So, visiting mom for her birthday weekend and there was some concern about the weather being suck-ass today.
When the weather is bad, the Bro gets called in to work.
In preparation for the crappy and icy weather across New England today, he had already worked overtime on Saturday and was not in love with the idea of working again on Sunday.
Anyway, at about 6:20 a.m., the phone rings. Half-forgetting where I am, I stumble out of bed and lurch my way to the phone. I get there and realize, "Ummmm, where am I again? Beause I'm pretty sure my kitchen doesn't have wall-to-wall carpeting."
As I peer in a near-sighted manner at the Caller ID, my Bro comes barrelling out of his room yelling, "No! No! No! Don't answer that!"
I blink owlishly at him, remember where I am, and go back to bed.
Then I can't get back to sleep.
End result? I was up at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday.
So, given that bit of excitement first thing in the morning, and the increasingly crappy weather, I end up going home early today.
Good thing. I've got to change the fishbowl for Zen, the Pickiest and Laziest Fish on the Planet, play with George the Amazing Lovebird, and Pay Bills.
I figure I can finishing watching National Geographic's Africa while doing this. I've gotten so many awesome tidbits out of it, as well as the Lonely Planet videotapes (Slavery in Mali! Who knew?), that I must finish watching even though I think I'm pretty much set.
After forcing my way into the house (the lock on my front door was frozen solid), I find out that my next door neighbor has decided to turn my basement into a furniture-making workshop.
When we said it was cool for you to store stuff in our basement, it was not an invitation for you take over.
Let me explain:
I live in a charming apartment building made up of four apartments. Each "side" of the apartment building has its own basement, which means two tenants share a basement. Because there's fairly easy access to the basement from the outide, I just store a ladder and some fans in the basement. My downstairs neighbor, who shares the basement with me, has nothing down there. Our basement is basically empty.
On the other side of the building, there's a woman and her family who's lived in this building for about a million years. Needless to say, she fully uses her basement, complete with a washer-dryer hook-up. The guy who shares her basement moved in around the same time I did and also uses the basement for storage, so it's a little bit crowded.
Did I mention this guy also makes his own furniture? Which is cool and all, but I guess his basement workshop is a little crowded because of his stuff and her stuff.
Anyway, last month he approaches me and my downstairs neighbor and asks us if he can store some "stuff," including exercise equipment, in our basement. As an incentive, me and my neighbor are free to use his exercise equipment if we so wish.
Me and downstairs neighbor ask him just how in hell he plans to get into our basement. Well, it turns out that because we're all in the same building, we have easy access to each others' basements. Neither one of us mordern and cautious gals love hearing this, but these buidings were built back when people trusted each other a little more.
Well, he explains that his basement is absolutely crowded, he can't do anything in his workshop, blah...blah...blah...can he just store some stuff in our basement?
We both say, "sure." It's not like we were storing much of anything down there anyway.
Fast forward to today. I come home and I hear....
A wood saw.
I'm all, WtF? So I follow the noise and guess what I found.
Neighbor guy decided that he was going to use our basement for his workshop.
Unh, I don't think so, big guy.
I am polite but firm: We agreed to storage, which means boxes. We agreed to exercise equipment, which means exactly that.
At no point did we say, "Sure. Use our basement as your workshop because we just love the idea of you getting sawdust in our stuff and living with the noise of a bandsaw."
He tried to argue the point, saying that my neighbor hadn't complained. I pointed out that my neighbor is on vacation and that I'm watching her apartment right now (something of a lie, but I don't want this guy thinking he can start checking out her apartment), so she's not around to complain.
Plus, I can hear him working on my second-floor apartment. I can almost guarantee that my first-floor graduate student neighbor is going to blow a gasket if she has to put up with the noise (probably not true because she's a little timid about confrontation).
I then stressed: We do not own the property. Someone else owns the property. If you fuck up our basement, we will be responsible for your fuck up because we gave you access. I have no desire to be held responsible for you. You want to make furniture? Do it in your own damn basement. I am still down with you using my basement for storage and exercise equipment because, really, I don't care about the space. I do care very much about the noise and mess associated with you making furniture.
