Planning Poor Does Graduate School

In 2008, during my last year of undergrad, my aunt Deena and I were on the phone discussing finding a first job and whether going to graduate school was important. I don’t remember the specifics, but one thing she said that has stuck with me all these years was, “It’s so much harder to go back.” In other words, go to graduate school right after college, because it only gets harder to do so the further you get from that moment.

And while the rest of my friends were indeed going to graduate school right after college (in part because the recession had sucked away any jobs they might have applied to), I just didn’t think this was the best choice for me. I understood that going to graduate school just for the sake of going to graduate school was a poor financial decision. If I were ever going to get a Master’s degree, I wanted it to be for something that would accelerate a career I loved. In other words, I didn’t want to plunge into graduate school and then be forced into a career I had to choose based on the degree I earned. For me, it had to be the other way around.

(And, had I gone to graduate school straight away, I would have been pursuing an MA in English in the hopes of going on to a PhD program. Needless to say, it would have been a disturbing waste of loan money.)

Despite her sage wisdom, and despite the Great Recession, I started my first job 3 days after graduating. The only thing I felt was super pissed at not having one more summer vacation before diving into the adult world and never having one again.

Fast forward 6 years. It’s April 2015, and Kevin is debating a monumental life change. He’s 3 years out of law school, and despite having a stable—albeit time-consuming—job as a lawyer, he’s dissatisfied. Lawyering is not what he thought it would be. He expected a career that offered endless variety and intriguing intellectual challenges. Instead, it had become monotonous.

He began to work on automating some of the repetitive parts of his job and found that he loved the challenge of programming. Around the same time, he had been reading books about math and information theory (nerd!) and found the subject fascinating. But he knew there was no way he could practice law and formally study computer science. His plan: Retire from law, find a part-time job, preferably in his new field of interest, and return to school.

Step one of his plan would be easy (in theory—it’s never easy to say goodbye to great coworkers); steps two and three, not so much.

Dobby helping me study for Accounting.

If one thing has been said about me, it’s that if you’re looking for a job, I’m the person you want to tell. Over the course of my life I’ve signed up for so many job-alert emails that I’m practically a mini work-placement service. So when Kevin told me he wanted a job in tech, my challenge began. I sent him job after job after job, all the while keeping his spirits up because he was losing hope.

“Who wants to hire a lawyer for a part-time IT job?” he would ask. “You never know until you try!” I would tell him.

As it turns out, the University of Florida did. On his first and only interview, Kevin landed a part-time IT job working for one of UF’s many entities. And working at UF, even part-time, would allow him to easily run around campus to attend classes in the middle of the workday. Steps two and three: Check!

It was around this time of change that Kevin helped me realize that my own situation was not ideal. (Either that, or he just didn’t want to be alone in his educational endeavor.) For years, he had been urging me to go back to school for something—anything!—citing that I was too smart to be doing what I was doing. (#humblebrag) While I would have loved to have gone back to school, I never wanted to take out more student loans or stop making money. (And this is what my aunt meant by “it’s hard to go back.” Money is like a drug; it’s hard to stop making that paper once you start.)

But one of the benefits my employer provides is free school: the company will reimburse me for up to six credits per semester of graduate work that I successfully complete with a C or better. What’s more, a friend at work had told me about a business Master’s degree at UF that had an IT focus: the Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) program. It was as if all the stars were aligning: this was the perfect program for me, as it would allow me to gain more technical skills while polishing the business skills I had acquired through 6 years of employment.

With a new goal in mind (and probably the first real goal I had set in a very long time, besides “convince Kevin to marry me”), I immediately began my plan of attack. With applications due June 1, I had just under 2 months to study for the GRE, take the GRE and receive an acceptable score, write a cheesy admissions statement, solicit three letters of recommendation, get my boss’s support and approval for going back to school, and plan how I was going to attend school part-time while continuing to work full-time.

Having planned our wedding in just 2 months, I knew this would be a piece of pie compared to that.

And to make a long story short, it all worked out (somehow).

