Monday, November 30, 2009

An hourglass glued to the table

Days left on the road: 2
Days left in the office: 7

Today was my first day in the office since September. And it was Monday. And it was the day after Thanksgiving break. And it was cold and raining and miserable. Clearly there were places I would have rather been.

The morning sped by as I completed uber important and top secret tasks involving stapling and alphabetizing and pulling files. Glamorous, right? We received over 100 applications today. Pile on the transcripts and letters of recommendation that accrued over the long weekend, and things were insane. I was actually a bit bummed that I won't get to read applications; when it's a manageable amount, it's probably (sometimes) fun. While stapling, I caught a glimpse of a kid's resume. Under computer skills, he listed facebook and twitter. I wanted to laugh hysterically, but I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I was (what's the reading equivalent of eavesdropping?) skimming (definitely not the right word, but bear with me here) fragments of applications when my official task was to staple. So I definitely didn't see anything. I swear.

I also received the fabulous news that my favorite applicant was accepted! She'll get her letter later this week, which means I have to wait several days to send her a congratulatory email and tell her that now that she's accepted I can officially be her best friend. Maybe I should do it through facebook instead... Is there a bumper sticker that says "OMG I can't wait to hang out with you all the time" without being too stalkerish?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's a win-win-win

So now that I'm two weeks away from the end of my admissions job (I'm assuming. No one actually knows when my last day is, so I guess we're going to be surprised?) I'm in the thick of my job search. I've been applying for basically anything at all that will help me pay for that fabulous house I'm renting. And maybe some utilities. There is one posting I'm applying for that lists the following information:

Job Type: Staff
Percent Effort: 100

I would love to see the postings for jobs that only require 75% effort; where are they? Or maybe something that requires 100% effort three months out of the year, 85% six months out of the year, and then I can coast the rest of the time with 40% effort? I would love that arrangement.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

But I would walk 500 miles

After a few months of living out of hotels, I have officially reached platinum status through IHC's Priority Club. Tonight I received my first complimentary room upgrade. I guess it's nice to have a couch in my room, but I'm only staying here for one night, so it's not like it's getting used. I will certainly use the "Platinum Water" I received upon check-in. I'll let you know if it tastes any different than a regular bottle of water. Perhaps the filter they use is made of platinum?

Yesterday was the final open house for the semester. Crazy. I ran into one of my favorite students from the road and she completely fell in love with campus! I introduced her to the counselor who will read her application, and later I threatened said counselor's life if he didn't admit her. I doubt it will be an issue; she's a perfect fit for the school. I also ran into a family who visited over the summer:

Mom: So what did you get on your SATs?
Me: ...1370? (Whoa, I just revealed that to the blogosphere!)
Dad: Oh, well that's not really good.
Me: ...
Mom: Wait, were there only two sections when you took it?
Me: Yes...
Mom: Oh! Well, that is good, then.
Me: ...

Needless to say, I was nervous about giving them a tour, but they turned out to be a lot of fun. We walked around for over an hour and talked the entire time. When the mom saw me, she ran up and said, "Hi! Do you remember us? We came over the summer and kept you really late?" Love them. I hope their son chooses to attend... he was really into another school over the summer, but his parents were trying to dissuade him because of the unusual curriculum.

For the past week I have been rocking out to the Glee soundtrack in the car. Best. Road music. Ever. Mostly because it lets me think about Finn for hours at a time. (Although I stopped daydreaming about him as my jockward future husband when I saw an interview he gave. Absolutely no personality in real life. *sigh*) I'm going to miss having my CD player. However, I am stoked to use my van again. It's the car that lasted through my childhood, that I learned to drive in, and that I took with me to college. And, in a few weeks (!) it will take me to my first house (if rentals count) in Pittsburgh. I'm guessing it will die shortly after in an epicly Arrivederci, Fiero kind of moment.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's the final countdown

My hotel is literally walking distance from a movie theater, but there is nothing I could even pretend to want to see. FML.

