Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paper Placemat Gown

Two months after my thirtieth birthday I was reminded why I only travel outside of North America every thirty years. 

It isn't a fear of flying
or the thought of becoming homesick 
or even the staggering guilt from being away from the farm and out of the office for eight days. 

It's the paper placemat gown.

I visited our general practitioner a few weeks ago for my scheduled wellness visit. The nurse didn't laugh when I took off my coat, shoes, watch, FitBit and cardigan before stepping on the scales. She did, however, check her watch - which I've never before noticed her doing without putting a velcro sleeve on my arm? She must have been on a schedule that day or something. 

The gal directed me into a little white room with lights bright enough guide Ronnie Milsap. She proceeded to ask me approximately 82 questions in a matter of three minutes. 

Nurse: Back or neck aches?
Me: ....Yes. 
Nurse: Tell me about those.
Me: Well, I mean, they usually only occur when I've spent more than two hours with my brother, then comes this strange pain in my neck...

Later, I tried for some time to remember if it was gastritis or glaucoma that our family had a history of, but before I could call Momma for the answer the nurse decided to skip that question. 

Ten minutes later, Ms. Can't-Quit-Looking-At-Her-Watch closed her clipboard and left the room, though not before instructing me to put on the dreadful paper placemat gown...open in the front. 

Or was it open in the back?

Oh no. 
Before I could ask for clarification, the nurse was out the door.
I stood there in the bright room, alone and freezing. I threw a stack of National Geographic magazines over the register blowing cold air. If I have to take off my clothes and dress myself in nothing but a paper placemat, there was no room for a draft. 

I looked at the the shoddy pile of tissue paper sitting on the examination table. This moment - this simple decision of direction - could completely change any familiarity and comfort I've acquired with our practitioner.
Open in the front or open in the back?
Either way, ol' boy is going to see more than either of us would like. 

"Deep breath......................................now out. And deep breath again," Doc asked of me. 
By the time I did what he wanted, he was on to the next ask. 
Dude, is this a doctor's appointment or lung strengthening for deep sea diving?, I thought to myself. 

"Looks good. 
Sounds good. 
You get that from your father's side. 
No change there. 
Ideal blood pressure.
Great...great...good...great..."

According to Doc's vocal play-by-play, the check-up was going exactly as we both planned.

Until I spiced things up by surprising him with a list of questions regarding travel to Argentina and a laundry list of vaccinations and medicines I'll need for the voyage. 

Doc is my favorite kind of man: Smart and Patient. 

He asked a few questions, then the nurse got out her pen and highlighter. 

He spoke so quickly and in a language I don't know. Here is my recollection:

She'll need a Photo-Tony-Romo-Benghazi-Stripizoid in the next month. Oral. 
Follow that up with an ingestible Benzoid-Astro-Instagram-Drug-Czar-Typhoid-Anti-Hysti-Shine-Mine-Yours-Ours
Taken twice daily following her arrival in Argentina. 
Don't take that with milk - She'll regret it. 
Now, when she gets back...that's a whole other deal. 
Let's look into a Herbo-Phobo-Robo-Cop-Azoid, every other day, also skipping days that contain a "T" in the spelling. 
We'll wrap things up with an Ammo-Camo-Glammo-Trifecta-Othro-Moto-Oxtail. Hold the tail.
Yeah, that's it. 

I looked at the nurse.
Geezo preezo I hope she is getting all of this. I lost him at Tony Romo, I thought to myself. 
Then Doc woke me from my daze.

Doc: Have you been you Africa?
Me: Yes. 
Doc: When?
Me: Two weeks ago, I went there to study the stripes on a zebra. Granted, it was a dream/nightmare  but I did wake up and remember to use the filtered water out of the Brita pitcher to make Cody's coffee. 
Doc shook his head the same way Cody did when I used the Rural King advertisement for kindling last February. 

He then gave me a plethora of great traveling advice, a few medical advisories and even asked about our cattle. There is something peaceful about a physician who closes the visit by asking about our herd, and by also talking about his hay situation moving into winter. Doc gets us.  

He shook my hand and offered one more nugget of advice: Remember: Don't drink the water. (Dually noted)

As I write this, I realize that my appointment with Doc was the easy one as I prepare to cross timezones. 

