Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obligatory Cat Photos

Just to let you all know, I think once I'm done with these kitties, I never want cats again. And I don't think I'm exaggerating, either. In my chat with Brian about getting kitties, he told me not to become a crazy cat lady, and I said I wouldn't but now I am entirely confident that it will never be an issue. I've had several moments where I just want to step on them. Like spiders.

These beasts are loud. I let Keek out and when she isn't with the kitties, they cry. And when I make her be with the kitties, she cries. So I feel like there's constant cat noise. Even times when nobody needs anything, someone's crying. Usually it's the white kitten. It cries. Pick it up? It cries. Put it down? It cries. Let it be with Keek? It cries. Let it wander the house bothering things? It cries.

These cats smell. Awful. They make my whole house stink. I clean the litter box multiple times every day, and it seems like they fill it up as fast as I empty it. Also they eat a ton.

And no, I haven't named them. And no, I don't think I will. And yes, I'm heartless.

I really genuinely thought I would enjoy this, but I just don't at all. Hopefully I'll like them better in a couple weeks when everyone's bigger. Or something.

Anyway. Here are the pictures.

The white one (boy). Crying.

Okay, this kitten I actually like. She sometimes cries, but the instant you pick her up, she starts purring like she's just so happy to be picked up. Also, she seems to be one of the smarter kittens.

Her practicing backing up, arching her back, and poofing out.

The gray one. She looks kind of mangy. Actually, she looks like a really old stuffed animal. She has long hair, and when you pick her up she weighs like nothing. She crawls really low to the ground, and moves really slowly, and sleeps when the other kittens play, so I think she's kind of the runt and maybe isn't eating dry food yet and needs more time nursing so that she can gain some weight.

One of the orange boys.

The other orange boy. Getting a bath, which he wanted none of. Also, Kiki.

The boys sleeping after eating.

(Blogger seems to always do weird stuff wtih my format, so I'm just going to post this and not worry about it today.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cutting Coupons

One thing that I did really like about Gold's Gym, was that when I would go running I had several tv stations to choose from. Depending on the time of day, I could always watch either Fox News or CNN, I could watch Seinfeld or Friends, or Law & Order was always on. Sometimes TNT would have a popular movie on.

Exercising on campus has not been quite the same. They have a new Cardio Theater(!) except, they're mis-informed. A cardio theater is a dark room with a big screen, which projects full-length movies, and instead of stadium seating it has treadmills and ellipticals and stair steppers and bicycles. A cardio theater is not four medium sized TVs that you can watch from a distance, just like you would watch normal TVs at the gym. But I digress.

On campus, there are always four stations on: the first TV is always on CNN. (Even though I would prefer Fox News, CNN is an acceptable choice, except for the fact that the first TV is so far off to the side that you can't really watch it from any of the treadmills. Lame! I tried to watch one time, and started running to the side and fell off the treadmill. Oops. Now I limit my CNN to when I'm on a bicycle.) The second TV is always on I don't know what, but it always has soap operas on. Or at least when I'm there it always does. Soap operas target the same people as tabloids do, I'm pretty sure, so... yeah, no. The third TV is always on like, the history channel, which would be interesting, except that a lot of times it's sooo sloooow moving and so much soft music, and not interesting fast enough, that it's just hard to watch while I'm running. And the content while I've been there has been hit and miss. Okay, it's been miss. The fourth TV is always on ESPN.

Anyway, not a lot of selection. No sitcoms. No dramas. No movies. Not even a cheesy gym music video channel. Just sports, stuff about Neanderthals, and soap operas. (Note: this makes me really consider buying one of those little portable DVD players, because I think I could set it up to watch while I was running, and I think it would be way more interesting to watch, say, The Office, or get caught up on Heroes or Pushing Daisies, than to squander valuable time with Dr.Phil.)

WELL, the soap opera channel switched to some program that was going to talk about personal finance, and since I love loved my Investments class this summer, I was all over that. It was just a little segment (of course they couldn't really do anything substantial about anything, well, substantial), but it was neat. It was about a lady who was feeding her family of 5 on like $10/week.

I really wondered how that was possible, because I spend hundreds of dollars on groceries every month, and I'm just one person.

Her husband wondered too, actually. He saw that she was bringing home huge things of groceries and spending like $5, or $20, and he thought she was doing something shady.

Turns out, she wasn't. She clips coupons. That's it. End of secret. A lot of coupons, though. She spends like 2 hours per week cutting coupons out, and she has this sweet binder that she organizes them in, and then she combines coupons with store sales, and she buys everything for a fraction of the actual cost.

Her family still eats name-brand stuff, too. She said she hasn't paid for pasta in years. (!!)Sometimes when she uses coupons with sales, she gets money back (which goes to other groceries, obviously--they don't pay her.)

I was amazed.

I want to do that!

So I decided that this week I would become a champion coupon-clipper. EXCEPT, of course I need like every Sunday paper.

Now, in California, you find these banks of newspaper boxes. There are a line of machines, and you approach one, you put your quarters in and the machine unlocks and you grab a paper. And nobody has to work on Sunday, and you can still have your paper.

I suspect Utah must have Sunday papers, but I just really don't know where. I haven't seen any of the newspaper boxes. We have newspaper boxes on campus, but they're part of the College Readership Program, and they're free to students. Nobody has school on Sunday, though, so they don't give us Sunday papers. I think grocery stores would carry Sunday papers, but I'm pretty sure my Smithy's is closed on Sundays. And even if they weren't, I don't know if breaking the sabbath over a newspaper (or several) is such a swell idea.

As far as I can tell, that leaves me with one option: subscribing. But I'm not too keen on that, because of my bad experience with the Daily Herald earlier this year. And who knows how long this hobby will last. I sort of expect to wind up with a bunch of coupons for dixie cups, which I don't really buy anyway, and olives, which I don't eat, and men's disposable razors, which I don't use either.

Here's my idea though: at the bottom of the receipt it always says how much you saved. If I took all the money that I was saving and put it in a savings account, I could start saving for this, which I've always wanted to do. And to go from hundreds of dollars every month on groceries, to like $30, I think it would add up pretty fast.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


As I've been getting my house cleaned up (more about that later), I've been trying to decide what kind of pet to get. I want a dog.

But I know that I shouldn't really get a pet until my house is ready, and I shouldn't really get a pet until after I get back from my trip in October.

And that doesn't keep me from checking the Dogs and Cats categories of the KSL classifieds while I'm checking for furniture.


I saw a mama cat and some kittens that someone posted in the cats section; and you didn't have to keep them. They just needed a foster home. I could totally do that. Jess thought I would enjoy it too.

But they were in Roy (wherever the heck that is), so I checked with my Humane Society instead.

Turns out, they're always needing foster homes. I sent them an email and a couple days later I had a reply:

Hi Emily, I'm wondering if you would like to foster a Mama cat and 5 kittens that just came in today. They are about 5 weeks old so you would need to foster them for about a month...

It went on and told me I would need to have my own supplies (like a litter box and cat food), and that if I had other pets they needed to be current on their vaccinations, and to please be in touch if I would be able to take them.

So I called and told them I would.

And yesterday I picked up KIKI, an orange and white mama cat, and five LOUD kittens. There are three boys and two girls. Of the boys, there are two orange kitties that look like twins. The third boy is a white kitty with orange-tipped ears and an orangeish tail. For the girls, there is a little furry gray one, and also a calico that is white with spots of light orange and gray. They are very cute.

They're five weeks old, which is little. They have their eyes open and can walk around, and play a little bit with each other, but they don't have much coordination. They meow a lot. The little calico girl purrs.

Keek, as soon as I let her check out the house, decided she's tired of the kittens. I don't blame her; I am too! Instead of hanging out with her noisy, clawing kittens, she follows me around the house. She purrs and purrs, and just follows me everywhere. Last night she decided at like 2:30 am that she wanted attention, so she came over to where I was sleeping. In the past we've had cats that bite your toes while you're sleeping, to get your attention. Keek didn't do that, though. She licked my nose. Random!

So, yeah. I have six cats now. I'm supposed to keep them for a month, and take them in for their second set of shots and to be spayed/neutered, and then when they're big enough they go back to the Humane Society to get their real homes.

Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick post about this. I'll probably take (and post!) pictures of the kitties tomorrow when the light is better. They're super cute.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Web Presence

Something I really do love about Google Analytics is that you can see the search terms people used to find your blog.

For a long time I've seen certain keywords. People find my blog all the time by searching for "list of things to be thankful for", "thankful list", and "list of things that make me happy" and those sorts of phrases. Today I decided to take a look at my site over the past year. Here are some of the things I've found:

Most popular blog entry: Things I'm Thankful For (201 visits)
Ted Mosby is a Jerk (196 visits)
Black Fur hats (172 visits)

There's a big drop off here,
Why I Hate Poetry (92 visits)
Save the Whales (88 visits)
Netflix Free Month (85 visits)

On Google, my blog comes up...
as the 5th result (out of 11,900,000 results!) for... list of things to be thankful for
as the 4th result for... i hate ted mosby
as the 14th result for... ted mosby
as the 8th result for ... how to repair a busby hat [which is interesting because my blog has nothing about that]
as the 4th result (of 2,100,000) for ... tall black fur hat
as the 6th result for ... bearskin bamboo cage [ooookay.]
as the 7th result (of 528,000) for ... hate poetry

Some interesting search keywords that have led people to my blog include:

- "20, 23, 28, 14, 17, 22, 11"
- "difference between treated and untreated wood" [undoubtedly from the post about visiting the Man Mall and building my garden box]
- "i ordered from threadless [looking for testimonials? Threadless often has good stuff. Go for it!]
- "sun-in" permanent hair color reaction [definitely from my post about Jess and I dying our sister's hair]
- "supposed to snow next week"
- "sweet lifestyle" she has a [I love that this brought up my blog, but I'm not sure why it did...]
- +waterproof +shuffle -swimman -otter +superglue [my site is totally otter free.]
- a birthday poem for someone who has died
- accidentally dyed black help [AWESOME.]
- baby leeches
- can a store owner lock you in a room because she owns the store [whaaaat?]
- cats like poprocks [also, pop rocks and cats, and poprocks for cats] [aww, poor Abby]
- do artichokes have strychnine
- do those giant tomato plant really work on tv
- exercises to strengthen spleen [Wanna buy tickets? (To what?) To the spleen show!]
- funny poems about dads who have died [sad...]
- geocache naked [also, geocaching naked and naked geocaching]
- growing cannabis with beans
- homemade duct tape mannequin
- i keep touching my nose stressball
- joy of killing a mondo size fly [I just feel so much...joy!]
- my students hate poetry what can I do [aw! sad! poor teacher!]
- pee holes [?]
- personal finance poems [do these exist? Here is a personal finance haiku: Saving money now/ I put money in the bank/Somehow it will grow.]
- should I get a male or female psychologist
- squeezing balls to make a guy pass out [yikes]
- strange feeling in fingers, when I touch things they feel like plastic [watch out, yo, numbness in fingers is a symptom of diabetes]
- twitter lame [plurk is so much better]
- why do people like machu picchu [because it's awesome]
- why lady like body of other lady
- will duct tape ruin clothes
- yam + jokes [I yam so happy you are Googling yam jokes!]

I think those were the most random ones.

Anyway, how bout everyone else? What has been your most popular entries? What random keywords have brought people to your blog?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monet to Picasso Artist Quotes

In my last post I mentioned the Monet to Picasso exhibit. After passing security, there's a room with a big line that snakes back and forth across the room. One wall had the names of all of the sponsors on it, and another wall had quotes from various artists. There was a paper you could grab at the beginning that had them all typed out (I guess a lot of people had been writing them down).

I liked a couple of the quotes, and one I liked well enough to include in my "Favorite Quotes" section on Facebook. I thought they were worth sharing, anyway.

Monet to Picasso (from the Cleaveland Museum of Art)


When I paint, the sea roars. The others splash around in the bath. - Salvador Dali

We never really know what stupidity is until we have experiement on ourselves. - Paul Gauguin

Insults are pouring down on me as thick as hail - Edouard Manet

Creativity takes courage. - Henri Matisse

What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race. - Amadeo Modigliani

Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everyone. - Piet Mondrian

I didn't become an impressionist. As long as I can remember I have always been one. - Claude Monet

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once one grows up. - Pablo Picasso

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely. - Auguste Rodin

The way to know life is to love many things. - Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Interesting Machu Picchu Stories and Picasso to Monet

WELL, one of the excellent things about living in The City is that there are always things going on. And I don't just mean free tours at the Natural History Museum (which we do have, and which is free, just like everywhere). No way. We have awesome stuff.

Right now we have an exhibit called "Monet to Picasso" (which is a Big Deal) at our UMFA (which is like 3 blocks from my house). Basically it's an exhibit of Picasso stuff, and Monets, and Dali, and other neat people. It started earlier this summer, and I've been meaning to see it.

Also just starting, there's one of those body exhibits where they have real human bodies, like, without skin. It's at some place, "the Leonardo", by The City Library. I first heard about it years ago when there was a thing about it in Smithsonian magazine. I wanted to see it while I was back east for spring break, but everyone else had already seen it. So I'm totally looking forward to this one.

Anyway, this morning I was running in a 5K on campus, and it went past the art museum. And I realized that "Monet to Picasso" finishes tomorrow. Uh oh. I thought there was another week. So RIGHT RIGHT after the race, I raced (ha!) to the computer lab to buy a ticket online. Because I don't carry my wallet when I'm running, but I have my card number memorized. And online it said they were SOLD OUT!


So the museum was just opening, and I went in to see if that was it. I was still wearing my race shirt, with my race number (507!) pinned on, other running attire on, and so sweaty and nasty.

They said they had a few more walk-in tickets, and when I said I wanted to go home and shower first, and would it be fine if I came back in an hour? she told me I had better not, because they would definitely be gone by then. Apparently they had expected 56? thousand and as of a couple days ago they'd already had 72? thousand. Plus Saturday AND Sunday were sold out.

Anyway, I talked them into entering my card number without me actually having my card and I bought my ticket. I came back later in the afternoon and stood in a l o n g line.

The people behind me told fantastic Machu Picchu stories.

The first one was this:

This couple went on a trip to see Machu Picchu. They had pulled like $300 out of the bank while they were in Cuzco. They mostly used their card, though. They had their bus tickets out to Machu Picchu, and they had to pay for their hotel, and like everything just added up so quickly, they got all the way out to Machu Picchu and tickets were like $70 per person. Well, there were two of them, and they had like, almost enough for one ticket. But like, they had plenty of money on their card, so they just planned to use their card. Exceeeepppt. At Machu Picchu I guess you have to pay cash.

So they had this idea that, there was a cafe there, they'd go to there and eat, and then get money back when they paid by card there. Except, they only accepted cash there, too. So then they went to the hotel (there's only one hotel there, it sounded like), and there's a fancy restaurant there, and they were like well, they will take cards. But the people at the restaurant wouldn't. Apparently the people who were eating there had paid for their restaurant meals when they paid for their rooms.

Turns out, there are ZERO ATMs in the area. The nearest ATM was in Cuzco, four hours away.

And then! Some Americans from Detroit pulled them aside, and a lady was like "I'm not going back in, I'm done for the day" and she gave them her ticket. And the girl was like "Thank you so much!" And the ticket had the lady's name on it, but they were like, well, we'll try. And the kids in the group with the lady, like 'weren't sure' if they would want to go back in. (Even though they were leaving.) (Even though they weren't even staying at the hotel so they were really really leaving.) (But they probably wanted their tickets as souvenirs, which the girl understood, and obviously they didn't have to give them to her, so whatever.) And the girl and her husband had that one ticket and most of the amount for the second ticket.

So they went up to the place where you get tickets, and they showed that they had almost enough, and the people were like..no. So the girl starts taking out her earrings and taking off her watch, and tried to give them to the people who sell the tickets. And they were like ohhh, that's fine. So they let her keep her jewelry, but they took all of their money, including American coins, which you can't even exchange down in Peru.

They had their return bus ticket, so they were okay.

