Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review


Did you kiss anyone? Yes. I kissed two different men this year

Did you date anyone? I was engaged until late March, and have gone on dates with two other men since that break-up.

Are you going to have someone to kiss when the ball drops? Yes

Did you lose any friends? No, though I have a few friends to whom I do not talk as often because of moves and life changes

Did you gain any friends? Yes. I actually made a few good friends this year. ;-)

Did you do something new? I took a new job in July, practicing in a different area of the law, and moved to a different city

Did anyone important to you die? Yes, my stepfather died March 31st.

Did you change? Yes. Big year for personal growth for me

Are you happy with the year overall? 2007 was a year of many changes for me and a lot of associated stress, but overall I am happy with the way it turned out.

What's the best thing that happened to you? Meeting and falling in love with MM

Did you fall in or out of love? I fell in and out of love: out of love with my ex-fiance and in love with MM.

Are you happy the year’s almost over? Yes

Are you going to change something about yourself next year? I will start eating more healthfully and exercising regularly again. I'd like to get back into running and maybe run a half-marthon before the end of the year. I've also resolved not to spend time doing anything at work that I cannot bill a client for.

Do you think 2008 will be a better year then 2007? I hope so

Did you lose your virginity in 2007? Um. . . . no. That ship sailed a while ago

How many things did you screw up in 2007? Hmm. Big things, none; little things, probably couldn't count 'em all.

Did you go to an amusement park? No, but I went to Vegas twice

Did you lie to your parents? Yes to my dad, no to my mom

Did you get into a fight? I got in a few verbal altercations, nothing physical

Did you leave the country? No

Did anyone in your family get married? No, but four friends got divorced this year

Do you think you grew? Spirirtually and emotionally, absolutely. Not physically: I actually lost weight this year

Did you sing to anyone? Yes, often: I sing at work almost daily, I sing for MM, and I sang for my baby nephew when I saw him in June and November

What did you drink and eat the most? Drink: Starbucks caffe mocha. Eat: pizza

Did you stick to your new year's resolution from last year? I didn't make any resolutions last year

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My boy is home

214.8 (not bad, could've been a lot worse)
Just a quick note. I am trying to actually work today. LOL
MM called around 9:20 to see if he could come by and take me to lunch. Awww. He'll be here in about twenty minutes. We're just going to Chipotle, so nothing fancy.
Sebastian is home! The friend who watched him had some concern that he had a UTI because he peed on her bedroom floor--something he never does. He has seemed OK to me since getting him home, just very, very tired. He is actually at Petsmart right now getting groomed--he was dirty!
I had dinner with KC last night. I hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks, so it was good to catch up. She has switched to a new position at work where she is off every weekend. . . . but she now works until 9:00 p.m. four weeknights, so it's hard for us to meet for dinner.
It's frickin' cold here today! Well, by Arizona standards. . . . .

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post #280

?? (didn't weigh again this morning)
As I logged in, I happened to notice that this is my 280th post. When I started this blog, I honestly did not think I would keep it up this long. Who knew? It seems that I will actually get to 300 posts some time early next year.
I arrived home a little after 7:30 last night. MM picked me up at the airport, as planned. He spent the evening--and the night--at my place. It was great to be with him again. I will say, though, that his spending the night at my apartment felt a little strange to both of us. Although we have spent over 10 nights together (not sure of the exact number, 12 or 13?), prior to last night, they had all been at his house due to his allergy to Sebastian.
Even though Sebastian was not there, MM still got congested, sneezy, and itchy at my place. Not nearly as bad as when Sebastian *is* there, but still symptomatic.
With my assistance in getting started, MM loaded about 30 songs on his new iPod last night. (He wanted to use my computer because his is old/slow and he has a dial-up connection, so the downloads would take forever.) He is going to bring me some of his CDs and a list of more songs he wants so that I can finish up for him later in the week.
When I think about it, I really marvel at how well things are going with us. We are so much alike in some ways. . . . but in ways that are good, I think: we understand each other. I never get tired of being with him either. Of course, it's early days yet. . . . but with me, there are plenty of men who have not made it to the 3-month mark. LOL
I almost hesitate to write this in here. . . . because then I feel somehow committed. . . . but I have been mulling over the idea of doing the South Beach diet (again) after New Year's. My sister had asked me to do it with her (long distance), and I am feeling really unhappy about my weight. I know that most New Year's resolutions fail, but I also know that I started Weight Watchers in January 2003 as a New Year's resolutino and ended up losing 35 lbs over the next four months.
I actually have a lot of energy and feel great when I eat South Beach style: only healthy carbs; no alcohol, sweets, or white flour; lots of lean protein and veggies. I could use the extra energy. :)
Well, I am not committed to this idea yet. . . . still kicking it around in my head.
I enjoyed seeing my dad and his family for Christmas, but it's also nice to be back home and to my usual routine.

