Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Tale of a Free Sofa

When my grandparents were moving from their three-bedroom house in Palm Desert to a much smaller apartment in Newport Beach, they had a ton of furniture to get rid of. Most of my cousins are already living on their own with husbands and kids (and the resources to purchase new furniture) or are just about to start college and have no use for a seven-foot tall armoire or glass dining table with a wicker bottom. (Yeah, wicker. For inside. I don’t know either...)

However, there was one granddaughter who would be moving out within a few months and probably would have some use for this lovely yet dated furniture: Me. Therefore, my grandmother called me everyday to ask me if I would be interested in (insert your choice of dated, worn, or just plain awful furniture here). I tried to explain to her numerous times that I would probably be moving into a very small place and her stuff would simply not fit. I kept that fact that I am not 80 and do not enjoy the “Palm Beach Retirement Community” style to myself.

After many mind numbing and repetitive conversations, one piece of furniture kept coming up. My grandparents had inherited some of the furniture with the house, including two sofas. Now, they are not the prettiest of sofas, but they are incredibly comfortable. Nice and wide so without the pillows, they work fantastically as a bed. With the pillows, they are plush enough to sit on for long periods of time, but not so soft that you get stuck in them. My grandma just could not bear to get rid of such quality pieces. After much debate, I told her I would take one of them("No Grandma, I will not need two sofas...Grandma I work at Starbucks and will probably be living on my own. I will not have some huge loft that two sofas would fit in."), but she had to store them with the rest of her stuff no one would take and she couldn’t bear to get rid of. I wasn’t moving out soon enough to be willing to store it at our house. She told me I had six months and that I would have to come get it when it was time. Thus a deal was struck.

Cut to eight months, two tragedies, and a promotion later, and I was finally ready to move out on my own. I rented a truck and drove down to Orange County to get my sofa. Which was much bigger than I remembered…and had twice as many pillows as I remembered….and was much yellower with more flowers that I remembered…

After lots of muscle and hard work, the sofa actually fits perfectly. It’s still yellow and covered in flowers, but it’s free so I can’t complain (too much). What’s really funny is that none of my friends think it’s as bad as I do. All agree, however, it is incredibly comfortable. And since it came from my grandparents, I don’t have the same fears I would have if I had bought a used sofa from another source. (You never know who sat naked on that sofa you bought on Craigslist or what those naked people did while on said sofa. Think about it.). Now if only I can get her to relinquish those reading chairs….

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Need to Alert TLC....yet...

As I mentioned last time, I moved. Not only did I move, but I moved out of my mom’s house. Therefore, a lot of purging was done and I discovered a little something about myself: I have hoarding tendencies.

Now, anyone who has ever watched Hoarders on TLC knows that the first excuse a hoarder will make is that there is value in trash. How many times have I watched someone say “Oh but I bought that with my dad 20 years ago and even though it has no use whatsoever and is damaged beyond repair, I need to keep it for sentimental value.” I sat there every time and nodded along when Callie Cleanup came over and ever-so gently explained how worthless said nostalgic items really were. Then, when it came time to go through all my shit, I wasn’t so much in agreement.

Not to say that I had to tunnel my way to my bed. I’m not that bad. But there was definitely some stuff that I couldn’t even figure out why I saved.

A broken Walkman? Not just broken, but it was as if I had stepped on it and then said, “Hey, maybe I’ll use the pieces for something else!” Guess what, I didn’t.

A white t-shirt with nothing on it that is clearly 3 sizes too small? I can’t even begin to figure out what the sentimental value of it was, because there were zero distinguishing marks on it. (And if anyone makes a joke about it was a “token,” it was a girl’s shirt and I’m straight.) (Also, if anyone needs an explanation about what a “token” is, message me.)

A pamphlet I got on my first trip to New York explaining how sinners will be punished in hell unless they repent? That’s just funny.

