50 days of oatmeal and 10 face wipes

Today the AT&T guy asked for my address, and I was totally stumped. I couldn’t remember the address to my dad’s attic.  AT&T had a Fort Wayne address in the system and a New Orleans address in the system, and there I was in Indianapolis trying to suspend my plan while I go to Belize.  He squinted at me with that you’re-an-identity-thief-look, then asked for my license and the last 4 digits of my social security number. I started to explain the situation, but he was bored by the fifth word, so I just sighed and waited while he dialed customer care.  He told customer care I was going to Guatemala.

Some people do displacement well. I do it kind of complainy and neurotic-like.  I feel like my life is totally out of control when I can’t put together a good outfit, and when doing so includes a trip to the attic, a trip to the trunk and rummaging through 4 suitcases. Is it in the Belize bag? Is it in the Thanksgiving bag? Is it in the New Orleans bag? Is it in the Madison bag? Nope. It must be in the trunk. Nope. It’s gotta be in the attic. Oh. There it is. Right there in the 4th box from the back labeled dishes. My black sweater!

Yesterday I purchased 50 days worth of Instant oatmeal and Fiber One bars- both items of comfort and ease that are simple to make, quick to fill and parasite free- and spent 2 hours rearranging and weighing suitcases to get them to fit. Also $80 worth of bug spray, sunscreen, tee trea oil, wet wipes… and a jump rope. For exercise. I remember doing this last year with Steph at the target- should I get washcloths or face wipes? The kind that’s already wet, or the kind where I have to add water? Which takes up less space? Which one is heavier? What I have found is: little luxuries go a long way.  I can’t bring 90 days of face wipes. But I can bring a washcloth and know that 10 Olay face wipes will feel like gold on ten special days when the water is off and I really just want to wash my face.

And you should have seen Elaine helping with my clothes… There were mountains and mountains. Then piles and piles. Then stacks of three.

  • Please can I bring my blue and white striped pants?
  • Will you even wear those pants?
  • I think so. I don’t know. Maybe.
  • But you already have the khaki and white striped ones.
  • I know but I like the blue ones.
  • You can’t have both. You already have 8 other pants. Pick one.

And on and on and on: please can I bring my 10th green tank top… please can I bring my 8th pink Nike shorts… please can I bring my 4th white sweatshirt… It felt like last year’s Gustav evacuation. It was a careful selection process, and in the end, I always wanted the thing I dind’t bring.  Sigh.  As of tonight, my clothes for 3 monts fit into one moderately sized suitcase. My supplies fit into an second, and my sheets/towels/bathroom/bugstuff/meds/snacks/etc. fit into a third. Whew. I’d like to share a picture sequence of my life in relation to this topic.

My apartment at the beginning of the school year:

Apartment 1

My apartment at Finals:

Apartment Finals

My apartment in the middle of selling furniture and hosting guests:

Apartment guests

Apartment during packing phase:

Apartment packing

Post Packing:

Post Packing 1

Post packing 2

All the lipgloss I found while packing up the apartment:


What happened to SJP- kickball. Home run if you hit her in the face:

SJP kickball

Getting home:

Packed car

My mover: Note the basket he’s holding. It wouldn’t fit into the car, so we dropped it off under the I-10 overpass where the homeless hang…


My life now:


The end:

Empty apartment

In case you wonder about me, you can find me according to the following itinerary:

  • August 29th Madison
  • September 1st Indianapolis
  • September 5th Belize
  • November 25th Dallas
  • November 29th Madison
  • November 30th Indianapolis
  • December 1st New Orleans
  • December 11th- GRADUATE!

Goodbye. Post you in a couple days.


Take home exam, Part II

I had a meltdown tonight that started with the realization that there was a Part II to my take home exam. I called Sprinky. She asked if I had a cold. I told her no, that I was crying and that I couldn’t even think of a good reason why since Part II only added two more double-spaced pages.

By the end of the conversation, I’d cried through the cellulite I had discovered on my thigh 20 minutes earlier and the resignation to aging and out-of-shapeness, which was only amplified by the understanding that I would not be able to get to the gym to play basketball tomorrow at 6 because I’d have to stay up later to finish the stupid exam; and after that, that I’d seen the most beautiful sunsets from the levee 4 nights in a row and had done my best to share them with people, but that at the end of the day, it was still only me walking to my car in the dark; and after that, that I’d missed the gorgeous moon tonight, but saw it last night when everyone else was busy and I was exploding with spectacular full-moon goodness; and after that, that the plane tickets I went to buy jumped like $70 during the 3 minutes I was trying to purchase them. My family—all 8 sides of them—will be together on the same day at the same time for my niece’s first birthday party, and American Airlines is messing with me. I don’t know when that will happen again barring a funeral or my own wedding. Doesn’t the airline industry know that?

