Friday, November 7, 2008

Ups and Downs and Waiting

Well it’s been a few days of ups and downs and here in the Emerald City.

Tuesday I ventured out on my own for the first time to visit Matt’s store. Keep in mind he told me to come later in the afternoon, since he would be in meetings earlier and he wanted to see me. Before I get to my car I check the mail to find that the return we’re getting on our last apartment’s deposit was a bit less than expected—$0—to be exact. 

Long story short, Matt had a previous roommate who burned the carpet pretty badly a week before he moved out. Matt had the current manager at the time look at it and give an estimate of the cost--$300, which we then took out of the roommate’s deposit. The carpet, besides the burns, was incredibly filthy and stained despite numerous professional cleanings, and so we had a lot of rugs! 

Our current manager told us during the walk through we should be getting most if not all of our deposit back, because even without the burns the carpet was so bad it would need replacing anyway (it was like that before Matt even moved in 3 years ago…then had 6 bachelors in and out…can you imagine?). So, left with her assuring us that we’d get most of our deposit back because the carpet was so old it needed to be replaced anyway, we headed up to Seattle. 

Now they’re taking our entire deposit to replace the carpet because the landlord is so stingy, he claims he wouldn’t have replaced the carpet had it not been for the burns. So, we’re ending up getting jacked because 1)Matt’s old roommate, 2) the previous manager who gave us the estimate to exact from the roommate’s deposit AND never bothered to have the roommate even SIGN on the lease, 3)even though the current manager didn’t give notice or opportunity for us to fix the carpet during our initial inspection because, “we’re replacing it anyway,” they’re still taking the whole deposit, and 4) a stingy landlord who uses burns as an excuses to replace already despicable carpet. We’ve already looked into the whole legal side of it, and basically the landlord could charge us the full amount of the carpet replacing, and we’d owe instead of just getting nothing back. 

So there’s my rant.

Still shocked by this news I get in the car and proceed to follow Matt’s precise directions to REI in Issaquah. Mind you it’s only taken him 25-35 minutes every time he’s gone, but it was now 3:30 and I was on a street known as “Mercer Madness.” Nice, huh? INSANE!!! It took me 45 minutes to go 3.1 miles and just get ON the freeway! At one point, fed up with waiting through 3 green and red lights and only moving forward one car, I saw MY lane across the intersection was clear, but blocked by an idiot who was trying to get in the jam-packed middle lane so he was completely perpendicular to the lanes and blocking where I needed to go. Noticing the sidewalks were rather low…you can guess what happened. I drove on the sidewalk. And not just me, I look in my rearview mirror to see an old dude in a Volvo follow my lead, and then another 2, 3, 4 cars until our lane filled back in. 

Mercer Madness for sure.

I finally make it to the freeway and as I’m trying to make it from my slow moving 20 mph lane into the clear lane to my right (and the lane next to that was clear as well). I check my mirrors, see both lanes to my right are completely clear, and began to head out only to be nearly sideswiped by a maniac speeding from the far lane and deciding to jump into the lane I was going into RIGHT where I was! These people not only have ridiculous streets, they drive like bats outta hell to boot! No WONDER people here take so many busses!!!

Finally, as I’m nearing Issaquah I take the exit and am on the phone with Charissa when I look around and realize NO ONE else is on the phone. “Um, do you know if it’s legal to drive with a cell phone?” I ask. “Oh shoot!” she replies, “I don’t think it is! BYE!” So not only am I a blonde with CA license plates, I’m the only one driving around chatting it up on the phone too…they must hate me, I think.

I make it to Matt’s REI more than an HOUR after leaving my house, and his coworker is kind enough to let him take his lunch break then so we could eat dinner together. Need I describe the overall mood when I broke the deposit news to him? But fortunately he is a positive man and has the outlook that, “As long as we’ve got each other, we’re blessed” mentality.

Faced with the prospect of a bit more meager month than we might have expected, I update my shopping list to the necessities, and begin the treacherous journey home. 

