Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31st

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! First I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my Godmother. I love you Aunt Mary, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

I am currently sitting on the balcony of our motel, watching the sunrise over the ocean. Not too shabby! It’s breezy, pretty cloudy, and a little chilly, and I’m thinking I should have grabbed a sweatshirt before coming out here, but I am SO not complaining. Okay, I will make a slight grumble over the lack of coffee, but other than that, I’m a happy camper.

We got here by ten yesterday morning, and that’s with leaving half an hour late and making two stops. One stop was at the midway point for a bathroom break, and the second one was when I pulled into Wawa when I noticed we were turning onto a friend’s street, so I gave her a call to ask if I should turn left toward the beach or right toward her house.

I didn’t realize I would be right there because I usually hop on the Parkway in Avalon, and this time I decided to take Route 9 all the way to Rio Grande. I did this for two reasons. One was because I caught a glimpse of the Parkway and said “Uh uh, Not sitting in traffic!”, and the other was because I’m cheap. There’s a toll to get off at Rio Grande from the Parkway, and I didn’t want to pay it.

Bernadette didn’t answer, so we went straight to the hotel. I pulled in and went to the lobby. I told the owner I knew I couldn’t check in yet, but I was hoping he would let us park there so we could go to the beach. Surprise, surprise, our room was ready – five hours before check in time – and he handed me the keys. I was shocked.

The room is tiny, just your basic seaside motel, but it was cute, and more importantly CLEAN. I lucked out. You never know when you’re picking blind and settling for the only available room on the whole island. The owners of the Mark I on E. Atlanta Ave in Wildwood Crest, Chris & Kathy, are really sweet. The pool is great, and we are one small hotel away from being right on the beach. When I come back to Wildwood, I’ll be coming back here.

So we unload our junk, and head for the beach even though the clouds had rolled in. After what happened the other day in Sandy Hook, our usual beach, I wanted to be close to the lifeguards. We find a little patch of sand, set up our area, and go stick our toes in the water. It was a bit chilly, but not terrible. That hurricane reeked all sorts of havoc even though it was over a hundred miles off shore.

I’m out in the water about thigh deep and I hear Dani screech. I turn around and my daughter monkey jumped into the arms of another woman – I was far enough away I couldn’t make out who it was. As I neared, I hear, “Hey Mama!” It was Lisa, one of my son’s friends, and as I got closer, I see she’s with Pam, one of my former cheerleaders, and Maggie, another friend of my son’s.

After a flurry of hugs and kisses, we start chatting. Their hotel is right across the street from ours, and their blanket is right in front of ours on the beach. When we dropped our stuff, we just noticed a bunch of bathing beauties in front of us, but not who they were. (It’s not like I was actively looking for them.)

It turns out, a whole bunch of my son’s other friends were coming down later, and we did get to see them before they went out clubbing. It was so nice to see them all, even for a brief time. The pack of them were always at my house, and since PJ’s moved out, I never get to see them anymore, and I miss them. When he moved out, it was like I lost a dozen of my kids all in one swoop.

My battery’s about to die, and there are no hook-ups out here, so I have to wrap up quickly. We found a bunch of hermit crabs while walking the beach, but the guy at the store told us they were the wrong type of crabs so they wouldn't survive in the cages he sold. We had dinner on the boardwalk. I grabbed a sausage sandwich from Hot Spot, Paulie and the kids grabbed pizza, and then we got a bucket of fries and orange and lemon drinks from Curley’s. After dinner, since the rides held no appeal to either kids, we played some Fascination, and then we dropped Dani and Adam off to meet up with some of their other friends for an hour. Everyone was home and in bed by 11:30.

Since I’m on vacation, there will be no writing challenge today or tomorrow. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

(Sorry, no real pictures today. The camera is somewhere in the room, and I don't want to wake everyone trying to hunt for it. I'll post pictures tomorrow.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! Today is going to be a crazy short blog. I was up at 4:30 so I could grab a quick shower, because Dani asked me if I was getting up at 5:00. She said she needed me to wake her up so she could shower. Yes I was planning on getting up at 5:00, but I had planned on taking a shower, then doing my blog, and then waking everyone up at 5:45 so they could get in the car and we’d be on the road by 6:00.

