Happenings in the Hood: A Kitty Conundrum

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There’s an epidemic currently sweeping through the hood with a vengeance. I like to refer to this epidemic as “Stray Cat Fever”.

You see, the property that my husband manages has now become overrun with cats. You couldn’t even spit without hitting a feral cat. There’s probably around 2 dozen or so that hang around the breezeways, bushes, and air conditioning units; fighting, breeding, and throwing wild raucous parties until all hours of the night.

People around the property will put food out for them out of kindness, but of course it just keeps them hanging around.

One might wonder where they’ve all come from, but then when you take a closer look and see the various degrees of growth within the cat population you realize: there’s more kitty inbreeding that has taken place in recent months than you might find in even the most remote band of Ozarkian Hillfolk.

If you’ve ever thought that the stereotypical breeding rabbit tales held any measure of truth, I can assure you; they’ve got nothing on cats. A sweep of the bushes around the property on any given day will likely turn up a litter or two. I’ve lost track of how many litters of kittens we’ve found either behind AC fences, under bushes, under the propane tank, or even in the laundry room behind the washing machines.

We have been known to round up a litter occasionally and find them homes, but we’ve pretty much exhausted our supply of bleeding heart adoptees. Now my husband will generally ignore each new batch that he stumbles upon in hopes that they will eventually just wander away, but the epidemic has gotten so out of hand that it can no longer be ignored. Some of the smaller, not quite fully grown cats are getting up under the hoods of peoples cars and causing all sorts of mischief.

Yep, kitty population control has become quite a conundrum. There’s no real solution, either, as I found out after making a few phone calls today.

City animal control will come and round them up, take them to get fixed, and then bring them right back to where they got them from and release them. This will take care of the breeding problem of course, but then we still have a ton of feral cats running around the property.

It’s the only option we seem to have with the adult cats, though, so my husband intends to get animal control out as soon as possible to do what they do.

But then there’s the kittens.

After finding a fresh batch of kittens hanging out behind one of the buildings today, my daughter and I got this brilliant idea that we would gather them up in a box so that she could take them into the office with her and get her kitty fix for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ve had better ideas in my lifetime, believe me.

You see, my daughter just happens to be an animal addict. She’s a junkie for anything with 4 legs and a tail. If she goes for more than a few hours without loving on some critter, she visibly shakes and even drools a little until she can get her next dose of cuddles.  It’s a disturbing display, and I’m a terrible mother because I’ll actually feed her addiction.

Which I did as usual today.

So now we had this box of kittens that we’d gathered up, and my husband’s response to our box full of cuteness was, “You’re not putting them back on my property now that you’ve caught them!”

Uh oh. We weren’t thinking that far in advance when we just wanted to cuddle kittens.

Well then.

I made a few more calls and not one single animal adoption agency in Jacksonville will take in stray kittens because they’re all currently overrun with unwanted domestics. Humane society won’t take in drop-offs, either. They put you on a waiting list first, and then you’re likely stuck with the unwanted animal for weeks until they decide to take it.

Great.

So I tried one last number at about 5:30 today and got ahold of a lady that gave me some very helpful advice that actually worked!

She was with another adoption agency that of course could not take the kittens, either, but she was really kind and tried to help me the best she could under the circumstances. Here’s what she suggested I do:

“Don’t call the Humane Society, but instead take your box of kittens directly to their adoption center and tell them that it was left in the laundry room of the property. Inform them that they can’t stay there, and that you’re unable to care for them yourself for any length of time for whatever reason.”

Well, I didn’t need to come up with a reason as to why we couldn’t keep them. They really can’t stay with us; my husband is insanely allergic to anything with fur. We’re even pushing the limits of what his sinuses can handle by allowing Ray Darr, the world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit stay in the girls’ room across the house.

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I really hated to lie about the rest, though, and don’t make a habit of lying. Lying is wrong and I know this. Telling this little fib to the Humane Society went against everything I stand for, but a bind is a bind and I had gotten myself into one. For the good of the helpless little critters in question, I did as advised.

