Doing My Endzone Dance

Oh. My. Goodness! You will not believe what just happened. I got an A in Financial Institutions! All that Federal Reserveness translated into an A! I seriously have no clue how that happened. After the final, I was sure that I would have a B. A low B. He must have really been generous with the partial credit. Dear sweet Federal Reserve, I take back all the lousy things I said about you!

The Class of 2007

Congratulations Seymour High School Graduates of 2007! Quirky Cousin Ashley (the baby of the family) graduated with her class last night to the rousing chords of Pomp and Circumstance while an inflatable lobster pool float bounced around the graduating class. (Why a lobster, I don't know. I did hear that it lost its 4.0 after a particularly grueling Honors English class though). The six (yes six) Valedictorians made lovely speeches about all the joys and struggles of high school, and I noticed that a theme this year includes quoting portions of your favorite song lyrics in your speech (which come to think of it, isn't that odd considering that one of my four Valedictorians read Dr. Seuss for his speech). Cousin Ashley is off to UT this fall to continue her ed-u-ma-cation. Congratulations Ashley! We're all very proud of you...despite that wimpy mortarboard toss.

Deck Party

Welcome back Quirky readers! Hope your Memorial Day weekend was fan-tablous! You will no doubt be thrilled to know that two of my personal goals were accomplished this weekend! The first one was that I managed to visit Lowes on 4 consecutive days, and the other was that according to the official quirk-o-meter, 100 brand new victims visitors found the website in the month of May. Annnnnd at least some of them returned, which tells me that there are either a lot of people with their own secret dash of quirkiness, or they're all just masochists looking for a new way to torture themselves. Either way, welcome to Quirky!

Anyway, back to the Lowes thing. Because I am a freak of nature intriguingly quirky, I (unlike the rest of my gender) despise shoe shopping or clothes shopping. I buy shoes and clothes because they won't let me into work or restaurants without them. Instead, the store that makes my heart go pitty-pat is Lowes (or Home Depot, but I'll go to Lowes first just because I can get into the parking lot without having to wait in a turn lane). A day in Lowes is a happy day indeed. They have everything a girl could ever want in there! Garden stuff, power tools, closet organizers, paint...the list goes on and on. Nary a weekend goes by without at least one visit. But this weekend, we hit the Lowes mother load. Tony and I went on Friday night, then again on Saturday, then again on Sunday, and then again on Monday! 4 days of Lowes! You can't beat that short of just moving in and living there. (Which I've considered, by the way). The reason for all of this home improvement shopping is my brand new deck. I've been planning this new deck for a while because Tony and I just need more room outdoors to throw our big neighborhood cookout parties. (Haha! Just kidding! Tony and I are anti-social hermits. We would never throw a party! We couldn't pick most of our neighbors out of a lineup). But now that we have a deck, maybe we could start throwing parties...small parties...maybe.

I really am proud of my new deck. It was easier to build than I thought it would be, and waaaaaay easier than Tony thought. He was predicting deck-building doom for most of the first day. (He's not good at imagining things spatially, bless his heart. He's so lucky I'm around). On Friday night we scouted for our supplies. On Saturday we bought our supplies and sunk the posts. On Sunday we bought more supplies and built the frame and hung the joists, and on Monday we bought even more supplies, attached the railing posts and laid the floorboards. Viola! Instant deck. With the exception of smacking my own thumb with the hammer once (ooooooh that hurts!) and the post hole that we dug straight through a very large, very angry colony of ants, (bringing the war to their turf this time), everything went quite well. If you're looking for a good step-by-step deck building tutorial, complete with tables that tell you how far your joists should be if you use this size wood vs that size and what length bolts you need to attach everything with, I recommend Ace Hardware's website. (Lowes has a deck building program too, but I didn't like it. The materials list told me that I needed to buy two 4x4x16 posts for a 10x10 deck. There's just something fishy about that).

So that was my weekend. A new deck and 100 new people to read about it. I'll post a picture and we'll all have a virtual cookout in cyberspace. Everyone's invited! This new deck is party central already!

When The Dog Drove

A few days ago in the post about Road Trippin' (which I thought was a great play on words because not only was it a road trip, but it was all crazy like we was trippin', yo) I mentioned the teeny little dog-driving-the-car incident that has completely marred my driving record. (There were a few other "incidents" after that one, but it was the first, so I figure that was what started the downward spiral). What really bothers me is that unlike most automobile collisions involving 17 year olds, this was completely NOT MY FAULT. I mean it. Really.

