Getting all crafty up in this piece

So after I went to jolly ol’ England and took loads (that’s such a British word) of photos, I took a couple of them and blew ’em up.

Thanks to a well-timed Groupon and a week I didn’t have to buy groceries, I splurged on two canvas prints from a Web site. The pictures I chose for the canvas-izing – yeah I made that word up, so what – are my two favorites from the trip. And there’s a third in the running.

Only problem? Where to put them. You see, my room doesn’t really have any specific design aesthetic. It’s just kind of stuff I’ve collected and decided to hang on the wall. Case in point – there’s an old school Marlon Brando poster about eight feet away from a clock with the numbers from LOST. Both purchased for me by Rachel, in fact. Thanks, Rach!

I love all of it, though, and it will all probably look really cool one day in separate rooms. But for now, I want it all in this room.

And I’ve got this one blank wall to decorate. Therefore, I need some help.

Luckily for me – and you – I’m pretty good with InDesign. So I played around with a couple options.

First though, the space we’re working with:

Ignore the mess. It never always looks like that.

Here’s my first idea – the two canvas prints I already have and a larger print in the middle. It’s a picture of the London tube system, which is really confusing when you’ve had no sleep for 24 hours but is on a map in a bunch of pretty colors with even cooler names for stops. Like Westferry, Wapping and Cockfosters.

The second possibility includes that third canvas I was thinking about getting made. It’s of the London Eye, which we saw but didn’t get to ride. And I wasn’t too upset. On account of the height.

There’s another option with four prints, but it’s probably my least favorite.

And if none of those work, there’s always this option:

The colors even match the wall. It’s like he’s supposed to be there.

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He knows me too well

Me, as I’m looking at our options for Netflix instant viewing on the Wii: “Oh, hey, they have 1,000 Ways to Die on here.”
Roommate: “You don’t need to watch that.”
Me: “But I’m getting better..”
Roommate: “You are. And that’s exactly why we’re not gonna watch it.”

A third roommate?

I’m about 68-percent sure my apartment is haunted.

It all started about a month ago.

The stereo in my bedroom started turning on by itself in the middle of the night, which wouldn’t be too big of a deal except it came on at the same time every night (around 2:30), loudly. It wasn’t on a sleep timer and I have absolutely no idea where the remote is.

I wouldn’t have thought too much of it, if it had been the only thing that happened.

Our dryer has been acting up and we’re afraid something’s gonna happen to it – however we keep using it…

But one night, when The Roommate and I had both been using the laundry room, something weird happened. I went in to get my stuff out of the dryer and sticking out of the door was something that hadn’t been there 10 minutes earlier when I’d gone in to check on things. It was a little slip of yellowed paper that basically said “Stop doing laundry or this dryer is gonna catch on fire.”

Oh and the smoke detector right outside my bedroom door? It’s come loose and is hanging down. Also wouldn’t be that big of a deal if I hadn’t watched The Roommate re-affix it to the ceiling.

I don’t think I’ve done anything to piss the ghost off. And The Roommate’s feelings on the situation? Well, you can figure that out from this conversation.

In fact, the other night, I even said out loud – to the ghost, of course, “I don’t mind you being here, just be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you.”

I learned that from my extensive ghost training – a.k.a. the one ghost “hunt” I’ve gone on in my life. It was for work – yeah, journalism is awesome – and I got to wear these supersonic ear phones and stand in a dark basement asking if there was anybody hanging around.

Chief lesson our leaders wanted us to take from that night? Don’t antagonize them or they’ll follow you home. Yeah.

I’m afraid of weird things – clowns, submarines, heights, accidentally getting my fingers chopped off by the garbage disposal….

I’ll squash any bug, I’ll pet or hold a snake – as long as it’s not poisonous and mice and rats make me a little queasy.

But ghosts? Dunno. Not skeered.

Of course that’s because I plan on always being nice to them, should I ever come in contact with one – or should this one I’m pretty sure is in the apartment decides to stay awhile.

I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts

Just murderers.

I am so serious. Besides clowns, heights and submarines – don’t judge that last one, the episode of LOST where my TV boyfriend dies completely proves my point – the thing I may be most scared of is being murdered.

Yep. I’m scared of being murdered.

See: Why I slept in the middle of the bed when I house sat last summer for my aunt and uncle. Reason: So I had an equal chance of getting out if someone came in either of the two doors to their room.

See: Why I will not live in a first-floor apartment. Reason: Easier to get in and kill me, duh.

It’s not entirely unwarranted. I am a young woman. I don’t live alone but I used to. I’m not a fast runner – not really a runner at all, I’ve told you before I run like an old man – so it’s not like I could make a quick getaway.

But I do watch a lot of cop shows. So I feel like I know what I’m up against.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because. There are currently two cops walking around the apartment complex right now with flashlights. Naturally, I feel that means they are looking for a murderer. Or some other criminal that has escaped custody or something equally illegal.

Therefore. I will not be sleeping for at least another hour. And I’d really appreciate it if someone would come over and hold my hand until I fall asleep. Or at least guard my door. Thanks.

