Friday, September 13, 2013

314 1/2 North Pine St. #7

So I've returned to Ellensburg to finish school. The last year was pretty rough for me and I'm glad I had some time off, but because of the late timing of my decision to come back, my move back up here was very rushed. I wanted to get a job on campus, but being the socially anxious person that I am, I applied half-heartedly to jobs that seemed to require too much responsibility or competence. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.... :) I had an interview for a very good position almost immediately after I applied to it in mid-August that would begin on September 1st. Knowing that I'd need to be in Ellensburg for any potential future interviews even if I didn't get that job, Jordan drove over to scoop me up from Walla Walla, and although I had come up here with the understanding that I would be staying with him for two or three weeks, I've actually ended up couch surfing for the last three weeks (not Jordan's fault, btw, he has a roommate that's really...starting to cause problems). I have been frantically searching for apartments, a room, a roommate to share an apartment with the whole time, and have had NO success. Everything was too expensive, too far away or both. I had specific requirements for housing, and a list of preferences, but I wasn't expecting to have any of them met. I looked at a very nice apartment next door to Jordan's old house, but it was far beyond my budget. I  also looked at a room on Monday, expecting it to be a lovely arrangement that, although a bit more than I'd have wanted to pay for a shared situation, I would have accepted it considering how much it would save me each month. 
The room was in a 1960s ranch style house and after its conversion to a bedroom from the garage, the room had not even been finished. I could see black mold around the tub from the doorway, and the hideous dark "wood" parquet flooring was horribly installed so that there were large gaps between each tile. Jordan was silent, which I knew instantly meant disapproval, but he didn't say anything to do me. I was determined to take the room - My back hurts from sleeping on a recliner, I'm sick of showering in the grossest bathroom I've ever seen, I'm sick of having nothing to do but sit awkwardly in my friend's house all day or walk around in the blazing heat with a very heavy pack on, and an exponentially-increasing distress about overstaying my welcome (I never even feel comfortable staying at my mom's house, I always feel unwelcome when I'm in a place that's not my own). But I had a small wave of panic as Jordan and I were watching Riddick (holy.lord. THAT MOVIE had THAT BUDGET?! Idiocracy is horribly accurate), and I didn't sleep well. When I woke up the next morning at the buttcrack of dawn I had a complete and utter panic attack and instantly burst into tears. I didn't want to take that nasty, overpriced room that was half a mile from north campus (and a billion miles away from everything else), but felt obliged to do so, as declining it meant continuing to depend upon my friends' hospitality. Nevertheless, I turned down the room, and after bawling my eyes out, Jordan sent me of to campus to meet up with my boss. 
I am now the Administrative Assistant to the VP of Student Affairs, and will be helping to oversee the Student Academic Senate and their budget. I will have a work laptop to use, and will have business cards. I am going to have an enormous amount of responsibility, will meet almost everyone on campus that I need to know, and by the end of the year I hope to have a much more robust resume so that I can move onto the next phase of my life. I'm incredibly excited to be working with the VP (who is a student - the whole Associated Student Body is made up of students...duh? haha I don't know how these things work, I'm not involved in anything!), she's amazing and brought me some no-bake cookies yesterday, so obviously I'm going to be whoring myself out for future treats throughout the year. 
I've also acquired housing (which has been an incredibly uncomfortable, stressful, deflating, arduous process) and now have my own enormous kitchen in which to make my own treats to share! After I met up with my boss, I decided to head to the history department to meet up with my adviser and file an independent study form. The department secretary, Angie, is also usually "in the know" about local goings on and rooms available, so I figured if I asked her she could at least tell me which apartments in town would be my best bet. When she heard I was looking for housing she immediately started listing off listings she'd seen around town, and then grabbed the phone book and started making calls. She made an appointment for me to view an apartment available downtown (I had been avoiding the downtown area as much of it is often loud every night) that had just opened up. I agreed to go out of desperation - it was far more than I wanted to pay, and getting my own apartment meant having to borrow money from my mom to cover a deposit and first/last month's rent. Nevertheless, I was sure my job would pay enough to cover at least most of the rent, and I am still getting some financial aid (though I'd rather not rely on that). I paid the application fee and the rent/deposit (they didn't require another month's rent, which meant that thanks to mom fronting me the money, I was able to commit to it), and crossed my fingers that things would work out financially - perhaps Jordan would even want to move in with me, which would instantly change my financial forecast each month, or I'd end up getting max hours each week at work (turns out I won't HAVE to work max hours each week, because I'll be making more than I was anticipating, but I will be working enough hours at that pay for rent, utilities and internet).

 It's slightly less gross in real life than it photographed. It has a nice "period" feel, even though it's been very well lived-in! I have a soft spot for this era of architecture and there's something idyllic about living in an historic building downtown in a college town like Ellensburg. It's got a very good atmosphere, and I love hearing the noises from the street. Since there's a salon next door, a Thai restaurant next to that, and the donut shop beyond that, there are quite often parents with little children. It's a sweet sound, and it makes me feel less isolated/lonely than I often felt while I was living north of campus.

 Front door. There's also a window to the left (you can overlook the hallway from the kitchen).
 The staircase has been tarnished with hideous paint, and the carpet needs cleaning, but the tall ceiling, extra-wide staircase and vertical double-flight, it's a small reminder of grander times. The other end of the corridor is a screened/covered deck. It's very cool and airy in here, despite the outrageous heat (it's been pushing 100 for a week now), and I'm actually excited to see the skylights when it snows!
Hideous paint color - grey so very often looks elegant regardless of shade or paint finish, but this color is...I don't know. Like a chocolate milkshake with two leafs of kale blended in. I need to put some sort of wreath or ribbons in a pretty color (duck egg blue? what goes with chocolate kale milkshake green-grey and that hideous carpet?)

 This is the bathroom (toilet is behind the door). The flooring is hideous, but the towel rack actually has a faux bamboo rod that's...at least less hideous than the standard slivery wood ones that are in most apartments. The cabinet is actually pretty clean and spacious, with a shelf immediately below, so I will no longer have to keep all of my toiletries in bags (as I have been doing for over a year straight now).
 The toilet is new(ish), and there is a ton of storage in here. The lighting isn't the best, but it's good enough for poopin'.

 The front door and entryway. The linoleum is ugly, doesn't match the kitchen, and is unfortunately torn/stained in spots, so it looks very poor (though not as unsightly as the closet floor, which I refuse to take pictures of until I can acquire an area rug to cover it). The door has three different locks on it - I hope that's not a sign of things to come. To the right is the doorway into the kitchen.

 The kitchen has a very period charm to it, even though it's been cheaply updated. It has a flour and sugar drawer, and with the tall ceilings I will be able to store dishes and food for days. There's also a solid-sized pantry for anything else I might possibly not be able to fit in the drawers/cupboards.
 The fridge and stove are very old, but they both work well, and THEY'RE ALL MINE! NO ROOMMATES LEAVING NASTY 3-MONTH-OLD BAGS OF SHREDDED CHEESE IN THERE FOR ME TO CLEAN OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 This is actually my "back" door (gross), forgive my lack of order. If the key worked and the deadbolt wasn't required to lock it, this would be my main door, as I find this room (dining) the most pleasant of all of them, very welcoming. This leads onto the communal covered deck and stairs to the parking lot below - it's nice to have direct access!)
 



This is the bedroom (the doorway to the right leads to the front door) and closet. The closet is ENORMOUS, I will be able to store plenty of food, perhaps even a bike in here if necessary.

 One horrible angle of the closet. The shelves are VERY tall, so I'll probably need a step ladder.
The bedroom from the hallway, living room beyond.

