Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adventures in Bureaucracy

Nothing can mire you in bureaucracy like moving from one house to another, especially if you're moving within the same city.  I had some bad luck and misfortune in December that resulted in A: a lack of blog writing and B: needing to find a new place to live ASAP.  For a while, I thought I was going to have to move into a storage unit and rely on the kindness of my friends, but luckily fate smiled upon me and I found a groovy 70's-style home on Lois Lane.  The address kind of sold it.

I've been trying to transfer my water service this week, a process that should be freakin' simple.  "Hi, I need to move my service from here to there.  Thanks."  That's all it should take.  No, that would be far too easy.  It would seem that the phone number to the city water division is a closely guarded secret.  Apparently, you need to call City Hall on the Batphone and give the secret password then have a pizza with extra onions sent to the Superintendent's cable guy.  So I do all that just to be told that I need to come in  to City Hall.  Super.  I live for this.

I go down to City Hall and talk to the cashier.  Of course it can't be as easy as "stop my service here and turn it on there."  Where's the fun in that?  Nope, I get two sets of forms...one to shut it off and one to turn it on.  And of course, I can't pay my bill while I'm there.  I have to wait until they send me one in the mail.  Brilliant.  So now I have two pages front and back to fill out, which should be simple enough,  but of course it's not.

Name on bill: Hmm...do they want my actual name or the name that appears on my bill which is, naturally, Chalet Rittenday.
If renting, provide a copy of current lease: Really?  I can't even find a bowl for my Cheerio's and you want me to produce my lease?

I think the water service took lessons in customer service from Comcast who, incidentally, called me today.  They're like an ex who doesn't understand that we're broken up.

Comcast:  Why did you leave us?!?!  Was the bill too high?
Me: It was, but that wasn't what did it.  I left because of your shitty customer service.
Comcast:  Would these special offers make you come back to us?
Me: Cutting me a deal won't do it.  In fact, if you were to pay me to use your services, I still wouldn't return.
Comcast:  Are you seeing someone else?
Me: I am.  And we're very happy together.
Comcast:  They'll never love you like I will!

Now I'm left with the wonderfully tedious task of unpacking an entire housefull of crap.  You know, with all my abundant free time.

Lesson 12: You gotta cuddle that bitch.  Bitches love cuddles.
(This has no relation to the post, but was the most memorable quote from moving day.)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I'm From Texas; Here's Your Casserole

The other day, I got a text from my friend Gwyn.  Her father had gone to the ER and was getting admitted to the hospital.    Now, where I'm from, there's only one correct response to that situation: Casseroles!   Gwyn, a California native, did not seem to be aware of the proper protocol and tried to get between a Texan and a mandatory casserole delivery situation.

Me:  I'm going to make you a lasagna!
Gwyn:  That's ok; sure Dad'll be fine.
Me:  Still, you need a lasagna.
Gwyn:  That's kind of you to offer.
Me: GODDAMN IT GWYN!  Give me you address so I can bring you delicious lasagna!
Gwyn: Fine.

See, when someone has had a major life event (hospitalization, birth, death, move, whatever) friends should bring one dish meals that reheat easily.  It is also acceptable to show up and clean a part of their house, particularly for new parents.

And so my cousin and I spent the next morning making a delicious vegetarian lasagna (because in California, every family is required to have at least one vegetarian.  It's a law).  We also made some garlic bread and chocolate chip cookies, because everything can be made better with chocolate chip cookies and then we trucked halfway across the San Francisco Bay Area to deliver them.

Gwyn eventually realized the magic of casseroles delivered to your door (and of chocolate chip cookies, which barely lasted two hours).  With a family member in the hospital, anything to take mundane tasks out of the picture is helpful.  Well-wishing friends often send all kinds of messages saying, "please let me know if you need anything" or "let me know what I can do," but most people won't say, "as a matter of fact, here's what you can do."  This is why Texans and Southerners will show up with casseroles or drop by to clean your kitchen.

Lesson 11: When someone's in the hospital, take the family a casserole.
Corollary: Shut up and take the damn casserole.