“The $1257 Steak” or “Yeah, It Was My Fault, but Also Kind of Not Really”

The first part of what you are about to read (July 17th, 2014) covers my arrival and settlement in Sydney. However, the part (July 2oth, 2o14) from which this post derives its titles is about how I kinda (definitely) managed to sort of (totally) fuck up somewhat big time on like maybe (certainly) my fourth day here. Enjoy.

July 17th, 2014

I was feeling adventurous after the fourteen hour flight from LA–>Sydney, so I decided not to take a taxi from the airport to Urbanest — the university student accommodation (142 Abercrombie Street), my new home — and instead opted to trying my hand at the local metro system. In Sydney (as compared to NYC), the subways hum rather than screech — I almost didn’t realize that the train had pulled into the station. The train-cars are double decked, like some LIRRs, and the seats are a velvety blue and the poles are electric yellow and there’s dangling gray lightning-bolt-shaped grips for holding on (which are completely unnecessary given the subway’s locomotive smoothness). My stop was Redfern. I had to get off at Central and then transfer, and a Santa Claus of an Aussie (i.e. an old, fat, white, bearded man) was nice enough to guide me to where I needed to go. After transferring, it was only one stop to Redfern. During this one-stop ride, there were two cute girls sitting across from me (both seemingly around my age), and I spent the entire time being chatted up, not by them, but by their mother, who kept regaling me with little tidbits about her daughters: “Oh, you’re from New York City? She’s always wanted to go to New York City,” “Oh, you’re studying at the University? She’s going to be going to University next year.”

“Oh, well, this is my stop. Have a good one.”

“Okay, goodbye. Enjoy your time in Sydney.”

When I get out of the station, I think to take a mental note about how the air smells. I can’t quite put my finger on how to describe it — it’s different from NYC air, but in what way? I make a mental note to postpone my mental note and start walking in the direction of — wait, I have no clue what direction I’m supposed to be walking in. I should ask someone. I see a guy finger-punching some stuff into his iPhone. He seems to be around my age, and he’s wearing a gray and blue University of Sydney sweater, and/so I back track and ask him if he goes to the University of Sydney, and he tells me that he does, so I ask if he knows the area and can point me in the direction of Cleveland and Abercrombie Street. He says sure, no problem, and then he does some complex gesticulating before offering to just take me there himself, ’cause he’s headed to the Uni anyway — they call University “Uni” here. He tells me he’s waiting for his friend and so we wait together; once she comes, we start walking. I drag my electric blue rolling bag along the curb to the vexation of a few fellow walkers who are forced to maneuver around it — there’s a couple tacit instances of: I’ll go left, you go right; no your other left; fuck it, I’ll go straight, you just walk around me.

Both of my two guides are med students — however, neither of them has any idea as to specifically just what type of doctors they want to be — and as we’re walking and talking, I notice that the building numbers are like in the 200s and increasing.

“Wait, I need to be at 142. How come the numbers are going up instead of down?”

“Oh, I don’t know” he says, before taking out his iPhone and looking up the address. He rotates the phone a bit and then rotates his body a bit, and then he looks up at the street signs and then back at the phone, and then up at me and then back at the phone, and then finally he’s just like, “yeah, so you know the way we’ve been walking?”

To which I respond:

“Yeah.”

“Well… You’re gonna want to turn around and walk in the opposite direction.”

“…Seriously?”

“Yeah. Sorry about that, mate.”

“Well, at least I got some good cardio.”

He gives me the route to Urbanest in more explicit detail and I go on my way. (The University of Sydney has approximately 50,000 people, so I don’t reckon I’ll see them again.)

It’s a little chilly outside, but otherwise the weather’s nice — nice and sunny. The air is cool (in the 60s F), but the light is warm. This is a Sydney Winter and the locals do not like it. To me, it feels like a New York Autumn; I do like it.

