Sunday August 5. 2001

this is july, come and gone

The reason you haven't heard from me is not the usual pure laziness on my part but on account of the fact that I've had an incredibly bad week.

I've already bitched and whined to the list ad nauseam regarding all that has happened, so this will be old hat for them. I went back to Lebanon on Tuesday for, among other things, my gyn appointment and a haircut. The first thing my Dad says to me when I walk into the house is "You don't have a place to live in the fall."

Have you ever been so mad at a person that you've spent the better part of a week entertaining revenge fantasies? That's what I've been doing. My landlord-to-be suddenly and without warning decided to back out. The deal we made came under unusual circumstances, because I only needed the place for 4 months. At the beginning of July, when my parents and I went to see the place, filled out an agreement and gave a security deposit, it was okay that I only rent for 4 months. In her words, "I'd rather rent for a full year, but four months will be okay."

Then, late Monday night, this woman calls my parents' house, and informs us the deal is off. She apparently found another person, one who was willing to rent for a year, so she went ahead and promised this person my room. Oh, and then she called us and told us.

I can't believe this. I really can't. I can't imagine how a person would knowingly fuck me over like this. Not only was it a breach of trust, but from everyone I've talked to, it's totally illegal. We signed an agreement (later on she tried to protest it "really wasn't a lease"). We made a deposit. She shook my hand. She even smiled and said, "Welcome to the family."

You can see why this whole situation is a little hard for me to swallow.

Dad came down to Philly on Wednesday and we both went over to this woman's house for a meeting. She refused to budge on her decision. Apparently something in her financial situation had changed, she needed extra money, and then the "Oh, it's so hard being a single mom these days." Yeah, a struggling single mom with a 15 room house. Using the "poor single mom" excuse was manipulative. And you know what pisses me off the most? She really thinks she has done nothing wrong in this whole situation.

She showed me another room in her house that she said I could rent. It was tiny. Probably eight by ten feet, it didn't fit much more than a day bed and set of bookshelves built into the wall, with a small walk in closet. For this she wanted $350. I said I'd think about it, but after all this, living in the same house with a person who treated me so callously is unthinkable. It may be my ego talking, but I am not that desperate. Yet.

Speaking of desperation, I've spent the last week scrambling to find something, anything. I've sent out emails and called various places and left messages, and nary a response yet. It's going to be nearly impossible to find a place by August 25 that will rent to me for only four months. I've already tried to contact various aquaintances and friends, asking them if I could just crash at their place for four months. I have 20 days. Lord help me.

I stayed late at school on Thursday night with Jury to help her watch over the gas kiln that both of us were firing. She estimated that it wouldn't be done until 3 or 4 in the morning, so I volunteered to stay with her to keep her company and for security reasons. It was around 12 or so that things started going awry. The kiln wasn't going up as fast as it should have, only about 20 degrees an hour, when it should have been climbing at least four times as fast. Something was very very wrong, but we decided to wait it out and see what would happen in the next few hours.

By about 2, I was exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open. This was when Jury yelled at me from the kiln room. When I came in, the high ceiling was nearly obscured by thick gray smoke. All of this had happened in the space of maybe 20 minutes. When I had checked it before everything had been fine. Through the smoke I could see the ventilation pipe that led up to the ceiling. It was glowing as it should not be.

"Oh my god, it's on fire."

Most of the pipe was charred and I could see small flames licking the top of it. Jury was already on her cell, calling Peter.

He arrived shortly after. He was running around like a madman, talking a mile a minute and gesticulating wildly. I looked in his eyes as he was talking to me and realized he was stoned out of his mind. He shut off the kiln. The roar of the gas quieted and fan stopped. Things got noticably better, though the pipe was still on fire.

I left not long after that, though the next morning Jury told me and she and Peter ended up staying the whole night. There was a very serious meeting going on between some offical looking people regarding what had happened. Apparently the pipe is going to cost $300,000 to replace. But at least Jury, Peter and I were not at fault, in this case.

Worst of all, when I came to school this morning, the kiln was open, and everything in it had been ruined. The glazes hadn't matured, everything was warped and sickly-looking. It was sad. I only had about five pieces in the firing, and I trashed them immediately.

So, I could talk about the good things in my life lately. I really like my new job. John came to visit me this weekend. I got nominated for a Diarist award. But I am constantly annoyed and stressed by the fact that I don't have anywhere to live in 20 days. More than that, I am annoyed at the trust I put in this woman. I mean, I really thought she was an okay person. I totally didn't see this coming, and it feels like I've just been broadsided by a truck.

That was the end of July. I've made a new subdirectory, and so begins August 2001. I hope it will be better, but I'm making no promises.

One Year Ago:
"As politcally incorrect as it was, she did look like something out of Star Wars."