Weekend At Bernie’s (Or My Place, Whatever Works…)

Okay, this is when I start getting really sick and tired of the snow.

It’s post-Christmas, post-New Years, and Josh and I aren’t doing anything for Valentines (It’s a Saturday this year, he’s in jail on weekends, it’s kind of hard to celebrate these holidays long distance unless you ship gifts, we’d rather save the money, and it’s a retarded Hallmark holiday anyways.) Any excitement that may have come with the first snow of the season is now long gone, replaced with “OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, WHY?!?!? WHY MORE SNOW?!?!?”

There was a massive power out in Toronto last Thursday/Friday covering most of the west end of the city. I’m smack ass in the middle of this ginormous area, and yet not only did I retain power, I  had wireless internet. Some poor schmuck in my vicinity is apparently not too concerned with how secure his connection is. Sweetbombs, I totally rule.

Or not.

Saturday rolls around, and my apartment is as cold as all the witches teat, mother in law, puritan housewife, and any other frigid jokes you can think of combined. So I plug in my electric heater. It roars along nicely until I also get hungry and zap a bit of leftovers in the microwave. The only thing I zap is my breakers. Out go the lights. Out goes the heat. And outside, it is a blizzard. I call the guy who lives across the hall from me, he’s normally the dude to handle this type of everyday snafu. But he doesn’t answer, and I’ve been seeing his mail pile up. He’s not there, and won’t be any time soon.

Oh crap, I’ve got to call my landlords. I hate having to call my landlords. I’m sure they’re very nice, but I can never understand their heavy accents. This makes communication very difficult, and for a neurotic second-guessing ball of nerves such as myself, when I can’t communicate with someone it freaks me out. You can only say “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that” so many times before you have to start guessing and worrying about saying something totally stupid. We’ve all seen a hilarious episode of Seinfeld, I’m sure. And I’m sure it’s hilarious if you’re a nasally comedian.

I also really don’t like having people in my space. It’s a small space, and I haven’t done too much to liven it up, but there are as many touches of me as I can work into such a tiny, temporary place. The dresser I dragged up the stairs, the trunk rescued from the curb, the plants I coddle, and of course, the rabbits. It’s my itty bitty world, and when people I don’t know or like are in it, it’s an unwelcome intrusion. And not just for those few minutes. If someone bumps your arm it doesn’t hurt, but it bugs you right? Visitors can bump my day; it will irritate me to the point of all day pissiness to have an unwelcome body in my home.

I also have a ridiculous fear of getting kicked out of my apartment. It’s mostly unfounded, but not completely so. You see –

1) It’s so cheap it’s retarded, and I’m convinced that the landlords will one day realize that they may not be able to raise my rent 80%, but they could sure jack it up for a new tenant.

2) I had a few checks bounce once upon a time. Like four. That was a rough year.

3) There were a few loud/messy roomies what seems like eons ago. Same rough year, only one of them paid rent.

4) I stole a garbage can from the not-foyer, which is what I’d like the call the two foot space between the front door and the winding magenta stairs. I was poor, lazy, the roomie was messy, I needed a bigger garbage can and some fucker was keeping not-rinsed wine bottles in there. Sure, someone left bottles outside my door for a week, but I still have that garbage can!

5) I’ve had way more pets than is necessary and/or healthy, and while I’ve done much improvement, there are still telltale signs. Like chewed walls.

6) Oh, and I sort of half reno’d and then half reno’d back what I’m sure was intended to be a bedroom and is instead…well, I’ve got a dust pile in there that I was planning on sweeping up sometime this week.

Anyway this was mostly years ago, but I still feel particularly unliked, like they’d be happy to get rid of me if they had half an excuse. I’ve read the books and there are plenty of loopholes to get rid of a tenant if you really want, especially in smaller buildings. I’m pretty sure that the chewed up walls could be the final straw for anyone wanting someone out of their highly coveted property.

So the landlord is on his way down from way north of the city, and I’m sure he’s going to knock on my door to see if everything is okay and notice the –

1) Chewed up patches on the walls.

2) Missing floor tiles (sure they come up pretty easily, but so do hangnails and pantyhose runs – I pick at both.)

3) The horrible state of the windows due to the old and cracking sealant that I really should have had him replace but would rather ignore.