As I walk, I chuckle to myself a bit when I realize that I’m in fucking Sydney. I’ve been anticipating and planning my stay here for like two years, and now I’m here. And it’s funny, but I already know that, even though I’m living out my dream, there’s inevitably going to be moments in the coming months where I’m bored or disappointed or unhappy or whatever. I know this because it’s happened to me so many times before (e.g. when going to college: Past David had worked toward getting Present David into college for like four years, and now Present David is just like, okay, this is my life now, I’m a college student, big whoop). (I’ve noticed that I personally have about a 2-8 week adaptation period for transitions (e.g., hypothetically, if you take away a 30″ 480i SD TV from my room and present me with a 50″ 1080p HD TV, I’ll marvel at how nice the screen is for around 2-8 weeks before I get used to it; knock me down from that 50 incher back to what I initially had, and I’ll fret about how inferior my viewing experience has become until, after about 2-8 weeks, I’ll just get used to it again). (I’ve also noticed that I often suffer from acute cases of GIGOTOSS (Grass Is Greener On The Other Side Syndrome)). It’s weird, in many ways, my life is un-fucking-believable — I’m alive, I’m healthy (and if I get sick, the range of medical treatment that I have access to is historically unparalleled), I have friends, a family, I’m in college (whoo! college!), I’ve read Shakespeare and The Great Gatsby (no one before 1925 could have read that book because it didn’t exist before 1925), I’ve seen great beauteous things, magnificent modern marvels — if I were to try and explain the life I lead to someone from a thousand years ago, my explanation would be hardly comprehensible, let alone believable, to them. Yet, despite this, I still find ways to occasionally be depressed or anxious or confused and lonely, or to get bogged down in daily ennui or ostensibly meaningless work; basically, I somehow still find ways to be mad at the world and to hate my life. And not without good reason — sometimes life is just depressing or anxiety-inducing or confusing and lonesome, or boring and pointless; in many ways, life is shit. But in a multitude of other ways, it is also a beautiful thing. This may sound cliche, but much of it comes down to the way in which you perceive the world. And the way in which you perceive the world is really a matter of consciousness and attentiveness. (Although, maybe the way in which we perceive the world is wholly just a chemically reducible phenomenon of synaptic firings or misfirings and serotonin levels or whatnot. I don’t know.) Regardless, I’m in Sydney, man. Fuck all that “life is shit” noise. I have no excuse to be dissatisfied.

Lighter — that’s it! — the air just smells lighter as compared to NYC. There’s less of that Randall’s Islandy I’m-inhaling-trash scent, you know.

Anyway, when I get to Urbanest, I’m greeted at the desk by a guy (let’s call him, say, McBeard) from Wisconsin. (For some reason, I’m starting to find the worker-behind-desk arrangement kinda irksome. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this arrangement leaves me standing head-to-toe visible and exposed, while the other person is sitting partially occluded by a chunk of wood or metal or whatever the desk is made out of — it’s just an imbalanced composition, you know; the feng shui is off; I don’t like it.)

…papers, forms, sign here, date there, yada yada yada, blah blah blah…

McBeard offers to escort me to my room, and when we enter the extraordinarily metallic elevator, I start reenacting a scene from Borat:

“Very nice room,” I say (no accent — I say it straight). The elevator door opens and McBeard motions for me to exit. “Where are we going? I will not move to a smaller room.” His eyes look at me from the side and he has an ummm-okay smirk on his face and so I just walk out — I don’t think he gets the reference.

The apartment turns out to be like brand-spankin’-new, just-renovated, never-before-occupied — you can smell that chemical-ish odor of fresh paint.

McBeard gives me the rundown of the place. It’s a six-person suite (i.e. six singles in one apartment).

Bedroom/Bathroom includes: bed, desk, four overhead shelves, two closets, a shower (complete with removable shower head (very nice! high five!)), and there’s also a slot near the entrance where you have to slide your keycard in in order to activate the electricity (I’ve put an expired AMC membership card into my slot).

Kitchen/Living Room: sink, electric stovetop (complete with overhead fan (“flip this switch over here to turn it on”)), oven, Haier fridge/freezer, cabinets, microwave, vacuum cleaner, ironing board (and/but no iron), fire blanket, fire extinguisher (which, one of these days, will most definitely serve as one of my roommates’ alarm clocks — just kidding), a rather cuboid couch (not particularly cushy and pneumatic, but can’t complain), Panasonic smart TV, wooden dining table, and some plastic white chairs that look like adult-sized elementary school stools.

There’s also smoke alarms in every room. (Note: procedure: if you set off the smoke alarm in the kitchen, run to the foyer and press the silencer button (you have 30 seconds to do this upon which you’ll have a subsequent 90 seconds to clear up the smoke), run back into the kitchen and close the door (so that the smoke doesn’t spread to foyer), open the two living room windows, stand beneath the smoke alarm and boy get those arms a’wavin’; fail to clear the smoke up in time and the building-wide evacuation alarm will activate, the local fire dept. will come, and they’ll slap you with a $1250 fine for a false alarm.)

