#585 – Luck, Both Good and Bad

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First, let’s get the bad luck out of the way, because it’s not that much fun to talk about. I had an algebra test last Thursday and I did abysmally on it. Like, might have dropped my average two whole grades bad. I still don’t have a score, but it will not be high. I also did not, on purpose, turn in a homework assignment today. I’ve had this assignment for about a month and like an idiot I waited until the last minute to try and get it done, and doing that drastically affected my test score. Based on that, I opted to cut my losses and start in on the semester’s fourth homework assignment, to be sure I’m doing the work pretty much as we cover the material in class.

That botched test is 21% of my final grade, as are all four tests for the semester, for a total of 84%. We’ll drop the lowest two quiz scores for the semester and average what’s left for 12% of my final grade. That means the four homework assignments will be averaged to give me the remaining 4% of my final grade, so in the broad scheme of things, taking a zero on today’s assignment won’t affect my final score that much.

There’s a backup plan for the poor performance on the test, too. There will be a comprehensive final exam given the last day of class, and that score, should it be higher than my lowest test score, will replace that score in the computation of my final grade. I received a 94 and a 95 on my first two tests, so the chances that my final grade will be better than what I turned in on Thursday is very high. I just need to spend some time in the learning lab between now and then to catch up on the concepts that I’m missing from the third test. Hopefully, that final will be good enough to get me back up to an A for the course.

Okay, on to the good news. We’re moving!

Those of you that regularly follow my blog know that the place that my wife and I live now is an older apartment on a boiler system, with pipes that regularly fail, leaving the complex without water for hours. The complex was built in 1983, so it’s seen better days.

While the condition of our current apartment is enough to warrant moving at the end of our current lease, the real impetus is to get me in-district for Austin Community College to drop the price of a three credit hour course from over a thousand dollars to below three hundred.

On Saturday we looked at one apartment and fell in love with it, so much so that we asked for an application on the spot and dropped it and the deposit off yesterday. Late yesterday afternoon we received word that we were approved for the unit, but that a move-in date would be dependent on when the apartment would be ready. Today we got that confirmed, and we’ll be picking up the keys on Friday, January 26.

But here’s the really cool part of this. The new complex was built in 2008, and is currently undergoing renovations. The unit that we’re getting is not currently renovated, but will be so before the move-in, making us the first occupants of the newly renovated unit.

The new place is on the first floor, a very welcome change from the second floor apartment we’re currently in. My wife has chronic back pain and the stairs have been aggravating that for years. There are at least a couple of handicapped spots right by the walkway our front door is in, in case she needs it after a rough day.

The complex is extremely nice. It’s a gated community, and there’s a 24-hour fitness center, a gorgeous pool, a rec center with TVs and a pool table and even a Starbucks-branded coffee bar, a cyber cafe, a dog park, and a gift wrap station. It’s nestled in a quiet community that’s close to everything – the closest H-E-B (that’s the local grocery store chain here in central Texas, and it’s hands down the best store we’ve ever had) is within walking distance and doesn’t require even getting on a main road, and there’s a medical center right beside that. If I could get in there after I get my degree, it would be amazing to be that close to work. The apartment is less than five minutes away from the ACC campus my degree program is taught at.

We knew we were going to have to downsize when we started looking, so the move from a two bedroom, two bath unit to a one bedroom, one bath was expected. That’s pretty much the downside to the place. There are hardwood floors everywhere but the bedroom, a washer and dryer included in a laundry room large enough to hold both the washer and dryer and our small chest freezer, a garden tub, a security system, ceiling fans in the living room and dining room, a sizable patio with additional storage off of that, a good size coat closet, a nicely sized walk-in closet off the bedroom, and built-in shelves between the bedroom and bathroom, plus valet garbage service. And then there’s the kitchen.

The renovated kitchen will have all-new granite counter-tops, an all-new tile back-splash, all-new stainless steel appliances (including a full-size refrigerator, a built-in microwave, a glass-top stove for easy cleaning, and a fantastic dishwasher) a pretty big pantry, and a new sink with garbage disposal and fixtures including a retractable hose. It is the largest kitchen I have ever seen outside of a single-family home.

We’re also taking advantage of a move-in special that cuts our application costs somewhat and shaves our first three full months of rent in half. So really, the only two downsides that I can think of are that we’re moving to a 1/1, and that the kitchen sink isn’t double-sided. That’s it. Everything else in the place is a plus.

We got so lucky with this place.

We’re already trying to determine what’s going where, and what we need to get for the new place, and starting to think about what needs to go to our off-site storage facility.

