My mom came to visit two weekends ago, and it has just now occurred to me why there was a bit of suspicion regarding my bathroom.

As I realized just moments ago, my bathroom has some very strong Secret Boyfriend connotations. I have two toothbrushes. One is blue (my current toothbrush) and the other (my old toothbrush) is pink. But the reason I have two toothbrushes is that I'm absentminded and a klutz and, since my old toothbrush is still functional, it's still there in case I leave my proper toothbrush somewhere or drop it in the toilet. (The reason I have a pink toothbrush is because my old roommate replaced my old, old one after she dropped it in the toilet.)

Then there's the fact that there were two tubes of toothpaste on my sink. But one was new and the other was old and almost gone, so that's not suspicious, right? It just shows that, in a rare moment of preparedness, I managed to buy new toothpaste before I ran out completely. ...It probably didn't help my case that they were two different flavors.

Possibly the most incriminating evidence against me, however (because that wasn't enough?), is my soap situation. I have a habit of buying up random interesting soaps from soap-makers on Etsy, so there are always a few different soaps lying around that I use depending on my mood. Right now I have two sitting on the edge of my shower. One is green and innocent and kind of citrus-y. But the other is black, menacing and is... very clearly meant for men. It's bergamot and sweet tobacco and it smells like, well, Earl Grey and unsmoked pipes. I think of it as a Victorian Gentleman soap but I mean, seriously, no one smells me between when I take a shower and when I go to work the next morning, so as far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter if I smell a little bit like I stumbled through a room full of outdated manliness. I like the smell (take that gender normativity). It also mixes nicely with my sandalwood-and-necco-wafer (that's the impression it gives, at least) perfume, which is girly, even if it is on the earthy end of the spectrum.

... It's either that, or I have a Secret Boyfriend I don't know about. I mean, that extra toothbrush is pretty incriminating. If he likes smelling vaguely Victorian, though, I'd probably like to meet him.

In other news, for a variety of other reasons, it is probably also time for me to clean my apartment.
evilhippo: hippo (111 [danger])
( Oct. 22nd, 2009 07:12 am)
Why? Why why why can't I live in a place that has a working carbon monoxide detector? Why can't any of them run out of batteries at a time OTHER than three in the freaking morning? I almost tore the wires out of this one I was so tired. The back pops off but there's nothing there, and you actually have to open it up like Pac-Man to get to the batteries. Pac-Man is very low on the list of ideas for opening something at nearly-four in the morning. I'm sure you can picture this scene. At least I figured it out, because I'm pretty sure the e-mail to my landlord trying to explain why I destroyed his carbon monoxide detector would be pretty incomprehensible at this point.

I hate you, carbon monoxide detectors.

I wish I could call in sick today. This week and I are not even on speaking terms anymore as of yesterday, this is just... unnecessary.
evilhippo: hippo (49 [truth])
( Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:35 pm)
I settled down today and (pretty much) finished moving in. And you know what that means!

Pictures! )
evilhippo: hippo (40 [ellipses])
( Sep. 22nd, 2009 08:49 pm)
So, when presented with a way to obtain something you desire, perhaps even covet--let's say a set of fairly rare vintage speakers, supposedly in great condition, for a rather reasonable (but not so low it's nonsense) price--but the seller can't string together a coherent sentence... do you still buy it? Because I'm finding that I... can't. I really want these speakers. I'm probably not going to find a good set elsewhere. I can't even find them on eBay. And yet... the man selling them is so utterly incomprehensible that I just cannot bring myself to do business with him. It's like back when I was looking for apartments exclusively on craigslist, and I'd get responses from landlords that were all in caps and lacking punctuation, and I couldn't bring myself to go see their apartments just because I didn't want to have a landlord who didn't know how to turn caps lock off, or spell. Why am I such an elitist snob? Why??

Another conundrum I have recently faced is as follows:

It's 8:30 and your load of laundry just finished in the washer. The pair of dryers are both through with their cycle. The laundry room rules say "If you leave your items unattended past the end of the cycle, expect to find them removed." Do you remove the laundry? Do you then fold it? Because apparently when I finally bring myself to remove someone else's laundry from the dryer, I fold it. I barely even fold my own clothes. Would this weird you out, to find your laundry on the counter in the laundry room, all folded? Regardless, the clothes were all like, size 0.5, so if she fights me over it I'll probably win.
1) Attempt to call ISP
2) Attempt to call ISP again
3) Finally reach ISP after a week, once tech support finally provides the correct hours of operation (incidentally, exactly your work hours)
4) Set up new account, since apparently for some reason the old one won't carry over to the new address
5) Wait
6) Wait some more
7) Give ISP the (very unearned) benefit of the doubt, and give them an extra day to set up the connection
8) Attempt to call ISP
9) Attempt to call ISP
10) Finally get a hold of ISP. After fifteen minutes of explaining that ISP is unreachable during times you are at home while someone tries to walk you through tech support on your modem, "be advised" that a technician will be in contact shortly regarding the issue.
11) Wait several hours.
12) Attempt to contact a technician yourself.
13) Explain to fourth or fifth person you are bounced to that you just want to know why the internet isn't on yet. They explain that the tech needs access to the apartment. You explain that they gave absolutely no hint that they had been there, or that they needed in.
14) Schedule a time with for your janitor to let the tech in, since, as you so patiently explained, you have a job.
15) Realize that the four or so odd calls to your phone from a Chicago number were probably your ISP. Wonder why the heck they never left a message.
16) Receive a call at work asking if you're in your apartment to let the technician in. With great patience, ask the technician if he received the instructions to contact the janitor. He did not, and it is apparently blind luck that he showed up when he was supposed to. Repeat the instructions to the technician, give him the janitor's number, hope for the best.
17) Receive several more calls from AT&T letting you know that a technician is at your apartment working on the problem.
18) Arrive home. Fiddle with internet. Log in to find a screen declaring that that ISP has found something "wrong with your account."
19) Spend several hours on the phone with ISP.
20) Finally have internet.
Bonus! I can now freely change the name of my wireless network, which, for some reason, I couldn't do before.

Argh! But at least I have internet again now? Hi? My next request is going to be that it stay connected for more than a few minutes at a time. And maybe for my wireless to work correctly, rather than deciding that what it really wants is not to be wireless at all. (And I'm not even going to start on work. Omg.)
So, if all things fall into place, this will be my apartment starting September 1st (immediately following an approximately 12-hour period of living out of a U-Haul, or out of boxes I will scatter like horcruxes to my friends' apartments). I did a lot (a LOT) of waffling on this. My big negatives on this apartment were the imminent plant-death involved since, though there's a back deck that I really like, it's west-facing, and the apartment itself doesn't get much light, so it has the potential to be a den of SAD and unhappy house plants. Also it's basically right behind the Treasure Island, which puts me way, way too close to campus (and overpriced groceries) for my liking. But the building maintainer was exceptionally sweet, and the back yard space is amazing and belongs to enough people that I know I won't get kicked out of it by any raving nutters (and, I hope, it might be possible to claim a far corner for veggies after I've earned their trust). And I'd have a private deck, and a full kitchen. So, hey, it should be something I can live with, and, at the worst, I expect this apartment and I would have a sort of mutual respect going on, and it'll be cool. Even if I'm technically telling Chicago, yes, I'm willingly living in you for another year, so go ahead and continue to abuse me like you did tonight, when it took me two hours to get back from the loop because every single bus was full. In the end, I got to ride squished up in the front window of the third bus that came, watching Lake Shore Drive go by like it was an IMAX movie (and it wasn't a bad one, though it could've used more flying, and maybe some sharks or volcanoes).

Also, in the event that anyone decides to move to Chicago and is looking for the most awesome hipster place to live, ever, there are studio apartments in the Congress Theater building. There was one for $600 a month that I saw today as a test of my fidelity to my potential apartment, which was really cozy-looking and had exposed brick. I don't know if it's a feeling you (or maybe just I) only get in Chicago theater buildings, but there's something awesome about decades-old, worn-down wood floors and doors that you're not allowed to look behind. And the Congress has those in spades, even in the living spaces. Plus it looks like there's always stuff open, because their advertising about it isn't all that effective. (I would've taken it, except there was no ceiling fan, it weirded me out that it had its own water heater crammed into the space, and there was no laundry in the building. I'm terrible about choosing comfortable over cool, though. It's why I'll never be a real hipster.) Also, you get into concerts for free. I'm sure all of you would've loved to hear about seeing T-Pain four days after I moved in (actually, in terms of shows, the Congress isn't too great. I think the only band I've seen there was My Chemical Romance, way back in like, 2006, before all the RPS and whatnot and when people could still smoke in venues. But still. Living there would be like, instant hipster cred.)
Dear Google,

Really? I think it was better when you didn't have street view in Hyde Park. Because last time I was down on 57th street, I don't remember it being perma-dusk with weird stripes. On the plus side... thank you for making the cute part of the neighborhood look super-creepy. Maybe it'll drive rent prices down.

