Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Breathing out

I took my car in for repairs yesterday. They said it'll take at least two weeks. I leave in three weeks. That doesn't give me much time to sell it. :-p At least the other guy's insurance is covering it. It's being resolved, and I need to sit back and relax.

I finished my visa application (finally!). I had to restart it because they deleted the incomplete one (they still haven't responded to my question of WHY?!WHY?!WHY?!?). But I finished it. Yay! Sort of. I finished the online part. Now I have to go in to an "application service center" in order to get my picture and fingerprints taken, then I'll submit the printed-up application, passport, and all my other documents, they'll take 5-14 days to process it, and overnight it back to me. Of course, there's a hitch. You have to make an appointment at an application service center that is accredited by the US government. There are three in Washington State. There earliest appointment at the Seattle one is September 15, a.k.a. THE DAY I LEAVE. The Yakima and Spokane sites are no better, but luckily, Portland has an opening early next week. So I'm going to Portland! Again. I was down there this past weekend (I drove my crunchilated car) and I had a lovely time visiting with Gma, Gpa, and the aunts. Aunt Chris even gave me some of her old cowboy boots! Yeehaw! I've been wanting a pair for a while (a worn-in, used pair) so that I can show my American West pride while abroad. I think Jax and I are gonna drive down together in celebration of our new-but-temporary liberation from the slavery that is a nine-to-five job. It should be fun (obviously, we'll be spending hours in Powells.) And a 2.5-hr drive to Portland sure beats a 13-hr drive to San Francisco!

So yeah, Friday is my last day at work. I have mixed feelings. I really love all my coworkers. It's a fun and friendly place to work and they take good care of their employees. Like Microsoft, they provide free drinks and Tim's Cascade potato chips (quality!) and cup o' noodles and other snacks, including (this is a recent development) Rice Krispie Treats. Giant ones! Take a moment to allow the weight of that to sink in. Free, Giant Rice Krispie Treats. It's a good thing they only recently started providing those, because I won't have time to pack on several pounds from eating them and only them. Anyway, it's a fantastic company and I believe they'll do exceptionally well in the industry. But at the same time, I'm glad to leave because I was booooooorrrrred. There wasn't enough work for me to do, and even when there was work, I was still bored with what I was doing. I think research is not for me. I really enjoyed it for a few years, but now I'm ready for something else. I want to spend my life doing something that more directly and immediately helps people. What can I say? I'm addicted to instant gratification.

So anyway, things are going alright. I've successfully staved off THE PANIC for now. I've completed a fair amount of the items on my 38-item list of things to do before I leave. Oh! And that letter from my lender FINALLY came yesterday. Only 31 days late! I think it'll all be alright.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm trying to swallow the familiar knot of panic rising in my throat and tying up my stomach.

Ignoring the stress over the fact that my incomplete, saved visa application was unceremoniously deleted and I haven't received a response from the website's tech support, and ignoring the fact that I still haven't received a letter from my lender saying that I'm covered for tuition and life expenses (even though I called two weeks ago and demanded that they send me another one), the knot of panic is something far more...special. It started forming as I logged off my work computer and remembered that I was coming home to this:

I'm trying to remain positive. It'll all work out fine. It'll be fixed and paid for by insurance and I'll still make money off the sale. But I'm not very good at remaining positive. What if the insurance doesn't pay? What if they decide I was partly at fault? What if I don't have time to settle it all before I leave? How will I hang out with my friends tomorrow night, and go to Vancouver to visit my grandma and grandpa and aunts this weekend?

On the bus ride home from work, listening to Russell Brand's radio show and gazing out at the pouring rain, trying not to think about the mess pictured above, I daydreamed about London. There's something comforting about the thought of trudging through London rain to make it home to a cozy apartment where I can put on warm pj's and brew a nice cup of tea and listen to British radio or watch British TV and not even remember that I once had a car that got smooshed. (Actually, this is the second car I've owned that got smooshed, but who's counting?) In a couple months, this will all be ancient history.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Craigslist rocks!

Dude! I just made forty bucks!

