TBT: Moving… Oof!

Dear Readership,

Tonight I was going back through old drafts of blogs I had started and never finished and there were some real wacky ones in there. Unfortunately, most of them are doomed to stay in the draft file collecting cyber dust because I can’t for the life of me remember where I was going with them. But, lucky you, I found this one fully finished and unpublished for reasons I don’t remember. So here you go! Enjoy this little throwback to August and possibly the worst move of my life! Cheers!

****

Have you ever caught a total stranger off guard in their pajamas by walking out of the back room of their house completely uninvited and unannounced? No? I have. Twice. It was as awkward as you would imagine it to be.

Let me back up.

I don’t know about you, but I hate moving. Truly. Deeply. With a hatred so pure and poisonous that if it were to ever be condensed into a liquid form it would kill on contact. If you don’t count periods of transition — of which I have had many — I completed my 9th move this past week and it was a pretty heinous affair (I say “completed” as though the majority of my furniture isn’t still in my sister’s basement in Winston).

What made this particular move so bad? Well, let me tell you. It started with a series of paperwork in the days and weeks leading up to the move. For one reason or another, my apartment complex changed my lease on 4 separate occasions, the final switch being only a matter of days before I moved. It was a hassle, but it was finally sorted. On the day of the move, I attended a doctor’s appointment with my sister that lasted FAR longer than it should have. As a result, we had to pack my bags into our cars in a mad frenzy and race towards Raleigh in the hopes that we would arrive before my apartment’s leasing office closed.

According to the GPS, we would get there with 20 minutes to spare. According to the universe, we would most certainly not. We hit accident traffic not once but TWICE that made everything come to an absolute standstill. I watched our ETA climb steadily, and in a panic, called the leasing office to beg them to stay open just a few minutes past 5 so that I could pick up my key.

Begrudgingly, they agreed.

I’m sure the feeling of helplessness that slowly squeezed the life out of me for the duration of that drive is one that just about everyone can relate to — the feeling of having a hard deadline that you are powerless to meet as you slowly inch forward in traffic. But for the sake of everyone’s sanity — mine especially — let’s fast forward through the grizzly details of one of the longest hours of my life, to the moment when we finally pulled into the parking lot (going roughly 75 mph) and ran up to the office at 5:03pm.

The door was locked.

I knocked… I knocked louder… I all but pounded down the door.

An old man grumpily poked his head out, “WE’RE CLOSED.”

“Sir, I know, but I called ahead. I just need my key.”

“I said we’re closed.”

“Listen, I’ll be two minutes. Please, just give me my key. I have all of my stuff with me and nowhere to put it if you don’t let me into my apartment.”

He gave me the stink eye and slowly opened the door.

I ran into the office of the lady who had been helping me since I first contacted the complex about living there.

“Hi, here’s my rent check. I just need my key” I said.

“Yes, did you change your renters insurance?”

me: *dies on the inside* “What?”

“You changed units, remember? You have to change the address on the renters insurance.”

Right on cue the old man wandered by and grumbled. Angry at my continued presence in the office and the fact that I was not just picking up my key after all.

As quickly as possible I called the insurance company and changed the necessary information on my policy. Finally, it was sorted and she gave me my key. She walked me to the unit (to make sure the key actually worked) while I showered her with apologies and thank yous for helping me. As we were turning the key in the lock on the front door it occurred to me to ask, “Did you tell the people living her that I’m moving in today?”

“No” she said absentmindedly, “I normally do, but I didn’t have time to let them know.”

Immediately a giant rock slammed into my stomach. I prayed that they would both be in the living room when the door opened so the leasing office employee could explain that I was moving in. They weren’t. In fact, there was very little in the apartment to indicate that anyone actively lived there at all. Ten assorted and unmatched chairs lined two walls, a glass table without chairs sat against another. Two large box TVs sat unplugged and unused in different spots in the room. One random piece of ugly duct tape art hung lonesomely on an otherwise empty wall. An abandoned copy of the Al Anon handbook sat in a thick layer of dust on the floor in the corner

Did people really live here or was it a storage unit?

The woman helping me looked around at the scuffed and dingy walls, “It needs painted in here. Put in a work order for that and have a nice weekend.”

She left.

My sister and I looked around, and after whispering uncomfortably about what we should do, we began to unload my stuff. It was at this point (walking from my room back to my car for the next armful) that I startled my first roommate. She was in her pajamas and beginning a load of laundry.

I explained my presence in her house and introduced myself. She said her name.

I didn’t catch it.

I asked her to repeat it.

I still didn’t catch it.

To this day (one entire week of living together later) I’m still not sure what her name is. I’ve actually only seen her twice in passing since that initial meeting.

**EDIT** It would be two more weeks before I learned her name. She’s lovely and we get along quite nicely now when our paths cross. 

