Nicole
Where have I been?

Where haven’t I been?

Well, by now you should all know the story of the New Car, the final chapter in my wacky car dilemma. I’m only sorry I don’t have any pictures for you.

Thanksgiving was a good time, turkey, noodles, cranberry sauce and the like. Both Stacey and Nick came up. Of course, Nick is always poking Stacey and generally annoying her so she was scolding him half the time and then he would go get something to eat. He ate the last piece of our Sweet Potato Bourbon Bundt Cake. Yeah, mom and I made a cake with sweet potato and bourbon in it. It was on Martha Stewart and somehow I’ve found myself sucked in since mom watches it every day. But it’s not so bad – now when she gets people like Andy Dick on her show and they make total asses out of themselves and make Martha wonder why she invited them on in the first place. Hey, Hugh Jackman was on (mmmmm…) and Jeremy Irons was on the other day, and he was really cute.

Speaking of my things for English guys, I just have to say that two nights ago I had a weird dream where I was out in the desert with my family and we were trying to get somewhere, but had to avoid a sandstorm. Somehow I got separated from them and this one army guy (actually the actor Jason Scott Lee – yeah, no idea how he got in there) offered to take me to a base and was obviously hitting on me, and yet I declined. I declined a hot army guy in a freaking dream. How ridiculous am I? Except I didn’t think he was all that hot. On the other side of things, I watched a weird movie last night called Mirrormask and there was an English guy in it (actually I think they were all English, but moving on), and the entire movie he had this weird mask on – you couldn’t even see his eyes – but after the movie I started thinking, “You know, I’d choose the English guy because of his voice and personality over the buff American army dude. I’m so screwed up.” And then of course I laughed myself silly (as quietly as possible as it was almost 3am) and then finally went to sleep. I still think it’s pretty damn funny (and I’m sure the rest of you just think I’m nuts).

To get back on track, after Thanksgiving I started freaking out. Why? Well, I’d sort of given up on the job prospect thing. I bumped into a friend of mine, Christine, in the library (my newfound love), and we started chatting about life in general and how even she agreed the job market here sucks donkey. Good to know I’m not hallucinating. And poor Christine doesn’t even have a degree and has a child to support. Long story, but anyway, yeah. Champaign blows. Not a big surprise she too is trying to escape its evil clutches.

Anyway, I started freaking out because of grad school. I hadn’t done a thing on it and deadlines were looming ever closer. I needed to re-write a story and then create something entirely new. Something that isn’t my normal style because my normal style isn’t what the creative writing professors of big universities like to see. They like character oriented stuff. Basically, the stuff none of you would ever truly enjoy reading. But hey, whatever, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I got out my notebook and started a piece. Ditched it. Started another. Ditched it. It was frustrating. I just couldn’t come up with anything I thought they would take in. Not good Mav. Not good.

Just as November was ending, it hit me and I started writing. It wasn’t the greatest of inspirations, and it didn’t get me going writing page after page in true excitement like I can get sometimes, but I took what I could get. I managed to get 14 pages (double-spaced) out of it. The ending still worries me a little, but there’s not much I can do about it. I put some subtle stuff in there and hopefully that’s what they’re looking for. Like I’ve said before – I don’t usually write this stuff. Not my bag of chips. Then I started on reworking an older story that if I didn’t send in, dad would have a cow because he thinks it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Well, I don’t know about that, but I figured it was better than nothing (which was basically the only other option I had – nothing) so I dug in on an 5-year-old, 4 page story and gave it a face lift, tummy tuck, porcelain veneers, the works.

That was why I sort of found jury duty to be a blessing. Yep, Nicole had jury duty. In the middle of all my freakings out, December 4th – 8th was my call to duty. I was somewhat annoyed, and somewhat intrigued. Aside from my car crash issue, I’d never been in a courtroom while court was in session, much less on a jury. My only problem was that I had to wake up early every morning (depending on which days and what time they called my number). Early enough that I realized the last time I was up that early was when I was in high school. Ew. I never was a morning person. I can go all night but wake me up at 6am and I might kill you. Then again I might be to sluggish and out of it to do much of anything.

9:15 am on December 4th, we’re there for an hour and then get to leave, but have to come back by 1. Joy. I decide to go home because like an idiot, I didn’t bring anything to read, and besides, I’m getting hungry. Normally I can skip breakfast, but that early I have to eat something, but even then it won’t sustain me past lunch. Normally if I do eat breakfast instead of skipping it, I can go ahead and skip lunch. Either way, at most I only eat two meals a day. So I mosey on home, eat something, get my huge book to read about The Vampire Lestat (did the Interview with the Vampire already) and then scooted back out to the courthouse and sat around for an hour. Or two. Finally they called nearly every juror in the room and we all went down to a courtroom where some schmuck was going to be tried for intent to sell crack-cocaine. Good times.

Or at least, it might have been good times because that lawyer woman for the state had about 20 questions for each juror and they were all the same 99% of the time. Why couldn’t she just ask four people at a time in a group like the judge did with all his general questions and then let the person elaborate if need be? Ugh. It was really annoying after a while. Some guy and I started whispering to each other and in general, being kind of dumb. We were there until at least 4:30, then they finally had their full jury (I didn’t even get called up, so I sat there fidgeting – I must have looked like I had ADD), and we got to go home. Next day I had to be there even earlier – 8:30am. Oh joy. And did I mention this was the week that was super-dee-duper cold outside? Brr. But oh well.

That’s the day I brought my notebook and the story and dove on in. That’s also the day I got picked to possibly be on a jury again, and guess what? Boo-yah. I made it. It was interesting. I think I was the youngest there aside from the U of I chemistry graduate student. So 14 of us were in a little room half the time, after a while we started talking and making dumb jokes and naturally every 7 minutes we all flatlined and got quiet. Haha. I did more work on my story until finally we were called into the courtroom and they started. It was almost like the same case; trying to prove this guy was intending to sell crack-cocaine. They also sounded like there were going to be charges of domestic battery or something, but that must have been dropped because the chick never showed up. The funny thing is, all this stuff went down in Rantoul. Probably across the town where I don’t go cuz there’s nothing there. *shrug* Anyway, they called in a bunch of cops (dude, I never knew Rantoul cops were that BIG. I mean, good lord. One guy, Lt. Stuckmeyer – that guy was huge. One smack to the face and you’d be on the floor. Yikes) and they did their little question answer testifying thing, and eventually the defendant got up there, yadda yadda. Basically the state was trying to prove he was planning on selling the stash the cops found in his pocket. His appointed lawyer was saying sure, he was a user, but he wasn’t going to sell it.

Well, after they all did their little courtroom circus thing, we went to the back to deliberate. Heh, I kept thinking of 12 Angry Men. There were three options we could pick: Not Guilty, Guilty of Possession, and Guilty of Possession and Intent to Distribute. The first vote was 6 and 6. Sure, he had a fair amount of stuff on him, but they just didn’t have enough evidence (by far, trust me) to prove this dude was going to start doling out crack. Sure, I’m gonna be like “fuck” if I ever were to find out he really was selling it, but I really don’t think he was going to. So we chatted about it some more, evidence, reasonable doubt, etc. and then took another vote. This time it was unanimous – Guilty of Possession. End of story. Besides, you get some kind of time just for having crack, right? Better than nothing anyway. Ok. Guilty. End of trial. Adjourned.

The next day I had to come back yet again, but after an hour or so they let us go, picking another group and then not needing us. Same happened on Thursday as well. I bumped into the chemistry grad and he said now that he’d made it four days, he figured he might as well go for all five and get the full amount of money out of it. I agreed. Then, after several hours and my flourish of a finish on my story, the lady came in to tell us that our trial went bye-bye and we could go home. Of course, then Friday rolled around and they didn’t need our number half. Go figure. Jury duty adjourned.

Now, during all this grad school, jury duty nonsense, my review website, Epinions.com, is hosting a huge sweepstakes. Normally, each month they host a contest where if you write the first Very Helpful review on a product, you can enter it into the drawing and win whatever one of the prizes happen to be. Since the very end of September, I started re-reading all my Fear Street books by R.L. Stine, and it’s because of him (as no one save maybe 3 people) that I’ve had so many first reviews. I won 1st place in September and then 3rd place in October. I’d like to win November too, ($100 Target or Best Buy card) but I don’t want to get greedy. Especially after Friday. You see, Epinions suddenly had buku bucks to give out. $1000 on Monday. 5 prizes of $100 on Tuesday-Thursday. And Friday was 10 prizes of $100, 1 prize of $500, and 1 prize of $1000. Can you guess which prize I won? $100? Noooo… The $500? Noooo….!

That’s right. Nicole just won $1000. Boo-yah! I knew these Fear Street books would come in handy someday. Ok, I didn’t, but when I’m done reading them they’re going to Ebay. But I can win yet again either this week or next week too. So I’m still reading. It’s fun to see other people I interact with on the site win too. So it’s a Christmas giveaway bonanza on there. It’s just too bad they aren’t doing the bonus thing this year – I’ll be bummed for some people who didn’t win anything and deserve a little something extra. Oh well. Not much I can do about that.

So that money is going toward grad school stuff, car stuff, loan stuff. And now maybe I can slip a few presents under the tree. And now we’re finally all caught up. I need to send out the last few items to grad schools, pay my recent loan bill, car insurance bill, eventual credit card bill (which only has maybe $28 worth of gas on it), and hopefully if that girl is able to get Ebay to stop being a bitch, I’ll sell the rest of my MK stuff and send that out too. Then I’ll be free and clear of worry for a while so when we go to Arkansas to visit our grandma and grandpa for Christmas I can kick back.

That’s my story. Hope all of you are having good times, that those of you who want snow are getting some, those of you that think snow sucks are getting what we’re getting here (a lot of nuthin’ and a lot of rain), and may all your Christmases be bright.

Till next time peoples! =D


Merry Christmas!
Nicole
I am alive. I do exist. I am not a figment of your imagination.

