Posts Tagged ‘bus’

Martha’s Messes

July 14, 2012

$700 a month for an apartment used to only include a room for your personals, maybe a bathroom or two, a kitchen of sorts and if you were lucky, a few doors for privacy. Well, my $700 a month also included a parking space! Right in front of my apartment, which is wildly convenient for bringing in groceries but also a safety measure since I typically get home late at night. This parking situation has carried on business as usual until just recently. Now I’m dealing a grotesque breach of contract and I feel like a paying stranger in my own living quarters. No, my roommate and I aren’t feuding amongst ourselves for parking rights or a lack of ability to cough up rent when it’s due as in most domestic partnerships. Rather, I am now struggling with a passive aggressive usurption of my lovely parking space! Lend me your ear:

I live in a three-story, multi-family house wherein the landlord lives on the right half of the house and my roommate and I live on the left. My landlord, we’ll call her Joy, has two degenerate children. I use the term children directly refering to the infant-like actions Joy’s offspring exhibit daily, but in no means does the word “children” coincide with their age. John and Martha (I don’t know the son’s name, but that’s the daughter’s real name… it’s just such a dreadful, cliché name that I couldn’t be asked to change it!!) are both between the ages of 25-31 if I judge correctly. John also has an 8-year-old daughter that lives with him as the mother is unfortunately legally barred from seeing the girl. Let’s count, that’s four people living in a small, left-sided apartment with then myself and my roomie on the right; this renders a total of six people in one narrow house. 

Wow.

Martha and John’s daughter enjoying a car ride together

Fortunately, John doesn’t have a car. He has a daughter and a drug problem, but no car. Joy has a car. My roommate doesn’t have a car. John’s daughter clearly does not have a car. I have a car. Aaaaand Martha has a car. Three cars for six people vieing for parking in front of a narrow house.

Now, apparently Joy is some kind of major property holder and gave her daughter, Martha, the keys to a house just up the road from my address. Martha fucked that up somehow when she slept with the current tenant who demanded his keys back in a 7am-blowout that happened on a warm Saturday morning when I wished I was asleep instead of peering out my bathroom window listening to southie dialect and screaming. So, Martha doesn’t live in her own house anymore and has pulled the noble move of “living with Mother”.

I wouldn’t give two shits about this new living arrangement if Martha didn’t come complete with morning drama and a snazzy white car to take up my parking space. Joy doesn’t allow me to park in front of her driveway because that’s where she parks. She once told me to move because I was blocking her garage. However, when the door opened a few days later, old AC units and impaled flotation devices spilled onto the driveway. Her true issue? I was in her personal parking space. Well, your damn daughter is in mine! 

Enjoy my spot, Martha. Don’t get hit by a bus on your way inside

I’ve lived here now since March and I have become quite accustomed to parking in front of or very close to my house. Why wouldn’t that be a normal practice? I pay to live here! Martha does not. She takes my spot, screams at boyfriends at all hours of the morning, and her car sits there all damn day. Fortunately for her, Martha doesn’t have a job. Joy does, Martha doesn’t. Joy’s car moves occasionally but good ole Martha’s just chills in the coveted spot that used to be mine… and silently mocks me.

Not what I want to walk down after 12 hours in heels…

Now, when I come home at all hours of the night from work… or play 😀 … I am plagued with finding a spot far up my own street. But more often than not, I hafta park on the main road and deal with the drunk degenerates hollering as I leave my car to walk down the street to my house. Last Friday night, I was coming home from work in my finest weekend eve attire, and a drunk man on a bike nearly followed me home yelling his name was Mark over and over again. The next morning when I walked out to my road-side park job, Mark had left his phone number and again his name on an old lottery ticket, encouraging me to call him whenever. This is just ridiculous. Joy once said that Martha sometimes lives with her… obviously this sleeping with tenants issue is a common occurence… but I wish she would just leave.

I miss my parking space… :C

I’m probably going to go and speak with Joy about this matter in the next few days as we’re going on 4 weeks of Martha’s Messes.

I just want to park my car in front of my apartment.

