Thursday, June 2, 2016

Adventures in Domesticity: The Couch

Okay, SO...

We moved into our new apartment, and since we still had the U-haul trailer until noon the next day, we figured we should take advantage of this opportunity to get a couch while we actually had a way to transport it. We could have just gone to DI or something and paid $40, but I wanted to see if we could get a couch for free, because college.

Someone on KSL was giving away a really nice green couch. Not a gross, someone-could-have-puked-on-this-and-I'd-have-no-idea green, but a contemporary green that would actually look nice. It looked a bit like this couch, except it had those armrests that curve on the inside and are straight on the outside:

Not your Grandma's weird green couch, is what I'm saying.
It was apparently just out on the curb and was free to whoever got there first. The only problem was, it was in Murray, which was about an hour away with traffic. Nevertheless, I decided I'd rather go on a vain quest for free furniture with a questionable history than unpack the apartment. Mason agreed to come along and we recruited my friend James to help lift it into the U-haul.

SO we had a really enjoyable, relaxing drive up through various highways and sub-highways while trying to merge with a trailer blocking our view out the back window. Despite the best efforts of other cars to get into pileups with multiple semi-trucks, we arrived in Murray. We turn onto the street, and pull towards the house only to see some jerk with a blue minivan in the process of loading the couch of destiny into their car.

Like, we literally got there five minutes too late.

There was another couch available in West Jordan, and the owner had said we could come by at 8 pm to pick it up. It was about 3:30 pm at this point, and I definitely didn't want to waste my gas and avoiding-near-death-highway-collisions quotas on going to Provo and coming back. James agreed to prolong our adventure and stop by the West Jordan house to see if anyone happened to be home.

After many, many, many detours, thanks to the stellar combination of Apple Maps and Utah road construction, we arrived on a quiet cul-de-sac and knocked on the door. A woman answered, looking confused, and I had a sudden flashback to my mission. All of my instincts insisted that I should start asking her about her religion, but instead I managed to communicate that we wanted to take her couch.

She shrugged and opened the garage, revealing a structurally sound couch covered in various types of gross. Mason and James loaded it into the car, and we agreed that it would probably be good with a vacuum and maybe some fabric cleaner. It seemed that our adventure had reached its successful conclusion.

Well, it seemed.

(Foreshadowing is hard, you guys. Also, you don't even need foreshadowing, you just need to follow me on Twitter and you'll already know what happens next.)

Ahem. Anyways.

So we're driving home on the I-15 and everything seems great. Of course, the combination of the trailer and Utah highways seems to be causing a little shaking, but we weren't worried about it.

The car began pulling to the right. We figured the couch had shifted, and kept driving.

The shaking got worse and worse. It seemed to be in line with the bumps that were regularly placed along every five feet of the corrugated road, though, so I thought everything was just fine.

But the shaking got worse, and suddenly we decided we needed to pull over RIGHT NOW. As we did so, a piece of rubber went flying past our window.


Strangely, I had been suppressing the urge to swear over completely minor moving things all day, but in this moment, the only thing that came to mind was "shoot."

To backtrack a bit, I had JUST FILLED UP THE TIRES the previous week, and everything seemed fine then. So I'm 91% sure that this blowout wasn't due to some sort of car maintenance negligence.

Anyways. So we're pulled over on the I-15 with semi trucks whizzing past us at 70 mph, and even though the shoulder is large enough to easily accommodate our car and trailer, I can't resist the feeling that I'm about to become a Jaclyn pancake.

Fortunately, a Highway Patrol guy shows up and puts his lights on behind us, which makes me feel safer. He supervises the tire change and loosens a few lug nuts (which were initially so tight that Mason and James had to stomp on the wrench and Mason got a pretty impressive bruise from it).

We get the spare tire put on, finally, and drive the rest of the way from Thanksgiving Point to Provo. Now I'm paranoid of every strange sound or smell, which is complicated by the fact that the shredded tire is in the trunk and filling the car with the scent of destroyed rubber.

So eventually we get home, clean up the couch, and decide to go to DI for the rest of the furniture we need.

I'm pretty sure the money we saved on the free couch is going towards fixing our tires now.

Totally worth it?

Adventures in Domesticity: The Pie

This post originally appeared on Facebook. I realized I have a lot of similar stories, and decided to make a series of it.