Next: Vaccinations at an Undisclosed Health Department.


To be continued...
Assuming I follow protocol for the 
Photo-Tony-Romo-Benghazi-Stripizoid.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Which McDonald's Dollar Menu Item Are You?

I've noticed a trend on social media as of late. 
Posts about pumpkin spiced lattes? Nope. 
Fall family photo shoot sharing? Nope. 
High school, college or NFL football scores, updates, rants or stadium pictures? Nope. 

Quizzes. 
Strange, impersonal, non-scientific quizzes. 


It is an interesting phenomenon that asks individuals to reveal a few preferences - such as what style of hat they favor - and just like that it's as though the internet gods can judge this person and interpret their destiny. 
Instantly, the person taking the quiz can learn who they're most like, what career fits them best, what their stripper name could have been, what breed of cow they may be in the next life and even what their name means. 

I'm serious.
These quizzes are very real, 
very accessible 
and very, very accurate. 

Except, if you're truly curious as to the meaning behind your name, it may be easiest to ask your mother. There is a good chance she knows why you're named what you are. And, she may even reveal that your father originally wanted to name you Jasmine but during a last-minute K-Mart run for baby things, the cashier's name was Jasmine and K-Mart Jasmine couldn't make six dollar change from a ten dollar bill. Just like that, your fate was altered. See, no ten-question online quiz could have told you that. 
Or could it........?

Have you seen these quizzes?
Do you take them?

Vocabulary size? 
Do you suppose "capacity", "depth" or "scope" would have been a better fit in that sentence?

My guess is that 90% of the results include some form of Feather, Little, Moon and River. 
I was hoping for Little Blonde River but the quiz revealed I'm actually 
Big Mountain Thighs.
What Ever.

This needs to be assessed by your best friend
Not your husband, not your kids and not your boss. 
Your husband hears the things you talk about in your sleep, 
your kids test you when you've not slept in days 
and your boss determines your pay scale right after 
cramming 49,549 expectations down your throat. 
Your best friend is the only one who can 
admit that you're bat-shit crazy then 
make up for it by complimenting your hair. 
This tests mental state. 

I'm serious, Katie - I really do. 

This is unfortunate. 
Get a hobby. 
And some grip on reality and real-world affairs. 
I'm very serious. 

What disturbs me most about these generic quizzes is the desire people have to take them.
Daily. 
Weekly. 
At all. 
Why is that? 
They say a lot about the type of culture we've become, one begging to figure out just who we really are. 

With every bland assessment, people long to learn more about themselves, hoping to find a piece of them they've never known before. Something more that they hope(d) to be

"I never would have thought I was most likely to die in a fiery skateboarding crash in Malibu....
I always have liked the ocean................"

It's as though we're craving a way to dive into the the deepest parts of ourselves to find this new person, calling or even past -----


---- Rather than build upon the person we are now and the character we contain. 

When did distraction from reality become such a normalcy? What happened to living in the here and now and building your own future and determining your own character rather than taking the easy way out and letting a 10-question quiz drive your ship?

Get a grip, people. Come back to reality and find a better way to learn about yourself. Read books, begin writing, spend time alone, turn off anything that has an on switch, pray, volunteer, be part of something bigger than yourself, learn to cook real food, start running - and not just from gluten, research your genealogy, buy a camera, get up earlier, adopt a mutt, for goodness sake. 


Because between you and I, your life expectancy is only determined by the plans God has for you and how you use the tools and natural talents He's put before you.

And frankly, He's only concerned about how you specifically answer 
which ironically
has nothing to do with internet connection. 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No Other Shotgun Rider

"Did you shut off the water?"
- asked halfway through Missouri


Slowly I'm learning just how much I have to learn. 

I learned a long time ago (like, on our second date) that we'd likely take very few vacations that didn't include sorting, buying, selling or showing stock. I guess that was one of the first boxes checked during Cody and I's early extended conversations: we had the same background, same passion and in turn...same future. 

Sometime after we were blinded from being googly-eyed at each other, but before twelve hours ago when I washed a large load of dark jeans with 1/2 pound of wood shavings and five Kleenexes in the pockets, life happened

And that is where I begin. 
And so did "vacation". 

