Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blogging 2015: 722 down, 1293 to go (Hood to Coast Edition)

Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday Dear Me! Happy Birthday to Me!  Yesterday was my 38th birthday. I feel as though I look relatively young (certainly no older than 38), but I'm considering just telling people I'm 50 and letting them boggle.

So what did I do for my birthday?  Well, I stayed up for something like 32 hours and almost witnessed two altercations on a red-eye flight into O'Hare, then drove 3+ hours through construction season in Wisconsin to pick up 3 kids so we could bring them home and panic-pack their school supplies because we missed the Open House.  Fun, right?

Worth it.

Fantastic husband and I just got back from running the Hood to Coast relay in Oregon. It is the "Mother of All Relays" and basically spawned the Ragnar phenomenon.

Image result for hood to coast
Here's a shitty PDF of the course. You're welcome

There was a documentary made about it in 2011 (it's called Hood to Coast, which is an extremely creative title) and since I watched it on Prime I spent at least a little time geeking out about various people and places on the course (Heart and Sole, Dead Jocks in a Box, Leg 1). 

My team was made up of people from my online running group. It's called the Sub-30 Club, and it's the brainchild of Ted Spiker who wrote a blog for Runner's World entitled "The Big Guy Blog". His goal was a sub-30 minute 5K, and since that was my goal for a long time I joined the group. I got my sub-30 last fall, but I stay in the group because the people are weird and fun. I like weird and fun. We were team Neon Banana Hammock. Neon because the team captain Lonnie St. John has an unnatural fixation on brightly colored running clothes. On the plus side, he's easy to spot. Banana Hammock, because that shit is funny.

Bananas are inherently funny. It's a fact. It's a fruit fact.

So basically I did another long distance relay with a bunch of random strangers that live in my phone. And fantastic husband. Who I believe qualifies as stranger than most, so there's that.  I'm starting to get used to this whole "strangers" thing. If you've known me a while you know that strangers scare me. I hate parties, small talk does not come easily to me, and I say a lot of dumb shit.  Maybe it's the commonality of running that makes it easier. This time I'm going to see all these people again in 6 weeks. I hope that when I see them next they won't have gone over from "That chick is kind of funny in a profane way" to "That chick is really fucking irritating and I wish she would shut up. Also she stole my drink. Whore."

We arrived on Wednesday via Break your Spirit airlines. I popped for the Big Seats, and the flight was fine. We took a cab to the Airport HoJo where I paid a whopping $38 for what amounted to a room that was built around a queen sized bed (thanks Orbitz!). I'm pretty sure this place was built in the 70s, and I'm really glad we couldn't see the neighborhood when we arrived. Thursday morning we picked up a rental car and waited for the lovely Michelle to arrive. She'd had a couple free drinks on the plane and I could tell she was going to be a hoot.

So this was afterwards and she may have been 
2 jars of moonshine in. Still soooo pritty.

We followed the incorrect directions out to Camp Neon, and were saved by Google Maps. When we got there we found a refrigerator full of booze and got to work. Priorties, man. Booze is legit carb loading. The rest of the team started filtering in and we made introductions which is easier with booze. Everyone seemed pretty non-violent. We grilled steaks for dinner on the new grill Lonnie bought (and Jim and fantastic husband disassembled and reassembled so he could get it home from the Depot) and ate and chatted. We also got a bag of awesome swag courtesy of Team Neon (Lonnie and his fantastic wife Roni...I'm so happy that we aren't the only ones with rhymey-wimey couple names).

Did that banana bandana (say that 3 times fast) brought to you by 
Jennifer. Those are banana runts. They are disgusting.

Every relay race has at least 3 major problems in my experience. Often it's a team member dropping out at the last second. Sometimes it's equipment failure or an injury. This relay our major challenge was not having 15 passenger vans. We were in minivans for the duration, which made the luggage situation a panic point for people. Turned out we didn't need to worry, as everyone packed smart (WTG people, for real) and there was more cargo space in our little vans than anticipated. See above photo of me making out with an inflatable banana in the trunk. Truthfully, I prefer the minivan. So much easier to drive. If it hadn't rained it would've been perfect. More on that later. We all went to bed early, and I slept fitfully. I should've been exhausted as I worked on Tuesday night and only got a couple hours nap on Wednesday morning. But I wasn't apparently. Such is life. 

We got up well before dawn to get breakfast and head up the mountain. Only Van 1 is allowed at the start, so Van 2 slept in. Here we are looking so happy to be awake.

Here we are, the people of Bavana1. Susan is so small she didn't have to duck for me to be seen.
Me, Susan, Lonnie, Cathy, Christine, and Sheri.

