def: the act of using the federal government's first-time homebuyer's kickback to pay a landscaping company to install a sprinkling system and cover one's yard with top soil, sod, tree/shrub beds, raised garden beds, curbing and the such.
i haven't read a single twilight book. i'm not really interested in vampires or moody teenagers. i have, however, found a really great saga called firelight. it's so good, they went straight to the movies, without writing a book for its base. it makes me wish i had a frankenstein for a husband--he seems really chivalrous and like he'd take care of me really well. i guess i wouldn't be able to light candles for a romantic evening at home, but a girl can always sacrifice candlelight to get a perfect frankenstein husband, right?! here's a preview:
housewarming party! complete with gourmet buffet and a self-guided scavenger hunt. we had a blast yesterday--and if you missed it, you missed out on more than just calories from the buffet! i divided the baking into three batches i completed over the last week, and was setting up the table until the very last minute. david left about an hour and a half before the party was to begin to make copies of the scavenger hunt, and when he left the kitchen was a wreck. when he got back, the table looked like this:
he said, "have you ever wanted to start a catering business?!" i very definitely told him no...it would then be a
instead of being
thank you, david, for doing ALL the cleaning whilst i baked away, and for being a husband i have so much fun with!
PS- we have a TON of treats leftover...swing by any time for a plateful of goodies!
i got up thursday (my day off work) with a long list of to-dos. i start the shower and after 5 minutes of running, there is still no steam. i plunge my hand into the shower and pull it out again...ice cold. i thought i'd give it 20-30 minutes for some hot water to kick in. no go. i call david:
"so, we don't have any hot water."
"yeah, i took a cold shower last night, but i thought it was because the washing machine and dishwasher were running at the same time."
"what do we do?"
"i don't know."
"is it the heater?"
"how do you fix a hot water heater?"
"i don't know."
"do you call HVAC? a plumber?"
"i don't know."
"ok....i guess i'll take care of it."
i am frustrated that now, in addition to my list of stuff to get done that day, i have to also add hot water heater to the list. i think, 'should we own a home if we don't know how to fix it?...this is ridiculous!' david calls a few minutes later and suggests i look at the pilot light. it's out. i read the directions on how to re-light it:
step 1. turn everything off and make sure the tank is full of water and the lines are flushed of gas.
i am already envisioning the house (and myself) exploding whilst i attempt to light the darn thing. wait a minute--i have a dad who is a professional home inspector! he can fix anything!...or at least be a witness via the phone in case everything goes south...
i call my dad and he first refers me to 4c.29 of his book (the section on water heaters). i see a page with diagrams and plumbing parts i know nothing about. he asks me if i have a sediment trap, like the one in the diagram. i love how every single pipe looks exactly alike...
after we confirm all the parts are in place, he walks me through the steps to re-light the pilot, assuring me the whole way he will call utah's 911 line directly if he hears any sort of explosion. i try to light the pilot at least 50 times and see no spark to speak of and no flame to speak of. my dad tells me to call our builder. i do, and the builder says he'll send the plumber right out.
two hours later, david comes home for a lunch break and also tries to light the pilot without success.
three hours after that (about 430pm), the plumber still hasn't shown up. i call our builder back and get his voicemail right away. "hi, builder, it's me again at _______...i know i told you before our pilot light was out on the heater, but i don't know if i was clear: we have zero hot water. i am just wondering what the status is on your plumber coming by, and i'd like to know if we should plan on showering at the gym tomorrow, or if we can shower in our own home." he calls me right back and says he's going out of town, but he gives me the plumber's name and number. i call the plumber, and he says he'll be out in about an hour.
when he shows up he lights the pilot in a matter of seconds...
i call my dad back and he says, "sounds like operator error to me!"
