Day 5: Enter Clone-Veronica

It’s days like today that make me wish there was one more of me, just so I could delegate some of the work and possibly get a chance to enjoy my last day of summer. But alas, I think cloning machines are not quite at the standard I would like them to be. Besides that, I don’t think the world is ready for two Veronicas running around on one planet. There’s only so much room for all this resplendent glory.

I’m proud to say I was up before 9 a.m. today. I decided to hit the caf with Natalie for breakfast again – sort of a last hoorah before the frosh start to clog it up again. Not two seconds after I returned to my room, I received a call from one of the people I’ve been trying to get into contact with to finish my Charlatan article. It was about time she got back to me, but she made up for it by being the most chatty of all my interviewees.

Giant splotch on my lovely interview: The annoying robotic phone lady that tells me how many more minutes I have on my phone card interrupted my interviewee right in the middle of an important point! I was onto something good and suddenly, I get blown away with a loud, obnoxious, “You. Have. Two. Minutes. Left.” Way to ruin the moment. Luckily I salvaged the interview and managed to get all my questions answered (though the lady I was talking to probably thought I was zoning out in the middle of her important spiel. Thanks robotic phone lady. Thanks a bunch.)

After the interview, I finally had everything I needed to write my article. There was just the matter of . . . well . . . writing it. I tapped away furiously for about an hour. At 11 a.m., Kitty and Natalie announced they were going to Haven Books, a book store off campus that sells textbooks at much lower prices than they do at the University Centre (a.k.a. the Unicentre a.k.a. the UC) bookstore. It’s a cramped, tiny little store with only about four aisles. Everyone has to walk in single file (that’s how tiny the place is) and the shelves are always spilling over with books. It’s almost impossible to find what you’re looking for, but if you persevere, you can actually get pretty good deals. I managed to find a used copy of my politics textbook. It was a good $40 off the price of a new one and (to my very big delight) a whole 25 cents cheaper than the used books at the UC. Me and my quarter, we’re going to be very happy together.

After Haven Books, Kitty went back to res while Natalie and I headed to the UC to buy the rest of our books that weren’t available at Haven (that’s another downside to Haven. There’s no guarantee that they’ll have the books you need. They have a website for you to check ahead, but if you’re looking for guarantees in one stop, your better off at the UC). I forgot to take note of what my course numbers for journalism were. Instead I picked up my books for Mandarin. I’m so excited for that class! All that practice in Shanghai better have paid off. If I don’t start class soon, I’m going to forget everything I learned! Already only the essential parts of my vocabulary are sticking with me, like xiao long bao for instance. I do love those dumplings.

We headed back to res to drop off our armfuls of books. That was the last I saw of Natalie for the day. I promptly headed back out, this time I headed for the Athletics Centre to sign up for fall programs! I like having all these classes available so close to res. There’s just about everything you could possibly want to learn:

  • Fitness Classes – all sorts of classes for you to work those muscles. I was a little disturbed at how many times the words “firm butt” appeared in the class descriptions
  • Fitness for Mature Adults – I think this one speaks for itself. Hey, old men need to look nice for old ladies too! (Or perhaps young ladies in the case of sugar daddies! But that’s getting off topic.)
  • Specialty Fitness Programs – all the fancy classes when a normal workout isn’t enough for you, like pilates, aerobics and kickboxing
  • Indoor Group Cycling – again, I think you can figure that out. For some reason I find the image of a large group of huffing, puffing, sweating bikers on stationery bikes very funny.
  • Dance Programs – everything from salsa to ballroom, hip hop, “sassy cabaret fusion” (which a fancy way of saying pole dancing and other burlesque dance moves), and of course my new love: TAP DANCE
  • Martial Arts Programs – Kitty and I took Jiu Jitsu last fall semester. She’s continuing with it while I have decided that continuous battering and bruising is not for me. I did bow out with a yellow belt, so I think there’s some dignity to be salvaged.
  • Yoga – I tried one last semester. The only one that fit into my schedule was Power Yoga. I thought to myself, “How much ‘power’ could there be?” It turns out, the answer is a lot. I was definitely feeling the burn that semester. I’ve learned my lesson – staying far away from that class this year!
  • Skating – I don’t need to learn how to skate. I know how to skate! It’s the stopping that seems to be an issue. I’ve been using tried and true method of slamming into a wall, door, or nearby unfortunate skater and it seems to be working for me.
  • Swimming – they have your usual learn-to-swim classes where they teach grown people how to blow bubbles in the water, but they also have this intense training for people who are training for triathlons!)
  • Certification Programs – for the poor fools who want to get their Bronze Cross or something in that horrible direction. I shudder at the thought! Working at the pool does not hold fond memories for me (except for the big fat paycheck at the end!)
  • Intramurals and Adult Rec Leagues – basketball, hockey (ball and ice), dodgeball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, volleyball. If you like the sport but don’t want to humiliate yourself by trying out for varsity, this is the place for you! I was this close to signing up for flag football, but the times didn’t work out for me.