Anyway. It happened on a Saturday. Saturdays are yard mowing days at the Ancestral House of Quirk, and because Steph and I made for convenient slave labor, we were unrelentingly pressed into service. My job was to mow the big field behind the house with the riding lawn mower, and because it was hot and I have no fear of skin cancer, I figured that it would also be the perfect time to get a tan. My yard mowing apparel? Tiny cut off jean shorts in the Daisy Duke styling, a tube top (oh yes), and no shoes. (Cue the redneck girl from the trailer park theme music here). Anyway, I was mowing away when suddenly the lawn mower ran out of gas. No big deal. There's a little gas station roughly a mile from the neighborhood, so I'd just pop over there (any excuse to drive) and fill up the gas can. It didn't occur to me to change clothes or even put on shoes. Suffice it to say that when you're 17, a tube top and tiny shorts makes for a perfectly good outfit. And I'm not shy. Toss the gas can in the car, grab Daddy's credit card, and I am on my way.

Another thing you should know which also has a large impact on the story: We had a Golden Retriever at the time named Bear. Bear was large even for Golden Retrievers, and didn't quite have the intelligence that the breed is usually gifted with, bless his heart. (Bear's theme song: "Do-dee-do-dee-do". Also, if dogs could talk, Bear would probably also say things like, "Awww Shucks". You get the idea). Bear usually lived in the fenced-in backyard, but with all the manual yard labor that was going on, he had slipped through the gate and was gleefully off to cause general dog-driven havoc around the neighborhood. And that was where I found him.

I was cruising through the neighborhood in my stylish '89 Chevy Corsica (detailed in a hot fire-engine maroon), when I spotted Bear the wonder-dog, standing in the middle of the road, thinking deep thoughts. ("Do-dee-do-dee-do"). Being the animal lover that I am, and knowing that Bear didn't have the sense to get out of the way should a car come up (once Bear ran into the side of a car. Seriously. Ran right into the side of it as it was driving by. And you thought I was kidding about his theme song), I decided to stop the car, load Bear into the back seat, and have him accompany me the rest of the way to the gas station. What a picture we were! Redneck trailer park girl and her lovable, if hopelessly dense, dog on their way to the gas station to get some gas for the mower. Sounds like it could be a TV mini-series, doesn't it?

Anyway. Everything was fine and dandy, except that Bear, the dog of no great intellect, was also the dog of no great obedience, and he decided that it would be muuuuuuch more fun if he were to ride in the front passenger seat instead of the backseat. So he climbed over the consol with apparent brainless ease, despite my attempts to keep him in the back seat. You may think that you have enough upper body strength to keep 125 pounds of willful dog in the back seat while your bottom half is strapped down with a seat belt, but I seriously doubt it. I know I didn't. After a few minutes, I was like, "Fine. Ride in the front seat. See if I care", at which point Bear, having gotten his way, was content to just look out the window. And that would have been that, if it wasn't for this one intersection where the entrance of the subdivision meets the main road.

Anyway. There I was, innocently sitting at the main road, waiting for a gap in the traffic. The road cleared, I pushed the gas pedal and the sudden forward motion of the car causes the dumb dog standing in the passenger seat to lose his balance! He stumbles forward and (stay with me here) HITS the gear shift (the Corolla is an automatic) and KNOCKS THE CAR INTO REVERSE! My foot is still pushing on the gas pedal, so the car suddenly lurches backwards...right into the car behind me! I swear its true! Their hood is totally mangled. The guy driving jumps out, runs around to his back seat, and unsnaps two toddlers from their car seats to make sure that they're okay. The little boy climbs out of the car and says with his little whimpery kid voice and Precious Moments eyes, "Does this mean that we won't be able to go to the pool party now Daddy?" I felt so lousy! I was ready to kill the dog, who is straining to push his head through the (closed) passenger side window at this point.

If that wasn't bad enough, I'm standing beside this busy road in my signature tube top and tiny shorts without shoes, and guys in passing vehicles are slowing down to yell things like "I can teach ya how to drive honey!" The cops show up, take in the outfit and shoelessness with raised eyebrows and ask for my driver's license, which I suddenly recalled that I did not have with me because I had accidentally left my wallet in my locker at school on Friday, "cause there was a pep rally and all right at the end of the day and who wants to take their purse to a pep rally, ya know"? Completely understandable, right? Mr. Police Man writes all this down without saying anything, but the raised eyebrow got higher. I'm also trying to explain to the cop why the dog was in the car, and how he lost his balance and fell into the gear shift, and that's why we ended up backing into the car behind us at a high rate of speed, and I'm sure this kind of thing happens all the time, right? At this point, it's obvious that the cop doesn't believe a word of this story. (His eyebrows have lifted so high that they are technically no longer on his head. They are floating in the air six inches above him). As a matter of fact, he goes back to his car and calls for backup! Backup! Like he's going to arrest the crazy girl and he wants to make sure that he has help in case she's a biter. The kids are now jumping up and down to get a better look at my stupid "puppy" in the car, completely unaware that he's the one who started this whole mess. Stupid dog. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to jail at this point, so I borrow my/the dog's victim's cell phone to call Mom and Dad and let them know. I've managed to keep it together up until this point, but as soon as Mom and Dad pull up, I dissolve into complete hysterics. I'm not one of those people who cry to get out of infractions involving the police, but apparently it works. The people I/the dog hit were patting me on the shoulder and telling me about their first car accidents (not caused by a dog), the police were trying to smile cheerfully as they slipped their tazers and handcuffs back onto their belts, and even the stupid dog managed to look sympathetic. In the end, I was not thrown into the clink (although I did get 6 points on my driving record for letting the dog drive), Dad took Bear back home, and I learned a valuable lesson: If you see your stupid dog standing in the middle of road looking clueless, do not stop! Just go ahead and hit him. At least that way you only damage your own car and not the guy behind you.