The only other problem, though, was that the Humane Society closed at 6. After battling traffic to get there, we managed to make it with just 5 minutes to spare. They agreed to take the kittens after hearing our *gulp* lie, but there was no one left there to process the admission. So, the really nice lady that was closing up told us to bring them back first thing in the morning, and she would even leave a note explaining to the morning staff that we’d be bringing them in. She suggested that we maybe keep them in a bathroom or something just for tonight for the sake of my husband’s allergies.

So, until 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, we have a box full of kittens.

My daughter is floating along on a kitten high for the time being.

Cute little buggers, aren’t they?

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I bet they’ll have no problem finding homes.

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Happenings in the Hood: Weave Got a Problem

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If you’ve been following along at all with the insanity that is my life, you’ll have read about the antics of one very umm…”special” woman in this story:

Happenings in the Hood: Entitled Much?

In a nutshell; I was still painting after regular work hours to finish a job one night when this woman that I had never met before saw me through the open window, and decided to make a very rude and ridiculous request…no…demand of me. She expected me to drop what I was doing; a job that needed to be finished yesterday, and paint her bedroom door because it was a beautiful natural wood color and she wanted it white. After arguing with me for several minutes, (actually, she argued. I responded very politely) I didn’t meet her demand and she stomped off cursing at me and calling me things colorful enough to make a street thug blush.

She proceeded to cause such a big stink over such a silly little thing, that the next day found her hurling obscenities across the parking lot at the Assistant Manager. Over a door. She was in and out of the office after that, still yelling and carrying on. My husband, (the Manager) told her that it was not an emergency and we would get to it as soon as we could. That wasn’t good enough, though, and she was still being so obnoxious about the whole thing, outside screaming in the parking lot, trying to attract attention and get other residents involved, that I was finally told to just go paint her door to shut her up. I haven’t wanted to do a job less in my life.

All was quiet after that, though. Painting her door seemed to have appeased her.

For about 2 weeks.

Now, I had already known that after that whole door fiasco we hadn’t heard the last of her. Call it a gut feeling. She just seemed rather…no…extremely unhinged and if she could get that wound up over a door, I could only imagine what would happen the next time something ruffled her entitled feathers.

Believe me, she didn’t disappoint either.

This past Tuesday, as I was engrossed in a new painting assignment, I heard such loud yelling outside that I assumed the closed windows in the apartment had suddenly turned into paper.

So I, being nosier than the cat that curiosity killed, went outside to investigate. I dialed my husband in the office as I went to let him know that a fight was ensuing somewhere on property. He assured me that he already knew and was about to come handle the situation.

The source of the yelling was coming from 2 buildings away. Miss Entitled was yelling obscenities at another woman in the breezeway and repeatedly screaming, “I want my money, I want my money.” So, naturally, I had assumed that this whole argument started over borrowed cash that hadn’t been paid back yet.

Wrong.

Apparently her very loud demand was aimed at my husband, who had still not come out of the office, but she was screaming these words at her neighbor across the hall.

You see, her mother had paid her rent several months in advance and Miss Entitled now wanted a refund so that she could move out. She wanted to leave because her neighbor had ticked her off. Given her recent history of unreasonable anger though, I wasn’t surprised that she was on the outs with her neighbor.

To get the full impact of the ridiculousness of the situation, though, I’ll need to backtrack to the previous Sunday when the fight had originally started. The following information was given to me by my husband as he received it from witnesses in the building and the innocent party that was involved:

Her neighbor went to start her car that day only to find that her battery was dead. So, she knocked on Miss Entitled’s door and asked if she would be willing to give her a jump start. Miss Entitled proceeded to launch herself into a fit of rage over the request. Her neighbor slowly backed away and said, “Nevermind. It’s fine. I can ask someone else to do it.”

It didn’t end there, though. Miss Entitled was relentless and started waging a half-crazed war against her neighbor that resulted in her wielding a knife and threatening to kill her, her kids, and her boyfriend. Her neighbor naturally called the police and was holed up in her apartment out of fear until they arrived, which was just in time to find Miss Entitled out in the parking lot attempting to slash her neighbor’s car tires with the knife that she was brandishing.

