Early Morning

Today I was up before the dawn, likely due to some suspicious skittering in the vents that I at first attributed to branches tapping at my window.  My phone lit up on my nightstand: it was my gentleman caller, texting to say that he had made it home.  In foggy delight that we were both somehow awake at 4:45, we chatted for a little bit.  I panicked about the shuffling–a mouse, undoubtedly–and attempted to discern, with moral support via text, whether or not the little creature was confined to the vents or diving in and out of second grade spelling tests under my bed.

I read for a while, then, still Michael Perry’s Truck.  After fifty pages of hunting tales and cab painting and descriptions that otherwise seemed not so far from what I know, having spent most summer weekends of my life in Wisconsin, I turned out the lamp.

My window lit a pale blue box against the dark, rodent-conquered room.  I heard the wind pick up, an inhale preceding the hollow sound of millions of leaves brushing against one another.  I could see the leaves move if I craned my neck, using the pillow for leverage.  Somehow, being able to see the leaves even as I heard them made me think that I could possibly get back to sleep, mouse or no mouse.  In the way we learn when we are very young, now that it was daytime, the demons had shrunk considerably.

There was a whine from the kitchen.  Ruby, perhaps hearing the ruffle of pages turning, had decided to begin the morning ritual of whimper, pace, gate rattle.  She’s very polite about it, even going so far as to adopt a look of, “Why, good morning!  Fancy you being awake at this time, too!  Shall we go for a romp outside, since we both happen to be up?”  I let her outside, pulling on a fleece as I followed.

She bolted for the weeds at the edge of our yard, preferring this morning to do her business in private.  I trudged up the driveway for the paper.  Ruby came running back, orange plastic “log” in mouth.  I tossed it for her a few times before she became distracted by the business of a neighborhood dog, deposited in a neat pile in the grass behind the garage.  She was only coaxed away by my promise of breakfast.

After the panicked realization that we were both locked out of a sleeping house at six a.m., and after some–thankfully brief–fumbling for spare key, we both settled down in the kitchen again.  Me with the thick bundle of paper, Ruby with a bowl full of kibble and another bowl of water which she sloshed into her food to create a textual masterpiece.

It’s six-thirty now.  The mouse has gone back to his nest of old clothes in a corner of the laundry room.  The sky has lightened enough to reveal another overcast, fifty-percent-chance-of-rain day.  Ruby has settled back onto her large pillow, waiting for me to quiet down so she can commence her mid-morning nap.  I think I’ll follow her example on that one; it’s much too early for me to be awake, anyway.

In Which I Abandon Virginia Woolf in Pursuit of a Career in Retail

I am done with that dratted paper, I am home, and I just finished my first Target shift of the year.

Retail–particularly department store work–has always struck me as rather bleak.  I don’t mean to insult anyone’s work, but I’ve actually had nightmares about spending the rest of my life folding sheets in the same two aisles of Macy’s.

But there are high points, too.

Like the lady who stopped me and said, “I remember you from the speech team!  You had a lovely voice!”

And the child who saw me tiredly shuttling Triskets from one cart to another, and asked if he could help (how I wanted to say yes).

And the couple who, reading from their granddaughter’s Christmas list, asked me to explain to them what Webkinz are, and what Maximum Ride is, and what the purpose of a sock monkey is (I was stumped there).

The best high point of all, however, is that I am now home, tucked into bed, and gleefully getting ready to watch an episode of the John Adams HBO miniseries.

Warning Letter

Dear Friends,

I know that Friday night is coming.  I know that it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and that having gorged yourself on cranberries still in their can-like form, turkey smothered in gravy and abutted by mounds of stuffing and potatoes, and a few rolls thatjustbalanced on the edge of your plate, you’ll be lethargic.

I know that you’ll wake up on Friday morning still woozy from that last “sliver” of pie.  And yet, and yet, you will still trek to Target before the sun is up, if only to elbow your hair stylist’s elderly mother out of the way, that you might claim the last Nikon.

I know that Friday night, after sandwiches bulging with leftovers, you will seek entertainment.  Something light, something out of the house (away from the dishes), something the entire family can enjoy.

But friends, I implore you: do not go see Breaking Dawn Part 2.  If you do, you will laugh at first, then you will furrow your eyebrows in dubious mockery, and then you will be overwhelmed by waves of revulsion and worry for the future of popular filmmaking.  You will find yourself snatching your neighbor’s Milkduds to throw at the screen. You will sob the entire way home, because how can any movie that people pay to see be that bad?