There is one more downside that I can think of, but it would be a downside regardless of where we moved to – this move is taking place the second weekend of the spring semester. My ability to help with the move is entirely dependent on what my course load is going to be like at that time. That can’t be helped, though, so we’re going to have to be extra nice to the folks that come help us with the move.

We’re both so excited about this move, and I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.

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#579 – May You Live In Interesting Times

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And boy, was today interesting.

Algebra class went off without a hitch, although it was a close thing – I used the last sheet of notebook paper I had taking my final notes, so once class was over I had to go buy another pack. While I was at Office Depot I perused laptops for school and got some fairly good information on a few. And then I headed home.

The afternoon passed fairly quickly and I went to go pick my wife up from work. We came home, ate a dinner that we’d cooked yesterday, and then I headed off to biology, giving myself my usual hour to get there and get settled before class. I always arrive 15-20 minutes early to avoid being rushed.

And that’s when things started going off the rails.

I take back roads to get to campus, rather than chance getting caught in interstate traffic and being late. If there’s traffic – and there always is – it’s usually pretty consistent. Not today. Today started a construction project on my usual route, and for over a mile five lanes were reduced to two, one in each direction. The backup was horrendous, but despite this I managed to get to campus and park pretty much as class was starting, so if I missed anything it wouldn’t be much.

Come to find out, when I walked into the classroom my instructor was sharing the last touches of a recipe for some Italian dish he’d made over the weekend, and I didn’t miss a thing.

So class went as class usually does, and as I was pulling out of the parking lot I noticed a familiar and unwelcome sensation – my blood sugar was crashing, and I didn’t have a thing with me to counter it. I called my wife to tell her I was stopping to get something in my system, and she stayed on the phone with me as I picked up something to immediately counter the crash and something else to smooth things out in the longer-term. I stayed in the parking lot and ate and waited until I felt the crash subside then drove home, talking with my wife the whole way.

Once home, we queued up our newest movie purchase – Wonder Woman – and enjoyed an impromptu movie night to close out the day.

All in all, not a bad day, just full of little things to make life interesting. Sometimes those are the best days.

#577 – Lazy Day and Long Streaks

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Woke up this morning at around 9:00 – unsurprising since I was still awake at 2:00 am – and headed to a friend’s house to visit with her for a while, and to play with her new foster kittens. I spent a couple hours at her place, then headed back home. The kittens are adorable and it was good to spend time with my friend.

My wife has been dealing with a headache all day, so there were some naps interspersed with working on the playlist for tonight’s show. Eventually I headed to the pharmacy to pick up a couple prescriptions and to the store to grab something for dinner tonight, came home, made dinner, and did the show. Tonight was Cards Against Humanity night but because of server errors we were only able to get one game in during our three hour long show.

Tomorrow is going to be hectic. I have a quiz to finish up for algebra by Monday morning, so I’ll be working on that, in addition to doing laundry and the weekly grocery shopping.

Eventually my wife lost her headache but I found it, so I apologize today’s post isn’t any longer than it is.

Oh, one last thing. Know those checklists that I try to accomplish every day? Yesterday I hit 180 days straight of completing my checklist. Kinda proud of that, considering how different things are now that I’m in school. So that happened.

#574 – Cruising

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Not much to report today. I had to skip my morning class due to a thunderous migraine that I was trying to survive. I’ll be heading in tomorrow to try and catch him during office hours to get caught up on what I missed. Spent the majority of the rest of the day resting while it eased off. I did make it to biology tonight, where I got my midterm score: 48/50, which gives me 127 of 130 for the course overall.

I’m really not used to doing this well in school. It’s been over 30 years, for starters, so I didn’t expect this, but on top of that I’m usually bored stupid in a classroom setting. But now, it’s a whole new ball game. I was complimented on my study habits earlier tonight, and they’re really not that good – I just retain information very, very easily.

Speaking of ball games, I have two favorite teams in major league baseball, both by benefit of living locally for years for each one. My Cubbies won it all last year, and this year my Astros took the championship. It’s been a good couple years for baseball for me. Congrats to the ‘Stros on their first World Series title.

#572 – Shifting Gears

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A few days ago, I was spending about a week concentrating on nothing but algebra, trying to get ready for a test and to finish a homework assignment. Last night, things shifted towards preparation for my biology midterm this evening. I was prepared to have to cram for this midterm – I’d been studying along, but a lot of the details weren’t fresh on my mind, and so I wanted to try and rectify that before the exam.

And then today happened.

