Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Boys a 1 in 200 year event

The other day I was talking to Abigail. I asked her if she thought we should have another baby. I also asked her if she would want it to be a boy or a girl. Here's what she said.

Abigail: No.

Me: Why not?

Abigail: Because I have 1,000 babies in my tummy already.

Me: Wow! Really?

Abigail: Yes, I have 1,000 girl babies and 5 boy babies in my tummy.

As I laughed, I wondered if I need to remember this conversation so I can offer full disclosure to any prospective husbands. If they want sons, they might have to look somewhere else.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Drive Thru Window

Eve found our “hands-free headset” for our telephone, and decided to play with it. She was very cute with it on, and I told her she looked like a drive thru worker at McDonalds. Here’s the conversation that followed.

Eve: This is McDonalds, can I have your order.

Me: Yes, I’d like a double quarter pounder with cheese with no onions.

Eve: Uh… we don’t have that.

Me: Ok, I’ll take a large order of fries and some onion rings.

Eve: Uh… we don’t have that either.

Me: OK, what do you have?

Eve: We have doughnuts.

Me: Alright, I’d like two dozen Krispy Kreme plain glazed doughnuts.

Eve: Let me check, Oh, I’m sorry, we’re out.

Me: You’ve got to have something… How about a milkshake.

Eve: Yeah, you can have a milkshake … but it will taste like water.

I busted up laughing. This exchange would pass as most peoples worst restaurant visit ever, and Eve made it all up naturally. What a funny girl. I adore my creative and goofy Eve.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Conversation with Eve

Me: Oh, no I'm almost late. I need to go change so I can run over to the church.

(Eve grabs my hand and drags me into the walk-in closet)

Me: Are you locking me in the dungeon? (a common game at our house, the walk-in closet becomes a dungeon when the door is closed)

Eve: No, I'm just putting you in the closest and shutting the door.

Me: Why are you shutting me in here?

Eve: Dad! NOBODY wants to see you NAKED!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oh, you took an actuarial exam, I heard those were hard.

So, I'll try not to toot my own horn too much right now, but I just want everyone to understand what I've just been through.

I recently passed my last actuarial exam, and became a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society. So, I got some nifty letters after my name. (FCAS to be precise) But there is one little frustration that followed me through the exam process.

No one understands how hard these exams are!
Well, I guess there are a few people. Those that have taken them, and perhaps their spouses have some idea. But I've told people a bunch of different ways how hard they are, but they just don't get it.

Here are some of the ways I've described how hard they exams are.

1) I study 400+ hours per exam over a 4 month period. (that's @ 30 hrs per week, but I also have a full-time job) That, in reality means early morning studying, studying during lunch hours, and late night studying 6 days a week for 4 months.

2) On one particular exam I decided to make a cheat sheet of formulas to memorize for the test. So I started to write down the formulas. It took me 8 hours to write the formula summary. It filled 12 pages.
If the exam was only mathematical procedures this wouldn't be so bad, but this represented only the mathy part of the exam or about half of the exam. Anyone who has used these sorts of formulas would tell you you'd need to do a dozen or so different problems using these formulas before the formula would mean anything to you. So I work every problem I can find at least 3 times over the 4 months. (usually a thousand or more problems)

3) After one exam I decided to get an idea of how much material I'd been through. So I stacked all the books (Ghostbuster's style). The stack was 3 feet tall. It had 3 text books, two 1,000+ page study manuals, and a bunch of practice exams. I usually work problems and take notes in 200 page notebooks and on notecards. For the most recent exams I'd fill about 4 notebooks (both sides of each page) and a shoebox full of notecards. Remember that the mathy stuff is usually about 1/2 the test, so the other 1/2 is on my notecards. I'd summarize the pile of books onto the shoebox of note cards, and review the cards as many times as it took to have it all in my head. (usually re-writing the notes 5ish times and getting through the pile at least 3 times) This was the hardest part for me, because sometimes the material was pretty dry. (Ever tried to memorize all the exclusions to coverages on your home owners policy? Or all the reasons why earthquakes are uninsurable? Or all the ways a chain ladder reserving method could be distorted? Or all the legal cases that have shaped the modern insurance world? Or, or, or... 1,000 pages of OR?)

One of my friends found this way of describing how hard the exams are:

"How to explain actuarial exams to someone else...

Tell them you’re taking a graduate-level course and:

1. There is no teacher
2. You never have class
3. Your classmates are some of the top analytical minds in the world
4. There is only one exam
5. 60% of the class will fail
6. The class is only offered once or twice a year
7. Repeat that very same process 10 times
8. Oh, and you’re competing against the top 40% from the previous class"

Here's a bit about me and the exams:

There are 8 or 9 exams to become an actuary, depending on the track you follow. I followed a track that took 9 exams. I took my first exam in the fall of 2002. So I took exams for 6 and 1/2 years. I failed each of the first 4 exams once before I passed them. On the last 5 exams I passed on my first attempt. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to fail an exam. School was always easy for me. I got one "B" in high school. I got one "B" in college. Showing up was usually enough to excel. Not so with these exams. They really pushed me.

My kids have never known a dad that didn't study all the time. My oldest was a baby when I started, and we now have 2 and 2/3 more kids. During this time I gave up a lot. Every spring break. Many nights Katie would put the kids to bed. There are a lot of things. I leaned very heavily on Katie during this time. She would do all the dishes, laundry, mow the lawn, care for the kids, etc. Honestly I could not have done it without Katie and many blessings from my Heavenly Father. Thank you Father, and thank you Katie!

So, why did I do it? Initially it was because the career reportedly pays well. But now that I've been doing it for 5+ years I feel blessed to discover I really love the work. Discovering new ways to analyze things, trying to understand what is really happening and meeting and debating all of this stuff with upper management. It is very invigorating and interesting. I couldn't have chosen a better profession for me.

Now that the exams are over I'm not sure what to do next. I love the freedom of being done. I'm spending more time with my wife and kids we are taking some much needed vacations. But I still want to make some big goals to keep myself moving in a good direction.

What should my next big goal be?
Learn to be a concert pianist? Learn to speak Chinese?

Man, what a rip-off!

So I wanted some Nacho Cheese Doritos, and we happened to have one of those variety packs of snack size bags of chips.

So I pulled one out. And my mouth started to water in anticipation.

From 2009_05_25

Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag to see this:

From 2009_05_25

That's right, ONE CHIP! Not two, not three even! Just ONE!!! Oh, and about 3 tablespoons of cheese powder and crumbs. I know companies are trying to cut costs right now, but come on!

P.S. I wasn't really mad, it was actually quite funny. Maybe I should give Doritos Quality Control a call. Or maybe a bunch of people already called complaining that they didn't get enough cheese in their bags of chips, and this is the result?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Keep the Change you Filthy Animal!

Here's my quote of the day. We we're all getting ready to go to the zoo.

Me: "I'm going to run and take a shower real fast, before we go."

Lily: "Why dad? You'll just blend in with the stinky animals!?"

So much love, I can almost smell it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Conversation with Eve

Katie and I want to take a dream vacation to Brazil, but we disagree on whether the kids should come or not. Katie wants them to come, I think they won't appreciate it.

Anyway, Eve walks into the room, and here's the conversation.

Katie: Eve, do you want to go on a big trip to Brazil?

Eve: No. I just want to go to the car wash.

Katie: (Laughing) Well, I guess that settles it.

What do y'all think? Should the kids come on the Brazil trip?