Trust me.  I’m still emotionally shattered from my own viewing last night.

Wishing you happy Thanksgiving travels,


Home at Last

I’m home!

I took my second midterm yesterday morning, ran two miles, worked for one hour, stopped to pose in UMM’s MN United photo (with about twenty other people), and then hit the road, with my friend Gretchen at the wheel.

It was a long 3.5 hour drive back to the cities, deliciously punctuated by a trip to the Chipotle in St. Cloud.  There, we ran into three friends from Morris!  I tell you, Chipotle’s draw is strong.

I slept for almost twelve hours last night, and woke up this morning feeling more like myself than I’ve felt all week.

Today has largely been spent reading trashy celebrity magazines, pilfering Sunday crossword puzzles from the newspaper bin, and watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls.

We had steak for dinner, and now I’m diving into my Senior Seminar research for about an hour before mom and I head to the gym for some running.

It’s been two whole months since I’ve been outside the Morris town limits, which is hard to believe.  I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to not recognize professors in the grocery store, or to wake up to quiet (as opposed to muffled Frank Ocean).

Happy Weekend!

Life at Home

Eye doctor at 1 pm

Regular doctor at 2 pm

Watched The Debt with Dad after dinner.

Watched Olympics until bedtime.

Waited until my sister was in the shower, then crawled under the covers in her bed.

Lay in wait for twenty minutes.

Scared her to death.

It’s a simple life I lead at home, but it sure is rewarding.

The Official Beginning of Summer

Expect a larger post tomorrow.  I’m exhausted from the Big Move, and from the amount of walking around I’ve done.

The funny thing about campus during the summer is that it doesn’t feel like campus; it feels like a bunch of brick buildings clumped together.  The students truly make the school, I’ve realized today.  It’s not the same without them playing frisbee on the Mall and meandering from building to building in clumps of twos and threes.

My consolation is that my new house is darling with dark wood baseboards and doors, and slightly lighter wood floors.  My room is painted sage green (a far cry from my turquoise walls at home, but close enough), and currently holds just a bed, a bookshelf, and a fan.  I’m using a Rubbermaid bin as a nightstand, but it all feels authentically college-y.  We’re supposed to live on crumbs, aren’t we?

Spring Break Commences

Home at last.  After way too many hours of class and work and meetings, and after two and a half hours on a bus and forty-five minutes in a car, I’m sitting on my own bed writing this post.

The bus ride was interesting, to say the least.  Since it’s Spring Break, lots of students were looking to go home.  I could tell right away, based on the masses of people flooding out of the dorms with rolling duffels and laptop cases that everyone would have to have a seat partner.  A girl in the very back of the bus, however, had spread a pillow and blanket out over the three connected seats, and was preparing to spend the trip in comfort.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had recruited some poor freshman to stick cherries in her mouth, Cleopatra style.

As the bus began to fill up, and people lugging backpacks began migrating farther and farther back in search of an empty spot, I watched the girl turn up her nose at every hopeful who looked her way.  Finally, I turned to her and said (maybe not so nicely) that the bus was going to be full, and that she was going to have to move over so people could sit next to her.  She didn’t like hearing that.  She raved and raved (while grudgingly budging up) about poor planning on the University’s part, and how they should have gotten more buses.  I agreed with her on that point; UMM definitely should have spent more money in order to spare one selfish girl the indignity of sitting within two feet of mere mortals.

After that fiasco, I settled down against the window and promptly fell asleep.  Not a good sleep, mind you, but a bus sleep that only lasts until your head slips from the narrow headrest and slams down into thin air.  I did manage about a half hour, during which, I strongly suspect, I unknowingly had my head on my seat partner’s shoulder.  I make this conclusion based on the strange look he gave me after I woke up.

We did begin chatting after a while, once the awkwardness that is attempted bus sleep wore off.  Striking up conversation with strangers whilst traveling is rapidly becoming a talent of mine.  Who would have thought?

He told me that his iPod was dead because he dropped it in the toilet the other day.

“Did it turn on after you got it out?”  I asked.

“Oh yeah.  It turned right on,” He replied.

“Then what happened to make it break?”

“I tried to rinse it off in the sink.  Then it really died.”

Okay then.

It’s good to be home.