Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The girl who fell off the face of the earth

(That would be me.)

Hi, everyone! How are you? I hope you're good. I'm good, just going around like a complete and total crazy person lately. I had the whole move-in and then I worked all weekend. I've also been going out a lot, which is great being the new girl in town and all, but BAD when you consider that last night was the first night in a week that I got more than four hours of sleep. I almost did a face plant in my yogurt the other morning.

OK, let's play quick catch-up and then I'll write more later ...

* I'm about halfway unpacked, maybe a little more, which isn't really that terrible but isn't really that good, either. My little "stay in the hotel until I get everything unpacked" idea sort of backfired on me, because I didn't get over to the apartment enough and it was very weird having stuff in two places and blah blah blah. So now I'm like, fine, I'm just moving in like a normal person, and if staring at mountains of paper and boxes every day doesn't make me unpack fast, nothing will. So tonight is the last night in the hotel (which I would have to be out of by Monday anyway).

* In related news, the cable guy is coming tomorrow morning. No, that is definitely not a coincidence, and yes, I am as giddy as a girl on prom night, thank you for asking.

* So get this, I actually have a hot guy neighbor. I haven't had a hot guy neighbor since college and it is all very exciting and new except I DON'T HAVE A PEEPHOLE! How am I supposed to spy on someone without a peephole? (Rhetorical question. You know me, I'll find a way if I have to drill a peephole myself, and you'll all get to see the pictures. But still.)

* Speaking of boys, the boys are insane here. Like, insane in a "I think I'm the first girl they've seen in five years" way. I could fill a thousand blog posts with stories of the boys here, and I might have to do just that. IN. SANE.

* OK, you haven't had a "Stupid Swishy" story in a while (like, what? a week?). So you know that great garage I have? You know how tired I said I was? You know how sometimes it gets really, really dark at night and sometimes you can't see what you're doing because there's not enough light? Well. I was backing out of my garage a couple days ago, and it was sooo dark, and it was only like the second time I'd backed out of it, and ... CRUNCH. Oh, yes. Yes, I did. I totally tore off part of the sideview mirror on my brand-new, pristine car. I sat there for a second and I was like, well. OK. And then I got out, picked up all the glass and the plastic, and drove away.

Can you believe that? I was like, DUMB! How dumb! But there was obviously nothing I could do about it, so I tried not to spaz about it too much. I actually did something kind of like that to my last car when I first got it. Now I get to pay to have my car fixed just shy of its two-month birthday. So awesome I can't stand it.

* I am totally appalled that Ashlee Simpson named her baby Bronx Mowgli Wentz (BMW).

* I am even more appalled that Spencer and Heidi eloped. WHAT. THE. HELL.

* I am off to bed, my friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ohhhh goodness

The movers are coming in six hours. I got an hour and a half of sleep last night. Must ... go ... to bed. But I will have an update, and pictures, and all that good stuff for you tomorrow. I am so ready to get my stuff and SO DREADING unpacking. Boo. (I am totally not giving up the hotel room until I have Internet and cable hooked up, though! Ha.)

Have a good morning, everyone! More later ....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As the Apartment Search Turns

In today's installment ...

I totally asked him for a discount and he TOTALLY SAID YES! Yeahhhhh!!!

Of course, I AM SO NEUROTIC, I think, wait ... that was too easy. So I drag my heels all day taking over the application, and finally I realize that OK, it's not the apartment, it's the fact that DECIDING on an apartment means I really, really do live here now, and that is a little like, whoa. You know?

(Dr. Phil, he would be proud.)

I get over myself and go drop the thing off. Before I leave I'm like, hey, can I take the keys from you and run over there for a second to look around one last time and take some pictures?

(This is a little bit of a test because Crazy McPushypants would have NEVER let me do that alone.)

The landlord is a super nice guy, so he's like, of course, go ahead and take your time, and if you want, you can take the garage door opener off the counter too so you have it.

