Monday, August 28, 2006

Classes Update

The good news is, we get to use tools in Construction Practices Lab. The bad news is, I need to pass a proficiency test using a circular saw and a table saw, and these are tools that I am deathly afraid of. However, if it's for school, I know I can get Carl to tutor me in their use. He's already had to tutor me in Math. It's nice to have an engineer in the house who understands all these technical things. Plus, I have the added benefit of getting to sleep with my tutor.

How many of the other students can say that? ;-)

hee hee hee

Friday, August 25, 2006

Between Classes

Yep! That's where I am. I had Microcomputer Applications this morning, and it's supposed to last until noon, but because it's the first meeting it was incredibly short. Basically the instructor went through the syllabus, told us what he expects, and told us what equipment we need, then he let us go. Right now I'm in Benton Hall, across from Student Services, where I went to hand in my "Learning Accomodations Form" which was signed by all my instructors. That means that if I need extra time to finish a test, or if the classroom environment is unsuitable for me to take tests, I can take tests in the Testing Room in Linn Hall, and I get unlimited time to finish said test. I get this accomodation because I have a method processing disability. That, and I think the counseling staff takes pity on me because I'm at least 25 years older than most of the people (read "kids") here.

Speaking of the younger generation, I've found them to be extremely polite here. Especially the guys - I've had more doors held open for me this week than I've had held for me all of last year. Maybe they think I'm feeble, or maybe it's because I remind them of their Mom, or maybe they were just raised right, but whatever the reason I always smile and say "Thank You!". Many of them are quite cute: makes me wish I was 25 years younger myself!

And on the topic of being "younger" - last week I started counting carb grams along with counting fat grams (something I've been doing for quite some time) and I've already lost about 5 pounds. Along with that, I've been going to the rec center here on campus (it's free!) and walking the treadmill after classes (when I remember my gym shoes) so I hope to lose at least 10 pounds by the time my birthday rolls around. Wish me luck! And don't worry - I consulted with "Blueprints for Health", an advising service provided by my insurance company before I started, so I know that I'm counting the correct number of grams.

As far as classes go (we started Tuesday) so far I've had 2 math classes, 2 plans and specs (APS) classes, a drafting class, the microcomputer class, and a building systems (BCS) class. I have another BCS class at 1 PM. The only class I haven't had yet is Monday's Contruction Practices Lab. I'm hoping that's more fun than Drafting. I wanted to learn good ol' fashion drafting, and thus use Daddy's tools from when he drew plans, but this is a sketch only class. We'll learn real, modern drafting next semester in AutoCAD class. But I hope we get to use tools in the Construction Lab. That would be great!!

Pass me that hammer, will ya? There's a screw a-stickin' out here!

Just kidding.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Going Home

I just found out, via the Quad-Citiy Times online, that my hometown of Maysville is having a sesquecentennial celebration. (Gee, I hope I spelled that big word correctly!) For those of you who are interested, you can read the story for yourself:

This link better work

I want to go. I've always wondered about Maysville's history and this seems like a good time to go find out. I'm especially curious about the cemetary walk. I've been in that cemetary hundreds of times, wondering about the old tombstones. Maybe I'll finally find out if any of them are significant. Plus, they're having some sort of history tour, and I want to go on that, too.

And I'm curious to see if anyone recognizes me, or if I'll recognize them. I think Gary Fears, my junior high social studies teacher, still lives there. I can't imagine how he's changed in twenty years. It's been that long since I've seen him. And I wonder if my Mom will want to go with me. I'd like her to, so she can see all those people that she spent 30 years living near.

Plus, she can tell me who in the heck they are.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Soooooo Big!

Have I mentioned lately how big my girls have gotten? Hannah is 5'5" and looks some of the ladies in our church right in the eye. Mary is one of the tallest in her class (how tall I'm not sure) which some of the boys thought was intimidating until she belched, which made them accept her immediately as one of their own.

So - tonight we went for a family bike ride. We started out together but ended up splitting into two pairs: Carl went with Mary (who rides slowly and keeps stopping) and I went with Hannah, the speed merchant. We rode around for a while, then we turned south onto B Avenue and started up the hill. I decided to put on the steam, and I blew past Hannah, but not for long. She caught me halfway up the hill, and beat me to 5th Street. No, I take that back. She didn't beat me - she kicked my butt! I think she beat me by, like, ten bike lengths. And it just so happened that she had classmates out in their yard, watching. It was humiliating.

