First, watch this. It's incredibly charming and will put you in a mood better than the one you're in now:
Last Tuesday marked the one month anniversary of submitting our plans. One month, we were told by Plan Checker Joey, was about how long it was taking to turn the plans around between the three departments--planning, fire and engineering--doing the checking.
Joey finished in three weeks, with a list several pages long of changes the city required of the architect. Fire similarly was done in about three week, and we all know what they wanted. Architect Josh turned Joey's list in about a week, while also getting the proper cuts and drawings we would need to find a fire sprinkler company that would actually answer the phone when we called and not treat us like complete chumps because the think we have more money than we really do. (As an aside, those rumors about the economy making businesses more responsive because they need the work, and local government entities being more responsive because they've come to realize the value of a taxpayer base? Complete bullshit. But I digress.)
Where were we. Planning? Check. Fire? Check? Engineering ...
Where was engineering?
When I was freelancing full-time, I wrote one and sometimes two stories a week about Salinas. I got to know some of the city folks fairly well, including the head city engineer. So on Wednesday about 5 p.m., I called and asked to speak to said engineer and threw in my affiliation so he would remember me.
He was in a meeting, the very nice lady on the phone said. Would I care to leave a message?
I would, I said. I gave her my name, my number and asked her to write down the following exactly as I said it.
"Please tell him I said, 'You are sucking my will to live.'" I told her. She giggled and said she would pass on the message.
Two seconds later, my phone rings. It's another woman from the engineering department who in a very cautious tone asked what my message was regarding. I told her, 226 (street name redacted so crazy and not particularly bright stalkers have a harder time finding me). She said she would give him the message as soon as he was out of his meeting.
Ten minutes later, my phone rings again. Engineer: Hello, how are you, why am I sucking your will to live?
"226 (street name redacted, yada yada)," I told him. "Yes," he said, "I just got the draft last night, but the name on them is Chuck M(complete last name redacted, crazy stalkers, see above)."
"Yeah," I said. "I'm Mrs. M. And you're sucking my will to live."
Engineer said that completely unrelated to my call, he was taking the plans home that evening. They then would go back to the junior planner (not quite sure what she's been doing the past month) and if they were clean, they would be ready on Monday.
Which is good, because our living situation is becoming untenable. (Not mine, really, because Roommate Todd, a completely intense person when it comes to his professional life as a coffeehouse owner, is a most laid back roommate around. Feed him once in awhile and he's happy.) But Chuck and the boys, who are living with his mother owing to the cat allergy thing, are having a different experience.
I know it's not unusual for adult children to move back home with their parents due to the economy. I left for Northwestern when I was 17 and with the exception of a few weeks here and there, I never lived at home again. Chuck left for the Naval Academy about the same time, and with the exception of a day or two here and there, the U.S. government owned his ass for the next nine years, with me taking co-ownership halfway through.
That was almost 20 years ago. I know it's stressful going from living by yourself to suddenly having your adult son and two grandkids living under your roof. But the stress is getting to everyone.
Our friend Larry shakes his head at our situation. "Your life has become a sitcom. Professional woman moves in with gay roommate, her husband and kids move in with his mother, and your best friend teaches homies how to quilt." My life has become a sitcom--a really bad one.