Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Em and I went to see The Merry Wives of Windsor last night at the Riverside Theatre Festival Stage in City Park. I've never read that play before, and it was entertaining. We went to Pancheros for supper and then headed over a little early to see the Green Show, where all the supporting cast members put on a 20 minute summary of the play in modern English, so that you have a better idea of the plot and it's easier to follow along when you're listening to Shakespearean English.

We arrived just a bit late, and squeezed behind the last row of people sitting on picnic benches and the bathroom building, so we would walk in front of anyone. One of the buttons on the jean jacket tied around my waist got caught on the skirt of the woman in front of me, and ripped it. She was completely indignant and told me off, like I had done it on purpose. What the hell, lady? I apologized and said it must have gotten caught on my button, and she just glared at me like I was trying to tear her clothes off her. It was an accident after all, and what kind of clothes are you wearing if it can get torn by a button? At any rate, it kind of colored my whole night. As Em and I were standing on the other side of the crowd watching the Green Show, I said, "Just watch. We'll be sitting next to her." I was wrong, she was sitting in front of us. Awkward! I would have felt worse about it if she hadn't been such a bitch about it.

We did enjoy ourselves anyway, especially the intermission when I commented on how chilly it was getting, being it's almost July. The discussion veered off into how Em would sleep with the windows open in winter if Matt would let her, but the pipes would freeze. It's not worth it, I said, where would you go to the bathroom? The neighbors' yard, she replied, It's not like they would notice, anyway. We giggled for a long time over that one. Or you just had to be there. :)

Friday, June 29, 2007

I paid off my truck today! Woohoo! It's been very exciting watching the declining balance of my car loan go down to almost nothing, and it will be even better watching the savings account balance go up. I've got it set up so that the payment automatically comes out of my paycheck, and now that payment will just be diverted to my savings account, for when I have to buy a new vehicle. Which hopefully won't be for a long time, because I still have less than 60,000 miles on it (but not much less). I can't wait to get the title back, and put it in my safety deposit box. One more way I feel like a grownup. ;)

Of course, I got to celebrate by spending $400 to fix my brakes. Doh! They started grinding a couple days ago, and I had to replace the brake pads and rotors. Fun, fun.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My neighbor Doug gives me some of the most interesting projects to work on. I've been researching the deductibility of conservation easements most of the afternoon. I haven't had this much fun all month!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I walked out the door this morning, having completely forgotten to put on makeup. How am I getting so absent-minded?

Monday, June 25, 2007

I think I scared off another 10 students or so with the first test. Most of them did better than they thought, since I graded pretty easy on the problem - it was a lot of work, and most of them understood the general concepts. The average was 75 and I had a pretty decent bell curve going on, so I'm not too worried. If they did their homework and showed up to class, they're still doing all right in the class.

I went with Mom and Lew to meet Em's plane in Cedar Rapids. She was supposed to get in at 7:38, and I had a meeting at the Cedar Rapids office at 10, so we were supposed to pick her up and go out for breakfast before my meeting. "Supposed to" is the key word. Stupid O'Hare canceled her flight, and booked her on one arriving an hour later. Meanwhile, we're frantic because we didn't have the flight numbers and didn't know the flight had been canceled and thought another flight coming in near the same time was hers (this is the Cedar Rapids airport - it's tiny). We were trying to figure out where she was, what her real flight numbers were, calling people who might have that info (including accidentally calling Matt - he answered the phone fast asleep, as it was 5:30 in the morning there). Finally Em showed up in the terminal, but the airline lost one of her bags in the shuffle, so we had to wait in that line, and long story short, I didn't get breakfast. Or more than one glass of water the entire morning, and I was sick by two. My sinuses were killing me all afternoon, and it just wasn't a great start to the week. I missed that extra time with my sister, and I don't get to see her again until Friday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Every year, I take this third job, and every year I exhaust myself on it. I've had approximately one hour to relax this week. I'm going to add another one with my lunch hour today. The test was Monday. It was pretty rough on the kids, therefore it's been pretty rough on me. I've been grading non-stop since Monday, taking time-out for work and sleep, of course, and I'm still not done. (I knew that comprehensive problem was going to be a bitch to grade.) It's not looking very good, either, so I'm stressing on whether I didn't teach it well enough, or they didn't study well enough, or the questions were too tricky. I just don't know what else I could have done to help them do better on the test. I warned them several times that the first two weeks were going to be the hardest, and they needed to not fall behind. Maybe it's just a matter of them needing a kick in the butt/wake-up call to buckle down. It's a summer class, but that just makes it tougher, because it's a lot of information to pack into eight weeks. Without knowing how much effort they put into studying, I won't be able to know for sure.