I didn't have any good pictures of the living room, but you get the general idea. The laundry room is right next door to my apartment, and there are only a small handful of other residents so there's not going to be a big issue finding time to do laundry. I have made several lists of items I need/want to furnish it. Jordan is lending me the use of his housewares, as he's living in a furnished house, and Angie apparently has items to lend me as well. I am on such a tight budget that it's going to be difficult to get through the next few weeks, but once I've gotten financial aid and my paychecks start rolling in, I should be able to post some updates on how I'm arranging it. It won't be fancy, but I think I can bring out the charming historic feel pretty well. Having some cute curtains for each doorway (I personally love that I have simultaneously a closed and open floor plan) will instantly cheer it up. Lamps would be next - the lighting is quite poor, but lamps can be acquired fairly cheaply and having them throughout the apartment will make it instantly cozier. Beyond that, standard furniture would be nice but I honestly don't think I'll be able to buy any furniture this year, so I'll be prowling the streets looking for free furniture throughout. 

I am excited for the upcoming school year. I think it will be a good time for personal growth. The last few weeks have already been the most terrifying of my life, but I've managed to find solutions to each problem that's arisen. I'm hoping to continue that trend, and not get bogged down in anxieties or doubt. And I'm hopeful that Jordan and I will be able to continue to figure things out (we broke up amicably due to the distance when I relocated to Walla Walla. We managed to see one another throughout the summer) and perhaps some time during the upcoming months he'll want to move into the apartment with me. It would be a very pleasant arrangement all around!

I always try to blog regularly, but it never seems to happen. Eventually I'll have another update, though!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Family Reunion

The Tovey Family celebrated another year of familydom, and this year there were more babies than ever! I finally got to see My Danny, and Kevin and Carisa, and meet Carisa's sons, Weston and Harrison, and see so many family members that I haven't been able to mingle with in several years. Unfortunately, My Danny's brother, Derek, and his sister-in-law, Tiffany were unable to make it. Fortunately, that was due to the fact that on July 3rd they welcomed their first child, and first Taylor grandchild, into the world! The little guy was a bit early, and is still without a name, but I've seen pictures and boy oh boy he is a cutie!!
The best part was that all of the Tovey children were able to make it, and I captured a great photo of all of them together. To the best of my knowledge, although there have been many family photos in the meantime, this is the first time in roughly 20 years that such a photo was taken. It's pretty amazing to be surrounded by dozens of my own bloodline and know that it all started because two farmkids from Northern Idaho decided to get hitched. I don't believe in true love, and I've seen how hard my grandparents have had to work for all that they have, including their marriage, but their example shows that it IS possible to have a good relationship if you're willing to put in the effort.

On the Hensel side there has been far less good news. As you all know, last spring my uncle Bob and my dad were both diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, a degenerative and fatal disease. Last summer I was fortunate to have been able to spend several hours over the course of a few days talking to Bob, and was reminded of what a neat man he was. He faced everything in life, good or bad, with a healthy dose of cynicism, sarcasm and humor, and to see how accepting he was of such a miserable, disappointing end to his life gave me new perspective of my own. Bob died in April, several months earlier than our worst anticipated timeframe, while asleep next to his wife in the home he'd lived in for nearly 30 years. It was a devastating blow to all, but especially to my cousin, Matt, and my dad, who is now facing a similar death. It is not easy to accept that he will never meet my children, or live to enjoy the freedom he worked so hard to achieve.
However, the good news for the Hensel family is that Matt married his longtime girlfriend, Shannon, just days ago! It was a surprise to us all, but none of us could be happier than we already are that Shannon is now an official part of the Hensel clan. My other cousin, Jami, is also getting married in a few weeks to our mutual friend, Brian, and I am greatly looking forward to attending their wedding to celebrate their union! It will be a damn good time!

I quit grad school back in January, and I have rarely felt so liberated. I will write a more thorough explanation as to what lead to that decision, but it isn't currently important. What IS important is that I am on the job market (still) and it is exceedingly stressful. If any of you know of a part time position opening up, let me know so that I can apply asap! :) I am living back in Walla Walla, which is taking some getting used to. I'm not used to the constant noise and lack of privacy, but I am grateful to have such a safe, comfortable place to live considering my current unemployment. I am also glad to be near my family, and I don't wish to be separated from them much in the future. Life isn't very long, and I would like to ensure I don't miss any more milestones in Max and Alora's lives.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Better Late Than Dead

I apologize to Casey and Jessica (since you two are really the only ones who ever read my blog :D ) for my lack of posts for the last half a year. Let me sum up really quickly... if I can

