Thursday, February 25, 2010

Unintentional vacation

Wow, has it really been a week since I blogged last? I'm sorry about that. I keep meaning to toss something up here--I actually have some photos and video that I'm eager to share--but for some reason I just haven't gotten around to it.

I think I might have mentioned how miserable I was in school last semester? Well, I am the exact opposite of miserable this semester. I'm taking a marketing class and a management class, and they are just the perfect complement for one another. I am really enjoying them, but they're keeping me quite busy.

Oh, and speaking of school, remember how I blogged about that fabulous program set out by the Department of Defense to give military spouses $6000 to put towards education for portable careers? It's paying my tuition this year to the tune of about $2300, and I was looking forward to it doing likewise for my last 2 classes next year. Well, they shut it down, the bastards! I'm a little insulted by the fact that they couldn't be bothered to personally notify those of us already in the program but instead let us find out via the grapevine. Shame, shame, shame! It won't really change my course of action, as I maintain my freelance career to keep myself in tuition and Pilates and therefore already had the rest of my tuition money saved up. This is actually going to cause some spouses--including some friends of mine--to change their educational plans, and that just sucks.

We are getting ready to head out on Sunday for what I have termed the College Death-Tour from Hell. I'm looking forward to it, but it's gonna be intense: Auburn on Monday, Florida State on Tuesday, and University of Central Florida on Wednesday. We will semi-relax on Thursday and then drive back home on Friday and Saturday. Decisions will be made soon (I hope)! Within the past couple of weeks, Mike has gotten acceptances from Rollins and UCF and has been offered an Air Force ROTC scholarship as well. Nice to have options!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow, snow, snow

I just realized that I forgot to post a couple snow pics from last week when the kids got 2 snow days off from school. This does the best job of showing quantity:

And this probably does the best job of showing quality, as it was a very packable snow, and snowmen seemed to pop up in almost every yard:

Poor Ginger had trouble finding a potty spot:

It's still on the ground, and we're supposed to get MORE this weekend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Off to the ball!

Annabelle and her date, Corey, just left for the JROTC military ball:

After the ball, they're going to Louisville with a group of friends for a middle-of-the-night indoor soccer game. Crazy kids!

Isn't she beautiful? :-)


It was so exciting to be at State yesterday! The guys did their relay in 1:36.93, finishing in eighteenth place. This qualified them as second alternates, which earned them a trip back for finals today. Even though they did not wind up swimming today, it was cool to be invited back on official business.

Here is a picture of the boys the other night at their pasta dinner:

The back of Mike's shirt says "ANIMAL":

Animal, indeed!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Tomorrow is the big day! The kids went up to UofL this evening for practice in the pool where the state competition will be held. I guess now they are at their pasta dinner, doing some last-minute carb-loading.

If you're interested in seeing the action, you can watch live video here. The boys start at 10 o'clock, and here is the lineup for Friday's events.

Knox rocks the blocks!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Boo ya!

They're goin' to State, they're goin' to State! The boys' 200-yard freestyle relay is goin' to State!

Tonight has been just amazing. Mike's coaches and a few friends showed up at the house at around 9 tonight to deliver the good news. Oh, yeah, and to give him a mohawk:

Once Mike was properly styled, we all joined up with this merry band of barbers to shear Harrison:


and Dakota:

These boys rock the blocks!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

It ain't over till it's over

Day 2 of Regionals was a real emotional roller-coaster, one that we'll be on through tomorrow night.

First the great news: Samantha Garrett qualified in 2 individual events for the State competition in Louisville next weekend, as did the girls' 200-yard freestyle relay. Go, lady Eagles!

