Thursday, October 27, 2011

Man, I wish I were in college again (even if I would never want to start over nowadays)

Have you ever read something that is so outside of your life experience that your mouth practically falls open in amazement?  I'm in the middle of that situation and it's disquieting, to say the least.  I picked up a free Kindle excerpt from a book recently, a chapter from "" by Andrew Rosen, which is talking about the current higher education system.  The chapter I got for free is entitled "Club College:  Why So Many Colleges Look Like Resorts"

Now, some time ago, I blogged about a Yahoo article on the changes in college dormitories since my college days.  See HERE for that blog.  Well, in the last several years, things seem to have gotten even more out of hand.  The author takes High Point University in North Carolina as an example.  Let's just say that his description of that university's facilities makes me want to go back to school again - and live on campus.  What the money is being spent on seems to be all cosmetic - and has little to do with the academic program.  Rather, it is applied toward spiffing up the luxe aesthetics of the campus and turning the on-campus housing into something that you couldn't even get at a Bahamas resort. 

The thrust of his argument is that the expenditure of money at these schools - and it's a lot of money - is going very wrong, a proposition that I agree with.  But I thought of another side effect of these cushy resort-style campuses.

Say you're 21 or 22 years old and have just spent 4 or 5 years getting a degree at one of these high-concept, luxurious resort campuses.  Mommy and Daddy have spared no expense (and we're talking about $30,000 to $40,000 a year) to make your college years just swell.  You've lived in a dormitory which rivals a Sandals resort and have been pampered within an inch of your life.  Then you graduate, and settle down into the real world with a thump.

Maybe you're lucky enough to get a job in these tough times.  Or maybe you graduated a few years ago and have managed to hang on to your employment.  So now you want to find somewhere to live.  You might rent, or you might buy a home.  You start looking at what's available for the money you have (or the banks were until recently willing to loan you) - and that's when you hit the reality wall.

I happen to be a fan of watching HGTV, at least some of the programs.  Three of them that I catch occasionally are "Property Virgins", "My First Place" and "For Rent".  The first two follow first time home buyers and the third deals with negotiating a tough rental market in an expensive city.  The common thread in all three is the ridiculously unattainable level of amenities that these newbies expect in their accommodations, right out of the gate.  You watch them pronounce an 1800 sq. ft. house "just too small" for two people.  REALLY?  You see them pout and whine when there aren't hardwood floors, granite countertops, posh baths with jetted soaking tubs (I almost dropped my Diet Coke when one sweetie declaimed than she couldn't live without a bathtub - a shower was just too declasse I guess) and the ubiquitous stainless steel appliances.  The last one always puts me on the floor laughing because I bought appliances several years ago and most stainless steel ones are black ones with a thin stainless skin on the door fronts, for which you pay major dollars.  Just 'cause it's shiny doesn't make it better.

The point being, these precious coddled youngsters have no concept of working for the luxuries, they want them NOW.  Have these colleges contributed to that?  Have their egos been stroked to such an extent that it has never occurred to them you can't have everything in the world when you're a spoiled 24 year old?  Is it the colleges, the parents, the culture, what? 

Most of the residents at this college would be appalled at the dorm rooms and residence halls where I spent several years of my college days, astounded at the apartment in the 100 year old house (antique, but not in a good way) where I froze my butt off for one nasty winter (no insulation and windows that leaked like a sieve) and probably faint dead away at the idea that I finished college living in a mobile home (set in a trailer park and everything) because Dad and I decided it was a cheaper way to live and bought a used 1965 model 10'x52' trailer - avocado carpet and all.  Pretty it wasn't, but it housed me and got me through school.  Said trailer followed us to our first job and after a bit of remodeling and painting worked for hubby and me through a year of employment so we could save for a house.

I just have to ask:  Is this why an astonishing percentage of young people are so bloomin' spoiled anymore?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Quilter's Club of America mystery quilt

Just finished step 3 of the Quilter's Club of America website mystery quilt.  Steps 1 and 2 were fabric selection and cutting so these are the first stitches sewn.  The quilt is built on jelly roll strips and background fabric and so far we've just joined rectangles and squares.  No guesses so far.  No big challenges.

I'm eager for the new Quiltville mystery in November.  Bonnie Hunter designs a mystery quilt you can sink your teeth into.  She challenges you every step of the way to get outside of your comfort zone and the results are wonderful.  Having said that, though.........please, Bonnie, no string blocks this time.  I don't much like them, and still haven't figured out what to do with the ones I made for Roll Roll Cotton Boll and didn't use.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Things just aren't made like they used to be

In the mid 1990's, I bought a T-fal steam iron.  I loved that iron.  It was cheap, it steamed like a demon and was nice and light and maneuverable.  Alas, last fall it quit heating up.  I assume that the thermostat burned out.  However, I had gotten over 15 years from it, a nice long run, and used it every single day, so I consigned it to the trash with thanks and went out in search of a new iron.

Rowenta irons seemed to be the best made (and, gulp, the most expensive) that I found in town.  I didn't want to order an iron because I wanted to pick it up and assess the grip and the weight.  I decided on a Rowenta Focus that I bought at the local Bed Bath and Beyond.  I brought it home, started using it and loved it.

However ------- a couple of days ago it started spitting water droplets when you turned it from vertical to horizontal.  It had never done that before.  The droplets came out of the holes in the sole plate so I was at a loss to fix the problem.  I had had a lot of cheap irons in the past which did this, but the Rowenta never did.  Then, I picked it up two days ago and found a soggy spot on the ironing board cover.  I couldn't figure out where the water was seeping out so I put a wash cloth under it to absorb the water while I pondered the problem. 

Yesterday I went over to press some quilt blocks and when I picked up the iron, water poured out of the base around the electric cord.  EEEEEK!  I quickly unplugged the iron.  I found that when you tipped the iron just a little past vertical with the sole plate pointing upward instead of downward the water in the tank all ran out.  Evidently the water tank cracked and finally let go completely.  Rats.  I was back in the iron shopping business.  After only one year.

I knew that the selection in town was poor, so I went back to Bed Bath and Beyond to look at the Rowentas.  I know, I know - once burned twice shy.  But really, there wasn't a lot to choose from.  I ended up buying another Focus.  This was as much as I was willing to pay for an iron, but I wanted one that really steamed and heated up quickly, so Rowenta was the best choice.  Maybe I just got a lemon before;  Let's see if this one lasts longer.

I did love the model names for the Rowenta irons, though.  I could have bought a "Steamium".  Isn't that a great name for an iron?