Friday, June 24, 2011

Attack of the Creepy Parents

Ah, Orientation.  A time for parents to anxiously push their little ones toward the elusive gates of adulthood.  Also, apparently, a time to be seriously creepy.

Ok, so you know about the divorced parents.  Now meet Mr. Barfypants.  Jordan was working the front desk of the parent hall during check-in (meaning she was tasked with sitting there and pointing directions, basically).  She was alone.  Mr. Barfypants comes in (in a story that is now infamous), hits on Jordan profusely, then runs to the bathroom and spends 15 minutes throwing up ... loudly.  Gross.

Jordan tells the Mr. Barfypants story and we all laugh/sympathize with the creepiness.  But then the resource fair happened later in the day (today, incidentally!).  Jordan and I are standing in front of the entrance doors, directing traffic, when Mr. Barfypants comes up and whispers something to Jordan that I cannot hear.  Intrigued, I ask about it.  Mr. Barfypants had apparently invited Jordan to go nap with him.  Seriously?!  What is with these parents?

This kind of stuff has been happening a lot during the four FOCUSes.  "Yankees Dad" (already off to a bad start with a name like that) asked if we could provide personal "room service."  You know the kind.  Is it a new thing among creepers to take your kid to a Lutheran school's orientation and proposition the undergrad interns?  Save it for Bible Camp, perverts ...

Also, as I'm writing this, I've had a student experience that was creepy.  I'm currently at the desk of the student hall, where it is mostly empty and very quiet (most students are getting a late-night campus tour).  A few minutes ago, a student came down the stairs, completely dressed in black—black hood up.  His face was obscured entirely by a monkey mask.  I resisted the urge to jump when I saw this pop out of the stairwell.  Mr. Monkeyface proceeded to, as I stared blankly in his direction, walk up to the desk, while remaining completely silent.  He stood there for a moment or two, then retreated back into his monkey lair. Random.  Creepy.  Valpo?

This is why I love Res Life.  The stories.  The creepy parents, students, and others.  Asking yourself on a near-daily basis, "Is this real life?" Or, perhaps, "Did that seriously just happen?!"  Surprisingly, interestingly, and, yes, refreshingly, the answer is always "yes."

Monday, June 20, 2011


A word about FOCUS: Valpo takes its orientation VERY seriously.  At UW, it seems like if you can escape the clutches of Mary Aguayo and Pepper Jo Six, your life during orientation can go on as normal.  Not at Valpo.  It truly is an all-hands-on-deck operation, headed up by the very organized, very competent, and tremendously scary Jennifer Jones-Hall, or JJH for short.  JJH drives a formidable black Lincoln with JJH on the license plate.  Upsetting JJH earns you a one-way ticket to hell. She's like a hippogriff—FOCUS is her ego, and if you insult it by messing up, you are a dead man.  But, otherwise, you're probably going to get a pretty cool person.  Yes, that was a shameless Harry Potter reference.  Can you tell I'm ready for the final film to come out??

Because everyone devotes SO MUCH time for FOCUS, there's a lot of hurry-up, then wait.  It's life.  Also, because Building Services is so busy flipping the buildings between sessions (there are four total), us lovely interns are tasked with making beds.  Valpo truly wants students and parents to have memorable experiences, and that means having a nicely made bed to retire to at the end of the day.  We've done two buildings three times so far, and have one more bout to go.  It is quite possibly the least thrilling task on the planet, but no one ever said it was supposed to be fun.  The word "linen" has become an ick word for me, but at least I'm almost done!  However, though my time making beds may be near an end, my hatred of the word "linen" is here to stay.  Nasty.

Besides making beds, the rest of FOCUS tasks are for the most part pretty enjoyable.  It's always amusing to see new students come to campus for orientation, because they essentially are still high schoolers.  HS graduation is still fresh in their memories, and the reality of college hasn't entirely set in yet.  None of them know how to act around each other, and they are all trying to play it cool and hide how scared and nervous they are.  We were all there once, but it's interesting to watch.