david came home the other day saying he knew why guys liked football. it has nothing to do with pig skin or muscles or face painting. it's conversation. it's the communication in the break room, the topic during lunch, the weekend get-together. it's how and what men communicate about. according to david, women have gossip, shopping, tv shows, and their kids; men have football. men use so few words in conversation, it's nice to fall back on football. david doesn't watch football. i have a husband who would rather watch saturday morning cartoons than a football game. i am not a football widow. while he's delivering boxes, he'll always run into guys asking him what he thought about the game, or the pass, or the so-an-so player. he simply responds, "i don't keep up with football." without fail, he says the response is always a look of panic (translation: "what do i talk about now?!"), and then silence with a blank stare (translation: "oh well, i guess the conversation is over.").
my problem is although i am a woman, i don't fit into any of the "female conversation" categories listed above. i am at an utter loss when it comes to small talk. i am not in any circle to speak of, so nix the gossip; i shop when i need something, and hate it for recreation; the only tv i like is what david calls my "death shows" (csi, murder mysteries, medical mysteries, etc.)...can you imagine a dinner conversation in that topic?!...and we don't have any kids. i am awful at small talk and very often feel very awkward in conversations, even if you're a long-time friend.
my symptoms (heavy chest, cough, low grade fever) started last wednesday. thursday is my day off from the pediatric office, and when i woke up, i was fairly certain i had the flu (although never did it cross my mind i had THE flu). in addition to coughing and a fever, i was now achy, slightly dizzy, had a headache, sore throat, etc. i slept for about 14 hours, and then called my office manager to ask for friday off, as well, thinking i could use the rest of the weekend to feel better and start work again on monday. per office protocol, she had me come down to the office for a rapid influenza test. we have obviously had lots of kids coming in with the same symptoms, and a co-worker of mine and i started with the symptoms on the same day...suspicious, no? the rapid flu test was negative, but they still wanted me to go to the hospital for an H1N1 PCR test. this test basically magnifies your dna (taken from a nasal secretion specimen) and looks for any interferences or manipulations, which a virus would do.
because of our insurance, we have to go to a certain hospital to stay in the network, so although my office is right next to utah valley hospital, i drove up to north orem to go to the timpanogos hospital. after registering, sitting there with a mask on, feeling like an infected amoeba, i finally get back to the outpatient lab and the techs tell me they don't do this lab on an outpatient basis, only on inpatients. so i have to go all the way back down to provo, re-register, wait some more, etc. etc. my office manager also wanted me to start tamiflu, regardless of the results. if the test ended up being negative, i would go back to work on monday. if it were positive, office policy stipulates the employee taking 7 working days off. results came in on friday: positive for H1N1. another office policy: get all family members who have had contact to also begin tamiflu, as a prophylactic measure. so david is also taking tamiflu. we've been really lucky; the number one side effect is nausea and vomiting. we haven't had any of that.
we were going to have our housewarming on saturday, which obviously got postponed. the weekend mainly consisted of a lot of sleeping, coughing, and sleeping some more. with the tamiflu, it really isn't that bad--it feels like a cold on steroids. my biggest symptom is fatigue, and then the residual coughing (which will linger for another 2 weeks or so), other than that, i seem to be fine. so i get this whole week off, and i am feeling perfectly fine this morning, after 12 hours of sleep. today, vacation day 1, i will do some ironing that desperately needs to be done, and put away two baskets of laundry we did over the weekend. that'll probably be it for energy, and the rest of the day will be reading or movie-watching. i've go another 4 days of this--any movie suggestions?
we've been in our house for 5 or 6 weeks now, and every week we've had projects to complete. last week it was turning a cherry-red stained computer table/hutch into this:
a couple weeks before that it was fixing these: we ordered the blinds from a company based in colorado, but the shipment actually came from new jersey. we don't think these blinds were manufactured very well--9 out of the 11 we ordered had fallen apart in shipping. david was getting so frustrated trying to install them! he called the guy and we were going to mail them back, but that would mean another 4 weeks minimum without privacy, so david decided to figure out how they work and rebuild them. i'm glad someone in this family has a mechanical mind! so in a few short hours, david rebuilt our blinds and finished installing them!
