I don’t know if I told you, Pranksters, but the apartment complex that I moved into was the only other apartment complex I’ve lived in. I moved here with my then-boyfriend-turned-Ben’s-father back in 2000, where we lived until July of 2001, at which time I waddled back home just in time to pop out my bouncing baby boy.
(completely pointless sidebar, why do they bother calling babies “bouncing?” My kid screamed a lot, rarely bouncing, and, in fact, didn’t begin bouncing until he was well over two)
This time, clearly, I’m not living with anyone and I’m pretty sure that while I’m at the age where women ovulate all-the-fuck over babies, my uterus has decided to move somewhere up into my lungs that the idea of popping out another. Can’t say I blame it.
As most of you know, I began moving last Wednesday, piling up boxes as I desperately tried to unpack my house. Keeping busy, I’ve learned, staves off The Sads for awhile until you’re no longer busy and then you suddenly feel run over by a truck, but alas, I digress. Sometime over the weekend, The Guy Formerly On My Couch began to bring the piles of boxes out to the recycling area of the complex while I carefully placed each pair of shoes into one of those clear plastic shoe boxes, because, well, I no longer have the option to leave my crap strewn about without looking like Slob Bob.
Later that evening, as we sat on opposite ends of the couch, panting and smelling like we’d just managed to move everything I owned – and unpack the majority of it – in the span of three days, Ben spoke up:
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “Totally met your neighbor when I was carrying out boxes.”
Aunt Becky: “Oh yeah? Is it the dude named “Buts?” Because that would be awesome. I wanna have a friend with that last name.”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “No, it was an older lady – a redhead.”
Aunt Becky: “She nice?”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “She was out there breaking down every box I’d put into the recycling bin.”
Aunt Becky: (gapes)
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “Yep. She then told me all about WHY she was doing this – apparently the boxes have to be a certain size and you share the complex with a bunch of other buildings, blah blah blah.”
Aunt Becky: (gapes)
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “Then she told me AGAIN.”
Aunt Becky: “Woah. She watched you carry out boxes? I WISH I had that kind of time on my hands.”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “No, you don’t.”
Aunt Becky (attempts to make neurons fire at the same time): “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
The Guy Formerly On My Couch: “I’m always right.”
Aunt Becky: “I SAID PROBABLY.”
The following morning, I woke up in my new house, and was greeted with utter silence, which is, of course, a new thing for me. I’m accustomed to the noise that goes along with three kids and the silence was somewhat deafening, if not mildly pleasant. It was quiet, of course, until I rolled over in bed, at which point in time, my back cracked like a bag of microwave popcorn, my legs actually groaning in protest.
A cacophony of various creeks, cracks, and pops followed me out to the kitchen, where I began a pot of coffee, wincing when I had to reach for the filters, which helped combat the silence. I curled up on the couch with a heating pad and watched a few episodes of White Collar before the dawning realization that my laziness had taken a whole new meaning and I’d better get some more of those damn boxes to the recycling before my ass became permanently affixed to my couch and they’d have to cut out a wall to get me out if I died or something.
I grabbed a box full of other, broken-down boxes, groaning a little as I bent over, and lugged them out front.
There she was, standing at the recycling area, just as The Guy Formerly On My Couch described, standing over some boxes she’d pulled from the recycling bin, which, I should add, is as deep as I am tall (5 foot, 5 inches); a tiny thing, ripping apart cardboard boxes like it was her job or something. I stood watching her a spell before I snapped out of my daze and into the lion’s den, waiting for my own lecture. I considered inviting her into my apartment to break down boxes, since she seemed to be enjoying it so very much, but decided that it would be best if I left well enough alone.
Aunt Becky: “Hi! I’m Becky and I just moved in.”
Cardboard Lady (not unkindly): “Hi, was just explaining to your husband that cardboard has to be broken down into small pieces or they won’t take it when they pick up the recycling. Didn’t you get the sheet about that when you moved in? Because the office told me all about it when I called about something else. You should get one of those sheets, because you want to make sure you know what you can and can’t throw into these bins.”