Some notable stories:  Today I was directing people in the student residence hall.  Two girls stared quizzically at the mailboxes by the front desk area.  They are letter-sized, like most campus mailboxes for students.  One girl broke the silence by saying, "Those are cute little mailboxes."  Pause.  The other chimes in, "Yeah, but how do they fit packages into them?"  Freshmen are our future.  Haha.  Another notable student was an early check-in for FOCUS 2.  Her parents left and went to the parent residence hall.  She came to us and asked if there was a place to eat (probably meaning in the building).  We started telling her about the restaurants within walking distance of campus.  She looked at us with a shocked face and asked, "You mean I'm allowed to leave campus???"  It was hilarious and cute.  Welcome to adulthood—the magical part of your life where you can go where you want when you want.

My parent stories are notable, but less funny .  Okay, scratch that, they ARE funny, but they are ... awkward.  I thought I'd met all the types of parents: annoying helicopter parents, overly demanding parents, "don't give a shit" parents, "my child is an angel, even though everyone can clearly see they are the devil" parents, and so on.  FOCUS has introduced me to "awkward divorced parents."  This is a category I am unfamiliar with.  We have had several (several!) divorced or separated parents come to check in, only to find that a registration mistake has placed them in the same room.  Oops.  Not a particularly difficult problem to fix, but a potentially hostile and awkward one nonetheless.  One of these mishap couples stands out.  Read below for the awkwardness.

Okay, so this couple has a precious child who is talented enough to have been scouted to be third-string on Valpo's massively losing football team (Too harsh?  If it were anything but true, perhaps.  I've been told the mighty Crusaders are on a bit of a streak.  And not the good kind.).  Anyway, Mr. and formerly-Mrs. Third String were promptly moved to separate rooms.  She got to stay—we took his key and gave him a key to another room.  When I was working the desk that night, they both came in, together, and seemed rather jovial for a messily separated couple.  After telling me all about their wonderful son, he decided to retreat to bed—after telling me that Jordan, who was with me, was attractive and that I should "go for that."  Right in front of her.  Awkward.  The mother stayed for awhile after that, telling me all sorts of stories about which sports stadiums have nearby hotels where you can have sex and have the people in the stadium see it.  Why?  I do not know, but apparently this was relevant information for Jordan and me.  After a tortuous 20 minutes or so, she went to bed.  The next morning, JJH (dun dun DUN) asked about the couple, because apparently the mother of Johnny Third String spent the night with her ex-husband because we (the FOCUS staff) hadn't taken care of her rooming situation at check-in—which we clearly did, of course.  I'm not sure what happened.  Maybe he pretended he couldn't get into his new room.  Maybe they made a ... mistake ... and tried to blame us in their guilt.  Whatever happened, it wasn't our fault, but she made it out to seem like our "mistake" had resulted in her distress and impending rage from her current husband.  ACUHO-I interns ... tearing up families.  That's what we do.  We're glad to do it.  Barf.

It's late and I'm going to bed.  FOCUS check-out tomorrow.  In like 5 hours.  Until next time!

Hello Again ...

So ... after a couple weeks of neglecting this blog, I'm officially back! Cue the thunderous applause now.  Since my last post, I've successfully survived training, gone to Chicago again, and am currently on FOCUS #3 (FOCUS is Valpo's freshman orientation).

Trip #2 to Chicago was far more successful than #1.  It was actually with people this time, AND the weather didn't suck.  The only rain was perfectly timed for when we were waiting to take the elevator down from the Skydeck of the Sears Tower.  So, by the time we got back outside, it had stopped raining and was much cooler.  The three of us (Jordan, Cathy, and myself) went to Millennium Park, saw the Bean (Jordan: "THE BEAN!"), then spent hours at Navy Pier.  We ate at a nice cafe, had elephant ears that were as big as yo' face!, and drank beer while taking a nighttime sightseeing cruise.  The night ended with fireworks (set to pop songs, including, of course, Katy Perry's 'Firework').  It was an awesome trip. 