Fast forward about forty-five minutes and I sprang myself on my other roommate (also in her pajamas) and repeat the same uncomfortable encounter — except I did catch her name. Aside from briefly introducing her to my fianc√© and his mom later that night, I have not seen her again since then.

**EDIT** we now talk nearly nightly and she’s walked with me through the ups and downs of all of my radical life choices since arriving in Raleigh. She is also lovely.

Honestly, the only evidence that I even have roommates is that sometimes dishes are sitting in a different place in the kitchen than they were the last time I was in there. Oh, and one of them set off the fire alarm at about 6 this morning and then apologized to the other one when she came out of her room to see what was going on which I could hear perfectly from my bed thanks to paper thin walls.

But back to my move. Fast forward through the next couple of hours in which I went and picked up a bed/set it up/made it/said goodbye to the people who came to help me/ and suddenly found myself standing alone in the middle of my unpacked room. It was at this point that I realized I didn’t have any wifi (I figured that either the apartment would offer it as a part of utilities or that my roommates would already have a router and I could chip in on the bill… neither proved to be true). I knew that I had a conference at the University first thing the next day, but I didn’t know when or where or how to get there.

Tired but resolved, I drove around Raleigh until I got to I-40. I drove down 40 until I got to an exit that had a food sign for McDonalds (aka free wifi). I exited and drove until I got to the McDonalds — it was closed and under construction. I kept driving until I found a Harris Teeter. I wandered through the store looking for the bathroom when some guy called after me, “Hey man, sick hair!”

“Thanks!” I said, feeling a little bolstered by the compliment.

“….ma’am” he quickly corrected upon hearing my voice.

Aaaaaand I deflated again. I thought man had been a colloquialism.

Eventually I found the bathroom where I sat for an hour, looking up details for the conference and trying to get my phone to let me add data to my plan so I could use it for maps to get home (it would be 2 more hours at a Starbucks the next day before I conquered the data problem). Finally I gave up and went “home” to the weirdly empty apartment with ghost roommates and no furniture and cried about how much I hate moving.

One week later, things are mostly better. I’ve unpacked a bit and I spend most of my time on campus anyway (let’s be honest, the library will always be my home–the apartment is just where I sleep). After three absurdly long orientations, I am ready to start my job and excited to delve into my program.

**EDIT** Spoiler, it didn’t work out. 

As I get to know the city, Raleigh is slowly worming its way into my heart despite all of my meltdowns along the way.

If this were an adventure novel I am fairly confident that I would be the main character’s whiney (but endearing) sidekick. I’m not sure if it’s considered acceptable to be the sidekick in your own life story, but it’s a role with which I am quite comfortable. ūüėČ

***

Oh how three months can change everything! My living room is furnished, my roommates are not strangers (and I even gained a 3rd), my room is unpacked (but messy as ever), the university library is no longer my home, I am marvelously content with where I’m at, and as I’ve learned to take ownership of how my story unfolds, I am slowly becoming the main character. How’s that for a happy new beginning? (because it is certainly not my ending)

Until next time,

Adieu

A Nightmare in the Air

Dear Readership,

This is a throwback post. I started writing it a few weeks after the initial trauma occurred this summer, but it has taken me until now to be ready to actually talk about it (not really. I’m being dramatic. I totally forgot about it).

But let me tell you, it was a heinous experience that will probably trigger all kinds of anxiety next time I have to fly. It was our last morning in Spain; everyone had said their goodbyes and we were making our way to the airport for our various flights home. I was on the same flight as three of my other classmates and we were greeted first thing that morning with the news that our first flight had been delayed by 30 minutes. This immediately made me nervous, because we only had a two hour layover as it was (now an hour and a half).

By the time we got to the airport our flight had been delayed an hour. By the time the plane actually took off, we were going to only have 35 minutes in the Newark airport to go through customs, pick up our luggage, go through security, recheck our luggage, and catch our flight home to Charlotte (why in the¬†world¬†they didn’t send our luggage directly to Charlotte I will never know).

But lets backup to the Madrid airport – as we were boarding, a flight attendant stopped me and told me I would have to check my carry-on because there wasn’t room on the flight for it. Quickly I took everything I wanted on the plane (book, tablet, phone charger, and snacks) out of my purse to make room to still take the fragile things I was bringing home. Annoyed and a little flustered, I made my way on to the plane sans all of my personal belongings only to find that the entire luggage bin above my seat was empty. As was the one across the aisle. They both remained empty for the entire duration of the flight.

What’s more, this airline didn’t have any in-flight TVs (the only international flight I have ever been on without TVs) and I was looking at upwards of 8 hours of twiddling my thumbs because my book had just been stored below the plane. Brilliant.