Monday, December 24, 2007


?? (away from home, so away from the scale)

I'm in New Mexico at my dad's. He and I just returned from a two-mile walk on a nearby wilderness path. That distance, which would normally take me about 35 minutes, took over an hour with Dad; still, it was good to get outside and get some activity. We also took their two old dogs (ages 14 and 10), who had a great time.

No big plans for today. I think my dad and stepmom will be doing some food preparations to get a start on tomorrow's Xmas dinner later. I plan to read and relax and spend time with Dad.

I miss MM. We have actually talked on the phone three times since he dropped me at the airport on Saturday afternoon. He is working until 3:00 today, then heading over to spend Xmas Eve with his parents. I will see him tomorrow evening.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

He loves me yeah, yeah, yeah

?? (don't know, don't care)

Just a brief entry, typed on my BlackBerry, as I am waiting to board the flight that will take me to my father's for Xmas. We are 20 minutes delayed, but I really don't care. Given that it's the holiday season, it could be a lot worse.

MM and I had a wonderful Friday night and Saturday together. He really loved the gifts I got him, especially his iPod Nano. In addition to my BlackBerry, he also gave me a Starbucks mug and gift card--very sweet. He knows how I love my caffe mocha.

I have pretty much known for a while that MM loves me--and I feel the same--but he actually said those "three little words" to me last night...with no qualifications or equivications. (Of course, I said I love him, too.)

He also told me that I am his best friend and he's so glad I'm in his life. Awwwww.

We had a nice chill time--dinner at Buca di Beppo, then errands and lunch today--and, as usual, lots of sex. LOL

I'm looking forward to spending Xmas with my dad. Almost there!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Too much sangria

215.0 (ugh)
MM and I had dinner with a friend of his and his wife last night. MM was dreading it, because he thinks the wife is "psycho." (Apparently she often yells at her husband; MM is not cool with that.)
The dinner actually went really well. I had fun, the other couple had fun, and I think MM even had fun. . . . all he would say was it "went better than I expected," which isn't saying much since he hadn't set the bar very high. LOL
At their suggestion, we ended up going to a little local Mexican restaurant that I've been wanting to try. The wife and I split a pitcher of sangria; I had about three glasses. As I am now a lightweight, I woke up with a headache this morning and still feel dehydrated. What a wimp.
After dinner, we hung out for a while at an Irish pub and chatted. It was a good time. I learned a few new things about MM, but nothing major and nothing that freaked me out.
MM and I will be hanging out together again tonight (and most of the day tomorrow, too). I'm going over after work, and we will exchange Christmas gifts then. (Well, I already have my Blackberry, but he bought me something small and I haven't given him any of his gifts yet.) Not sure what we'll do after that: maybe a movie, maybe just hang out at home.
I'm looking forward to going to my dad's tomorrow evening. I'll be there through Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Putting thoughts into action. . . .

