Bad Roommates – Richard

Copyright: tinnakornlek

Part 2 of my blog series on horrible roommates continues today with Richard, who moved in with a 3 pound teacup Chihuahua named Lola and a 20 pound Chihuaha mix named Poopers. Richard was very forthright in telling me that he had previously dealt with a crystal meth addiction, but was fully recovered. To set my mind at ease, he gave me his father’s phone number and told me that if any issue ever arose with him, I could call his father and he would set everything straight. Richard then moved in, and told me that I would never have to worry about his dogs because he crated them at night in his room, and was completely responsible for their feeding, walks, and bathing. There were no issues with Richard for the first few months, and he was proud of himself because he had been able to continue his employment as a dog groomer, a job which he enjoyed immensely.

Then one Sunday morning, I was awakened at 4 am by the sound of Lola yelping and crying in Richard’s room. I walked across the hall to Richard’s room and knocked on the door, calling out for him. When there was no response, I opened the door to find the dogs in their respective crates, with food and water bowls on the opposite side of the room. The crate doors were closed and latched. I suddenly realized that I hadn’t seen Richard since Friday afternoon, and became very concerned that these poor pooches were trapped in their crates since then. I immediately took them out of their crates, put kibble in their food bowl, and filled their water bowl with water. Once they had something to eat and drink, I took them outside so that they could go to the bathroom and run around a bit. I ended up letting the dogs roam around the house, and spoke with my other roommate Paul later in the morning about splitting dog walking duties with him, to which he heartily agreed.

I dialed Richard’s dad’s number around noon that Sunday, and a young man answered. When I asked if Richard’s dad was there, I was informed that he was not there. I then asked if Richard happened to be there, and was told that he wasn’t there either, but my gut told me that he probably was there. So I told the guy who answered the call to inform his buddy Richard that he was in big trouble, and that because he had locked his dogs in crates for an extended period of time, I would be contacting animal rights organizations to report Richard.

Richard showed up two days later, but wouldn’t look me in the eye, and he looked like he had been tweaking. He apologized for the dogs, said he would take better care of them, and then left. This is when Richard began to exhibit some very bizarre behavior. He would sneak into the house very late at night, grab clothes or whatever else he needed, and then quickly leave without taking care of his dogs. Since I didn’t trust Richard, Paul and I continued to feed and walk the dogs, and we would crate them at night. Then after about two weeks of this pattern, Richard let the dogs out of the crates one night and then left. The next morning, the dogs had managed to urinate and defecate all over his bed, the carpeted floor, and a stack of his dirty clothing. It was like they lashed out at him by peeing and pooping everywhere. The situation was so bad that the smell of dog urine and feces had soaked into the floorboards, and even after I replaced the carpeting in that room, the faint odor of dog waste persisted.

The day after the dogs had their grand excretory event, I contacted an attorney and had an eviction letter drawn up which I put on Richard’s bedroom door and also sent to his dad. I also called him and left him a message letting him know I was looking into having the dogs rehomed immediately. It took several days for Richard to clear out his belongings, but he managed to empty the room, and he also unfortunately took the dogs with him. His security deposit was spent on replacement carpeting for the room.

I can only imagine what happened to Richard, but I assume that he fell completely back into his meth addiction.

Bad Roommates – Sean

Copyright: nuiiko

Over the past 36 years, I have had a lot of roommates, some of whom were pretty cool, one who was awesome and became one of my dearest friends, and a handful who were such rotten people that it took me a while to recover from the craziness they brought into my home. The list of bad roommates is actually larger than I would like for it to be, but I figured I would select the three most despicable ones to discuss in this blog post. The ONLY reason why I have changed the names of these individuals in my stories is because one is certifiably nuts (borderline and histrionic personality disorder…no, I didn’t live with Amber Heard!), and the other two are addicts who can’t be trusted in any way, shape or form.

The first selection on my list of worst roommates ever was Sean, a very cocky Korean guy who assured me when he interviewed for the available room that he was a successful businessman with a number of businesses, one of which was the local Fosters Freeze. He stated that he needed to use my desktop computer in the den because his was at one of his offices and he was unable to access it on a regular basis. I agreed to let him use my computer, but I password protected all of my financial documents and other sensitive information.

