Monday, November 22, 2010

BIG NASTY is over...well, almost.

Hello my lovely Bleaders!  Thank you for NOT deserting me in my time of CFP and relative insanity!  I'm going to try and do a quick run-down of the events of last week and get it out of my system for good - forgive me if you have already heard these stories from me directly as I talked to a number of you recently!  (And by the way, thanks for that!)  I would say this will be my last post about CFP, but that probably isn't the case...especially since I don't know my score yet.  Bear with me...

Let's see...where did we leave off?  Ahh...yes, Wednesday of last week.  Still studying my eyes out and still having some struggles.

Thursday morning, I did manage to go to boot camp for some last minute inspiration from my ladies and they didn't disappoint!  Came home, packed, studied and drove to Phoenix, all-the-while trying to breathe deep and build myself up.  Checked into the hotel and was relatively surprised at how nice it was.  Got settled, checked in with the office for the last time, and then got set up to study.  That was when I realized the room had INCREDIBLY thin walls.  The "neighbors" came home and started to watch TV.  Only problem was, I was knee-deep in study mode and that works best in absolute silence.  So after battling a bit with earplugs and trying to stay calm, I gave up on studying until later.  The hotel had a free "social" hour, so I headed down for my two free glasses of wine, which I brought back to the room and stuck in the fridge before heading out to find dinner.  Gotta love Qdoba!  It was way yum and way too much, so I had enough for lunch the next day.  When I returned back to the hotel, called J to catch up on his day and ate dinner.  Studied a bit more, watched some TV (studied through the commercials) and then decided it was time for bed - neighbors were still MIA...until I turned the lights off!  Then, they came in and the TV went from silent to blaring.  After battling a little over 30 minutes trying to go to sleep, I finally called the front desk and asked them very nicely to call the neighbors and ask them to turn the TV down.  They thankfully did, but the walls were so thin it really didn't help all that much.  I may have finally drifted off to sleep about 11 or 12.  So much for getting a good night's sleep.

Friday, test day one.  I tend to do better on tests if I get up and work out before.  Nothing crazy, just get the blood pumping and the mind working, so that was my plan.  I figured out a schedule so I could get to the test on time, have lunch, and still have some time to study that morning.  So I was up about 6 am and headed to the "swanky" gym at the hotel (1 exercise bike, 1 elliptical and 1 treadmill, oh and a flat screen TV - WOW!) and hopped on the elliptical, flashcards in hand for some review.  Managed to get through the flashcards just about the time my 30 minutes were up, perfect.  Stopped at the cafe for my free breakfast (eggs, sausage links, hash browns, oranges, coffee, toast, etc. - pretty good selection although I really wasn't all that hungry...nerves were acting up in my stomach) and took a little break.  Then it was back to the room to shower and study some more.  Got settled and went through the questions I had previously gotten wrong on practice tests to decipher if I could get them right and did pretty well.  Lunch real quick - thank you Qdoba leftovers that were still very yum! 

Then it was time to head out.  WOW, very scary.  Found my way to the testing site easily enough and finally found the correct I watched people walking in with faces of scared-ness.  Parked, gave myself one last pep talk and walked in.  As I was walking, a guy was coming up from the parking lot too and I looked at him, he looked at me, then said, "You ready for the CFP?"  I asked how he knew and he said, "You have the same look on you face, that I feel I have on mine."  I replied back, "Sheer terror?!"  He laughed.  So he became my buddy, but we never swapped names.  Anyway, walked in and bantered a bit about nerves, questions, etc.  Finally got called to our rooms, and what-do-you-know, he was in mine.  There were probably 15 people in my room, 1 other female.  I joked to her that we had to "represent" because we were the minority!  Oh, and I had found a shirt at Target a couple days before that was purple (ahem - favorite color) and said "Believe" on it in about a perfect shirt for the CFP, so was wearing that.  A couple people said something about that too.  I said, "I need all the help I can get!"

We checked in, IDs checked, registration ticket checked and were assigned a seat.  Once everyone was seated, they started the instructions...lots of them.  Passed out the booklet that is SEALED shut and the scantron sheet.  Here's how you fill in your name.  Here's how you fill in your numbers. Yada yada.  Finally, "open your test booklets and begin."  The ripping sound in the room was deafening as everyone dove in.  I would love to tell you what the first question was, but honestly, I have no clue.  Friday's test was 115 questions in 4 hours, so my brain was spent.  A couple interesting things during the test...let's see, the guy next to me was a knuckle-cracker, so about every couple minutes that was enjoyable.  About half way, I heard movement so I looked up to see the other woman in the room handing her test booklet in and packing up her things.  How could she be done?!  I was barely half-way!  Holy cow!  I decided either she really knew her stuff, or she had NO CLUE!  Whatever, back to me.  About hour 3.5, other people started getting up to turn in their books and leave, while I still scooted along.  I knew how many questions I had to get through each hour and had been doing well, but got laid up by the case study, so now I was trying to be a little quicker just to make sure I got all the questions ANSWERED!  Finally made it and 2 minutes later (as I was checking another question) the proctor said, "Pencils down."  Day one was complete.  Of course they had to collect the tests from us and then we were finally dismissed.  I walked out and had no thoughts.  None.  I was empty.  Mom had left me a message telling me she was proud, no matter the outcome, so that was nice to walk out and hear since no one was there with me.

