2024 is the next eclipse

I was skeptical about the eclipse, wondering what the big deal was all about. I went outside at 2:40 pm and chatted with my new neighbors while borrowing their eclipse glasses. It was truly awe inspiring to see the moon covering the sun, giving off an orange light. The photo is a shadow of the eclipse, light through the leaves, shaped as half moon crescents. My neighbor noted all the birds had stopped chirping at this time. It was very quiet, shady and dark.

I had some more furniture delivered from people, sold from the app, Let Go and Craigslist. It feels nice to have more things off the floor. I have almost all the essentials, except the dresser. I have a place to sit, eat, and sleep.

Inspired by the app, let go, (which is like Craigslist but more organized), I too want to get rid of things instead of accumulating but as I walked around my house, I have nothing to get rid of, except maybe one pair of screw drivers.

What kind of car should I get?

I spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen making meals for the week, portioned out for grab and go: cooked steel cut oatmeal, applesauce for snack time, dried apples and watermelon for snacks, vegan orzo salad for lunch, some cooked squash and zucchini and 3 plates of basic salad. This is going to be a rough semester if I have to make all my meals for the school week on one day.

Orientation is this Wed-Fri (fitting for scrubs with the Duke emblem, 1-1 advising, buying my first stethoscope), then first day of classes are next Monday.

My clothes are still all on the floor because I can’t seem to find a reasonably priced dresser with delivery. I am disappointed that the Enterprise car share ($5/per hour) on campus only has 3 cars, which are always already borrowed. I have to join zipcar now which is ($9/per hour) and their cars are further away from my house, located downtown. Lyft/Uber is also not as affordable as it is in SF. There is no carpool option, going cross town was $10-$15.

I am pretty sure I am going to get a car. It may not be critical but it would make me happier. Trader Joe’s and H-mart are 30 minutes away in a neighborhood called Cary. Cary was described to me as “containment area for relocated yankees”, my kind of place. In Raleigh, which is 30-40 minutes away, they have a STATE farmer’s market every day! The farmers market in Durham is only Sat. (9-12). Then, I’d likely to buy my fruit, probably in bulk from Costco, seeing as I already went through all my apples, bananas and watermelon in one week.

Here is a picture of my new dining set (by new, I only mean, new to me) and dish set given to me from friends.

unpacked and moved in

My favorite part of my house is to stand in front of the refrigerator.  I asked around and most people set their central air to 78 degrees and have ceiling fans on high.  I set my air to 78, turned on the fans and feel hot.  I am constantly sticky and prefer 70 with fans, but everyone says that’s cold and it would mean my electric bill would be high.  I’ll just suffer for another week until classes start and I’ll be in air-conditioning all day, every day.

For the last few days, I have been straight up camping inside my house.  I slept on my camping Thermarest and sleeping bag because I neither had a mattress, blankets, or linens.  I slept on the floor for two days until the mattress was delivered and I bought new linens and a comforter.

I sat on the floor for two days on my yoga mat until I finally found a good enough sofa.  I tested over 50 couches in many stores and finally settled on one.  It happens to be new but discounted.  I try to buy things only that I love, and although I do not love it, it was good enough.  I am grateful to sit on something other than the hardwood floor, somewhere I can stretch my legs out while I study from heavy textbooks.

Standing in front of the fridge, I have been drinking out of my camping Nalgene bottles because I don’t have any glassware.  I have since bought two glasses at a thrift store.  I only bought two because I only liked two.  I am inheriting a full dining set of plates from Publishing friends, nearby.

I went to Costco and bought enough cleaning supplies probably to last six months, if not the entire year.  I bought new Tupperware called “Snapware” by Pyrex both glass and plastic.  I am super excited about the snap – leakproof containers since I plan on bringing breakfast, lunch and snacks with me every day to class.  My class schedule is Mon-Fri, 8-5:30 pm, August-December.

I am working on picking up a small bistro dining set with two chairs for my kitchen tonight so I can have somewhere to sit instead of standing while I eat my cold tomatoes from the fridge.  I did turn on the stove to steam dumplings but more to check the stove worked.  I’m planning on trying the oven tomorrow to roast brussel sprouts and maybe checking my dehydrator, drying apples.

I went to all the grocery stores in the area (Compare Foods, Li Ming’s, Krogers, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Food Lion, Costco) to find my foods.  The local Spanish/Latino grocery “Compare Foods” store has the best prices for chickpeas/garbanzo beans.  Kroger’s sells peanut butter in large quantities inexpensively and I bought the entire section of Almond Milk at Whole Foods.  Hopefully I am stocked for the month until my CSA begins in September.

It has been madness, running around, going to some stores twice, even though I had a list but forgot items.  I am determined to be settled before orientation next week.  All my books arrived in the mail except one, which hopefully they can send another copy because it didn’t make it to me.

Also, for those of you interested, when I removed my boxes from the storage unit, several more items were wet and didn’t make it – the modem, the fuzzy winter boots grew mold, the Anatomy book had several hundred pages stuck together, and the storage unit manager already threw away all the linens.  The rest was salvaged and the insurance is paying out the full claim of $2,000.

Amtrak update: I called Amtrak twice while I was in NYC for a status updates and waited on the phone for 45 minutes each time.  I don’t care enough to continue with the claim, since the $2,000 will more than pay for all the items missing or damaged.