The week is winding down, which means I have only five days left of school visits. More students are attending the info sessions now; I think humans are biologically programmed to ponder major life choices whenever national holidays come around. Today I met with this insanely awkward/adorable junior. He's a swimmer/aspiring surgeon, a combination I've been encountering with greater frequency. He told me that he's really excited to go to college and not share a room with his little sister; apparently he can't bring friends over because his room has princess sheets. I told him he could always lie and say they belonged to his sister. He stared blankly for a moment. Then he got it.

Today is so grey and bleh, I'm honestly surprised I'm not already napping.

So I'm going to go take a nap now. But first I'm going to find a way to make this the screensaver for my brain.

Monday, November 16, 2009

There are places I'll remember all my life... most are chains

I always feel guilty sitting next to students in Panera. They are usually cramming for tests, furiously typing papers, or trying to decipher lecture notes, whereas I am usually catching up on Desperate Housewives. Or laughing inappropriately at FML. Or eavesdropping. I don't actually know which of us I envy the most.

Tonight is my last college fair. If you already know that, it's because I've been adding it to every email and facebook status for the past week, and am considering renting a blimp. It's so nice having evenings free. This is also my last full week of travel. Thanksgiving? Next Thursday. I just blew your mind, didn't I? December 1, a.k.a. the start of my lease? Two weeks and one day away. I just blew my own mind. December 11, a.k.a. the end of my employment? Well, we don't need to do the math on that one. The point is, this semester (look at me, still measuring time like a college student) has flown by. And, as Keri has been so kind as to point out, I only have a few weeks to make a cinema-worthy impression with my blog. Anyone know any agents? Maybe literary ones? I could slum it with a book deal.

Today I met with ten kids at one school. It was completely, delightfully productive... at least in entertainment value. I applaud their abilities to stall; most kids their age are so graceless in their attempts. Congrats, random PA high school students. Well done. I decided to send them back to class, however, when one of the kids asked, "Do a lot of people kill themselves at your school like at (insert similar college)?" Apparently this other school has several mini-monuments to the deceased. I would assume/hope that it isn't a reflection on the school.(?)

I also met one student whose older sister is a current student. It's always comforting to hear someone say, "My sister says there's absolutely nothing to do there because it's so small... but I really like it." It just shows that location is almost irrelevant if you're skilled at "hanging out." (This girl gets a billion adorable points for making an effort not to use the word "party" when she was telling me about a weekend she spent on campus recently. Instead, she detailed the different dorms she visited on Saturday night "meeting" and "spending time with" and "checking out where they live." It was an extensive list of euphemisms.)

So I mentioned my extensive experience eavesdropping in Panera... Right now, I'm listening to a middle-aged man and his parents look up hotels. He's listed four or five at this point, and I have stayed at all of them. (Insert dirty joke here.) Road warrior? I think so.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well there's nothing to lose/And there's nothing to prove...

I was fully planning on posting yesterday, but as it turns out I needed at least 24 hours to recover from the world's most awkward visit. I walked in, told the receptionist who I was, and she informed me that no students had signed up (it's the point in the semester when seniors know what they're doing and the juniors don't care yet). Shortly after a counselor came out to meet me: his mouth said, "You can talk to me for a minute if you want"... his eyes said, "Please don't make me interact with anyone." In my defense, I had driven for a while to get to the school and had been sitting in the parking lot reading a book for twenty minutes, so there was no way in hell I was leaving without telling someone something about the school. In my defense, I was just trying to do my job. In my defense, I figured he was new and didn't know how the college visits worked yet and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. In my defense, I figured he had at least been around other humans before. I will never get those ten minutes back.

