Monday, June 12, 2006
The grand total of the pricing of every item came to 68,000 dollars. Obviously, substantially more than his 40,000 dollar insurance policy. Granted, some of that doesn't include the items that we salvaged, but he may also have to sue the landlord for the difference that still remains. That probably won't happen until he gets done with dealing with the insurance. Aside from the several thousands of dollars they've given him to replace the basics and live on temporarily, it'll take at least another 2 weeks to a month to get the final check from them. It's going to be one hell of a summer for us.
It's incredibly depressing to see all of the things you hand picked so carefully be tossed away. We spent so much time making that apartment ours, even though I hadn't moved in yet. We shopped carefully for great deals and things we really loved. I'll admit there were a few things I wanted to replace, but not this way.
A few days after the sorting, the cleaning company and insurance tried to pull some bullshit about charging for the cleaning out of the apartment. Despite the fact that Anthony hadn't been told that he would have to pay, he was given the impression that it was a service the insurance offered. He knew he would have to pay for the salvageable items that the company cleaned, but never that he would have to pay for the crew, their labor and a dumpster. They claimed they were going to charge him 6,000 dollars. That money would come out of his 40,000 dollar item replacement fund. After some negotiation, they backed down to charging him 1,000, and he may go after his landlord for it, since it is technically his responsibility to clean out the apartment because the fire was his fault.
Instead of paying them to clean the few salvageable things, we took them back to Anthony's new place and did a quick rinse in the sink and then sterilized them in the dishwasher. It's comforting to have the same plates to eat off of, and the pots and pans we love.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
On wednesday Anthony tried to go to work. Partway through the day he got a call from the field agent from his insurance. He went to the apartment and discussed what was salvageable and what wasn't with her. The bedroom was in fairly good shape, the ceiling was still intact and there hadn't been too much water sprayed around. Shortly after she left, while he was sorting through a few things in the room, he smelled smoke. He could see it coming down from the ceiling above the closet, got out, and called the fire department again. They arrived very quickly, but the closet ceiling collapsed and almost everything in the closet was completely soaked. The bedroom got an additional soaking, and what had been completely salvageable, was now damaged.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The morning after the fire we woke up at to the sounds of torrential rains. Anything that hadn't been messed because of the fire and the water from the firefighters, was now getting poured on. I think both of us were tempted to just crawl under the covers and never get out of bed. But, there were fish that needed our help, so we got up and got ready. It stopped raining as we left and we got to the apartment just as the landlord was about to open it up for us. Anthony had seen it the night before, but I hadn't and I was absolutely amazed at the damage. My first thought was that it looked like a cross between the hurricaine Katrina disaster and
The actual fire was pretty much contained to the crawl space between the ceilings and the roof. In huge sections there was no ceiling anymore and giant holes in the roof. The beams were blackened and in the bathroom, kitchen and living room there were huge chunks of ceiling on the floor and everything was coated with soggy insulation. I'll do a few separate posts with the pictures from each room.
Last monday was incredibly hot. When Anthony got home from work the apartment was really warm, despite the window air conditioner he had put in the living room the day before. Plus, it was interfering with the tv reception. He switched it to a different outlet and was talking about putting in a second air conditioner in the bedroom. We sat on the couch for a while relaxing, and all of a sudden about 20 minutes later, the power went out. It wasn't any huge surprise. For the year he's lived there, we've had issues with the power. Anytime anyone ran more than one appliance at a time, the circuit breaker tripped. Plus, the breaker included his apartment, and the guy's next door. If Guido used the microwave, while we used something, the power went out. He complained a million times, and all the landlord did was get a bigger breaker...which didn't solve much of anything. What really needed to be done was to re-wire the entire building.