When movies meet real life

Yesterday, we had a visitor at our apartment. Since we don’t live in a house, where we can be expected to be hit up for Girl Scout Cookies and other school fundraiser-y things, unless we are expecting company, we have no idea who’s at our door.

So imagine my surprise when I opened the door yesterday after a knock that sounded more like a lifeless body had been hurled at it and found a young man in a Cub Scout uniform.

It was this lil’ guy, I kid you not:

He talked the same way and didn’t make eye contact. And, unlike Russell, he walked in a circle the whole time he was trying to sell me magazines and popcorn.

“Hi. My name. is. Matthew. Would you like to buy some delicious popcorn?”

Too cute. I felt bad saying no. But if he’d had a talking dog and a bird named Kevin with him, I might’ve caved.

Microwave Popcorn – 1, Roommate – 0

I’m honestly surprised any microwave I’ve ever owned hasn’t just stopped working one random day – the technological equivalent of throwing its hands up in the air and saying “SERIOUSLY, YOU EXPECT ME TO WORK WITH THIS WOMAN?”

I mean my personal laptop – complete with years of pictures, documents and that one Dave Barnes song I want played at my wedding – completely crapped out last summer. After I took it on vacation! I didn’t overwork it, it didn’t get sand in its CD drive, it didn’t get left in the hot sun all day. It just stopped liking me, apparently.

Then you have my TV, whose screen varies between shades of purple and green whenever it’s on for no other reason than I guess it doesn’t like its new home in the new apartment. Throughout the past few years, I’ve dropped a camera. A phone has fallen from my back pocket into a toilet.

My former microwaves have seen their share of messes. I’ve exploded Spaghetti-O’s, Easy Mac, hot chocolate and pretty much anything that comes in those black plastic dishes. I’m not good with electronics, I guess. But last night, something happened that WASN’T MY FAULT.

The roommate will likely hate me for writing about this, but I don’t blame him for what happened. I blame whoever the genius is that designs those special “Popcorn” buttons on the microwave. ‘Cause ya know what? They don’t apply to all types of popcorn.

Last night, Anthony threw a bag of 100-calorie popcorn in the microwave and then left the room. Shouldn’t have been a big deal, he’d hear it beep when it was done and come back to get it. Cut to about 45 seconds later, when he’s yelling my name and I turn around from my seat on the couch and see smoke BILLOWING out of the microwave.

Who knew that such a teeny-tiny bag of popcorn – just one bag – could create the smoke of A THOUSAND BAGS OF POPCORN. Hey, to be fair, at least the microwave wasn’t engulfed in flames.

We sprinted into anti-smoke-detector-mode, which means we waved magazines back and forth under the four smoke detectors located within 10 feet of the kitchen until either our arms fell off or the beeping stopped. That smoke was THICK. And I know people like butter and all – I’m a fan – but being able to inhale nothing but buttery smoke is NOT GOOD. We coughed and hid and finally, when the smoke detectors stopped whining, we opened every door and window we could and took advantage of the clean, non-buttery oxygen available outside on our deck.

And, I kid you not, while we stood out there with the door open, the smoke was STILL billowing out. It looked downright foggy in our living room and kitchen and OMG THE SMELL.

Anthony lit every candle we own and sprayed possibly an entire bottle of air freshener to try and combat the smell. But you know what’s a strong smell? CHARRED POPCORN.

It still smelled this morning, even though we left every fan we had on last night and the door to the patio open. And it’ll probably smell for a couple weeks. It was so bad, I think I’m having phantom smells – at different times throughout the day at work I could have sworn I smelled burnt popcorn. Maybe I’m still coated by a layer of invisible buttery gas, even though I’ve since showered.

Anthony has since provided me with new information…it turns out BUTTERSMOKE 2K10 was his fault. Which is OK, I guess. I still blame the microwave some though.

So, kids, what have we learned? Don’t push the popcorn button on the microwave just because you’re making popcorn. And if you do, don’t want away. Or else, your kitchen and ENTIRE APARTMENT may look like something out of Stephen King’s “The Mist.” And you’ll choke on air saturated with butter.

My best suggestion? Cook popcorn in 10-second increments. No horrible smell, no smoke, no charred pieces and no need to use EVERY CANDLE IN YOUR HOUSE AT ONCE.

More cleaning than springing

I’ve not really done the whole “Spring Cleaning” thing before. I mean, I’ve thrown stuff out and I’ve usually done it when the weather’s warm, because, let’s face it, who wants to leave the house when it’s cold, let alone trudge all the way to the dumpster? By the way, it’s still cold. Didn’t spring start Saturday? Why The Face?

Lately, I’ve been realizing I need to get rid of some stuff. Mainly, because I don’t need a piece of paper from every single class I ever took or that school picture that one cute boy in high school gave me and drew a heart on the back of (shut up, it’s in the trash now). Also, because the memories are more important than the material stuff – LOOK AT ME GETTIN’ ALL SAPPY AN’ SHIZ – and oh, because I have a LOT of JUNK.

