Alpha Warrior

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I did it!  I survived!  Man, was I nervous.  There were a few times I just wanted to call the whole thing off.  But I put on my big girl panties, got started, and I’m so glad I did!  It was really fun, and I’m super proud of myself.  And I met a real life ninja warrior!

So to recap my goals:

  1.  Not get injured:  I didn’t get injured!  I’ve got some bumps and bruises, and some road rash on my arm, but nothing more serious than that.  I was very thankful.
  2. Not embarrass myself:  I didn’t!  I think I kept up with most of the people there.  Some completed obstacles I couldn’t, and some fell off on stuff I completed.  I felt pretty at par with the majority of the other people there.
  3. Complete 3 obstacles:  I attempted all of them, and successfully completed 9-10 of the 18 obstacles.  I’ll describe the details below.  So yay!  I was happy with that!

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So we got there, and of course I started checking out everyone else that was doing the course.  Most of them looked like professional athletes, at least in my mind.  This picture captures one of the many moments of me thinking ‘I don’t belong here.  I’m not ready for this.  What the heck was I thinking?!  Let’s just call this whole thing off.’  But I’ve got too much pride to back out when we’re already there, and my kids were watching me, so I mustered some confidence and stuck around.

I originally didn’t plan on wearing gloves.  I’ve never trained in them, didn’t own any, and know I can’t use them on ninja so figured I shouldn’t start.  Then the info email went out and said gloves were HIGHLY recommended, and then my mom came to town to cheer me on and suggested maybe I just take some with me and then decide if I want to use them or not.  So about 8 pm the night before I went to the store and bought some and I’m so glad I did!  There was a course volunteer that was talking to us beforehand on advice, and he said make sure you wear gloves.  My hands got blood blisters through my gloves, I can’t imagine what they would have looked like if I hadn’t had them on.  I saw lots of ripped open bleeding hands afterwards of people that didn’t wear them.

They had said they were going to release 9 people every 3 minutes, and I was technically scheduled to be in the 3rd group to go.  But they just had everyone gather in the starting corral, let the 3 ‘elites’ go first, and then just let small groups go every few minutes, whoever stepped up first.  It seemed as though most people doing it were in teams together.  I held back in the crowd because I wanted to see how other people ahead of me did.  And because I was scared, let’s be honest.

The very first obstacle was these giant barrels you were supposed to jump over.  The elite guys just flew over them.  The next group was all guys and flew over them too.  I started to get real nervous.  But then after that people started to not be able to get over them, and I felt better.  Then I was ready to just get started and go.  Of the 30ish people I saw go before me, I’d say about 90% of the guys got over, and 0% of the girls got over without some kind of help.

IMG_0088  So without further ado, the obstacles:

1.  Monster barrels:

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These got much bigger the closer to them you got.  Like I said, most of the guys flew over the top, and none of the girls did.  They either got a boost from someone else, or just skipped it.  My husband and I disagree on if I successfully completed it.  I used the rigging to help get a leg up, and then crawled over the top of the barrels.  I call that cheating.  He disagrees.  He says because I went over the top of all of them I did complete, and was just using what I had.  That’s me in the middle with my butt up in the air.

2.  Side Winder:IMG_0101This was basically a hanging cargo net you had to go sideways across.  Pretty easy.  Successful complete #1 (or #2 if you’re counting with my husband, but since he’s not writing this, it’s #1)

3.  Silverback

IMG_0108This one was harder than it looked.  I’ve never climbed up an inverted cargo net before.  Once you got to the top you had to throw your legs over to come down, that was tricky.  But I did it!  Successful complete #2!

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4.  Sea of Ropes

IMG_0117This one broke my heart.  I fell on the last rope before the finish deck.  I should have used my legs more.  I had my feet on the disks, but they tipped and moved, so it took a lot of core strength to stay upright on them.  I compensated by mostly just using my arms to go from rope to rope and my grip gave out at the end.

IMG_0124Next time I’ll stop and balance on a disk if I need to, build up more strength.  I just slid off the last rope at the end.  I should have been able to finish this one, but I didn’t.  FAIL!

