Joe’s Journal – September 2017

Saturday – 9/30/2017

Baylor Starts 0-5

I knew Baylor had an uphill battle this season, but I never imagined they’d start the season 0-5. Many are quick to point out that this is Baylor’s worst start since 1978. Technically speaking, this is true. But whereas the ’78 team was just bad, this Baylor team has a lot to look forward to. They’re building something great and it will take some time to build it right. This season is basically lost. They won’t win the division or even go to a bowl game. So they might as well just focus on establishing the foundations for winning in future seasons. I’m fully behind this team and I believe they’ll turn it around.

Astros are 2017 AL West Champs!

What the Astros have put together this season is truly remarkable and so fun to watch. I’ve been waiting for a season like this my whole life. And they could very well win it all this year. They certainly have the offense. With the addition of Justin Verlander in the pitching rotation in late August, they now have enough skilled pitchers to make a solid postseason run. Verlander went 5-0 in his five starts this month.

Sunday – 9/24/2017

Big Red Is Dead

I got some sad news on Friday…my little red Dodge Neon, which I affectionately call Big Red, has a broken timing belt and the repair will cost more than $1,000. That pretty much brings to an end the nine-year run I’ve had with this lucky little car. I just now wrote a little post about it: Big Red Is Dead.

And if that wasn’t enough of a setback, it turns out that the timing belt on Aniela’s car has also broken. She has a 2001 Lexus. We’re still trying to figure out if it’s worth it to fix it. So now we’re down to the extra vehicle which we just bought last month (2010 Toyota Rav-4). Anyhow, we can’t complain. Our cars have been good to us. One way or another, we’ll figure out what to do to get us around town.

My Baylor Bears fell to 0-4 last night with a tough loss to Oklahoma, which is currently #3 in the nation. Although it’s tough to lose a game we apparently could’ve won, the entire Baylor family and I are very excited and pleased with the performance. It indicates a very bright future for this team, which mainly consists of freshmen and sophomores.

And then my Houston Texans lost today after another glorious 2-minute drill down the field by Tom Brady and the Patriots. Man, this guy is 40 years old and still slinging it like it’s easy. Tough to lose a game like this where we had the lead and could’ve won. But once again, I’m very excited for the future of this team.

Monday – 9/18/2017

So Thankful for Our Safety

Aniela, her mom and I all flew back to Florida on Saturday after a week in Houston with my family. It was a real treat to spend so much time with them. We spent 9 days there which is more or less the total number of days I had spent with my family in the last 12 months.

The decision to completely avoid Irma by flying to Texas turned out to be the right move. It spared us the tension of howling wind around the house and also the misery of sitting in slow traffic on a drive out of town. Nonetheless, we felt the tension of South Florida from 1,500 miles away due to my dad’s insistence that CNN is showing on the TV throughout the day.

When you know that your home will be under attack by the weather, there’s a part of you that wants to stay in the house so you can fix any little problems which may arise. We suspected that water would collect on our patio and would then seep through the front door. That’s a problem we easily could’ve fixed if we’d stayed home. But then there’s another part of you which rightly considers that the roof could be blown off your house. And no amount of duct tape is going to fix that. So therefore, if your house is going to be destroyed, you might as well be somewhere else so that you are not destroyed along with it.

I can’t say enough great things about our good friends Ed and Marianne Johnston. If they had never done another favor for us, we already would’ve owed them an eternity of favors and gratitude for all the times they generously helped us. But once again, they demonstrated an inspiring level of selflessness throughout this ordeal which made things easier for lots of people…especially us. They didn’t leave town. They helped to put up our hurricane shutters. They checked on our house, paid to remove trees that fell on our cars, removed the hurricane shutters and moved lots of debris to the curb. Aniela and I are just two of many people for whom they did this work and so I just wanted to publicly thank them for it.

Take Nothing For Granted

Even in the best of conditions, Aniela’s already skeptical of the food we buy because it often fails to meet her high organic standards of perfection and purity. So after a week of sitting in our fridge without power, it was a foregone conclusion that she would throw it all away. So therefore we went to our favorite Mexican / Italian / Salvadorian restaurant (we’re not really sure what it is) to pick up a chef salad and a pizza.

