January 13, 2018

A Week Not For the Weak

Is this thing still on? 
Probably not, it's been 10 days. 
Be advised that banality lurks below the fold. Here as partial atonement is something pleasant, tangentially related and literate by Fuji Choko.

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The week began with the aftermath of our 17th annual storm of the century which, having deposited up to 2 feet of snow in parts of the area was followed by low temperatures in the vicinity of 4 degrees Fahrenheit and highs around 20. Wonderduck, Don, Dustbury and Pete may be curious as to why I am taking time to describe, what to them is no doubt an unremarkable weekend in January, but there is context. 

You see, I infer, (without access to any city manifests) that as part of their global warming action plans, several local municipalities reduced their snow removal equipment to 30 shovels, a dozer blade on a go-cart and a 12 ounce container of Morton salt. I base this hypothesis on several terrifying attempts at vehicular movement including the fact that Virginia Beach boulevard ( an 8-lane major traffic artery) was, 2 days after the storm, still a near solid sheet of 2 inch ice when I went to check on friends.

I thank my lucky stars that I have lumber, and an entrenching tool in the van. 

One result of nothing but foolish bloggers and other morons being able to move was that, when the thaw finally began, those of us in the package delivery business had 4 days of work to catch up on. Actually, we had more because Amazon suddenly decided to grace us with their parcels again. It seems that there was a spike in shipping certain items, which were ordered just too late to beat the weather.

In a related development, I learned that a very popular brand of snow blower weighs 127 pounds with packaging and 50 pound bags of rock salt are particularly hard to grasp when compacted after a long transit. 

Gentle readers: the time to buy your snow shovels is in July.

Thanks to the panic buying for the storm, school starting, inventory and people using their gift cards, the daily volume our building processed in the first part of the week exceeded anything we have had during an actual Christmas, which is of no importance except that it gives us a final seasonal opportunity to reward at least one demographic segment of our readers for having endured such banality to this point.

In the midst of this, I got a ticket. As it happened my tags had expired. I'd gotten them done early last time and with recent distractions had not remembered that they went out in January and not February. This was particularly annoying because I'd JUST spent two hours at the DMV renewing my license. Now this is a simple, if expensive matter that can in theory be resolved online. The Virginia DMV website however, requires that one CALL the DMV to be issued a pin# to use their online payment system. An hour and a half on hold two days in a row meant that I had to drive down there, only to find the line going out the door. This will have to wait until I can get a personal day at work, as I had other issues...

The past week was also the first week of school, but only for registered students who were not locked out of the computer system. As part of my general policy of being as iconoclastic as possible, I was not in that particular category.  

For the last two months I've been stressing over what appeared to be a screw up between the bank and the university involving a tuition payment. It appeared that the transfer had vanished. In fact what turned out to have happened was that the bank set the disbursement at January second, rather than BACK IN NOVEMBER, but it was showing up as sent and the school had it noted as incoming, but not present. Given that the payment can take over a week to process I contacted the University about expediting this and explained that I was a senior, planning to graduate in the Spring, had been dropped from all classes and could not sign up for classes until this was resolved and that the drop-add deadline was looming. Before closing early in the face of the approaching snow storm the clerk helpfully flagged my file. 

Then there was snow. 

When the school reopened classes had already started. Unbeknownst to me (or the clerk) the flag on my account was actually not a priority "get this done quick" alert but a priority "put this in a circular file because it looks like payment fraud" alert. 

After a week of impotent flailing and not taking classes, I got that matter resolved on the last day possible. Then I had to get advised again before I was allowed to enroll as a careful credit count had to me made for my last semester. After a review it was determined that while my overseas study requirement was waived, I needed two more classes. I'm now signed up for what I hope and pray are my last 4 classes and will begin them on Monday, a week behind. I missed the application to graduate deadline, but an appeal is being filed. I may have to walk in August, but as it stands now I'll be finished in May. 

In other news, my toilet tank cracked this week. Toilets are not complicated things to install but they are tedious and, of course, the new legal toilets are vastly less satisfactory, particularly when installed onto older pipes. Ghaa!

Also the gasket that comes with the new toilets is not for old pipes. Get the right gasket. 

Now I'm able to once again celebrate the fact that I live in a country where I can flush all my crap away, which makes all of this grief just a collection of first world problems.  

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