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Miss Peach

Like putting a good belt on a cheap dress

What We Have Here is an Infestation

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Firstly: I swear. I can talk about a LOT more than just mice. I had a whole other post ready to roll and then... well, then the following occured. And I think you'll agree that there was no question as to what to write about after that.

My roommate Gen came home today after being away for a week. I thought the mice were gone. No sightings, no new droppings, etc. All was fine. I really thought we were in the clear.

Then Gen went to go to bed and, well, I just really don't know where to begin. As she was pulling down the sheets she noticed somthing on her pillow. Droppings. I'm not kidding y'all. On her PILLOW. And it gets worse. They were in her bed. Not, like, you know, ON her bed. I mean in between the sheets. At this point she leaned over to the end of her bed where the window was and noticed a ton of droppings on the windowsill. By her bed. And droppings all over it too. Obviously, there was screaming and absolute hysterical laughter b/c seriously, how else can we respond at this point?

Gen was completely freaked, and I told her she should really just sleep with me, it's fine, I would without hesitation hop into bed with her if, god forbid, the same thing happened to me. So she agrees, and we go to unmake my bed, and there is one dropping in there. And we pull back the shade on my window, and there are droppings there too. TONS of them. I mean, it's just unbelievable. So we change the sheets and wipe up the windowsill and all that and turn on the TV and the noise machine and she went to bed. I had to watch Grey's Anatomy. And my best friend had come over to watch it too. She offered to put us up, but she lives waaaay downtown and Gen works waaaaay uptown and anyway, it didn't make sense.

So now I'm going to bed. I just... I don't know what to do. I called the super-his wife basically told me that there seems to be some sort of infestation going on right now and he'll come up tomorrow night to seal up any other holes and set traps and all that. I said I'd call the managment company to demand an exterminator, and she said to go on ahead, but really they'll just call my super to come deal with it. We've filed a complaint with 311, the city's complaint line, but I just don't know what else to do. We could get an exterminator on our own, but then we'll be out of pocket and really, if this is a building-wide problem then it won't do too much. And we just moved here in September. I cannot afford to move again for, like, years. I can't afford the deposit and security and inevitable brokers fees and all that. It's just honestly not an option. So, I'm feeling super stuck and super-grossed-out and hating this place at the moment.

Gen called her sister who has a cat, appropriately named Kat Kat, and we are going to try to borrow Kat Kat for a bit here. We might even get a cat, though I'm allergic, but at this point sneezing and a Clarinex prescription seems a really small price to pay for a little piece of mind. That, and the knowledge that I'll be dogsitting Harvey for nearly a week starting Saturday-meaning I'll be out of my apartment-helps. Oh, and the thought that maybe, one day, down the line, I might just be able to laugh about all of this.

Of Mice and Women

Friday, February 24, 2006

Since I seem to be mouse-obsessed (my, it is a good thing I wasn’t blogging at our last apartment because I would have had to make this a strictly-mouse-related blog I think), I thought I would share with you one of the most disturbing mouse stories I’ve ever heard. I’m sure there are worse. This story just makes me laugh hysterically while making each and every hair on my body stand on end, and for that, I love it. Plus, it didn't happen to me.

My friend K lived in an apartment above a pizza place for a year with three friends, and in that year they had THIRTEEN mice that they know of. Well, thirteen separate mice incidents that resulted in a dead mouse carcass. They called them all “Mr. Bojangles X”. So by the end, she would call me and be like, “Hey, so, yeah, Mr. Bojangles 13 is making me insane, can I come stay with you tonight?” And I, being the wonderful friend I am, said yes every time.

After that year, K and her roommates all moved—K moved in with another friend, and the other three stuck together. They had this great new apartment that was not above a pizza place, making them think their problems were over.

Well, they weren’t. They had a few mice sightings here and there, but they dealt with it, and all was fine. Annoying? Yes. But after having THIRTEEN the year before, the 3 they had in their first year at the new place seemed acceptable. But still, these three have done their mice time, so to speak. They’ve paid their dues. So they hire an exterminator, and, finally, the mice seem to be gone for good.

