Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting Oriented

I was sitting at my desk at work one week ago today, having read my sister's email about how she and her husband and my brother and his wife planned to take Mom out to lunch for Mother's day, and I thought, and thought.  This could be her last Mother's day, how much would it mean to her to have her three kids all there together, wouldn't I just love to see her again.  Could I make it work? Could we afford it?  And I asked Greg what he thought.  And I'm sure we all know what he thought.  And I sent an email to my boss the drill sergeant and requested Friday and Monday off, and he answered 45 seconds later and said okay.  I called and spoke to LaDonna the retirement home director and she said (in what has to be the strongest Southern drawl I have ever heard, and I am from Georgia) that it would be just lovely for me to see Mom for Mother's day and of course I could stay in the model apartment again with no charge and it would be just fine.

I drove up on Friday, had dinner at the retirement home Friday night, and gave and received lots of Mom hugs.   Mom actually seems better, more happy and more energetic and just more on top of things than when I was there in March.  I tried to talk her into going to lunch with me on Saturday, because she just never gets to leave that building, but she was afraid it would make her too tired and she wanted to be okay on Sunday.  

She kept asking questions about where she was.  Where exactly is Alpharetta?  Is it near Atlanta?  Why don't they show it all the time on the weather map on the news?  Was there a Walmart nearby?  A Walgreens?  A Red Lobster?  And I finally realized she was trying to get a picture in her head, she'd been in that building nearly constantly and she didn't even know what was around her.

So I took her driving, and we drove down the street and all the way around the big mall nearby, and I pointed out the Target and the Ruby Tuesday and the Chick-Fil-A. We drove past big office buildings with brightly colored flowers planted in front. I assured her that I had checked and there was no IHOP, no Walgreens, and no Red Lobster anywhere close, unfortunately.  We came back and I parked across the street and we looked at her retirement home from there, she could see the entrance and the parking lot and the landscaping all around and the McDonald's drive through next door.  We picked out where her apartment windows would be around the back.

I showed her a map on my phone of the area, and how Alpharetta is right next to Roswell, so if the weather map on TV shows Roswell she should just assume it'll be the same in Alpharetta.

I don't think that even with her walker she is strong enough to walk very far, so while she could maybe shop in a drug store, going through a mall or even a Target would be too much for her.  Next time I go up there I'm going to take her out to lunch with me, though.

Lunch was awful in that way that going to a restaurant on Mother's day is inevitably going to be awful; it was confused and crowded and noisy and we had to wait too long for everything.  But still, we were all together. And Mom and I shared an entree, and our salmon and broccoli was pretty delicious.

The best part was just sitting with Mom, reading the paper or watching Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune or America's Funniest Home Videos (it's way better with the sound off and the closed-captioning on).

Going back to work today was crap, but I'll get through the backlog of work, and it was worth it.  I'm determined to go back in a couple of months.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Punk At The Met

Jordan in front of Malcolm McLaren's SEX shop
in London, where the Sex Pistols and punk were born

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a show opening tomorrow about punk fashion.  PUNK: Chaos to couture

From Anarchy Unleashed by Calvin Tomkins in The New Yorker:
"The Costume Institute owned some classic punk garments, acquired in 2006 when Bolton persuaded the Met’s trustees to buy the collection of an English post-punk rocker known as Adam Ant. ...  The Met had bought one or two items at auction, but the rest came from private clients, from Westwood, and from the Adam Ant collection. Both Westwood and Ant had preserved and archived pieces with great care, never doubting their historical value."

Oh, how I wish I could go.  Not just for the Adam Ant connection but because of punk itself.  The idea of one of the finest museums in the world celebrating punk as art is so wonderful it makes me want to weep.  One could certainly make the argument that the point of punk was the opposite of history, of museums and their collections and the type of person who is most likely to patronize a museum.  And that is true, it really is.  But the birth of punk was ART, more than anything else.  And fashion was an equally vital component to the music.  So many things that are completely commonplace today were a shocking, outrageous political (and artistic) statement in 1977: spiky hair, piercings, unusual colored hair, metal studs, chains, black lipstick, black nail polish.  Punk changed things.

Adam Ant, black leather and black kilt

Adam Ant performing in kabuki makeup,
black leather and tartan kilt

Adam Ant and punk fashion icon Jordan, wearing
makeup from the movie Jubilee

Adam and the Ants, pirate era

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I H8 Math

This is so me.  I have no understanding of math at all, it is exactly like trying to memorize a foreign language that doesn't make any sense, ever.  I know that the beauty of math is the patterns and the consistency and the fact that everything literally does add up, but it completely misses me.

