Monday, August 31, 2009

To be a fly on the wall

If you lived in my house, you would have overheard this conversation:

“I love you. Even your farts and poops.”
“You are so weird.”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A shotgun partnership

We moved to Ann Arbor two weeks ago. It was Tuesday. On Thursday, we were asked to send in a copy of our marriage certificate.

“We are not married. We are engaged.”
“Congrats. When is the wedding?”
“That is too far away, you will have to get a Domestic Partnership.”

Apparently, although we had called ahead to confirm that we needed no legal contract between the two of us in order to live in our apartment together, we had been given incorrect information. To live as a student and non-student under the same roof, we needed a state sanctioned union of some sort.

We spoke to a rather nasty woman about the situation on the phone, explaining that I would loose my insurance (provided by momma and papa’s insurance provider) if we got married/partnershiped. Her response was to threaten us with eviction.

Eventually she backed down and asked us to write up our situation, so that her superior might review it and decide if we warrant an exception.

So now we sit and wait to see if we will be forced into a Domestic Partnership. By our landlord.

Occupational Hazzard

As everyone who has had a conversation with me in the last four years knows, I’ve done a lot of work on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. I wrote most of my papers for school on the issue, read books in my leisure time on the topic, and obviously have focused my career on stopping it. When you spend your time thinking about how small acts cause a violent society, you see the small acts as major problems (for more information on this—just get me started, anytime, anywhere).

Our last apartment complex, dear old Eagle Heights, had a very high rate of domestic violence. Part of that is just the world we live in, and part of that was the composition of the community. As a result, the university had taken some positive steps towards assisting residents and minimizing opportunities to exert power and control over another. It wasn’t perfect, but I knew they were trying.

Upon arriving at our new University Apartment in Ann Arbor, we were given two keys to the apartment—and a single mailbox key. Most would have quietly accepted their keys without question. I am rarely quiet. I asked why only one key. The undergraduate student checking us in seemed startled by the question, but informed us that a second key was available with a $5 cash deposit.

In domestic violence situations, abusers try to cut their victims off from the world. They unplug the phones, password protect the internet, keep the car keys, even take cables with them when they leave the house to prevent their partner from making contact with others. The mail could be a safe way for victims to communicate with friends and family—if they could reliably be sure they would be the first to check the mail. Having only one key to the mailbox gives one person power. I understand the University might not want to go through the hassle of making extra keys some residents wont need, but at the very least, they should automatically inform all residents that a second key could be obtained.

I explained the domestic violence/mailbox key issue to my sister, who told her husband. His opinion of the situation: “It must be really hard to live with your sister.”

And given that I’m still mad about this two weeks later, I bet it is.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anyone having a Tupperware party?

For the last two years in Madison, most of our Tupperware actually belonged to our parents. They’d send us back to school with all kinds of delicious things, and the Tupperware would stay with us. And we all lived happily. Until we decided to return the Tupperware before we fled the state.

For those of you who have been blessed with large Tupperware collections, an easy Tupperware substitute is the quart yogurt container. Make a dish too big for the container? Its fine, just use two of them! The food goes moldy in the fridge? Just throw the whole thing out, and pick up more yogurt at the store as a replacement. They are a fantastic and versatile kitchen implement. I recommend having twenty or thirty of them.

Meanwhile, I’ve been feeling the need to be productive around the house, and since Brian and I have a lot of extra time on our hands, we’ve both been cooking. Curried chicken, curried sweet potatoes, pasta dishes, lentil dishes, vegetable dishes, all sorts of delicious things. And all stored in Dannon plain non-fat yogurt containers.

I just hope I don’t accidentally put Penne Rosa on my granola tomorrow morning…

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving Lessons

You learn a lot of funny things while you’re moving out. You find items of jewelry you thought were long lost, clothing that was packed away and never unpacked, cleaning supplies that were probably purchased the day you moved in. You even learn a thing or two about the people around you. Amazing friends that are willing to help you pack, help you clean, take care of you while everything you own is in a truck (thanks for that Callie, Damon, Matt, Kelly, and Kathy). Or all those who go far out of their way to squeeze in that one last goodbye. Sometimes you learn something about your neighbors—that they’re kind and friendly or maybe a bit grouchy. Or they’re drug dealers.

In Eagle Heights, it’s common to leave items that you are discarding but are still useful next to the dumpsters. Old tool boxes, furniture, books, and other miscellaneous items. While packing up, I took a trip out to the dumpster to get rid of some of our things. Already lying there were three car air filters and about thirty bottles of Robitussin DM. For those of you who don’t know already, these are items that are VERY useful in the production of meth. So our sweet little neighborhood filled with people who don’t lock their doors and children playing, also hosted a meth lab. Perhaps the move to Ann Arbor will be a step up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A new city, a new blog

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of odd things--and awkward things--and outrageous things-- Of Michigan--and job huntings-- And what its like to move to a new city-- And try to start a new thing."

Mom has demanded that i start a new blog, similar to sister's blog. So here it begins!