So today I got my homework done early, so I decided to make a casserole for dinner and do the laundry. I still had time in the evening, so I was like, hey, why not make a pie?
For some background, I had a bunch of frozen blueberries in the freezer and I had decided a few weeks ago that making a half-apple, half-blueberry pie in my divided pie plate was the most logical way to use them up before moving. I have no idea where I got that idea.
So I make the pie dough, and come across my first problem: my pie crust recipe makes enough for THREE TO SIX pies. THREE TO SIX, you guys! I started panicking and trying to think of contingency plans that would let me get rid of three to six pies in the space of a week.
Then I go to put the filling in the pie crust, and I realize I've made WAYYYYYY too much apple filling. So I'm like, no problem, I made about the same amount of blueberry filling, so I'll just make two pies. I thought I was halfway to solving problem #1.
Apple pie goes great. I put it in the freezer to make later in the week. Then I get out my other pie plate, and it's HUUUUUUUGE. Guys, I have no idea why it's so huge. But the blueberry filling only fills about 1/3 of the pie shell.
So I decide, okay, I'll stop by South End Market on the way to pick Mason up from work and buy more berries. Guys, blueberries are FIVE DOLLARS for a TINY LITTLE CARTON at South End. They're out of raspberries and I don't want to pit a trillion cherries at 9:30 pm, so I end up buying $7.50 worth of blackberries instead.
Now my blue- and blackberry pie is in the oven, an apple pie is in the freezer, I have some pie crust cookies ready to go, and my back hurts.
I have no idea why I thought blueberry pie would be the best way to get rid of my blueberries, but on the plus side, between the pies and the casserole I think I've completed 90% of the cooking I need to between now and moving.

Visiting the University Accessibility Center

This post is part of my Mental Health & University Series. To start from the beginning, click here.

After visiting a professional and being diagnosed with a mental health condition, it's often useful to visit the University Accessibility Center, or UAC. (Note: my goal by the end of this post is to spell "accessibility" correctly on the first try.)

The UAC can provide you with accommodations if your mental illness has a negative effect on your schoolwork. (It also provides accommodations for physical disabilities and other issues.) Some examples of accommodations are:

  • Someone to take notes for you in class.
  • Extra time on exams.
  • Exams divided into smaller sections, which are taken individually.
  • Flexibility with exam dates.
  • Leniency with absences.
  • Flexibility with due dates for assignments.
  • The ability to take exams in a distraction-free room.
A full list of accommodations available at BYU can be found here. Usually, students only need a few accommodations, but having them can make a world of difference.

I went a few semesters after getting diagnosed with depression and anxiety before visiting the UAC. During that time, some of my professors were willing to give me extensions on homework or exams after I explained the situation to them, but some of them were not. Having official UAC accommodations gives the professor a deeper obligation to provide you with the help you need.

When you receive the accommodations, you get a letter on official BYU letterhead addressed to each of your professors, which explains that the University Accessibility Center has determined that you need accommodations X, Y, and Z. Oftentimes, mental illness is seen as a less legitimate excuse than physical illness. This letter can help reassure your professor that you aren't just "making it all up." Furthermore, the letter doesn't give your professors any details about why you need the accommodations; just that you do, and how to go about providing them.

To meet with the UAC, you first need to fill out some intake paperwork, which is available here. The paperwork is really, really long, and trying to fill it out with a mental illness kind of feels like walking to the hospital to get your broken leg fixed. If you have trouble with motivation or attention span, I would suggest breaking it into small chunks, or enlisting the help of a friend or family member.

After that, you call them at 801-422-2767 and set up an appointment. At the time of your appointment, you need some sort of documentation of your disability, such as a letter from your counselor or a form filled out by a doctor. This documentation needs to be current — within the last two years for most mental illnesses, the last five years for ADHD, or the last seven years for a learning disorder. A full list of possible documentation can be found here.

During your appointment, they'll probably go over the intake paperwork with you. They also discuss how you're currently dealing with your condition, and what "strategies" you can use. Frankly, I found myself getting irritated during this discussion, but I understand why they have it; they don't necessarily know how many times you've seen a counselor, or whether your doctor discussed it with you beyond explaining how much medication to take. Accommodations can only go so far; you have to use them effectively.

Anyways, after they finish re-telling you how to manage your mental illness, they'll discuss accommodations with you and decide on which ones would be helpful. They'll ask you how many copies of the letter to your professor you'll need, and you come back in a few days to pick it up. The accommodations are valid for two years, and you can get letters every semester by asking at the front desk. After your accommodations have expired, you can meet with them again and get them renewed.

When you get the letter, it's up to you to deliver them to your professor. I personally felt a little awkward about it, but I found it was pretty low-key to just show up to class a few minutes early and hand them the letter while saying, "I was supposed to give this to you." If they want to talk about it, they will; if not, you can just go sit down.

Personally, I think visiting the UAC is a good idea so you can cover all of your bases and feel more legitimized in asking your professor for the help you need.