Sunday, May 30, 2010

How to do laundry in student housing

  • Pester your husband about putting money on his ID card
  • Load up the laundry basket with clothing and soap, put in car because it's too heavy to walk to the laundry building
  • Drive to laundry building
  • Discover front door is locked.   Realize you were never given a key to the laundry building
  • Think for a moment and hypothesize that it's the same key to the community center.
  • Take basket of clothes back to car.  (Lest my underwear be sitting out in the open on the sidewalk)
  • Walk to apartment and get community center key
  • Walk back to car to retrieve clothing
  • Unlock front door and enter laundry building. 
  • Load clothing into machines, add soap
  • Stare at machine to see how to start it
  • Wander around aimlessly trying to find the card reader so I can pay for the damn wash cycle
  • Locate card reader and pay for laundry
  • Go back to apartment for the 37 minutes on the machine
  • Walk back to laundry building, basket in hand (to bring back delicates that can't go in dryer) 
  • Decide to use back door since it's closer to my sidewalk
  • Fail to notice that back door is on a raised porch with a step
  • Crash into the threshold/step, thus ruining the $45 pedicure I got on Monday.  Skin toe and draw blood under nail (sorry, gross)
  • Hobble inside
  • Put clothing into dryers, grab delicates and read A Walk in the Woods for 15 minutes while I wait for other delicates to get partially dry
  • Laugh at Bill Bryson's writing
  • Go back in to retrieve partially dry clothing
  • Walk back to apartment with partially full laundry basket.  Realize it's a longer walk than I realized.
  • Get back to apartment.  Put band-aid on toe.  Struggle to set up the drying rack.  Note that it is ASSEMBLED, but the top will not click into place.  
  • Wonder if wearing dirty clothing and/or buying new instead of washing would be a better idea

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Up on the Roof

The Drifters classic indicates that On the roof, it's peaceful as can be.  Well, that might be the case for Carole King, but that was NOT the case yesterday!  Let me explain.

Michael has been in orientation all day, all week.  He is at orientation more hours than he was at his full-time job in Florida.  I kid you not.  So since I do not yet have a job and our non-luxury apartment is not exciting or particularly pleasant, I volunteered to help the Crookers* move into their Finger Lake cottage.

*Do you know about Kass and Marilyn Crooker?  They are fantastic people who we, and our families, have known for many years.  We have laughed and cried with them, skied with them, played countless rounds of Mexican Train, and Marilyn played all the ridiculously complicated music at our wedding.  To give you an idea of our relationship with them, you know how when you babysit your nephew and he's super cute, but he's not your child so you can give him back at the end of the day?  That's how the Crookers are, but on a parenting level.  Not that we'd ever want to give them back, of course.  Michael and I have perfectly wonderful sets of parents and are not in need of other parents.  But the Crookers sort of stand in the middle ground.  They are not family but at times you realize they're not 'just' friends, either.

Anyway, they live near Ithaca, so we'll be able to see them a lot this year, YAY!  During the winter months (which, I think in upstate New York is actually October through May) they live in a regular house in the area, but in the summer they spend their time at a gorgeous place on Cayuga Lake.  It's awesome.  But when you have two places, there's that inevitable 'transition' stage.  You have to move your clothes and food and whatever else you don't have duplicates of down to the lake.  This would be a task in itself.  But Kass and Marilyn decided to make is SUPER exciting by RENOVATING THEIR ENTIRE COTTAGE!  (The exciting part is the renovation is almost done.  So close you can taste it!  I hope to be invited to the champagne celebration party)

Seriously.  They are crazy, but the good kind.  And when I say renovate, I mean renovate.  As one tiny portion of the renovating, everything in the upstairs bedrooms got taken downstairs and piled in the living room because they had brand new floors installed and sanded and stained and sealed and polyurethaned.  (I have never typed the word polyurethane until today!  What do you know)  The floors look beautiful (what?  floors can definitely show beauty) which mean the rooms could get put back together.  This is where my assistance comes in.

Kass, who is on treatment this week, is slightly less of a Superman than normal.  Basically, he has to stop working when mere mortals would have to stop instead of trudging onward.  Don't worry, Marilyn continues to behave like a superhero.  This meant that Marilyn and I were in charge of sweeping sawdust and wood shavings and assembling four bed frames before the mattresses could be put back.   For people with a lot of college education, we're pretty dumb when it comes to assembling beds.  It's ok; we figured it out and we both have many other talents and skills.