214.8 (ugh)
C and I had dinner last night, and I found out that she eloped last Monday! I knew that this was coming some time soon--she has been living with the same man for some time and had mentioned that they would be eloping when they decided the time was right to marry--but of course it was a surprise to me. As this is the most optimistic act performed by one of my friends in recent memory, I was excited. ;-) And I do genuinely like her husband: he's a very nice guy.
Isn't it funny how we often put off an onerous task, only to find that when we actually "just do it" it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be? At least, I find that this happens to me all the time. This morning, I decided to bite the bullet and clear off my desk. I hate to do it, because it's a pain in the ass and because it's not "billable" time. Once I actually got down to it, it took less than half an hour. Now things are neatly filed, except for my "action" piles, and my inbox is actually empty for the first time in weeks. What a good feeling!
Tonight I am meeting my friend V for a late dinner. I haven't seen her in well over a month--I can't remember the last time we got together, actually--so it'll be good to catch up. She says she has fallen in love with someone she met on, and I have not heard much about him yet except a few short emails. (Caveat: I will say that V falls in love much more quickly than your average woman--she makes me look cautious. LOL)
It's funny: I have as many evening obligations this week as I had last week, but for some reason, I don't feel as stressed out. Maybe it's because I have been a little less busy during the workdays, and also because my commitments for this week are just that: MY commitments. I mean, they are outings with friends that I have scheduled, rather than parties I am obligated to attend because of work. Choice is an important factor in how stressed I feel, I think.
Tomorrow night I have nothing planned, so I will likely use that time to do my laundry, clean up, take the dog for a long walk, and generally relax. I have started reading Love in the Time of Cholera (I've wanted to read it since seeing the movie Serendipity, but seeing it on Oprah's list jogged my memory), and I'd like to get more into it if I can before I go on my trip. I do have a few more gift cards to buy, but I am trying to do all my errands on my lunch hours this week so that I don't have to do them in the evenings.
Oh, I just have to write about a discussion MM and I had on Saturday about my weight. While we were at Bellagio, I took a picture of us in front of one of the Christmas trees (two posts ago). A random stranger saw me take the picture and offered to take a picture of us together. When I was looking at the picture she took afterwards, I commented that I'd have to be doing some cropping because she'd taken a full body shot. MM said "what's wrong with that?" (Spoken like someone who has always been thin.)
So I had to explain to him that I don't allow anyone to photograph me below the waist because I'm fat. After a few minutes, he asked me why, if my weight bothers me, I don't do something about it. (Of course, he prefaced this by saying he doesn't think I'm fat and thinks I look fine.) At the time, I kind of laughed it off, told him it's something I've always struggled with and probably always will, and that he really can't understand because he's naturally thin.
Later, when I was reflecting on our exchange, I started thinking: you know, he's right. If it bothers me that I'm at my current weight, why don't I do something about it? It's not as thought I could ever "fix" my obesity, and I truly do believe that I will likely always struggle with my weight. And I accepted long ago that a big factor in my being fat is unlucky genetics.
But, at the same time, I know from prior experience that I can affect SOME change in this area if I put forth the effort. I can see why he made the remark: it is not in character for me to have an aspect of my life with which I am dissatisfied, yet do nothing about it.
It's all well and good for me to say this has been a lifelong problem (true) and that it's difficult/impossible to "fix" (also true). But if I am unhappy enough about it to comment on it, I should make an effort to change it.
Having said all that, however, I have slept in the past two mornings instead of hitting the treadmill and still got my caffe mocha & bacon & egg breakfast sandwich at Starbuck's this morning. I sure wish I could make the connection between my thoughts about my weight and my actions.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Quick update

MM and I returned from our Vegas trip yesterday afternoon. It went really well. We got along great and enjoyed spending the weekend together. We stayed at New York/New York and did lots of stuff: had dinner at Nine at the Palms on Friday and went to Ghost Bar after; Saturday, we saw the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Christmas conservatory decorations at Bellagio, Wynn, Harrah's, then went to see Mystere at Treasure Island. (One of the acrobats injured his leg during the Mystere performance.) We gambled a little and had lots of sex. LOL An ideal Vegas weekend, right?
Back to work today. I'm still a little tired: I didn't sleep much or well at the hotel and had a hard time falling asleep last night, even though I was exhausted. I feel 75% less tired today than yesterday, though.
This week will be a bit less busy than last, thank goodness. I have several assignments to complete and a few client meetings, but no depositions. I should be able to get pretty caught up, at least in theory.
I'm probably having dinner with my friend C tonight after work. It'll be nice to see her and catch up; it's been a few weeks.
Wednesday is the only evening this week that I don't have anything going on, so I will buy the last few gift cards I need for Christmas gifts then.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

How many times have you packed up your life and moved? To/from where?

(This entry started out as a comment posted to someone else's blog. I decided to move it here when it got too long.)
I was born when my parents lived in an apartment in the Jackson Heights area of Queens, NY. When I was 2, we moved to a house on Long Island; when I was 5, we moved to New Mexico--to what I think of as my "childhood home."

I lived in my childhood home in small town NM from age 5 to 17. After that, even if I exclude places I only lived short-term, with no intention of staying longer--say, less than 6 months--I count 16 separate residences as an adult and 17 different roommates (2 were boyfriends).

In college, I lived in two different dorms, one on-campus student apartment, one off-campus apartment, and with my mom for two separate years. I subleased from a friend for 6 weeks one summer, too. During college, if you count suitemates, I lived with 11 different people.

