Archive for January 2015

Apartment Hunters, Season 2, Episode 2   Leave a comment

We managed to fit two apartments into an hour-and-a-half span before James had to go to work, and I even visited a third before I went home and made lunch for myself.

The first place we visited was called Crossroads Townhomes. It is, in fact, the place that I said had a “New-Englandy” name in my last post (it’s the place with this layout. It’s a location by the same company that made the third apartment in this list, the place that made me giggle in the closet. This location just isn’t right next to the train tracks. Once again: no apartments to show, but we did look through the townhouse again. We mentioned the issue with the lack of a pantry, and the tour agent said that they could convert the coat closet at no charge. Apparently a lot of people don’t like the lack of pantry. And anyway, we were more interested in the apartment, which does have a pantry.

James and I conferred in my car. I mentioned that I didn’t like the location — all woods, no visible shopping as far as I could see. James told me that after the next hill there was Beaver Creek Crossroads, the largest open shopping area in the area. James seemed neutral on the whole place. He didn’t like the idea of getting an apartment without ever seeing it in person.

Since it was only 10:00 now, we checked out another apartment. We chose Bell Preston Reserve (this layout). It was about fifteen minutes away, right in the smack of Cary. In the center of new Cary. I’ve told Lacey about how much Cary scares me. It’s been expanding so fast, annexing land left and right regardless of ownership, turning itself into the ultimate bedroom community. You can’t walk anywhere. Half the time they don’t have sidewalks, and most of the time you’re about 20 minutes from the shopping center anyway. They have literally written “charming” and “attractive” into the community guidelines. They want to look like a small, cute town, but with wide, car-filled streets and monotonous architecture?

You turn right to get into the community, and the leasing office takes up your entire view, a grand brick building with pillars, brick stairs and an iron ramp. It’s all so grand. I felt overwhelmed immediately.

The office was gigantic. They have a basketball court, gym, Starbucks vending machine, gaming room, and multiple flat-screen TVs just, like, everywhere. The pool was smaller than I expected, but it was decorated with small Italian-Villa-style architectural details. There was a covered picnic table and a gas grill. I felt awkward and poor just standing entering the building.

The assistant manager showed us around. He seemed bored. At Crossroads Townhomes, I had had no problem chatting with the leasing agent. We had giggled together a few times. I couldn’t come up with any questions with this dude. He asked us several times if we had any more questions, but his whole mannerism disinvited any further questioning.

They didn’t have an apartment with the layout we wanted available to show, but the model mostly the same, except without the master bedroom. James was impressed with the size of the living area. We hate the living area of our current apartment, so having a good sized living room is important to us this time. I have to admit that the living room was what we were looking for. The kitchen was a little small, and James didn’t like the folding doors to all the closets. It was what we were looking for; I just didn’t feel comfortable.

By the time we left, it was 10:40 and James had to go to work. He gave me the address of another place he was considering: Waterford Forest.

James had shown me the layout. I had expressed concern about the placement of the living room, but he was confident we could make it work. The community was outside of newer Cary, and I had to go through a small shopping center to get to it. The apartments were all brown-gray siding. I thought, oh this is cute without being overwhelming.

The staff was all very nice, in contrast to the previous place. They had a nice big gym and a racketball court, wood/coal grilling stations, and lots of doggy pick-up stations. She emphasized how pet-friendly they were. I hadn’t even asked at Bell Preston, but I knew that Crossroads had size and breed restrictions. I didn’t ask any questions because I’m more impatient to get a dog than James is, but I had mentioned it and so she brought it up a couple times. They don’t have size and breed restrictions. They have Cat Treat Wednesdays and Dog Treat Saturdays (or the other way around?).

The actual apartment seemed nice. It had a big kitchen and the biggest pantry I had seen yet. Both bedrooms seemed big enough to hold a king-size bed. The actual living area? Small. Big enough to hold our furniture, likely, but the smallest living area I had seen yet, probably about the same size as our current place. The placement is better, but still. Small. The apartment was big and bright and it looked good, but the living area was small.