Fall 2015 was our first semester as a husband/wife team of working graduate students. And despite work, despite Kevin getting converted to a full-time position, despite both of us also being on the board of directors for a local non-profit, despite being at work at 7:00 AM and staying until 5:30 PM to make up lost time—we both made straight A’s. (#notsohumblebrag)

I have made so many friends, most of whom are from other countries, through ISOM. Here is a group of us at an international potluck and game night.

I know, you must be wondering: How did our personal lives not fall apart? It’s funny, I had the same reaction. I thought for sure the schedules we now keep would put a huge strain on our relationship, but in fact the opposite has happened. Kevin and I are in the best harmony we’ve ever experienced. We communicate and plan way more than we ever have. If I have to work late for class or can’t make it home at a reasonable hour, he knows to let the dogs out and start dinner without me. Likewise, on days that he has to work late, I know I need to take care of things at home and fend for food myself (i.e., hello, Panera Rapid Pickup!). Neither of us has ever been especially emotionally needy, so seeing each other for only an hour a day doesn’t bother us much. Sure, we may miss each other, especially during exam weeks, but neither of us has the time to break down and cry about it—not that we would.

Plus, it has been so rewarding to go through this together. Our programs of study tend to complement one another, and our classes have led to many an interesting discussion. We don’t get flustered at the other’s schedule because we understand it. And we love to talk about the future: Where will we be when our degrees are printed? What does the future hold? It’s an exciting time in our lives; who knew such excitement could exist after 25?

One of the most comical parts about going back to school as a “non-traditional student” (i.e., a student who goes part-time) at the ripe age of 28 is that nearly all of my classmates are in their early 20s, and because ISOM offers a combined-degree program, some of them are still undergrads. In group-project situations, I tend to be the one with the sage life advice, and everyone I meet gawks when they hear I’m married. On the plus side, I never get tired of hearing that I don’t look my age.

Business graduate school is all about the group project, which means many a long night in Hough Hall working together. But at least I can capture some nice sunsets now and then.

When I first started, I thought it would be difficult to compete against these full-time students who had nothing to do with their time but study. I had promised myself that I would be a better student in graduate school than I had been in undergrad (e.g., not waiting until the night before to write a 10-page paper, reading chapters as they are assigned instead of…well…never), but that still didn’t seem like enough to do well. How could I possibly put in the hours they must be putting in to earn better grades than theirs? (All of business school is graded relative to your classmates’ performance, so to get an A, you have to prove that you’re better than they are.)

But as I got to know my fellow students and their sometimes nonexistent study habits, I realized that my age actually afforded me the hindsight that these younger students had not yet had the chance to acquire: I know the value of my time, and I know how to be disciplined. If I have to spend 40 hours per week at work, you better believe I’m spending the rest of my free time as wisely as possible. So when I’m not at work, I’m at home reading my textbooks and doing practice problems. Plus, I don’t have to worry about who has a crush on me (Kevin does), if I’m eating well (Kevin feeds me healthy things…usually), or if I’m running out of money (never!), all of which I worried about as an undergrad. Instead, my mind is free to learn about encryption, UML diagrams, and, my favorite class so far, finance!

And when my friends complain about their grades or say they don’t have enough time in the day, I casually remind them that I work full-time, am in class 8 hours per week, and am doing just fine.

Speaking of friends, ISOM has been an incredible experience personally. The majority of my classmates are international students. At first, this intimidated me, but I soon learned that my classmates are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people I have ever met. I’ve made friends from India, China, Taiwan, and several South American countries, and I know that some of my new friends will be friends for life. Learning is great, but being able to make global connections with such kind people is priceless.

I’m not sure where my or Kevin’s Master’s degrees are going to take us, but I know they will keep us in the technology sector, a field that is always changing, which means there will always be something new to learn and new problems to solve. As people who require intellectually stimulating careers, this is perfect for us.



We Did: Snippets from Our Guestbook

As I mentioned in another post, Kevin and I decided to create an electronic guestbook for our wedding. We used Google Forms to create it and one of our many old laptops to collect answers, and the data we received can be saved forever (until the sun blows up) without having to be on display in our house. We loved being able to create our own questions, and it was free to create, but the downside—at least for our house-party wedding—was that not a lot of people saw it, or if they did see it, they didn’t know what it was (despite me hanging a sign above it that read, “Sign our guestbook!”). Still, we received 17 very humorous responses. Below are the questions we asked and some of our favorite responses (as-written, so the typos are not mine).

