Leaving tonight?

I thought that things would be a little less crazy this week, but I was wrong.

My son was trying to sell something online for us and almost got scammed. A person sent my son a check for over the asking price for the object and told him to take it to the bank right away.  He did because the bank was closing soon and he didn’t know what to do. Then the person was going to have his “moving person” swing by and pick up the object along with the extra money for moving the item to another state. It seemed a little fishy, but everything happened so fast that I didn’t stop my son.

When Paul heard about it later, he worried it was some sort of money laundering scheme. He dug around online and found out it was a scam. The scammer sends a legitimate looking check for over the price and tells the person to give the money to the mover who is stopping by to pick it up. The person who picks it up steals the item and the money then the check bounces. Our item was scheduled to be picked up the day we are leaving for vacation.

Yesterday morning, I went to the bank and expressed my concerns about the check being fraudulent. Upon closer examination, the bank also thought it was a scam. Unfortunately, when the check bounces my son’s account with be charged. I feel bad that I didn’t stop my son from putting the check into his account. We both thought something wasn’t right but ignored it because they were pressing my son to cash it before the bank closed the night before. It really didn’t give me enough time to think.

It just started the day out bad yesterday. But it didn’t end there. Someone pulled out in front of me and I skidded on the ice almost hitting them. The roads here are still horrible. Last Monday we got a foot of snow. Then we had 4 days of temps in the double digits below zero, followed by an ice storm, followed by more cold weather so the salt didn’t melt the ice.

Oh, it gets better. Then my husband went to the dental hygienist and she refused to treat him because his blood pressure was too high. Yesterday Paul had several meetings with key clients to try to save accounts. After I lost my position at the company we previously owned, clients got a little skittish with all of the changes. The meetings were stressful for Paul and he was running late to his appointment. His blood pressure was 185/107. They told him he needed to see his doctor immediately.

Paul had appointments all day, but kept monitoring his BP. His BP has been borderline high for years. By the end of the day, his BP was still high and the nurse said to take him to the ER since he also had a slight headache. Off to the ER we went. I was paranoid by all of the illnesses we were exposed to last night. If I didn’t think my husband could wind up dead during the night from a stroke, I wouldn’t have risked it. Ah, the things we do for love.

We spent the evening with Paul in a hospital bed, in a gown with an IV in his arm watching the state of the union address. The nurse came in and jokingly said that the SOTU was giving her high blood pressure. Even though no fight ensured about politics, Paul’s BP was still high when we left so they gave him medication. We left to drive home through another snow storm. Big snowflakes and sleet pattered against the windows, but we made it home safely. I certainly did not want to go back to the ER.

This morning there was 4 inches of snow over glare ice. Arabella fell on her way out to the car for school. It’s just nasty out there. Paul spent hours plowing everyone out. Then tonight we are expecting freezing rain followed by another 6 inches of snow. Paul and I are planning on flying out early tomorrow morning for a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands with friends. I hope we can leave.

I will be taking some time off of blogging. You are probably sick of my whining and complaining anyway. When I get back, I will write a travel series about the trip and lighten things up a little. I try to do that after things get a little heavy. Then I will be back at it again.

Well, I better get packing.

My 4th marathon

On Thursday night, or I should say in the wee hours of Friday morning, I picked my family of travelers up from their vacation. As I went to bed at 3 AM, I dreaded the thought that I would be getting up in a little over 24 hours around the time I was going to bed that night to run my 4th marathon.

I didn’t get much sleep, but took Friday off to pack and get ready for camping. My husband went into work for a couple hours and was suffering from jet lag. We had to drive three hours to get to the campground.

We set up camp as a storm was blowing in. The torrential downpour started as soon as we had the tent set up. It rained two inches that night. When we went to pick up our race packets, one of the tents collapsed from the rain. We were going to go to my cousin’s camper for a spaghetti supper, but went out to eat instead. It was hot, humid, and stormed most of the night. But our tent stayed dry for the most part.