Machu Picchu Story #2

Another lady with the group behind me told her Machu Picchu story. She got engaged at Machu Picchu. On her first date with the guy who later became her husband, the guy pulled out some travel book, and asked her where she would want to go, if she could go anywhere. She picked the cheapest trip, which was to Machu Picchu. It cost $1200 per person for the whole trip, including airfare. (She added, now just one night at the hotel costs $800!) But hers 20 years ago was $1200 per person, including a layover in either Guam or Jamaica. Imagine! So when they went, nobody knew except his sister. None of her people knew. They went to Machu Picchu, and got engaged!!!!!! and she wanted to wire people with like, Western Union, to let them know she was engaged, but I guess it didn't go there.

They did the rest of their trip. The train in the area crashed, but they weren't on it, because they had changed their plans. It worked better to do river rafting that day. And people were like, you should call home and let people know that you weren't on the train, but nobody even knew the girl was at Machu Picchu, so she didn't call anyone. Anyway, she always had near misses like that, so she really didn't think much of it.

First thing she did when she got back to the States was, she was at like the New York airport and she called her mom to let her know that she was engaged. Her mom was like, "WHAT ARE YOU CALLING ME FOR?!! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD!"

Apparently, the guy's sister had told the girl's boss (or something like that), and when he heard about it, he like tried to verify that they had been on the train, and the records had said they were, so he called and told her mom that she had died on the train.

When she went back to work, she was just like, excited!!! because she was engaged!!!!! and her boss was like "That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do...call your mom and tell her that you had died..." because how do you make that call?

The End.

(Sadly, I have no Machu Picchu stories of my own. We all wanted to go while I was in Chile, on foreign exchange. One of the Big Rules for high school foreign exchange is that you MUST NOT leave your host country. So even though we were super close, we were NOT allowed to go. Lame!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free Month of Netflix Again

Also, if anyone's interested, I got another email today from Netflix. It has a link for me to forward to anyone who wants a free month of Netflix. The offer expires 31 October 2008.

I get a free movie every time someone signs up, but really I'm not watching much these days since I have approximately 7 minutes of free time every week.

[Like ten people visit my blog every week because they looked for a free month of Netflix on Google, and my old blog post about it comes up. If you're one of those people and you want the trial, just comment with your email address and I'll forward it to you.]

Institute Retreat - Successful Goal Setting

This was the second handout that we got at the time management workshop by Sister Smith.

Successful Goal Setting

Top Ten Reasons to Establish Written Goals for Your Life
10. Written goals strengthen your character by promoting long-term perspective.
9. Written goals allow you to lead your life as opposed to simply managing it.
8. Written goals provide internal and consistent motivation.
7. Written goals help you stay focused - to concentrate on what's most important.
6. Written goals enhance your decision-making ability.
5. Written goals simultaneously require and build self-confidence.
4. Written goals help you create the future in advance.
3. Written goals help you control changes, to adjust your sails, to work with the wind - rather than against it.
2. Written goals heighten your awareness of opportunities that are consistent with your goals.
1. The most important benefit of setting effective goals, is the person you become as a result of the pursuit.

7 Reasons People Don't Set Goals
1. They have not yet accepted personal responsibility for their lives.
2. They fear criticism.
3. They don't know how.
4. They don't realize the importance of goals.
5. The curse of early success.
6. Fear of failure.
7. Fear of success.

Highly Effective Goals Are:
1. Written.
2. Stated positively.
3. Time-Bound (I will...by Dec 31st, 2010).
4. Challenging and reasonable.
5. Consistent with your ambition and desires.
6. Specific and measurable.
7. Thoroughly planned.
8. Tracked. (Chart, graph, track online, fill in the bubble, calendar, etc.)
9. Performance goals, not outcome goals. (Base your goals on personal performance which you can control.)

The Goal Setting Workshop
Step 1: Brainstorm your dreams/Ideal lifestyle (no limitations, 50+ goals to cover next 25 years).
Step 2: Prioritize (choose 5 goals to focus on for the next year).
Step 3: Convince yourself (what are tangible/intangible rewards of accomplishing your goals?).
Step 4: Plan on paper (what has to happen for you to accomplish your goals...be specific).
Step 5: List available resources.
Step 6: List potential obstacles.
Step 7: Identify ways to overcome obstacles.

Tips for Success
1. Review your written goals regularly.
2. Get a mentor for important goals. (get direction, advice, ideas, motivation, etc.)
3. Be accountable to someone-- tell someone about your goal & deadlines.
4. Be balanced- set goals in several areas. (spiritual, physical, financial, career, family, recreation, travel, community service, education)
5. Create a "triumphs" journal. (create a list of things you have accomplished in the past)
6. "Visualize" your goal as already accomplished. (screen saver, pictures, goals book, etc.)

"Success is Not an Accident" Tommy Newberry
"The Success Principles" Jack Canfield
www.joesgoals.com (website to track goals, habits, provides reports, etc.)
www.maintainfit.com (tracks running, swimming, hiking, biking, and walking)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Institute Committees Retreat - Time Management Workshop

This weekend I went on a retreat with all of the people who are on committees at the University of Utah Institute of Religion. It was a lot of fun. Saturday morning we had workshops, and one of them that I attended was on time management. (I can use all the help I can get!) We got a couple handouts that I thought other people might appreciate.

Time management
"You can't make more time--only better choices"
[Since it was it quotes, I wondered who said it. I looked it up online, and I think it's by Tommy Newberry, who wrote a book called Success is Not an Accident.]

Minimize wasted time
Work smarter
Reduce stress
Experience peace

Vital Time: The quantity of time you invest in principle-based, goal-directed activities.

Vital Time Tactics
[She said a lot of these we may have heard before, but if we don't actually do them, then knowing them won't do us any good.]

1. Overcome procrastination
Procrastination, which is the delaying of higher priority tasks in favor of lower priority ones, is more responsible for frustration, stress, and underachievement than any other single factor.
[Am I a feeler or a doer? Be a doer! JUST GET STARTED. Try putting blocks of personal time into your schedule so that you're not tempted to do the stuff you want to at times when you really need to be doing something else.]

2. Organize your workspace
Most disorganization tends to come from indecision, not being able to decide if a piece of paper or some other information is important or not, and if it is, what to do with it.

3. Handle reading material effectively
When you are reading or reviewing correspondence, stand up. Your mind will stay more focused and alert and you'll get done much faster.

4. Handle everything once, and only once
Don't pick up the same task, the same piece of paper, or even the same phone call twice. Pick it up, take care of it, then bring it to a close and go onto the next one.

5. Delegate
Choose the best people. Knowing when to delegate, whom to delegate to, and how to delegate will come more naturally with continued practice. Delegating jobs that neither you nor anyone else wants to do [?] it's delegating, it's assigning.

6. Control your phone calls
Don't be a slave to the phone. Use it as a tool. Ignore it completely if you are involved in an important task. When you call somebody leave a call back time as well. [She suggested we turn our cellphones off sometimes. Like when we're working on a paper, or whatever. I guess studying at the library is a good idea, because I get no reception there. Not that I get a ton of phone calls anyway.]

7. Manage interruptions
Designate specific times for interruptions. Put a hotel "do not disturb" sign on your door, or move your work to a place where you won't be disrupted. [She said when we are interrupted while focusing on something, studies show that it takes 20 minutes to get back to being focused and totally productive. She said if you're interrupted 3 times during an hour...]

8. Batch similar tasks
Set aside certain days to do similar tasks such as work, homework, errands. Save errands and do them all at once, or in a specific area of town.
9. Block out chunks of time
The more important your work becomes the more important it becomes for you to develop blocks of time where you and work on serious projects without interruption. [She suggests we plan our week, and then also, even more importantly, plan your day the night before.]

10. Run masterful meetings
Know the purpose. Is the meeting absolutely necessary? Develop a written agenda. Prepare for the meeting. Lead the meeting effectively.

Use the extra time you've freed up to:
- Spend quality and quantity time with those you love
- Work on important goals and plans
- Simply rest, relax and rejuvenate

Schedule quiet, unbroken blocks of time.

Join the 5 o'clock club [She said they've studied this, and people who are up at 5 am accomplish more between then and 8 or 9 am than the people who get up at 8 or 9 am will accomplish in their entire day.] [These sorts of things always kind of make me wish that I didn't work nights, because what do I even compare that to?]

