Quick post to let everyone know that I'm still alive; there just hasn't been a whole lot to talk about. This is going to be an insanely busy month -- we're going to Asheville for a wedding this weekend, Winston-Salem for another wedding next weekend, Carolina Beach for a bachelorette party two weeks after that, and then wrapping up the month with a trip to Gainesville for my first PA interview. Somewhere in there, I'll start my half marathon training (the race is Nov. 1st), Liz will start back to school, and I'll (FINALLY) get my new laptop.
The other thing I'm looking forward to this month: The Time-Traveler's Wife. If you haven't read the book (one of my top five favorites of all time), go out and buy it right now so you can finish it before the movie is released on 8/14. I normally despise movie adaptations because they never look the way I picture the people/places/scenarios in my head... but every time I watch the trailer for this movie, I start crying my eyes out, because it looks EXACTLY like what I've pictured for the past three or four years, each of the dozen times I've read and reread the book. I have high hopes for the movie.
Off to work now... I'm on call today, so I don't start until noon. Sleeping past 6:45 is so incredibly lovely!
I was in the middle of drawing up seven (!) TB tests at work on Wednesday when my phone started to vibrate. I wasn't going to pick it up, but couldn't resist the temptation to check who the caller was. Glancing at the screen, I did a double take when I saw the (352) area code. Gainesville! TB tests forgotten, I sprinted for an empty exam room.
"Hello?" "Hi, can I please speak to Jessica Weather?" "Speaking." "Hi Jessica, this is ________ from the University of Florida's PA program." "Hi! How are you doing today?" "I'm doing well; how are you?" "I'm hanging in there!" (laughs) "Well, I'm happy to tell you that we've reviewed your application and would like to invite you to come in for an interview!" ... ((info about dates, places, times, etc.)) ... "I think that's everything... we'll be sending you a letter with all this information at the end of next week. Do you have any questions for me?" "Just one... how great of a day are you having, getting to call everyone and make their day?" (laughs) "Yeah, it kind of makes up for having to go through all those applications."
Anyway, she was incredibly nice. And the interview is actually really soon -- August 31st and September 1st -- so it's going to be my first one. Which is good, since I get to go to a familiar place, spend two days, and interview in three or four one-on-one sessions with various faculty members (rather than the more traditional format -- one interview with three or four faculty members at once -- which is probably what will happen at all of the other schools). It'll be a good way to ease into the process, I think.
L is in Nashville with friends this weekend, so I'm hanging out at home tackling various projects. I cleaned the apartment last night and am currently wading through our Netflix Instant Queue, watching all the ridiculous Disney-esque chick-flick movies that I added to the list ages ago and that no self-respecting adult ever watches. Nobody, including L, ever wants to watch that type of movie with me (big surprise), so I have to 'indulge' when L isn't home. My other weekend project is cleaning her car (she took mine to Nashville since it's a sixteen-hour round trip and my car has about a third of the miles that hers does). I finally figured out why it's been smelling so bad -- there was a huge patch of mold under the back seat floor mat from where L tends to toss her travel coffee mug, heedless of whether or not it's actually empty. I dumped a box of baking soda on it, and plan to head out there after this movie ends and clean it up. Got to remember to tell her that her mug really isn't leak-proof.
Next weekend we're headed to Asheville for a friend's wedding, and I get to visit my old camp, which I haven't been to since 2004. I'm sure a lot has changed, but I'm still ridiculously excited to see the old place again. I spent eight summers there, and I bet I could still find my way around with my eyes closed.
Currently on my third mug of hazelnut coffee with cinnamon vanilla creamer (got to fuel up before I go tackle the car again). Yum.
Landing an interview at ECU, even though it's months away, has got me thinking about what it would really be like to go to school there. Like everything else, there are some major ups and downs:
Pros: The living situation would definitely be nice; I'd probably be living at Treybrooke, a very nice apartment complex which is right across the street from the PA school. Their one-bedroom apartment includes a study, and is over 100 square feet bigger than what we have now (for less money). It would be really nice to have the two mainstays of my daily life right there in a few hundred square yards -- I wouldn't even have to move my car most days. There are some cool amenities to living there, too: hot tub, nice fitness center, nice pool, bay windows in the apartments, Starbucks right across the street...
