last day of august.

Today was good. Driving into the city at 6am is sweet: light traffic and the sunrise.

For breakfast this morning, I had toast. I was pretty excited about it because Abe and Jessica didn't have a toaster. I missed toast. Toast with peanut butter and a hardboiled egg. I can't find where I packed my egg timer, so I boiled my eggs without it. They are very hard to peel. I bought medium eggs instead of large, so after I peel them and most of the white peels off with the shell, I don't have much egg left. Sad.

After work when I was heading down the ramp off the roof, a black guy almost stepped out in front of me. I was going slow, but I stopped and waved him across. He motioned for me to roll down my window and I cracked it. I thought he was just going to ask for directions or something. He said, "I need your help." He was wearing a bright yellow vest-type shirt with a Greyhound logo and name badge and started explaining he was out of gas and kept saying I didn't need to give him a ride but then he was talking so fast I could hardly understand him. I told him I didn't have a gas can. He said "I just need change." I told him I wasn't carrying cash. He said, "Not cash, change."

I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and said I didn't have any. That didn't make any sense to me for a guy to be asking for change to buy gas. You'd need a lot of change. Plus if he worked for Greyhound, wouldn't the company be taking better care of their drivers than expecting them to beg for money when the bus was out of gas? It was kind of sketch if you ask me. He backed off and I rolled up my window completely and continued on my way.

I got home and finished reading a book, ate some dinner. One of my brother's textbooks that I listed on Amazon sold, which was a nice $65 extra.
(Geoff, if you're reading this and want your money you can claim it, but first read my August 12 post and consider that I'm buying a house and then decide if you really want it!)

Then I chilled in the living room before Kate left for work. Rachel came home and we watched The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Seriously the stupidest show ever. I took the time to journal. Law & Order: CI came on and 45 minutes into it I headed up for a shower. I like living with Rachel and Kate. Tomorrow I have new employee orientation all day. I'm pretty excited I get a free lunch.



Yesterday I moved into a townhouse in Antioch with two girls (Kate and Rachel). This morning, I parked on the street because our driveway is seriously like at least a 45-degree angle! It terrifies me every time I pull up, so for now I'm parking on the street and walking up. I looked at this place on Google maps, and the street view makes it look like nothing. Someday I will have to figure out a way to capture its magnitude and put a picture on here.

The living room. I love the colors. I would be totally incapable of going to Home Depot and picking out two colors like this and thinking they'd look good, but I love the living room and kitchen. The side walls are white.
Um, how cool is this: bookstore bookshelves in the living room? Plus there are lots of books I like (by Jodi Picoult and by Francine Rivers), also some from my childhood: Matilda, Number the Stars, Little House on the Prairie, The BFG... I might re-read these for fun.

The kitchen. Have I ever mentioned that I love gerber daisies? I do. And we have some on the table.

Kate is a fan of Audrey Hepburn. I think the black and white picture on the bright wall is sweet.


how do you fold a fitted sheet?

Well, I'm packing up. My stay in Madison has been good. Abe and Jessica were so accommodating (they even lowered my rent from $450 to $300 after the first month "because I'm nice to live with!") Seriously, they are really nice people. They were my first Craigslist rental which could have been pretty sketch, but they were awesome. Now I'm moving for another three months, after which (or sooner) I will move again. I don't know a lot of people who enjoy moving, but I try to make it easier on myself by not having a ton of stuff. Here's my load.

We'll see if I can fit it all in my Taurus tomorrow. It will be all about strategy and I don't want to make two trips! (In addition to these things, there are clothes on hangers but those are easy to put in the car on top of everything.) I'll be moving in with Kate and Rachel (who I connected with through my realtor--who connected with me on Twitter!), each of whom I've only met once before but they seem like they're really great. And I'm pretty excited about it.

What's up:
Tuesday--new employee orientation, all day (they buy us lunch! Woohoo!)
Wednesday--new employee orientation, in the a.m.
Labor Day-- wear your sports team logo to Chick-fil-A and get a free original chicken sandwich. Oh yes, I am all over this. Who can say no to a free sandwich? I can't remember if I've ever eaten at Chick-fil-A.


the experiment.