I lead a very odd life. The rest of you have jobs, are still in school, have definite plans.

I, on the other hand, uh...lead a very odd life.

Please stand by, as I will give you a large update as well as complete the Corn and Cars story, possibly when I have plenty of free time to spare, but if not, then definitely once January rolls around.


*cue white noise*
Nicole
I have been diagnosed with Creepy Car Curse - which means I am Car Impaired.

"So what kind of car karma do you have that this keeps happening?"

That's what my mom asked me today on our way back from Champaign. You see, I visited Carsoup the other day and found a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire SE for $4800 with 71,000 miles on it. Sounds great right? That's what I thought. I'd done the research and everything. So we went over to the house today to check it out. The guy who owns it is in Florida right now going to school, so we dealt with his mom. Nice lady. Very pleasant. I took it for a spin, enjoyed, everything worked nicely, she had all the paperwork that he'd kept in a file, from oil changes, to the work that was done when he was rear-ended. No real need for a Carfax because everything was right there. Even the date he'd last rotated his tires. Obviously a kid who takes care of his baby. This is a good thing.

The problem is that when we said, "Yay, we'll go ahead and take the car," she called him up to find out the best way to handle the transaction since he still had payments to make on the car and all that jazz. This is where my bad car karma (or Creepy Car Curse) kicks in. Turns out he just gets accepted for some internship and decides he no longer wants to sell the car. According to him, he'll need it down there in Florida (though why he didn't just take it down there in the first place is beyond me) and can't sell it to me. He's coming up in a couple of weeks and plans to take it back with him.

Yeah. W t f.

His mom is embarrassed and I wouldn't be surprised if she called him back after we left to give him a piece of her mind. She made him tell me himself that he couldn't sell it and said later in a terse voice, "Well could you please take it off Carsoup then?"

I want to kill myself.

Actually I don't, it's jus too ironic for me to even be pissed about. I know you might think I'm making this up or that I say this kind of stuff all the time, but another reason I'm not even mad or even horrifically surprised is because in some way I sort of saw this coming. Not that the kid would call up and reneg, but that something weird would happen and I wouldn't get the car. Like it was too good to be true or something. I don't know. I never have normal stories.

I'm starting to really get weirded out by all my car failure though. First the Tracker. Then the Kia. Then the Focus. I could include the Sentra, but that's sort of iffy. And now the Sunfire. Something is really wrong here. I may sound a little overdramatic but it tugs at me. Too weird to ignore. That's why the idea of possibly going down to visit Nick to have him help me search scares me. Not the going down there part, not the search part, but the driving back up part. Like maybe something would happen that would take that car away from me too. Maybe I'm paranoid, I don't know, but it freaks me out. It's not even the long drive thought, it's like a specific "something happening" thought. I can't explain it. You can all just think I'm weird. But I don't freak out when I drive mom's car. Granted, I'm still paranoid, checking and double checking and sometimes triple checking the road before I turn, being anal about speed limits (well sort of - I never go faster than 5 miles over the limit), stuff like that. But again, I dunno.

Another weird story for you to chew on, discuss. Does someone upstairs really have a plan for me that involves a lack of a vehicle? Or is this just a really weird, weird string of abnormal coincidences?

You tell me, because I have no fraking clue.


The car that was not to be.
Nicole
Yeah. That's the best title I can come up with.

Here I am again. Here's the deal with the car situation for those of you who may be curious. I never have normal stories...

During the days of October 18th through October 22nd, my mom flew off to Pennsylvania to visit my dad, who did a good job of tending to her every need and jumping at probably every call and beckon she had. That's a good thing considering I was worried he might not do so, the end result being mom possibly turning into the Exorcist and wacking out on him. And without me to save him, well, who knows how that might have turned out.

But to get back on topic. I test drove a little 2000 black Ford Focus. Small. Zippy. Something I can grand theft auto (I use that as an adjective and a verb now, I suggest you try it) and be happy with. It had 91,000 miles on it and was well within my price range. I was happy. I did research on it. The 2000's seem to have had several recalls and some issues, but I liked to think by this point in time, 2006, the main issues had been taken care of. Either way, I planned on Carfaxing it up and going from there, but the bottom line is that I wanted the keys in my pocket and I could be done with this car searching crap.

Saturday the 21st, the day before mom is to come home, my car guy calls in the morning and the conversation went pretty much like this:

"Nicole, guess what? You know that Ford Focus?" The tone in his voice was not a good thing.
".....Yeeaaaah...?" Except I pretty much already knew and was hoping by some act of God he wouldn't say it.
"...It got sold."
Inside my head I go a little ballistic.
"Well, you know, you snooze you lose-"
That's where I cut him off, at the same time managing to keep most of my slowly building rage out of my voice, or at least to a decent minimum. "What? It's not my fault! I don't have the money! I couldn't pay for it right then, my mom is out of town! She's in Pennsylvania! And she has to be there to sign it too in order for the insurance to cover the taxes!" Of course, he knows all this, but I wanted to throw it at him again just in case he forgot or something...

Anyway, the conversation went on a little more, mostly with him talking and saying stuff like, "Well, we couldn't very well not sell it, you know?" and me sort of shutting down and grinding my teeth lest I throw the phone through the window or bark at him or something equally wacky. I do a lot of grumbling. "Nicoooole...you're not smiling...I can tell." Yeah, no shit Sherlock. Of course I'm not smiling. You sold the car I freaking wanted. I wasn't going to smile for him - I really didn't give a shit. So I snorted instead. I did, I really did. He took it as me falling asleep and thought it was funny when I just wanted to hang up the phone and kill something. It was a mix of getting screwed out of yet another car that I wanted, and the fact that now this whole car business had to go on for longer, and time was running out on the insurance-tax thing. So I hung up the phone and because the punching bag wasn't hung up I kicked it, got on the treadmill, and was on there for another 4 miles. When I got off I elbowed the bag a few times and kicked it a couple more. What I really wanted to do was break something, just for the satisfaction of shattering something, doing destruction.

I'm beginning to think I have unrequited rage.

So I've driven at least 6 cars that I can remember in the past however many days. A Nissan, Chrysler, Dodge, Pontiac, Ford, Ford, and I've been picked up in a purple PT Cruiser. The Nissan was a 2001, Sentra, tan, and drove nice except it had 130,000 miles on it and the check engine light was on and no one knew why. Of course, I say I like that one and everyone is all over me like a flock of hungry geese trying to get me to buy it. But there's something about the milage that doesn't sit well with me. And I'm through with not trusting my gut. I've done it enough to realize that it's a bad idea, so I refuse to settle and get it. Call me stupid or whatever you want, but I won't do it. Besides, I've had plenty of my personal car boys telling me I can do better. I agree.

Onto the next weird stage in car searching - a few days ago I got a phone call from a different guy than my car guy. Fast-talking, no details over the phone (or at least he skipped around them), the guy that was made to sell cars. I'm not stupid. Everyone sees me and because I look younger than I really am, I'm a girl, and I have blonde hair, they think I'm a total idiot or will get all excited about a Sebring convertible, even if it's on a rebuilt title. ... Riiiiight. Boy was this guy a salesman. It was so painfully obvious. I wonder if I should have mentioned that my dad used to sell cars. I know how this crap works. Or at the very least, I know enough not to be a total idiot. I think I'm becoming a hassle to them, but I honestly don't care anymore. Drop me. It doesn't matter because the 30 days is up so the insurance isn't going to pay for any car taxes anyway. I could go on and on about these guys, pulling the exact stuff dad told me about, but I think I'm going to stop. All those dealers talk too much too. You get the idea.

I did another 4 miles today. I was flustered when I got home yesterday. I'm starting to consider limousine service, or maybe a horse. I told Nick to go ahead and have a party looking for a car down there because the choices are infinitely larger and better than up here. It's slim pickings up here. I've been to Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, Autotrader, and Carsoup so many times I'm starting to confuse the cars I've looked at with the ones I haven't looked at.

To the next subject, Halloween is coming up, and everyone who remembers my dress from the first Charity Ball dance, yeah, I'm wearing that again. You've seen it several times actually - FOI, Charity Ball, Halloween (Rocky's baby, ohyeah!). I thought about getting pointy ears and getting all elvish, but I decided to be lazy and the Carnivale masks that are out there suck too, so I'll just get dolled up and dole out candy that way.

Oh, and the squirrels ate our pumpkin lid. Dad thinks it might be a rabbit or two, but I can't see them getting up onto the little table the pumpkin is on without tipping the pumpkin over while going for the lid. On the other hand, I don't see a squirrel hauling off the lid. It's hard to say. When we used to live in Champaign, squirrels would basically eat the entire pumpkin. I never knew until that point that squirrels enjoyed pumpkin. Which isn't fair because there's a house out in the country we pass by on our way to Champaign and they have 10 or so pumpkins hanging around and they're untouched. So he's a lidless pumpkin now.

Mom got Halloween candy yesterday. We've already started eating it. I have to restrain myself from going nuts on it, but I feel like Lula and need to freaking eat some. No, you know what? All this Stephanie Plum stuff, I want doughnuts like there is no tomorrow. I'm sure Sandra and Stacey can relate in some way. I mean, I want doughnuts. I have this loony craving for doughnuts now. But if you are any kind of Halloween candy passer-outer, you'll buy chocolate. Not that some of the hard candy isn't good, I enjoy butterscotch stuff and Smarties and bubble gum as much as the next girl, but it seems like everyone steadly began opting for the cheap-ass candy and no one gives out the good stuff anymore. Be kind to the kids on Halloween; give them real sugar. Currently we have a mix of different Snickers in the cauldron (yes, cauldron), Reese's cups, and Twix. We may have to buy more.

