Nextdoor.com Is My Favorite New Stalking App

I want to start by saying that yes, I am a stalker, or at the very least an intense peeping Tom. I have long been one and it’s something I’m GOOD at. I like trolling people’s Facebook pages, scanning their Instagrams, and trying to figure out their life stories through their Twitter feed. (That’s right, I’m watching all of you. I KNOW.)

I can’t even tell you the amount of pleasure I get from looking into other people’s lives. It’s sick, really. But whatever, we all have our things to get us through the day. Enter: NEXTDOOR.COM, my new best friend and favorite website.

NextdoorThe way it works is that you enter your address and name, (you can totally give a fake one), and then suddenly you’re connected to other people in your neighborhood. These people post things about their lives, like Tom, whose poor flower pots were stolen, or Peter who asked, “Will our storm drains work?”

I’m not saying these updates are exciting, because they’re not. In fact they’re ridiculously mundane, but there’s something about them, and hearing what other people in my neighborhood are doing that’s… I dunno, pretty fun to read.

My favorite postings BY FAR are the wild animal sightings, in which people warn pet owners to keep their pups inside. There was recently one for a coyote. (To be fair, I saw a coyote in the park the other day, so this one is legit: HIDE YO KIDS, HIDE YO CATS.)
Los Feliz CoyoteAnd then there was a much more exciting one for a bobcat most recently.

Los Feliz BobcatIf you need me, I’ll be trolling my neighbors!

Big News: We’re Adopting A Cat (!)

For anyone who knows me, one of the first things you probably find out is that I love cats. I talk about them so often that people will often just say, “What kind of cat do you have?” To which I then have to embarrassingly respond, “I don’t have a cat… YET.”

E is also a cat lover. (Thank God, because that honestly would’ve been a deal breaker for me.) And we both wanted to wait to check out a cat to adopt until after the holidays and after I came back from Sundance. So, last weekend our lives slowed down, and we decided to head to Sante D’Or, a local shelter by our home.

I cannot tell you how massively unprepared I was for cat adoption day. We walked into the shelter, and there were roughly 40 cats that peered back at us, all looking for someone to take them home. And at Sante D’Or, there are some cats in cages, and other cats are just walking around, rubbing against your legs, swatting at your head from perches. No matter where you turn, there’s a new cat face to lock eyes with yours and try to burn into your soul. We did a lap around the place, and the first cat that E noticed — like, REALLY noticed — was Misty.

Misty The CatShe was sitting quietly in a chair, minding her own beautiful business, and E pointed to her. “What about that one?” he said. When I first saw Misty, I will fully admit that she looked like any other cat to me. She was pretty, but was she the one?

I decided to sit down next to her. And let me tell you, Misty knows how to work it. Within seconds, she was sitting on my lap, and within minutes, she was rubbing her kitty face against my human face, and basically saying, “YES, I’M THE ONE, OBVIOUSLY.”

The thing about Sante D’Or, is that you have to put in an application for adoption. It’s not like other shelters, where they’re handing you a cat to take home that day, and trying to shove another three in your bag. No, at Sante D’Or, they have a thorough process, and when someone puts in an application for a cat, they put a sign on their cage that reads, “Adoption Pending.” I asked E to go find Misty’s cage, so we could see how old she was, her history, and other details about her. I was not prepared for what E found, because when he pointed to Misty’s cage, there was one of those little signs: Adoption Pending.

We asked one of the volunteers if the sign was a mistake. It had to be a mistake. I literally couldn’t stand up from the chair, because Misty was now standing on my chest, rubbing her furry head all over me.

“Oh, Misty,” one of the volunteers looked at her, then at me, then at the sign on that cage. I thought I was going to start crying. E was quite certain I would. It took me a few minutes to be able to actually pick Misty up, and put her back on the chair, alone.

Once I was able to leave her, it took me a while to adjust to the idea of not getting her. But I tried really hard, because it was cat adoption day, and we really wanted to put in an application. We walked around again, this time really checking out those adoption pending signs and not getting too attached to anyone. The volunteers showed us other lap cats. There was Rosie, and Ophelia, for example. They were great, but they weren’t Misty. Eventually, they showed us an area we had somehow missed, which is when we saw Smash — an orange tabby cat with a tail as fluffy as a duster.

Smash was sweet, younger than Misty, and extremely playful. We played with him for a good twenty minutes, and felt like if we couldn’t get Misty, then we could certainly take home Smash and love him to pieces. There were other people eyeing Smash, saying his name as if the cat was already theirs. So we hurriedly picked up an application and began to fill it out. When we filled out the app, we listed Smash as the cat we wanted to adopt, but also added a note. “If Misty becomes available, we’d like to adopt her.”

We turned in the application, waved goodbye to Smash, (and I secretly waved goodbye to Misty), and then carried on with our Saturday, knowing we wouldn’t hear back on the application for a few days.

Cut to Tuesday of this week, and my phone rings. A woman named Sandy left me a message, saying that Misty was available again, as her adoption fell through, and Smash really needed to go to a home with other cats already there.

I emailed E, because in those few days I’d kept telling myself we were getting Smash, and all of a sudden Misty was an option again. I was confused and, to be honest, a little torn. But he reminded me of how much I loved Misty. Then I looked up her Petfinder profile to remind myself:

Misty was brought to the rescue with her three legged daughter, Osita. After a close call with some street thugs, she’s got a clean bill of health and is ready for a forever home.