But also no one has ever died of boredom before, so I was going to be fine. Annoyed, but fine.

Fast forward through some of the emptiest hours of my life to when our flight was finally landing. I wish I could describe the anxiety I felt for the upcoming layover as I watched the New York City skyline come into view in my window (and then sink back out of view as we landed in the New Jersey rip-off — Newark).¬†If I had only known what the next 30 minutes were going to hold for me I don’t know that I would have been able to get off the plane.

As we were standing in line for customs my friends and I all agreed that it was going to have to be every man for himself getting to our next flight. We didn’t all need to get trapped in Newark if one person got held up. I should have known right then that that was bad news for me.

But we made it through customs easily enough and then went to the baggage claim. My bag actually came first! But I had to wait for my carry-on still (you know, the one that shouldn’t have been stowed in the first place). One by one everyone else’s bags came. They gave me sorrowful looks, “Sorry about your bag, Sierra. But we agreed every man for himself.” Two of them left to catch the flight, but one girl stayed behind because she hated to leave me standing there alone looking so pitiful. We waited 10 agonizing minutes for my bag to finally come through. One third of our precious time was already gone.

We took off at a trot and immediately got stuck in a congested line for a security check (one of two that we would have to stand and wait for in the next 20 minutes). My friend called her mom and cried. By the time we made it through we only had 11 minutes left. We took off at a dead run, caught a train to our terminal, and started running again.

5 minutes left.

There was a man making his way through the crowd taking luggage to be rechecked. He scanned the tag of the bag of the woman in front of us.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said, “There’s no way you’re going to make your flight. You’re going to have to catch the next one.”

She turned back. My friend and I gave each other a nervous look and then we handed him our bags. He scanned them and before he could tell us we didn’t have enough time to make it we interjected,

“Please! We’re willing to run.”

“Alright,” he said, looking dubious, “You¬†might¬†make it if you run. I’ll put your bags on board.”

He took our luggage and we took off. Almost immediately we got stuck in another security line. We jostled our way forward in the line.

“Easy, lady!” Some woman snapped at me as I pushed past her, “We’re all headed for the same flight.”

Too winded to actually respond, I thought snottily¬†if¬†we’re all headed for the same flight you’re not moving nearly fast enough.¬†

The line was positively crawling. We kept passing empty security lines for first class passengers. We begged the employees to please let us through. We had 3 minutes to catch our flight! Please! They remained unmoved. “First class only!” They barked.

My friend and I both started to cry this time. Two grown women. Standing in a security line in the airport. Sobbing. We weren’t going to make it.

The women in line in front of us tried to comfort us, “Don’t worry” they said, “the airline will put you up in a hotel if you miss your flight. It’s not your fault your first flight was delayed.”

“B-b-but we don’t¬†want to stay in Newwwarrrk!” we sobbed, “We wanna go h-h-hooome!”

After 5 weeks abroad, one more minute away from our families seemed like a burden that was too great to be borne.

Finally¬†we made it through the line. “LET’S GO!” My friend shouted, breaking into a run. “I’ll tell them you’re behind me” she yelled back over one shoulder as the gap between us widened. In a matter of seconds, she was gone.

She, a literal triathlon runner, left pudgy, pasty, asthmatic me (in a maxi dress and sandals no less) in the dust. I was waddling at full speed, my carry-on banging into my ankle, determined not to be the only one left behind. I was red faced and wheezing as I made my way up to the gate. Several concerned bystanders asked if I was okay as my wheezing got louder and louder. I nodded breathlessly, and soldiered on.

Finally, 4 minutes after boarding had officially ended, I made it to my gate. “Are you Sierra Patterson?” an airport employee asked.

“I am!” I sobbed, so shaky I could barely stand.

“Your friend said you were coming! You need to get on board.”

“Thank you so much!” I said, walking forward.

“Ma’am,” she said, reaching out to block my way. “We still need your boarding pass.”

“Oh, right” I huffed, feeling around in my bag for it. “Here” I said, handing her the first piece of paper my fingers touched.

“Ma’am, that’s a receipt” she said.

“Oh” I felt around in my bag and produced another piece of paper, “Try this one.”

“Yes, this is it. Go ahead and get on” she said. As I made my way down the tunnel a flight attendant stopped me.

“Ma’am, we’re going to have to check your carry-on” he said.

“Of course you are” I sighed, handing it over.

But it didn’t matter. I had made it! As I stepped on the plane I made eye contact with my three beaming classmates.

“You made it!” They cheered.

Still out of breath, sweaty, and red faced, I pumped a single fist in the air in triumph (end of The Breakfast Club style) and fell into my seat.

I didn’t even care that I was bored for the whole next flight.¬†I was going home.