Fast forward to last summer. They all went to a game at Yankee Stadium with other friends to celebrate A’s birthday (one of K’s former roommates). It was a little chilly—I think this was early on in the season and summer wasn’t yet in full swing. So they all had coats with them. They get to the stadium, they get some beer, they get settled. For some reason involving a ticket mishap, they had been seated near a handicapped section and were right next to a security guard.

A, whose birthday, I believe, it was, got a little chilled. So she put on her coat, which she hadn’t worn in a good long while and which had been hanging on a coat tree in the apartment in the meantime. She puts on one sleeve, and then reaches into the other sleeve, feels something there, and pulls out a dead and decaying mouse.

A screams and throws it down, and of course the six other girls in the group freak. Beer goes flying, there’s a major commotion, everyone is just hysterical and scrambling to get away from the carcass. The security guard sees what’s happening, comes over, notices the dead mouse, and kicks it out of the way. But there was no mass to it—it’s decayed, right? Plus, in case you weren’t aware, mice don’t have backbones—so every time he kicks it, it kind of flutters up and then the breeze catches it and blows it towards the girls, who scream and shuffle away as best they can en masse. And then the security guard kicks it again, they scream, they shuffle. Kick, scream, shuffle. This is all happening really quickly, and K says the guard kicked it like 6 or 7 times. If I had been there, I think I would have, by this point, run screaming from the stadium, hailed a cab, and been halfway home.

So, finally the guard picks up the mouse and throws it away. The girls calm down, are now giggling, all is fine.

And then some jack*ss behind them, who is dipping, spits on A.

I’m pretty sure that went down as her best birthday ever, aren’t you?

Mouse Update

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why is it that, when you have a mouse, people feel the need to inform you that they don't have backbones?

For example: my super was examining the hole by the furnace, which I expressed some doubt about in terms of the mouse fitting through. "Well, they don't have backbones, so they can fit through anything."

For your information, that makes me feel not one iota better. Honestly, it makes me shudder. The fact that they don't have backbones is really just incredibly freaky. It's like they're aliens.

The exterminator doesn't come until Saturday, but at least I have my snowboots. Thank god it's not summer, right? Because I'd be really, really hot if it was.

The Reason Why Everyone Should Be Lucky Enough to Have a Friend Like Darren

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I have a mouse.

He just ran across my apartment AGAIN. If you were here, you would have seen me stomping my feet like a tantruming three-year-old and screaming like someone was coming at me with a knife. Suffice it to say that I do NOT do well with rodents.

The especially unfortunate thing about this is that my roommate is out of town for the week. You can bet she's been getting hourly phone calls from me, in which she laughs at me and then suggests I call the super again. Generally, I handle the people we have to deal with while we live together. I do battle with the cable company, negotiate the deals with the brokers (we moved a few months ago), and provide the heavy hand that is often needed when dealing with landlords, supers, electric companies, and the like here in New York.

Gen, however, definitely pulls her weight (and then some). She sweeps weekly (praise be to her compulsive need to clean). She always gets the mail and unloads the dishwasher. She's really good about watering the plants and generally taking care of daily business--remembering we need half and half or butter or something.

And she deals with the rodents.

We had a big mouse problem at our last apartment. I'm still so traumatized by it that I have suppressed many of the memories, but they include:
*Standing on top of a barstool while she went into my room wearing clogs and wielding a broom b/c we had just seen a mouse run in there. She gave me one task: to see where it ran to so that we knew where the holes were. When it ran out of my room, I put my hands over my eyes and screamed at the top of my lungs, not catching where the thing ran at all.
*Rocking myself back and forth in the fetal position on the couch as the mouse ran around the kitchen (I heard it squeaking) until she came home, took charge, and ran it off.
*Standing on a barstool yet again as George the exterminator examined the place for the umpteenth time, finally decided to check behind the stove, and discovered an ENORMOUS hole that the fire department had made 2 and a half years earlier when the unit below us caught on fire, which George (who might as well have moved in given all the time he spent there) proclaimed to be "the New Jersey Turnpike. No WONDER you girls have so many mice!"
*Falling asleep to the "scratch, scratch, scamper, scratch scratch, scamper" of the mice in the wall behind my bed, and spending sleepless nights working up the nerve to thump on the wall and scatter them.
*Finally having a nervous breakdown one day, calling into work to take the day off, and screaming at my incredibly inept super to get his ass over there with his crew to fix everything, and personally overseeing the patching of every hole and the dispersal of every last bundle of steel wool.