Carly AND Kevin

The first section included questions that asked for answers relating to both of us.

1. Who are you? [No funny answers to this one.]

2. How do you know us?

  • I’ve known your inner most selves for eternity. This is merely one version of our lives in which we meet and eventually take over the world. Unfortunately, in every version of these events, Carl dies a horrible painful death. Just like when she mids [video-game reference].
  • Kevin: Gin and tonic. On a shed roof. While on the clock. Carly: Gasparilla photos. Frozen yogurt. Ceviche.
  • I went through the bowels of hell to give birth to Carly, all 10 pounds 13 and 1/2 ounces of her! Believe it or not, this wisp of a young woman was the biggest baby in the nursery that day. I know Kevin from the infamous first date when he kidnapped my daughter and kept her for hours and hours, worrying me to death! [Hmm, wonder whose response that is!]
  • Reddit!
  • Friends and shit (literally).

3. What’s your favorite and/or funniest memory of us?

  • When you got me that air mattress and stared at me while it inflated like it was the most wonderful thing in the history of mankind.
  • For both of you, certainly the air bed which you had to sleep on post-FLGA. I mean, really, people in Gulags had better beds. That looked miserable. Go Gators.
  • Poop.

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

  • If you don’t feel well or need to think deeply, poop then shower.
  • When you get Cass poison on someone the best way to dps is by spamming E [video-game reference].
  • “Don’t work a job you don’t enjoy to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.” -Ancient Proverb attributed to Some Bullshit Greek Philosopher Which No One Gives a F*ck About
  • C.R.E.A.M.: Cash Rules Everything Around Me [What??]
  • Keep it simple.
  • Go with the flow. And, Life is like an EKG machine. If it’s flat, you’re not living.

5. Where do you see us in 25 years?

  • Honduras
  • At a restaurant with a table of your own screaming loud kids.
  • Older
  • Iceland?
  • As co-owners of a decent goat farm.
  • Wherever you are.

6. When did you know we were meant for each other?

  • I’ve known Kevin was meant for me since the moment we met. Carl is just a distraction to both of us.
  • When you started arguing over LoL [video-game reference].
  • Carly needed a strong older sibling to continually ridicule and mock her and Kevin is an older sibling with plenty of experience. Also as I’m writing this I hear Kevin discussing dungeons & dragons and larping…right up Carly’s alley. He was proudly showing off a game closet…
  • We didn’t know that Carly could find someone that could compete with her wit and keep up with her in a debate. She met her match with Kevin. He truly gave her a run for her money. I knew he was going to be around for a while.
  • When you mutually agreed that poop was okay.

7. Free space! [We told people they could write whatever they wanted, and most responses were very heartwarming.]

Carly OR Kevin

The second section included multiple-choice questions. Guests were given various scenarios and had to choose one answer.

1. Who would you rather remain friends with if we got divorced?










2. Who wears the pants?









3. Who has better hair?









4. Who has a better butt?









5. Who could win in an argument against you?









6. Who would be a better president?








7. Who would you rather be stuck in an airport with?









8. Who would you rather date?









9. Who would survive the longest during the zombie apocalypse?









10. Who would you rather be murdered by during the zombie apocalypse when we’re the last three people alive and we’ve decided to eat you?








Our First Date (and How I Did Not End Up Dead in the Trunk of His Car)

The first thing that impressed me about Kevin was that he didn’t “wait three days” to contact me after our initial meeting. The first thing that annoyed me about Kevin was that he asked me out via text.

Looking back, I really don’t mind; a phone call might have been extremely awkward. But at the time, I was like, Really???

As a tech savvy female in the digital age, I decided to do my due diligence before this first date (set for 3:30 PM at Volta, a coffee shop in downtown Gainesville). I needed to know what I was getting into. I didn’t know Kevin’s last name, so I used Facebook to find the Music Law Conference event page, on which I found the Music Law group, in which I found a bald guy named Kevin Hublou. He was the only Kevin, so it had to be him! Pleased with my detective work, I looked at the few things I could see on his Facebook page: his likes and profile pictures.