After college, I moved to a small town for my first real job. I lived there for two years and rented two different houses. I lived with 2 different people there--one roommate, one boyfriend.

I moved back to the town where I'd gone to college and lived in two different apartments there in about 18 months (both places alone). I then got tired of commuting and moved to a very cute townhome in El Paso, Texas, where I lived for eight months, alone.

After El Paso, I took a job that required me to live in cities for short-term (3-6 month) contracts. During that three-year period, I lived in Plano, TX, Thousand Oaks, CA, Houston, TX, Waterbury, CT, Phoenix, AZ, Scottsdale, AZ (for 5 weeks), and Tucson, AZ. Except for Scottsdale, I lived in each of those apartments--all rented & furnished by my company--for at least 3 months. I had a roommate once for 6 months (in Phoenix).

I then moved to Tucson for law school. In six-and-a-half years in Tucson, I lived in three different houses and two different apartments. I lived with one roommate for two years and my ex-fiance for a year-and-a-half, the rest of the time alone.

During the two summers I was in law school, I lived in Phoenix for jobs. One summer I lived in my recently-deceased grandmother's house in a retirement community (& had to go home to Tucson every weekend); the other summer, I rented an apartment, which I shared with a friend/classmate.

I moved to my current apartment in July. Given the problems I've had here, I will almost certainly move again in February when my current lease expires. I hate to move again, but I also hate paying a high rent to deal with a lot of unnecessary bullsh1t.

Given that I only lived 3 separate places until age 17, it's no wonder I sometimes feel disconnected and hate to take the time to fully unpack and decorate. Anywhere I've lived as an adult, if things proceed according to the usual course, odds are I won't be there long.

Friday, December 14, 2007

First trip together

?? (forgot to weigh--I was 212 yesterday)
I have been in a bit of a mood the past day and a half. For one thing, this has been the busiest week I've had since starting this job: in the past seven days, I attended five depositions (one out of state), two client meetings, filed several pleadings, attending three holiday parties (with one more to go today), in addition to all the usual daily office stuff. I have only been home before 8:00 p.m. twice this week. During the periods when I have physically been at my desk, I have had many interruptions. . . . which has been particularly frustrating, given the number of pending assignments I need to complete.

Today I am trying to maintain a healthier perspective. In the grand scheme, it really doesn't matter whether I write the six memos I need to complete today, Monday, or Tuesday. I have managed to get everything done that had to go to a court or another attorney, so that's what matters. It is probably not realistic to think I can clear my desk by the end of each week.
MM and I are leaving for Vegas this evening at 7:00. I have been looking forward to our trip. . . . until last night, when MM started talking on the phone about his anxieties about the weekend and whether we will get along. Aye, aye, aye. After the week I've had, I'm kinda not in the mood to be dealing with someone else's issues. But I guess that's what being in a relationship is about, to some degree at least.
My hope is that our office holiday luncheon this afternoon will wipe away the stress of the week and help me mentally prepare for my Vegas trip. I am basically packed and otherwise ready to go. And before MM brought it up, I wasn't particularly worried that we wouldn't get along.
I sent out my 60 holiday cards today, finally. (I usually try to get my cards out right after Thanksgiving; I pride myself on being early with them.) I am definitely going to have to winnow the list, because 60 cards was ridiculous and took way too long to address, etc.
At least I had the foresight to clean house and do laundry on Sunday & Monday nights, so I won't come home Sunday to a messy apartment. I have actually managed OK this week, despite my very full schedule. And at least next week I have fewer evening commitments, so I can work late (and/or take assignments home) if necessary.
P.S. Our office manager came in my office a little while ago to give me my Christmas bonus check. WTF?! I didn't even know I *got* a Christmas bonus! That's an extra $700 (post-tax) that I wasn't expecting. Nice. . . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So frickin' annoying


I rarely vent about work on here. . . primarly because I have few real complaints about my current job. However, on this occasion, I am going to make an exception.

There are three active partners in our firm; I do some work for all three. The partner with whom I have the most cases shares a secretary with me, so there are never conflicts there.

The partner with whom I have the second-most cases (and whose deposition I have flown to California to attend) has a real pain in the ass for a secretary. I could give numerous examples of her mediocrity and general annoying-ness, but I will refrain. Suffice it to say that today's issue with her is not my first. And apparently I'm not the only one whose had problems with her.

