Monday, September 27, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly - Updated!

The good: Had a great weekend. 50 mile ride on Saturday, family reunion (with the most kick ass struesel topped pear pie EVER made from scratch by Ellen) was a blast, and being the house band for ValLimar Jansen was the most amazing thing I've ever done as a musician. Can't say enough about what a powerful ministry she has. Also got the first draft of my paper due Wednesday complete by 10 pm!

The bad: A cold started coming on Saturday night. Still fighting it today though I'm determined to beat it into sumbission my working it to death in the gym. So far its a tie.

The ugly: I always back up my school work to my jump drive. I took the drive to work today to start polishing my first draft, finished last night. Made some edits. Got home and copied the work version from the jump drive to my hard drive. Opened the hard drive version and realized I hadn't actually backed up yesterday's version to it and overwrote 2 hours worth of work from yesterday

Yes, you read that right. 2 hours of work wasted. I just spent the last hour and a half rewriting everything I did yesterday. From memory. Which was fuzzy. But now it's done, copied in THREE locations, all checked to make sure they're correct. I don't think its as good as the stuff I wrote yesteday, but the high points are in it. Now I'll proof read it AGAIN tomorrow and submit.

Update: I just got my grade for the paper I overwrote and had to redo - 99! Good remarks from my professor as well. I am WAAAAY to OCD when it comes to school. Shooting for straight A's is really making me overachieve.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Halfway there

Quick (or not so quick) update so far this weekend.

Yesterday was the homecoming game. We got to see Christopher march with the band, both for the homecoming parade and at halftime during the game. The band has been rained out the first 2 performances this year and have one more game after this one so we were happy the weather finally cooperated. It was great watching him march! He did well. We could find him by looking for the spot that appeard to be missing a person. Look down and there he is! And our team won the game 42-14 so a succesful homecoming.

Today we did the 50 mile ride. I give Christopher a lot of credit for completing the ride. We did a 25 mile westerly route along the Erie/Barge canal the turned around and took the same route back to the east. It wasn't too bad, but we had a headwind the entire first half going West (due to prevailing westerlies) plus it was a winder than usual days. We had a continuous 10 mph or so wind with 20 to 30 mph gusts. After the first 15 miles or so, he was feeling it. But the wind was at his back the entire way back. Nicholas rode most of the route and got a good 30 miles in. He needs to do a 50 mile ride as well for his merit badge, but we're going to do that next year when he's more up to it.

I managed to ride 32 miles today. Now, before you wag your finger at me and tell me what a wuss I am for not doing the whole 50, I've got a good reason. Since we went as a family, we needed a SAG (support and gear) wagon to carry our stuff and tools and whatever else we needed in case of a breakdown. Now, only Ellen or I could drive so we couldn't both ride, now could we? I wanted to give her an opportunity to get some riding in today. She let me ride into the wind the first 25 miles and then ride the part at the end that was hilly. She prefers to ride on the flat routes and I didn't want her to get crushed by the headwind so let her have the tailwind. She got a good 17 miles in so I was very proud of her. Christopher was whipped by the end of the ride.

We got home around 6 pm, had dinner (brought home some fast food) then it was off to grocery shopping. After that (around 8 pm) I got to work on my paper. Ellen got to work baking her world famous strussel topped pear pie (which her cousins DEMAND every reuion. We literally went through almost 2 pies last year) for tomorrow's reunion. I got through the most time consuming part of the paper tonight and finished around 10:15. Now tomorrow I just have to finish the first draft, which should take me maybe 2 hours (I hope). That gives me Monday night to proof read and edit, and I should have no problem getting it done on time. Now I just have to get through the reunion and performance tomorrow along with my homework and I'm done for the weekend.

Then I start it all over again on Monday. A little crazy around here, ain't it?

Friday, September 24, 2010

You bastards!

Hey! 2 posts in 2 days! I'm starting to feel like a real blogger.