IMG_0126At this point I was totally worn out and winded.  I was surprised at how winded I got between obstacles.  I didn’t anticipate that.  It’s hard to do them back to back to back.  I knew my muscles would get tired, but I wasn’t able to even draw in a full breath.  I need to work on my stamina.

5.  Gut Buster

IMG_0135This one was 2 parallel bars that you had to go vertically across with hands on one bar and feet on the other.  I’m second from the left in this picture.  The bars started close together at the start, then spread apart as they went higher, then came back together as they came back down to the ground.

IMG_0137I anticipated not being able to do this one, but it wasn’t that bad.  And I didn’t fall!  Successful complete #3!

6.  Pipe bombs

IMG_0151Basically a bunch of vertically hanging bars you had to make your way across.  I started out good, high up on the bars.  But every time I moved one forward I slipped down a little, and my grip finally gave out.  This was a fun one, but I fell about halfway through.  My grip gave out before my arms did.  I’ve gotta work on my grip strength more.  FAIL!

7.  Sky Walk

IMG_0156On this one, you had to climb up the ramp, and then there were several raised platforms with low trampolines in between.  You had to jump down onto the trampoline, and then up to the next platform.  The raised platforms got higher each time, so you had to jump higher to make it up.

IMG_0170The last platform was pretty high, but I was able to jump up onto all the platforms.  Succesful complete #4!

IMG_0176Getting down off this obstacle was the first time I had some fear factor in there.  When you’re standing up at the top of the pole, it looks like a looong way down.  This is how you had to get down from a lot of the tall obstacles.  This one wasn’t too high, but there were some that were much taller.  When my muscles were shot, I wasn’t totally sure I’d be able to let myself down.  But there’s no other way down, so you gotta do what you gotta do.  My arms didn’t fail me, and I got down softly.

8.  Pitfall

IMG_0186This one was fun.  And scary.  You had to swing across the gap (the website says it’s 30 feet), and grab onto the inverted cargo net on the other side.  When you’re up there, it looks like a long way down, and I knew if I slipped off that rope mid-swing I’d land hard.  Probably on my back or head.  And again, I wasn’t sure my arms would hold up.

IMG_0187But they did!  Then it was another climb up and over an inverted cargo net.  Successful complete #5!

9.  Chopper Crawl

IMG_0203This one is a little hard to see, but basically it’s a vertical ladder, on a slack line, suspended about 4 feet above the ground, with a net right above you, I guess so you have to stay low.  Some core strength and balance were involved, but it wasn’t too bad.  Successful complete #6!

10.  Radial Rings

IMG_0224This one broke my heart, too.  So it was a semi-circle of hanging rings.  3 basic ring lanes, inside, middle, outside.  I started out really good.  I was on the inside row, and wonder woman in front of me was on the middle row.

IMG_0225Then she got stuck.  She had one hand on the middle ring, and kept swinging side to side to the inside and outside rings trying to right her momentum.  Because she was taking up the entire width, I couldn’t go around her on either side.  I had to keep swinging on my 2 rings, not going anywhere, hoping she would either drop down or get out of the way, so I could keep going.  I used up a whole lot of energy trying to wait for her.

IMG_0226Then she finally fell, and ran into my legs on the way down.  My momentum totally stopped trying to get out of her way and not kick her in the head.  I couldn’t get it going again after that, and I ended up dropping down too.  I feel like I honestly could have finished this one if all that hadn’t happened.  So it’s not a successful complete, but I’m not calling it a fail either.  It was more of a situational disappointment.

11. Slack City

IMG_0252This was a series of 3 slack lines between platforms.  The first was 3 parallel slack lines going down towards the ground.  Then 3 lines that crossed in the center going up (picture above), and then finally 2 parallel slack lines going down again,

IMG_0256which I crab walked down.  I’m not sure that was the best technique, but it worked!  This was another one I didn’t think I would be able to complete and I did.  Successful complete #7!

12.  Camel Back

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I was thinking ‘Ain’t no way’ here in this picture.  I was tired.  My arms were tired.  And this was wavy pipes you had to muscle across.

IMG_0273I attempted but didn’t get very far.  That hump that goes up is no joke.  Super hard.  Maybe next time.  FAIL!