Cons: One drawback is that the medical school is not on the main ECU campus, meaning that the college facilities (fitness center, pool, student store, etc.) as well as most of the 'reputable' stores (Harris Teeter, Target, etc.), would be a few miles to the east. The other (big, big, big) downside to going to ECU is that L probably would not be able to come with me. She's aiming to land a relatively well-paying job for the two years I'm in school so she can get a new car and stockpile some money for when she starts her Ph.D in 2012; she's flexible as to the field, but needs to find something fairly lucrative. Having said that, she's already anticipating a certain (awesome) offer in Raleigh to come her way in another few months, which would be hard to turn down. If I don't get into Duke (read: if I do end up temporarily leaving the Triangle), she would probably choose to come with me if the destination were a big-city area like Portland or Charleston... but Gainesville or Greenville would be more iffy as to job prospects. It wouldn't be the end of the world if I were in Greenville and she in Raleigh; it's only a 90-minute drive, and I could probably arrange a lot of my rotations in the Triangle during my second year... but it would still suck, big-time.
Okay... can I start get some other interview invites now, please? I can't stop thinking about this one and it's wearing me out.
Well, the first 'big' letter is in -- I got an interview at ECU!!! January 22nd at 1pm. I'm really excited. I wasn't expecting to hear from them until much later, since they don't start interviews for six more months. UF, on the other hand, starts their interviews quite soon -- end of August or beginning of September, they say; the priority deadline was July 1st -- so I'm anticipating that I'll hear from them within the next few weeks, then hit a 'dry spell' with little communication from anyone else until October or so. Cross your fingers, everyone!
Also, my suit arrived today and it is GORGEOUS. A friggin' steal, too, at $110 (down from $250). I rock. Now I just need some good dress shoes.
Still fighting with CFI over my repayment plan... the bottom line is that they messed up and canceled the income-sensitive plan I'd requested (a mistake which I discovered purely by accident; they're lucky I happened to log on to the website), and now they're telling me that yes, they can fix it, but that I'll still have to pay more than double my regular amount for the first month before the income-sensitive plan can kick in again. I just emailed customer service politely asking if we could rethink that, since the error was on their part and not mine. We'll see what happens.
Anyone with nothing to do: go see the sixth Harry Potter movie. L and I went to the midnight show Tuesday night with our friend Rose, and it was great -- maybe even the best movie so far. Getting to sleep at 3:45am left us dragging for the remainder of the week, though... you all have no idea how glad I am that it's the weekend!
So I got a wild hair to 'rehabilitate' my bike this weekend, seeing as it's been sitting unused on our balcony for almost a year. I was bracing myself for the worst, but it turned out that all it really needed was air in the tires and a good wipedown with wet paper towels to remove all the caked pollen; the chain was actually still in pretty good shape. So, being me, I instantly decided to make biking my mode of transportation for the day, and ended up biking over 15 (hilly) miles -- to Cameron Village for a haircut and then to Harris Teeter for a couple of miscellaneous groceries that I forgot. Soreness and sweat aside, it wasn't a bad workout; the only problem, as I discovered after a couple of miles, was that my 'minor' gears no longer work. Not sure when that happened, but it meant I had only two options while going up all those hills: 'hard' and 'harder'. :) Therefore, I don't think I'll be spending too much more time on that bike until I can get it fixed.
Anyway, but the experiment was mostly a success... and the rest of the day is now going to be spent on the couch with the Kindle, thank you very much. :)
We're well on the way to turning the Flying Biscuit Cafe into a regular Friday morning brunch -- today we invited our friend Kelsey to go along and the three of us had a great time catching up. Very 'Sex and the City', but very fun. Among other revelations, we determined that we (a law student, pre-PA student, and little-bit-of-everything student) could, amusingly enough, be referred to as a trio of doctor, lawyer, and Indian chief. LOL.