Okay, on to happier thoughts! Most days, I love the fact that I don't know New Jersey at all. I get pleasantly surprised driving through towns and realizing, Oh, this is where that random landmark that I've heard of but know nothing about is! Case in point: Grover Cleveland's birthplace. I knew he was born in New Jersey, but I had no idea it was in Caldwell, NJ across the street from a public library and a mile down the road from a Panera. I pulled over immediately and took photos before my last appointment of the day. There were pamphlets available on the front porch, and I grabbed one noting the daily 2 p.m. tour time. Later as I made smalltalk with the friendly guidance counselor, I mentioned to her that I might swing by Grover Cleveland's house for the afternoon tour. She laughed. Hard. I think she assumed I was joking. I fully intended on looping back around, but several things changed my mind:
1. It was cold and rainy and I wanted a nap
2. I know absolutely nothing about Grover Cleveland except for that non-consecutive terms tidbit. I worried that I would enjoy looking at Grover's cradle and christening gown less if I didn't have a better idea of what he became.
3. In a letter from GC to the centennial of the First Presbyterian Church, located quite literally yards away from the Cleveland home, GC admits, "Though I remember almost nothing of the village where I spent a few very early days, I can sincerely say that the spot is dear to me-- as the place of his birth should be dear to every man." To me, the subtext reads, "I don't give a shit about the house... but it's nice that you guys do, I guess?" I mean, even GC was trying to distance himself from his Jersey roots. The only reason his house is still standing is because a group of admirers bought it when Cleveland was running for governor of NY. That's right, running. He hadn't even won yet, but they assumed it would one day be important to own the residence where he lived until he was two years old. In the end, I decided that if GC was so nonchalant about it, I probably didn't need to see the inside.
4. I decided to interpret the counselor's laughter as, "Don't visit there! It's a terrible historical landmark!" as opposed to, "What loser would do that in her free time?"

In the end, the bubble bath was totally worth remaining in ignorance of GC's life. I also used the time to catch up on Glee, and I am so bitter the stupid college fair last night kept me from seventeen extra hours of enjoyment.

This weekend I am venturing over to Pittsburgh to (hopefully) charm some potential landlords and eat some noodles. Wish me luck in my efforts to relocate!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is the day that never ends... Yes, it goes on and on my friends...

Up until 10:30 a.m., I thought my blog entry was going to revolve entirely around a douchey kid from a lunch visit.

Him: What are your cutoffs?
Me: Well, we don't have cutoffs, but--
Him: Then you're not a prestigious university.
Me: Bitch, what?

He also wanted to know how many parties there are every night. I wanted to tell him to check facebook.

Then, at 10:15 I left my lunch visit (I can't believe how early high schools eat) and began the hour-long commute to my next school. At 10:30 I pulled onto the shoulder of the turnpike with a flat tire. Yup. So, being the mature professional that I am, I start making phone calls to figure out who I should call because, as one counselor told me at the beginning of the semester, AAA doesn't work in New Jersey. As it turns out, the other counselor lied. Because the turnpike is a government-contracted road... something or other that I didn't listen to because I still got my tire fixed by a very nice man named Ralph who achieved the impossible of calling me both "babe" and "darling" without me wanting to punch him in the gonads.

Of all the days for this to happen, this one was pretty ideal; I only missed one appointment in the afternoon, and no kids had signed up, anyway. So when my tire was fixed around 1:00, I drove to the school and met with the counselor even though I was basically a zombie at that point. (I really worry about the fundamental attribution error in this case... I was off my game because it was an exhausting morning, but she probably thinks I'm normally a zombie.) However, I enjoyed an unexpectedly serene hour reading my book on the highway as semis barreled past me honking their horns.

Did I mention that as I left the final school visit my check oil light came on? I doubt my car believes me, but I was actually already going to get an oil change this afternoon anyway. So now my car has a brand new tire, fresh oil, half a tank of gas, and a guilty owner who will probably buy it air fresheners and dashboard trinkets to win back its affection. It only needs to last a few more weeks...

I do feel the need to point out that when I ranoverthecatbyaccident a few weeks ago, it was mere days before visiting with my friend Keri. Today, when my car virtually fell into disrepair as I plodded through my Joyce Carol Oates novel (since I had heard of her as this fabulous author but could never actually name a single thing she has written), it is mere days before I trek to Pittsburgh to see Keri and what will hopefully become our new residence. I leave it to you to draw conclusions.

Friday, November 6, 2009

O, Happy Day!

Another one! Another one! I'm worried that they're going to do too much of a good thing, but in the meantime... another one!

Thanks to Improv Everywhere, I've learned something about myself today: I like the cafeteria-esque settings way better. Perhaps I've been influenced too much by HSM; after all, my favorite song from the original is Status Quo.