So. Tonight. At about 10 p.m. (because isn’t that when all cleaning gets done and also why am I using so many parentheses, quotes and dashes in this post?) I decided the beast that is my walk-in closet (jealous?) needed to be tamed.

And here I am, 2.5 hours later, with 3.5 trash bags worth of stuff hauled out of that thing I call a closet. AND IT’S STILL PACKED. Why do I have all this stuff? Why haven’t I thrown it away by now? At least now, though, I can get to my dresser. And suitcases. And that stuffed elephant that I brought with me on every trip I ever took during high school and college.

Oh. And I found that electric bill from my apartment in Owenton from 2007. I WAS WONDERING WHERE THAT WAS.

The Case of The Missing Place Mat

Last week, one of the place mats from our dining room table went missing. It was scary for a few minutes, because what if burglars had broken into our apartment? They’d left the laptops, the DVDs, the Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head I got in a holiday gift exchange, but taken the place mat? THE HUMANITY.

It was weird though. Three of the four usually there were arranged nicely and normally and one of the two black ones – we have two black and two red, aren’t we decorative? – was gone. Anthony’d noticed it while I was at work and had apparently spent some time looking for it, in the kitchen, the closet, the laundry room.

Needless to say, we were concerned. Anthony was “scurred.” Was it a burglar? A ghost? Or, as Anthony pointed out, was it me, sleepwalking? YES. It was me, sleepwalking. Most people go to the kitchen, or outside or wake up on the laundry room floor. Me? I hide place mats.

Just kidding, I hide forks.

OK, so, I have sleepwalked once before. It was a night when I was visiting Louisville from O-town and had been out with my friends. Yes, I got home late, and yes, I’d had two shots of tequila, but I was by no means intoxicated. And, side note, ever since then, my parents warn me not to drink tequila when I go out because they think it is to blame for the sleepwalking.

The night it happened, I have no memory of any of it except for the end, when my mom finally woke me up. But one thing you should know, before we begin this story, is that any time of year except winter, if I am sleeping, I am doing so SANS PANTS. Just FYI.

Alright. That night I got home after 1 or 2 a.m., I’m pretty sure, and went straight to bed. Allegedly, at some point in the middle of the night, I wandered into my parents room and tried to go into their bathroom. Why? Don’t know. At my parents’ house, the room I sleep in when I’m there is RIGHT NEXT TO A BATHROOM. When my mom asked what I was doing, I said, “I have to go to the bathroom.” She told me I wasn’t in the bathroom, so I left.

A few minutes later, I’m back in their room, this time standing (I imagine creepily) in my t-shirt and underwear in front of my dad’s dresser. Again, they asked what the eff I was doing, to which I again apparently said, “I HAVE to go to the BATHROOM.” And, once again, they told me that was not even close to where I was standing.

Eventually my mom got up and guided me to the bathroom next to the room where I’d been sleeping. She waited while I went and walked me to my room. Then she said, “Are you awake?” AND THAT, friends, is when I woke up. So, wondering why my mom was standing in my doorway asking me an OBVIOUS question – why else would I be standing up out of my bed talking to her if I was asleep – I said, “YES, duh.” Except, without the duh. But with that general attitude. After that, I went to sleep.

The next morning when I went downstairs for breakfast, my mom replayed the night’s events, which is 1) when they found out I’d drank tequila and tried to blame it on that, 2) we figured out I really was sleep-walking, something I’d never done before (and haven’t since) and 3) I realized, “Oh, awesome, I wasn’t wearing any pants when I was up walking around the house, was I?”

Yeah. It was weird. My dad used to sleepwalk, apparently, and one time, when Sami was little, she did – boy was that super-creepy. I still don’t know why it happened, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I have some of the weirdest sleep habits/behaviors that you’ll ever hear of, but that’s a story for another time. I also have steered clear of tequila shots if I can help it, just to be on the safe side.

So, have I kept you in suspense long enough? Are you ready to find out what happened to the missing place mat?

Kind of anti-climactic, but it ended up being in the backseat of my car. Creepy, right? Not really, considering I’d accidentally grabbed it when I picked up my hoodie of the same color off the dining room table that morning and had mistakenly grabbed the place mat, too.

So we aren’t being haunted (that we know of…just kidding, Anthony) and we weren’t robbed. I am just not a morning person and need to pay more attention when I grab my stuff off the table on the way out the door.

Case closed. Sherlock Holmes, I am not.

A conversation that could only be had in this apartment

Me: Liz is coming over tomorrow night to watch LOST.

Anthony: Cool. Save it (on the DVR) for me.

Me: Nope. I’m going to delete it. And then I’m going to delete all your memories of it.

Anthony: That’s cool, ’cause all day long at work I’ll be researching unorthodox ways to kill you.

Me: Hmm. If you killed me, I just ask that you either do it when I’m asleep, or sneak up on me, because I don’t want to see it coming.

Anthony: I would sneak up behind you in a clown costume in front of a mirror.

Me: That’s OK, because I would be wearing a Civil War soldier’s uniform so that after you killed me I could just start haunting you immediately.

Maybe we watch too much Dexter…