The king of the useless crap, however, was the drawer full of old bills. And I don’t mean from a few months ago. I found a bill from Verizon dating back to 2003. It was not a particularly special bill. There was no new terms or upgrades. No special coupons that never got used. Not even a handwritten note saying “THIS WAS PAID. ON…CALL IF THEY TRY TO CHARGE YOU DOUBLE.” (Oh yeah. That was worth a laugh.) Nothing. Just a whole drawer dedicated to old bills that no sane person would keep. Which possibly explains why I kept them….

That’s not to say I didn’t save some of the random crap. My Carebears pillowcase from when I was a kid. A dishcloth that I decorated with my grandma and sister that has some questionable artwork. A bunch of Dad’s t-shirts that are only good for sleeping because no one should see them. My old softball uniform. My old basketball uniform. All that stuff at least is good for the memories, even if it is useless and just takes up space.

All this being said, I am making a valiant effort to stop holding on to stuff that is only going to drive me nuts when it comes time to move again. Not that I’m going to move any time soon (I LOVE MY APARTMENT!!!), but when I do, I’d rather not find takeout menus from places I never ate at in Chicago. Collecting shot glasses from everywhere I’ve been is one thing, but takeout menus officially makes me a hoarder. (Although what does collection shot glasses say about me?)

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Long-Lost Love Rediscovered

Boy has there been a lot going on! Obviously, since I haven’t written anything in two months, which I am very sorry for and will work very hard to make better! I have birthday stuff and moving stuff and work stuff and life stuff and more stuff than I even think I can write about! However, as I am a bit rusty, I am going to talk about an old love I had forgotten about and am now rediscovering.

What is this long-lost love? The Laundromat.

Oh yeah. You read that correctly. The Laundromat.

This love affair started many many years ago. My grandparents introduced us. They didn’t have a washer and dryer at their house for almost my entire life. So, every Thursday night, they would load the station wagon full of all the laundry from the week. Clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, everything. They would head to the Laundromat and proceed to take up an entire row of washers. Then, Grandpa would take me for ice cream at Baskin Robbins next door while Grandma did…well I have no idea what because I was too busy with my ice cream. After the clothes were done in the wash, we would separate out the ones that went in the dryer from the ones Grandma was going to take home to line-dry. After another hour or so, all the laundry would be dried and packed back into the car and we would head back to the house. It was never overly exciting or eventful, but somehow that two hours every week was one of my favorite times.

Back to the present. I went to the Laundromat for the first time in since my grandparents passed away. I had about 4 loads of laundry to do and while my new building has 1 washer and 1 dryer, I did not want to spend my entire day doing laundry. Not to mention the fact that there are 7 other apartments with people who may also need to use the machine, thus making it a gamble as to when I’ll actually get to start. So, if I go to the Laundromat, I not only can put all my loads in at once, I am sure to get to use the machines when I am ready without waiting or inconveniencing my neighbors by hoarding the machine all day. Plus, the Laundromat is on the corner so it’s not all that far away and it costs the same.

While I was there, I got a lot of reading done. I also got a phone call from my best friend, so we caught up. I’m sure if I brought my laptop, I could have gotten a few more posts done. But I’m not that cool.

Even with all of this, the main reason I love the Laundromat is the people.

I saw a girl who was guarding her purse like it held the winning envelopes for the Oscars while she strutted around in her heels. I saw a lady who was washing what I could only assume was all the white tablecloths in all of the world. There was a dad with his young daughter teaching her how to do laundry and then buying her Cheetos as a reward. A mom who made me wonder if her children were at home naked or if she just lives in a department store with an endless supply of clothes. A guy with 6 bags of laundry who, when one machine wasn’t working, proceeded to kick the poor thing like it was the machine’s fault he put in 2 bags and clearly overloaded it.

So, yes, it might be easier to just do laundry at my apartment building or even take it back to mom’s house and do it there for free. However, it would take 3 times longer and I wouldn’t get to participate in my favorite activity of people watching. And really, with all the entertainment I get from the Laundromat, what do I need cable for?