So, as you can imagine, the fact that I am here for a week by myself with a mouse is pretty much one of my "biggest nightmare" scenarios. I've taken to stuffing things under my bedroom door at night in case the little guy goes foraging. I come home from work, turn on all the lights, stomp around and whistle (I am sure my neighbors below LOVE me), and then go put on my snowboots because they're the only things that make me feel safe. Last night, in between my bouts with some stomach virus, the little f*cker came out and I jumped up onto my white couch WITH MY BOOTS ON. And I haven't even thought twice about it. The fact that there's an enormous boot print on my couch pales in comparison with the fact that there is a mouse in my home.

So what exactly, you ask, does any of this have to do with Darren? See the email exchange below. All I have to say is that he is the best. friend. ever.

-----Original Message-----
From: Erinn
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 3:35 PM
To: Darren
Subject: RE:

I finally saw the mouse.

-----Original Message-----
From: Darren
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 3:38 PM
To: Erinn
Subject: RE:

Do you know where he's coming from?

-----Original Message-----
From: Erinn
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 3:52 PM
To: Darren
Subject: RE:

Yep--I think from the furnace and under the dishwasher. EW.

-----Original Message-----
From: Darren
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 3:53 PM
To: Erinn
Subject: RE:

Do you have traps?

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 3:54 PM
To: Darren
Subject: RE:

No and I'm terrified of using them. What if I come home and there's a dead or, worse, LIVE mouse there? I'd have a full-fledged nervous breakdown and I'd totally be traumatized.

-----Original Message-----
From: Darren
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 4:01 PM
To: Erinn
Subject: RE:

Get those sticky traps that don't kill them. It's creepy, but it's a lot less gross. If you catch one, give me a call, and I'll come and take care of him.

-----Original Message-----
From: Erinn
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 4:03 PM
To: Darren
Subject: RE:

You have never written anything that meant more to me than that last sentence.

And This Post is Almost as Long as the Night Itself

Saturday night was my first night out in a while. I’ve met up with friends for drinks and whatnot since the New Year, but I haven’t set out to have a big night on the town in months. Because it was a three-day weekend, I decided the extra day off gave me license to get a little crazy one night, and if I made that night Saturday, I’d have two recovery days should I need them. After much back and forth on what to do, my friend Alex and I decided we’d just head out on the town and see where the night took us.

Alex and I haven’t really hung out one-on-one before—we have mutual friends and have been together many a time in group settings, but I was slightly wary that we would run out of things to talk about or find that, really, we couldn’t stand each other or something. I worried for no reason. One minute into our night, Journey came on in the bar, and we admitted our deep love for super, super cheesy 80’s music. If that doesn’t cement a friendship, I really don’t know what does.

After the initial drink, the plan was to head to an apartment party a work friend of mine had forwarded an invite to. There were 500 people invited. To a party in a New York apartment. We decided to go to see the apartment alone. It was $10 at the door, with beer and wine and DJs spinning. I decided it would either be ridiculously fun or unbearably painful, and I am happy to report it was the former. It was like being at an upscale fraternity party, without the annoying fraternity boys. It was perhaps the most diverse crowd I’ve ever seen—everything from French law students, buttoned up lawyers, and someone from the country of Lichtenstein, to punk guys and girls with nose rings and peroxide-ed mullets. I discussed the movie “Jaws”, which I should note I’ve never seen, in-depth with a boy who would have been cute had he not been wearing the most alarming beige turtleneck ever. I then met one of the hosts of the party, who commenced to absolutely freak out about the number of people there, so Alex and I got him another beer and suggested he talk with the bouncers about capacity (yep, there were bouncers). I met a French Canadian who was a caricature of a French Canadian, had a deep and meaningful conversation about the Parisian arrondissement system with a mysterious Frenchman, and discovered that because of a translational problem, half the people we had met thought that Alex’s name was Julienne. Everyone was very friendly which never happens here. Much fun was had, new people were met, numbers were exchanged. It was the best $10 I’ve ever spent to get into a party, hands down.

Afterwards, we decided we needed another drink. Hey, it was only 2:20 am! The night was young! So we went to another spot and as we were sitting, became the recipient (Alex) and witness (me) to the most elaborate and ridiculous pick-up scenario ever.

Some guy came over next to Alex and asked the bartender for pen and a paper maybe 5 minutes after we sat down. At this point, the two of us were used to striking up conversations with everyone in range, so we started talking to him and asking whose number he was getting. It was really loud in there, so I didn’t hear most of the conversation, but I gather he had been eyeing some girl all night, hadn’t gone to talk to her, and was now heading out and decided he’d just go give her his number. He wanted to know Alex’s opinion on the whole thing. There was an in-depth conversation about it, during which I can only imagine I was embarrassingly sit-dancing on my barstool to The White Stripes playing on the jukebox. The boy left, and Alex and I stared to see who he was giving his number to. He kind of hung out on the side of the bar for a moment, then turned around and walked back over and awkwardly stood behind us for a minute. Then he said, “You know what the irony is? This is actually for you.” And with that he thrust the paper at Alex and took off. We sat there, completely stunned, and then burst out laughing and couldn’t stop.

We tried calling him right there and then to hassle him, but he wisely didn’t answer. We called from my phone to avoid him actually having Alex’s number. And he did call back (seriously!) but I missed the call. But I wonder… was that the plan all along? Or did he just chicken out on giving his number to the other girl and then go for Alex? And why are boys so stupid? Can’t we all just be adults here?

So, fun night out: check. Making a new friend: check (yay!). Gaining any further insight into the dating game as it exists in Manhattan? Um, absence of check. Oh well. Two out of three isn’t so bad. And I’ll take the friend over the rest any day of the week, really!

Rachael Ray is Annoying, and Other Day-Off Musings

Monday, February 20, 2006

So, it's Monday, and I have the day off (Happy Birthday, Presidents!) and am appropriately watching crap tv. I hate daytime TV--Judge Judy, soap operas, Regis and Kelly, even Ellen all leave me feeling empty and unfulfilled. (This is surprising, actually, given my deep and abiding love for Lifetime movies, but anyway). Speaking of, Lifetime doesn't start with the movies until 2PM. So I've gone to HGTV and the Food Network for the first part of my day.

The Food Network is running a Rachael Ray marathon. An admission: I cannot stand Rachael Ray. I have many of her cookbooks (get them free through work) but I never look through them, they just sit on a shelf in my office. I find her accent annoying--and normally I really don't mind the long a's at all. I have spent so much of my life in Michigan that I have come to find them endearing and comforting. But Rachael's just gets on my last nerve. I've now watched two episodes of "$40 a Day" and seriously? Her budget tips are so obvious I can't believe she actually got a show with them. "To save money, eat at family-friendly restaurants and don't drink alcohol." Wait, family friendly restaurants are MORE affordable than 5-star dining experiences? A glass of wine costs MORE than iced tea? Thanks, captain obvious!

What REALLY grates on me about her, though, is the "mmm" she gives us after tasting something. Now, I know that the most important part of cooking on TV is the tasting. I recognize that if, say, a chef cooks something on the Today Show and the host running the segment doesn't taste it (and this does happen, amazingly enough), it absolutely won't translate to the viewers and so if they're promoting a cookbook, you can bet it won't sell many copies. In other words, you need that "mmm" to communicate the eating experience and signal to people that, yep, it tastes pretty darn good. That always strikes me as so stupid (if it looks good, won't it sell? Won't you want to eat something that LOOKS tasty since it's on TV?), but the market research and sales figures prove me wrong every. single. time.

But for someone who does NOTHING BUT FOOD TV, you'd think Rachael could manage a "mmm" that's slightly less irritating and slightly more genuine. She seems to have devised a system for the "mmm" which I think I've broken down into the main steps:
1) Close eyes as you raise food to take a bite.
2) Smile while chewing.
3) Open eyes and act surprised.
4) Loudly exclaim "MMMMMM!" as you finish chewing and swallow.
5) Say something appropriately cheesy and annoying, such as "Now, THAT's what I call a good piece of cod!"