But they're growing so fast, it takes my breath away. By next summer both girls will need different bikes, as they will outgrow the ones they're riding this year. Mary will probably get Hannah's bike, and Hannah will get mine. Carl promised me that when Hannah grew tall enough to ride my bike, he'd buy me a new one, a ladies' touring bike.

With a soft, cushy seat.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Countdown

One week from tomorrow, I become a student. Next Tuesday is when I have my first classes at Kirkwood Community College, and boy am I ever NERVOUS!! I haven't been in school since 1988, and I don't know if I'll remember how to study. My biggest fear? Falling asleep in class, or while reading one of my textbooks. I've already purchased my textbooks except for one - it just hadn't come into the bookstore yet. I'll probably wait until the first day of school to get my book since I may have to buy a new calculator, too. It depends on what the instructor wants.

Meanwhile, Lou and Boo (the Dynamic Two) start school a week from Thursday. Today we went up to the middle school/high school to register. We were 20 minutes early because I knew there would be a long line at the MS/HS table, and I was right. I was also the first one in line, so I didn't have to wait that long, and I wasn't crowded, either. Hannah got her schedule and a lunch menu (both extremely important items for a 7th grader) and then we went to the Atkins Elementary table and registered Mary. Afterward, I had to explain to Hannah that they do things differently in middle school - there weren't any lists for you to see who you'd be in homeroom with, and there was no "student handbook" like the one they pass out to elementary kids. She was in the "big leagues" now, but the differences between elementary and middle school had her upset until I explained them. She didn't realize just how many kids got mixed together in one building. Fortunately, she understood what I was saying, so she's not quite so upset anymore. Now she's just anxious about having to find her classes.

Next week's school opening festivities wouldn't be complete without a monkey wrench thrown into the works. This year's wrench comes courtesy of Rockwell-Collins, Carl's employer. The bosses decided that next week would be the perfect time to send their engineers to Wichita, KS to meet with the Cessna engineers and do whatever voodoo they do. Carl was planning to take vacation so someone was home with the girls Tuesday and Wednesday, but now that's not possible. However, my Mom (who heard the panic in my voice as I explained the situation to her) is riding to my rescue once again. She'll stay with the girls while I'm at school, and maybe longer if she wants to. I may need help prying Mary out of bed Thursday morning. Hannah is learning how to give Mary her shots, so we've got that covered, too.

But I'm still concerned about being in school again. I did make reservations to go to one of the "adult" student welcome sessions that the college offered, and I have an appointment with a counselor to set up an assistance program for my, well, somewhat weird learning disability. I think I have all the bases covered. I know my schedule - I put it on a spreadsheet and printed it out in colored ink, a different color for each class. I provided one of these schedules to Mary's school so they know where I am in case of emergency. I have my books, a spiral notebook, pens, various drafting tools that the Industrial Technology department said I needed, and a bag to put them all in. All I need now is the ambition necessary to get out of bed at 6:00 AM.

That's gonna be tough.

Monday, August 07, 2006


It was twenty years ago today... Well, that's how the Beatles song goes. I'm not sure if it was today exactly, but it was twenty years ago, in the first weeks of August, that Carl and I met. I'm pretty sure the date was August 10, but it might have been the Sunday before. When people ask me, "How did you meet your husband?" I like to tell them "We ran into each other skating." Their reaction is usually "Really? Did you really run into him?" No, I didn't collide with him, but we did meet at a skating rink. My parents also met at a skating rink. Therefore, my daughters are never going rollerskating, ever. Well, at least not until they've graduated from college.

Twenty years together, and there are alot of memories: a few bad, but the vast majority are good. Let me share some with you:

Right after we met, my Mom called me to tell me that Dad and his brothers were having a little get-together at Lake Odessa on the Mississippi River, and since Uncle Hep lived in the same town as me, would I like to come along? Of course, I said, being at that time a college student constantly in search of home-cooked food. Then Mom asked if I would want her to invite a guy-friend of mine, so I'd have someone my own age to talk to. I said, "Actually, Mom, I have someone I'd like to bring." She was surprised, but pleased, so Sunday afternoon (probably the 24th) my aunt and uncle picked up Carl and me from my dorm and off we went. When we got there, I introduced Carl to my parents, and immediately the guys asked Carl if he'd like to go out on the boat with them. So, off went the guys in the boat, and us gals sat around talking. Mom later told me that the minute Carl opened his mouth to talk to her, she knew he was "The One". She knew alot sooner than I did. I didn't figure it out until October.