In the mornings, Sean would come downstairs to the kitchen wearing a full business suit, and he would tell me about how busy the day ahead would be for him. Then I would leave for work, returning in the early evening to see Sean sitting on the sofa watching TV. The first hint that Sean was shady was when he asked me to please put his work van on my automobile insurance policy. He told me that the insurance rate was very high, and that by adding his vehicle onto my policy, the rates would drop for both our vehicles. He also promised to pay the entire premium. I firmly refused, even though he kept pleading with me to add his van, and he even insulted me, telling me that I was passing up an “excellent deal”.

During the time Sean was living in my house, we had a housekeeper who would clean every two weeks. One day, when she was finishing up her cleaning, she pulled me aside and said, “Miss Stacey, there’s something strange about Sean. When you are leaving for work, he is in a full business suit, but after you leave, he goes to his room, changes into a t-shirt and shorts, then goes down to the den and plays poker on your computer. He is still there when I am ready to leave. I just thought you should know.” My suspicions were ignited by this information, and I became very uncomfortable around him.

Ultimately, Sean just completely disappeared one day, and I couldn’t get in touch with him. So I ended up going to the Fosters Freeze since he had mentioned that he owned that business. I drove up and saw a Korean woman in the order window, so I figured she was Sean’s sister. I approached her and introduced myself, and then asked if she knew where Sean was, since I hadn’t seen him in close to a week. Her response was, “You’ve seen Sean? Come to the back entrance. We need to talk.”

Once I was at the back entrance, Sean’s sister proceeded to tell me that he was a gambling addict and had gotten into big trouble with a number of individuals who were after him for lost bets he never paid up on. She also told me that Sean had emptied out their parents’ savings accounts in a desperate effort to obtain more money, and what made that part of the story even worse was that she told me their father had cancer and was now unable to pay for chemotherapy treatments due to Sean’s theft. She told me to go into his room and just sell whatever might be of value, because she said he would never come back to the house. When I returned home, I went up to Sean’s room, where I found several pairs of crew socks and his bed. He had taken all of his Armani suits and other valuables and bolted.

Next week I will talk about another horrible roommate I had. It’s definitely been an adventure having roommates!

Why Burmese Cats Are The Best

Taiko, a Platinum American Burmese Male – My first Burmese love…

Since 1986, I have had fourteen different cats, and cannot imagine life without felines in my household. Seven of the cats I had have been of mixed breed, while the other seven were purebred. Of those pure breeds, I have had a Blue Point Birman (Natasha, 1991-2000), a Snow Bengal (Abbey, 2002-2005), a Scottish Fold (Sophie, 2000-2010), one European Burmese (Kazu, born in 2009 and part of my current brood), and three American Burmese (Taiko 2001-2009, Tenshi, born in 2008, Koji, born in 2021). From the moment I brought Taiko, a platinum male, home, I actually enjoyed how intensely social and needy Taiko was, and I completely fell in love with his doglike personality, which I quickly learned was characteristic of Burmese cats. It was enough to solidify my preference for Burmese cats, and now I insist on always having Burmese cats in my life.

Tenshi, my Blue American Burmese Male

Burmese cats truly are extremely friendly, need to be around their humans the majority of the time, and are so drawn to laps that they are referred to as “lap Velcro”. Having lived with Burmese since 2001, I can definitely vouch for the fact that these felines are attention whores, which is quite the opposite of what some cat haters think about cat temperament. My cats are social, playful, gentle, and intelligent, and they often want to cuddle, sometimes when I am trying to do housework or telemedicine! I’m also accustomed to having all my cats on my bed at some point during every night, and I will usually wake up with Kazu right next to me. These cats have tons of personality!

Kazu, my Cream European Burmese Female

There are some minor physical differences between American Burms and European Burms, such as head shape (American Burms have more rounded skulls, while European Burms have a slight wedge shape), and there are colors which are unique to E Burms (such as Cream, which is what my Kazu is), but both Burmese versions are very similar and also feature the same loveable personality profile. It is much more difficult to find European Burmese breeders in the United States, so if you have your heart set on an E Burm, you will probably have to travel out of state to find one.

Koji, my Sable American Burmese Male

The following are breed descriptions from CFA.org and TICA.org respectively. The CFA recognizes the American Burmese, while TICA recognizes the European Burmese.

AMERICAN BURMESE BREED DESCRIPTON:

The Burmese breed first came to America in 1930 when Dr. Joseph Thompson of San Francisco brought a small walnut brown female cat from Burma. He named her Wong Mau and bred her to Siamese cats. Through selective breeding the unique solid brown colored coat, now known as Sable, was isolated. This work demonstrated that these Burmese cats were a distinct breed and ultimately led the breeders to request championship recognition from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Along the way, the other colors seen in the Siamese breed were also seen in litters. Over time and with much controversy, these other colors were accepted by CFA. The four colors we now recognize in CFA are Sable, a rich dark brown; Champagne, a warm beige; Platinum, a pale gray with fawn undertones; and Blue, a medium gray with fawn undertones.

