Blog Entries, Essay, Uncategorized, Writing

Anger Management and STRONG Advice to Landlords

This post is not about crocheting or writing. This one is about anger, as the title suggests. So much to deal with, these days. But, let me start at the beginning.

Anyone who follows this blog knows my brother died last June. In order to keep my finances in order without having to sell most of what I own, I decided to get a roommate who could pay me a small amount of rent monthly. I made a very bad mistake when I didn’t charge a deposit. I thought I was being nice. I thought I was doing my future tenant a favor. I tried to be a fair and reasonable landlady. What a mistake!

I found a woman in her fifties who needed a place to rent, so we agreed on a sum I gave the the grand tour of the house and she said she liked it. She signed the lease, agreeing to pay me month to month. Then, she moved in. Within a week, this woman started complaining about the temperature in the house. My house is 126 years old which means it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, even with HVAC installed. She complained about several things she thought was wrong with my house: No insulation, builder’s grade carpet in the bedroom, only two electrical outlets (she forgot to count the one in the bathroom) and the water from the water heater was too cold, the internet was slow, she had to park on the street, and on and on ad nauseum.

I replaced the water heater because it was old and a ticking timebomb, anyway. I patiently explained the cost of insulating a old home and the cost of re-wiring and old home. She demanded lower rent. So, we renegotiated and I lowered the rent by $100 a month. In retrospect, I should have told her to get lost right then.

Accusation

Then, she began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day. I told her I did not go into her room because I had no reason to go into her room. She installed a security camera and pointed it toward the door to the bedroom. This was apparently done the day she moved in, however, I didn’t know there was a camera in her room for a couple of months. She was bragging on a rug she bought for the floor and I spotted the camera when I went into her room (with her present) to admire it. I thought my head would explode, but I held my peace. Another big error on my part.

She began accusing me of going into her room when she wasn’t home. Every. Day.

The next time she accused me of going into her room, I suggested she look at her camera footage and she would know I didn’t go in there. That became my new mantra. “Look at your camera footage before you accuse me.”

Escalation

By this time, winter was approaching and she began to complain about the room being too cold, the water being too cold, me going into her room and me listening to her phone conversations. As for the last complaint, I went into my bedroom, which is upstairs and right over her bedroom, to change my clothes after dropping food down the front of my shirt. She came up the stairs and demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations. “What are you talking about?” I asked.

She demanded I stop listening to her phone conversations.

“I was on the phone and you went into your room to just hung out and listen to me,” she explained in her whining, complaining voice. What an incredible ego she had. Really? There couldn’t have possibly been another reason I went into my bedroom? She is too old to be an entitled millennial, but that is what she acted like.

I asked her through clenched teeth, “Is your TV on right now?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Stand in my bedroom and tell me what you hear.” I could not hear her TV in my room, nor could I hear her when she was talking on her phone in her room. She didn’t respond. She gave me a bitch-I-wish-you-would-drop-dead look and left. While she was heading down the stairs, I told her that I refused to sit in a closet and never come out just because she moved in.

She had her mail changed to a post office box because she thought I was reading her mail. She continually complained about me going into her room. She still complained about me listening to her phone conversations. She complained that it was my fault that HER Firestick stopped working because of my wonky internet. (I have no problem with it, whatsoever.)

As a side note, I didn’t promise 5-star accommodations. I distinctly remember promising a bed and a bathroom, kitchen and laundry privileges.

She nearly ruined my washer with using too much fabric softener and when I asked her to not use it again, she did anyway. It took me two days to clean out my washer after she left because the inside of it was covered in a sticky blue sludge that smelled just like her fabric softener. And I was allergic to it. when I did my laundry, inevitably, it coated my clothes. I had places that itched that I really didn’t want to scratch in public. I told her this. She didn’t care.

And then, the day before she left, she once again accused me of going into her room. My patience snapped and I suggested (loudly) that she check her camera footage. I suggested she stop making the accusation because if she asked me five months from now, I would tell her the same thing. “I did not go into her room!” I told her that if I HAD to do into her room for some reason, like the house was on fire, I would text her to let her know. I told her I never wanted to hear that accusation, again. She said, “All I want is peace.” I replied, “Then, stop your paranoid accusations and figure out, once and for all time, that I don’t care what is in your room and I have no burning desire to hang out in there when you are not home. I have a life and none of it includes looking around your bedroom.” My tirade was skillfully sprinkled with a few foul words and much longer than I included in this post.

