Category Archives: Personal stories

Fire is scary.

This is the closest thing that I can find to what may have caused the fire in question.

So, it was a Saturday morning. The time was around 9:30 am when I heard the strange noise. I went outside to see what was going on and noticed smoke all around the house. I was living in a building that housed three apartments. The heat hit me when I walked out of the porch.

I looked up and saw it; fire was shooting out of the upstairs apartment. My neighbor, Eliot, shouted that I needed to get out as soon as possible. I ran in and grabbed my cat and my computer and left.

I was not the first to call 911 but I did call. It seemed to take forever for them to come. The fire looked to be over the front part of the house but was moving fast towards the area over my apartment. It was scary.

My apartment had the porch.

The good news is that Eliot and Andrew had taken their cat to  the vet earlier that day. I do not think the cat would have survived the fire had he been there. The bad news is that no one was going to be able to live in the building until it was totally repaired. The person from the Gainesville fire department said that she believed the fire was started with a problem with the toaster oven. Wow.

When all of this was happening, the landlord came by with the man who did any repairs to the building. After being able to get some stuff out of my unit, I was able to see that there was no damage to my apartment from the fire itself. There was some damage due to smoke and water but not from the fire. I was ok, Squirrel was ok and most of my stuff was ok. That is all good and I am truly grateful that no one was injured or worse.

This is the room where the fire started.

 

But, then it all became a total pain in the ass. I went to stay with my mother. She had an air mattress and a study and that is where I was staying. My back hurt. I liked my apartment. I started dreaming about it.

She offered to get a different air mattress but seriously, there is a ceiling for how comfortable that can really be.

I started looking for apartments and that grew sad. Some that I saw were way too small. I was thinking I would just find something for the summer but then began to see that the place I was in probably will not be ready by the time I would want to move in.

The landlord’s insurance is suing the tenants’ insurance. The fire was on February 18. Nearly a month later and nothing has been done.

There was a vine growing through this crack.

Luckily, I found a new place. That is good. I was back at the old place and saw this. You can see out from the inside and there was a plant growing into my living room.

Now, my new place is about three blocks from the old place. I have much more room and a nice porch. I even have a nice fireplace for cold nights like tonight.

Fire can be great. This fireplace makes me very happy.

The new place is nice and I am glad I found it. If you rent a place, please get renter’s insurance. Fire is scary.

Squirrel on her new porch, sitting in her cat tree.

 

No, I don’t forgive you

I do not forgive you for leaving me with a violent sociopath to raise me.
I do not forgive you for leaving at all.
I do not forgive you for always putting someone or something else before me.
Yourself.
Your needs.
Your wants.
I do not forgive you for taking me away and then sending me back.
I do not forgive you for making me think it was my decision.
For years, I would say, “You sent me back.” Your reply was always, “You wanted to go.”
I was six. I also wanted a mother who loved me and a father who did not beat me.

I do not forgive you for missing my entire childhood.

I do not forgive you for not being there when I needed you.
I do not forgive you for not doing what you knew I needed and I knew I wanted — to live away from the chaos of life with violence and fear and shame.

I do not forgive you for cutting me out of your life.
I do not forgive you for getting married and not telling me.
Looking back, I think that was your way of letting me know, you had moved on.
From me.

I do not forgive you for leaving me that day in the Monterey Aquarium.
Your friend told me, she saw that you loved him and had committed yourself and your life to him.
I do not forgive you for not making that same commitment to me.

I do not forgive you for showing up once or twice a year expecting my life to conform to your wants and desires.

I do not forgive you for abdicating all of your maternal responsibilities.
I do not forgive you for not wanting me to press charges when John Gill tried to kill me the first time.
The second time.
The third time.

I do not forgive you for taking credit for my successes but not my failures.
Because you have no claim on either.
I am my worst mistakes as well as my greatest achievements.

I do not forgive you for taking his side over mine.
I was there for you when you needed me.
I do not forgive you for making me hide when he came to get you.
I do not forgive you for asking me to be there and then dismissing my support.

You wanted me there when you needed something.
And then gone when you did not.
I do not forgive you for that.

I do not forgive you for cutting me out of your home when he told you to.

I do not forgive you for never taking responsibility for your own actions.
I do not forgive you for seeing your actions only through the prism of your intentions.
I do not forgive you for acting like the victim when you have never been that.
I do not forgive you for saying, “John Gill wasn’t that bad.”
I do not forgive you for telling me when I told you I was raped, that “It happens to everyone.”
I do not forgive you for trying to discourage me almost every step of the way while then reveling when I did well.

The advance job was not a bad idea.
The trip to Nepal was not a bad idea.
My comedy is not bad for me.

I do not forgive you for being surprised that two years of good deeds do not make up for decades of neglect.
The hill of good will you have built is overshadowed by the Everest of bad.

I do not forgive you.
I may never forgive you.

