Greetings from an overcast day in West Des Moines Iowa.

John is outside pressure washing the siding on the apartment building and I just got done cleaning the bathroom.  Decided to do blog posting while my head clears from all of the cleaning products.

Spent the last two weeks getting my knee back in shape to skate at the Heart of America Invitational in Kansas City.  Practiced four times last week and found the knee brace really helped.  Club practice ice is from 5pm to 6pm each evening – so I take a taxi there, then John picks me up after work.  He usually arrived a bit before 6 and waits in the parking lot for 15 minutes. The taxi drivers with Cab Trans are quite chatty and seem like they enjoy driving me to practice.  They ask me lots of ice skating and hockey questions.  Costs around $13 for 15 minute trip… so not the end of the world.

Took Friday as a vacation day from work.  Spent the morning playing Minecraft, getting rental car (white Nissan Altima) and packing for trip.  At 1:00pm meet John and one of his coworkers for lunch.  We took a short walk on the skywalk to the Big City Burgers and Greens.  Enjoyed a black and blue burger with fries drizzled with truffle oil.  Was pretty good and was nice to meet one of John’s coworkers

After lunch I hit the road for Kansas City.  Was an easy drive – just take I-35 South for 3.5 hours.  It was nice to hop in a car by myself and drive somewhere – something I don’t do much anymore.  Bad part was that I hit Kansas City right at rush hour – so had to contend with unfamiliar roads and stop and go traffic.  The last 15 minutes the GPS took me through a maze of interstate roads until I arrived at hotel in southern suburb of Shawnee, KS.  To save money went with a Motel 6.  Came to $54 a night and it was “just fine”.  It was an older hotel but my room was clean and updated in past year.

That evening was able to go to public skating session at the Kansas City Ice Center so I could practice on their ice and get a comfort level with their facility.  Found their ice to be a little faster to skate on then at the Buccaneer Arena.  Could really notice it when I did a simple two foot spin – easier to start spinning and would go faster.  Practiced for an hour and was happy with things – was able to go over routine several times without music and practice certain parts over and over.

On Saturday got up early and headed back over to the Ice Center for 8:00am practice ice.  They let you spend 15 minutes on the ice with 11 other skaters and go over your routine once to music.  Gives me a chance to get “my skating feet” back for when I do routine for judges later.  Is a bit intimidating to be out skating on the ice with 11 girls who skate and zip around the ice really fast.  Just blocked them out and did my thing.  One girl gave me the stink eye as she almost hit me trying to do some sort of jump… Oh well..

Next was waiting around until 10:00 and changing into skating clothes.  Then they let you go on the ice with 7 other girls for a quick 5 minute warm up.  Gave me another chance to “get my skating feet back” and practice some of the more difficult elements one more time.

Then we all exited the ice and I was up first.  They announce your name, you head out on the ice alone, strike a pose so they know to start the music and go through the routine.  Was not nearly as nervous as at the last competition.  Routine went as planned, the very ending where I do a simple waltz jump was a shaky but did not fall.

Then changed out of my skating clothes and waited 15 minutes for results. I won a first place gold metal.  Coach Elena said if I did not fulfill the requirements for Adult Light Entertainment, then I would have received a lesser metal – being only skater in category does not guarantee you first place. Ordered a few photos of my performance from professional photographer who was rink side – will post when I receive them.  Believe there is a video of performance taken by one of the coaches – will post if I can retrieve from them.

Prince modeling my gold medal

I then stayed at the competition for two more hours watching the other skaters in our club compete.  Most received metals for their performances.  Was nice to see the club skaters being able to compete well with the other clubs in the area.

Started for home at 1:00pm.  Trip back was easy once I got out of Kansas City.  Stopped for a quick lunch at Wendy’s then made it back to West Des Moines by 4:30pm.  Had John pick me at car rental place and was glad to be back home.  Ethan kept by my side for the next two hours meowing – like he was telling me everything I missed…  I asked John to refer to me as “Gold Medalist Derek” for the remainder of the weekend – he just groaned and muttered something about being the only one in my category…

Decided to make supper at home – we were both tired of eating out.  Made fetuchinne with red sauce, meatballs and french toast.  In the process of cooking I splashed boiling water on top of my left foot.  It really hurt.  I immediately put ice cubes in my sock and that helped me get through supper.

After enjoying supper, got the kitchen cleaned up and watched the first two episodes of the second of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.  Kept an ice pack on my foot while watching TV – see some the skin has blistered.  Is sore, but not bad enough to need medical attention.  So far I’m liking this season just as much as the first one.  Like how they go into the back stories of the other characters and let you see how they ended up in jail.  Many times I watch a series, love the first season, but hate where they have taken the story line in upcoming seasons – like with the TV show Weeds….

This morning we both slept in until after 8 and had simple breakfast at home.  Think John will be done with pressure washing soon.  He was having problem with breakers being thrown – believe water got into some of the outside plug-ins.  The siding gets dirty because grass does not grow next to the building.  The wide overhangs prevent rain from falling on it.  One of my projects for this summer is to put stone pebbles around the building along with landscaping fabric and a stone border.  Once done it should help keep the dirt from flying when it rains.

Next Thursday through Saturday I’m participating in the Des Moines Charity Hack 2014.  It’s a 48 hour event where computer programmers get paired up in teams and work on IT problems/solutions for various non-profit organizations.  It’s a marathon programming session – where you work for two days straight to do as much as possible.  Their web site explains a bit more.  Thought it sounded fun – so taking next Friday off of work and going for it.  I will probably be the old guy with a bunch of 20-something computer savants but oh well…

Not much else going on… Think we will probably go out for a mid-afternoon lunch, get grocery shopping done for the week and then head back home to finish up laundry.



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