And that was the first three apartments. We still have two or three others to check out, as well as returning to Harrison Grande, James’ favorite potential place to live.

Which will we choose? Well, we won’t decide for another month or two probably. Stay tuned away?

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Posted January 29, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

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Apartment Hunters, Season 2, Episode 1   1 comment

So the planned first episode of Apartment Hunters: Season 2 did not actually happen due to behind-the-scenes drama: one of the stars poisoned the other star. James is now dead. Long live House Hancher. He insists that it was indigestion due to the canned peas he heated up as a side, but the chicken quarter I gave him was totally undercooked you don’t have to spare my feelings you know.

Anyhoodle, we might check out a potential place tomorrow morning before James goes to work (I don’t work until the afternoon). On the plus side, I discovered that two of the places we’re looking at have MOVE-IN SIMULATORS. (When I saw those words I said “what’s a move-in simulator?” and James said “oh god I’ve lost you already” and it turns out HE WAS RIGHT)

biltmore

I think this one is for an apartment complex called Preston? Or Biltmore? Or something really New-Englandy sounding. Maybe. Look, James made the apartment list. Whatever this place is, it has the better move-in simulator. Better fake furniture options. You could change the size and color of the furniture. It didn’t have everything, and I had to completely guess at the proportions, but it was a lot of fun.

It’s going to be really nice to have all of our furniture out for us to use.

Because James and I had a…not a fight? We didn’t really disagree on anything. We just sort of snapped at each other a few times because we were stressed out and upset. Anyway, whenever I took a screenshot and emailed it to myself from James’ computer, I made up a little letter from James.

My dearest Kelsey,

I love you so much. I think you are very very pretty and I want to kiss you and hug you all the time. I know that today you have snapped at me a couple of times and I also know that you are very sorry. I love you very much because you are so pretty.

My most sincerest regards on this letter that I totally wrote and you totally did not write,

your cute James bear

If James had actually written that I would have made coughing noises and pointed at the back of my throat. I read it aloud as I wrote it and he laughed hysterically, so. (he once actually did write me a love letter and I’m pretty certain he opened with “my dearest Kelsey” so I’m not making that up probably)

preston

My sweetest Kelsey,

I don’t mind at all that you are pretending to be me because all the words you say are complete accurate. You are so pretty. You don’t really remind me of Elphaba because you are just so goshdarn pretty. And not evil. Not even a little. Okay a little. But I love you anyway.

Hugs and kisses,

Jamesy poo

Anyway, that was all that we did for Season 2, Episode 1 of Apartment Hunters. Hopefully in the next few weeks, as I leave one job and start up full-time at another, I will be much less stressed out and won’t snap at him anymore. Plus hopefully I’ll be getting benefits soon, which means (hopefully) that I’ll be able to get treatment for depression, which I’m sure isn’t helping matters.

Also, I treated myself to some retail therapy. It’s amazing what you can get for $24.50 at your local thrift store.

Alright, so, this is me, in an everyday outfit, what I would wear whenever.

Look at this sweater. It like molds onto my body. Like I was born in it.

Summer sweater!

I have a less-than-secret love for sweaters that have the blouse collar built in.

HOW CUTE IS THIS DRESS? Someday I’ll have the perfect body for this dress, which is rather body-hugging. It’s my Goal Dress.

And this dress too! How cute is this dress? I don’t even know when I would wear it. I bet I could combine it with my Summer Sweater and then break into the 1950s. I don’t know why I would want to do that. But I could.

Eugene Fitzherbert   Leave a comment

So there’s this assumption on tumblr that this guy–

–Is the son of these two–

Only one problem though. Road to El Dorado pretty clearly takes place in–

Now, Tangled is a lot less specific about its setting, but there are clues. The biggest clue is this one:

Mozart wasn’t even born until 1756, 237 years after the events of Road to El Dorado. Mozart was a child performer, yes, and began composing tunes at 5, according to his sister Nannerl; his first well-remembered compositions weren’t even produced until 1770. Normally, I wouldn’t rule out time travel for Miguel and Tulio. However, there is another small detail:

The fitz- prefix was invented in the 11th century; it just means “son of”. Bernard Fitzgerald is literally Gerald’s son, Bernard. Kind of like Sasha Ivanof is Ivan’s son Sasha, or Said ibn Muhammed ibn Asif al-Fulan is Muhammed’s son Said. By the 18th century, however, fitz- referred almost exclusively to illegitimate, bastard, or natural sons of the gentry. Eugene’s name literally means “Lord Herbert’s bastard son Eugene.”