(What a coincidence. As I just finished typing “..for a false alarm” (in the above sentence), the building-wide alarm just went off. As in like, “please evacuate the building,” is blasting throughout Urbanest right now as I type these words. So I gotta pause and evacuate. BRB…)

Okay I’m back now.

Where were we? Bathroom, kitchen, yada yada yada… Right, so I just moved in…

So/anyway, seeing as I’d finally just gotten into a decent domicile after like 24 whole hours of traveling, it behooved me to take a shower. Showering is one of my favorite things to do. It’s my relaxation time. My thinking time. My existential crisis time. Not to mention my cleaning time. Well, in this case it isn’t really my quote cleaning time, ’cause, as the water is cascading down my epidermis, I realize that I don’t have any shampoo or body wash — so it’s really just rinsing time, which is fine, except for the fact that when I’m done I also realize that I haven’t packed a towel, and/so I have to dry myself off with a sock. Not a great shower-christening. But, hey, it could’ve been worse: I could’ve had to defecate after taking the shower. This would’ve been worse for two reasons: (1) Post-ablutionary shittage is a huge peeve of mine — it’s just like, be more of an asshole, asshole, I literally just cleaned you. (2) There’s no toilet paper… One of my roommates learns this the hard way.

10:30AM — I do a bit of writing and cruise the internet. I was initially petulant about the fact that certain websites aren’t available to view here in Australia (e.g. no Netflix). But this is fairly easy to get around — you can just download some software that creates a VPN and/or masks your IP address (however, the good ones cost $).

11:05AM — I hear the front door close shut, and so I go to inspect and it turns out that it’s one of my new roommates (he’s from the UK, so let’s call him, say, Prince George (I don’t know, why not?)), and he was a pretty good looking dude and just like struck me as very charming and cool — it’s probably the accent — and we got acquainted briefly.

“…Aw, I’m so happy someone else is here besides me,” he said. “When did you get in?”

“Like just now, pretty much.”

“Oh so you must be absolutely nackered.”

“What?”

“Nackered. Like tired.”

“Oh, nackered. We’re already having some linguistic diffusion goin’ on here. Um, no, I slept a lot on the flight, so I’m good. But yeah. Anyway, one of my friends from high school is living with us too. He should be here soon.”

“Oh really, so you already know ‘im?”

“Yeah. I know two of the people in our suite from high school. And then there’s a third guy who goes to college with one of them.”

“And you’re all American?”

“Yeah. Four Americans and a Brit so far. Do you know who our sixth man is by any chance?”

“Apparently she’s a girl from America actually.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Five guys and one girl. Well that’s either gonna be really great or really horrible… or neither of those things. I don’t know.”

“Yeah, I dunno either. Do you reckon she’ll be fit?”

“Fit?”

“Yeah. Like attractive.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I hope not.”

“Do you really? Why not?”

“Wouldn’t want there to be any sexual tension. And if there’s five guys and one girl, we’re all gonna wanna compete for her affection or whatever. Yeah, I definitely hope she’s not fit.”

“I dunno, I’d rather like a hot girl in our suite.”

“Well we’ll see. So what’re your plans for today?”

“I was actually about to go out and meet up with some of my mates here from Sheffield.”

“Oh alright, cool.”

“Yeah, so I guess I’ll see you later then.”

“For sure. We got a whole semester together, man.”

11:23AM — I post the following status on my FB: “Wow, I just got to Sydney for my semester abroad and the first thing I do is go on FB. What the fuck is wrong with me? I’mma go explore…. Peace NYC, I love you. To all my friends who I won’t see, have a good several months without me.”

11:50AM — I go to get some food and explore. On my way out, I run into my high school friend (and now roommate), who is just arriving at Urbanest (he shall henceforth be referred to as Azamat Bagatov (I have no good reason for this appellation)). Azamat is being escorted by one of the RAs (Jurgonna Vahnt Atzowel). I was excited to see him, and so I ended up following them back to the room. She (Jurgonna) asked what we were studying, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Azamat was studying the same subjects as I — English and Philosophy. Azamat has thus far made for very congenial company.

After getting somewhat settled in, we both head out to get some food and do some shopping.

