Friday, September 21, 2007

When Stupid Reality Shows Come In Handy...

Or, Thank God I Live In A Semi-Basement Apartment.

I've been industrious today. I got all of my dishes done, cleaned out my fridge, did laundry... and took out the trash.

The fantastic habit I've developed of locking the door behind me... well. I was preoccupied. And my keys were where they live while I'm at home... in my catch-all dish.

Yeah, I locked myself out. I really need to stash that spare key in my car, instead of being preoccupied and blonde and forgetting to do it.

So I went looking for the complex manager, to get the office key and let myself in. No dice. Well, they were painting the hallways today... went all the way upstairs in my building, no dice. Stepped outside and eyed the entrances to the other buildings, but I didn't see any painting implements.

The toddler brigade was outside playing, though, so I asked the moms if they knew where the manager was. One of them didn't even know who I was talking about, and the other informed me that the manager and her husband had left for the evening.


So, I tried the cleaning lady's apartment. No one there either.


Sat in my car for a few minutes, read through The Raven again (hey, if I'm stuck outside of my apartment until they get back I might as well do something productive like take more notes for my paper, right?) and then had a thought.

See... when it first started, I was addicted to To Catch A Thief. Hey, it was fun to watch the goober homeowners agree to have their house broken into and still pull stupid stuff like leaving doors unlocked. Later it just became the same old schtick of trashing a house and soccer moms crying over the furniture being crooked or muddy footprints on the carpet, and I got bored with it.

But, I thought about it, and I thought I'd left my living room window unlocked. I'd had it open earlier today because there was a nice breeze, and I didn't think I'd locked it when I closed it... I always lock the windows before I go to bed, or if I'm actually going somewhere, but if I'm in the house I don't always lock them when I shut them.

Walked over to my window, and sure enough, I'd left it unlocked.

(Hmm. That's lovely, anyone can walk up to my windows and see if they're locked or not, plain as day.)

Now the only thing standing between me and the rest of my housework (gotta pee, gotta pee!) was the screen....

After a little poking and prodding, I discovered that my screens can be removed from the outside, if you have tiny little fingers and long fingernails.

(Or a flat head screw driver. Cripes, this is making me want to board the windows up.)

(Still, it's a good thing for me right now.)

(I'll have to tell Best Friend that she can't yell at me for my habit of chopping my fingernails off and then ignoring them until they get long enough to get in the way anymore.)

Slid open the window, groped under the blinds for the cord (don't want to tear up my blinds! They're what lets me walk around naked!) and climbed in, (Not head first, nimwit, the floor is down from here!) replacing the screen behind me.

(Crap I think I broke my ankle. What bright moment led me to pile all my shoes under the window? Ohhhh, gotta pee, gotta pee!)

I'm actually waiting for the cops to show up. My living room is just to the left of the front entrance of the apartment building, and faces on another complex, and the people over there seem to be a little nosy, so either they're nosy enough to have seen me in here whilst I had the blinds up, and know that it's my apartment, or they're just nosy enough to have seen me crawling in the window, and have now called the nice officers to report a burglary.

We'll see.

Financial Aid

Ok, so hows this for a screwed around thing....

Checked with the Student Services office today, since there's been a sign up for a week that loan disbursements will start on the 21st. I had a loan, so, I checked.

Walk in, hand over my student ID, say I need to check on my loan disbursement, and as she's keying in my information she notes my name and says "Oh, I'm glad you came in, we have a problem."

"What? What problem?"

"Well... you aren't in the dorms, are you?"

".... No...."

"Ok here's the deal, somehow they gave you a housing scholarship, when you aren't eligible, because you aren't in the dorms. So you owe six hundred and some dollars."

This is the point at which I began to hyperventilate.

"But... I thought all of my fees and tuition was covered with my financial aid and Pell grants... Isn't my loan check in yet?"

"Oh, it is. But you see, we issued this check," and she waved a check and stub with the state flag emblazoned on it, along with "WARRANT," while I tried in vain to see the amount, "and it includes that six hundred plus that you aren't entitled to."