As we feasted on the margherita pizza, Aniela pointed out how blessed / lucky / fortunate we are to have avoided the catastrophes that so many families are facing in Florida, southeast Texas and the Caribbean. In the midst of all the traveling we had to do…all the inconveniences and rearrangement of stuff…we were both careful to avoid complaining. We knew there are thousands of people who lost everything. They have to put their lives and their businesses back together.

So we just sat there with gratitude as we ate our hot pizza. We took warm showers, slept in a clean bed and drove to work the next morning in a city that busily works to clean itself and fix its damage. The stores are rushing to restock their shelves. Landscaping crews and contractors are all over the streets doing their thing. Everybody’s working with the same motivation of getting things back to normal. If somebody went into a coma before Irma and woke up a month from now, they would have no idea that a historically bad hurricane came through town…except maybe a few missing trees.

99.9% of humans throughout history didn’t have it as good as we’ve got it…and that includes kings and emperors. They didn’t have air conditioning, plumbing or easy transportation over long distances. They didn’t have a large variety of foods to choose from. They couldn’t easily communicate with people on the other side of town, much less people on the other side of the world. They had no way of getting immediate answers to all of their questions.

Yet we enjoy all of these luxuries in abundance. We don’t have to plow or wait for our food to grow. We push buttons on devices and the stuff we need simply shows up. If the prosperity we enjoy is all you’ve ever known, it would be easy to take it for granted. I’m looking forward to raising my baby boy, but I’m already wondering how I’m going to explain to him that most of the people on the planet don’t get to live like we live.

Anyhow, all that to say…I’m just really thankful for all we have. And I want to completely eliminate any complaining from my soul…because none of it is justified.

Tuesday – 9/12/2017

We’re all back in Katy, Texas now after spending a couple of nights in San Antonio. I just woke up from an epic night of deep sleep. I’m talking four levels of Inception deep. So now I’m totally rested. We were supposed to fly back to Florida today, but rescheduled our flight for this Saturday, so we’re going to be here all week. Power was restored to our house last night, so we may attempt to go back earlier. A couple of small trees fell on our cars during the storm, but that’s basically the extent of the damage. We’re extremely fortunate.

Sunday – 9/10/2017

As I write this, most of Florida is getting hammered by Hurricane Irma. My wife and I are safe and sound with my family at my sister’s house in San Antonio. The flight that we booked last Monday turned out to be so important for us. Some of our close friends and family members stayed in their homes instead of evacuating. Without power, it’s very hot in their houses and the wind is howling outside. That’s exactly the miserable scenario that I wanted to avoid for my wife. In her eighth of pregnancy, it’s hard for her to get comfortable when conditions are optimal. So dealing with a hurricane in a hot house would’ve been terrible for her.

Even worse than riding out a bad storm, I totally dreaded the thought of sitting in slow traffic for hours. And now that we see the storm hitting Orlando and Tampa, we’re glad we didn’t try to evacuate by car because we likely would’ve fled to one of those two cities. We have a return flight scheduled for Tuesday, but that’s most likely not going to happen. There’s no way I’m going back to Florida before the power in our home is restored.

Anyhow, aside from all the devastation in our town and state, I’m having a great time here in Texas with my family. I hadn’t seen them since May.

Friday – 9/8/2017

Finally Out of Irma’s Path

Flights out of Fort Lauderdale were being cancelled left and right yesterday, but our 7pm flight to Houston remained on schedule throughout the day. I must’ve checked the flight status 100 times. When it came time to board our flight, I was encouraged by the site of a Spirit Airlines’ pilot and flight attendants who would take us to Houston. The main pilot, however, was almost two hours late. We finally boarded before sitting in the plane on the tarmac for another hour. Just before 10pm, our 7pm flight took off and we landed around midnight in Houston.

Thursday – 9/7/2017

Staying Patient and Calm

I’ve got a flight booked for me, my pregnant wife and her mother this evening at 7pm out of the Fort Lauderdale airport. I booked the flight with Spirit, which is known to cancel or delay flights, so I’ve been checking on the flight status every hour or so to make sure it’s still on schedule. We’re counting on that flight to take us out of the area. We haven’t stocked up on any supplies, so it would be really difficult for us if we had to stay here during Hurricane Irma.