For those of you that are on Facebook, you may have seen that recently somone managed to steal my credit card number. Acutally, they managed to the the number on my debit/credit card tied to my checking account. My bank (Citizen's) called me on Monday to say they'd seen some unusual charges and wanted to verify them with me. It was quite obvious that they weren't mine.

The gentleman on the phone was very good. The caught the charges literally the day after they were made. He immediately cancelled that card and issued me another one. He even checked Ellen's card for fraudulent charges. Luckily, her number is different than mine so it was fine. However, now the real hassle begins.

The bank recommended I wait for the charges to hit my checking account. Apparently, because of the way that card works, they couldn't cancel the charges like a regular credit card. Today all of the charges posted. Those bastards hit me for over $2000! You can believe I'm hopping mad. I have some choice words but I'll be nice and not say them. Now, I have to go down to the bank and fill out a form to get my money back. Which will take up to 10 business days. Luckily I have overdraft protection on that account. But once I get my new card I THEN have to go and update some of my internet sites with that information. I have some automatic payments set up. Plus I'm going to be short money for a little while.

I did ask the bank person how they could have snagged my card number, since I'm very careful with it and don't use it online unless I'm sure of who I'm dealing with. He couldn't tell but suspects they hacked a company's database and got the card numbers. Many places like gas stations use 3rd party services as clearinghouses for their card transactions. In any event, it goes to show you can't be too careful. This is the first time someone's managed to access my financial information electronically and hopefully the last. Just gives me another reason NOT to have too many credit card numbers out there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today I'm dog tired. Like, dragging my ass all day crumbling under the weight tired. Part of it is gettnig to bed late last night. The rest is stress. My first paper for my marketing class is due next Wednesday and I'm stressing out over it. "What?" you're probably asking yourself. "You still have a week! Why not work on it this weekend?"

Oh, wait, I didn't tell you what's going on this weekend, did I? Well, tomorrow (Friday) is a football game, and for the first time this season it doesn't look like rain so Christopher may actually march with the marching band! They've had every show cancelled so far this year. So tomorrow's out.

Saturday? Well, Christpher has to do a 50 mile ride to get his cycling merit badge which we want to get done this year. And we're running out of nice days. And Saturday will be a very nice day. So there's the whole day. Sunday? Family reunion on Ellen's side after church. And then at Christopher's youth group meeting, a national Catholic recording artist agreed to come play for them for free since she's going to be in town. And I've been asked to back her up on guitar. Sunday's shot!

That leaves me almost no time. I had most of my notes done and started the actual writing yesterday, and then realized how much writing answering 10 questions on a case study could be. Put on top of that I'm not getting some of the material. We did a virtual classroom today on Second Life, during work hours no less. (Did I mention I hate Second Life and resented having mess up my work schedule to accomodate it? Why do you think I did an online degree?). I felt better about the material, but not 100%

I finished most of the writing tonight, thankfully. I emailed my instructor with questions so I SHOULD have time to finish and proof read. But damn I just want to fall asleep. In any event, this weekend should give me good stuff to put on the blog, if I have any time to write it. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Light of Day

Last night I was working on the first paper for my marketing management class. Of course, it was like 9 pm and I was tired and I just wasn't getting it. It's a case study and the notes I was writing down (ok, typing) seemed lame. As usual, I was feeling very stupid and that I would get a terrible grade on the paper. However, I decided to bring my notes to work in case I had some time during lunch (or a lull) to review it.

Well, since Friday's are slow at work, I looked at my notes and some of the instructor's on line lectures. What a difference some sleep and doing things in the afternoon makes. After I read the instructions for the paper more closely, I realized the what the instructor is looking for! Light bulb went on! There's still going to be some work putting it together but now at least I have a clue! Since today is Friday I'm putting it all down until Sunday. I take Friday and Saturday off from school work (unless I'm either REALLY bored or I have a big looming deadline). I'm sure if I knock away at it for a few hours I'll have most of the research done. Oh, and when is this paper due? 9/29. Oh, and class officially started this Monday. Never let it be said I'm a slacker when it comes to getting my school work done. My plan is to have this whole paper written and ready to turn in by 9/24 so I can spend that weekend polishing it and I can turn it in on Monday of that week.

