Tag Archives: weather

hurricanes upset my hiatal hernia

(a breaking news interruption in the what i did this summer series)

like most jewish girls in the 21st century, i’m not known for my hearty nature. my straightened hair frizzes easily, my joints tend to ache before rain, and i need to eat every three hours or my blood-sugar will drop severely and i will undoubtedly act out.  (trust me, you don’t want me to act out.)

i also have a hiatal hernia that gets irritated during stressful situations. so you know i wasn’t happy to hear there was the worst hurricane in like 50 years headed our way.

to be quite frank, even before sandy’s arrival, i’d kind of had it with the natural disaster type things around here. we’d already had two hurricanes and we’ve only lived in baltimore since 2006. oh and then there was THAT EARTHQUAKE which i mistakenly thought was an underground gas explosion, which propelled me to make the wise decision to stick my head out of our second-floor bedroom’s wide-open windows and shout at the jackhammering work guys outside WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING MY HOUSE IS GOING TO EXPLODE.

as luck would have it, a drugdealer across the street looked up at me and shouted EAAARTH-QUAKE!!!!!! oh so it wasn’t a gas explosion, i thought as i my socked feet slid across the rumbling floor. relief quickly turned to guilt, as i really gave the confused-looking workers a verbal lashing. i kind of felt like a dumbass but whatever. it could have been a gas explosion. what the hell do i know? i’ve never felt a friggin earthquake before. this isn’t california, it’s maryland. so i did what any jersey girl would do: i threw on my sneaks and jean jacket, grabbed  my purse and ran the hell out the door. it doesn’t matter that it was 90 degrees out. hell if i’m going to let our house crumble on my very best jean jacket.

anyway, as soon as i heard about the hurricane, my hiatal hernia started acting up. (have you ever had bad gas pains? yeah, it’s kind of like that but higher and it burns.) i put on my brave face (and yes, my jean jacket) and went to safeway friday afternoon to buy water only to be confronted by soviet-era empty shelves, then promptly threatened to cut a girl and pull out her weave for two bottles of smartwater. (no i actually didn’t do that but i could have don’t tempt me)

i bugged holly all weekend about getting ice, buying more drinks, buying more food, making sure the gas tank was filled, recharging all the rechargeable batteries we bought before the last hurricane that we haven’t used yet. i also bugged her to cook me hearty hurricane food like guinness beef stew and chili even though they would probably all upset my hiatal hernia.

i finally remembered to fill up the bathtub sunday night, when the hurricane was already well under way, of course. i’m not exactly sure why you should do that? because storms make the water go out? and then you use it to flush the toilet?

whatever, they kept mentioning it on the news and it was stressing me out. so i turned on the tub then went downstairs and started doing dishes until, panic-stricken, i remembered OH MY GOSH I LEFT THE WATER ON BABE TURN IT OFF HURRY!

“oh i love how this is my responsibility now!” holly shouted as she frantically ran up the stairs.

i knew she was right but i was also in the middle of doing dishes. sue me, i panicked and she was closer to the stairs. anyway, in those moments before she got to the bathroom, i had visions of the tub running over and telling people, yeah we had a really bad leak and our ceiling collapsed but no, it wasn’t because of the hurricane, it was because i left the bathtub on for like 30 minutes.

“IT’S OKAY!” holly shouted downstairs.

i breathed out, eternally grateful for our oversized tub.

i rewarded myself for getting through such a stressful time by drinking some cranberry-lemonade honest-ade, which we bought in case the water went out and/or became poisoned, so it was strictly off-limits. i took a few gulps and irresponsibly encouraged holly to do the same.

then we decided to go downstairs to our children-of-the-corn basement, which, yes, once smelled like dead people but doesn’t anymore, to check how much water we were getting.

we quickly discovered that we’d sprung a new leak, which was saturating the ceiling. i immediately started worrying about how much it would cost to fix and would it lead to structural damage, simultaneously patting myself on the back for even knowing such a term. then i realized holly had been talking to me for like a minute asking me to help her pump the water out of the basement through our street-level basement window.

