Archives for November 2012

Monday Dare: Harvard, Hoodrat style

(Working the late night grind.)


Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Work the Ivy League (not really) grind

Wait just a goddamn minute. How is it the middle of November already? No, you’re right, I guess it’s not exactly the middle of November. CLOSE ENOUGH. FIGHT ME.

It’s been a struggle keeping track of the exact date this year. My insurance agent didn’t send me a calendar AGAIN (That’s three years in a row, William. Don’t think it’s gone unnoticed.), and I’m too cheap to buy one. I try to hit up the bookstores around January 15 to see if they’re unloading any calendars for extremely discounted prices, but I usually miss the sale because, well, I don’t have a calendar to tell me it’s January 15. Do you see the Vicious Cycle action going on right there?

A few months ago, I registered for an online computer science class offered by Harvard’s Open Learning Initiative. It appealed to me because it was free, and upon completion, I would receive a paper certificate from HarvardX recognizing my achievement. I had plans to frame that bitch (double matte, gilt trimming) with a small brass plaque underneath:


Sure, it’s probably not going to be as satisfying as a legit undergraduate degree that involves actual live class time and tuition, but let’s be real…I can’t commit to working the Ivy League grind for four soul-sucking years.

I only know this because the online course is already starting to wear me down. It’s stated clearly in the course description before sign-up, so it’s not like I got tricked or anything, but the self-paced course involves: 8 Problems Sets (15-20 hours each), 2 Quizzes, and 1 Final Project. Not only do I not have a calendar, but I also don’t own a calculator. I didn’t realize that 8 multiplied by 15 or 20 is way more than 3…which is the maximum number of hours I was willing to devote to my pursuit of higher education.

GUYS, 120-160 hours is NOWHERE near 3. And that time range is probably an estimate for someone with a functioning brain. My course requirements should read: 8 problem sets (FUCKING FOREVER), 2 Quizzes (FUCK YOU, YOU’RE FUCKED), 1 Final Project (FUCK YOU SOME MORE, HAHAHA).

Class started October 15. I have until April 15. I have yet to finish Problem Set #1. It’s not that the set is too difficult, it’s just really hard to see the computer screen through all the tears. If this is what it’s like to become smarter, than I’m a-ok remaining as dumb as a sack of rocks.

Have you ever been in over your head? Committed to something out of your league? Did you quit or see it through?

P.S. Instagram just launched a web interface, so you no longer need a smartphone to peek accounts. Since joining Instagram a few weeks ago, I’ve been outta control taking pictures of shit that probably shouldn’t be documented. Username: flourishinprogress

P.P.S. Dumb people still like to have friends. Let’s connect on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page.

Monday Dare: Cashin’ out

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Spend, spend, spend

Most of us can pinpoint an event which impacts us so profoundly that anything to the left of that Moment in our timeline is known as the Before and everything to the right is known as the After. I thought I had my Moment when I became a mother at 19. Then, when I married Harv, it seemed to me that having two Moments was also a possibility. If only I had been able to see into the future.

I won some money yesterday. I usually don’t throw figures around, but I’m comfortable being candid with you. Plus, I’m pretty good at bragging, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you that in one day, JUST ONE DAY, I pulled in a little over $14 working the slot machine grind in Las Vegas. People say that the house always wins. Who are these people? Do they know about me? If you want, you can share my story: about how someone you know went to Vegas as an ordinary person and came back a winner. How good things happen to good people. Use my name. I don’t need to be anonymous.

I understand a lot of things today that I didn’t back then yesterday morning. It’s becoming clear who my real friends are. This morning, “Sally” called about a lunch date. Assessing a situation objectively is one of my talents, so I immediately picked up on her real motives. It seems odd that I posted a picture on Instagram of my first payout (three almost-crisp dollar bills) yesterday and she’s suddenly eager to enjoy a meal together, don’t you think? I listened to some bullshit about how she “wants to catch up” since we haven’t seen each other in a few weeks. Even though “Sally” asked repeatedly about my availability, I remained noncommittal.

“I just can’t. I think we both know why.”

“Sally” is probably one of many I will have to cut out of my life. I’m not going to lie. It hurts. To distract myself, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the windfall (a ten dollar bill, four one dollar bills, and two nickels). “This is mine,” I tell myself over and over again. It’s been fun arranging the bills on my dark hardwood floor: first in descending value, then in ascending value, and finally with the two shiny coins as a centerpiece. A little lonely, but fun.

Unlike “Sally,” my family has been really supportive. When they congratulated me, I could tell by the ease in their voice that they genuinely meant it. It’s hard not to get jealous when fantastic things happen to people around you. Harv and Cal are encouraging me to spend the entire stack on myself. It seems weird to me, but fuck it…YOLO. Carpe diem. Show me the money.

(Note: I feel like it’s not really cool to say “YOLO.” But I guess that rule doesn’t apply to me because I’m rich now.)

Have you ever won anything?
What should I buy? This money is burning a hole in my pocket.

P.P.S. But hey, I’m not going to be one of those lazy rich people. I’ll still be working the Facebook grind on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page.
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