"So... I owe six hundred and some odd dollars, that's what you're telling me? I don't have six hundred and some odd dollars...."

"No, no, that's not what I'm telling you at all!"

Wait.... what??

"But you just said..."

"Well, you do owe that money back, but I can give you this check today, you endorse your loan check and I'll take the six hundred dollars out of that, and issue you a check for the remainder. Otherwise we'd have to re-issue this check."

"Ok, so... I'm still getting all of my aid money.... I don't actually owe anything?"

"Not once you endorse this check." And she handed me my loan check. Seventeen hundred dollars and change, in that check.

"Ok... so, just to make sure I have this straight... I endorse the loan check, and give it back to you. You give me the Pell check, and take the six hundred dollars extra that they gave me out of the loan check, then issue me another check for the balance of my loan, right?"

"Yep, but the loan check won't be ready before next Wednesday."

"I see. Ok then, gimme a pen."

Once I'd straightened all of that out, I looked at the Pell check. It was issued the sixth.

My question is... once they knew that there had been a mistake, why didn't they just go ahead and re-issue the check? They've had two weeks. I wasn't aware that there was a problem, I wasn't contacted, I got no letter saying that they'd screwed up and the disbursement of the remainder of my financial aid would be a little later than everyone else's.

No, all I got was a heart attack. I figured it up before school started and I knew that my grants and scholarships should cover all of my tuition and fees. The student loan was to help cover my living expenses while my income is restricted. So when she told me I owed money, I danged near fainted dead away.

But, I have about half of my "remainder" financial aid in hand now, and it takes away a good deal of the pinch I was feeling in the bank account area. Just as soon as I get motivated I'm going to go open a savings account to hold this money, and the rest of my loan.

What? Why have it sitting around doing nothing when I can put the biggest part of it in a savings account and let it earn interest in the mean time? It's not a huge chunk of money, but it's going to total up to about two grand, when I get the check for the remainder of my loan. Enough to earn some interest and at this point all the extra pennies I can get are more than welcome.


We got an announcement in Lit class yesterday. Apparently one of the students plagiarized the first paper.

The first paper of the semester. And apparently it was blatant enough that the instructor didn't have to do much to prove it. That student got an F for the entire class. I don't know who it was, but the instructor mentioned informing a coach, so I would say that it was one of the athletes, who will probably now lose their athletic scholarship, as well.

Why is it that people can't even put forth the effort to jot something down? The instructor told us right off the bat that if we ran into a situation where we didn't have a clue, we could ask. If we still didn't have a clue, jot something, anything down, and we'd get some points for effort.

Better a sucky grade on one paper than an F for the entire course, and a reputation for plagiarism.

If they weren't going to do the work, why did they sign up for the course? I mean seriously, what is it that motivates these people to cheat? Our instructor isn't a demanding one, she's supportive and encouraging, she doesn't freak out over minor grammar errors (I'm horrible with 'it's' and 'its' ') and honestly wants us to have fun with the class.

During a lesson on word choice we were paired up and given a passage in a story, and we were supposed to completely change the main character, by changing a few words. My partner and I made the character a speed freak, which the instructor loved.

It isn't hard to make this instructor happy. Just putting forth the effort to write a paper and try to make it coherent and to the point is enough to get a passing grade. A note at the end of the paper saying "I tried, but I just couldn't come up with any more," will be taken into account.

In brighter news, even though I wasn't happy at all with the paper that I turned in (the entirety of which I changed two days before the due date... I was stuck on the topic that I had originally chosen, and decided to change the whole thing rather than turn in a paper full of B.S.) I got a 95.

And a note at the bottom, that the instructor had never seen such an in-depth look at the story that I chose. (Happy Endings, by Margaret Atwood. I compared and contrasted the characterizations and plot lines of the various endings.)

So, good thing for me. The next paper is an Explication paper, and I've chosen (unless I change my mind and do it on something we discuss in class between now and then) The Raven. It's a nice rich poem that will support the 750-1000 word paper.

And it will be all mine.