Jim Varagona

Category: mice

>Lynch the Landlord

>I stole that title from the Dead Kennedys song of the same name. The lyrics speak volumes that we can identify with from our experiences in the past year.

I tell them ‘turn on the water’
I tell ’em ‘turn on the heat’
Tells me ‘All you ever do is complain’
Then they search the place when I’m not here

But we can, you know we can
Let’s lynch the landlord
Let’s lynch the landlord
Let’s lynch the landlord man

There’s rats chewin’ up the kitchen
Roaches up to my knees
Turn the oven on, it smells like Dachau, yeah
Til the rain pours thru the ceiling

But we can, you know we can
Let’s lynch the landlord man

And now it comes to the time that after a year of battling the Land People, we must go. We are moving close by, but hopefully miles from the headaches. I have a feeling that renting is a pain in the ass for the most part anyway. We must tough it out for one more year till the wife can get stable employment after graduation.

I must say however, that I still cannot comprehend why the Land People chose to endure our nagging and bitching along with my refusal to pick up my dog’s poo (because of their lack of cleanliness on a job site in the back yard involving shattered glass strewn throughout). I guess some folks really need the dough. And I’m sure as I’ve stated before that they will milk our deposit for whatever they can get. Hopefully my photos can fight that a bit. I think my argument is strong that if they were to complain about us in any way, we could prove blatant disregard for our health, safety, and quality of living.

New landlady take note.

I had planned on outing my crappy Land People at this point, but considering what I’ve learned from watching court programming, it’d be best to let it be. That’s sad, because I wish I could warn any future tenants, even though I have a suspicion they’ll be shacking up in our living quarters once we split.

I think our current lady needed new friends. She asked us quite a bit when we moved in to hang out with her and have bon fires, but we didn’t have the time nor the interest. We thought landlords were for lording over the land, not being a pal. Since then, she has stomped around when here like a little child that happens to be in her fourth decade with an advanced degree, which makes even less sense. The other day, in fact, she did so for about 3 hours upstairs with the tenant she befriends up there. I battled the noise by blaring Johnny Cash and Cab Calloway. Sure, it was stooping to her level, but she has twenty years on me, so I think I can pull it off with more ease. And to boot, she has a maddening cackle that I insist on drowning out.

She told us she bent over backward for us. That’s why I had to fight to get a new oven after she said the gas odor was because it was old. Well sure, but it also had 4 faulty valves according to the gas man. She laid a guilt trip about having to spend $800 on a new one, but we got the most basic model from Sears. I guess she was also bending over backwards when the bathtub faucet blew off and hit me in the foot, and she showed up drunk to fix it. And when the mice came in packs, and she said it was because I was dirty, she was just giving kind advice.

Watch out for these bastards. I’m sure these good for nothings are everywhere. This whole situation has driven us to be psychotic about living situations. If only we could have bought a house. Until then, we shall have further adventures.

Beware…take care.

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>The Return of the Mice

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The last time I blogged about mice actually being in the place we live, besides the day I disposed of the moldy mice from March (now with video!), was at the end of that wretched month when I had reported 11 caught in about one month. The cause of those mice could be attributed to the gutting of a house to the rear of our building, but our landlady preferred to blame it on our cleanliness or lack thereof.

I had caught one more a few months after that which I didn’t blog about. Number 12 came at an odd time. There are houses surrounding us being worked on, which could displace a mouse, but we had such good luck with our sonic pest repellants up to that point.

Number 12 and I (looking fat and Russian)

Fast forward to this week and I have caught two more, bringing the grand total of caught mice to 14. Two houses adjacent to us are being completely renovated, so I’m pretty sure they were refugees from the Adjacent House Province. They were quite friendly, even peeking out during a gathering of friends last weekend. I cannot coexist with these creatures however, because we disagree on where to lay our waste. We considered letting them live until we move out of this wretched nutsack in one month, but it was not to be. The Victor traps and Peter Pan Crunchy got the best of them.

I discovered Number 14 today during my rounds to check my traps. This is one of the few I didn’t hear go off. Maybe they move around more when I’m home. He seemed like an effortless case. I picked up the trap like I always do but it didn’t give much. I pulled a tad more and took his fur off one side. He stuck to the floor. It wasn’t a bloody mess though. I don’t really understand what happened. It looks like a shadow of the crime scene.