Block out 3-4 hours once a week.
Create places/spaces where you won't be interrupted.


1. Determine how much your time is currently worth. How much do you want it to be worth?

2. Make a list of your top 3 highest payback activities, both personally and professionally.

3. Keep a log of your time for the next 2 weeks (use 15 minute increments).

4. Brainstorm 20 ways you can specifically improve your personal time management.

"No matter who you are your progress and ultimate success in life will depend more on what you do with the 24 hours you're given each day than on any other single factor."

[This is also from Newberry. I checked.]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worth reading: word to your mother

So guys, I'm adding another link to the side of my blog and you should check it out.

It's called 'word to your mother' and it's a girl, well, actually a mom, who blogs. She's pretty awesome. I think her blog was one on a page of suggested reading from Google Reader.

If I'm friends with you on Google, then you've probably seen a few things of hers that I've shared. If not, you should make haste and check out:
Her post that includes the Wonder Sauna Hot Pants, which still amaze me.

Her post and follow-up post about her new cat. Hilarious!

Or there's this. Or this. Or this.

And she's doing a giveaway right now, so if you want you can enter for that, too.

(Her blog sometimes reminds me of Seriously, so blessed! except that it isn't fake.)

Anyway, that's all.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tickets must be purchased before boarding.

I saw something kind of funny on the train a couple days ago.

A police got on the train to check tickets, and it was a really full train. He made a big announcement, "Does everyone on here have a fare? There's no way I'm going to get all the way back there, so let's do this: If you don't have a fare, raise your hand and I'll come to you. Raise your hand if you don't have a fare."
He checked a dozen or so people that were right by the front, and then got off at the next stop.

A couple stops later he got back on our car again and went farther back. He said the same thing though, "Who does not have a ticket? Just raise your hand..."

It was amusing to pretty much everyone on the train. Usually they just say "Tickets?" and that's it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Moving again. Part 6. Sunday.

Sunday morning I slept in, sort of. And read a bunch of New Moon. And had a kind of long chat with my mom, and told her about the whole thing.

A girl came by to check out Courtney's apartment; she decided to move in, which meant I could stay there a maximum of one more night. And keeping my stuff at her house was not really an option either.

We went to church at 1pm. Church was pretty good, except people would ask me if I was new, and it was like "um, I don't know. I signed a contract here, so technically I'm in the ward, but I got kicked out because my landlord is mentally...not all there, so I'm looking for something else, so I don't really know if I'm staying in the ward or what...it just depends on where I can find something. But I would like to stay in the ward, because it seems great, and it's so so close to campus..." And that's just awkward and confusing. But whatever.

I went to the new-people meeting, but I didn't fill out a new-person card. I talked to a member of the Bishopric, and let him know the situation. And warned him about the house, which is in their ward boundaries. Gave him Jeff's name and phone number, and the address, and gave him my name and phone number as well. (As an aside, the man from the Bishopric looks strikingly similar to my mission president.)

A girl in the ward offered to let me put my stuff in her garage while I'm between places. This was actually a very very helpful offer because Courtney was getting her new roommate, and she lives up a bunch of narrow stairs. I told the girl thank you thank you, and that I maybe would take her up on the offer. We exchanged phone numbers and stuff.

Courtney's (and maybe my) ward has a housing specialist, so I called her. [She actually emailed me back yesterday. She emailed everyone a list of stuff that's available. The very first thing on the list is Jeff's stupid house. OH! There's a picture, too. I wonder if I could download it and post it on here...? (NOTE: It's in .docx format, which my work computer doesn't recognize. Too bad.)]

While we waited for the train home, I called my boss and let her know about the situation. She confirmed that I'm out of PTO, and said she hoped that I would be able to come down to Provo to work in the office, but knew that I probably couldn't. She said we'd get through it and do what we can about it. I'm already on attendance probation at work, from back when I had a 3 hour commute to work (each way). I was sleep deprived and I was late too many times. So my attendance is supposed to be perfect right now. I'd been using PTO, but now that I'm out of that, I really needed to not have to move again. She was good about it, anyway, though. (PS, if I lose my job because of Jeff, I will be very, very angry.)

By the time we got home from church, I had a reply to an email I'd sent someone on Craigslist. I called and made an appointment to see the house that evening. It seemed like it would work! And if it did, hopefully I could sign right away, and just move my stuff in, instead of moving it into the girls' garage. I called Jess and Mitch, and asked them if they could come up to Salt Lake and help me move, either into the new house or into the garage. They said they would come. I planned to meet them right after I checked out the house.

Carlos came by to pick up a dresser that he had left at Courtney's house. Apparently he went to pick up his bed from the house, and when he talked about deposits with Jeff, Jeff told him "You know what you did. I'll have to think about it." (Whaaaat...)

Courtney gave me a key to her apartment since she was going to Provo with a friend and she wasn't sure if she was coming back that night. She also let me borrow an umbrella since it was pouring rain.

The house was perfect. It was in an okay location (though not nearly as close). It was very cute inside. The living room and kitchen were massive. The bedroom was kinda small, but cute, and perfect for me. The price was fine. They said I would have to pretend I didn't live there if the landlord came, because they were only able to have more people if they were related to the people who already lived there. (Which is kinda funny because it was a big house and everyone had their own rooms...) I said no problem! The girl who showed me the house was way nice, so the roommate situation looked good. I asked about when I could sign.

The girl said it was first come, first served, and that a couple had wanted to see it a few days before, but that the girls were not available to show the house then. So they had been promised first pick, but she said that if they didn't want it, I could sign for it. But, basically, it was an engaged couple. She needed to have an apartment because her parents would want to think she had her own apartment. But really, she would just be putting her stuff there, and she would be living with her guy. So since they were fine with the price (obviously), and since she wasn't actually going to be living there, I couldn't think of any reason why they wouldn't take it. Sigh. Too bad. She said they'd let me know, though, so I thanked her and left.

I called and let the girls know I would be bringing stuff by.

I met Jess and Mitch at the house. I was totally nervous! Jess and I walked up to the door as Mitch parked, and as I went to unlock the door, I could see Jeff sitting on the couch in the living room. When he heard me opening the door, he sprang up off of the couch and left the living room.

We loaded up our first load of stuff. And took it to the girls' house. They were super nice and helped unload, which made moving way fast and easy. (This was especially nice because of the rain.) We told them there would be one more (smaller!) load, which we planned to bring in like 15 minutes.

We went back and loaded up the rest of my stuff. And then we needed to give Jeff my keys and (hopefully!) get my deposit back. SO nervous about that. We hoped that he would cooperate, and planned to call the police if he caused any problems.

We filed downstairs, and Mitch knocked on Jeff's door. The light was on, but we weren't sure if he was in there or not. Mitch told him to please come out so that we could talk. Nothing. Mitch knocked some more. Nothing. Mitch told him that if he didn't come out, we would call the police, and wouldn't it just be easier for everyone if we didn't have to do that? Nothing.

So I called the police. The dispatch lady was very clear with me that the police would not help me get my deposit back, but said that they could come to "keep the peace" if I wanted. I said "yes, please," and she said she would send someone. The front door was open and we went and sat on the couch to wait for the officer. I tried calling Jeff, and I left a message saying would he please meet us at the house? I needed to return my keys. Nothing.

We wondered what would happen when the police came. We worried a little that Jeff would stay in his room, or not be home, and they would come and then just leave right away.

A bit later, I got a call from the officer who had talked with me on Saturday. He said he saw the call and that he would be the one coming. Great.

The police arrived. We discussed the situation a little bit more, but not a lot, because I'd already told him. They reminded me that they were not going to help me get my deposit back. I asked their permission to steal the mini-fridge and microwave from my bedroom, and they said I couldn't. (Jess suggested I take the TV, too.) We went back downstairs; they were going to try knocking, though we all knew that he might not even be there.

The police knocked. And they were awesome at it. THUD THUD THUD "THIS IS THE POLICE, JEFF." THUD THUD THUD. "YOU NEED TO COME OUT SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT THIS." (or something like that) THUD THUD THUD.

AND THEN! Right behind me I heard Jeff unlocking the back door! It was like a surprise attack from behind. "He's coming in the back door!" I told the police.