After filling our bellies we headed for Mt. Hood. We had an inflatable banana lashed to the van (you can see it in the photo if you focus). It bit the dust before we got out of Portland. Here's where we were going.

Shrouded in mist. Not intimidating at all. Nope. Not a bit.

I was Runner 1. That means I got to go screaming down the mountain for 5.6 miles. 2000ft elevation drop over that distance. I decided I was going to let gravity do it for me, which turned out to be a good strategy.
When we got to the start village it was a bit chilly and a bit windy. Some of the shoulders (or lack thereof) on the way up were concerning. I was able to poop before starting, which (as every runner knows) is a good omen.  We started at 7:15am.

That's me in the orange shirt and super flattering horizontal striped pants.

The race started and I went hurtling down the mountain at a frightening rate of speed. I'm not going to pretend I worked for it, because I didn't. Gravity grabbed my 162 pound ass and dragged me down. All I had to do was stay on my feet.  Mile 1 ticked by...7:32.  Mile 2...7:58.  Mile 3...8:05 (oh shit, that's a new 5K PR). When I ticked over 4 miles in 32 minutes I almost passed out. I walked a bit to fix my shirt which was bugging me, then continued running. When I hit the exchange my total time was 45:51. I had averaged 8:21 the whole way down. With 2 walk breaks.

Holy. Fucksticks.

That leg was beautiful. I was actually able to appreciate the scenery through my abject terror. There were mountain vistas, ancient pines, and motherfucking waterfalls, y'all. It was so scary, and yet exhilarating. Although I will say that if running fast feels like that? I'm not sure I want to. I felt like a runaway freight train. 

I handed off to Sheri, who continued the free fall down the mountain. Then Cathy took the reigns (and didn't have to wear a safety vest...whew, just made the cut off). We waited for runner 3 to come in at a convenience store where Sheri purchased a quality box of Triscuits for $5.49. They might have been the most important crackers I've ever eaten. 

Susan took over from Cathy, and in spite of not sleeping (thanks to staying at the Murdertown Inn) she ran strong and finished well...except for the fact that she almost walked right past us and down the course. We stuffed her in the van and viciously forced her to eat Triscuits and S-caps. 

Lonnie went out for his leg next, and there wasn't really anywhere for us to support, so we just went straight to the (totally fucked up) rolling exchange 5. I may or may not have scraped the Bavana along the guardrail. 
This exchange was a cluuusterfuck.

It wasn't my fault. The volunteer kept telling me to get farther to the right. So I did. Because I always follow directions. Lonnie handed us our next problem by falling on his run and bruising the shit out of his knees. One of which was already injured. We spent some time fretting in the van waiting and wondering where the hell either of our runners were, and then we saw highlighter man limping toward us...with blood running down his legs. Major downer.

The whole morning it was overcast and lightly raining, until Christine took over. Then the sun came out, the humidity climbed, and the asphalt started steaming. It's a good thing that woman is from Florida. We stopped partway through her leg to offer support and witnessed her stomping up a hill cursing violently under her breath. She finished like a champ, though, and we had officially made the first major exchange. Vanana2 took over and Bavana1 headed back to Camp Neon to offload trash and unneeded gear. Then we showered (aaaaahhhhhhhh....perfect) and reloaded for the trip downtown for some chow and to wait at the next major exchange.

I had a recovery beer. It was tasty.

Most of us ordered desert (I was too full of beer). Sheri had a monstrous piece of carrot cake that had to be boxed. We hatched a plan to convince her that we didn't box her cake but rather ate it while she was in the bathroom. Susan made a show of licking the plate and hiding the box, but Sheri was oblivious. Sad. Still a funny picture, though.

Cake? There was no cake.

Exchange 12 is under a bridge. It was a mob scene at first, then started to empty out. During our time off course it had begun to rain. The faster teams were catching us and passing, and we were falling off pace. Our start time was later than it probably should have been, and now we were over the line for finishing before time ran out. This was the beginning of our third problem. The resolution wouldn't come until the morning, but for the moment I was waiting for fantastic husband (runner 12) to hit the exchange.

When he did, I took off up the stairs to the bridge and was on my way. 

Oh, also at exchange 12 I practically had an apoplexy when "Ironic" came on the radio. HTC is a headphones free race (or is supposed to be, don't get me started) and the thought of having that goddamn abomination swimming around in my brain for 4 miles through murdertown was too much to bear.

I woke up Susan. Sorry, Susan. Truly.

I so rarely get pictures where it appears I'm actually moving.