next project: using my brand-spanking new sewing machine (thanks mom!!) to cover these--so gross (they came with the couch/love seat set) with this: seriously the easiest pattern ever! ikea had an "envelope pillow" pattern--all you do is overlap the sides and sew! and it uses probably 1/2 yard (the pattern calls for 20"in width by 60" in length). and turning 12 yards of fabric into drapes! we spent a whole saturday two weeks ago driving all over utah county and salt lake trying to find curtains we liked, and couldn't find anything. we even went to joann's to look at their drape fabric when they were having a 50% off sale, thinking i would just sew some up really quick. we found 3 patterns we liked, but they'd have to special order it, and the total came to over $350, even with the sale! no thanks! we ended up at ikea and found this fabric we loved ($7.99/yard), and a ready-made set of drapes, as well. we left very satisfied. we also drilled holes into our cabinets to instal knobs and pulls. so much nicer! oh, and last but not least, i got these installed, too. i snapped this from the torture seat while i was waiting for the orthodontist to come back...i really am smiling here. they'll be gone in 12-18 months. until then, i am eating apple sauce and mashed potatoes, and feel like i am talking with rocks in my mouth...or on my teeth...
hello fan club. i'm finally taking a minute to catch up and post a few photos from our life. i wish i had a reason for procrastinating posting on the blog...you know, like we went on a month-long vacation backpacking europe, or that we'd gotten stuck climbing the jungfrau and one of those dogs carrying a barrel of (hot chocolate?) around their necks had to come rescue us, or even that i've been photo journaling our summer and have a million things to post. unfortunately not the case. the truth is that the summer flew by without us seeing much of it. the last day i remember is sometime in april before i started commuting to salt lake. after that it's been a blur of books on cd (for the commute), a couple of bike rides (one of which i had to literally go and dunk myself in utah lake to cool off), making a video with kids we teach at church (they had us rolling we were laughing so hard!--maybe we'll post it here later), and two more super huge changes (more on that later). for now...let's go back to the 4th of july:
bob and eddie came down for the weekend and we went up to sundance to ride the ski lift up the mountain and get a view of the valley(s) from the top. it was a gorgeous day for hiking and riding lifts!
that evening we went to the stadium of fire for the 4th of july show. david's been wanting to go every year we've lived here, and this year we decided to do it. he found four tickets off ksl and we saw shedaisy (is that how you spell it?), the jonas brothers, and an amazing fireworks display. dad is wearing his glenn beck shirt. glenn hosted the concert and all dad wanted to do was shake his hand and get his autograph. maybe next time. i'm not a personal glenn fan, but i'd stand in line with dad to make him happy:.)
some are more patriotic than others.
some of the fire.
in other news, i am in the midst of changing jobs (again)...this year has certainly been an interesting job escapade. i am going back to the pediatric company i worked for before, just a different office. i'm joining their triage team and will be doing health promotion projects for the office. let's just say i've learned a lot about myself and i'm excited to keep moving forward. we are also in the process of closing on a house. we will be moving at the end of the month, provided everything up until closing goes smoothly. the house is just a few blocks south from where we are now, so not much of a lifestyle change there. and the best news is i can bike to work starting on the 24th. no more i-15!
phew! we've had two very busy weekends in a row--last weekend we celebrated our 5th anniversary by going to moab, utah. david drove down friday morning so he could get a mountain bike ride in, and i drove down friday night after i got off work. friday was a beautiful, sunny, hot moab day, but saturday was overcast and sort of chilly. david got a really great photo of the canyon on friday, but all the photos from saturday are grey because of the clouds. when i got to the campgrounds, david had an anniversary dinner cooked over a fire waiting for me--very thoughtful. we laughed a lot thinking about the five years we've been married--years 3-5 seemed to have passed so quickly we don't remember where they went. one thing is certain, however: we are the best match for each other, and have helped each other grow and learn so much. we love being together. the weather may have been disappointing, but we actually picked a great weekend to hike around arches national park--it was the one weekend a year for free admission!
this is on the climb up to the delicate arch. david likes this photo because he thinks it's "humanistically dramatic, with me looking into the distance at the dangerous path ahead, contemplating my mortality"...i was really just excited to get a water break once we got to the top.