Ugh. I've permanently switched to HGTV for the remainder of the day. Or until a good Lifetime movie starts.

In addition to learning more about home decor, I'm also writing thank-you notes, blogging (clearly), and getting ready for the week. Since my roommate is out of town, I'm planning to cook a lot and just luxuriate in having the whole place to myself. I went to the fancy gourmet store many blocks away in anticipation of this, and decided to buy salmon for the week so that I could make the place smell fishy without subjecting my roommate to the lingering odors. I opted for the organic salmon, and when the fishman totaled it, it came to about $20. Ouch. But, it's three meals worth, so that's not SO bad, right? I then bought a ton of other stuff--lemons, pears, cheese (gourmet parmeggiano coming in at a cool $11, but I love good parmesan more that nearly anything else so I splurged), veggies, hummus, a red pepper that wound up costing $2.75. TWO SEVENTY-FIVE. That's ridiculous. In the pepper's defense: it's probably the prettiest one I've ever seen, and it's really big. But still! Then I got coffee ($9 a pound), yogurt (gourmet Greek kind, $5 for a large tub), and other items I needed. As I was checking out, I braced for the total. I knew it would be high, that I was paying a premium for shopping at the fancy store and I had settled on some really big-ticket items, but given the fact I wanted fish and a lot of produce, I wanted to get high-quality stuff and not green beans that make me nauseaus when I look at them like they sell at the cheaper store in my neighborhood. So, the total comes... and it's $48. Which isn't so bad given all I bought and the jacked-up prices at the store. I paid, and headed home, relieved and excited about my purchases.

When I got home and started unpacking, I looked over the receipt to see how it had been so low so that I could replicate this in the future. And even though the lady at the checkout scanned the salmon, it didn't register. I GOT $20 WORTH OF TOP OF THE LINE SALMON FOR FREE. Woo-hoo! I felt guilty for about 5 seconds until the rationalization machine kicked in. I didn't do anything shady to make this happen. She did scan it, it just didn't register for some reason. I wasn't trying to pull a fast one. The store is several blocks away and it's really cold out. It's not my fault and I'm not going all the way back with my receipt and the fish to pay. After some serious back-and-forth, I've settled on this stance. I will take my free fish, and I will not feel guilty about it!

But then, a commercial for President's Day came on, and a picture of Lincoln flashed. And it occured to me that Honest Abe would frown upon my actions, and that it's really disrespectful of me to do this, of all things, on his birthday, of all days.

Thank god it's so freaking cold out that it absolutely rules out my going back. I think it's pretty safe to say Abe wouldn't want my ears to get frostbitten, even if it meant I was doing the (technically) honest and "right" thing here. Right?

Sidebar, Your Honor

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You'll note that I figured out a bit of html coding. Ok, so I copied and pasted and figured out how to change the contents. Regardless, I am so totally high-fiving myself right now.

If you glance to the right, you'll notice I've added blogs I read (hi guys!) and also the most ridiculous quotes from Law & Order. I feel I should clarify that last one. I am actually not a regular viewer of Dick Wolf's Neverending Series Of Spinoffs That Are Always Filming Wherever I Happen To Be At Any Particular Time In The City. I just live with one of them. That's not to say I don't enjoy the show when it's on, or that I think it's beneath me or something. It's just not something I set out to watch.

Well, if you watch L&O (or, like me, live with someone who does), you know how ridiculous the dialogue can get. My roommate and I have taken to pausing, rewinding (all praise DVR), and rewatching some of these scenes over and over as we collapse with laughter. Sometimes they're so wacky we feel compelled to write them down. Now, my friends, I shall share them with you, because I know you care.

I don't even know what the character played by Ice-T's name is, but this particular quote is from an SVU episode where someone finds a baby in the trash, and Olivia and her partner find a homeless woman nearby who THINKS she's pregnant but actually isn't. She's so psycho that she has convinced herself she is, and somehow her body started growing a tummy. So it's a psychosomatic pregnancy. I know--that's insane right? Anyway, they head back to the station (otherwise referred to as "downtown" on the show) and tell the team this story, and the character played by Ice-T storms by, agitated, ranting that she's "Just another fruitcake with a case of baby fever."

