7

Candy Crushed

I originally published this on November 1st, but since I’m completely swamped with school and everything, I’m going to do what I always wanted to do, and add more info.

Maybe it’s our culture of excess, but seriously, everywhere I go, the giant family size (and which family, might I ask? the Duggars?) candy bars and candy bags are available. And the smaller sizes are not. It’s like Nestle and Hershey’s are run by a dentist/personal trainer conglomerate. Definitely not the people who run Abercrombie & Fitch.

All I wanted today was a small pack of Twizzlers, maybe three or four pieces.

Down in the candy aisle, the smallest package is about the size of three boxes of spaghetti. The candy bars are like surfboards. I could probably buy a bag of Hershey kisses and use them as a pillow on my next flight. Now, I understand the purpose of large bags of candy; they’re great for teachers, camp counselors, or Halloween. But if you’re only in the market for a small sweet treat for one, it’s damn near impossible.

Twenty minutes later, after scouring the whole store, I caved and bought the only size available, because I wanted Twizzlers that much. And that bag probably lasted me all of one hour, because I live alone, am a graduate student, and have no self-control.

Damn you, candy companies.

This is why China is beating us.

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5

Sleeping On A Couch

If you’ve been wondering where I am and what I’ve been doing for the past few days, the answers are still in Madison, and attempting to keep my parents fed, watered, and entertained while doing the grad student thing as well.

Oh, and sleeping on my couch.

My parents coming to visit me is a wonderful thing. They are two of the most wonderful people I know, and that’s not just because they made me.who I am today. 90% of the time they are agreeable and not super paranoid or weird or obsessive like some other peoples’ parents I know. Well, my dad is obsessed with baseball and my mother with talking with her friends about how great retirement is, but none of those hobbies involve criticizing me, my life choices, or asking me where their grandchildren are (Answer: In time out like all of the rest of the naughty children). Also, they trust me most of the time, which is good, because they should.

I could go on about this, but the main gist of the story is that there are also some bad things about their visit. Usually imaginary, but they’re there. I become a nervous wreck. I have to hide everything in my apartment that could be perceived as a questionable object or risk them asking about it (why do you have a rotary cutter, Jacob?). I have to make sure that they are watered and fed the appropriate amounts at the appropriate times or they get crotchety. Usually my dad more than my mom, but he is also four years older. I usually clean, but my mom cleans it better so I should just remember not to clean for next time. My mom understands, though, that when we are in Madison, we go to Target and Kohl’s and Metcalfe’s, and that we can walk places. She actually does exercise, walking every morning for at least an hour and swimming later in the day. Unlike my mom, my dad hates anything having to do with shopping and will complain whenever his legs or feet start to hurt.

Of course, since this week is the Epic company’s medical conference, just about every hotel room in Dane County is booked, and even my friend who works at a hotel could not override the system. So, when my parents told me that they would just stay with me, I was like…

And that’s why I’ve been sleeping on my couch.

Now, this is not to say I dislike my couch. I actually really like my couch, and it is quite comfortable for activities such as sitting or napping or cuddling. Sleeping one night on it, not too bad. But sleeping multiple nights on it? Yeah, not so much. I know that it’s petty and a small price to pay, but three consecutive nights on the couch is not fun for my back, which must go in weird, spasmodic positions. Two nights ago, I actually slept fairly well. Last night, I think I tried to pry my arm off in my sleep because it was getting in my way, which took a surprising amount of energy.

In general, though, I dislike sleeping on couches. I would probably rather sleep on a floor, unless it is a couch actually made for sleeping and not sitting on, like my sister’s sofa sectional in DC. That sentence had too many letter “s”es in it. I used to be much pickier about where I could and could not sleep, but somewhere along the line, I began to fall asleep in weird places. This probably merits a future entry, but started in high school (face down, sprawled out at an airport), college (under a table in a conference room at a hotel), post-college (in the waiting room of an urgent care center), and in several different hotel lobbies in Houston.

Anyway.

Two nights down, one to go.

But then my parents will go home, I’ll miss them, and my apartment will never be this clean again.

2

If LinkSys Smart WiFi is So Smart, How Come It’s Sitting in the Neighbor’s Car?

One hour, thirty-eight minutes and two Filipina technicians later, I have wireless internet in my apartment.

Talk about an ordeal.

More of the story as my sanity reappears.

Finally an update…five days later…

So, I purchased a LinkSys wi-fi router at Best Buy, and I knew it was trouble when the salesman tried to explain exactly what it would do. All I needed it to do was maintain a wireless internet connection.

I get home, and follow the three “easy” steps. Plug in power, plug in internet cable, go to a website and voila, hello internet.

Of course, I do all these things and nothing happens. I put the manual CD thing in, and all it is is the same thing in the packet, only in PDF form with useless hotlinks that don’t work BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE INTERNET.