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13.  Spider Wall

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This is one I thought I’d be able to do, but couldn’t end up finishing.  It was 3 sections, each one higher than the last.  I was able to do the first section, but couldn’t finish the last 2.  Perhaps if it had been earlier in the course I could have done better, but after 12 obstacles, I was just too tired.  FAIL!

14.  Robin Wood

IMG_0297I’m not sure what the trick to this one was supposed to be.  Or maybe they just wanted to throw an easy one in towards the end.  It was just a cargo net up and then you had to let yourself down the inverted side.  Succesful complete #8!

IMG_0302It had been forecasted to rain this morning.  Instead it was hot and muggy.  I’m thankful for the answered prayer of no rain.  I’m also thankful for the water stations.

15. Battering Rams

IMG_0316This was another one that was painful.  In more ways than one.  There were these hanging pipes on the left, stair stepping up.  They were suspended on chains, so they swung around a lot.  I had thought they would be soft, like a pool noodle.  They were not.  They were very hard, and had a bit of grit to them, like the bottom of a pool.  When you got to the top stair stepped one, you had to get across the high perpendicular one, and then get down the descending stair step ones again.  I wanted this one so bad.  I closed my eyes going across the top one, and when I finally opened them and looked down I saw the event film and photo crew on me.  No pressure.  I got to the very end of the high one and everything gave out.  I got some road rash on my arms and legs from dragging them across those poles.  This one is going to leave a mark.  I WILL finish this one next time.  FAIL!

16.  Gorilla Bars

The last obstacles were inside the ‘Alcatraz’ box, which is the thing in the very first picture of this post.  You started out climbing up the chain ramp,

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and then through the tunnels.

IMG_0343And then got to the gorilla bars, which are uphill monkey bars spaced a good bit apart.

IMG_0346This was a big fat FAIL!  I’m usually okay with monkey bars, but not when they’re this far apart, uphill, and after a whole obstacle course.

IMG_0353Then you climbed up another net tunnel, and another one again, to get to the top.  I felt like I was at the playground at Chick-fil-A, except not really.

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17.  Vertical Rope

IMG_0377I don’t know the actual name of this one because it’s not on the website.  It looks like it replaced an obstacle that’s not there anymore.  Once you got about 3 stories up, there was a looong vertical rope to get across.  I wanted this one bad.  It was really hard, and I have rope burn on the back of my legs.  This used my arms, legs, core, and surprisingly, my neck muscles.

IMG_0386And the transition from the first rope to the second was tricky because there was a little gap.  But I did it!  This is the one I’m most proud of.  Succesful complete #9!

18.  Broken Bars

IMG_0400This was the last obstacle.  It was kind of cool because we were about 3 stories up, and there was a net underneath us, then the crowd was down below us looking up.  It was kind of not cool because my entire body was totally shot and I was not able to get across these.  They were swinging bars going in all directions.  I saw very few people successfully do this one so I didn’t feel too bad.  FAIL!

IMG_0411Then it was down another cargo net,

IMG_0418and down to the finish.

IMG_0434I got a banana, which my kids took, a t-shirt and medal.  I will say that I did have the best cheering squad out there.  Besides my kids, my mom and husband were there, and they all cheered so loud and kept me going.  Thanks family!IMG_0465David Yarter has been on several seasons of American Ninja Warrior and he was there.  I’m not sure if I was more nervous to run the course or go up and talk to him.  But he was so super nice, and it totally solidified my theory that Ninjas are pretty much the nicest people on the planet.  Thanks David for humoring us with a picture!!

IMG_0468And then I totally splurged on fried chicken, fries, rolls and gravy, and a half sweet tea for lunch.  I figured I earned it.  It was so yummy!

So all in all, a very successful day.  I’ve learned that I still want to be a Ninja Warrior, I need to work on my grip strength, I need to be more serious about my hanging practice, and I need to have more confidence in my abilities.  I was surprised at how my grip gave out before my arm strength.  I figured it would have been the other way around.  But it just goes to show how much progress I’m making in all the upper body work I’m doing.

They’re doing another Alpha Warrior run in November and I hope to go.  There’s a few obstacles that I need a do-over on.  I will get my revenge.

 

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What Was I Thinking?