these are random hikers getting their family christmas photo under the arch. i'm putting this one on our blog so you can see the ratio of the arch to a human. it's huge--and amazing to sit at its bottom and realize it was caused by water and wind erosion over tens/hundreds of thousands of years. we were hiking across what was once a river bed!
this is a view of the arch from the backside, a view that i think shows the erosion a little better than the typical front view.
i love the red rock desert landscape. the park was a very unique localization of this type of terrain.
for my birthday, i decided to take myself on a 75-mile bike ride, although it didn't start out that way. david had registered through the ups team to join the ms ride in logan, ut. this was a charitable event in which all proceeds would go to multiple sclerosis research. the plan was to drive to logan, stay the night with my friend cindy friday night, and david would do the 100-mile ride saturday morning while i went to the mall with cindy for pedicures and some shopping. i'd take pictures of david at the start and finish line, and then we'd go home. friday evening as david was leaving work, he called me to ask if i'd like to participate on the team; someone had dropped out. i said sure, and planned on doing the 40-mile ride (there was a 40-mile, 75-mile, and 100-mile ride option)...
friday night we drove through a huge thunderstorm on the way up to logan, and we were hoping we wouldn't be riding in that kind of weather on saturday... cindy made me a beautiful fruit bowl for my birthday and she and her husband and two adorable boys sang happy birthday.
saturday morning before heading out on the ride. david is excited for the 100-mile ride, and i'm feeling somewhat anxious about the 40-mile ride i'd planned on--david does huge rides all the time, but the most david and i have ever ridden together is 30 miles, with a 4-5 mile climb, and that took about 2 1/2 hours.
here's the whole ups team, minus one guy who showed up late.
there were thousands of people participating in this ride--the logan fairgrounds were covered with tents, radio djs, advertising, etc. it was pretty fun to be a part of that energy. they started the riders in waves of about 50; david started in the 3rd wave, and i was in the 6th wave. when we left for the lineup, we kissed and told each other good luck and to be safe. david thought he would do his 100 mile ride in 4 1/2-5 hours, and as i would ride 40 miles in about 2-2 1/2 hours, i carried the keys in my bike pouch and didn't carry my phone.
riding the bike was awesome. i made it to the 40-mile split point in 1 hour 30 mins and felt great, so i decided to keep going for the 75 mile ride. i knew if i ate consistently and maintained a good cadence and heart rate, i'd be able to finish strong. sure, i got passed a lot, but i stuck with every goal i made for myself along the way, and i passed some riders, too! and i finished, which was an awesome feeling. david finished in his estimated time, and saw that i wasn't there, and didn't have keys to get into the car, so he was pretty nervous that something had happened to me, or that i'd seriously bonked and was walking somewhere in the fields of utah/idaho. it never even crossed his mind that i'd kept riding to do the 75-mile ride. so when i crossed the finish line all smiles, and shouting, "david i did it!", he thought i was referring to the 40 mile ride. when i told him i did the 75-mile ride, his jaw dropped! that was the highlight of my day.
overall stats: david rode 100 miles in 4 hours 20 mins
burned 7060 calories
i rode 75 miles in 5 hours
burned 4300 calories
don't worry--we replaced all those calories by eating dinner at tucanos!! and the only thing sore today is my sunburn.
"If we know their limits we won't expect too much of them, which in turn is important for their welfare. I am not trying to say [they] are stupid, just they are different. We are so anthropomorphic we can't see the world through their eyes."
in a recent article, an expert made the above statement. i substituted [they] for who/what the expert was referring to. cast your vote...answer will be posted in a week.
i am a certified health education specialist--i found out today i passed the ches exam i took in april. this is the national certification that accredits community health education majors. this is an exam i paid to take, prayed to pass, and now that i have passed, i get to accrue 75 continuing education credits over the next 5 years and pay to renew my certification. this makes me laugh for two reasons:
when i tell people i graduated in community health education, i get a confused look and they ask, "what does that mean?", or, "so, that focuses in...?", or, "so, is that like a nurse?" in the most general of definitions, a community health major focuses on preventing disease and promoting health within a community. typical occupational settings include a public health department, workplace wellness programs, hospital health education outreach programs, etc. in a health department, for example, the health educator would visit middle schools or elementary schools teaching about tobacco prevention, std education, or promoting gold medal school dietary lunch programs. within a hospital, the health educator would educate patients, families, or community members about cancers, diabetes, or healthy lifestyle choices.