Storage unit saga continues

There is an ad on the subway that says, I don't need to live in a doorman apartment because I have enough people in my life judging me. It is an ad for people searching for apartments.

The manager at the storage unit called and said there was not a lot of water damage and he removed the 5 or so of wet boxes, put the contents into new boxes and moved me to another unit. I asked him if my stuff in those wet boxes was damaged. He said the trash bags in the boxes saved my things and he said I had a lot of shoes. The lot of shoes comment reminded me of the subway ad. Was he judging me for my shoes?

I personally don't think I have a lot of shoes. I have shoes for specific activities. I have running shoes, bike shoes for road and mountain, snow shoes, boots for mountaineering, shoes I typically wore to the archery range, rubber rain boots, casual boots, sandals, flip flops, hiking boots, and maybe one pair of flats. Does that sound excessive?

I filed the reimbursement claim and they will decide how much of the $2,000 to pay based on my list of items and pictures.

How much is your stuff worth?

I am sincerely appreciative that I have no attachment to material things, however I am saddened by today’s phone call from the manager at my storage unit.  They called and said the air conditioner outside your unit leaked and water entered your unit.  I won’t be there to inspect the unit or contents, but I filed a claim to be reimbursed $2,000, because that is how much I insured.  I should have insured more, but at the time of signing my paperwork, you never think you really need insurance.  I won’t be back for a month to inspect the unit myself, but they will send pictures tomorrow and then I can see if it is a “flood” or just some “water damage” and determine if it was only the bottom boxes that were on the floor were damaged or all of them.

Fortunately I am resourceful and very organized.  I have scanned receipts for the majority of items in storage and I have a detailed spreadsheet of all the contents organized by box to file my claim.  In addition, all clothing items were packed in a trash bag, prior to putting it in the cardboard box when I shipped the items from San Francisco.  When I was packing, I was concerned the items might get wet in transit.  I think though I did not pack my shoes or sleeping bags in trash bags which may be a loss.  Even if everything was wet, I have faith that the trash bags might have saved my clothes.

Although, Durham is not a major city and likely does not have Task Rabbit services, I’m sure I can find someone to go into my storage unit, throw away all the cardboard boxes and move all my items to another storage unit so they won’t grow mildew.

Needless to say, it’s not the worst thing that could happen, but I wasn’t expecting to start my new life at Duke with nothing.

On a brighter note, I did sign a lease and I do have housing for the year.


Frizz defying

I switched my shampoo and conditioner to humidity protection, frizz-defy. It doesn’t really matter though because within five minutes of being outside I am literally a hot mess. I don’t know how anyone lives in this hot, humid sticky weather.  It is 95 degrees by 10 am.  No one bikes in Durham because it is too hot.  Even traveling a short distance, my arms get hot from the sun and I need to take a break in the shade before peddaling along.

My move to North Carolina was less than smooth. All my Amtrak boxes arrived except one, and they did not all arrive at the same time. The majority of them arrived on Thursday morning, one week after I delivered them to the Emeryville station in California. They traveled by train to Chicago, them switched trains in Washington D.C. then to Durham, North Carolina. One separate box arrived alone the next day via a different train.

The lost box is my kitchen things. I am grateful the lost box was not my gear or winter clothes. It could have been a lot worse. My takeaway from the experience, is move by Amtrak if cost is your priority and you do not care if something is lost. It was $400 for a pallet of 500 lbs.  The lost box will not be reimbursed until Amtrak corporate has done an extensive search for 90 days.  The boxes are now in a storage unit until my lease begins.  

My bicycle shipped separately via UPS or Fed Ex, I don’t remember which, it was damaged in transit and required special parts replaced.  The bike shop in Durham will order them and replace those parts.

Finding housing was also tedious. I thought I had everything settled before I arrived, placing a deposit on a property. However, upon arrival, the house next door to this property is undergoing a major renovation and I did not want to live next door to a construction zone. The ceilings were also very low and the house much smaller than I had viewed on Face Time.  I received my deposit back, but lost $45 on the application fee.  Then over the next few days I looked at ten+ properties and different neighborhoods.  I hope to live in the Old West Durham neighborhood as it is closest to West campus and shops.

I stayed my first two nights with a recent nursing school graduate, then the next four nights at an Airbnb (two nights were over the weekend). At the Airbnb, the host put my housing request on the neighborhood list serve and someone replied with a house that works perfectly for me. It is a 1B/1B, completing my only requirements of a indoor area for my bicycle and a washer/dryer in unit. It is a 10-15 minute walk to the 9th street shopping/market area or a 5 minute bike ride. I completed a rental application for this house and hope to report back positive news soon by signing a lease. I am in NYC now and return August 15 to Durham, and stay until December.

No on Navy

I was misinformed.  If you were an incoming student for a doctor, a dentist or some other health profession program, you would receive benefits of full tuition.  However, the nurse program is a sign up bonus of $10,000 and $1,000 monthly stipend for 24 months with a commitment of 5 years active duty.  The recruiter also did not like it when I said the incentive was not what I was told.  He said if you were signing for the money, it would be the wrong reason to join.  Which may be true, but there are other loan forgiveness programs that are more with less time commitment, so no Navy for me.  Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.