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Top of the World at Top of the Hub

June 29, 2011

With bated breath, I watched as Master Sommelier Ron Edwards began calling forward the students who had passed the Court of Masters Level 1 Sommelier course. Name after name came and went without the “Laura Duffy” that I was awaiting. Where was my name!? He neared the end and still, no me. Finally, Ron stopped and stood before the group of 70+ students, empty-handed. The available certificates and pins were out in the hands of their rightful owners and a sick feeling swarmed my stomach.

For weeks I had been dreading the 48-hour long indoctrination that the Court would be providing me. Everything they would cover should be common knowledge to all attendees. The class started on Monday with over 90 people and by the first break, 5 or so individuals left the class – and their $600 – as it became clear how the next 48 hours would pan out. Day One was filled with major wine regions from France, California, blind tastings galore and a sushi lunch. Each row of prospective Level Ones would stand up and address the class while quantitatively breaking down their assigned wine.

Sniff sniff.... Alright, who's drinkin' coffee!?

“This wine is clean with medium intensity. It is day bright and straw yellow in color with a clear rim, thick moving legs and medium to medium high viscosity.”

And that was just the sight of the wine! Row after row would pick apart brilliant wines and we’d all see each other’s skill level. My row went and we were given the pronounced Gruner Veltliner, one of my favorites! Other rows weren’t so lucky! Assityko from Greece showed up and a bone dry Sauvenniers reared its illusive little head. These tastings were no joke!

I left Monday’s class full of information and emotionally drained. I wanted a beer! But instead, I took a short nap and reviewed the Grand Crus of Chablis and Beaujolais before switching to California. When my brain was completely fried, I somehow managed to fall asleep – an inevitably drempt about my loom exam. I woke up early so not to miss my bus like I had on Monday morning and I spent the entire hour I had to study finding something to wear that  both comfortable yet professional.

I made my bus by literally 45 seconds!

Tuesday morning opened with a tasting – it was 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Pretend the good looking guy is me

8am straight through to around 3pm when the fruits of our labor-intensive studying were to be tested. The class continued to shrink till maybe about 80 people sat for the CMS exam. The exam consisted of 70 questions to be answered in 45 minutes. I test well generally but those familiar butterflies were goin’ a mile a minute as I walked by into the room from break to accept my exam. The master sommeliers were encouraging and wished us well before the much-anticipated,

“You may begin.”

I took a deep breath and flipped over the exam. I carefully transferred the answers from my overflowing brain to the appropriate bubble. The exam was very fair and I would not have felt so well about my answers if I had taken the exam even six months earlier. I have no doubt that the WSET course I took over the winter helped prepare me immeasurably. After double checking my answers and making sure I didn’t double-bubble, I stood up and looked around the room. I was the second person to finish but I felt confident about everything. So, I handed in my test and thanked Scott Carnay, a Master legend in my opinion, and walked away from the meeting room.

The CMS was held in the Prudential building at The Top of the Hub, perhaps inappropriate for failing students who might consider jumping after not receiving a certificate. While waiting for my classmates to finish and the exams to be graded, I chatted with a few other people in the Hub’s bar area. What I really wanted to do was order a martini from the bar but I didn’t know when we would be returning to the room

“Man! What did you say for the sake question? Was Koji the yeast agent?”

“That’s what I put. What did you say for where Gavi comes from?”

“Wasn’t it Greco something or other?”

“Yea it is, here lemme check……. Aw shit, it’s from Piedmont!”

“Where the hell is Naoussa?”

“In Greece.”

And so forth. A comrade couldn’t take the suspense and bought a glass of wine to even his nerves. We continued to wait to hear the outcome until about 4:30pm. When we were summoned, I sauntered into the meeting room to find a delicious Champagne toast prepared for us! The number of candidates had again dropped to perhaps 70 people with the others leaving immediately after sitting so not to be embarrassed by the ceremony. I completely understood – several people had exited the room visibly upset after the exam.

Fast forward to the current moment, all the certificates were gone and I had nothing in my hands. As I contemplated jumping from the 53rd floor of the Pru, Ron spoke up.

“I’d like to thank everyone for to putting forth the effort required by for this class and we have one more certificate. This person clearly understood the studying that was necessary to pass this exam and she is top of the class. And that person is Laura Duffy.”

