Friday, June 25, 2004

chicago is not new york...

the cta, chicago transit authority for those of you not living in chicago, is getting on my last nerve. not only did they just raise the price of trips in january of this year, but now they're trying to "test" a different pattern of train seats to mimic the nyc trains. the old trains (which are still mostly in use) used to have approximately 40 seats in each car, but now they're trying to arrange the seats new york style which only allows for about half the number of seats per car. it's annoying as all hell. what used to be pairs of seats, have now been replaced by rows of seats that face each other. now, i'd understand if the trains were bigger, like they are in new york. but they're not. the rationale behind it was to provide more space for standing passengers so they could pack more people into each car.

i had the unfortunate pleasure of riding one of those damn cars this afternoon on my way home from work.

the car was packed to the hilt, to the point where i couldn't even find a comfortable footing to stand properly without feeling like my legs were being twisted out of their sockets. people were leaning on each other, and that only added to my claustrophobia. now, i've been on crowded trains before, but this was ridiculous! it didn't even feel like the cars fit more people.. it just felt really uncomfortable.

my train ride is about 45 minutes each way, and usually half way through, enough people get off the train to allow me to find a seat eventually. today that was not the case. my ass stood the entire 45 minute journey with a heavy ass back pack and i was not a happy camper. the train emptied out quite a bit once we got to belmont, but thanks to the fact that they got rid of half the seats, there was nowhere to sit down.

it's friday, and i've had a long day. is it too much to ask to have a seat on the train? i don't like it one bit. i feel like we're paying more in train fare, for less and it's annoying the living crap out of me.

but on a brighter note.. it's gay pride weekend coming up, and a busy one for me personally. tonite i'm going to a friend's house for a small get together before he leaves for costa rica and peru for (get this) 45 days... (i hate teachers and their long ass summer vacations). after that c and i are heading out for a night on the town to partake in some of the several pride themed activities. then tomorrow, i have an appointment to look at 7 condos in the afternoon with my realtor. after that, a friend's bbq at 5pm and the prince concert at 8pm. i'm not sure if i'll be able to make it to the bbq, but i'll try. then of course, sunday is the parade and all the after parade parties. it should be a fun weekend, but i'm gonna try my best to get as much sleep as i can, when i can. deshigrrrl on limited sleep is not fun to be with.

i've been on a tight budget lately and it's really taking its toll on my social life. i may have to break down and spend a little extra this weekend, what with it being pride weekend and all. but the budget is for a good cause.. saving up for the condo.

boy will i be glad when i'm out of this temporary state...

Saturday, June 19, 2004

short and not so sweet..

i couldn't help but feel, when i saw/heard the president's reaction to news of the most recent american beheaded in iraq, that he sounded so very arrogant and detached. i didn't hear him say anything that represented sorrow or heartbreak for the families that are now dealing with such tremendous suffering. instead, his response was full of remarks about barbarism and thuggery and how he would not back down. granted, the terrorists that seem to be having a field day with these horrific acts are nothing shy of barbarians and thugs. but how about showing some feeling for the tragic loss of another american? some simple human heartfelt sympathy for the family of the victim? his anger and arrogance is getting really old. he just seems so devoid of any other feelings... so outrageously detached. it's kind of really fucking sad how one track minded he can be...

Saturday, June 12, 2004

feelin' the need for speed..

i got a fantabulous deal on an rcn bundle for cable, phone and high speed internet at my new place, and can i just say i am so diggin' the high speed internet thing!? it's even faster than the T1 line we have at work! i had to use dial up at home for the past several years just because i didn't want to dish out so much money for high speed internet capabilities, but this shit rocks! i sat up and watched this fabulous live streaming video of ani difranco's appearance on my favorite radio station kcrw out of santa monica. and now that i can actually listen to kcrw all the time via the online broadcast, i'm hardly watching tv anymore! i love it, i love it, i absolutely love it!

last night was my first night alone since c and i moved separately. it pretty much took us a few days to come to grips with it, and while i really did miss her, i was reminded of all the benefits of living alone. i fell asleep trying to finally finish reading toni morrison's love and i woke up this morning.. err.. afternoon.. at 12:30p. it was lovely. i haven't done that in three years. no lie.

i was a bit worried that i'd get bored without her around, and while that's still a viable possibiity, i didn't get bored last night. in fact i ran into a friend at the granville el station and we very spontaneously decided to hook up for dinner at moody's. that was a nice change.. the spontaneity that is.

this morning i took a leisurely walk to my bank to get some cash and then got a cup of coffee and am now chillin' on the net writing this blog. it feels good to be the sole planner of my day. and by my own choice, i'll be heading to c's a little later on to hang out for a while. it's a day by day thang, you see...

