24 July 2009

I'm a loser, just like Sarah

From Triumph Dining's Essential Gluten-Free Blog's list of Celebrities with Celiac Disease:

Comedienne and author Sarah Vowell, who says she has a “wheat allergy” is obsessed with the magaine “Living Without,” which she says “has the most downbeat name of any magazine since ‘Downbeat.’” She wonders why “the publishers don’t come clean and call it “Loser?” She also admits that the “corny” and “reassuring” magazine makes her feel less alone because her friends have “an underwhleming grasp of the pros and cons of various brands of soy flour.” Her hilarious segment on This American Life about living without wheat* is worth a listen (it starts at about 17:35).

In case, you are wondering, no, I don't subsribe to "Living Without." David offered me a subscription not long after I was diagnosed but, frankly, for me it would be like getting a heapin' helpin' of depression in the mail once a month.

I also liked this bit from the GF Celebrities list. Sarah mentions Governor Swift in her piece.

Jane Swift, the youngest women ever elected to the Massachusetts State Senate who later became the first female Governor of Massachusetts, underwent many medical examinations before being diagnosed with Celiac disease. When she goes to a political function, her staff calls ahead to tell the food servers about gluten-free options. Unfortunately, Swift often finds that people think she’s being difficult.

*Episode #256, which originally aired on 9 January 2004.

18 July 2009

The cost of doing business

David is off on a field trip this morning and while he was out the phone rang. Message from the Guy who is supposed to give David an estimate on replacing his derelict back fence reminding David that he would be by around 2:00 for the walk-around. David should be back then and is very responsible about his appointments (as he generally is about everything), so I didn't worry too much about it.

I went about my business, including retrieving the very lovely flowers that I was given last night by Brian and McCall to celebrate the opening of the show that Brian wrote and I directed.* The flowers were a little overdue for some water and TLC and I don't get flowers so often that I am cavalier about their care, so I brought them in and noticed some guy in a car outside.

A few minutes later the phone rang and it was Jack (the Fence Guy) again. I didn't quite catch what he said, and I don't normally answer David's phone, but I tried to pick it up to let him know that David is out and would be back in time for their appointment. Didn't quite get there in time. So he called again and I answered.

I confirmed that I wasn't the Mrs. but a very good friend. Told Jack about David being out but coming back.

"Oh." (Pause) "Did I just see you carrying flowers into the house?"

"Yes. Is that you outside?"

"Yes." Jack was now hoping that I would let him walk around and look at the fence. I told him that I would be right out and then the Imp with the Weird Sense of Humor that serves as a brain for me added "Of course, you realize that the cost of me doing you a favor is a dozen roses, right?"

"Uhhh... Uhhhh ..."

"Which, of course, would be a pass-through. You'll include it in the estimate."

"Uhhh... okay."

I got outside and Jack (a very pleasant man) told me that, you know, his wife doesn't actually allow him to give other women flowers. She is pretty emphatic about that.

I suggested that he remind her that In This Economy, we have to do what we can to secure business, even if that means giving women-not-his-wife flowers. He was dubious as to whether or not she would believe this but seemed willing to give it a try. Or was willing to pretend he was in order to see the fence.

I walked him around, we looked at a fence that is the Board on Batten equivalent of drunken stupor. He said "hmmmm" and measured things. He made some notes. He rolled his eyes at the way other fences nearby had been installed. We agreed that he would call David this afternoon and then send him the esimate by mail unless David objected.

We parted on good terms and my share of the good-byes included the cheery: "The flowers can be delivered here."

He smiled and laughed. That's because he thinks I'm kidding. Hey, it's a tough economy out there.

*Which played to a full house! Come and see it! "Dictionary" at Montgomery Playhouse at the Kentlands Arts Barn! Playing in rep with five other spiffy one acts! Alternating performances July 17, 18, 24, & 25!

14 July 2009


Part of the fun of one acts is comparing and contrasting how things are going for each show. I especially enjoyed this exchange between a couple of actors in different casts after a couple of pages were skipped in the later show:

"Well, we managed not to do our 35-minute show in 45 minutes."

"Yeah. We did our 30-minute show in 25."

03 July 2009

My kind of lease renewal

I moved into my apartment in August of 2007 and signed a lease agreeing to pay a rent of [large sum]. In August of 2008 my lease came up for renewal and I thought I'd be looking at a rent of [large sum + $100]. So I was pleased to get a letter from the management company saying that, as I am a valued tenant*, they would like to renew my lease at a rent of [large sum + $85]. Oh, how nice! I promptly signed it and turned it in.

A few months later the prices of everything were exploding, so we got a note informing us that rents would have to be raised to compensate, at which point my rent became [large sum + $85 + $35]. Well, less nice, but oh well.

In all the time that I have lived here the building has never been full, so as the time for my lease renewal approached and I steeled myself to see [large sum + ($85 + $35) + $100]** on the lease renewal letter, I decided to ask my Boss for some help.

Before he (for his sins) became my Boss, he was, among other things, an accountant and an investment banker. Now he is the CFO of a medium-sized*** engineering firm, so he knows a bit about markets and negotiations. I figured that he could give me some guidance on how to ask for certain concessions in exchange for the rent increase. Maybe one of the covered parking spaces ($30/month) at no charge or something.

But before he and I could sit down and map out a Rent Concession Strategy for Someone Who is Too Nice for Her Own Good, I got this year's lease renewal letter.

Dear Resident:

Due to the increasing costs of maintaining the community, it is necessary for your rental rate to increase effective 9/1/2009.

As required by Section 29-54 of the Montgomery County Landlord/Tenant Code and other applicable provisions**** of law, this letter is to provide you with sixty (60) days noticed of your rent increase. The voluntary rent guideline set by Montgomery County of 4.4%.


We look forward to your continued residency with [building name]. Below you will find your renewal lease options. Please mark your choice for renewal and return this form to the office by August 10, 2009.

___ Yes, I/we wish to renew my/our lease agreement for one year at the rental rate of $[exactly what I'm paying now], a 0.00% increase. You are currently renting at the rate of $[large sum + etc].

What? I re-read that paragraph.

___ Yes, I/we wish to renew my/our lease agreement for one year at the rental rate of $[exactly what I'm paying now], a 0.00% increase. You are currently renting at the rate of $[large sum + etc].

Yup, that's what it said. Moving on.

___ Yes, I/we wish to renew my/our lease agreement on a month to month basis at the rental rate of [large sum + ($85 + $35) + $100] a 6.49% increase. You are currently renting at the rate of [my current rent].

If you feel this is excessive, you may request the Montgomery County Department of Housing & Community Affairs to review this matter.

Whoo-hoo. My Boss and I agreed that my best choice is to leave this sleeping dog slumbering happily in place, so I have signed that puppy pretty quick and will be dropping it off at the office at my first opportunity.

*Which I am assuming means that I pay my rent on time. But I don't discount that I am relatively clean, quiet, and cooperative. And they would really value me if they knew that I am typing this with the air conditioning off and the windows open. No point in using all that store-bought air when it's so nice out right now.

**Huh. Someone who didn't know me who read that might be lead to think that I am not as much of a math imcompetant as I sometimes am.

***Read that as "small-sized" if you represent the Small Business Administration, please.

****It actually says "provisiions," but let that pass. Let she who is without typo ...