Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Landlords: Part I

I know I’ve mentioned them before, but not in much detail. The first time I had an extended chit-chat with them was the first time I handed in my rent check. They were sitting outside on a balmy August night, enjoying the lovely and buggy Cleveland summer. They asked me to join them and started with the usual “get to know you” questions about where I’m from, what my family is like, and what I do.

I learned that D and L each have adult children from their previous marriages, and a couple grandkids. With much work and dedication they kept things civil with their exes for the sake of their children. They definitely earned my respect on that one.

D is… into healing. She performs hypnotherapy and started a nonprofit to help bridge Eastern medicine with Western. Say you want acupuncture to compliment your medication – she can hook you up with the right people. She recommends acupuncture for menopausal symptoms, by the way. Swears by it. Just FYI.

L is… in “business?” I don’t know exactly what. When I asked, D cut him off with “He’s in business as well.” Talking a couple weeks later to a woman who may have taught one of their daughters, she thinks he may be a psychiatrist. He smokes like a chimney and reminds me of Martin Scorsese with is white hair and black eye brows.

Then the conversation took a twist I wasn’t expecting. I’d always been taught that discussing religion and politics was impolite – with friends, with strangers, fill in your favorite category. D asked me what religion I was. Not knowing them well enough to judge how open minded they are (I know, the Eastern/Western medicine bridge might have been a clue, but you can never be too sure) I chose a safe, stock answer which I will regurgitate for you here: Though I don’t subscribe to any particular religion, I do believe that its purpose is to help people live a better life.

L immediately jumped down my throat with “Isn’t the purpose of religion to reconcile man with God?” Caught off-guard I stammered that reconciling yourself with God could help you lead a better life, couldn’t it? After a beat D chimed in saying that she considers herself a cross between a Buddhist and a Metaphysical Christian.

[I had to look that up later. Turns out Metaphysical Christianity is “a belief system, founded on the teachings of Jesus, which looks at how He perceived reality. It also examines the relationship between mind and matter, which is God. A Metaphysical Christian studies not only what Jesus taught in words, but also how He taught in actions. They study the imagery and metaphor used in the Bible and strive to understand the deepest meaning.”]

L got up and left to putter around the yard. D and I continued to talk. I learned that D believes that her granddaughter is the reincarnation of someone she knew. She can’t say for certain if it’s a friend or family member, but she’s pretty convinced and had some intriguing stories to tell. She’s pining for the day that her daughter will let her perform a past life regression on the little girl, hoping that it’s someday soon as, apparently, upon reaching the age of 6 most of your past life memories are gone.

Stay tuned for Part II….

Monday, October 23, 2006

Now that's never happened before...

My move to Rochester is immanent. To prepare I’ve been looking up apartments and townhouses online that I would like to visit over Thanksgiving. The cool thing about these online organizations is that they make it really easy to get in contact with the property owners, so yesterday I emailed a few to ask if they’d have anyone around the weekend after Thanksgiving to show me around the units I’m interested in.

Not 10 minutes later a woman called from the place I was *especially* excited about. It had everything I wanted: a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, AC, a washer and drier, AND an attached single car garage – the most exciting part of all – I’m getting giddy just thinking about it. Anyway, she was very nice and helpful: yes, there would be folks around to give me a tour, just call her when it got to be closer and we could make an appointment. Then she asked how much money I’d be making. I figured she wanted to make sure I could afford all of this luxury for the price of $725 a month. I proudly told her what I’d be making my first year as a postdoc.

Her mood darkened. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but your income will be too high.”

“Too high?” How could this be possible? I have never been in a position where I was making *too much* money. I believe I have just stepped into the Twilight Zone.

“Yeah, I’m not exactly sure how it works. It’s some tax credit thing. We rent to people who make [approximately $6,000 less than I will me making] or less. To help them build a nest egg or something. But that’s just for the first 6 months. After that you can make as much as you want.”

As if that would make me feel better. I’d like to build a little nest egg, too, you know. I’d just be better at it with all that “excess” money coming in.

I can’t say I was caught completely off-guard. Some of the listings actually have a little blurb about this tax-credit-thing so I know not to bother.

I thanked her for letting me know. She suggested another place that I might want to look into, adding that it’s closer to the Mayo Clinic than her place. Looking it up I see that I can get my “4 Musts” (DW, GD, AC, W/D) as well as the sweet attached garage with the added bonus of a fireplace (I’d totally be making s’mores in the living room) for the low low price of $1020-1050 a month. Quite a bit more expensive than my first love, but not completely out of the question.

Since then I’ve found about 8 other places that are less expensive – but now I need to call them all to find out if they participate in this tax-credit-thing. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Three things entertaining me today

1. Taking 4 inch long glow-in-the-dark skeletons into the darkroom and exposing them to the light-sensitive film and making fun pictures for Halloween decor. They dance! They cavort! Weeeee!

2. Wearing my pirate booty - a 2 inch long plasic sapphire ring. I feel like royalty. Kiss my ring.

3. Realizing that I don't spill things *on* my sleeves - I spill them *up* my sleeves.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We're all very disappointed

Square AJ! Where are you?? We were anxiously waiting and hoping to get at least one smart ass comment from you! You've let all of us down.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lab interview: So that you might understand us better

Lil’ Kate: Let’s start with the basics. Why science?
L: I ask myself that question every day.
Aunt Chen: I’m a glutton for punishment, I guess.
Labmate: Because it is the only field where I can perform monkey head transplants at the taxpayers expense.

