Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mystery of the Missing Magnets

I started a magnet collection in January which is probably the most exciting endeavor I've ever pursued.  The goal is to get a magnet from every place I visit.  Thanks to my latest trip I now have six on my fridge.  I was so excited about my new magnets that when I got back to Tucson I made Kevin come over and look at them while I yelled, "Ta-dah!" and gestured at them.  Kevin was a good sport and acted interested. 

Kevin and I have a third roommate who I don't think I've mentioned before on my blog.  I'll call him Todd (to protect the possibly guilty).  Todd spends most of his time in his room with the door closed and Kevin and I don't see him a ton.  In fact, Kevin and Todd almost never talk.  If Kevin is watching TV in the living room and Todd walks into the kitchen they won't even say hi to each other.  During the month I was on vacation Kevin and Todd barely spoke to each other.  I talk to him, but we're not super-close.

I flew into Tucson last Tuesday night and Kevin picked me up at the airport.  I hadn't told Todd that I was coming back and I naively thought he'd be excited to see me since I'd been gone for a whole month.  As I walked to my room passed Todd's closed door I shouted, "Hi, Todd!" and all I got back was a very unenthusiastic, "Hey."  Maybe he hadn't realized I was gone, or maybe I'm not very exciting.  Kevin and I then sat down to watch 30 Rock on Netflix, but the internet was a little slow so Kevin unplugged the router to move it closer to the TV.  As soon as the internet went out Todd emerged from his room saying accusingly, "What happened to the internet?"  He had been playing a game that we had ruined by unplugging the router.  He was forgiving and I got a few minutes to talk to Todd about the computer game he's been playing for hours every day. 

The following night Kevin and I were in the living room and I was downloading new podcasts and music on my old laptop for my drive from Arizona to Utah.  The fan on my old laptop broke a few months ago so it overheats quickly (thus why I have a new laptop).  Since it was overheating I would occasionally hold it up to air conditioning duct to cool it down.  Todd emerged from his room as I was holding my laptop up to ceiling.  He looked at me suspending my computer in the air, said, "You're weird," and then left for work. 

As I was downloading podcasts I glanced at fridge and noticed that the two magnets I bought in Peru were missing.  I pointed this out to Kevin and he was perplexed, too.  Maybe I hadn't put them up on the fridge?  That didn't make sense because I had made such a big deal about my new magnets that we both remembered seeing them on the fridge.  Maybe Todd's daughter grabbed them when she was visiting?  Nope, they were up way too high for her little hands to reach.  Maybe they had fallen onto the floor and gotten kicked under something?  That's a no go because the house had just been swept and mopped and no magnets had been found.  We were really confused and couldn't figure out where they'd gone and how. 

I didn't move the magnets and Kevin didn't move the magnets so it had to be Todd who moved the magnets.  We thought and thought and couldn't figure out why he would have moved just the two magnets from Peru.  Kevin then said, "Do you wanna search his room for the magnets?"  I thought for a moment and then said matter-of-factly, "Yes."  I knew that Kevin wasn't being serious and I didn't actually want to search Todd's room -- I was just calling Kevin's bluff.  We walked to Todd's room, opened the door, and turned on the light.  I was expecting to peek in, say, "oh, no magnets," and leave.  But as I turned on the light I immediately saw my Machu Picchu magnet laying face down on Todd's dresser.  When I grabbed it I saw the other magnet partially hidden under a cloth.  I grabbed that one, too as I said, "What the heck?"  Kevin and I both erupted into confused laughter. 

I really like my magnets and I don't want them to disappear so I took the ones we'd recovered from Todd's room and the magnets off the fridge and hide them in one of my drawers.  Kevin and I were trying to figure out why on earth Todd had taken two of my magnets.  Kevin really, really wanted me to ask Todd about them, but I couldn't because if I did I would have to admit that I violated his privacy by going into his room when he was gone (and then I'd look as bad as the NSA).  So we decided to put everything back like it was so that I would be guilty of violating his privacy, but he wouldn't know about it so I'd feel a lot better.  We put the two magnets back on his dresser and put the other magnets back on the fridge. 