She moved out the next day.

And after she left, I knew why she didn’t want me in her room and was so freaking paranoid about it. She robbed me blind. She must have had a pile of my things in a corner and she was afraid I would see them. The list of things she stole from me is as follows and in no way complete: sheets for the bed she slept on, 2 brand new pillows, the pulls from the ceiling fan, the light bulbs out of the ceiling fan, the bathroom set of cup, toothbrush holder and soap dish, a walking cane, a blanket I crocheted for her that she was supposed to pay for, another blanket I let her borrow, a 25 gallon plastic tote I let her borrow, a hammer, several screwdrivers, a cordless drill, kitchen utensils, an umbrella, and the key to the front door.

She robbed me blind.

Then she told one of my neighbors, who asked her why she was moving, that I kept going into her room when she wasn’t home and she had camera footage to prove it. That statement made her a liar as well as a thief, because there is no camera footage of me going into her bedroom because I never did.

And I don’t want to even discuss how nasty the bedroom and bathroom was right after she moved.

The Lessons I Learned

  • I will not invite someone I don’t know to live in my house, again.
  • And if I ever decide that someone can move into my spare room, they will give me a hefty deposit that I will NOT return until about 30 days after they have left and I have had time to assess anything stolen from me.
  • I will immediately evict anyone who starts to complain about my house.
  • I will not renegotiate the rent once it is agreed upon.
  • I will add $150 non-refundable key deposit and change the lock the same day a new tenant moves out.
  • I will not try to be a “nice” landlady, again.
Uncategorized

I Have NOT Been Idle

Although this year brought about many changes in my life, I have not been slack when it comes to creating. I still have a passion for crochet and other needle crafts. Being stuck at home because of the pandemic has been no hinderance.

For example, I finished a chicken latch-hook rug mostly because I wanted to learn the technique. What I really intend to do is to create a rag rug using old clothing. Just cut the fabric into strips to use instead of using tiny pieces of yarn. The chicken rug was fun to make and I believe the rag rug will be even more so because it will be part of my creative energy. I have not finalized the design for the rag rug, but I will very soon.

I have also completed a commission for a thick, bedspread sized blankie in pearl gray and I have started working on an afghan. I am also nearly finished with a kimono sweater. All of this while working full time in October, November, December, January and February. I am back to part-time for March and April and will working full time again in May and June.

By then, I hope to have some, if not all, of the above mentioned projects completed before full time work begins again.

Uncategorized

I Am Late This Year

The time has slipped by me and I realize I failed to write out my yearly manifesto. It is not a yearly resolution, but rather a series of unrelated and disjointed thoughts about life.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

DECISIONS

  • Make a list of decorating changes to my home. I want to make it as cozy and comfortable as possible without breaking the bank. This includes ideas for a real Boho look in my bedroom. Lots of color and me surrounded by things I truly love. Originally, a Bohemian was a person who traveled the world and picked up items to bring home for display. Well, I am not a world traveler, but I have a number of interesting collections: Dolls, Japanese fans, seashells, coral, books.
  • Unclutter. That seems contrary to the whole Boho idea, but what I mean is to unload extraneous items lying about the place. Items I either haven’t used in a couple of years or do not intend to use ever again. Selling them will add a bit a cash to my pocket and lighten the mood around here. Also, donations are good for the heart.
  • Unclutter my brain. In other words, simplify everything. I want to make my life a easy and simple as possible. In my attempt to unclutter, I will try to not add to the confusion by purchasing additional things I don’t need. (A real problem I have.)
  • Finish projects started but not completed. These include a rug I hooked for my kitchen, a crocheted valance, a sweater, pillow covers and a Victorian style dress for Barbie. If I continue to think about it, I could find 100 other things, but I don’t want to work that hard this morning.

This look would not go amiss for my bedroom.

So, onto 2021. I hope it will be a very productive year.