Wildwood is only a 3½ hour drive, but it’s a holiday weekend and traffic is going to be a nightmare, so I wanted to leave early. I did find a home for Colby for the weekend. My friend Sharon has him. I felt bad asking her because she just came home from a cruise yesterday, and she’s getting company for the weekend, but I was stuck. Colby loves going over to visit Aunt Sharon. He gets to play with his cousin Lexi, and he has five acres to run around on.

I hope he behaves himself better than Lexi did the first time she stayed with us. Lexi is a wonderful dog, the sweetest thing ever, but the first time she stayed over by us, she ate every piece of bread in our house while we were out. It was mostly our fault. We were used to small dogs, so we didn’t think to put the bread up high, and she was still very young, so she didn’t have the manners she does now.

Colby is still young, and he has not quite mellowed yet…and he likes food. There have been several occasions where he’s pilfered food. Hopefully he won’t do that at Sharon’s.

Now I don’t know if this hotel has wifi, so I have no idea if I will be able to post anything while we are away this weekend. Chances are you may be getting a mega post on Tuesday again.

I am taking my computer with me because I LOVE to write in the early morning, before everyone is awake, while sitting on the balcony, watching the ocean. It would be the perfect time to work on Simply By Chance since the characters are currently at sea, but I have to finish up Faerie Tale Queen. The publisher is calling me on the twelfth and I’m still not finished.

Okay, I really have to get going. I hope you have an amazing holiday weekend, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Toes in the water, a$$ in the sand…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! Today I am going to be scrambling trying to find a hotel for Saturday and Sunday. My husband decided he wanted to get away this weekend because Dani hasn’t had a vacation all summer. Yeah, on FRIDAY of LABOR DAY weekend, I have to find a vacancy at the beach. Good grief!

If I manage to find a hotel, then I need to find a house sitter, a pet sitter, do laundry, clean out the car, and pack, all before six o’clock tomorrow morning, because I want to get ahead of the holiday traffic. One of the things in life I have absolutely no patience for is sitting in traffic. I don’t care if we are inching along at 25 mph, as long as we’re moving; but sitting or stop and go gets me twitching real quick.

One other thing I need to get done today is an 11:00 appointment at Dani’s school. This year, every student in the high school is being issued a chrome book. Now Dani was part of the pilot program, so she has had a chrome book since 7th grade. Other than an initial orientation program on how the project was going to work, we, as parents, didn’t have to do anything other than sign a release form. The kids showed up for school on their first day, and they were issued a chrome book.

This year, we have to pick up the chrome book at the school. Tell me, does this make sense to you? Granted it is only a fifteen minute appointment, but doesn’t it seem like a colossal waste of time and money? These appointments have been going on for at least two weeks now. During that time, they are having to pay people to sit there, collect the paperwork, and distribute the chrome books. Parents have to take time off from work to attend these fifteen minute meetings. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to MAIL the paperwork to each student (what’s a stamp cost now, $0.50?), and have the student bring the paperwork to homeroom, hand it in, and receive their chrome book?

Okay, I took a break, and managed to find a hotel, got a house sitter, cleaned out the car and started a load of laundry. Now all I have left to do is find a home for Colby for the weekend and pack. We’re leaving in fifteen minutes to go to the high school, so I should wrap it up for the day. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

How did we end up here?

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! Not much to tell you about today, so the blog is going to be short.

I talked to Lys yesterday. She liked both of her T/TH classes – religion & psych. Her M/W/F classes are Italian and Criminal Justice 101. She’s not thrilled with her Italian class, partly because she didn’t want to have to take a language in college, partly because the professor spent the entire class plus an extra ten minutes rambling on about herself, and partly because the books, tape and workbook she needs for the class are $200.

When she go to her CJ101 class, the first thing the professor did was hand out a test to see where the class stood. Lys pretty much aced the test, and the professor called her up to talk to her about it. That’s when she told him she took five CJ classes last year, to which he replied, “Then why did they put you in 101?” The two of them looked over the curriculum and determined there were a few things he taught that she had not had before, and she would need for future classes.

He was really cool about it and told her he would be looking to her to help clarify things and to assist other classmates. So basically, Lys has one slam dunk class this semester. It’s okay. This way she can focus extra time in Italian, because that will most likely be her biggest challenge since she isn’t into the class.

Last night on campus they had a hypnotist, and Lys went to the show. Other than “he’s really good”, I didn’t get to talk to her about the show. Tonight I believe they are having movie on the lawn, but I don’t know if she’ll be going.

