Archive for March, 2006

A fable about karma

Once upon a time, there was a young couple who lived in small apartment. They had noisy neighbors, a tiny bathroom and had to pay one dollar each time they wanted to wash or dry a load of laundry.

After living in the small apartment for six years with the noisy neighbors, tiny bathroom and coin laundry, the couple finally decided they needed something new. They very much wanted their own home but didn’t have enough money for the required down payment. One day the woman was searching through the newspaper and saw an advertisement for a duplex for rent not far from their apartment. She called the number in the ad and arranged to have a look at the place.

The duplex was grand compared to the apartment. It had a basement, a yard to mow and a bigger bathroom. There was even a washer and dryer hook-up in the basement so that they would no longer have to use the coin laundry. Best of all, the unit had central air conditioning. Oh joy!

The owner of the duplex had the couple sign a lease and asked for the first month’s rent and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. The couple paid the landlord and arranged to move their possessions into the duplex. All was well with them for awhile.

A few months later, the couple had a problem with the furnace and called the landlord to have it fixed. “Just go ahead and have it fixed and deduct what you paid from next month’s rent,” the landlord said.

The couple was confused. Wasn’t it the landlord’s responsibility to arrange for and pay for repairs? They shrugged their shoulders and foolishly did what the landlord suggested. They figured they should get used to taking care of home repairs since they would eventually be responsible for them when they finally owned a home.

Over the next few years the couple saw very little of the landlord. He would stop by occasionally in his silver and black Corvette and complain about the water bill, the only utility the couple did not have to pay. Many requests for repairs were ignored or referred to the landlord’s troll of a father who didn’t appreciate having to travel the quarter mile from his house to the duplex to fix things. Eventually the couple decided it was easier to take care of minor repairs themselves instead of hassling with the horrible landlord and his equally horrible father.

One day, however, the toilet cracked and the couple knew this was one repair they didn’t want to fix themselves. They called the landlord, who said he would stop by later on and have a look at it. When the couple came home from work that day, they found a brand new toilet in their bathroom. They were impressed with how quickly the landlord had taken care of the repair.

Later that night, just before bed, the woman decided to wash a load of laundry. She brought the basket downstairs and was horrified to see a torrent of water raining down from above. It seems she had just flushed the brand new toilet and this unwelcome waterfall was the result. She tried to contact the landlord but was greeted with only a voicemail to leave a message. The only thing the couple could do was turn off the water and wait for the landlord to call back.

The next morning the landlord returned their call and explained that he had not completely installed the toilet. He had yet to seal it and failed to tell the couple, apparently thinking this was not crucial information for them to have. The couple was disgusted and from then on dubbed the idiot Evil Landlord.

After a particularly long winter in which the furnace problems returned and the pilot light extinguished at frequent intervals resulting in frigid indoor temperatures, the couple finally decided it was time to move into their own home. They looked at houses all spring and found one to their liking in June. They happily gave notice to Evil Landlord and made preparations to move. Evil Landlord was not pleased as the couple had given him less than 30 days notice. The couple did not feel obligated to give more notice since Evil Landlord had not been the most attentive owner.

The woman spent the few weeks before the move furiously cleaning the duplex. She cleaned the kitchen cabinets inside and out. She cleaned inside and under the refrigerator. She washed the windows, laundered the drapes and steam cleaned the carpets. She even mopped the concrete floor downstairs where their cats had frequently emptied the contents of their stomachs. The duplex had never looked so clean when they lived there.

A few weeks after the couple moved into their new house, they received an envelope from Evil Landlord in the mail. Inside was a check for their security deposit, made out for less than half the amount originally given to him. The couple was furious and immediately called Evil Landlord, who claimed he had to make “necessary repairs” and that the couple had not given him sufficient notice before they vacated the premises. While they momentarily considered litigation, the couple felt the lost money was worth never having to deal with Evil Landlord again.

The woman, however, was not able to forget things so easily. She entertained fantasies in which she returned to the empty duplex and turned on the outside faucet to both increase Evil Landlord’s water bill and hopefully flood the basement. Knowing she would probably get caught, the woman abandoned her plan of sabotage, her only comfort being the belief that Evil Landlord would eventually reap what he sowed. She could only hope to be there to witness it.

Over the next couple of years, the couple enjoyed their new home. They eventually had a baby and forgot all about Evil Landlord and his evil ways until one day the woman came home to find her husband with a huge grin on his face.

“My dear,” he said, “you’ll never guess what I saw today. Evil Landlord on Chicago Drive, his ‘Vette in the ditch smashed to bits.”

The woman gasped. “Surely you jest! You know I’ve had a trying day at work. This isn’t just an attempt to cheer me? Are you sure it was him?”

“He was standing next to his car and talking on a cellular telephone,” her husband replied.

“Oh please, can we go look? Let’s pack the child in the car and go!” the woman exclaimed.

Her husband laughed. “My dear, they’ve probably towed the car away by now.”

The woman sighed, disappointed but her mood much elevated. She knew it to be true. Even though she didn’t witness it herself, she was able to hear a firsthand account of it:

Karma. It’s a bitch.


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Nathan and I are trying something new. We’ve made a pact to keep the TV off until 8:00 pm. I usually like nothing better than to come home, plop my pillows on the couch and nurse Autumn while the tube is on, but we’ve been watching the same shows over and over and over. I mean, how many times can you watch the “King of the Hill” episode where Chuck Mangione hides out at the Mega-lo-Mart before you start to think it’s time to change your routine?

