Friday, May 20, 2005

The Next Big Thing

I just took a trip to Borders. I think I have a problem. If I don't stop buying books, I'm going to end up on Intervention.

I read The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards in two days.

It's the story of Kat, a 20-something sized 18 woman who is having an Internet romance with a fashion obsessed Londoner named Nick Appleby. Nick has no idea that Kat is not the size 4 that she, with the help of a heavily photoshopped picture, led him to believe.

So, at the behest of her best friend she gets accepted to compete on a reality show called "From Fat to Fit" in a last ditch attempt to lose the weight so she can meet Nick in person for the first time. On the show she lives in a house with several other overweight women where they are subjected to the expected daily tortures aka "challenges" of reality television.

The book was a fun read from start to finish. I am usually leery of the "Fat Girl Loses Weight" genre of Chick lit. I was worried it would be a reverse of Jemima J by the wonderfully inconsistent Jane Green. (Some of her books ROCK, others are unreadable). In Jemima J the heroine drops her weight down to a size four in under a year and has an adventure in America with a man she met on line. It's clearly written by somebody who has no idea what it's like to live with a weight problem. Fortunately, The Next Big Thing concentrated on the reality show. It also focused on the ongoing theme in every fat girls life "Everything will be completely different when I'm thin."

It was a great read with a kind and sympathetic narrator. I'm of the belief that everybody who would choose to go on a reality show deserves their fate. The author seemed to believe that as well. It had some truly surprising twists and turns and kept me reading almost non-stop for two days. It would be a great beach book for somebody who doesn't have to chase toddlers 24/7 on their vacations.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bob the Builder!

Can he build it? YES HE CAN!!

But how much will it cost?

We met with Bob the Builder tonight. He had no problems with being called that, so that was pretty cool.

He put a bunch of stuff in his quote that we don't necessarily need, so he's going to revisit his numbers and get back to us in a couple of days. He gave us a quote for the whole addition project. This guy was really together. He was very experienced and he had no problems with our time-frame.

We also had a different contractor come by to give us some numbers for a drastically reduced project.

We still have not sold our condo.

So, we're having another open house this weekend. We should have numbers from both these guys soon.

Wednesday 5/24 is deadline day. We have to make a decision about this one way or the other. Big addition, or little project. Will we have a buyer?

I had a conversation with a friend today about the low offer we got last month. She said that we weren't ready to take that price at that point. So, if we had taken it, we'd be second guessing it as much as I am because we didn't.

I found that infinitely reassuring.

But now that there is a contractor in the picture that can do the project, I am infinitely more tense about selling.

Sigh. Why is this so hard? This is one of the most beautiful condo's I've ever seen. Why can't we sell it??

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How have I given birth to a morning person?

Yesterday Eric woke up at 4:30 and started yelling. Rich figured out he was really hungry and fed him some cheerios. He came back into bed with us, and we actually all fell asleep until seven. But there was much yelling and fussing inbetween.

This morning FIVE AM on the baby monitor: "Mamma! Dadda." Babble Babble Babble "Mamma! Dadda!"

I sensed Rich getting up then Rich and a noisy baby were back in the bed. He lay still for about five minutes, then he climbed over me and started running around the room.

Like Chucky.

I think Rich then said: "Hey! you let him out of the bed. Why??" Then he kicked me a couple times. But I didn't move. It was like the whole thing was happening on a TV in another room.

He's the best husband in the world for what happened next. He sighed, pulled his pants on and the next thing I knew it was nearly seven and he and Eric came and woke me up for work.

What a guy. Sigh. He's just dreamy.

Monday, May 16, 2005

And so it begins, the driveway drama.

Shortly before I sold my studio condo on Summer Street the owners got into a huge fight about dog pee in the front yard. The building had a beautiful front yard that our neighbor would walk his dog on on a daily basis. He was a responsible dog owner, and cleaned up after his dog. But it was icky, and the other resident dog owner never let her dog on the lawn. She had a little scrap of driveway outside of her back door that nobody else needed access to. She had a table and chairs out there and she and her dog would hang out back there from time to time.

She was a good neighbor in all ways. The guy was a lousy neighbor. He was messy and loud and the dog only added to the problem. Once we said the lawn was off limits, he thought he should be able to let his dog pee on the scrap of driveway where she kept a table and chairs. The association said NO. He was furious with me and her. It was unfair that we let one dog back there and not another. If it were my unit, I wouldn't want the other condo owners mooching back there under my kitchen windows. There was about six feet of black-top between her unit and the six-foot fence on the property line. It would have been a real invasion of privacy. And for what? Because they guy was too lazy to take his dog out to the sidewalk?

So, we fought about it, and we had a majority, so the "poor" guy had to walk his dog. Unfortunately he was the trustee of the association so I had to ask him for the budget, and needed to get a notarized 6D certificate from him after the whole nasty e-mail exchange. But it turned out that his roommate was a notary, and he was surprisingly decent about getting that to me. But he wouldn't give me a real budget because he had no "time." He had piss poor time management and his condo looked like a bunch of frat boys had been playing rugby with a giant pile of garbage.

The weird thing is that both of them --the dog owners put their condos up for sale the same week a couple months ago.

So, this is the lead-in for the driveway saga.

My realtor said that when you sell a property relationships suddenly get strained. We've had such a great relationship with our condo association that I didn't think we'd have any problems. Then enter THE MOTORCYCLE.

Our neighbor who rents and lives in the studio apartment owns a full sized van that he parks in his spot in our driveway. He's basically a good guy so, we just work around it. It's annoying because that spot is next to the main egress path from our back yard, and sometimes I have to carry Eric's stroller over the flower bed to get around it. But it's his spot and I don't like to make a fuss. Then a couple weeks ago he purchased a "very expensive" motorcycle. At first he tried to keep it in the back yard. But after some complaints from us and most likely the upstairs neighbors he started keeping it in his spot with his van.

So, his van was pulled almost back to the sidewalk. I bonked it with my car trying to get out of the driveway on Tuesday morning. It's really hard to back out of my spot under the best of circumstances if there are other cars there. But with the van there, it was almost impossible.

So, I left him a note that evening saying: "Hey, I hit your van trying to get out of the driveway this morning. Come by and we'll talk about it."

He called me the next afternoon and we established that the damage to his van and the motorcycle in the driveway were separate issues. I told him he couldn't keep it there and he lost his shit. "So that's your final answer, no negotiation then?" I said: "What's there to negotiate? You have one parking spot and you're trying to keep two vehicles in it, and they're in my way."

"A motorcycle is NOT a car." He told me. "But," I pointed out, "neither is your van. If you had a normal car, this wouldn't be such a problem."

We went around and around. So, the "solution" is that he pulled up his van much farther, so it only takes up an extra 4 feet. I still think it's WAY too much space. But we're moving very soon so why fight about it?

I can't let this freaking thing go. I know if I called a condo meeting and said to the other owners: "Hey, I don't see why this guy's motorcycle is our problem. Let's tell him he gets one vehicle on the property." I know they would back me up. But Rich thinks we should let it go because HELLO, we're moving.

But we still don't have a buyer and I don't think the front yard looking like a used car lot is helping any.

It's really wrenching for me that we have such fond memories of this place for the last six years, and now they'll be tempered with the motorcycle battle.