Miss entitled was arrested, and spent the next 24 hours in county lock-up. I had heard that her mother had paid her bond, which must have been true because here she was again, right back at it.

I couldn’t make out every word that she was screaming at her neighbor because a lot of it just didn’t make sense, but I’m pretty sure more death threats were wedged in among the stream of continuous profanity.

All of the sudden, I saw her neighbor come flying across the hallway with catlike swiftness and arms flailing so wildly that it looked like she had stumbled into a swarm of bees.

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For the next 3 minutes or so, all I saw was a blur of weave and 3 inch nails. I have to admit, I was highly entertained. If I were a betting woman, my money would have been on the neighbor.

I called my husband back and said, “You’d better get a move on. Things just turned physical.”

He came rushing out the door and yelled to his maintenance man across the parking lot to call the cops and come help him break it up.

His maintenance man was already one step ahead of him, though, and the cops were on their way.

When the 2 were finally separated, Miss Entitled came crawling out of the breezeway, most of her weave dangling off her head by the few strands that didn’t get pulled out, yowling like a cat in heat and screaming “Owwww! Ouch! Owwww!” at the top of her lungs to try and elicit sympathy from the parking lot full of onlookers that were now gathered to witness the event.

I have never seen such a pathetic display of drama in my life. It was clear that she was nowhere near injured except for maybe her pride, but she carried on as if every bone in her body had been broken.

It was about that time that it was made known that the police were on their way, which resulted in Miss Entitled switching gears and now walking around the parking lot yelling, “I ain’t goin’ back to jail. I just got out. I ain’t goin’ back!” I remained the innocent bystander, of course, but I wanted to yell back at her, “Then stop doing stupid stuff!”

I half expected her to take off knowing that the police were now en-route, but she stuck around and stood her ground on the false assumption that her neighbor would be the one being hauled away this time because she had thrown the first punch.

She spent the remainder of her time in my husband’s face screaming, “I want my money!” again until the cops came.

When the police finally showed up and got the story from the parties involved and several witnesses, they cuffed Miss Entitled and loaded her up in the cruiser again to the tune of her admonitions that it should be her adversary in the cuffs instead of her.

They booked her again on harassment charges though, and deemed that her neighbor was merely exhibiting self-defense because she, her children, and her family were once again being threatened by Miss Entitled.

She was released on bond paid yet again by her mother, (I’m seeing a pattern emerge with this entitled behavior here) and my husband received a call that night from the after-hours emergency service, informing him that she didn’t have her keys to get into her apartment. After asking the service to let her know that it was a $20 charge to go unlock her door, (as stated in the lease) he never heard back from her again that night.

The next day I showed up to work to find her back at it a third time. She was stomping back and forth between the office and her neighbor’s apartment, beating on her neighbor’s windows, screaming obscenities and calling her colorful names. I even shot some video on my phone of her carrying on. Fortunately, her neighbor wasn’t even home this time, though.

Come to find out, the night before, her apartment door had been kicked in and her TV was stolen.

This somehow became my husband’s fault, too, as she stood out on the sidewalk cursing his name at the top of her lungs, and screeching the accusation that he worked together with her neighbor to break in and steal her TV. Somehow the price of the TV went up with each accusation she hurled, too, until she decided that $2000 dollars was a reasonable price that my husband owed her for the 50 inch flat screen Wal-Mart special that everyone already knew her boyfriend broke in and took the night before.

We’re all fairly certain that she herself even orchestrated the theft. She was just trying to cause another scene now for whatever reason. Maybe somewhere in her delusional mind she actually though that she’d receive some sort of settlement cash from the office for her missing TV.

She was more or less told to take her complaints elsewhere by the Assistant Manager, though. She then busted out a window of a different neighboring apartment in her anger, and that’s when the police were called. Again.