Now for the exciting part.  The upstairs stairway is super narrow (a little wider than me.  Probably the exact width of my Dad) and has a 90 degree turn.  Those of you with excellent spatial relations skills will realize it is impossible to get box springs and mattresses up the stairway.  So what's the solution?  That's easy!  Hoist them onto the roof of the kitchen and shove them through the window!  I am not kidding.  Here are the steps, if you are ever interested in repeating this insanity on your own property.

  1. Remove screens from north bedroom.
  2. Set up ladder along outside kitchen wall, extending to roof.
  3. Have Marilyn and Julia** climb ladder and stand on roof to receive box spring.
  4. Have Kass and neighbors hoist box spring up ladder.
  5. Julia and Marilyn 'catch' it.
  6. Julia and Marilyn feed the box spring through the window to Millie, who is waiting inside the bedroom.
  7. Marilyn climbs down ladder and walks through the house, up the stairs, to meet Millie in the hallway and walk the box spring to its proper bedroom.
  8. Repeat for remaining box springs and all 4 mattresses.
  9. Drink some wine when you're done.
**For the queen mattress, Millie will need to join M & J on the roof.  Call another neighbor so there are enough people on the ground hoisting, and another person inside to receive.  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Won't be going back

Went to get a pedicure in Collegetown yesterday.  Collegetown is basically a section of shops, dining, and services near campus and also within walking distance to our apartment. I read online that this particular salon was good and priced well for students.  I liked the sound of that!  So I got my toes painted to find out it cost $45!  This was not a fancy pedicure or a 'spa' pedicure or even one with french tips on my toes.

It included

  • old polish removal
  • soaking my feet in a footbath similar to what you'd buy at BedBath to do your nails at home
  • filing my nails
  • applying cuticle oil
  • rubbing lotion onto my feet
  • painting with new polish
It did not include 
  • a massage chair
  • trimming my nails
  • cuticle cutting or pushing
  • exfoliating scrub or pumice
  • lotion application above the ankle
  • a hot towel
So WHY did it cost $45?!  I have no idea.  The place I went in Florida cost $20 and included everything listed above in both columns.  I don't get it.  Not only do I not get the incomplete pedicure, but I don't understand how someone could describe their prices as friendly to college students!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home in Florida > Student Housing

I am stating the obvious here: One's own home in Florida is in fact better than graduate student housing in upstate New York.  We walked in to dirty carpets and linoleum flooring, countless moths on the windows, and a stale air odor.  Not exactly the welcoming committee.  Needless to say, the past 4 days have been full of cleaning many surfaces with many products.  All I can say is Thank GOD for Lysol.  And their handy disposable wipes.  Michael used many to clean the dirt, grime and sticky substance (ick) off of the mini blinds on all three of our windows.  I used many to wipe down the kitchen counter and 'eating nook' as well as every drawer in the kitchen and bedroom dresser.  Michael killed two spiders (a big deal for him) and we have swiffered many many times.  The highlight, though, has been killing at least 20 moth type bugs

The thing is, the apartment was supposed to be professionally cleaned before our arrival.  But since the carpeting is black in spots from folks in dirty shoes wearing a path to the kitchen and bedroom, and the linoleum is still making the bucket/mop water turn black.  GROSS

So we went to the housing folks and asked point blank "What is the schedule for cleaning the apartments?"  and we got a deer in the headlights response.  The verbal response was "They're supposed to be cleaned before you move in" which might be protocol but surely did not happen.  We submitted our 'complaint' online and supposedly the school is looking into the problem, but they are so slow in responding that we will be talking to them in person tomorrow morning.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Awesome things that happened during my birthday weekend (aka Festival of Jules)

  • We were OUT of the CAR!
  • Saw IHE folks, including Scott, who SHARES MY BIRTHDAY!
  • Guapo's on Friday
  • Specifically, Guapo's with Pannie, Becky, Ryan, Mark K and Nikhil.  And Michael, duh
  • Impromptu beer with Mark, Nikhil and Michael at Dancing Crab
  • Pannie nicknaming the weekend "Festival of Jules"
  • A nice long run the morning of my 27th year
  • Vanilla bean scones, courtesy of Becky
  • Iron Man 2, which is super fun
  • A new tire rim (not exciting, but required)
  • Loads of phone calls, texts, facebook messages and voicemails from family and friends
  • The birthday song from my dad, sung in a new 'key' every year
  • Betty White hosting SNL
  • Becky and Ryan's lovely dinner with Pannie, including a yellow cake with fudge frosting

