The anniversary of our 2nd year as homeowners went by without us even noticing. On August 24, 2005, we took possession on the Prairie Box. In the past year, we've accomplished very little as far as the house goes... The living room still isn't done, the office is a big mess, and our budget has sort of disappeared. On the plus side, the stairway is all but stripped; the all of the woodwork (except for the door and window headers) is scraped, sanded, and awaiting stain; and the original garage has been insulated and drywalled to use as a workshop. We also found the door under the paneling in the office...

But for me, this past year has been more about personal progress than house progress. In February I was promoted from correctional officer to patrol officer, and since then I've been working my butt off training for my new job. I've gone through about 4 months of on-the-job training, followed by 15 weeks of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. It's been extremely fulfilling and exciting, but I haven't had any time off in about 18 months. It's been really rough to be gone 5 days per week, and the days that I'm gone, I'm working my ass off. Literally. I've never been overweight or really out of shape, but with all of the running and PT I've done (voluntary and mandatory), I'm definitely in the best physical condition I've ever been in.

But when I come home, I'm tired, sore, and stressed. Throughout my weeks of training, I've engaged in mock vehicle pursuits, performed high-risk traffic stops, been shot with Simunitions (soap-filled 9mm bullets fired out of real handguns) during live-fire exercises, gotten my ass kicked during groundfighting and physical tactics training, been exposed to OC/CS spray (apparently once wasn't enough, eesh!), and lived away from home in a paramilitary environment. It doesn't sound quite as bad when I write it out, but it's enough to stress me out even though I've had a lot of fun as well. I sometimes wonder how Shayne has put up with me during this time, but he does, and he's been wonderful and supportive throughout my training. I graduate in less than a month, and we can't wait until our lives return to some semblance of normal and we can take a vacation!

My goal right now is simply to finish the living room. We're so close right now. If I can just have it done in time to decorate the house for Christmas, I'll be a happy individual.

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