Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Locked out

I think it is time to just accept the fact that I am the sort of person things just... happen to. And while very, very often, it is partially, if not completely, my fault, this time it really wasn't.

I think.


I live in a townhome format apartment complex, and each apartment has an attached garage. So I can either enter my home through the front door, or, as I am more likely to do, through the door connecting the garage to the apartment.

About a month ago, the fob that opens and closes both the garage door and the gate to the apartment complex started acting up - it would open the garage door, but not close it. Initally, I thought it may be a battery issue, so I replaced that, but the issue persisted. So finally, this past Saturday, I went to my leasing office to talk to them about it, and they told me to leave it with them and they'd have it looked at on Monday when the maintenance folks came in. Since I'm never home during their working hours during the week, I told them to just leave it in my garage when they were done, and in the meantime, I'd use the switch on the wall to close my garage door, and enter and exit through the front door.

When I got home on Monday, there was no sign of the fob. Unsurprised, partially because I have lived here for four years, and partially because it was MLK Day, I figured I'll give them another day before I try to plan my calendar so I can get home early enough to go talk to them.

Tuesday morning, however, was my cleaning ladies' monthly visit. They usually arrive around 8.30 am, and I leave soon after, and when they're done, they lock the front door, and leave through the garage. I have never given them a spare key, and so far this arrangement has worked.

Tuesday evening, I went to get my nails done after work. Then, on the way home, I stopped at a Mediterranean restaurant that I have passed several times and been meaning to try, to pick up dinner. So by the time I pulled up outside my apartment, it was 7.39 pm. I remember the time, because I remember seeing it and thinking, great, I have twenty minutes before This is Us begins.

Except I couldn't get in. In their infinite wisdom, the cleaning ladies had double locked my front door. And I didn't have my fob.

I tried calling the 24x7 maintenance helpline, who, again unsurprisingly, were of no help whatsoever. First they couldn't figure out why I couldn't get in. Finally, after being transferred to a supervisor, who understood my issue after the thirs explanation, they tried to figure out if they had an emergency key that could open the garage door. Shocker - they didn't. Their bright suggestion was to call a locksmith, and when I asked what a locksmith could do when my door was double locked, they said, "oh yeah, I guess he'll have to break the door down." Which is just a fantastic idea when you live alone, and it's already 8 pm.

So I called a friend and asked if could crash at her place for the night - something that caused her two year old son to be extremely surprised this morning when he saw me appear out of nowhere at breakfast. I was at my leasing office when they opened at 9 am this morning, and explained the problem. They rummaged through their table, and found my fob - which had been fixed and then dropped back in the leasing office after I had explained I'm never home when they're open.

I got into my apartment, texted confirmation to my friend, showered and changed, and got to work at 10.30 am. Which was a good thing, because I had back to back meetings today from 11 am till 5 pm.

And then I came home, watched This is Us on Hulu while having chocolate mousse that I had bought on the weekend, and wrote about the last 24 hours of my life.

So anyway, you guys, 2019 is off to a rocking start.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

On 2018: the year in review

I woke up on January 2 to a text from Friend of the Blog**, @mayavie, asking if we are doing, and I quote, "the 2018 round up blog post or what?" It's taken me a week, but it looks like we are.

Let me just begin by saying 2018 was a very strange year, even by strange year standards. It oscillated between being fantastic and awful in ways that truly did make my head spin at times. The highs were among the best times of my life, some of the lows came close to being among the worst.

I was complaining about the oscillation to my father one day, some months ago, and he laughingly said maybe I needed the lows to balance out the highs. Maybe I did, but not to this extent.

I didn't write last year. I tried, at least for the first 2-3 months of the year, but after that, just stopped. My drafts section is currently half a dozen barely started ramblings, and for some of them, I can't even remember what the point was supposed to be. And that to me, feels stranger than a lot of other things, because in the past, being upset has usually been a trigger to write. I still think some of my best posts have been when I have been completely worked up and hammered out a furious tirade. But this year, barring one or two occasions, I couldn't find the energy to vent on this blog. Partially because, I think, I wasn't angry as much as just... upset. But still.

But this annual round up is warranted, I think. If nothing else, it gives me the chance to reflect. So, here we go.

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Visited three new countries.

Developed allergies to things I have been fine with all my life.

