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We went to Virginia Tech today, and so that was fun…

February 7, 2004, 12:03 AM

On my day off of work today, Mom and I went to Virginia Tech to visit Sis. Fun time it was. We did the typical visit-me-at-JMU thing from when I lived in Potomac Hall. We drive down. That’s different from the JMU part, because unlike going to JMU, where it’s a 30-40 minute drive, it’s two hours to Tech. This also makes it a much less frequent visit than it is for going to JMU.

But anyway, first we picked up Sis at her dorm. Mind you, her dorm is Lee Hall at Tech. The side of Lee Hall that faces the road is significantly lower than the road. So water pooled (about an inch or so deep, so this was a considerable amount of water) on the sidewalk in front of Lee. Yecch. And we find out how little that my sister has gotten to know the people she lives with. I’m waiting in the lobby for her, and these other girls pass through the lobby who presumably live there. This is also about the time I’m starting to wonder what’s taking her so long. I ask the girls, “Have you seen Ann Schumin anywhere?” Blank stares. Then Sis comes in before they left the room. I tell them, “That’s Ann Schumin!” They tell me they’ve never seen her before, and Sis tells me that they don’t live on her floor. To me, that’s no excuse. When I lived in a dorm, particularly freshman year, I was a little social butterfly. I got to know a lot of people in the dorm.

So anyway, the two of us waded through that puddle in front of her dorm, and then we get to the car, and go to the bookstore. Now the entire valley had a big ice storm with both sleet and freezing rain. So Tech was a bit icy. We go to Tech’s bookstore, which, as you’d expect, was filled with cheesy overpriced Tech merchandise. And Mom couldn’t find a “VT MOM” shirt. Meanwhile, Sis and I explored upstairs, to the “next upstairs”, which is a little convenience store, and then the “next next upstairs” where they sell the textbooks. Also highly overpriced. Sis showed me samples of some of the books she bought for this semester. Heavy. Also, the textbook area is a bit of a hazard, with it being “stepped”, and steps and ramps and dropoffs without railings in places. Can we say “lawsuit” if someone ever got hurt in there?

Speaking of almost falling, remember how I said that the campus was ice? Yeah. Mom said I looked “gay” holding my arms out while I was walking, but I was doing it for balance. It helped when I started slipping on there, and used my arms to regain my balance. So there you go. Still, Mom and Sis were quite amused by my ice-management skills. But I didn’t fall. And that’s what’s important. We also went to Squires Student Center, so Sis could hit the bank. Meanwhile, I also got money, since they had a Bank of America ATM there, and I needed cash for later.

So anyway, after the bookstore and Squires, we went to Wal-Mart in Christiansburg. Now Christiansburg’s Wal-Mart is a little bigger than Staunton, but basically the same layout but the grocery side is on the left, so it’s all reversed from Staunton’s. No problem, though. I know this turf. Give me a shopping cart, and I’ll tear the place apart.

And you could tell I worked for Wal-Mart. I knew it in and out. First stop! Softlines, otherwise known as the clothes. They had spring set up, but nonetheless, I pawed through the clearance racks to find some deals. Nothing I wanted. Drat, since it was a nice little price. Mom and Sis got some spring fashions. And in navigating softlines, let me tell you… I can drive a shopping cart. I didn’t kill a single person or knock down a single item. Next stop: Fabrics and Crafts. Sis got some craft stuff. Mom got snagged by a shelf tag that was improperly affixed on an endcap. The Risk Control Team member in me told the lady working in Fabrics and Crafts that there was a problem, and where it was. From there, it was on to grocery. Sis got various odds and ends. I got two Sam’s Choice grape juices. White grape, and white grape with peach. I’d expect it to be branded as Great Value, but it was cheap, and tastes good, so I’m happy. And it’s actually “100% juice”. So after that, it was off to Housewares. Sis got a water bottle.

And from there, it was off to the front end, to pay for it all. We rolled into register 24. Before that, I got me a soda out of a Pepsi cooler. Now remember that I can make a register do a million things. So I went through first to direct the transaction to an extent. So I loaded the contents of the cart onto the belt. My exact phrase to Mom and Sis was, “You know, you could help me with this.” We rung the stuff up all on one ticket.