One little bit of exciting news is Lara, Lys’ roommate, rescued a puppy, so now they are the proud parents of a 12 week old beagle mix named Chloe. She’s adorable. Lara and Lys’ schedules don’t overlap much, so Chloe will not be home alone for any length of time. Hopefully she did not inherit the howler gene, or the girls will have trouble getting any studying or sleeping done. This is going to be good. Lys will get a firsthand taste of how much work a puppy really is.

Okay, I need to run because RV has an early appointment and then her daughter has a dentist appointment, so I am going to be running all day. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Tick, tick, tick…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! Let me tell you, getting back into the swing of things has not been easy. I was so exhausted last night, I never made it to my writing group, and you know how much I love going to them. Even after a short nap yesterday afternoon when I got home from work didn’t help.

I feel a little more human today, but I’m still tired. That’s why I didn’t do my blog right away this morning. Instead, I spent two hours going through the 200+ emails I received during the four days I did not have internet access, and responding where needed.

Mine's not quite so volatile,
but you get the drift...
Now that August is drawing to a close, I also checked out my stats on Amazon to see if the changes I made at the beginning of the month had any lasting effects. Unfortunately, it is not looking that way. Granted, my rankings are higher than they were at the beginning of the month, but they did not sustain the high rankings I hit when I first made the changes. If I can just get the final two review I need to participate in the one promotion I’d like to take a part in, the results might be better; but until I can get those last two reviews, I’m out of luck. (So, if you have read A Second Chance, and have not posted a review yet, it would be MUCH appreciated!!!)

I heard from Lys yesterday after she was done with her first class. The class fulfills her religion requirement for HPU, and she was not looking forward to having to take it. Luckily she was pleasantly surprised. She said the class and the professor seemed really interesting. Her second class yesterday was psych, so she was looking forward to it. At Champlain, her first year concentrated on the criminal justice portion of her major, and this year was supposed to concentrate on the psychology portion, and she was a little worried that by transferring to HPU she would have to wait another year before she could start on her psych requirements. As you can see, she didn’t have to wait.

I’m glad they are allowing her to intersperse her non-major required courses with at least a few courses within her major. I was worried that if they didn’t let her, she would become disillusioned with the curriculum at HPU. She only has one class in her major this semester and one next, but at least it’s something. She’s not thrilled with having a year long foreign language and a semester physical ed requirement, but what are you going to do? She hasn’t decided what she’s going to choose for P.E., but she picked Italian as her language. She was hoping they offered sign language as an option, but they don’t.

Oh well, RV’s appointment was moved up an hour so I need to get going. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

As summer draws to a close…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 23rd - 26th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! We are finally home, and I finally have reliable internet! That means you are going to get an enormous post. I’ll label each of the days at the top so you can figure it out easily. (You may want to scroll down to the bottom so you can read in order, it may be a little confusing otherwise.)
Hard to see but these are
Grecian steps with a waterfall
flowing over those pillars
in the back

I got a phone call from Lys yesterday morning. She got her schedule. She only has four classes this semester, but those four classes are worth sixteen credits. At Champlain, she was signed up to take five classes this semester, but those five classes would have only been fifteen credits. How lucky is this child? She signs up for classes the day before they start, and her earliest class starts at nine-fifteen, and her latest class ends at three-fifteen, and she has a nice break between classes to be able to get food if she wants it.

Fountain in front of Slane
Hall at HPU
I thought for sure all that would be left at this point were the early morning and late night classes. Also, because the way Champlain was set up, Lys has already completed courses HPU students don’t even get until their junior year, but because she has already taken those classes, she is allowed to take other junior and senior classes, which means Lara and Lys are going to be in some of the same classes together.

As predicted, Lara and Lys are really hitting it off. Sunday night, Lara was going to meet friends she hadn’t seen since she left school in May, and she asked Lys to come with her. They had plans together for last night as well, and they are scheduled to go to the steakhouse for dinner on Wednesday. 

Dining hall around the corner
from Lys' apartment
On the other hand, it looks like Makayla won’t be staying. Apparently, other than putting her bed together, she isn’t unpacking. I do hope she has the common courtesy to pick up her stuff though, because when she left on Saturday, her stuff was strewn everywhere. Even when I left on Sunday, her things were all over the common area – piles of framed pictures on the dining room table, boxes and a painting against the wall, and an ugly hairy white rug was left in the living room as well. 