I had a great day at work yesterday; the doctor I work for finally came back from vacation and was in a stellar mood (a sharp contrast to my usual three days of sullenness when *I* return from a great trip, LOL). The place always feels so much friendlier and more relaxed when he's there. As part of his trip, he ran the Seattle Marathon on June 27th, shooting to beat 4 hours, and ran a 3:58, which I (as a six-hour marathoner) found incredible. We'll see if I can shave it down to 5:30 in February. Anyway, it was a huge relief to be back in my regular routine, dealing with my 'regular' patients (the ones who know me, as opposed to the ones who normally see other doctors) rather than alternately filling out endless camp forms, sticking needles into struggling kindergartners, and twiddling my thumbs.
For Mom, as well as any other bargain shoppers who may appreciate this, I scored an incredible deal yesterday. I've been shopping around for an interview suit, and tried on this one at Banana Republic and loved the way it fit. The jacket was $150 and the pants were $80, meaning the total would have come to almost $250 with tax, which is about what I was prepared to spend for a good suit. The only thing I didn't love was the color; I wanted a gray or navy or pinstriped suit, not a plain black one, so I decided to wait for autumn in the hopes of scoring a different color.
Then yesterday morning I got one of my usual umpteen coupon emails from Banana Republic, which I would have immediately deleted if not for my interest in that suit. I opened the email to see the words "Mystery Discount" and a code which would get me $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $500 off an online purchase. Dubious, but willing to give it a shot, I surfed over to the website, put the suit in my online cart, entered all the required credit card information, and progressed to the next-to-last step in checkout, muttering under my breath all the while about how they suck you in and make you come this far in the process so that you're less likely to back out when you find out that all you've netted is $5.
Except... that the code was for $100.
Suddenly, a black suit didn't sound all that bad.
After a trip to the store after work to retry the suit and make sure the style numbers on the online items matched up with the ones I had tried on, I came home and reentered the code. Yep, still $100. To that discount, I added a $10 reward card that I'd been saving as well as the usual code for free shipping (that's the one store where I actually have a store credit card). Then, on a whim, I Googled "Banana Republic coupon codes" and found yet another one, for a further 10% off. So I scored that $250 suit... for a grand total of $110.
I swear, I never get this lucky. Here's hoping it lasts.
Anyway, L just left for Washington, D.C. to visit her friend Amber for the weekend, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. I'm really in the mood for a swimming workout, and there's one small section of our pool that actually is 25 yards long, but the pool has to be literally completely empty for a workout to be feasible there. I'm thinking I'll wait until dinnertime, when most people have left, and then try to go down. If I wait until tomorrow, when the usual weekend dozens of Beautiful People descend upon the area, it'll never happen.
I guess the next project is to delete some files and apps from my iPhone to make room for new stuff. I have something like eighteen updates that can't download due to lack of space. No time like the present.
Well, so here I sit in my apartment at 11:00 on Monday morning, having been sent home early from work yet again. We're entering that "dead zone" of summertime, where everyone is on vacation or at camp or otherwise entertained, and so we just don't need as many nurses (there were three of us this morning with nothing to do). Throughout May and June, we were doing a ton of camp physicals (and, therefore, filling out a mess of forms), but we're finally (dare I say it?) tapering down now. Just in time for flu shot clinics to crank up, I know, but still.
The first thing I did with my unexpected free morning was stop by the Apple Store and pick up the laptop case I've been eyeing for my new laptop, which I will be buying in just four more weeks (cue excited squeal)! I'm picky about my laptop cases anyway, and since this is the one I'll be carrying at PA school, I had to be especially thorough in figuring out what I would need. I needed a case that was 'professional' enough to go on clinical rotations and the like, but also flexible enough for me to bike with it in all weather conditions. I needed organizer pockets and enough space for some papers and accessories along with the laptop, but not so much space that the bag would be bulky and heavy. I also had to solve the problem of a 'rattling' laptop (I'm getting the smallest laptop possible, the 13-inch, but almost nobody makes laptop bags with sleeves to snugly fit a computer that size, because they can double their markets if the bags can also fit 15-inch laptops). After much research, I decided to get a blue neoprene sleeve to snugly fit the laptop, and then this Brenthaven bag to slip it all into. The neoprene adds extra padding to fill up the 'space' in the bag's laptop sleeve (not to mention, gives me extra peace of mind in case I do something clumsy), so my shiny new toy won't rattle around inside the bag, and -- one of my favorite things about it -- the bag also converts into a (surprisingly comfortable) backpack for biking purposes. There's also plenty of room for extra stuff, even a textbook if I need it (though I'm told that I'll be doing virtually everything on my laptop, and that my textbooks will mostly stay at home for study purposes). The bag also has a lifetime guarantee and is environmentally friendly. So... I think I did pretty well.