In other news, the boys are going camping this weekend with the scouts. They leave at about 5 on Friday and will be back after lunch on Sunday. Did I mention I wasn't going? So Ellen and I have a weekend to ourselves with no kids! I'm thinking dinner out tomorrow! We're definately going to enjoy a quiet weekend.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Boy, what a week. Both boys and I started school this week. Well, actually, school officially starts for me tomorrow, but the courses were open a week early so I dove in head first. I read 3 chapters for one course, and 10 for another. Plus reading assorted mini-lectures and PDF's. That was a crapload of reading! And today I did the problem set associated with one of the courses, started in on a discussion, and finished up assorted powerpoints. But now I'm well positioned to kick ass this semester.

Christopher is adjusting to high school fairly well so far. He's getting used to waking up much earlier since he has to get the bus like 45 minutes earlier than he used to (at about 6:45 now). This week will be filled with scout stuff and marching band stuff for him. He's got a game to play at Thursday, and a weekend campout beginning Friday night. So far he's still motivated to get all his homework done and turned in on time so I'll have to stay on him.

Nicholas is also adjusting well to 7th grade so far. He's in the same school but the workload is different. We got his schedule changed since he had gym right after lunch, which we thought was a bad idea. So now he has gym earlier in the day and lunch later on those days. So far, so good.

The other big deal going on right now is that we've decided to refinance our mortgage. I did the math with the current rates and we can refinance from 30 to 15 years and have our payment go up only a little per month. I'd been paying extra on the principle each month to pay it down early and the new amount will be about that. And we'll cut about 9 years off our payments. That equals paying the house off before we retire and saving a crapload worth of money.

Other than that not much going on right now. Even though most of my free time will be devoted to school and riding, I'll carve out a little time to update here from time to time. We have some neat things coming up in the future (like a family reunion this month and Quilt Ride in October) so I'm sure there will be things to relate. Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It's over

Well, summer is unoffically over. I've begun my fall courses and have dove into reading. And there's a LOT of it this semester! Christopher starts high school tomorrow (high school!) and Nicholas goes back to school on Thursday. The rest of this week is basically gearing up for that, with a few chores thrown in. However, I wanted to throw some pictures up of the summer that was. Here's some highlights of a season too quickly past:

Christopher at scout camp.

Part of the Seabreeze Trail.

The Lehigh Valley Trail

Racing at the Farmall Hill Challenge

Meeting Queen Victoria at the Erie Canal Village.

Nicholas at Scout Camp

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What I did this summer

Now that it's September and Labor Day is right around the corner, it's a good time to reflect on another summer that's nearly gone. The boys start school next week and while my grad courses officially start on 9/13, I can access them on Monday which means for me school starts next week as well. Don't the summers always go by quickly? However, I managed to pack a lot in.

Summer really started for me the first week of July since I was finishing up a course in June. So in the roughly 8 weeks of summer, I managed to do the following:

  • Go on MANY bike rides, solo, with family, and with friends.
  • Participate in 2 mountain bike races
  • Spend a week at scout camp with the boys (and ride some more)
  • Visit Erie Canal Village with the family (but not ride)
  • Read 8 non-school related books
  • Ride 5 new trails with my wife we hadn't done before
  • Played a GREAT outdoor gig with the band

I'm sure there's some stuff I missed, but that's not too shabby for 8 weeks, considering I still did all of the "normal" day to day stuff we have from kid's activities to housework. Now that we're transitioning into "school" mode, I expect things to get crazy again. Christopher is already at marching band camp this week. Scouts and all the other fall activites begin ramping up next week. Before you know it there will be no time for anything.

Hope everyone had a great summer as well and enjoy your Labor Day (or the equivalent for my friends in the Great White North).