Friday, February 27, 2015

Things you learn in your first apartment


Before I got my first apartment I had spent years bouncing from state to state, couch to couch, car to public park.  When I turned eighteen I moved back to Phoenix from Coeur d’Alene with one of my best friends (surprisingly we are still best friends today).  After a scramble to find employment we managed to find a pretty decent two bedroom apartment in a pretty good area. 

Neither of us was really met with any sort of disillusion of what living on our own meant since we’d been doing it in one form or another for quite some time.  In Coeur d’Alene while crashing with my cousin’s girlfriend we figured out how to cook Hot Pockets without a microwave.  We knew what it meant to live on the third floor and have to back up the stairs due to a knee injury and had experienced the thrill of streaking topless through a parking lot at 1am.  We now knew not to eat the fruit at the bottom of the Jungle Juice trash can and we had learned that wearing a Marilyn Manson t-shirt with the effword on it was a surefire way to get sent home from school.

We were all kinds of ready for our own apartment.  The adventures we had there are worthy of their own post but here are the things we picked up along the way:

Milk crates and cinder blocks make adequate furniture

Who needs a seven hundred dollar entertainment center when we can hide out in my Volkswagen at 2am and rip off milk crates from behind the grocery store?  We built an entertainment center, nightstands, shelves, end tables, and I’m pretty sure we built a coffee table too – all out of milk crates. 



Condiments are a privilege – Not a right

When you are faced with spending your last ten dollars on fifty packages of Ramen noodles and frozen vegetables or ketchup and mustard the Ramen wins every time.  One of our many, MANY transients could do wonders with Ramen noodles.  I swear, she was the driving force behind our food the entire time we lived there.



Clothes can be worn more than once before needing washed

That ten bucks that went toward Ramen?  It likely came from the laundry fund.  Yes, I admit it:  women in their late teens and early twenties employ the “sniff test” too.  Not just men of all ages. 


We didn’t live in that apartment very long – a few months I believe – and in all that time I can’t recall one time that I did laundry.  I can only hope that others had been doing it for me.

Name brand TP is for rich toolbags



If we weren’t using John Wayne paper (rough and scratchy and doesn’t take sh*t from anyone) then we were using napkins from the local Taco Bell.  I think I remember at one point someone bringing in one of those huge rolls that they had ripped off from the gas station.  That sucker lasted a few weeks!


Bedframes aren’t a necessity

In our apartment not one single bed was on a frame.  Not hers, not mine, and certainly not the pallets made by the transients in the living room.  Not surprising since our furniture was made up of crates.


If something is gonna break it’s going to happen at the worst time

This one didn’t happen to us in that apartment but it’s happened since.  Often.  Right after you send in that last payment for the month, your bank account now sitting at exactly six dollars and twelve cents, your car won’t start.  Or you drop your phone in the toilet.  Or some douche busts out the back window of your Honda to rifle through your things but not take ANYTHING because he’s a bastard and now you have to replace the window.

There will be bugs

Again, not in that apartment but I remember one vividly that should have had about twelve hundred residents on the lease.  Three humans and 1,197 friggen roaches.  No matter how many times the complex bombed that apartment they never got rid of them. 

It’s amazing what you can get used to when faced with no choice.  We called them the Ferocious Roaches. 

Dear god.



Friday, February 20, 2015

The Night Was

Growing up most of us had that one relative who just “gets” us.  That one comrade who stays with us through thick and thin and around whom most of our childhood stories are centered. 

Enter Amby.  We didn’t live together: she lived with my mother and I with my grandmother.  But even so we were super close then and still are to this day.  In fact, I expect an earful from her after this post goes live.




Amby and I spent nearly all spring breaks, winter breaks, summer breaks, etc together.  We didn’t have “sleepovers” we had “weekovers”.  Our favorite movies were Mommie Dearest and Throw Momma From the Train.  To this day I can send her a text that reads only “Move it, Lardass!” and she will reply with “Pick up every piece!”

One of the earliest memories I have of us is also, unfortunately, one that is captured on film for future generations.  We were about seven and eight years old respectively and had learned a cheer in school.  So during one of my grandmother’s semi-annual barbeques we stood side by side in front of Kevin (who always showed up at these events with a huge video camera mounted on his shoulder) with our dirty faces, bare feet, and scraggly hair singing this dumb cheer with horrid yellow pom poms on sticks.



Ugh, we are NEVER going to live that down.

Around that same time she and I decided to try our hand at shoplifting.  My grandmother had taken us to Pic n Save (now Big Lots, heh) and while we were there she and I ripped off some plastic dolls with long hair.  In the middle of the store aisle we stood, slowly working the packages open.  When we finally were able to free the dolls we (again, in the middle of the store aisle!) shoved them in our underpants and rejoined Nanny a few aisles over. 


And the store employees never caught us.  My god, we couldn’t have BEEN more obvious!

When we got home we decided that we were going to go swimming in the horse barrels.  Yep, that’s what I said.  So we filled them with water and jumped in, wearing only our underpants filled with dolls.  

Then came the part of this entire scheme that we never bothered to factor in.  Obviously no one had bought the dolls for us so how could we explain how we got them?  We couldn’t.



The result of this little stunt of ours?  A choice, granted by Nanny.  We could either get a butt beat with the fly swatter or sit in the corner for three hours.  You can bet we sat in the corner for three hours. 



Our stunts weren’t always embarrassing.  There was the time that we spent an entire afternoon and evening eating every single orange off of one of our orange trees.  We were sitting on a huge wood pile next to the horse corrals just passing the afternoon with conversation when we decided to eat an orange.  Then another.  Then another. 




The amount of oranges we consumed could have won a record.  It was easily thirty or forty between us.  The piles of orange peels alone were enough to cause concern.  The strange part?  Neither of us were full, neither of us were sick!  When it got dark we just stood up, brushed off our clothes, and went inside like nothing had happened!

One of the stories that still gets me laughing to this day was an embarrassment that is hers alone to bear.  We’d been out walking (this was not uncommon, we walked tens of miles a day to avoid being at home) and she had to use the bathroom really, really bad.  We found a lone convenience store on a corner that boasted absolutely nothing else and darted inside.  The clerk REFUSED to let her use the facilities!  Desperate and nearly in tears she stood ringing her hands outside the store, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other while I stood alongside, in tears of my own from laughing so hard. 


My suggestion that she go behind the building and just drop trou was turned down initially but as the situation reached DEFCON 1 she had a change of heart.  We set off behind the convenience store and she squatted down to the tune of my increased laughter. 



The punchline?  It was all in vain.  She’d waited too long and wet her pants before she could whip them down!  Hahahaha

These memories and so many others like them are part of the reason we are still the best of friends.  You just can’t let someone who knows so much about you fall out of favor with you.  Who knows what they might tell the world?

By the way, Amby grew up to be pretty cool: