August 31, 2003

The Big Move

So, I moved back to school over the weekend. This is now the third year in a row I have moved into the dorms at the end of the Summer and the experience is always a bad one. Not only because I get depressed when I have to begin school again (which I discussed last Friday), but because my mom and dad always help me move and the situation causes a lot of tension and crankiness, in me at least.

Every little thing my mom said while we were moving seemed to annoy me. Not to mention the fact that she did a few really boneheaded things. First of all, when we got there on Saturday afternoon she dropped me off in front of the dorm so that I could "sign in" while she parked the car in a ramp. After I signed in, she met me in the lobby and we got a laundry cart and went to the ramp to get the stuff out of the car. She leads me to "Level C" at which point I am staring at a gigantic parking lot full of cars. I can see she has a strange look on her face, so I say something like "what spot did you park in?" She gives me another strange look and says, "I parked on Level C."

For the next 20 minutes or so, we tried to find where my mom parked the car. She even managed to convince two girls working on the "U Crew" (people hired to help you move in) to walk around the parking lot with her looking for the car. I'm not sure how three women walking around together looking for the same car is any better than one, but they eventually found it...about a mile away from where she thought she parked it.

The strange thing is that what happened is extremely unlike my mom. I have never been somewhere with her where she has parked the car without writing down the exact location. Sometimes she'll even remember the exact coordinates, complete with longitude, latitude and surrounding landmarks.

Another wonderful moment from the weekend involved an adventure with my "U Card," which is basically my student ID. At this point, I was pretty much all moved in and my parents and I decided we would go get some lunch at the student union. We were about to step out the door when I realized I didn't have my U Card. This is a big deal because I need to use it to get in and out of about 10 different doors within the dorm.

So for about 15 or 20 minutes, three people searched through 10x12 room for a little card with my picture on it. We searched in the trash, under the desk and in places where the card could not possible have been. Midway into our search, I began to take out my frustration on my mom. You see, while my dad and I were installing the cable box, setting up my voice mail and taking apart the bed loft, my mom was busy basically moving all of my stuff to various locations in the room. She was making stacks of papers and putting stuff in the closet and filling drawers up. Because of that, I was convinced she was responsible for the missing U Card...and I told her so.

The whole moving-me-into-school thing is no doubt just as stressful on her as it is me, so after a few minutes, my mom had enough and she went out into the hallway to get away from her jerk of a son. My dad and I continued to search the room, while I repeatedly said things like "I don't f@#$%* believe this" and "I guarantee she moved it" over and over again. I decided I'd go see if somehow the card got dropped in the hallway or in the lobby or something, so I went to look. When I returned to the room a few minutes later, my dad was holding the U Card. He found it on my bed, underneath a bunch of shirts my mom had unpacked and put there in her effort to reposition everything in the room as many times as possible.

I mentioned that my dad and I took apart the loft for my bed. When I first got to the room, the bed was lofted about 7 feet in the air, like the top bunk of a bunk bed. It had a ladder attached and a desk and a small dresser were underneath. Now, I am a pretty big guy. I'm about 6'2" and two hundred and...well, let's just say I'm well over two-bills. Anyway, there was no way I was going to live an entire school year in a place where I have to climb up a ladder every time I want to get into bed. Not only is that a pain in the butt for me, but I don't think the ladder would be too happy about it either.

So, we went to work on taking apart the loft, so that the bed would be only a couple of feet off the ground. Once we got some tools, the job wasn't too difficult. And not only did I get my bed fixed the way I wanted it, I got the chance to see someone use a rubber mallet for the first time in my life. Trust me, it was a real thrill.

The ladder came hooked to the bed, but I had to unhook it and move it so I could pull the desk and dresser out. I unhooked the ladder and leaned it up against the other side of the bed. A few moments later, my mom found her way under the bed, in what she claims was a search for the phone jack. Anyway, she knocked right into the ladder, which then fell right into the newly painted white wall, knocking a pretty good sized chunk out in the process. My mom told me it wasn't her fault, because she "didn't know the ladder was there."

It was at this point that I asked her if I was on Candid Camera. I have to say that, between the pounding of a rubber mallet, me yelling at my parents and my mom continuously asking me "where do you want to put this," my neighbors must have gotten a pretty good show.

There was one interesting thing that my mom didn't have anything to do with. I have lived in a "regular" dorm room the last two years, first with 3 roommates and then by myself. This new room is more of an apartment/dorm combination. There is a little kitchen in each room and instead of having to share a bathroom with the entire floor, I share one with just one person. It is sort of like adjoining hotel rooms, with a bathroom in the middle. There is my single room, with a door connecting to the bathroom, which then connects to my neighbor's room in the same way.