I woke up at 4:30 AM after a restless night of sleep. I was dead tired and had to scrape up some energy for a marathon. The marathon itself was brutal. My cousin said that it was the most challenging marathon he ever did. There were some very difficult steep inclines. We had to walk across slippery bridges and wet rocks. I didn’t fall, but I saw others fall and almost fell myself several times.

It was a very picturesque course with beautiful views at the top of the bluffs. It seemed surreal like I was on a movie set. I was waiting for the dinosaurs to come out at any minute. Even though it was a rather remote trail run, there were enough bathrooms and aid stations. I even drank some pickle juice which seems to be the new craze.

It was a tough race, but we finished it. Afterwards, we decided to head to the beach to cool our aching legs. I was only in the water for 10 minutes when someone took my beach towel. The beach was absolutely crowded on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Showering was another challenge. I showered in the handicap stall just because I thought that it would provide an area for me to sit. Undressing and dressing was a bit of a challenge. There was nowhere to sit and there was a lot of standing dirty water on the floor. So I decided to dress from the waist up and go into the dryer bathroom portion to get my shorts on.

I wrapped a towel around my waist for the short trip outside to the bathroom. When I walked into the bathroom, there was a man inside. He seemed to be checking on the cleanliness of the bathroom. He put his initials on the paper by the door and exited quickly. The bathroom and shower stalls were absolutely filthy. I struggled to get my pants on without having to take another shower.

That evening, my cousin and his wife made the spaghetti dinner that the storm prevented us from having the previous night. His dad and step-mother came over for a visit and wished me a happy birthday. They brought homemade strawberry shortcake. It was a nice evening.

After that, I spent another restless night trying to sleep in the tent. My body ached and I couldn’t get comfortable…Sunday morning we packed up for the long ride back home. I couldn’t relax. I found myself feeling agitated and depressed. Although my body ached, my mind couldn’t sit still. I took the dog for a walk when I got home and felt a little better…then had another restless night of sleep.

I think I had one good night of sleep in the last month. Staying up until 3 AM and then getting up very early to run a marathon probably pushed me over the edge. I hope I feel like my old self soon. Tomorrow I’m getting a massage. Maybe that will help.

May the fours be with me

I’m turning 44 this weekend. In celebration, I’m going to run my 4th marathon. Boy, that’s a lot of fours..I didn’t really notice that until now. I sure hope it’s my lucky number!

This is going to be one of the most challenging races to date. I am exhilarated and absolutely terrified at the same time.

The course is going to be breathtakingly beautiful and treacherous. I read the reviews of the race. The first three reviews said to expect to fall. After that I quit reading. I am going to be running a marathon through the bluffs. Predictably, there will be a lot of sharp inclines and steep descents. I can’t imagine why anyone would fall?

Supposedly, the rocky path is worse if it rains. So far, the whole weekend is predicted to be stormy. It is supposed to be hot, very humid, and chances of thunderstorms and rain are at 80% on Friday, 60% on Saturday, and 80% on Sunday. Break a leg then, hey? Not to mention being at the top of the bluffs during a thunderstorm. Or having screamingly sore legs already.

I also heard that there are only 2 bathrooms on the marathon route which is rather problematic for the likes of my old bladder. Do I head for the hills if nature is calling? Will I get lost trying to avoid the onlookers? Or maybe find myself some toilet paper in a patch of poison ivy?

I don’t feel ready for this. Kind of like last year when there were 5 foot waves when I was swimming for the Half Ironman. Seriously, how do you train adequately for that?? In a wave pool??

One of the hardest parts will be sleeping in a tent. I don’t sleep well in my sleep number bed in a dark quiet room with air conditioning. I wonder how I will sleep in a stifling hot tent through storms anxious about the early morning marathon?

The first thing I had to do was find our tent. I can’t remember the last time we slept in a tent. It was at least 5 years ago, back when the kids thought that it was wonderful to hang out with their parents camping for the weekend. We had some awesome adventures camping though. We weathered some pretty scary storms. We hiked, biked, swam, and explored most of the state parks within a three hour radius of our house.

We pretty much stopped camping when we got our sailboat. Now the perfect weekends in the summer month consist of sailing, racing, going up north to the family cabin, or just hanging out around home. Of course, this summer has been a little different with moving and going to Vegas.