When we landed in Charlotte my phone was on 4% and I was frantically trying to get in touch with Bryce (who had come to pick me up) before it died, because they wouldn’t let us off the plane. They said there was lightning in the area and the safest place for us to be was on the plane until it had passed. I wasn’t convinced that that was true, but they kept us sitting there for another 30 minutes nonetheless. When I did finally get inside (after a very triumphant reunion with my darling boyfriend) I collected my carry-on from the baggage claim and waited for my other bag. I said goodbye to my friends once again as each of their bags came through one by one and they headed home.

Guess whose checked bag never showed up? I stood there watching the empty belt go round and round — it wasn’t there.

I was crushed.

Over the course of the next four hours (that’s right,¬†four hours)¬†Bryce and I tracked down the person we needed to talk to resolve the problem. He scanned my little bar code sticker, “Ma’am, your bag never left Newark. It’ll be here on the next flight in about five hours.”

I called my mom, defeated. She said, “No, baby, don’t wait for it. Come home. We’ll go back and get it tomorrow.”

“Okay,” I whimpered.

“Is there anything I can get you for dinner?” Bryce asked as we left.

“You know, some Chic-fil-A sounds pretty good” I said, starting to perk up after my 21 hour day of traveling at the thought of some good ol’ American nugs.

We plugged it in to the GPS and started driving. After about 30 minutes we started seeing signs for the airport again…

Y’all, if you would believe it, the Chic-fil-A Google had decided to take us to was the one in the terminal we had just left. Maps had taken us in a giant loop around the airport and brought us right back to where we started…. I screamed.

And that, dear readership, is the story of how I was traumatized this summer by Delta Airlines.

Until next time,

Adieu

First Day as a Writer — Oof

Dear Readership,

Yesterday was my first full day as a self-identified writer and let me tell you, it was rough. After battling my way out of my own mental prison and choosing to wholeheartedly pursue my passion for writing, I immediately hit a wall.

I received AMAZING support from you all for my decision to drop out of grad school and I cannot begin to express how much it meant to me. But for every 10 or 15 comments of overwhelming praise and encouragement, I received one of skepticism or critique. It was always veiled as concern, but it was barbed nonetheless. For some reason those criticisms echoed so much louder in my spirit and resolve than the praise did and I was faced with the reality that from here on out I’ll have to defend my career choices to the world (and, maybe a little more terrifying, to myself). It’s not an easy, clear, obvious, or even necessarily lucrative path. But it’s my path now and the full weight of what that was going to mean was starting to sink in.

Here I was, day one — a writer, and (by the delightful odds of God’s timing) just in time to start NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month). I set myself a goal of 2,000 words a day and (as this confession is about to detail) IMMEDIATELY failed to meet it.

Yesterday morning, for the first time, I was faced with the total liberty to spend my time writing and I was suddenly overwhelmed by my freedom.¬† I pursued other projects (I worked on some drawing techniques — technically still productive, but not what I was supposed to be doing), I called my mom, I looked for jobs, I cleaned my room (kind of.. we all know my room has never been/will never be clean. I just rearrange the mess until I get bored or it looks more presentable. It is one of my greatest flaws).

Finally, I opened my novel file and read through a little of what I had written so far. It wasn’t terrible. Now it was time to add to it. I couldn’t.

So I dug a book off my bookshelf that my sister had lent me AGES ago and that I had neglected to read. It’s one of her absolute favorites (Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty for anyone who is interested). I decided to run myself a bath a read for a bit to try to find inspiration. The tub filled about 4 inches before my teaspoon-sized water heater ran out of hot water. I turned the tap off and sat there, my butt crack barely covered by the tepid bath water, and read.

The book is about a little girl who secretly lives in the basement of the Biltmore during its heyday who encounters a force of great evil (the man in the black cloak), a ghoulish figure who preys on children staying at the Estate. Through a series of plot twists and unlikely friendships, Serafina sets out to stop him (at least, that is my assessment so far. I’m only about 150 pages deep). It’s honestly a very engaging read, but unexpectedly terrifying. It’s full of vivid descriptions and very action driven. I was so engrossed I nearly jumped out of my skin (you know, since it was the only thing I was wearing) when my phone buzzed on my bathroom counter. I sent my little sister a strongly worded text about recommending scary books without warning.

At that point I was so high strung that I couldn’t read anymore (I’m an absolute baby when it comes to scary things), so I climbed out of the tub and told myself that’s it, Sierra. Now you HAVE to write. 2,000 words aren’t just going to appear out of thin air.¬†

I then proceeded to find other things to do for the next three or four hours. At that point, it was 11:30pm. November first was almost over and I hadn’t even started writing. What was wrong with me? My room was hot. I couldn’t focus. I was thirsty. I felt daunted by the realization of my decision.

