Seriously, universe?

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Let’s review the past week:

  • Deal with mom being evicted from her facility for no rational reason and scramble around finding a new one over the weekend? Check.
  • Deal with negotiating an offer on my house and how to fix what may turn out to be a $20,000 contingency on the sale? In progress.
  • Visit my aunt in hospice on Friday afternoon, only to have her die five minutes after I arrive, and then squeeze the funeral into an already crazy weekend? Check. (Good thing I didn’t need much time to grieve.)
  • Deal with physically moving all my mom’s stuff from The old facility to the new one? In progress.
  • Deal with three other minor repairs in my house prior to the inspection on Monday? In progress.
  • Try to actually do my job–which has a lot of things pending right now too–for a few hours? In progress.

Frankly that sounds like enough to me. But no. Tonight on my way home after a morning of phone calls followed by three hours of signing paperwork and one hour of moving crap, I got rear-ended. Which means I have one more thing on my plate to spend even more hours I don’t have dealing with. its drivable and I’m not hurt, but to say that I really don’t need this right now is a huge fucking understatement.

I’m not sure whether locusts or leprosy will be next.

I still manage to have my sense of humor, but it’s getting a little harder. If this were a fucking movie, no one would buy the plot.

I’ve been holding it together pretty well for the past two years, so please allow me to be a basket case this week. I will stop whining soon.

(BTW, suggestions and nursing home/insurance/construction horror stories are really not what I need at this point, particularly with my limited time and overloaded brain. This is a really specific situation and I pretty much know what’s going on. I would gladly accept generic moral support, though!)

August

It’s going to be a long month.

Aside from all the issues with my mom, which are resulting in her moving to a new facility sometime this week, my aunt passed away on Friday so there’s now a funeral in the mix as I prepare for the move.

And yesterday afternoon, I finally got an offer on the house. Unfortunately, the offer is a little low and has a pretty major contingency, which will prove time-consuming at a point where I don’t have a lot of time to spare. I’m really happy to finally have an offer, but the timing kind of sucks. Assuming the offer flies, they’re also be the issue of clearing out the house.

On top of everything else, I have a conference presentation in Nashville the week after next. I’m also in the middle of writing two articles, both of which are due in late August.  

I may find myself sleeping (or drinking) a lot in September.

Trump Card (1973)

If Donald Trump’s candidacy were a Watergate-era political thriller made in 1973, this weekend would be the point in the movie where the audience tried to determine whether:

  1. The Republican leadership were secretly supporting his bid with a special slush fund because he made the rest of candidates look slightly less crazy by comparison, and therefore shielded them from serious scrutiny.
  2. The Republican leadership were about to launch a plot to have him assassinated before he could embarrass the party further.
  3. Trump had actually been backed by the Democrats as a means of discrediting the party.

Unfortunately, it’s 2015 and this is not a movie…

Me and United and a meltdown

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So all in all, my encounter with the United meltdown yesterday was not as bad as it could’ve been, maybe because I was already checked in and at the gate when it hit. My 5:45 AM flight from SFO to IAD left almost two hours late, but I made my connection and had an entire exit row to myself (always a nice thing). And contrary to what the article states, the gate crew was pretty much as forthcoming with information as the could be (much more forthcoming than United itself at that point). The IAD to CLT leg was less pleasant; it left more than an hour late and then spent almost an hour on the tarmac after landing in Charlotte as we waited for a gate. Not sure how much of that was related to fallout from the outage

From start to finish, it was a 17-hour process for me, including the drives to and from the airports. I have to say the United people on the front lines were all really nice on what must have been a really rotten day for them.

Days 11-13: Los Angeles

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Pardon the delayed update.

Thursday brought a change of venue as my great and wonderful hotel was booked for the weekend, forcing me to move to a lesser hostelry closer to Hollywood, but also very close to the Metro. The place wasn’t as nice, but I coped.

More of Thursday:

  • Drove around the south side of town, along parts of Figueroa, Slauson, and Crenshaw among others.
  • I don’t remember lunch, which probably means I just opted for quickie fast food.
  • In the evening, I did a pretty hefty hike up Hollywood Boulevard, had dinner at an Indian place somewhere along the way, and shot lots of neon.