Wow, this is my 75th post to this blog since being here. It hasn't really sunk in that I live here now.

This morning on my way to work, I stopped and bought two bananas. (I'm moving this weekend so I've stopped buying groceries and I'm literally running out of things to eat.) The bananas I bought were green because from my experience, I've learned that whenever I buy just-right-yellow bananas, they brown before I can eat them.

Well, it's about 9:30am and I am so hungry. (I am always hungry at work. Andrea told me I'd gain weight here. What is it about this place that makes people want to eat?) Anyway, so I remember I have these bananas but they are green. I do not like green bananas. I do not like them in my car, I do not like them under stars. They are too banana-y when they are green. So I start wondering, How can I make these bananas ripen faster? And Jeff tells me to put them in a brown paper bag.

Great idea! Let me pull out one of my brown paper bags and put this banana inside! (I do not have a brown paper bag.) So I start reading some online forums and someone said their mom always put their bananas on top of the refrigerator. Something about the heat helping speed up the process. Gee, it sure would be nice if I had a window in this office so I could call on the power of the sun.

Then I remembered one time when Jeff and I were talking to Andrea and Jeff put his hand on the back of her computer and said, "Ouch! That's hot!" So I placed my banana on top of my computer to warm it up.

Jeff came in later with a brown cardboard box as an alternate to the paper bag. He suggested fixing something up on top of my lamp (I vetoed this idea since I don't want to be the new girl who started the fire). So I put one banana in the box, and the other on top of my computer.

2:30pm: I ate my computer-cradled banana and left the box banana on my desk for tomorrow. Neither were extremely yellow, but the computer one was a little more yellow. That's that.

Sidenote. 5 free mp3s. I downloaded 5 songs yesterday for free on Amazon.com. Check out the offer here.


first impressions

Yesterday I drove by 14 houses in the Woodbine/Glencliff area. I didn't go in, just snapped a quick picture from the street and got a feel for the neighborhood. These are my first impressions (and only of the outside!).

Glenrose Ave.
Cute. I'm diggin' the yellow, but this house feels a little too close to the street for me. It's right off a busy road. There aren't any pictures of the inside with the listing.

Fox Ave.
Not thinking this one is a winner. The pictures online show a 3-car detached garage in the back and a shed. No pictures of the inside. The house itself looked like it could use some repairs.

Valeria St.
I actually really liked this street/neighborhood. I'm not sure what the inside looks like, but one thing is for sure: I would repaint the exterior!

Patterson St.
Hard to get a shot of this house because of the trees/bushes. This was on a hill. Not a favorite.

Patterson St.
This one was cute-- on the same street as the one above. The lot is a little bit sloped. There's a little shed to the right and the backyard is fenced. I think I'd have to switch up the green stuff on the steps/porch. Cute from the curb.

Whitsett Rd.
Nope. Wasn't feeling the street. The house was right across from a big industrial building and gravel parking lot.

DeWain Dr./Elysian Fields
I drove past this and liked the street. It's on a corner. Could use some bushes under those front windows. I didn't get a great picture, but it's longer and has a little carport and shed in the back; I like the off-street parking.

Elgin St.
The online pictures made this place look pretty nice. The pictures of the inside were actually very nice. I don't like that the side of the house is facing the street. And the house next door did not look very nice at all.

McCall St.
Anyone else think it's strange that there's a big dumpster on the left there? And the top windows are boarded and broken? I'm sure someone once appreciated that wheelchair ramp, but I have no use for it.

Empire Dr.
This is one of the few listings online to include inside pictures. The kitchen seems cute. The neighborhood seemed pretty nice and quiet. This is one of my favorites so far. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

Hewlett Dr.
This was right around the corner from Empire Dr. I think it has nice curb appeal.

Lutie St.
Looks like it could be cute, but I wasn't really feeling the street. Passed by this one after almost two hours of driving around, so my opinion might be swayed by lethargy.