(I like the landlord. He also was like, please don't worry about the walls, I noticed there were a couple nail holes that hadn't been filled, so I had them filled and primed but they haven't been painted over yet. You guys, there were like three TINY nail holes, it was so not a big deal. But that is how well he keeps it up.)

So I drive over and go inside and immediately I was like, all right, I really am gonna be OK here. There's just something different about being there myself, without someone watching, so I can poke through the fridge and the cabinets and talk out loud to myself about how, oh, this can go here, and that can go there, and maybe I'll buy a bigger bookshelf for that corner.

So it's good. I'm taking it. I'll move in next week.

(Of course, I'm still me, so when he asked if I wanted to take the keys and sign the lease while I was there contingent on the credit application to save myself a trip, I was like, oh, no, that's OK, I'll come back tomorrow. Just so I can give myself 12 more hours to freak out about it.)

Thank you, guys. You are the best, best, best.

(P.S. I haven't called the other guy at all. He cashed my check for the application, but he hasn't tried to get ahold of me. I don't need to call him to tell him I'm not going to take the place ... right? Or do I?)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Updates, updates

Helllllllo! Hello, hello, hello! I have been a little blog slack-y but I am getting into a little bit better routine now, so things should start (finally) getting back to normal. Until I move into the new place and have to unpack, at least. Which leads me to ... my apartment update!

Well. Well, well, well. You should all know that I'm totally laughing right now, even though I'm a little stressed out about the whole thing, just because this is SO LIKE ME. I definitely want to live in the cute neighborhood, but I could not stop thinking about how small that apartment is. It was not "I'm being a princess" small, either. It really was SMALL. Also, the landlord was being SO pushy it made me start to think maybe there was something shady going on. I went to fill out the application for the credit check, thinking it would buy me at least another day, and he wanted me to sign the lease and write him a check for the deposit RIGHT THAT SECOND, even before he submitted the application. I was like, um, I'm kind of in a rush right now, but I'll come back later. And he was like, we have to do it TODAY. I will come to you and meet you in two hours so we can do it TODAY.

So this is what I did. I called my new co-worker (who lives in the neighborhood, and also, by the way, has an apartment he calls small that is WAY bigger) on the verge of tears, and then my friend Allee in full-blown tears, and both of them told me the same thing: DO NOT LET HIM PUSH YOU INTO ANYTHING! So I made up another lie and left a message with his secretary saying I couldn't meet him because I needed to measure my furniture to make sure everything would fit before I signed anything. (Is that a lame lie? I think maybe it is. I am a terrible liar. But I'm also a little non-confrontational and he was a little scary, so a lame lie it was.)

Anyway, I spazzed about it at work all day, and they were like, look, whether it's a good place or a bad place, you do not want a jerk as a landlord. Which is true. I thought for sure I would get an irate phone call from him, but I haven't heard anything. So I guess that's good, maybe he's rented it to someone else. On the other hand, maybe he took my social security number off my application, opened several credit cards in my name and bought himself some coke and hookers over the weekend.

These are the things that keep me up at night.

So here is the status. Two more apartments have opened up on that street and I'm going to check those out. They're not much bigger, but they are bigger (with fireplaces), and hopefully not managed by a pushy madman. Also, I looked at another apartment for the second time. It really is a good place. It's two blocks closer to the heart of the neighborhood (like a five-minute walk from everything), big and open with a brand-new kitchen and cabinets and windows plus A GARAGE. It is insane that it has a garage, and even more insane than that is the thought of NEVER, NOT ONCE, HAVING TO SCRAPE MY WINDOWS THIS WINTER! However, it's also, like, $150-250 more a month than the other ones. I can probably afford it, but it is sort of the principle. Do you know how many sweaters I can buy at H&M for $200? How many extra cable channels I can get? A LOT.