Friday:

  • Fourth of July holiday (observed) so it was a good, traffic-free day to drive so I headed for San Pedro and Long Beach before coming back north, stopping at the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey, and ventured north to the Valley, where I had pie at Du-Par’s and pretended I was in Valley Girl.
  • I also hit the Wilshire corridor and visited the neglected carcass of the Brown Derby.
  • I hit a record store on Venice Boulevard for a late-afternoon show by the Insect Surfers, but the place had a weird vibe and was hot, and claustrophobic so I didn’t stay long.
  • Went for another walk in the neighborhood in the early evening and ended up eating at Zankou Chicken again.

Saturday:

Days 9-10: Los Angeles

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I spent way too much of Tuesday in the car, first following the old route of US 101 (Whittier and Harbor Boulevards) and then circling over to Long Beach. After a very long day of driving, I walked up to Echo Park for dinner. This morning I sent off on foot to Echo Park again for a nice Mexican breakfast and stroll around the lake before driving around a bit more in order to spend more time on foot along Fairfax near Beverly and Wilshire near Fairfax. For dinner I want to down to Silver Lake.

And then, this happened. I was walking down the section of sunsets that’s cut through a hill, so there are no houses or businesses, and I couldn’t figure out why the street lights weren’t working. It was a little creepy. Then I got back in a populated block, and I realized nothing was working.

Assorted observations:

  • Why is it that Los Angeles seems more like “home” to me than San Francisco does, even though I never lived here? Toronto is like that too. I think it’s a “fantasy vs. reality” thing
  • The idea that “nobody walks in LA” is preposterous and just plain wrong. LA has some incredibly pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, all of which in fact contain many pedestrians.
  • LA is in fact a very densely populated city. And it’s getting much denser.
  • How did I never before know just how much I love Long Beach, particularly the downtown area?
  • it’s actually going to be cheaper for me to check a second bag them to ship back some of the things I’ve obtained here (the stuff from Safeway HQ in particular).
  • in a world with the wonder that is Fatburger, why would anyone ever eat that lackluster and overrated stuff from In-N-Out…with or without Bible verses?

Days 7-8: Los Angeles

Rethinking the Mazda. I actually really like is for city driving. It was just kind of suck on long road trips. Since I take a lot of long road trips (and don’t live in much of a city) it probably wouldn’t be a really good idea. On an unrelated note, I’ve also decided I want to move into this hotel room.

I think I may have written about this before at some point but until three years ago, I’d never really spent any time in LA by myself. I’d always visit with other people and it had always frustrated me. Apparently my instincts were correct; I really have a great time while I’m here on my own. I love this city. Okay, I love a lot of cities, but LA excites me more than most of them.

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I spent Sunday doing lots of drives that would be hard to do on a weekday. I covered a lot of territory:

  • Took some pictures at the scenic overlook on Mulholland.
  • Drove west on Santa Monica Blvd. as far as the edge of Santa Monica, and came back in on Pico. Pico Boulevard is one of my favorite drives; you get a real cross-section of LA over its course.
  • Lunch at the Apple Pan.
  • Walked around downtown for a bit.
  • Drove out to Pasadena on the 110 and came back and via Highland Park, where I walked around for a little while, inhaling the mildly unpleasant odor of early-stage gentrification.
  • Dinner at Del taco nearby hotel, just because I could.
  • Went on a long, agendaless evening drive, which landed me in Downey for some reason.

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Monday highlights:

  • Ventured southward on I-5, and returned on Whittier Boulevard. But that was a pretty entertaining Drive, particularly the part through East LA. I’d never been there before.
  • Lunch at Jack’s Whittier Restaurant, which was a Googie wet dream.
  • I rode out rush-hour by doing the laundry. Fortunately, there’s a laundromat next to my hotel, so I was able to go back to my room while things washed and dried.
  • Dinner at Miceli’s in Universal City. This was an incredible 65-year-old Italian restaurant, with a jazz combo and bitchin’ lasagna.
  • After dinner, I want book browsing at the Iliad Bookshop in Burbank. I happened by this place in 2012 and it’s now on my regular rotation. I’m not allowed to buy any more books this trip.
  • As always, I took the long way home.