But I was determined to not fail the very first day!

That’s when it finally occurred to me that I was not properly dressed for the task. I remembered back to a few weeks ago when Bryce had been helping me go through my clothes (yes, I only unpacked most of my clothes a few weeks ago. Bite me) and we had been trying to pare down some of the excess. He held up a brightly colored, floral, tank top housecoat between two fingers

Him: Sierra, what is this? Can we please get rid of it?
Me: NO! *snatches it out of his hands* that’s my inspiration smock. I wear it when I write.
Him: *sighs* okay, I’ll put it in the keep pile.

Where had we put it! I dug through a few piles and found it! Ah-ha!¬†Now¬†I was ready to write. I donned my smock, grabbed my laptop, and crawled into my (now drained) bathtub to write. I’m not exactly sure why I felt like I could be my most productive sitting fully clothed in an empty tub, but my instincts weren’t wrong. The writing was slow going, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with it, but I was writing. At 1:58am I became so tired I was falling asleep as I typed. I actually wrote the following sentence (I found it this morning):

“But if he means to make his business here a production one, well, he‚Äôd be a good not to except.”

Um, what? I was done. There was no point in writing anything else. It was nonsense.

I checked my word count: 1,774.

I hadn’t made it. I hadn’t written 2,000 words. I was so disappointed in myself as I crawled into bed and fell asleep. Day one as a writer had not gone to plan.

But you know what? Life goes on. This morning I woke up — Day two of officially being a writer and in much better spirits. I had received more praise, and also more push back, but today the critique felt a little smaller. My resolve felt a little stronger.

Word count goal of the day: 2,226. I’m ready.

Until next time,

Adieu

P.S. in case you’d like to see it, I’ve included a picture of me wearing my inspiration smock. I expect it will become a regular staple of my wardrobe again.

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If This Is Karma, Who Did I Kill?

Dear Readership,

Ya know how some days start bad and get worse and you’re left standing there as your life burns down around you wondering what exactly you did to deserve this?

That was yesterday for me.

I woke up late and rushed to get all dolled up for an award ceremony I had right after class. I had been up later than I meant to be the night before (full disclosure — I was watching The Office so I totally brought the exhaustion on myself) and I was in need of coffee in a bad kind of way. I brewed an extra large pot and filled my biggest to-go mug. Suddenly I realized I was about to miss my bus and ran out the door in a panic — sans coffee.

When I got to campus I remembered my coffee sitting all warm and tasty on my kitchen counter. I was crushed. I¬†needed it to get through the day. I didn’t have a lot of time, but decided it would be worth being a little late to class if I had coffee in hand because I would be more mentally present. I stood in the remarkably long line in The Wired Scholar (the library coffee shop), got my drip, and left for class at a trot. I made the decision to not get a paper sleeve for my cup because I think it is so incredibly wasteful, but (of course) I was being burned through the thin paper as a I walked.

I tried to switch hands. I squeezed the cup weird. The lid popped off and coffee sloshed. I was being burned for real by the scalding hot drink. I dropped the cup.

I only had four minutes to get to class but I spent two of them standing there staring as my wasted three dollars created an ever-widening puddle on the cobblestones and an even larger hole in my heart. My hands were turning bright pink and stung viciously, my ceremony dress had a stain from waist to hem, I was officially late, and I didn’t have any coffee to show for it. I snatched up the empty cup and stormed to my all-time least favorite class in the entirety of my college career. This wasn’t over.

After class I tried to swing back through the coffee shop to get a $1 refill, but the line was too long and I had a tutoring appointment to get to. I signed into the tutoring center right at 11 and waited for my client. 5 minutes went by, “I could have gotten coffee” I thought.

10 minutes went by, “I could have gotten coffee and cleaned my dress.”

13 minutes — the lab manager told me my client had called and said she was on her way (I’m supposed to leave if they’re 15 minutes late without notice. She called just in time to keep me). Surely she would be there any minute.

20 minutes went by — “I could have gone home, changed my dress, and gotten the coffee that I left there.”

27 minutes went by — she showed up. She said she didn’t really have any material to go over. We left.

Cool.

My time had totally been wasted, but bright side, I was finally able to get coffee and clean my dress before heading to Spanish. The professor began the lesson and immediately I had no idea what was going on (not entirely unusual for me when the prof teaches a new concept in a language I barely speak). I zoned out, irritated and over it.

After class, my mom came to pick me up so we could go to the History department honors reception before the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony. Now, the History department is¬†remarkably¬†bad at communication (something I could go on a very long tangent about) and I didn’t know a lot about what was happening at this reception. But the distinct impression I had been given was that it was a kind of mixer in the history department before the actual ceremony.