I wish Robert Stack was still alive so he could look into the Unsolved Mysteries behind my mice and show the land people our innocence and their negligence once and for all. That theme song still gives me the creeps.

I’m sure I will have plenty of updates as this month passes and we leave the land people. They recently left us written notice that they will not renew our lease. That’s a real shame.

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>I’m Giving Myself Extra Insulin Tonight…1 Year of DiabetoBlog

>

I actually missed my 1 year of DiabetoBlog by 6 days (“McGrath Didn’t Molest Me…Thank God” on 8/24/2005), but I’ve been busy taking pictures of cars and trying to find my way out of that business. To celebrate, I will cover all the bases tonight, and touch on a few from the past.

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Dirty Priest On the Loose

One of my favorite molester priests was released from jail this morning. Bryan Kuchar, who I mentioned in that McGrath blog linked to above, was a deacon at St. Joan of Arc, my grade school, while I went there for 1 year. My sister even had a Catholic school girl skirt autographed by him. The priests, especially the younger ones, took on almost a celebrity like popularity with us back then, which makes it easy for me to see how kids could get lured in.


The Archdiocese of St. Louis is shacking him up for a while until the Vatican tells them what to do with him. I suggest they put him to work teaching Sunday school after he makes his rounds in the neighborhood handing out leaflets that state he is a sex offender. I hope his god has a sense of humor. I’d like to see Kuchar go on television in place of his lawyer and swear to his god that he did nothing immoral. He was laicized, or dismissed from the priesthood, last February, along with the king of molesting priests, Michael McGrath, so it is interesting that the Archdiocese still takes responsibility over him like a mother to a child. I wonder what church’s homecoming is funding his hotel stay.
SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) was trying to get him locked up after his release and is actively seeking past victims that have yet to come forward. If that doesn’t work, they could probably more easily pin some kind of terrorism charges on him, because I know of this great prison in Abu Ghraib.

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More Fun with Ceiling Fans

Back in April, I mentioned that my wife and I battled it out with our upstairs neighbor through our ceiling fans. Our land lady installed at least 3 fans in this 2 family flat that use the same type of remote, so when you control one, you control them all. When we mentioned this to her, she giggled it off and said next time she puts fans in, she won’t make that mistake. I asked them to look into there being codes on the units to differentiate, but we have been put on the back burner indefinitely, so that they may build a fortress in our backyard to live in.

A few nights ago, after a long break in the fighting, suddenly our bedroom fan came under fire. I was relaxing in bed, reading about Counterculture Throught the Ages, when the fan turned off. The wife exclaimed “Oh shit!”, realizing what was to ensue.

After a few back and forth volleys, the gal upstairs turns both fan and light off, which makes even less sense. Please just simply flip the switch if you want neither. Don’t turn both off, leaving us with nothing, and hence even more to fight over.

Our neighbor was very persistent with the battle. To emphasize my anger I flashed the lights quite a few times. This did bring on a calm period at one point. We settled back into our bed and the insurgency regained its force. I was not willing to let her win this. The air doesn’t circulate in our room very well due to a badly placed vent, so we need our fan…damn it.

I told my wife to leave it to me and that I wouldn’t let her down. As I continued reading, I kept up with each flip of the lights and fan. I had it down to a science. Even after an hour of reading, after I set down my book, I kept up, half asleep, by memorizing the 4 button presses to regain the fan setting we enjoy.

This carried on for probably another hour, with bouts of sleep for myself in between the volleys, which were slowing down.

And then, it happened. I won. I woke up 6 hours later with my fan at its correct setting. I was the victor. And as stupid as it sounds, it felt amazing.

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Poopy Update

As an update to my last post, we waited two more days for our lawn to be cut. That was also after another call asking me to pick up my dog’s “dung”. Silly rabbit. If only they kept up with things. I did pick it up, and it finally was cut.

An annoying pile of trash, crap, junk, or whatever term you see fit was also cleaned up…well, kind of. Here are the before and after photos…

Before

After

As you can see, it looks a bit better, and we have to be excited about even slight improvement, like having a kid that doesn’t go in his pants in public as often as before. My only issue is that I still managed to find a grocery bag’s worth of broken glass in all of that crap, just by dusting the surface. I have to look out for my dog here, because dogs are curious creatures. Imagine if a toy of hers hit that pile of nonsense and she began to paw at it. This is what she could have encountered…

My advice is to never rent, and if you do, take lots of photos and document everything, even through blogging. Renting is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes there could even be mice in them or broken glass and you have to end up in litigation.

