them about the hose situation. They said they were sending Davey over with a new hose (the warehouse is only about 3 miles or so away from the chapel). I prune stuff and cut off cold damaged leaves until Davey shows up with the hose.

He leaves and I hook up the hose… and there’s a gigantic gash in it and it spews water everywhere. Meanwhile, it’s getting close to dusk and the chapel’s light switches are locked in a room for which I don’t have a key, not that it would matter much anyway since there aren’t any lights in the main part of the building which is all windows.

Luckily Dave brought 2 hoses to link together to give more length and the second hose was OK. The part that hooks up to the faucet leaks like crazy spewing water all over me and the floor, but that’s fairly normal for a day at the Chapel.

Finally I’m done and I go to clean up all the water… but the mop head is gone. The handle that was sticking out that I thought was the mop was just a handle. There’s a mop bucket, but no mop. Of course! So I spent an hour trying to sop up the giant puddles with a paint-soaked rag I found hanging on the sink.

I go to put away the hose, but of course whoever took the original hoses away also too the reel to wind up the hoses, so I attempt to coil it up myself. Thus I get soaking wet for the second time that day since the hose had been dragged through the giant puddle left by the leaky hose! The hose is one of the industrial kinds that’s really stiff and hard to coil, so I end up wrapping it around a garbage can and securing it with the bungee cord that came around it. It doesn’t look pretty but hey, at least it was over!

no wonder I have grey hair now!

January 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Dear U.S. State Department, Please Bite me.

WARNING: BORING STUFF AHEAD

Why is it that institutions with the most complex rules have the lamest websites? I lost my passport and need to get another one before February 6th when I GO TO MEXICO!!!! So, I looked on the U>S. State Department’s website to see what to do in case of a lost passport. It said fill out a DS64 form and a DS11 form and that I’d need to appear in person to submit them. So, I printed out forms, filled them out and took the train downtown to the Passport building where I took off my belt, went through the metal detector and everything exciting like that. I get to the hall where the office is (it’s in the Tip O’Neill building, which is super modern and awesome despite the big round cement things they put up in front after 9/11 to keep car bombers out) and I am greeted by the security dude saying “what time is your appointment?”

Now on the website, it says the only reason you need to make an appointment is if you are leaving the country within 14 days, and if you are not leaving within that timeframe, don’t waste their time making one. So I explained, and he let me into the office where the dude behind bulletproof glass told me I had to make an appointment if I wanted a passport ASAP but otherwise I didn’t have to go there, I had to phone in that I lost my passport and mail the rest.

He gave me a number to call.

I called the number.

The number has a recording that told me to call another number.

So I called that number. It was the main passport hotline which I had already called that morning.

i finally got a lady who told me that I yes, I needed to appear in person to apply for a new passport, but I needed copies of my drivers’ licence, proof of citizenship (i.e. birth certificate) and to make a copy of the DS64 form to give to the passport issuing people and to mail the original to another section of the State Department.

I took the train to Staples and bought some giant envelopes to send stuff out in and made copies of every piece of ID I had with me, including my SS card. I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

Then I read the DS-11 form and there was a part where I had to swear to the truthfulness of the statement to some authority person before I could sign it.

Confused, I headed to Kinko’s to use the innernets to see if it would clarify things. Of course, Kinko’s had gone out of business and the only other place I could think of to use the innernets was this shady internet cafe/souvenir store/pool hall at the other end of downtown which may or may not still exist. So I called the passport hotline again. I got through about 15 menus, none of them helping when I gave up because my cellphone battery was dying.

I took the train back to the Top O’Neill building, took off my belt and coat and emptied my pockets for the metal detector and went back up to the stairs to the Passport office. There was a different security guy there. This one looked very military, in that hardcore clean-cut kind of way. “When is your appointment?” he asked predictably. I explained my situation and said, “so I need to show up in person right?” “correct,” said the security guy. “But I need an appointment, and the hotline says you can only make appointments if you need a passport within 141 days.” “Correct,” said the guy. “So how do I appear in person if I can’t make an appointment and you can’t see anyone without an appointment?” “Oh,” said the security guy. “You need to appear in person, but not HERE. you need to show up at the post office.”