Uncategorized

Ignoring this Blog is Not an Option

He killed himself and he made me watch.

Karen Pope 2021

I have been neglecting my poor, poor blog for so long.

Several changes occurred in my life and I have discovered that I do not deal well with change. My brother who lived with me died and left me with a helluva mess to clean up. Not just a physical mess in his bedroom and the rest of the house, but the emotional mess, too.

He killed himself. Suicide. Not like putting a gun in his mouth or taking too many drugs. This was a slow alcohol-induced death. Liver failure. And he made me watch. Every day was a slow decline. Almost imperceptible, like when someone is on a diet and gradually looses weight, but doesn’t really notice until someone says, “Dang, you have lost a lot of weight!” He drank until his liver could tolerate no more. He didn’t have the fortitude to quick drinking years ago, when it could have made a difference.

My bother was a coward in every sense of the word. He used alcohol to bolster a personality that was defective. He didn’t want to be a coward, but didn’t know how to overcome. He didn’t try. He hid from his cowardice in a bottle. And he made me watch.

Like many alcoholics, he thought only of himself. He didn’t have room in his pickled brain for thoughts of others. He didn’t care, honestly didn’t care, what happened to the people he left behind. I was closest to him in the end. He burnt all other bridges, systematically, through unbridled selfishness and conceit. He was the only person who knew anything, understood anything or had the right to an opinion.

He picked fights with neighbors, friends, me. In the end, his degenerate behavior netted him nothing but cremation.

I am so angry at him. He killed himself and he made me watch.

Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash
crochet, Uncategorized

Easy to Crochet Braided Stitch

STRUCTURAL BUT SOFT STITCH 

https://crochetpedia.com/easy-crochet-braided-stitch-ideas/

If you are familiar with crochet fundamentals, you shouldn’t have any problems with this one, because it uses basic techniques. Puff stitch requires some patience, so that the yarn is pulled out evenly, but it all comes with experience. It is often mistaken for bobble or popcorn, but they are all different techniques. Try this fantastic stitch, so you can hone your skills and create lovely accessories for your home!

Materials:

Claudetta used King Cole Riot Chunky, which is chunky yarn. She chose 5,5 mm hook, but you will also need a pair of scissors and a yarn needle. Feel free to use different yarn and corresponding crochet hook for this, but remember that squishy and soft yarn will make it look the comfiest.

The work begins with starting chain of multiple of 2. It continues with double crochet stitcheschains and puffs, but there is a little trick that makes all the difference! Let me just say that it’s all about where you work your puff stitches.

This technique will allow you to create fantastic, double-sided structural crochet piece, which can easily become a baby blanket or a pillow cover.

Check out full video tutorial here, it’s really worth a try!

Uncategorized

Creativity

Creativity means different things to every individual.  For me, creativity is the act of CREATING something, using just the power of my not-inconsiderable brain.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty
/ˌkrēāˈtivədē/
noun
  1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

I have wasted many, many hours scouring the Internet for crochet patterns to match the vision I have in my head of items I want to produce.  What a load of rubbish!  What I mean is, I am working really hard to reinvent the wheel.  Why would anyone want to do that?

I have created my own patterns for crocheted items previously. Click here and here for examples of patterns available for digital download through my Etsy Store.

So, I am now working on a pattern for fingerless gloves, or more precisely, fingerless mittens because there is a thumb hole, but not individual holes for fingers.  I have ripped out stitch after stitch in an effort to create my patterns.

This it the first half of a pair of mittens:

IMG-2991
Fingerless Mittens Stage One

Yeah, I know what you’re saying.  It doesn’t look like a glove or a mitten or anything else recognizable.  Well, maybe half of an orangutan mitten, but why would anyone want to put mittens on an orangutan?

I agree.  Stay tuned of the next iteration of my invention!
Road of Change, Uncategorized

Road of Change: Missouri to Oklahoma

In Arkansas, we saw Texarkana and then on to Little Rock. So much of the scenery flashed by us because we were so deep in our thoughts and hurts. We did the usual bathroom breaks.  We ate fast food in the car, adding to the crumbs already there.  We would have to get the car cleaned at some point because it was rapidly reaching a point where it was too disgusting to ride in.  