Aaaand the apartment search continues. The apartment finding service took me to a lot of places that I probably would've seen anyway today. I did actually like some of them (including a quite cute 9th floor studio near the MSI), but by and large they were more expensive than I'd like, far more carpeted than necessary, and completely lacking in decent kitchen space. I'm currently wondering who I'd have to murder to get a full-sized oven, and it's looking like the answer is "Someone with a one-bedroom apartment, whose will ensures the apartment will be paid for forever." The only place I saw with a kitchen big enough to move around in had an electric range, and no utilities included, and a view of the Metra.

This is going to take a lot longer than I thought.
evilhippo: hippo (97 [one of those days])
( Aug. 2nd, 2009 07:49 pm)
Dear Universe,

I wanted to look at apartments today. I hope you have something good up your sleeve, because it's very suspicious that the dozens of people I have called and e-mailed in the last week haven't gotten back to me, and that the apartment finding service who refused to make an appointment for me over the phone because walk-ins would be fine made me make an appointment for next week when I walked in.

I wonder if this is some kind of karmic retribution for being afraid to take that cute place in Pilsen. Are you angry, universe, that I'm frightened of roommates who are significantly older than me in combination with a complete lack of trees and two feline threats to the poor adopted rat I also house? Surely there's a good roommate out there for her.

I don't understand why every year, it gets harder to find an apartment. I am even looking at sublets. It should not be this difficult! Especially since I can afford a lot more than I used to. I mean, really, I'm not looking for a 2-bedroom that's less than $900 a month anymore. Nor am I looking for one that's less than $1200 (which was, ridiculously, harder than finding the less-than-$900 place). Now I'm looking for a perfectly-standard sub-$700 studio. A studio! I don't even care that I won't actually have room to exist in this place. I am actually fine with lofting my bed and living underneath it, with absolutely no room for guests, because I'd really like my own place. But for some reason, the Chicago Apartment Gods have ordained that there will be NO available studios for less than about $900, unless I want to move to Rogers Park, which is basically Evanston and also No (almost entirely because I'm tired of hauling all my crap across the entire city every time I move, and the very idea makes me weep openly and without restraint).

A bit of logical triangulation identifies this sketchtastic listing as, at about a 73% probability, the horrendous, foreclosed-upon-by-me building next door. I'm wondering if I should ask to see the place, in case it's somehow involved in the universe's karmic retribution against me, so I can get it over with and move on. (No way, even taking karma into account, am I paying a non-refundable $400 to move in to anything (unless it's in outer-space, or at least another city, and the $400 is my one-way plane/space shuttle ticket out of here), let alone a building in administrative limbo.)

Please Let Me Move in Peace?
- evilhippo
evilhippo: hippo (45 [shock])
( Jun. 4th, 2009 06:32 pm)
Argh, why am I looking at apartments this early on? Now I want to move to Pilsen. Even though it's sketchtastic. Gentrifying, but still sketchtastic. BUT it's the only part of the city with adorable, cheap loft-like apartments. (That first one is so cute. I want it.) And yes, "Pilsen's rich Neo-Bohemian Baroque architectural heritage..." is about all it takes for me to go all grabby-hands and Do Want! (Also, Mexican Food. Good Mexican food. And bakeries.) This is also the neighborhood I would've lived in if I'd gotten that dog-sitting job the summer after I graduated from college (and oh, how completely different my situation would be by now if that'd happened. It's amazing how much of a difference two dogs and one car can make in an almost entirely-unrelated person's life.) Anyway, point being, since I like Hyde Park's old-school neighborhoodness, but don't like the University, Pilsen easily is on the short list of acceptable neighborhoods. Even if I never would've moved there until... about now, actually. But hey! As far as I can tell, on my end of the spectrum, it's overrun by artists, not hipsters, so it's cool with me. (Yes, Logan Square and Wicker Park, I am looking at you. And I'm apparently not quite old enough for Lincoln Square yet, so... Pilsen or Ukrainian Village it is!) I think tomorrow, I'll go down and hit up some random shops down there and see if the area is really as scary as I remember.

And then there's this. It looks freaking gorgeous. I'm half-tempted to e-mail them anyway, and just sublet out my room for the rest of the summer if they turn out to be cool people. Even though it's more than $200 more a month than I'm paying now and undoubtedly doesn't include utilities.
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