The Final Finale

Congratulate me. I have officially finished my evil Feddy-Fed final. It took me right at two hours to complete, and I have a permanent hand cramp from having to write it all. With a pen no less! No computers allowed! Must be handwritten! Whoever heard of such nonsense? Hand-written stuff is so 15 years ago.
Anyway, the test was okay if you're wondering, although I completely blanked on the Glass-Stegall Act, and I can't remember why Penn State Bank was significant, and I think my Keynesian Cross graph is actually backwards (does that make it Classical?) but at this point I don't really care anymore. I'm thinking that I've got a pretty solid B for the class, and I guess I'm okay with that. (Although I wouldn't say no to some pain and suffering extra credit points, because my hand may never be the same).

I'm going to spend the rest of the evening watching brainless TV until all the information I've stuffed into my head this semester eases back out and reduces the cranial pressure. Turn in tomorrow when we return to our regularly scheduled, non-economics based blogging.


I'm just popping in quickly to alert you to the fact that I have my final tomorrow night over Ye Ol' Federal Reserve, so there probably won't be anything remotely interesting on the blog until Friday. (Unless of course, you consider random facts about the Fed to be interesting, and then by all means, check back today and tomorrow and feel free to gorge yourself on all the Feddy goodness). In the mean time, I am eating, sleeping, and breathing the Federal Reserve. My book, Secrets of the Temple, has gone everywhere I've gone for the past three weeks. Everywhere. But that all ends tomorrow after what promises to be a looooovely final, complete with short answer AND essay questions. And ya'll, after reading about the Fed for every waking moment over the course of the last three weeks, the biggest thing that I've learned is that for the majority of the last 100 years or so, those guys over at the Federal Reserve had no idea what they were doing.

The Measurable Ramifications of Risk Due to the Price of Stamps

An amazing thing happened when stamps went up to 41 cents...I was allowed to touch the utilities bill. Even though I work in the very same building as the Knoxville Utilities Board, and even through I passed the bill drop box every single day, and even though I had offered on several occasions to carry the bill in and drop it off on my way to the elevators, Tony felt that it would be more prudent to spend 39 cents on a stamp to mail the bill to them. (This probably has something to do with my tendency to use bills as bookmarks as opposed to, you know, paying them). So each month, Tony would pay 39 cents for the piece of mind that the US post office, despite their reputation for occasionally losing mail entirely, generally did not use our bills as bookmarks (that he knew of). But lo and behold, all that changed when the stamp went up to 41 cents. As my economics books says, Tony reached his break-even point on the risk curve, where the risk he was willing to assume with my carrying the bill corresponded to the price he was willing to pay, which appears to be less than or equal to 41 cents, but more than 39 cents. There's even a graph that shows something very similar to this in the book and I can show you the exact page and everything because I have it bookmarked...with the utility bill.

Weekend Update

Well, bad news on LeConte. There was some unexpected "intestinal distress" that started Friday night and continued into the wee hours. (Is this your doing, spicy Queso?) Anyway, since my idea of fun isn't exactly telling a bunch of guys to hold up on their race to the top while I rapidly march into the woods with a shovel and Hikemaster Greg's special biodegradable toilet paper (oh yes!), I had to bail on the hike. I'm seriously bummed, and now have a couple of cans of Red Bull in the fridge that I don't know what to do with. (Finals are coming up, I'm sure I'll suck at least one down then). For those of you who were just dying to see pictures from the top of Mt LeConte, please allow me to direct you to Hikemaster Greg's site.

In other excited weekend news, you'll be thrilled to know that Quirky Dad took gold in 1 and 3 meter boards in the Spring Masters National Championships in Miami this weekend! (I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.) My dear old Dad, contributor to half of my quirky genes, is the BEST 50-64 Springboard diver IN. THE. NATION. (Bet you can't say that about your Dad...well, Steph can, but she's the only other one). I, as his self-appointed promotional manager, have alerted all the local news stations, and they are coming to interview Dad next week. Just remember, you heard it here first. (To see last weekend's diving competition in Chattanooga, click here). I didn't get to attend this one because I was dog-sitting the Grand Master of Diving's Pupmaster General (more on that later), but Mom went and was able to tape the entire thing, so as soon as I can get my hands on the video, I'll post some snippets. Congratulations Dad! You're the best (literally)!