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>Driving with My Brake Lights On

>You may think from the title that this will be about some cautious time in my life and I am metaphorically “driving with my brake lights on”.

Just take it literally.

For the past 5 days, my brake lights have been on while driving. Since I noticed and my neighbor also pointed it out to me, I have been disconnecting my battery at every destination or leaving my vehicle running. I’m sure it looks interesting to people when before entering my car, I go under the hood for a second and then jump in and start it. I did notice a funny look on the face of an elderly woman pumping gas next to me at a gas station. Then again, that was also after I told the pump, “No I will not go see the fucking attendant” when it told me to do just that. I prepaid $15 and it stopped at 4 cents past that. I’m assuming they were going to make me pay for that, but it was their pump that stopped 4 cents too late, and I wasn’t told to stop it on my own.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been a bit testy lately, but I’ll get to that later.

I’m hesitant to fix my own car or even investigate the many issues that the DiabetoMobile has. My 1990 Honda Accord has 215,000 miles on it. I have had quite a few mini-problems along the way, but the engine hasn’t failed yet and that is what matters.

The mini-problems like this one become a little more scary when I have a job that requires me to drive so much. Imagine driving over a hundred miles every day with your brake lights on the whole time. It presents an odd situation. Either folks are so discombobulated by you riding the brakes, even while accelerating, that they simply go around you, or you get the hard-asses that ride your bumper and honk like that will magically fix everything. The funniest was a guy driving a DirectTV truck. Why would you make yourself look like such an idiot if you are representing a company, and if I really wanted to, I could easily identify you and your vehicle and make a complaint?

After a bit of online research, I figured out that it had to do with my brake switch. Most likely, it was defective. I contacted Babyface Pinoy from the now defunct Filipino Mafia, because he helps me maintain my foreign vehicle, which isn’t to say that only foreigners can do that, but he is good at that, and he isn’t a foreigner, but an American because he was born in this fine country run by messed up people. That was a run on sentence. Anyway, he couldn’t help because he’s a busy family man I’m sure, so I was left to fend for myself.

Since I am poor, my mother came over to assist me with a flashlight and cash. That could be taken the wrong way, so please don’t take it that way. First she brought over a brand new shiny brake switch. After I actually stuck my face into the mess under my steering column, I realized the problem was much simpler and cheaper. A small piece that engages the brake switch, which disengages the lights, was crumbled and in effect, not doing its job. I think I saw it the other day, and for some reason thought it was a piece of a crayon that made its way into my car, so I tossed it. The fellow at AutoZone told me it was a dealer part. I asked if I should just rig it up, which he grinned at and confirmed that I had the right idea.

I tried a few bolts when I got home to my vehicle, but they were too small, but it can be rigged, oh yes, it can be rigged. It can wait till manana though, and then I can keep my battery hooked up.

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And now to what makes me testy. When I was downsized, I addressed my landlady in a blog, stating that I wouldn’t pick up my dog/daughter’s poop anymore until the lawn was mowed. Shortly after, it was mowed, although I am sure the two were not connected. That was after about a month of it not being done though.
Once again, it has been over a month without it being touched, but this time the 4 foot high weeds were at least pulled earlier this week. I left a message on her voicemail and her man showed up instead. He told me that the lawn looked fine, yet it grows over my feet. He told me they didn’t have to notify us that workers were coming in our yard everyday to work on a mother-in-law house behind our home. We asked why so much work on that and none on our unit. He replied that they are moving into the 3rd unit very soon. When we said that we never agreed to this nonsense, he scoffed at us and said, “If you want to spend money on a lawyer, go right ahead.”