The Verdict: I ended up signing up for two things:

  1. Tap Dance (I can hear the hallelujah chorus! I may have never been a twinkle toes as a kid, but that’s just because I had no idea what I was missing out on. I watched too many Gene Kelly movies last year and tried it out last year during winter semester. I’ve been hooked! What’s not to like about making clicking noises with your feet?) and
  2. Whitecaps Masters (a fancy, intimidating name for swim training. I’m trying this out for the first time this semester. We’ll see if I survive. It’s supposed to be for people training for the triathlon or masters competitions, but personal fitness is always another reason to join! I love swimming and at one point I used to go four times a week since the pool is a five-minute walk away from res. But it’s time to shake it up a bit, do something crazy. Besides, this way I can’t slack off when I get tired. This should be interesting. I already missed the first class – whoops! – since they started yesterday even though most programs start next week, but I’ll be there tomorrow!)

Well I’m officially giving myself a finger cramp. Case in point? It’s time to wrap it up. But there’s still so much that I did today! Time to go with the bullets. It looks like it’s been a pretty list-y post today anyway. So here it is as concise as possible without completely cutting off the rambling writer within me:

After registering for the programs, I headed back to res to eat a quick lunch. The only problem was . . .

Crisis: I returned to res and realized (when I couldn’t unlock the door to get onto my floor) that I had lost my campus card. To put it into perspective, no campus card means:

  • No money (we can usually pay for everything on campus with this card, hence its name)
  • No getting onto my floor, or my res building for that matter
  • No meals at the caf = no breakfast!
  • $20 for a new one

I figured there was only one place it could be: I probably left it at the Athletics Centre. There was a flustered guy at the counter who was doing all my transactions and he was swamped with dozens of people all squawking at him to meet their very specific registration needs. He probably took my card to check my student ID number and forgot to give it back. I was too preoccupied with making sure he returned my credit card to notice. I knew I was forgetting something!

So off I trekked across campus back to the Athletics Centre. I marched up to the counter and the flustered guy was there, but no longer flustered. He had back up now and became a jolly hee-haw man. He had the nerve to wave my campus card at me and say, “You left your campus card here!” I was too happy to have my campus card back to snap back at him, “I forgot? More like you forgot to give it back to me!” I settled for a fake, cheesy smile.

Finally able to get back into res, I had a quick lunch – a big bowl of cereal (I’m not lying when I say I really like breakfast). And off I went again! This time I went to the UC to:

  • Renew my ISIC card, which basically gives me discounts on train tickets back and forth from Ottawa to Toronto. I had to take a heinous picture for it on the spot too. Why must all pieces of ID demand the inclusion of a heinous mug shot?
  • Make a second stop at the bookstore to get my books for journalism. They only carried books for one of my two journalism classes. I see a third trip to the bookstore in my near future.

I sped back to res. All my legwork was done for the day, but there were still a few pesky things to get out of the way. I had to make a call to VIA rail to book my train tickets for Thanksgiving weekend when I get to go home! Very exciting. What was supposed to be a five-minute lasted over half an hour.

Long story short: In April, I lost my train ticket once and tried to cancel it and get a new one. The VIA people agreed but I had to call again next time I needed a ticket (now, five months later). Only one lady at the time was able to issue a new ticket for me and the extension she left me was no longer valid (just my luck). I listened to a lot of elevator music – the kind they play when they put you on hold.

Believe it or not, that really was the short version of the story.

Wow I’m really not doing well with this concise business. Thinking short. Thinking short.

When I finally got off the phone with VIA, with my Thanksgiving tickets all in order but the problem far from solved, I:

  • decided to reward myself for dealing with incompetence and got a muffin from Tim Hortons,
  • reloaded money onto my campus card (textbook shopping is a fast way to go bankrupt),
  • made a sandwich (cheese, turkey, lettuce, gherkins, honey mustard) for dinner, and
  • buckled down and finished my Charlatan article (five days before the deadline! Three cheers for getting things done ahead of time!)

It was a very productive night, not the sort of night I was hoping for as my last day of summer. But I did accomplish something summery. I finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring last night. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got around to giving The Lord of the Rings a chance. I just wasn’t feeling it when my mom got me the box set for my 12th birthday. I’m now an official fan – a little late maybe, but hey, I like to do things on my own time.

So here we are, 2000 words later. My eyes are now tiny slits on my face and I’m ready to faceplant into my bed. How did my last day of summer vacation turn out to be so hectic? You know what Kitty did all afternoon while I was shaving years off my life? She watched a movie! That sounds nice, but nope! I had to opt for productiveness!

Although . . . I guess being productive is a good feeling. I have a very satisfying To-Do list on my desk with bright red lines crossing several things I wanted to get out of the way before school starts. Now I’m all ready for the new semester to begin. Bring on the first day of school!

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