The Office and Mt. LeConte

Did anybody else see The Office last night? That show cracks me up like no other. I was supposed to have class last night, but a classmate of mine called me right before I left work to tell me that there was a note on the door that said class was cancelled tonight due to Professor illness. (My suspicions are that the "illness" might have had something to do with the fact that the Gin Blossoms were playing at Sundown in the City last night, but that's just my guess). Either way, a free night is a free night, and I'm definitely good with that. Tony's been working 12 hour days due to the plant audit that they're going through right now, so he didn't want to fight the crowds to see said Gin Blossoms. We just ended up having a quick dinner at Chili's (Oh how I love you spicy queso!) and then watching The Office.

Spoiler Alert- If you haven't seen the Office episode yet and still want to, don't read this.
I'm not such a fan of Jim's new haircut. It makes his ears look enormous. I like shaggy adorable Jim better. And I don't know what set Jan off the deep end, but I liked her better when she was the sane one, and Michael was bizarre (and Jan knew it). This new chest-enhanced, mood swinging crazy Jan who likes Michael bothers me. She almost makes Michael look normal, and what's funny about that? I love love LOVE that Ryan the intern got the job at Corporate (hooray for advancing people with MBAs!). Personally, I think that Jim declined the job in order to stay in Scranton for Pam, and I have no idea what will happen to Karen. I thought since she had friends in New York already that she would just stay there and expect Jim to stay with her, but maybe not. I'm happy for Jim and Pam getting together, but I'm more happy about Jim and Dwight staying together. Jim and Dwight's antics are really what makes the show. Nothing makes me smile more than when Jim puts Dwight's office supplies in jello. Ah, Good times, good times. I'm already looking forward to the new season.

In other news, I'm hiking Mt. LeConte tomorrow. This will be my most difficult hike yet. Not so much because of the 10 miles, but because of the killer elevation change. To make it more fun, all the other girls have wimped out, so I'm going to try to keep up with a bunch of competitive, testosterone-filled guys who have been known to race each other up the mountain. RUNNING up a mountain...have you ever heard of such nonsense? I'm hoping that I can counter my lack of endurance with several cans of Red Bull. The whole "gives you wings" thing better be true, because I'm going to need them to make it up to the top. (Down is never a problem for me. Why aren't there more just downhill trails?) Check back again tomorrow, because assuming I survive, I should have some pretty neat pictures.

Road Trippin'

Last weekend, after Dad's amazing smackdown at the Old Geezer Invitational in Chattanooga, I drove the family back home. (This is because even though Dad can still dive like he's 25, he can't control the fact that his body recovers from said diving like he's 80, so he was exhausted. Mom didn't drive because it was getting close to dusk, and her narcolepsy tends to kick in more when it gets dark, especially when "lulled by the motion of the car"). So that left me, and even through I have been driving without major incident (well, except for that time the dog wrecked the car, but that's a story for another day) for 10 extremely competent years, the decision to hand me the keys still made them hesitate.

Mom: Are you okay with driving?
Me: I'm fine.
Dad: Did you adjust your mirrors?
Me: I already did, Dad. I'm fine.
Mom: You're too close to that car in front of you!
Me: I'm fine.
Dad: There's a red light up ahead.
Me: Okay! Sleepy time for everyone in the car over 40!

Actually, encouraging them to go to sleep can be just as nerve-racking. I remember once when we were all on a family trip to somewhere, and darkness fell upon us. (Flashback waves here). Dad had been driving for the majority of the trip, and was quickly getting sleepy. Mom was already asleep (from that whole "motion of the car" thing above) and since neither of them were all that alert behind the wheel after the hour of 9pm anyway, I was elected to drive. I happen to be a night person by nature, and I was completely awake and willing to do something to pass the time while the rest of the family slept. So we pulled over, everyone did a slow-motion Chinese fire drill, and I ended up in the driver's seat. The trip resumed, and the rest of the family went to sleep. Silence is an unusual thing in my family, so I was enjoying the peacefulness that came with it when all of a sudden, Mom bolted upright in the passenger seat and screamed "WATCH OUT FOR THAT TRUCK!"
I didn't see any truck, but the adrenaline kicked in and I was already swerving to miss it. Dad and Steph woke up at Mom's screaming, so the whole family was yelling and bracing for impact. With all the pandemonium, I figured the heart attack I was having would kill me before the truck ever hit us. Then it occurred to me...Wait a minute, we're on a deserted road! There aren't any trucks in sight! Turns out, Mom was just dreaming that a semi was bearing down on us, and decided that a warning at 300 decibels would be appropriate. It took us all a few minutes to calm down, clean out our pants and get resettled.

Let me tell you, there's nothing like having your life flash before your eyes to make you REALLY ALERT for the next 200 miles.