We had barely reached the first stop sign (1/8 mile from our driveway) in our journey of 1,350 miles before I asked Cody if he remembered to put the lock over the double latch on the back door of the stock trailer. We were hauling cattle to Council Grove, Kansas for the Sankey's 6N Ranch production sale. Cody told me he did remember the lock, but I conducted a Chinese fire drill of my own just to confirm. He was right. 

We made it seventeen miles on to I-70  before Cody suggested I "take a snooze" so I could drive when his eyes got tired. It was then that I knew: This is the first of many "vacations" where I wouldn't catch up on sleep. 


When we we began our journey west (side note - we have the Journey West blanket  in our downstairs spare bedroom to commemorate adventures such as this - the wool blanket keeps guests warm in the winter and the summer! Highly recommended (for winter)).

Where was I? Yes, when we began our Journey West, I had these admirable Phil Bowman-Intentions of eating well and smart and healthy and not buying anything from a convenience store. I sincerely ate celery and peanut butter and honey crisp apples for the first 2 hours of the trip. 

Yeah well, life happens. Cody woke me beneath the bright lights of a Pilot truckstop, threw the rig into park and told me it's "my turn".
My turn for what?
To win the lottery? To use the neck roller? To fuel up?
Nope.
My turn to eat Combos paired with Mt. Dew, pick the radio station, temperature control and seat adjustment preference. Twenty-seven minutes into my truck driving shift I hit a rumble strip, or series there of, just to prove to Cody that nothing ends well when I'm awakened from a nap.

Ninety-seven miles in and my big-rigging took an unplanned halt. We were just trucks away from a life-altering accident on I-70. We landed close enough behind the accident that we could watch the paramedics work. One minute you think you're in a hurry, the next minute you realize you have all the time in the world. I never felt tired after that deal. 

We reached the ranch safely at 4:00 AM; our niece Bayler was just waking up for a snack. That also put things into perspective for this kidless couple. Sleep is fantastic. 

I spent the next four days finding things around the ranch and surrounding shops/areas that I could stow away in the storage section of the stock trailer and tote back to Indiana without Cody noticing. A wide selection of pumpkins, a vintage mirror and an old mobile beverage cart, a fireplace, twelve servings of beef brisket.........really anything I could get my hands on and secured in tow before he caught on. Listen, if this was my vacation, I was packing souvenirs. 

The weekend went quickly. 
The truck made runs between the ranch and town and my celery was never touched again.
The trailer sat parked, though filled with various items periodically. 
The sale went well. 
Though sleep was limited, the views were not. 



Cody and I debated playing ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS to determine who had to drive the first leg of the trip back to Indiana. Then I quickly agreed to handle that shift; I then proceeded to drive four miles into town to get diesel. First leg down! By the time Cody filled the tank, then returned from buying lame gas station coffee, I was a soundly sleeping shotgun rider. #WINNING. 

Before I knew it he was waking me again - no lesson learned, I guess - and asking me if I needed to use the restroom. Like a temperamental 13-year-old I shuffled into the truck stop. Ten minutes later I rubbed my eyes in the check out line and asked Cody how far until we hit Kansas City?
"Do you have any idea where we are?"
I looked around. All the folks looked like grumpy typical tourists, diesel price looked familiar, there were dream catchers on a rack beside me, so no...I didn't. 
As it turns out, I slept better as a shotgun rider than I anticipated. 

Cody paid for fuel and I checked the black-hided stock in back, those who had new owners awaiting them east of the Mississippi. I rummaged through the back seat and decided to throw the bad celery out of the tupperware and onto the parking lot concrete; it was simply a lost battle. Then I saw a woman fifteen yards away - approximately 108 years old - picking up trash, watching me toss my sour salad into her lot. I proceeded to pick up all celery sticks and toss them into the pet lot. Dogs like celery, right?

I checked my reflection in the mirror and redid my ponytail; I was looking more and more like a trucker's wife every day.
Just. Get. Me. Home. 

In the hours that followed, the celery was replaced by the following items to keep me awake: Gobstoppers, Nerds, bottled water, chicken McNuggets and fries and Craisins. I'm basically the picture of health. 

