Categories for this one time…


That Time It Rained In My Apartment

Wed 11.21.12

Thanksgiving is this week and this brings us one very particular thing that I am thankful for: this year I did not come home to water pouring down through the ceiling of my apartment.

The year was two thousand and eight. I was living in a spacious 4 bedroom apartment, with 2 friends from high school – Tom and Erica – and an acquaintance – Dominic. We were on the second floor of a 4 story building, living well in Brighton. I was working for Harvard, which meant that I got perks. One such perk is that the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, every employee got a pie. I arrived home around 5:45pm, apple pie in hand, feeling exuberant. Tom worked until late in the evening, Erica disappeared for weeks at a time, and Dominic was in New Jersey. I was looking forward to a little quiet time. Just me and the pie.

Opening the door to my apartment, I noticed that something was amiss. I didn’t remember leaving a waterfall on in my bedroom when I left for work in the morning! I grabbed a nearby umbrella and passed through the threshold to my bedroom, like bursting through a wall of water. I checked all the important things first, my computer and comic books. Both were dry. Sadly, I could not say the same thing for all of my work shirts hanging in the closet, which were covered in damp plaster and also what I can only assume was water.

I placed our only bucket under my newly implemented waterfall and threw a few towels about. I sat on the couch, eyeing my pie, when I heard a commotion in the hallway. I stepped outside to find the girls in apartment 3 and the girl in apartment 1 having a powwow. It seems my apartment wasn’t the only one filling with water. Using the combined brain power of 3 apartments, we came to the conclusion that we didn’t know what the Hell was going on, but whoever lived on the 4th floor was going to have a very damp evening. Someone also called 911.

A tenant of apartment 4 arrived before the police did. He looked like he had just come from an internship at a law office, his tie undone only just barely. Apartment 4 lead us up the stairs like Fred of Mystery Incorporated, I brought up the rear like Scooby. Apartment 4 was hardly phased by the water pouring from the ceiling. This was such a frequent occurrence for him that he already had a 10 gallon trash can in place. What wasn’t a frequent occurrence (I assume) is that Apartment 4’s mattress was soaked.

A hour passed. My bedroom was only dripping water now. I had called my landlord and all my roommates. Erica made an appearance long enough to unlock her bedroom, which she dead bolted shut whether she was home or not, because no burglar would ever break into a locked room. This was the first time in the 1.5 years I lived with her that I had seen the inside of her room. It was like looking into her very psyche,  full of clothing and clutter. The fire department was doing a check of all the rooms, looking for water damage in the walls.  The power was cut to prevent any circuits from shorting out. I sat alone on our couch, eating a moist apple pie by candlelight, listening to firefighters run up and down the apartment stairs. At 8:30pm, a state representative appeared in my doorway. She told me that we needed to be evacuated by 10pm, and that our building was now considered “uninhabitable”.

A few hours later, I was at Back Bay station, waiting the the midnight train to my mom’s in Rhode Island. I had abandoned half a pie in my uninhabitable kitchen. I had enough clothes for a week in my bag. There was no way to know when we would be allowed to go back into our apartment or if we’d be homeless by Monday. After calling my landlord a dozen times, I, thankfully (a little holiday humor for you guys), got some news about the place I kept all of my things. We would not be homeless! Best Thanksgiving ever.


My Mom Was Once a Visiting Nurse

Tue 10.04.11

While I was toiling away in high school, my mother was supporting our family as a visiting nurse. She would visit low income families, helping patients with long standing issues or who recently had surgery. While driving me through Providence on my way to school, she would leave me with casual observations; such as the inverse correlation between low income and the size of your television.

One particularly unmemorable morning, my mother decided to tell me a story about her previous day at work. Mom was visiting a patient complaining about abdominal pain. The patient, a large, large, large overweight woman, had surgery on her stomach a few days prior. When my mom entered the apartment, she knew something was a little “off.” The air was heavy and smelled faintly of almonds.

Mom inspected the hefty patient, lifting folds and searching through crevices on her torso. My mother had soon located the problem. Under the patient’s fat folds was the cut from her recent surgery. The stitches had burst days ago and the large woman’s large insides were peaking out. The patient was so fat that she did not even notice her gangrene wound.