This fits with Eugene growing up in an orphanage (abandoned) and becoming a thief whose exploits were so well-known that his wanted poster littered the walls of the kingdom even before he stole the Crown of the Lost Princess.



What did he do, exactly, that made the kingdom want him dead so badly? They were literally moments away from killing him when the Snuggly Duckling brigands and Maximus managed to break him out. It’s implied he wasn’t even there an entire day — he wasn’t even told he was going to be executed until they were just about to do it. I could go on another essay about the political system of Corona, but the point here is Eugene Fitzherbert’s parentage. Eugene goes from nearly being executed by the state to marrying the beloved Lost Princess herself — how does one pull that one off? Perhaps, say, a certain Lord Herbert suddenly decides to make a claim on his suddenly-politically-relevant bastard son.

Lord Herbert must be a powerful lord indeed, if his issue would make a politically good marriage for the only child of the King and Queen. Keep in mind that princesses tend to get married out to create better alliances for family. I would bet that the King and Queen would be interested in keeping Rapunzel at home out of pure affection, but that doesn’t mean they would marry her off to any lowly gentleman, and especially not to a well-known thief. Rapunzel’s marriage needed to still be politically convenient. How Lord Herbert (Duke of something) and Eugene would fit that bill is all speculation, but the point is this:

Eugene is not Miguel and Tulio’s son. He could, via time travel, be a temporary compatriot of Miguel and Tulio; he could be a descendent of one or both of them. But he is not their son. Eugene’s place in society is very much a natural part of the society he lives in.

On feelings and fish   Leave a comment

So I’ll go out and say it: I have relapsed in my depression. It is full-on, and constant. James confronted me about it (I say “confronted” because I don’t know what better word to use, “intervention” isn’t a verb?). He keeps asking me to see a doctor. Well, I won’t see a doctor until I have a better job. That’s what I say.

James even pointed out the pattern to me: I moved to Iowa, I got depressed. I move to North Carolina, I get depressed.

Speaking of patterns, this is what most people see depression as:

blue

But I see it more like this:

depression

The green is life. The yellow is fear. The red is anger. I don’t remember being sad, really. Empty. Hopeless. But not sad. I spent my late teens and early 20s afraid. But now I have relapsed, and I am angry all the time. I get angry that I have to wake up. I get angry that my feet are cold. I get angry that I can’t eat a hamburger. I get angry that I have to wear khakis. I get angry that someone is talking to me. I get angry when someone laughs. I am angry all the time, and that is exhausting. My insides feel sore from all the anger. And, at the same time, I feel empty, and it’s hard to see an end to all of this. Sometimes I come home and cry from being angry and tired and hopeless. I can’t focus enough to read, which is a shame, because At the Mountains of Madness was finally getting to the point. I can’t concentrate or remember anything so I can’t write. I have one last hope, and that is Latin. I have tomorrow off. I’m going to devote the whole day to Latin. Maybe that will fix things.

Anyway, the point of this entry is to talk about fish. About a week and a half ago, I was struggling through exposition in At the Mountains of Madness, and James was flipping through his internet things. Suddenly he said, “I can’t wait until we have a more permanent place. Then you’ll finally be able to set up the fish tank.”

“I’ll do what?” I said.

“You’ll set up the fish tank.”

“Your fish tank?”

“The fish tank.”

“Oh.”

And I let the words sit for a moment, and then I said, “I was going to get a 36-gallon bowfront so we’ll have tanks that are about the same size, and then we’ll each have fish tanks.”

“In addition to the fish tank we already have?”