while we were pumping, all i could do was think about how much i wanted to wash my hands and would i get a spider bite and would patient first be open and what if i needed antibiotics?

we went back upstairs to the living room, and by then the wind was really going. between the howling winds, the leak downstairs, and pounding rain, i doubted i’d be able to fall asleep.

suddenly holly was next to me on the couch in her pajamas wanting to watch one of her dumb comedy/action movies. you know, the kind where one thing after another goes wrong? (this one was “the sitter,” which, though kind of annoying and crude, was also kind of funny.)

she’s always stealthily changing into her pajamas. seriously, i turn my back for a minute and the girl’s in her pajamas. i don’t even know how she does it but it never ceases to amaze me.

“you really want to go to sleep in your pajamas?” i asked her wide-eyed. “what if we need to run out in an emergency in the middle of the night? i’m sleeping in my clothes. i’m not even taking off my bra.”

“what kind of emergency?” she said, trying not to laugh.

“well…like if the windows break. if the wind blows the windows out and we have to run out of the house away from flying glass!”

“i think we’ll be ok,” she said, settling into the movie.

i gave her the evil eye, jealous of her cozy pajamas. my jeggings suddenly seemed restrictive, and my ironic flannel shirt felt too hot. but whatever. i was prepared. she’d be the one sopping wet in her pajamas outside with the neighborhood perverts if our window blew out, not me.

when the movie was over, we went to bed. i decided to wear sweatpants to sleep because hell if was going to run out of the house in the middle of the night in boxer shorts amongst the perverts and whatnot. i had a moment of hesitation regarding my bra but decided i could put it on while running out of the house if need be.

i’m happy to report that besides the new basement leaks, our house withstood the wind and rain. and i did manage to sleep. and there were no emergencies causing us to run outside in the rain amongst the perverts. i was relieved i didn’t have to put my on bra on the run. to be honest, i’m not sure if that’s even possible.

my heart is heavy for all the folks that lost their homes, lost everything, even their lives. i spent many happy times with my family at the jersey shore. but, as a one-time jersey girl, i have to say: new jersey folks are damn resilient. if anyone can rebuild, it’s them. the same goes for those in queens.

last night i thought about posting this entry, wondering if it was too nonchalant considering the damage that’s been done. but then i decided everyone could use a laugh right about now. and what better way to cheer up than to read about my multiple neuroses (and my hiatal hernia) during a hurricane? exactly.

in unrelated news, if you love lunch at 11:30, and i know you do!, please help me win best personal blog in the baltimore sun mobbies competition. signing up takes about…5 seconds. and voting takes about the same! just click on the badge below and look for lunch at 11:30. you can vote once a day, every day! not to try to bribe you or anything, but i’ll totally send you leftover halloween candy if you vote for me. i promise it won’t have any needles in it. promise. and no raisins. i don’t believe in giving out raisins. or pennies. just candy. THANKS.

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i fought the law and the law won

last friday i went to fight a baltimore city parking ticket. one of many i have racked up over the years. why? b/c when i/we get home after dark i refuse to risk life and limb by parking in a legal spot five blocks away and walking back to our house. i swear, most of the “illegal” spots are just marked “no parking” simply to make money for the city. you city ppl know exactly what i’m talking about. it’s not just baltimore.

well i guess i’d had it a couple months ago. i was slapped with yet another $27 ticket and announced to holly that i was going to fight it.