I guess this whole thing is long enough. I had to finally get on and say something. I feel better today after the 4 miles. Though I still need to get out of here. I've been doing nothing but reading, reviewing the stuff I've read, reviewed more stuff, eat, sleep, and watch the occassional television show. I'm starting to dream of when Christmas break rolls around and dad and I can go cross country skiiing in Colorado or something like that. I'm a little insane. Sure, I may not have shaved my legs in a week (ok, maybe longer), but I made up for that fact because they smell like strawberry daiquiri. My hair is super long and I probably won't cut it until spring, as is my normal fashion, and then I'm going to seriously chop it all off, go for layers, and curl it out so it looks super-cute.

Here are a few facts for you to chew on:

Fact: I'm on book #11 of the Stephanie Plum series

Fact: I've reviewed over 30 things this month; a flippin' record for me.

Fact: I'm going to read a K.I.S.S. Kama Sutra book in exchange for free ice cream. That's the deal - that guy in Alaska better come through with it.


Hellz Yeah Halloween Candy Rulez!
Nicole
Hmm. So my father reads my blog.

Just so you know I'm not changing anything. Heheh. I'm not going to completely censor myself simply because words in the English language don't bother me. They only have power that people want them to have.

Moving on...

Yes, I know. I haven't updated squat. Guess I'm lazy. Guess I don't think it really matters much. I don't know how many of you read this, or how many bother to look. I know a certain number of you do, though how well you comprehend it, I wonder. *lol* Anthony - I don't have a car anymore, how on Earth am I supposed to visit anytime? Do tell. =P

I thought I had a lot to say, but I'm getting lazy again and have been doing multiple things at once online, so naturally all the words I had in my brain eked out my ears and I'm left thinking about what I want to eat for dinner tonight. I'm leaning towards chicken pot pie. Mmm...that sounds good...

*ahem* I'm not working. I don't have a car. I'm looking for a car. My car salesman is supposed to call me and he's even offered to come get me. Said he got in some new trade-ins just recently. So far he hasn't called yet and I know I have three books at the library hanging out and I would like to go get them except I can't drive there (mom's at work with el car) and it is just too freaking cold for me to bother walking there. Bike? Mm, I could. I'd have to take dad's bike because I think the back tire in mine has just about had it. I hop on and look back and it's pretty much in the throes of "Aaaagghhaghghggguugh..." Not so great. Besides, like I said, it's cold. A wet fall day if I ever saw one. Freckles is still a bouncing pile of fur and feet and wants to go out even if it's raining. I'm beginning to wonder if she grasps the whole getting wet concept these days. She's going deaf - unless the possibility of her getting older and just deciding not to listen to us anymore is more likely. Never know with that kook.

So my main goal right now, aside from hoping that once I get a car I don't have any Stephanie Plum incidents, is to try and stay busy and feel productive. Having said that, I don't think I've read more books in a single month than I have in a long time. Maybe 7th grade. I'm going overboard on the Epinions because I earn a small amount of money there and doing this is the only way I can feel like I'm doing something as opposed to sitting on my ass watching TV, which I can't do anyway because it gets boring and there's never anything on. Instead I read. Or in the most recent case, re-read. Since I have to occasionally wait for a Stephanie Plum book to arrive at the library, I've decided to finally tackle the 57 Fear Street books hanging out on my closet shelf. I'll read them, review them, and then sell them all on Ebay. I've already managed to sell my MK stuff there, though being new to the system I got much less than I was wiling to sell for, but oh well. Now I'm selling all my starter kit stuff and I refuse to receive less than $100 for it. So yeah. Epinions up the wahzoo.

Right. I guess that's about it. I'm thinking my car guy isn't calling. I guess I should make some dinner, and I'll probably end up reading another Fear Street book tonight and filling my head with enough weird thoughts that I sleep like crap yet again. Gawd that sucks... I haven't had a good night's sleep for 4 or 5 days now. Keep tossing and turning. No clue why.

I want Halloween to hurry up and be here...

Oh, and who watched the UFC last night? Huh? Huh?? Probably just Derek. No big deal - just that it kicked ass is all. Haha. I love Tito. Got it all on tape too. Except I just did that since mom was working and so I recorded it for her because she likes UFC just like me. Stacey doesn't...I don't quite know why. She enjoyed Fight Club. I guess she just liked the concept of it but the actual idea of guys beating each other up freaks her out. *shrug* Your loss freako! Thanks to all for the birthday wishes, too. I was going to blog about that, but it was kind of depressing what with the court date and the fact that the icing we got for the cupcakes sucked butt. Who the hell knew there was gross icing out there? It's not like we bought weird icing, it was just white icing - how does that get screwed up? I need to buy myself more chocolate...


A review a day, if not more.
Nicole
Indeed, where has Nicole been? What's she been doing? Why hasn't she updated anything?

In truth, I've been sitting on this story for a while. It happened starting September 14th, the ultimate culmination occuring 8am on the 15th. I wrote all this the 16th. I think it took me a while to post it because a part of me was waiting for this whole thing to be over (as in, the insurance guy fixes everything, I get whatever $$ they can give me, and walla, done), and another part just not ready to sing it to the world. I can't say why.

But anyway, here it is, without any further ado, why I've been absent, and what happened to me in Corn and Cars.
Nicole
o.O

As I speak I'm looking at jobs online. The publication place never called back. In fact, I've called them twice. They say they're still looking. For what, I don't know. More people to interview I guess. So naturally I've had it with being patient (I mean, it's been three weeks) and I really want some kind of income, if anything just to make me feel better and productive, so I'm out looking. The thing is, I don't want to deal with people, or at least deal with them as little as possible. But you all already knew that. Yes, inevitable, says the world, like so many bad guys to the good guy. Smith and Neo come to mind, actually. Hmm. Anyway, I could go back to Dick's, easy as pie. But I really do want to do something different, even if it is just retail in another store. Gordman's comes to mind there. Or maybe Kohl's. Hmm. In reality the prospects are just really...they suck monkey butt is what they do.

I have a theory that there are places that don't want people with a college degree. Why? Duh, because then they think they can get away with paying you less. With a degree it's like you're stamped to get a decent amount of money, whereas say you only have a high school diploma, well, suddenly you're not so awesome now are you? And it's Champaign. The people here have this attitude like they rock out so hard core when in fact, uh, they don't. I might have mentioned all this before. I don't remember. My memory is going from all this nonsense I have to do. Online, offline, application here, application there, etc. etc. I threw up my hands today and just called an employment placement agency. The chick was obviously taking a look see in her computer (could hear the clicking of keyboardness) and started talking about picking corn. At first I thought, "Oh geez, honestly..." but then considered, "Well, I like being outside, doing my own thing away from masses of people and bitchy customers, and $8.50 an hour for pluckin' corn isn't too bad. I'm game." I am game. Unless Sandra emails me about the horrors of corn picking, in which case I might decide suddenly it doesn't sound so cool. But then again I'm not exactly normal - I'm not a city girl (hell no) but I'm no country girl either. I'm like a weird thing in the middle. I don't even have attributes of either one. Hmm.

¬_¬ Bugger.

Ah well. I have a credit card - did I ever mention that to anyone? Yeah. There's nothing on it though. Haha. I plan to use it for gas only. Speaking of gas, it's magical how the prices have gone down, eh? Lucky me - I get a car and boo-yah! Gas is down to $2.51 here, so said the gas stations today. I apologize to those of you in bigger cities in the case that you're getting pounced upon and having your wallet stolen every time you gas up. In Champaign it was $2.53 so weirdly enough it was actually cheaper here. I think we should throw some kind of party if it ever reaches below $2.

So dad is all gone. Off to Pennsylvania where he backpacks to work out and is happily working away in his program, talking about publication with the big boys etc. He calls every day. Poor bloke. He emails like there's no tomorrow either. Guess he's bored down there...or over there. Pennsylvania isn't exactly "down" now is it? Nicole needs to learn her geography all over again. Dur. He keeps telling me not to worry about the job thing, and when I think about it, isn't exactly worry. More like stressing. I feel useless to my family, just some slug sucking off them. Nicole's a little parasite. Gross. Jobs, jobs, jobs, yadda, yadda, yadda. Let's move on to something else for all your sakes. Why can't I ever write anything fun like Stacey? She writes about Mac vs. PC commercials and all I've been doing is bitching. Puke.

I've gotten into contact with a guy named Tim who lives in Champaign and whom I basically know nothing about aside from the fact that he was referred to me by a guy named Jason who was referred to me by a woman named Alison who's the head honcho (at least of the poetry program) at Carbondale. *whew* Anyway, Jason said I should get in touch with him since he's applying for grad schools as well and we should exchange work. Makes sense to me, especially if I'm going to have to create literary short stories (the utter opposite of what I so enjoy doing). Might as well have someone out there to give them some kind of critique. (Hey, I smell like soap. Mmm...). Might meet up with him sometime after all this job nonsense and have a cup of coffee (or a frap...or a big cookie - I've been a cookie whore as of late) and talk writing and grad stuff. He's curious about my rise and downfall in the world of graduate school. Haha. At least it's interested someone. Maybe I could write a short story on that.

On the list of other good things includes the approach of my 300th review at Epinions. I only have 7 reviews to go. Hooray beer! I mean, hooray! Or maybe hooray margaritas since we still have some margarita mix left and now mom bought some margarita glasses. That's right Stacey - mom bought margarita glasses with that gift card. Wahaha. Oh and how I want the shelves I saw there when we went. Pier 1 had the greatest shelves and they were on sale 50% off. Aaaaaggghhh I wanted them so bad. It's not often I go nuts over something. Sandra and Katie were around when I had my sudden button-down shirt fetish. Megan was there when I regretfully did not buy the utterly sweet Old Navy messenger bag that I didn't think I'd use and then found out it would have been AWESOME the very next semester for my Writer's Crawls. Or my limited $100 spree which entailed a brown phase. *pauses* I think that's about it. Anyway, it's been a while since I've wanted anything that badly. But naturally, my buyer's sense came up.