Aunt Becky (chokes back laughter the word “husband” referring to The Guy Formerly On My Couch): “I’ll have to pick up one of those sheets tomorrow. Thanks for the info!”
Cardboard Lady: “Yeah, for some reason they just won’t accept the cardboard if it’s bigger than two feet, and well, you want to be sure you break down all of the boxes so they take them and if you can’t or they’re too big, throw them into the dumpster because you want this stuff gone. They only pick up trash twice a week and you should really get that sheet.”
Aunt Becky (cowers): “Okay, I will. Thanks again. Nice to meet you!”
Cardboard Lady: “Nice to meet you too! Don’t forget that sheet!”
And just like that, I met my first nosy neighbor.
One of the things that drives me craziest about kids toys is not the whole gendered toy thing – I mean, my daughter LOVES pink and her name is Amelia which means that a pink airplane? Pretty freakin’ rad. So while I could go on about that – my mother would approve heartily of me bashing gendered stereotypes – it’s not something I think about terribly often.
No. That’s not what bugs me.
What bugs me about kid’s toys is that they’re aged all wrong.
Sure, they may be labeled as “appropriate for ages 6 months to three years,” (in compliance with the whole, “let’s not let your kids choke on stuff-n-things”) but really, my five year old is going to have a TON more fun with a toy designed for a toddler than a toddler will. He’s the one who can read and write and sing along to whatever annoying song the toy sings, which by the by, is another thing that annoys me – those freakin’ things go off in the middle of the damn night, nearly causing me to pee the bed as a discombobulated voice asks me if I’m “ready to count now?”
Freaky crap, Pranksters.
LeapFrog, who happens to be one of my most favorite toy manufacturers (besides Legos, because, well, the kids are OBSESSED with Legos) ever, sent me an Animal Adventure Learning Table, which was rad, because then my kids had something new to play with at Mom’s house. New (or used), in kid eyes, always equals better. This was no different.
(totally note the boxes behind her – I wasn’t quite done unpacking. That’s a job for THIS weekend)
Like other LeapFrog toys (of which I’ve owned plenty)(no, not for myself)(weird, I know), it’s a nice sturdy toy, that, to be honest, I’m thankful because my children are now old enough to enjoy it. While it would make a fabulous thing for me to stub my toes on while a toddler used it to practice standing, puking and walking, it’s much better suited for older kids. Kinda like that kid’s Blackberry I bought Alex back when I was a Blackberry Widow, which bored him to tears then, but now, finds it wildly entertaining.
She played with the thing for at least twenty minutes, which is practically an eternity for a three year old, and honestly? The noises it makes are kinda soothing and not nearly as grating as some of the toys the kids’ve been given over the years. (note to self: buy new parent friends THE MOST ANNOYING SOUNDING TOYS EVER) Alex was similarly impressed, although he was busily playing Batman, which is his new favorite game. Just WAIT until you hear what his decisions about what we all have to be for Halloween – it’s both hilarious and full of the awesome.
Love that kid.
And while the nights (when the kids are at Dad’s house) are lonesome, the apartment filled with no pattering of wee footsteps, I know one thing and I know it well.
The kids? They’re gonna be alright.
I carry that thought with me all day long.
I was selected for this opportunity as a compensated member of Clever Girls Collective and received free product from LeapFrog to review.
The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #LFAnimalAdventures #spon
One of the weirdest things I was stressed out about was not my decided lack of coffee mugs or my inability to properly assemble furniture, but the idea that I’d have to somehow get Teh Internetz into my new place. It’s not that I can’t make phone calls or decisions – if I ruled the world, I’d make texting illegal, and not just while driving, though it baffles me that people actually DO that, but because text conversations remind me of the notes I passed in high school, sitting in the back row with the Metal Heads. I’d prefer a phone call most days.
I was terrified of dealing with Comcast in the same way I loathe dealing with Jiffy Lube. Because I’m not smart enough properly know whether or not my air filter needs changing, for example, I’ll listen to them, have it done, and then realize that I’ve just dropped 40 bucks on some bullshit thing I don’t actually need, only to Rage Against (not, I should clarify, LOUNGE Against) The Machine, because being duped by the Jiffy Lube guys makes me want to taco punch both Captain and Tennile (which, frankly, is the way I feel most of the time) AT THE SAME TIME.
