Monday, November 27, 2006

The life stuff.

Customer service?

I called the gas company nearly 2 weeks ago to have the service put in my name. They were scheduled for last Monday. They showed up this morning, bright and early, ringing the doorbell to wake me up and say "Gas check!" I felt like sayng, no thanks, I'm flatulent enough. Shortly thereafter, Time Warner Cable SoCal called to ask how satisfied I was with my service appointment this weekend. Oh, you mean the one where they were supposed to be here 1-3pm, but showed up closer to 6:30pm after tons of calls and time on hold (that'd be my friend Elizabeth Holder doing the calling - remember? "You appear to be calling from a number outside of California..."), so the guy can come and replace the broken cable box they gave me in the first place? I wouldn't let him leave until it worked with ALL the channels I'd ordered, which, after the 3rd cable box he installed, happened. I gave that poor woman an earful. The electric company hasn't even bothered to show up or call; Guess they don't want my money. Now I'm waiting for the bungalow's contractor to fix a bunch of little things which seem to constantly fall off the bottom of his check list. Don't get me started...

*UPDATE* Now FedEx doesn't know where the 4 large, carefully-packed boxes containing my worldly possessions are located. This is FedEx, with a barcode on everything that allows you to track the tissue you just used to wipe your nose. They don't know where my boxes are! Not only that, but 4 different calls to customer service yield 4 different answers as to what transpired when they were picked-up in NYC. Nor can anyone agree on whether they left New York City OR were returned to sender OR refused by my NYC doorman OR attempted delivery in L.A. OR sitting on a truck or a depot in Brooklyn OR shoved up some supervisor's nose! All I know is that I was looking forward to wearing more than the 2 pairs of shoes I packed in my suitcase, using the printer to print out my scripts, and make some soup in my favorite stockpot. It's not asking a lot of a package delivery service to DELIVER SOME PACKAGES, now is it!?!

I'm just trying to keep in mind the good stuff. The soothing stuff. The life stuff.

Dasha's life poster

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving out West

Sitting here watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV (all 13" of it off of Craig's List) gives me a little reprieve from the West Coast. It brings up giddy memories of watching the inflation of the parade balloons, tethered on the Upper West Side by the AMNH, thousands of kids agog at the nearness of a gigantic Kermit. Me agog, too.

There's Ballet Hispanico - they're on my block on the UWS! There's Sesame Workshop, my former awesome workplace. Big Bird looks a little deflated... My friend Liz Warner used to work the parade every year, putting around in a golf cart up & down the route with dignitaries in tow. Now Liz is here in L.A. as a morning DJ for 103.1 FM, and a friendly presence for me.

I've been in L.A. for 2 weeks, now. I've got an apartment, a car, (most) furniture, food, non-working cable TV and an intermittent internet connection. And a neighbor across the way with a rooster (and attendent chickens) that crows starting around 4am, and then whenever he feels like it after that. My immediate neighbors have all been incredibly nice and helpful and welcoming. I've also got great friends, new and old, who've been looking out for me as I take my first baby steps in the City of Angels.

As I spent the past 3 days in misery and anger on the phone w/Time Warner Cable on my upstairs neighbor's borrowed phone (I've only got my NYC mobile phone, so when I call the L.A. TWC, the message says "It appears that you are calling from a number outside of California, please hang up and try the East Coast number. Click.), on hold for hours, complaining about no-show technichians and their general lack of service, I realize that as flawed as they are on the East Coast, at least they answer the phone in under 30 minutes and show up for appointments. The Angelenos to whom I bemoan this eggregious behavior aren't surprised at all. Every one of them, nonplussed, explains that there really isn't a concept of customer service out here. Oy!

I made the most of my time, while waiting 8am-6pm for technicians everyday, by building furniture, cooking/baking and putting up curtains. Setting up a home here just makes me long for the one that's already set-up back there, and the gorgeous talented redhead who's baking cookies in it. If my internet connection decides to stay mostly "on," I'll video-conference with my sweetie and family, all gathered together in Baltimore. If I can't be with them, at least they can be with each other. I'll be with family friends from synagogue back in Baltimore, who are kindly taking me in. As my new neighbor Guin said "You're a Thanksgiving orphan, huh?"

I know I'll start thinking of this place as home eventually (the comfy new mattress helps), but for now, I'm counting the days - 7 - until I go back to NYC, my adult home. I need my family, my sweetie, my pets, my friends. I need my fill of the East Coast. Withdrawal is a bitch. And I'm thankful for the heartache of it all, and the means to pursue my dreams.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


bayou blue toyota yaris

I have the cutest most awesome new car EVER. The dealer called yesterday morning and said my Toyota Yaris in beautiful Bayou Blue had made it off the boat earlier than expected. After a 2 1/2 hour drive (bad rush hour traffic) down to Toyota of Orange, as arranged through my high school friend Zack, I picked up my little piece of automotive heaven. Well worth the hassle! I drove it off the lot with just six miles on the odometer. Six! And, the requesite new car smell, of course. I proudly put the AAA auto emergency pack (complete w/lug wrench) in with the spare tire, too.

new bed

Then, while waiting for my vintage loveseat to be delivered, I tinkered away at assembling my new Ikea Hopen bed. I'm pretty handy (& I bought a full tool set w/drill, too), and have had plenty of experience assembling Swedish DIY furniture, but this one took five hours. Five! And my back is completely tweaked from the effort - all that leaning over and balancing wood and metal for hours with a tiny allen wrench in hand... Ouch!

Tomorrow: return unmatching misc. home furnishings and cover at least four windows. Four!

Missing my sister's three kids. Three!

Counting is so much fun. Ah, ah, ah! (ref Sesame and now to bed....)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Packing It In

packing it in @ Ikea

This is what happens when your furniture eyes are bigger than your convertible stomach. In the NYC-area, Ikea will deliver whatever is in your cart and the big stuff they pull from the warehouse, too. After assuming that LA-area Ikea's operate the same way, I showed up at the home delivery desk, cart filled to brimming, ready to hand over the goods to be delivered with my new bed tomorrow - I was informed that nothing bought in the Marketplace section of the store can be delivered. Ack! This wouldn't have been such as issue if I wasn't driving an aging borrowed Mazda Miata. After a supreme packing job, topped off with copious amounts of twine, convertible top down and TomTom One programmed for Hollywood, I headed very slowly back to my new pad and made it unscathed! I suppose it's just one right of California passage.

Next? Almost have the car...

Friday, November 10, 2006


view of my new Hollywood courtyard

General first thoughts on L.A., now that I've been here all of 24 hours:

- I have shin splints in my right leg from just ONE day of start/stop traffic in my friend's borrowed Mazda Miata.
- people are very nice here when they're NOT in their cars
- cool @ night, but scorching on the road during the day
- BIG grocery stores with huge aisles
- palm trees look really odd, but are relaxing
- the moon shines brighter in Santa Monica than on the Upper West Side

So, it took me less than a day in town to score a place to live and a mattress. Time to get a car of my own...