Oh, and I got my Green Card.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did not keep either of the goals I listed in last year's round up. Ideally, this year, I would like to double down on both of them. I'd also like to start eating healthier, and cook more.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I feel like someone did, but for the life of me I can't remember who.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No one close to me, no.

5. What places did you visit?

Ah, the fun one, and honestly, what gave me the highs of this year. Let's do this by month, shall we? And let's have a little drumroll first:
January - New York, for work
February - Zilch, because I was ramping up for March
March - Chicago, for work; NEW ZEALAND, very much NOT for work; and then Ohio, but really Kentucky, for work again; and then technically I guess Germany was also in March because I went over Easter weekend
April - Milwaukee and Chicago, this time to prove my love for one of the gal pals given that it was 27 C/80 F where I live, and below freezing where she was visiting family (#notbitteratall); back to school for my five year reunion for B-school
May - Jacksonville, FL, for work; New York, again, for work; Chicago, over Memorial Day weekend, because the mother was visiting me to help with my meltdown over my allergies, and the brother got sent to Chicago for a project, and we ended up having a lovely little weekend despite everything
June - Weekend trip to Bozeman, MT, to drive to Yellowstone and Grand Teton, which means I knocked Wyoming off my list as well; Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE, for work. Which means I knocked FOUR new states in less than a week, which is something that excited me tremendously
July - Prague, Santorini, and Greece - two new countries for me, and a trip that for the second time in the year truly made me feel blessed to have the life I do, if I was the kind of person who ever felt blessed. On my return, Tucson, AZ, for work, but since this was my fifth new state of the year, I went in early and spent the weekend driving around. And then Jacksonville, FL, again, for work.
August - Charleston, SC, for work. But while this wasn't a new state, it was a new city for me, and one that had been on my list for a while, so again, I decided to stay back for the weekend this time, and explore.
September - The brother was sent to Amreeka for another project, this time to the Bay Area. So I went to visit him one weekend, and fitted in a friend's housewarming, and dinner with yet another friend. So much socializing from me - who'da thunk.
October - I had planned a day trip to Houston for a visa interview, but then headed to Charlotte where meetings had got tacked on for the day after, all while a tropical storm and/or hurricane was expected through these places, so that was a fun week. One trip back to New York for work, and then another to LA for work.
November - India, for Diwali, where I went to Kolkata after two years, and then home for the rest of the trip.
December - S came to stay with me for ten days over the holidays, and we did one weekend trip to San Antonio, and a road trip to Louisiana, which included, but is not limited to: a tour of the Tabasco factory, a couple of days in New Orleans, a speeding ticket, running out of gas and having to call AAA in the middle of nowhere, multiple hotel mishaps, and lots of fried chicken and Bloody Maries***.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

Less oscillation.

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

February 14
March 11 and 12 - my birthday, and the next day; See #31 below
The May trip to New York, while a patch test to detect allergies was all over my back
July 7 - the day I stood in front of the Acropolis in Athens
November 5-9 - the mother's birthday, Chhoti Diwali, Diwali, and Bhai phonta - all spent with my entire family, at home, after seven long years

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Other than the amount of travel I got in? The green card, I guess. Only time in my life I've had reason to be grateful to the mother being stubborn and refusing to go back to India to give birth to me.
Professionally, while this year sucked in many, many ways, we also had a biggish product launch in July that I had led, lived and breathed for the previous 18 months. And while I may not feel like I got the credit I deserved for the launch, I was and am incredibly proud of that product.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not finding a new job. I was tempted to say the same as last year, but that's not entirely accurate, since I did get out of my limbo somewhat, albeit not enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Exhibit A: May
Exhibit B: July

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Instant Pot. Also the Ello camper's mug that I seem to have become an unpaid brand ambassador for over the past week.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My parents, for listening to me whine about the year, rolling their eyes about my whining, but being there through it all.
All the women who have come forward this year, with stories of harassment, abuse, and trauma. The women who have named names, and just been so very brave.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?

Have you seen the news this year?

14. Where did most of your money go?

On travel, which is not a terrible way to spend money, but would have been nice if I had realised just how frickin' expensive New Zealand is. Also on electronics that we shall not talk about.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The three big trips.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

I don't think there is one, unless I should rattle off a bunch of Coke Studio songs simply by virtue of how many times I listened to them this year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Neither, honestly. Just... low. Which I suppose means sadder. But I don't feel that's fair, because there were good things that happened in 2018. So I don't know. I'm just going to stop rambling now, and say... neither.