It was spitting rain when I set off and it was much warmer than I originally thought. Downtown Portland was beautiful all lit up, but it was offset by the astonishing number of homeless people camping out on the Esplanade. I've never seen encampments like these. Every bench was occupied, every bridge was set up with tarps and tents. Men, women, children, dogs...all congregated together under each of the 4 or 5 bridges I ran under. I was feeling my privilege pretty acutely by the time I left the riverside and entered murdertown. Murdertown was a 2 mile stretch of empty warehouses and construction sites. Hidden body central. It was creepy and I wasn't thrilled about it, but there were other runners and it was well lit so I can't complain too much. Near the exchange there was a van full of Aussies that passed me. One hung out the window and shouted "Hey, you look great! You don't even look scared!".  Ummmm....thanks?  I was pretty stoked to hand off, as it had started full on raining around mile 3 and I didn't feel like doing my third leg in wet shoes.

The next 2 runners had long legs and rain. I did not envy them. Poor Christine ran along country roads in the pitch black while a thunderstorm raged around her.  Vanana2 was stuck at exchange 18, sleeping in the van to stay dry. Unless you pack a tent and rain fly, it's hard to sleep on a wet relay. Here's where a 15 passenger van comes in handy. 6 people can sleep inside a 15 passenger with minimal squishing. Not so much a minivan.

As a side note, I'm really surprised that the HTC people didn't issue a safety advisory or move runners off the course to the major exchanges to wait out the storm. There was no communication about what to do. I know we're all grown ass people, and we don't have to run in a storm if we don't want to, but it's nice to have the race director acknowledge the issue and give instruction about what to do if you skip a leg or leave the course. 

Once we had all our runners we headed to the next exchange. The piss poor directions provided (and you can't GPS this part of the state-there's no signal half the time and the hills confuse the app) sent us down a "highway" that I'm sure is beautiful during the day when it's dry. It was harrowing in the extreme at night and in the rain...and fog. I became convinced we were driving to Narnia. At any moment a talking lion or a manticore or some shit was going to pop out of the woods. It was 3am, I was exhausted, and I was reaching the point where I just wanted to stop the car, walk into the woods, and sleep with the Children of the Forest.

When we finally got to the exchange several things happened:
-we were parked 100 miles from the tent city, the food, and the bathrooms
-there were exactly 5 portolets for our entire section
-Sheri said "fuck waiting in the line, I'm a trail runner" and dropped trou to pee next to the van (an impressive stream, I must say)
-I slept in the driver's seat with my sleeping bag wrapped legs hanging out the window
-We realized we were going to have to leapfrog to finish
-I had a near altercation with a concession stand person about the price of a bowl of coffee

You can't really tell here, but it was a double rainbow.

Once we formulated our leapfrogging plan (basically you drop multiple runners on the course at once and you run your legs simultaneously to save time or catch up) the stress of the night lifted. This rainbow was a perfect complement. 

I went up to the exchange and introduced myself to the other team still standing there. Their runner identified herself and told me she was slow, but her team was going to have a PBR for her at the end of her leg. One of them asked if I would like one. Ummm...yes. So they promised me a beer when I made the exchange. Their runner set off and a few minutes later I was given the go ahead. It took me 3.2 miles to catch her, but I finished with that runner as we chanted "PBR! PBR! PBR!" while chugging up the final hill. Her team made a toilet paper finish tape for us, and handed me an icy cold beer. I hugged that total stranger (her name was Lindsey) and I don't hug.

Those Sparkle Ponies. They are quality people.

I stood around and drank my beer while I waited for my team to pick me up. I managed a 10 minute pace on that run, and I'm proud. It rained on me for 1.5 miles and I started puddle jumping for funsies. My shoes were soaked and I didn't care at all. The road surface was good, the scenery was beautiful, and the whole fucking world smelled like earth and pine. The whole race was worth it for that run, including the PBR.


So we played the drop and run game for the rest of the race. We enjoyed the scenery, thanked volunteers, offloaded banana runts, and chit chatted with the other back of the packers. We also became very familiar with a woman we'll call Grumpy McSourpuss who said at one point "Oh, team 406? I know all about you."


Then when we emerged from the land of no telecommunications, we found out that the finish line had been moved and the finish party cancelled due to gale force winds.

Uhhh...good call.

I guess something like 50 boxes of merchandise blew away. All the tents and finish line festivities blew away. I was exposed to the wind for all of 10 minutes and I swear I had sand in my teeth. We went out to the finish area to wait for fantastic husband and the photo finish (less dramatic with a moved finish line). But we finished, we got our medals, and we posed for a cheesy group picture.