He ran downstairs to flip the breaker, and it failed again. He went down again and this time, half of the power went back on, but not all of it. There was no power in the bathroom, kitchen or half of the living room, but it was fine in the other half of the living room and the bedroom. Since we couldn't figure out what was going on, he called the landlord. The landlord eventually came over, and didn't know what was wrong either, but promised to call an electrician in the morning. We ran an extention cord to the fridge, so we wouldn't have all of our food spoil, and hung out in the bedroom with the fan on and tried to stay cool. He decided to put the other air conditioner in the bedroom window so we would be able to sleep that night. He was halfway done when we both noticed that we smelled smoke, I asked him about it and he said "oh, it's probably someone in the park using a grill". At the time, it was a perfectly plausible explanation, his place is right across the street from a park, and it was Memorial Day. Lots of people all over the city were grilling. A few minutes later I went to the kitchen to shut the window because he was almost done with the air conditioner. I noticed that I could smell smoke too, and thought it was odd that it had blown all the way around the building, but again, didn't think too much about it.
Within a few minutes, the downstairs neighbor was pounding on the door and yelling "get out of the building, it's on fire." I don't think I've ever moved so fast in my life. I grabbed a robe and threw it on, and we shoved the rabbits in their travel cage. On the way out, I grabbed my purse and phone and Anthony got his wallet and keys and phone. We ran down the stairs and outside. There were already at least five or six fire trucks there. The next few hours were a very surreal experience. We sat in the parking lot across the street and watched the fire. Everyone who lived there got out without any injury and got their pets out too. One of the girls wasn't home, but the firefighters got her dogs out. I ran out of the house wearing only a bra, underwear and a robe. I did manage to grab my pajama pants and a tshirt on the way out, so with the help of a neighbor, I changed in the parking lot. I wasn't able to grab any shoes, so I walked around barefoot. It was hard to tell where exactly the fire was coming from, but it was definitely near Anthony's apartment, and since he was on the top floor, shooting out the roof. The firefighters went up on the roof and cut holes in it and broke windows out to try to let the smoke out and get access to the actual fire. They got to the apartment around 8:30 at night, and didn't leave until around 12:30 or 1 am. We had no way of telling how bad it was, or if Anthony had lost everything.
We talked to the fire marshall and told him what happened, but for the most part, all we could do was wait. By the time they left that night, they had told us that it had probably started due to faulty wiring, and it appeared to start over the bathroom. Once the fire was out, and things had settled down some Anthony asked the firefighters to check on his fish. He has two big aquariums, one is a 55 gallon, the other is a 29 gallon. They are very nice fish and he's incredibly attached to them, so it would have been heartbreaking if they had died. Amazingly enough, they were still swimming around in their tanks. Once most of the firetrucks had left, we were able to run to the store to try to find portable battery powered aerators for the tanks. Of course, they didn't have any, so we just grabbed some extra batteries and went back. He still had to talk to the fire marshall so I took his car and brought the rabbits back to my place. They were incredibly stressed out because of the chaos and noise around them. Driving a stick shift with bare feet was an interesting experience. At my place, I got the rabbits situated with fresh food and water, grabbed some shoes and went to the bathroom. I laughed when I finally slowed down long enough to glance in a mirror. My lipstick was still on and looked great. The claims that Lipfinity lipstick is longwearing isn't an exaggeration. It really does stay on through EVERYTHING.
I drove back to Lansing to pick Anthony up. He had finished with the fish and the fire marshall. He had an aerator that survived, and he managed to get it running for the 55 gallon tank. The smaller tank just had to fend for itself. We were both pretty much in shock as we headed back to my place. Anthony was sick to his stomach, but realized that it was at least partly due to the fact that he hadn't really eaten that night. We stopped at the Beaners coffee shop that's open 24 hours. It was the place where we had our first date, so it was a comforting place to be. He had a bite to eat and I had some chai. We headed back to my apartment and crawled into bed around 3 am still in shock.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
My Verizon contract was up , so I switched to Alltel and he added me to his account. It's much cheaper and I don't have to worry about using up minutes when we talk. For any of you who know Anthony, you know he talks a lot. :) We'd been planning that for a while, so it wasn't any great surprise. I was annoyed though, I had planned to transfer my old number, but apparently Alltel isn't allowed to sell in the Detroit area. Some bizarre FCC regulation apparently, where they're limited on the places they can offer service. Apparently if they don't have a store in that area code, they also can't transfer a number from there. (sighs) So, I have a new cell phone and a new number. If you know me, and didn't get my email about it, let me know, I'll make sure to get the number to you. The phone wasn't exactly what I would want, but it will work. It's a flip phone, which doesn't greatly excite me. For whatever reason I never feel like they fit against my head well. Maybe it's because I have such a small head. But, this was a best of them, and it is very nice and shiny. It's black and silver and has a camera, which is kinda nice I guess. I highly doubt I'll be taking many pictures though, it has decent resolution, but it'll annoy me that it isn't a "real" camera. Plus, it was a good price, and I like Kyocera. That's what my old phone was and I never had any problems with it.