4) The scent of what one could guess as a handful of bunnies, really only two bunnies just very close to the door (and on the day before litter cleaning day.)

5) A ridiculous amount of wiring very obviously responsible for his 45 minute trip into the city (I’m sorry, I live on the internet!)

6) The seriously, seriously gross bathroom walls. I take super hot showers, there is no fan, and the bathroom door has to be closed when it’s dark (otherwise a small, vaguely Asian ambisexual child will come get me because I’ve seen way too many movies and my brain forgets to forget.) Sure, I could alter any of these factors if I really cared about the state of the walls. But I don’t, I only care about someone else seeing them.

Right, except the landlord is on the way. Like now. Shit, shit, shit. Panic, panic, panic. I’m gonna get evicted if for no other reason than I’m a ridiculous neurotic moron pacing around her cold, dark apartment worrying about pissing off someone who should have fixed the damn windows and ventilated the damn bathroom before I moved in. I will be so glad when I have Josh around to –

1) Stop me from being so ridiculous.

2) Keep the house in good condition in the first place .

3) Provide ample sexy times.

4) An assortment of other fun past times

So what seems like hours of standing and spinning later, the lights pop back on and there is an inevitable knock at the door. I do the foot-half-out door-blocking shuffle and thank my stolen garbge can full of candy wrappers that my hips have gotten a little wider as of late. There’s the initial “oh thank you” and “oh, yes, so funny this situation, sorry I made you drive 45 minutes in a blizzard but it’s kind of not my fault.” I’m pretty sure he told me not to run my coffeemaker and my toaster at the same time. (I don’t have a coffeemaker.) Some chitchat about how the tenant who is away should have his mail taken care of, and then “okay, yeah, I’ll call if it goes out again, yeah, safe drive now, okay, yeah bye, yep I can still see you on the next landing down, okay byyyyye!”

I don’t think he noticed the walls or floor. But as soon as he left I painted over every chewed patch in the place and a good chunk of the bathroom as well. Yeah, just pulled that can of paint right out of the closet with the brush right next to it, just where I’ve left it every weekend for months. And then on Sunday I mopped the melted paint off the bathroom floor (right, the humidity in there, hence the state of the walls in the first place) repainted, and set up my rotating fan to dry it. Then I made a trip to Canadian Tire where they didn’t have peel n’ stick floor tiles, and a trip to Honest Ed’s where they didn’t have them either. But they did have caulking guns and caulk, and yes my hands are sore.

*pause for laughter*

Sooooo. Yeah. That’s how I spent my Sunday. Next Sunday will be spent recaulking the windows after I dry them properly. *ahem* And these things will henceforth be Josh’s job. Oh, and floors. I really need floors.

So, am I totally nuts for spending a day fixing shit instead of calling my landlord and having him unintentionally ruin my day? Or for spending not really a lot of money occupying myself while the man is away and making my place at least a little bit nicer? Maybe. But even if all I did was take something that’s totally falling apart and make it pretty enough to stand while it continues to fall apart until after I move out and someone else has to deal with what’s growing under the paint, well at least I don’t have to deal with it.

Oh great, it’s snowing AGAIN. Stupid snow. I’d say at least I’m moving to North Carolina, but guess what? It’s due to snow there too. Bah post-holiday humbug!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish peeling caulk off my windows.

Stupid caulk.

*pause for laughter*


  1. birdpress said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Oh, my. Sounds like loads of anxiety. I am not a neat freak, but I’ve come to realize that it is so much better for my own state of mind if I try to keep my place in such a state that I would not be embarrassed for someone to drop in on me unexpectedly. But I wasn’t always this way. The “getting there” part is a chore, but once you have all that stuff you were talking about taken care of, maintaining it becomes less overwhelming.

    And yeah, I did have to laugh at you just a little! Mostly because you reminded me of when I lived alone and acted much the same way!

  2. January 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    OH and it is indeed snowing here! I have an abundance of snowy pictures on my facebook. Snow does get old…but this is our first snow here and I’m happy about it 🙂

  3. javajunkee said,

    January 21, 2009 at 3:31 am

    I know this was all pretty serious for you but I’m busting a gut here laughing. I am loving the scary movie and keeping the doors closed in the dark. I thought those children you are talking about walked through doors and walls 😉 JUST KIDDING!

    so even when you are in manic panic you are flippin’ hilarious!