18. Thinner or fatter?


19. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Cooked. Said no to people. Looked for a job.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Literally the same thing as last year - sat on the couch.

21. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it exchanging gifts with S, went out to have pani puri so I could inaugurate the gol gappa themed t-shirt she gifted me, and then having chicken pot pie for dinner. Chicken pot pie from a ready-to-eat meals store/restaurant here is my go-to meal for any Thanksgiving and Christmas that I am staying in, and as it now turns out, S's favourite thing for NYE as well.

22. Did you fall in love in 2018?

No. Ain't got no time for that.

23. How many one-night stands?

My answer hasn't changed from last year.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

I actually stopped watching TV very much this year. I think there was a two month period when I didn't switch on my TV at all, which by my standards is just strange on another level altogether. But I finally watched all two seasons of The Crown, finished the last season of Broadchurch, and thoroughly enjoyed the second season of What the Folks, which is a web series on YouTube all of you should be watching.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No one new that I can think of. My hatred for a specific coworker may have intensified further, due to said coworker being a complete and utter douchebag.

26. What was the best book you read?

I read literally nothing other than Nora Roberts this year, and I have decided to stop feeling guilty about this. I don't like it, but I think it's time to stop pretending I am a reader, and accept the fact that I suffer from Tsundoku, which is a word I learned recently from the blog of someone I am very glad has started blogging more regularly off late.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I really didn't listen to anything other than Coke Studio Pakistan this year.

28. What did you want and get?


29. What did you want and not get?

A new job. An allergy that wouldn't have impacted my life the way this one did. Couldn't I have been allergic to, I dunno, alligator meat instead of shellfish?

30. What was your favourite film of this year?

I enjoyed all the MCU movies this year, although I need April 2019 to get here fast. I also thoroughly enjoyed Netflix's two romcoms - To All The Boys I've loved Before, and Set it Up.
Also, from Bollywood, Raazi, Stree and Andhadhun were all fantastic.
I had complicated thoughts about Crazy Rich Asians and Veere di Wedding, but got around to writing about only one of them.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

First of all, I declared two days of it-is-my-birthday this year, because we were in New Zealand, and let's face it, the next day was when most of my friends were wishing me anyway.
The day itself was spent winery hopping, and the next day was spent in Hobbiton. And it was FABULOUS.
I turned a year older than last year, thank you for asking.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It's hard to name one thing this year, you guys, it really is.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

I doubled down on the notion that if something I found is working for me, I will buy it in every colour available. This is especially true of, but not limited to, shoes and tops.

34. What kept you sane?

My family and friends. One of the best things about this year was that way more loved ones from back home came to visit Amreeka. One of the gal pals visited her family, the brother got sent on projects twice, S came to stay with me, and of course, the mother, when I needed her. And the reunion this year also gave a lot of feels.
Given how worked up I also was about politics this year, all the podcasts I listen to also helped.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

This answer has also not changed from last year. Seth Meyers is one of two men in American television I still hold out hope for, and will be crushed if this has to change.
But I will add to it by saying, I started following a lot of desi comedians who I actually enjoy and don't just follow for twitter jokes, both in India and the US - Kunal Kamra, Hari Kondabolu, Hasan Minhaj, and Kiran Deol - who admittedly I know of only via the Hysteria podcast, which is fantastic and something I did not realise I needed before it started.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

What didn't?
The Parkland shooting happened on February 14, and I heard about it after getting home from what was already a very traumatic day for me. But what gave me hope over the months that followed was the way those kids, those survivors, responded. I went to a March for Our Lives march this year, and came away thinking the kids will be alright, because they've got this.
The 2018 mid-term elections were also something that I was following closely. I didn't get involved the way I would have liked, for a variety of reasons, but I was following. And that is something I also need to introspect on at some time.

37. Who did you miss?

It's always friends and family, but one of the good things about this year was that I did get more of them than I have in recent years.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn't really meet too many new people this year. It's hard enough being social with people I like; I don't expand my social circle very often.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Reach out.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I honestly can't think of anything.

** I am doubling down on this phrase as well, yes.
*** What is the plural of Bloody Mary? Bloody Maries? Bloody Marys? I don't like the drink, people, I don't know what the plural is.