"Do you need those shelves?"
"...No. But they're so pretty..."
"Don't you already have a shelf?"
"...Yeah. But I could put it in the computer room and ditch that old ghetto one."
"But do you really need them? Are you really willing to pay all that for them?"
"...Kinda. I could put it on my credit card."
"And then pay it back with what? You have no income."
"...I could have mom get it for me as a graduation present..."
"Does she honestly have the money for that?"
"......"
"......?"
"Well yeah, I guess you're right. What with dad in school and her stuck at Walgreens...but it's not fair! I haven't gotten anything yet and I'm going to pay back the $2,500 for the car!"
"..."
*sigh* "Fine. I know."

Bugger. :(

The other good thing includes the sale of two books on Half.com totaling $41.75. And cookies. I made cookies last Friday during the fun-time Stargate goodness and I'm going to make them again tomorrow. Not to mention that I ate German chocolate cake tonight along with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream by Edy's (just a little). *pokes tummy* I am like a crack addict. I'm more relaxed when stuff like that is in the house and I know I have access to it at the drop of a hat. Like at school - easy access didn't always mean total indulgement - er, except for that whole Vermonty Python/fudge cow thing. Yeah, that was a little overzealous. I might have worried Derek. Haha.

So how does Nicole stay sane? Chocolate, sugar, the simple joys of life like watching the clouds, growing things, hummingbirds (that chase the bees away from the feeder - that was funny), and people who make me happy. Two noteworthy mentions - Stacey's blog and Derek's "suckosity." I'd be even happier if I got to hang out with everyone on Saturday, but apparently someone had to go and cancel. No names will be named. 0XD

And I'm very disappointed that Dane Cook's next movie stars him and Jessica Simpson.

Bugger. >.<


I need to redo my nails.
Nicole
I'm better now.

I had my breakdown early Sunday (and then the next morning after dreaming my dog had died) so all my rage and whatnot has leaked out. So I'm back to normal - I don't hate my car, I finally got into contact with the company I want in on, my glories are doing their damnest to make a comeback, among other things.

Good times.

The car. The dealership called me a few days ago to set up a check up on my car, and I took it in and got a new battery out of it (no charge - sha-zam. Though I did sort of wanna go "HA!" to them, but I was normal so I didn't) and everything else checked out fine. The breaks aren't an issue, though the car is a little shuddery when slowing down. It's not the breaks, it's just the fact that the car is 6 years old. The thing that does bother me the most is how iffy it is in the wind. Seems like the wind pushes it around more easily than it should and that makes me a little wary. Oh! Good lord, and the blind spot is a little larger than I'd first noticed. Or enough at least that on Wednesday I almost lane-changed into someone. Fucking NOT cool. You know, I don't even think the guy noticed. Freaked me out though, so I'm going to be an extra paranoid driver when I have to change lanes or pass someone now. Joy. Still, it's a pair of shoes. What's that mean? I mentioned last time it would be like a pair of shoes I bought - sucky at first, but I'd get used to it. It's as I predicted. I'm slowly getting used to it though it hasn't totally sunk in that this is my car. I'm still distanced from that since I guess it's not what I would have gone with from the start, but as usual, oh well. It's something and it gets me from A to B and we haven't gotten to the resentment point that the vacuum and I have, and I don't think that's going to happen. I told the car I'd be good to it if it was good to me, and so far it's holding up it's end of the bargain, so it's cool. Car situation: A-Ok.

I called the company again, and this time the person I wanted to talk to wasn't in a meeting, but neither were they at their desk. Ugh. But five minutes later I got a call. I might have noticed (says the person) that the ad is still in the paper so they're still checking things out. Um ok. This is Champaign - how many people do you think fit the bill? Hire me already! I'm a hard worker and I want to do this! I wish they just knew that I'd be great for them. So I'm still waiting. But I figure at least by me calling they know that I want to freaking work there. In other areas, I'm pondering joining Mary Kay again now that I can transport myself, or just going to a company and having them hire me out to temp jobs and all that since who knows how long we'll be here and such?

And on that note, dad is off and in Pennsylvania already. He left yesterday for his little apartment, calling after reaching every state. I got him plenty of goodies on his computer to listen to (including a plethora of songs from The Blues Brothers - which I'm listening to as we speak). I was up till 4am the other day doing it. Nyahahaha! But now we won't see him until November. Bums me out but at the same time it's not too bad. Love my dad and all, but there are a few perks to him not being here. Chocolate. Lack of TV/news. Lack of errands to run. Lack of being told I need to do this and that and feeling freaked out and rushed. I did get all bummy when he left because I think mom was getting teary eyed and I knew that he was going to really miss her (heck, we go to Colorado and he starts missing her even though he bitches about her doing this and that when he's here...whatever). I think as time goes by he just wants to be by her as often as possible. Getting older and all that. But what do I know - I'm just guessing. Anyway, it's just us now and the house is getting looked at again on Saturday. I'm making cookies Friday night because I've had a craving for fresh cookie dough and cookies straight out of the oven since a few weeks ago.

Another thing about dad being gone - we can keep the clutter to a minimum. Mom and I went on a cleaning spree yesterday. I did most of the computer room (have yet to do the counter here), fixed up my room since dad took the small bookshelf and so we moved the tall one up there, mowed the front lawn (Ashley did the back - in like, 5 minutes. It's crazy how fast she does it, and it's not a small yard either). So our house is spiffied up, dusted, all that. Needs vacuuming and a few more things - oh, and I need to till up the dirt where the pool was and we need some grass seed to put down... I have a plethora of things I need to do and haven't done just yet. Random stuff keeps getting in the way, but it happens. So much to do, and it's already September. Man, the last weeks of August went by WHOOSH! Speaking of September, who wants to give me all the details about this September 9th Tailgate? I hear Anthony is in charge, but I don't have the boy's email. Either way, I do plan on coming (I'd have to have the excuse of either dying or someone I know dying not to come now, what with transportation and all). Besides, I've been told so. According to Derek's last little post in my bloggy here, "Be there or suck." I fuckin' almost died laughing.

At least I'm back in my normal mood again. That makes me happiest.

*rocks out to Blues Brothers music* "Bend over, let me see you shake a tailfeather...do the twist!"


Begone Clutter!
Nicole
What the hell is today? Sunday?

*cue exasperated and agitated growl*

This whole Penn State thing is fucking up my world and essentially the worlds of everyone around me. It's great in the end, but so far it's pretty much caused us nothing but grief. Shall I tell the tale of the buying of the car, or the coming death of my Morning Glories? The disappearance of money from my savings account, or the constant stress in my stomach that makes me want to throw up and random intervals?

I am not a happy camper.

Let's start from the beginning. I last left off the day after Monday, when all was fairly good. Please note I still have not heard back from the publishing place, but I will get to that.

Basically, we brought mom in to test drive the three vehicles we'd decided to choose from. A black Saturn Ion, silver Saturn L300, and a red Chevrolet Tracker. All for good prices considering their milage (which was not much), year, and all that. Soon it was down to the Tracker and the L. The Tracker was cheaper, had a little more milage, but still in good shape. I liked the Tracker; I could see myself driving it, though it needed new breaks. Mom liked the L, but she's sort of biased towards cars and whatnot, whereas me and dad not so much. However, it had gone from dad getting a new car and me buying the Isuzu and all that entailed, to me taking over entirely and getting a car myself - just had to wait for a job. Well, that wasn't happening, but I was still going to get the car because I know if anything I'll just skip over to Dick's Sporting Goods and hop on there. They're always in need of some decent workers. But to the point. We're ready to get the Tracker. I'm excited because I'm getting something I like, it's not through the roof, and we can finally be done with all this car shopping nonsense. After all, dad's leaving Sunday (that was to be today, but I'll get to that in a bit too) and we won't have any more time to do this crap.

The salesguy is a nice guy and since it's Saturn they're supposed to be all straightforward yadda yadda. Of course, the guy's still gonna be trying to sell whether or not he can jack around with the price, but we know this. Dad used to sell cars anyway so it's nothing new to him. However, before he gets the chance to get us all comfy and ready to shell out money and all that, some lady breezes in, starts snapping up the paperwork, says something about St. Louis and says for us to come into her office. I didn't know what the hell was going on, but let me tell you this - the sales guy looked a little "..Whoa, wait, wtf?" and her demeanor just was a bad omen. She wasn't being bitchy, but right away I just knew it.

"This is not going to end well."

You know, the whole, "I have a bad feeling about this" thing, yeah, big time. Basically, she already settled in her mind what we could afford before us telling her what our plans were, she was obviusly working for herself, was rather distant, winced about stuff (you know, in that "Ooh, I don't know" kind of way which made no sense and was not cool), and in gerenal, was getting dad in a bad mood really fast - it was obvious and if that woman had any sense whatsoever she would have known. Apparently dad had caught what she'd said initially, which was something about her having to go to St. Louis and pretty much wanted to do this and get things overwith to be on her way. Not a good choice when we're buying an $11,000 vehicle and you're being a snot. The warranty on the Tracker was up and so she offered a brand spanking new one for four years - for $2,500. Not so great. How about two years? $2,000. Wtf?

Needless to say, she was working all this for her benefit, and we basically walked out. I could see the sales guy out of the corner of my eye spot us, looked a little freaked out and start toward us, but we weren't stopping and left. I guess he decided it wouldn't be a good idea to chase after us. I knew he would call the next day after whatever'd happened cooled down. He did and dad promptly informed him of the nonsense we'd dealt with. He tried to smooth it over, but to no avail. But it was Thursday when he called. And guess what we were doing? We were in another dealership for a good portion of the day.