Wildview Dr.
I thought the picture I took acutally made this one look decent, but I'm not a huge fan. It was also a corner lot, and again, I was getting tired of being in the car. The pictures online show some nice hardwood floors.

Neese Dr.
Sloped lot. But it backs up to some woods and I thought it was pretty cute and I could definitely have a little garden here. There were pictures online of the inside, but the owners had all their junk everywhere so it's kind of hard to tell. It has some potential.


Real Estate Loan - Ten Commandments

Monday afternoon I'm going out house hunting with my realtor. I usually am not a big fan of shopping, but I'm pretty excited about this. So this means saving, saving, saving. And, of course, following:

The Ten Commandments When Applying for a Real Estate Loan
(courtesy of Keller Williams Realty)
  • 1. Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job.

  • 2. Thou shalt not buy a car, truck or van (or you may be living in it)!

  • 3. Thou shalt not use charge cards excessively or let your accounts fall behind.

  • 4. Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for closing.

  • 5. Thou shalt not omit debts or liabilities from your loan application.

  • 6. Thou shalt not buy furniture.

  • 7. Thou shalt not originate any inquiries into your credit.

  • 8. Thou shalt not make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer.

  • 9. Thou shalt not change bank accounts.

  • 10. Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone.


Hey, it's Friday!

Some random thoughts, forwarded to me by my sister.
I picked out the ones I liked best (meaning, the ones that are
very true!)
  • I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
  • I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  • Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no Internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
  • I think everyone has a movie [or TV show] that they love so much; it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.
  • How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  • I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
  • Was learning cursive really necessary?
  • Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".
  • I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
  • While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.
  • MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  • Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  • I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
  • Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
  • If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.
  • Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....
  • I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'
  • I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darnit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
  • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
  • It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.


it is my joy.

dOne of the first things I do when I get home is get the mail. I'm currently living in a townhouse where the mailbox is not conveniently located next to the front door. Rather, it's in a shed-like structure approximately 100 yards down the street. I guess it makes it easier for the mailman to just make one stop.

Then I change out of my work clothes--usually into athletic shorts and a T-shirt; jeans if I'm planning on going anywhere-- then scoot down to the kitchen where I tackle the dishes: that sink full of sticky, smelly, how-in-the-world-do-two-people-use-this-many-in-eight-hours-and-couldn't-ya-at-least-have-rinsed-it-off pile of dishes. Pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, silverware.

I open the dishwasher and take a breath, strategically taking note of what is present and sketching a layout in my mind so I can fit the greatest amount of dishes in this thing. It's all about efficiency. Strategery.

Growing up, our dishwasher was super-powerful, so I could load it (ha, like I ever loaded the dishwasher when I was little!) with ketchup piles still present and not worry about it. But this is different-- everything must be food-free before taking its seat, which makes it very difficult to tell if a load is clean or dirty.

My hands are usually soft and wrinkly by the time I get the dishes rinsed and loaded. I let the water run slowly over them the entire time because the cost for water here is a fixed price. Then I get a dishtowel and wipe down the counters, brushing everything onto the concrete floor (cafeteria style) since I'll come by with a broom and dustpan anyway.

Today, I'm not done. My roommate's aunt is in the hospital and I know she's extra busy being there and worrying about the care of her cousins. I run upstairs--grabbing the pile of cardboard boxes from next to the trashcan to throw into my recycle pile I'm collecting in my closet--and return with a handful of paper towels to wipe off the kitchen table and coffee table.

I love the coffee table. The top is a big, rectangular piece of glass on a wooden frame. The only downside is that it collects fingerprints, food, and fur very easily. It takes me several attempts to get it clean. There is laundry sitting damp in the washer, so I move it to the dryer. I need to do a load of my own tonight.

