Working from Home

I'm going to take advantage of another aspect of my job in which it differs from teaching. This morning, I am going to work from home. As you may know, we've been having problems with our cat recently. I called a vet yesterday to make an appointment and the earliest time I could get the cat in was at 9:30 this morning. So this morning, I'll be working from home until I take Ike to the vet. After that, I will take off for Iowa City for work.


Here Fishy Fishy

About a month and a half ago, Mel and I set up an aquarium in our home. We started with a pair of black mollies. After a few weeks, we began to add some more fish – two silver dollar mollies, two pink kissing gouramis, two marigold wag swordtails, and a plecostomus. Our male swordtail died a couple of weeks ago. We have been trying to replace him, but the pet store hasn’t had one when we’ve been it. On Wednesday night, we decided to add six neon tetras. Yesterday when I got home from work, I only saw four of them in the fish tank. After some looking around, I saw one stuck in the intake of the filter. Upon removing its carcass from the water, I noticed that its tail was missing. I guess the other fish were trying to make a snack of him. We haven’t been able to find any sign of the other missing fish. This morning, Mel looked in the aquarium and only spotted two of the neon tetras swimming in the aquarium. The body of one was in the filter once again. The other remains missing. If this pattern continues, the neon tetras will be gone tomorrow morning. At least they were relatively inexpensive.


Back to School Time!

It's that time of the year again. Children and teachers are headed back to school. For the first time in seven years, I am not part of the whole back-to-school ritual. I really didn't think I would miss it one bit, but I do a little. If I had kept teaching in Waterloo, I'd be back to work now and my first day of school would be this coming Monday. I know that what I am doing now is better for me as I frequently got quite stressed while teaching. I feel much better now than I did before. I seem to be happier now for the most part as well. My current job also has better pay and benefits which will come in handy whenever Mel and I decide to start a family. Nonetheless, I am going to miss some of the aspects of teaching, and I don't just mean the vacations. When I had a group of students who seemed to enjoy learning and who actually tried, teaching was fun. It was students like those who made teaching a great profession.


Movie and Church

This weekend wasn't too busy for Mel and me. We didn't do a who lot on Saturday, hanging around the house most of the day. In the afternoon we decided to go see a movie. Mel wanted to see Skeleton Key so that's what we went to see. It wasn't something that I particularly wanted to go to, but Mel wanted to and I wanted to make her happy. As is usually the case when we go to these horror movies, I don't really want to see them, but I usually enjoy them anyway. This one was pretty good. It was the ending that made it good. I definitely didn't see it coming.

Yesterday morning we went to church. Except for the baptism, the two weddings, and the funeral we were at this summer, we haven't gone to church since moving to Cedar Rapids in June. We went to church we are getting married at in Waterloo. We had to meet with the pastor and the most convenient time we could come up with was after church. The meeting wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. I really had no idea what to expect, but I thought he'd be asking us a lot of personal questions. It wasn't that bad. He seemed like a pretty nice guy. We have to go back in about a month or so to see him again, then we'll be all ready to get married.

Now I have another problem. Our cat had been peeing on the carpet in two different places in the basement. Well, I thought he had stopped, but about ten minutes ago, he peed on the video tape rack while I was watching! I guess we had better take him to the vet to see if there is a problem that we can fix easily. I hope we can stop this behavior, because we can't allow it to continue


Exercise Routine

This morning I began a new exercise routine. For the past few weeks, Mel has been getting up around 5:15 to go work out at Curves. So this morning, I got up at 5:30 to work out on the Bowflex that we have. Tomorrow I plan on going for a walk or jog when I get up. I really have to do something. At the beginning of last summer I weighed 243 pounds. Through dieting and exercise, I got my weight down to 210 pounds by mid-October. I managed to keep my weight within a five pounds of 210 until the beginning of May. Now I'm back up to anywhere between 220 and 227 pounds when I weigh in on Sundays. I would really like to get back down to at most 210 pounds. What I would really like to do is to get my weight down to 200 pounds or less. I should be able to do it. All it will take is some determination.


The Weekend

On Saturday Mel and I went to Waterloo. She got herself another tattoo. It looks pretty cool. I’m actually considering getting one as well, but I don’t know if I can go through with it. While she was getting her tattoo, I tried to figure out the books from my dad’s business. It was so frustrating. I just could not figure everything out. Fortunately, a family friend of my parents who used to own a business is going to be visiting my mom this week. Hopefully he can help her figure it all out.

The rest of the weekend wasn’t too exciting. I finished painting the foyer of our house red. I need to touch up a little with white paint, but first I need to find a tall ladder. We also returned one of our fish to the pet store today. I found it dead at the bottom of the aquarium yesterday morning when I was exchanging some water. We didn’t replace it yet since there was something wrong with our water sample. The ammonia level was at lethal levels for fish. Now the rest of our fish were doing just fine, but just to be safe, we are waiting to replace the fish until we take in another water sample.