So, I do the next best thing (okay, the SECOND next best thing, getting drunk would have been the first) and call the hotline. After only about 20 minutes of waiting, I say mabuhay to a Filipina named Dianne. She puts forth her best efforts, but one hour and several options later, I’m no better off than where I was. Dianne suggests I return the item to the store, and I ask to speak to a manager. Supervisor Michelle comes on the line, with a much better command of the English language and fortunately, a big heart. She does the override thing that usually solves everything, which they say is only for warranty-registered customers but she’s doing it for me for free because it’s now been an hour and a half. Of course, it’s one setting that’s wrong, and my device is not defective, as previously thought. Thanks, Dianne. But sincere thanks to Michelle, who after two excruciating hours delivered and helped me get on the Internet.

This is the first time I’ve set a connection up by myself, so I got to name the network. What do I pick?

“I Love The Wi-Fi I Got To Boogie.”

Thanks, Alicia Bridges!

See the inspiration for this post’s title here:

9

OH HELL NO NOT THIS AGAIN.

One of the perks of my new apartment building is the underground, temperature-controlled parking structure. It costs a little extra but in a city where parking is high demand and a state where cars freeze to death in the winter, it’s an investment. When I signed the papers in December of last year, the parking spots had not been assigned yet. When I asked the leasing manager which spot was mine, she said, “They’re just about all open, so take your pick.” I selected a spot right at the front, that would be easy to get into. It’s not so easy to get out of, but I’m working on it, but it’s definitely a prime location.

I came in from shopping last night, and…there’s a car parked in my spot.

This is the EXACT reason why I didn’t want to have to deal with having just a parking lot pass again without an assigned spot. This past year, I had a pass to park in a specific lot, and if someone without a pass was parked in the lot (very easy to do, since the lot is not gated or guarded) and you were the unlucky person who didn’t get a spot, then you had to park either far away or at a meter, risking being ticketed or towed. It wasn’t really that bad until June, when summer classes were going on and since the weather was nicer more people were coming to visit the school I guess, and even though some people may have gone home for the summer, there would still be five or so unauthorized cars parked there at any given time. The company that I rented the spot from ($135 a month, thank you very much) had signs up about ticketing and towing, but there would be cars there that wouldn’t move for days. I called to complain almost every day, to the point of tears and basically got “we’re trying as hard as we can.” One day, I tried calling the number of the towing company on the sign, and found out that they had been out of business FOR A YEAR. I even called an actual towing company, only to be told that since I wasn’t the property manager, I was not authorized to do anything. Basically, there was nothing I could do other than pray for someone to leave so I could take the spot which I paid for.

Now, with an assigned spot, I was hoping that this problem wouldn’t happen again. Especially since there are only 26 spaces in the lot.

Fast forward to last night. So I get home at about 11:30 PM, after spending the day shopping, and, you guessed it, car parked in my spot. Big black Ford Expedition truck. It had a building parking permit decal in the back window, just like I have, so I gave him/her the benefit of the doubt, that maybe some jerk parked in his/her spot, so I parked in the spot next to it and hoped that I wouldn’t get in trouble.

After spending all day yesterday unloading boxes and shopping, I decided to take most of the day off, not even leaving the apartment until well into the afternoon. I had all but forgotten about the situation when I got down to the parking lot and saw the Ford Expedition still there, only now it had a sign taped to the back:

To the tenant who rents this spot: My truck will not fit in my assigned spot, so I am going to be parking here. I am working this out with the management. My spot, #24, is open. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Since it was now after hours, I had no one to complain to. Being the reasonable human being that I am, I went to space #24 to see if a switch would be possible. And…it’s a compact car only spot. Between a wall and a pole. Before I left, I tried getting my car into that spot, but once parked, there was no way I could get out the door.

I left the parking lot to do my shopping, passing the black Ford Expedition and its little “sorry” sign taunting me from the spot that I selected and signed for last December.

Okay, here’s what’s wrong with this picture…wait a minute, the answer to that would be EVERYTHING. Aside from the obvious jerk move of PARKING IN MY SPOT, you had to leave the most patronizing note ever. “Sorry for the inconvenience?” If you were really sorry, you wouldn’t have parked there all night in the first place! “Working this out with the management?” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that if there were an issue, the management would contact me before YOU PARKED YOUR BIG ASS TRUCK IN SOMEONE ELSE’S SPOT. Then comes the fact that you paid for a compact car only spot, either assuming your car would fit or blatantly forgetting that you have a truck that’s as big as a studio apartment, which you obviously need for all the hay bales, woodpiles, and livestock you have to transport here in Madison.

Anyway, when I got back tonight, the Ford Chutzpah was gone, so I parked in my spot.

I might not ever move my car again but at least I got my spot.