After the Alltel store we went to the Honda dealership. We had been talking for about a year about Anthony getting one. His truck is great, but it's bigger than we need, and uses a ridiculous amount of gas. It was perfect when he had to drive in the West Michigan snow to get to school and work, and he couldn't count on the roads being plowed in time. Much less practical in Lansing and even more impractical when we're in Chicago. He spent weeks restoring the Fiero so we could use that, but it has been cranky and has been requiring additional work. The original plan was to get the truck ready to sell. It was what we were going to do yesterday actually. That was until Saturday night on the way home from a wedding we went to, the Fiero decided that it needed a bit of a strange shimmy when it was driving at 70, and pulling to the right whenever he accelerated. Apparently it was due to a rather serious problem, which would have required some rather difficult welding, which would be time-consuming and/or costly. So, we went to look at Hondas. Apparently they were completely sold out of brand new ones, because everyone decided it was a good idea to get smaller cars because of the gas prices. They did have two used ones though, and one was very nice. We took it for a test drive and absolutely loved it. So, we spent 6 hours at the dealership negotiating for it. Well, I should be honest, Anthony did the negotiating. And holy hell is he good at it. They dropped their price by more than 100 dollars a month for payments, and upped what they would give him for the truck by about 4,000. All it took was him saying "you'll have to do better or I won't be buying a car" about 8 times. The poor sales guy had to run back and forth to talk to his manager, but finally, they agreed to what he asked. Which was for them to pay off the rest of his truck and make his payments about the same as what he paid on the truck. So, the truck is gone and he's only paying 5 more dollars a month. The Fiero will be sold in the next few weeks, so if you know anyone who really wants one, let me know.
The car is fabulous. It's a 2004 Honda Civic EX sedan. It's a really dark silver color, with a black and grey interior, CD player, a moon roof, has 19,000 miles on it and is in nearly perfect condition. Plus, it's a manual, which makes me incredibly happy. I get bored driving automatics. It also has incredibly good gas mileage, about 35/40 miles to the gallon, which is easily twice what the truck was getting. So, while somewhat unexpected, it was very nice that everything worked out so well. No more paying 50 dollars to fill up the gas tank. No more trying to jam our stuff into a tiny car. No more vehicles trying to break. Reliable transportation, great gas mileage, lots and lots of room in the trunk and backseat and it looks great. What more could you ask for? It is so nice to feel like everything worked out well for once. We've had a string of really crappy luck in the last six months and it finally feels like it's starting to turn around. One of the best things about the car though, is that it's almost exactly what we would pick out if we had all options available. Well, as far as a Civic.
Given an unlimited budget, I'd want either a Maybach Exelero (more pictures) or a refurbished coupe from the late 1930's or early 1940's. With all the modern conveniences, of course. The Exelero is incredibly sweet looking, what the Batmobile should look like. Or at least what Bruce Wayne would drive to the opera. There's only one in the world, and I'm entirely sure it's more car than I could handle, but it is gorgeous and fast as hell. And the coupe is a little more within reach, and would suit me quite well I think. However, in the meantime, the Civic is perfect.