Look at all these fucking weirdos.

After the race we hustled back to Camp Neon for pizza and many drinks. And showers, because we were disgusting. But mostly drinks.

Apple pie moonshine. So much moonshine.

Amaretto from a measuring cup. Because it was clean.

We compared notes and laughed at injokes and stupid shit that happened along the route. We compared horror stories of difficult legs and rain and van sleeping and snakes (no, really) and hunger. We compared notes on Triscuits and wet shoes and awesome teams and douchecraftcarriers who selfied all their kills. We talked about what we liked and didn't like and life in general and running and drinking and kids and work and every other goddamn thing imaginable.  When you spend 36 hours in close quarters with people you either love them or hate them when it's over. I made some pretty awesome friends this past weekend.

I also ate some awesome donuts.

VooDoo donuts. I would weigh a metric ton if we had one locally.

I'm so sad I didn't catch Roni who made us feel so at home.
Shari, Michelle, Lonnie, Cathy

Susan, Jim (who has the right to feel pretty), and fantastic husband.

Jennifer (yes, I'm feeling her up), me, Princeton Kate, and Dave.
Not pictured Sheri and Christine who had to go to the airport early.

We went to the airport at 10pm on Sunday for our red eye. We witnessed what appeared to be a domestic altercation in the terminal, I was crammed into a ridiculous seat with no armrest next to a drunk-and-benzo-tranquilized dumbass who never shut up, there was an old man with no volume control behind us, and the nice man who spent the whole flight getting bugged by Benzo Boy almost throttled him as we were making our final descent. Once we finally made it home I realized that all the water I drank on Sunday didn't keep me from getting the post-airplane puffies. My whole body is puffed up to crazy proportions and will be for the next day or two while my system normalizes after so many days pushing hard and then being crammed into a little seat (that's what she said). 

Trotted out my ProCompression to help with the pitting edema.

I also washed every neon thing I own.

I know I left shit out, I always do. So many #TWSS jokes, references to bananas in suggestive context, every possible idiotic adolescent snort inducing joke about "hard legs" and "third legs".  Since I was in Bavana1 this is Van 1 centric, but I know Vanana2 had their share of crazy shit go down. Maybe I'll convince fantastic husband to write his side of the story. He has a blog. I think.  

This was an amazing experience. I have a lot of relays under my belt, but they've been with just 2 organizations. HTC has the advantage of a spectacular setting, but I feel as though they could do a much better job with communication. Yes, there are blackout zones where phones don't work. Information should still be relayed (put a staffer in a car and have them float the legs passing out information to volunteers), especially as it involves safety.  The exchanges were so crowded and clusterfucky (you know, until we fell so far behind that the way was clear) and there's no real way to solve that except cutting the number of teams. There were 1050 teams on this route. That's insanity. Big Ragnars get congested...not like this. This was something else entirely. This race is so popular that it's a lottery entry, so there's no way they're going to cut down, but getting stuck a mile away from your exchange and having to put your runner out to walk down to the hand off really blows.  

I'm sad that we didn't get our finishers party, because the setting is beautiful, but by the end of most relays I mostly just want to eat and shower. It's more about the shenanigans with your team than the finish line anyway. 

I want to say a huge thank-you to Lonnie and Roni for making us all welcome in your home, even though it was basically like adopting a fucked up fraternity. You have to know how much we all appreciate you and your leadership in Sub-30 and on the race course. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to meet the friends in my phone and turn them into real life friends (in my phone). Some future year I'd like to come back and be in Van 2!

It's going to take days to catch up on sleep, just in time to go back to work. The experience was fully worth the discomfort.  I'll leave you with words of wisdom from Jennifer.

Lucky me I get to see all these freaks in about 6 weeks at Runner's World Festival and Half. I'm not sure I'll be able to run multiple races in a weekend with sleep. I might have to sleep in my car with my legs hanging out the window.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Blogging 2015: 616 down, 1399 to go

I'm putting off getting on the treadmill. I'm going to get on it, but I'm waiting until the kids go to bed so I don't have to watch Teen Titans fucking Go for 30 minutes while I run 3 miles. I hate watching cartoons while I'm on the treader, but if I'm down in the basement they have to be, too...or I'll come back upstairs to bloody Armageddon. That and they run up and down the basement stairs to tattle on each other for ridiculous infractions. "Pat keeps trying to kiss me!" "Lily touched me with her toe!" "Charlie said butt."