Gazebo near the volleyball court,
horseshoe pits, and cornhole courts,
across the street from Lys'
When Lys came back to her room to change on Sunday, Makayla’s stuff was all over Lys’ bed too, but there was no Makayla in sight. I realize the room is small, and she probably needed the space to be able to organize her stuff. Heck, we had things on her bed while we were unpacking. But to leave the apartment, and leave your junk on your roommate’s bed is just rude. Honestly, Makayla has been doing nothing but complaining since the second she walked in the door, so for everyone’s sake, and sanity, I hope they find her a single room somewhere or this is going to be a VERY long year.

We got a late start leaving yesterday, my hope was to be on the road by nine – so much for best laid plans. Paulie and Dani did not want the breakfast provided at the hotel, and elected to sleep late. We didn’t check out until almost eleven, and from there we went to Waffle House for breakfast. I was a little leery about stopping there because my friend Sharon can’t stand Waffle House, but another friend, Wendy, swears by it. My opinion, the coffee was great, the eggs were a tiny bit overdone, and the hash browns could have been a little crispier, but all in all, it was pretty good.

Just another shot of campus
So we finish up breakfast, and you would think that meant we were on our way home, right? Wrong. We needed to make one more stop. The K-Mart down there was going out of business, so they wanted to swing in. Dani wanted a few new movies to watch in the car on the ride home – the ones we had she has seen a zillion times. Paulie needed headphones because the ones that came with the car were shot (he didn’t think he had any reason to bring his earbuds with him on the trip); and I needed to replace the sunglasses I left at the restaurant on Saturday night. 

We did well. Dani’s movies were 40% off, and the rest of the stuff was 50% off. It was strange, and a little sad, going into a store that was closing. All the remaining items were consolidated into what was probably a quarter of the original space. There were even sold signs on some of the fixtures. 

Pilot Mountain
I elected to take a different route home. Because we left so late, I figured we would be hitting the DC area right around rush hour, so I was not going to deal with 95 and its traffic. The route we took was about fifty miles longer, but it was gorgeous. We went through the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were moving constantly, and made it home, stops and all, in eleven and a half hours, half an hour less than on the way down, even with the extra mileage, and probably the same amount of stops.

Okay, since you are getting four days’ worth of posts all in one day, I should probably wrap up. I hope you have a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Hi it’s Christina –

Robert's Lawn where convocation
took place.
Good morning! ARGH!! I was able to get on the internet this morning for a few minutes, but then I ran to the lobby real quick to get some coffee, and when I came back, poof – no internet. It’s beyond frustrating!

Bagpipe procession
Convocation yesterday was lovely. The students were seated while the HPU orchestra played, and the staff procession was lead in by a bagpipe band. There were several speakers, one of which was the HPU president. He seems like a wonderful man, and the growth he has brought to HPU since he has been in office is truly amazing. This year’s incoming freshman class is 1,470 students. In 2005, the entire student body of HPU was only 1,450. He has more than tripled the actual acreage of the university, brought in an incredible staff, and has made the campus absolutely breathtaking. 
Dr. Nido Qubein

My favorite part was when the dean of music sang You Lift Me Up and Challenger flew over the students. The ended the ceremony with their choir singing the alma mater, but for some reason the sound wasn’t clear, so I have no clue what the words were.

Lys’ day yesterday was packed with campus events, so while she was doing them, we did our last little bit of running around. The set of mixing bowls she bought was chipped, so she returned them on Saturday, but we were not able to find another set. Yesterday we checked three more Wal*Marts and all three were out, so no luck with the bowls. She was a little disappointed, but I eased her frustration with the ice cream I bought instead.

These signs were everywhere
Dani had made Lys a mosaic poster as a gift, so we went and hunted down a frame to put it in – we actually found one at Staples on clearance, so we got it dirt cheap. Then, Dani wanted to get her sister a bouquet of flowers, so we did that as well.

While we were arranging the flowers and hanging the picture, Lys’ last roommate arrived. I know yesterday I told you her name was Miranda, but it turns out Miranda was the person who was supposed to take the other double with Lys, not Makayla. The girl in the single’s name is Lara, and she is a SWEETIE! And, ready for this? She has the same major as Lys. What are the chances of that? Three girls, all from New Jersey, two with the same major (I don’t know what Makayla’s major is, she never said), all randomly put together. Now, if this had all been put in the works months ago, then yeah, the chances would have been pretty good, but Lys just got the room on Friday, and Makayla got it on Saturday – Lara has had the room since April.
One of the statues at HPU.
The campus at night was

Lara did warn Lys that since she hasn’t chosen classes yet, she’s going to get stuck with all the early morning and late night classes. Lys will be selecting classes today. She’s supposed to give us a call later to tell us what she got, but I’m not holding my breath for the call. Her day is going to be crazy, and when she gets back to her room tonight, she’ll more than likely just crash. 