To make a long story short, James thought that we had already discussed this and had decided that I was going to build up his old 37-gallon fish tank, but I did not know that, and anyway. I thought, based on several conversations we had had in the past, that he wanted cichlids.

I said I wasn’t interested in building a cichlid tank. He said he didn’t want cichlids any more. He wanted a fish tank like what I used to have, but more.

More?

More plants. He wanted grass. He wanted full-on aquascaping like what you see in all the fancy fish catalogues.




Obviously I can’t do anything like that with a mere 37-gallon tank, but I have read up on the Amano theory of aquascaping and could use a new purpose in life. I tend to decide what to do with my fish tanks based on the fish that I’m going to put in there. I built my beautiful 20-gallon planted tank around the corydoras that I decided I wanted. I made a corydoras paradise in there — soft, flaky gravel for their barbs and sniffers, lots of wide-leafed plants for them to hide under, and a school of tetras to act as lookout (they didn’t need a lookout in an enclosed environment, but having lookouts makes other fish feel more secure — hence the rummy-nose tetras, whose nose changes color according to water quality and therefore doubled as a barometer for me).

I pestered James to tell me what kind of fish he wanted. He said he wanted Pictus catfish. I can see why; Pictus are big fish, playful and charming (That means they swim, fast, out in the open. Fishkeepers have low standards on fish personality).

I came back a few days later and said no to the Pictus, and in fact no to any kind of bottom-dwelling fish. Bottom-dwelling fish come from rivers, and so they need very light planting, like what I had in my old tank. The heavily-planted tank like what we were going to have would be too thick with plants to encourage comfort in bottom-dwelling fish.

According to the internet, schooling fish were best for heavily-planted tanks. Alright, said James. Then he wanted cardinal tetras.

Cardinal tetras are all well and good, but I spent the morning trying to find tankmates. Actually, tankmates for cardinal tetras aren’t that hard to find. As long as the Cardinals have enough of their own kind (six or more), they tend to be pretty easy-going fish. They can live with anything other than predators. But I wanted to be picky. The tankmates had to be the perfect companions. Fish that I would be interested in. My immediate thought was tiger barbs, but the internet reviewed them as too nippy and unruly for a peaceful tetra tank. Dang. That’s what I like about tiger barbs.

I eventually settled on zebra danios: nine cardinal tetras and nine zebra danios. The cardinal tetras would take up the bottom half of the tank, and the zebra danios would take up the top half (they would swim in each other’s territory, but that is the way they tend to go). Plus, zebra danios have a ton of different breeds that I can mix and match.


That is all one species! I can have a variety of colors and fish in my tank and still technically only have two species in there.

Of course, I have no idea when I’m going to build this tank. Maybe in the new apartment; maybe when we buy a house. Who knows. But still, it’s been nice to plan.

tarvek

Posted January 15, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

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Silly geese   Leave a comment

James and I are about to go see Wicked! That is one of my Christmas presents. My parents are wonderful.

We’re eating a small snack before we go, and while we’re doing so, we’re keeping an eye on the artificial pond behind our apartment building. It’s mostly frozen over with thin ice. There’s a group of Canadian Geese who live there year-round (Carolinian Geese now, I guess). We’ve been laughing at the antics of said geese.

First James noticed that one of the geese was standing on the ice. Just kinda…standing around, looking around, not doing anything. Later on, I went and checked on the goose, and saw that the ice had broken beneath him. Just straight-up fell through the ice. It was sitting on the water, trying to swim forward, but kept bumping into the edge.

Another goose was also standing on the ice. It was taking careful steps forward, the same sort of steps you or I would take walking on ice.

We stood at the kitchen window and alternatively giggled at the geese or cheered the geese on in their attempts to escape the ice. Finally the goose in the water managed to get enough lift to fly out of the water and onto the banks of the pond. We cheered.

The second goose broke through the ice just feet from the edge of the pond. That one didn’t even bother swimming. He just lifted off and went straight onto the bank. We laughed and then went back to our snacks.

I think we’re going to be very good theatre attendees.

Posted January 11, 2015 by agentksilver in Personal

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