I didn’t realize she’d been a teen mom! Or had a three-legged daughter! Or been a street thug! All of it kind of melted my heart, and reminded me of what made Misty so amazing in the first place. I called Sandy back, and we decided to move forward with Misty, the girl who first stole our hearts.

On Saturday, we’ll have what’s called a “home visit,” where Sandy will come to our house, without Misty, and make sure that what we have is a cat friendly environment. We’ve already bought cat toys, cat treats, a litterbox, and even a cat shaped mat where we’re going to put Misty’s food bowls. Tonight I plan to clean and sweep and make this place SHINE so that Sandy can give us her cat stamp of approval.

If all goes well, we could be given the OK to pick Misty up, and take her back home with us that very same day. I’m feeling extremely excited about the idea of having her here, but also really nervous that it won’t work out.

In any event, I will keep you all posted on our cat adoption, and hopefully the next Caturday update will involve our very own cat!

Help Me Decorate Our First Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

I’m not going to stand here and say that E and I have a better Christmas tree than everyone else in Los Angeles. Because even though that’s absolutely true, it wouldn’t be in the spirit of the holidays, or whatever.

Last night, we decided it was time to get a tree. We have a new apartment now, so it’s time to fill it with new things. And sure, I’m sure some of you will wail, “But Erin, you don’t have practical things, like a proper dining room table or a couch that fits more than two people!” But to those people I say, “We’ll be damned if we don’t have something to make our house smell like the forest!”

I had spotted a place earlier in the week that looked acceptable. There were trees. There were lights. It was perfect. We took my Prius over to what we soon discovered was a former mechanics garage, or more officially, “Delancey Street Christmas Trees.”

Christmas Trees in Los Feliz

There were a few gentleman in zip-up hoodies waiting outside for us. Fellas that easily could have been the former mechanics from the garage. One of them was missing a bottom tooth.

No bother, we walked around the rows of fir trees. Or pines. Look, I don’t know the names of different firs, I won’t lie to you, but they did, and they told us all about the different kinds we might find on our shopping trip.

“There’s the [I can’t remember the name of it] fir, and it has sort of silvery leaves,” one mechanic-elf said.

Those ones were beautiful, by the way, but we were looking for something a little more traditional. A little more green. A little less expensive.

Which is when we happened to meet our newest house guest. She stood proud and full, closer to the back and out of the glaring spotlight. Yet, it was as if a halo of some invisible light shone around her.

“I like this one,” I said. “She’s nice,” E replied.

Before we knew it, we’d paid the elves a handful of cash, and they went to work on tying her to the roof of our car.

Tree tied to the roof

(Side note: How dashing is E here?!)

We tipped the elves, got in our car, and gingerly tottered down Los Feliz Boulevard and back to our apartment. Getting it into the elevator was also relatively easy, thanks to E, mainly, because lord knows that tree was just as tall as me and I cannot do heavy lifting.

She now sits in our dining room with two decorations proudly on her: a big red bow, and a reindeer ornament that E bought me for our 6-month anniversary last year. (Though, my former landlord once told me it was a “nice donkey.”)

We’ll be getting her some new accessories this weekend, but if anyone has any suggestions for easy and inexpensive options for the tree, please do share!

Moving On Up To The East Side (Of Los Angeles)

Full disclosure: As I type this, my hands are shaking because of all of the stress of moving. If there are typos, or, say, a rambling paragraph about how I might light my hair on fire, please forgive me.

That being said, right now I am in the midst of moving from West Hollywood to Los Feliz. The difference is about 20 minutes, and a significantly closer proximity to hipsters. It’s slightly terrifying, and also extremely exciting.

I’ve been in my current apartment for four years, which is the longest I’ve ever lived in any apartment. (And the longest I’ve ever lived in any city.) Before that, I would hop around to a new apartment every year, or sometimes faster than that. In New York, I lived in three apartments over the course of a year, and not by choice. One was a sublet, the next went co-op, and the third was the final nail in my New York City coffin.

E and I weren’t expecting to move quite this quickly, we had always been thinking that we’d find a new place after the holidays and in the new year. But my friend Tom texted, and told me that a spot in his building had just opened up, so things changed very quickly.

BarCartandBoxesJust to give some background: Tom’s apartment is perfect. He lives in a two bedroom, two bath place with his boyfriend, Hadi, and it’s enormous; a huge living area, hardwood floors, a washer and dryer in the unit (I MEAN, WHAT???), and even a side area with a full bar. I’ve always said, quite literally, that “I want Tom and Hadi’s apartment.” So, to hear that a carbon copy had opened up in their building was the kick I needed to hop on the moving train.

Plus, and I’m sure other people can attest to this, moving into a brand new space with your significant other is really a big deal. Right now, E is living in my apartment. It’s ours, but it’s also really mine. My name is on the lease, it’s mostly all of my furniture, and I’d really like to share a place with him, where his furniture and things can be on the wall too. Because right now, there’s just no damn room for it.

So this month, we’ll be packing and shlepping our things from WeHo to Los Feliz. I’ve already become overwhelmed with all of the little details, (movers, rent, security deposits, new furniture, a housewarming party, a new commute, etc.), and E has been very good about calming me down. But I used to think moving was fun, and now that I’m older and a have a lot more stuff, it’s clear that the actual process of moving is complicated. And time consuming. And exhausting. And sweet sassy molassey, what is all this change about?!

I’m hopeful that after we move all of our physical stuff, the rest will just be exciting and new. But if anyone has any moving tips that could help us (seriously, ANYTHING), please let me know!