I’m not a huge fan of small talk, so when my mom and I struggled to find parking and ended up having to walk the full length of King Street and halfway across campus, I wasn’t terribly concerned about being late. When we walked into the room (slightly winded from our walk over) everyone was standing around chatting. Ew.

Suddenly one of my history professors grabbed me by the arm and said, “Oh, you’re here! Good. Did you get lost or something?”

“Sorry, we couldn’t find parking” I said, confused at her urgency.

“CAN I GET EVERYONE’S ATTENTION PLEASE?” She bellowed.

My heart stopped. Another professor stepped forward, “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. I know we said the formal portion of this event had ended, but one of our outstanding seniors has just arrived. Please turn your attention this way while Dr. Phipps says a few words to recognize this student.”

Oh-no. Everyone stopped talking and turned to look at me. Me — sneak in the back and talk to no one, Sierra. This was my worst nightmare. My professor did say some sweet things about me (which was lovely because I literally want to be her some day) but I wasn’t feeling honored nearly as much as I was feeling low-key shamed by the general public for my tardiness.

Flustered and a lil embarrassed, we decided to leave shortly after. Later, in the official award ceremony, I was impersonally introduced by a professor who I had never met. All he knew about me was the fact that I had served as a junior marshal the previous year (I hadn’t, btw), the fact that I was recommended for the award because I was “A good scholar and excellent writer,” and my GPA. It was a recognition that was certainly not worth my entire afternoon, but whatever.

Immediately after it was over, my mom and I drove back down the mountain to attend my baby sister’s first ever ballet recital. She’s a beginner so she and her class were in roughly 45 seconds of the whole show, but I was determined to be there for it. Unfortunately, they put a taller girl in front of her and I saw her maybe twice during her little routine.

When all added up, it was a non-stop frustrating day. Funny enough though, it was still good in the end. To spend the day with my mom, regardless of what we were doing, was lovely (No one is better at laughing off embarrassment with me than she is). To have some of my nearest and dearest friends support and cheer my up as I whined about the day’s events reminded me of what an incredible support network I’ve been blessed with these past four years and how¬†deeply¬†I am going to miss them in the fall. And even though I didn’t really get to see Bea dance, I would have driven twice as far to hear her scream my name and give me a running hug when she saw that I had come.

My college career has been full of overwhelming days like yesterday–days where I stand there and wonder what I did to deserve it– but after four years I am really starting to learn to roll with the punches. In the end, that’s a better gift than an award or recognition that says I write papers good. ūüėČ

Until next time,

Adieu

NOTE: Overused word of the day — Coffee. It appears 13 (now 14) times in this post. Sadly, this is a fairly accurate representation of how often I say the word in normal conversation.

 

 

 

Cleverness Gone Awry

Dear Readership,

Ever had days where you thought you were in charge and then reality curb-stomped you back into your rightful place in the fetal position on the floor praying for sweet oblivion? Because that was my day today. Every time I did something to “beat the system” it would come back to bite me. Let me tell you about it…

It all started when I decided not to wear a bra this morning. And I know what you’re thinking — or, rather, one of two things you could be thinking. Either you are IMMEDIATELY uncomfortable with this post and are thinking about maybe not finishing it because you don’t think it is appropriate to discuss bosoms on the internet (is that an okay word to use? Bosoms? It is literally my LEAST favorite word for breasts, but it feels like something a Sunday school teacher would say so it’s probably okay), OR you, like me, stopped for a sec to chant “Free the tatas!” before continuing reading. Now, if you’re in the former category, you have a couple of choices:

1) leave. That’s fine. You don’t have to read this if it makes you uncomfortable.

2)¬† Embrace boobies! (Poor wording? Probably. But I mean it metaphorically and you know it). They’re just a body part — like elbows — and not inherently sexual. We don’t have to sexualize them. So don’t.

Either way, I decided not the wear a bra this morning. It was cold, I was cold, and I wasn’t about that mess. So I tossed on a cami and a chunky sweater and applauded myself for my cleverness. Who would ever know? (Um, try everyone. The girls hang a solid four or five inches lower when unrestrained and bounce FREELY. But you know what? That’s where God put my boobs, so who am I to say that that’s not where they belong). Now, the thing about going bra-less is sometimes things get a little crazy down there. Running is a no-go. Period. And when you have big ol’ floppy breasticles, underboob sweat is REAL (still think boobs are sexy?) especially when the sun comes out. Suddenly that chunky sweater was a mistake that I was going to deeply regret for my whole day. I couldn’t get cool no matter what I did, and I did a lot. But we’ll get to that.