Sometime during the winter of 1986 -1987, I needed to have the struts replaced on my car, Bucky the Incredible Flying Escort. Carl and I took the car to my parent's, and Dad and Carl set to work on the repairs. They finished one strut, then Dad needed to run an errand in town, so he told Carl they'd finish the second one when he got back. Carl said, "Oh, don't worry about it. I can do the other one." Dad said, "Are you sure?" and Carl said, "Oh, yeah. You showed me how to do the first one, the second one will be easy." I had to go with Dad on his errand, and by the time we got back Carl had finished, and done a dang good job. This pretty much sealed it for my Dad. He was already impressed with Carl - the fact that Carl was an electrical engineer (Dad was a mechanical engineer) and a farm boy helped - but Carl's ability to fix things really struck home with Dad. After we were married, Carl and Dad worked together on several projects. Carl always learned something new from Dad, and Dad always had someone to work with who understood how he thought. (Engineers speak their own language.) And they seemed to appreciate each other's sense of humor. For instance, shortly after we got The Tractors CD (this was years ago) we took it to Mom and Dad's to play for them. The Tractors did a remake of Hank Williams' Settin' The Woods On Fire, and when they sang they lyrics I don't care who thinks we're silly/ You be daffy and I'll be dilly/ We'll order up two bowls of chili Carl said to Dad, "Yeah, if I ate two bowls of chili I'd be setting the woods on fire, too." Dad about fell over in his chair laughing. Mom and I just groaned.

I can't, of course, write about all the memories accumulated over twenty years. I chose the ones above because I've been thinking about them recently. But hey, it's been a good twenty years, and I'm hoping for at least twenty more. But I'm going to mention one more memory, and I know that only Carl will understand this.


I love you, honey.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Atkins Watermelon Days 2006 has come and gone. There was fun, food and frivolity - let me share with you the highlights.

Watermelon Days started on Friday night. They always have a "teen dance", which is basically all the middle and high school kids hanging out at the basketball court listening to music and oozing hormones. Hannah didn't go because she didn't ask to go. She'll be old enough to go when she's ready to ask if she can go. But the whole family went to the "balloon glow". A family from Blairstown has a couple hot air balloons, one of which they set up on the soccer field so they could give tethered balloon rides. We didn't go up: Carl thought $7.50 per person was too expensive. When it got dark they set up their second balloon. Both were tethered to the ground, and every few seconds or so they'd "glow" the balloon by shooting flame up into them. It was kind of a neat sight - we got to see what the inside of a balloon looks like, how they get set up, and etc. Mary even got to sit on the edge of one of the baskets. Moose Mutt was with us, and he spent most of the night cowering behind me because the sound of the gas jet scares him. Sheesh. But as we were leaving we turned around and saw the balloons glowing in the distance, and that was beautiful.

Saturday was the parade, the games and the raffles. The girls got lots of candy from the parade, and they both participated in some of the games. Mary, my little "lady" (please note the heavy sarcasm) won first place in the seed spitting contest in her age group. I mean, really, it's nice to win first place, but spitting? This is her father's influence showing up here. I would NEVER teach her something like that. :) Carl had to work for a while in the bingo tent as cashier. The PTA runs the bingo tent, and Carl is vice president of the PTA, so he signed up to help. Once he'd finished we went home for a while, and at dusk we went back down to the park for the fireworks. We laid out blankets on the field, and the fireworks went directly up over our heads. I've never been that close to fireworks before. It's kind of disconcerting watching glowing sparks raining down directly at you, but none landed close to us. Whoever they hired did a really good job, though. It was an extremely nice display for a town our size. After the fireworks, we went home. They have a live band and a beer tent on Saturday night, but we were tired, and the girls can't stay home by themselves yet.

Today was cleanup day. For the past several years, we've loaned the Community Club our camper to use as the "office", and after church Carl went and picked it up. Shortly after that, the Community Club president, Ken Popenhagen, stopped by to return his set of camper keys and also to give us a leftover watermelon. I wasn't home at the time, but I called him later and he told me they'd almost run out of t-shirts. They were a real hit this year, and Ken sounded happy that I was already working on a design for next year. It will be Atkins' quasquecentennial (that's 125 years) and the Community Club wants to plan a BIG celebration. I hope to be a part of it - not just as the designer of the t-shirt, but maybe helping out with the games or something. After all, it's not every year your town turns 125, and I don't want to miss out on the fun.