She calendared this depo for the wrong time--2:00 when it's really at 3:00. Normally I'd say who cares, but I am stuck in a strange city with no vehicle and only medical offices and a hospital within walking distance. I am now forced to spend nearly an hour in the waiting room of a doctor's office because that's where this stupid depo is being held.

I know this isn't in the holiday spirit. . . but may the fleas of a thousand camels find her tent! AAARGH!
(Later, upon returning home to Phoenix. . . . ) Ok, I am still annoyed that I had to wait in the doctors' office waiting room for over an hour, but whateva. I definitely need to put things in perspective. If this is the biggest complaint I have about my job--and at the moment, it is--I should be jumping for joy! I am super-lucky. ;-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Crackberry


I am sitting in a not-very-interesting deposition and thought I would take advantage of my new Blackberry and write an entry.

Yes, I am now a Blackberry user. MM gave me the Blackberry for Xmas; he wanted to give to me early so we activated it last Saturday while we were out Xmas shopping.

It is a very generous gift and I'm having fun with it. Of course, its cost exceeded our agreed-upon spending limit, so I will be upgrading his gift accordingly. ;)

Things are going well with MM. He went with me to my attorney holiday dinner on Saturday night. He actually liked my colleagues (and it seems the feeling is mutual) and our meal was excellent. The only small downside was that the dinner lasted two hours longer than we thought it would, so we barely made a cameo (20 minutes tops) at MM's friend's holiday party.

Tomorrow I am flying to Santa Ana, CA, to attend a deposition. MM is taking me to the airport. Awwww.

Not much else to report. This week will be hella busy: in addition to all my work tasks, I have social commitments every evening. And Friday we fly to Vegas.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


214.2 (ugh)
I was having a debate the other day with a couple of different friends--one happily married, one single at 43--about the benefits of marriage. In other words: what does being legally married actually add to your relationship? (Feel free to weigh in with any and all comments.) Thus far, no one has given me a reason that I find compelling.
Having said that. . . . one friend asked "If MM asked you in a year to marry him, what would you say?" And I had to admit that, despite the fact that I kinda don't see the benefit of marriage, I'd probably say yes. LOL My reason would be that if someone I loved and planned to be with anyway believed that getting married would add something to our relationship, I'd be willing to do it. . . . even if I didn't necessarily agree.

Hmmm. ANYWAY. . . . I am certainly not contemplating marriage with MM at this point! The friend who posed that hypothetical merely used MM to illustrate his point because he is the man I am currently dating.

OK, let's put it straight: MM isn't just "the man I'm currently dating;" he's my boyfriend. Yes, I actually wrote that word. He calls me his girlfriend and introduces me to others as his girlfriend, and I definitely consider him my boyfriend (for lack of a better word to describe the 34-year-old man I love and date). So he's my boyfriend.

Things between MM and me have been going very well of late. We went to Zoo Lights last night, which was quite fun. Made us want to go back to visit the zoo some time during the day so we could actually see the animals, though. And because I was downtown for a deposition today that finished just before noon, we were able to have lunch together. Awww. First time we'd done that.
We have been talking more regularly on the phone and for longer periods of time. We continue to enjoy each other's company, and we have already made plans to spend New Year's Eve together. In fact, we are both feeling easier about discussing things we may do together in the future (say, 2-3 months from now) without having to give a disclaimer like "if we're still together then." Today's lunch aside, we really aren't seeing each other much more often than we had been. . . . but it's a bit difficult between our respective work schedules and the distance between our homes: we live almost 30 miles apart. (I live closer to his work than he does, but his allergy to Sebastian makes it impossible for him to spend the night at my place without feeling miserable.)
I have noticed a subtle change in the dynamic of our relationship since our pre-Thanksgiving talk. (You know, the one where he told me he might not be able to continue seeing me: We are both feeling our way into being more committed to one another. Despite our original intention to keep things casual, we had both developed some pretty strong feelings for each other; putting them into words during that discussion just made what was already under the surface explicit.
I notice small differences in our interactions. For my part, I no longer stop before calling or texting him to think "Will this be too much? Will he think I'm not giving him his space?" Now, if I feel the urge to talk to him, I don't hesitate--I call. I have grown to rely on him a little more, as someone I can talk with if I have a problem, for instance. He is, in some ways, more careful around me. . . . quicker to sense (& comment on) my mood, more likely to apologize if (in his typical blunt fashion) he says something without thinking that he fears may hurt my feelings. On the other hand, at times he seems more comfortable around me; it varies.
I don't feel at all that it is too soon for us to be getting involved like this. It feels right. We continue to take things slowly. I am still enjoying the relationship as much as ever. And now I don't have to call him "this guy I'm dating." LOL
P.S. On a less happy note. . . . am I a fat tub of lard or what?! I need to get back on the healthier eating/exercise track. I did take Sebastian for a 30-minute walk tonight. . . . . but I will admit that my primary motivation was the fact that *he* needed the exercise. (He's chewed something up every day this week and last night while I was sleeping.) Aye, aye, aye.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


