Yes, yes, I know I haven’t updated you in a long while. I’m sorry, really, I am. What’s my excuse? Well …
Summer has been really busy around here – both in and out of work. The start of the school year is always crazy and this one was no exception. Constant broken computers, late arriving faculty and staff, folks showing up at the last second and crying that ‘X is not ready!’ despite having months they could have tested it out ahead of time. So hectic, to say the least.
Outside of work has been more fun (but no less busy). There’s the garden which hasn’t seen the best year ever. The cool, dry summer followed by heat and wet didn’t do us any favors. The pepper crop Steph has been growing took a beating from that and a recent thunderstorm that destroyed all their protection. We’ve also been making cider. Lots and lots of cider. Nearly 22 gallons yesterday alone and the trees are still loaded.
And then there have been the home improvement projects. Over the course of this summer, we’ve done the following: resided the garage, replaced the garage door and opener, replaced the side/people garage door, replaced the back door to the house, put in new carpet in the bedroom and office, put in new tile in the bathroom, replaced the toilet in the bathroom (because the old one broke while during the tile project), and of course the lawn which has become nice and thick and thwarts my attempts at mowing. This means there is really only one ‘old’ thing left on the house – the chimney. And we are working on getting that replaced next spring. For now though, we bask in our lovely house and enjoy it.
Here’s to hoping that the fall and winter make for better blog updating.
Back when we lived in Cedar Rapids, our house was on very sandy soil which meant that if it wasn’t already growing, there wasn’t much change anything new would come up (and believe me, we tried). Moving up to Decorah meant a new house and a new yard.
Right off the bat, things weren’t great. The previous owner hadn’t taken care of the yard at all. She stopped living in the house several months before we purchased it and refused (to the astonishment of both her and our realtor) to allow anyone to mow or tend to the yard. When we took possession, my father-in-law and I spent hours mowing the front yard. It was a disaster. Crab grass, weeds. Random flower placement. A lot of “Well, I think something green would look good over here *throws down some random seed and walks away*”.
That’s not to say we didn’t try to make something out of it. Steph had a great garden/herb bed. We had flowers. I planted grass seed and mowed regularly. Took out two trees that were dying and sadly looked at the 60′ pine tree that was diseased and had to go. But the task was a lot like Sisyphus in that every time we took a step forward, the lawn would rise up, laugh, and commit seppuku. (Why yes, I am mixing my cultural references. No, you shut up.) We had droughts and floods and just general bad luck.
The final straw came early last year when the electric company had to replace a power pole in the backyard. They took out the tall pine (thus saving us several hundred dollars) but had to drive very heavy equipment through the yard, resulting in deep tread marks and torn up grass. So we said ‘screw it’ and had sod laid down. At the same time, we had a new sidewalk put in (who the hell builds a curved sidewalk and then paints it yellow and purple?!).
Wednesday was a glorious day for a dentist and his boat payments as he yanked the Wisdom Teeth out of my head.
This was all done at 6am, before I had a chance to be fully coherent and fight back. It started off well with the dentist walking right past the room I was being prepped into, going into another, and wondering where the patient was. Yah – confidence booster there
I remember nothing about the surgery as I was (thankfully) unconscious during the entire thing. For some reason, the dentist nor any of his assistants saw reason to take away my iPhone. So immediately after the surgery, I sent this message to Steph:
Yeah … I have no idea what I was saying either. I don’t remember sending this at all.
Recovery has been … okay, I suppose. The right side has no pain, very little swelling. In fact, it feels more like I had a cavity filled or something like that. The left side, on the other hand, is the demon from hell. A full twelve hours after the surgery, I was still popping pain meds enough to make me sick to my stomach. It’s still swelled up and hurts to open my jaw more than an inch or so.
I haven’t been able to eat any real solid food yet. Applesauce and jello most of Wednesday (plus some smoothies Steph bought me). Today I upgraded to Soy Ice Cream and mashed potatoes. Hopefully tomorrow I can eat some chicken or something.
In a bit of irony, Wednesday afternoon saw the deliver of my Annual Checkup reminder from the dentist. HAHAHA yeah, no.
Well, sorta. I and a group of friends gathered in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania to partake in the 2014 ION (Invasion of Normandy) Paint Ball event.
TL;DR: ION is 4500 people gathering in a paint ball scenario event based around the Invasion of Normandy and the events following thereafter. As members of the Allied force, we ‘stormed’ the beaches and then pushed inland, securing territory, accomplishing missions, and doing various other things.
It should be noted that I have never played paint ball before. Prior to arriving at ION, I never even fired a paint ball gun (aka, marker). Fortunately, my older bro loaned me his gear so I didn’t have to shell out a lot of money outside of buying paint and a few other minor things. It worked well enough.
Getting to ION was an adventure itself – a 15 hour drive that began from Iowa City at 5pm (where I met a friend) and straight through the night, arriving about 10am. Only managed an hour of sleep on the drive (nerves? uncomfortable? don’t know) so Friday was quite rough. We left Sunday for another 15 hours back home (leaving about 8am and arriving back in Iowa City about 10pm where I stayed the night at a hotel and came home Monday morning).
ION itself though … epic and amazing. The main event was Saturday, starting with the beach landings at noon and running until 9pm. The group I was with was about 30-35 people, all of us familiar with one another and working as a team (which in itself was great fun). We went out onto the field three times – beach landings, wood patrol and missions, and an evening tree line fight. All told, it was about 3-4 hours of actual fighting and the rest recovery. Very much needed recovery.
Storming the Beach. I was in the third boat, front row which meant I had a perfect view of what was to come. Even before the ramp dropped, the shots started coming in. It sounded like hail against a metal roof – light at first and then ramping up until you couldn’t even hear yourself think. Then the ramp dropped and all you could see was chaos – smoke, paint balls in the air, people running back and forth. I darted out, cut left, and dove behind a barrier that was hit by dozens of shots a second after I arrived. It was amazing.
While still on the beach, I led a group of random strangers into assaulting a position that eventually led to a break through in the enemy lines. I simply grew tired of being pinned down, ordered two people to provide covering fire, grabbed two others, and pushed forward. It worked.
Going out on a mission with 10 of us and watching about 250 Germans charge the ‘Pentagon’, then discovering we were on their right flank which was now exposed. The ten of us wrecked havoc until we were discovered and lit up by about a hundred guns.
There was a lot more. The entire experience was fantastic and I’m glad I went. Already making plans for next year. Now, a few pictures (click on all of them to enlarge).
Yes, I’m still alive. Just … busy? Steph has been traveling a lot and work has been picking up (summer is the busy time of year for IT folks in education). The few times we’ve been home together, it’s mostly been relaxation or just hanging out.
The big thing in June? My 40th birthday on the 23rd. I am officially over the hill. Not quite sure how I feel about that yet. We did have a nice party with some friends and family at our place, celebrating both mine and Steph’s birthdays (I shall not reveal her age for I am wise). So June hasn’t been a bad month in that regards.
Here’s hoping I remember to visit this blog more in July. Meanwhile, here’s two cats lounging.