The first Facebook photo I ever saw of Kevin.

The first Facebook photo I ever saw of Kevin.

Speaking of profile pictures, of the 17 that existed at the time of my detective work, only 8 of them were actually Kevin. The others were a handful of bald doppelgangers (Jason Statham, Kevin Spacey, David Beckham, etc.) and little-known pop stars. I found all of this just a little bit creepy.

While there were a few things that I was happy to see on his profile (Harry Potter, Gladiator, Kill Bill), there were a lot of things I was not too excited about. To put it simply, Kevin had a lot of “epic” interests—those nerdy sci-fi/adventure-type shows and films that I have never really been a fan of (save for those few classics that everyone has seen, like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings). I was initially scared off by:

  • Books: Game of Thrones, Sword of Truth, Wheel of Time
  • Movies: Stardust, Serenity, Count of Monte Cristo (seriously, who puts that as one of their favorite movies?)
  • Games: League of Legends, DoTA, Magic: The Gathering
  • Music: Basshunter, Alizee, Enya, Lights, Ace of Base, Cascada

Clearly, Kevin was a huge nerd who loved trance music and books that followed the [noun] of [noun] naming convention. Fantastic. Suddenly, I was filled with dread; we had nothing in common and now I had to endure coffee with this strange creature. (Sidebar: I now love about a quarter of the things on that list.)

Next, I tried Google, where I found Kevin’s blog. (Later, he would tell me that he started the blog to increase his “web presence.”) He had a “Currently Reading” section on his sidebar, which showed that he was reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Ok, that’s something, I thought, since I too was re-reading the HP books (though I was on Goblet of Fire).

I moved on to his most recent blog post, which was an exposé on candles. Yes, candles. Apparently, Kevin had found an online deal where he could cheaply purchase four small Yankee candles. His blog post was about his experience with said candles and his opinions of each scent. It. Was. Hilarious. This guy definitely got points for personality, no matter how nerdy he may have seemed, and the candles thing showed he had a soft side. I tore through the rest of his blog (though there were only a few posts); even his “About Me” was ripe with humor and quirkiness. What I liked most, however, was that he wrote well and used punctuation appropriately.

There seemed to be a disconnect between Kevin’s blog and his Facebook profile. How could one person be so charming and witty and yet also extremely nerdy? I knew one thing: this was sure to be an interesting date.

I arrived at Volta slightly late, only because I didn’t want to be there first. Kevin was sitting inside, reading a book and waiting for me. He greeted me with a hug (He really likes me!) and led me toward the counter to order coffee. He went first...and paid for himself! (Oh, no, he doesn’t really like me.) I was really turned off by this. Now, I would not expect a boyfriend to pay for everything all of the time. But I thought it was at least understood that the guy paid for the first date. So maybe this wasn’t a date after all?

Kevin's profile pic, in place since February 2012!

Kevin’s profile pic, in place since February 2012!

Annoyed, I ordered my own coffee, and we sat outside. We talked until the coffee shop closed, discussing books, movies, college, jobs, etc. I knew that, at this point, the date was over, but I really didn’t want it to end. Kevin had a lot more to him than those nerdy Facebook interests, and I was dying to know more. We left and walked toward the parking lot.

“Well, here’s my ride,” he said nonchalantly, as he stopped in front of a motorcycle.

Yes, a motorcycle. As if this guy had to gain any more points, the bad-ass motorcycle just earned him over 9,000. (And motorcycles do not have trunks in which to stash the dead bodies of first dates you might have murdered.)

Standing around the motorcycle, continuing to talk, I got the sense that Kevin didn’t want the date to end either. One of us suggested dinner, and so we walked to Boca Fiesta. We had a great meal that he paid for. Now I was super confused. Had I just not earned his liking yet at the coffee shop? Did he want to test me before he paid for things for me? Had I now charmed him enough into buying me things? I felt like I was dating a girl; guys didn’t play games like this, right?