100 Things

I saw this on BigMama's blog, and it seemed like a pretty neat thing to try to do. The idea is to come up with 100 things about yourself. Hers was good. We'll see about mine.

1. I was born in 1980, which is a convenient way to remember how old I was in any particular year. 1987? I was 7. 1992? I was 12. Easy.
2. It was in June, so my birthday party of choice was the pool party.
3. I don't have pool parties anymore. It's a shame really.
4. My dearest husband has the same birthday. Same day, same year.
5. Not the same hospital...that's just weird.
6. I always feel guilty that I want to eat in a seafood restaurant on our birthday, but Tony hates seafood.
7. He takes me to the seafood restaurant anyway. He's just good like that.
8. When I was 5, I wasn't wearing my seat belt and fell out and Mom accidentally ran over me with the car.
9. I got to wear a cast on my leg afterwards. I thought it was really cool.
10. Mom didn't. She still feels terrible about it.
11. I have a sister who is three years younger than I am.
12. When we were little, I would eat all the carrots out of her beef stew, and she would eat all of my potatoes.
13. We would split the meat chunks.
14. She's currently away at Harvard Law School, so no one eats my potatoes in the beef stew anymore.
15 . I really miss her.
16. My favorite class in high school was art.
17. My least favorite was anything having to do with math.
18. Except for geometry. That was okay because at least it had shapes.
19. I never had braces.
20. Or glasses.
21. I probably need the glasses now but am in denial about it.
22. I took Latin in high school because Mom thought it would help me if I took a job in a scientific field.
23. I didn't.
24. I can't remember any of the Latin either.
25. I went to the University of Tennessee for undergrad.
26. I met Tony while we were sorting packages in the dorm post office.
27. We went to Krystal for dinner that night.
28. I like the Krystal chiks. Tony wasn't impressed.
29. My graduation present from Mom and Dad was a 75 gallon fish tank. I picked it out myself.
30. My first job out of college was with a global logistics company. I filled out the forms to get the cargo through US Customs.
31. It wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be.
32. Mom and Dad both work in pharmaceutical sales.
33. Mom's specialty is women's health.
34. We discuss the ramifications of having an inverted uterus over lunch.
35. Trust me, you don't want to know.
36. My favorite healthy food is broccoli. I could eat broccoli every day forever.
37. My favorite non-healthy food is chocolate. I could eat chocolate every day forever.
38. Not together though.
39. My pet peeve is when people use "their" instead of "they're", or vice versa.
40. I haven't decided yet what I want to do when I grow up.
41. I don't swim because I don't like to stick my head in the water.
42. Water goes up my nose and I choke.
43. The blowing-the-air-out-through-your-nose thing doesn't work for me.
44. I do a mean dog-paddle though.
45. I'm not good at small talk with strangers.
46. I only have a few friends, but we're very close.
47. I think I'm pretty easygoing.
48. I'm a night person. Anything going on before 9am should be illegal unless it started the night before.
49. I'm a killer bingo player.
50. I can never remember what beats what in poker.
51. I married Tony on April 5th, 2003.
52. We played "Another One Bites the Dust" at our reception.
53. I had the most beautiful wedding dress ever.
54. I'm still trying to think of a reason to wear that dress again.
55. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful husband.
56. I don't tell him that often enough.
57. I drive a convertible.
58. I think the wind in my hair is better than therapy.
59. Cheaper too.
60. My favorite spot in the house is the air chair on the screened-in porch.
61. I also like soaking in the bathtub.
62. I like reading cheesy romance novels because no matter what happens to the characters, there's always a happy ending.
63. I just like happy endings period.
64. I have two Siamese cats, Mason and Dixon.
65. Dixon is a Mama's Boy. I think he's trying to prepare me for motherhood.
66. It's not working.
67. Before we moved back to Knoxville, Tony and I lived in Norfolk VA.
68. Before that, I lived in Atlanta by myself.
69. Living alone taught me a lot about myself.
70. Like that I'm a terrible housekeeper.
71. I like to make lists. To-do lists, project lists, grocery lists, book lists.
72. I have lists of all the different lists I have.
73. I like to build things.
74. My last project was a homemade rain barrel. It's connected to a homemade soaker hose. It turned out well.
75. I like to garden.
76. My success rate with plants is about 50-50.
77. I'm hoping the rain barrel will improve those odds.
78. I'm working on getting my MBA in the evenings after work.
79. I really like school. I wish I could afford to be a professional student.
80. Or a professional list maker.
81. The song that plays over and over again from the neighborhood ice cream truck irritates the crap out of me.
82. I do like ice cream though.
83. I do day hikes on the weekends.
84. I'm hoping that the hikes counteract the effect that the ice cream has on my thighs.
85. I need to go on longer hikes.
86. Tony's pet name for me is Goose.
87. Or Little Goose, Baby Goose, Silly Goose, or Bad Goose.
88. Tony got me a Blackhawks jersey with Goose on the back for Christmas one year.
89. I'm a Cubs fan by marriage.
90. I've been a hockey fan forever.
91. I don't like my knees. They just look awkward to me.
92. I'm afraid of needles so I never give blood.
93. I hate the little dog next door who keeps coming over to poop in my flowerbeds.
94. I fantasize about drop kicking him back to his own house.
95. I would never really kick an animal.
96. The humane society commercials make me cry every time.
97. I look terrible when I cry.
98. I want to leave the world a little better than I found it.
99. Even if that's just by making one person smile.
100. I encourage people to embrace their inner quirkiness. It's a compliment.