Classes officially start tomorrow, and she has no books, does not know which buildings hold which classes, and she still has to figure out how the shuttle works and how much time she needs to allot to get from her room to her class. The next few days are going to be a disaster, but I have every confidence she will get it figured out.

Oh well, it’s 8:30, so if we want to get breakfast for free here at the hotel, I have to rally the troops. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! Well it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get on the internet here at the hotel, so Tuesday morning y’all are going to be getting a crazy long post. I won’t give you four challenges though, that would be crazy, so you can chew on the one from yesterday for a while.

Lys got an early Christmas present. We ran to Bed Bath & Beyond to exchange her bedding, and to pick up a few things we had forgotten, like a Britta pitcher and filters. Then we went over to Wal*Mart to exchange the set of sheets we got from there and to return the mixing bowls. (When we unpacked the bowls, we noticed one was chipped.) While we were there, Paulie found a really good deal on a TV, so we got it for Lys’ living room. 

Lys' Kitchen
It looks like Lys has a roommate, well, for the next week or so that is. Her name is Makayla and she’s from New Jersey too. There was a mix-up with her room as well, so yesterday she had two rooms to choose from, and she chose to room with Lys. It’s going to be interesting though, because supposedly this room is much smaller than the ones she has had for the past two years at High Point, and she brought a whole lot of stuff. A small closet and four drawers, just ain’t gunna cut it for Makayla.

The room's all set
Supposedly Miranda, the person who is supposed to be in the single room, is moved in at another location, so Makayla and her mom are working diligently at getting Makayla moved into the single room. If that happens, then Lys may have her room to herself. We’ll just have to wait and see. Although Lys would like the bigger bed, there is no way I am returning the bedding again. If it does happen, then I think if facilities just removes the second set of stuff in the room, then the twin bed would be fine. As I said, we’ll see.

The Living Room
Initially I was concerned because there was only one dresser in the room, but between the closet and the drawers under the bed, Lys got all her stuff into two dresser drawers, the under bed drawers and the closet, and she still has room to spare. It took all day, and Dani busted her butt helping her sister, but she is in and settled. Her wall hanging is up, and all her pictures are hung. We still need to figure out what to do with poster Dani made her. Her kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and linen closet are all squared away as well. 

Lys' dining room
Convocation is at 9:00 this morning, and we are praying the weather holds out. It is scheduled to be outside, and if it is, we’re all good; but if it isn’t, and they need to move it indoors, then we’re going to have a problem. If it’s inside, then only the student and one guest can attend. We have one student and four guests. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Okay, I need to get ready, so I’m going to boogie. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing.

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! First I want to thank you. You folks are GREAT prayers. I’ll tell you why in a minute. 

We made it to North Carolina. It took twelve hours, but we’re here. My mom booked us at the Days Inn about five miles from campus, and I am pleasantly surprised. It’s a little dated, but really, it’s not too bad. They did only give us two towels though for four people (two of which are teenage girls) – not going to fly.

My husband drove down with my mom, and I had the girls with me. We got separated about a half an hour out of High Point because of traffic and I had to make a stop for gas, but other than that we managed a five hundred mile trek following each other.

I called the apartment complex a little after ten yesterday morning and after I answered a couple of questions, they told me they would be processing our paperwork and they should be able to get back to us in a few hours, but they warned it could take up to twenty-four. A little before noon we get a call from Joe at the college saying he has been working for two days trying to find Lys a spot on campus, and he may have something. He’d let us know by four. At three, he calls back. He found something, and we could go over and take a look to see if we wanted the place. 

Wanted the place? Seriously? Housing on campus, included in the tuition, with twenty-four hour shuttles to the main campus, in a secured gated community. Ah… yeah we were taking the place.
Liz - what a sweetie!
Paulie and my mom went to the hotel, and the girls and I went directly to the college. We check in and Liz, a rep from the college, shows us the place. It’s nowhere near as posh as Lys’ apartment would have been, it’s not even as nice as the rooms they show on the college’s website, but it’s fine. It’s a two bedroom unit Lys will be sharing with two other girls. One girl has her own room, and Lys may or may not get a roommate, depending on if the other girl accepts her accommodations.