I’m serious people, I think the city planners got the inspiration for their street systems one night as they sat eating spaghetti. “Hey,” said one city planner to the other, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we made our streets make as much sense as this bowl of noodles?”

Driving home, I had a general sense of the streets but didn’t have it written down as I could always count on my GPS in my phone, right? Well, I don’t know if it was too cloudy or the wind was blowing too hard or what the problem was, but my phone was refusing to get a signal (in Seattle?) and the lanes to be in to get where you want to go are anything but clear. I ended up next to Safeco and Qwest fields, and underneath an overpass behind a pickup truck stopped at a train stop with a train going excruciatingly slow forwards…then back…then forwards…and blocking my view of the street ahead.

 Off to the right was a one way underneath overpass and through a questionable looking area. After ten minutes of the train going back and forth, the cars around me had had enough and like a flock of birds following any given leader, took off to the right underneath the overpass. Praying they were headed the same direction I was going, I followed. I drove for ten more minutes, not entirely sure of the street I was actually on because there were no signs! 

We came to an interesting intersection in which I couldn’t tell where the lane I was in was supposed to go, so again I said a little prayer the truck in front of me was going the same was I was and kept following it. Mind you, during this time I was a tad frustrated…to say the least. My hat was off and I was pulling at my hair like a madman, yelling at the nonexistent street signs and saying, “ELLIOT, where’s ELLIOT? ELLIOT will take me home!”

God was looking out for me and the truck was headed where I was going, and soon enough I was on Elliot and close to home. My nerves rattled by the Seattle driving, I decided with determination I needed to drive until I could pull into my parking spot unfrazzled. Currans aren’t quitters and Palmers aren’t pushovers, right? 

I was getting to know Queen Anne a bit better and so I found the Trader Joe’s, bought myself a little heather plant for the patio along with some other essentials, and pulled into the parking garage with a sounder mind. 

It was only when I got there that I realized I had left my hat off and my hair was sticking up all over the place like a banshee as a result of my maniacal outrage. 


I got in the apartment, and the icing on the cake was that all day long my fly had been down.

Well, that day done and gone, we got up Wednesday morning and went on a very nice long walk in Queen Anne. It’s one of those places you admire every house and garden and plant you walk by, and then you turn around and see the view and you’re so surrounded by beauty and charm you’re not sure which way to look. On a clear day you can see the Olympic Mountain range far beyond Magnolia, and see its snow capped peaks.

We walked to a café called El Diablo. This Cuban inspired café has brightly painted murals of artistic devils (not as awful as it sounds), a lover’s grotto with hearts and cupids, and an upstairs make sense, is painted with angels and clouds. There we had the best Mexican hot chocolate we’d had in our lives…and we’re big Mexican hot chocolate fans. Getting an Americano to go (also amazing), we slipped into the bookstore next door (uh, heaven?) and browsed through this local gem for awhile. We got on their frequent buyer list, got info about their book club, and were welcomed warmly to the neighborhood and told about all the local must sees by the friendly cashier.

We walked to the Metropolitan Market (think of Whole Foods, but cheaper and cuter), got some wonderful hot soup and ate it walking back home in the chilly afternoon. Once home we spent the rest of the day lounging around in front of the fireplace, reading, unpacking a bit more, and enjoying the fall day.

Today I had my interview at Delta Marine, and if you read this this morning please pray they decide they need to hire me! A month ago it would have been a non-issue, I probably would have been offered the job today. But with the way the economy is, my job was trying to convince them that bringing me on to help the 1 (ONE!) person who handles the marketing for this $100 million/year company that employs 600…what’s one more? Plus they don’t even have a concierge service, and even Driscoll’s—a MUCH smaller operation where I was working—had that.

That should bring you pretty much up to speed. We’re slowly but surely putting our house together, but a lot of things are on hold until I get a job…so you’ll have to wait for pictures. But I’ll tell you this, our master bedroom is so big we’ve left a nice open area just for yoga practice, and our living room is snug and cozy and you can sit on our couch with the fire to your right and gaze out at the bay. You’ll just have to come up here to see it yourself! ‘Till next time, cheers!

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