So I was being slowly strangled to death by my sweater, but I was trying to make the most of it and decided to get lunch on campus with some friends. Now, to say that campus food is nasty and expensive would be an understatement, so I’ve gotten my meal order down to a science. The cafeteria in the student union offers a beans and rice special for $2 and some change which is a pretty sweet deal, but you pay for toppings by weight (and if you’re not careful with the guac, that sucker can get up to $8 sometimes. That’s where they getcha). I have figured out which toppings I consider necessary to enjoy my beans and rice, and of those, which are the lightest. Now, somewhere along the way I realized there is a free condiment pump station (ketchup, mustard, mayo, hot sauce) and instead of paying for the very heavy sour cream and salsa, I could just get a few free pumps of mayo and hot sauce and be on my merry way a few dollars richer. So basically, I’m a genius, right?

It was rush hour meal time and I was hangry, but I wasn’t trying to spend a lot of money so I stood in a 10 minute line for beans (of which they gave me a particularly small serving) and then made my way to where we were meeting — carrying my container of beans and my toppings bowl (lettuce, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and a generous pump of mayo on top). I set my lunch on the edge of the table to take off my backpack and¬†immediately bumped into my food and sent the toppings bowl FLYING. Most of the expensive part of my meal hit the floor, but I did manage to catch some of it… mayonnaise first… with my keys and highly textured wallet. Some very sweet friends helped me salvage what I could (and got napkins to wipe my precious money… I mean, toppings, off the floor) and I still had a pretty decent lunch. I mean, as decent of a lunch as one can have when one spends 20 minutes scraping mayonnaise out of the tiny nooks of their wallet with a mechanical pencil and reeks of America’s favorite condiment for the rest of the day. So, yeah, maybe a pump of mayo on top wasn’t my best loophole after all. Day dampened, but not ruined.

Fast forward a few hours and I am at a meeting to discuss the creative elements of our Tuesday night service for my campus ministry. I had hustled there from a class and was sweating profusely and feeling pretty miserable. We were chatting before the meeting started and I was absentmindedly fanning myself by flapping the bottom edge of my sweater. Unfortunately, with the skin-tight tank top on, my stomach wasn’t getting any air. So I grabbed the lip of my undershirt too and keep on fanning and chatting until I noticed the look of HORROR that the women’s minister was giving me from across the table. You see, I was slouched in my chair and leaned pretty far back so every time I pulled my shirt away from my body, I was pulling it UP and away and providing her with a direct visual to my bare breasts.

Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the displeasure of flashing your titties to a Christian leader in a church related meeting before, but there’s just not a good way to recover from that… Especially when your campus minister is sitting two seats over (thankfully on his laptop so he didn’t see anything and is graciously pretending he doesn’t hear what’s going on). But just imagine it. There is no recovery. You just pray that you’ll sink through the floor or that sweet death will take you as you curse yourself for not putting on a bra that morning, you dirty hippy.

So, yeah, that was my day. I have been firmly put back in my place by life today. Lesson learned. All I can do now is try to sleep it off and (by sharing it) laugh it off as well.

Until next time,

Adieu

Mistakes Have Been Made

Dear Readership,

Today — in a moment of total weakness — I bought a Boston Cream doughnut at the gas station by my house for the low, low price of $1.49 and a piece of my very soul. It all started because I have gotten into the rather bad habit of driving with the gas light on for as long as possible before I refill. After two days of that sucker shining, I was starting to get antsy. I had been cramming for a Spanish test all afternoon and decided to run out for gas. When I pulled into the station, the first thing I noticed was that the air smelled like cigarette smoke — someone must of just finished their smoke break, right? No biggie. I walked inside — the air in there smelled very pungently of cigarettes too, but my nose quickly adjusted. I stalked up and down the isles, clutching my $20 to my chest, looking for a quick snack that wouldn’t take up too much of my fuel fund. Then I spotted it — the doughnut case.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a sucker for pastries. I mean, anything made 90% of sugar and covered in frosting belongs in my belly. But I’ve been trying to eat healthy recently so its been a hot minute since I’ve had one. I usually set my sites on tasty sweets of a higher caliber (if every bite is going to add a pound of cellulite directly to my thighs, then it needs to be a pretty damn good pastry). But tonight I was especially busy, they were right in front of me, I was rather hungry, and I caved. I picked out a particularly enticing looking Boston Cream doughnut, paid for it (and my gas) and left. When I got to the car, I excitedly chomped down into my snack and instead of being delighted, I pulled away with a mouthful of disappointment.

