Thursday, May 11, 2006

THE OFFICE THIS MORNING (true story):
One woman who works down the hall left for maternity leave like two weeks after I started working here, but she's been in twice to visit and show off her cute little girl. While she's elsewhere in the office, the baby gets taken in here.
EVERYONE: Awww, isn't she so cute?
Harriette: Look, she's smiling at all of us! Coochy coochy coo!
Me: Heh, it's a nice change. I remember when babies would take one look at me and start screaming.
Harriette: Oh, that reminds me, I met this really beautiful woman on my vacation, you should have seen her!

Now, how should I interpret that?

Oh, and how could I forget... I signed a lease. I have to get some pieces of furniture out of storage and buy some others, and probably a lot of smaller items too. The lease looks pretty good, and the place is nice. The money, well, getting out of my parent's house will be good for everyone. Only downside from my dad's point of view: he can't send a cat with me.

I went to Rochester last weekend. It was my fourth trip out there since graduating last May. But when I was in school there I never drove myself, except maybe to give my dad a break on a boring stretch of road or something. And I'm terrible at absorbing directions if I'm not actually driving, so the times I've gone by myself I was always fumbling with maps. In fact, of those eight trips (counting each part of a round trip separately), I don't think I've gone the same way twice in a row. Maybe not even at all. Construction detours, relying on mapquest directions which sent me to confusing or just inconvenient exits, getting off the last interstate on the way back too early because I always forget that a tiny town in upstate New York has like four interstate exits, ad-libbing the route back this weekend and I'm pretty sure I wound up on a road I've never taken before but it worked out fine...

Anyways, the reason I went was for the release tournament of Dissension, the latest M:tG set. Fun times. The crowd has grown — for Ravnica it was just me and Kenny, for Guildpact another guy came too, and this time there were six people wedged in the car.

The tournament was a mixed bag. On the one hand I only won one match out of the five. One close game I lost just because I forgot about something I could have done, and the good cards I could put in my deck were pretty evenly spread out among the colors, so I just used all five colors — way too many.

But on the other hand, I won a door prize. I think there were three different prizes, though I only remember my own and the one before it, a limited edition print of some artwork. It was pretty surprising; I was only listening to the announcement with one ear, so to speak, because I was trying to see the pairings for the next round, until I heard my name. I won a fat pack, they call it: six booster packs of cards, two boxes for holding cards with the artwork from popular cards on them, the paperback novel tie-in, and a couple more doodads. And after the tournament I bought a couple more packs. And in one of them was an Infernal Tutor — a shiny, foil Infernal Tutor, no less — which seems to be such a good card that Kenny expects it to become restricted to one per deck.

"Mixed bag"? What the hell am I talking about? I could have lost every game of every match, and with luck like that, it still would have been fun and worth doing. After I opened my pack but before Kenny had gone to buy some of his own, I had him rub my head for good luck.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Unfortunately, it seems I have to start thinking seriously about looking for an apartment again...

Background: the Friday after this I looked at a place in Bristol, and that same week I had called and left a message about another ad I saw, but didn't get a call back. The place I looked at was nice but the price was a little steep, so since it was the first place I looked at, I let it go - something more affordable and/or more ideal would come along eventually.

Since then, nothing's happened on the apartment front. I looked at the classifieds a few times, but didn't see anything good. Admittedly (unfortunately?), I was only looking for places in Bristol. It's the area I cover so it would be make night meetings and stuff a lot easier, not to mention how it would be good for me to get to know the place better, and it's closer to Burlington. (And farther-but-not-too-far from my parents in Middlebury, it must be said.) If I had been looking in the Middlebury area I probably would have found something, but since there's no urgency about this I figured I could hold out for something in the right location.

Nothing had happened until yesterday, that is. When Andy came back from his lunch break he asked me if I was looking for a place. His house also has two apartments that he rents, and he just was told that one of the tenants would be moving out.

I haven't seen it yet, but the place sounds nice. The price is a little bit steep for me — what's the rule, you shouldn't spend too much more than a quarter of your income on living space? — but for one thing it's no higher than anything else, and for another, well, I can probably afford it. No debt, no kids to feed, and I could be more frugal than I have. I should take a sandwich or leftovers to work four days a week and buy something one day a week instead of the reverse, for example. The location might not be Bristol, but it has a different strong point: it's walking distance to work. (The fact that half the women's hockey team at Middlebury College allegedly moved in next door has nothing to do with my decision, I swear!) :)

But... it's in Middlebury. Convenient, yes, and given prices these days and my income I might just have to choose between living in Middlebury or having a roommate (which wouldn't be a deal-breaker, but it's one more complication) or simply not moving out. But if distance to work is important, my parent's house is less than a mile away. I've only walked to work once so far, but I've thought about/talked about walking and biking in routinely during the summer. Is having a place of my own worth $550 a month at the very least? Because that's what I'd be paying for. Not getting closer to Burlington or becoming part of the Bristol community or exchanging short drives to the office for short drives to late nights or odd hours. A place in Middlebury has only two things going for it: whatever there is about the place itself like d├ęcor or a style of apartment more suited to a young single guy, and the fact that it's not living with my parents.

Now that I write that out, it sounds better than I thought. A place just around the corner and down the block from work, I happen to think my social life would be better without my parents figuratively looking over my shoulder constantly, games without guilt trips (it's not like they've had an effect on how much I play, just made living here more unpleasant), time with my family when I want to but able to get away when I don't...

I'm looking at the place later today. Tonight I'll update my checkbook and look at my cashflow and see how much I could cut. If it's as good as I think or better, I'll probably go for it.