it's such a gorgeous day today! my mood is lifted, and i'm no longer stressing over the fact that i didn't get to buy the place i wanted.. but there's sure to be other ones out there that i'll fall in love with..

until then, this bengali's gonna enjoy summer to the fullest. it would be nice though if my dear friend f (mageeeessss!) were still here.. she left for bangladesh last weekend even after i begged her to stick it out until the end of the summer. anyway, i know she's reading this.. so.. um.. i just want you to know that you're terribly missed!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

would you like to comment on that?

ok ya'll.. back to the old comments system. yeah! it's so much better, no?

well, an update on the home buying front. a disappointing one, no less. i finally found a place that i fell in love with AND was well within my price range. a few outstanding amenities included the much priortized room for a pool table. maybe not an 8 footer, but hey, i'm a flexible kinda gal. a 7 footer would do me just fine.

next, the kitchen was spacious enough to fit my (small) dining table. the place had a dishwasher, new appliances (though not stainless steel, but i'm ok with that), a front balcony AND a back porch and a decent sized bedroom.

and as a finale, i'll fill you in on the most beautiful bathroom i've ever seen in my not-so-long journey of house hunting. the bathroom had white italian tiles with a few tiles of green, blue and maroon thrown in the mix with a stackable washer-dryer in the corner, a square shaped toilet seat and a corner jacuzzi tub with - get this - a rainshower head that had to be at least 12 inches in diameter that juts directly down from the ceiling. i kid you not. i've since had dreams of taking showers under that thing!

but, as all good things come to an end, so did this. i went through the whole round of offers and counter offers and the seller actually came back with a price that matched the amount i had set as a limit in my brain. but then after reading through the association's financial statements (i am after all an accountant) and their budget for next year which i got via fax after the original counter offer, and several conversations with my realtor and the building's property manager, i realized that it was not a financially sound investment. the assessments are just way too high for what i'm getting. the worst part was when i found out that they've had "special assessments" on going for the past 7 years, and will continue indefinitely because it's a really old building. now, if ya'll haven't been able to fix all you need to fix in 7 years, then damn, ya'll have some serious problems! albeit the seller was going to pay me 2.5 years worth of special assessments at closing.. but what happens after that? and when i try to sell? after the 2.5 years, i'm looking at close to $400/mo just in assessments! that's like paying rent in addition to a mortgage! not to mention 2 or 3 years down the road if i try to sell it there's no way i'll find a buyer willing to pay that much in assessments and still make a decent profit on the sale. i've been shying away from lakefront highrises for that same reason! but at least they had swimming pools and doormen and cable included!

so yeah.. i wasn't born yesterday. my realtor says i should sleep on it. and i will. but i doubt i'll change my mind.

so, my friends.. the search continues. wish me luck!

Friday, June 04, 2004

i've been had...

you know.. i consider myself to be pretty street smart. there's no doubt in my mind about that. but at the same token i can also be a little too trusting of people that i don't know. it's the part of me that seeks out the goodness in people no matter what... my own private naivete, if you will.

last weekend was the most hectic weekend of my entire adult life as far as i can possibly remember. as you know, it was the weekend of the big move. while i never really got into the details of the move here in blogland, i guess i'll spill the beans now and say that c and i have moved separately. it was a mutual, mature and logical decision that we both made and while i will miss her sorely, it's probably for the best for both of us. i sincerely hope that the friendship we've maintained this past week will continue forever.

that said, allow me to indulge you in a story which outlines a part of why the weekend was so hectic.

having stood in line for, i kid you not, an hour and a half for the u-haul truck on what appeared to be the busiest moving day of the year, we finally loaded up all of c's stuff and headed to her new apartment. it was just the two of us moving her stuff and it took us about an hour and a half to load and unload. hard work indeed. just as we were finishing up, this guy rolled up in a car that looked like one of those white chevy caprice undercover cop cars. he was a white guy, in his early 40's and pretty much looked like your average construction worker/handyman. as we got out the last load of boxes, he asked c and i if we needed any help. we told him that we were pretty much done, but that i had another move (my stuff) later that afternoon which might require an extra hand (since one of my male friends wasn't sure if he could make it). he offered to help load and unload for $40 which was a steal in my opinion [missed clue #1]. so i gave him my name and cell phone number and asked him to call me at around 2:30 and i'd give him directions to my house.

