Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A bout of bad luck

I wouldn't call myself superstitious. Yes, I may believe in ghosts (including creepy sets of twins who stand at the ends of long hallways and ask me to come play with them), but I can walk under ladders and pass black cats and open umbrellas indoors and none of it bothers me. Old wives tales, I say.

Yet I'm starting to think that our new apartment in Maryland has come replete with not only high amenity fees, but highly bad luck. I'm talking really bad, considering-going-out-to-the-backwoods-of-this-Okie-state-and-doing-some-crazy-voodoo-to-cleanse-the-place bad.

Consider the following:

Exhibit A: The move from hell.

Need I say more?

Exhibit B: The cookie cutter incident.

In the real world, finding a heart-shaped cookie cutter a day before Valentine's Day would be as easy as cherry pie. In my current, cursed world finding said cookie cutter became a full-fledged medieval quest of sorts, teeming with talking dragons and evil warlocks horrendous traffic conditions and potholes the size of small foreign countries. Our Korean-made steed was up for the trek, though, of what would become the most extraordinary search of my life for something so extraordinarily ordinary.

After the nearest Target was cookie-cutter-less, J and I found a neighboring mall 5 miles away on our Garmin. Thinking there had to be a Crate and Barrel or Williams-Sonoma or some sort of kitchen appliance store at said mall we drove the five miles. Three hours later of traffic that would put LA's to shame, we finally arrived at the mall ... and there were no kitchen stores. Silly us for assuming there would be, I suppose. They're only as ubiquitous as a Twilight fan in a Hot Topic slash Wet Seal slash Claires slash Chico's.

We scoured the mall, going into each anchor department store. Nothing. J was a trooper through it all. When even I was ready to throw in the towel (it was my idea, after all) he pursued through the course. Come hell or high water his wife would have heart-shaped pancakes for Valentine's Day or else. After feeling like Frodo and Sam Gamjee on a mission to cross Middle Earth for one annoying little errand we found a second Target nearby that had exactly ONE heart-shaped cookie cutter misplaced in the tupperware aisle. After searching for the better part of a day we snatched it up with delirious eyes and hissed about how it was our preciousssss.

Exhibit C: The Valentine's cake incident

As day turned to night on Valentine's Day J ducked out to Safeway to buy me roses and a fancy chocolate cake "pick up a few things" for dinner.

Unfortunately I did not witness this hilarity go down, but after J got back he was walking across the parking lot when he slipped on black ice ... and everything in his hands went flying (everything including a case of about 6 bottles of wine). He landed hard on his back as bottles of wine went rolling down the parking lot, the bouquet of roses flew off to the side and the chocolate cake went through a quick spin cycle inside its plastic case. Thankfully all the wine bottles remained unscathed and, after they were finished laughing at him, various neighbors chased the bottles down the hill to give back to J.

"Here. There was supposed to be a white chocolate heart on top. I just can't catch a break," he said, as I opened the front door and he handed me what looked like cocoa-colored diarrhea in a plastic cake container.

I suppose the silver lining was that though the cake was indiscernible from a bad bowel movement it was still delectable.

Exhibit D: The baguette incident.

I had cut half a baguette for our fondue dinner that night. Halfway through our meal I took out the other half to slice, put what I didn't use back in the bag ... and it fell straight through the otherwise intact bag onto the floor. The entire half of the freaking baguette. For some inexplicable reason the bottom of the plastic bag just fell open. J and I looked at each other -- thinking of course -- as the baked good bounced off our kitchen floor.

Exhibit E: The hypochondriac slash health-code violation incident.

Since we moved into our new apartment last week the back of my throat has been feeling weird. Not like the I'm-about-to-get-a-cold-weird, but like the I-think-I'm-inhaling-asbestos-slash-black-mold-weird. Not good, kemosabes. Not. Good.

Exhibit F: The "I'm going to make you pay $15 for a bottle of Turning Leaf wine" incident.

Trader Joe's does not sell wine in this state. Apparently there is nothing "merry" about Maryland.

We gawked at the TJ's cashier when he told us that only a limited number of grocery stores get alcohol permits in "these parts" -- and Trader Joe's is not one of them. Neither is Safeway. We checked the ghetto Giant near us and they have a pathetic excuse for a wine aisle that consists of overpriced bottles of vino that should normally be no more than $5 to $10. A $12 bottle of Bella Serra? You've got to be kidding me. And I don't know what kind of peyote you're smoking but back in my day Arbor Mist strawberry zin cost no more than a whopper jr. with fries. I should know. There was a time when I routinely dabbled in both.

There's really no other solution than to cross state lines bootlegging moonshine in our Hyundai, and so we did. My life is now some weird hybrid of Smokey and the Bandit meets Sideways, where we cart not Coors, but two-buck Chuck Merlot from Virginia up into Maryland from a Trader Joe's near the beltway.

Exhibit G: The "let's trash our planet" incident.