I am actually happy to clean. This is my opportunity to serve because I discovered early on that my housemates do not enjoy doing dishes. Usually they work 12 hours shifts, and it really only takes me 15-30 minutes when I get home from work. As John Piper would say, it is my joy! I do not serve merely out of Christian duty (where is the love in that?) Even though my housemates are not much different than me, they do not know Jesus. Nor do they know the God you do not have if you do not have Jesus. Serving them in love is my feeble attempt to show Christ to them. And it is my joy.

They lowered my rent from $450 in June to $300 in July and August. "Because you're nice to live with," they said. I hope they really mean because they see I'm different, that I serve because I am cherished by the God of the universe who, in response to His love for us, sent His Son to atone for our sins. It is my joy so they will know that Yahweh is Lord.


on the DL.

Okay, so this girl is from Burlington. When you need a new driver's license, you drive down to the DMV, say hello to the one person working who is probably doing a crossword puzzle or sudoku because no one else is there, snap your picture and walk out of there in 5 minutes with your new license.

Nashville is not Burlington. I arrive at 3:30 and stand in line to get a number. This place is packed with people. Tons of people who don't speak English and people who showed up with three friends and are taking up all the chairs in the waiting room. And it smells like sweat and general dampness (it just stopped pouring rain). When I get to the first counter, I say, "Hi, I'm a new resident." I expect, "take a number," but I get "Welcome!" :)

I show my birth certificate, letter from my employer, and auto insurance form before I get a number and I sit and fill out an application for a driver's license. After probably 45 minutes, my number gets called. I go to counter #12, show my creds. again, pay $12.50, and get in line for a picture. While in line, I fill out a voter's registration form. I get my picture, wait a little longer, get my license, and leave. In 1 hour and 10 minutes. Not bad because I expected it would take a lot longer. ONE MORE THING OFF MY TO-DO LIST!

Next up: car title and registration


Oh yeah! So today was my first "official" day at LifeWay. I had a brief orientation and filled out a bunch of paperwork for insurance and everything. I'm feeling all "I'm an adult!" with my 401K and life insurance. Still haven't figured out how to record my voice message on my phone. We'll tackle that one tomorrow.


ice cream man!

This is a daily occurrence in our neighborhood.
Today, the ice cream truck was playing
"Jingle Bells." In August. I don't know how
these guys make a profit. They've got such a
bad rep. from all those creepy slasher movies.



note to self: marry a mechanic

In Manhattan, I always took my car to Midas to have it serviced. I think their "Trust the Midas touch" slogan was very effective. I felt like I could trust them. On my last oil change before I graduated, the mechanic came out and said "We tested your battery, and it came back 'Bad.' You should probably get it replaced within the next couple of oil changes.

So when it came time for my first oil change in Nashville, I went to a Midas and told him I needed my oil change and probably a new battery.
"New battery? Are you having trouble starting your car?"
"No, the last guy just said it was bad." "I'll look at it... looks fine. That was just a guy trying to sell you a battery." I walked away feeling happy he didn't lie and make me buy a new battery I didn't really need.

Yesterday after work I was driving around looking at some neighborhoods and homes my realtor told me about it. While driving, I noticed my light on my dashboard came on with the little battery picture. Bright red. When I shut my car off, I turned it on again and had no trouble. But not wanting to take a chance and end up with a dead battery on the side of some road, I made an appointment with Midas.

This morning when driving to work, my car was having a little trouble accelerating. I cut someone off when I was merging on the interstate. He honked. I felt bad about it, and knew he probably saw my Kansas license plate and blamed me for being new to the area. Oh, and I notice now that my left side front window won't roll down. The back one doesn't either, but it hasn't worked in a long time.

So after work today I drove to Midas. As I was pulling into Hendersonville, just a couple of miles from Midas, my RPM gage jumped to about 3.5 then hit zero and bounced between 0-1 before hitting zero and not recovering. A couple of blocks from Midas, my radio shut off, my turn signals stopped working, my ABS light came on, and my spedometer bottomed out at zero. I turned into Midas as my steering wheel was locking up and I parked it.

