AT LAST!

It has happened. I thought it never would, but at last, it has…

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I HAVE JOINED THE WORLD OF SMARTPHONE USERS!

I had heard of these things called “apps” but never seen one. How beautiful…

My phone makes pretty sounds when I get emails and text messages, making me feel oh-so-popular and loved.

My phone is sleek. My phone can still fit in my front pants pocket. My phone has owls as the background.

MY PHONE IS AWESOME.

Ice Cream Trucks Mean It’s a Neighborhood

Over the past few days, I’ve been slowly moving into my new place, which is about 20-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from my old apartment. It was probably the smoothest move-out I’ve had yet. As I talked about last summer, I’m pretty awful at moving, so this time, I was really trying to be thorough. For the most part, I was good, though as today has been going on, I’ve been remembering the things I left in the fridge. Oops :/

My new place is actually IN Philadelphia; for the past five years, I’ve been living in the suburbs of the city. The area where I now live is still residential, but is in an area much, much busier than I’ve ever lived in before. Yesterday as my dad was helping me move and we drove down the street, I kept saying things like, “Look! A laundromat! A restaurant! A store! Sidewalks!” and my dad said, “This is a neighborhood.” As if to prove it, an ice cream truck drives by about four times a day. Ice cream trucks are the final word on whether a place is a neighborhood.

I’m living with two friends (a guy and a girl, who are a couple) from college and a guy I just met yesterday. It’s a small house as opposed to an apartment, with a garage and everything. My room is much smaller than my last room, but it’s nice and it’s ALL MINE. This is the first time in five years, save for the summer months, that I have not had a roommate. While I loved all of my roommates, I am so happy to finally have my own space, and for the lowest price I’ve paid yet.

Part of the reason for choosing this place out of the three I had on the table was that it is near to a subway station. At all my other places, I took at least two modes of transportation, usually with an added long walk, to work. Here, I can take one train to a stop very close to my jobs. Today was the first day I was trying out the new station. I left an hour, just in case, because the place is HUGE, with a multi-level parking garage. But it wasn’t hard to figure out, and the ride to work is only 25 minutes- hooray!

But my journey came to a screeching- or rather, a shattering- halt before I even pulled out of the driveway. Our garage/small driveway is behind the house, and there is a gate on each side that, if you wish, can join together and lock people away from your property. Just before I went to bed last night, I noted that someone had parked really stupidly right behind our driveway, and I made a note to myself to be careful when pulling out of the driveway. I remembered this as I was on my way to work today, but unfortunately, being super concentrated on not crashing into the stupid person’s car took my attention away from the Problem Child Gate, which, even after living here for less than 48 hours, I have figured out likes to swing around willy-nilly. So this morning, the PCG had decided to try to hug my car, and as I backed out, the edge of the gate came into contact with my left side-view mirror and smashed it to pieces.
This was bad. It was bad because my dad was going to be mad at me, but also because, if you remember, I’ve just moved to a busy area, where having all your mirrors in good working order is kind of required. I made it to the transportation center in one piece, but knew I’d have to do something about it after work.

Getting home after work was an episode, though. I take the subway a lot, but I only ever take it between 2nd and 34th Streets. The stop near my house is across the river from 2nd Street, all the way at the end of the line, but I’d always seen 2nd Street (and the river) as the final stop. So even though I got on the right train home, heading across the river, I panicked, second-guessed myself, and changed trains, riding for twelve incorrect subway stops (about twenty extra minutes) before realizing that I had been right the first time and taking another 50-minute ride back to my actual stop. *sigh*

When I got home, I had to add an auto shop stop to my already-planned grocery shopping, but as it turned out, I had to go to THREE auto shops… none of which had what I needed (a temporary mirror.) I went home, put away my groceries, and talked to my dad, who said that for my own safety, I HAD to get a replacement mirror of some kind before I drove around tomorrow. I knew he was right, so I tied back PCG and drove off again, to Target for tape and some sort of cheap mirror. Pathetic, yes, but all I can do at the moment.

Do you know how hard it is to find a mirror? I’ll tell you- REALLY HARD. I figured I’d just buy a cheap makeup case or locker mirror and fasten it to my car, but they apparently don’t sell those at the moment. The only mirrors I found were magnifying mirrors, which wouldn’t make my driving any safer, or super fancy (expensive) decorative mirrors. But FINALLY, after about forty-five minutes, I came across a large hand-held mirror. I thought it might be too big, but it’s actually the perfect size, and when I got home, I stepped on the handle and snapped it off, removed blue plastic from around the edges and back, and package-taped the mirror over the shattered remains of my side-view mirror… and it actually doesn’t look as stupid as I thought. It still kind of looks like someone who was really desperate fixed it up, but I don’t think it could have looked any better.

So now that THAT drama is over, I have to concentrate on memorizing this new script for work (a ghost tour, run by the same company I already work for.) I can’t wait until my first test is over- then I can return to normal life, which involves decorating my new room, reading, and not crashing into gates.

Wedding Bells!

Last week, my parents and I headed down to North Carolina for my aunt Debbie’s wedding. My sister Allie met us down there and we all embraced the warm weather, since Pennsylvania couldn’t figure out how to produce warmth at the time (it has since done so.) This wedding story comes to you in    parts:

PART 1: The Runaway Caterers

Sadly, the world is not full of honest people, and my aunt and new uncle discovered that the caterer they hired was one of the dishonest ones. He ran away with their money (though I’ve just gotten the news that they got it back), so they basically had to make do with what was left of the company. They also improvised by having us help to prepare some hors d’ouvres. My aunt was very apologetic, but we didn’t mind at all:

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Part 2: Cake

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Since the catering situation was a little improvised (and there was an emergency at another site being served by the same company), my cousin Laura and I ended up serving the cake. The guests at the wedding were like vultures: even when we told them that the cake would be brought to them, they would not leave the cake’s side, as if we were going to gyp certain people some cake. In the end, the cake remains looked like the aftermath of a massacre.