First thing. The shopping cards. Mom and Sis were spending the rest of those shopping cards that I got them for Christmas. So I ran Sis’s card through the machine. Done. Depleted. Next, Mom’s card. Done. Depleted. So out of $80-and-some worth of stuff, we were down to about $70 left to pay. Now Wal-Mart lets you use multiple payment methods for transactions. We certainly took good advantage of that. Next up: ME! I ask the cashier, “May I see the slip, please?” So she prints me a copy of the order thus far. I mentally add up my stuff, and it’s about $5.00 worth. Easy, since I made sure it was at the end of the ticket. So I paid $5.00 on my debit card. So the cashier had a little difficulty at first. Put in the amount, and mis-hit a key. BEEEEEEP! Wrong button. After a few more fumbles, I realized what she was doing. Me: “Hit ‘total’ and then run it.” It worked. The cashier was impressed. I can make the register sing The Star Spangled Banner, or at least I like to say so. Then after it knocked off my five bucks, then Mom paid the rest on her debit card. Four different payment methods. I was tickled.

And I was so on top of the bags. As she spun them around, I was taking them right off. But then I nearly forgot the last bag, which was my grape juice, but Sis caught me on that one. So we left with all our bags. So now I know how easy it is to forget a bag, having forgotten bags on both sides of the register now.

And I’m jealous. The Christiansburg Wal-Mart has a Krispy Kreme Donuts in the front of it. We have McDonald’s in both Staunton and Waynesboro. Now I want a Krispy Kreme in my Wal-Mart.

So anyway, after Wal-Mart, we went to Sis’s dorm again to drop off her stuff. After that, we went to Dietrick Dining Center, which is the VT equivalent of Gibbons Hall at JMU (better known as D-Hall). At Dietrick, we went to “The Depot at Dietrick”, which is the VT equivalent of D-Hall at JMU. And what is the verdict? Dietrick is no D-Hall. D-Hall is much better than Dietrick. The old D-Hall (before the summer 2001 remodel) was also better than Dietrick. The food wasn’t particularly warm, and the layout didn’t make much sense. They also don’t label the salad dressings there. Instead, they had a map taped to the sneeze guard.

So that was Dietrick. I wasn’t particularly impressed, but on the lower level at “Deets”, they had an oxygen bar, which I thought was kind of cool, having only seen such a thing on the Internet prior to that. I took a look at it. As this was before we ate, Mom and Sis were a little cranky, and so they wanted to hurry up. It’s not my fault that I’m a guy and as such took a very short time in the restroom and had time to kill. But anyway, here’s what they look like, in this photo that I don’t remember where it came from that someone sent me, but shows what I’m talking about:

Oxygen bar

I think that this was set up in like a mall or something. Flavored oxygen it is. I’ll have to try it some time, since I’m told it feels good.

So anyway, after this, we went back to Lee Hall. Sis had some stuff to show Mom from homestarrunner.com. I’d seen this before and enjoy it. We went straight to the Strong Bad Emails. Amusing as hell. Mom was amused as well. We also looked at my new Transit Center page. And lastly, a photo for the new phone.

Meanwhile, I have to say it’s amazing… I kept a neater dorm room than Sis does. I was meticulous. Everything had its place. That room is a mess.

And on the way out, we ran into Megan and Connor. Megan is Sis’s roommate, and Connor is Megan’s boyfriend. Kind of pathetic, too. Here’s how Connor introduces himself. “Hi, I’m Megan’s boyfriend.” Well, then. We know who’s in charge in that relationship. But anyway…

So we left the dorm and said goodbye to Sis, and Mom and I went home. A nice, long foggy ride home. We didn’t see any weird accidents like we did on the way down, where a semi had a big piece out of the trailer, and the actual cab part was on its side. Still, we made it in one piece. So that was good.

All in all, a nice day.

Web site: An article about an oxygen bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Song: The sound of Strong Bad's voice, which I can do a pretty good imitation of.

Quote: "I keep my arms up because it helps me with my balance on the ice!"

Categories: Family