After the girls' 200-yard relay locked in their ticket to State by finishing second in 1:50.94 (compared to the previous day's 1:53.81), there was a LOT of rejoicing at the spectator end of the pool. A circle of girls enveloped Coach Mason--who was completely overcome with emotion--in a giant hug:

Soon it was time for what we hoped would be a similar outcome for the boys' 200-yard freestyle relay. The boys had already taken a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay earlier in the afternoon, although they did drop their time from 1:52.51 to 1:50.51. The 200-yard freestyle relay was really their best chance at State, and it seemed certain that the girls' recent success in that event was a good omen.

They swam wonderfully, although at 1:37.63 they were just a smidge over the previous day's time of 1:36.87. You have to remember that all season, their eyes have been on breaking the 1:40 barrier, so this is just tremendous. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for one of the first 2 places, which would have meant a guaranteed trip to State, and they finished fourth.

As high as the Fort Knox fans had felt only moments before, that's how crushed the mood was after that relay. Mike didn't have too long to wallow in the misery though before it was time for his 100-yard breaststroke. He did amazing! Finished first in his heat for seventh place in our region with a time of 1:07.76 (down from 1:09.14 the day before, which was his first time ever going under 1:10):

Five minutes later, he was back in the pool with the 400-yard freestyle relay, which came in fourth with a time of 3:47.47, a full second off the previous day's 3:48.50.

The way that the competition is put together for State, the first 2 finishers from each of 5 regions in each event go. Then all remaining times across the state are ranked by speed, and the next 14 fastest competitors receive invitations as well. People who know what they are talking about in the world of swimming say that our boys have a chance of getting this call tomorrow night for their 200-yard freestyle relay.

And so we wait. Either the boys' season is over . . . or it isn't. Hard to know what to do or say. Mike has his gear packed and is ready to head out for 6 a.m. practice tomorrow so that if the call comes, he won't have missed a day of preparation. Oh, how I hope the call comes!

But whether they get a call or they don't, I wanted to take a moment to recognize what tremendous strides the team has made this year. I remember in Mike's sophomore year, his second year on the team, when the coach said at the end of the first day of Regionals that she thought we might have some kids qualified for the second day. Our reaction: "There's a SECOND day?!" Knox certainly hadn't made it that far in a number of years.

In 2007, Mike's first year swimming, neither team made the final rankings at the end of the meet. In 2008, our girls were in thirteenth place and our boys in fifteenth. In 2009, the girls were in tenth place and the boys were in twelfth. And this year, darned if both teams didn't finish sixth, putting the combined team in fourth place for the WHOLE FLIPPIN' MEET! They took runner-up in the team spirit category. And this Friday, Fort Knox will be represented at the State competition!

I guess it's true what they say: Knox does indeed rock the blocks!

Friday, February 05, 2010

In the swim

Wow, the swim team did a fantastic job today! Kids were dropping crazy amounts of time, and if the bad weather holds off, quite a few of our swimmers will be back in the pool tomorrow for the second day. (If we get a snow cancellation, today's results will stand as the final results. Let's hope for decent weather so we can keep the season going as long as possible!)

Mike swam in one individual event (the 100-yard breaststroke) and 3 relays. He dropped about 3 and a half seconds from his time in that event, finishing in 1:09.14, which puts him in seventh place and in the consolation heat tomorrow:

The boys' 200-yard medley relay finished in fifth place in 1:52.51 (down from 1:58.09):

The boys' 200-yard freestyle relay finished in second place in 1:36.87 (down from 1:42.33):

And the boys' 400-yard freestyle relay came in fourth place in 3:48.50 (down from 3:59.02):

Keep fingers crossed for repeat performances tomorrow!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New toy

The past couple days have been absolutely CRAZY as I've been working like a mad woman to get us ready to take off to Versailles (rhymes with "fur whales") tomorrow for the regional swim competition. The only thing left on my to-do list for today though is to shower and pack, and neither of those should take long.