I only signed up for one race and this is it! The big hurrah for my birthday weekend!

Folks, this just might be my last birthday.

What did I get myself into this time??!?

May the fours be with me!

 

A child lost

She wasn’t expected to live when she was born. They took a video of her right after birth just in case. She only weighed in at a little over 2 lbs. They never thought she would walk either. But she was one of the fastest runners.

The day we said good-bye was eerie. It was a long hot drive. The sky growled and rolled ominously in the distance coming in our direction. The weather alert went off on my cell phone. Tornado warning in your area, seek shelter immediately. A swirl of dirt on the highway from a baseball field with no one playing. Lightening bolts seared the ground in front of me.

I admit, I was frightened by the tempest although I rarely worry about storms. The skies opened to a torrential downpour like the seemingly endless mother’s tears for a lost child. The path ahead of us was difficult to see clearly. Hail banged sharply like the grim reaper knocking on death’s door.

It was still raining when we arrived. We tromped through puddles of muddy water to offer our condolences. The rain a mask for our tears.

Tom greeted us with an umbrella…helping…keeping busy…comforting others. I can’t imagine the pain they must feel. Lisa was heartbroken. She was only 16. Why did she miss the curve?? She hit a tree and her car started on fire. No body, no funeral…just some remaining ashes in an urn.

I wonder, will they set it on the mantel? Or will they place it on the ground next to the graduation pictures of their other children that will be placed on the wall? As a parent, I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

I would give almost anything to bring her back to them. They both had difficult upbringings. We are kindred spirits in that way. But my life is getting better and theirs worse. I would give it all away…everything I possess of worldly value…just to have her back.

I almost expected her to walk through the door…Maybe the whole things wasn’t real. It didn’t feel right in any way.

Why would God choose to take the life of a sweet beautiful child? How can this be His plan?

God help me, I just don’t understand..

Taking the best of the blizzard

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On Saturday, the mail didn’t come.

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After round one of the blizzard, my son’s car was almost covered with snow.

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After round two, the blizzard won. There were reports of the blizzard collapsing roofs.

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It took 4 hours to shovel out after the first round.

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We had to shovel out twice after that. Tonight my son is digging out his car.

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Climbing snow drifts is a good workout.

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This has been the 2nd biggest snowstorm ever recorded in our area. The biggest snowstorm recorded occurred back in the 1800’s, before anyone now living was even born.

This might be the biggest storm of my lifetime.

It is exciting to be a part of history.

Although, at this point, I just want winter to be over.

Blizzard half time report

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It started yesterday.

It was mainly rain at first, heavy rain.

It puddled in pools in the parking lot.

Then there was the ping of ice on the windowpane.

I couldn’t stay warm.

We went to see Arabella perform in her high school play.

Claps of thunder rattled through the auditorium.

I wondered if the lights would go out from the tempest that raged outside as the drama unfolded on stage.

I left the school and entered into a swirling snow globe.

Cold ice pellets slid down my back through the gap the wind found in my coat.

The snow obstructed my view making it hard to find the path back home.

I awoke this morning to the mighty roar of the north wind.

I won’t make it to the gym today.

Wisconsin is closed for the weekend.

Overnight and into the day, 17 inches of snow came our way.

We are half way done now.

We are bracing for round two.

We are expecting 2 to 3 feet before this storm is through…

How is spring going for you??

The ice shove

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As you may have guessed, running and writing are two of my favorite hobbies.

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I also love photography and traveling. Unfortunately, I can’t do the last two hobbies as often as the first two. I could take pictures of everyday mundane life and selfies galore. But that bores me. So why wouldn’t it bore you??

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I didn’t have to travel far to get a few pictures of the ice shove on the bay of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. Even local friends asked where I was off to this time…Alaska? Antarctica?? No, just my beautiful home state.

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You really should consider booking a visit. Summer is the best time. But as you can see, winter is beautiful here too. Today the wind chills are only in the single digits below zero. So it is warming up out there!