I have a few friends in Phoenix and they had all expressed desire to go to dinner or something while I was there, but I put them off saying I won't know until the test is over how I feel.  I decided I did need some interaction and I did have to eat, so dinner would be great.  Called my friend who I haven't seen forever, and she agreed to come get me so we could go to dinner.  She had to go pick up her son, so I scooted back to the hotel (which took me 40 minutes - even though it had taken me 20 at noon - which is why I don't like Phoenix very much) and got my free wine for the night.  I anticipated drinking the wine when I got back, but instead downed it then and there as I waited, which wasn't very long for my friend.  She found the hotel and we went across the street to 5-&-Diner for dinner.  It was nice and we split something so not too terrible for me.  I haven't seen her son since he was probably 1, and now he is 6, so that was quite incredible.  We just talked and tried to catch up, but having not seen each other for that long, it proved difficult.  I was also watching my clock so I wouldn't get to bed too late.  We departed about 8 I think and she dropped me off at the hotel.  Amazingly, my neighbors weren't there.  So I got a little studying done, really just looking up some things I had questions about and reviewing what I could.  Tried to go to bed early, but what do you know, the neighbors were back!  Lovely.  Let me tell you, they were watching David Letterman...couldn't hear the jokes, but knew the voice.  Man, those walls were thin.  I stuck my earplugs in, prayed for the best and fell asleep maybe after an hour, only to be up again at 1 and 2 and possibly 3 with loud people coming back from bars or something down the hallway.  Again, not as restful as I would have hoped.  But, what can you do?

Side note: I did my best all week to amp myself up for this test.  Had bought a new CD by Katy Perry and found this song that did it all for me.  So I share with you.  (Email folks, you may have to click the link to see it...totally worth it!)

Okay, back to my story...Saturday morning, despite my best efforts, I was up about 5:30 am.  So, to the gym for a little workout again and study-time.  Got to the gym and my key-card didn't work.  Uh oh.  That made me think it wouldn't work at my room!  Got back to my room and it did work, so called the front desk and they sent the security guy to the door.  I met him there and his didn't work.  After messing with it for a bit, he went for the "old-fashioned" key (you know, the metal one!) and couldn't get the cover off the lock.  Asked me if I could "come back in a bit?" to which I, probably sounded a little crazy when I said, "NO!  I can't, it's now or never."  He wandered away to call for help and I messed with the cover, and managed to get it off in his absence.  Called him back over and he let me in.  YAY!  One victory.  Chose the bike that day and went through my notes for 30 minutes while I cycled away on the "fat burner" cycle.  Grabbed breakfast again before heading back to the room...was joined that morning by 4 kitties that were wandering around, so of course I fed them sausage and milk from the buffet, which they loved, the minute I walked away.  Back to the room, showered, packed up and headed to the desk to check out, commenting on the thinness of the walls to the clerk.  Then headed to the test site again, with still time to spare to study in the car.  Again, reviewed my notes and then it was time to head in.  This time, took in my water (which I had left out the day before because they told me I couldn't have it, but many people did) and my bag with snacks, just in case.  Caught up with the guy from the day before, and we chatted a bit about our scoring theories and how we did the day before.  Both of us commented on the chickie that had left at the half-way point, wondering if she would be back.  Time to check in and our girl was there, so away we went.  Same instructions about filling in name, number, etc.  We started early because now everyone knew what to do.  And away we went - 85 questions in 3 hours.

