Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I Learned While Skiing

JD and I had had our skiing adventure today. I wasn't excited about it. I wanted to stay home and watch movies all day while he skied, but JD wouldn't let me get away with that.  Truthfully, I also knew that if I skipped it, I would regret not even trying it. So off we went. In a lot of ways, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. 

1. Skiing is a lot of work: I mean, when you watch someone ski, it looks so effortless to just glide down the slopes. While it's true that gravity does a lot of the work, there's nothing natural about moving around with skiis attached to your feet. Moving around on flat ground requires a lot of effort (especially at the very beginning when I wasn't even using poles yet), and  trying to get up after falling is ridiculously awkward (imagine laying down on the ground and trying to get up without being able to bend your legs enough to have your feet flat on the ground- you basically have to wedge the edge of your ski into the snow).  But what surprised me the most was that the boots (even without the skiis) were outrageously heavy. Imagine the feeling of walking in very stiff ice skates. Then imagine super gluing a brick to the bottom of the skates.... And trying to walk on snow. I have a feeling my ankles and knees will be on fire tomorrow morning.

2. You will fall, but mostly on purpose: I was able to maintain balance pretty well, even for a newbie. Every time I fell, it was because I had started to go too fast for my comfort level, panicked, and fell backwards to stop myself.

3. Skiing is very cold: Should be a no-brainer, I know, but you'd think being all bundled up and moving around would keep you nice and toasty. Not so much for me. My hands got pretty cold and that's ultimately what did me in. By mid afternoon, my fingers were starting to go numb, and I finally went into the lodge when I couldn't take it anymore.

4: JD can be a good teacher: Maybe it was my previous blog post that whipped him into shape  or maybe I just learned faster this time (he did say I picked it up quickly), but I'm satisfied with my first ski experience and he seems impressed as well.  We got through the day without fighting (including a near miss when he made it seem like we could do the slope I wanted using a different lift, but I was forced to do a more difficult slope I wasn't quite ready for).

All in all, I enjoyed my first ski experience and would do it again. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Couple Who Skiis Together...

This week, JD and I will be making the trip up to Michigan to visit his family.  They used to live in NC, but moved back to Michigan (where JD grew up) 2 summers ago because his dad got a new job.  They’ve visited us twice since the move (last year for the holidays and over the summer for his academy graduation), but we haven’t had a chance to visit them yet, so it’s a long overdue trip.

While there, JD has big plans to take me skiing.  He used to go all the time growing up, but I’ve never been.  Honestly, my interest in skiing is more along the lines of sitting in the ski lodge by the fire sipping hot chocolate and watching the snow…. Not so much flying down a mountain at dangerous speeds, but I don’t think JD will let me get away with that.

Not only does skiing not interest me, but I’m nervous about JD trying to teach me to ski.  We don’t work well together.  At all.  I love him very much; he’s a great husband and everything, but we have very different working styles (I’m work then play; he’s play, play some more, then maybe work) and very different learning styles (I take things slow and master things one step at a time; he throws himself in head first, sometimes quite literally). If we try to work together on a house project or he tries to teach me something new, we inevitably fight.  He thinks I’m a slave driver; I think he expects too much, too fast. 

For this reason, I can already picture the disaster that will be skiing.  I will go out reluctantly with him, because it’s something he loves and wants to share with me.  He will assume that I’ll master it quickly and be ready for  the most difficult slope by the end of the morning.  Instead, I will grow increasingly frustrated when I’m unable to remain standing up on my skiis, and he will grow increasingly frustrated, assuming that it’s my mental state and not my physical ability that’s holding me (and himself) back from a blissful day of gliding down the slopes.

I hope the day is more fun than I’m envisioning.  Mostly, I hope no one ends up in the ER.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Day I Didn't Pay for My Starbucks

This morning, something amazing happened.  The kind of thing you hear about, but never actually happens to you.  I was craving a tasty coffee to chase away the cold morning and pulled into Starbucks for a cafĂ© mocha.    I waited in the drive thru- minding my own business and having a conversation with Siri.  When it was my turn, I pulled up to the window and tried to hand the cashier my card.  He waved me off, and said the man in front of me had paid for mine.  I glanced over at the minivan pulling out of the parking lot, then turned back to the cashier and felt my face switch from complete surprise to pure joy.  “Really?” I grinned.  “Yep,” he smiled back.   The coffee tasted even better since I knew it was free.  I was already in a good mood this morning, but that just made the day even brighter.