Everyone started clapping and I nearly fainted from shock and relief. I walked up front with my very empty champagne flute to the four smiling masters. We do this all the time, they laughed and handed me my hard-earned certificate and pin.

“Wasn’t it worth the wait though?” asked Master Sommelier and Sake Master, Sally Mohr with a bright grin on her face. “Cruel and unusual punishment.”

I put my pin on my necklace and wore it for the rest of the evening!

It was done and I had not only passed but passed so successfully that I was recognized. My peers congratulated me and I couldn’t stop smiling as I stared at my pin and certificate. I truly cannot explain how edifying that experience was. Any time I’d ever doubted myself or felt incompetent was completely null and void right then and there in the meeting room at The Top of the Hub.

So, I helped myself to one of the ten remaining glasses of Champagne!

$25 and a pair of Kate Spade booties

January 3, 2011

I flew to Seattle for a whirl wind Christmas. It was even more jam-packed with to-dos than my suitcase! My best friend, Kristin – who I didn’t even get a chance to see! – said this trip was probably my busiest, save one other trip a few years back. I don’t remember which time she was referring to but my god, this trip bit me in the ass. One possible reason why everything was such a cluster f*ck was I brought my boyfriend to Seattle with me. Trying to visit with my family that I see once a year and attempting to keep my honey entertained/comfortable as well proved to be something of yard sale: All over the place. However, Christmas Day this year was aaaaaawesome! I received everything I asked for and more, the key gift being a pair of perfect black Kate Spade boots with perfect red bows!

Would you like to go bare foot or wearing my boots?

I left Seattle only four days after arriving to battle the nasty N0r’eastern storm that was rocking the New England area and leaving hundreds of flights delayed or cancelled. To be honest, I shouldn’t have been leaving in the middle of a such a storm but I had to cut my trip in half to work. Whatever. So, my boyfriend and I drove back to the SeaTac to return our rental car, leaving behind a slew of fun things left undone. I had no idea that our adventures were far from over!

The estimated cost of the Dollar Rental car was $96 for four days. I have the confirmation code to prove it. The actual price we paid was $172. Taxes, they said, and literally stopped talking to me about it. End of discussion, get the F outta here. I always end up spending more than I anticipated when I travel but I didn’t mean for it to be on something so lame. Jeans or wine perhaps, not a stupid car.

Ma gave my $25 for travel money moments before I tried to keep my shit together when I bid my fam a dieu. I figured I’d just spend the cash on booze during our layover in Denver. After returning our lame and over-priced car, we made it to the airport ticket counter to throw our bags into someone else’s hands.

“Your bag is just at the limit,” scolded the ticket lady. “Next time, put the heaviest bag up first.” Apparently we ruined her system by putting Nick’s bag on the scale before mine. I am ashamed. We waded through the line of other tourists and visitors, sauntered through customs and finally made it to our gate. Fine, no incident. Our flight to Denver was short and cramped. Nick and I played Angry Birds on his Ipad and caught up on the zzz’s that we missed during our vacation. Whoever said that vay-cays were relaxing has never traveled with me!

We landed late in Denver and I barely had time to pee. We ran to our gate and I specifically remember commenting to Nick, ” I have no idea how old people would have made this connecting flight!” I had missed my seat position of A45 because our Seattle flight took its sweet time taking off and I didn’t get to pick the seat I wanted. Who cares right? Well, I hate babies so I need to make SURE they are nowhere near me or I start to kinda freak out and get anxiety whilst they scream and their mothers just stare at them. No joke, on one of my previous flights years ago, this stupid woman was just staring in dumbfounded wonder at her wailing infant. An older, wiser woman got out of her seat, walked over to the idiot and said,

“You need to walk your baby around and bounce it.”

I still had my $25 at this point and I found some suitable seat. I took my chances with the baby situation and put my carry on luggage above me. My carry ons included a large bag of shoes and a picture of Seattle that Mom and Dad had bought for my house. It was carefully packaged in a flat, large box so not to be dented. The box itself was a present wrapped neatly in green and gold wrapping paper and one little boy said, “I wonder what she got!” Legos… a PSP… thousand dollar bills. No, just a photo. So this old guy got on the plane and wanted the space where I just placed my present. Nevermind the open bins around and behind him, only my bin will do! He took my package out and tipped it over. Sure, we both knew that there’s a flat picture in the box but what if it couldn’t be tipped over!? Dick. So, he shoved his goofy bag into my bin and tried to shove my present back on top of his luggage.

