Life Since High School Part 4 of 4 – Personal Life

I mentioned in the Part 2 about my wife Vicki and my daughter Madeline. On Christmas Eve, 2001, my son Caleb James Sweat was born.

Madeline is quite a little lady. She will be entering the sixth grade at Riverdale Heights Elementary. She will be taking her temporary Black Belt test on the day of the reunion (Aug 9th) and she is doing very well on the Pleasant Valley Stingrays Swim Team. I think it is interesting that her strengths and weaknesses in swimming stroke were the same as mine when I swam on the Coronado High School swim team. She does very well academically. She has taken the BESTS tests the past two years, which are an 8th grade level aptitude test in which she places above the 90th percentile. She also was selected as one of four students from the 5th grade to represent the school at the Ecomeet, in which Riverdale Heights won. Madeline volunteers at the local family museum and the library.

Caleb loves to follow in his big sisters footsteps. He is on both the swim team, and will be testing for his blue belt in Taekwondo on the ninth. He will be starting 1st grade at Riverdale Heights, and is big time into Super Heroes, video games and Webkinz.

Vicki stays home to take care of the kids, and during the school year is a volunteer in the classroom. She spends much of her time ferrying kids to various activities, and is a great cook.

Our family enjoys going on vacation together. Some of our best adventures have been in Acapulco Mexico, where we have purchased a vacation time share and have returned several times. We have also taken the kids to the Bahamas, Myrtle Beach, Orlando and the Wisconsin Dells over the past couple of years.

Last summer we did quite a bit of camping, but that has not seemed to fit into our packed schedule this summer. The weather has not treated us so well this summer either, we lost a rather large tree in our back yard due to the tremendous rain and wind storms we have been having. The flooding here in the Midwest has not affected us directly, other than our sump pump turned on for the first time this year.

Personally, I enjoy doing martial arts as my main “outside of work” activity. About two months before Caleb was born, I discovered an Aikido dojo here in the quad cities. I decide to do one night a week (not actually a popular decision at the time, if you can imagine). About three years later, the landlord was disappointed in not having been paid rent, and the dojo shut down. In August 2005, Vicki located a Taekwondo program through the YMCA which Madeline joined. I began to come and participate in class along with her. In March of 2006, Caleb decided he was old enough to join, but that was going to double our monthly payment to $60 per month. In her usual cost saving maneuver, Vicki located another Taekwondo Dojang, Chung Kim’s Blackbelt Academy which we could pay $75 per month for me and the kids on a family plan. I was especially attracted to this because they had three black belt instructors for a class of ~12-15 “little tigers” (class age 4-7) which would give Caleb a lot more individual instruction and attention. The overall classes focused more on discipline and proper form, which I liked better than the more “open” style we had been instructed in before, and they had a Hapkiye class (Hapkido but the “ye” means supplemental art instead of “do” meaning path, showing this was and additional art as part of our Taekwondo curriculum, not the main art we are studying). Hapkido is the Korean version of Aikido, and is a soft style martial art in contrast with the hard style of TKD itself. We usually do Monday and Wednesday evening TKD classes, and the kids do TKD when I do Hapkiye on Friday evening. I also do Hapkiye and the TKD Blackbelt classes on Saturday mornings.

I began to watch the UFC and various other Mixed Martial Arts shows on TV for entertainment. I noticed a trend where it seemed like every third or fourth fighter was announced as being from “Bettendorf, Iowa”. Well Bettendorf is a town of 20,000, so something was going on. It turns out that Pat Miletich, former UFC lightweight champion, runs a gym and training camp for MMA fighters here. Last summer I went to get a haircut and my barber had closed up shop temporarily. I remember that the gym was just a block away so I stopped in to visit. Pat was there and showed me around the facilities, and talked with me for 15 minutes or so. Later that evening, I met my boss at a local resturant for dinner. About half way through out meal, Pat walked in and sat down at the table next to us. His dinner guests never showed up, so we invited him over to our table and had a nice conversation. I decided to take a week trial and eventually signed up for a membership. I do the 5am Ultifit on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. On Wednesday and Friday mornings, I stay at 6am and do basic kickboxing. On Monday and Wednesday evenings, I attend Rodrigo Uzeda’s Bazillion Ju-Jitsu classes. These classes are right after the advanced MMA classes, so it is kind of fun to walk in as see Pat Miletich, Jens Pulver, Tim Silvia, Cory Hill, Ben Rothwell and many others working out.

Anyway, that is a brief summary of 20 years of my life. Even though I can’t attend the reunion, I hope I will run into some of my former classmates in cyberspace.