It’s amazing what a small, simple act of kindness can do.  It only cost that man $5, but I’ve been gushing about it all day, and plan to pay it forward (more than once!) and hope that those people are inspired to pay it forward as well.  There are a lot of things to complain about in this world, but there’s a lot of good too.  Hopefully, we all remember to let our good out once in a while.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Day the Holly Bush Died

Before I begin the story, you have to understand the following:

1.  This summer, JD and I bought a brand spankin' new 2011 Dodge Charger.  This thing is his baby.  He loves it more than he loved the Mustang he had when we first met.  At times, he may love this thing more than me, but I'm a lot moodier than the Charger, so I can't blame him for that, really.

2.  We have a holly bush next to our driveway that we've always hated, mostly because it's overgrown and has been since we moved in.  So overgrown that we'd need an electric hedge trimmer to really take care of it, but we don't have an electric hedge trimmer and on the long list of house projects we want to finish, the holly bush is not at the top of the list.  Also, it serves no purpose other than blocking part of our driveway. 

I apologize for the picture.  This was the best "before" picture I could find.  The bush is on the far left.

3.  Our driveway is unnecessarily steep.  So steep that you have to back out at a certain angle otherwise you scrape the bottom of your car.  

Now, on to the story.  A few weeks ago, we're backing out of the driveway in the Charger with a couple of friends in the back seat.  I was fiddling with the radio, which means JD immediately had to undo what I just did (man thing, I guess).  As he's playing with the radio, he starts to turn at the end of the driveway.  He has to cut his car extra hard because there's a trailer hitch on the back, making it much more vulnerable to hitting the street as we're backing out.  As we're (jokingly) arguing over the radio controls, we hear a scraping noise.  Thinking it's the trailer hitch (which you can't really help but hit once in a while), he ignored it and continue backing out.... that is, until our friend in the backseat started yelling. 

"Mailbox.  MAILBOX.  MAILBOX!!!" she practically screamed.

Oh.  Shit.

If you refer back to my earlier picture, the mailbox sits right in front of that holly bush, and yes, in his distracted state, JD had cut the corner too soon and made a nice long scratch along the back panel of his car.  His brand new car.  His baby.  His pride and joy.

The ranting about the holly bush began immediately.

"I've always hated that holly bush!  I'm digging it out tomorrow!  If it wouldn't have been there, I would have seen the mailbox and never would have hit it!"

A few days later, JD kept his promise and cut down the holly bush.  Okay, technically it was JD's friend who did the work while JD sat and watched, but either way the holly bush is gone.  I can't say I miss it.  I think it makes the front yard a little more open and inviting, especially once the stump is removed.

For now, the scratch on the car remains, but we will get it fixed.  Soon, there will be no evidence it ever happened.  However, from now on I'm sure JD will look twice as he's backing down the driveway, just in case.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Slowly but Surely

While on the phone with a friend the other night, she asked how I was handling JD’s work schedule. 

“Better,” I replied.  “It’s definitely gotten easier.”

I surprised myself with my own answer.  I hadn’t really stopped to think about it, but things have been a little easier.  We’ve developed a routine, and unlike some couples who don’t see each other for days at a time when their LEO (law enforcement officer) is on night shift, JD and I manage to squeeze in an hour or 2 to catch up and eat dinner between when I get home and he leaves.

Also, I’m handling being alone during night shifts better.  I’m not really sure when or how that change happened, but a lot of my anxiety has started to fade.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a huge fan.  I still check to make sure the doors are locked 3 times before I can fall asleep.  I still sleep with my bedroom door locked.  I still let out a sad little sigh when JD leaves for work in the evenings, but it’s getting easier at least, and that’s all I can really ask for.

As for my fears of him getting hurt?  That’s getting a little better each day too.  The more I see him come home safely to me, the more I have faith that he will continue to come home safely to me.  I will always worry, of course, especially since reading an article that police officer deaths are up this year, specifically shooting related deaths.  These are tough times, and unfortunately, police officers are often targets, but I have faith in him when he tells me “see you when I get home.”

I'm sure there will continue to be ups and downs, but he loves his job, so it's all worth it.