I started this morning out early. On school days, I drive my wife to work and then usually head back home for about 40-45 minutes before driving part of the way back to my wife’s office to go to algebra class. Today, however, I needed to get to school and talk with Student Accessibility Services regarding spring registration with accommodating instructors. This morning was a walk-in day for SAS, and I knew I needed to be there early to have the best shot of being seen in the hour I would have between the time they opened and my algebra class. So rather than head home, I just stopped off at school, waited until 7:30 for the doors to open, then headed in to stake out my spot in line.

I shouldn’t have worried, however. I was the only one there for some time. The problem with my plan started when 8:00 came and went, and no one was opening the SAS office. Around 8:20 or so a guy came by, asked if we (there were more of us now) were waiting for SAS, and then informed us that SAS staff has been delayed and they weren’t going to open until around 9:00 -= which is what time my algebra class started. I gave up at that point and went to class.

Class went well – I received my second test score back (got a 95!). Afterwards, I was walking to the car when I decided to take a chance on seeing SAS today rather than calling for an appointment later in the week, so I swung by and found that no one was waiting – I could be seen immediately. I wasn’t there too long, but I registered for three classes next semester.

But it’s the fourth class I needed to enroll in that threw a monkey wrench into things. The college won’t let anyone register for anatomy & physiology without first having successfully passed the AP entrance exam, which is what my biology class this semester is supposed to be preparing me to take. I thought about it and decided to throw caution to the wind and went next door to assessment to see if they gave that exam at that campus or if I needed to go to the campus my biology class meets at. They said they’d do it and in fact started the process of me taking it right then and there before I told them I’d need a day or two to prepare. Armed with that info, I went home and started studying for the midterm.

I admit I didn’t get in as much studying as I would have liked to have done, but before long it was time to head to class and face the music.

There were some questions on the exam that were trickily written, but I think I caught most of them, and did at least passably well. We’ll find out late this week or early next week how we did.

So that leaves me with tomorrow to study for my entrance exam, which is made up in part of stuff that we haven’t covered in class yet. I’m going to have to do my best to trust in the stuff that I already know, and bone up on the stuff I’m missing tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s going to be long, but productive. Looking forward to getting that entrance exam behind me.

#571 – Avoiding Repetition Is Hard

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This will be my 571st post in this blog. To the best of my knowledge and perfunctory research I’ve done, I’ve never repeated a title. This is getting harder and harder as time goes on, and I find myself searching past posts to see if I’ve used it before.

The searching is somewhat time consuming, although in truth it’s only a couple minutes of my time, but it does keep me from writing, which is what I want to do with this blog. So starting today, I’m going to preface my titles with the post number, to make sure that each post is uniquely titled.

Now on to the post for the day, which will be short.


Today was basically spent goofing off. I did do a couple hours of studying later in the evening along with my biology study partner in preparation for midterms tomorrow, but I needed today to recharge before buckling down to finish studying tomorrow between classes.

Tomorrow morning I will drop my wife off at work then head straight to campus to meet with Student Accessibility Services in order to register for spring classes. While I can do this process on my own, this semester has taught me that getting accommodating instructors helps a great deal. (I’ve got one this semester that’s quite accommodating and one that’s not really accommodating at all.) Going in to meet with them ensures that I get instructors that will work with me and my specific accommodations. After that meeting I’ll head straight to algebra class, and then home to study for biology midterms. While I’m not really nervous about this exam, I do have to admit that I’m not quite as prepared as I want to be, and I want the information to be fresh in mind come exam time.

I’ll let you know how I think I did tomorrow.

Taking a Bit of a Break

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Today was the first day in over a week that I didn’t have something hanging over my head that was an immediately pressing concern, and I took advantage of that by taking it easy today. I didn’t do any schoolwork, although I’ll be back on that bandwagon tomorrow (I do have pending homework and a midterm on Monday, but the homework isn’t due for some time, and the midterm shouldn’t give me too much trouble with a couple days’ worth of studying invested in it). Today was pretty much a day for me to breathe.

There wasn’t that much breathing going on, though. I was kinda busy doing housework in the morning, and then had a therapy appointment in the afternoon that pretty much ate the rest of the day.

Therapy went well. My therapist is very excited to hear how I continue to be improving, although I need to take better notes to remember a month’s worth of relevant information at a time.

Tomorrow morning starts with an early doctor’s appointment for my annual physical and flu shot, so I’m going to be going in fasting for my A1C. I’ve written NO in great big letters on a couple of Post-it Notes and stuck one to the refrigerator and one to the Keurig, just in case I wind up on autopilot tomorrow morning and try to take anything by mouth.

I’m starting to fade. Can’t remember what it was I was going to say just now, so I give up. Heading for bed.