Who can blog about high school visits when there's such hilarity to be viewed?

P.S.-- I constantly worry that I've put my headphones in improperly and all of Panera can hear me listening to HSM.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The day my health insurance died

I'm 22 now. Technically my health insurance extends for a 31 day "grace period," but I am acutely aware of my entering the adult world, no longer under my parents' protective umbrella should I get hit by a bus or something. I should go run through traffic now while I'm still covered...

Today I visited Washington's HQ in Morristown, NJ. It was a fabulous birthday awkwardfest. I had about half an hour before I had my afternoon school visit, so I wandered in and asked the two rangers what there was to see. The house, as it happens, was closed, but I could look around the two-room museum and get a guided tour if I waited until noon. I told them that I had to leave at noon, so they called the ranger and asked him to come down early to talk to me.

Me: Thanks so much! I didn't mean to screw up your schedule!
Male Ranger: No problem. You have a cute hat, so we'll cut you some slack.
Me: ...thanks. (?)
Female Ranger: Yes, we saw it when you were walking up and said it was cute. And then you got closer. Still cute.
Male Ranger: Yup! Two votes for cute, no votes for not cute.

They're right, it is pretty adorable. Then I chatted with the female ranger for a while about our respective alma maters and "going green" and then the ranger came to give me my abbreviated tour. He showed me a painting by Gilbert Stuart that appeared to depict George Washington with a pair of bunny ears. The artist actually reused the canvas, and painted George over an image of a young woman. The woman's arms began to show through, and thus George's new look. I loved that the artist completely abandoned the portrait of the woman to reproduce a painting he had already made a million times already. I also saw several copies of etiquette guides, one of which was filled with colonial humor:

(I may or may not be paraphrasing.)

A father told his daughter, "You'd do well to marry, but better if you didn't." The daughter replied, "Then I will marry. I'm content to do well and leave better to others."

Oh, that saucy minx! And, of course, the one about the priest and the pig... (sorry, theater geek joke).

A congregation asked a priest why he joined the church, to which the young man replied, "I had a vision that God needed me." A member of the congregation piped up, "Oh, yes, I remember reading somewhere that Jesus needed an ass!"

I bet George chortled when he first read that one! So that was my one-on-one guided tour... it lasted about twelve minutes. Mostly the ranger and I discussed the GW history in our respective hometowns (or worktowns, as the case is for me). New Jersey is trying to increase its historical tourism. Yes, Philadelphia gets a lot of attention, but NJ was a hot spot during the Revolution. Or so Morristown would have us believe.

Jersey schools are closed for the rest of the week, so it's off to PA tonight! I'm staying near Valley Forge, so I'll probably check that out at some point. Oh, and probably talk to some kids or something.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I will not flirt with the cute guidance counselor...

I don't know what it is about this week, but I keep meeting with adorable guidance counselors. Two out of three have been married, but still. It's like the admissions gods are giving me a gift every time I walk into a school. Thank you, admissions gods.

This week is delightfully low-key. Today ended at 11:30, and I'm happy to say that I haven't done anything productive since then. (Okay, partial lie. There's a Target Greatland five minutes from my hotel, and I might have purchased an adorable dress for a mere $12. Win!) I decided to veg in my hotel room for the rest of the day. My fabulous boyfriend had a flower basket delivered to my hotel for my birthday, and it contained enough junk food to last me through the evening. (His timing was impeccable: just as I was emailing a friend that I was insanely hungry, but too tired to find food, the basket arrived. Eerie, right?)

With only one month left in roadrunning, I've started to think about the hereafter. The current plan is to move to Pittsburgh with the rest of my graduating class and find a job, any job. But what does this mean for the blogosphere? If I'm not a roadrunner, how can I chronicle my confessions as one? Unless I change the blog title to something like, "Confessions of an Unemployed College Graduate" or "Wait, How Did I Wind Up In Pittsburgh?" or "Seriously, Someone Needs to Give Me A Job." Those are always possibilities. So on a completely unrelated note, if anyone knows of job openings in Pittsburgh for a college grad who will basically do anything as long as it's full time and doesn't involve a jumpsuit...