We all went back upstairs, and the police greeted Jeff when he got the door open. They asked him if there was somewhere they could talk. Jeff invited them outside. The officers said no, it's raining, and suggested they meet in the living room. Jeff said that would be okay.

The police told Jess and I we should wait outside, so we went out to the car. Mitch hung out in my room or the front entryway, or something. Apparently, they asked him if he had any weapons, and they patted him down. Awesome.

I don't know what all they talked about, but after several minutes, they invited me back in. They wanted my keys. (That was the whole point of having them there; I had to give my keys back so that I wasn't charged for them, but I was suuuuper uncomfortable having any interaction with him.) The police took my keys and handed them to him. I heard the tail-end of their conversation. "Jeff, what you're doing is illegal. I would strongly advise you to..." etc. And Jeff would say something about how we all have to get along in the apartment. Carlos had disrupted things, and that had ruined the harmony of the house, and so we all had to go. And the police were like "that's your problem, but if you have signed contracts you can't make people leave."

Oh, and another fun thing he said was he said that he had called me to "tell me how things were." I was like !! (shock!) "Whaaaat!?! You didn't 'tell me how things were'! You told me you would throw my things on the street if they weren't gone the morning of the first!"

I asked about my deposit, and Jeff told me he had already fulfilled the contract. He said on the contract he had agreed to have high speed internet installed and that he'd done that. I said, that's not what a deposit is for. (And anyway, what good is high speed internet if he kicks me out two days after it's set up?!) He said it cost $400, so I couldn't have my deposit back. And then he started saying he'd already said I could have it back. I need to have a man call him on the 15th, and then I can have it. But not me, because he doesn't want to talk to a girl about it. He needs some time to get it from his other business. And he started saying something else and the police told him to zip his lips. And they started concluding things.

The police reminded him that what he was doing was illegal, and that it didn't matter if he was getting along with everyone, that our contracts meant that he couldn't kick us out. And Jeff like, interrupted again, and the police told him to shut up, that they were the ones doing the talking. They said some other stuff, and they gave him my keys, and said that we were done.

And we left. We headed towards the girls' house, and they called asking if we were still coming. I said we were, and we got there like a minute later. We unloaded the rest of my stuff.

We went back to Courtney's to pick up my work computer, and the box of my important documents, and my blankets, and my foodstuffs, and I left the key and a note on the whiteboard thanking her. And I got in the car and rode back to Draper, to Jess' in laws' house. Again. We told the excellent story, and everyone went to bed. (Except me, since I had work.)

Anyhow, Carlos has been texting me this week; we're waiting to see if he actually does return our deposits on the 15th. And then if not, we'll get as many of us together as we can (hopefully us, plus Courtney and another girl), and sue him in small claims court. Hopefully he'll just return our deposits, though, because that would be easier for everyone.

The End. (Well, sort of, anyway.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My Favorite Political Cartoonist

I've had a favorite political cartoonist for years. His name is Michael Ramirez, and he drew for the Los Angeles Times. I used to enjoy the cartoons in the actual newspapers, and then they became available online. But they were really tricky to get to on the LA Times website and you had to register.

WELL, turns out they fired him while I was on my mission! LAME!

BUT, now he draws for Investor's Business Daily. And, you don't have to register for anything to see them.

Check out Michael Ramirez' political cartoons here:

Moving again. Part 5. Saturday.

Saturday morning I woke up kind of early, and there was a big pile of dog poop outside my bedroom door. Our kitchen trash was all over the kitchen floor. Apparently "Magic" (Jeff's dog) got into the house. I didn't touch anything, and by the time I got back from my hike with the Institute, it was all cleaned up and the carpet from the front door to the kitchen was soaking wet.

I went on my hike, and then I went to the Institute to watch the U of U - Michigan football game. I was having fun! I had been making friends, and learning our school song, and eating chili and tortilla chips... and then Jeff started calling me.

I debated answering, but decided not to because:
1. He was calling from a blocked number.
2. The football game was loud, and I was busy.
3. How often do I really have to talk to him? Good grief.

So he called like 3 times, and each time I clicked to send the call to voicemail.

Halftime started, and I saw Carlos! We waved, and he came over and sat next to me, with some girl. And then almost immediately after he sat down he whispered "OH NO. Jeff's here. He's right there!" Jeff was walking on the aisle to our right. But he just walked out of the room. "HE CAN'T SEE ME!" Carlos worried out loud. Apparently Jeff had asked Carlos to go to Home Depot with him. Carlos didn't want to go, so he said he was going to his parents' house in Springville. And I don't know if he was actually going there at all or not, but he came to the game. Anyway, it was none of Jeff's business.

My phone rang again. Still from a blocked number. I knew it was Jeff again. And I hung up again, even though he was probably watching.

As soon as I sent the call to voicemail, Jeff stormed up to us.

"BOTH OF YOU ARE OUT! YOU NEED TO BE OUT OF THE HOUSE BY SEPTEMBER FIRST!" He shouted in the middle of the activity. "YOU," he pointed at Carlos "FOR LYING. AND YOU," he pointed to me, "FOR... HAVING A BAD ATTITUDE!"

"Jeff, I didn't lie to you," Carlos said softly, calmly.

"YOU'VE LIED 3. 4. 5 TIMES!"

"I've never lied to you Jeff," Carlos repeated.


"Jeff, I had to come see her on my way," Carlos said quietly, pointing to the girl next to him.


"We have contracts," I said.


And Jeff went on, swearing at us, and saying that he hated the Church because of people like us. (... because I didn't take his phone calls while I was watching a football game? Really?) (And also...he hates the Church, but he goes to the Institute to hang out and watch the game? And Friday night he said he also takes a class at the Institute. Whatever.) And he told Carlos that he was lucky that he didn't take him outside to fight, because (he said) Carlos would be too big of a wuss to do it. (Ummmm. Okay.)

And then he stormed off, and he went around the room and unplugged the sound for the projector that was showing the game. (It was halftime so nobody really cared. Someone plugged it in before the game restarted.)

One of the girls sitting behind us was like, "How do you know him?!" and we told her that we rent from him, and we wondered if she had been kicked out too. And she was kinda confused, she was like "No, no, he did the same thing to me in the middle of Sacrament meeting last week." Good one, Jeff.

Carlos looked at me, and told me that this time he was actually going to move. He said he couldn't deal with Jeff anymore. Noooooo, I said, because obviously there was NO WAY I was going to stay at the house without Carlos there too. We should probably look for somewhere to move to, he suggested. (Since Jeff gave us a day and a half notice. Jerk.) Dang. Probably.

So as halftime finished, Carlos and I got up and left. We would help each other, he said.

We went out to the housing board at the Institute and combed the ads for anything that would work. Jeff started calling me again. He called me three times in a row. I didn't answer. Mostly because I was still pretty freaked out about the whole thing. Then he called Carlos a couple times. Carlos didn't answer either, and Jeff left a message.

Carlos found a new house really quickly. He called one that sounded good (and close to campus!), and it turned out to be Ben! Who had tried to sign at our house to begin with! He checked his message, and it was a yelly message from Jeff saying that he had to have his stuff out, or that Jeff would throw it out. Carlos also talked to Courtney, who said we could put stuff at her house if we needed to, while we were finding somewhere to move.

I called a few people and left messages, and decided to walk around the neighborhood and see if there were any FOR RENT signs at other houses. While I was on my way, Courtney called me. She wondered if I had a place to sleep that night, and if I'd found anything, etc. I didn't. I hadn't.

We started talking about crazy Jeff stuff, and I decided to stop by her house so we could chat. I told her about the other stuff that had happened since she left.

She walked with me to look for places, but we didn't find anything. We helped Carlos move.

She told me more stories from when she had lived there, before I moved in.

Like, Carlos had a whiteboard on the fridge, and it was at Courtney's house because Jeff had hidden it. What happened with that was, Jeff ate some soup that belonged to Carlos. Which, like, weird, but whatever. And either Courtney or Carlos wrote on the white board "ONLY EAT IT IF YOU BUY IT" (or something like that), and then Courtney added "JK" because like, it wasn't actually a big deal that he'd eaten it.