You do not care, or maybe you do but cannot admit it, that you hurt me.
You think that happened so long ago that I should be over it.

I know that I put it all in a box.
I put that box in a closet.
In our house on Maple Avenue.
In Stony Brook, New York.

Thomas Friedman says, “if you do not visit the bad neighborhood, eventually, it visits you.”
I just heard a knock on the door.

It was a long time ago but it is here, with me always.
Until I invite it in and we talk, it always will be.

Your guilt should be real but it is yours.

It is neither my fault nor my problem.
I do not forgive you for thinking it is.

I deal with you now because I have divorced you from yourself.
I deal with you now because I do care.
You need to divorce your actions from your intentions.
You should have good intentions but are judged on the results of your actions.

You fell asleep with a cigarette burning.
You never intended the house to burn down.
But the house is gone.
And we are homeless.

You left me to deal with the mess of a marriage that was not mine.

I may never forgive you.
That is my problem.
Not yours.
I am working on it.

Another Life Hack from Alyson: Ways to use lemon juice around the house

Sweet, sugary Brach's lemon drops. Made with r...

Sweet, sugary Brach’s lemon drops. Made with real lemon juice! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, I originally drafted this for a client but they didn’t use it so maybe some of these tips can help you. I personally think lemon juice is amazing.

Get rid of nasty, baked on grime in your microwave with water and lemon juice. Put a cup of water with a half a cup of lemon juice in a bowl. Microwave this on high for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl (be careful, it will be hot) and wipe down the inside of your microwave with a clean and damp cloth. Your microwave oven will sparkle and smell great.

Keep a lemon with salt in your refrigerator. Cut a lemon in half and remove the flesh. Fill the empty space with salt. Place in the back of your refrigerator to keep it smelling nice and fresh.

Mix lemon juice, water and white vinegar to make a great surface cleaner. Mix one part water with one part vinegar and then as much lemon juice as you want. This is a safe and chemical free cleaner that you can use to cut through dirt and grime all over your home. The combination of white vinegar and lemon juice can be a powerful cleaner for dishes. The grease won’t stand a chance with this mixture.

Polish wood with olive oil and lemon juice. Mix the juice from one lemon and about a quarter cup of olive oil. This can be used on your wooden floors and furniture to get the shine and clean look you want without using harsh chemicals.

Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

After spending most of my day with my head up my butt…

Well, not really but I was accused of that this morning after I posted a column I wrote about Hillary Clinton for Firebrand Left. My general thesis is that if you like Hillary Clinton, you don’t care what the transcripts of her speeches say and if you do not like her, nothing in those speeches will change your mind. I stand by this. But it led some people on Facebook to get really pissy.

If you would like to see the exchange, please check it out here. You can read my original column about the transcripts here. I wrote a follow up piece about how Hillary and Bernie supporters need to treat each other better here.

Now, you may know that Susan Sarandon endorsed Bernie Sanders. While I think that’s great for him, I have to take issue to part of her endorsement speech. She claimed that one reason she is supporting him because she doesn’t “vote with (her) vagina.” Well, that’s good for her, I guess.

Now, I cannot get that out of my head. For instance, I wanted to watch the Superbowl but my pushy vagina wanted to watch some feminist clap trap on PBS so that’s what I watched. I had to miss the puppy, baby, monkey commercial. Dang, my vagina is so annoying sometimes.

Anyway, please check out my links and let me know what you think.

 

Life hack from Alyson: What to do with cat litter in your toilet

I still miss Hobbes and Cheddar.

I still miss Hobbes and Cheddar.

If you have a cat (or more than one cat), the chances are that you have litter at least one litter box (one good ‘rule of thumb‘ for these is to have 1.5 boxes for each of your feline friends). Most people I know use clumping litter. If you know how it works, it may make little sense to dump your litter down the toilet. The reason for this is simple; litter turns into concrete when it comes in contact with water.

This actually happened to me so this is a good way to deal with litter in the toilet.

I went away for a business trip and when I got home I learned that the person taking care of my cats, Hobbes and Cheddar, thought a time saving thing would be to pour their litter down the toilet. When I walked in, several days later, this had turned into concrete and my toilet was completely blocked. Or so it seemed. I called several plumbers and got estimates. The bottom line was that it looked like this was going to cost several thousand dollars. OUCH!!!’

Well, that sucked so I went online and looked for DIY solutions. I found one. It suggested using liquid Joy (lemon). I spent the next six hours pouring the dish soap into the toilet with warm (not hot) water, plunging, waiting about 30 minutes and then repeated it about every 30-60 minutes until the toilet was completely clear.

Steps:

  1. Buy lemon dish soap
  2. Add soap and warm water to toilet
  3. Let sit for a few minutes
  4. Plunge for a few minutes
  5. Add more lemon soap and water, let sit
  6. Repeat until drain is clear

I cannot promise this will work for you but it worked for me.