Paula Hyman will be contributing columns to each Wednesday. Here's the second installment. People always ask me why I would leave paradise (Florida) for someplace like Allentown, Pa. Welp, here's how it all happened ... One day last December I was talking to Hop (George Hopkins, our corps director) about my job, and how much I didn't like it. You see, I was working in an arcade for old people. That's right, it was a place filled with different electronic, touch-screen slot machines and games. If you win, the machine doesn't spit out money, but instead gives you tickets. The player could then take those tickets to the counter to pick out a prize. So essentially, I was working at a Chuck E. Cheese for grandmas and grandpas all across South Florida. Hot.

Paula Hyman (center) with Dean Westman (right) and Jon Bilby, in Bristol, R.I., on Paula's birthday (also a Cadets' free day). Dean was the Cadets' brass caption head and Jon the visual caption head.
George suggested that I come up to New Jersey to work for him. I figured it would be really cool to see what goes on behind the scenes (and let me tell you, it's amazing. So much has to be done to keep this company running -- everyone is just so dedicated to the cause. It's pretty awesome). Anyway, I took his offer and that was that. I'm pretty sure both of us were wondering if I'd actually move up there on such short notice, but we worked things out in December, and I was all moved up and working by the end of January. Luckily my sister had just moved to New York that November so I had a place to stay, and it was only about 35 minutes from the office in Bergenfield, N.J. (on a day without traffic -- but come on, this is N.Y. we're talking about here -- there was always traffic!). A winter where it actually dropped below 50 degrees was something new to me. There was definitely a foot of snow on the ground to greet me when I arrived. I still think 65 degrees is cold, so I probably won't be getting used to a "real" winter anytime soon. After I moved it was time for a nice winter jacket. I figured it would be nice to actually see the seasons change and have it snow around the holidays. I was looking forward to that. Before I left for tour I decided to come back up here in the fall. Over the summer the office moved from Bergenfield to Allentown into a bigger and better building. This is the first time I've ever been on my own paying rent and whatnot. My roommate, Mary, also moved out here to work in the office. She's from Iowa -- just around the corner. We marched together for a couple of years and it's awesome living with her. We have a lot of fun and laugh continuously. She's the best roommate ever. I've learned a lot so far about living on my own. How to manage time and money are the two big ones. However, I've also learned other things. Here's a little story for you.

You work a lot of hours at YEA!, so when you get home after a long day, you usually don't feel like cooking dinner. Well, Mary and I went shopping one night and decided to buy some chicken. I figured I'd make barbeque chicken or something. Sounds good, right? Yeah, it does. Unfortunately, it takes about an hour to cook in the oven and well, we just didn't want to wait that long to eat because it was already 8:30 p.m., so I just kept putting off cooking it. I should have put it in the freezer, but I didn't. Well, one morning before work I was looking through the fridge and noticed it was still there. It was definitely expired by about four days, so I decided to throw it out. I put it in a plastic bag next to the garbage that I was going to take out on my way out the door. Well, I guess I had a lot of stuff in my hands and just forgot to grab the chicken. Twelve hours later, well, it was pretty gross. We had to burn incense for hours but I think the smell is finally gone. Maybe it will all work out next time. Well, now you know why I moved up here and why I shouldn't buy chicken anymore. Thanks for reading. =) Past columns by Paula Hyman: Welcome back to the real world Paula Hyman is a fourth-year member of the Cadets where she is the mellophone section leader. She is 20 years old and currently single. Originally from South Florida, Paula recently made the move to Allentown, Pa., to work for YEA!, the umbrella organization of the Cadets, Crossmen and the U.S. Scholastic Band Association. She ages out in 2006.