Friday, May 7, 2010


May 5, 2010
9:30 am: Finish loading the car.  It is jammed to the gills.
10:00 am: Begin drive up the east coast.  Encounter no diversions or delays.  Set to arrive to our destination at 5:30.
12:00 pm: Michael listens to AM talk radio.  I zone out a little.
1:00 pm: Stop for lunch at the slowest, most ridiculous Wendy's, ever.
3:10 pm: Cross into South Carolina on I-95.
3:12 pm: Spot a large pipe in middle of the highway.
3:12:30: Hit large pipe in middle of the highway.  Blow out tire.  Pull to side of the road.
3:13 pm: Call AAA.  Get reconnected to South Carolina's AAA.  Cannot understand a word they say.  Damn the southern accents.
3:15 pm: Meet a truck driver who also hit said pipe.  Learn it took out his brake line and tire rod.
3:20 pm: Notice older couple who also hit said pipe.  Not sure what happened to their car.
3:40 pm: AAA savior arrives to change tire. We begin to unload our possessions from the back of the car into the front seat and side of the road to access the spare.  You see, some genius decided to install the spare under the flat part of the hatch.  So if you have stuff in the back, it must be removed before accessing the tire.
4:00 pm: Tire change nearly complete.  Discover not only is tire flat, rim is bent.  We will need a new tire and a new rim.  AAA tire changer offers to call his shop for a replacement tire.  We agree, while Michael starts calling Mazda dealerships in the area.
4:30 pm: No one has a tire or rim.  Shop owner promises to keep trying and will call our guy back.  Meanwhile, a second AAA savior (from the same shop) arrives to tow older couple's car.  He waits with us as our tire changer is dispatched to another road hazard.
4:50 pm: Shop owner found new tire, cannot find a new rim.  Will take 2 days to get rim to shop.  Best he can do is offer to try to buff out/reshape current rim and see if new tire will seal.
4:55 pm:  What other choice do we have?  We are 275 miles from our hotel stop that night.  Can't drive that far on a spare.  Decide to follow him 'about 15 miles' to the shop.
5:15 pm:  Still following the guy.  Where the hell is this place?
5:16 pm: Call Savannah Mazda dealership ourselves to see if they have a rim.  They don't, but can overnight it if possible.  They close at 6, so let her know by then.
5:25 pm: Arrive at 'shop' which is a nice way of describing this auto repair center with no indoor plumbing.  It's in Bluffton, SC which is not far from Michael's grandparent's condo.  Can't believe we are back in this neck of the woods.  Meet older couple who were also on highway.  They are snowbirds headed to New York.  Learn their transmission is shot.  $3,000 repair.
5:30 pm: If tire wizard can't fix the rim, shop can get us a discount at the Holiday Inn in town.
5:35 pm: Don't want to get charged for initial hotel room if we don't make it.  Call to cancel room.  Spell last name three times.
6:00 pm: Tire wizard fixed the rim.  Tire will seal on it, it's safe to drive.  Suggests we get a new rim as soon as we can, since tires are not balanced.
6:15 pm: Pay $150 for new tire and parts.  Not charged for labor, but that's one expensive tire.
6:30 pm: On the way back to I-95.
6:45 pm: Call hotel to rebook reservation
7:00 pm:  Starving.  Want to eat non-fast food dinner.
7:15 pm: Denny's never looked so good.
9:45 pm:  Arrive at the hotel.  See who got kicked off American Idol.  Shower.  Collapse into bed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Who is your best friend, and how did you meet?

Every month Glamour magazine (yes I read it) poses this question to various staff members and publishes their answers.  I usually don't give these pages much thought, but this one caught my interest:
Who is your best friend, and how did you meet?

Well.  I have more than one best friend (hi Ash and Pannie!), but the story of how Ash and I met is not so exciting.  We were both in University choir, both altos, and both in the back row.  She had on a Harvard sweatshirt, stuck out her hand, said "I'm Ashley," I said, "I'm Julia," and the rest was history.  We are actually very exciting, dynamic people.  The how we met story is probably the least exciting thing about us.  So now I move on to the Pannie/Jules story.  She likes to say "Jules loves the story of how we met, even though it makes her look like a high maintenance priss and me like a judgmental fool"  You be the judge.

The story is best told from her point of view, but since this is my blog and not hers, I shall attempt.  Pannie and I were in the same freshman English class.  As it was the first day, I was dressed in preppy mode with my blue camp shirt, khakis and sandals.  I had a shiny red pencil case on the table and had my binder, pens and highlighters all lined up.  I got to class early and had time to prepare myself.  Pannie walked in a few minutes later and sat down.  Truthfully, I don't remember her walking in or looking at me.  But later on I learned that she saw me and my outfit and my seemingly high-maintenance self and shuddered to herself.  I was not flagged as friend material.  (What's funny is the girl she thought would be nice on the first day turned out to be one of the 5 most annoying people on AU's campus, if not the entire East Coast, including the Bronx)  I was also vocal and evidently quite annoying in class, because she did not warm up to me.