I've tried selling stuff on craigslist before, but I've thus far failed miserably (one lady expressed lots of interest, then stopped responding to my emails when I asked when she wanted to pick up, another lady thought I lived in Washington, D.C., and another came to pick up, but my phone didn't ring so I had no idea she was there.) But I just sold my Game Boy Micro for $40! The best part is that Ross gave that to me, so I didn't even spend any money on it in the first place. (I also previously made money on the Nintendo DS he gave me. It's clear that I don't much care for video games, but I sure like selling them!) Thanks, Ross!

In other news, I've started filling out my application for a VISA!!! but I still haven't received an official letter from my lender. They were slow to send the letter for the Stafford loan, too. Jerks. Don't they know I'm crunched for time? I can't apply for the visa without it. Maybe I'll call them tomorrow and harass them.

Random pic:

Soap residue on a jar of microcentrifuge tubes

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A work of staggering genius

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not so far away, Kusems was in the 7th grade and was experiencing a bit of a creative spurt. She wrote a brilliant story, the likes of which she has never yet been able to reproduce. She was very proud of this story, even when she became old (26 years old), but sadly, the piece of paper it was scribed upon was lost in the sands of time. She mourned it whenever she thought about it.

But lo! One day in her 26th year, as she was preparing for her greatest adventure to date, she was rifling through old boxes of childhood knick-knacks, when what should she discover, but the sacred piece of paper! There it was before her: literary genius in the form of a 7th grade short story!

I will transcribe it here, now, in original form, though not handwritten, and slightly edited (to be read with a light-hearted air):

A Play/A Comedy

By Poppington

[Ed. note: There is much speculation, but no definitive answer on why the author chose to sign with only her last name. But seventh-grade is a hard year for everyone, and no one can be expected to act like a normal human being at that age.]

A family was driving down the highway somewhere in Colorado when suddenly a storm broke out. This was not unusual to [Coloradoans], but the family, the Brooks, were on vacation and it was quite surprising to them. They pulled over to the side of the road...

Steven: Well, little ladies. Looks like we'll have to stay here on the side of the road for a while.

Sarah: Oh, Daddy! You'll keep us safe won't you?

Steven: Of course I will, Sarah!

Jayme: Oh, Dad! You're my hero!

(Just then, out of the gray, a car comes up behind a rear ends them.)

Joan: Oh honey! What shall we do?

(no answer)

Joan: Honey? Honey?!

Sarah: Mommy! What happened to Daddy? Is he--dead?!

Joan: I think so!

Both kids: NOOOO!!

Joan: Oh no! Now that terrible man is coming to the window!

Sarah: Mommy! He has a machine...

(Sarah's words are cut off for the man shot at the car and only Jayme is still alive)

Jayme: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Ruby: Bark Bark!

Machine Gun: UUUHHH!

Ruby: Bark Woof Ba...

Jayme: NO! Please No! I don't care about my family but not my dog!

(The gun goes off again and the car is finally silent.)

Everyone: OOOH!


Genius, non? If I live to be a hundred years old, I'm not sure I could ever write another such masterpiece. Incidentally, the story was inspired by a memory from my childhood (minus the death and machine gun). When I was six years old, our family drove to Colorado. Along the way, we were caught in a flash flood, and we pulled over to the side of the road to wait it out. A man on a motorcycle flew by, and I remember my parents commenting on how foolish he was. This memory stuck with me over the years, and somehow morphed into the disturbing (but hilarious, right? At least it was at the time...) story reprinted above.

Thank you for joining us for an evening of Masterpiece Blogging.

Ode to the Left

I wrote this on Monday, when it was much more relevant:

Dear Left Side of My Mouth,

My faithful companion through thick and thin, thank you for healing so quickly. You would think your errant sibling, Right Side, would learn something from your example. Calm and strong you are. Painless and peaceful. Yes, you have a large yellow bruise, but you were kind enough to not put any tenderness behind that bruise. You knew that I could handle the indignity of an aesthetic mar better than I could handle pain of any sort, and so you chose the lesser of two evils. You will be rewarded for your kindness.

Right Side of My Mouth, I'm cutting you out of the will.

I think the right side wised up, though, cuz it feels 100% better. No more pain! Yay! Also yay for no more painkillers! (Though I have to say, Percocet was kind of fun...) I still can't smile right, or move the right side of my lip out of the way in order to not bite it, but I'm confident that'll heal soon. I can press my lips together, which I couldn't do on Monday, so that's good. I'll have to post a picture of my crooked smile, though. It made Becky and John laugh raucously.