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The ice shove is 20 feet high. This is the biggest ice shove I’ve seen in my lifetime. It took some really nasty weather conditions to make this. Thankfully the beauty that resulted lasted longer than the storm. Kind of like real life sometimes…

Day 9: Homeward bound

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This morning it is clear as glass on the bay. I’ve never seen so many fishing boats on the water. I am ready to go home but feel sad that our trip is coming to an end. Oh, to sleep in my own bed again!

It was a remarkable time. Our vow renewal ceremony on Rock Island was the highlight of our trip. We were surrounded by strangers that became friends. There was hardly a dry eye at the ceremony. It was so beautiful.

Then something unexpected happened, right after the ceremony we talked about divorce. A happy marriage seemed to remind several of their bad experiences.

Why did our marriage make it and theirs didn’t??

Both guys said that many people warned them not to marry the person they did but they didn’t listen. I could’ve easily been in the same boat. I met Paul when I was 21. Before I met him, I was engaged twice.

The second guy I was engaged to was Mac. We were going to fly to Vegas to get married but it cost too much for the plane tickets. I bought my own engagement ring because Mac had bad credit. Why did I ever like the guy anyway??

In every relationship I was in, I was the pursuer. I liked the chase, the challenge. But being the chaser, I was never sure if the one that I pursued liked me as much as I liked him. Mac was different. He relentlessly pursued me. He made me feel like he couldn’t live without me, that I was special. It was all flattering at first…until he started pushing me around. My story could’ve been different if that plane ticket wasn’t so expensive (and from a lot of prayers from my mother).

I listened to their stories and I felt sad…I felt sad for one couple in particular. The guy said that being married the first time forever ruined marriage for him. His long term live in girlfriend was never married before but would love to marry him. It was her birthday the last day of the trip. I felt bad because I didn’t know soon enough to get her a present. It had to be hard for her to watch my ceremony knowing that she most likely will never be a bride. I wanted to make her birthday special for her but didn’t feel like I could.

The thought crossed my mind that it could be her last birthday. My new friend, although just a couple years older than me, has cancer. She just went through several rounds of Chemo and was scheduled for an 8 hour surgery later in the month. This sailing cruise was her last hurrah before the most difficult part of her grueling fight. She gave her boyfriend a way out but he decided to stay by her side. I am happy for that..

The last day all of these thoughts swirled through my mind.

Once again the sky grew dark. We made it back just in time. We unloaded our things from the boat just as thunder boomed in the distance. A strong storm with hail was coming. The winds picked up. We sat in the clubhouse watching the storm come in worrying about George who was far behind us with engine trouble.

Even though our paths were different, we all made it home safely.

Day 8: Oconto

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I don’t want to do this anymore. What choice do I have? I could get a ride home and leave Paul to sail home alone. What kind of wife would that make me? Deserting my husband after the lovely vow renewal ceremony where I promised that I would never leave him.

I feel sick. I feel like I didn’t sleep last night. I spent my night rocking violently back and forth with the waves. My mind took me to strange places. I thought of the song Rock-A-Bye Baby. Rocking…when the wind blows…when the bow breaks…repeating on replay through my mind. Perhaps the song was about a boat after all?

The plan was to get up at 5 and set sail by 6. But it is still really windy this morning so we left later than our anticipated time. I feel seasick. I could tell when the wind changed direction overnight by the movement of the boat.

I struggled to get out of bed this morning which never happens. To tell you the truth, the only thing that got me out of bed was the ping of my phone. I got a Facebook message, but it was just another single guy friend waving at me. What is it with single guys Facebook waving at ungodly hours on a weekend morning?? I thought that something was wrong. Nothing gets me out of bed faster than panic.

We are finally underway. I still feel seasick. I decided to get something to eat. Either I will feel better or I will throw up. So far I’m feeling a little better.

Last night I felt like I was sleeping on an airplane with turbulence. I am hoping it helps prepare me for the 18 hour flight to Asia. The thought terrifies me but I don’t want fear to stop me from doing something I love, traveling.