Burmese cats carry surprising weight for their size. Their coats are short and close-lying, and they have a very silky texture. They need very little grooming, usually requiring only some daily petting. You will see a range of styles of Burmese cats, with those with rounder heads and shorter bodies being the show cats. Their large, expressive eyes radiate an innocence that will seduce you, and they have an irresistible appeal that has won over many a person who thought he didn’t like cats. Burmese cats have an endearing quality that has won the hearts of those lucky enough to be owned by one. They have great affection for their people, wanting to be with them as much as possible without being overly demanding. Many Burmese will even play fetch with a toy, given the chance.

Burmese kittens can be quite spirited. They are playful and fearless, attempting feats beyond their means and landing on their sturdy little rear ends. A Burmese kitten will remain playful well into adulthood. As they mature, their unique intelligence will reveal itself as their personalities unfold. They will soon grow into confident and charming little executives who will rule the house and your heart. Burmese are soft-spoken beings who have little trouble making their wishes known. They adore their people and are known for being good with children as well as liking (or at least tolerating) the family dog. Burmese are extremely people-oriented companions. Their personalities are almost dog-like. They will follow you from room to room, and they greatly desire to give and receive affection. They seek out warm laps and gentle strokes of your hand, and they love to snuggle up with their owners when they are reading or watching TV. Come bedtime they look forward to sleeping in or on your bed if allowed. Burmese are convinced that it is their job to run the house. Females tend to demand center stage and take an active role in managing the household. Males on the other hand tend to be more relaxed, managing from a comfortable spot on your lap. Be forewarned – Burmese cats can be addictive! It is not uncommon for someone to acquire a Burmese and find one is not enough. Many people ultimately have two or more Burmese, one of each gender or of different colors. Being one of the most trusting cat breeds, Burmese should never be allowed outside.  https://cfa.org/burmese/

EUROPEAN BURMESE BREED DESCRIPTION:

Burmese can be found in a range of solid and tortoiseshell colors: rich, dark sable brown; medium, warm blue; warm, honey beige chocolate with pink or fawn tints; lilac that ranges in tone from a bright pinkish grey to a silvery platinum with pink tints; reds of a light, golden apricot with melon-orange overtones; rich, warm deep creams with hints of apricot; and the soft mingling of red or cream with sable, chocolate, blue or lilac found in the tortoiseshells. In young cats, the points will be darker but as the cat gets older and the coat matures the body color becomes deeper and richer until there is only a very slight difference between its body and the color on the legs, head and tail. On Mar 29 1955, the first blue Burmese kitten, Sealcoat Blue Surprise, was born in England. Cats other than sable had appeared earlier, but most Burmese breeders chose to breed only the sable cats. It is now believed that Wong Mau also carried the genes for dilution and chocolate that resulted in the appearance of chocolate, blue and lilac kittens. The red factor was added later in Europe. The Burmese was one of the original breeds TICA recognized in June 1979.

Remove Your Shoes Please!

Copyright: andsst

I grew up in a shoes-off household, which meant that as soon as anyone stepped into my home, they had to remove their shoes and leave them at the front door. Throughout my childhood, I noticed that none of my friends removed their shoes while in their homes, but then again, none of whom were Asian. In stark contrast, I noticed that the habit of removing shoes, sandals, and boots was always followed by my mom’s Asian friends, as well as by my relatives (also Asian) in Hawaii. I soon noticed that the floors in my friends’ homes didn’t feel nearly as clean on my bare feet as the ones in my own apartment, since they didn’t practice the same ritual my Japanese-American mother and I did. What I ended up doing in my friends’ homes was either keep my shoes on, or I would keep my socks on if I was wearing any when I visited them. To be honest, I always felt that it was so much cleaner to be in the habit of removing shoes once entering a residence, and this is something I continue to practice to this day. Since I am also the person who usually cleans the floors, rugs and carpets in my house, I have become a stickler for ensuring that no one enters in shoes which have traversed sidewalks, driveways, lawns which are teeming with all kinds of nasty gunk.