I figured that dealing with Comcast would be similar, our phone call something like:
Becky: “Hi, I need to set up new internet in my apartment.”
Comcast: “For that you’re going to need the Linux box modem coupled with Windows 92, plus a router box made by a Scandinavian company that starts with the letter C.”
Becky: “I just want the email box to make emails for me.”
Comcast (smelling a sucker): “Well, if I upgrade you, at a cost of 92,748,272 dollars a month, your “email box” will work.”
Comcast: “I’ll set you up with an appointment for next Tuesday between 1AM and 8PM.”
Becky: “Um, oooookay.”
I fretted awhile before I called them, first because I’d just gotten another NEW apartment number and wanted my keys to ensure I’d actually be living in aforementioned apartment rather than kindly hooking up the cable for another tenant, but by Tuesday of last week, I realized it was time – I’d be moving and I need an email box to do “work,” and Comcast, well, after my inability to make OR receive phone calls using AT&T’s network, was the best option, which made me die a little inside.
Besides, Comcast SAYS they care about me. ME!
I was delighted to see that I’d be able to do the whole thing online. Because while texting is bullshit, being able to take care of shit without the pressure salesperson is like a lil slice of heaven. I even managed to get all the way to the point where I was to chat with an online representative without needing a nap to continue.
Comcast Robot: “So you want to have XYZ set up in your new apartment at (address).”
Comcast Robot: “You can’t.”
Comcast Robot: “The former tenant put his account on hold so he could keep his email address. We can’t hook up two lines to the same apartment.”
Becky: “Wait – he wants a COMCAST email? What about GMAIL? It’s FREE! Shit, I’ll give him one of my zillion addresses.”
Comcast Robot: “You’re going to have to go to the business office and show them a copy of the lease proving you live there now.”
Becky: “Um. Why can’t I scan it and email it to you?”
Comcast Robot: “Good Day.”
I closed the chat window, fuming. I still had a boatload of packing, not to mention a couple of saved videos of cats playing the piano to watch. I decidedly did NOT need to be driving an hour to show Comcast that I, in fact, was the new tenant. Instead of throwing things around or kicking the box fan, I put on my “fuck shit up” pants and drove over to the apartment complex.
When I informed the lady at the desk that I was, in fact, going to need thirty-seven types of proof that I’d be living here, she goggled at me, which was approximately the same response I got whenever from the rest of the world. “Woah,” she said. “That’s nuts. I’ve worked here 7 years and NEVER seen anything like it.”
I nodded, unhappily, clutching a ream of papers on official letterheads that all claimed that I was, in fact, going to be moving into the apartment on October 1.
Driving out to Comcast’s business center was fine, excepting the whole, “this road is closed” thing going on in front of their business office. I ignored all signs, crossed my fingers and drove on it anyway – I needed my email box to work. The woman behind the counter was nice enough, I guess, although she said maybe ten words to me the entire time, including the fateful, “do you want me to set this up for you?”
“Nope,” I replied breezily. “I’ll do it online.”
And like that, I sealed my fate.
Back home an hour later, I tried, once again, to order Comcast online. The conversation was identical to the first, and ended with, “let me look into this and call you back,” which, of course, never happened. Robots, man, they’re unreliable.
The following day, between packing and trying to find my keys, I decided it was time to put an end to the bullshit and call Comcast for the 8,373 time, hoping this time I’d actually manage to find the one person who had more than two brain cells knocking around their skull.
A funny thing happened.
After dealing with Comcast for three days, I finally found someone with properly firing synapses. Quickly she disconnected the previous account and set me up with my own account, even managing to get me an install on Saturday, the day I’d rented the U-Haul and planned to finish moving. She was so kind that I actually began crying on the phone with her, which got HER crying, and we both ended up a soupy mess, which these days, not as uncommon as I’d like.
And now, I have a working email box.
Those damn cat videos have been waiting.
I haz a guest poster here talking about making your own cleaning products. Which, of course, scares the shitnuts out of me.