  4. Josh said,

    January 21, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Dude, I am so sorry for you having to do all this home improvement stuff on your own. I wish I was there to help. Just remember, this is why guys need tools, so we can do stuff for you ladies. So when we have extra monies, let me go shopping sometimes in the Home Depot, cause it’s a little bit like heaven there.

    (snicker snicker, she caulked over wet windows, snicker)

  5. Ginny said,

    January 21, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Ten years of marriage; at least nine of them are because I’m afraid to fix anything myself. Sad, but true.

  6. Emerald said,

    January 21, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    @ Birdpress: I’ve usually got a pretty good routine down. I’m trying to mimic my has-her-shit-together-in-a-totally-incredible-way friend who simply opens up The Binder to see what has to be done that day to keep life running smoothly. But unfortch, this apartment is one of those delapitated ones that are impossible to keep clean because there’s just too many crevices and years of other peoples dirt. Grooooss!

    @ Stephanie: I bet it is pretty exciting for you! I was just talking to Josh how hilarious it is to me that roads are an issue after only a few inches of snow. It’s so everyday up here!

    @ JavaJunkee: I am often funniest when I’m pissed, sometimes it’s my only defense other than going nuts. And that walk-through-walls bit almost got me, but not quite. Nice try 😉

    @ Mah Behbeh: Dude, of course we can go shopping at the Home Depot. We even have those in Canada, although we’ve also got Rona, the Canadian How-To People 😀 I’m all about tools. I’m just not very good at using them, though I think I could be if I had more patience and motivation.

    @ Ginny: I know, right? It’s necessary! Have you ever seen that show, “The Week The Women Went”? I hate shit like that, you’ll never see “The Week The Men Went” where women suddenly realize that it’s hard to fix the damn appliances when you’ve got wee ones around your feet. It goes both ways!

  7. june said,

    January 22, 2009 at 12:25 am

    what do people use the word retarded? it’s such a terrible word.

  8. Emerald said,

    January 22, 2009 at 1:50 am

    @ June: Because free speech is a right where I come from, and hi – it’s my blog. If I had meant ‘developmentally challenged’ or ‘differently abled’ I would have said so. Frankly, I consider it offensive to use the word ‘retarded’ to describe a person who struggles with limited ability, instead of in relation to a contraindicative behaviour or situation, as it is now coloquially used.

    “She is developmentally challenged.” = politically correct
    “She works at a school for retards.” = not so much
    “Hey June, your grammar is retarded, and I think you meant ‘why’, not ‘what’.” = coloquialism, and also correct.

    So yeah, go fuck yourself and all that jazz.

  9. Lucky said,

    January 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Holy crap Em! I know how you feel about the landlords though. My garbage disposal f*ed up once and I was scared to death to call. I was afraid they would find 15 reasons to evict me even though there really wasn’t anything wrong with the apt other than the disposal. Isn’t it great living alone? hahaha 🙂

    And June, I would have to agree with Em. Go fuck yourself.

  10. Emerald said,

    January 23, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    @ Lucky: Oh, it’s so great to know I’m not the only one afraid to call their landlords! It has been pretty rad living alone since the only roomies I’ve ever had were horrible, horrible people. But it will be nice living with Josh. I don’t care if it’s a room with a futon, a mini-fridge, a microwave and the internet (pretty much all I need), I’m still going to need him to fix my shit. And you know, provide romantic company and comedic relief 😉

  11. Romi said,

    January 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Hahaha..that was one of the most hilarious and yet anxiety-ridden posts…and I’m so glad you let me pause for laughter those two times, because I SO needed to! 😉

    It sounds like you actually did a lot of work and I don’t think it was crazy, because it’s good to have things just manageable and nice enough for you to continue living there peacefully, and any niceness beyond that can be the problem of the next tenant…HA! (that was kind of an evil “HA” 😉 )

  12. Missy said,

    June 1, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Have you checked out NoPayTenants.com?

  13. Emerald said,

    June 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    @ Missy: Yeah, thanks for making me even more paranoid.

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