My apartment building has no recycling. And it's not like this is some privately owned five-unit bungalow complex. This is a 20-story “luxury” high-rise, with thousands of tenants who apparently toss thousands of plastic bottles and cans into the one trash dumpster near the back. Just thinking about this makes me feel as speechless and flustered as Tim Gunn on Project Runway when that rockabilly chick Kinley sassed him on national television and all he could do was stand there glaring at the ceiling as he muttered some incoherent gibberish and kept readjusting his crossed arms.

I'm not a tree-hugger; I'm not a big fan of tofurkey; and the only thing granola about me is what I buy in cookies at Mrs. Fields in the mall (though I do admit to having a love affair with a certain pair of leather Birkenstocks, but it was 1995, people. Back then even scrunchies were acceptable.) For what it's worth though, not recycling is not an option for me. I mean, seriously, what decade is this? The '70s, pre that PSA with the Indian guy by the freeway and his single tear elicited from people throwing trash out their car windows? No, it's 2010, and this is Washington DC, not Guangdong.

To a Californian this no-recycling bit is about as blasphemous as saying there are no fire exits located in the entire building. Just the idea of casually tossing my diet coke can in the trash makes me cower a bit in fear that either God will smite me or I'll attract bad karma and end up disfigured in some horrible car crash. Well, I refuse to let that happen if I can help it; I like my facial features where they are thankyouverymuch.

So I've been painstakingly taking the extra steps to save all my recyclables in my tiny shoebox of a studio kitchen to later transport to some yet-encountered (and possibly non-existent) recycling center nearby. I'm all about helping the planet, but the thought of bad karma alone is enough to make me do crazy things.


myprettypennies said...

I'm pretty sure I've been to the mall that you described... and I KNOW. No wine in grocery stores?! That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Going to sketchy liquor stores to get a bottle of pinot noir just feels wrong.

Thanks for the morning laugh, you really are such a fantastic writer and I always enjoy reading your posts. Hopefully the bad luck will end soon!

Patience said...

I may start packing up my things and headed to a new place. Wowza! That is a lot to happen. I am so glad the wine went unscathed. See, not everything is bad.

Chelsea said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry that all these ridiculous things have been happening to you lately. I just want you to know I completely understand. Although, my situation is a bit different, I too and starting to believe that certain things in my life are jinxed, particularly my wedding. I swear to you, everything that could have gone wrong has. I’m not even kidding, let me give you a little preview: first, the stationary store that was going to make my wedding invitations went out of business. Then, the caterer somehow found herself double booked. Next, the woman who was going to make our wedding cake found out she was pregnant and due on the same day as our wedding. After that, the china I had registered for was suddenly discontinued. Subsequently, as you know, my wedding dressed was screwed up and I had to get a new one. And, most recently, the officiant who was going to marry us, well, his daughter decided, last week, to change her wedding date to the same day as ours. Yep, I think that’s all of it. So, cross your fingers that the rest of it, somehow works out.

Linda said...

YIkes. I, like you, are not superstitcious. I, like you, feel the same asbestos/mold problem in my shitty apartment. I also agree with the recycling thing. My husband is lazy (surprise) about recycling and I cannot even tell you how many times I have yelled at him for throwing his can in the garbage. I think its just something that gets stamped into your mind so much that you can't help it.

Chloe (Naturally Frugal) said...

This sounds like a straight-up romantic comedy, except when it's real life it sucks and the romance part isn't quite happening. Besides you and J's clear love for each other, of course.

Maybe it's just growing pains? Or moving pains? Or a sign from above that you should really be on the west coast (clearly the best coast)? Anyhoo, good luck with getting some good luck - I'll send some vibes your way, and I'm sure your MIL would be happy to send some sage to burn as well!

roughterrain crane said...

Thanks for interesting words.

paisley penguin said...

Sending good luck vibes (from the west coast) your way. At least the wine was saved and the chocolate was edible. Hope you had a great Valentines day!

Kayla said...

Sounds like you are due for a bit of good luck!

I too had a hard time finding a cookie cutter last weekend, except I wanted a maple leaf for an Olympic opening ceremonies party.. I had to settle for a heart shaped one. But good luck came to me this week on a business trip where I found a maple leaf one and snatch it up!

Mandy said...

Wow! Your story really could be turned into a sitcom or broadway play. You had me at "Smoky and the Bandit meets Sideways" for sure!

P.s. - for what it's worth, I think saved bottles of wine and diarrhea cake sound heavenly.

Hang in there my friend!~

The Depressed Yogi said...

OMG you poor thing! I laughed and I cried at this post, haha. I so hope things start looking up for you guys. I love that no matter what, there still seems to be a sense of humor shared between you in the worst of situations. Oh an the recycling? RIDIC! My apts (also luxury giant complex) doesn't recycle glass, which is the EASIEST thing to recycle. Drives me nuts. I save my glass bottles in bags for like months and then take them to a friend's house or even my parent's house in Dallas!

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