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I have no explanation
Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 04:54 p.m.

Jessica and I were talking today at lunch about my early-onset Alzheimer's and the fact that I can't remember anything from college that isn't written somewhere in my blog archives. I jokingly attributed my memory loss to my Thermodynamics class (although, really, I think it was engineering in general - my brain is TOO FULL). Then, this afternoon I happened to stumble across an old entry regarding that very class.

"Indeed, even now, Dr. Havard is communing with the Dark Lord himself, planning tomorrow's exam based solely on what I, Sarah, do not know. How am I supposed to pass a test with all the powers of Hell itself arrayed against me?

Still, I have no choice and therefore I must continue, for now it is not merely a war to save my GPA, it is a war to save all of humankind and my GPA. I cannot allow Dr. Havard to unleash the forces of Hell merely to crush the hopes and dreams of forty insignificant aspiring engineers. With my mechanical pencil and TI-82 graphing calculator, I gird myself for Holy War, poised to defeat the demonic foe embodied in tomorrow's Thermo test. And defeat it I shall for the forces of good must triumph or else all is lost!"

Believe it or not, we were completely drug free in college.

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Looking into the crystal concrete ball
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 10:53 a.m.

The regional concrete canoe competition is this weekend at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, so it is once again time to make my predictions. As always, I'm really not sure which way to go. I haven't actually seen the regional field since 2004, and based on the last few years' results, the competition has really declined in quality. Anything could happen. But, based on my (admittedly old) experience, here is what I expect for Team UAH this year.

Final Product: 5th
Design Report: 3rd
Presentation: 6th
Women's Distance: 14th (around 7:00)
Men's Distance: 3rd
Women's Sprint: 11th (1:55) or DQ
Men's Sprint: 3rd
Co-ed Sprint: 10th

Between the late start, the lack of experience, and the lack of manpower, it's been a rough year for the team. The few who have actually worked have given so much, it kills me to see them fall short. I'm hoping they'll perform better than I expect this weekend, and like I said, anything could happen. But regardless of the outcome, it will at least be a great learning experience for next year's team.

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The latest in Operation Svelte
Monday, March 26, 2007 - 03:21 p.m.

Yesterday Todd completed his first marathon. He ran the ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta in 5 hours, 31 minutes, and 57 seconds and came in 897th out of the 1,574 runners in his age group and 2,375th out of the 2,775 men running. His full results can be found here.

In all, there were 13,257 runners at the start of the marathon / half marathon. I wish I could have gotten some better pictures of the start, because the sheer number of people lined up was amazing. The line stretched for blocks, and I'm sure there were still people standing in line even fifteen minutes after the start. The half-marathon runners peeled off at mile 4, leaving only the 4,340 marathon runners on the rest of the course.

Todd will probably post about the run in detail, so I'll skip all that. But I would like to mention that, up until yesterday, the farthest he'd ever run was 13 miles. He did finally have to start walking around mile 20, but even then, he still managed to jog the last quarter mile.

I think it goes without saying that I am so incredibly proud of him. It's not just that he ran 26.2 miles. It's that he had the courage and the willpower to keep moving, to keep going, even when he was at the lowest he's ever been, physically and emotionally. Somehow he found it in him to not only finish, but to actually run across the line, and that is amazing.

And now, pictures!

Todd waiting to line up for the start.

Moments before the official start of the Inaugural ING Georgia Marathon

Todd finishing his first 26.2 mile run.

This is post-marathon Todd looking ecstatic. Seriously.

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Oh no, it's the two-foot suprise!
Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 04:39 p.m.

Lately Todd and I have been having a kind of home improvement fit. We've been planning to buy a chest of drawers and a bed frame. We desperately want new countertops throughout the house. We want to tile both bathrooms. We've been planning on seriously landscaping the yard to make it easier to maintain. And we were planning on having a tax return only a little smaller than last year's to make at least some of this (namely the furniture) possible.

Oh ho ho, NOT. Funny story, see, uh, when the government gave Todd his raise, they (for reasons not yet determined) actually decreased his withholdings, so now we owe Uncle Sam. In fact, we owe more than we thought we'd get back in our return. Ha ha ha HORK.

So, alas, no tax refund. The projects will proceed, although at a somewhat reduced pace, and Todd will continue to store his socks in the guest room. Which is funny in and of itself because wasn't he living here first?