Okay, now I want you to understand something. For those of you who've never seen me mad, count yourself lucky because I turn into an utter bitch. I've freaked a few people out. I woke up irritated. When I'd gotten home after the Tracker incident (since I knew we weren't going to get it) I was very unhappy and was getting so worked up that I ran on the treadmill when we got home at 5pm right before dinner and I seriously overdid it because then I was hacking my guts out later, but I didn't give a shit. So I woke up irritated and I knew we had to go car hunting again and I really didn't want to. At all. Getting your first car is supposed to be fun, perhaps a little tiring and maybe annoying, but when it's your first car, it's supposed to be cool, right? Sure. Whatever you say kids. So once more, it's 9am, and we're out and about, and I'm trying not to talk a lot because if I do it's just going to come out in ugly sarcasm in a flat tone and just overall pretty nasty. Dad had already tried to make things up to me the day before by buying chocolate (which I didn't even eat until 4 hours later, if you can believe that), but that just made me more irritated because I wasn't mad at him, it wasn't his fault she was fucking stupid. And when I'm angry I just like to be left alone to stew that way I'm not a bitch to people and then start feeling worse.

But to get back to the story. We get into a random Kia Sportage, 2001 with close to 81,000 miles on it, ready to test drive it - and it doesn't even start. I decided then that aside from God's commandment of "Thou shalt not have a boyfriend" (tried that twice and look what happened - breaking commandments is bad), now tacked on is "Thou shalt not have a car." This not-starting thing did not make me like the car, naturally. After a jump it worked, but to be honest, I was pretty much in the mood of "Fuck today, and fuck this car." I was really, really bad. I don't think I've ever been more upset in my life. After test driving it the salesman proposed that since I had to go to Parkland to drop off Ashley I go ahead and take it there. I must have said "No" or some varation thereof about ten times to him and dad. Take it there and let it sit for an hour? Was I comfortable with that? No. Uh, no. No. $@#%& NO!

I ended up with the keys shoved in my hand and driving it to Champaign anyway. Dad kept asking me if I hated the car. I kept saying, No, it wasn't that. In truth, a part of me did hate the car because it wasn't anything near what I'd ever pick out for myself. The cup holder is in the shittiest place ever, and if what I drink doesn't condensate all over my controls, it's going to block them. The breaks were shuddering. It's a little floaty in the wind. It had double the miles of the Tracker. I don't personally know how good Kia is. Even though it's about the same size as the Tracker, I feel like a soccer mom driving around a van. It's tan. It took me about 10 minutes to get the seat where I wanted it and get comfortable. I kept getting rugburn on my right elbow when I got in and rubbed it on the seat fabric. There's no CD player and no cruise control and I don't even own any tapes to put in the tape player. The locking control has four buttons on it and only two of them actually do something (who the hell makes this shit?). And yesterday it took my sister and I about 5-10 minutes to figure out what was wrong with the back since it wouldn't close and latch unless pushed hard from just the right spot. So yes, a part of me has major issues with this. For the entire day yesterday I was on the verge of tears. I nearly cracked twice in the middle of the dealership just sitting there. I kept hearing from dad, "You do like it right? Is this okay? I don't want you to be forced into buying something you don't like," and though, yes, in essence, it's okay for just $7,000, I wanted to yell

WILL YOU SHUT UP?! QUIT TELLING ME YOU DON'T WANT ME TO FEEL LIKE I'M FORCED INTO BUYING THIS WHEN I AM!

And I was, really. Our options were gone. I wasn't going to have the resources and skill to go mosey on out and buy something for myself. I don't know enough to keep from getting screwed. I was just not excited about this car - at all. I couldn't get into it. I just knew that it and me were going to end up resenting each other the way I hate our vacuum. It never does anything it's supposed to when I use it and I'd love nothing more than to take it out like in Office Space and beat it to shit with a bat.

Now I don't want you guys to get the impression that I'm not grateful for a new car (or in my case a car) because it's not a bad little vehicle, they spiffied it up real nice for me (no gas, but oh well, fine), they fixed up the breaks (just as long as they don't fucking die while I'm on the highway and I crash) and the battery is cool, just needed some charging (still wasn't jazzed even after hearing that anyway) and the entire car is paid for and in my name. This means I owe dad about $2,500 as I pulled $4,000 from my near $5,000; I subsequently had to downgrade my savings account to just a regular one that didn't pay out as much so I didn't have to pay penalty fees. He did offer to shave off maybe $1,000 from that as a graduation present since I never got anything, but I declined. Yeah, I know, shut up, you guys think I'm nuts. But that's how ugly I was yesterday - I declined paying less money for the simple fact that I refused to have this part of this car payment as a graduation present. Graduation presents are supposed to kick ass, correct? This does not kick ass and I stand by my decision and will not go back on it. They can think of something else, though it is likely that in our present situation that I will never get anything (wouldn't be a surprise anyway, coming from the girl who got hand me ups from her little sister). C'est la vi.

It will take me a while to get into this. Presently it's like that pair of brown shoes I bought freshman year - I regretted buying them because they were cheaper by $10, but still cute, though not as cute as the ones I really wanted, and then they ended up killing my the backs of my heels but I was like, "Nope, I bought these and dammit, they're going to fucking work or else." They're fine now. It took a while of careful lacing and walking, but after a year or so they finally got to a point where they seldom bothered me and finally now they don't. So this car and I are going to get along or else. I'm just pissy because the whole experience was bad, and I'm still really pissy because I never got the chance to either A.) cry until I ran out of energy to do so or B.) beat the fucking shit out of something. So I'm still wound up.

Other news that didn't help any of this, dad's car started wacking out and smelling like gasoline when starting up and got progressively worse. I called the place that interviewed me on Friday but the person I wanted to talk to was in a meeting so I left my name. Then I had to leave yet again due to the car situation and when I returned, apprently the phone had rung two seperate occasions but no message was left. If it was them, more reason for me to be irritated. This weekend my sister and Nick came up. That's not a bad thing, but since Nick is Mr. Fix-It, suddenly dad wants to fix everything and use Nick for his knowledge and help. So he goes from making me fix the lightbulb in the kitchen that I can't even remotely reach even with a ladder to the guy who can fix everything. A part of the fence is weirded out so they fixed that. I have Morning Glories I've been growing there the past few years and they were pulled down so they could do that. Then dad walks in and tells me I just need to put them back on the fence. Do you know how improbable that is? There was nothing to hang them on! I had to pull half of them out and I'll bet money that another good portion of them is going to die and hence our fence will go from looking fine to looking like shit and I'll have to pull more of my lovely glories out. It's just the little things are drving me utterly insane. Tor needs to hurry up and reply, tell me I'm published, and I need to get famous and rich so I can shower my family with plenty of money and move my ass to Colorado to cool down.

I've been overdosing on chocolate and sugar hardcore too. The last time we went out (because more people have been seeing the house so we have to leave again with the dog and OMFG it can be a nightmare because half these people aren't even giving us one day's notice like they're goddamn supposed to) was to a smorgasbord and I was like "Fuck it" and just went nuts on dessert.

So I need a week to either cry, kill something, or immerse myself in anything but stress that's been making my stomach cramp up and me all nauseous for the past several days. I just want my job - I want my little cubicle where I can work on a manuscript. I would be so happy just to do that, 8-4 for five days a week, proofreading and being quiet. That's all I want right now. Is that really so much to ask?


Super Fuck Everything
Nicole
I no longer want to shoot myself in my face.

I’ve been wanting to post a blog for a while now, but I haven’t wanted to push my luck or anything. I’m vaguely superstitious sometimes, so I decided to hold off on putting anything up until after Monday.

What happened on Monday.

What didn’t happen on Monday?

We need to rewind a little bit first.

You already know that I’ve been putting in applications and looking for work. Right, nothing new. My little sister Ashley is enrolled in Parkland College and classes began on Monday. Ok, good. Mom and dad went to Pennsylvania again last week for the entire week, coming back on Friday. They looked at houses and apartments; dad needs an apartment to stay in until we go over to move in somewhere, and the houses they looked at were basically crap since the real estate lady worked for a high-end sort of place and knew that we couldn’t afford anything just yet, so she basically didn’t work very hard to impress them. Rude, I think, because for all she knows we could sell this bitch tomorrow and then have the cash to shell out for a nice house and make her a nice chunk of money, but hey, what do I know of customers and respect and timing? They got back Friday, and I was beginning to stress because a new car is indeed in the works, but dammit, I need a job in order to pay back school loans, not to mention that now it’s August so I’m getting really antsy. This will be the first time in my life where I don’t have to go off to school, so now I definitely need something else to do in order to stop mooching, as I’ve previously mentioned.

Moving on. Thursday, before mom and dad got back, I took Ashley to Parkland where we walked around in order to find all her classes and for her to get a better feel for the place. Good God…but I’ll get to that. It was also during that week I got a phone call from a company called Omegatype that publishes textbooks and that I applied to for an editorial position. They would like an interview. F-ing score. When? I say any day will do – it’s not like I’ve doing anything and school doesn’t start for dad yet so he’s not going anywhere. Monday at 2:30. Sounds good. Confirmed. Clunk goes the phone as I put it back. Huzzah. Drinks all around.

Monday. Here we are. Ashley’s school starts today and guess what? I get to wake up at 7:20ish and take her there for her 9am. Ugh. I am not a morning person. I never have been. I feel like I’m the one going to school. Not something I’m excited about. My hope at the time of forming my interview was that I would wake up at 9ish, shower, makeup, eat something, get ready, and leave at 1:50 to be sure I got there with a decent amount of time to spare. I absolutely abhor being late. Especially when it’s something I consider important. I was never nervous about the interview, which is ironic since I’ve only been to a total of 2 in my life. They can’t even really be counted because I was basically in with Dick’s and the interview was mostly a formality to be sure they were getting what they were promised, and the other was at the Daily Vidette and how serious can that be taken when they seem to be unable to proofread themselves out of a bag at times. I’d made a point to visit the building on Friday so I was sure I knew where it was.