My mother is not a visiting nurse any more.


My Cat Is Trying to Kill Me

Tue 11.30.10

I am now giving in to the pressure of the internet and I am going to write a post about my cat. This is quite possibly the lowest thing you can do on the internet. It’s just barely above slapping some Impact font with a 2px black outline over a photo of a cat.

This past summer, I was home from work with the flu or a hangover or temporary diabetes or something. I had been talking about getting a kitten for sometime, but never could due to a series of banal excuses (such as a previous room mate’s allergies). Now free of such trivial issues, I could get all the kittens I want! Ever a believer in the scientific law of “shit or get off the pot,” I began lurking CraigsList for casual kitten encounters. Upon finding a poorly worded ad that described a kitten that was just the right size and color, I boarded a train and rode north to basically New Hampshire and came home several hours later with a kitten.

She is helping me work.

I named her Sisyphus.

Sisyphus is a lunatic. Her favorite activity is climbing the walls. More accurately, attempting to climb the walls. She jumps about 4 feet in the air, grasps on with her claws, and slides down – producing a deafening screech, like a dozen fingernails on a really big chalkboard. Sissy’s second favorite activity is meowing in the kitchen at nothing. This is adorable, so I let it pass.

This is her killing things.

Another favorite activity of little Sissy’s is to cause sleep deprivation. I already have a rocky relationship with sleeping. I love sleeping, like a wine connoisseur loves wine. But, I hate going to sleep, like a crippled wine connoisseur hates climbing stairs.  Sleeping usually equates to about 45 minutes of rotating under my covers until my body stops moving, and then about 5 hours of jolting awake in 45 minute intervals. I sleep most solidly in the last few hours before the alarm ruins my life. Naturally, this is when Sisyphus wants attention.

Night terrors, thy name be kitten.

Around 4am, Sisyphus realizes that something is missing in her life. The taste of sweet, succulent flesh. Any flesh will do, but mine seems to be preferred. Or should I say prefur’d? No, spell check is indicating I was right the first time.

When Sissy gets the taste for flesh, nothing can stop her. She will slowly skulk across my bed, find a patch of exposed skin – be it my arms, my legs, the small of my back, or the back of my neck – and she will begin feverishly licking it. This is not just licking, but Detective Monk-style obsessive compulsive behavior. If I kick her out of my room, Sissy sits outside my door, yowling. Then she starts throwing herself into the door.

I’m sure you must be thinking “Oh, kitty wuvs you with kisses!” or some such bullshit. No. Don’t fall for it. It’s a trick.

Do not trust this face.

Let’s just set aside that this tiny, 3 pound kitten is trying to eat me nightly. What she is doing is akin to torture. This is sleep deprivation! Do you know where else they do this? Guantanamo Bay. Sisyphus does not give a shit about the Geneva Convention.

Torture was only the start.

Being a man of proper hygiene, I had just stepped out of my evening shower. My hair was scented with the finest of Head & Shoulders, my wet, dripping body wrapped in but a towel. It was erotic, I tell you that.  I step out of the bathroom, clothe myself enough to not feel ashamed to walk by the windows, and finish my grooming process. Part of this process is to clean my ears with an off-brand Q-tip. I nonchalantly inserted the off-brand Q-tip into my head when, out of nowhere, Sisyphus leaps to the top of a nearby chair, and rushes into my arm. If not for quick thinking and nearly inhuman reflexes, I would have a Q-tip lodged into my brain. I would have died, seizing, vomiting, and wetting myself.

Murder murder murder kill kill kill.

War. War never changes.

At this point in time – by which I mean as of the moment I finish this sentence – Sissy is barely 6 months old. Every day, she is growing. Her legs becoming more powerful. Her teeth sharper. Her knowledge of the vital pressure points on the human body all the more detailed. If Sisyphus continues to escalate at her current rate, she will be able to leap over my head in 2 months time. In 5 months time, she will keep me awake indefinitely. In a year, well… I might be dead, my torso hollowed out, transformed into a morbid cockpit, Sisyphus sitting within my ribcage, controlling my body by pulling on my tendons like a terrible marionette.

Isn't she cute though?