To this day, Kevin still does not know what made him pay for my dinner that night. I think he is afraid to admit that he was utterly smitten and just couldn’t help but suspend his miserly ways.

But even dinner wasn’t enough time for us. Kevin asked if I’d like to get a beer and play shuffleboard at the bar around the corner. I wanted to scream, “YES!!!!” but I very coolly replied, “Sure.” After a drink or two and several rounds of shuffleboard (at least one of which I won), it was 9:00 and finally time for this date to be over. (He said he had to study, but I think he just was going through video-game withdrawal). He walked me back to my car, gave me another hug, and said goodnight.

Now, at the beginning of the date, I had decided to leave my cell phone in my car so as not to be rude or interrupted. (Kevin had not had the same thought and even took a phone call outside during dinner!) Getting back into my car that evening, I was most alarmed to find 20+ missed calls, at least that same number of texts, several voicemails, and a Sprint pop-up alerting me that my mother had turned on the Sprint child tracker. Indeed, although I had told her of my plans, my mother had freaked out around 6:00 (which would have been a normal end time for a first date) when she could not reach me. Of course, I called her back instantly, assuring her that Kevin was not, in fact, the next Ted Bundy and that I was not tied and gagged in the back of a van on the way to my rape and death. (So I guess you could say that I literally survived our first date.)

For our second date, Kevin invited himself over, requesting that I cook dinner and giving me only about an hour to prepare. (Such a charmer!) Thankfully, he redeemed himself by showing up with a bottle of wine and enduring one of my favorite films, Amelie, and the rest is history.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

But even after all this, my mom was still not convinced that Kevin was not a murderer out for cold blood.

Fast forward three months. I’m about to move into my new apartment, and Kevin has generously agreed to help me paint my room. Knowing this would only take about an hour or two, I left my cell phone at my old place; this seemed perfectly acceptable since I was not expecting any calls. Kevin left his phone on silent and in my car. In under two hours, we were done (and Kevin’s voice had gone hoarse from bitching about painting for the entire duration). Back at my old apartment, I checked my phone nonchalantly, expecting a blank screen. What I found instead were 40+ missed calls (from my mother AND sister), 20-something text messages, and endless voicemails. She had also called Kevin’s phone, though (thankfully) slightly fewer times than she had called mine. Mother had struck again.

But she didn’t stop there.

No, Kevin also had missed called from his family. My mother (and perhaps this is where I got my own detective nature from) had stalked my Facebook to find Kevin’s name to figure out his last name. Then she Googled “Hublous in Tampa” and found his parents’ phone number. HIS PARENTS! She had called and spoken with Kevin’s little brother, who then called Kevin and asked, “Why are Carly’s parents calling us? Are you guys okay?” My mother had put everyone on red alert, even people she hadn’t met, because I had not answered the phone in an hour. And all this after Kevin and I had been dating (albeit long distance) for three months, both of us traveling to/from Tampa/Gainesville to see each other while he was gone for summer vacation!

When I was finally able to speak to my mom and convince her that I was, indeed, still alive and still not dating a serial killer, she gave me one of those, “I’m sorry, but…” apologies. She was not backing down from what was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life.

I will never know why Kevin didn’t just walk away from the crazy that day and never look back. Perhaps something about it enticed him and sucked him in. Perhaps something about my mother’s mania charmed him. Regardless, everyone loves everyone now and we all shit rainbows and lived happily ever after.

(And in all seriousness, I guess I should be very grateful to have a mother who is really more like a mother wolf that looks out and fights for her children, even to the death—though luckily it has never come to that…yet….)

Rebuttal: A Fairy Tale

For those that read Kevin’s version of how we met, I think it’s clear that he may have over-exaggerated a few details. This is the tale of what really happened.

For a few weeks, I had been planning to attend UF Law’s Music Law Conference—not because I am a nerd but rather because I am a lifelong lover of learning and music. And at the time, I was considering going to law school. Like all things that require me to show up at a specified time, I promised myself I would wake up early and be there on time. But it was Saturday, and even for a working woman who is used to 8:00 AM starts to her days, 8:00 AM on a Saturday is just cruel (though it probably didn’t help that I had gone bar-hopping with my co-workers the night before). I’m still not sure how Kevin managed to be there before noon.