Instead of my plan, the plan got out of my control and became this: I take Ashley to school, dad and I go get a car or at least look at a few more, we tool around until 1 when Ashley’s done, go get here, mosey around some more until 2:30 for my interview where I would be dumped off. Ugh. Not excited. I didn’t want to do all that, I didn’t want to be dumped off, and my biggest fear was that in cruising around Champaign or doing whatever errands dad had to do there, like get a new ink cartridge, we would get to my interview late and that would turn me into Grade A Bitch, and I mean hardcore. Especially since I was now pretty flustered. Most of my being flustered was for Ashley. We got there and I went in with her – yeah, I know we treat her like she’s not 19 and it’s pathetic, but you don’t know Ashley, so try not to judge. Besides, I’m always the one doing my best to get mom and dad to ease up off her and let her do her own thing since she is 19 for goodness sakes, but I can only do so much and for years I haven’t been here to tell them to back up, so yeah. Anyway, as I was leaving, I did something I don’t often do unless I’m stressed and worried tons, I asked God to keep an eye on her. I was uber worried she’s get lost, get flustered, and have an utterly horrid time there. It’s completely possible too, for anyone. Parkland is a maze, okay? A fucking maze. Even I didn’t know where I was going and got turned around half the time when we were there days before. But all I could do was hope that she’d remembered the route we mapped out from class 1 to 2 to 3 and be fine, call us when the day was done, and be comfortable with her new routine. She’d had hell to deal with in schools before, that’s why I was so worried for her – I don’t want her to deal with any more fucked up stuff.

Wishful thinking.

I voiced my freaked-outness to dad and he decided to forgo with the car shopping/buying. For that I was grateful, though since we bought cookies at Sam’s a day or so before, I was sucking those down like there was no tomorrow. I can’t even begin to guess how many cookies I ate yesterday. So I had time to gather myself together, do some reading, get gussied up appropriately, dress, exchange gym shoes for black heels, and around 12 something we left. We mosey into Parkland and I manage to get us where Ashley is and that’s when we get some shitty news. Someone somewhere fucked up, bad. Parkland didn’t get paid, Ashley’s classes got dropped. See, she was supposed to visit a room at some point to do a writing sample for them to pick an English class for her. She has a break between 11 and 12 so she went over there then, having nothing else to do. It was then someone behind the desk informed her of this. Cue more stress for the poor girl. Someone did manage to reinstate her, but that meant we had to pay that day or else. She managed to find her classes, which were in different areas now (God knows how – I thanked him later). So after wandering around a bit and getting bearings we visit the Business Office. The lady behind the desk has a bit of attitude and so that brings it out in dad. Joy. My feet fucking hurt because of all the ramps in the place – what I wouldn’t have given for stairs. I’m also getting all hot and gross and hope it doesn’t make me look too freaky for later. No one is a happy camper. We’d missed all the payment plan deadlines and now owed nearly $900 right then. Yeah, right. Dad raises some hell and then we march all over to a few other places to get some information.

I don’t know who went wrong. I don’t know where things went wrong. RTHS took their sweet ass time sending over Ashley’s transcripts so she couldn’t enroll until August 4th. All the dates were pretty much passed at that time, but the records show that the transcripts came in June. In short, I don’t know what happed, really. I just know that now, everyone’s basically pissed off. Ah, but moving along. It’s past 1 and we’re finally heading out of there. Dad and Ashley want food. Dad offers custard, but I’m not freaking hungry – at all. I’m hot, irritated, and have been wanting the day over with ever since 8am that morning. After they get food at Arby’s, we head to the interview. I’m happier because A.) I’m there and B.) I’m almost 10 minutes early. I head in, get greeted by two interviewers and the Vice President of the whole shebang and from the get go it already sounds like I’m hired. Again, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but the way things went, it just really seemed like it. But I’m not counting my chickens until they’re hatched, grown up, and laying eggs of their own.

The end of the interview basically meant the end of the day, or at least the totally bonkers part of it. The house was being shown at 7 that night still. So we had time to get home, eat, and then all of us went out with the dog to the lake near our house and waltzed around there for a while. It was a really good ending to a super crazy day. Cool air, grass, open space, fish swimming around in the lilies (or whatever they were). All was good. Then we went back, they were still at the house, so we went and got ice cream. Heh. All I’d eaten all day was a number of cookies, dinner (grilled salmon and a side dish), and then ice cream.

Today is an off day. I should nap I suppose, but I have laundry and I’d wake up grouchy or like I’d been shot with a horse tranquilizer so I’ll forgo the nap. The Parkland situation is still not awesome and we’re getting the car tomorrow (going to be a black Saturn Ion for about $12,000 with 13,000 miles I think – could be wrong on the milage) and it’s been decided that I’ll be driving it. Dad’s going to need the Isuzu for transporting his stuff to Pennsylvania, and if I do get a job, I’ve decided that I’ll make payments for the car and make it mine. I’m already dishing out $3,000 as it is (because originally if I didn’t take whatever we ended up getting car-wise, I’d pay that and take the Isuzu).

I’m beat. A few final notes and shout-outs to random people. No Stacey, I haven’t been playing any video games. I don’t feel productive when I do that – but once I get a job, then I will because I’ll finally be doing something. Ashley plays them too much and it just makes me go “Ugh” at the idea of doing the same, you know? Once I have a foot in somewhere, I’ll be comfortable enough to sit down after work and let my ass fill out while I play. And Kingdom Hearts is annoying the fuck out of me. I’ll probably move on to Prince of Persia. And I sold all the old Sega games except the system and the Sonics. To Sandra and Stacey – I’ve finished the first Janet Evanovich book; did it the last two days. I am highly amused, but I’ll have to order the next one from the library like I did last time. And Sandra, you need to visit Stacey’s blog to check on her cast list for the books and see if you approve, haha. Oh, to Stacey again, I rented Return to Me from the library too, but have yet to see it. Megan, you’ll have to be sure to let me know how your days at school go in your new position. To Jenni – where the hell are the baby pictures? To Derek – Bonnar and Griffin are going to fight again; that kicks ass. Anthony, what is all this shit I hear about you doing some tailgating thing and you not contacting me to invite me? I’m going to kick your ass next time I see you (or virtually if I’m online – wahah!). Shawn – you’re still mad because you’re ugly. Katie – you suck for never emailing me back, you bitch you. ;) To everyone else, love ya and hope your summer has been whomping butt and leaving behind the stress.

For some reason, I’m feeling rather vampiric today. Anyone else?


Additional Note: This was going to get posted at about 3 o’clock today, but then the A/C decided to be a bitch, Parkland’s online system is a goddamn joke, my damn dinner kept fucking up, and now I’m very hot and irritated. At least I’ll be driving a new (for me anyway) car tomorrow.
Nicole
I really wanted to post something yesterday, but was holding off out of respect for my dad. Now I've decided to go ahead and post and simply leave off certain bits of information. And about the title, I'll get to that in a bit once I've caught up.

*deep breath*

It was yesterday when the day started at 6:55am. Why? My dog woke me up. Ok, well, I'd been sleeping crappily anyway, so I was half-awake at the time as it was, so it wasn't too big of a deal when she came in and started fussing. She'd gotten stuck outside of mom and dad's room and of course she doesn't ask the alpha male for anything, and so if mom doesn't do something for her, she comes to me next, like a kid see-sawing from mom to dad about candy. Anyway, after being incoherent to dad, I went back to bed and didn't get up again until 10.

Two sausage patties and two over-easy eggs later, the phone rang, dad was on the treadmill, I got it, and skipping ahead, our real estate lady was going to show our house that day at 1 or 2. Oh joy. (to her credit, she'd tried to reach us twice, but was unable to get through - probably because dad was online downstairs where nothing picks up as opposed to upstairs) Our house, though in good shape, new oven and dishwasher and some paint jobs and all that, still has a few tweaks that needs attending to. Of course, having just slapped it up on the Century 21 site a day or so before, we'd hardly had the time to put in a new storm door, paint a small area outside, fix the wood tiles near the front door, and clean. Cue the mass hysteria.

I doled out the job of vacuuming to Ashley whilst I ran around and...well I'm not even sure what I did at that time exactly...I just remember running around like a chicken with my head cut off all morning. I did clean the stovetop, counters, kitchen area in general, threw a bunch of clothes away that had been sitting around unsold from the garage sale, and attacked our goofy little pool outside once dad was done cleaning it out. Ashley pretty much did everything I told her. We tidied up around the house, hid random items, I went bonkers in my room the second I had the chance, putting away my clothes from the day before from the drying rack, stashing my purse and a few knickknacks, under my bed, in my closet, under that birthday hat with the candles on it. Dad was Quikcreting cracks outside, a spot inside where the wood tile had to come up and the concrete had broken and gotten all loose, and then came the paint.

The day before we'd gone to Lowe's and gotten some paint. Dad picked it out. I was baffled. It was an odd sort of green color, one he claimed was going to go outside. Nothing outside was this color green, or remotely that color. No idea what the man was thinking. I made my confusion and doubt clear; "Green? I don't think that's the color outside dude." But to no avail. When we got home, well, I'm sure you can guess.

Anyway, back to what we were doing. Dad had found some paint that was a much milder green (sort of - it was lighter, but rather, ah, vibrant) and had set to painting outside our little doorside window. It didn't match much. I was ordered to finish (oh! That's what I did first that morning! Paint the mailbox, I remember now) and did so and then went about cleaning paintbrushes and yanking tape off of other painted areas inside the house (er, ok, just one spot on the other side of the glass) and remembered where the paint had come from. It had no relation to the outdoors, rather, some sponge painting mom had done in the bathroom. Oops. Ah well, our plan was to bust out the paint we'd used not long ago to patch areas in the house. It's basically the right color, and over the green paint, would work out nicely. And it does, in fact, as just several hours ago I hopped on out there and slapped up a fresh coat so now everything looks peachy (shut up, we all know it's not exterior paint, but we don't hide the details from possible buyers either).