BUT! I sort of have a plan. Here is my plan. The guy wants first month, last month AND a month security deposit. AND he wants to start the lease November 15, with the money for that up front, too. So 3 1/2 months rent when you sign the lease. I think that is asking A LOT, especially in this economy. So! I might say, OK, fine, but if you're getting all of that up front, I want something up front, too ... like a discount on the rent. It doesn't have to be a HUGE discount, but 50 bucks a month or something to knock it into a lower category so that psychologically I feel better about the whole thing. Or the rest of November free. Something like that.

Maybe that is a dumb plan. I asked him when I saw it again if the price was firm and he said "pretty firm" ... but I might try it anyway.

OK. In other news ...

I love that I can make the grumpiest person in my department laugh, and how amazed everyone is when it happens.

I don't love that I've locked myself out of my hotel room four times now, and that on the fourth time they had no keys left for me. (HA.)

I love that the guys at work let me be the only girl at their boys' night out. And I love that they already have a nickname for me (even if it is YENTA! Ha ha ha ha ha).

I don't love that I have the worst cable in the history of bad cable. I am starting to feel it in a BAD way, let me tell you. It's NOVEMBER SWEEPS. I keep trying to watch shows online, but the tradeoff of having a good corner room is having a bad Internet connection, so I can't watch video. It's an issue. A big one.

I love that I do have Showtime, at least, so I can watch Dexter.

I love that the band at an Irish pub I went to the other night all of a sudden broke into La Bamba (random!) and every single person in this tiny little bar started dancing and singing every word of it at the top of their lungs.

I don't love how much I miss certain things about home, especially on my days off.

I love that you are all so totally awesome, the best, funniest and smartest people ever. Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I like to make things harder on myself

Exhibit A: I'll just cut to the chase on this one. I ran out of gas in the middle of the highway yesterday. Yes, that actually happens to people in real life and not just in contrived movies and TV shows. It happens to STUPID PEOPLE. Stupid people who are too busy driving around in circles and talking on the phone and debating Brad Pitt, Barack Obama and the meaning of life to remember their low fuel light has been on for like two days. People like that.

Me: Shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT!
Mom: Watch your language!
Me: HELLO. MISSING THE POINT. (Pause.) Shiiiiiiiiit.
Mom: What? What point?
Me: DAMMIT. I just ran out of gas.
Mom: I did not raise my daughters to have potty mou--wait, you what?
Me: I ran out of gas ON THE FREAKING HIGHWAY. I am COASTING on the side of the ROAD right now.
Mom: Why didn't you put gas in your car when the light went on?
Me: I think maybe because I was HOPING I'd run out of gas on the highway. I was like, hmmm, what can I do for fun today? I KNOW! How about I run out of gas--
Mom: All right, I get it. (Pause.) You know, I never let my car go below a quarter tank, just to make sure nothing like that happens.
Me: Really? That's a really happy story. Thanks.

Of course, I can't just be stupid and run out of gas. I have to run out of gas in a state where I don't know anyone! So instead, I called everyone in my OLD state and bitched about it while I waited AN HOUR AND A HALF for roadside assistance. (I was going to try to walk to a gas station, and my mom COMPLETELY freaked out because it was night and I was on the highway and made me promise to stay in my car. Normally, I am far too stubborn to do something merely to make my mother happy, but this time I acquiesced because did I mention the fact that I spent the hour and a half totally paranoid that a cop would come to "help" me and realize my registration was expired and give me a ticket? For some reason, I had it in my head that I was much more likely to get a ticket if I left my car than if I stayed with it. Why is my registration expired? Besides my well-documented track record of flouting authority? Because it was up at the end of October and I don't know where I'm living yet so I can't renew it here. Sitting on the side of a major highway with no gas is not a good way to flee from the law, let me tell you.)

Anyway, it wasn't the end of the world, I even started laughing when I called roadside assistance, but all in all, NOT THAT FUN. Finally, an hour after he was supposed to, the guy showed up with my two complimentary gallons of gas. "I hope you like it here!" he said before he drove away. HA freaking HA.