Sweet Corn Festival

Mel and I went to the St. Jude’s Sweet Corn Festival last night. We didn’t do much while we were there. Basically we just ate dinner and had some funnel cakes. We really should have split one funnel cake as they were so big. Our dinner didn’t include sweet corn, the food of honor of the festival. Mel is supposed to avoid corn as much as possible as it has been determined that she’s allergic to it. I, on the other hand, am free to eat as much corn as I want but out of consideration for my lovely fiancée, I abstained from corn at the sweet corn festival. Well actually, I just didn’t want any. I enjoy sweet corn, but it’s not a food that I really crave all that much. Living in Iowa, it almost sounds blasphemous to admit that. However, I really could go without eating corn on the cob too often. There are other vegetables that I prefer.

Before we left for St. Jude’s last night, I wondered if I would run into any of my former students there. I taught sixth grade for one year on the west side of Cedar Rapids a few years ago, and it was likely that some of my former students would be there. I only saw two students of mine. One of them saw and recognized me. I recognized him as well, but I could not remember his name. His appearance had changed significantly from the end of sixth grade to the end of eighth. I recognized one other student there as well. Since leaving teaching, I have only run into three of my former students now.

On that note however, my fiancée ran into a former student of mine at work. One day at work, one of Mel’s coworkers was wearing a sweatshirt from a school that I taught at for three years. And she mentioned that her fiancé used to teach there. After identifying who I was, she found out that I had had her coworker as a student. The student confessed to Mel that she and the rest of the class thought I would never get married. I guess they thought I was a bit too geeky to ever find the right woman.


I Love My Job

I am really enjoying my new job! There are moments when I am working that my new job gets a bit boring, but most of the time it is genuinely interesting. For the past several weeks, I have spent most of my time at work reading, revising, and editing math test items. That may sound boring to many of you, but I truly enjoy doing math. Recently, I have begun working on assembling test items to make a test. This has been really challenging. It can be difficult to get a test to fit all of the parameters that need to be addressed, but it is a great mental exercise. When I decided to leave teaching, I thought that I may miss it, and I will probably miss some aspects of teaching, but I am quite certain that I made the correct decision. Not only am I making more money and have better benefits, but for the most part, I don't have work to take home most nights and I don't have to deal with unruly children who don't care to learn.



I’ve been worried about my mother lately. I have been coping fairly well with the death of my father in June. Understandably, my mother has been having some difficulties. Yesterday afternoon, she called because she was having a tough day. I wasn’t home, but she spoke with my fiancée for quite some time. She’s been having difficulties selling the minivan which she doesn’t need and that she would like to get rid of so she can stop making payments on it. She’s been trying to sell it for over a month now without much success. She also feels so exhausted. She is finding that taking care of the garden and the lawn takes up quite a bit of time that she would rather spend doing other things. She looked at a condo this weekend, but it didn’t seem to fit her needs, besides she has a lot of work to do on her house before she can sell it.

This weekend, Mel and I are going to Waterloo. Hopefully I can help my mother get some things taken care of around the house that she needs to get done. She wants to get the inventory from my dad’s business sold, so she can get the money for it, and to help clean up the place. I hope I can help with that.

Well, I better be off to bed as I have a dentist appointment at 6:00 tomorrow morning.


I'm Back

It’s been nearly a month since I have written anything in my blog. I wish I could say it’s been because I have been so busy with work lately, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Oh, I’ve been busy at work, but when I get home, I just haven’t taken the time to write.

I was out of town for a week in July. I rode by bike on my sixth RAGBRAI. I wish I could say that I rode the entire thing, but I skipped one day. Sunday night as we were camping in Sheldon, a big storm came through. During the strong winds, my tent began to collapse in on me, so right when the rain began to intensify I fled my tent for the relative safety of our team bus. Of course, when I left the tent, I was no longer in it to hold it down and it quickly started to blow away. Fortunately there was a fence right next to it, so it didn’t go very far. Everything in the tent however was soaked. I didn’t ride my bike on Monday so I would have a chance to dry out my things. I did ride my bike the rest of the way across the state though. After my father passed away in June, I thought about not riding on RAGBRAI as it was something that the two of us did together the past five years, but I decided that it was something that I needed to do. My dad had bought a new bike in March, so I decided to ride it on RAGBRAI instead of my own bike. It is a really nice bike. Perhaps it helped to make the ride easier.

Friday evening, Mel and I went out to dinner with our good friend Homercles. We went to the Irish Democrat Pub & Grille in Cedar Rapids. I had only been there once before, but it was good then, so I thought we should try it again. It didn’t disappoint. The food was terrific. The only problem was that we had quite a wait, but it was worth it.

This past weekend, Mel and I went to the wedding of a friend on Saturday. Then on Sunday we drove to Ankeny for Mel’s nephew’s baptism. We had a really busy weekend. I am looking forward to a weekend where we don’t have to go anywhere. Unfortunately this won’t be the weekend. This Saturday we will be going to Waterloo so Mel can offer support to a friend of hers who is planning on getting a tattoo. Mel is thinking that she is going to get another one herself as well. That’s fine with me. The tattoos she has are tasteful and this one should be too. I keep thinking about getting a tattoo as well, but I don’t think I would ever actually go through with it.

Now that I have returned to the world of blogging, I hope to keep it up.