They didn’t book her this time, though, probably because they were just as sick of listening to her as we all were, so they told my husband to just hand her walking papers right then and there.

The usual procedure is that he gives problem residents like this is a 7 day notice “without opportunity to cure”. This basically means they have 7 days to pack up their crap and be gone and there’s nothing that they can say or do about it, or else he starts eviction proceedings that will go on their permanent rental history. They’ll then be lucky to have anyone rent to them again if it goes to eviction.

However given the recent antics of this off-the-rails ghetto princess, the police told him to make an exception. He gave her written notice that she had until the end of the business day to get a U-haul and go.

So she did; relatively quietly, too, much to our shock. We all stood and waved goodbye with smiles on our faces as she and her U-haul drove off that afternoon. I did a little happy dance and went back to work.

My husband had 5 different residents come in and thank him for her removal that afternoon.

She hadn’t made any friends during her less than 2 month stay in the hood it seems.

I still wish her best of luck, though, and some much needed medication wherever she goes.

Happenings in the Hood: Entitled Much?

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So there I was, still painting at 8:30 at night when I normally wrap up my work day no later than 6. There was a rush on this particular apartment, however. It needed to be move-in ready by tomorrow morning, so that meant a full day of getting to know brushes and rollers on a deeply personal level. I got a few phone numbers and a date next Tuesday.

Anyway, I was diligently plugging away at the last room that needed to be finished, the bathroom, so I could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I had just started thinking about rounding up some of the roaches so we could break into a can-can chorus line number and toss some confetti, when I heard a snarly, snappy voice come through the open kitchen window like a dark cloud rolling in to ruin my sunny day.

“Hey. You. Come here.”

I turned to peer through the bathroom doorway toward the kitchen at the perfect stranger that had just brazenly barked an order at me that I wouldn’t even tolerate from my immediate family.

There, at the open window, stood a dark skinned woman of about my height (short enough to walk under the bottom rung of a ladder without having to duck, in other words) possibly in her mid to late twenties, wearing nothing but a tiny bikini top, shower cap, and cut off shorts so small and tight that I could see pink…and curlies. She stabbed an angry finger at me, and reiterated her command.

“Yeah. you. Come here a minute.”

My first instinct was to place the hand that wasn’t currently holding a paintbrush on my hip, raise one eyebrow at her, and rather irritably say, “Excuse me?”  Being the non-confrontational person that I am, however, I put down my brush, wiped my paint smeared hands across the front of my t-shirt, and proceeded to take the dozen or so steps from bathroom to kitchen.

“Yes ma’am. What can I do for you?” I asked.

“Yeah. I live next door. I want my bedroom door painted. It’s just plain wood, but I want it painted. I pay to live here, so I paid good money for it to be painted, and it aint.”

Now… not only am I already there 2 and a half hours after my normal work day, busting hump to try and get this job finished, but I am contracted by the job.  I don’t blow my nose because a resident asked me to without clearing it with hubby-manager guy first.

Then there’s the other problem with her request; we normally don’t paint the doors to which she’s referring if they aren’t already white to begin with. They look quite nice in their natural wood color, so they don’t need to be painted. They shouldn’t be painted. She wishes to ruin a perfectly nice door.

So I actually had to suppress my laughter at this woman that is all but snapping her fingers at me wanting me to step away from the job that I’ve already stayed late to finish, and go paint her bedroom door. Right now. At 8:30 at night. When most people are…oh I don’t know…at home in their jammies shoving fistfuls of popcorn into their faces while they watch some over-hyped reality show.

Even were I able to decide to take on the task myself, there’s no way on earth I’d have tackled that junk that late, and I was fairly put off that Princess Demanding-pants was expecting me to.  I was tired. My feet were killing me. A hot shower sounded be more appealing than a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Never mind, let’s not go that far.

I wanted to snap back with some snarky comment hurled at her in the same tone with which she was addressing me, but that’s just not who I am. I’m usually a doormat to the point that welcome will regularly appear in big letters across my forehead.