“Easy does it,” he sighed. I get up, this dude is out of his mind. My present won’t fit! I help him turn my box around a bit. “This is mine,” I said with annoy. Whatever. Everything worked out and we took off. The plane landed in Boston and the place was covered from a heavy snowfall. Our bags, or rather, the Southwest Airlines people took their sweet ass time getting our luggage out of the plane and we left the terminal about an hour after landing. Not bad, you say? TRY FLYING FOR TEN HOURS THEN COME TALK TO ME. Nick wasn’t happy about my bag collection. I had four, he had one. Sorry. I have a vagina so I pack more stuff. Plus most of the gifts were in my bag! Aaaand most of the gifts came home in my bag too. We waited and waited for the Silver Line bus to come and get us. As we’re waiting, I’m standing with our bags and Nick is trying to see where the bus stop is. During this process, he discovered the lack of airport courtesy and slipped on a patch of ice that wasn’t salted. He cracked his head on a garbage can and started bleeding! Things went from shitty to shit storm. My honey is bleeding, the bus is late, it’s cold outside, I’m tired, where’s the damn bus, I keep hearing about how many bags I have, I’m sorry, I’m sad, it’s okay to be sad, we need to stop being mad, oh look! it’s the bus. Five bucks for the ride, fine! We went from the bus to the T and rode into Harvard Square to hail a cab. Big shocker, the taxi driver didn’t speak a lick of English and I’m tried not to worry. You all remember that story from The Metro about that psycho cabby who got made at his patrons and stole the girl before she could get out at her stop? Yea. Same guy, I’m sure. We somehow managed to get to our house and everything was just lost under a mountain of snow! I whipped out my $25 from Ma. Nick had to drag all my shit around with him, so I paid for the cab. The cost was $5 something and I asked for $13 back out of my $20. We pulled our bags out of the taxi trunk and stood in a foot of snow before our house. The next question was where are the cars? In Boston during a “snow emergency” the city tows everyone parked on the wrong side of the street (you have to be all-knowing to understand which side of the street!) and they make a pretty penny before lifting a finger to deal with the snow itself. Plows come out, make a mess and return to base. Nick and I were frightened that our cars would have been claimed by this nonsense. We prepared ourselves and peered down the road. BOTH CARS WERE ON THE GOOD SIDE OF THE ROAD! I was and still am amazed. I really thought Nick parked on the bad side of the road! It was incredible. God knows how much the towing fee AND storage fees would have been! Sheesh.

The next day I took the leftover $13 I had from Ma and went to Johnny’s Foodmaster. The place has wall to wall carpeting… don’t buy the produce! I bought the fixing for breakfast (and inevitably, some other random things too!) but upon return, I realized I didn’t get eggs! I’d just used all my money so I gathered up all our empty beer bottles and returned them for the deposit fee. $1.95, aaaaaaaalright! Now we have eggs.  After a hearty eggy breakfast, we set to the task of digging out the cars. Enter my awesome boots!

That's my car and Nick's behind it.

Previously, I was apprehensive about buying galoshes. I thought they were kinda dumb and made you look like a duck. The polka dot booties are simply dreadful. But after careful research, I sent Mom three different pairs that I deemed acceptable and had her pick one out for me. I could not have asked for a more opportune time to utilize my boots, hell, I wouldn’t have asked! Nearly two feet of snow mauled Boston and had to be shoveled away in order to life to continue. My boots received a thorough christening! It took Nick and me about two hours to not only dig our cars out but also to help our landlady shovel her drive way. That wasn’t my idea, it was Nick’s. She has a perfectly fine driveway where we should be allowed to park. She can’t drive anymore because she’s really old and choppy, so her car just chills in the driveway. If we had been allowed to leave our cars in her driveway while we were in Seattle, I would have totally been fine with shoveling. But that didn’t happen at all. We busted up our backs for charity. At least I had my Christmas boots though. And I made up a banging breakfast with my $25.

 Thanks, Mom!