A few weeks ago, I signed up to do Alpha Warrior this Sunday.  What was I thinking?!  Man, I’m not ready for this.  And it’s forecasted to rain.  If I fall off all the obstacles, that’s what I’m going to blame it on.

I think there are 19 obstacles.  My goal is to complete 3 of them.  That should be doable, right?  Maybe?

My other goals are to not die, or get seriously injured or maimed.  And not embarrass myself too much.  These are probably less accomplishable.

I’ll let yall know how it goes.

In other news, I went rock climbing again for some practice.  My forearms and hands were shot after less than an hour.  But I did some V1’s and a V2 route, so that was improvement.

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Then There Was That Time I Decided to be a Rock Climber

All the best ninjas are gymnasts and/or rock climbers, right?  For the most part.  I’ve started taking gymnastics lessons, so I figured I might as well learn rock climbing too.  Why not?  We have a nearby university with a pretty impressive rock wall, so I figured I’d take advantage of it and I signed up for their Intro to Rock Climbing clinic.  (For reference, I have never attempted rock climbing before)

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Just as a total side note:  “I signed up for their clinic and went and took the class.”  It sounds so simple, right?  The slogan for the crossfit box I went to was #justshowup.  Sounds simple, right?

Wrong.  By the time I #justshowup, I’m #justsooverit, and #justreadytogohome.  But you know, whatever, it’s catchy.  If highly unattainable at this stage of life.

See, here’s the thing.  The clinic was at 3.  Which is also when my daughter gets out of school.  So the whole day has to be adjusted to make a 3 o’clock class.  That’s normally when the babies are napping, so I have to try to get them to take a longer nap in the morning, so they won’t be screaming hangry babies during class.  And in order to pick up my daughter earlier, we have to leave earlier, which is going to cut into my son’s ‘naptime’.  Which means I have to get him fed and down earlier, and hope that he actually goes to sleep, so that he will be somewhat rested.

In order to pick up my daughter early, I have to get there and get 3 kids unloaded out of carseats, all of whom take it as a personal challenge to make this as difficult as possible.  Then I have to load the smallest 2 into a wagon, because the double stroller doesn’t fit into the car.  Then I have to get into the school as quickly as possible, because the 3 year old, who thinks he’s helping by holding on to the wagon, is actually pulling on it, making me also have to drag his body weight as well.  He also gets super distracted by every nature element we see, and oh.my.gosh we have to stop at EVERY dandelion on the way in to check it out.  So when we finally get into the office, I have to try to keep all 3 entertained, and contained, while they go collect my daughter.  Which is tricky since now both babies are super excited to pull themselves up, and the wagon sides are low enough that they will easily tumble over the side.  And the 3 year old wanders.  If I hear one more person say, ‘oh, you’ve got your hands full’, I’m going to sock them.

So my daughter comes to the office, and we have to make our way back out to the car, and get 4 children buckled into carseats, and we drive to the next town over where the class is.

But then we’re on a college campus.  During the school year.  The roads on this campus are already very narrow and crooked, and there are college students walking everywhere, and the road I normally take was closed for construction, and I didn’t know another way.  And there are 2 kids in the back fighting, and yelling, ‘Mom, he touched me!’ ‘No I didn’t!’ ‘Mom, when are we going to be there?’ ‘MOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY’.  It makes it very hard to concentrate and weave around all the pedestrians, and find my way.  I felt like I was in that old video game Paperboy.  AND, not to mention, you have to have a permit for all the parking I could find.  Which I of course didn’t have.  So I finally just picked a spot and risked a ticket.

So then I have to unpack all 4, load the babies in the wagon, and start hiking it to the rec center.  And I feel SO out of place, walking around in all my mom glory, dragging 4 kids behind me, on a college campus.  I definitely stick out like a sore thumb.

My husband, who works elsewhere on campus, met me at the rec center so that he could watch the kids while I took class.  I had to wait in the college rec center, amongst very young and ‘perky’ college aged girls, in various stages of revealing work-out clothes, while I sit in my very matronly physique, with baby spit-up on me, with 4 kids crawling all over me.  I definitely was feeling very self-conscious and old.  It was not a high point of the event.  There were also a lot of ripped college guys, also in various stages of undress, and even though I’m so very much older than them, it still makes me blush.  So there was that.