213.6 (ugh)
How sad is it that I am not dissatisfied enough with the weight above to eschew all fast food and hit the treadmill for an hour tonight? Why do I find this weight acceptable? (sigh)
I was out of commission most of yesterday with a migraine. I started getting a migraine Saturday night, about an hour or so into the ASU-UA football game. Unfortunately, I'd made the fateful decision to leave my purse at home. . . which meant I'd also left my ibuprofen and Imitrex at home. By the time I was able to take some medications, about 4 hours after the headache started, I felt miserable. I continue to have some headache pain (though no other migraine symptoms) on Sunday. I went to bed thinking I'd be 100% in the morning, though.
Um, no. I woke up before 6:00 on Monday morning with a full-on migraine: visual disturbance, horrible pain, nausea, light sensitivity, the works. I had to stay home from work. I took a huge dose of my drugs and lay in bed suffering for almost two hours before finally dozing off. I then slept until almost 2:00. I didn't feel totally back to normal until almost bedtime.
I'm not entirely sure what caused this migraine (or was it two separate migraines?), but I was miserable.
On a side note, MM was quite concerned and solicitous about my headache(s). He is a sweetheart. Things are going quite well with us. We are going to Zoo Lights tomorrow evening and are already making plans to spend NYE together. :-)
Anyway, as I was lying on the couch vegging out on Sunday evening, trying to recover, I somehow got into watching a reality show on CMT about women trying out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (or "DCC," as they call themselves). Any of my friends would tell you that I have an aversion to reality television: I have never voluntarily watched an episode of Survivor or American Idol, and I have been known to ask MM to change the channel if he turns out A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila or I Love New York. Not sure exactly what it was about this DCC show that appealed to me, but I watched 4 consecutive episodes, 2 hours' worth.
One sad girl got "cut" because of her "problem" tummy/midsection. She looked normal to me--and had a body fat of 15%--she weighed 138 lbs, but that was "too big for the uniform," apparently. Most of the women had body fat percentages between 10 and 12%. When Ms. 15% had her body fat measured, the fitness guy told her she was "the biggest one coming through here."
How warped is it that even an unhealthy body fat percentage of 15% is "too fat" for the DCC? (My understanding is that 22-25% is normal for a woman; 17-22% if she's "athletic.") Anyway. . . . I'd have given a lot to look as good as the "fat" girl. LOL
I do want to get back to exercising regularly. My energy level has been for sh1t lately. Perhaps I will hit the treadmill this evening. . . . there's nothing stopping me but laziness. ;-)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

S in full rant mode


The following is an excerpt from a complaint letter I am sending to my apartment complex's coroprate office in Colorado. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. . . and the guilty. Considering that drafting this has consumed hours of my weekend, thought I'd share the love:

I have been a resident at the XY Apartments, in apartment 666, since July 28, 2007. I chose to live at the XY among the many other options in Phoenix and the surrounding metro area in large part because my research revealed that its residents were among the most satisfied with their customer service of any complex. When I first visited, the leasing agent informed me that some of the residents had lived in the complex for many years.

The complex itself is quite pretty, and the grounds are well-maintained. The location is ideal, and I love my apartment: it is spacious, with lots of closet space. My neighbors are friendly, and I feel safe living here.

However, in the past two weeks, I have experienced a situation here that was, to put it mildly, intolerable. On the evening of November 16th, a little before 6:00 p.m., I returned home to find scummy water backed up into both sides of my kitchen sink. When I had left my apartment that morning, the sink was completely empty, clean, and dry; it was therefore obvious even to me that the problem did not originate in my apartment.

After bailing some water out to keep the sink from overflowing, I called the main office number to leave a message that maintenance was needed. I initially left a “non-emergency” message because the water level seemed to have stabilized once I had bailed water out.