By mile 329 east bound I was able to easily awake Cody with my rendition of Delta Dawn in which I sang mirroring the sounds of Tanya Tucker...all of them; then, and also now. Have you seen her lately? 



He begged to drive if I would just sleep and no longer sing. My plan worked exactly as imagined. I slept on and off for the next three hours. 



It was pouring rain when we got home, which was (not) appropriate since the pumpkins were packed in the trailer and our luggage in the bed of the truck; learn something new every day, I suppose. 

I also learned that long journeys west - and east, and all over this world - require a great partner and someone looking out for your best interests, always. For instance, Cody knew by the look on my face that the Pilot women's restroom was not going to cut it, so he drove me across the interstate to the Flying J and never asked a single question. That's a good man, right there. 


And frankly, I couldn't imagine any other shotgun rider. 



Shotgun Rider

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Stockman's Wife

This is for you, 
Stockman's Wife.

The Stockman's Wife. 
Not a job for the faint of heart, soul or mind.
It's a rare breed, those who can turn the bull-sale-season title of "Weekend Widow" into "Weekend Warrior" and get far more done than just ten loads of laundry, whole-homestead window-washing, grocery shopping, temporary fence tear-down and accurate book work.

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows who bred who, Who Made Who and who rode who due to her impeccable ability to memorize the pedigrees of every female on the farm. She knows their dam, their full sibs and their due date. She can tell you the year the female came open (2011) and the exact reasons why she wasn't shipped. And three years later, she can still convince you that you made the right decision to let that female stay. 



The Stockman's Wife.
She knows - and enforces - the importance of one check. The one check that her husband is authorized to carry in his wallet, unsupervised. The one check that he can use at his discretion, as long as it's not spent, but rather invested. The Golden Ticket, per say, to the next best thing to stir dust in a stock trailer coming down the lane. The one check that she knows won't be spent on jewelry or flowers or even a new dishwasher. The one check that hopefully brings to the ranch new animals - or genetics - that will build the program. 



The Stockman's Wife.
From states away she celebrates the profits made by the family program, as reported from the texting-fingers of her son, caught up in the action. Three hours later, The Stockman's Wife does not apologize when she absolutely loses her head because her husband - and son - decide to "invest their profit" into yet another breeding program addition. The Stockman's Wife had every intention of "investing their profit" somewhere else; such as the Farm Account. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She welcomes with a beautiful smile - coupled with a strong handshake - the guests who stop by to see sale cattle just minutes after her husband has left for the airport to fulfill an out-of-state Breed obligation he's committed to. She uses her best judgement as she discusses the animals and speaks as a family. She is honest, and upfront and proud. She uses humor and grace. Potential buyers sort stock with ease because of The Stockman's Wife's presence. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She rarely exceeds the speed limit, but if done, she's on her way to the vet clinic or the parts store. Upon arrival she tries to read the abbreviated words she scribbled down, but soon learns she can't tell differentiate between a 
G or a 6, a
1 or a 7 and even a 
B from an 8
She proceeds to drive  home even faster, convinced she'll be making a return trip due to her shoddy penmanship. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She misses obligations for which she bought new clip-on earrings because she noticed a calf with blood in it's stool. Her schedule isn't by her own design, but rather an accumulation of gestation cycles, 4-H meetings, sports schedules, feed truck deliveries, vet appointments and herd visits - none of which belong to her.

The Stockman's Wife.
She cries at the kitchen sink watching watching her favorite cow get shipped to town, and no one knows. 
She visits her Daddy's old friends at the nursing home in town and no one knows. 
She watches the ceiling fan at 2:27 AM worrying about the price of corn and no one knows. 
She also has a stash of Hershey Chocolate with Almond bars in the the back of the deep freezer and no one knows. Thank goodness. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She knows the difference between a heat and a hot heat. 
And I'm not just talking about Arizona. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She doesn't leave the farm or ranch much, but she does dress up to go to the bank, the grocery, the post office and her Momma's house - all of which she visits in the same day. She baffles the bank tellers with the adventures on the range and puzzles the Post Master with the strange things she ships to places that he - at 74-years-old - never knew existed. She spends extra change out of her own purse on insurance, tracking and delivery confirmations for things that will eventually arrive a day early. The Stockman's Wife cannot associate a price with peace of mind. 