There were some people who stayed in their seats, though, and while Laura cut the cake, I used my server skills to stack plates up my arm and walk around to the tables, offering one of the three flavors. One man took a plate from me and then said, “Fork?” I did not have forks. “Yeah,” he said with a bit of attitude. “Didn’t think of that, did ya?” And this is why I didn’t enjoy being a server; what is with the mistreatment of the people who handle your food?!

Part 3: Rain

We all knew it was slated to rain (and rain and rain and rain) the entire wedding weekend. But as my mom and my aunt kept saying, we can only control certain things, and the weather is not one of them. Even so, when a wedding is outside, everyone wants it to be nice. So when the rain clouds rolled in on the morning of the wedding and it started to pour a few hours before the ceremony, it was hard to put on a happy face.

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But all of the worrying was for naught; just as the people started to arrive, the rain let up. It stayed away through the wedding and the reception, and it only began to drizzle around eight o’clock, when the festivities were scheduled to end.

Part 4: The Ceremony

The ceremony was held in my aunt and uncle’s backyard, which houses their large garden. About 60 people came to the wedding and it was very nice. The ceremony itself was short and sweet, which was fitting for the setting, and I’m really glad I was there to see it! I have watched my aunt get married before, but I was about four years old, and so I don’t remember much of that time at all.

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Part 5: Cousins!

It has been YEARS (probably around 5 or so) that my cousins and I have been in the same place at the same time. After all, we all live in different states- Laura in North Carolina, Allie in Buffalo, Craig in Illinois, and I in Pennsylvania- and at least one of us has been unable to get away for a big family gathering. So we were finally all together, and we took the opportunity to recreate a picture from 1994:

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LEFT: Me (age 23), Laura (middle, age 26), Craig (age 35), and Allie (age 21)
RIGHT: Me (age 4), Laura (age 8), Craig (age 16), and Allie (age 2.)

Part 6: Twins

My sister and I look a lot alike, though I look more like our mom and Allie looks more like our dad. When we were little, people always used to think we were twins, especially because, being the tiny child I was, Allie was always as tall as (if not taller than) me. As we’ve gotten older, though, we get asked if we’re twins less and less. But at the wedding, we were asked not once, but twice, if we were twins.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I love seeing my family, and to have a lot of them around for such a great reason was fantastic ❤

That Tour Was a Little Too Exciting

Today, I was scheduled for two historical tours. The first one was at 10 am, and the second wasn’t until 1 pm, so I packed a sandwich and a book for the in-between time and set off for work. My first group was one of three groups from an elementary school, my charges around eight or nine years old. They were, comparatively, a pretty good group- besides the constant inquiries about whether we were going to go into any of the historical sites (No. No no no no.), they listened and asked good questions.

When we were about three-quarters of the way through the tour- so, about 45 or 50 minutes in- I was leading the group of kids and chaperones down a street when there was the sound of breaking glass. I turned around in time to see my tour patrons being showered with sizable pieces of glass, all falling from somewhere above. We all just stood there stunned for a few seconds after the glass stopped falling, looking up. Then everyone started getting a little freaked out, realizing what had just happened. No one was screaming or crying, but everyone, included me, was very obviously shaken by it. The pieces of glass that had fallen on us ranged in size from very small to about as long as my hand. I asked if everyone was okay and got a yes, so I moved them away from the site, and as I did, a man ran to the doorway of the building and stared at us.

Outside of our next stop, the teacher asked if we could stop. She asked how many of the kids had been hit; five raised their hands. Four of them claimed to feel no pain, but one girl was pressing her hand to her head and saying it hurt. The teacher checked her head pretty thoroughly, but there weren’t any cuts or bumps. Still, the teacher requested that we end the tour and go back to the museum where we started.

I led the group back to the starting point, where I asked for the hundreth time if everyone was okay and the students sat on the grass and started on their lunches.  I stayed and talked to the teacher, who was on and off the phone with the school and the school nurse. The girl was still complaining of pain, so I ran into the museum and asked if they had a medical professional on site. Amazingly, they didn’t. The teacher requested ice for the girl’s head, and I had no idea how I was going to get it, or carry it. But then I remembered that I had a sandwich in my backpack for lunch, so I took my sandwich out of its bag, put the sandwich into my backpack, and took the plastic baggie to the museum’s cafeteria, where I filled it with ice at the soda station. The teacher handled the situation in a very level-headed manner, but she was worried about the girl’s mother, who, apparently, is wont to sue, even though the whole thing was an accident.

Eventually, there wasn’t any more I could do, so I went back to the incident site and took a ton of pictures on my phone, and as I was doing that, the guy who I’d seen run to the doorway appeared. I wondered if he would kill me if I went over and asked him what had happened. I did, and he was very nice, and also very worried about the kids. He waited while I talked to my boss on the phone a few times, then waited with me while my boss made his way to us, and then for another hour as the three of us waited for the police. Yes, it took the police nearly an hour to get to us. We were hoping that an officer would walk or drive or horse-ride (seriously) by, but not a single one was to be found. When one did drive by and stopped when we waved him down, he told us that we weren’t his call and that someone would be by soon. “Soon” turned out to be twenty minutes later, and after all that waiting, giving the report only took about seven minutes.

Because the officer took so long to get there, I missed my second tour and went home early, where I had to transfer all my pictures of the incident and write up a report for my boss. All of this, after the excitement of the afternoon, was tedious, but having been in car accidents, I know how important an accurate report is. It will be interesting to see what comes of all of this. Whatever happens, I can safely say that I do not want anything like this to happen again.