now that i am ches certified, and tell people i am a certified health education specialist, i am sure i will get confused looks again. in the most general of definitions, a ches is a professional who designs, conducts, and evaluates activities and or programs that help improve the health of a community.
in case anything i wrote above sounded like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, just remember this:
this should be the last post regarding my lovely job-finding escapades. namely because i have one now. a really good one. last night david said, "congratulations on finding this job, michal." i reminded both of us i had nothing to do with it--i didn't find this job, it found me!
so i need to tell a little history. two weeks ago, i interviewed at a pediatric office for a medical assistant position, and had a phone interview with labcorp for a phlebotomist position. both interviews went extremely well and i was sure my job search would end with one of these two positions. the pediatric office was a 25-30 mile commute, and the labcorp position would be closer to home. so commute and wage were my top concerns, and whichever offered the better deal would be the job i'd take.
at the end of my phone interview, the hr rep at labcorp said the area supervisor would get in contact with me for a personal interview in the next week or so. the pediatric office was the same company i've been with, but a different office in the valley. the office manager offered to have me "sub" with their office until her decision was final; she really needed the help, and i needed zero training. i left the interview saying i'd love to sub, and to let me know which days she'd need me. two days after my labcorp phone interview, i left a message with the area supervisor. a week passed, and i didn't hear anything. last tuesday i emailed the pediatric office manager to see if she still needed a sub. i also left another message with labcorp. still no answer from labcorp, and i didn't hear back from the pediatric office until friday evening. the office manager said she'd love to have a sub, but the job was mine if i wanted it and i could start monday. she had been waiting to hear from me about how the other (labcorp) interview process was going (she was very sympathetic to my not wanting to commute 30 miles if i had another offer closer). since she'd emailed me so late, office hours were over and i couldn't reach her directly. so i emailed her back hoping she'd get my message first thing monday morning.
i prayed for guidance from the Lord, and here was my final decision: by monday 9am i was going to call labcorp, talk with the hr rep. if they could guarantee me an interview this week, i'd sub at the pediatric office until i could see where labcorp was going. if they couldn't guarantee me an interview this week, i would request they pull my name from the interview process, and i'd start full-time at the pediatric office on tuesday. i would make my calls at 9 and know what i would be doing with the job situation by 930. period. i went to bed sunday night feeling very excited.
monday morning rolled around and my phone rang at 8am. it was the director of education from fortis college, a new tech school in murray. after introductions, she said, "i'm sorry i'm calling you so early; i was going to wait until this afternoon, but i felt so impressed i needed to call you now. your resume has come to my attention, and i want to offer you the position of part-time medical assistant instructor, and in 6 weeks when student volume picks up, i want you to be our medical program chair in addition to teaching." !!! i was speechless! this is my dream job, right here, packaged and ready to go for me, being offered to me sight unseen. i couldn't have been offered a more perfectly tailored position! i couldn't believe it. we talked for a while longer, and i had to ask, "you know, i am really sorry to ask these things over the phone, but today was my decision day for two other jobs i've been interviewing with. before i add this one to the mix, i need to know what the commute is like, and what the wage would be." she completely understood. she actually lives near me, so she could give me very specific directions and commute times to the campus. and let's just say the starting wage was enough to get me to drive up there for an interview at 11 the same day.
