One Big Headache and Moving

The last few weeks have been one big headache. Our Landlord called us June 2 around 9:30pm and said he promised the townhouse to his daughter and her husband when they sold their house, which apparently they did that day, and we needed to be out by the 30th. Now, John and I had been thinking about moving, but the key word here is thinking. So that night John and I started looking for places. What made everything incredibly frustrating is we had not saved any money for a deposit, pet fees, moving truck, anything because we were not yet anticipating moving.

 

After looking for a week, John and I found a few places we liked. Since I couldn’t get off work to see any of the places, I had to trust John to check them out. All the places we looked at were through the same rental company, which meant we only had to pay the application fee once, yay! Bad news, apparently this company approves several people for the same place and then whoever gets the deposit and lease to the rental company first gets the place. How messed up is that? Side note, I really believe that one day two people are going to come in at the same time with the deposit and lease for the same place and there will be a fist fight in the office and hopefully that will put an end to creating a race. I mean at least give the first person you approve 48 hours, and then move on to the next potential renter. Anyway, due to this lovely practice they have, John and I lost out on two apartments, but we lucked out and got the 3rd. We will be moving into our new 1400 sqft townhome on July 5th!

 

Now, if you remember the begging of the post, I said we had to be out on the 30th, yes there is a problem. Unfortunately our landlord has decided to be a jerk about things and is refusing to let us stay until the 5th when our place is ready. There is currently a tenant in our new townhome and we can’t move in until she moves out. What’s even worse is that when John called to see if we could stay until the 5th, he flat out said no because his daughter has to move out of her house and she and her husband and kids have nowhere to go. Well, neither do John and I and due to the large amount of money this move is costing us, we don’t have the money to get a hotel, plus we have 2 cats and a dog and there are not many affordable animal friendly hotels. The big issue I have will all of this is the sudden notice, the lack of compromise on our landlord’s side, and that his daughter and son-in-law should have spoken with us about when we could be out instead of just picking a date with the new family who is purchasing their home to move in on, and has it not dawned on the landlord to tell his daughter to go to a hotel for a few days? I mean, I know people want to give their kids everything, but he is also a business man and this just makes him look like a terrible landlord. I feel bad for his other tenants and just hope none of them are in a townhome that’s larger and his daughter has her eye on. Furthermore, they are creating unnecessary hardship on us. The best part is when she came to do a preliminary walk through of the townhouse she kept commenting on how small it is. Yes, you, your husband, two kids and three large dogs have fun living in a 2 bedroom, 1000sqft townhome you are kicking us out of and now complaining about. AND did I mention that there is no way this woman and her husband are moving into the townhouse on the weekend of the 4th, I just know they won’t. This couple is way too social to move on a holiday. We can easily stay until the 5th, be completely out and they’d still have a week to clean and do whatever before they move in the next weekend. I know I’m whining, but it is putting John and me in a very tough situation where we have nowhere to go for 5 days. Also, because you know it has to get even better, when John tried to talk to the landlord about staying until the 5th because we had nowhere to go, the landlord tried to claim we were breaching the contract by leaving in 30 days instead of 60 days! Umm no dude, not when you kick us out. Plus, our lease ended in May, and since we’d already paid June, our contract, according to NC law, automatically defaults to a new 12 month lease since nothing was discussed and no month to month contract was drawn up. So, he should have given us 60 days. I would have loved to have 60 days instead of 28 days, so if anyone is breeching a contract, it’s him. Fun, fun times.