This does mean that the bedding we brought down will need to be returned, and we’ll need to go and purchase new bedding today. It also means Lys could have brought down her mattress topper and electric mattress cover. We’ll see if there’s something inexpensive down here, and if she wants it, she can bring it back with her after break, or I can see how expensive it is to send it UPS.

Lys' new home - isn't it cute?
The room is a little on the small side, but she does have her own closet, which will help. Plus, she has a full kitchen, oven and all, so that made her happy. The toaster has to go back, they’re not allowed, but she is going to need everything else we brought. She has a little front porch with a rocking chair, and she has a little back patio as well. The place was originally designed to be senior housing, but the school bought it up for dorm space.

Mail pick up is right across from
her front door.
Hopefully this crew will wake up soon so we can get started, because we have a ton to do, and it is going to be a scorcher today. I ran over to the lobby for some coffee at 5:30, and by the time I got back, I was melting. If it is that bad already and the sun isn’t even up, I am dreading what the rest of the day is going to be like while we are hauling junk into my daughter’s dorm.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the best part. Around four we get a call from the apartment complex. Lys was “conditionally approved”, which meant she needed to get a grantor to cosign the lease. The grantor needs to provide all sorts of financial paperwork, paperwork that was back in New Jersey, twelve hours away. So, if Joe hadn’t miraculously come up with this dorm room, Lys wouldn’t have had any place to stay. See, I told you, you were great prayers.

Our home for the next 3 days
The internet here at the hotel is hit and miss even though they have four different wifi hookups. I can’t get on the internet right now, but when my hubby wakes up, I’ll ask him to wave his magic wand and fix it. I’ll post when and if I can.

I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Use the following in a story: A Paper Towel Roll, Mud, Chewing Gum

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21st Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning.

Yesterday was not a good day. I called up the school basically to see if we needed twin sized bedding or full sized bedding in the dorm, only to find out Lys didn’t even have a bed. We never received the email saying she needed to find alternate housing. So here it was, 48 hours before we were supposed to arrive on campus, and my daughter had nowhere to live.

After a bunch of tears, and a whole lot of scrambling, I was able to find her the last available apartment. The only problem was it is a handicap equipped apartment, and I feel bad taking it if someone else needs the handicap facilities.

The apartment is fully furnished, and all the utilities are paid by the university, which is good. However, it is a two bedroom unit which comes with a $853 a month price tag and a $10 a month renter’s insurance bill. According to the housing message board on the school’s website, there is no one still looking for a roommate, so that means the entire $863 a month bill is on us.
It also means, not only did Lys need new bedding, she needed kitchen supplies, bathroom supplies and cleaning supplies. One saving grace was my daughter does not have expensive tastes. The plates and glasses she wanted came to less than $1 apiece (less than $20 for everything), and her flatware was only $10. She got all her bathroom supplies for less than $50 (extra set of towels, a rug, a shower curtain, a wastebasket). We picked up a toaster and a coffee pot for $25. Since this is her own apartment, she also needed her own vacuum and cleaning supplies, so that was an extra $50. The kitchen needed stuff I didn’t have extras of at home, so that took up a big chunk of our budget. Thankfully I had extra pots and pans, and a blender to send with her, so there was no extra cost there. Even with frugal shopping, the bill was still $350.

If she had gotten into the dorm, the bill would have been $75 if she had a full bed and $0 if she had a twin. So basically, the money Lys will be getting from tips for being a camp counselor paid for the additional supplies she needed for school.

Now all we have to do is wait and see if she has been approved for the apartment. I have NO idea what we are going to do if she doesn’t get approved (not that I can fathom a reason why she wouldn’t be).

Luckily RV called yesterday and said I did not need to help her today because her husband was on vacation. I still have the car to clean out. I have to pack our own bags for the three day trip. I have to run to the doctors because Chaplain did not forward Lys’ immunization records. I have to run to the bank and pick up checks for Lys because now she needs to be writing rent checks every month from her account. I have to run back to BB&B to return the stuff we bought yesterday but then found cheaper at WallyWorld. I need to run to the library so I can fax all the notorized paperwork the need for the apartment. Then I need to rummage through the basement to see if there is anything else Lys might need now that she has her own apartment.