So I go in there and tell these guys I'm pretty sure my battery needs replaced and about all of these other things that just happened. They said it's probably all related and take a look at it. The manager says the battery is reading just 9 volts (you've seen a 9-volt battery; the small rectangle ones you lick to test the strength). A new one will be about $170 total. I'm not real happy because I expected a battery to run less than $100, but it's that time and I figure if I'm just paying $170 every 5-6 years for a battery, that's fine.

I pick up the Christian Single magazine from my bag and sit in the slightly-too-cold waiting area, reading some article about how to not feel so depressed when you're driving everywhere solo since you're single even though you want someone to talk to because you can talk to God. I wonder if this writer has ever pulled two solo round-trips from Nashville to Kansas without a working mp3 player and still feels this way.

The guy comes back out and says that they put the new battery in and it's not charging or something because my alternator has failed. He asks if I want a new alternator and says it will bring my bill to... he pauses and I brace myself, trying to tell myself not to get upset, that if I expect $500, then whatever he tells me will probably be less and it won't seem so bad.

"To... $563.25. You want to do it?"

Gasp! Worse than I expected and so it definitely seems so bad. That's probably more than 50% the value of my car! But what are my options? I can't say no because this car won't work without it, and I'm not in the position to be buying a new car right now. I guess if I fix it this car will last me hopefully a few more years. Except for the new tires I'll need in December. That'll be another $400. Holy cow! This is too expensive!

I nod my head. Yes, I want it. He walks back into the garage and I put my finger in my mouth and bite down to avoid tears. My mind is trying to come up with some comforting thought so I won't feel so bad about this. I remember this sermon I heard back in college about being a cheerful giver, and how when you give to meet someone's need, you can praise God for creating the person with the need, and praise Him for blessing you so you can meet the need. So I'm trying to think, Praise God that I can afford this, that I have the money. Praise God that I've been able to work these two weeks between my internship ending and starting full time to make some extra money.

And that was that. When this other guy was ringing up my bill, I mustered up the courage to say, "I saw on the website this coupon for $30 off any service more than $300. Can I apply that to this or should I have printed it off?" Another guy reached behind the counter and pulled out a stack of the exact coupons I was talking about and handed me one. "You mean this?" And I took it and handed it back to him. "Yep." He said, "Every little bit helps." Certainly. So I saved a little and paid $533.25.

That feels crazy to me that something can be so expensive. These guy must be making a fortune.
Note to self: marry a mechanic.

Oh, and the story doesn't end.

Right after posting this, I realized I couldn't find my phone. Jessica called it, and it went straight to voicemail. I called Midas with her phone and they said they had it. Actually he said, "Is it blue?" "Yes!" "Haven't seen it. Just kidding!" I said I'd be right down to pick it up. Then I couldn't find my keys. I went out to my car--my locked car-- and there are my keys: in the passenger's seat. I had accidentally left them when I was searching my car for my phone. I called Midas back and said I left my keys in my car so I couldn't come get my phone. They said to call a locksmith and they'd bring by my phone (they should for what I paid them today!).

The locksmith finally showed up and said "It'll be $120." I said, "One hundred and twenty?" I started crying. I was stressed out! He said, "I can charge you $100. Chill out, you aren't the first person in the world this has happened to." I muffle through my sobs that I just shelled out 500 bucks to get my car fixed. It took him like 20 seconds to get my door open. (Where can I get myself tools like that?) When he wrote me my receipt he said, "I'll just charge you $70. Have a good day." So just a tip: If you cry, they'll knock $50 off. It's still a rip-off.

Seriously, the locksmith thing made up a lot more upset than paying to get my car fixed, even though it was much more expensive. Because things like cars breaking down just happen. You can't prevent it. But paying to get my keys out of my locked car was like paying a penalty for my own carelessness. It was my fault. If I had been paying closer attention, it wouldn't have happened and I'd still have my $70.

One more thing to add to my to-do list: make a copy of my car key! As soon as I get my phone back, I'm going to bed. I don't want to risk something else happening to me today. *face-palm*


head count.