Lil’ Kate: Why this lab?
L: I was TRICKED!!!
Aunt Chen: Just lucky!
Labmate: The devil made me do it.

Lil’ Kate: What gets you excited?
L: Planning lab sabotage – thawing freezers, burning notebooks…
Aunt Chen: I don’t remember.
Labmate: Hot sex, like on or near an open flame. Pain is a turn on, hee hee hee!

Lil’ Kate: Favorite science term?
L: There’s nothing funny about science.
Aunt Chen: “Controls” – who does that?!
Labmate: It’s a toss up between “atypical cleavage” and “doublesexxx”

Lil’ Kate: Favorite boss quote?
L: “I don’t want to smell your mommy parts.”
Aunt Chen: “It’s OK, I can fix that with Photoshop.”
Labmate: “If we don’t work, people die.”

Lil’ Kate: OK. Let’s find out just how much of a science nerd you are. Are you often blinded by the sun?
L: Like a mole coming out of its burrow!
Aunt Chen: Only once, when I married my hubby. Hey, it’s the only explanation I’ve got!
Labmate: In Cleveland, all the damn time.

Lil’ Kate: Have you ever conducted a science experiment at home?
L: My boyfriend may think so because stuff in the fridge likes to grow and dinner isn’t always that great.
Aunt Chen: I have 3 kids. It is an ongoing experiment and it’s not looking good.
Labmate: I’m not allowed to talk about “The Incident.”

Lil’ Kate: Have you ever dressed up for Halloween in a science-related costume?
L: Of course! As president of the Chem Club I had the teased hair, lab coat, the whole 9 yards.
Aunt Chen: Only once, and none of the morons who saw it understood it.
Labmate: Yes, but it’s always coated in lots of blood… real blood.

Lil’ Kate: Do you find bowling to be an aerobic workout?
L: No, but I’m always sore the next day…. Oh wait, maybe that’s from the biker I picked up…
Aunt Chen: Only with enough alcohol – but after all, should bowling ever be done without it? No way!
Labmate: No, but I know some that do.

Lil’ Kate: Now I’d like to delve into your emotional state. Do you want to kill yourself?
L: Surprisingly, no.
Aunt Chen: Never, it would make too many people very happy.
Labmate: Ever? Or just when I’m here?

Lil’ Kate: Do you want to kill someone else?
L: Kill them myself? No. Have them DIE in some awful manner? Why yes.
Aunt Chen: Oh my… so many people, so little time.
Labmate: Yes, it’s hard to suppress the evil thoughts (she says while putting the knife down).

Lil’ Kate: Why do you hate me?
L: Hate is such a strong word….
Aunt Chen: You’re just lucky, I guess.
Labmate: I only hate you when you steal my tweezers.

Lil’ Kate: Favorite stress relieving time-waster?
L: Bad VH1 TV. “Flavor of Love” anyone??
Aunt Chen: Doing my job – “Lindsey experiments.”
Labmate: Losing myself in your eyes.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What am I missing?

Would you rather:

a) swing wide, into oncoming traffic (my lane), nearly having a head-on collision


b) drive within 5 feet of some construction barrels blocking off a giant dumpster?

The overwhelming answer appears to be “a.”

Now, last I checked, my Honda, though she be small, is capable of doing considerable damage. More damage than, say, a relatively light-weight construction barrel. Are the barrels scary? Are drivers afraid they’ll jump out in front of their cars, much like indecisive squirrels? What’s with the theatrics? There is plenty of room for them to stay on their side of the road. Am I missing something?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Inn Love

Yesterday I went out to breakfast with Labmate and her hubby. Now, not having a good track record of recommending things to Labmate, I was really nervous that something would go wrong at breakfast. Even though I always take out-of-town guests to The Inn, and I would eat breakfast there every day if I could afford the time and money, I was still a little apprehensive. Especially since we’d been planning this for about a week and the expectations had been growing.

The Inn is like a cross between The Log Cabin (the old one, not the new one) and The Mint in The ‘Sau (for those in the know). Think Waffle House, but homey-er. It’s relatively small and diner-ish. The coffee mugs weigh a pound. The food is hot and greasy. The waitresses call you Honey and are always right on top of those refills. They write out your order by hand and you pay at the till.

At the same time, they don’t play it safe with stereotypical breakfast dishes consisting of some sort of egg/meat/potato medley. They serve 4 different kinds of Eggs Benedict (my addiction of choice), quiches, Blues and Chews (blueberry and cashew pancakes), Mango Sour Cream pancakes (sounds gross, but isn’t), and a dozen different kinds of omelets along with the stereotypical fried steak and eggs dishes. I guarantee you won’t be hungry for the rest of the day.

Labmate ordered her very first Eggs Benedict and I graciously welcomed her into the fold. Hubby had Blues and Chews. I’m pleased to announce that the both of them loved their breakfasts and my track record is on the mend! Afterwards we waddled out to our cars and made a promise to ourselves that this wouldn’t be our last breakfast. There’s just too much on the menu they haven’t tried yet, and I’m more than happy to walk them through it.

Going to breakfast at the Inn is a great way to end a hectic work week, and a wonderful way to start the weekend.