WTF?!? Why didn’t someone say that in the first place? I had no idea the post office does these kinds of things!

So i got back on the train and went downtown to the post office. When I got there, I started assembling all the stuff I needed (luckily I had taken passport pictures a while ago and then lost them and then found the previous set I had thought i lost and used those instead before I then found the ones I had taken to replace the 1st lost set. Confused yet? I am.). i discovered that I didn’t have the original copy of the ds-64; I had probably left it in the copy machine at Staples. So, I walked over to Staples (luckily it was in the neighborhood). The form wasn’t there on the machine. I rifled through the trash and there it was!

The first time i went to the post office, it was deserted. This is a very strange state for the Downtown Crossing post office to be in; usually there is a huge line at all hours of the day. Of course when I got back there was the usual line. I waited forever and when I got to the counter I handed all my stuff to the lady. She took one look at my forms and said, “these are filled out in blue ink. You have to fill them out with black.” So I had to go over to another table and fill out more forms.

When I got back to the counter, a different lady looked over all my stuff and freaked out because I had photocopied my Social Security card. Apparently not only do they not need it, the mere sight of it gives them hives.

Finally, 4 hours after I had begun my odyssey, I got my passport application on its merry way. It also turned out I didn’t need any of the envelopes I had bought.

OY VEY!

On the way home, though, I finally got a Cambridge library card. The day wasn’t a complete bust!

January 13, 2010 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

My life is FREAKING AWESOME!!!!

Seriously, it is.

First of all, I’M GOING TO MEXICO in a month!

Second of all, I found Cadbury’s Caramel bars here in Cambridge. Where, you ask? At some hip boutique that imports English candy? At a fancy coffee house that caters to the Eurotrash crowd? No, it was at CVS. Seriously. Not only were they at CVS, but they were freaking BUY ONE GET ONE FREE.

Did I mention I’m going to Mexico?

Not only am I going to Mexico with Moth, but we’re staying in a hotel whose claim to fame is that it boasts a giant glowing cactus in the lobby.

glowing cactus

Is that wicked awesome or what? A GLOWING CACTUS. If it blinked neon letter that said “Yo, Scooter!” it wouldn’t be more welcoming to me!

What else? Oh yeah, I’ve been eating lots of yummy tacos. Tacos are awesome, but soon I will be eating real ones that are genuinely Mexican, and not Mexicanoid filtered through Old El Paso.

I’ve been watching the show “The Middle Man” which is possibly the awesomest show ever made. Tanya lent me the DVDs a while ago and I started watching it, but got sidetracked. So, I watched the entire series recently as I painted my new dollhouse.

Yes, I now have THREE dollhouses, thanks to Mikala being too old to care about them anymore. I painted the biggest one orange with yellow trim and pea green windowboxes. It looks nicer than it sounds.

I won a Lorne from “Angel” action figure on eBay for wicked cheap and it came in the mail super fast. He is awesome wearing a yellow sparkly suit!

lorne

Did I mention I’m going to Mexico?

Basically, My life RULES.

January 7, 2010 at 5:18 am Leave a comment

Experiments in Mex-Italian fusion cuisine

Yesterday I bought one of those Old El Paso Taco dinner kits. I’m not sure what had me in the mood for tacos, but they were AWESOME!!!! Those really hit the spot. Today I didn’t have any taco shells left, but I had everyting that goes into tacos + some cooked spaghetti noodles leftover from the night before, so I decided to make tacghetti. It was surprisingly tasty!

I have a week off in February when Laura, Jack & the Little Dude are going away. I told this to Moth and she decided we should use her frequent flyer miles to go to Mexico. See? Maybe if I had made General Gao’s spaghetti she would have wanted to go to China?

Anyway, we’re going to Mexico and I AM PSYCHED!!! I’ve never been to Mexico before, and I’m all about the Mayan ruins. We just have to figure out where we want to go now in Mexico. Oh yeah, I should brush up on my crappy Spanish…

January 4, 2010 at 2:07 am Leave a comment


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