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Saturday, July 29, 2006
My Week in Indy

Last Sunday, I headed off to Indianapolis to attend a Tech Camp at IUPUI. IUPUI has about 30,000 undergrad students,plus a medical and law school. It is run by Indiana University and Purdue. I had no idea it was so big. It's smack in the middle of downtown Indy.

I was looking forward to this conference. We had to choose, in advance, one of four different tracks. I chose Graphics, Galore! as it would be using the Adobe Creative Suites software. My school just adopted this software, and I will have to teach in this school year. It might help to learn it, don't you think?

My confirmation told me to check in on campus between 6:00pm and 8:00pm. We would be staying in on-campus housing. They were going to have someone come in special to check us in. I arrived about 15 minutes early. It was a beautiful day. Jim had packed up the car for me as I was working with one arm. Remember my post about RSI? The tendonitis hadn't gone away yet, and I was wearing a sling on my left arm. I had one suitcase for my clothes, one for all my electronics, plus a pillowcase stuffed with my pillow and sheet set. It's a dorm, remember! I was told to pack my own linen. I was so proud of myself because I even remembered to pack an alarm clock and soap, even though that wasn't mentioned. It was stressed that we should bring our laptops as the entire campus, including housing, was wireless. Besides my laptop, I also had to bring a tablet pc because some of the software I was using was loaded on that. The tablet pc belongs to my school. I was loaded down. As I checked in, the very friendly student worker told me that I was on the 3rd floor. Not knowing how many floors the building had, I hopefully asked if there was an elevator. Of course not, it was only a 3-story building. How was I going to get all my stuff up three flights of stairs with one arm! Our entire group was booked on the second and third floors of the same building. Luckily, a quick phone call and a 45-minute wait produced a room on the 1st floor. I was told that I would be in the unit alone, which would be lonely, but at least I could wheel my things around without stairs.

I drove over to my dorm room and swiped my little plastic card. Nothing. Swipe again. Nothing. Someone comes out, so I get in that way. My key does open room 125, that's good. I wheel in and find a decent common living area. There's a full kitchen, a dining table with 4 chairs, a sofa, loveseat, and tv stand. Darn, I didn't even think there would not be a TV. So much for watching The 4400 or Deadwood, but oh well. I still had the Internet for the evenings. I dropped off my stuff in room C. There were 4 individual rooms off the common area. Two on each side that shared a bathroom. My side also had a full-size washer and dryer. Not bad for college living. I peeked in the bathroom. Uh-oh....no shower curtain and no toilet paper. That wasn't mentioned in the confirmation.

I jumped back in my car and headed back to the check in. I waited while they got a new swipe card for the main entrance for me, and then headed back to unload the second load. Swipe. Nothing. Swipe. Nothing. Another teacher who had just checked in walked up and tried her card. Worked like a charm. Then I had her try my card. Just in case I was swipe card impaired. Nope, not me. It's the card. Drop off my second load, and headed back to check in for swipe card number three. The student told me that she couldn't make a new card, and I would have to wait until morning to get another. Luckily, the Tech Camp coordinator was there and suggested she give me the swipe card from a room that had cancelled. Yippee! It worked. They also handed me a roll of toilet paper. Unfortunately, they couldn't get a shower curtain until the morning.

After the ordeal of checking in, I decided to search for dinner. I headed downtown, but there was some kind of event going on involving lots of motorcycles. The place was packed, and I couldn't find parking anywhere. I headed back towards campus and started driving around it. Every campus I had ever been to was surrounded by restaurants. Surely I'd find something soon. After driving around for about an hour, I finally found a really seedy convenience store. I bought some sliced colby cheese, a box of Ritz crackers, an individually packaged bowl of Frosted Flakes, and a pint of milk. Not gourmet, but I was starving by then. I headed back to the dorm to enjoy my luxurious dinner. Isn't business travel great! By this time I was exhausted. I just wanted to eat my dinner, check out my Internet boards, and go to sleep.

Once back at the dorm, I meet my two roommates. Apparently I wasn't the only one who needed a first floor unit. It was nice to have company. They said hi and headed out. I unpacked quickly and set up my computer. I searched for the wireless network. There it was. I could see it. It was weak, but I could see it. But it wouldn't let me in. Oh well, I had a book. I ate my cheese and crackers, showered without a curtain, and went to sleep.

The next morning, I headed off to the workshop. It was great. I got my username and password. With this, I was confident that I would easily get online that night. I also learned that the on-campus food supply was very limited. I needed to plan ahead and brownbag it. After the workshop, I found a couple of chain restaurants I had never tried that were just off campus. I went to Nothing But Noodles and got a Thai Noodle Salad for lunch the next day. Next door was a Qdoba. A naked burrito sounded just the thing for dinner. I took my bags of food and headed to the dorm. I was going through major Internet withdrawal. It had been over 24 hours since I'd read email or more importantly, the Rumor Queen.

Tried my username and password, nothing. Then I'd lose the network. Try again. Doesn't work or the network goes away. Remembered the helpdesk phone number and called them. The entire campus IS wireless, except for the housing they put us in. Call the housing after-hours number. They bring me an ethernet cable. Try again. Nothing. Call the helpdesk again. I need to load a special IUPUI Getting Started disk. The office where I can get one closed at 5:00pm. Another night, no TV - no Internet. I do have my clock radio though.

Next day. Workshop - great. Find a grocery store - 25 MINUTES AWAY. Hello???? Pick up some breakfast food for the next two days. I only need one more lunch. Stop at a Bob Evan's for dinner and have them pack up a chicken salad for my lunch. I never eat at chain restaurants, and now I'm only eating there. Head back to dorm with my Getting Started disk. Load it. Plug in the cables, annnnnd.....nothing. Call the helpdesk. Stay on phone for over an hour as they have me try all sorts of things. Nothing. They finally realize that the Internet must have been disconnected in that building over the summer as they worked on it. They offer to send someone to check it out. The earliest will be the next day at 4:30pm. I pass.

3rd day of workshop. Fantastic. Learning so much about the graphics program. Also learn about a free download that works with PowerPoint 2003. Who knew? Get a sneak peek at Office 2007. WOW!!!! Head to Au Bon Pain for free WIFI access. Finally attempt to catch up. Read the Rumor Queen, my email, my favorite blogs and boards. Decide to grab some dinner there and take it back to the dorm for my last night. Best meal yet. Italian Wedding Soup and a vegetarian wrap with hummus, feta, kalamata olives, tomato, red onion, and cucumbers. Yummy. Turn on my laptop to play my iTunes library. Get big message. IUPUI network found. Connection: Excellent. They put a booster on the roof that day for us. Just a little too late. I laughed, read my book and went to sleep.

Last day of workshop. Still great. We wrapped up about an hour early. I headed to the Trader Joe's on the northern edge of town. Love Trader Joe's but we don't have one. Bought five packed bags of groceries and headed home. I got home about 7:30pm. I was exhausted and so happy to be home.

I think to truly appreciate living in a dorm, you have to be 18 and on your own for the first time. I like my bed, my husband, my dog, my Internet, and my television. Not necessarily in that order. It's good to be home.



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