I am very clear: If I catch you plopping your workshop in my basement again, I will call the landlord so fast it'll make your Eurotrash head spin.
Okay, I was a little more polite than that, but message was received.
He is now cleaning up my basement (I can hear him sweeping, so he must be fucking pissed.) and moving his workshop back to his own side.
Ask me if I care.
So, Eurotrash neighbor has now been put into his place.
He has learned a valuable lesson: Do not mess with Liz when she has her French on. He may be from Paris, but I'm descended from a long line of Quebequois who do not play that shit and love nothing better than a good fight. Throw in the Italian temper and the Chinese pragmatism (goes back a few generations, but still), and you have one hell of a problem on your hands if you piss me off.
I do not threaten. I promise. And I can sniff with disdain a hell of a lot louder than you.
So, before I settle down to my chores, I check the email.
I am immensely cheered because...dude...it doesn't get any better than this.
From the Mail Bag: Haiku Spam!
Ever since I started doing online reseach on Africa, the amount of spam I've gotten from there and the Middle East have jumped up tenfold.
I'm pretty good about killing tracking bots and cookies, so I admit I'm flummoxed. It could be a coincidence, since none of the sites I've visited require me to register. I just find it a very strange coincidence.
Anyway, a lot of it is a variation on the "Nigerian Scam."
You know the one: I (or my client) have money in a bank account in my country. I (or my client) need to get it out. A trusted source has given me your name. Give me your bank account and social security numbers and I will dump $500,000, or $1 million, or $2 million in your account. You pay it on, but keep a 10% fee for your trouble.
What makes these unique is that now the reason why the money needs to leave the country is because the person who owns the money is sick and getting care in the U.S. and needs access to his funds to pay for his care. In one ingenius twist, the sender wishes to distrubute funds to various listed charities instead of paying for healthcare.
I've collected Nigeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Mali (!), Zaire, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Lesotho.
Awesome! I hope to collect 'em all!
One bit of spam did come over the transom and, honestly, I have no idea what to make of it. It's not a request for funds. It's not a request for anything. It's this little haiku with an attachment. It reads like it's been run through several different translator programs because...I'm stumped on the meaning.
Here's the text from "Rutledge Milton" at CBSNews DOT Com:
I memorial of tremulous a hysterically the port is priests?
She poster was recently of confronted it unwanted tetrarch?
Me hilly spent is predatory of lipstick a impatient
A judge the interesting' earnestly it lefty she desolate
You reticences of engine the direct and administrative or superfluous
Not rise? you reforms and centre me look? names
No hollered is raced this informing of calmer the anniversary
If pricey we marmosets of reaches a aimed is deceive
An boat me performed you slyness she northeast prejudices
Have measured? latter of fifties it sentenced was octave
Was agricultural not embrace ensue a actual or fiver
And bitterly relatively is disagreeable of tourist? an childish
It even came with a little image attachment! Awwww! For me?
Too bad I:
1) Don't download email to my computer.
2) Have disabled WMF and so can't even see the image you so thoughtfully sent me.
3) Have downloaded all securities to fix the WMF problem, so it doesn't do you any good even if I could see it.
Too bad! You lose at life!
But seriously, though. Can anyone decipher my haiku? The hidden meaning is driving me nuts. I bet it's advice on how I can get rich quick.
Much as I enjoy opening my Gmail mailbag, I did come across a very nifty link that, honestly, had me peeing my pants I was laughing so hard.
You must see this. Now. I dare you not to fall apart in hysterics.
The bar has been SET to an all-time low for celebrities baby! Because, I just don't see how any has-been can ever, ever top this for sheer something-or-otherness.
I really can't.
David Hasslehoff Does BJ Thomas! Ooga Chakka Hooga Hooga Ooga Chakka!"
Complete with the estimeable Mr. Hasslehoff dancing with smiling, spear-carrying African tribesmen on the Serengeti.
Not to be missed!