Now I feel nauseous like the time I was on a scary carnival ride that I wanted to get off of. But that only lasted a few minutes instead of hours. Maybe I need a drink of water? Then I will surely be sick. I will, later. Paul tries to take my mind off of it by talking about the highlights of the trip. He tells me to look at the horizon, but I can’t seem to lift my head.

Get me off of this boat I thought as I started throwing up!!

I fell into a light sleep and awoke feeling a little better.

We have been heeling to the side for hours now. It takes a lot of effort to move. Everything is flying all over the place. As the conditions worsen, Paul asks me to get the life jackets in the compartment behind the toilet. I thought that while I was there, I might as well go. The boat rocked violently at the wrong time and my pee poured down the back of my pants and underwear.

As I struggle to get out of my urine soaked clothes and find new ones, Paul is hollering that he needs me on deck. I’m naked!!!??! I am really starting to feel pissy, figuratively and literally.

Like a marathon nearing the end, I want this to be over. I never want to do this again. But by next weekend I will be ready for another adventure. It is exciting and excruciating in the same breath.

Did I tell you that I am feeling rather sick? I want to fight this feeling but it is taking all of my energy to hold this pen.

Pleeeeeaaassseee get me off of this boat..

There are storms coming.We are hitting 4 ft waves that are spraying against the bow. We are huddled below. I’m getting used to feeling this way now.

The storms part around us but more storms are heading our way. It is scary seeing them pop up while we are in the middle of open water on the bay. We are still motoring against the waves. Paul is outside by himself now while I hide out below. Despite the rough water, I fall asleep. I open my eyes every few minutes to make sure Paul hasn’t gone overboard.

Soon we were nearing the breakwater in Oconto. I prepared myself for storms as I put the fenders out. The motor wasn’t working right and we hit the dock hard.

Once again the storms parted around us. This time we were rewarded with a brilliant rainbow. After 10 hours of sailing, we finally made it to shore.

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Day 7: Weathered in

We awoke at 4:30 AM to the sound of thunder and the howling of a great wind. The waves rocked our tied up sailboat like we were on water. I worried about George and Beth who were planning on leaving at 5:30 AM to beat the strong winds, but the wind was already here. They are still having problems with their inboard motor. Their options to get back home in their boat are facing strong winds or waiting a few more days and sailing without wind. George has to get back to work and there aren’t any slips available to stay longer.

Water is starting to trickle into my bed on the berth. The boat just slammed into the dock. The tied down lines are flapping. The waves are crashing against A dock where we are staying. Water is spraying across the dock and trickling down the other side. The boat is creaking. I’ve never been on the boat in so much wind.

Paul is still sleeping. It was a rough night’s sleep. I awoke to the sound of a ping thinking it was a message from George. Instead, it was an early morning Facebook wave from Paul’s step-dad Darryl.

When Paul woke up, he told me that George did not sail out. There is a gale warning on the water. It will be dangerous walking down the wet A dock to get to the shower.

Paul and I walked down A dock hand in hand to get to the shower. Paul was worried that a monster wave would send me over the edge slipping on the wet dock sliding into the water electrocuted by boat current or something of that nature. We made it safely to shore but we really didn’t need that shower since we were already soaking wet. Standing water was pooled on the dock. The tops of my toes were chafed from my wet sandals and a few of my toes were bleeding.

We went shopping this afternoon downtown. I bought a pair of sunglasses that everyone said made me look like Zsa Zsa Gabor. Wait, isn’t she dead?? I also bought an anchor ring to remind me of the vow renewal ceremony. I bought these lovely items at Al Johnson’s. It is the place with the goats on the roof.

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When we arrived in Sister Bay, I thought that I was seeing things when I saw goats on the roof nearby. I was told that the goats were eating the grass on the roof of a restaurant named Al Johnson’s. I had to ask if the restaurant was like Red Lobster. Do I pick the goat I want to dine on tonight and they cook it up for me kind of place?? Surprisingly, goat was not a menu item. Oh my! Thankfully sometimes things aren’t the way my wild imagination thinks they could be.

That night when we came back to the boat for the evening we heard something buzzing. We discovered that we were out of water and the pump was running like crazy.

Soon we turned in for a restless night of sleep.