Today I tried to get the household back together after being on vacation for 5 days and 4 nights. The fridge was empty, the place was dirty, and there was laundry to be finished. So I was domestic today, with intermittent bouts of CrossFit Games watching.

Watching the 60+ Masters Women compete is compelling. It makes me feel alternately like I'm fat and lazy, and like there is hope for my future fitness. I actually enjoy watching the Masters more than the Individuals. You're in your 30s and getting paid sponsorship dollars to work out? Blah blah. You're 62 and took vacation from your regular job to compete? I'm interested.

Get ready for a photobomb. This is the equivalent of making you look at slides. Those of you under 30 are like "Wut? Like a PowerPoint?"

So. We went on a family vacation.
In mah brand new car.

Specifically, we went to Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness in the Wisconsin Dells. We had a 2 bedroom condo with 1.5 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a living room. It was a really nice spot, and exactly the right amount of space.

Eating 2 meals a day "at home" = winning

We arrived Thursday night and took the smalls to Buffalo Phil's. I thought I had their picture with the train that delivers the food, but I guess not. #momfail  After dinner we just kind of unpacked and relaxed before bed. The second bedroom had a queen lower and a bunked single, so we drew straws to see who got the bunk the first night, then took turns. 

Friday the kids woke up way too early and I made oatmeal cake for breakfast (see above). The waterpark outside our window didn't open until 10am, so we let them watch cartoons on the TV that was mercifully located in their bedroom.  

I have no pictures of the kids at the waterparks because my phone isn't waterproof and was also not free. I'm not an overly distrustful person, but leaving a valuable piece of electronic equipment in a canvas bag next to about a billion gallons of water and 1000 strangers seems foolhardy. Also because I love water parks and water slides and I was goddamned if I was going to stand around the pool taking pictures of other people having fun. That shit is for good parents. 

We spent 6 hours or so in 4 of the 6 water areas at Wilderness. The boys were smiling so big I thought their faces would split, and L?  Well...I think she was having fun? When she wasn't being sullen or bitching about getting wet. At a water park. Fuckin' A.

We took a break for lunch in the condo, then went back out to the water. The boys rode an innertube slide with me. If you want a workout, introduce a small boy to tube slides. I shudder to think of the number of stairs climbed. Hard to resist when the excited child is sopping wet, grinning like an idiot, and shouting "Again! Again!" Also I fucking love water slides. Again, you say? Well, if I have to...

We ended the day with mini-golf and go-karts. Word to the wise? Get shitfaced before you mini-golf with little kids. It'll be more fun, I promise.

That's a 15 for P and a 23 for C...on hole 2.

Then, inexplicably, a hole in one for C on 15.

Go-karts are a risk, but they had kiddie karts and there was zero line and 30 minutes to close. So we forked over the cash. What we determined was that L is going to let her boyfriend do all the driving (or at least better, because she spent more time bitching at traffic than driving), P will likely drive an Oldsmobile with his hands at 10 and 2, grousing about "these damn kids", and C is the second coming of Mario Andretti and is never, ever allowed to drive my car.

L, hating life.

C has lapped his brother at this point.

Game face and finger guns. Fuck.

We got back to the condo right around 8pm, and after a bit of TV watching the kids fell deeply and immediately asleep. It was glorious. Also glorious is sleeping children behind two locked doors and sheets I don't have to wash. Can't waste a good bikini wax. I'll wait here while you go poke out your mind's eye.

Saturday was supposed to be a 5k in Reedsburg for fantastic husband and I, but we woke to thunder and lightening and decided it wasn't worth it. The kids were supposed to play at a local park with a friend's daughter, but they couldn't do that in the rain. It cleared up by mid-morning, so we went to Paul Bunyan's for breakfast (which was the plan for after the 5k). 

I swear C said "I can see Paul Bunyan's ass"

I kept getting asked "What's the cow's name again?"

After Paul Bunyan, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the Great Northern Railroad, which is a volunteer-run 15 gauge railway randomly plopped in the woods off County A. There was a tiny train, 2 conductors, and engineer, and tickets to be punched before the ride. It was really cute, and the kids had a good time. I thought there was more of a museum there, but it's mostly just some pictures and a few pieces of old equipment. The locomotive was pretty cool, though, and the picnic tables were nice and shady. Also surrounded by flowers that attracted hummingbirds, which the kids thought was nifty.

Turntable at the halfway point. A 110 year old man turned this 7 ton train with one hand.

Take our picture, woman.

Everything was to tiny train scale.

