Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Hero

How many women can say their husband is their hero?
At least one: me!

Justin has been training for the marathon since October of last year. That's seven months of training! He was very strict with his running schedule, making sure he followed the official marathon training schedule. He somehow made time every Sunday for a long run (several hours, in some cases). Talk about discipline!
On Sunday, April 19, Justin ran in the Go! St. Louis marathon. It was terrible weather: rainy, cold, windy. He, along with 15,000 other participants, braved the wet weather anyway. I went along for moral support. Accompanying me were a bag filled with dry clothes, water, snacks and things to keep me busy during the run, the biggest umbrella I could find, and a camp chair. I was probably hauling an additional 30 pounds.
After a scary Metrolink ride, we arrived downtown in a mass of fellow runners. The ocean of people stretched for blocks in every direction, and the announcer soon called the runners to the starting line. Justin went to go stretch, and I took the opportunity to find a prime location to take pictures. Fortunately, the nasty weather kept many onlookers inside or under the shelter of nearby buildings. This allowed me to set up shop mere feet from the starting line.
And the runners were off! People streamed past the starting line for a good 15 minutes. The rain continued. I huddled under my giant umbrella. After all the participants had crossed the starting line, I met up with Justin's parents. Together we walked to the six mile mark to watch the runners pass by. Justin ran by, smiling and giving a thumbs up. Now it was time to wait. I knew it would probably be another two hours or so before he would be close to the finish line. The three of us wandered to the St. Louis Bread Company near the stadium to grab something to eat. (Their Cobblestones are fabulous.) After a leisurely snack, we packed up and walked back to where the race would be finishing. Already, almost 80 marathon runners had crossed the finish line! It wasn't even 10:00 a.m.! We wrestled our way to a good viewing spot close to the finish line. We waiting patiently, searching for a glimpse of a red baseball cap.
There! I saw him! It wasn't even half past 10:00 and there he was. I snapped a couple of action shots of him coming down the finish track. Final time, 3:19:57. Amazing!

He set his mind on something, and he did it. What a huge accomplishment to finish a marathon! My husband is my hero.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Soapfest Wrap-Up

Soapfest was a hit!

When we got back from Haiti, I wanted to do something tangible- something to get people involved. I threw my very own Soapfest to get my friends, family and co-workers involved. I was asked by my boss not to be pushy with people at work. Me? Pushy??
I behaved myself, and my Soapfest box in the office filled up several times. In fact, all the donations from work filled an 18-gallon tub! Additional donations from family and friends filled another two boxes, plus peanut butter and school supplies to boot! I brought all the supplies to Carole and Carl's home on Monday, only to find I miss it. The clean, cool smell of soap permeating my home, my office, my car. It was like an instant air freshener that also brought back warm memories of Haiti and House of Hope.
It's important to do things to help, but you can't forget why you're doing those things.
The hygiene kits being assembled from the collected items will be given to people in the community who can't afford those basic necessities. Can you imagine? I could easily go on a short rant about how lucky we are and how much we take for granted, but let's end on a positive note: Thank you to all who helped contribute to Soapfest- I could not have done it without you!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stirring Up Old Memories

In high school, I considered myself proficient in math. I took advanced algebra, geometry, calculus and trigonometry. But don’t let anyone fool you into thinking math is like riding a bicycle. It’s not. After almost seven years of not using any of those skills (other than the occasional tip calculation), I remember nothing. Nothing! This wouldn’t be such a big deal- since I obviously don’t use those math skills everyday- except for the fact that I’m studying for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test).

In high school, I actually enjoyed math. I know, call me crazy. But there’s something satisfying about solving for a defined answer. It’s not subjective. No matter how complicated or insane the problem may seem, you always want to get one predetermined answer. And it can’t be anything other than that predetermined answer. I remember having calculus tests with only five total questions. Tests that lasted the full class time: 90 minutes. Getting one of those answers felt like such an accomplishment.

With all these strange, almost sentimental, thoughts running through my head, I decided it would be good for me to clear the cobwebs in preparation for the GMAT. I figured I would remember basic algebra, making studying not quite so painful. Unfortunately, every time I open my study folder, a new problem stumps me; a new equation fuzzily surfaces in my brain that I have to rememorize. For example: the Quadratic Formula. I had completely forgotten this formula until Justin triggered my memory last night during study.

“Quadratic formula? That sounds familiar. It must have been one of those formulas I drilled into my memory because it was so important.”

But do I remember it seven years later? Heck no! I had to look it up on Wikipedia this morning!

Half-way through the GMAT math prep workbook. Three weeks until the big test. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A House for Everyone

Has anyone else noticed that everyone and their cousins are buying houses? I sure have. My sister started looking at a condo about a month ago, and she put an offer in (that was accepted) a few days later. That same week, I found out that a woman I work with was in the process of buying a house. Then last week, I get a call from my friend Emily in Colorado who is in the process of buying a townhouse. All first time homebuyers. I guess that $8,000 is on a lot of minds lately. I know it would be for Justin and I. Perhaps we rushed into this house thing. Maybe we should have stayed in an apartment the first year and a half we were married. After all, houses are a lot of work. Especially our house, where we wanted to make renovations since the day we moved in.
But enough of that nonsense. Houses are great. I love our house and would not have wanted to be anywhere else the past year and a half. If we had not bought our house, we would not have had Kevin. We may not have become so involved at church. Therefore, we may never have traveled to Haiti.

I like to think we started the house-buying trend.

House, even though we had to gut the kitchen, want to finish the basement, and need new siding and windows, I think you're great. Thanks for putting a roof over our heads and changing our lives for the better.