There’s an interesting mix of old and new styles of architecture here. Many of the buildings seem to be constructed in the more quaint Georgian style. But then, within the same vicinity, there’s structures that have a lot more modern personality (e.g. the One Central Park buildings. Conceived of by Nobel Prize winning architect, Jean Nouvel, and French artist/botanist Patrick Blanc, the One Central Park buildings features two prismatic towers (one stretching about a third higher than the other) that have balconies that protrude at different lengths, which make the towers kind of resemble messy stacks of papers. There’s also a massive squarish cantilever that juts out from the taller tower and hovers over the shorter one, and, on the bottom, the cantilever has an assembly of motorized mirrors that are lit at night by colored LEDs which make it seem like there’s a school of phosphorescent fish swimming in the night sky — it is truly beautiful. The most distinguishable feature of One Central Park buildings, however, isn’t the cantilever; rather, it’s the structures’ verdant facade—the glass walls of the buildings are lined with lush greenery, vines that reach across windows and flowers that bloom between balconies. It’s kind of how you’d imagine a skyscraper would look like in a post-apocalyptic, Tyler-Durdian world where cities are engulfed by nature and vegetation sprawls over everything).

Anyway, Azamat and I go to a sandwich shop called Soul Origins and the girl serving us (S.O. Girl) is sort of like drop-dead gorgeous — I’ve kind of developed a searing crush on her that manifests itself as me rotating my head ninety degrees every time I walk by S.O. in order to see if she’s there — and/anyway I order a grilled chicken sandwich and Azamat orders a chicken schnitzel (whuttah great word — schnitzel), and she gives me the sandwich wrapped in some wax paper, and/but, unbeknownst to me at the time, she’s covertly cleaved the sandwich in two, so when I go to unwrap the wax paper I end up being left with a semi-sandwich as one half just splatters onto the floor, and/but almost immediately after, without me even asking, S.O. Girl wraps another whole sandwich for me gratis (so, I end up with one-and-a-half sandwiches), and I ask her for some napkins so that I can clean up the mess, but she says that no-no-no she’ll get it, no problem, and so I take a seat and start to pick up the big chunks anyway, and she comes around over to our table with a wash cloth, and so I scoot my chair back, and she bends down and starts wiping the mayo and lettuce and stuff off the floor, and the way that she’s situated herself makes it so that her buttocks is like right between my knees, and I try to make my ahem as surreptitious as possible, and I also try to avert my gaze, but it turns out that doing so is more difficult for me than a game of Mahjong, and when she’s done she gets up and I say, “thank you very much,” and she nods and smiles — Holy Mother Mary, whuttah smile — and Azamat and I dig in to our sandwiches, and they’re real good, and we both end up eating only half (so we got some nice leftovers for the Haier fridge back home).

When we go to K-Mart, our first priority is bedding. The sheets have a thread count that runs around 250, but the important thing is the size — single or double? — which we’re not sure of. We go with single, which, as we later find, is too small; we sleep on linenless beds that night.

There’s also a question of pillows: I personally like memory foam pillows, but they’re $25 here (which is actually kind of cheap for memory foam), but it does seem expensive relative to the two-pack of polyester pillows for $5 (but at such a low price, how good can those really be?); there’s also a two-pack of good old feather pillows for $18 (and they’re actually on sale for $12); and/but then there’s the Homemaker cotton cover high profile pillows (and wait, what makes the high profile pillows different from the medium profile pillows such that a $3 price difference is justified, I wonder); and, ooh, there’s also a… Homemaker health treated pillow? (what the fuck does health treated mean? it’s a pillow, not a piece of poultry (what is there to health treat?)).

“Ugh, there’s too many options,” I say to Azamat. “Being a consumer is fuckin’ hard. Like for most people in the world throughout history, their problem is not having any choice. Our problem is that we have too much choice. Like how is one supposed to wade through all these options and make a decision?”

“I don’t know, man. I’m so indecisive.”

“I know, me too.”

“We’re never gonna get out of here, are we?”

“Nope.”

We linger there, squeezing the corners of pillows and adjudicating their relative price-to-comfort ratios, for like fifteen minutes (yeah, seriously).

And finally I’m just like, “yo, it’s a fucking pillow. Why are we spending so much time shopping for a pillow?”

Azamat laughs, “I don’t know.”

“Fuck it! I’m getting the memory foam.” I grab the memory foam and put it in my blue rolling cart.