Outside of Little Rock, we picked up state road 65 that would take us to Branson, Missouri.  We just need to cut across the southwest side of Missouri, so we wouldn’t spend much time there.  

Dinner in Branson consisted of yet another burger and fries and a chain hotel for the night.  At this rate, I would likely gain 50 pounds before the trip was over.  What was Lillian thinking making us do this?  How can anyone eat without gaining a ton of weight while on a road trip.  In my hotel that night, I looked up information about how to lose weight while on vacation and found some great ideas.  And I had a perfect alibi traveling with me–Snow.

That morning, after dressing in my traveling pants, a tank top and my sneakers, I ate a whole wheat bagel at the complimentary breakfast buffet in the hotel.  I grabbed a banana and a coffee and took them back to my room.  I packed up my things and took them out to the Cayenne.

Snow eagerly awaited her morning walk, so I took her to the back of the hotel parking lot to allow her to poop.  Then, we walked to the lobby and I asked for a walking map of the area so I could walk my dog, and of course, myself.  Chris called me when we were about four blocks from the hotel to ask me when we were leaving and I told him I was walking Snow and would be back in about thirty minutes.

“Where are you walking her to?  Colorado?” he asked.

           I blew out a sigh and then answered him.  “Sitting in a car all day and eating nothing but hamburgers and fries will not do anything for my school girl figure.  I felt like going for a walk this morning.  I will call you when I am ready to go.  Smoke a few cigarettes and get some breakfast.”  I hung up without saying goodbye.  I didn’t really care if Chris had to wait for me.  The time I spent walking the dog was well worth it in my opinion.

Of course, he was impatient and fuming by the time I returned to the parking lot with Snow.  I made him wait a little longer while I went back into my room and used the toilet.  A quick survey made sure I had not forgotten anything in the room. The car was running and Snow was perched in the backseat when I closed the door.  Chris stopped by the front of the hotel and I went in to return the room key cards.  We hit the road by 9:30 a.m.  The next stop: Oklahoma City.

Chris plugged in his iPod to the sound system and turned the music up.  The music played loudly enough that we couldn’t talk if we wanted to and I am certain that was the object.  I am the one who made the rules, so I couldn’t renege.  

After about an hour of emo tunes and 90’s rock blasting through my head, the song we danced to at our wedding came on and I saw the slight smile on Chris’s face.  I hoped it evoked a fond memory from our past.

We learned a tango for our wedding dance and danced to Asi Se Baila El Tango by Bailongo! and Vero Verdier.  We spent several days in a dance studio with a small man who had the incongruous name of Mr. Carlton.  When he told me his name, I instantly got a mental image of him doing “the Carlton.” He stood 5’4” in two inch dancing shoes and weighed about 100 pounds.  His straight black hair never moved on his head because he used so much pommade.  But, the man could tango.

Lillian bribed Chris by promising him enough money for a down payment on a house if he went through with the dance lessons.  As usual, he pouted and complained about having to do anything out of his comfort zone.  But, he wanted a house badly enough to suffer the humiliation of dancing with me.

Mr. Carlton dimmed the lights in the dance studio on the day of our first dance lesson and put on a deeply dramatic song.  A tiny Oriental girl came out of the back dressed in a black leotard, spike heels, and a skirt that only covered her bottom.  Mr. Carlton pulled off his coat and tossed it aside and jerked on the girl’s arm, pulling her in closely.  They writhed and swirled and posed on the dance floor.  Everything except the two people dancing vanished from the earth as I watched them maneuver their way across the floor, never losing eye contact with each other.  I was mesmerized.

Chris said, “I can’t do that!” as soon as the dancers completed their routine.  

Mr. Carlton shouted at him, “Of course, you can’t.  That’s why you came to me.  Jasmine and I wanted to show you what you will learn over the next few weeks.”  He murmured a thank you to the girl and she vanished from the room as quickly as she arrived. “Now, we begin.  You have your shoes?”  

Lillian brought dancing shoes for both of us that we would wear at the reception.  Although mine had heels, they were comfortable to wear.  Chris’s shoes were shiny black and he would wear them for the wedding and the reception.