While we're in the midst of our frenzy, our real estate lady calls again, and as I've left the phone in my room upon the initial frenzy, I'm spazzing about the house in search of it and don't reach it before the answering machine goes off, which is back downstairs, so I obviously don't get there in time, unless I want to hurl myself down the stairs and hope for the best. It's 12:50 and the message on the recorder says they'll be there around 1:30. Gyah. After some more bustle, I get dressed into something respectable instead of slobwear, and head out to inspect the green paint just as they pull up to mosey around the house. I'm pooped, dad's down where it's polar in the basement to cool off, and the dog's been put in her little kennel cage and we hope she won't freak out too much. I'm not exactly accustomed to being around while people are looking about my house. But we all chat - dad and the husband are chattering away, etc. etc. until 3:40 when the wife finally manages to break the two up and drag her hubby off.

The day ended at Applebee's with the news that prospects were good, but to keep an eye out in case not, you know, things like that. I never dreamed selling this house could crop up so quickly like that. Case in point, just today the first phone call I got was from an agent with a customer wanting to see the house tomorrow at 5. So I have to clean again, or at least spruce up. I'll probably have Ashley vacuum again for good measure. When the time comes we'll take the dog for a nice long walk. Or car ride. Whichever. She likes car rides so it doesn't matter.

And what about the phone call thing? Well I've already picked the dang thing up 6 or 7 times today. Mom and Dad are off to Pennsylvania once more to scope out living places for dad while he goes to school (or houses...or something, not entirely sure what their purpose is down there) so I have to manage all this craziness, which is fine. Cripes, even my grandma called today. A telemarketer, three calls (our real estate lady, dad, and the random one) to tell me about the 5 o'clock showing tomorrow. Blarg.

So once again, that's what's been going on in the life o'me. I'll bet none of you ever thought that when I started this blog it would turn into a play by play of my relocation to a state in the east. Hell, even I never imagined it would turn into that. How odd...

...I'm making beef fajitas tonight anyway.


OMFG stop calling me!
Nicole
How to start this blog?

I suppose I should start by coming right out and saying it: The house is officially up for sale. Yup, there's a sign in our yard and everything. Our agent came over today (while I was making bacon and eggs in my pajamas for heaven's sake!) and they chatted and talked and her husband helped fix a light dad had long since given up on and that I'd forgotten existed and were there until I came back down to make myself a miniature sub sangwich. (and no, that's not a typo)

Of course, that means major housecleaning. Housecleaning and often for people who decide to come strolling through. I'm going to have to organize my room again in some shape or form. And we need to sell more stuff too - chairs, a chest of drawers, the Nissan that's been sitting under the carport for so long it won't budge and will probably have to be towed out by whoever takes it. And then there's the stuff we won't bother trying to sell and instead will just put on the curb for a freesale. Freecycle.org digest here I come.

Before then, I've been running around, looking up job stuff and filling out applications and write, rewriting, and printing cover letters, tweaking resumés, and all that other nonsense. Let's face it - there are no decent jobs in this town. Clerks, secretaries, laborers, nurses - basically jobs that either aren't awesome and don't pay all that awesome either, or stuff for professions I have no relation to. So I guess my best bet is retail. Besides, I don't need a super awesome job if I'm going to move in however long it takes anyway. I did send off some stuff to flash around my skills for a spot I saw in the paper blaring "FREELANCERS WANTED" (sha-zam) and another for an editorial spot for a company that puts out textbooks. Then of course there's Borders and Barnes & Noble (who is hiring - sha-zam again; I'd like working there). I'm still not too keen on getting back into the working sector (naturallly) but I'd get to feeling real guilty real fast for living here and not offering anything at all. I admit to leeching from time to time, but I can't go on like that. Drives me nuts and it's not right. If I couldn't get a job, I'd redouble my efforts for publishing. I've taken a bit of a break from it now. Gets exhausting after a while. It's like studying and writing a paper since I've got my nose in books with a highlighter poised over the page and I need to check and recheck addresses, editor names, blah blah, until I realize I've been doing all that for two days in a row and I burn myself out. Speaking of which, I might send something else off today...but the rest of this is stuff for the other blog.

The weather hasn't exactly been agreeable either, but at least it's not been completely horrible. When it rains it's just normal rain - it's not coming down in sheets or flying sideways. It's been one of those days where even the dog lays around because there's nothing to do and she can't play outside. I've taken to reading a lot, myself. Actually, some of that is due to another publishing company. Their guidelines are very specific and they request the submitter read at least two books from a small list that they have (and not surprisingly, the library only had one, so I think I'll just say, "Screw it" and buy the other one) so as to get a feel for what they like, and then fill out a form, yadda yadda before even submitting. That way you can decide if your work really is the right stuff to send them. So far I'm still leaning towards "Um, yes," but I want to be sure and read this other book first, one specifically published by them.

And, in the end, should I end up jobless, dad has asked if I want to go with him for a week to Pennsylvania while he gets a bunch of junk and paperwork and other stuff together. Sure. Why the hell not? Especially if I don't have a job (which I really do need to have, actually, guilt or not, because I owe the government some cash). Get a feel for the layout of the place, things like that.

Ugh. I need some freaking chocolate.

But yeah, that's about the gist of things. And the car fiasco. Well, it's not really a fiasco. Just that dad will need a car and I'll probably need a car since we only have two at the moment and we'll all be split up depending upon jobs and such. Dad in Pennsylvania, mom will be working in the new Walgreens here in Rantoul (instead of the ghetto one in Champaign), and me, well, that's left to be decided.

And I'm starting to think this book search I might just dump and execute plan B at the library...

Thank God for the little bit of Linkin Park I put on this computer.

Our sign is not this nice - it's just one of the wire ones. =P

Edit 8/12: Actually, never mind. Ours is that nice now - some kid just put it into our yard...
Nicole
So dad's been really pissy today.

I don't know why, really. Something to do with mom he said. He tried to make me guess, saying it's the one thing that can get him all mad like that. I failed to guess correctly.

He's still pissy. I can hear him right now, banging around in the pans trying to do...something. Hell if I know. ...Hell if I wanna know. Either way, he's been like this all day, just bitchy and whiney. Heh, I could ask him if he's on his man period, but he might kill me.

So instead he did what he does best - get mad about everything and order everyone around. Naturally we do it because it's easier to hop to than to argue about it and just make the situation worse. So the house is all spic-n-span, the camping gear is all neat and tidy, everything is vacuumed, pool is refilled and covered, etc. etc. Since then I've been hiding out in my room because every time I'm around him he wigs out over something and that's no fun. Of course, hanging out in my room doesn't always work either since he can freak out anyway and yell about something to which he needs an answer or he'll freak out more. I'm thinking tomorrow I should go to Barnes & Noble to do some work, seeing as I've been at it all day (see other blog). However, there is a small problem with that since I've been planning to pull an all nighter tonight and do a bunch of reviews on music and books and movies, and basically anything I can get my hands on. I'm up to 271. I only need 29 more to hit 300. And why not? August is a good 300 mark. Don't ask me why, I'm just making this up as I go.

I forgot to mention at any point that the basement flooded again about a week ago when it rained (a.k.a. the sky opened up and went *barf!* all over everything). The street turned into a river and that was about when we realized there was a lot of water coming into the basement. However, because of last year's (was it last year? Well, whenever, you remember that story) flood, we were prepared. Pump, wet vac, (...is dad making cookies down there?? He's making something that involves stirring...I feel like saying pancakes but that makes no sense either since he was rooting around in the pan cupboard before) and dehumidifier. All of the above came in really handy about then. It wasn't half as bad as last time though - I'd say only about 50% of our basement - no, more like just 40% of it was affected. It didn't get two of the rugs (hooray!) and never made it over to the exercise equipment. It definitely didn't take us all day to clean up. More like an hour or two. Maybe that's another reason we should move...I have a few others recently popping up, but I can basically file them under Rantoul's stupidness so maybe they don't count.

Oh! The reason behind the flooding! Almost forgot. During the storm (and not long after I saw a bolt of lightening behind a large tree not a mile from our house - I subsequently turned off my computer and the other two) the power went out for just a second. Okay, maybe two. Either way, it was long enough for the city underground pump to shut off and not turn back on. Oh the joys of our city. I tell you, the street being a river - it came up over the sidewalk and started getting into our front yard there was so much rain. Ca-rayzee.

I still don't know what dad's making, and I guess I should head on over to the other blog to talk about the other things I've done today, but I'm getting tired of being on here so I might do that tomorrow. Who knows. You'll find out when you take note of the date and time at the bottom of it.

Pancakes? I have no idea.

Edit: It has something to do with the oven...
Nicole
July 15 - Par-tay. Of course, we bought too much food, the guy came up wearing sombreros, we killed Rico the piñata, had waterfights via tiny squirtguns, drank plenty of booze, and in short, got my dad utterly wasted to the point that he was in bad shape the next morning. I didn't get wasted because we ran out of margarita goodness...that and I was running around as the cook and burned my hand on the oven sober so drunk would have been a bad thing. It was freakin' hot too.

July 16-19 - Mom and dad head off the Penn State to check things out. I am left here with Ashley and we go shopping, see Pirates of the Caribbean (yeah, that's right, I saw it again, bitches), and in general laze around. I exchanged my Angels & Demons book while we were out too, so now I can finish that. We also got the soundtrack to Pirates (which I highly recommend, but then again, I'm a soundtrack freak); worth every penny.

July 20-present - That morning it was raining. I don't know how it was in other parts of the state, but here it was just basically the sky vomiting down on everything. I woke up thinking, "We shouldn't go today...we shouldn't go west. This is a bad omen. This isn't right." Of course, I convince myself that once I get out there everthing will be okay, blah blah blah.

Boy am I an idiot. Why do I never listen to myself? But hey, I wanted to go to Colorado dammit.