“babe,” i stated (loudly, as always), holding the damn thing up (more like waving it hysterically). “until this city is safe enough for a woman to walk around at night, i will keep parking in spaces that will keep me from getting killed. or at least mugged.”

she nodded and added a “hell’s yeah.”

it’s the principle of it all, i said. and so i went online and marked that i’d fight the damn thing.

first the city sent me a letter saying they got my request for trial and that i’d be receiving a court date. then i got another letter saying they were about to send me my court date. then, two days later, i got yet another letter announcing my doggone court date. (why is it necessary to waste both paper and money sending letters to say your going to send more letters?! good to know our tax money is funding that. and killing trees.)

anyway, last friday was the hearing. i had to make a special trip back for it b/c i was visiting my family in philly having a blast. so that annoyed me. before i even went to the hearing, i knew it was a stupid decision to fight it. i felt like just paying the damn thing. but no. it was too late. and i knew i was going to lose as soon as i walked in the damn courthouse.

first of all, my car read 118 degrees when i got in it to leave for the trial. when i got to the courtroom, everyone was standing outside of it waiting to get in. apparently, most of the ppl there don’t use dial. or don’t shower. i was like, people! have you even heard of deodorant?! it’s 2010! i thought i might pass out from the smell. it was that bad.

when we were finally herded into the courtroom, we all sat in these pew-like seats that reminded me of synagogue. we stood for the judge, who took her sweet old time coming out. then we all had to sit thru everyone’s “not guilty” pleas. i was dreading my turn. it was like judge judy. except worse b/c i wasn’t watching it on tv, it wasn’t funny and i actually had to participate.

“jessica…leshnif? leshniv? leshnikoff?”

LESHNOFF! fer cryin out loud, lady! two syllables! LESH. NOFF. leshnoff!

i walked up and went up to the stand and swore i’d tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me etc. i pleaded not guilty even tho i knew i was guilty of parking in a spot marked “no parking.”

“is there anything you’d like to tell me?” she said. (she said this to everyone.)

i wanted to tell her that this was all B.S. and i should get the ticket revoked simply b/c i did not smell bad.

“your honor,” i said in a shaky voice, suddenly feeling extremely dorky and uncomfortable, not to mention hot (not howyoudoin hot; hothot, as in: overheating)  in my skinny (but dressy) jeans. “this is the manifestation of a larger, ongoing problem.”

then i promptly forgot everything i wanted to say and babbled something about “as a woman, you understand the need to feel safe at night” and so on and so forth. she, of course, cut me off.

“i’ll drop $22 of the fine,” she said, and bam! went the gavel and then they handed me a printout, saying i needed to go to the cashier. i felt like i won in a way, even tho all my nosehairs had been burned out by the surly courtroom crowd’s b.o.

when i got out into the hallway i examined the paper. if i only had $5 left to pay (a  $27 ticket minus $22) then WHY did it say i had to pay $27.50? MORE than the ticket itself? i figured there had to be some kind of mistake.

“court costs,” the cashier explained. “this judge is known for them.”

so there i was. wasting time and gas and nice girl time with my mom in philly, not to mention time with my partner on a friday afternoon at home (and we had weekend out-of-town guests arriving in just a couple hours to prepare for), and i owed more than the ticket?!!

“you have got to be kidding me,” i told the cashier.

she sighed in agreement while i wrote the city a check.

that clash song, “i fought the law and the law one” kept playing in my head as i drove home. they will get you one way or another with these damn parking tickets. my advice is to pay the damn things. before they triple the original fine and then you’re left wondering if every cop on the street has a warrant out for your arrest. not that that’s ever happened to me. i’m just saying.

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lady gaga’s going to perform on the today show

lady gaga: in need of a more supportive bra. also underwear and pants. (it's totally unsanitary to be sitting on that booth like that. i'm just saying.)

what time you think she’s gonna get up?

srsly! while i’m excited to see her perform on one of my fave shows (yes–the today show is really one of my favorite shows; shoutout to my peeps meredith, matt, anne and al! hey guys!) this friday, i’m even more excited to see her up early. for some reason, i am getting the biggest kick out of the thought of none other than lady gaga dragging herself out of bed at, like, 6am, maybe even earlier? to get to the show, get her makeup/get-up (omg what is she going to wear? i will get to that in a bit.), do a sound check, etc. and perform by, like, 8am.

i mean, there are some ppl you just can’t imagine getting up early. lady gaga is one of them. i can imagine her staying up until 6am. not getting up at 6am.