OK, so it's a lot funnier on the show, but you can envision the humor, right?

Hmm. We'll see how long this new feature lasts.

My Thumb is Not Green

Monday, February 13, 2006

I consider myself one of the lucky few who adores their parents. I really like hanging out with them. They're hilarious and fun and smart and supportive. Plus, they observe cocktail hour in a nearly Gilmore-esque fashion, and they never hesitate to pour me a glass of champagne. In fact, more often than not, my mom and I will kick a bottle together before dinner. (Before you go thinking we have a real drinking problem, you should know this only happens when I am home in California, which is twice a year at most, and also, we're Irish. We have tolerance, my friends.)

Anyway, my point is that they're great. I'd be happy to turn into them, which is a great thing, because I am definitely slowly turning into my mother.

My mom is a character. She's smart, funny, talented, and the woman has moxie. She's also very pretty and exremely personable. Sometimes people comment on how friendly I can be, and all I can think is, "you should really meet my mother." I have spent my entire life going to her doctors, hairstylists, manicurists, mechanics, chiropractors, what have you, and every time I walk in, they are excited to see me because of my mom. "We just LOVE your mother! Oh, she is the best! How IS she?" It's endearing now, but I don't think I need to tell you how that went over in high school.

The bottom line, though, is that I don't MIND that I'm slowly turning into her. Not too much at least, but the fact that I'm already on the path and only 26 is a little frightening. I'm so far managing to stay away from a few of her more annoying quirks, such as her insistence on pronouncing turqoise as "tur-qwahhss" because "it just sounds so civilized, honey". But I've definitely found myself using her expressions, which is alarming considering they comprise some seriously irritating turns of phrase including (but not limited to) "I'll see you back at the ranch" when parting ways with, say, my roommate at the grocery store. Or proclaiming the start of a meal with a perky "bon appetit!" Blech, I even annoy myself when I do these things, but I can't help it. It's genetic.

So far though, I have not managed to inherit two of her best traits: her ability to cook (seriously-the woman is nothing short of a whiz in the kitchen) and her mean green thumb. She can buy a ten dollar orchid at Trader Joe's and keep it alive for years. My parents live in southern California so, yes, part of it is the climate. But still. She has recently started growing limes and lemons and she is so successful that she just might have to open up a produce stand. She has had the same ficus tree since I was born, which has survived two cross-country moves without a single problem. It's maddening.

I, on the other hand, can't keep plants alive. I recently invested in two orchids and one of them died within a week. I have two hanging plants in my apartment and after two weeks, one of them nearly died. It was all dry and shriveled and browning. I finally just went through and cut our all the dead vines and now it looks like a bad hairstyle from 1984--all poufed and volume-y on one side with no leaves on the other side. I am, as a gardener, a failure.

I've watered, shifted, sunned, and fed them. I think the little guy will pull through but it's still too early to tell. I'm resorting to desperate measures. If I whisper nice things to it, will it bounce back? Should I invest in Miracle-Gro or some such food? Water more? Water less? Or should I just throw in the towel, stop resisting it, and actually BECOME my mother? Because, really, how could your luck NOT pick up when you start referring to umbrellas as "um-ba-RELL-as"?

Let's Try This Again

I'm giving blogging a try again. We'll see how it goes. (And by we'll, I mean me.) I've decided to jump back in for purely selfish reasons--I need an outlet. Oh, and some friends of mine blog and have made some actual friends through it! Who are normal! And interesting! And that's fun! And also, I read so many every day, I feel like it's only fair I have my own. Kind of selfish to read everyone else's and then not offer up any information of your own, no?

In an attempt to stay on target, a list of goals... well, one goal really. I will post with some sort of frequency. Is once a week acceptable? In my defense--I work a lot of hours, and sometimes I can barely bring myself to converse with my roommate by the time I get home. In your defense--like you really want to read anything from me MORE than once a week?

Plus, I like to keep those expectations low and meet-able. (And really, it's bound to get better than this.)

So, um, yeah. Stay tuned.