“Alright, I’mma just get these ones.” Azamat grabs a two-pack of Homemaker cotton cover pillows. “They’re on sale, it’s a much better deal.”

“Alright, well at least we made a decision,” I say proudly. “Let’s go!” Azamat rolls off to go get some towels and I linger there for just a moment longer. “Actually, I’mma get the two-pack. You’re right, it is a much better deal.” I take out the memory foam from my cart, put it back, and grab a two-pack of Homemaker cottons.

Consumedecidophobia n. \kən-ˈsü-mə-di-ˈsīd-o-ˈfō-bē-ə\ : a fear of making consumer-based decisions.

July 18th, 2014

After our linenless night, we go back to K-Mart to return the undersized sheets. I end up buying the memory foam pillow. Prince George joined us (to K-Mart), cause he had purchased something called a Pleated Valence Sheet (which is the same thing as a normal sheet, but, you know, with like a pleated valence), and he didn’t really know what it was, and neither did I, but he did know that it certainly was not what he wanted — he initially thought that he’d accidentally purchased a rug; to be clear, while a Pleated Valence Sheet is not a conventional bed-sheet, it is also definitely not a rug.

July 19th, 2014

We make a trip to Coles to stock up on groceries.

Some things in Australia are really expensive (e.g. alcohol (a 750mL bottle of Grey Goose vodka is $75; in NYC it’s closer to $40), candy (a Snickers is $2.80 at 7/11), and Subway’s foot long sandwiches (eleven… eleven dollar… eleven dollar foot loooong)). However, the minimum wage here is $16.87 an hour, so it kind of evens out. And some things actually run real cheap (e.g. you can get three decent sized porterhouse steaks for like $7 at the grocery store). Azamat and I do just that (buy the steaks) — how could we pass up a deal?

July 20th, 2014

We decide to cook the steaks. I opted to get things started and googled a recipe while Azamat hopped into the shower. Under the list of ingredients, the recipe I find says: steak, salt, pepper, butter, garlic, etc. I don’t have a few of those things, so I just put some salt and pepper on the meat, spray the skillet with some canola, and throw those slabs of carne on there.

The recipe I initially looked up didn’t say how long to leave the steak on before flipping, so I checked out a different recipe. Meanwhile, the stove’s overhead fanning system seems to be kinda pointless — the fan sucks up smoke, but it appears as if it’s just blowing the smoke right back out (albeit in a more dispersed form). Regardless, the new recipe’s instructions say to cook the steak on each side for 3-6 minutes. I figure I’ll let it sit for about 4 minutes to get a nice medium-rare-ish.

Mmm.

And the new recipe also says, “Pepper can burn the frying pan… hold off [on the pepper] until just after you’ve finished frying the steak.”

Hmm. Oops. Oh well, too late.

It’s getting a bit smokey in here; I open the living room windows.

I flip the steaks and the meat makes a nice tssss-ing sizzle, but there’s some nasty black char on the edges. Also now there’s even more smoke ominously floating upward from the skillet and so I turn off the stove and let the steak sit for a bit. When I look around, I can’t tell just how smokey it is — my head’s not in a cloud, but the air definitely has a hint of opacity. On the wall to my left there is a fire blanket that dangles above a red extinguisher. And, alright, yeah, it’s definitely smokey in here. And, oh-no — beeeeep — fuck! the smoke alarm just went off. Okay, just run to the foyer and press the silencer button and the alarm should deacti — okay, why press is press the alarm press not deactivating? press-press-press-press-press. 

Fuck it.

Run back into the kitchen.

Stand beneath the smoke alarm and boy get those arms a’wavin’.

I need like a magazine or something.

Goddamn, that skillet is smoking. Okay, grab the skillet. Take it to the window. Set it down — wait! shit! wood floors! — um chee ooh ah — fuck it! just put it back on the stove.

Okay.

Get a towel and wave the smoke out with that.

“Azamat! Get outta the fuckin’ shower!”

Try pressing the silencer again. Press-press-press.

Just go get a towel. Got it! (Speaking of towels, the flabbergasted Azamat is running half-naked out of his room in a towel — no, Azamat, I already tried the silencer and it doesn’t work!)

Back to the kitchen.

Get. Those. Arms. A’. Wavin’. Boy.