also: it’s going to be fun seeing her dressed in something really outrageous so early in the morning. and…in a heat wave, no less. i think if she wears one of her orbiting headgear type things, it’s going to get condensation on it.

it’s funny how rock stars have license to, you know, wear an orbiting headgear hat (ok, now i’m going to have to include a photo of that ) at 8am. but then again, meredith, matt, anne and al get to eat all the dishes celebrity chefs make–lasagna, salads, ice cream, chicken; you know, all the stuff your mother told you wasn’t “breakfast food” (i always hated that! still do)–at 7am so i guess it all evens out.

lady gaga, can i borrow your hat for my science project? i'm making a solar system and that would be *perfect*!

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if i wanted it to be this hot, i’d live directly on the equator

i interrupt this blog hiatus (omg wtf’s up w/the blog hiatus? i know. it’s annoying me, too) to say that my car’s already reading 94 friggin degrees and it’s not even 9:15 in the morning!!!! 

yes, baltimore–and every other city w/in driving distance–is trapped in a heat wave right now. and i am not a fan of the heat. and srsly? if i wanted it to be this hot i’d live closer to, or directly on, the equator. i am not kidding. i could do very well in an area that’s consistently 60-70 degrees. (does a place like that even exist? if so, pls tell me where it is.)

yesterday was weird. first of all, it was so hot that the city, well southeast baltimore at least, felt like a ghost town. not everyone around here has air conditioning, so when it’s hot, ppl usually hang out on their stoops or the sidewalk to get some relief. but the sun was beating down with such intensity that even the usual stoop suspects stayed inside. i didn’t even smell one bbq. not even the drunks in the house by the alley were out. total silence save for some sirens here and there. like i said: weird.

then, late afternoon, our power went out. in the almost-four years we’ve lived in our house, our power has never gone out. never. the lights went out. dishwasher stopped. the hum of our air conditioner disappeared. holly and i looked at each other and were like: uh-oh.

turns out the entire block was out. within 10 minutes, the temperature in our house went up two degrees. then i started thinking about all the pricey frozen stuff we had in the freezer. and the two new half-gallons of milk in the fridge. and that our cell phones had weak batteries. and both of our computers weren’t charged up. and all the assignments i had to finish.

wow, we are so dependant on electricity, i thought, suddenly filled with deep thoughts about modern life and its luxuries. this, of course, was followed up with a loud “THIS SUCKS” to holly. so much for deep thinking.

she, of course, concurred.

“the silence is deafening,” she said from the couch.

“i know,” i said. i was about to start humming top 40 hits to fill the dead air, but instead suggested we go out for pizza, since we decided that even cracking our fridge or freezer would put all of our cold and/or frozen food in jeopardy.

we went out and came back and the power was still out, tho the BGE guys were working on it. (major props to those guys.) thankfully our neighbor lori the teacher opened her home to us like she usually does (hi lori! love ya) and we charged an extra cell phone battery and holly’s computer. everyone was out on their stoops and sidewalks by then. and i guess the darkness and boredom drove everyone that had leftover fireworks to light them off almost simultaneously. most of the ghettofabulous fireworks around here sound like machine guns, so between the darkness, silence and bursts of uzi-like explosives i felt like we were in some kind of urban warfare movie.

we broke out the flashlights and then lit all the little tealight candles we have left from our wedding (almost two years ago now! can you believe it??). it could have been a romantic moment if it hadn’t been like 90 degrees in the house.

we went up to the roofdeck and since it was so dark and on the way up, i did a little flashlight signal to jerry the drunk (who was hanging out his second-floor window, like he usually does; tho he did have clothes on this time, seemed like, anyway. note: he doesn’t always have clothes on) as my way of saying hi. he waved. (i gotta say, he really is the nicest neighborhood drunk)

we didn’t last long up there b/c honestly, the fireworks (in such close proximity) combined w/the darkness all around was freaking me out. we went to sleep, to the sound of the guys working, on top of our comforter, and holly woke me up around midnight to tell me the power was back on. i went downstairs to check on the stuff in the fridge (food: always my biggest priority) and everything in the freezer was still frozen solid. whew.