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And finally I got to the class!  And during the class I was thinking, “It was worth it, all the hassle to get here.  My kids will see me trying something new…rock climbing…it’ll be a good lesson, and they’ll think I’m cool.”  After class my daughter said, “Why didn’t you ever get on the rock, mom?”  Sigh.

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There were 4 of us.  Me and 3 college students, who were all very kind and welcoming, and didn’t overtly treat me like they realized I could be their mom.  I was the only one who had never done this.  The class was mostly talking, but I did get on the wall a couple of times.  And I learned a whole lot of lingo, like bouldering, crimping, belay, beta, breaking beta, smear, jug, matching, projecting, flagging, back flagging, heel hook, crux, pumped, and a whole lot more that I can’t remember anymore.  I learned I like jugs the best, and I’m a solid V0 climber.  But it was fun, and it was refreshing to be out there trying something new.  It was a one hour class that took an entire day of planning to make.  But that’s okay.  It was worth it, and I hope to go back to ‘open wall’ nights for some practice.

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Monkey Business

So I’m practicing swinging a little bit, but all I have is our door frame pull-up bar.

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Over under on when I rip the door frame off?

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Or land on my butt?

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Or just rip my hands apart?

So calluses, good or bad?  I’ve heard some people say they’re good, some people say they’re bad, and some people say they’re good in moderation.  Lol.  Any gymnasts on here have an opinion?  I put lotion on my hands at nighttime when I think about it.  What’s the best hand care?

The Process

Although it shouldn’t be new news to me, as people have said it to me before, but as I was watching ANW this season, something occurred to me.  And really began to sink in for the first time.  I need to more appreciate the process.

I’m not a patient person.  Once I make a goal, I don’t really appreciate the process between starting and finishing.  I just want to get to the end and check that item off the list.  And I’ve never really liked to practice much.  Whenever I had a new crafting endeavor or project, I don’t like the practicing part, I just jump straight to doing the finished product (beginner’s luck gets me through most of it).  When I wanted to do my first 5K, the ‘Couch to 5K’ system was excruciating.  I didn’t train for my triathlon.  I get so frustrated with myself when I can’t do something, or know something.  I just want to get to the finish line, pass the test, complete the project.  The in-between parts are just a necessary evil that I only do if I absolutely have to.

But American Ninja Warrior is different.  I can’t fake this.  There’s no beginner’s luck.  You have to put in the work, plain and simple.  And it’s a significant amount of work.  Much more physical exercise than I’ve ever had to do before.  And I’ve been getting so frustrated with the process.  I seems to be taking sooooo long.

But as I watched the show this season, I really paid attention to the back stories.  When I look back on this season of my life, this ‘process’ is what I’m going to remember.  Yes, being on the show would be the culmination of this process, but just a small amount of time compared to all the work I’m putting into this.  This is a family experience.  We’re building a ninja rig.  We’re going to gyms together.  We’re playing together.  We’re building memories.  I need to enjoy this time.  I need to appreciate it.

MYLO Obstacle Fitness

Can I just tell you that training for something like American Ninja Warrior all at home is incredibly hard?  There’s only so many ring rows and push-ups I can do before I get so bored!  And I am constantly disappointing myself with my perceived lack of progress.  I have no one to motivate me, and no one to show off for.  I am my own worst cheerleader, and there’s always something I would rather be doing,  or someone calling for me, crying for me, or pulling on me.  Laundry needs to be done and dishes need to be washed.  Plus I have to prepare around 15 meals a day, give or take.  15!  That’s a lot of time suck.  When you add in Harvey, kindergarten and the holiday trip, my workouts had come to a screeching halt.  And I didn’t have much motivation to get started again.

It was time for a field trip.

But let me paint a little picture for you.  I keep 3-4 kids all day long, depending on if the oldest is at school or not.  The evenings are filled with fixing dinner, baths, bedtime routines.  Or shuffling kids between gymnastics, Awana, or hubby being out for his commitments.  It’s non-stop, and I’m so overstimulated and overwhelmed all the time, by the time it’s bedtime, I’m about half comatose.  Any parent out there reading this can relate, I know.