In the end, it turned out that 80 degrees and sunny reminded me of summer in Fort Wayne with our little sliding door open, and me on the couch and Sprinky in the bedroom, and everyone coming in and out, and air mattresses all over the place, the OC and champagne, and the baby Weber grill, and my family only 2 hours away. I haven’t spent a summer outside of Fort Wayne in almost 10 years. What I’m missing here is couple of SCAN peeps, a very icy tall nonfat mocha on the corner of State and Coliseum, Elaine on my air mattress, a ten-year old following me around for weeks at a time, dusk on my balcony, and one very important Sprinky on the couch.



What I have instead is Schroeder’s take home exam part II, which seems to be as hazardous as tear gas or something.

I wish

I wish the hostess had not yelled out “Party of One!” in the middle of an 8:00 Saturday night restaurant crowd.

I wish the streetcar driver had not yelled at me in front of the whole streetcar for trying to use a transfer ticket at a non-transfer stop.

I wish I had not cried on the streetcar.

I wish I could be in Fort Wayne tonight on somebody’s couch.

My motherboard, myself

Macbook is home.

The motherboard was defective, whatever that means. I thanked the guy and said, “Yeah, my mom has been acting funny too lately, can you do anything about her?”  He would have laughed, I’m sure, but my phone rang. It was my mom. See? She knows.

Which brings me to my next topic: Adult Children of Active Facebook Users.

When did it become normal for parents start creeping onto Facebook? I realize my parents are just extra-technological with finding internet spouses and all, but honestly you guys, as a group, we really dropped the ball on this one. Parents should be confined to the geriatric network (as opposed to the Indianapolis or FW network)—which could be visited, but, for the love of God, not flung wide open for all of them to just run loose. Don’t even get me started on grandparents hanging around—there goes my whole new blog idea: Conversations with Crazy Grammy.

Hey grandma.
Are you working?
Are you busy?
Well, I didn’t think you’d ever call me back.
Grandma, I’ve been calling you all week. I left three messages.
No, you didn’t.
Yes, I did. Check your messages.
Nope. My phone makes a little noise when there’s a message.
Well, I left one. Maybe its broken or something.
No, it always makes a little noise. You must have called someone else.
Grandma, it was your voicemail. Your number is on speed dial. It was you.
No. Huh-uh. It didn’t make that little noise.
Why don’t you just check your messages. Just in case. I’ll wait.
No, Brookie. It always makes that little noise, but—Oh! (laugh) Isn’t that funny? (laugh) I have three messages. (laugh) It always makes that little noise. (laugh) Isn’t that funny, darlin? (laugh)
See? I told you.
Well, I just hadn’t heard from you in a while. I thought I might get a thank-you card or something for the pajamas I gave you last spring.
Oh, well, yeah, I love those pajamas. I thought we covered that at the house. Sorry.
Well, you’ve been busy. You’ve got a lot going on up there. Are you running around with Sprinky today?
No, she is in South Carolina
Oh! She is? What’s she doing there?
Visiting our other friends, Bethany and Mike.
Oh! Bethany and Mike live in South Carolina?
You never told me that.
They’ve lived there for a year and a half.
Well, you never told me.
They moved last April.
You didn’t tell me they moved.

I didn’t know you knew them.

You didn’t tell me.
Grandma, I didn’t know you wanted to know.
That’s okay. You never tell me anything about your friends. You’re just too busy. Too busy for your grandma.


In other news, I started working this week. I got a job at the Tulane bookstore. I basically hang Tulane clothes all day and refold everything when waves of freshmen or cheerleaders or foreign golf players come in and try everything on in front of the mirror. My favorite is when the owner comes through, stands in front of a certain display and says, “Y’all’s folds are bad.”

I also love watching at all the bossy mothers in east coast accents holding up 80 different-colored sweatshirts to a nervous, eye-rolling new freshman while the little sister tries on $90 hoodies and the dad just moseys behind, whistling. I can’t help but imagine my little brothers being interested in a sweatshirt or a Taylor hat. It just never happened. If my brothers had been there, we would have ended the day in Allen County lockup for minor consumption, especially now that Brandon has taken to running around town with a can of Budlight in his hand pawning other people’s books. They were just never really into things like college hats or college sweatshirts or traditional college at all, really.

Moving on.