WELL. Courtney and Carlos were...at Walmart, I think, and Carlos got a call from Jeff. He didn't answer it. And then Jeff called Courtney. Who DID answer. Jeff was irate. He got all mad at her for writing "Jeff is a jerk" on the whiteboard. "Jeff, JK means "Just kidding"," she explained. It doesn't say "Jeff is a jerk." She said, but he wasn't having any of it. "I catch on to people," he said. "Jeff, I would never write that," she said. "We're friends." (He had been calling her family his adopted family...) "WE. ARE. NOT! FRIENDS!" he screamed into the receiver, enraged. And Courtney was like...afraid to go home that night. But she's sure that if Carlos would have answered his phone, Jeff would have blamed him. So she said the reason I got kicked out was for being next to Carlos when he was kicked out.

And there was the story about how she slept with a hammer, just in case, while she lived at the house.

Also, we discovered that he had promised all three of us parking spaces (I think there was just one open one).

And Courtney told me about how Jeff hadn't told people he was living in the house. So he one time walked in on a girl showering, and she didn't even realize he lived there.

And when Jeff kicked Courtney out, he kept telling people "I blew it." and they were like "Yeah." and when he was trying to convince her parents to let her stay living there, he promised to turn one of the garages into a game room with ping pong? and pool? so that Courtney could use that with her friends. (Which reminds me of something I forgot earlier-- in our Friday night chat, Jeff totally offered to rewire the house so that I could have the Internet in Courtney's old room. I was like, it probably wouldn't be worth it, and told him I'd keep my room, thanks.)

Also, Courtney said this made 6 of us now who had been kicked out of the house in the past week and two days.

So we decided I would stay the night at Courtney's. I went to my house and grabbed my work computer and my important documents, and church clothes.

Carlos drove Courtney and I to the grocery store, and while we were in the car, he got a call from someone who had seen his ad about the house and was interested. It was the funniest call. They wanted to stop by, and Carlos was like "this isn't a joke but, when I placed the ad, I was actually living there, but today the landlord kicked everyone out." He was like, "if you want to see the place, I'll give you the address and you can stop by. The location is REALLY good. The landlord is a little crazy...." Awesome.

And then on the way back, I got another call from Jeff. From an unblocked number, so I answered it. "If your stuff isn't out by the morning of the first, I'm throwing it in the street," he told me, and hung up on me. Oookay.

So we went home, and I called the police. I kind of explained the situation, with him breaking the contract, and I told them I was worried he would bother my things, and they basically would not do anything, but told me to call if he did touch my things. Or I could also call to have them escort me to get my things. (I told them I didn't have anywhere to put my things yet, so I didn't need a police escort. Yet.)

And then I went to sleep.

(I think Saturday was the most interesting day because I went from him offering to rewire the house and make car keys for me to being kicked out in like, less than a day. And I didn't do anything. Sunday was pretty interesting too, though, because it involves the police.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Moving again. Part 4. Friday night.

A little while later, there was another knock on my door. I opened it, and nobody was there. I looked in the living room, and Jeff wasn't there, either. "Hey," he called to me from the other direction. "Do you want some sausage?" "No thanks," I said. "I just had that sandwich." (He knew I had.) "Oh. I just wondered if you or Carlos wanted some sausage." I told him I would go see if Carlos wanted some.

I went through the house, downstairs, and met the neighbor, who was fixing our washing machine. Or trying to, anyway. I knocked on Carlos' door a couple times, but he didn't answer. The neighbor was more normal, so we chatted for a bit. We talked about what I'm studying, and his niece, and what was going on with the washer. While we were chatting, Jeff came downstairs to his room or the bathroom or something, and then he went back out to the barbecue.

I went out and told him, "I don't think Carlos is here. I knocked but he didn't answer."

"He probably isn't," Jeff said. I turned to go back to my room.

"Hey!" he said. "Do you know what my name is?"

"Jeff," I answered.

"No." He said. "It's s*** on a stick. Get it?"

"No," I said. I looked at him blankly.

"I catch on to people real quick. I catch on. Do you know what I'm saying?"

"No." I went back to my room.

He knocked again later. (GOOD GRIEF! How often do I have to talk to my landlord?!!) Nobody was at the door. He was still outside.

"So you're moving out on the first, right?" he asked me.

"No..." I said. And he said something about my ad at the Institute, looking for an apartment (Aha! It suddenly made more sense. But, weird that he was residence-board-stalking me.) I explained that it was my ad from before, and that that was how Courtney had found me, and that that was how the girl who had called me that day had found me also. He understood. (He was like ohhhhhh, so that was your ad from when you were looking for an apartment? YES, I said. I told him that I had the girl take it down. I told him I hadn't been to the Institute much within the past couple days and I hadn't posted an ad for the house yet.)

And then he wanted to talk all about how he wanted to be sure that we all felt safe at the house. He said that our neighbors were not too great, and that since we had riffraffs on both sides, that was why we needed to be sure that everyone got along in our house. He said he thought what he would do is make a copy of the keys for his red car out back, and that way, if I ever felt unsafe, I could drive his car away. I told him I didn't feel unsafe, and that he could make keys if he wanted but that I wouldn't use them, so whatever. And thanks, but no thanks.

And we talked about his business. I was very very very curious how someone like him owned a rental property. He said "and another thing. I'm not the landlord. Don't call me the landlord. I'm just one of the people living here." "But everyone has to sign contracts with you and you're the one they pay rent to, right?" I said. "Well, yes," but he's not the landlord. One of the girls who was living here before wanted him to come clean the vent in her room, and do some other general housekeeping thing for her, and he said that wasn't his responsibility. He said if we have a problem with the power, or if something needs to be fixed, we should come to him, but we shouldn't consider him the landlord. That isn't what he does. He has a real job, and this isn't it. He works in [and here he listed off several western cities including Las Vegas and LA], and this is just where he lives, so we shouldn't call him the landlord. Okay, I said.

But what is it that he actually does? Excavation. He has an excavation business, and a big office in...Sandy? He rented out part of the warehouse because they didn't need all of the space, so someone who does electrical stuff (?) rented part of it. And that's why he has two computers at our house. AND THAT, is why we can't bring riffraffs like Courtney did, because all of his important data is on those computers. But I hadn't seen any computers, I said. That meant they were in his room, right? And I don't think Courtney's friends would have gone into his room. I think they would have left everything alone. Well, but there are other things too, like the TV.

And when we were talking about his business, he said he was from LA, and I said, "Oh! Where in LA?" and he said Pasadena. I told him I was from the LA area too, and he said we California people have each other's backs. He said his family was still there, and I told him mine was too. And he said, "OH! That's why you're not afraid of the neighbors! If anyone tried something, you'd pop 'em one!" "Mhmm," I said. "Maybe."

We chatted for a little while. And it seemed like he thought we were great friends. And I excused myself to go to my bedroom (because I was in the middle of reading New Moon). And he apologized for bothering me, and I said no problem, and he reminded me that we should talk to each other by telephone instead of knocking on each other's doors. "Uh huh," I said and closed my door.

I read for a bit, but I was tired and I knew I needed to get up early for a hike, so I took out my contacts and went to bed.

Moving again. Part 3. Friday day and afternoon.

Friday I woke up and went to class, and then just kind of went back home because I didn't have a whole lot else to do on campus.

Carlos wanted to talk. He wanted to know what had happened when the (too tall!) guy had stopped by to see the apartment. Trouble is, Carlos couldn't afford to pay to have a private room. So he needed to find a roommate. But a few people had been interested now, and Jeff was scaring everyone away. So he was frustrated about that. Plus, we needed to find someone for upstairs. We needed to fill the house, and fast, because we thought things would be way less weird if there were a lot of other normal people at the house. Makes sense.

We talked about why Jeff might not have wanted the attractive guy to stay. He was so clean-cut, and was just a super nice guy. I said something about how I think Jeff wants to feel...well...sort of dominant in the house. And Carlos said he thinks guys like that make Jeff feel like a loser. And that's why he won't let them rent. And that was exactly what it was.