 

I rented a POD, has anyone used those before, and all of our stuff will be in there and stored until the 5th when it will be delivered to our new place. PODS are kind of cool, you can rent up to a 16ft container and they deliver it to your home or place of business, then if you need them to, they will store it at their center, and then deliver it wherever you need them to in the US. It’s not that expensive either, I think for the rental, storage for a month and the second delivery fee, we are talking like $235-300. In terms of the new townhome, I am excited for more space, a walk-in closet, a little fenced in patio and yard, a bigger kitchen with an island, a fireplace, tons of stuff. It’s just getting to the 5th that is stressing me out. Since all of our stuff save a mattress, tv, and computers are being packed up today, John and I are going to head over to Edward McKays, one of the most amazing used bookstores ever, tonight, and get a few books for us to read over the next few days. Then, after we move in our next task is to save for a new sofa! I may be more excited for a new sofa, but I can’t say for certain. Hopefully the next I post we will be in our new place unpacking all of our stuff and settling in nicely. Here’s to a chaotic next few days J

Somethings on Young Adult Literature

Arguably, Young Adult literature has been around since World War II with the release of Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly, which is considered by many to be the first book written and published exclusively for teenagers. The novel is geared mostly towards girls focusing on the theme of first love. Now, I will add that I have always argued Oliver Twist By Charles Dickens is the first Young Adult Lit novel, but that is a whole other post.

What is “Young Adult Lit”? The Young Adult Library Services Associate during the 1960s coined the term “young adult” and defined it to mean literature which represents the 12-18 age range. For books during this period in time think, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The Outsiders focuses on three brothers growing up and maturing in life after the death of their parents, being part of a different society, judged for a person’s background and socio economic status, etc. The book explores serious themes and gives teens the credit they deserve for actually being able to deal with complex issues and emotions. The 1970s saw the publication and growth in the young adult area with authors like Judy Blume (what girl hasn’t read a Blume book), Robert Cormier (everyone must read The Chocolate Wars) and Lois Duncan.

Around this time, I argue, young adult lit books became formulaic and one dimensional. Books stopped dealing with complex and higher issues and instead became single problem novels (divorce, drug abuse, abandonment) the novels became flat and cookie cutters. Gone was the richness and developed characters of the former books. Around the time of the 1980s, the literature world saw books from R.L. Stine, and the Sweet Valley High series, books I grew up on. Yes, there were books available for teens, I read all the Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley kids, I didn’t care for the R.L. Stein books, Dear Mr. Henshaw, Hatchet etc. I read them all, but there seemed, for me, to still be a limited amount of choices. There was literally like 5 shelves at the books store that made up the Young Adult Literature section. Why was this?

It seems like overnight Young Adult Lit exploded into rows of amazing books for teens and I want to read them all. I think, it can really be traced back to the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I remember the first one being published. My sister has never been much of a reader and my mother saw the book on the Rosie O’Donal show and bought it with the hopes my sister would read it. Well, she didn’t but I did. At that time the second book had been published, but the series had not quiet blown up yet. It wasn’t until I went to get the third book on the release date that Harry Potter mania had hit. Arguably, many young adult authors began popping up after the success of Rowling hit the media. Shortly after reading the 3rd Harry Potter I began searching for other books to read until the 4th book was published when I discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (I think they are better than the Harry Potter books, but what do I know). Rapidly the Young Adult Lit section tripled then quadrupled. Not all of the books are great, I’ve read plenty that just plain suck, but I’ve found some truly amazing books in the process. I was a senior in college or had just graduated, I forget which, when Twilight was published and then The Hunger Games hit the shelves. I got to maybe page 20 in Twilight before I gave up, I just don’t like the series, but I love that teens are reading.

I think the success of today’s YAL novels has a great deal to do with the return to books not shying away from tough issues that teens face, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault/abuse, teen pregnancy, absentee parent(s), suicide, etc.. For a period of time, YAL books looked at things like being popular, not fitting in, very surface level things that actually most teens are not concerned with. There are many complex issues facing teens today that adults just don’t want to admit are problems for teens. These issues should be “adult” problems, but in reality we need to remember poverty, abuse, drug and alcohol problems do not see age, race or economic status.

Today, authors such as John Green combine the best and worst aspects of teen life. Green is both honest, and unqiue in his novels while still staying very “real” (please read Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns and The Fault in our Stars).YAL books can truly be read and enjoyed by everyone, even adults. Bower market Research reported that in 2012, 55% of YAL books were purchased by adults between the ages of 18 and 44 years of age, and I think we all know these buyers weren’t just purchasing for kids, nieces, nephews, siblings. In the last 5 years, many of the box office hits have been movie adaptations of YAL Books, think Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight, and Frozen, while not a YAL book is a movie for kids that is incredibly popular with adults as well. Many of my friends openly admit it’s their favorite movie right now.