I made three friends in three days. They work with me in the bookstore, and all three wanted to know if I had gotten a daiquiri yet and where. They are serious about their daiquiris. By the third day, I was directing new students and worried mothers all over campus or to the nearest Wal-greens or Whole Foods or daiquiri stand like a good little local…

PS- I thought about this all day. Nine years ago today my aunt was killed in a car accident. It was awful and heartbreaking and felt like, at the time, someone had taken all the color out of the world. Whenever I think of her, besides crepes and laughing and hideous hand-me-down purple zip-up bathing suits, I think of Mr. Gay and what he wrote on a little piece of paper in the guestbook at her funeral: Bonne nuit joli petit oiseau – Goodnight pretty little bird.

Over and Out

I moved out of Fort Wayne today.

By and far the best good-bye gift I received:
A life size 7ft cardboard cutout of Sarah Jessica Parker from Sofia.


She will be my first and only friend in New Orleans and will hang out with me in my living room at night or while I am brushing my teeth in the morning. We had a long talk on my way to Indy about how much things are about to change for us.


About New Orleans. I have gotten into this awful habit of checking all the crime alerts on campus by the hour. It has been integrated into my daily routine: check e-mail, check facebook, check crime alerts. Statistically, I’m sure to get shot, mugged, carjacked or burglarized within the first ten minutes.

People have encouraged me to take a self-defense class. The thing is, self-defense classes are in the recreation center, which is far away, which means I’ll have to drive. I am most concerned about getting from cars to buildings and back into cars. I will be doing it as little as possible, and most often with hand-held shrubbery to disguise me as I scurry between buildings. This makes something as dangerous as a self-defense class more risky than helpful since it will involve a parking lot and all. I mean, how would I get from my car to the building, or from the building to my car? Especially if the class is after 6pm or something?

A person has to think about these things.

Also, the fact that there is no Taco Bell in the city. My diet consists of mostly fast food and $3 champagne. While local fried food is available, I am worried about the effect this lack of Taco Bell will have on my body. Don’t even get me started on the prospect of having to introduce fruits and vegetables at some point. I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

Happenings of note.

I had to drink Sprite out of a bowl this week because there were no other dishes.


Saturday we had birthday mimosas at Spyros—our favorite breakfast joint. BYOCAOJ- Bring your own champagne and orange juice. Classy.



Favorite goodbye party moments of yore:





The box of sweaters in the closet that let me know I was definitely home at my dad’s



Good morning, fort wayne.
We only have a few more days together.
Maybe that’s why you’ve kept me up…

Three months ago:


You’ve held me well.
I’ll miss you.

Fun with BGC kids

I really am trying to get back into the habit of posting consistently. By trying, I mean definitely thinking it in my head and sometimes making post-its. For now, you’ll just have to settle for some summer highlights with the BGC kids.

The first is a video I caught of the McCormick kids singing in the van. Note, especially the enthusiastic singer in the lower right corner, and the girl who just ignores us in the lower left corner.

Next is a series of pictures from the penny pitch carwash we did with WOWO- thats, AMradio, if you didn’t know. Ronnica and I were the only ones who showed up at 7am:Photobucket

Here is how we spent most of the morning.
So… are there supposed to be cars to wash or something? Anybody want to donate to the boys and girls club? Anyone?


Our local celebrity


By 9am, we made $170 and 2 boxes of donuts.


The next is a series of Ronnica dancing for the carwash guys in the name of the BGC



And me attempting the same moves, not permitted to be in any way associated with BGC or Ronnica, who had a crush on Andy, the carwash guy


The next two are Girls Weekend Out with Janelle…



And my personal favorite: BLAZES OF GLORY- win or die trying.










I love these guys. I love this place. It will be a sad day for me in three weeks, the closing to a decade-long chapter here. Boys and Girls clubs, you’re my heart.

If Jesus had shingles, the ASK clinic would help.

Why I am 65 on the inside:

1. I have gray hair
2. My knees hurt when cold front comes through
3. I have shingles

Let’s start with the shingles.
Leave it to me to get a disease for 60-year-olds during the two months of my life I don’t have insurance. Years down the road, this will be the dialogue between me and my potential clients:

“Do you have health insurance?”
“No, I can’t afford it”
“I think you should consider it. When I didn’t have insurance, I stabbed my foot with a parking lot spike and then I got shingles.”

In 2058, it will be an urban legend: remember the girl who stabbed her foot and got shingles?

Here’s the thing, I had the stupid disease for almost two weeks before I even knew what was going on. I washed our clothes and sheets and couch covers in scalding hot water, because I thought we had some kind of a bug issue. I even walked around the B&G Club asking, “I’m sorry, I know this is weird, but do you guys have scabies?” I showed them the rash. No one had scabies. (I have this weird irrational fear of scabies.)