Now, if you’ve never found yourself unfortunate enough to¬†taste¬†disappointment, allow me to explain to you what it’s like…. The first blow was the fact that the doughy part of my treat (that should have tasted like a fluffy cloud of sugary goodness) tasted instead like the butt of a cigarette. “HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?!” I wondered.¬† Of¬†course¬†the cigarette smoke would have leaked into the doughnut case and infected the unsealed treats. I was disgusted.¬† But mamma didn’t raise no quitter. I was determined to get to the cream in the center in the hopes that it would redeem my doughnut, so I soldiered on through my chocolate-covered ashtray. I can not begin to describe how crushed I was when I reached the sweetened condensed milk flavored gelatinous mass in the center of my doughnut. It was overpoweringly sweet in a soupy, artificial, and ever-so-slightly tin can flavored kind of way. I ended up squeezing most of it into a bag before nibbling the chocolate off the top of the doughnut (you know, because I don’t know when to give up and because it wasn’t¬†that¬†bad) and then I tearfully threw the rest away.

After chugging nearly a half-gallon of water mixed with my own tears, I swore off gas station pastries for life. Then, burrying my grief so deep down inside of myself it will probably take counseling to uncover it, I got back to cramming. I foolishly assumed that the doughnut would be nothing more than a bad memory, but alas, I was not to be so lucky. The nightmare for me was only just beginning. Some 20 odd minutes after consumption my stomach began to really roil and my whole body complained of feeling queasy and unwell. A burp welled up and to my extreme dismay IT TASTED LIKE ASHTRAY. “Dear god, what did I eat??”¬†I began to wonder… it wasn’t until I had to drop what I was doing and make a mad dash for the nearest bathroom that I knew: I had eaten a doughnut straight from the pits of hell itself. I partook of the chocolate-covered temptation and now I was paying with my very life. I have never felt more empathy or understanding for Eve than I do right now.

Pray for this sinner, y’all, it’s going to be a long night.

Until next time,

Adieu

 

[Insert Adage About Raining and Pouring]

Dear Readership,

You know those days that just aren’t that great and no matter what you do you can’t seem to make them better?

I have a lot of those.

Wednesday was not one of those days.

Wednesday was the kind of day that was so jam-packed with irritatingly bad nuances that it should be expunged from the annals of history (not to mention my life) so I can avoid intense trauma therapy.

It all started with a final presentation (doesn’t it always?) that I had to give right on the heels of a 24 hour throw-up virus. I had been up until about 2am the night before frantically cutting it down because we had a hard and fast 9 minute deadline (speaking of, who the heck makes a presentation deadline 9 minutes? That’s the most maddeningly odd number. Would 10 have killed ya?) and mine was a solid 14 minutes long. I spent the wee hours of the morning cutting out slides willy-nilly before deciding to take the L if it wasn’t good enough and passing out.

Wednesday dawned and I had had about 5 and 1/2 hours of sleep which I¬†know¬†is not that little, but I’m a strict 8 hours kind of gal. Anything less and I turn into a gremlin-like she-monster — malicious and more than a little ugly. I begrudgingly rolled out of bed and began to make myself presentable. It didn’t require a lot of mental energy (thank goodness) because I have exactly one presentation worthy outfit (a gray knit dress, purple tights, and some¬†killer¬†cute heels). Unfortunately, my dress was hanging next to the DampRid in my closet (because, you know, everything I own gets covered in mildew if I don’t hang that water-sucking, chemical-laden bag in there too) and it now pungently reeked of fake floral cleaner. I didn’t have time to scrounge together another semi-professional outfit so I spritzed myself with some extra body spray (as if that would help) and ran out the door. It had been in the 50s for a few days, so I felt like I was wearing a reasonably weather-appropriate outfit; however, when I stepped outside I was dismayed to discover that it was below freezing and not likely to warm up much past that all day.¬† So I hobbled — half-frozen — to the bus in my completely impractical outfit, and then proceeded to have one of the longest, busiest days on my feet that I’ve had this entire semester. Parts of it were really cool (like attending the raising of the¬†Eastern Band of the Cherokee flag ceremony in the student union), but they were overshadowed a little by the fact that my feet were swollen from marching around a mountain in heels for nine hours, by having hives on my hands and face from the unexpected cold, and by the rash developing on my belly from my DampRid-soaked dress.

All days must end, however, and my incredibly looong day finally did too. I put on my comfiest slippers to appease my poor feet and decided to reward myself by buying a McDonald’s ice cream cone on the way to study at my boyfriend’s house. I pulled into the drive thru, rolled down my window, and *THUNK* it broke. The pane had detached from whatever mechanism roles the window up and down and fallen down inside the door. What was the worst part about all of this?

It was really hard to enjoy my ice cream cone while being pounded by the cold night air.

But broken windows are just a part of the adventure of driving a clunker, right? I could get through this. All I had to do was bundle up and blast the heat whenever I drove until I could figure out a good way to rig a cover. I convinced myself that all would be well and was determined to be an optimist about it.

Little did I know a mini-blizzard was on its way the next day to dump nine inches of snow on Boone town and my lil ol’ windowless car…

If your Wednesday (or any day) was worse, please, do share.

Until next time,

Adieu