Thursday, March 4, 2010


Today was my post-final-exam holiday. It is the day I take off from studying after completing a class, even though I am enrolled in another class. My recovery time is getting better with each class I complete. The first one required a two week break to get my head straight again, and I think I am down to one day. That being said, I still eagerly fingered my new book today, excited to continue with Algorithms in C++.

I think the sciences were born in my blood. My great grandfather worked his entire life on a perpetual motion machine. My grandfather completed medical coursework, and worked part time as a lab technician doing blood work at the local hospital while teaching High School science courses. My grandmother was a nurse, and I never left her house without learning something new, usually science or health related. Who knows, maybe they are all cheering me on in my great endeavors with Computer Science?

I would like to say that I handle my final exam dates gracefully, but really no more gracefully than plodding so deep into a computer program that I can't remember which way is up. Test day looks like this:

In the morning:
Grab orange flavored Trident gum, lots of pens, lots of paper, a water bottle and ten dollars for the testing center.

Leaving work:
Double check: Trident gum, lots of pens, lots of paper, a water bottle and ten dollars. Check! Stop by Chick-fil-a for carrot raisin salad, three chicken tenders, and a large diet lemonade - no ice.

Arrive at the testing center:
Wait for a parking spot to open up. Eat my chicken strips and carrot salad, and drink enough of the diet lemonade to do damage so that by the end of the three hour exam I am screaming for the bathroom. Diuretics, ya know.

Get out of the car:
Check for Trident gum, lots of pens, paper, water, and ten dollars.

In the testing center:
Pay my ten dollars, get my twenty sheets of paper stamped, run to the bathroom because the lemonade is already working its magic. I know! Why do I torment myself so? I guess it's the soothing nature of the lemon, in more than one way. :)

In the testing room:
Set up my water to the right, gum to the left, stack of pens above the test, get my phone locked up, and I am ready to go.

Chew gum like a jackhammer while I work through each problem. I swear, I don't think it is possible for me to program without orange flavored Trident. Nope. I snap that gum so loud and so hard that you'd think the mafia had just entered the building. Inevitably I throw out one or two of the pens because Murphy's law says that at least one must fail. This time two failed. No problem, I had four or five more - my favorites: G2s. What did we ever do without G2s?

Three hours later:
I emerge with a stack of 17 pages of paper covered in ink, and my right hand is
a. covered with black ink spots from the pen(s) that broke and
b. said hand is suffering from epileptic seizures from three hours of programming on paper. (Whoever came up with that idea needs to be slapped.)

The best part is that in about five weeks I get to do this all over again. Tonight was my mental vacation, however. I had a lovely run for 75 mins, and I played some puzzle game to relax my mental muscles. I also had a nice dinner with C, and we chatted about how our days went and I didn't even have to stop to study! I have to admit, I think my favorite part of the day is when C comes home from work and the gym and gives me a LOOOOOONNNNGGG hug and a kiss. It's the best.

C is studying right now, though, and is learning about income taxes and government budgets. I think we both have determined that banana chairs really are the best place to study. They are sort of like whole body fidgets. You can easily change your position from upright to reclined with the slightest movement or a foot or arm. It's like effortless sitting entertainment. Years ago we bought two banana chairs - not at the same time because banana chairs are hard to come by, and matching? Well, we didn't have the money to buy two at a time, so there was no way that was happening. One is burgundy and the other is dark green.

They were our salvation when we jammed everything we owned into bins and lived in a single bedroom for a year while working as a night couple in a retirement home. There was no way we could have fit two recliners in that room. The retirement home was one of the ways we saved money by not having to pay rent. We also managed apartments and house sat because after our first year of marriage, we decided we would not pay rent until we purchased a home.

For the record, I believe I have several more questions left to answer on this blog regarding privacy issues. I will get back to those this weekend.

For now, how great is this?

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