We finished up ahead of schedule at the train, so we went back and had a couple of hours of flapping in the water before heading out to Devil's Lake to meet some friends who were camping there. Our kids played together, we had some hamburgers and drinks, and then we made S'mores. Per C "Mom, these are awesome. You should really try one." I haven't had a S'more in ages, and he was right. It was pretty awesome. The night was made complete with glow stick necklaces, and we were back at the condo for lights out. 

Sunday we spent the morning at the oldest water park area at Wilderness. The indoor area there was fantastic for the kids. L actually went down the slides and admitted it was fun. My parenting mission is complete. P&C rode the tube slides with me, one of which was a dark slide (you know, the ones that are painted black so you can't see what's coming?). I was worried they would be scared, but it was pretty much Giddyap, motherfucker!!! So I got to climb the stairs some more. The outdoor area was sparsely populated (because Sunday or because older park I don't know), but that was wonderful as there was lots of room. More stairs and more tube slides commenced. 

We hung out until about 1pm, then had lunch in the condo and headed out to The Original Wisconsin Ducks. No pictures, because again...water and expensive phone. I thought the tour was cool, and the boys liked the rollercoaster hills and splashing down into the water. Ls response to those things was "Ok, I hated that."

My 8 year old is really 13.

After the Ducks we went downtown to look around. I don't know why, really, it's all just fudge shops and Olde Time Photoe places. We did get some ice cream. 

I said "L, could you try to pretend you're having fun?"

C said "Take my picture with this bear."

We let them pick out a treat at Goody Goody Gum Drop and walked back to the car. I got some maple fudge, because I love that shit, and you can only walk by so many fudge shops without getting some. Six, actually. I can walk past six shops. That's my limit.

Our final dinner in the Dells was at Moosejaw, because Moose cars.

C had the best time. 

Sunday night we opted for a move and popcorn to wind down. We watched Megamind, then put the smalls to bed.

Monday morning we slept in a bit, made breakfast with the remainder of the food we had, then packed up and drove over to the Wilderness so the kids could play in the dry play area. It was actually pretty cool. Multi-level, foam ball cannons, mirror maze, slides, etc. They had a great time.

Then we drove home, and just like that, vacation was over.

I wasn't sad to be rid of the perpetual arm band.

We may go back in February when rates are low. The indoor areas are fairly impressive, and the kids all said they had a good time.  I'm impressed I didn't drown anyone. Aside from L hiding twice and freaking us out ("I wasn't hiding I was just sitting inside that tree thing because I was cold.") we didn't have any mishaps. There are poolside cocktails, and several grownup indoor slides, etc.  I'm calling this a win. I'm not ready to go to Disney yet, mostly because I really don't care at all about Disney myself. We used to go all the time when I was a kid (the perqs of living in CA and FL growing up) but that was before it was $100 a person, and truthfully I always preferred Knott's Berry Farm (Camp Snoopy, y'all!) and Six Flags. 

I didn't go fully back into real life, though. Yesterday I did something very out of character. I had my picture taken. Voluntarily. If you know me, you know I hate being photographed. When I look in the mirror I think I'm maybe kind of cute. Pretty, even, on a good day when I wear makeup. In photos? OMG I'm a TROLL. I hate my non-existent eyebrows, my huge crooked nose, and my weird squinty eyes. I will dodge a camera like I'd avoid a javelin. Dive left! DIVE DIVE! TUCKANDROLL!! SAVEYOURSELVES!!!! 

So I went somewhere and posed for pinup photos. For real. With the makeup and the hair and the outfit and everything. It started off really awkward, and ended up being kind of fun. I saw some of the rough shots, and I was shocked. I didn't look ugly at all. I even looked kind of...good. Sexy even. The photographer's assistant actually said to me "You're really photogenic...and you should always wear read lipstick." I've never worn red lipstick in my life before yesterday (and I likely never will again), and photogenic is not a word I'd apply to myself. In a couple of weeks I'll see the proofs and fantastic husband will get to pick out his favorites. 

Why did I do it? I don't know. A friend was talking about maybe having some pictures done, and I was surfing around the web too late at night, and on a whim I booked a session...because every idea had at 3am is valid. Maybe I wanted to see what a professional photographer could do with my troll face. Maybe I was hoping I'd have a few turn out kinda hot so I could look back and think "Hey, I wasn't half bad back in the day." 

I'll tell you one thing. Arching your back that hard for that long if painful.

Two things. Wearing 6 inch heels really makes your calves and hammies look fantastic.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blogging 2015: 553 down, 1462 to go

Disclaimer: I am super hammered. Like, college hammered. Pregame before the party hammered. Please forgive any random grammatical mistakes. Or don't. Fuck you, I'm hammered.