It is going to be a VERY long day. Oh, while I’m thinking about it, you may not be hearing from me for the next few days. The hotel choices in the area are sketchy at best, so I seriously doubt I will have an internet connection. Honestly, my main concern is not getting bedbugs or our car stolen while we’re there.

This is another reason for all the anxiety yesterday. I was okay with my daughter going to High Point University because the campus was so secure. You see, the area around the campus is not so great, a little scary even; and now Lys will be living off campus and relying on campus transportation to get to and from campus. The shuttle stops running at 6:45 pm – hmmm, I hope it’s not because they don’t want to be in the area after dark.

I really wished she would have just chosen Austen Peay, in Clarksville, TN, right from the get-go. Great campus, plenty of housing, excellent curriculum, and she could have gotten all four years for just slightly more than her one year at Champlain. Then we would not have to be dealing with all this drama.

Okay, I have TONS to do, none of which includes working on FTQ like I should be. I may or may not chat with you tomorrow. We’ll see. I hope you have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

How are we going to fit it all?

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning! I am back in the Garden State, and seriously draggin’ tail. I don’t get it. I went to sleep my normal (local) bedtime, and woke up three hours later than I usually do, and I’m still wiped.

For some reason, flying west to east messes me up. Logically, it would make more sense going from east to west, where you would have to repeat time. Think about it. You leave New York at noon, and arrive in California at 1:30, but it was a five and a half hour flight. Your body is saying it’s getting near dinnertime and the locals are just finishing lunch, and unless you’re planning on going to bed at 7:00 local time, your bedtime is skewed as well. It would make more sense the jetlag would hit you harder going in that direction, wouldn’t it?

Whatever, I just take a short nap this afternoon and I’ll be back on track. I’ve got the laundry going already, and the only other thing on my agenda for today is to completely clean out the car so we can start loading Lys’ stuff. I figure if I stick our luggage into my mom’s car, then all of Lys’ stuff will fit in the van with no problems.

The one thing I don’t know yet is what kind of room she has, so I don’t know what kind of sheets and bedding to get, if she needs a TV, if we need to pack her fridge. I’m wigging out a bit, because we are down to two days to shop for stuff. We leave Friday morning for NC.

Ugh! I just realized I have something else I have to deal with today, a house sitter. Colby is going off to vacation at Grandma’s house, but the kitties need tending to. Perhaps my nephew will be willing to stay here for three days.

Oh, I forgot to tell you in yesterday’s blog about Monday night’s dinner. We went to the Saltgrass Steak House, because we had heard good things. Plus, we were in Texas, so we had to have one steak dinner. The place was packed, so that was a good sign. Our waiter, Thomas, was a little goofy, but very nice. The place was noisy, there were dead animals mounted to the wall – even a rattlesnake, and the air conditioning was blasting. Now I don’t know about you, but I sure didn’t pack a sweatshirt to take with me to Texas in August. I was literally shivering sitting there at the table.

Our dinner was placed in front of us, and Thomas asked if I needed anything else, and I said, “Yeah, a sweater.” He shrugged and said, “The owner likes to keep it cold in here” then walked away.

Fine, whatever, maybe the hot food would warm me up. Chewing wouldn’t be an issue since my teeth were already chattering. I cut my first section of steak, and take a bit – 95% grizzle. So now I’m looking around for a discreet way to spit out this hunk of meat in my mouth. Luckily, Thomas had left several of the drink napkins on the table.

The next bite, the same thing. Okay, so maybe it’s just this edge of the meat. I turn it around, and cut from the other side. Same thing. How about the middle? Nope, no better, and no Thomas in site to say anything to. I gave up on the steak, and focused on the Monmouth sweet potato on my plate. It was yummy.

I fill up on the sweet potato, and as soon as I lay the fork and knife on my plate and push it slightly away from me, Thomas swoops in and says he’ll take that out of my way, the instantly disappears before I have a chance to say anything about the poor quality of the steak. When he see my husband finish his dinner, he reappears with the dessert menu.

Now I have my opportunity. We decline dessert and I tell him I basically had to spit out half of my steak because I couldn’t chew through it. His reaction – sorry, that happens sometimes – and then hands us the check. Not for nothing, but if I’m paying $18 for a steak, I want to be able to eat the dang thing.

Consider this public service announcement #2 (or is it #3?), if you are in Arlington, Texas, the Saltgrass shouldn’t be your first choice of steakhouses. Heaven knows there are dozens to choose from in the area.

The washer just buzzed, so I should go deal with that. I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

A squeaky floorboard…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.