BUT!  Light at the end of the tunnel.  It appears that Wednesday nights will now be mine.  All mine.  To do whatever I want.  All 5 of the rest of my wonderfully lovely family members will be out of the house.  FOR. THREE. HOURS.  I hope you can appreciate the magnitude of this.  3 hours to myself.  And I have given myself permission to keep that 3 hours all for me.  No laundry, no packing tomorrows lunch, no chores.  Just time for me, for whatever I want to do.  And the list of possibilities is endless.  I could take a hot bath.  I could curl up on the couch and catch up on the DVR.  I could sit in a quiet room and rock myself while staring at the wall and enjoying the silence.  I could use 3 hours of time to catch up on my enjoyable list of projects that I can never finish because I can never go more than 5 minutes without someone interrupting, crying, screaming, or yelling, ‘MOM! I’M DONE!’ from the bathroom.

This past Wednesday was my first ‘me night’.  I was tired.  I wanted to sit and do nothing.  But I also knew I needed an exercise field trip and a swift kick in the pants to get motivated again.

WHAT TO DO!!!!

My brain decided to go, although my heart wasn’t in it.  It was a 45 minute drive to MYLO Obstacle Fitness, so I took my on-its-last-leg Shuffle with me to listen on the way.  Since I can’t actually shuffle or skip ahead anymore, I was stuck listening to whatever I got.  And I got slow song after slow song after slow song for 45 minutes.  Y’all, by the time I got there I was ready for a good cry and a nap.  I had no energy and no motivation.

I’ll spare you the story of trying to find the place and then thinking I would get axe murdered on the way in.

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Needless to say the place was not quite what I was expecting.  No frills for sure.  But I decided since I drove all the way, and the first class is free, I might as well try the ‘obstacle fitness’ class.

And I’m so glad I stayed!  Mylo was very complementary of what I could do, very encouraging, and it was something new and different.  Definitely the kick-start I needed to get back to it.  It was ‘leg day’ so we didn’t get on any of the actual obstacles, but we did do some team building log stuff that was pretty cool.  You can see the whole video on their Facebook page here, it’s only about a minute long so check it out.  But here’s a couple of screen shots I took of the video he posted.

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I don’t know what the rest of my Wednesday’s will look.  Hopefully they still stay mine, although life has a funny way of getting in the way.  It would be great to have the discipline and motivation to use every Wednesday night for some athletic endeavor, but that realistically won’t be the case.  As our schedules get busier, I will probably want to stay closer to home.  And having the commute to and from the workout take longer than the actual workout…that’s rough.  I wish we had something closer, that I could visit weekly.  I know that would help with my motivation and progress.  But it is what it is.  Another life obstacle to overcome, right?

And I don’t know how this whole wannabe-ANW story is going to end, but I can say I have been out of my comfort zone more in these last few months than ever in my life, I think.  I’m a homebody.  I’m shy, and I have social anxiety.  I don’t like going in to new situations, and I certainly don’t like doing new things by myself.  But I have walked in to so many new situations, doing things I’m not totally sure I can finish, and been in more groups of strangers for this training stuff.  I’m pretty proud of that.  And I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of stepping out in the world by myself and trying new things.  And that lesson will last far longer than whether or not I get on American Ninja Warrior.  Although that would be pretty cool, too.

Labor Day Obstacle Course

The family we were visiting over the weekend has a huge yard.  And a work shed full of odds and ends.  So we got the idea of setting up an obstacle course in the morning before it got too hot.

I’m not the most ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to seeing random items and putting them into an obstacle course, but we did our best.

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It started with a box jump onto the upside down bucket, then down the balance beam, across the top of the ladder rungs, and down the remaining balance beam.  Then you had to step inside the half deflated inner tube and carry it by the handles while you ran down around the tree and back.

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After that you had to jump side to side down the 2 pool noodles, jump across the rails, then push your brother in the stroller around the pots.  It would have been cooler had we had catchy names for the obstacles, but I didn’t get that far.  Finally, you had to take a lap around the perimeter of the yard.  She did a couple different runs with a few obstacle variations, but that was the jist.