Yesterday was the 4th of July. Independence Day. It has always made me crazy when people get all "Happy 4th of July!" because that's just...a date. It'd be like saying "Happy 3rd of August!" or some shit.  Yay! Calendars! 

Fantastic husband had to work, so I was at home with the smalls. I did laundry, listened to whining...you know, the fucking minutia of the everyday. We went to the box so I could beat the shit out of myself (for real 1.5 mile run, 150 burpees, 1.5 mile run) and the kids could run around and be general jackasses. I finished up in a hair over 49 minutes. I brought at clementine to eat afterwards so I'd have enough sugar in my system to make it home. Three little vultures circled me. "We are so hungreeeeeee" said the vultures. "Pleeeeeease can we have a slice of orange?" So I gave it to them, because I am a great parent. 

I should be grateful that they didn't drink all my water while I was running. 

After the WOD (thanks for that, Amanda) we went through Starbucks and got lemonade, because I wanted a Passion Tea, and the smalls whine a lot when I don't get them something, too.  We came home and I made lunch, then insisted they sleep so that I could take a nap. Did I mention I did 150 burpees? Because I did.

I think they slept. Who cares. I slept.

After our nap, I took them to the splash pad in our neighborhood park. The screamed, they got soaked, C discussed his penis loudly for all the world to hear (we had a discussion about it. It went "Dude, stop discussing your genitalia. It weirds people out." "Okay, Mom"). We were there for about an hour and a half, then came home for supper and prep for fireworks.

I decided against going either downtown or to Fish Creek for fireworks. I used to work in TR so I decided to go there.  We got truly miraculous parking, then headed over to Neshotah park to kill time before the display. The kids ran around, we used the public pissers without problems, and we headed over to the field for the show.

I'd like to commend TR for it's Independence Day festivities. There was a band, a choir, two random old men singing patriotic songs, and fireballs. My boys dug the shit out of the fireballs. The concessions were cheap, and there were free cookies from Jerry's Bakery. My smalls were in small person heaven.

Glow wants for a dollar? Sign me up!

They were fabulously good sports. And when the fireworks started? They were the embodiment of wonder. Holy shit, it's dusty in here just thinking about it. C in particular was all wide eyes and WOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!! It was everything a fireworks outing should be. This being their first one, officially. They were well behaved, adorable, and the perfect little newbies. I felt lucky to have seen it.

After the show we shuffled out of the field and back to the car and we were on our way home. At 2245 I voice texted my husband that L had fallen asleep immediately and the boys had lasted until 2242.

At 2252 I was contemplating putting everyone to bed, letting the dog out, and falling into the sleep of the exhausted.

At 2256 I noticed a car on the shoulder (a minivan...it was either silver or light blue) and thought it was odd, but people pull over all the time for flat tires and what have you.  

At 2256:05 I saw something in the right lane that I couldn't identify. It was metal, and black, and there was a roundish white protrusion on the side.  I tried to avoid it, jacking the car to the left and then to the right, but I hit it...

...and we went screaming into the ditch at 72mph.

...and we flipped over 1 and a half times.

...and we came to rest hung up on a barrier fence.

...and the man who lives in the house we almost careened into was calling to me "Are you okay? Can you open the door? How many people are in there?"

...and he pulled C and P out the rear passenger window, and he opened the back lift gate and L crawled out. Then I picked up my clutch, found my phone, and crawled over the front, middle, and rear rows, picked up L's glasses, and exited the car. I said to him (assuming he was in the minivan on the highway) "Thanks for staying" and he said "Staying? I live here. We were having a bonfire."

...and I hugged him, and realized the fucking assholes who dropped the grill fled the scene.

...and the GBPD and GBFD were came for us, expecting the worst.

...and we were all fine.

Thank-you, Mazda, for making a top quality machine.

I called 911 while still in the driver's seat, then I called fantastic husband at work. I said "Hey, I wrecked the car". He thought I just rear ended someone. 

I remember walking out of the brush.

I remember giving all our details to the officer in charge.

I remember hearing the tow truck arriving and an officer saying "Ummm...do you have like, a reeeeeeeaaaaallly long cable?"

I remember the paramedics giving my kids stuffed animals and making sure they were warm enough.

I remember seeing the car, upended, being pulled out of the brush.

I am so grateful that everyone is okay. People want to credit god, or some guardian angel, for protecting us. And truthfully, if that's what you need to do, that's fine. I'll thank the good people at Mazda for engineering a car that could withstand that kind of onslaught and leave 4 people whole and uninjured. 

