I slogged on through the preterite, and I almost had it ... when the imperfect jumped me from behind. I was feeling tough - muy macho - and figured I could take both them on at once.
And maybe I could have, but I didn't stop there. I had set November 1st - tomorrow - as my deadline for learning. I wanted to spend the next two weeks getting everything down, rather than adding anything new. So I read ahead to the perfect and pluperfect. And then I remembered talking to my cousin Kay-Lani at Beth's wedding, and how her friends in Argentina told her her Spanish was too formal. They introduced her to the subjunctive ... and now she's in love with the subjunctive and uses it all the time.
I want to love the subjunctive to! Both Ron and Roy tried to talk me out of it, but I'm refusing to listen. I know it's totally irrational to think that I can be fluent after one summer of watching Almodovar movies and reading textbooks at Starbucks, but damn if I don't intend to give it my best shot.