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Then it was time for the pool.  Because this…

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Harvey, Kindergarten, and the Zombie Apocalypse

So weekend before last we had Harvey come through.  Thankfully, we are about 3 hours inland, and not right not on the coast.  We were very blessed that we only got minor damage to the house, and everything that was destroyed is replaceable.  The fence will get rebuilt, the siding and roof will get repaired. I can’t imagine having our entire home, and all the precious mementos within, washed away.  My heart goes out to those families that have to rebuild their lives.  And now those in the line of Irma.

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Having said that though, last week was filled with fence contractors, roofers climbing around, and insurance adjusters.  Man, the insurance company. I think I would rather go to the gynecologist AND get a root canal before dealing with the insurance company again.  I think I’m thankful to have house insurance.

So in addition to Harvey, my oldest started kindergarten this week.  She’s never done any kind of school before, so this is a big adjustment. All 4 kids have to have new schedules to accommodate dropping off and picking up, and man she’s cranky when she gets home. Everyone’s exhausted.  And then it only took about 2 days for her to come home saying one of the girls was mean to her at recess and a boy spit on her.  This kindergarten stuff is not for the faint of heart.

Last weekend for the long holiday we traveled to visit family. And there was a gas shortage. Actually, that may or may not be true. The rumor of a gas shortage
started circling on social media, due to Harvey and the refineries in Houston. So everyone freaked out and started hoarding gas. So then all the gas stations were out of gas. But was there really a shortage to being with?  Who knows.  Some say yes and some say no. I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg.

But the night before we left, Kevin took the car (which was on empty) to fill it up.  He literally had to go to at least 6 gas stations before he found one with gas.  They had cops out watching for hoarders, employees directing traffic, long times, the whole bit.  Then Saturday as we were driving, there was only gas at 1 or 2 stations out of the dozen or so we passed.

I’m not so worried about the gas problem now. It’ll pass, and we’ll all be fueled up again soon. But it did get me thinking about what happens when the zombie apocalypse comes and we for real have a gas shortage.  I think it’s probably inevitable that the pumps will dry up at some point. Hopefully that comes after we’ve conquered and moved on from our dependence on petroleum, but what if it doesn’t?  I guess we’d start walking everywhere.  Maybe buy a horse?  The Amish might have the right idea.  They may have the last laugh.

Harvey did get me thinking about being more responsible about having a disaster plan in place for the family. When you hear the announcement to either evacuate or else write your name and social on your arm with a Sharpie, you start thinking about things a little differently.  Thankfully we weren’t close enough to the coast to need to evacuate, but how scary would that be? IMG_8759

 

I do also think I need to start building up a supply of food at home. I’ve seen different websites about how to build up enough food to feed a family of however many over the course of a few months, buying here and there. It was eerie to see so many empty shelves at the grocery store. We are so dependent on others to take care of us. What would we do if we couldn’t just go buy what we need? No gas? No food at the grocery? We’d be sunk. We’d all want to be friends with Bear Gryllis, he’d probably be fine.

It makes me think that I need to get a little survival training. Here in our neck of the woods the beer and tortilla chips were the first to sell out. What if rather than just eat like the paleolithic people, we had to hunt and gather like them, too? Would that happen? What would we hunt?  Or gather?  Would we all be hiding in bunkers, fighting each other to the death over the last bit of supplies like in the Hunger Games? Or would we be doing whatever it is that they do in The Walking Dead? (I’ve never seen that show, but I don’t think it turns out very well for most of them). I hope when the apocalypse comes I’m not wearing a red shirt.  I at least want to make it to the sequel.

The Death of an Era

Last trip we took, the Oklahoma one, (One Week: Barenaked Ladies) my husband left his beard balm in the glove box.  Which of course melted, because it was 3000 degrees and August while we were there.  Which means that the beard balm turned into a pool of beard oil.  And our glove box became a beard oil swimming pool. And guess what went swimming without its floaties on?  One of my most prized possessions.  My iPod Shuffle.