Because if god, or zeus, or allah, or yahweh, or who-the-fuck-ever was really looking out for us? Why was there a goddamn gas grill in the road, and why did the bitch ass pansy fuckers who dropped it flee the scene?

Shit happens. And last night, shit happened to my family. And last night, the only thing we lost was an 8 year old car. My kids are fine. I am fine. All my personal effects were intact and recovered. I am insured to the eyeballs.

Thank Mazda.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blogging 2015: 531 down, 1484 to go

It's good to be home, even if it means doing laundry. I didn't do laundry before we left, because I am a sloth. Post Ragnar laundry needs to be done right away or it renders your dufflebag useless. I seal up my dirty clothes in plastic bags so they don't gas the other passengers on airplanes, but when you open them up at home? That shit is ripe.

By some miracle the spawn slept until almost 8am. That is unheard of in this house. We are cursed with early morning children. I say cursed because I can guarandamntee you that when they hit middle school they'll be the type to lay in bed and moan about getting up for school. Why can't little kids sleep late and older kids rise early? Split the difference between 5am and 8am. 

Fantastic husband made pancakes for the smalls and I made my usual breakfast of egg, spinach, and mushroom.  

I love mushrooms.

The kids went to daycare for a half day so that we could get out for a round of golf. Before we left I harvested the leaf lettuce from our square foot garden. This grew so fast! This is what a 1 foot square produces in about 4 weeks time!
I'm a homesteader, bitches.

We decided to walk 9 so we went to Shorewood on the UWGB campus. It's a nice, inexpensive course with lots of available shade and plenty of hills. Neither one of us has a cart, so we carry our clubs backpack-style. This is the first time I've swung a club in over a year and I didn't do too badly, considering. Short game needs work, though. I also had two shots that took improbable bounces off trees. Fortunately, we weren't keeping score today so it didn't really matter.

After 90ish minutes of golf we had lunch and hit Costco. I had a bison burger (minus the bun) and a few sweet potato fries. No picture. You'll live. I made myself stop at half the fries. I was somewhat off the wagon this past weekend and I really don't want to undo 6 weeks of sacrifice in 5 days of overindulgence.

Seriously, why the bloody fuck does it take 6 full weeks of eating 100% perfectly all the time and beating the shit out of myself in the gym to drop 13 pounds, but I can put 5-8 back on in a weekend? I refuse to weigh myself until my digestion returns to normal, but this happens to me all the time. I do absofuckinglutely everything exactly fucking right and I have marginal success, then allow myself one night of partial indulgence and it's like all my good work is completely erased. Is this what pushing 40 does? Because it's bullshit. BULLSHIT. /rant

The Costco run was for produce and a couple of odds and ends. They had Rainier cherries! I love Rainier cherries. The are nature's candy. So I had 5 or 20.  How can you resist? They are so pretty. 

Fill me with your sweet, sweet flesh.

After unloading and playing a little fetch with the dog, we walked over to daycare to retrieve the spawn. C is still babying his leg, but he is getting less timid with it. I'll probably get him a session or two of PT to make sure he's back on track.

Dinner tonight was BLTs with L fresh from the garden. Bread is useless on a BLT if you ask me. Plus I don't like sandwiches on toast. The toast scrapes the shit out of the roof of my mouth and I'm left with pain and altered taste when I just want to be enjoying tasty tasty bacon. So I had two BLTs sans toast. Perfect.

Tastes like summer.

We put in a garden for a couple of reasons. First, to have fresh veggies on the cheap. Second, to encourage the kids to eat more vegetables (and more types). We figured they'd be more likely to eat things they helped plant and grow.

P&L liked the lettuce. They had extra sandwiches and extra veg.

You don't see a smiling picture of C with lettuce because the little turd had to be bullied into finishing his sandwich. 

The peas are blossoming and there are pods on all the plants. The pumpkins are blooming and the vines are enormous. Soon we'll have cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, corn, beans, and onions. I cut some cilantro today and the basil plant has finally sprouted. I'm hoping for a productive summer from our little patch of dirt.

After supper we went out for a walk with the kids and the dog. It was a very pleasant evening and we covered 2+ miles bringing the day's total to 8. Now I have to review a presentation I'm supposed to give tomorrow. It's back to the salt mine tomorrow night as I traded this Wednesday for last. That means 8 in a row this time around, but it's cool. 

Bedtime snack.

Hopefully I can make it to the box for a WOD tomorrow. The bad thing about going out of town is missing the gym. 20 years ago me would never have made that statement. 20 years ago me drank 6-12 cans of Mountain Dew and smoked 6-10 cigarettes a day.

I guess that's progress.