Speaking of Todd, this weekend he will run in his first marathon. 26 MILES. I'm not sure if he's excited or dreading it - I think maybe a little of both. He's completed a couple half marathons in the last few months, but with the shoulder surgery and then all the travel he hasn't been able to train as hard lately. Given that, the chances of him crapping his pants in the last half mile might be higher than one would normally assume (in everyday life, they're actually quite low). It's also going to be hot, so he's planning on taking it kind of easy, and not really pushing to finish within a certain time. Just finishing, in and of itself, will be a huge milestone!

Of course, then we'll hop in a car and ride the three hours home again, so the next milestone will be getting his cramped and twisted body out of the car seat and into the house without having to resort to the Jaws of Life. Woo, fun times.

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DIY Weekend
Monday, March 19, 2007 - 12:38 p.m.

For a weekend without travel, this last one was pretty busy. Friday afternoon was dedicated to the cause of replacing the garage door opener. It died Thursday morning, which was a nice welcome home present for Todd when he arrived home from Fort Rucker on Thursday afternoon. Todd did most of the work, while I stood by and helpfully handed him tools, interpreted the instructions, and avoided the large quantity and variety of spiders (living and dead) that our garage has to offer. We now have a garage door opener that works, one of those fancy keypad thingies outside, and a much better light. We also finally have three remotes, so I don't have to remember to fish one out of my car when I'm driving the 4-Runner.

Saturday we spent doing some much needed cleaning in our kitchen. See, back in 2004 when Todd tiled the kitchen, we kind of ran out of steam and never came back to seal the grout. Then we began allowing two furry, muddy, and generally filthy dogs to come in at night. And the grout, predictably, has suffered (hello Alabama red clay). So Saturday we scrubbed every grout line in the kitchen with bleach for most of the morning. The end result was SPECTACULAR. Now we just need to do it again, then seal that crap up before the dogs eff it up again.

And then yesterday, Todd (with some help from me) installed a garbage disposal. There was an hour or so when we were both sitting on the kitchen floor with tools spread all around, certain we would be buying a new sink today. But in the end, Todd remembered his reciprocating saw and things turned out just fine. The new disposal is a 1/2 horsepower unit and ought to be able to double as a wood chipper if absolutely necessary, but with our septic tank issues, we're not exactly going to be gleefully cramming a cantaloupe into its whirling blades just to see what happens. I am, however, really looking forward to putting behind me the days of digging soggy Cheerios out of the drain screen.

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Weekend Rewards
Monday, March 12, 2007 - 09:36 a.m.

This weekend, between the yard work and the canoeing, I managed to earn myself one hell of a sunburn. Usually, I'm pretty careful about such things, but it didn't occur to me to put on sunscreen in freakin' MARCH. My left shoulder and chest are lobster red - I'm surprised I didn't actually hear sizzling at the time. Although, really, it looks much worse than it is because I am so incredibly white (think PASTY). Oh and I now have a seriously sexy combination sports bra/tank top burn line. Rawr.

(For those of you wearing helmets, that's sarcasm.)

On the upside, our yard looks about 10,000 times better. Todd mowed and edged while I trimmed trees and roses and weeded (oh god, the weeding), and the end result is pretty spiffy. You know, by comparison. There's still a ton of work to be done, but it was a good start.

Last year our neighbor gave us a big bag of bulbs (alliteration!) that he'd scavenged from various sites around town. He wasn't exactly sure what was in the mix, so we planted a Mystery Garden. And sure enough, the first thing to come up was a flower I've never seen before. So here's where I need your help. What the heck is this?

Also, because Jessica has been asking for a picture of the ottercat:

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Cracks me up every time
Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 02:48 p.m.

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Clean Slate
Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 09:44 a.m.

Well, I've been thinking about changing over to HaloScan for a while now, so I guess now that BackBlog has apparently lost EVERY SINGLE COMMENT EVER MADE HERE, this is as good a time as any. HaloScan seems to be a more reliable service to begin with AND they allow you to export comments so you can back them up. Something I am now wishing BackBlog had offered because, damn.

I'm still crossing my fingers that maybe, somehow, all the old comments will be recovered. But if not, well, at least it shouldn't happen again.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007 - 03:42 p.m.

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Monday, March 5, 2007 - 10:21 a.m.

Okay, I've been wondering about this for a while. My company will not let us bill sick time for doctor's appointments. In fact, we can only bill sick time (which is accrued in hours) in 8-hour increments. Instead, when I'm out at the dentist or whatever, I bill the time to overhead. Sure, this lets me keep my sick leave, and that's great, but it just seems...well, a little effed up, you know?

So, is that a normal policy? Or is my company WEIRD?

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