Squeaky Wheels



You know how the other day I saw the First Lady of L.A. speak at an event? Well, one thing I forgot to tell you was how I felt after listening to her presentation.


I felt hope. I really did. Ms. Wakeland instilled a belief in Los Angeles. After her speech, I really did feel our city could be bettered, and then some, by its citizens. Us! I left that event with a renewed love for Los Angeles. I was excited to study my local measures for the upcoming election and ready to do my part. It was a lovely, civic pride I felt, and I liked it.


And then, early the next morning, LA Sanitation blew it all out of the water when they decided, all on their own, to simply take away our trash bin. Not merely empty it, mind you, but remove it entirely. When I called to let them know they had erred, I was told all kinds of things that added up to nothing. In short, we may have to go over a week without a replacement bin. Damned governmental bureaucracy. Starting my day off ugly.


And then I spoke to Mister. And he reminded me that although the LA Sanitation doofus I dealt with was indeed fairly useless, it wasn’t the end of the world and I was only dealing with ordinary, city problems. That helped me calm my ass down.


Then I remembered something else. One day I was waiting in line to get to the subway (there was a Rams game in town and the train was overloaded). As I stood in line, I overheard a family behind me. I think there were two kids and their parents. (I never turned around to see them, so I’m not sure.) When one of the kids started complaining about the wait, I heard the dad say, “Be strong. Remember the refugee children. Be strong like the refugees.” I nearly laughed my ass off, but I kept it in check. I guess for them, that’s the new “there are starving children in China, you know!”


After remembering to “be strong like the refugees,” I completely calmed down. I still sent a letter to my local council office and to the general manager of LA Sanitation, but that’s only because they need to fix their shit. And if no one ever alerts them to their screw-ups, well…


When I was completely calm and ready to deal with the rest of my morning, I went outside to sweep leaves. Not only did it need to be done, I also thought the task might prove meditative. I walked out the side door and there it was: our original trash bin. It had been returned. I wheeled it into the yard, finished my chore with the leaves, then went inside to send a follow-up email to all the people I’d had it out with earlier. I thanked whoever got the job done and allowed that as far as I was concerned, the matter was resolved.


So the squeaky wheel gets the grease after all. Okay. I’m not too keen on having to have squeaked in the first place, but sometimes you’ve gotta make some noise. I hope I never have to deal with LA Sanitation again. That’s the truth. But if I do, at least I’ll know who to send my complaints to. Dag.

Herding Cats



The other day I attended a meeting and I felt downright sorry for the facilitator.


There were more participants than expected, as many folks failed to RSVP. Can’t complain too much about that though, as participation is key to making things happen. The participants didn’t really stick to the agenda. Feelings were expressed, and not just good ones. At some point, as people were off on a tangent about something needing to be fixed (something that isn’t broken in the first place), I realized I could tune out for a moment, but the facilitator had to stay alert. She had to pay attention to everyone and everything, all while trying to get through the business at hand. In short, she had to herd the cats.


God bless the people who are willing to take on such tasks, as folks like me certainly aren’t. I want no part of running the show. I just want a seat at the table. I’ll offer up an opinion or idea when asked. I’ll come to the meetings. But sit at the head of the table? No, thank you.


In the end, the cats were sort of, kind of herded and I’d say a bit of progress was made. A few things were said that didn’t sit well with me personally, but I’m not childish enough to hold one person’s limitations against the whole danged bunch. So I’ll go to the next meeting, too, assuming I’m asked. And I’ll support the cat herder in chief. She’s a good egg. And the world needs all the good eggs it can get.

Manufactured Cool



I think I’ve mentioned our recent A/C problems in passing. Here’s the back story… On July 4th our air conditioner decided to quit. And so it did. I immediately got on the horn to the home warranty folks and the ball of repair started rolling. Sort of. The mess of melting wax that was our repair process took a week and a half to reach its destination. Its destination was conditioned air, y’all.


So that was a bit of an ugly spell. Mister and I were dealing with going to sleep in 87-degree heat each night, and we are simply not accustomed to that. We had a fan blowing on us, and we slept with wet washcloths on our heads. Don’t knock it! It helped. A lot. We made do.


When the A/C was finally repaired, I was incredibly grateful. I don’t need the house to feel like a meat locker or anything, I just need it to be comfortable. For me, that means setting my thermostat at 80 degrees. That’s high for a lot of folks. But it works for me, so there. And it worked great. Right up until it didn’t.


Exactly one week after being repaired, the A/C started blowing hot air. Apparently, something was amiss.


So as of this writing, I am once again dealing with the bureaucracy of scheduling a repair of the repair. So far, I’m not too keen on the situation. No, I don’t like overwhelming heat. I also don’t care for a business that doesn’t back up its smack. And right now that is exactly how I see the repair guys.


It’s supposed to be over 100 degrees today. Pray for me. Actually, pray for the jokers at the repair joint. I may have to have a conniption fit.

Cookie Hips



I’m enjoying the holiday season. It’s been busy, but it’s also been fun and joyful. And it has been decadent.


Ordinarily, I wouldn’t yet be stressing over my seasonal indulgences. I’d be waddling my way through the next couple of weeks with a crumb-laden grin on my face. There’s still Christmas and New Year’s to get through, for cry-eye! As over-the-top affairs go, those two take the butter-cream-frosting cake.


But there’s been a slight hiccup here in my little corner of the world. Due to major screw-ups by The Man (and I say that with squinty eyes and a curled lip), I am now in need of a physical exam for bureaucracy and managerial purposes. Since this was sprung on me with no warning, I am more than a little concerned about the height/weight reporting. Y’all have got to know I’m swinging some cookie hips right now, and they do not line up with so-called charts of acceptability.


Could I be fitter? Of course. Could I be thinner? Absolutely. Has that been a recent goal? Not even a little bit.


Like most folks, I was looking to gobble up the rest of the holidays and then hit the New Year with a slant on working my way back to my pre-celebratory weight. Instead I now find myself trying to stretch vertically and shrink horizontally. In a matter of days. I think I just heard you laughing, “Good luck with that one.” I know, I know.


I happen to like carrots. And water. I guess – over the next couple of days – I’ll find out just how much I like them. Because for now, I’m on major calorie-restriction. Fingers crossed…


And for anyone wondering just how out-of-control I’ve gotten during the season of excess, allow me to share this little tidbit: Yesterday morning I was out walking along a major street. There were no other pedestrians in the vicinity. A city trash truck rolled past and the driver leaned out the window and whistled. He drove on and I kept walking. I can’t be too far-gone, or that dude wouldn’t have rolled down his window in the early morning cold.  Or maybe cookie hips are his thing. Either that or he was really into my monkey hat. Some dudes roll that way. Word.