so mover guy called and showed up on time, and helped load among other things, a pretty heavy queen sleeper sofa. that was my main concern, really because that thing is heavy as shit. so anyway, there's 2 guy friends, myself, c and 2 girl friends and mover guy. i never knew how much shit i'd accumulated until we started loading! we loaded up the truck and headed out to the new pad which is just about 4 blocks away. when we got to the new pad, we found out that the elevator was out of service until after memorial day and that just put a huge damper on things!!! nonetheless, i was only on the 2nd floor, so it wasn't too bad. things were going pretty smoothly for a while there with everyone trying to carry as much as possible to avoid too many trips up and down the stairs. mover guy included.

and then my cell phone rang and the caller id said "restricted number". in my rush to get things doen, i didn't hesitate and answered the phone:

caller: hello, is this 773-###-####?
me: yes
caller: ma'am, my name is tom scott and i'm calling from verizon wireless. our records show that you have a past due bill in the amount of $45(and change).
me: ok.. (thinking that sounds about right..)
caller: ma'am, your account is currently 3 weeks late and we'll need to have you take care of this today or else we'll have to disconnect your service.
me: [flustered, shocked, confused] what??????????????
caller: [repeats above]
me: you're gonna cut me off for a 3 week late phone bill? you can't be serious! [missed clue #2]
caller: yes ma'am, if you want to avoid disconnection you'll have to make a payment over the phone right now.
me: ok, i'm smack dab in the middle of a move... can i call you back in 10 minutes?
caller: no ma'am, our offices are about to close for the holiday weekend. this is your last chance to avoid disconnection. [missed clue #3]
me: [flustered, confused, angry, irritated, annoyed as all get out and partially panicking at the thought of not having a phone at all since my land line wasn't due to be installed until june 2nd] ok, fine. what do you need

[i give my debit card number, etc]

caller: can you give me the last three digits on the signature panel on the back of your card?
me: hell no, i'm not giving you the last 3 digits!!!
caller: ma'am.. i won't be able to process your payment without it.
me: [thoroughly frustrated] ok, fine... [###]
caller: could you spell your name and address for me?
me: you're kidding right? you don't have that on your records?
caller: it's for verification purposes...
me: you want the spelling of my name for verification purposes? are you kidding me? what kind of business are running here?
caller: ma'am, please just spell your name
me: [frustrated out of my fucking mind, feeling rushed and confused and slightly disturbed by the phone call - missed clue #] fine.. it's _______
caller: and your address?
me: i don't have time for this shit right now.. verify it against your records dammit.. [click]

now, perhaps you're reading this and thinking.. that whole thing was damn shady. but when you're in the middle of the move and in a time crunch to return the u-haul and stressed the fuck out by the general tediousness of moving, it doesn't register that there might've been something wrong with that whole transaction. i was just focusing on the thought of not having any form of phone service for the entire weekend. but still, at the back of my mind i kept thinking something wasn't right.

moving on... about 15 minutes later we finished unloading and mover guy asked if he could leave so i paid him the $40 and he left. about 10 minutes later, we all headed back to my old place to grab the second load of stuff and on the way we drove through an alley, and i noticed that mover guy was parked in the alley and there was a someone in the car with him in the passenger seat. i immediately thought that was kind of odd, because i hadn't noticed him before.. so when i got back to my house i asked carlos if he noticed the other guy in the car, and he had. and then almost like magic a lightbulb went off and i turned around to face all my friends and said "i think i've been conned!".

to make an already long story short, as we all retraced the events of the afternoon, i realized that basically this mover guy had a partner who was waiting in the car all along, only no one ever noticed him. and while mover guy helped load boxes, he possibly found the one box that was open because i was just tossing miscellaneous crap into it as needed, and that one box probably had a few unopened bills in it. he probably took the verizon bill and quickly put it in his pocket and then when we drove over to the new place, he handed it to his buddy, who then perfectly timed the phone call to catch me off guard during the move and scam me for my credit card number.

thankfully i figured it all out in a short period of time and proceeded to cancel all my credit and debit cards just incase he got his hands on any other bills that might have been in that box. luckily he didn't have enough time to do anything before i cancelled all the cards, so no transactions went through. the next day i called the police to report it and they weren't much help because since no fraudulent transactions had been made, i technically wasn't a victim of fraud and had no way of proving who the caller was. nonetheless the were helpful in that the detective gave me the number to put a fraud alert on my credit information with all three major credit bureaus which i almost didn't think to do.

what a fucking retarded ass mess! i had no access to cash all weekend, but managed to borrow some money from a friend.

i never thought something like that would ever happen to me.

then again, isn't that what they all say?

luckily he wasn't successful at screwing me out of anything more than the $40 i paid him... but i definitely learned my lesson about being too trusting.