When I look out the window, I can see people in the apartment across from us. And they’re all heading out of their rooms — why are they heading out of their rooms?

Azamat: “Yo, I think you triggered the building alarm.”

Me: “No”, wave, “I,” wave, “didn’t,” wave.

Alarm: “Please evacuate the building.”

Me: “FUCK!” throw the towel to the floor. “That’s a one-thousand-two-hundred-and-fifty dollar fine! GODDAMMIT!”

I head to my room to get a sweater while Azamat quickly throws some clothes on. To my chagrin, we head outside.

There’s already a mass of people standing on the curb — many of whom, I speculate, are speculating as to who the culprit of the crime is. I confess my identity as That Guy to a group of acquaintances, and they don’t even believe me at first, but they come around to the truth. One of them offers me a cigarette and so I start having a smoke, but then I’m like, “wait, the last thing I want to be seen doing when the fire department comes is smoking,” so I hand the boge back to it’s original owner and walk over to Azamat, who’s talking to a girl we’d gone out to a club with the night before — she seems sympathetic and thankfully doesn’t give me any shit about this whole debacle (even though I definitely deserve shit for it). Another girl, who I’d met the first day, thinks that she was the one to set the alarm off — she thought it had been the steam from her shower — and so she was quit relieved to hear that it was me instead. (There’s something weird about seeing someone experience relief of all things upon being apprised of your misfortune.)

It doesn’t take long for a fire truck to pull in and a few firefighters to exit the truck. They’re wearing dulled-yellow jackets with neon reflector strips and fire helmets, and they even have two green, torpedo-like oxygen tanks strapped to their backs. I consider approaching them, but I figure it’d be best to just settle things out with the Urbanest people.

At least everyone out here is socializing — see, isn’t that nice: at my financial and prandial expense, people are bonding.

The fire truck pulls away after a quick inspection.

I hope they didn’t throw the steaks out.

I talk to Jurgonna:

“…You know, I figured it was going to happen to someone at some point, I just didn’t think it would be me.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think it would be you either.”

“Oh, well thank you. But, alas, here we are.” Shrug.

Jurgonna takes down my info. and I stress to her the fact that the silencer didn’t work. “So basically,” I say,  “yeah, it was my fault, but also kind of not really.” She says that it’s not Urbanest who issues the fine, it’s the fire department, but she’ll let them know about the silencer malfunction.

“Did they throw out the steaks?”

“No, we left them.”

“Well at least there’s that.”

Azamat and I go back up to the apartment and, sure enough, there are the charred steaks still on the skillet. I take ’em off and they’re a bit rare, so I load ’em onto a plate and take ’em downstairs to finish cooking on the communal outdoor grill (I should’ve done this in the first place). Meanwhile, Azamat boils some pasta.

When the steaks are done, the grill is left with some brownish-black grime mercilessly shellacked onto the surface. I clean it off later.

The burnt parts of the steak are pretty bad — they taste like how watching a bad movie feels (i.e. you don’t like it, you should stop, but for some reason you keep going anyway). The non-charred parts, however, are actually delicious.

“Enjoy every bite,” I say, “these steaks cost twelve-hundred-and-fifty-seven dollars.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s not a bad way to look at it.”

“So that last bite was like a hundred bucks.”

“No, not a hundred. More like… fifty.”

“Did it taste like fifty bucks?”

“Absolutely not.” We both laughed. “But it’s still actually really good though.”

“Well that’s good… that’s good.”

You could hear an acute crunch as I slice into the steak. I look at the fifty dollar piece I’ve just severed — with it’s pink and brown and red and black — and I let out a resigned sigh.

“Damn. My Dad’s gonna be fuckin’ pissed.”

THE END

Addendum:

1. In the three weeks that I’ve been here, the building-wide smoke alarm has gone off four five times. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t something wrong with us residents, there’s something wrong with the smoke alarms.

2. Some people have tried covering up the smoke alarms with socks, but apparently they operate with a laser detection system that’s more sensitive than a bleeding-heart liberal, so the socks don’t really work.

3. I’ve opted to not cooking in the kitchen anymore and instead almost exclusively use the outdoor grill.

4. I’m yet to receive the $1250 fine. I’m hoping the fire dept. just forgets about it.

5. No need to worry about us competing for the affections of our sixth-woman. It turns out that our sixth-woman isn’t actually a woman. I don’t know where Prince George got his intel from, but it was bad.

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