In the next ten minutes or so, I heard gurgling noises and rechecked the sink to find that the water level was rising. At that time, I called back and left a message on the “emergency” number for maintenance. The recording on that message asked for my apartment number, telephone number, and the maintenance problem. I left this information, along with the fact that I had a dog in the apartment who might attempt to escape if the door was left open.

I had an obligation outside my home at 6:30 p.m. By 6:20 p.m., no one had arrived to fix my plumbing, despite the fact that I placed the call for “emergency” maintenance at 6:06 p.m. I left at approximately 6:20 to keep my appointment, believing that when I returned, my maintenance issue would have been addressed.

When I returned home at approximately 8:30 p.m., not only had no one come to fix my plumbing problem, the water level in the sink had risen once again and overflowed the sink, onto the countertops and onto the floor. Two brand new paperback books that had been sitting on the counter were water-soaked and ruined; a stack of new clothing sitting next to them on the counter was also soaked with the dirty water.

Upon discovering this condition, I called the “emergency” number a second time. I received a call back a few minutes later from an “unidentified” number. The caller did not identify himself; however, I figured out that he must be the maintenance man because he told me that he had received my earlier “page,” come by, and would not enter my apartment because of the dog inside. When queried, he claimed that he could not call me to tell me this because I didn’t leave him my phone number in my message. He also left no note or anything else to indicate that he had been to my apartment, even though the management of the complex routinely communicates with its residents by posting notes just outside the front door. (Indeed, there is a clip attached to the outer wall expressly for that purpose.)

At the time of my initial call, the backed-up water in my sink was disgusting and inconvenient; now a flood had occurred, creating a huge mess and an unsanitary living condition. The smell was quite bad also. Prompt attention to my first call could have prevented the situation from progressing. To abbreviate the remainder of our conversation considerably, I was angry at the maintenance worker’s complete lack of response to a maintenance emergency and told him so. The then-anonymous maintenance worker apparently became angry also and ultimately hung up on me.

No one ever came to fix my plumbing that night. After mopping up the water on the counters and floor and (for the third time) bailing water out of my sink, I had to sleep the entire night wondering whether I would wake up to another flood. Additionally, the stench from the backed-up sink was foul.

Shortly after the office opened the following morning at 10:00, I went to once again report this plumbing problem, this time to someone other than the maintenance man. There was still a small amount of dirty, standing water in my sink at that time. Zelda, the leasing agent with whom I spoke, told me that someone would be up “within the next couple of hours” to assess the situation and fix the problem.

At 12:45 p.m., when no one had come by or called, I called Zelda to inquire on the status of my maintenance call. I was once again assured that someone would be up soon to fix the sink.

At 2:00 p.m., when no one had arrived, I called a second time. This time Zelda informed me that the maintenance man was busy “helping the manager move some furniture.” I reiterated that this was an emergency, due to the unsanitary and unlivable condition created in my home by this plumbing problem, and once again asked that someone be sent to fix it.

At 2:23 p.m., when still no one had come by, I called a third time. Five minutes after my third call on that Saturday, the self-same maintenance man who had hung up me on the night before (who I have since learned is named Satan) showed up with a bottle of drain cleaner. I explained to him, as I had on the phone the previous night, that the problem was not a clogged drain, but rather that water had flowed up into my sink from some other unit. Nonetheless, he tried (unsuccesfully) to clear the drain using the drain cleaner. A few minutes later, a plumber was called. The plumber was at my apartment and working on the problem by 4:00 p.m. I was gone from 2:45 to 4:00, so I cannot be certain exactly when the plumber arrived.

Because I had to leave before his work was complete, I do not know exactly how long the plumber worked on my kitchen sink. I do know that, when I left home shortly before 6:30 p.m., the plumber was still working.

Despite the fact that I was—and am—extremely dissatisfied at the shoddy customer service I had received and at having to tolerate a disgusting and unsanitary condition in my home for nearly 20 hours, I waited to be contacted by the complex manager to discuss this issue. On Saturday, during my last two phone conversations with Zelda, she had assured me that the manager would call me on Monday.

As of November 29, no one had called me. (I have since learned that no one called because apparently the manager left that weekend, and the complex is currently without an on-site manager.) The issue was not uppermost in my mind : I was out of town for six days for the Thanksgiving holiday and returned to a busy week at work. I did not wish to take the time or energy at that time to resolve what I believe to be a significant issue.