I wasn't sure exactly how the whole bathroom sharing thing worked, but I figured it wouldn't be a big deal. So I get there and I start checking it out and I see that there is a lock on each side of both the doors. So, in theory, I could lock my neighbor out of my room and I could also lock him out of the bathroom while I was using it - and vice versa. I say "in theory" because that's not quite how it works.

Much to my amazement, the locks appear to be completely useless. They don't keep anyone out of the bathroom or out of my room. If I lock either, the door can be opened by simply turning the handle, at which point the lock clicks back into the "open" position. I found this to be extremely strange (and so did my dad), so I went to the front desk to ask. When I described the problem with my locks to the guy at the desk, he told me that it wasn't a problem, it was the way the locks "work." Basically, you can't actually lock someone out of your room or out of the bathroom, because, according to the guy at the desk, that would break some "fire code."

I took this information in for a moment and then asked, "So, you're saying the locks don't actually serve any purpose, they are just there to look at?" Without even considering the ridiculousness of that question, he told me that yes, they are useless, but that, and I quote, "They give a sort of warning that someone is in the bathroom." The warning that he is talking about is apparently the extra 2% of pressure you need to apply in order to get the door to open when it is "locked."

I did a few "test runs" on the locks and I honestly couldn't tell the difference to opening the door when it was locked and when it wasn't. So not only is there a very good chance of me walking in some guy in the bathroom and him walking in on me, there is absolutely nothing keeping the complete stranger living next to me from coming into my room at any time. Absolutely nothing, not a single thing. He just turns the nob and he's in. I have to say, this fact is absolutely mind-boggling to me.

I mean, it would be different if this were a roommate that had complete access to my room. But it's not, it is just some guy named "Matthew" who I have never met in my entire life and whom I only am aware of because we have been randomly assigned to the same bathroom. And don't get me wrong, it is exactly as strange for him too. I mean, I know I would never go into his room without being invited, but he certainly doesn't know that.

And aside from the possibility of someone coming into my room uninvited or while I am not there, there is also the fact that I could, at anytime, walk in on some guy while he's on the "throne." Let me assure you, that is not going to pleasant for anyone involved.

I know my mom and dad typically read this blog everyday, so I want to say thank you to both of them for what they did over the weekend. They not only helped me move into my dorm room, they did so while taking a verbal assault from me the entire time. I want to appologize for that, because there is no doubt that I was a jerk during almost the entire process and they certainly did not deserve that (I mean, aside from parking lots, U Cards and ladders).

I am not sure what it is, but I just can't help myself from turning into a real jerk during the moving process. I know beforehand that I am going to do so and I even warned both of them. Yet I can't stop myself. I think mainly it comes from me being a little sad and a lot stressed out, and I tend to lash out at the people around me when I feel that way. It's a horrible habit and even though I recognize that I do it, I don't have any way to control it.

But we got the job done. All my stuff is in my new room and I am ready to begin school tomorrow morning. The good news is that I don't have to go through this again for another 8 months or so. The bad news is that the guy living next to me has access to my room 24/7 and there's a good chance we are both going to see some things in the bathroom that we have absolutely no interest in seeing. I'll make sure to keep you updated on the bathroom situation, since I know you are all very interested.


Some of you may have noticed that I recently put a small link to "Paypal Donations" up on the upper left-hand corner of this page.

I really hope this doesn't offend anyone (I tried to make it as small and unintrusive as possible), but I figured it wouldn't hurt to give some of you the option of sending a few bucks my way. I know some other blogs have similar setups and, believe it or not, I have actually gotten emails from several readers interested in sending me something because they enjoy this blog so much (trust me, it shocked the hell out of me too).

Anyway, I just wanted to bring the issue up, since it seems foolish to ignore something that I have added to the page and that you probably saw. If you like the blog and all the free articles I have written over the last 13 months, I would certainly be very greatful if you decided it was worth making a small donation. And if you don't feel that way, don't feel bad. I can't say that I would make a donation to someone like me if I had the money to do so, and I definitely do not want to make it seem like you are obligated to do so in any way whatsoever. That said, any donations will certainly be appreciated by me (and by the University of Minnesota too, no doubt).

I want to thank "Dave", who was the first person to make a donation, as well as "Steve" and "Craig" - who also sent a few bucks my way over the weekend. Thanks to you guys, buying my books yesterday afternoon wasn't such a horrible experience and, amazingly, the balance in my checkbook doesn't read "$0.00" yet.

Link of the Day:

Major League Baseball Graphs - One of the best sites on the web contains graphs tracking team performances throughout the season in a bunch of difference areas, and also has up-to-date 2003 Win Shares for all players. Flat out one of the best baseball resources available.

Today's picks:

San Francisco (Ponson) +140 over Arizona (Schilling)

Total to date: + 2,700

W/L record: 221-219 (2-2 on Friday for +40)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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