I could understand his financial thing, too. Everyone kept offering Courtney's old room to me because it was way better. It was way bigger, and had three closets instead of my mini-closet. It had shelves. And a big mirror. And a real private entrance. When I came to see the room on Monday, we went through Courtney's room. ("I don't know why he hasn't given me a key to the front door yet...") And when I got my keys, I got keys to the front door lock, and the front door deadbolt. "Everyone has their own private entrance," Jeff explained. Courtney's room had an entrance on the side of the house. Carlos had a private basement entrance that went right into his room from the front of the house. There was a back door that Jeff mostly used. And my private door was the front door. Because it was right by my bedroom. ("We need to all get used to using our private entrances," Jeff told me a couple times. But he often used mine.)

But anyhow, about the financial thing, turns out my room cost the same as Courtney's, and I told Carlos that didn't really seem fair, and he agreed. And I couldn't switch because the hook up for the Internet was in my room, and it had to be.

So Carlos and I had our chat, and he went to chat with Jeff about his roommate situation. And they chatted, but I don't really know how that went.

And then someone knocked on my door, and I opened the door and nobody was there. I looked in the kitchen and Jeff was there. "We all need to talk," he said. Carlos had taken off, though. He raised his voice. "That guy who came by the other day? It never would have worked. We need someone that we can all just get along with. That missionary type? It would have never worked. It was better to head it off before it started. Know what I mean?" I shrugged. "I get along with everyone," I told him, "so I think he would have been fine." He was kind of surprised that I said I could get along with everyone. He dropped it. "And another point. $450?! I don't know anyone around here who is charging $450." "Huh," I said. "What does that have to do with anything?" And apparently he'd "heard" that I thought rent was too much. (At the time, I thought maybe it was because of the conversation with Carlos. It wasn't, though. I realized later, he read my ad on the Institute board, where I was looking for an apartment. I said on it that I didn't want to pay any more than $450ish. Which was true, because plenty of places in the area go from like $270 to $350, to maybe maybe $400, but I would agree to $450 if it was a good one.) At the time I was really confused, though. And he talked about some other housekeeping issues, I don't really remember what. "If we need to talk to each other, let's just use our cellphones," he said. "It's easier." "Okay," I shrugged.

And I slept, and went running, and showered and stuff. And later, I went to go look for food and to see what was in the general area of my house. As I was leaving, a girl called about my "looking for an apartment" ad, and I told her about the house, and invited her to stop by, and asked her to please take my card down because I'd forgotten about it. I kept walking. I found a cool outdoor concert at the Graywhale CD store that was like a block from my house. I heard them play several songs and then bought their CD. ("You can have them sign it," the guys inside said.) The band was called Delta Spirit, and since they were an indie band, I called Optimistic to see if he'd heard of them. He had.

I visited a bicycle shop that was right there. And then I got a sandwich and went home.

There was a Muslim girl standing in the front yard, with a Muslim guy and a little girl. They asked if I lived in the house, and I told them I do, and they said they had seen the FOR RENT sign and they wanted to see the room. They said they had been calling the number and nobody had answered. I apologized (ACK. JEFF!) and invited them in. In broken English they explained that the room was for the older girl, and I'm not sure if the little girl would be staying there or not. The guy wasn't going to be, though. They asked a bunch of questions about the house and what areas were shared and that kind of stuff. As I brought them through the front door, Jeff opened the private entrance to the room that was available. I walked her around, and he was in there, waiting. He half ignored them.

They seemed really interested. She goes to school, and she wanted to be close. They were like, "so to apply we have to talk to him, right?" and I was like "well...yeah..." and the arrangement they came up with was that they would call Jeff to come by and 'apply' sometime. But it was all wayyyy vaguer than it needed to be considering that it was someone who wanted the room. Whatever.

I went to my room, because it really wasn't my job to show them the room since Jeff was there. When they left, he knocked on my door. I opened it and nobody was there. I found Jeff in the kitchen.

"Do you think that's the kind of person who meets our criteria?" Jeff was annoyed. "Jeff," I said. "They saw the sign. They wanted to see it so I showed it to them." He was like, "I know, I was going to too. You have to, so you're not discriminating." He said, "But do you think you could live with her? Don't you want a student? With your...culture?" I said, "Really, I get along with pretty much everyone. So someone else would maybe be more fun, but I'm sure I would get along with her just fine." "Really," Jeff said. "Mhmm." "People like that are different, though. Students pick up after themselves. With people like them, things wouldn't get put away..." I shrugged.

"Has anyone else called about your ad on the Institute board?" he asked.

"No," I said. I didn't mention that I hadn't put one up. "OH! Actually, yes." I remembered the girl who called about my old ad. I told him I gave her the address and that she was probably going to come by. I went back to my room.

Moving again. Part 2.

I agreed to meet him in 10 minutes, because I had a class right afterwards, but he wanted me to sign ASAP. I signed the contract. It was until next May, which I wasn't wild about, but whatever.

I met Carlos. And Jeff, the landlord. Courtney and her parents were there.

We chatted a bit and Jeff assured me that the Internet should be on soon. Courtney's parents asked me a bit about myself and about work (people tend to worry that since I sleep during the day everything will have to be silent, but I can sleep through pretty much anything). Carlos seemed cool.

Jeff was kinda weird. He had Carlos sign the last page of his contract. (That wasn't the weird part.) He filled out my contract, and he mixed up the Lessor/ Lessee stuff, so that it seemed like he was renting from me. It's cool, though. I drew a double arrow to correct it. I paid my hefty deposit and rent for the last week of August. Actually, Courtney's parents paid it because I wasn't thinking when I packed my last box of stuff, and now my checkbook is packed somewhere. Plus, I hadn't been planning on signing (it was all kind of spur-of-the-moment), so I wasn't prepared for it, but they said it would be kind of a big deal to Jeff if I didn't pay Right Then. I had planned to pay the day that I moved in, when I had my boxes. Or I could have gone to the bank for cash. They said they didn't mind spotting me the money, and I could mail them a check. Fine.

While we were signing contracts, Courtney's dad was trying to call Ben, who wanted to sign too. When Jeff went to make copies of our signed contracts, Courtney's mom said Ben had come by earlier to sign. And Jeff told him, "You can't live here." So he left without signing. And then, when Courtney's parents found out about it, they all sat around and said nice things about Ben for I think like 20 minutes. And Jeff said "I guess Ben wasn't so bad." So they were trying to get him to come back and sign after all. I don't think they ever reached him.

Carlos was going to move in that night (Tuesday).

Since the Internet wasn't there, I couldn't really move in yet. I did come back after classes and study for a bit in my (very!) air-conditioned room. I left a few books there, because why carry them if I don't have to?!

Carlos did move in. Wednesday I still didn't, but I left a few more books. When I came by after class, there was a (very attractive) guy in front of the house. "Do you live here?" "Yeah," I told him. "Oh," he said. He told me that he was thinking about renting at our house, and sharing with Carlos. "I saw it yesterday, but I was still deciding so I was hoping I could see it again." "No problem! Come on in," I said.

I started to take him through the living room and kitchen to get to the stairs, but Jeff was in the living room. Since he would technically be renting from Jeff, I introduced them. "This is Jeff," I said, "He's our landlord. Jeff, this guy wanted to see the room." "You're too tall," Jeff said. I laughed and so did the guy. He was pretty tall, probably 6'4 or 6'5, but he wasn't abnormally tall. "No," Jeff said, "I'm being seriously. You can't live here. I think you're too tall." "Oh, I'm sure he'll be fine," I told Jeff. "I was here yesterday," the guy said, "and it was kind of small, but not because I'm too tall." Anyhow, we kind of brushed it off.

I said I was going to take him downstairs, and I did. When we got downstairs, I told him the landlord is really weird, and he said Carlos had warned him about that. I said Carlos is cool, though, and he agreed. I didn't know which room he needed, but the guy did, and the door was locked. "Oh. Sorry," I said. "It's okay. I probably should have asked Carlos anyway," he said. I shrugged. We went back upstairs. The guy left. Jeff followed him outside, saying something that I couldn't hear. (Later I found out that he told the guy that, no, really, he couldn't live at our house.)

On Thursday, I was going to be moving my stuff.

That morning, though, I got a call from Courtney's dad. "Jeff's asked Courtney to leave for a second time, and we've decided it's best for her to go. We think all three of you should probably plan on leaving at the same time. We're driving up, and we'll talk to him, and I'll let you know when we know more."