The next morning left for Utah and I was going to ask Todd about the magnets before I left.  I was going to say something really nonchalant like, "Good morning, Todd.  Did you sleep well?  What are your weekend plans?  Huh, two of my magnets are missing.  Have you seen them?"  Unfortunately, Todd was in his room with the door closed, possibly sleeping, and my nonchalant questioning would have seemed  very chalant through a closed door.  So I left without recovering my magnets and without knowing why they'd been moved. 

I asked Kevin to ask Todd about them.  It's been nearly a week since I left Arizona and Kevin hasn't seen Todd since I left so it's still a mystery.  And the magnets haven't been returned to the fridge either.  I worry about them. 

I won't be going back to Arizona until August and Todd will have moved out before I get back so I probably won't ever see him again (we're not very close).  That means that the last thing he'll ever say to me was, "You're weird."  Based on my obsession with magnets I'm starting to think that Todd may be right.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Plans? What Plans?

I did a pretty poor job of planning my summer this year.  I really didn't enjoy my last year of school so instead of planning jobs and activities that would enrich my academic portfolio (like a lot of my colleagues did), I decided to close my eyes this summer and pretend that school didn't exist.  I was so excited to just not be in school this summer that I didn't get a job which started to seem like a horrible mistake when I arrived in Seattle on May 25th and didn't have anything to do until late August.  My friends and family in Washington were thrilled to have me around so I decided to just hang out there for the rest of the summer (the 100+ temperatures in Tucson were very unappealing compared to the 70 and partly cloudy weather of Seattle).

I managed to get a sweet, part-time job from the University of Arizona for six weeks that I could do remotely in Washington through June.  This made me feel like much less of bum since I had been feeling a lot like a bum lately.  Let me give you an example.  I was watching TV with my parents last week and I said, "I really feel like eating some brownie batter."  Without a moment's hesitation my dad said, "I'm on it," got up, and whipped some up for us.  My dad brought out three spoons and in twenty minutes my parents and I had devoured the whole batch.  One of my dad's mottoes is: "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."  That does not apply to chocolate. 

Since I was feeling slightly bum-like (a bumpkin, if you will), I started thinking of ways I could be productive this summer.  Two Sundays ago my brother Jay recommended that I contact the company he had worked for last summer.  It sounded like a sweet gig so I emailed the head honcho on Monday morning.  I didn't hear from him on Tuesday or Wednesday, and by Thursday I was consuming so much sugar that my memory started to fade and I mostly forgot about it. 

On Sunday night I went over to the Kecks' to beat them at a game of Ticket to Ride.  As I was leaving their house I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize.  I answered it and it was the head honcho my brother had told me to contact.  He asked if we could chat, but I was driving and talking on my cell phone which is a big no-no in Washington.  So I said, "Yeah, I'd love to chat.  Just let me put in my blue tooth," which I then did.  Unfortunately, I just got a new cell phone and I pushed the wrong button and hung up on a near stranger who I was hoping would pay me money.  I called him right back, we chatted, and he offered me a summer a job in Washington which I promptly accepted.  I start right after the 4th of July. 

The only problem with being employed in Washington is that my car is in Arizona.  Luckily, I had purchased a flight back to Tucson over a month ago thinking that I would be in Arizona for summer.  I'm now in Las Vegas en route to Tucson.  I'll be there for two days and then on Friday I'm driving up to Utah where I'll be for two days and then it's off to Washington to spend the summer in a verdant paradise making some money.  I'm thrilled.  Unfortunately, Utah friends, I'm very sorry, but I won't be able to see most of you on this super-fast trip through Utah.  However, I will be back later this month and we can hang out then. 

Mostly, I'm just amazed at how everything works out.  Whether it be getting a teaching job the day before school starts (which has happened to me twice and both times I wasn't technically qualified for the job) or getting a summer job in June, things work out.  I remember when I was trying to find a place to live in Tucson last year.  I only knew a few people there and I knew it would be lonely at first.  I prayed and prayed that Heavenly Father would send me to a place with people who would become like family to me.  And then I moved in with Kevin and he and his family really are like family to me.  His dad has even called me his third son (he has two sons).  I've seen it over and over and over again in my life; things always work out. 

If anyone wants a lift, I'm driving from Arizona to Utah on Friday and then from Utah to Washington on Monday.  Road trips with me resemble this.