Today we had a fire drill. I didn't really know what was going on when I heard the beeping. I mean, I expected fire drill, but I sat at my desk until someone walked by and told me we were actually having one. I kind of hoped I was done with these things after I finished school. We walked down and then up about 11 flights of stairs. It felt kind of like The Office, but it didn't last long enough to play a game of Desert Island.

"What three books would you take with you to a desert island?"
"The Bible. That's it."
"I'd take The DaVinci Code."
"Oh, and The DaVinci Code! I'd take The DaVinci Code so I could burn The DaVinci Code!"


progress report.

I made it to work by 6:30 this morning! Quite a change from my intern time of 8am. This meant taking a shower the night before and getting up an hour earlier than normal. I was definitely dragging by 2pm. Since Shoff and Amanda stayed over last night (friends from college, it was great to see them) I didn't go to bed until 11pm... a big change from my normal 8:30 or 9pm. I threw some laundry in, ate some chips and salsa, and am thinking it is time for a nap.

Made a little progress on my TN residency. I went to the post office today and un-forwarded my mail. It was pretty easy but confusing. The form said:
New address: ___________

Old address: ___________

And it took me explaining the situation and the guy making it clear that I needed my current address to go in both blanks. I wouldn't have figured that out myself.

Then I drove down to the auto inspection place and got my car tested. It passed, which means my '97 Ford Taurus with its 133,955 miles is not a pollutionmobile. It costs me $9, but I'm one step closer to being able to get a title and registration.

I had to get out of my car and sit in this little waiting room during the inspection and when the guy came to tell me he was done, he opened the door and said, "Are all the girls in Kansas as pretty as you?"

"Uh...um...I don't know about that." Thanks, dude, for making me feel sufficiently awkward. You're probably old enough to have fathered me.

I also got a lady in HR to write a letter on LifeWay letterhead that said "Alyssa works at LifeWay in Nashville" (or something like that) because I needed a letter to verify my residency and LifeWay said they don't write letters like that. Hopefully this will suffice in addition to my auto insurance policy, my Social Security card, current driver's license, birth certificate, photo work ID, grade school behavior reports, a list of what I've eaten for lunch over the last two weeks, and 1,500-word essay on how I plan to contribute to social justice in Nashville and surrounding communities.

Not bad for a Monday. I think I'll go move my laundry to the dryer, grab a book and a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and put up no resistance if sleep tries to overcome me.



the nightmare of becoming a TN resident

I'm trying to become a TN resident. It's not as easy as it sounds.

1. Contact USPS and cancel my mail forwarding.
Back when I wasn't sure I'd be staying in Nashville during August, I signed up to have my mail forwarded back to Kansas. Now I need to tell USPS to stop forwarding mail because I need to be receiving things like car titles here in TN.
Goal: Call on Monday or walk in a post office and do it. Estimated time: 15 minutes.

2. Driver's license and voter's registration.
Here are the requirements for getting a new license:
- Current license
- Proof of U.S. citizenship (I don't have a passport and my birth certificate is in Kansas. Why isn't social security card on this list? Call and make sure it'll suffice.)
- Primary proof of identity (current license or birth certificate)
- Secondary proof of identity (health insurance card, SS card)
- Social Security number
- 2 proofs of TN residency
: (1) Auto insurance policy; renter's contract, utility bill, paycheck or paystub, current bank statement, motor vehicle registration, W-2 form)

Here's the problem -- my proof of residency. I do have an auto insurance policy with my Madison address on it, but...
-I do not have a renter's contract.
-I do not pay utilities.
-My paychecks are direct deposited and my paystubs have my Kansas address on them.
-My bank is in Kansas.
-I have not registered my vehicle (#4); I must have a license first.
-W-2's don't get sent out until January.
Oh, and my address will change in one month so even though I can simply notify them of this, my license will be wrong until it expires or I pay to get a new one.
Goal: Call on Monday about SS card in place of birth certificate. Ask about residency. If necessary, choose option B: "letter from employer verifying address." Then, wait for birth certificate in mail from Kansas or employer letter. Get in there by Friday, August 14.

