Los Angeles, CA
6am. I heard loud thumping sounds from upstairs in the vacant apartment. That's not supposed to happen. I got out of bed and heard commotion outside on the stairwell. I peeked through the peephole and a guy dressed in white carrying a bucket passed by. Ah, he was the painter who arrived at 6am to work on the upstairs apartment without any care of the tenants below (us). As per usual, your slumlord failed to tell us that they were going to be doing work on the apartment and that it was going to be loud.
Luckily Nicky had to wake up at 7:30 to get ready to interview someone for a column. I had to get up anyway, but I'd rather not be disturbed by someone doing work at 6am. It set a bad tone for the day considering I scheduled Monday as a writing day. It was difficult to write with all of the noise. For someone who was supposed to paint, it sounded like he was bowling up there. I couldn't win either, when he was making too much noise in the room above my office, I migrated out to the living room, only to be pestered with barking dogs that our neighbors leave in the backyard when they go off to work. Just when the dogs stopped, the painter decided to sand the walls right above me. One distraction to another. I did what I can and cranked up the music and attempted to write through it.
The day was not as productive as I would have liked, which always bothers me because I hate wasting writing days. The landlord is trying to justify an increase in rent to the potential new tenants -- by renovating the apartment above us, but at the expense of pissing us off. It's not like he's always rushing to fix our stuff. So, I don't except him to help us out with trying to rectify the barking dog situation. Nicky mentioned that it would be in his best interest to make sure he was renting out an apartment that did not have annoying barking beasts.
The barking dogs encouraged me to check out local services that could help us out. I knew that the last thing I wanted to bother the federales with was a barking dog. Besides, they probably wouldn't even bother showing up. I turned to Google with "Barking dog complaints LA" and found a website for Los Angeles Animal Services who handle all barking dog complaints. The city is completely broke and they recently created a law that allows that agency to fine pet owners $100 for each barking dog complaint. All we have to do is set the wheels in motion and write a formal letter of complaint. The agency will then write the evil pet owners a letter informing them that a complaint has been filed by one of their neighbors. If the barking continues after a 15 day period, then we can file a second complaint. The agency will then send out an officer to assess the situation to determine if a fine is necessary -- which it usually is. Normally they wouldn't be quick to rush to help us out, but since the city sees this as a means of extra revenue, they are gonna expedite every original complaint as quickly as possible.
In the meantime I looked into foghorns, dog whistles, and a device that looks like a garage door opener, but emits high frequency sounds that supposedly silence the pooches. I have my doubts, but I'm curious to see if those things actual work. Otherwise, I have to crank up the music to drown out the howling dogs.
When things got really shitty with the noise, we decided to leave the apartment for an hour. Nicky drove me up to Beverly Center to find a pair of hiking boots. I needed something for the upcoming seasonal change. While I tried on new boots, she ended up wandering around the camping section and purchased a knife sharpener. I guess the guys at Whole Foods are thrilled that they don't have to sharpen her knives.
The other day, I made a horrible decision and went to Staples early on a weekend morning. I forgot that it was the weekend before kids went back to school, and a dozen other families had a similiar idea -- beat the rush and show up as soon as it opened. All I wanted were printer paper and padded envelopes so I can mail out a few books, but I got stuck in a long ass line with parents holding shopping carts overflowing with supplies. I got was flashback of negative emotions. Shopping for school supplies with my mother was always a nightmare. Shopping for anything with her was, so I definitely did not associate that time with pleasant memories. Nicky was a bit of a nerd growing up and she said that her favorite part of the school year was getting to go shopping for school supplies with her mother and her sister Mandy. But I was on the opposite end.
I really hated buying books in college. I knew some of my fraternity brothers, the few that were not uber-rich kids, had to steal an occasional text book if it was too pricey. Me? I had a scam were I pulled off yellow "USED" stickers off of used books and put them on new books. I figured that a text book was too hard to steal, but I wanted to get some value out of my limited budget for books (even though I tossed it on my credit card), so I wanted new books at a discounted used price.
I drove to In-N-Out Burger a couple of late nights, which tortured Nicky because she is back to her LA-starving diet. I had been eating breakfast at the crack of dawn and skipping dinner in favor of lunch in the late afternoon. But by Midnight, I'm starving and still have an hour or so of work to do, which is why I the run to In-N-Out has been clutch. It only takes less than ten minutes to get there. One of the nights, a SUV in front of me was blasting Iggy Pop as marijuana smoke billowed out the open windows. Isn't that how Paris Hilton got caught in Vegas?
By the way, I penned a piece about Paris Hilton on Saturday morning a few hours after she got busted for cocaine possession. It is titled Cocaine Cowgirl. Been hearing whispers in the hills of Hollyweird that she was set up by the cops because the blow was not hers. Um, I don't believe that. But I do believe that her legal team will attempt to get the case dismissed on terms of an illegal search. Whoever is Paris' criminal attorney must be making a shitload of cash because his client is always getting into trouble.
After watching a bit of Hoarders, Nicky and I went through my sparse wardrobe that I accumulated in the two years that we've been shacked up together. She was surprised of 1) the specific colors in my wardrobe and 2) the fact that even though this is probably the largest my wardrobe has gotten since we've been going out, that I still didn't have much stuff. She persuaded me to get rid of the items that had holes and that were ripped. She also made me toss out one of the two Hawaiian shirts that I own. It was a coin flip, but she snatched out the older one that has a cigarette burn on the back.
I also have about ten books that I read and want to get rid of, but couldn't think of anyone to give the books to. I might have another book sale here with all proceeds going to fund fall Phish tour.
Yeah, after watching that Hoarders episode with the cat lady, I got a bit freaked out. She had over 70 cats in her house and cluttered garage. More than half of them were dead, most of them kittens. The cleaners were uncovering skeletal remains and other feline corpses every time they moved a box. It was incredibly sad and disgusting. Dead cats inspired me to get rid of some books. Stay tuned for a list if you're interest in taking them off my hands.