April 11, 2009

Shake It

It's time for an update about stuff going on around the ever-lovin' apartment bldg! Yay!!!

Bldg. Manager Lady's just back from vacation. She wasn't here for my radiator problems--which I drafted, but never published, in a post called "I Should Be Steamed"--so good for her. (And good for me, after a few misfires, leaks, and a midnight visit from Johnny the maintenance guy.) Anyhoo she's really into her work, because when she ran into me and this other guy, we welcomed her back, and she thanked us and then asked us how our apartments were. Ya gotta love that kind of dedication.

Speaking of dedication, I recently (September) made my 10-year service anniversary at my place of work. Clap, clap, go me. That's staying power. The workplace always holds a service anniversary luncheon for those who've managed to last 5 years or more. The party's only for those anniversaries that occur in increments of 5 years--5, 10, 15, up to 35...I guess they figure by 40 you're out the door, dead, or you've been asked to retire so you can quit accruing or adding more to pension or 401k or whatever*--so tough luck to you folks who've put in 4 years, your time will come. Maybe.

Each time you have an anniversary, more pages get added to your gift catalog. For people like me (read: indecisive), that's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, yay, more gifts to choose from. On the other hand, crap, more gifts to choose from. It's not like all of the options are great, and there are always some I can mark off as a 'nope' right away, though I *did* consider getting the shop vac for my mom. (But we bought a bigger one over Xmas so that pretty much negated that.) I was also intrigued by some char-smoker grill thingy, but since I live in an apt with not much ventilation, it didn't seem like a realistic option. I can just imagine what sort of damage I would do to this place if I had the char-smoker. I mean, in my many years here, I've managed to ruin the stovetop--guess that stone scouring stick wasn't my brightest idea--chip the drywall (dang laundry basket banged into the corner) and, well, you get the idea. I don't want to be responsible for smoking out half the residents, especially given my past complaints about folks who smoke in the hallway. (They still sometimes do, btw.)

And I still haven't used my 5-year gift either, an electric sandwich maker. I don't really see the point. I like cold sandwiches usually (unless we're talking hamburgers or hot dogs, and even then I don't really think of those so much as sandwiches, though I guess technically they are) and I am not a fan of the whole panini craze. Gah. Paninis, flatbreads, focaccia. What's next? Matzoh sandwiches in your grocer's freezer? (Good pesach btw to all my compadres.)

Anyhoo my choices this time around are between the Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster and some speaker amplifier docking thing for the iPod. Truthfully, the DrinkMaster won my vote early on, but I'm nothing if not a waffler. (They didn't have a waffle maker, and even if they did, it wouldn't make my shortlist. Not when I can buy frozen ones from my Aunt Jemima, anyway.)

The DrinkMaster is one of those weird machines that allows you to enjoy milkshakes and soda fountain drinks from the comfort of your own home.

I love milkshakes.

One of my fave treats growing up was a grilled cheese sammich and vanilla shake at the local pharmacy. In fact, I raved about it so much that my bro used to make fun of me. He'd mock my excited voice, saying "Ooh, phaaaaaaarmaaaacy name..it's..it's.." until I felt kinda membarrassed. (That's mad and embarrassed.)
Fortunately the membarrassment didn't last. (I just happen to remember it, is all.)

But seriously, I gotta wonder, given the Electric Kool-Aid, I mean Electric Sammich Maker, and how I've had thoughts of regifting it....will I really *use* the DrinkMaster? Or will I maybe make one shake, let the novelty wear off, and then cram it into a cabinet to sit collecting dust? (Probably.)

Which brings us to the iLive docking thing. Now, I recently purchased a tiny speaker set I can use with my iPod. The set's maybe a few inches long, and really, in a studio, I don't need to be blasting my music. (Hint hint to neighbors.) Plus, I'm not WhoAmUsAnyway, and my music needs are sated. :D


Are they?

In the end, after pricing both options on the Internet and deciding what the hell, if I want the other later, I can buy it, I went for the DrinkMaster. I can play my 50s and 60s music, put my hair in a small ponytail (if there's any left after my cut on the 18th) and bop around my apt while drinking a vanilla shake through a blue-striped straw. Because for me, a service-anniversary gift is something I would like, but wouldn't normally buy for myself.

Speaking of things I wouldn't normally buy for myself...and back to the opening of the post, it seems my apt bldg is not feeling the effects of the recession. Or maybe we just have a funny way of showing it.

On Thursday, we got new washers and dryers! And they're front-loaders (yeah, yeah, good for the environment, but they don't seem to hold as much stuff) and oh yes, we have a new card system.

Instead of counting quarters and putting our pocket change to good use, now we're going to be bled dry courtesy of the new laundry machine card system.

What's the card system? Everyone's issued a card with a gold computer chip thing on it. We stick it into a machine and add money to it. Then we can do our laundry by inserting the card into the slot on the washer or dryer and watch as the money is deducted.

I'm sure this is probably good news for some -- not to mention we now have eight machines of each instead of six -- but my first thought was, "Aw shite, wtf am I gonna do with all my quarters now?!?"

I refuse to use Coinstar. I will NOT be charged money (8% last I checked) to convert my change into bucks. And I don't want their stupid, "We won't charge ya if you take your payment in the form of a gift certificate from Starbucks or Amazon."

FUCK YOU, COINSTAR! I don't need you to dictate how I'll spend my money.

And forget about going to my bank. They're closing my local branch on the 20th. And even if they weren't closing, they didn't have a coin counter last time I went. Note: I never did go to WaMu...good thing.

On the plus side (because let's face it, I'm not 100% negative), you can add money to the card by debit or credit or here's a twist, good ol' American cash!

