Third Stage Complete


(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Going to have to be quick tonight, since it’s almost 10:30 and the alarm goes off in five hours from now, and there’s still a ton of stuff left to do before we’re packed.

Before I get into how my classes went today, let me follow up on the part in yesterday’s blog post where I talked about our water being out. The last I told you was that the water was expected to be turned on around midnight, so we should expect to wake up with running water.

We did not, in fact, wake up to running water.

Late this morning, we received an email profusely apologizing for the long delay in getting the water back online, and telling us that the plumbers were on site from noon yesterday until 6:30 this morning trying to make repairs. They said that they were waiting on the glue to dry and that things should be back to normal by noon, or hopefully before.

Noon came and went, and still no water.

At 1:40 pm I called the office and asked when the water would be turned back on. They said 2:00, so at 2:00 I just calmly walked to the kitchen sink and turned the faucet on, knowing what to expect. Sure enough, no water. So we called them again, and were told this time that the water will be back on at 4:00 pm, and if it’s not, call back and get an updated estimate.

They could not have said “your guess is as good as mine” any louder.

At 4:00 I was at my wife’s office, picking her up, and we stopped for food on the way home, so it was after 4:30 when we arrived. We got in, we finished our food, and I went back to the kitchen, knowing full well what to expect out of the faucet.

And finally, after 28 hours without it, there was water flowing from the faucet. I have never been more happy to be able to wash dishes and rinse reusable coffee filters and refill our four gallons of filtered water we keep in the fridge and all the other things that we use water for.

Anyway, enough about the Saga of the Missing Water, I meant to make this blog post about school, and I’ve failed miserably.

Got my second algebra quiz back. My streak of scores in the 90s is over. I broke it with a perfect 100, so that’s a decent thing. I also turned in the next quiz, since it’s due on Monday, and a lot of that quiz was dependent on today’s lecture. I did not do well on it at all. Fortunately I get to drop the two lowest quiz scores, so I’m hoping this will be a one-off situation and not an indication of my inability to progress further into algebra.

Got my first homework assignment back in biology. Scored a perfect 10 out of 10. The lecture was pretty intense – we’re currently covering the macromolecules and today we finished up carbohyudrates, went through lipids, and started in on proteins. I also got my first notes from my note-taking partner, and they are amazing – in Google Docs, complete with diagrams and illustrations taken from the web, as class was being dismissed. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m going to pick up a small souvenir from the San Francisco area for my two note-takers for Monday, and will have to do something nice for my biology partner at the end of the semester.

Well, that’s about all I have to offer at this point. It’s getting later and later, and I still have to pack computers and school supplies. My next blog post will be from California. See you then!

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my wife’s birthday is today. Happy birthday, my love. Can’t wait to be on vacation with you tomorrow.


Happy Birthday My Friend


This afternoon my wife and I drove down to the west side of San Antonio to attend a dear friend and mentor’s 70th birthday party. The trip down was full of stop-and-go traffic, and I passed the time by reading a chapter of my biology homework on my tablet during the drive.

We got to his daughter’s home and finally got a chance to meet the rest of his family that we didn’t already know – his daughter and her husband and kids, and his youngest son’s girlfriend. They’re all super nice people and it was good to finally get to meet them.

There were also several of our friends there as well, and we enjoyed spending time with them all. I was fairly social until late in our stay.

One of my highlights was finally getting to spend some time with a friend’s service dog. In the time that I’ve known Gitte, she’s always been on duty, and you never engage a service dog while on duty unless given explicit permission by the owner. Tonight, though, her owner arrived, said her hellos, and then took Gitte’s vest off, signifying that she was free to just be a dog for the visit. She’s very sweet and was thrilled to be able to engage all the people at the party, and it was a very happy thing to see her enjoying herself so much.

As for my friend, the crotchety old bastard who reads these blog posts, well, I could say a lot of derogatory things here about him – he’d actually expect that, honestly – but what I’m instead going to say is that in the years that I’ve known him, I would be hard-pressed to find a more honorable, wise individual, who goes out of his way to help others, especially when they themselves are helping others still. He’s got a wicked sense of humor but the heart of a Lion (quite literally – it’s a long story if you don’t already know) and I would be very hard-pressed to find anyone that I’d rather have mentor me through my beloved hobby. Love you, my friend. Happy birthday.

Post-Birthday Thoughts


Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. I was nervous about the whole affair since my wife had plans for me that she wasn’t telling me about. Throughout the week I was guessing little details here and there – what we were having for dinner and dessert, what we were going to be doing – the only thing that I didn’t know was who was going to be at the apartment to celebrate.