So, I responded with, “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to put in a work order for that tomorrow when the office is open, and then I’d be happy to do that for you.”

“No. I tried that before and it dint get done. I need it painted.”

She needs it painted?

What she needs is a lesson in manners.

“Well, I really can’t do that without permission, but the office opens at 8 and you’re welcome to…”

She grunted and mumbled something under her breath as she stomped away. I’m pretty sure I caught an expletive or 2 and quite possibly the “B” word somewhere in there.

I grabbed my brush and went back to work. I wanted to get out of there now more than ever.

I stewed over the encounter for a few more minutes as I wrapped up for the day.

I’ve seen small children behave with more tact.

I thought to myself, “What a pleasant woman, and what a fitting end to an already delightful day.”

I shouldn’t really be shocked, though. I’ve learned to expect nothing less out of many of my fellow Americans over the course of my lifetime.

Welcome to the land of the free, and the home of the entitled.

Salute.

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Happenings in the Hood: The Weave By The Pool

I saw this little gem lying next to the pool today at the property that my husband manages:

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It sure is a beauty, isn’t it?

Seriously though, this kind of junk doesn’t even surprise me anymore. This is mild compared to some of the things that I’ve found either spread around the 96 unit property, or left in vacant apartments  over the course of the 10 and a half years that my husband and I have been together.

We lived in the only 3 bedroom apartment on the property when we were first married. Back then, the neighborhood wasn’t as bad as it is now. In recent years, the place has not only become somewhat of an eyesore due to the way that many of the residents and the local class-ditching high school students treat it, but it’s also earned a bad enough reputation that pizza delivery drivers won’t come there after dark anymore.

Needless to say, I‘m very thankful for my condo in a decent neighborhood, but I still spend a lot of time at the property, doing odd jobs to earn some extra cash, and just generally helping out.

Maybe I missed my calling as a trash collector. I’m not the type of person that can just step over a piece of garbage and not feel guilty for not picking it up, so I’m always tossing stuff in the dumpster whenever I’m out and about.

In addition to picking up garbage and painting, my husband asks me do ‘trash outs’ from time to time. That’s when he has to evict someone, or they skip out on their rent leaving a bunch of stuff behind, and I properly dispose of it. I love doing trash outs. Not only is it easy money, but sometimes I find decent items that I can either keep or take to the thrift store that I run on the weekends. The last trash out that I did had brand new kitchen utensils, some still in the packages, and piles of jewelry and clothing with the tags still on them. They just left it all behind. In the one before that, I found several brand new, unopened bottles of laundry detergent and shampoo. Score! Three trash outs ago, we found Ray. Ray Darr. The world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit. I’m really not all that convinced that he was a great find, even if my daughter seems to think so.

I once cleaned out an apartment that had a few hundred dollars’ worth of fantasy gaming collectibles, many of them still in their original packages. I also regularly find DVDs, video games, CDs, books, and tons of spare change. They’ll also leave behind furniture and small appliances. I’ve lost track of all of the TV sets, microwaves, coffee makers, sofas, beds, tables, and chairs that I’ve pulled out of vacant apartments.

More often than not, though, the places are just loaded with pure junk, and so disgusting that you look around and think, “How could anyone live like this?” Somehow they do, though, if you can really call it “living”. I’ve braced myself and grimaced through purging a great many apartments that are so devastating that it takes months for the nightmares to stop. Like the one I’m currently painting. The walls are literally dripping with nicotine residue, and it smells so strongly of cat urine, that I have to duck out to get a breath of fresh air every half hour or so.

Yeah. Most of these places look and smell pretty harsh by the time people move out of them, and the scenes I find in them are usually like something out of a horror film.

So, the weave by the pool inspired me. It inspired me to share with you, my adoring fans (all 2 of you and probably less after you read what’s to come), a list of several of the most disgusting and/or strange things that I’ve found either lying around the property, or in vacant apartments. I advise reading this list on an empty stomach for your own personal safety.  Enjoy!

Stuff found around the property:

Weave by the pool. More than once.

Weave wrapped around a bush.