These days, I even go so far as to ask service technicians who enter my home to either remove their work boots, or to wear shoe covers, if they intend to conduct work inside the house. Before you accuse me of being extreme in my desire to keep my abode clean, keep in mind that back in July of 2021, a central air service technician tracked so much dirt and oil into my bedroom that it took me two sessions to remove all the stains from my bedroom carpet. Shortly after that, I ordered disposable shoe covers and have them right at the foyer for convenience.

Copyright: Elenathewise

Even with the shoes-off policy in my home, I still notice dust and dirt on my floors, and since I have pets, there is also the issue of shedding hair which accumulates. The last thing I want is to worry about when I clean the floors every week is chemicals, dog feces, and various microbes being introduced to my house via outdoor footwear. A study conducted by the University of Arizona discovered that 96% of soles of shoes were found to harbor fecal matter, which is picked up from the floors of public restrooms, as well as bird droppings and dog feces from asphalt, concrete, grass and soil. When you wear your shoes inside your house, you are spreading all of that bacteria, most notably E. coli, over all of your floors. Not only do you have to worry about germs, you also need to be aware of how many chemicals we track into our homes with our shoes, from gasoline which we pick up while pumping gas at a gas station, to carcinogenic chemicals which are used on lawns, and the list goes on.

Why not improve your indoor environment with a simple step and implement a no-shoes policy when you are inside your house? You’ll be rewarded with a cleaner home and will decrease your exposure to potentially harmful substances.

Hot Today, Cold Tomorrow

I’ve lived in California my entire life, and have enjoyed the state’s history of relatively predictable weather patterns over the decades. Unlike the crazy fluctuations which I have heard about from other parts of the U.S., central and southern California have always exhibited climate patterns which were pretty reliable. We could generally rely on pleasant daytime temperatures during the spring, hot summer days, a return to temperate conditions in the fall, and cold days and evenings in the middle of winter.

I know that other regions of the country, particularly the midwest, tend to experience differences in daily temperatures which are so extreme that it is possible to wear shorts and a t-shirt one day, and thermals and a winter overcoat the next. As an example of the random weather forecasts I have witnessed in the midwest, I endured the weather patterns very similar to the following numerous times when I visited Columbus, Ohio:

Monday 73°/47°

Tuesday 75°/55°

Wednesday 57°/40°

Thursday 59°/38°

Friday 68°/41°

Saturday 59°/47°

Sunday 52°/38°

Monday 64°/42°

Tuesday 73°/43°

Wednesday 59°/39°

For the past several years, the weather patterns in southern California have been similarly erratic, and it can be downright confusing to try to figure out how to dress on a given day. I became even more aware of the large daily temperature fluctuations when our central heat/air stopped functioning in February, because for a period of two weeks, the temperature inside our home was reflective of the ambient temperature outside. During the first four days, the high temperature in my area was 54 degrees Fahrenheit, then crept up to the mid 60’s for two days. Then we had a small heat wave for 3 days which caused the mercury to jump to the upper 80’s. Then suddenly, the temperature plummeted to the mid to upper 50’s during the day. Low temps during that two week period ranged between 37 degrees and 55 degrees, so bundling up at night was imperative.

One habit which I had to develop over the past few years as a result of the erratic climate is to dress in layers, a habit which I had already begun to cultivate when I went through menopause and was managing my random hot flashes. Gone are the days when I was able to put away my summer clothing during the colder months, because the temperature can run from a brisk 54 degrees in the early morning to a balmy 91 degrees by midday (see screenshot at top of this blogpost for an actual weather forecast for my area infrom earlier this month). The fact that we can have a high temp of 70 degrees one day, then a high temp of 90 degrees three days later, is pretty maddening.

Goals to Give You the Confidence to Return to the World

Image: Pixabay

Check out this inspiring and motivating article written by Camille Johnson on how to get back in gear after being on lockdown for so long.

Do you lack the confidence to re-enter the world after being indoors for an extended period of time? Maybe you lost your job due to the pandemic and are just now going back to work. Or maybe you were affected by lockdowns and are just now finding it safe to socialize again. Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure you are confident enough to get back into the swing of things. Employ the tips below to help you build the confidence you need to overcome your fears.

Build your confidence and fitness with customized nutrition and fitness programs from Stacey Naito!

The Importance of Setting Goals

Setting goals is one of the most important parts of any lifestyle change. With just a few small changes, it’s possible to dramatically improve your life.

Many people have trouble setting and achieving their goals. This is because they don’t have a clear idea of what they want or need in their lives.