Of course, I was late, but not by much. I arrived around 8:10, furious with myself but prepared to issue the appropriate apologies as necessary. Besides, being a little late doesn’t really matter when you look as cute as I thought I looked. I was wearing an adorable new dress, and my bangs were nearing perfection. And I was newly single, so I was ready to go full-concentration mode on this seminar. The last thing I was going to do was scan the room for datable men.

The cost for attending this event included breakfast and lunch. As I was approaching the entrance, I noticed two men walking parallel to me, their arms full with breakfast supplies. Suddenly, one of them dropped a gallon of milk. Again, newly single and working on my kindness towards others, I saw this as my opportunity to get a good deed in for the day. I hurriedly changed course, scooped up the milk jug, and locked eyes with the non-dropper. Though his arms were overflowing, he managed to offer me his little finger and said:

“Here, you can put that on my pinky.”

Guys, for real, it was like meeting Gaston.

Note: Kevin is not roughly the size of a barge.

“No, it’s okay, I can take it for you,” I said.

So I followed them to the breakfast area, only to find that I was the first one there (aside from those hosting the event). I guess 8:00 AM means something else in law school.

Having earned 10 karma for my good deed, I then focused on making breakfast for myself. I toasted a bagel and waited patiently as the coffee was brought in (catered by Panera). One of the event staffers noted that Panera had only brought one bucket of decaf. In a booming voice loud enough for all (and by all, I mean the six people who were there “early”) to hear, that same non-dropper guy gawked, “Who drinks decaf!?” (I should also note that he made eye contact with me during this interjection, which I interpreted as his version of flirting.)

Sheepishly, I raised my hand.

What followed was a never-ending silence that I had to break, so I said, “I have issues with caffeine.”

Finally, someone else said, “No problem, here’s the decaf!” and I felt slightly less awkward.

Decaf and bagel in hand, I sat alone, eating, observing, and waiting for the event to begin. Perhaps because I had kindled his curiosity, or perhaps because he felt sorry for the girl sitting by herself who had been damned to a life of decaf-only coffee options, non-dropper guy came and sat with me. He introduced himself (“Hi, I’m Kevin”), and the conversation flowed easily as we discussed our pets, my half-blue eye, our shared love of coffee and bagels, summer jobs, fire-bellied newts and the fact that they can regrow their limbs, and probably Harry Potter (I don’t remember, but knowing us, I feel like it happened).

Eventually, the event began, and though it was interesting, I caught myself glancing over my shoulder occasionally, curious as to Kevin’s seating location. In true Kevin fashion, he skipped about half of the morning lectures and finally appeared (and sat in the back) for the last seminar of the morning.

When the lunch break came, I made myself a plate and again sat alone, observing other people and lazily reading a book. I noticed that Kevin was sitting at the check-in table several yards away, and I noticed that he was checking my whereabouts every so often, and I noticed that he noticed that I noticed him noticing. But I am a dreadfully shy person, and there was no way I was going to just walk up to a stranger and start talking. And I was newly single and not looking for anything…remember?

After what seemed like hours of Twilight-esque glaring at each other, Kevin finally approached me. He asked me more serious questions: what was I doing here, what did I do for a living, what did I go to school for. We chatted for about 15 minutes before he said he had to go; he was heading to the springs with some friends. (Are you keeping track here? Kevin only attended one hour of the morning lecture and was completely skipping the afternoon series! Later, I would discover that this also happened to be his general approach to law school.)

“But can I have your number? We should get coffee sometime.”

I hesitated for what felt like forever. Yes, I would love to get coffee! This Kevin guy was charming and handsome, and I was completely surprised that he liked me and wanted to see me again after only speaking with me for maybe 30 minutes. Let me be clear: this had never happened to me before. Up to this point, I had met all of my boyfriends at school, band practice, or work, so giving my number to a random guy (while I was sober) was a very new experience for me.

But I was single and not looking to date anyone!!!

