Watching: The rain falling on the trees out my window.

Reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And I have a confession. Dobby gives me the wig. So does Elmo. I get really freaked out by small creatures who do not use personal pronouns. Really. Freaked. Out.

Eating: Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra, the most aptly-named pint of ice cream currently available. I'm actually trying not to eat this stuff (or anything with any calories whatsoever), but it was on sale for $1.94. A pint of B&J for less than two bucks? I'm not made of stone, people.

Listening: Room for Squares by John Mayer. I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life...

Wondering: How I ever lived without a cable modem. I am becoming hugely spoiled by the fact that I am online all the time without tying up my phone line. Of course, I need to get a job fairly soon or I'm pretty sure they're going to come and take it away from me.

Wishing: A happy 63rd birthday to my mom. She doesn't read this or anything, but you know, happy birthday anyway!

Note to the Guy Who Used to Live Here: Your checks are here. (Dude. You should be really happy that I'm not a criminal, otherwise you would be royally screwed.)

Okay, so, I think I probably have a job. A temporary one, anyway.

It's hard for me to be definite about things like this. I am a fatalist, convinced that something will go wrong at the last minute that will snatch what I think I have out from under my nose.

[Tangential case in point: My parents found this apartment for me while I was visiting Elise in California. My dad called and took all my credit information. He signed the lease on my behalf and gave the landlord a one-month deposit. Yet when the landlord called me two days later and left a message saying he wanted to talk to me about some things, I immediately wigged out and spent 24 hours in a total panic that he was going to reneg. When he finally called back, he said, "I just wanted to see if you had any questions for me."]

Anyway, I won't be convinced that I'll be working until I show up and they point me toward a desk. But the woman at the temp agency told me about a document review job that starts in July, asked me if I could give a one-month commitment, and I said yes, and she said great, come in on Monday and bring your references and two forms of I.D. for the tax forms.

Yay, income. Income is good.

There is some kind of small animal in my attic or my wall or something, and it is freaking me right the hell out. I mean, I can hear it in there, digging, scratching, scraping, whatever the hell it's doing, and believe me, this ain't no mouse. This is a squirrel or a raccoon or (shudder) a possum. (Shudder some more. I hate possum(s?). Hate them. Like anyone loves them, I know, but I think I hate them more than most people. Their creep-out factor goes off the charts.)

And I haven't even met my landlord yet and I'm already kind of annoyed at the fact that he doesn't seem to be taking this problem seriously. His wife was here last Friday to wait for the microwave guy, and I told her about it, and she said they were going out of town (as was I) and they'd deal with it when they got back. Fine.

So I called them today, and she answered the phone. I said, "Listen, I don't mean to be a pain, but there is definitely something in the attic, and I'm not particularly inclined to go up there and check it out myself, so we really need to get someone out here to look around up there." And she said, yes, fine, she'd talk to her husband about it and get back to me tonight.

Well, it's 10:30, and they haven't called. If they just got back and they're busy, then that's fine, but if they're not doing anything about it because they think I'm making it up or that that thing is just going to get out on its own, well, then, I'm annoyed. If it chews through the wall or ceiling and starts crawling around my apartment in the middle of the night, then they are damn well going to hear about it no matter what time it is.

More evidence that my apartment is the absolute bomb: My trash gets picked up every day except Wednesday, which is when they take recycling, and Sunday. And where do I have to put my trash? Outside my front door.

What actually happens is that some guy comes around, collects the trash (or recycling) from all our front doors, and carries it out to the curb, where the truck comes along and picks it up. I love the fact that instead of just asking the residents carry their own damn trash to the curb, they actually hire someone to do that. I think that if you have something big to throw away, they appreciate it if you take it to the curb yourself (like I've done with my moving boxes). Also, you aren't supposed to put it out the night before, as we have some big-ass squirrels and crows who will happily rip it apart, and they won't pick it up when that happens (which is perfectly understandable).

Okay. That was probably way more than you wanted to know about my trash disposal situation, but I can't help it. After years of either hundred-yard hauls to a dumpster or once-a-week pickups, daily trash removal makes me positively giddy.

Since I don't want to end on trash, I thought maybe I'd go ahead and show you a little of the outside of my apartment.

This is not a picture of my front door, but it is a picture of the front door of an apartment that is situated like mine:

The only thing different is that I have a wider porch or stoop or whatever you want to call it; basically, my stairs would extend about halfway into the shrubs on either side of these stairs.

So. My little section of the development is three buildings arranged in a U shape, with my building as the middle one, facing out towards the parking lot, and two buildings on either side and slightly in front of mine, facing each other. The parking lot is basically at the top of the U, and in the middle is a lovely courtyard with parallel walkways and all kinds of trees and shrubs. Every building has a ton of gardening space, and the development association encourages everyone to garden at will.

And in case you thought I was lying when I said I see nothing but trees from my windows, here is the picture my landlord took looking out my bedroom window (and this is like February, so imagine leaves, please):

Can you believe that I'm actually in the middle of a major metropolitan area?

I know. Me neither.

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