Weave stuck to some bubble gum, which I then proceeded to step in.

Weave stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

A dirty T-shirt by the pool.

A dirty T-shirt in the pool.

A dirty diaper by the pool.

A dirty diaper in the pool.

Human feces in the pool. Even the attack scenes from Jaws are slightly less terrifying than seeing poop bob around in the pool.

Vomit in the pool. The culprit probably spotted the poop.

Used condoms in the pool. Boy. It would seem the poor pool takes some serious abuse, wouldn’t it?

Enough used condoms everywhere to recycle into a bouncy house. Wouldn’t that be a great rental for little Jimmy’s next birthday party? Hey kids, let’s go jump around in Casa De La Trojan…

A bunch of used condoms were found around the laundry room, too. I don’t even want to think about why

A used condom tied around a tree branch. Uh oh, they’re getting creative now…

A used condom with bubble gum in it. Again, let’s not dwell on the why

A litter of kittens behind a bush.

A litter of kittens behind an air conditioning unit.

A litter of kittens under a propane tank. Okay. Someone…anyone…please for the love of humanity…neuter these stinkin’ cats!

Garbage bags and dirty diapers next to the dumpster that no one could actually bother to throw in the dumpster.

And the find of the week: A gooey sales receipt from McDonald’s with a false eyelash stuck to it. Yeah. I dare you to figure that one out.

Stuff found in vacant apartments:

Weave stuck to windows.

Weave stuck to countertops.

Weave stuck to walls.

Weave stuck to tape stuck to walls.

Animal hair stuck to walls.

Animal feces stuck to a dirty mattress.

Animal feces in an ash tray.

Animal feces crammed into a high heeled shoe. Just…never mind. I’m not touching that.

Animal feces in a freezer. The how in this case might be just as unsavory as the why

Animal feces in a bathtub.

Human feces in a bathtub. Hey, when you’ve gotta go, why let a little thing called ‘acting civilized’ stop you?

Rotting cherries in a bathtub. That was really the pits.

Pubic hairs stuck to a bathroom ceiling. Yep. Throwing up a mental roadblock on that one.

Pubic hairs in the freezer. I can probably imagine how that one happened. Come on, people, use your air conditioners. Seriously.

A gushy black bag of what I could only guess were once potatoes. It dripped sludge when I picked it up and smelled worse than death. I had to step outside to recover from a raging case of the dry heaves. Well played, rotting food…well played.

A dirty diaper in a Ziploc bag with maggots all over it. And the dry heaves strike again.

A dirty diaper stuck to a framed picture of zebras with broken glass.

A small mountain of cigarette butts piled up in a corner of the bedroom.

A body-sized patch of greasy, grimy carpet around the bottom of a stripper pole.

A pot full of grease with dead roaches floating in it shoved inside an oven.

A shriveled up French fry stuck to the floor by a wad of gum.

Rotting broccoli inside an unplugged refrigerator.

Rotting ground beef inside an unplugged refrigerator. Burning said refrigerator to the ground wouldn’t have gotten that smell out.

My daughter cleaning rotting broccoli and rotting ground beef out of said refrigerator.

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An army of creepy, crawly things happily devouring a loaf of green fuzzy bread.

A fur-covered Christmas wreath fused to the kitchen wall by cooking grease. Just what I’ve always wanted! Who said Christmas comes just once a year?

And last but not least:

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WHAT IS THIS THING?!

It’s lying on the dining room floor in the apartment that I’m currently painting. I’ve been side-stepping when I get too close to it for fear that it might growl and lunge at my ankles.

I won’t be taking the time to find out for certain what it is due to the fact that it might take a deeper level of investigation than I’m willing to commit to. Like oh …poking it with a stick and potentially angering it, or…touching it. I believe that upon distant examination, though, I may have it narrowed down to one of 2 things.

It could be either a piece of candy coated in nicotine and rolled in cat hair, or one of these guys:

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Tribbles!!!

At any rate, somebody please call Scotty and get him to beam this thing out of here.