So last night we kept the TV off. Instead, I read a book while I nursed. I know, I’m really supposed to be paying attention to the child while she’s feeding. Most of the time I do, but there’s really only so much you can say to someone who’s more interested in your chest than whatever it is you’re talking about. I have the same problem with Nathan sometimes.

I have to admit I didn’t miss the TV one bit. After I fed Autumn, I set her down on the floor to see if she’d roll over again. Apparently she kept her skills to herself while she was at daycare, much to C-’s disappointment. I have the feeling C- had her on her back quite a bit during the day because Autumn only tolerated about 20 minutes of rolling onto her side and flopping back over before she turned into a little crank-meister and refused to humor us further.

After floor time, I strapped Autumn into her swing and started back into my book. A few sentences in, I glanced over at her and saw she was staring at me with the same look Molly gives me when I’m eating, a look that says, “I’d love whatever you’ve got over there.” No matter how much I tried to get back into the book, I couldn’t do it because the girl wouldn’t take her eyes off me. I finally got off my butt and retrieved her from the swing. Still in crank mode, she didn’t finally settle down until I had her nestled in my arms with some colorful toys and her binky.

I had a wonderful time holding her in my arms. I held my hand up in front of her face while she grabbed my fingers. I shook the toys, which she enthusiastically tried to stuff in her mouth. She chatted constantly and we both enjoyed some quality time distraction-free.

I was almost sorry to see 8:00 roll around. I’m sure we could have kept the TV off all night, but we’re serious “24” addicts. Hey, the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem, right?

Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

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Catching that elusive smile

After a week or so of trying and trying and only getting as far as her side, Autumn finally succeeded in rolling over yesterday. I’m so glad we were able to see it. It actually happened at Nathan’s parents’ house so his mom and dad were able to see it, too.

We actually missed the very first roll over. We had Autumn on her back on a blanket on the floor but we were all kind of busy doing our own thing. All of the sudden we heard her cry out and saw she had flipped over onto her stomach. Nathan flipped her over onto her back and we all watched intently to see if she’d do it again. Sure enough, she did it again and again. Of course once she’s flipped over she can’t roll back. I guess that part is covered in the intermediate roll-over lessons at baby school.

I was afraid this new found ability would make bedtime a challenge. I had visions of returning to her room throughout the night to keep flipping her onto her back, but Autumn stayed put the whole night. Getting her to finally sleep was a challenge though. She was super-crabby girl, the result of a little over-stimulation at grandma and grandpa’s, I think.

Of course I had to tell our daycare provider as soon as I dropped Autumn off this morning. I was able to keep the “nyah-nyah” tone out of my voice, but I’m still so glad this milestone happened on my watch.

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Mutant muffins

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Got Milk?

This is what I found when I came home yesterday:

That is what remained of an empty milk jug I set out on the counter before I left for work. I was supposed to take it down to our recycling bins but forgot. Usually Molly doesn’t target things like this, but she must have been especially bored yesterday. Poor pup. I think we’re going to have to up her daily kibble allowance so that she stays away from the #2 plastic. Maybe she’s not acting out so much as really really hungry because nothing seems to be safe anymore. We have to be very careful about how much we feed her because we had “weight issues” last year. Molly developed a pretty bad limp from what appeared to be the beginning of rheumatoid arthritis. We put her on the doggy diet food and were able to take about eight pounds off of her. Like me, she just can’t say no to a good snack.

In other news, I know someone who turned four months old yesterday…

Who, me?

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A co-worker just emailed me and asked if I had any Reese’s peanut butter eggs stashed at my desk. At first I had to wonder if she sent me the email by mistake because, folks, I do not stash Reese’s. If a peanut butter egg is hanging around my desk it’s because I haven’t found it yet. I’m not one of those freaks who can take three eggs, eat one and let the other two hang out at my desk to become friends for the rest of the day. They disappear before they can tell the other eggs what really happens when you leave the bag.

Did I happen to mention I absolutely love Reese’s?

I was really excited when they started coming out with all these new flavors. White chocolate, inside out, caramel, chocolate lovers, peanut butter lovers. And the big cup. I thought the big cup was the next thing to heaven until I found out they only come one to a package. There’s nothing like the classic cup, though.

I remember one year for Christmas I bought both of my uncles tree-shaped candy containers and bags of mini Reese’s to fill them. I made the mistake of filling the containers a couple of weeks before Christmas. I should have just kept the bags sealed, shoved them under my bed and tried to forget about them. First I took a Reese’s out of one container and then the other (to even things out) until I was back at the store buying two more bags of candy. I think my uncles eventually received tree-shaped containers filled with pretzels or nuts that year.

When I hear someone say, “I’d kill for a drink right now,” I think, “I’d kill for a peanut butter cup.” If I thought I could successfully be acquitted of the crime, I’d probably kill. Okay maybe not kill, but maim. All I’d need is some hotshot lawyer willing to take a risk and declare Reese’s addiction a mental deficit. Maybe I could pay the retainer in chocolate.

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We had a gorgeous day here today. The sun was out, we took a walk and went shopping. We couldn’t resist these sunglasses. They just screamed “buy me!” so we did. Autumn didn’t quite know what to make of them at first. It was kind of like trying to put a hat on a dog (which we’ve also tried before), but she got used to them pretty quick.

Mom and Dad also got into the act

Sunshine and shopping at Target. Now that’s a pretty good day.

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