Old Geezer Invitational Part 2

As promised, here are the pictures and even a video (A VIDEO! Am I riding this technological wave or what?) of Quirky Dad's springboard diving competition. The competition covered all age groups, ranging from the 4 year old kids with their little tiny bodies in their little tiny Speedos, to the "Masters" (read: Geezers) in their 50's and 60's, with the not so little tiny bodies but still little tiny Speedos. It was quite a sight to behold.

Photo (From left to right): Dennis, Dad, Steve and Deborah, Masters at the Southeastern Diving Championship, May 12th 2007.

I must admit that when I went, I completely expected the Masters division to do a couple of simple dives like the pencil jump and maybe a cannon ball or two. I mean, some of these people are grandparents. They've had hip replacements and knee surgeries. I figured that they would totter out to the edge of the board, do a simple little age-related dive, and we would all clap and help them out of the pool. End of story. I was soooo wrong. These people are competitors, and they're not going to let a little thing like age stop them. They're stronger, more talented, and certainly braver than most 20-somethings, including myself.

The dives were beautiful and complex, and the same dives that the college students were doing. (Only Dad was better than most of the college students). He hasn't lost a step at all. He still flies through the air effortlessly, twisting and flipping like he was in slow motion before sliding into the water with barely a ripple. When he dives, you forget that this guy is a half a century old. Instead, it's rippling muscle and power, grace and fluidity. It may sound cheesy, but it's poetry in motion.

Video: Dad on the 1 meter board

Photo: Dad diving off the 1 meter board.

Dad competed in the 1 meter and 3 meter boards, doing 8 dives on each. 4 dives are required, and the other 4 are ones that you pick, either for the difficulty level or because they're your best. They include front dives, back dives, reverse, inverted (you jump backwards away from the board, but then tuck your head back towards it...these scare Mom to death), and twists. In addition, each of these categories can involve a straight dive, pike, tuck, or free (a combination of straight, pike, or tucks). (See diving 101 for more information and pictures).

Photo: Dad flies through the air

Dad was fabulous, and the judges were suitably impressed. He won gold in both 1 and 3 meter boards, and the announcer said that he set a new pool record for the 1 meter. Not bad for a guy who hasn't competed in 30 years. He'll compete again next weekend in Miami in the USA Masters National Diving Championships. Go Dad Go!

Photo: Dad with gold medal after winning the 1 meter competition.

There are two morals to this story. One is not to judge an old geezer by his cover, and the other is that you're never too old to live your passions. Don't let the young whippersnappers tell you that you're too ancient to do anything. Age is nothing but a number, and inside the 50 year old diving champion lives the heart and soul of the 25 year old diving champion. I'm so proud of you Dad.

Old Geezer Invitational

Have I got a treat for you sports fans! Yours truly will be attending the Southeastern Diving Championships at Baylor in Chattanooga TN this weekend! This competition, which will involve the one and three meter boards, is divided into age groups, and Father of the Quirk has decided to compete. The Southeastern Diving Championships, (which I have conveniently renamed the "Old Geezer Invitational", or OGI for short) will be Quirky Dad's amazing return to the world of competitive diving, and his first competition in 30 years. (And believe me, you haven't seen anything until you've seen a bunch of +50 year old men walking around in Speedos). Tune in tomorrow for a full report of the flips, the slips, and the full body traction that results when the middle-aged throw themselves off springboards. I'm promising pictures too.

Snowball Economics

So I'm actually really enjoying this semester's class. It's about financial markets and the Federal Reserve, which had you asked me, I would have sworn to you that it would be Booooooring! But amazingly, (and no one is more shocked about this than I am) I'm really enjoying it. The book that we're using is called Secrets of the Temple How the Federal Reserve runs the country, and it's actually interesting. (Of course, not being at all versed in economics, I have to read every sentence twice to absorb it, but it manages to hold my attention and be mildly entertaining, which no econ textbook has ever done. Ever. Not even a little bit. I can not express how blown away I am that I am enjoying this class. The professor is really good too. I was really expecting some crusty old guy who was personally around when they formed the Fed (1913, if you're wondering), but this guy is really entertaining. (He's still old, but he's more like mid to late 40's old instead of centuries old). Each class is 4 hours long, and I do not even realize how the time passes until he makes some comment that he only has 10 minutes left. 4 hours of monetary policy, and I'm still alert! Nay, more than alert! Actual interaction! About an economics class! Shocked! Shocked I say! I can only assume that snowball inventory in Hades is skyrocketing, which we all know from the Keynesian models means that output (q) is high and price (p) should be...never mind.