I'm not sure how I'm going to spend the rest of the day... it's cloudy and threatening-looking outside, so I might just curl up with a book and some coffee. We'll see.
L Quote of the Week: I bought some (delicious) sorbet at the grocery store last night, made with blood oranges. L asked for a bite, and I extended the loaded spoon. She happily closed her mouth around it as I warned her, "It's blood orange, so it'll taste a little different than regular orange." She froze, mouth partly open, poised to spit, and asked me in garbled panic, "Does it have blood in it?!"
Yeah... Sweeney Todd Sorbet, that's what we eat around here...
First order of business: my cousin accepted Duke's post-doc fellowship offer, and will be arriving in the Triangle within two months! Congrats, Noah!!!
Second... I'm realizing lately exactly how much I've gotten into the American mindset of always needing something to DO. I was headed to the mailbox this afternoon (to mail the final components of my MUSC application) -- an approximate four-minute round trip -- and as the door closed behind me, I found myself briefly contemplating turning around and grabbing my iPhone. You know, just to fill up those four whole minutes by flipping through my Notes files or checking the weather.
About 0.6 seconds later, I rolled my eyes at myself and continued on my way, but still.
So I've resolved to spend this weekend, and as many of the coming days as possible, being completely and utterly lazy, and enjoying doing NOTHING. Because the apartment is clean, my applications are in, and gosh darn it, it's the Fourth of July weekend and there's a sparkling pool outside. I see a bathing suit and a hamburger in my future.
The golden rule for this kind of thing -- according to Becky, at least -- is that one needs to accomplish just three things in a day, and then you're done. It's kind of a nice guideline. My weekdays usually follow a pattern of (1) work, (2) exercise, and (3) some random job, like organizing my file drawer or folding laundry. But on those weekend days where I feel like I'm working all day long and not really getting anything done (you know you've all been there!), that three-task concept helps me a lot.
I've been pretty good today, though:
1) Faxed my MUSC transcript requests (from work) 2) Worked on camp forms and nurse visits until lunchtime, then got to come home early 3) Finished and mailed the supplemental MUSC application 4) Fixed my bumper stickers (removed the old, added the new) 5) Went to the gym and biked for 40 minutes 6) Cleaned the apartment (laundry, dishes, general straightening) 7) Made dinner (well, OK, I haven't quite done that yet, but I'll start it as soon as L calls to say she's on the way)
Seven whole tasks! Surely that means that tomorrow can consist of (1) coffee, (2) pool, and (3) Kindle? :)
Quick update to say that I just submitted my *LAST* PA school application in this entire three-month-long process!!! Now it's just a matter of tying up all the "loose ends" that go along with it (transcripts, GRE scores, etc.) and then keeping a weather eye on the Internet to make sure all the materials make it. It's almost over, almost out of my hands... I can't believe it!
Random: I don't know how I failed to discover Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" before now, but it is amazing. I've had it on repeat all week.
Also random: want to know something that feels awesome? Working out really hard... and then jumping in the pool fully clothed.
One other small tidbit, for the domestically inclined: after months of trying, and buying all different kinds of crazy components, I finally figured out a quick, easy, cheap way to make batter for fried green tomatoes! Mix up a cup of flour, an egg, and some salt and pepper, dunk the slices in water, rub them with the flour mixture, and fry in vegetable oil, a couple of minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy! We made some tonight and they were great... which was good, since I ruined the last batch by trying to make them with fish-fry batter. I think I'm going to try them with some goat cheese next time and increase the yum factor.