I covered it cortisone cream, and then in 3.7% benzyl peroxide face cream for good measure.In the meantime, I started having all these kidney pains and rib pains and stomach pains, and thought I had jabbed myself too many times with the millions of boxes I moved this weekend out of my apartment into my dad’s. So I JUST KEPT HEAVY LIFTING, thinking I was just toning my rib muscles. My ribmuscles, I tell you.When I finally bared my torso and heard the word “shingles”, I gasped and then mentally ran through my will. I would die fighting, at least.Kathy (my dad’s wife and a nurse) explained that it was neither life-threatening nor contagious, which was excellent considering I spent the weekend with my 2-month old niece and didn’t want to die—or end up like Dave Letterman, who was MIA for three months with shingles. But apparently the pain only gets worse the longer a person waits to get medical attention, and I had already waited two weeks. They said I needed anti-virals and pain meds, like ASAP.Enter: no health insurance. You remember my last experiencewith the free clinic, right?I had no choice but to get up at 6 am on Tuesday morning, drive down to the free clinic and sit on the curb, in line, until the doors opened at 8:30. I was 7th on the list, and I waited for 4 hours. I wish I’d thought to bring a notepad to write down all the crazy conversations I heard at sunrise on the curb outside of the ASK clinic—as in Ask, and you shall receive…But I have to say, wholeheartedly, the clinic ministered to me today.

I barely have an income, and I am in that two-month time period between the last thing and the next one. Every other clinic I’ve been to—and I’ve been to three—required proof of address, paycheck stubs, and a payment percentage. Once I paid $150 for vaccination, and once I paid $35. I was grateful both times. But I was seen by sketchy people and treated like the 75th person they’d seen that day who took advantage of the system and was just not worth the time and effort it took to provide the discounted service in the first place.

Today, the workers were kind and efficient, even the sign-in lady. Even the lady who walked up at 8:30 and unlocked the door for the mass of ill or injured people who were crazy for their meds or drooping on the curb with blasted shingles. She walked up and said, how is everyone today? I thought things might be okay right then.

The doctor turned out to be an actual, true doctor—albeit an 85 yr old one. I waited for 4 hours because he spent, like, 30 minutes with the guy in front of me who had a knee problem, and another twenty minutes with a lady who was afraid to get a mammogram, and the Indian family in front of them who were working with a translator, and the family before them who spoke only Spanish. Plus, he walked slowly.

But they cut the patient list off at 25 (from what I could gather) to adequately serve those who had already arrived, and made an effort to not over-promise and under-serve.

In the end, they never asked why I couldn’t pay. They did not require proof that I couldn’t pay. It was an interesting social-service concept: if someone says they need something and you have the means, give it to them. There were no hoops. Proof was not necessary. I was sick, so they helped.

They treated me like I was actually Jesus.

I was seen by the doctor and then sent downstairs for meds, and I received everything for free. FREE! Two hundred dollars worth of prescription meds were provided and filled by volunteer pharmacists, and I was seen and diagnosed by a volunteer doctor who greeted me with a smile and asked how my day was going. Can you believe it?

I love the ASK clinic.
I love that there are organizations giving service a good name to the actual client instead of just the donors.
And I love that there are people out there who treat other people like Jesus.
I hate the shingles. It feels like someone is continually stabbing me in the back and then setting my stomach on fire.

Weekend Special: Ice Cream & Spider Monkeys

On Saturday, Ms. Mig invited me to spend the afternoon with her family. They took Diana and me in the back of the pick-up for ice cream at the Western Dairies Mennonite farm.



And since you’ve been good, I’ll show you this one.


We also went to the huge Mennonite Farmer’s Trading store in Spanish Lookout (I call it Wal-Mart) and—get this—I ran into someone I knew! I saw a student and her family from San Marcos while Diana and I were buying massive quantities of gummy bears. I actually got to introduce two families in Belize who didn’t know each other. It’s the third time I’ve run into kids who know me outside the village. It felt like Fort Wayne, so, you know, like home.


Before dinner, Diana took me to her neighbor’s house to ride horses (which I don’t really love) BUT I do love baby spider monkeys on leashes. Diana rode horses. I played with the little monkey.






Pouting Monkey


Hide & go seek



The boys brought us this weird fruit from the top of the tree called Jack Fruit—little pods of sticky fruit that taste like a cross between bubble gum and bananas.I fed it to the monkey.






When I got home, I was the third in the house to come down with an instant sore throat and sinus infection.They warmed water for me to shower with, and then sent me to bed with this:


What?I always drink garlic syrup for my chesty cough.Don’t you?