3. Emissions test.
Cost: $9, cash. I have to take my car in and get a certificate that says it's not a pollution machine so I can get a registration and title.
Goal: Do this Monday or Tuesday. Doesn't seem like I need any paperwork for this.

4. Car title and registration.
Bring: $90 for fees, copy of driver's license (see #2), current car title and registration, passed emissions certificate.
Goal: Complete by August 21.

Up next on my plate:
*Tonight/tomorrow: edit October BTX
*Tomorrow: church, Shoffner visits
*Save money like a mad person.
*ASAP: Contact a banker to be pre-approved for a mortgage loan. (Goal: Call Monday.)
*August 16: Start working full-time.
*See if I can get a refund for my current health insurance that I paid for all of August.
*September 1: Move to townhouse in Antioch.
*House searching with my realtor.
*December 1: deadline for closing on a house. (Goal: November 20.)

Whew. Why don't I feel like I'm just 21?


nearly-free lunch

During my numerous hours on the road today, I had a lot of time to think. And that included coming up with an easy lunch option. Because when you're saving for a house, you can't go out and spend $7 for a burrito at a Qdoba or Chipotle whenever you want. So when I got back to Madison, I stopped in at Kroger and picked up a few things.

10 flour tortillas: $2.25
10 oz. can black beans: $0.69
1 package Kroger brand rice and sauce (Spanish Rice flavor): $0.89
10 oz. can pinto beans: $0.50
(On sale! And an excellent source of fiber and iron! Bonus points.)
Total: $4.33

When I got home, I cooked up the rice and added the black beans and pinto beans. After microwaving the tortillas to get them soft, I rolled up 10 burritos, wrapped them in foil, put 9 in baggies in the freezer, and ate one for dinner. Now I have 10 meals ready for 43 cents a piece. Sure they aren't as big as the $7 burritos, but at this price, you can afford to eat two.

Approaching KY. 1452 miles down, 149 to go. Listening to Alli Rogers and ready to be back in Nashville!


job security + on the road again

I made it home. Driving wasn't too bad until I hit St. Louis. (Check out my posts from the car on July 31.) I did stop for gas and breaks, once picking up a $1 box of Oreos (like 12 Oreos, which I did not eat all in one sitting). When I was reading the nutrition facts, I saw:
  • Serving Size: X CookieS (x grams)
Ah, yes. The capitalized letter at the end of a word, which makes me laugh because it seems pretty rare to find a mistake on a food label like that. But you just know someone hit that shift key a moment too soon. And thanks to people like that, there are people like me (editors) who feel a little more confortable about the security of their jobs.

Friday night I stayed in KC with my friends Ann, Meredith, and Monica. I got up early on Saturday and had breakfast with Lindsey before my mom stopped in and picked me up to drive to Columbia, Mo. to see my sister and brother in law. We stayed the night and they helped me create a budget for the next couple of months.

Saturday afternoon Erica, my mom, and I rode the Katy Trail -- a bike trail that runs from KC to St. Louis. We rode 11 miles. It was fun.

Drove to Burlington this morning. My mom and I were heading to the grocery store when I saw a gigantic turtle in the yard sticking his head up from the grass. He was the size of a dinner plate. I got out of the car, picked him up, and carried him across the street to the pond where he will likely have a better life.

I got my diploma today from K-State. After 2.5 months, it arrives to say that I have earned a degree: "Bachelor of Arts." Period. There is no mention of English (with an emphasis in literature!) on it. At all. C'mon. "Bachelor of Arts" could be anthropology, art, art history, dance, music, theater, philosophy, American ethnic studies, kinesiology, English, any modern language, speech, women's studies, and so forth.

I know they were printing a few thousand diplomas, but really, it's pretty important to get the information right. My diploma is something I'll frame and hang up in my office someday. I've e-mailed a couple of people and hopefully K-State will fix it and send me a new one.

Here today, Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday before driving back to Nashville.d

"Not Mom's Favorite"
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