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Oh, yes, friends…there is a Roomies book giveaway for one of you at the end of this post! AND, as part of this deal, Hachette Book Group is entering me (and one of you, whom I’ll choose by drawing later, if we win) into a sweepstakes to win a “Roomie survival gift pack, including home spa essentials, a signed copy of the book, a special note from the authors, and other fun things,” just because we’re cute. Or because I read the book last November and told you about it. 🙂 But we are cute.

So, part of this deal is that I’m supposed to share my “Roomie Story.” It’s been kind of a kick, this last week, trying to decide what to share, for this. Do I talk about my roommate who never moved her arms when she walked (remember the episode of Seinfeld with Molly Shannon? Sausage arms?), AND sported Furby slippers? On her SHOULDERS? How about my roomie who took about a zillion road trips with me in my car “the Deerslayer”–so many that we marked up a whole map like a spider with all our travels? My roomie who could recite the whole periodic table backwards? I have so many fun, crazy, (sometimes really weird) stories!

I decided, instead, to talk about Marianne, my very first roommate. Going to college was an exciting, but socially terrifying experience for me. I was graduating near the top of my high-school class of 580-something, and going to a university of 36,000 students where I was told that pretty much everyone would be at least as smart as I was, so I would have to fight hard to keep up, in pretty much every way. I had no idea how or where I was going to fit in, or how I would even find a unique identity in a pool of that many people. Oh, and P.S., I wouldn’t know one single soul. NO ONE. Worse (no, really), I was going to have to live with girls. Due to a few Mean-Girls-type experiences during my formative years, I basically grew up afraid of other girls, and with no sisters or cousins or any other “safe” females my age, I really had no idea how to relate to them. The idea of living in an apartment with five of them scared me to death.

When I got to my apartment on the first day, Marianne had set up all her things in our room, and told me the two of us would be together. She was perky, cute, friendly, and kind. That last part confused me, but it proved to be unfailingly true–Marianne was kind to *everyone,* and she put up with all kinds of silliness from me. More importantly, though, she was a really good friend. I have great memories of listening to old Depeche Mode (“Depress Mode”), lying on our beds, legs propped straight up on the wall, talking for hours about boys. She insisted I take an early-morning dance class with her, and I loved it. She introduced me to her friends from her hometown who were there at school, too, and anytime she had an invite to go do something with them, I was asked along. When Marianne went home to visit her family on a random weekend, I went, too.

I have all kinds of hilarious and ridiculous memories with Marianne, but here’s a favorite: once, at the end of semester when we went to sell back our books, we discovered they weren’t taking back our Food Science & Nutrition book (another class she convinced me to take with her, so we could get a GE out of the way together). The class was fun, because we took it together, but hard, and we had no interest in keeping those books, so in a truly classic freshman move, we decided we’d burn them in our house’s fireplace. I don’t know. It made sense, at the time. We were 18! Anyway, around 10 pm, we and our friend Cami shared a gleeful, silly little fire, and then got out the house’s little Dirt Devil vacuum to clean up the ashes. Ummm…you can see where this is going, right? HOT ASHES. IN A VACUUM. I can only imagine what it must have looked like when the vacuum bag lit up and smoke started pouring out as I was blissfully sucking up the remnants of our tiny bonfire. But I didn’t see any of it, so focused was I on cleaning up our mess. My only memory is of Marianne finally shouting, “JEN!! IT’S ON FIRE! FIRE!!” and then turning around to a room full of smoke, and fleeing out the front door with a flaming handheld vacuum as the alarms in the whole building went off. 50 or so girls had to pile outside, totally confused, in their pajamas, while we laughed and laughed. We were totally embarrassed! Umm…sorry?

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Marianne and me in the big ol’ tree outside our apartment. This must have been all of a month after we met, based on the leaves. I found this in my scrapbook which, by the way, is full of little notes and cards she left me on holidays, or just because. I love that girl. What a doll. 🙂

So, guess what? You can win your own copy of Roomies! Hooray, right?

AND, if you’re anywhere near these areas, you can go meet the authors, and have them sign a copy for you! I’m so sad I’m not in the Utah area anymore–I would be there in a heartbeat. They are both on Twitter, and are very personable and so cool and not intimidating at all. So if you can go, go!

Giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Jan 14th. Good luck, you guys! (And cross your fingers we win the sweepstakes! We’ll find out on Jan. 20th. Woot woot!)

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