Before the shirt pinning, Erin and I registered for wedding gifts. And no, Erin didn't leave Kyle for me, I was just helping out. After Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, he was pretty burned out on registering, so I went with Erin to do Marshall-Field's. We had an amusing Mohawked guy help us out a bit and we managed to do a pretty good job getting quite a few things done. I nearly cried when she registered for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I want one so bad. I tried to convince her that she could register for two and give me one. But, she was afraid Kyle and I might get into a knife fight over them when they open gifts at the brunch on the sunday after the wedding, so no luck there. She tried to tell me that I could always get married and register for one myself. But that's probably dishonest if you do it just for the mixer, right? I'll probably break down and buy one once I have the money, I highly doubt I want to wait until I get married, cause that could be a good few years from now and I want a mixer NOW.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
While I'm gushing about how awesome my boyfriend is, I should also mention what he got me for Easter. "Firefly" on DVD. We had copies that we made from Erin and Kyle's DVDs, but we've been wanting the 'real' thing. Apparently he found it for a great price at Target, so he got it for me. Plus, a pretty green vase to replace the one he got me for Christmas this year, that I busted last week. (sighs) I have been SUCH a klutz lately. And a jump rope, and a baseball. I've been wanting to play catch, I had a baseball mitt, but he didn't so my parents bought him one for Christmas, but then we realized neither of us had baseballs. Oops. Now we are fully equipped to play catch in the park across from his place. Also, my parents bought us Scratch, which is the velcro and tennis ball version of catch. Yay for kids toys. They really are the best.
Monday, March 27, 2006
That part was written weeks ago. I've been trying to upload some pictures of the eggs (multiple times) and Blogger apparently don't think that's a good idea. So, if you want to look at the eggs, you'll have to take a trip to my site www.driftingvisions.etsy.com . I sold three, but they were to my dad, so I am not quite sure how much that counts. He gave them as gifts to his sisters. They all seemed impressed, so at least that's good. I'll probably be having a sale on them, kind of a 'it's after Easter, but it's still spring' sort of thing. We'll see if that works. Plus, I have my standard 10% off for anyone who knows me and buys one sale. Anyone who is interested, email me, or send me a message on Etsy, or leave on on here.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
For Christmas my mom got me some narcissus bulbs, and a huge amaryllis bulb. The narcissus grew like mad and had beautiful little white blossoms. But, they don't last long and before I could snap a picture, they were done. I sent them back to my mom to be planted outside in her garden. The amaryllis steadily grew three very tall stalks and then did nothing for a week or so. And all of a sudden two of the stalks have buds that burst open and have 8 incredible huge blooms. I managed to get a few quick photos of them yesterday.
And in the week it took me to finish writing this entry, the third stalk bloomed and has 5 blossoms, bringing the grand total up to 13. That has to be some sort of record I think. Apparently it's a kinky little bugger though. I had to tied it up to a chair in order to keep it upright. The heavy blooms and tall stem in a lightweight pot made it a bit top heavy. I came home one day to find it tipped over onto the carpet. Luckily it didn't make too much of a mess or get damaged. I dragged a chair over to the window and tied the stem to it. (shakes head) flowers that are into bondage....why am I not not surprised?
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I am so happy that the weather is finally cooperating. It was warm enough to go out running today. Well, maybe I shouldn't call it running. It was more like jogging interspersed with walking. But it's a start, and it felt good to be out and moving. I didn't push too hard, so I'll try to go out again tomorrow or Thursday, weather permitting. This is Michigan, so we could get 20 inches of snow overnight. There is a really lovely wooded area north of my apartment complex to run in. There are wide flat paths through the trees so once the ground is no longer squishy with mud, it should be a great place to go. I had to stick to the paved paths that run alongside and through the center of it today. I tried going onto the grassy path and almost sunk up to my ankles in the mud. As much fun as mud can be, this was more like quicksand. I did have the overwhelming urge to tear off my shoes and socks and splash around in the little stream that runs along the woods. But, I am sure the water is still icy cold and the ducks would have given me weird looks. Once it's a bit warmer out...I may just have to do it anyway, ducks be damned.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
I've always loved Chicago on every trip I've ever made there. The most interesting thing is, every single person I've mentioned the move to has gotten a really big grin on their face and said "I love Chicago, it's such a great city." It's good to hear. So far the only negative comments I've heard are "it's cold as hell", "traffic is horrible" and "it's expensive". All of which I knew. I've lived in Michigan for 24 years, I can live with cold. Surprisingly, Lansing gets less days of sun than Chicago, and the average winter temperature is only about two degrees colder in Chicago. I don't plan on having a car, and Anthony will just have his Fiero, so it should be relatively inexpensive to drive, and we both plan on using the El for just about all of our transportation within the city. It won't be cheap, but paying more to live in a city with some culture and a nightlife is more than worth it.