Tony's War

Tony is in the middle of a war. The enemy outnumbers him, and they are wily, but Tony battles on bravely. Who is his stealthy enemy? Ants. Every year around this time, the ants that normally live outside our house decide that it would be muuuuch nicer to move out of their houses and into our house. (I personally think that the ants do not have air conditioning in their little ant homes, so as the weather warms up, they seek out our trane-powered coolness. I know I would). The breech in our security seems to be through a tiny crevice between the wall and the kitchen window. The ants engage in gorilla warfare, sneaking in under the cover of darkness after Tony has gone to bed. Tony counters with chemical warfare. He started with the little ant hotels on the counter. (This was the tactic that was successful last year when warding off the invaders). But No! The ants are smarter than that now. (Their spies have obviously raided our garbage and read the back of the ant hotel box, because they were familiar with the various ant hotel designs and have thus have been able to avoid them). I am playing the part of Switzerland in this war and remaining completely neutral. These ants are not even fire ants. They are just little tiny black ants. Bothersome solely because they are on the counter when they aren't supposed to be, but hardly possessing nuclear capabilities. A rebel uprising at worst. Tony, however, believes in the slippery slope of ant wars. You show the ants any weakness, and they'll double their invasion attempts. Ants taking over the house! Ants carrying us out and tossing us in the yard! Ants changing the locks so that we can't get back in! (Oh the humanity!) When Tony discovered that the ants were laughing at his little ant hotels, he switched to poisoned ant bait. "They take it back to the nest!", he laughed maniacally, "kills the whole colony! Even the queen!" (Now, I am technically against the killing of women and children ants just as collateral damage, but the ants also refused to participate in my peace talks, so what can I say? They've now invaded my kitchen sink). So the poison ant bait goes out, and I can no longer use my kitchen for my own food prep. The ants however, are also wise to this tactic, and are carrying their own food rations with them. So not only did the not eat the bait but they made a very big production out of not eating said bait. They would march in a nice straight line right up to it, do a precision right face, and forward march right around it. (I think that this was deliberately done to break Tony's spirit). What the ants did not count on though, was how far Tony was willing to go just to eradicate the usurpers. No more hotels, no more bait, no more Mr. Nice Guy. A spray was purchased. Guaranteed to wipe them out on contact. An ant atomic bomb, if you will. As soon as we saw it, the cats and I hit the deck (well, the back porch anyway). This stuff smells terrible! And true to his word, after Tony thoroughly doused the kitchen with it, not an ant was left standing. Of course, no other living thing can now enter the kitchen, including us, so the kitchen has essentially become a radioactive wasteland, but at least we showed those ants a thing or two. Well, right up until next year, when the ants will resume their annual border dispute once again.


It's pretty close to midnight here in the House of Quirky. Tony has long since started snoring and since then I've just been laying here thinking. (A dangerous past-time if ever there was one). I've been mentally going over my life, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm not very special. Average, if you will. (I call this the "10 year reunion" response. My 10 year high school reunion is coming up next year, and I was laying here thinking about what I would tell people about what I've managed to do in the last 10 years). I had hoped, as I guess most people do, to have accomplished something amazing and worthwhile by now. Not just to impress people that I knew only casually 10 years ago, but to feel like all this running around that I spend my day doing has actually added up to something. I had hoped that I would be able to say that I was something important, like a Fortune 500 CEO, or a best-selling author, or an astronaut, or that I found the cure for cancer. Instead, I have an average job, and an average house, and spend my free time trying to keep the bird feeders in the backyard filled. (What kind of birds eat a pound and a half of birdseed every day?!)

Anyway, the army used to have a commercial where the voice-over said, "If someone were to write a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?" (There's video of a guy jumping out of an airplane during all this). And while I can't say that I'd want to join the army and jump out of planes, I'm also forced to admit that even I wouldn't make it through an entire book about my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! I'm very blessed and I know it. But I've got this drive to take all these blessings that I've been given and make something wonderful out of it. And that's where the trouble starts, because I haven't managed to find my world-changing calling yet. I'm hoping that it's out there, and I just haven't discovered it yet. That I'm still working up to it.

And maybe by the time my 25 year reunion rolls around, I'll have that cure for cancer after all.

My Fair Lady

Seymour High School is putting on a production of My Fair Lady tonight and tomorrow. Show times are tonight at 7pm, and tomorrow at 2pm and 7pm. (I have a cousin in it, and she has the quirky gene too, so I highly recommend going and checking it out. And unlike me, she can actually carry a tune). Plus, It'll be like seeing Eliza and Mr. Higgins played out in miniature! Youthful miniature, full of self-confidence and no need to shave. (Guaranteed to make you feel old by comparison). It's sure to be a hit if you're looking for a date idea on this lovely Friday night.

