New Year, New Problems

It’s that time of year again.

Time to gather the family around the proverbial Yule log before mocking that 14-page holiday letter you get every year from those family “friends” you can’t stand. Time to watch your mother have a meltdown when she realizes the mashed potatoes she made for the Christmas party are the consistency of paste. Time to repeatedly tell your family members that you would rather they not blow noisemakers in your ear for a full five minutes before the ball drops on New Years Eve.

And, of course, time for units’ annual In & Out list!

The 2012 list of trendy or outdated strategies, products, services or attitudes in apartment management (and pop culture) is in the January issue of units, but in the meantime, I thought I would once again offer a couple of things I wish were “in and out” for the new year.

In: Community Speed Dating

When Oprah speaks, you listen. And when she repeatedly tells you to embrace your “authentic self,” you drop a large sum of money to take comedy writing classes, leaving very little time to find a future husband.

Come February, I’m going to be a very busy girl. I’m not going to have the time I once did to stalk online profiles and try to hold eye contact with semi-attractive strangers in the frozen food section of the supermarket. I’m going to need some help.

What I would really appreciate is if my apartment community took a cue from some other property managers out there and held a community speed-dating event. After the terrible encounter I had at the community holiday party two Christmas’ ago involving a guy with a bejeweled dragon necklace, I’m not saying this event would bring me the love of my life. But if I’m going to hand over a pretty penny in rent each month, I’d at least like the opportunity to awkwardly mingle with my single neighbors for an evening.

Out: The Smell of Burning Plastic

I came home last month and walked past my roommate’s bedroom, where her boyfriend was watching YouTube videos on the computer. Upon entering the kitchen, I smelled something burning and turned around to see large clouds of smoke billowing (yes, billowing) out of the microwave. Derek, as I will call him, apparently did not put the required ¼ cup of water in his frozen stir fry noodles before cooking them—a mistake that could have burned the apartment to the ground had I not meandered in when I did.

We tried everything to get rid of the smell, from vinegar to Febreze to opening the windows on a cold night in November, but nothing really worked. When you heat up a bowl of soup in my apartment, it still smells like you’re torching a Barbie doll.

Not surprisingly, when my roommate broke up with Derek two days later, I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be.

For units’ real In & Out list, check out the January issue of the magazine, which mails Jan. 8.