#586 – Back To It

Standard

Hello, readers, I’ve missed you. No, really, my days have been kinda weird without having my blog to end the day so I can record what’s going through my mind at the time. So I’ve decided to get back into the daily habit of writing, even if it’s a pretty boring, mundane post.

Finals are over, and I’m just awaiting grades. Biology shouldn’t be a problem, but algebra tripped me up in the second half of the semester, and I would be overjoyed if I could squeak out a B for a final grade.

The move is happening slowly but surely. Less than six weeks to go, and there’s still a lot to do.

I’m exhausted writing this, so I’m going to head for bed and talk to you more at length tomorrow, when I have all the time in the world to write.

Advertisements

#585 – Luck, Both Good and Bad

Standard

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.

Whiteout

Standard

Earlier tonight, we experienced a sudden squall. After threatening to rain for some time, it finally started, and within seconds, it was raining and hailing so hard I couldn’t see the tree across the parking lot from the apartment. It was an absolutely devastating storm that only lasted maybe five minutes before dissipating, but it was hard enough to leave a couple of hail dings on the hood of the car. We were lucky, there were other vehicles that looked to have more damage than we had.

The scariest part of this storm is that Stormy Cat was outside at the time, and we couldn’t call him back home. We tried three times, but he was left to fend for himself, and we were left to worry.

My wife actually broke down and cried over it. I tried reassuring her that he was fine, that he always seemed to dodge the worst of any rainstorm that we experienced, and I was fairly confident that he was someplace safe, hiding from the rain and hail. But deep down, I was sick with worry too.

About 45 minutes after the storm had passed, sure enough, we saw him on the balcony, and we let him in. He was fairly wet, his paws were muddy, but he seemed fine. He came in, stayed for about an hour and a half, got mostly dry, then went back outside for a while.

That didn’t last. He was outside maybe fifteen minutes before he was back at the door, wanting in. As I write this, he’s on our bed, probably continuing to groom himself in a dry, safe location.

This is one of the reasons that I wish we could be a little more insistent that he stay indoors. He could be hit by a car, he could get in another fight with the neighborhood cats, he could get hurt by a hailstorm. If we weren’t pretty convinced that litter box training him would be a long and messy endeavor, we’d keep him inside for good. But unfortunately we are liable for damage to the apartment while we’re here, and we’d like to get our security deposit back when it’s time to move. (That won’t be for another couple of years at least.)

Moving is another thing that worries me. If we move, and he goes to another apartment complex with us, I’m worried that he’ll get lost and not find his new home if we let him roam as he does here, and the same litter box concern of keeping him inside will follow us anywhere we go. Perhaps the only way of making sure is to slowly, over time, convert him to being an indoor kitty while we’re here and eating the security deposit. That unnerves me, however. I pride myself on keeping a fairly clean and neat home, and cleaning up kitty accidents would be problematic without a steam cleaner. We’ve experienced the issue of kitty accidents with other cats that we’ve owned, and we’d both prefer not to have a repeat of the circumstances.

For now, I think we’re mostly content with the situation we’re in – one indoor cat, one indoor/outdoor cat. I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.