I added 20 bucks to my card today and decided to do some laundry. Oh and by the way, they've upped the price. Used to be a buck twenny-five to wash and a buck to dry. Now it's a buck fifty to wash and a dollar twenty-five to dry.


But I need to do my sheets and stuff so what can I do.

There's also a new way to add detergent. Instead of just putting it in the machine, there's a slot compartment that you pull out that has three recesses. Two small squares to the left and a big rectangle to the right. Each machine has a sign taped to it warning against using too much detergent.

I scanned the directions but didn't see which hole I should pour my liquid All Free & Clear into. Would it make a difference? They're all holes.

I poured it into one of the tiny squares.

Then I noticed the diagram on the machine that said where shite's supposed to go:

Compartment A (upper square) - fabric softener
Compartment B (lower square) - bleach
Compartment C (Big Rex-tangle) - detergent.

Well fuck. I'd put my detergent in the bleach square.

I wondered if it was too late to do anything about it, so I pulled out the compartment and saw a bunch of bubbles frothing.

I shut it right away. Last thing I need is to fuck up the new machines and get the floor wet, though maybe it would be justice in light of the radiator problem. Nah.

I stayed for a bit to see the new machines at work. They have glass doors so you can see stuff going on, i.e., if the water will become soapy. While I was hunched down peering into the machines, a girl came in and asked this guy if one of the machines was broken. He appeared to have knowledge, which kind of surprised me. I mean today is Saturday and we only got these machines on Thursday (or was it Wed), so how many fricking times has he done laundry anyway??

He wasn't super helpful.

He left, she left, and then she came back with Bldg Manager Lady.

Apparently the dryer deducted money from her card but the machine wouldn't work.

Being nosy (I mean helpful), I moved closer and inserted myself into their conversation in an effort to help troubleshoot the problem. I had maybe 5 minutes' experience down there with the new system, so I wasn't going to be much help, but whatever, global community, you know?

In the end, BML told Girl that she needed to contact Coinmach to get her money back. The girl basically said it wasn't worth it, and I have to agree with her. I mean I tried getting money back from the soda machine and the vending machine one time. I called their number, got some raspy recording -- and by that I mean, not the voice on the recording, but static on the machine -- and was like, "Wtf kind of operation are they running?" so I abandoned it. They want all this info, like machine number, place of residence, apartment number, last time you were body cavity searched, so I just hung up. Maybe 20 years ago I'd have persisted but not anymore.

I asked the chick if she had enough money to put on her card and she said yeah so I left.

Then I came back upstairs to download some songs for the iPod -- damn, maybe I should have ordered the speakers...oh well--and turn my mattress. The box springs have been super squeaky of late. I barely move and it sounds like a carousel out of Something Wicked This Way Comes, except without the eerie music and with more creaking.

My other post, should I decide to follow through, is your basic Flapjam-style rant. (More fun to write, but taxing on the spirit, etc., to relive. But I already have a title, and really, that's the part I like best!)

Flapjam extra: New stuff on my iPod
  • Here Comes My Baby - The Tremeloes

    A boppy dippy song, at least the way they do it, but I prefer it to the Cat Stevens original.

  • 1234 - Plain White T's

    I heard this song in a cab the other day and looked it up cos it was catchy. So catchy, in fact, that it merited my .99 on iTunes. Now I feel all hip.

  • A Well Respected Man - The Kinks

    I've always liked this song, but they used it recently in an ep of Supernatural and so I thought it about time to download.

  • I Go to Pieces - Peter and Gordon

    I caught part of one of those shows on PBS recently that shows oldies and the folks performing them. I mistakenly thought it was going to be more of a video jukebox, but I was wrong, and man, have a lot of these guys lost it. It was sad, so I turned it off after a while. They did, however, show a few old videos, which almost made it worth it. Anyhoo, I saw Peter and Gordon on there and figured I should get another song of theirs. I already have "A World Without Love" and this is a good complement. Maybe because it sounds almost exactly like it. Heh, just kidding.

Oh and Happy E to anyone who celebrates it. May the bunny's chocolates be edible and in great supply.

*I don't profess to know anything about the pension or 401k beyond the fact that I stick money towards/will get money from both or whatever.


Blogger H. said...

Hm. Maybe I'll get the Cat Stevens version too. :D

9:42 PM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Those are sweet new tunes for your tunebox, Flap. And congrats on the cool mini speakers!

Re the 3 possible detergent holes, I laughed because that’s my life story trying to guess the right thing. First, I always realize just a split second too late that I guessed wrong. Second, I almost ALWAYS guess wrong (which is the only reason I don’t gamble – I have ridiculously bad luck). Sometimes if it’s just an “A or B” problem, I’ll literally think, OK, so I know my vibe is always wrong, so what I’ll do is figure out what my real vibe is -- and then I’ll do just the exact opposite. So for example if I have a strong feeling that I should pour bleach in Hole A, I might try to fake out my bad luck by deliberately pouring it into Hole B. Sometimes that works and when it does, I feel incredibly clever.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Hannah L said...

Such hostility toward coinstar! I think you need some deep cleansing breaths.

9:10 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Hostility? Don't tell me you don't mind paying money to have your money turned into money! (Er you know what I mean.) COINSTAR, I HATE YOU!!!!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

And another thing: How do you make the font get all tiny whenever you feel like it? (If you tell me it's magic I'll believe you.)

12:11 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Uh oh. Something i said? I'll never ask you about fonts again, i promise!

10:10 PM  
Blogger H. said...

It WAS something you said. But here's how to do it..just use the tag [sup] I think. That's offhand, I'd have to check to be sure. This thing won't let me post the actual < > tag.

11:22 AM  

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