I'll be kind of sad to leave Michigan. I was born here and always lived here. I've never moved more than 45 minutes away from where my parents' live. I have some wonderful friends. I know the area. I've found the neat shops that I adore. The Oriental Mart, Tuesday Morning, Sushi Ya, and Beaners. I know where to find the cheap groceries, the weird and fun decorating stores, the good coffee, and inexpensive amazing sushi. I know what parks are nice to take a late night walk. I know every inch of campus and the ideal gardens to photograph. I feel like I'm finally settled in here. So why do I want to leave so bad?
Sadly, Michigan is starting to feel like a dead end. The job market is awful and the economy is struggling. 85 percent of college grads leave the state after graduation. And Lansing isn't exactly a hotbed of cultural experiences. It's hard enough finding a pizza place open past 1am on a Friday or Saturday night, or a nice restaurant open at ALL for dinner on Sundays. The best theater is at the Wharton Center. But, they're Broadway touring shows, the same that could be found in any city of a decent size. I'm ready for independent shows with actors just starting out, jazz clubs on a Friday night and clubs that have a little bit more to offer than drunken frat boys.
Ask me if I made the right decision sometime next fall after I've hauled Anthony's two huge aquariums up 4 flights of stairs, walked 6 blocks in the rain to get to the El, and when I realize I have $1.50 to my name after paying the bills. I can almost guarantee I'll say, "yeah, I can't imagine living anywhere else.".
Monday, January 09, 2006
The next morning I went to work at the meat market. I won't say much about it, other than it was as I expected. Pure unadulterated hell. Anthony ended up working there for three days. He now knows why I hate it so much. They let me leave a few hours early on Christmas Eve which was amazing. It made the rush to get to the other side of the state a little more tolerable. They also sent me home with a whole ham and two pounds of shrimp. They pretty much immediately got frozen in smaller portions so I shouldn't have to do much grocery shopping for a while. Yay! When I got home I took a shower, threw on clothes, put a few things in a bag and headed out the door. We got to Kalamazoo by 8pm, stopped at Trevor's to drop off Earl Grey Truffles that we made. I was loved and drooled on by Julian, Trevor's fantastic dog. He's a huge hairy sweetheart of a dog. I am much more of a bunny/cat type person but I would be thrilled to take Julian home. He's hilarious, sweet AND well-trained. We stopped by Scott and Kendalyn's to drop off their truffles, unfortunately they weren't there, so we headed out to Anthony's parents' house.
When we got there the whole family was still there. We had a quick dinner and opened gifts. I can truthfully say I've never been stared at by 30 or so people while I open gifts before. Kinda freaked me out. But I got a delicious Wasabi and Pear candle and a cute evening purse from Anthony's parents. Plus cards from some of his siblings, and lots and lots of cookies. Two of his nieces fought over who got to sit next to me, it was kind of cute. Most of the people left after a few hours and we stayed to talk to his parents and brother until about 1 am.
Armed with a large thermos of coffee Anthony decided to drive back to my parents' house instead of stopping in Lansing that night. I slept most of the way home. It was foggy as hell though, so it was a bit of an interesting drive for him. We got to my parents' place around 4 am and snuck in. They didn't realize we were there until the next morning when we woke them up.