Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shamelessly Mechanically Challenged

Maintenance Request
Reference Number 2507
July 28

Description: The vent from our oven to the back burner of our stove is just a pipe--it doesn't have any kind of a filter or block on it. I don't think that's normal. When we use the oven, it leaks copious amounts of hot air into our apartment.

July 29
Maintenance Request Ref #2507 Message

We are pleased to let you know that we have resolved this issue. Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with!


The Maintenance Team


{I got this email after I'd returned home from eating lunch with Jay. I walked over to the stove, removed the back burner, and stared down the pipe into the oven. No change. No one had even stepped foot in my apartment. Slightly irritated, I submitted another work order.}


Maintenance Request

Reference Number 2530
July 29

Description: Re: request #2507. I got a form email saying you resolved it, but the oven hasn't changed. Does that mean that's the way it's supposed to be? If so, will you please just call me an idiot instead of saying you fixed it when you didn't? Thanks.


{An hour or so later, my poor maintenance man called me and explained that, yes, there is supposed to be a pipe from the oven through the stove to "let the hot air out." I thanked him for his call and asked him to forgive my ignorance as I was under the impression that ovens were meant to keep the hot air in.}

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy 40th Anniversary, Apollo 11

Tin Foil and Drinking Straws: $2.73
Gas to get to the Clarks' Lunar Landing Party: $0.23
This picture of Jay with Sputnik on his head (because the Russians deserve representation, too):

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lindsay Versus the Ants

There is an old short story called Leiningen Versus the Ants in a compilation of adventure stories my mom had as a child. I read it several times (along with everything else in the house) when I was young. The protagonist, Leiningen, is living in Brazil when a (herd? throng? army?) of ants moves rapidly toward his estate, devouring literally everything in their path. Rather than do the logical thing (run, man! Run!), he decides he can take them. Even when he sees a stag reduced to a pile of bones in minutes by the ants' millions of tiny, hungry jaws. Long story short, the ants make it across the moat he'd rigged around the estate (the resourceful little things used leaves as boats), and once they got to the cement ditch Leiningen had brilliantly filled with gasoline, they paraded through until the ditch was so clogged with little ant carcasses that they could walk dry across the top. But Leiningen, being a man (and likely a former boy scout), lit the gasoline on fire. Which worked pretty well... until the fire went out. So he filled the ditch with gas again and lit it on fire. Which worked pretty well... until he ran out of gas. So Leiningen, being a man, and this being an adventure story, puts on gasoline-drenched clothes, charges through the ants, turns a wheel to divert the river onto his land, washes the ants away and, other than a few ant-administered holes in his skin, is none the worse for wear.

So why am I making you relive Sophomore English class? Because these past couple weeks, I myself have felt some of Leiningen's madness and need to conquer those small nasties of the insect kingdom: in his case, millions of 2-inch long crazy beasties that were likely the inspiration for the graphic ant scene in the newest Indiana Jones movie, in mine, 2-millimeter long black sugar ants.

That's right: we've had an infestation. It started out innocently enough--we would find a tiny ant on the counter, or crawling on the bathroom floor, or one on the pantry doorjamb. I remember cheerfully smashing them and then thinking, somewhat naively, that their short, chubby little bodies and stubby antennae were almost cute. But then they started parading in lines in and out of my pantry, carrying little white cubes in their little black jaws. I'm ashamed to say it, but I became a little bit unhinged.

I called our complex and had them come spray (twice), soaked the carpet with borrowed bug spray where I could see the ants disappearing (after which they would just relocate), sprayed a different kind of bug spray all around the base of the cupboards, baseboards, and pantry door frame, but to no avail. The little buggers just kept coming.

By this point, we had thrown out all of our open boxes of cereal, an open bag of brown sugar, and an unopened bag of brown sugar they somehow wormed their way into (which really ticked me off). I moved all the remaining boxes of cereal and bags of unopened sugar to a high counter top in hopes they would survive the onslaught.

After over a week of vain skirmishes in attempting to rid our house of ants (did I mention we're in a second story apartment? Do you have any idea the distance these bugs must travel?), I declared war. Assisted by my angel friend Kiyomi, I pulled all of the food out of the pantry (discovering in the process that the ants had invaded my precious cinnamon sugar graham crackers) and then opened fire with a hefty bottle of pesticide.