We put on our shoes and Mr. Carlton inspected the fit.  He announced that they would work perfectly and then commanded we stand for our first lesson.  Chris kissed my hair and said, “You have to know how much I love you if I am willing to do this for you.”

I countered with, “You are doing this for a house.”

Chris said, “I do love you, house or not.”

I blushed and Mr. Carlton told us to get to work and to stop flirting.  For the next two hours we practiced our posing, getting our frame correct, staring deeply into each other’s eyes.  At the end of the session, I felt like I had just ran a marathon.  I was sweaty and tired.  My arms and calves ached.  My head ached.  My feet felt swollen inside the shoes. Chris looked very much the same.

As we drove home after that first dance lesson, Chris told me, “I have a new respect for anyone who dances.  That is a lot of very hard work.”  He was silent for a few moments and then he asked me, “Do you think we can do it?”

“I hope so.”

“How long have we got to learn this stuff?”

“The wedding is four months away.  Mr. Carlton has scheduled us for two lessons a week.  Yes, I think we can do it.”

“You know, we have to get this perfect.  It’ll impressed the hell out of Mom.”  

It bothered me a little bit that he was learning the tango to impress Lillian rather than me, but I kept my mouth shut.  At least he was going to try.

The next lesson was dismal.  Mr. Carlton yelled at us for being stiff as a two by four.  He flailed his hands and ranted.  The muscles in my arms ached terribly from the first dance lesson and I felt like I was moving through glue.  Chris didn’t say anything, but I imagine he felt much the same.

The third lesson went a little better and the fourth even better.  We discovered we could judge our progress by how much Mr. Carlton yelled.  Less yelling meant better dancing.

I progressed with my wedding plans in the midst of all of the dance lessons.  Six months before the dance lessons, my mother and I went to Kleinfeld’s in New York to get a wedding dress.  As usual, we clashed terribly.  Mom wanted me to wear a mermaid gown and I wanted something a bit more vintage.  We settled on a dress that was reminiscent of the beaded dress that Ginger Rogers wore in the movie Top Hat.  The Hollywood Golden Age themed wedding moved ahead at warp speed.  Mom wanted to impress all of her friends from the Hamptons, so we got married in Mom’s backyard.  Neither Chris nor I knew most of the guests, but we only had eyes for each other, anyway. The money Mom and Dad spent on the wedding was embarrassing.  We got through it.

I had a second dress of the wedding reception; one far more conducive to dancing a tango in that it was similar to my wedding dress but without the train and missing most of the beads. It conjured images of Ginger, again wearing a white silk gown.  Chris wore a top hat and tails. Matt, Chris’s best man, introduced us as we entered the tented pavilion my mother had erected in her yard for the reception.  “Ladies, gentlemen, honored guests.  May I introduce Mr. and Mrs. Archer, Chris and Ann.”

The orchestra cued the music and I slowly walked out to the dance platform.  From the opposite side of the platform, Chris appeared and tossed his coat aside, just like Mr. Carlton did that first day at dance lessons.  Our bodies molded together as we went through the well-rehearsed steps of the tango.  We received a round of applause which would have happened even if we danced poorly.  Mom beamed and Chris blushed.  I caught a glimpse of Lillian and she shook her head slowly from side to side.  Later she told me that entire wedding was pretentious and I agreed.

Of course the wedding was pretentious, but few people could say no to Lilith Weaver.  So, the lavish and pretentious wedding proceeded, and Chris and I had fun.  And so did my six bridesmaids and Chris’s six groomsmen.  That evening, I danced with a Senator or two, a Hollywood producer, a couple of Wall Street Millionaires, and an actor who was famous for creating a superhero on the big screen. We dined on lobster, Beef Wellington, caviar, and a wedding cake decorated to look like a white top hat with Swarovski crystals and white roses to garnish.  Just like my wedding bouquet.  White roses, Swarovski Crystals and silk ribbons.

