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October 19, 2009

Raindrops not falling on my head (for now)

On Friday my boss let me work from home so I could be around while the maintenance guys came to my apartment and tried to seal The Great Leak. If a strange man with a hammer is going to be in my bedroom I want to be there. (Some jokes just write themselves.)

So they did a fair amount of cosmetic repair and not enough roof repair to make me feel confident in the watertight properties of my rooftop patio and yet I am surprisingly unhysterical about this situation. This is where I am now and my bedroom may rain again but here I am nonetheless, with a shorter commute and a California Fireplace. And just like relationships, homes all have their own individual issues. Luckily it doesn't rain much out here.

ScarfWatch 2009
I fear our window of opportunity for autumnal scarf-wearing has passed. We're having typical October weather, 100 degrees and sunny on the weekend and today it's going to be a chilly 75. Then back up in the 90s by Wednesday. October is traditionally one of the hottest months in Los Angeles. The idea that it is snowing right now on the east coast seems surreal. I love the idea of traveling to cold places and I myself hate hot weather but I wouldn't know what to do with snow. Do you just stay home? Maybe you just stay in and knit and watch old episodes of Cold Case. That sounds like a good winter to me.

Which Is What I Did Yesterday (sans snow)

I forgot I like Cold Case, I stopped watching it because I had too much TV, and then one night a few weeks ago when I couldn't sleep I caught an episode and added it back to my Tivo, so I spent part of my weekend ass-planted on the sofa knitting and watching TV. I NEEDED THAT. I am knitting a project I can't show you because it's a gift for someone who reads this website. It's so hard to keep surprises surprising! I'm about 1/4 of the way done with this project and sometimes I look at it and start laughing. Also, Lion Brand wool-ease is a really good yarn. It's so forgiving and knits up so well and it's not expensive at all. And Lion Brand doesn't discontinue yarn lines left and right like some companies, so you can rely on them which is very reassuring.

Not that it matters since I can never buy yarn again. Recently I confessed to Corey that not only do I have enough yarn to last me until the apocalypse, but I also have embarrassingly little desire to part with even a single skein. I love all my yarn, even the mismatched one-offs. I am a yarn hoarder. Sure, my hoarding is neatly encapsulated in little rubbermaid plastic bins and it's all stacked carefully away in the closet but it's still hoarding, it's just organized hoarding. I even have yarn in my earthquake kit -- you never know when you'll need to whip up a quick roll-brim hat during an emergency.

To-Do List, 12 Pages Long
Getting settled in to my new apartment has been harder than I expected. I was working late nights on a big project at work and then there's the book and that whole thing with the swine Cupcake Flu. I've been so exhausted. This is the first time since Labor Day that I've come close to feeling normal again. I even walked down to the Metro Rapid today, which is a hike but worth it to skip the local bus (they both dump you at the subway but the Rapid does it in half the time).

So since I'm feeling more sprightly, I'm making a to-do list for the apartment and it's getting awfully long: I need to hang some curtains and make sense of the linen closet and fix the refrigerator doors, among other things. At my old place the doors opened the wrong way and it was a little awkward but not a show stopper. In this apartment it's nearly impossible to get anything out of the fridge without opening the doors all the way and then walking around them to peer inside. I'm not particularly excited about this little piece of home handywork on my to-do list but I figure while I'm at it I can satisfy my deep urge to disinfect every last inch of the fridge and freezer.

Kitchen storage is a real problem. My little house in Encino-adjacent had a tiny kitchen but it was surrounded on all sides by walls and there was a lot of cabinet space. This new kitchen is open to the dining area and it definitely feels less cramped because of all the open space but then again, there are no cabinets. And the few cabinets I do have are built on a curve so they're angled and funky inside. I have a ton of Pyrex glassware that I use for taking my lunches to work and I have nowhere to store it. Yesterday I had a bright idea: I decided I should just go to the market and buy all the supplies for a big pot of kale & chickpea stew and all the stuff to make that delicious chicken & white bean chili and then I can fill up all the containers with stew and chili, stick it in my (currently empty) freezer and I'll have lunches for a month plus a safe place to store all that Pyrex.

So I filled up my shopping cart and yesterday I spent the afternoon making the chili, it filled up eight pyrex bowls and my lower cabinet no longer spills out onto the floor every time you open it. Tonight I'm going to make the kale and chickpea stew and that should fill up the rest. (By the way -- the secret to the kale dish is to use a VERY good spicy sausage. The sausage is what gives this dish all its flavor. I have used all kinds of spicy sausage from Whole Foods instead of chorizo and the dish changes flavor depending on what you pick. But don't skip the sausage or this dish is just dull. Healthy but dull.)

The to-do list just gets longer and longer! But even though I still have a few lingering boxes and piles and none of the paintings have been hung and I can't find half the towels (where did they go? so mysterious!) there are nice things about my new place. The dishwasher, for one. I LOVE HAVING A DISHWASHER. It's been five long years of handwashing and dish pan hands and I love the loud, satisfying slurch of my dishwasher. Everything comes out so clean and sparkly. Lord I have missed having an automatic dishwasher.

And the cats love the California fireplace. About ten years ago I lived in a big house in another part of the valley and we had a real wood-burning fireplace and it was nice, mostly, but it was such a pain in the butt to clean and the wood was expensive and hard to store properly so we hardly ever used it. A gas fire is the way to go -- flip the light switch and voila! Beautiful flickering flames in the blink of an eye and there's nothing to clean up.

The first time I turned it on the click-click-click sound of the ignition scared the cats, they went running up the stairs. But then they eventually came down one by one and before long Frankie was rolling around belly-up, basking in the warm glow. The cats are even getting along better these days. They just have so much more space to spread out in and they can run up and down the stairs and sit in the windowsills and they're not all crammed in together. I actually saw Soba play with Bob last week. Real playing! She came around the corner of a box I'd left in the living room and she saw Bob lolling around on the floor nearby and she hunkered down and did that kittycat butt-swishing thing and then she pounced -- but playfully, not like she was trying to eat his head. I stood there in bare shock. I haven't seen her play with Bob maybe ever. Usually when she jumps at him it's because she's biting out a chunk of his fur or drawing blood. And a few days ago I saw Frankie affectionately rub up against Soba and the Sobakowa endured it without hissing.

It gave me a little twinge, like I felt bad we hadn't moved sooner or something. But there's no use in feeling bad. Maybe it wasn't ideal, having all my cats in such a small house for so long, but I was just doing the best I could with what I had. And at nighttime we all end up smooshed together in bed anyway, no matter how many square feet there are in a day we always share the same little patch of blankets each night.

Frank on a melange of rugs. I haven't found a perfect rug for the fireplace yet so I'm using all the other rugs at one time. She likes it.

Posted by laurie at October 19, 2009 9:19 AM