Alas, I replied, “Sure,” and pecked my specifics into his BlackBerry.

Too excited to sit through an afternoon of boring lectures, I too snuck out and went home, giddy with excitement and the idea of new beginnings.


A Fairy Tale

I told you in my last post that I would tell you the story of how Carly met Me. This is that tale:

Θnce upon a time there was a little girl who lived far away in the magical land of Gainesville. This little girl was not a normal little girl; she was a type of magical fairy-girl known as a “Nerd.”

Nerd Carly.

The little Nerd girl was very sweet, but also very strange. She refused to dress like normal girls and insisted on wearing nothing but large sacks! And, fortunately for her, she also liked showing up super early for boring lectures put on by the great wizards of the exquisite University of Florida Levin College of Law.

On one such occasion, the little Nerd girl decided to attend the Mystical Music Law Conference. The sign-in time for the conference was announced by the town crier as 8:30 AM, but the little Nerd grimly determined to arrive an hour early, even though the arcane lectures did not actually begin until 9:30. So on that cold and frosty morning, before the sun had even peeked over the horizon, our little Nerd donned her second-best sack and set out on a grand adventure.

Angry coffee!

As the intrepid Nerd left her hovel, trouble was brewing (quite literally) at the College of Law. The coffee elf was late with her magical energy potions! As everyone knows, wizards lose all of their powers and turn into angry trolls if they don’t drink their coffee potions regularly, so this was a BIG problem. Fortunately for everyone, there was a dashing knight working at the College that day.

The courageous knight was also an amazing wizard, and he used his magic mirror to find the lost coffee elf in the eternal desert of the Parking Lot. He waved goodbye to the college courtesans and gallantly rushed out to save the coffee elf, killing 14 dragons, 2 bears, and a cockroach along the way. Upon his arrival, the coffee elf swooned with delight at being rescued by the handsome knight-wizard, who had the strength of 10 men.

While the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard cared for the swooning coffee elf and began to load the heavy coffee-potion cases and milk jugs onto his pinky finger,

A courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard.

the little Nerd girl was picking her way through the barren parking lot. Being sweet of spirit, when she saw the beleaguered coffee caravan, she rushed over to offer her assistance. The courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard was touched by the little Nerd’s sweetness and pretended to drop one of the milk jugs hanging off the tip of his pinky so that the little Nerd would feel useful.

Even though it was obvious that he had the strength of 10 men and would never actually drop a milk jug, the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard possessed incredible subtlety, and he was able to trick the little Nerd into thinking that he needed her help! The Nerd picked up the milk jug (which took all of her strength) and began bouncing her way to the College of Law, large sack flapping in the chilly breeze. She was delighted at the privilege of helping the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard, and he smiled inwardly, enjoying his good deed.

Unfortunately, that smile would soon fade.

Upon reaching the College, the coffee elf cursed. In her excitement at meeting the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard, she had forgotten the de-energized “Decaf” coffee potions! The knight-wizard flashed his crystalline smile and smirked, “Who drinks decaf?!” mocking the very idea of such a fool. As it happened, the poor little Nerd girl was one such fool, and with a trembling voice full of shame and sadness, she whispered, “I do….”

The little Nerd was terribly embarrassed by her foolish love of decaf coffee potions, but she was even more ashamed that the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard now knew the horrible truth about her. You see, like so many others, she too had been enchanted by the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard‘s noble features and charming wit. The poor little Nerd girl turned bright red.

As he observed the Nerd girl’s shame, the gallant smile faded from the lips of the courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard. He felt terribly guilty! Being a noble knight, he immediately decided to try to comfort her. Obviously, because he is amazing at everything, the knight-wizard succeeded.

Mandatory romantic picture.

The courageous, handsome, and amazing knight-wizard and the little Nerd girl exchanged noble tales and silly pointless stories (respectively), and the knight-wizard found the Nerd’s antics so amusing that he invited her to share a coffee potion with him later.

And they lived happily ever after…

Especially after the incredibly fashionable knight-wizard convinced the little Nerd to wear real-people clothes instead of large sacks!

Carly being fashionable.