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Yes, a Shuffle, 3rd generation to be exact.  (Masquerade: Phantom of the Opera soundtrack) I would have guessed I bought it about 2004, but Wikipedia tells me they came out in 2009, so I guess that’s when I got it.  Man I thought I was so cool when I bought it.  I think it was about $50, and probably the most technologically advanced thing I owned.  Probably still one of the most technologically advanced things I own (I didn’t bite the bullet and buy my first smart phone until 2015).  It has the soundtrack of my life on it.  All my favorite songs from the last 20ish years.  Most of them were even painstakingly copied over from my CD collection. (I’m the Greatest Star: Barbara Streisand)

You know what stunk, by the way?  Really loving 2 or 3 songs on a CD, and then having to go buy the whole dadgum CD for those couple of songs.  Tracks 1 and 2 were great. Sometimes 3 and 4 were sleeper hits you ended up liking, but then you always had to skip tracks 5-12 to get back to 1.  Man, that was the worst.  I digress.

(Just to see you smile: Tim McGraw)

I still distinctly remember trying to decide if I wanted to buy it at Best Buy or order from the Apple website.  If I had ordered it from the internet, I could have gotten the silver clip engraved. Engraved. But instant gratification won out and I bought it in-store.

That’s why the shuffle was so great!  Just copy over your very favorite songs, and then it automatically shuffled them around to get the most fantastic mix tape of all time.  My goodness, I love this thing.  It’s got 486 of my favorite songs.  All genres.  Eminem to Elvis Presley, Gospel to Garth Brooks.  And I’m such a scanner, even if it’s my favorite song, I usually just want to hear the first 30 seconds and then go to my next favorite song.  And I can do that!  (Come What May: Moulin Rouge)

And I love the surprise that you never know what song is coming next.  At the end of every song, I wait expectantly for what’s next.  And as soon as I hear the first couple bars, I break out in a huge smile, sigh, and say ‘I love this song’.  It’s like Christmas every couple of minutes.  One song might transport me to high school and my first heartbreak, the next song reminds me of driving around in my first car with the windows down and my hair blowing in the wind, and then a couple of minutes later I’m sitting in a theatre on Broadway or standing at the altar.  The Shuffle is more than just a little piece of metal and circuits.  It’s my memories.  It’s a time machine.  It’s the story of my life.

(Show Me How You Burlesque: Christina Aguilera)

Kevin has tried many times to get me interested in Spotify, and such. Pffft. No thank you. I have a very carefully curated collection of the very best songs. I don’t need Spotify. I don’t need to put the songs on my phone. My Shuffle will live forever.

Until it took a dip in the hot oil bath.  Actually, to be fair, it was lounging in the glove box before it filled with oil.  As a testament to the quality of products that once were, it does still play a little bit.  But when you get the headphones in there, you have to put pressure with your finger just in the right spot for you to get sound in both ears.  And the controls that are on the headphones (because this was before the time when controls were on the device itself), no longer adjust the volume or skip ahead to the next song.  My Shuffle no longer shuffles.  I can’t click once to pause, twice to skip ahead.  I can’t even click 3 times for the pre-siri to come on and tell me what song is playing.  And it appears I can’t get it to connect to any other device to transfer the songs to something new.  It’s like 20 years of my life is dying in front  of me.  (The Dance: Garth Brooks, Live Version) 

I’m going to have to mourn this for a while.

I would never karaoke, but I can belt them out in the car.

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At this point, the Dramamine started kicking in a bit and I zoned out, staring out the window of the car.  I was writing this post on our way out of town.  And the rest of the songs I heard before I dozed off were:

  • Your Star: All American Rejects
  • In a Real Love: Phil Vasser
  • Girlfriend: Bob Guiney
  • There’s Your Trouble: Dixie Chicks
  • No Thinkin’ Thing: Trace Adkins
  • How Do I Live: Trisha Yearwood
  • Can’t Fight the Moonlight: Coyote Ugly soundtrack
  • Wannabe: Spice Girls
  • some Hillary Duff song I don’t know the name of
  • There Is No Arizona: Jamie O’Neal
  • Hey There Delilah: Plain White T’s
  • I Just Wanna Live: Good Charlotte
  • Empire State of Mind: Jay Z and Alicia Keys
  • Don’t Be Stupid: Shania Twain
  • I Like It, I Love It: Tim McGraw
  • Aint Goin Down: Garth Brooks
  • Only Hope: Mandy Moore