At least the money's good. I'll be able to finish paying off my windows and half my student loan balance with this summer's earnings. That'll feel good.

Monday, June 18, 2007

For Father's Day, us kids got Dad a toolbox. It was actually Lew's toolbox that he got for graduation, but he wanted to upgrade, and Dad wanted his old one. When Lew approached me with this idea, I said, "What? I'm gonna give him a used toolbox for Father's Day!?!" but I acquiesced. I guess Em did, too, since that's what we got him. Lew brought the toolbox home on his last trip to Wilton several weeks ago. He and Mom unloaded it themselves, so Dad wouldn't see that it wasn't as heavy without any tools in it. He went and looked in the meantime, though, when he wanted to borrow some tools. He asked Mom what Lew did with his tools, and she gave some half-assed answer and asked him a different question. It's a good thing Dad is easily distracted, and forgets what he wanted to talk about when you get him on the phone.

He got up a little early so we could have dinner together (he's working nights right now, so he usually sleeps until 5:00 and then goes in at 6:00), and I gave him my card, and told him, "Your present's in the garage, it's been there for several weeks." He laughed a little at that, since he had done that to me for my birthday, and said, "Well that was probably easy. How long's it beent there?" "Since Lew was here last." We went around and around until he finally got it: "No wonder I couldn't find his tools!" Lew called a few minutes later, and first thing Dad says is "Where the hell are your tools?" And then he laughs. He thought that was great. He thought it was just as great that Lew conned his sisters into financing a toolbox upgrade.

I also got him his own Egg & Muffin Toaster. I thought it was right up his alley, and he'll really enjoy it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mindi asks, What did you think you'd be doing at age 29?

Me, I thought I'd be married with a couple of kids by now. But what I really thought was interesting was that Mindi didn't think she'd make it to 29. That got me to wondering how I'm going to die. I think I'm pretty convinced I'm going to die of cancer. There's a part of me that's convinced I have skin cancer, the hypochondriac part of me. I keep telling myself that I should find myself a GP that I like and get a physical. You know, since it's one of those things that you're supposed to do, but I keep putting it off. I see the girl doctor once a year, that should be enough for now, I justify.

The other part of me just doesn't want to know, one way or the other. Blissful ignorance, what you don't know can't hurt you, blah-blah-denial-cakes. I don't know that I care if my hypothetical cause of death is treatable or not. Does it matter if I prolong my life or not? My biggest life goal right now is getting that motorcycle. It's not really all that important, in the scheme of things, whether I accomplish it or not. It's not like I'm suicial or depressed or anything, I just got a big case of apathy going on, and this is how it's manifesting. Not really good timing, either, since it's evaluation time at work, and I'm not really caring about goals or performance or promotions or raises.

I'm sure I'd feel differently if I found out I actually had something. I think the apathy comes from the practical part of me, which knows the hypochondriac is ridiculous and I'm going to live a long, long time. Time to waste. I think about, sometimes, how my mom feels, pretty much knowing how she's going to die, if not when. She's the busiest person I know. But she's always been like that, so it really hasn't changed anything for her, except one extra thing that has to fit into her life. Or my sister, who knows all about denial, and who I'm sure has thought way more about this than I have.

When you do know how you're going to die, is life more precious, or is it the same, just different? We all know we're going to die. Some of us know how, few know when. I just don't want to feel like I'm wasting what I have. I don't want to be unappreciative, but a lot of the time I am, and I wish I could give it to someone who does appreciate it. They probably wouldn't allow selling it on eBay.

I think I'm going to go outside now and appreciate the weather. That's a start.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I got an excited phone call from Mom a couple hours ago: she asked me if I wanted to go with her to see Chris Isaak in Minneapolis July 20th. Of course I said yes! I'll have to delay reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (it comes out the next day), but it'll be totally worth it! Forever Blue was one of the first CDs I ever bought, and it's accompanied every heartbreak I've had since. After that, I went and looked for all his old CDs (this was before eBay).