Exhibit B: So. I think I found an apartment. Well, there are two options, but I think I am getting this one. It is in a VERY fun part of town, very cute, very vibrant, walking distance to bookstores, bagel shops, a movie theater, etc. The downside is that this area is older, so the apartment is smaller with older cabinets, no washer/dryer hookup, a tiny, tiny kitchen, no dishwasher. But it does have big windows and new hardwood floors and an exposed brick wall that is painted glossy white and is in a GREAT neighborhood--safe, residential, parks nearby--with heat included in the rent.

But! A couple of the boys at work live in another town a bit farther away, and I could have everything I had in my old place--an extra bedroom, washer/dryer, fireplace, newer appliances. The rent wouldn't be too much more ($150 or so) and I would have a lot more space, plus people I know living nearby. There is a little downtown with some good restaurants, but there's not nearly as much going on.

I pretty much know I want to live in the first area, because it is just SO cute and I am sick of living in big apartment complexes. But I definitely would have to scale back and get rid of some stuff, because it's a lot smaller. And, of course, you know me, I can't just make a decision, I have to agonize over it and do the pros and cons and commit and uncommit and commit again about a thousand times first. The guy totally put me on the clock too because it hadn't been listed yet, which SO did not help. I was supposed to go to his office this morning to fill out an application and I totally froze. I was like, I need one more day to drive around and just be sure. So I called him and said (little white lie alert) I got called into work and I would come first thing tomorrow to do the application instead. And he got TOTALLY PISSED at me! He's like, "You know, I could rent this place in a heartbeat, you're lucky I let you look at it before it was listed, blah blah blah" and I was like, DUDE! SLOW YOUR ROLL. I'LL BE IN TOMORROW.

Now, of course, I feel guilty and like maybe I should just go over there and sign my poor little life away, but really, it is JUST 24 hours, right? And shouldn't I be sure? Shouldn't I go back around and explore a little? Shouldn't I check out IKEA's website for shelving units that can fit in the closet and go to places like ApartmentTherapy.com for tips on decorating a smaller space first? Just to REALLY MAKE SURE? I think so ... right?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A post totally not about Election Day*

(Job update: The other day, I was so in love with my job I wanted to marry it; the next day I wanted to arrange for it to have a "tragic" "accident" during our Carribean honeymoon so I could collect the insurance money and shack up with a much younger cabana boy by the ocean. Today we were back on decent terms. I'll keep you posted.

Apartment update: None. In denial. Moving on.)

A few weeks ago I saw Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which I thought was really cute (thanks in large part to Michael Cera, who Manic likes to call "that boy from Juno" even though he's really that boy from Arrested Development. I MISS THAT SHOW!). The other day, my friend sent me a little package with fun magazines and caramel popcorn and the Nick and Norah soundtrack. I was reading the liner notes and the director talks about how he worked in a music store when he was in high school. People would come in just desperate to find out the name of a song they heard in passing, a snippet they heard on the radio or in a store or through the open window of someone else's car, and he would help them find the song.

I have done that SO MANY TIMES, just gotten absolutely crazed over finding a song. I'm constantly scribbling down, like, five words on the back of some receipt and then Googling them to death later until I find the right one. I searched for MONTHS for the song that played when Carrie saw Aidan again at the opening of Steve's bar on Sex and the City (Love for Real by Everlast ... it threw me because it was mostly instrumental, and the vocals that WERE there were by a woman). I was at lunch with someone once and, I don't know, it was kind of one of "those" conversations, and this perfect song was playing in the background, which I found out later was Statue by Low Millions. A couple of months ago, I heard a line of this song that I just loved and HAD to find, and it was Just Say Anything by Five a.m. (My favorite example of that on the CD is a song called The Last Words, and there's a part that goes, "You said you loved me and I kind of believed it, but who knows what that means anymore." It's like 1:20 in, listen to it, it's so good.)