I just spent a little time playing with my new toy. I am going to be videotaping some of our swimmers' most competitive events tomorrow so that the kids who make finals will be able to review their performance and make any necessary adjustments. I decided that the time had come to get into the twenty-first century as far as camcorders go, so I dropped by the PX and grabbed a cute little Sony with a 60G built-in hard drive. Here is my first movie:

I can't believe another swim season is almost over. Wish Mike luck!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Birthday post

Normally I would try to have at least a cute picture to post for my birthday, but things are just crazy around here this week. It's all good stuff, but my schedule is a house of cards that threatens to come fluttering down when one thing changes (like getting snow on Saturday). I've had a nice day--got my new contacts, went to Pilates, took myself to lunch, and hit the grocery store before taking Annabelle shopping to complete her outfit for the dance and drop her off at her musical theater class. Fortunately I managed to finish the reading for one of my classes this week, which means I just have 2 papers to write, and maybe I can get them done tonight. Tomorrow will be busy getting us ready to go to Regionals on Friday.

So I'm here. I'm fine. I'm happy. I appreciate all the birthday wishes I've received. I could really just use an extra day in this week!

Monday, February 01, 2010


I have written here before about the school dress code. Like here, for example, and here and here and here. I thought I was done with the issue after last spring, when a watered-down version of the previous code was implemented that did away with some of the more moronic provisions, such as no capris for girls. Apparently I was wrong.

Thursday morning I was sound asleep when the phone rang at 8 a.m. and Annabelle's voice on the other end said: "Hi, Mom? Can you please come to the school and bring my black pants that aren't corduroy? Apparently I am wearing jeans." Jeans?! She was wearing the same gray cords that we shopped all over creation for back in the fall and that she has worn since that time without incident.

It seems that parents have been complaining when kids get caught for dress code infractions after having worn the offending item all day or--as in our case--for many days without issue. So a call went down on Thursday, telling the homeroom teachers that they should inspect the kids each morning and send all dress code infractions to the office ASAP. According to Annabelle, this was every girl except one in her homeroom.

By the time I got to the school, I was steaming mad. They called Annabelle down from Assignment School, where she was doing time with her fellow inmates, and I gave her the other pants. Then I went and had a chat with the principal.

It is important to note here that this is not the principal's policy. In fact, I would bet money that she is as tired of hearing about the dress code as I am of talking about it. But she let me vent, which I desperately needed. Her advice was that I should call and make an appointment to talk to somebody at the district office about it.

On my way home though, I thought, "Hell, nobody called and made an appointment for me to bring my daughter new pants! Sometimes life happens and you have to deal." So I drove over to the district office for a friendly visit.

I started with the superintendent of the Fort Knox schools, but ultimately wound up talking to his boss, the superintendent of the entire district, which also includes the schools at Fort Campbell. As he welcomed me into his office, he said, "Let me guess--your child got caught wearing jeans at school today!" I said yes and handed him the pants. A puzzled look came over his face, and he said, "But . . . these aren't jeans. Do we not allow corduroy?" I explained that the problem was not the fabric but rather that there were 2 rivets on each pocket and that the pockets were scooped out in the front rather than being set into the side seam. This explanation did not do much to reduce his look of confusion. He made a phone call to the school superintendent for clarification and came back explaining that he had not realized they were policing the kids for whether the pants were "jeans style" or not. All he cared about was that they were not "jeans," which to his way of thinking meant denim.

Friday afternoon, a new policy went out that states:
A trial period student dress code change for the rest of the school year will go into effect Monday, February 1. Beginning Monday, students may wear what is commonly called the jean-styled fitting pants in corduroy and other cotton fabrics, wool, and polyester/blended fabrics. Denim, spandex, and all other dress code policies remain unchanged and in effect. At the end of the school year, we will review outcomes and determine whether or not to make this one change permanent or not. Distractions and other ill effects are of major concern, but it is our belief this change will be well received and prove to be uncompromising.
And this morning, Annabelle's Facebook status was:
Annabelle Taylor is gonna wear her gray corduroy pants (yes, the ones with rivets) because I can :D