the first thing i asked her when i sat down for the interview was how she had received my resume. i had no recollection applying for this position, and had never heard of fortis college before she called me. she said she honestly didn't know where it came from. fortis college is a part of education affiliates, a network of private post-secondary schools. she said they had sent a call out wondering if anyone knew of a candidate for this position they needed to fill. she said my resume came across her blackberry late friday night, and she was so excited about it she wanted to call me on saturday, but thought that would be unprofessional. so she waited until monday, but couldn't wait until the afternoon (and, might i add, called one hour before my self-imposed deadline). i was amazed! in december i had interviewed with techskills institute, an online post-secondary program, but i don't know if they are a part of the education affiliates network. the interview i had with them went very well, but i ended up turning down the job because it was part-time with no chance of going full-time, and the wage wasn't enough to make me want to commute to salt lake. that's the only place i can think of that would be a potential source for my resume being sent to her.
i spent two hours there on monday, getting all my questions answered, looking at syllabi and curriculae, texts, getting a tour of the classrooms and labs. today i went back to do a teaching demo (passed), and spent about 3-4 hours filling out paperwork. so i'm officially a medical assistant instructor! the rest of this week i'll finish training, and classes start on monday. this campus offers medical assistant certificates and associates, medical office billing, medical office adminstration, dental assistant certificates, dental hygienist degrees, rn degrees, paralegal certificates, and has an hvacr program. this campus just opened in january/february to get employees, and the very first classes start next monday. classes go in 6-week increments (they call them modules), so they are hoping by the next module, june 1, i should be full-time (with a salary raise and everything!), but definitely by july 13.
i am still in shock as i'm sitting here writing this. when i started this career search last october, i had set very high wage requirements, and refused to settle for anything less. i thought i was better than the jobs out there. slowly, over the months, i have been whittled away, and made sufficiently humble. i was ready to accept any job that wasn't a "college graduate" job, and that offered less than what i was making before i went back to school. i think i had to become completely reliant on the Lord to remind me He does know our needs very intimately, and He is involved with the details of our lives and wants us to succeed. He wants us to move forward and be happy. david and i were discussing this wonderful blessing tonight, and he made the point, "the Lord promises us a blessing, then makes us wait for it, and after we've worked so hard by our own efforts, and seemingly failed, He sends us the promises in full and more--so we know it came from Him--so we know He is the source of our strength".
when i was in elementary school i ran for student body secretary. i want to say i was in third grade, but i really don't remember. i also don't remember why i wanted to run; i wasn't a very outgoing person, i had zero secretarial experience, and i wasn't a popular kid (and we all know student body stuff is for the "it" crowd, right?). my mom helped me write my little speech--i think it was composed of answering questions prepared by the teachers. in answer to a question about organization, my mom suggested i give the example of how i sort, wash, and fold all my laundry on my own. i thought this was silly, but i couldn't think of any other example. the day of the speeches, the candidates went to the library and gave speeches in front of a camera--they were taped and played the next day for the rest of the students. shy and embarrassed little me clammed up even more in front of the camera. when it came time to give my laundry example i felt myself turning bright red and i couldn't look at the camera. the next day we all gathered in the pod to watch the videos so the students could vote on their picks. i didn't watch myself when i popped up on the screen. suffice it to say i did not become the secretary.
i interviewed today for office manager of utah valley pediatrics provo office. the interview went from bad to worse. i felt myself clamming up, the words echoed and rattled around my head, and they made no sense when i could finally mumble an answer. i felt like i had laundry answers all over again.
"so, tell me a challenge you had and how you overcame it."
mind blank. mind repeating question. mind counting clock ticking.
"well, once i had to prioritize loads of laundry and decide if i should do darks or lights first..."
"give me an example in the last 7 days that you had to multi-task; how did it go?"
"hello..i vacuum, do laundry, mop floors, and clean the bathroom all at the same time, while entertaining the birds..."
half-way through the interview, the administrator sat back in his chair, gave me a head to toe wary look, and asked, "so what is it you want to do?" i sort of crumpled, took a deep breath, and said, "gee, i guess i thought working as a medical assistant for 8 years and graduating with a bachelor's in community health while maintaining a 3.9 gpa would qualify me for something. oh, but i need to warn you, i don't match socks anymore--i just throw them in the drawer and find the match later when i need it." i guess that final sock comment clarified things for both of us...