Anyway, reading that reminded me of that scene in Garden State where she's like, listen to this song, it will change your life. I didn't love that scene, actually, but I like the idea of a song moving you so much it changes your life a little. I was trying to think of what mine would be, and it's HARD! I feel like they shouldn't just be songs I like, they should be songs that MEAN something. Here's what I've got ...

Fire and Rain and Carolina in my Mind, James Taylor. When I was 13 or 14, I had this incredible crush on a boy named Drew. I went to this dance and they played Fire and Rain (totally random), and Drew actually ASKED ME TO DANCE. We (I) had our little three minutes and 26 seconds of bliss, and then I didn't talk to him the rest of the night. My friend's mom came to pick us up. We were all packed into the minivan, and I was in the way, way back, looking out the window, when Drew's mom's car pulled up right next to us. Drew was in the backseat, and I just stared at him, like, having a mini heart attack while everyone else around me talked and laughed and whatever. I didn't think he could see me, but then all of a sudden, right when the light turned green, he put his hand up and gave me a little wave. Carolina in my Mind (double random) was playing on the radio, and I swear to you, it was the first time in my life that time froze just for a second. I am a HUGE "moment" girl, which is why I can remember things like what song was playing when I had lunch with someone three years ago. That was the first real "moment" I remember.

Closer to Fine, Galileo, Least Complicated, Indigo Girls. I listened to a lot of Indigo Girls my first year or two of college. I had this all-nighter ritual: Excedrin, Dr Pepper, Goldfish crackers and Indigo Girls. I think it was the first time I realized there was stuff outside of Top 40 radio, which definitely impacted the kind of music I liked from that point on, and all of the lyrics were about figuring out who you were and what it means to be in love and things like that, which were pretty appropriate for a 17-year-old girl away from home (2,000 miles away, no less) for the first time.

Angel Dream, Tom Petty. I dated this guy once who was in a band. He used to say this song reminded him of me, and he put his version and Tom Petty's version on a tape for me when I went off to college. Why was it life-changing? Because he was the first person who really loved me--not just liked me, but loved me--even though he didn't have to, even though I didn't quite love him back the same way, and that song reminds me of that.

Falls Apart, Sugar Ray. This is the song that caused me to hurl myself at the stage and tell Mark McGrath I would have his babies. (Did I say I was proud? No. No, I did not.) But I HAVE loved concerts ever since.

Chocolate, Snow Patrol. The first line is: "This could be the very moment I'm aware I'm alive." I think a lot of times we can catch ourselves sleepwalking through life, but no matter how much time you've wasted, no matter how you've screwed up, it can all change right this second. I can't tell you how many times I've blasted that song and been like, OK, this could be it, this could be the beginning of the rest of your life.

Mr. Brightside, The Killers. It totally represents to me the beginning of one of the more significant relationships of my life (timing, maybe?). For a long, long time, I listened to it every day on the way to work.

And two albums: August and Everything After, by the Counting Crows, and Futures, by Jimmy Eat World. I did not like Counting Crows when that album came out. As a matter of fact, I think it's fair to say I HATED THEM. But a few years later, when I didn't hear Mr. Jones every single time I turned on the radio or see Courteney Cox moping in the video for A Long December every time I turned on MTV, I rediscovered that CD and just fell absolutely in love. I just GOT it. I feel like I can relate to just about every song on that CD.

And Futures ... oh, Futures. There are a few songs on Futures that completely, utterly and totally capture some very big years of my life. Do you ever feel like if someone watched something or read something or heard something in particular, they would be able to get you that much more? I feel that way with some of those songs. They're me, in four-minute increments. I guess that's why they made such an impact on me, because someone was able to put into words how I feel and I know I'm not the only person in the world who feels that way.

What about you? What songs changed your life? (Maybe we'll make a life-changing soundtrack and do a giveaway!)

(*Although, yes, you should stand in line and vote and blah blah blah. I was totally into this election for a long time, and now I am so sick of it I could scream. I'm sure I'll still have my butt in front of the TV watching results all night, though.)