By the time I danced with my Dad, I had my shoes off and Mom was scandalized.  She informed me as she and a famous TV chef danced by that only tramps and hobos went without shoes.  Dad whirled me a way and told me to ignore Lilith and to enjoy myself.  Chris and Lillian danced closer to us and Lillian pushed Chris into my arms and grabbed my dad for a spin around the floor with him.  Mom fumed at Dad for dancing with the indefatigable Lillian Archer.

Other than our tango, Chris was a terrible dancer.  He was just barely able to do a box step.  I only danced with him two or three times during the night.  Matt, on the other hand, was accomplished and lithe on the floor.  He graced me with several dances while Barbara smiled at him in approval.

Around midnight, the party started to wind down and Carolyn, my maid of honor, announced that it was time for me to go so everyone else could go.  Matt instructed the orchestra to play a slow romantic song and Chris and I had one last box step dance together.  We went upstairs to stay overnight in Mom’s guestroom.

I was happy to have a lavish wedding, but afterward, I knew Mom had over spent.  All I had remaining were some memories and an album full of photographs.

Chris pulled the car over so we could get a selfie of the Oklahoma Welcome sign. I smiled because I was still thinking about our tango and Chris just looked annoyed.  I sent the photo to Mr. Cartwright and to Lily.   I also sent one to Matt.  He would enjoy the image of Snow with her two front paws on Chris’s leg, begging for a pat on her head.  Maybe that’s why he looked annoyed.

OKLAHOMA

Uncategorized

Road of Change: Texas to Arkansas

 

The GPS told us the actual drive time to San Antonio was about 7 hours, but it didn’t take into consideration the traffic in Houston. We averaged about 20 miles an hour just about all the way across the city. Houston was hot and humid.  The Cayenne started to overheat in the slow traffic, so I was forced to open the windows and turn off the AC.  Even with 26 lanes of traffic, we crept along for what seemed like a hundred miles.  

Because of our late start, we stopped at the Candlewood Suites in Houston’s City Centre, never actually traveling all the way across the city. We ate dinner in the onsite Grille, Chris eating light because he still suffered from the effect of his binge the previous night.  I was secretly happy he felt bad.

I have never had much sympathy for anyone with a hangover.  It is a fully preventable disease.  Chris suffered in silence because he knew I would give him a piece of my mind if he complained. Or so I thought.  He rarely told me what was on his mind, so I got into a habit of assigning thoughts to him that may or may not be accurate.

About halfway through our meal, he said, “I will never drink that much again.  I still feel like shit.  Let’s not leave early tomorrow. Maybe we can take a day and sleep in.  At least I need to.”

I nodded and said, “Go back to the room, now and go to sleep.  Call me when you wake up in the morning.  They have coffee and a continental breakfast down here in the morning until 11:00 am.”

“Maybe we should get on the road after the morning rush hour,”  he said.

“Just call me when you are ready to get moving,”  I repeated.

“You will answer your phone?”

I glared at him, rose from my chair and walked back to my room, unescorted.

I opened my laptop and tried to determine if there was a better route to take to get this over with quicker.  After a few minutes, I gave up and turned on the TV to watch the same movie I watched the previous evening.  The second time around, it didn’t get any better.  I was bored with the trip and bored with my traveling companion.  We had to do something different or we would likely just give up and go home.  Was a house really worth all of this aggravation?

I called Chris’s cell phone and he answered with “What?”

“I was thinking.  Maybe we should try to make this trip more bearable.  Like maybe we should pick a tourist spot in each state and make it a point to visit.”

“Why?”

“It will give us something to look forward to instead of just a month or more of driving,”  I said.  “I took Snow to a plantation in Baton Rouge while you were still in bed and it was great fun.  I learned a little about the state of Louisiana, too.  It broke up the monotony of just driving.”

“Well, if I agree to that, where would we stop, next?”

“We are turning north toward Little Rock, Arkansas next.  We go from US 59 to Interstate 30 North.  There is a nice dog park we can stop at in Texarkana.”

“Okay.  Whatever,”  he said.

I hung up on him and looked into the park a little.  Like everything else in our lives, I had to make the plans.  It was like Chris just rode along in life without thinking about anything.

Finally, I decided to drive instead of sightseeing.  Maybe I would feel better once we got to Little Rock.

Paris-Texas-Attractions-e1480018281129