To avoid this, create a list of goals to give yourself the confidence you need to take on the world again. You could create lists with short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals that will help you reach your ultimate goal: happiness!

Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress

Debt is a major source of stress for many people, with 47% of Americans feeling overwhelmed by their debt. While there are a number of factors contributing to the level of debt Americans hold, one major factor is student loans.

Some people might believe that they are not able to take on more debt as they try to pay off existing balances. However, there are ways you can reduce your debt while still saving money, such as refinancing your home.

Refinancing allows qualified homeowners to decrease the equity in their homes and free up cash or reduce their monthly mortgage payments. Additionally, refinancing can be beneficial if you’re looking to take out a different type of loan. For instance, some people refinance a low-interest mortgage for one with an even lower rate.

Go Back to School

Oftentimes, people stop going to school when they get married and have children or they simply start to feel overwhelmed with life. But if you’re interested in progressing in your career, then why not consider going back to school?

Back in the day, it was common for people to care for their kids as a stay-at-home mom. In today’s society, women and men work outside the home. That said, being a working parent can be extremely difficult, and sometimes it might seem like there isn’t an alternative.

Fortunately, there is hope! Going back for an online degree in business, criminal justice, or nursing allows you to complete your education in a more flexible way. It also offers a lot of perks, such as:

  • The ability to balance work, family, and school
  • Not having to commute every day
  • Learning at your own pace
  • No dorm fees

If you’re considering going back to school for a degree or certificate program, now is the perfect time. It’s an investment that can pay off for years to come in higher wages and better job prospects.

In Closing

Setting goals, both short and long term, is not only a great way to stay on track, but it gives you the confidence to return to the world. When you are clear about what you are trying to accomplish, it’s easier to plan a course of action.

Need To Chill Wine Fast?

Image ID: 57259324
Copyright: foodandmore

Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you want to chill a bottle of wine fast? I found out a couple of years ago about a great hack which involves paper towels and works like a dream, and I have been using it frequently ever since. The paper towel hack is definitely better than an ice bucket, which doesn’t always chill the entire contents of the bottle.

Simply take a couple of paper towels and run them under cold water until they are soaked. Wring out the excess water and wrap the bottle with the wet paper towels, then place the bottle in the freezer for about fifteen minutes. After 15 minutes, the bottle will be nicely chilled. The science behind this nifty hack is that the surface area of the wet paper towel rapidly cools the bottle it is wrapped around through water evaporation.

A second very cool (pun intended) wine chilling hack involves grapes, but this only works on individual glasses of wine. What you do is drop 4 or 5 frozen grapes into a glass of wine. This method chills the liquid dramatically in only a few minutes. This is such a neat method that I am planning to buy a bunch of grapes to have on hand in my freezer at all times.

My Favorite Bathtub Caulk Cleaning Hack

Copyright: realiia

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the mold and mildew which forms on the caulk in my bathtub after a few months. I went for many years trying to clean the stains, but could never find a foolproof and easy way to completely remove them. Finally, I stumbled on a cleaning hack when I was in the midst of a cleaning frenzy which hit me shortly after the world went into lockdown due to COVID. This method is easy, inexpensive, and works like a charm. I have also included several other cleaning methods, but I honestly think that the method I am featuring is superior to the others.

Using gloves to protect my skin, I soak long strips of Graham Cellucotton Beauty Coil 100% Rayon in regular household bleach, then place the strips over the stained caulk. I allow the strips to sit on the caulk overnight, then remove them the next morning. The caulk is always perfectly white, as if I had laid new caulk on the tub.

Copyright: casamediacasamedia

As an alternative, you can use a bleach pen, but it’s a more expensive method. Other methods include applying distilled white vinegar with a toothbrush and scrubbing the caulk until the stains lift, but you have to use some elbow grease. You could also use equal parts of water and baking soda to make a paste, then scrub with that mixture. Lastly, you could dilute a tablespoon of oxygen bleach in a pint of water and either spray it onto the caulk with a spray bottle, or use the solution to scrub the stains off with a toothbrush.

Beaucarnea recurvata (AKA Ponytail Palm)

Check out my video featuring Beaucarnea recurvata, more commonly known as Ponytail Palm!

Sadly, this plant took a turn for the worse in August of 2021 (right after we had no central A/C for three weeks in July), so I banished it to my balcony, where it continued to decline. I had no choice but to dispose of it in early October of 2021. However, even though my ponytail palm didn’t fare well, I still think it’s a cool plant to have, and it is relatively easy to care for. Mine just didn’t like the sweltering heat!