Even though I had just had breakfast, my stomach started growling (quite loudly to me) about an hour and a half in.  So I asked if I could go outside and have some almonds that I had brought with me.  It was approved and that did make me feel better.  Upon my return, I looked at the other woman in the room and wouldn't you know it, she was packing up!  How in the devil was she doing this?!  INSANE!  No one else left until at least 45 minutes later!  I plowed through and again stayed until the very last.  We now had about an hour and 15 minutes for lunch.  Headed to the car and thankfully I have GPS on my phone (I had planned on eating at the cafe at the school, but it was closed on Sat and Sun) so I found a gyro place and was quite happy with that, only to discover once I got there that it was closed!  GPS'd again and found a sandwich place that was close by, so got there quite quickly.  Texted back and forth to J a bit (remember, he was in Globe, AZ for Grandma Jo's funeral) so our chat was quick because people were starting to arrive.  Mom had left me a message while I was testing so I listened to that while I ate, but didn't call her back knowing she was on her way to Globe for the funeral, after having issues at home with some plumbing apparently.  Back to the test site and parked the car next to someone else studying in her car.  She had the windows rolled down, so I rolled mine down and said, "What are you struggling with?"  She replied, "I'm taking this big test today here."  I said, "CFP?  Me too."  She lightened and we figured out we had the same test (there were 2 books in each session so people wouldn't cheat).  We ran through some questions that had given us issues and it came out that it was her second time taking the test.  We began our walk to the testing rooms, stopping at the bathroom and I told her about the girl in our room that was always done at the half-way mark.  As we exited the bathroom, that girl was there so I excused myself briefly to ask her for her secret.  She laughed and then quite seriously said, "I'm unprepared."  Her friend said that wasn't the case, but she insisted.  I smiled and wished her good luck again, then rejoined my new friend.  Just before we went our separate ways, my new friend asked what company I worked for and upon telling her, she replied, "me too!"  We agreed to wait around for each other so we could swap info after the test was over.  And away we went...last session.

At this point, we're all a little loopy.  We've already done 200 questions and have 85 more to go.  My buddy in my room, said something to the girl who was leaving early about not letting her out (since he was seated by the door) if she tried to leave at the half way mark.  She smiled.  We began again with the instructions and then the test.  And, I looked up at the half-way mark again and there she was, standing up to leave.  I chuckled to myself and continued on.  At this point, I am getting really tired of testing.  Every question I think I know and then they throw something in that derails me!  I did the best I could, of course staying until the last.  I actually had about 30 minutes to review some problem questions when I finished, so did that and because it was me and one other guy, we both agreed to be done and we were let out a couple minutes early.  You are allowed to tell the testing board of questions that you don't see as fair for one reason or another, so I wrote down one that just seemed un-feasible.  At the very least, they review it and possibly throw it out.  I exited and again, I'm empty.  I have no thought.  My new friend wasn't done yet, so I walked outside, sent a text to many friends saying I was done and my "fate was sealed."  Finally, my friend came out and she said she felt devastated.  I won't say that I felt that way, but I definitely felt like I would be lucky to pass.  So many questions with so many little details, probably 25% that I deal with on a daily basis in real life.  We compared answers of questions we remembered for a while.  I gave her my card so she could email me and we could keep in touch back at the office.  Finally asked what planner she worked for and low-and-behold, it is a good friend of my Mom's.  So I have a feeling we'll be talking more and more.  Finally, after an hour of comparing notes, sob stories and what parts of life we can now get back to, we said our good-byes and I headed for home.

Found my way to the freeway, and called my Dad back who had called while I was talking to my new friend, Anna.  We talked about my day and his day (he hadn't been able to go to the funeral because of the plumbing issues at the house) and how things were.  Finally, off the phone and just driving.  Called a couple other people to download and tried to find my Mom and J, knowing they were together and should be heading home from Globe by now.  Finally caught up with them and downloaded the day's events, as well as my new friend, Anna's story.  Beat J to the house and got a huge welcoming from the animals, then unloaded and about that time, J got home.  He had told me he was bringing dinner from Globe, so I just needed a drink at that point.  Sat for a while and discussed the events of the day, while I ate and finally were able to relax and watch TV.  We were both exhausted so headed to bed relatively early for a Saturday night.

Oh - one more thing to remember.  Remember how I talked about the guy in the cram class (Father-of-Twins) that hadn't studied and asked a lot of not-so-smart questions?  Well, I looked for him at the test and I didn't see him.  Said something to new-friend-Anna who was in the room that had A last names, and she asked if his name started with J.  I said yes and she said that there was someone who was supposed to be in their room but never checked in with J for first initial and A for last.  I'm just sayin', that's probably him! He didn't show.  Now this test costs $600 to take, and after October 5th or something, you can't get your money back.  So what a moron he is for not even attempting it and seeing how it felt, even if he was sure he wouldn't pass.  Again, he is an ASU supporter...I'm just sayin'.  He might have helped my "curve" if he was there! ;)

Now I know what you are gonna say, "how do you think you did?" and I really don't want to answer that question.  Don't get me wrong, I knew some answers right off the bat.  But others, like I said before totally threw me and more than a few I totally guessed on.  I don't get my score until January, so hopefully I'll be able to relax through the holidays.  And, if I don't pass, well, then I do it again.  At least now I know what it feels like and a couple things to review.  I'll get it done...either this time or another. 

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again.  Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much for all the love and support you guys give me, about CFP and all the other stuff.  It does make a difference and I appreciate it greatly! 

I'm off to find some coffee and possibly get in the hot tub.  Have a great one folks!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nikus
    I really enjoy reading your blog. All the detail. I really hope you passed but what I do know is that you tried your best.
    Happy Birthday!!


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