After three weeks of nothing, I feel I owe you ("you" referring to the average 1.7 people who read my posts, haha) a description of my co-workers and supervisors.  There are five ACUHO-I interns total in our area, of which I am obviously one.  One of us is in grad school—Allison.  She's going to Central Missouri, studying student affairs.  Besides the two of us, the rest of the interns are still in school.  Jamie is from New Hampshire, which I'm finding out is all one really needs to know about her.  New England is a strange place indeed.  Cathy goes to Northern Arizona (shout out to IACURH 2009!), and sometimes quiet, always awesome.  Jordan goes to Ball State, which is the school that everyone and their dog on the professional staff got their grad degrees from. 

On the supervisor side, we all have three people who are immediately over us.  Well, technically, we have four, as Allison is supposed to be our supervisor as well.  It's a lot of supervisor to handle, but it's also summer and we're all new to the area.  Abbie and Josh work in Res Life as hall directors (or Residence Life Coordinators, if they happen to be reading this), and Angie is the Assistant Director of the Union.  Abbie is the most intense, but perhaps the funniest.  Her humor is dry, rather vitriolic, and incredibly deadpan.  She's dating another RLC, Brad, who is about to turn 30.  His birthday party will, I think, be Iron Man-themed.  Basically think six-year-old birthday party, plus alcohol.  Can you say awesome?  Josh is the other RLC and is about to leave for bigger and, hopefully, better things.  He bought us dinner and dreamsicle bars in the same night, so there really isn't anything bad I can say about him!  Finally, Angie.  Angie bears such a physical and personality resemblance to Rachael Sherman from Wyoming that I struggle to call her by the correct name on a daily basis.  It's been three weeks.  It's quite strange.  Twins separated at birth?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Bit of Everything

So, I did end up going to Chicago on Saturday.  That was an interesting experience, mainly because the 30% chance of showers ended up being extreme downpour.  It was merely gloomy when I arrived, so I saw no issue in taking the subway down to the University of Chicago campus.  But, basically as soon as I saw the first building on campus, the pour started.  Though I got soaked, it was really cool seeing the very pretty and Hogwarts-esque campus in the rain.  I regret it not.  When I got back downtown, I was still soaking wet, so I saw no problem staying out in the rain.  I walked around downtown, garnering odd looks from pretentious umbrella owners.  They acted as if they had never seen a wet person before.

The other interns didn't arrive until yesterday afternoon, so I had the weekend to myself.  I explored the town, did a number of Wal-Mart runs to put together my room, and read two books (which I am glad to have the time to be able to do again).  Whenever I went out to eat (no meal plan until camps get here) or went to a store, it dawned on me that this is the first time in my life that I have lived outside of Wyoming, and I literally know no one.  I am completely anonymous—finally there is a town where people don't know my parents and no one I went to high school with is lurking around the aisle in the store.  It's kind of a refreshing feeling, though a strange one at that.

The other interns are four girls—yes, I am the only guy of the lot.  Three have arrived, but we're still waiting on the last one to arrive later today.  They all seem nice, as do all the professionals at Valpo I've met so far.  Our "Big Boss" is Larry, the Director of the Union.  On Friday, he pulled outside of the hall I'm staying in with his wife in their convertible Volvo.  He stepped out of the car wearing a Yankees jacket.  It wasn't until yesterday that I told him I'm a Red Sox fan.  We, of course, are obliged to give each other crap this summer.  Sorry, Larry, but the Red Sox are #1 in the AL East.  Better luck next season.

Last night we had a lovely barbeque at Larry's house.  It was there that I garnered the nickname "Target."  Here's the story:  One of the res life guys was telling us that there is a girl staff member named Korey who we would meet this summer.  As this is also my name, the girls decided I needed a nickname to set me apart (apparently gender isn't enough of a distinction? Or, perhaps it was because I vetoed "Boy Corey."  That sounds like I'm an overly eclectic glam rock singer).  After no viable ideas were presented, I excused myself to use the restroom.  When I came back, one of the girls asked me, "How about Target?"  What I didn't know was that the conversation had moved to where we all wanted to buy some incidentals for our rooms.  Still thinking we were on the Corey-needs-a-nickname shtick, I responded with a confused, "Why Target?"  After the confusion was cleared up, they decided that it actually fit.  Nicknames are supposed to be "discovered" by accident, right?  And so it began ...