The following week choir rehearsal began.  I think I noticed Pannie as a recognized face, but didn't think much about it.  She noticed me, though.  I was wearing my Furman University (FU) hat, which is always an excellent conversation starter.  Coincidentally, Pannie was familiar with this school, but she was none too pleased to see me in choir rehearsal.  Oh no, she's an alto in choir and she is in my English class?  Poor Pannie was beginning to wish me into oblivion.

It gets better!  Not long after these encounters, she was talking to a friend in the friend's dorm room and heard my voice.  Turns out her friend was my neighbor.   I cannot get away from this girl!  Not only did she see me in class and choir, she heard me in the dorm hallways!   This is a regular issue: hearing me before seeing me.

Truth be told, I do not remember the turning point where we talked and she realized I was acceptable and I thought she wanted to talk to me and we became friends.  But we had an assignment in English class where we had to do a peer review.  This normally ridiculous exercise requires you to trade papers with a classmate and critique their work.  Pannie was my partner.  She wrote about the French Horn she inherited from Aunt Jane.  It was a Geyer.   I don't remember what I wrote about.  I suppose that was when we learned that not only were we good writing buddies, but she lived down the hall from me, across the bridge that connected two dorm buildings.  We began visiting each other and having dinner at TDR, and hanging out with Ashley, too.  We were an excellent trio, the three of us.   We watched Friends together, and also enjoyed the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, where we witnessed a drug bust!

Finally, Pannie's attitude toward my high maintenance prissiness changed completely and we actually were roommates the following year.  During this period of time we had bunkbeds and most nights I put my feet on the underside of her mattress (she was top bunk) and silently pushed her mattress up to the ceiling.  It was high hilarity, I tell you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Goodbye April, Hello MOVING

I posted once in April?  One lousy quote?  To channel Charlie Brown, Good Grief!  I can explain.  We are moving.  To Ithaca.  On Wednesday.  In one tiny car.  But first we're going to DC for a few days to break up the long drive.  Then to New Jersey to visit grandparents and sisters in New York.  I have been a tiny bit preoccupied with packing boxes and standing in my kitchen thinking Will I need this in the next 12 month?  Will I care if I do not have this hand blender for a year?  Why do I have so many mismatched knives?  Why are blankets so chubby?  Will it be cold in New York?  What clothes will I need between now and then?  etc. etc. etc.  I think it's easier on your brain to just move completely.  Everything in a box.  Period.

I am proud to report that we have packed up several 'medium' moving boxes and shipped them on ahead.  Well, we packed them and my kind, lovely mother-in-law took them to the UPS store because we were in  Las Vegas.  Yes, a week before we move across several states, all of which get more snow than Florida, we went to Las Vegas.  Don't you love a husband with such ambition?  He planned the whole trip and all I really had to do was show up, but I was feeling stressed.  Me?  Stressed?  Unbelievable!   Unfortunately this included an overwhelming feeling of nausea on an airplane, which had nothing to do with turbulence or anything plane-related.  At times, I am a nutcase, I tell you.  Side note:  Long story, but I did get a free massage at the hotel spa, which did a fairly good job at relieving my stress.  I think I'll need another one tomorrow.

So anyway, now that we're back in eastern time and the humidity has gone from 10% to 90% (just look at my hair to believe that one!), we're back in moving mode.  I am really trying to be a glass half full person during all of this, which I like to think I am on a daily basis.  We do have a lot of clothing still in the closet that needs to be packed, but we also have a big fat suitcase packed up.  And several boxes in transit.  And a few other boxes in the dining room ready to be loaded into the car in a few days.  

Bottom line, if I've ignored a facebook message, e-mail, or even worse, a phone call, I apologize.  When we're settled, or beginning to be settled, in graduate housing two weeks from today, I should be back to normal.  That is, I will be better able to communicate with all this newfangled twenty-first century technology.  Thank God I don't have a Twitter account.  Until then, please take a number and I will be with you as soon as possible.

Also- birthday messages are allowed during this time.  Between the moving and packing and such, I also am supposed to turn 27 next Saturday.  As I will be a vagabond with no address for two weeks, this should be an interesting year for birthday cards, don't you think?