Met Jordan in August, and we started dating...pretty much immediately. Our first date went well. We went to a Thai restaurant in town (despite my strong resistance; I'd read a ton of reviews that said it was awful, etc. Naturally it was delicious.) and had a great time. When Jordan went to pay his card was declined (because he'd forgotten to activate it!) so I went ahead and paid. Apparently this was a bigger deal to him than it was to me (I'm an educated, sophisticated, employed human being, why would anyone hesitate to pay for a meal they'd just enjoyed??), and he was determined to have a fun night with me. We did have a fun night, and a fun weekend for that matter. In fact, we were inseparable for the first few days until I moved out of my apartment and got stranded in Walla Walla. Eventually I moved back to Ellensburg and lived with Jordan for a few weeks before moving in to....

THE CAT HOUSE. This house was disgusting, the owners were tuppin' weirdos, and it was overall the most uncomfortable living situation I've had since Seattle two summers ago. And I think you all remember how that was... Needless to say, after the New Year I moved in with some friends (and by that I mean I transferred my belongings and rent monies to a new place - I spend all of my time with Jordan and his roommates at their house in town).

I cut my hair. You've seen pics on Facebook, so I won't post any now (though I will probably edit this post and place some pics on here), but I don't actually like it. The girl cut it much, much shorter than I wanted it so it's very difficult for me to style. Fortunately, however, the cut itself is by no means "bad," the response has been positive, and it's already growing out closer to the length I want it so no harm no foul.

I quit grad school. Yeah. I did that. After suffering for two years, and then realizing that I would quit literally rather be dead than attend my once-a-week seminar (which is a totally fun class, with a fun topic, the most hilarious prof I've ever met, and a ton of friends) I decided I should probably look into the repercussions of withdrawing from the university. I discovered that the financial aspect of quitting was actually pretty standard - I have to pay back any financial aid from THIS QUARTER. Since I began grad school I was under the misconception that if I dropped out I'd be forced to return all funds (the university grants, etc) since the beginning of my degree. My relief was practically an entity in the room, and I immediately stopped going to class. I now need to formally withdraw (I've been delaying, as it now looks as if I've attended most of the quarter and will therefore not have to pay back as much as I would have a few weeks ago) and then that'll be it.

I'm on the job market. I've applied to about a dozen over the last week, and have now run out of positions to which I can apply.

Jordan was recently hired for a deli clerk position at Safeway (two blocks away) with the probability of cross-training in the bakery department and the Starbucks kiosk. This is good news for multiple reasons. His job at Subway has been miserable. Like, one of the worst jobs I've ever heard of miserable (EVEN for fast food). He was also forced to drop out of school due to financial reasons, and since he'll now be able to work as many hours as he can get through the end of September, he'll have saved up enough to afford to go back to school. I've applied to a few jobs on campus as well, which means there's a possibility I will be marrying him sometime at the end of summer (don't get too excited - it's only so that he'll only have to pay half tuition, a new benefit for CWU employees and their dependents). Sorry if that's unromantic, but that's just how I roll.

Pot is legal in the state of Washington now, so naturally I quit smoking. Kidding, I only quit so that I can pass a piss test if I get a job offer, something that infuriates me considering the nature of the test (doesn't test for the psychoactive/illegal chemical, how imprecise it is as far as timing goes - there's no difference in reactions if you smoked two weeks ago or if you smoked two hours ago, kind of a vital difference) and the nature of testing generally (the assumption that all employees are criminals and therefore must be tested for drugs, evne though that drug is now legal, etc, etc.) but...whatever. I play by the rules. I'm DEFINITELY hoping for one of those campus jobs, though, because fortunately Central is an enlightened, professional place that expects their employees to be enlightened and professional and NOT SHOW UP TO WORK HIGH - so they do not test employees for drugs. Nice. :)

I went to Ocean Shores. It was my first time visiting the Washington Coast. I won't be back (but it was a really fun trip!).

Uh...I'm sure there are other things, but that's all for now. I'll update this with pictures and probably blog again when I have something to talk about and/or get a job. :)