then i got some crushed ice and poured myself a cold glass of iced tea, turned up the ac, went back upstairs, turned on the ceiling fan and turned on the tv. (i would have fired up my 450-degree hair straightener, but, you know, we weren’t going anywhere.) ahhh. creature comforts.  man i love electricity.

so today it’s supposed to be even hotter (104 degrees, msnbc is telling me) b/c of the humidity. and it’s not cooling down anytime soon. do you hate this heat? do you love it? and if you love it, why?!

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it’s fun to scare body shop girls

"hi lady! boy do i have a story for *you*!"

even tho i’d like to be, i’m not one for expensive beauty products. neither is holly. therefore, we usually find ourselves skipping specialty stores like the body shop. that all changed in november when our next-door, wall-sharing neighbor “kicked it,” was discovered, unfortunately, in a serious state of decay, and our entire house (and everything in it) smelled like death. while we tried to figure out how to get rid of the smell, we tried everything and anything to cover up it up.

well i told you that cinnamon spray was a total disaster (cinnamon and death!). natural citrus spray from whole foods was even worse, believe it or not (citrus and death!). holly cooked one of her famous roasts to cover it up–which worked while it was cooking, but hell if we even had an appetite for it. (plus, eventually, it was…beef and death! nice, right?). 25 boxes of baking soda didn’t even put a dent in it. then we somehow simultaneous thought of a winning remedy: home fragrance oils from the body shop. those always smell so good (and strong!) when they’re burning outside the shops in the mall. so we high-tailed it to the nearest location at the inner harbor and settled on pine oil, which, thankfully, was around during the christmas season. we needed to get an oil burner, too.

now, i’ve found that there are usually fairly nice girls working at the average body shop. even here in baltimore [home of the GCE (Grumpiest Cashiers Ever); dc comes in as a close second, btw]. the girl working that day was no exception.

“can i help you ladies find anything?” she chirped. her makeup was perfect. her hair was perfect. she had a thousand-watt smile.

oh my oh my oh my, what you have just gotten yourself into, i thought.

 “uh, yeeeah,” i said slowly. “we’re looking for…an oil burner. we already found some oil. is this stuff…potent? because we have a…situation at home.”

and then we told her what was going on. her face fell.

“oh my,” she said. oh my is right, i thought. she wished us luck as we walked out the door. we’d need it.

we went thru that pine oil fast. (i just remembered we bought some cranberry oil, too, but that wound up smelling a little body-like so we stopped using it.) we went back before thanksgiving and bought another two bottles of pine. we burned thru those, too. thanksgiving came around. holly went to western pee-ay, i went to eastern (philly). i needed to unwind in a city where i didn’t fear for my life most of the time, so i as soon as i got out of the cab at my parents’ condo, i went out walking–in the rain, w/out an umbrella (virtually unheard of for me)–for about, oh four miles or so. (i do love my city walks, esp. in the fall.) i wound up at a fancy mall in the center of town. and lo and behold, there was a body shop. and they were having…a sale. on home fragrance oil of all things.

“you finding everything ok?” asked the nice girl working there.

i told her yes and said how happy i was that the oil was on sale. we agreed that is indeed great stuff. she offered up some other scents but i told her that we were only using pine b/c it was the only thing that covered up…yeah. so i gave her the 15-second version. she twisted her face up and then expressed some heartfelt sympathy that we were going thru it at all (and that our neighbor had such a lonely passing).

holly and i hit a local mall over the weekend. i’m not fond of malls, so she really has to bug me to get me to go. we started passing a body shop, but slowed our pace as we sniffed whatever enticing oil blend they were burning. it smelled fruity. and we agreed we needed something. it’s warming up outside (uh, yeah. it was over 90 degrees yesterday! and today!). which means our late neighbor’s house is warming up (w/out any a-c). any residual funk in there is going to warm up, too. and we fear our basement is starting to get…that smell. again. so we walked in and went right to the oils.

once again, a pretty, bubbly body shop girl came up to us and asked us if we needed any help. we told her we were ok on the oil front, but did they sell any replacement metal oil burner bowls? 