We returned all the food to the pantry a couple hours later, and I watched anxiously (and, I admit, somewhat neurotically) for the next few days to verify the ants had not returned. Victory! Bliss! We truly were ant-free!

And then this morning, I contentedly took my box of cereal out of my ant-free pantry and sat down with my computer and a bowl of Kix only to discover, halfway through my munching, a lone ant wandering across the table. A few moments' search revealed a couple dozen more. I said some rather mean things to the ants and then proceeded to empty the rest of the bottle of bug spray on them.

The battles of the pantry and table have been won, but I now wait in utter paranoia as the ants regroup for their next attack. I'll be ready for them. In fact, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go paint my walls with pesticide.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Angle Soft

I try not to be too hard on the unfortunate employees who have to change marquees--it seems that, more often than not, they run short on letters or space or both and are consequently forced into awkward abbreviations or letter substitutions (upside down Ms for Ws, 3s for Es and vice versa, limited punctuation marks, etc.). Although, let's be real, how much can an extra set of letters possibly cost? Less than the damage an indecipherable marquee can do, I would think.

This sign, however, was prepared by someone who had either dyslexia or an affinity for oxymorons. What was, I think, meant to be an ad for toilet paper ends up sounding more like a euphemism for obesity: soft angles, doulbe rolls.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Love the Site, Hate the Ads

Still on my quest to change the world, one letter at a time.

dateFri, Jun 26, 2009 at 8:06 AM
subjectLove the site, Hate the ads
Hey folks at Found Magazine:

I stumbled across your site a few months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed perusing the found item submissions. I've added your site to my Reader, and I look forward to the two new posts every day. I think the concept for the site/magazine is a clever and intriguing one.

That said, I find the ads on your site very distasteful. About half of the American Apparel ads are fine, but the other half are offensive. I don't appreciate seeing topless women every time I visit your site. If you must keep AA as a sponsor, could you please screen their ads? I have contacted their company directly regarding this matter, but they basically said they don't care. I know that many of your readers feel the same way--that we should be free to browse family-friendly sites without running into pictures of naked breasts and nipples.

I really appreciate your consideration.
San Antonio, TX

dateWed, Jul 8, 2009 at 4:01 PM
subjectRe: Love the site, Hate the ads

I emailed your company two weeks ago regarding the distasteful advertisements that appear on your site and did not receive a response. I was disappointed by your lack of consideration and concern. I understand that ads are a necessary part of the service you provide, but there is an abundance of advertising available that is not lewd or offensive.

Sadly, I will no longer be frequenting your website. Please let me know if you begin screening your ads; once the topless women are removed I will happily renew my subscription.

San Antonio, TX

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wicked Anniversary

Our one-year anniversary was May 31st. In a way, it's crazy to me that we've been married so long, but at the same time it feels like forever. We spent our actual anniversary in Utah and celebrated by going to our good friend Ben's wedding in Logan. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great reminder--I told Jay we should try to go to a wedding every year around our anniversary!

I gave Jay his anniversary gift about a month early because 1) I couldn't wait 2) it was for me, too, so he didn't have to get me anything and 3) I didn't want him to buy me the same thing. We'd been talking about going to see the musical Wicked ever since we found out it was coming to San Antonio about a year ago (I'm lucky to have a husband who enjoys cultural events and dates to the symphony and theatre), so I bought tickets in April for a show at the end of June. We went On Friday, June 26, and absolutely loved it.

I'd actually seen it twice before--in London--and have the soundtrack memorized (I can't believe I just admitted that), so I expected I'd enjoy it but not be blown away. To my surprise, I liked both of the leads better than the ones in London, and I thought they had better blend and truer harmony than the leads on the CD.

Jay had never seen the play, but the night before we got engaged we drove to Fredericksburg (an hour away), and on the drive I played the CD for him and explained the story line between each song. I was surprised he was so attentive, but he explained later that it helped distract him from obsessing about his proposal plans for the next day.

It was a beautiful evening, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

It's been a wonderful year. Here's to many happy years to come.