Baby Eli is Here!

Well, not here in Knoxville, but here as in outside of his Mommy! I have just found out that Baby Eli was born on Wednesday, 5/2, at 2:06pm. He weighed 5lbs 11oz and is about 18" long. Chris and Nicole are going great. Congratulations Mom and Dad!

End of Semester Dance

Tonight is the last day of the semester! (Boogie-woogie victory dance here). My final is due and I have a presentation to give, but as soon as I get through it, I'm free! FREE! Well, at least until the miniterm session begins, which is Monday. (So much for getting a break after finals). Oh, and the miniterm professor emailed us and asked that we have chapters 1-6 (a mere 220 pages) read over the Federal Reserve before class begins, so I guess I'll be doing a bit of reading this weekend. But after THAT, only...(counting on fingers) 6 more semesters to go and I'll be free! FREE!

Lunch Plans

For those of you in the Market Square area, get yourself over to the Market Square kitchen because they have some AWESOME soups today! Today is chicken noodle day (scrumptious) AND Chicken and Rice (Delicious) AND Chicken Tortilla day (Scrumptious AND delicious)! Everything a chicken soup lover could want. I personally recommend the 1/2 soup and 1/2 sandwich combo. I had the roast beef sandwich and chicken and rice soup for lunch today, and it was fab-u-lous!

A Bedtime (Furniture) Story

Once upon a time, almost seven and twenty years ago, a lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) baby was born, and the kingdom rejoiced. And her parents placed her in her lovely nursery, complete with lovely crib, and lovely dresser/changing table, and lovely chest of drawers for keeping all her lovely little clothes. Years passed, and the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) baby grew into a lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) young lady, and the crib was exchanged for a big girl bed, but the dresser and chest of drawers remained. And more years passed, and the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) young lady grew up, and moved away from home, and the same chest and dresser went with her. And a few more years passed, and the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) young woman married an equally lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) young man, who also happened to have a chest of drawers from his childhood, so the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) couple combined their faithful (if now mismatched) furniture (plus a particle board "armoire" from Target and some old end tables from a garage sale to use as nightstands) into their bedroom. And that was fine, for a while. But one day, the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) bride said to her lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) husband, "Lo!" (Lo wasn't the husband's name...she just said that to get his attention), "Our clothes runneth over. We cannot get the drawers to close anymore. And all the furniture is mismatched. And we are amiss, because according to the royal HGTV decree, all bedrooms should have a headboard to be a focal point and anchor the bed in the room! We do not have any such headboard!" And so, the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) couple set out on a quest to find bedroom furniture. And they searched high and low, through several lands, but could not find a bedroom suite that would work. The lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) wife wanted a cherry stain four poster bed and a headboard without a broken pediment, and the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) husband wanted it to be one step up from free. And that combination is not easy to find. And so they searched(mostly the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) wife, but she drug the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) husband along when she could) off and on for a period of 4 years. But one day, while the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) couple were out browsing through furniture stores, they happened to come across Haverty's, which happened to have a lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) cherry bedroom suite that happened to be on sale, which made the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) wife happy, AND it just so happened to be on tax free weekend, so the whole lot was tax free, which made the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) husband very happy. And so they purchased it, and were very happy with their new bedroom suite, which is scheduled to arrive on Saturday, (which means the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) wife won't be able to go hiking, but there will be other hikes, so that's okay). So finally, the quest has been accomplished, and the bedroom will match, and have enough drawers to store clothing, and a headboard to anchor the room and be a focal point, just as the royal HGTV decreed. The faithful childhood furniture will not be carelessly discarded however, but will be moved into the guest bedroom to await the day that it gets reunited with the crib and becomes nursery furniture all over again. And the lovely and wonderful and witty and charming and slightly quirky (in a good way) household lived happily ever after.

The End.

I Scream, You Scream

It's Ice Cream Day on Market Square! (I LOVE LOVE LOVE working on the Square! There's always something happening). Today is Knoxville's stop on Blue Bell's 100 Year Tour. They're 100, so they're giving out ice cream. I'm good with that.

Anyway, as soon as the ice cream started flowing, we made a mad dash out to get our free ice cream. I wanted to stay and jump in the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Bounce House, but Mr. Blue Bell sample guy kinda insinuated that I would, say, trample the little children if he let me in, so no dice there. (Apparently I have "clumsy oversized child hater" tattooed on my forehead). He did give me a paper ice cream hat though, and because I am easily distracted, I let the bounce house height discrimination thing drop.

They also have displays, merchandise & videos about Blue Bell, with profits benefiting the local Boys & Girls Club, so if you're in the area, stop by and get some free ice cream. And a paper hat. They're all the rage.