“ours is a little…gunked up,” i explained.

“yeah,” holly said. “we used it a lot this winter.” then she shocked the bejeezus outta me by telling her the 15-second version of why our house stunk so bad. she didn’t tell her to get a reaction. she really just wanted to emphasize just how well those home fragrance oils work.

the girl’s eyes bugged out. wide. and that’s when i realized that freaking out body shop girls is almost as fun as coming out to someone that doesn’t expect little choppy-banged, lipstick/heel-wearing me to be a card-carrying homo. ok wait. there isn’t actually a “homo card,” but i swear if there was i’d have one. and if they actually existed, they’d be one helluva lot more stylish than what the DMV hands out. HOLLA!

oh fer cryin out loud: i really am old now

b/c i just called the local elementary/middle school “not as a parent but as a concerned member of the community.” damn kids are running wild in the neighborhood! not only walking in the middle of the street–i’m not talking a few at a time either, i’m talking 15-20 at a time; the sidewalks are clear btw, there’s  no reason to walk in the middle of the street–but taking handfuls of icy, sharp snow and scratching cars as they drive by.

this one kid did it to the car in front of us, then looked us straight in the eye and did it to us, too. they all pretty much sh*t a brick when all the sudden holly opens her door and gets out to yell at them, “hey! do you have money to fix the scratches on my car?? do you????” at which point they all started taunting us, shouting curses, dancing and giving us the finger, still in the middle of the street, of course.

look, i’m not stupid. these kids have been cooped up inside for over a week. and a lot of the kids around here depend on school to eat, so they’re probably grumpy and their home lives are probably crap. but: it is DANGEROUS for them to be walking down the middle of the street any time of the year, but esp. when two-way streets are now one-way and there’s ice and snow everywhere and most ppl around here don’t know how to drive in these conditions anyway! half the cars you see every day are slipping and sliding down these narrow sidestreets that a lot of the schools are on. they also shouldn’t be messing with moving vehicles, trying to damage them. these kids are badasses as it is. middle schoolers have actually beaten up full-grown adults in this city. but c’mon now. taunting drivers while they’re slipping and sliding on bad road conditions? plus taunting drivers in general! and destroying property. school administrators should know about that.

then we’re trying to pull in our spot and just as we’re starting to back up we see this woman–i don’t know if she was a mother or just a caretaker/daycare person–but she is beating this little girl that couldn’t have been more than four. i’m sorry but a kid that little does not need to be hit like that. what could she have possibly done?? the woman’s got about four or five kids with her, including an itty-bitty one in stroller. and this little girl is just wailing and now the others that saw her get hit are crying, too. we didn’t know if we should say something to this woman or not. i just kept thinking, if we say something she’ll probably get even more mad and beat the girl some more. yeah, and we’re wondering why kids are cursing us out and destroying property. i’m not saying it gives older kids a carte blanche to do whatever they want to, but it was certainly a cause-and-effect reminder of what some of these kids have gone thru and continue to go thru on a daily basis. it’s funny how you need a license to drive, but anyone biologically able can have a child.

anyway, i’m like, 80 now, calling school administrators. and i know they have enough to worry about. but still, they ought to know what their kids are up to in the neighborhood just outside the school building.

i knew it was only a matter of time

before some dumbass pulled a knife on somebody over a parking spot. this is today’s new neighborhood development.

yup, some dude moved someone else’s chair and parked in his spot. we saw cop cars and asked what was going on. like i keep saying: respect the chair. [or the cone, milkcrate, dining room set, tv tray, coffee table (yes, saw one of those today) or, my new favorite, a laundry basket full of snow with a pink foam floaty noodle sticking out of it.] respect it or you might get cut. at least in baltimore. so beware.