A Lesson in Prevention

Let’s get reacquainted, shall we? I found it necessary to take a brief hiatus, but I’m back and ready to fill you in on a few little details.

What happened to me was not, actually, the mid-semester crunch, but more appropriately a household scare that could happen to any one of us, so I’m here to fill you in on my dilemma so you won’t make the same mistake.

We all watch shock-journalism shows like “Dateline,” right? So by this point in our adult lives, we should all have a fairly universal idea of “right and wrong.” We teach our children about “stranger danger,” and what to do and not to do in certain situations. Let me recap last Tuesday morning for you and tell me what you think.

Tuesday morning, 8am:

Following a trip to my son’s bus stop, I found myself putting hot rollers in my hair in the privacy of my master bathroom when my dogs began barking out on my back lanai. I threw on some boxers and one of my boyfriend’s work shirts, half-convincing myself it must be my aforementioned boyfriend home early

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from work to surprise me. (I don’t get much company, if you can’t tell.)

I installed a new front door a few years ago, one of those fancy glass-fronted jobs, and as I arrived at the door, I had my finger on the deadbolt to unlock it, but at the last second I pulled the curtain aside to reveal a gentleman on the porch with a clipboard in his hand. He was turned around looking up at the ceiling, so I said through the glass window, “Can I help you?”

To make a long story short, he explains to me that he’s been sent by the power company to disconnect a surge protector I have on the side of my house, but that in order to begin work, he just needs my signature on his clipboard. I asked him who authorized the disconnect, and he said, “The homeowner did.” He flashed me his clipboard, which had a faxed or copied piece of paper in black and white with the FPL logo at the top and my name typed in, but it just didn’t feel right. This guy could’ve gotten my name from anywhere: the phone book, a piece of mail in my mailbox, anywhere.

I called FPL and while I was waiting on hold, the guy is still trying to convince me to open my door, telling me this time that if I could sign on this OTHER line if I wanted to decline the service. I flat-out told him that I was declining to sign ANYTHING, thank you very much, and that he could leave. I said since I hadn’t authorized anything with FPL, I would take care of the miscommunication myself.

Do you believe that, after I walked away from the front door, the guy still entered my side yard? I was incredibly skeeved out. The actual FPL (who I finally reached much, much later) confirmed that no one had been sent to my house, and told me to call the police.

So, what would you have done? Men? Women? Do you know what you would do if a stranger approached your door asking for a signature? Trust me when I tell you that you might feel like an idiot talking to someone through your door, but when you consider the alternative, suddenly you don’t feel so dumb. Now that the weather has cooled down, home invasions and scams like this are on the rise. Please be safe, keep your eyes peeled, occasionally glance at your neighbor’s house as well, and if you see something suspicious, report it. I’m not saying to call 911 at the drop of a hat, but remember that more often than not, people feel silly about reporting things to the police department, thinking they might be overreacting. Let the police decide that. You don’t have to dial 911, you can also report on the non-emergency number for your area, but stay alert this time of year, and be safe.

The Lottery, and I’m not talking Shirley Jackson.

Sunday morning, A.K.A. “the day I check my lottery tickets.” Anyone else in the same boat? I ask myself, after successfully completing a Statistics class in the spring, why I still bother to buy these blasted things, but I can’t quit now: I’ve invested way too much. And regardless, we all know that famous lottery saying, right? “SOMEONE’S got to win.” Exactly.
I find that actions like this, however, promote some strange superstitions. There are rituals to everything from choosing lottery numbers (birthdays) to the clothing we wear on college football game days (Alabama t-shirt and lucky socks) to how we set up our workstation before starting an online exam. Cup of coffee to my left? Check. Book to my right? Check. Ringer off? Check. Status update on Facebook something to the effect of, “I’m taking a test, be back soon”? Check. If I allow myself to be this psychotic now, I can only imagine how I’ll be once I hit the workforce. People will cower, but in fear or embarrassment, I’m not sure.

I opted against the Archaeology class this semester, but as Murphy’s Law would have it, when I logged on to my SCF Student tab yesterday morning at 9am to drop the class for a refund, the Add/Drop Worksheet wasn’t allowing me any “drop” option. Hmmm. Scratching my head, I checked my “Student Detail Schedule” to find that the last day to have dropped the class for a refund was listed as Friday the 24th, the day BEFORE

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yesterday, otherwise known as “the first day of class.” Ouch. However, in a rare system glitch (crazy technology), the class was actually listed with a start date of September 20th on my schedule. Could this, in fact, be the problem? Will I, in fact, be able to drop the class for a refund? Let it be known I immediately penned an email to the records office. I even requested a “read receipt.” I feel so high-speed. Again, I’ll keep you posted. You’ll be forced to be posted, as a matter of fact, because if the class won’t drop,

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I’m staying in it. In which case, I’ll be making constant reference to “can you believe how hot it is in” so-and-so month, and whatnot. Also, I’ll be telling you about my cool archaeological finds.

So here’s the truth: I checked my numbers. I didn’t win the lottery this week, but Alabama’s Crimson Tide sure did. I have a great family, a small house, great friends, a few good dogs and cats, I’m healthy, and I’m getting a great education: It may not be the lottery, but I think I’ve got it made.

If you have questions about student life at SCF, admissions or enrollment, e-mail

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at studentblog@scf.edu.

To Dig or Not to Dig.

Debating.

Smack in the middle of week five and I’m still debating the possibility of dropping a class. Don’t worry, though: the class hasn’t actually started yet. I registered for a late-start Archaeology class which is set to start tomorrow, but I’m already in way over my head this semester, with 12 credit hours, one Gordon Rule class, a household to take care of, a lawn to mow,…and I did happen to mention I’m 23 weeks pregnant, right? Yikes, what a semester! Anyway, I need to decide shortly about the Archaeology class. It starts tomorrow and we’re supposed to have read the first three chapters. I haven’t broken the cellophane seal surrounding the book yet.

All this homework, studying, online quizzes and tests, and where is a person supposed to find time for social activities? On the one hand, I’m lucky I don’t also have to hold down a full-time job, considering the fact I am a proud recipient of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I do, however, miss having time to hang out this semester without it involving lugging my wheeled backpack behind me. It’s like the little sibling who just won’t leave. I will be making time today to visit the tables for the last day of Club Rush on the Venice Campus, and hopefully I can attend Swamp Scribes’ first Open Mic tonight in the Student Union at 7pm. It’s a toss-up,

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seeing as my son’s first grade Open House is also tonight. And there’s a pirate theme. This is why first grade is occasionally just a bit cooler than college. Unless you’re in the Pop Culture club. They also dress-up, but the theme isn’t exactly pirates.

On that note, time to turn my Roomba on and head to class. It’s nice to have a machine vacuum for me while I’m off earning a degree. I’m only upset it took me this long to buy one. Thank you Short Story LIT, with your emphasis on science

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fiction, to give me the push toward robotics I always never knew I needed.

Til next time, to dig or not to dig? That is the question.

Enjoy the rest of the week,

Cherstin