 

So why are adults reading YAL books? I don’t think it’s because they want to relive their youth or because the YAL books that were available to them growing up were not as amazing, I think it’s because the YAL books are truly enjoyable. To me, a beach read is a book that is a quick read and can easily be put down, usually a trashy romance, sorry just how I think. I’ve noticed now that many adults are taking YAL books on vacation. While there are complex issues and great writing, they are also quick reads, usually around 200-300 pages, and easy to start and stop, and I say this not in a way to detract at all from these amazing books.

I’m currently reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and cannot put it down! So far there are three books in this series, The Infernal Devices. Clare also has a second series, The Mortal Instruments that I can’t wait to start. And just to throw it out there, anything by Edward Bloor is amazing as well, Tangerine is my favorite.

If anyone has any YAL suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

The Last Runaway and Why I almost Lost Hope in Chevalier’s Writing

CaptureBuy it HERE

I recently finished reading The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier and I must say, she is back to her old wonderful writing self. Based on that statement, I may need to back up a bit, so here we go. I am one of those people where, once I find an author, I tend to read all their books. I read Chevalier’s debut novel Girl with a Pearl Earring when I was a freshman in high school and loved it. I enjoyed how Chevalier took a famous painting and “made up” a back story around the people involved with the painting, or people who could have been involved. I think very often people become enamored with a painting, but actually know very little of how or why the painting came to be or know very little about the artist. I’ve heard arguments that to truly understand a work, be it literature or art, a person has to know the artist’s personal history. While I do not always think this knowledge requirement is true, other times, such as with James Joyce, I do think knowing about the author makes the work much more understandable. What I mean is the painting Chevalier explores takes the artist and the people in his life into account as to why and what affect the painting has on each of them individually and collectively. It make for an interesting perspective.

Since reading Girl with a Pearl Earring, I have purchased and quickly read all of Chevalier’s novels; I believe she has now published 5 including The Last Runaway. Now, the book Chevalier published before The Last Runaway is called Remarkable Creatures (4th book) and I could not for the life of me get through this book. The book was as dull as the topic/interest of the two main characters, fossil hunting. The book moved very slowly, there seemed to be no character development; overall the book seemed very flat. The worst part is the book is short, a mere 200 pages and I honestly think it took me a month to read. Finally, one evening I sat down and made myself finish the book. I was so worried Chevalier had lost her talent for writing or interesting topics. I figured, I guess it is a good thing I have about 100 other authors I enjoy reading.

Then The Last Runaway hit the shelves.

Summary from Barnes and Nobel:

Ohio 1850. For a modest English Quaker(Honor Bright) stranded far from home, life is a trial. Untethered from the moment she leaves England, fleeing personal disappointment, Honor Bright is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in an alien, untamed landscape. Drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two exceptional people who embody the startling power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal cost. 

I read a summary online and immediately thought, well based on the subject it can’t be any worse than her last book. Thank God this book wasn’t! And I must say, I never thought of how Quakers viewed and interacted with slavery. I do not know why, maybe because in school the issue of slavery was always taught as something between the North and South, no real sub groups. Either way, I love when a book forces one to consider other sides, views, or beliefs.

Side note about this book, I did get very angry at how Honor’s in-laws treated her. I don’t want to give anything away, but Honor’s mother-in-law is one of those hard ass, I’m right and know best bitches, everyone do as I say, and personally, I just don’t get along well with those types of personalities. I did secretly want her to change who her husband is. I know this review is poorly written, but I really don’t want to give anything away so I am trying to write vaguely.

While I want to say much more about this book, I know I will spoil it and that wouldn’t be fun for anyone who wants to read it. This is a really good read and I recommend it, especially if you’re headed on vacation and need a good read for the car, plane, or beach. Happy reading!

Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions for books to read, I’d love to hear them. I’m always looking for just one more book.