I told him that I would prefer not to have to move, because the location was ideal. But I started thinking about possible alternatives while I waited for his call.

He left a message while I was in one of my classes. When I called him back, he said, "I think you'll be all right. Carlos is staying." He said, "Courtney's loud. She's 19. You and Carlos are more quiet. Jeff gets along better with people who are more quiet. He doesn't like surprises." He also said that Comcast had just set up the Internet. In my room. And they had been testing it and it worked. So I was a little nervous about moving in that night, but relieved that I didn't have to find another place to live. And I was relieved to be able to work from home again without any problems.

I figured I would just be especially careful not to provoke Jeff, and I'd be fine. I'm a busy person. I have full time school, and full time work, plus I'm planning on being really involved in school and at the Institute, plus I have to sleep sometimes, so I just wouldn't see Jeff much and then I'd be okay. Jess suggested I treat it like I was just renting the room, and not part of the house. The room had its own microwave and fridgey-freezery thing, so I wouldn't even really have to use the kitchen.

Courtney's parents asked if I could swap checks with them (...um, no, my checkbook was still packed...), and we agreed that I would bring cash and either pay Jeff (if they could get their check back), or I would reimburse them. Which was fine, of course.

I passed by the house while Courtney was moving, and her dad asked me to call Jeff to see if he had cashed the check. I went out to the FOR RENT sign, typed his number into my phone and called. The phone rang. And rang. And rang. And then someone answered. "Church offices :) " "Oh," I said. "This was the number that was on a sign for a house that is for rent." "Is it 242? Because ours is 242..." "Ummmm," I walked out to the sign. I read the number. It had nothing that even remotely resembled 242. "Well," the lady said cheerfully, "maybe you misdialed. Try calling again." "Okay." I checked the number and it was correct. I called it again anyway, and the same thing happened. "I think I have the wrong number," I said when they answered.

Turns out, Dave (Courtney's dad) had been getting the same thing. Like, since the night before. Jeff set his phone to forward calls to the Church Offices building! "He probably thinks it's funny," Dave said. A few minutes later, Jeff called Dave and said "Tell the person to give you the money," and he hung up on him. I gave them the money, and had them sign something saying I'd paid it.

While I was there, Courtney told me she had brought by a couple friends. They were black guys, but they were guys who dance ballet in her program at school. Not threatening people. She brought them by, and Jeff had kicked them out. "No!" I gasped. She continued, "Leave," he said. "I don't want them tearing up the place." I looked at Courtney, my eyes widened. "Oh. My. Gosh."

And then, apparently Jeff had bought a big sheet cake, like the ones from Costco. Courtney said she thought it was like, to celebrate everyone moving in. (Mostly her and Carlos.) But he never said she could eat it, so she didn't eat it. But it was way way more than one person could eat. And the day that Courtney moved out, he threw it away. Like, to make it so she couldn't eat it, which she wasn't anyway.

And then, I guess another point of contention was, there was this tan colored sweater-wrap. I saw it the day that I signed my contract, hanging from the FOR RENT sign, the same way that people will put mittens or other lost clothes up higher so that hopefully the owner walks past again and sees it. WELL, apparently Jeff saw it outside and brought it in and asked Courtney if it was hers. And she said it wasn't. And he said, "Well, it is now!" and threw it in her room. But obviously, she didn't want some dirty sweater that wasn't hers that he found on the ground. So she said she didn't want it and threw it out of her room.

And then, Courtney's mom had bought two Bath & Body Works fancy-schmanzy plug-in air fresheners. And they put one of them in the living room, and I guess he threw it away or hid it when he found out Courtney was moving out.

And then, he took everything out of Courtney's closet and put it into the closet that's in the living room. (Random!) (And...ew, don't touch her stuff.)

Anyway. They packed her up, but Courtney was just moving a few houses down, so she would still be in my ward. I told her I would let her know about anything else exciting that happened.

That night, Jessica's in-laws brought a big load of stuff up to my house, and so did Jess and Mitch. It wasn't everything, but it was almost everything.

Jeff knocked on my door and walked off. I answered the door, and found him in the living room. "I noticed you didn't bring a bed," he said. "I have an extra queen bed. Do you want it? I won't even charge you extra." "Umm," I said. "Just come look at it." "Okay."

I followed him out behind the house, to one of the garages. He opened it and indicated a huge mattress set. "No thanks," I said. "I'd prefer to have the extra space in my room." "Are you sure," he asked, and I told him I would let him know if I changed my mind. "Oh, yeah, and I guess you would have to buy different sized stuff..." Yeah, no, thanks. And then he asked me how I knew Dave (Courtney's dad), and I said that I only knew him because Courtney had called me about the room in the house. "I just didn't get a chance to know Courtney," he said. "Yeah." I agreed. He continued, "And then she came by with some riffraffs..." "Uh huh," I said. I was ready to go back to my room, so I politely excused myself. "You got a ride?" he asked, and pointed at his car. He was offering to share his car with me. "Seriously, any time you want to borrow something, just ask." "Thanks," I said.

That night I couldn't get my work computer to recognize the Internet connection. So I missed work. I slept. In the morning I called and talked to our special technical people and they helped me figure it out. FINALLY! I could work from home again, like normal!

...or could I?

(PS, I know these would maybe be more interesting with pictures, and I usually like to put pictures, but I just don't even know what to include pictures of. Plus, I usually take pictures with my iPhone because it's easy to upload them. But I connect it to my regular computer, which I haven't been able to access for like 2 weeks. AND! I had to put new system software on it, so I'm still trying to figure out how to get iTunes again since my computer is older than dirt. Anywho, sorry for the lack of pictures. Jeff is short and stubby and blond and looks...slow. Courtney wears heart shaped sunglasses and is a ballet dancer. She's really pretty. Carlos is totally American, but his parents I think are probably immigrants. Dave looks like a Bishop.)

Moving again. Part 1.

I got kicked out of my house. After living there for two days.

This is such a crazy story.

SO, I've been looking for a new apartment for a while. I actually had to be out of my old apartment a week and a half ago, and I've been staying with Jess' in-laws.

Last Sunday, a girl called me about an ad I put up at the U of U Institute, saying that I was looking for an apartment. She had moved into a house and there was an open room. It cost more than I had really wanted to pay, but it was in THE MOST EXCELLENT location. And since I don't have a car, and since I really needed somewhere to move to, I told her I was very interested. I asked if it had the Internet, and not just wifi (I have to be able to connect my computer for work), and she confirmed that it had already been ordered. I asked if I could see it Monday morning. She said I could if it was still available; it was first-come first-served, and there were other people interested too.

But I have no car, so I told her I'd call tomorrow, and if it was available, great, and if not, I supposed I would find something else.

It was available! I skipped my Institute class Monday afternoon and went to check it out. The house was across the street from the U of U law school. It was a block from TRAX (the train system). The house was set back from the street a bit and had a pretty yard with lots of landscaping and fruit trees and stuff. It was cute!

The girl who lived there was cute, too. She showed me the house, and my room was apart from hers (which is good since I work nights and chatter on the phone for work). I was somewhat surprised to learn that although it was an LDS-standards house, it would be girls upstairs and guys downstairs. The girl, Courtney, was upstairs, and she would have a roommate. Downstairs there was the captain of the soccer team, and a guy named Carlos, and the guy who owned the house. The laundry room (downstairs), and the kitchen and living room (upstairs) were shared, but there would be a door installed between the upstairs and downstairs, which could be locked from either side.

She said the landlord was a little slow, and that it was best to talk to him slowly and about one thing at a time, but that he was very good at doing things to improve the house. For example, she brought white chairs for the kitchen, and he painted the kitchen table white to match them. Great! Everyone always hopes for a landlord that will respond quickly.

I said that it looked good, but I just really needed to have the Internet. Courtney understood. I told her to call me when she knew how long it would be before it was installed.

The next day I got a call from the landlord. He said that he had already requested the Internet a few days ago, and that Comcast had told him it would be a few days. I said I just needed to be sure the Internet would be on, and he said "WELL, COME SIGN THEN!" He said he would get me a printout showing that it had been ordered, and he said he couldn't keep following up on it but he said he would get me the number and I can call about it as much as I want.

I said okay, and I went to sign the contract.