Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Nerve!

Last night I had to go drive into the city for a work project. I had to unload a bunch of stuff from the truck and so I pulled into a valet lot (where I wasn't allowed to park), unloaded all the stuff, and carried it to the doorstep of the building where it needed to go, all the while wondering where the heck I was going to park my truck for the duration of the project since for some reason all of the metered spots were full even at 8 PM on a Wednesday. As I was standing there unloading stuff I saw my friend G getting out of her car, which she'd parked in a driveway across the street. I said, "Is it okay to leave your car there?" and she said, "Yeah, the attendant at the parking lot next door told me I could park there for $5." I said, "Sweet, then I'll move my truck over there to park, too!"
So I drove into the parking lot across the street, which was full, assuming that the lot attendant would direct me to the driveway where he'd just directed G. I also assumed he'd charge me $5. That's a reasonable assumption, right? Instead, our conversation went like this:
Parking Lot Attendant: You want parking?
Me: Yes please.
PLA: You can back into spot six.
["Spot six" was not so much a spot as a dirt patch in an alley with the number six spray-painted on the building wall above it. I dutifully backed into spot six, though, since my options were limited.]
PLA: That's ten dollars.
Me: Oh, I thought parking was five dollars.
PLA: Didn't you see the sign?
Me: I didn't see a sign. I just thought parking was five dollars because you just charged my friend five dollars to park.
PLA: [looks embarrassed] Oh...your friend?
Me: Yeah, my friend. She drives that blue car there. She said you just charged her five dollars. That's why I came over here to park.
PLA: That's because she is not parked in the lot.
Me: Okay, but I'm not really parked in the lot, either.
PLA: This is the lot.
Me: If you say so. So, can I park where she parked and pay five dollars instead of parking in the lot and paying ten dollars?
PLA: No, I was doing her a favor.
Me: But you won't do me a favor?...Is that what you're saying?
PLA: Parking is normally twenty dollars.
Me: Whatever.

I paid him the ten dollars. As I said, my options were limited and I was running late. Still, I can't believe he had the audacity to charge me ten bucks even though he had to admit to my face that he had done a favor for another stranger but wouldn't do the same for me. Jerk.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I'm having the laziest day today. I slept until 11 and haven't really moved off the couch since then (it's 5:00 now). I did manage to do a bit of laundry, but that's about it. I guess I'm allowed to be lazy today since we had guests all weekend and were running around. Penn's mom visited--unfortunately providing no new fodder for the blog--and my cousin and aunt happened to be passing through town on a long road trip to move my cousin from California to Maine for school, so they stayed here with us for a couple of nights to break up their trip. We had a full house, but it went well and I had a nice visit with everyone.

I feel blocked in terms of blogging right now. There are two big things on my mind lately. One of them is my major summer projects. I don't like to talk too much about my career here because I feel like it is just generally not a good idea, so I can't really write about the two big projects that are taking up most of my time these days. The second thing is something I'm not willing to blog about yet, either, until I have more information, but it's something I'm thinking about all the time. So with my mind on those two things pretty much all day every day but no way to write about them in detail here, I've been avoiding blogging. Sorry! I think both of these mental blocks should be out of the way once the summer is over, though, so stay tuned (assuming you didn't just give up on me completely ages ago when I decided that two posts per month is sufficient).

Other than that, I can't seem to make other things in my life feel worthy of a blog post. Penn and I are doing great and enjoying life together, and while I feel blessed to have a happy and peaceful and sexy and predictable-in-a-good-way marriage, descriptions of my pleasant relationship don't exactly make for scintillating reading. There have been no reports of major new family drama lately. Penn and I have been homebodies for the past couple of weekends so there is no new social excitement to talk about. I continue to slog through the dissertation. I've started having horrible anxiety dreams about the whole process, but at least that is inspiring me to work on it more often. It's the time of the summer when I give up going outdoors and lounge in the A/C waiting for October.

So, yeah. I'll be back when I have something at least somewhat interesting to report. I'm going back to Scotland in a month, so there is that to look forward to. It's a work trip, though, so I worry it may be more stressful than fun. I hope I'm able to relax and enjoy it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Another One for the Files

Penn and I did some home improvements last week. We tried to wrestle some rogue grape and raspberry vines onto trellises, Penn replaced the house's shoddy screen doors, and then since we ended up having to repaint one of the new screen doors (long story) we decided to just do all of the exterior painting we had been wanting to do since we moved in. The shutters and main doors on the house were a blue/grey shade that was okay, but the paint job was poor and the color was just sort of...dull. So after a day of deliberation that included taping six paint samples to the side of our house and looking at them at different times of day to see how they looked in different light, we finally decided on a color called "Geranium Leaf." So our shutters and doors are now green. I love the color, I think it makes our house stand out from the others in the neighborhood, most of which have black, grey, or brown shutters. Boring.

Penn's mother, though, had a different opinion. We posted pictures on Facebook and she saw them but didn't make a comment, which I figured meant she Did Not Approve. Sure enough, when she was on the phone with Penn the other day he asked her what she thought of the new paint job. Her response?

"It looks like a black people house now."

What on earth does that mean? Too bright? Too unusual? I have no idea, but it was clear from her expression that having a "black people house" is not a good thing. Way to be vague AND employ racial stereotypes! Oh, my mother-in-law.
On our walk to lunch today I challenged Penn to help me pick out "black people houses" since (GASP!) approximately 30% of the homes in our neighborhood are owned by African-Americans [in a very literal sense, there are a few first-generation Ethiopian-American families on our block]. Oddly enough, from what we could tell by our neighbors out and about this morning, most of the "black people houses" had the standard black or beige shutters. Maybe she meant to tell us that it looks like a "Mexican people house"? Haha.

Would you like a visual? Here's our side door:

The color looks brighter in this picture than it does in real life, but I happen to really like it. I just like color in general. One of the reasons I'm excited about owning a house is that I can experiment with paint colors. When I was about 13 my mom let me choose the paint color for my bedroom and I chose a bright yellow color. My favorite street in the city has townhouses painted every color of the rainbow. If the interior of this house hadn't just been painted a month before we moved in and it didn't seem like a waste to redo it so quickly, I'd have already painted each room of my home a different shade. So, yeah, to each her own!