There are the projected models of Irma’s path:

Tuesday – 9/5/2017

I’m outta here!

I’m not taking any chances with Irma coming right at us. I went on the Spirit Airlines website, found $100 round-trip tickets to Texas and booked them; Thursday 9/7 to Tuesday 9/12. If Irma hits here in South Florida, it’ll happen sometime in that period and we won’t be here. Like I mentioned the other day, I hate hunkering down for a storm. I don’t want to load up on food and water. I just want to get the heck outta here. Just make a little vacation out of it, visit the family.

Our flight to Texas was cancelled two weeks ago due to Harvey and my parents’ flight to visit us here on Thursday will soon be cancelled. Sure seems like the weather’s trying to keep us away from each other. Anyhow, I now have some peace of mind with these flights. We also spent an extra $42 on insurance in case this hurricane completely misses us. That’s a very reasonable price to pay for that option.

Due to all the weather issues lately, I haven’t paid much attention to political news, but I just stumbled upon this tweet a moment ago and realized that nothing is new…still just a bunch of angry people making dumb, mean comments.

Sunday – 9/3/2017

Here Comes Irma

I mentioned last week how ironic it was to be in Florida, worried about a storm that was somewhere else. Well the irony is now over as we now have a major hurricane headed straight for us. It could possibly veer to the north. But as you can see in the models below, Florida’s right in the middle of the path.


My inclination is to play it safe, book a hotel somewhere on the west coast of Florida or go up north to Georgia. The last thing I want to do is hit the road when everyone else is doing the same thing. The only thing worse than hunkering down to ride out a bad storm is leaving at the last minute. What happens is that everyone realizes it’s too bad of a storm and the risk of staying is too high, so they end up in standstill traffic with all the other panickers. No thanks.

My wife’s baby shower was scheduled for the 8th. That seems really doubtful now. I feel bad for her because I know she’s really been looking forward to it. We’ll see how it goes. There’s still a chance Irma goes in some other direction.

Saturday – 9/2/2017

My SEO Efforts Are Working!

So excited! As I mentioned at the end of the August post, I took a course on how to use the Yoast SEO plugin and I applied what I learned. I optimized the homepage of my language instruction website for the phrase Spanish Classes in Austin. I also wrote a new post entitled Learn Spanish in Austin. Those are two of the most important keywords for anyone who offers Spanish lessons in Austin. And now my website appears on the first page of results when you Google those phrases.

This is clearly going to be helpful in attracting new students in Austin for the teachers I have there. But in the big picture, these new SEO skills are a total game changer. If I can effectively do this for my own business, I can certainly do it for any other business. It’s just one of many services I plan to offer through my new web services business, JAGMMM.

Baylor Opens the Season with a Loss to Liberty

Ugh! I new this was going to be a rebuilding season for Baylor, but I didn’t expect them to have any trouble with their non-conference schedule.

This is a total embarrassment for Baylor after a long 16-month period of embarrassments. I used to think so little of the Baylor football program. They lost so many games every season, especially during the 4 years when I was there. I never had any expectation they would turn things around. And when they finally did become a winning team, I was so proud of what my school had achieved.

But now, all those successful seasons between 2012 and 2016 are tainted with the sexual abuse scandal. And without a doubt…I would happily give away our two Big 12 championships if I could somehow go back and time and prevent the crimes and the cover-up. Those trophies mean nothing to me. I wrote about it here: Let’s Move On, Baylor Family…But Never Forget

Anyhow, in spite of the embarrassing loss, I like what I see from Coach Matt Rhule and the new staff. I know they’re trying to do things the right way and I know it’s going to take some time to build up the program.

Friday – 9/1/2017

I’m hoping and praying for a great month of September. God is good and faithful in all things. I’m believing for my baby son to continue growing and developing safely in the womb…and that Aniela would remain healthy and strong during these last two months of pregnancy. My parents are planning to fly in next weekend for the baby shower. Praise God for all these blessings.

2017-10-03T09:19:17+00:00 September 1, 2017|JOURNAL, WRITING & BLOGGING|

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