We start training tonight, amid a severe thunderstorm warning.  It should be loads of fun, especially if we get sent to the basement for a tornado warning (which happened to me on Sunday, actually).  Hopefully I won't need to put my newly-acquired First Aid, CPR, or AED skills to use this immediately (I would prefer not to ever need them), but depending on the time terror strikes, I may just be equipped to deal with injuries!

Anyway, that's it for now.  This is Target, signing off for Sandboxes and Mimzies ... good night! ... erm, day? (P.S. it is night in some parts of the world, so be quiet.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Drive (Shriek!)

Okay, so I'll start my first content-laden post by talking about the extremely long drive from Laramie, Wyoming to Valparaiso, Indiana.  Spanning 19 hours on the road, in total, it was, needless to say, rather tiresome.  I got in around six last night.  Here are some travel highlights:

1.  When driving over the Summit, Wyoming decided to give me a farewell gift of dense fog and poor visibility.  While such conditions are typically enough to drive me mad, I couldn't help but laugh the entire time.  It was actually kind of ... endearing.  The Summit is never good, regardless of the season.  It reminded me that though I may be moving on, Wyoming isn't.  For some reason that's a bit comforting.  Or maybe I'm just sleep deprived.

2.  Going through Nebraska, I saw signs for a "scenic turnout."  The "scenery" being referred to was, of course, nothing at all.  What set apart that particular field of nothing from all the rest is beyond me.  It was nevertheless amusing, as I saw several cars actually stopped to take in the ... erm, splendor.

3.  We stopped in Ames for the night, which was awesome because it reminded me of how close I am to starting grad school this fall.  I didn't really get to do anything besides obtain a storage unit, but it was nice to be there.  After getting the storage unit, my dad and I parted ways, leaving Corey to brave the I-states alone (Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana).

4.  As any of my friends who have gone with me (or more accurately, driven me) to Denver can tell you, I avoid city driving like the plague.  I just don't have experience with traffic, being from the Wyoming boonies, and I never quite seem to want to lose that particular virginity.  As such, I had with me in the car a list of directions to re-route myself around the Chicago metro area.  But, as I neared the exit, I decided to take a chance and go through as Google Maps intended me to.  I thought I would arrive in Valpo by four ... comfortably avoiding rush hour.  How bad could it be, right?

5.  Right before Joliet, IL, I encountered major construction.  Though I'm not sure why traffic was stopped (construction crews were not working and nothing really seemed wrong), it ended up taking me an hour and a half to go five miles.  This delay landed me in the thick of the traffic at ... you guessed it, rush hour.  While six lanes of impenetrable traffic was daunting to observe, I actually made it through a bit better than expected.  That is to say, I made it through a) alive, and b) without needing a change in underpants.  While I'm not exactly chomping at the bit (what an odd expression) to do that again, I doubt I'll be as squeamish next time.

6.  About 15 minutes after I got off the Interstate, I arrived in Valpo.  I was very relieved!  I called my parents, letting them know why I was two hours late and hadn't answered their calls.  I doubt my mom could concentrate at work yesterday she seemed so worried!

Valpo is a really pretty town (around 34,000 people, I'm told).  The area actually feels a lot like the Broomfield-Boulder area, though I'm not sure why.  There area  lot of trees (with leaves, no less!), and though they tell me it's much colder than usual now, I find it to be very nice.

Well, that's it for now.  I officially start on Tuesday, so I have a few days to get settled.  However, I decided to avoid unpacking today and instead go into Chicago.  There's a really cheap train that takes about an hour.  I'm not sure what I'll do, but I'm sure it will be fun!  More on that later!

First Post!

Well folks, I've done it.  I've decided to copy Brice Griffin and do a little blog about my summer ACUHO-I internship.  So, consider this my official warning ... blogosphere (wow, that is quite an odd word to type), for I will be adding various musings to your highly dignified content.

So, I'm not sure how this will work, how frequently I'll post, or any of that, but this seems like a cool thing and I'll just let things sort of happen.  How's that for a commitment?!