We have a small two-bedroom apartment. Our dining room table usually seats two, but can expand to seat six in a pinch. Trick is, we only have four chairs, the two that come with the dining room table and the two office chairs, so sitting six around the table is a little tricky. We also have the two mobile desks and a footstool that could be used as a chair in a pinch.

Visitors started arriving at around 7:00 pm. My first visitor stopped by for just a few minutes as she had a prior engagement during the evening, but it was great to see her. After she arrived, we had two more join us (they arrived at the same time), then two more (a married couple), and finally a friend who moved into the apartment complex a few months ago. So between the five visitors and the two of us, we had seven people in the apartment.

We extended the table and I was sat at the head of the table. One of our guests took my usual spot on the couch with my desk, and we had three more at the table in chairs and one who sat on the end of the chaise. My wife took the footstool and her desk, as it was closest to the kitchen.

It was pretty close quarters trying to maneuver around the table and chairs to do much of anything, but we managed to get everyone served. My wife made lasagna, her family recipe straight from southern Italy, and one of our guests brought a warm German potato salad. The married couple brought an expansive veggie tray and our friend and neighbor came down with a fruit tray and dip that we noshed on once we were done with dinner. Everyone was quite satisfied with the meal, I thought.

We settled for a little while and then had dessert, strawberries and bananas Romanoff served over angel food cake cups – one of my favorite desserts. My wife did her best Marilyn Monroe impression as she sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Everyone cheered and she was surprised to find her performance posted to Facebook not long afterward.

Once dessert was done, the two that arrived at the same time also left at the same time, and so the five of us that were left cleared the table, had a round of coffee, and settled in to play a game of Munchkin Legends.

Munchkin is a card game from Steve Jackson Games that initially poked fun at the fantasy/Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying genre. With monster and treasure cards that are full of fantastic puns, it’s a great game for most ages (younger kids may not get the puns, but they will appreciate the cartoony pictures on each card). There are now almost two dozen core games dealing with genres ranging from superheroes to zombies to westerns to sci-fi to steampunk, including several branded versions (Adventure Time, Axe Cop, Marvel, the Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.) and a half-dozen deluxe editions that include game boards and player tokens to track each player’s progress through the game. (Munchkin Legends, the version we were playing, deals with world mythology.) If this sounds interesting to you, you can learn more about Munchkin at its website.

Our neighbor had never played any version of Munchkin before, so we got to explain the game as we went along (something that’s easy to do, as many of the cards have their own rules that apply to them). At the end of the game – it was our neighbor who was victorious in her first game, continuing a long-standing household tradition that the rookie player somehow manages to win the game.

We put up the cards and conversations turned towards the mutual hobby that we all share, and finally at around 1:00 am the party broke up.

It’s the most socializing that I had done since my friend’s baby shower about three weeks ago. I had a great time and I handled the small crowd very well.

While I thanked my guests on Facebook by name, I also want to thank them again here for stopping by. It meant the world to me and it helped me to boot. I’d love to do more of these sorts of game nights in the future, since they help me to socialize where I wouldn’t otherwise do so.

I went to bed tired, but satisfied. It was a good birthday.

Bits and Pieces


This is going to be disjointed because I have a lot on my mind today and none of it really connects with anything else, so this is going to be a bit of a brain purge. Sorry for the choppiness of today’s post.

I’ve been lethargic all morning long. Woke up, did my new morning habit from The Fabulous app (found out that it’s actually called that, even though everything in the Google Play Store says just “Fabulous”), did the rest of my morning ritual, ate breakfast, and went back to bed. Woke up about an hour later, still tired, and basically forced myself to start in on my checklist items for the morning. Now I’ve got a headache that’s making me feel even worse. Yay.

I’ve been having weird dreams at an increased rate. I’ve also been remembering a good deal of them, which is highly unusual for me. Not sure what this means; also not sure if it means anything. There’s not been a change in my medication to trigger it, so I don’t know what’s causing the weirdness. I just wish it would stop; a lot of them are disconcertingly, wake-me-up weird, and I dislike that feeling.

My birthday is in a week, and for the first time my wife has told me “you have plans” and won’t tell me what they are. I’m very confused by this, since my birthday falls squarely in the middle of her transition week from weekly temp pay to biweekly permanent pay and money is extremely scarce right now, so I have no clue what’s up her sleeve.

According to Duolingo, I’m 47% fluent in Spanish now. I really don’t feel anywhere hear that fluent. Part of that is the long break that i took before restarting the program recently; part of that is that I’m not thinking in Spanish, so I’m not getting any practice outside of answering the questions (mostly) correctly and going from there.