I later received a call from him saying that someone would be by to mow the lawn the next day. Strange how one says there’s no problem, but does something to rectify that non-problem. He also adds that I need to pick up my dog’s mess everyday, which his lady friend told us every week or two would be sufficient. If they really kept up with our joint, I’d consider it, but we are from from that point.
So I picked up all the poo, and lo and behold, it is 5 days later and the lawn still hasn’t been mowed. The new poop shall stay and torment the workers in our yard. They leave trash back there anyway, so it’s how we fight back.
Renting is no good. As much as I have read that tenants have rights, they really don’t. A tenant can’t end a lease if the landlord goes against it, but in the reverse case, it is a no brainer, you’re out to the curb.
Twice our gal came in without notification, which is illegal. We confronted her on it, which she neither confirmed or denied. She did however complain that supplies she left behind on those occasions were tampered with by myself. Oh well. Maybe if I didn’t have to have a bathtub faucet head fly at my foot the first time I attempted to shower, things would be different. Or maybe if after we asked for little things like a light in the rear and a working lock on our back door, we didn’t get an eye roll and no response, things would be different. It is amazing what a call to the city and 13 code violations can do to get things done. Unfortunately, there are no more definite code violations, just annoyances, so they know that is their loophole.
A couple of months ago, I accidentally busted the water line to the ice maker as I moved the fridge to clean up mouse crap. They fixed it, but later sent us an invoice for $65. We asked nicely to take it out of our deposit, to which we were told they’d talk it over. No response was given until 2 months later when we get a new bill stating if it isn’t paid in 15 days, a 24.99% APR will be applied. First, I never signed anything stating an interest could incur and I never signed an invoice giving a price at all. She has to take it from the deposit, but figures we were stoopid in the first place, so hey, why not try to push this one over.
I know when it comes time to recover the deposit, the courts will be the only way. Wouldn’t it just be easier to treat people how you would like to be treated instead of like pond scum? I could say more, but I will save it for later.

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>Diabeto the Hermit

>I’ve been laying low as of late. After the power came back on, the DSL at our flat was turned off because we’re too poor. We are now attempting to reconnect through Earthlink and leave AT&T hanging. In the meantime, I am mooching off my parents’ connection.

I have been working for the past few weeks for one of those publications that helps you sell your vehicles. My job is as a “field photographer”, which means I drive around and take pictures of cars. Why this job still exists in the age of the internet and digital cameras, I have no idea, but it pays for now. And I told this to a customer not long ago, that he could simply take the photo on the digital camera he told me he had and upload it to internet that he also confirmed he had, to which he responded, “But this is so damned convenient!”

I called a customer in a location 35 miles from me, most likely the land of the Lord, to confirm his address, which wasn’t showing up on MapQuest (a godsend for this job). To clarify, I was already in his vicinity and calling, figuring that the street name would bring me close enough. The address listed was 1939, but on this particular street the addresses only went up to 959. Trust me I drove around to check. So I call this guy and say I am by 959 so-and-so street and ask where his location is. He tells me again “It’s 1939. Wait I’ll go outside to check again for ya. (PAUSE) Yep it’s real big out here under the sign with the name of the place, the phone number, and the address…1939. You can’t miss it.”

I ask for landmarks because this just didn’t make any sense. He tells me to go back to the main road in town and find a BP and an auto repair joint. I should turn in between the two and it’s a block away past some railroad tracks.

I follow his directions. Sure enough there was a BP and an auto repair shop at the beginning of the street I was on, but quite a few blocks back. I drove past the tracks and see the truck I was to shoot. This was the first building on this street with an address of 100. Right away I see his mistake. There was a big sign with the name of the place and its address, and underneath it was written “Since 1939”.

I deal with the public for the entertainment value.

—======—-
My daughter, Sadie, was really sick about a week ago. Whenever she moved, she would yelp. It was sad to watch. She was moping around. Days went by before she ate or drank on her own will. I resorted to giving her water through a syringe…a needleless one. We spent two separate nights at the animal hospital with the vets troubleshooting her. Guesswork costs a lot, especially for us po’ folks. She has been on two separate drugs and had x-rays done that showed nothing.

We are pretty sure she has
Aseptic (Sterile) Meningitis, which two of her brothers also have been diagnosed with. Apparently it will flare up from time to time, but can be kept under control with Prednisone. She takes after me with all the diseases and medication.
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In February, I blogged about mice in our flat. We caught 9 in a 2 day span, to which our landlady told me that “the key to urban living is to keep a clean place”. I bagged 4 of the nine and labeled them for her at the time. She kept them in our basement by her work bench. I decided to lay them to rest today in a dumpster, since they have molded over a few times within their Zip-Loc bags, and she wasn’t too concerned about moving them. I took some video which I hope to post soon, when our internet situation improves. In the meantime, check out this other cool mice video.

UPDATE (11/1/06): The disposal of the moldy mice…

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