Long E-mail to Grandma Schenck

What's really going on in my life:

Hey Grandma Schenck!
Jess and I received your cookies yesterday, and they taste great! I'll have to
eat them before they are no longer crisp. That won't be a problem.
Jess told me to tell you that we miss you and that you should consider living
down here because it is "fabulous." I think she may have been joking a bit, but
the weather down here is very beloved by seniors that live down here.
My first week of classes was tough, due to my wisdom teeth removal. My gums
aren't in much pain anymore--they're healing quickly--but my jaw is sore. The
violence of the extraction is catching up with me. I was a on a strong
painkiller (Vicodin) which dulled me, then when those ran out, I started taking
over the counter painkillers. I'm doing all right, but I am really looking
forward to in about a week when this episode is behind me. Yes, I had all four
wisdom teeth removed, and the top two have healed better than the lower two,
because the lower two were 50% covered by gum, which had to be cut by the oral
surgeon. But I'm getting better quickly.
I am busy this semester, and I have a couple marathon days. Teaching one section
of English 102 will be easier, and it will also be less stressful because I
have experience under my belt. But on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I
have two and a half-hour long classes (these are my literature classes--in
order: one covers travel literature, another American literature, and the other
the teaching of literature. After that, on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have
a class where I learn (or re-learn) German (I took a semester of the language
at BV). This will help me fulfill my foreign language requirement--I just have
to get an A. And then I have the teaching--11 to Noon every Mon., Wedn., and
Friday. I had to switch class times with another instructor so that I'll have
time to play basketball every Monday and Friday with some U of A faculty (I
can't play on Wednesdays because that's when the first year lit. students get
together to get "acclimatized" to the program in a pseudo-class we call
Colloquium. In there, we learn about debates in the discipline, research, how
to get a job (aka professional development), and get pointers for success in
all of these. Oh, just to help you understand how REALLY busy I am: I also have
to attend an undergraduate-level English course (300 level) and take notes for
my Teaching Literature class. Wow, huh? I may have to drop something this
semester (one of my lit. courses) if I am too busy. But I figure I should try
to get ahead on things. I can graduate with an MA a semester early (in 2 1/2
years instead of three) if that is something I want to do. After that, I can
move to the PhD program here, or go a PhD program somewhere else, or work, or
Jess and I can move overseas to get REALLY cultured (and learn a foreign
But those are hypotheticals. Right now we're trying to manage our money and
exist with little joys now and then. Our pets (dog and cat) really improve the
quality of our lives, and we spent last Sunday with Clarence and Lilo, who you
may remember are Knutson family friends that moved down from Colorado Springs
to get to better weather for their retirement. I golfed with Clarence, then we
had some steaks at their house in a subdivision south of Tucson. It was fun.
Tomorrow I don't have classes! The University observes Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day. Jess has to go to work, though. Interestingly, Arizona was the last state
in the union to acknowledge MLK Day, in 1992.
Jess is trying, but is not in a hurry, to find different work. She answers the
phone at a construction company across town, in southeast Tucson. We live
closer to northwest Tucson, but more in the center of town, near the
University. The company, Cimetta Engineering, hires out its laborers, so there
are only about five people in her office, including her. Anyway, she is working
on her thesis in her free time there (people don't call that often--her other
responsibility is to open the mail) and reading. But now she is going to get
her substitute teaching certificate for Arizona, and that is a job that pays
rather well per day. She is also watching the classifieds.
We are enjoying working out together. Jess's truck has just gotten through a
dark time. You probably remember how someone changing the oil forgot to put the
oil back in and then drove the truck, killing the engine. Well, the engine got
replaced, and then Jess noticed that the heat did not work. That got her very
stressed, because the people that replaced the engine (Jim Click Ford--a big
dealership here it town) denied any wrongdoing. We talked to my dad and Jess
talked to her dad, Jack, both of which said the heat not working at all
suddenly sounded fishy. So Jess told the Jim Click representative that, and
they cut the estimate to fix the AC/heat down to $600, down from about $1200.
So that was very stressful for Jess not to have wheels. Now I hope that an
insurance company pays us back in full for the rental SUV that the people that
killed the truck engine told us to get. That was about $600 for nine days of
use. I think I told you that we went to the Grand Canyon with that vehicle--and
slept in it! Boy, was that ever cold.
So Jess and I are enjoying our weekend. My jaw pain leaves and comes back again.
We're going to clean up the house today. I have some quick homework to do from
school. I hope you're doing great! You may have heard that Rich and Evan are
skiing in Utah, and my mom is home alone because Cindy's surgery in Omaha (I
forget what it was for) got moved back a week--Cindy was going to come and
recuperate with my mom in Harlan. But I talked to my mom on the phone and she
said she's doing church stuff and volunteer work. I'm looking forward (already)
to my spring break, a whole week off--the second week in March. Jess and I will
have to save up some money so we can travel. We'd like to see family outside of
Arizona, but we would also like to maybe go to Las Vegas (not really that far
away), and also there is San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco for
California spots within driving distance, not to mention the Gulf of Mexico or
Baja California in Mexico, which was weird and surprising to visit. You'll
remember that we went to the border town of Nogales, where I learned that your
average Mexican doesn't have hangups with personal hygeine or cleanliness. I
was shocked to see stray dogs standing on the side of street corners, begging
for food. Amazing. So those are some of our travel options besides visiting
family in Colorado and the Midwest.
So, again, thank you for the cookies! I was hoping to get a letter with it, but
cookies will do.
Love you,
Adam (and Jess)


May 2017

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