I am not kidding when I say I looked at the cartoon image and thought, oh how funny that they are doing the addition wrong, they have six plus seven and have it equalling three so that's already off... OH.

Go ahead, ask me what I do all day at work.  Ask me how one figures out forecast call volume, or staffing levels.  Go on!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

I live in a condo that is kinda like a duplex.  It's one long building with four units in a row, ours is on the end, we share one wall with our neighbor, who shares one wall with their neighbor, who shares one wall with the unit on the other end.  Tucked away in the middle, on the back of the building. is a small laundry room.  Three of the units share the laundry room (the couple on the far end of the building installed their own washer/dryer).

Our little condo community has maybe a dozen of these buildings, mostly circled around a pretty little pond with a fountain.  Across the pond from us is the clubhouse and the pool.

This is what it looks like today, a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon:

The pond has fish, turtles, ducks,
and the occasional small alligator.  
Until a few years ago this was a retirement community.  We bought our home from an elderly lady who moved into an assisted living home downtown. It's nice and quiet here, even though we are right off a busy street and spitting distance from a giant Walmart.  (Feel free to come over any time and spit at the Walmart.)  We are also close to UCF, which we are hoping will increase resale value during whichever decade our home value goes back up to anywhere near the amount we paid for it.

On the far end of our unit is a really nice, young couple who lived here together while they went to UCF, a year or two ago they graduated and got married.  Next to them is a man who is going through a divorce, he's a handyman guy good with  plumbing and stuff, very friendly.  So friendly he loaned us a "documentary" which turned out to be a DVD "proving" how Obama is the antichrist.  How long do you keep a thing like that under the pretense that you might watch it?  We had it for a month or two before he asked for it back.  It's just terrible how busy we were the whole time we had it.

Between Conspiracy Theorist and us was, seriously, the sweetest old lady ever.  Sweet Helen was always bustling around outside, growing gorgeous roses, sweeping the sidewalk, shooing away the ducks so they wouldn't poop on our back patio, then hosing off the duck poop, then putting up a little wire fence around the patio to keep the ducks out.   And though her hearing wasn't great she seemed to be doing just fine living there by herself.

Until she wasn't anymore.  She started having trouble walking, and when she got a walker we worried about her.  We'd go over sometimes to help her do stuff, and she'd bring over jars or bottles she couldn't get open, and then eventually her children moved her to an assisted living home near them in New York.

That was right before Christmas.  (I got her address and sent her a Christmas card.)  But now her condo has been sold, and apparently her kids moved out only her personal items, they sold her condo fully furnished to a man.

We have met him briefly a time or two, he appears to be maybe in his 60's, and apparently single.  He saw Sydney meet us at the door while we were chatting and he was very interested in her, telling us that he'd had a Siamese kitty who had died.  We never saw him move in, although his car is always here and he is clearly living here.  He doesn't seem to come outside much, which is certainly fine.  Sweet Helen was always outside, carrying in trash cans for people after the garbage truck left, talking to neighbors, tending to her roses.

Honestly, the one main thing I want from a neighbor with whom I share a wall is QUIET.  Be quiet!  That's all I ask for.  And so far this dude has been quiet.


View of our neighbor's pile-o-crap from our back door

This is the giant pile of crap he has outside his back door.  The boxes are so high it's basically covering his back porch windows.  It smells like it's been in a garage for decades.  This isn't a neat stack of boxes, it's a pile of junk, including mugs and technical manuals of stuff that looks like it's from the 70s and plastic hangers and clothing.  Plus, that area where he has the grill and the bicycles is where I need to walk to get to the laundry room.  

View of our neighbor's pile-o-crap from the laundry room door

I know I am kind of a writer at heart when I start making up stories about people and trying to figure out exactly what might have happened and what their motivations were.  I have decided that this guy was in a giant mound of hoarding hell, maybe due to grief over the death of a spouse, so bad that he had to give up and move out into a new, clean, furnished place.  He hired Bekins movers to come in and pack up the crap that they could, and after the moved the stuff he opened the boxes and picked through.  I am guessing (although I hope this isn't the case) that his condo is full of more boxes like these.

Here is what is scaring me:  in the midst of the crap pile is what appears to be an old litter box.  There is no rational reason to have a litter box unless you have a cat who is using it.  Keeping an old plastic box that once had poop in it is not sentimental, it's crazy.

So.  Now it's Cute College Couple, Conspiracy Theorist, Hoarding Guy and us.  Greg and I are discussing how long to wait before we start complaining to the president of the condo association.  We don't want to be assholes and we don't want Hoarding Guy to feel unwelcome, but...