Upon returning home on the evening of November 29 just before 5:30 p.m., I discovered that my kitchen sink was once again backed up with dirty water from another unit. As with the past occurrence, I had left my sink empty and dry at 8:30 that morning. This time, though, there was no “warning”: the water had already overflowed the sink, onto the counters, into the kitchen drawers and cabinets, and onto the floor. I can only assume that the water must have been standing for some time, as the pressboard drawers and cabinet shelves had swelled and are now deformed from the water damage. Luckily for me, this time none of my belongings were on the counters, and therefore nothing belonging to me was damaged.

To give credit where credit is due, this time my maintenance issue was attended to promptly. I called the office and spoke to Chantal, who immediately called out a plumber to fix the problem. By 9:30 p.m. when I returned home (I was gone from 5:45 to 9:30), both sides of the sink were empty and the sink appeared to be in working order. Of course, I still had to clean up the mess made by the foul water and, as I mentioned above, the water had damaged the kitchen drawers and cabinet shelves.

Having been a renter for the past eighteen years, I am well aware that maintenance issues do arise and that they are not completely unavoidable. This simple fact is the primary reason that apartment complexes employ maintenance workers and give residents a way to reach someone on call 24 hours a day in case of an emergency. However, I have never before, in any of the complexes where I have lived—at least 15 at last count—received the complete lack of customer service and inattention to basic needs that I received in the handling of my plumbing problem on November 16-17, 2007.

By any definition, the situation that existed in my apartment on November 16-17 was an emergency. Waste water ,which was obviously from another unit other than mine, had overflowed my kitchen sink and flooded my kitchen. In addition to the destruction of my books and the inconvenience of having to clean up the stinking mess, the situation created was downright unsanitary and unlivable. I also could not use my kitchen sink for over 24 hours.
Yet, in spite of this emergency situation, maintenance worker Satan elected not to respond to my maintenance call: first, ostensibly because of the dog in my apartment, and later, I suppose, because he didn’t like my attitude toward him. (As a side note: the fact that a dog lives in my apartment is obviously no secret: the pet is listed in my lease, and I pay a montly pet rent fee.)

I do not believe that handling a serious maintenance issue in this manner is appropriate under any circumstances, but particularly not in a community that bills itself as a “luxury apartment complex.” I pay a not inconsiderable amount of rent to live at the XY and do not believe that it is unreasonable to expect that any maintenance problem will be addressed promptly, with a minimum of excuses from the complex’s employees.

Upon speaking to Zelda again on the evening of November 30, two suggestions were made to remedy this situation: that I be transferred to another unit, where my rent would be increased by $100/month (due to recent refurbishment of that unit), or that I receive a $50 credit to my account. I do not find either of these proposed resolutions appropriate or sufficient.

I have no desire to transfer to another unit. If I must be inconvenienced more than I already have been by having to move, I might as well move to another apartment complex as to another unit. Also, the suggestion that in doing so I would agree to increase my monthly rent by $100 is simply ludicrous. Given the low level of customer service I have received here, I now feel that the rent I am already paying is excessive. Paying an additional $100/month is out of the question.

A $50 credit to my account is insulting. $50 does not even begin to compensate me for the rudeness, neglect,propery damage, inconvenience, and even health risk that I endured because of this situation. In addition to what I have already experienced, I know that I will now come home each day with a concern that I will once again encounter a kitchen flooded with filthy, stinking water. My wasted time due to this situation alone is far more valuable than $50.

Even worse than the wasted time and frustration is the fact that I am no longer fully at peace in my own home. I know that, inevitably, I will need to call for maintenance at some time, and I now have absolutely no confidence that any problem will be addressed timely, or in fact at all, by the XY staff. In fact, it seems fairly certain that if I have any future maintenance needs, I will have a rude, disrespectful, and dishonest “worker”—someone who already has demonstrated his retribution for our previous unpleasant encounters by deliberately ignoring my emergency calls, refusing to come to my apartment in a timely fashion, and attempting to slander me to other complex staff—entering my home in my absence. That is unsettling at best.

In consideration for the rude and inattentive treatment I have endured from your staff, I propose one of the following options: 1) one month’s free rent; or 2) transfer to a remodeled unit at my current rent until the end of February, when my current lease expires, moving expenses to be paid by you.

I am fully aware of my rights under Arizona landlord-tenant law and have no qualms about pursuing alternative methods of settling this issue if we cannot arrive at an equitable resolution. I await your response.