I obviously played it enough that Mom finally noticed what I was listening to, and she remembered liking the song Wicked Games and bought some of his CDs as well. So since I (re)introduced him to her, she immediately thought of me when she saw a deal for tickets. We're going to make a girls' weekend of it, and stick around to shop at the Mall of America the day after.

I'm going to have to get re-listening. There's a lot of CDs to remember!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I was tagged a while back for a meme, "5 reasons why I blog", by Min. I haven't forgotten, just had other stuff to talk about, I suppose. There may not be five, but this is why I blog:

1) It started out as a "jumping on the bandwagon" thing. It was new and exciting and all my internet friends were doing it.

2) I also started it about the same time that my best friend Leah moved to Germany. I wanted to use it as a way to keep in touch, and that's still pretty much the case, just not with Leah (she stopped reading some time ago). It's pretty much the only way I communicate with my sister these days. It's suprisingly effective, since I blog about things that I wouldn't necessarily bother to bring up during a phone conversation.

3) It's an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the only way I can stop obessing about something is to get it out of my head and onto paper, or in this case, the internet. I am sometimes intentionally vague, because this medium is not private. However, because it is not private, the knowledge that other people know what I want them to know about it helps lift the burden.

4) I'm effectively writing a memoir. It may be boring, it might not have a cohesive theme, and it will never be published, but I hope that someone will care enough about me to want to read it someday. I have only one grandparent left, and I'm seriously considering asking her to fill out something like this memory grabber. My paternal grandmother was a teenager during the Roaring 20s, started a family during the Depression, sent her husband to WWII, and so on. I would have loved to read her memoir. My maternal grandfather was a basketball phenom who dropped out of school and was in a motorcycle gang. I would have loved to know what that was really like. My paternal grandfather died before my parents even met, but he was a doctor in the war and in Muscatine's only hospital. I bet he had really interesting stories. Now they're gone, and things I might have known are lost.

Maybe someday what I write will be interesting, even if it's not now. I try, though. I could do better, especially because I forget my audience, and I mostly write for myself. I want to make #4 more important.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I can't believe how much I talked last night. Group activities did take up about 45 minutes, but I went almost the entire four hours. I went over two hours and then remembered they might need a break. I was ready to keep going, man! Time flies when you're passionate about financial statements. I did get them a little confused when I kept referring to stockholder's equity as retained earnings. In my work, I don't deal with stockholder's much, so the terms are equivalent. But they're not, and I confused them. I'll have to watch my terminology.

I was wiped when I got home. Sore throat and slept like a log. One down, fourteen to go.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Oh, I'm so sore! I spent the weekend dodging raindrops and trying to clean the deck/staircase in preparation for re-sealing. All that scrubbing and going up and down the ladder was rough, but it's all clean and ready for sealant, as soon as it stops raining for more than a day. It's not supposed to rain at all tomorrow, so I'm hoping to at least get the flooring done in the evening, so that that part is at least done before my tenant gets back from vacation. It looks really nice now, with all the dirt gone. There's nothing more satisfying than a difficult job well-done, even if it's not quite done yet!

Class starts tonight. I'm quite nervous. I've got my outline, but I keep worrying that I'll forget to cover something. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The weather almost cooperated, but we had a good time anyway. We drove through some severe thunderstorms on the way to Des Moines (which produced tornadoes by the time it got to my parents' area), and it had slowed down by the time we got there. We bought ponchos to wear around, and it stopped raining by noon. I ended up wearing it for most of the day, because guess how many times we rode the Raging River? I really wish I had started counting earlier, but I figure 15-17 times. The bumper cars were a close second, and we got to stick with our car as long as we wanted both times we drove. We made a pretty good team, me pushing the pedal and Calvin working the steering wheel. Although I had to point out the point of bumper cars is to hit other people, not avoiding them.

We had a pretty good time. This is the first time I've ever been to Adventureland and not ridden a roller coaster, though. Calvin was too scared. He was even a little spooked by the last hill of the Log Ride, so we only did that once. He was very brave for the Saw Mill Splash though: "I wasn't too scared of going in circles!" Too bad they don't have the Alpine Run or the Super Screamer anymore. They were very good beginning roller coasters. Cassie and I used to go on the Alpine run over and over and over again.

As much as he enjoyed the water rides, I may take him to the indoor water park next year. If he's brave enough for the water slides.

Riding the train