The plan was to leave that day around 6am and get to Gothenburg, Nebraska that evening. Uh huh. Sure. The Penn State thing threw a wrench into just about everything. Dad's already sick of driving, and he's uber tired, and we still have to pack the car, he has to get his junk together, though I put as much as possible together the day before. We didn't leave until about 4:30pm. Not the best time to leave. We drive until around 1am and find a place at 1:30 to stay. We head out the next day, still far from our destination, which we eventually reach around 5ish. It's a Friday, and for some reason this year, the place is packed with people coming out like us, or people from Colorado just out for a weekend of camping. There is nowhere to camp. Literally - all the campsites are full, tents, trailers, RVs, everything everywhere. It's bonkers. All the hotels are full, "No Vacancy" signs everywhere you look. We head out to another town about 12 miles away. "No Vacancy." More. Finally we find a place for $108 and drop it. Our plan; to go out early the next morning and snatch the first open tent site we see.

8am and we're tooling around Timber Creek in circles, looking for anyone who might be packing up. Eventually we vulture around a Missouri couple and stake our claim there. Dad is in not so great shape. Headaches galore. We amuse ourselves for the few days until the 24th when we are to head out again into the mountains, packs on our back, etc. So far, aside from simply being in Colorado, the highlight of the trip for me has been happily petting a forest ranger's horse. As agitated as he was, he seemed to enjoy my company.

Ready to go, we hike up 3 miles to a site called Twinberry and put up the tent. Dad made the mistake of asking for rain the day before, because as we're hanging the food (gotta hang it from a snagged tree in a spot where bears can't climb up and get it), it starts to rain. Then it gets harder. I notice the clouds and can tell that if we just hide out under the trees long enough, it will break for a period of time long enough for us to go get our rain gear and not get wet in doing so. Dad is impatient, so I run and get it. Sure enough, the rain soon stops, but it's too late, we're already wet, but at least we've got our gear so when it starts up again we won't get more wet. It's cloudy the rest of the day, breaks long enough for stuff to dry out, us to have dinner, and then for me to play around while dad hangs around in the tent, trying to cool off and wish his headache away.

The next day we wake up around 6ish to the pitter-patter of rain. I recall the day before when it did the same thing and then cleared up. Dad is in bad shape. I ask if he wants to go down today. "Yes." So we pack up when the rain stops. The weather wasn't the issue, because it was clear of rain (though still cloudy) all the way down the path. It was the altitude. Dad can't handle 10,000 feet anymore. He's always been able to sense it. I'm sure some of you would too, but for some reason I never notice it. Sure, I can breathe in and tell the air is thinner, but other than the annoyance of ear poppage, I don't notice any difference between this patch of land in Illinois and that patch of Colorado 2 miles above sea level.

The mosquitos are thick this year for some reason and are chewing me up, but I doubt they'd be around in our other tentsite, since it's much higher up, but I'll never know. Skipping ahead, we get to the car, pack our junk up, and head out of Colorado back to lower altitudes. I'm trying not to be all mopey, but it was really hard not to. I didn't blame dad at all, I mean, a person can't help it if the altitude doesn't agree with them. There aren't any pills for that. The only cure is to go down, and if you don't, you really could get into big trouble, or die. I was just irritated that after all that nonsense, we were going home already. There was no backup plan, the Penn State screwed up the timing, dad, and other things. I wasn't even really all that mad at that. I was mostly bummed that I was leaving Colorado so soon. God knows when I'll get to go back. For a while dad was trying to be nice and make it up to me in various ways, and I was giving him all I could in the ways of peppiness, but I was really to the point where you think, "Please, just stop trying to cheer me up because it's really not working and just making me more irritated. Leave me in my despair for a while - I'll come out of it on my own."

I was better listening to music you listen to when you're totally pissed off, driving through a storm with a decent helping of lightening, and later on when we found a place to stay (by then my head felt like it had something unpleasant trying to escape from it...go figure) with an indoor pool. I swam around for a while, exhausting myself and working off pent up energy that was meant for the hike and frustration that had built up from being unable to use it.

We drove all the way from North Platte, Nebraska to Rantoul yesterday. I really wish there was some kind of cancellation button (or maybe a "Fuck This" button) you could press in those types of situations and just *poof!* be back here again without the hassel of the downhike and drive back. So now I'm sitting here after checking my hundreds of email messages in my pjs still and wondering what to do next (after the next blog entry).

At the very least, I got a lot of writing done...

The Kraken!
Nicole
That's what I had for brunch today.

Actually they were just Eggos, but it sounds much more delicious describing them the other way. Eggos are so boring when they're just Eggos.

I've been meaning to post something for weeks now. I just haven't because (as usual) I'm lazy. Yeah, too lazy to get online, babble, and click a few buttons. Aren't I the pathetic one? It's not as though there isn't anything happening around here either. Sure, most of the time dad's simply watching TV, Ashley is playing video games, and mom is working, there have been diversions. If you haven't read The Critter Trap, it's up now and may amuse you to some extent. I'm trying to decide whether or not to bother doing a garage sale story because while it was just your basic garage sale, there were (naturally) elements of the weird surrounding it, extending two days after the sale itself. Items concerning the sale include tigers (not exciting as it sounds - they weren't live tigers mind you), kids, and one particular little girl that simply wouldn't go away. Perhaps if anyone jingles my chain and says, "I wanna read about it" I'll do it...otherwise it might not happen unless I get bored enough and decide anyone cares. After all, the sale was almost two weeks ago on June 24th.

Because I've been on an extensive Spring Cleaning (a.k.a. "We need to get this old shit outta here - seriously.") mode, I've been goofing around, trying to think of ways to ditch stuff we don't use/need and isn't worth keeping to sell or give away for free. People around here pick up anything if it's free by the way. So we had a huge box absolutely full of books that we didn't know what to do with. We only sold a minute fraction of what we had in stock during the garage sale, and since I knew mom probably wasn't motivated enough to find ways to rid herself of them, I had been pondering ideas on my own. Charity seemed the best option for the books, remaining games, and pethora of stuffed animals lurking about in the house. I'd managed to consolidate the karate gear and sports equipment into a large bag and a large box, and practically dragged dad down into the basement to give me the OK in trashing a ton of his Electrolux stuff. Electrolux, by the way, is the vacuum company dad used to work for. In the boxes were tons of plaques, awards, a trophy, yadda yadda yadda. He hates that company and so they were all pretty much useless. The only concern was whether or not the garbage men would take them away. They can be picky sometimes...which is weird because it's garbage. I mean, I can understand, you know, a couch or a large something-or-other, but a thrown out trophy? Come on. But I didn't need to worry too much because they took it all. Huzzah. Less crap to worry about/deal with.

Oh, the books. Right. Well I've recently gotten into looking over our ghetto little Rantoul newspaper and stumbled upon an article about the library needing books to sell and whatnot. I promptly took out a pen and circled it. Score. So on Monday I managed to needle mom into taking them over there (it was a two person job - I was the laborer and let me tell you, that was a big box and those books were freaking heavy - needed someone to open doors and things). Now all we have to do is get rid of all the crazy stuffed animals and old board games. While thumbing through one of mom's old magazines I found a tiny bit about disposing of old items for free without needing to really go anywhere - www.freecycle.org. Woot. So I went there and unless we find anything better, I'll see if I can't get mom into doing that with me. After all, I only own 1/3 of the stuffed animals in the house. Stacey's are not under my juristiction, the same with Ashley's, and I know she's eager to rid herself of some. Another idea, of course, is the infamous Ebay. But people like pictures and that's a bit of a problem seeing as we have no digital camera or a scanner. I guess we could just take pictures and then get them all on a CD, but I don't know how keen mom (or dad) would be on me clicking away. True, I could get a disposable camera and make a CD, but in the end most of this crap (more like 90% of it) isn't mine - I'm just really into helping get extra uneeded stuff out of the house. I'm not a fan of clutter.

Aside from junk, birds flying into my window (didn't mention that? Well, that's all there is to it - they see a tree in the reflection of the window and *bump!* to which my response is always "OMFG!" because I don't ever expect it), my dog going deaf (she so is), my chocolate withdrawl (I'm out of Nuggets), the looming house party on the 15th (Mexican themed), and my scheming to get more Ergo Proxy, there's the other thing. The Penn State thing.

"Penn State?" you ask. Yes, Penn State.

If we want to get technical, it really has nothing, or at least very little, to do with me. After all, I am 22, independent, and could simply strike out on my own. The Penn State thing is this: My dad is at U of I in the Special Education Dept. However, they don't have a specific program, and it just happens to be what dad wants to focus in on. Instead he's weaving about, getting this and that done, until one day one of his pals from graduate school during his Master's search contacted him and told him about how Penn State has the program he wants, how it rocks out, and other good things. From there things have basically snowballed and now he's in contact with some of the higher ups in that program. Now they wouldn't be bothering with a 54-year-old guy who has a family and would have to move etc. etc. if they weren't interested in him to a large degree. You'd think they'd be going after younger kids, you know? So it's an interesting little spectacle. And me? Would I go with? Well that's interesting too. I have to decide if I want to try out again for grad school, which I may, and dad mentioned that Penn State has a creative writing program. Intriguing, to be sure. Why would I bother? No offense to my fellow Illinois friends, but you're all aware on how much this state bores me. Don't get me wrong, it has its high points (all of you included), but skipping off to Pennsylvania, I must admit, does have its tug on me. I've moved so many times one would think I'm tired of it, and in some ways I am - I did fuss a lot to dad when he kept babbling about moving to Champaign...but then that is just 30 some miles down the road and a move I consider just stupid. I'd have to see where I'm going before I get too excited anyway. On the other hand I would be farther away from Stacey and that sucks nuts as it is. Decisions, decisions.

I should go biking...but I'm lazy.

I leave for the Rocky Mountains on July 20th. "Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam..."

Currently reading Wicked
(after my Angels & Demons book copped out on me by going from page 304 to page 337, subsequently leaving me out of the loop for 30 some pages)

P.S. If you've never had custard before, the frozen, ice-cream-like kind, do yourself a favor and go try some. It's fantastic.