The Stockman's Wife.
She makes cookies for the UPS driver and thanks him for not shaking the semen tank as he walks it to the house. She then proceeds to talk his ear off because he's the only adult she's spoken to in five hours. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She prays. 
She prays for her family, their herd, their land and their future. 
She prays for doors to open and rain to fall. 
She prays for healthy calves and healthy doctor reports. 
She prays for strong markets, strong fences and strong kids. 
She prays for our Country and for her grandkids who will one day have to clean up this mess. 
She prays for her best friends she hasn't found time to see in two years and also the women that drive her absolutely crazy, bless their hearts. 

The Stockman's Wife. 
She's never been one for crying over spilled milk. 
But a busted bottle of Draxxin? Oh yeah, she'll cry over that. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She is no longer the young lady anxious to receive a diamond ring from The Stockman, because her long, slender hands have been tainted by callouses and knuckles that simply won't back down. Her wedding band won't come off and hasn't in 36 years. She does, however, still appreciate pendants. And also dinners in town in which she does not have to prepare. Christmas is coming...you're welcome, Stockman. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She has a special love/hate relationship with Shorthorn Country magazines, Angus Journal editions and other stock publications. She understands they offer her husband monthly anticipation followed by profound joy, but they become a nuisance to dust under (or simply around in the case of last-minute company). She sorts through the new issues to see what other families are doing, what other ranches have to offer and quite frankly, what is suitable to wear to the next Auxiliary breakfast. She can count on one hand - - OK, two hands - -  the times she has been quite tempted to use these publications as kindling in the fireplace. But her Momma never went that far, so she never does, either. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She keeps close watch on fuel prices, 
coupons, 
the radar and
Gazette wedding announcements 
knowing that she may be called to react to any of the above at any given moment. 

The Stockman's Wife.
She latches every gate. 
Closes every door.
Rolls up all pick-up windows. 
Double checks hydrants. 
Keeps track of all syringe caps. 
Monitors the toilet tank ensuring it fills properly. 
And double checks the oven and stove top. 
Because her nightmares entail what could happen if any of the above were neglected. 

The Stockman's Wife. 
Not a job for the faint of heart, soul or mind.
It's a rare breed, those who can reveal every emotion while preparing food for a funeral dinner, then turn around and assist in the delivery of a calf in the same afternoon. 


LindaSharee and all the Stockman Wives of the world,
we salute you. 









Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snagged Sweaters

There are days when I wonder if I forgot to push "English" when I got out of bed. No one seems to understand what I'm trying to say?
There are Farm Work Saturdays when I don't comprehend a single instruction coming out of my husband's mouth.
There are times when the customer service rep on the other end simply doesn't understand the frustration I'm trying to convey through our conversation. 
There are times at Meijer when I'm fairly certain the cashier hasn't spoken to an adult in three weeks. So eager to talk. About weird stuff. 
There are times when I'm explaining an idea and my boss looks at me like a dog hearing a high pitched sound. 

There are times when communication is flat out tough
Anyone else?

Sometimes, people just need to know that they're being listened to. 
Understood. 
Heard. 
No more prelude for this week or the video. 
I think it's a great "watch and consider" in the middle of a draining week.


It's Not About The Nail



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Phil Takes On Alaska & Cody Takes On Phil

Unsure of how to preface this entry any other way, I'll begin here:


In August - after several conversations - husband Cody decided to do what no man on the face of the Earth has ever done before in documented history:

He traveled with my Dad to Alaska. 

And while that may not sound like much of a feat - or even blogworthy - let me give you a little background on traveling with Dad and also he and Cody's relationship:

1. I remember a "vacation" once when we never stopped for lunches. Dad packed a gallon of milk and some cherries (with pits) in a cooler and we ate that. 
2. I remember thinking as a little girl that we were rich because our towels had an embroidered "H" on them. "Howman"????.......nope, Holiday Inn. 



3. I remember "vacationing" in Turnip Hole,PA for goodness sake. 



Every trip with my Dad is a lesson. Or a series thereof. 
Dad made our childhood amazing. 

(Doing so will make you feel better about yours.)

4. Cody and Dad have been alone together very seldom since since we met. Generally, their conversations include Luke and cattle, both in words and presence. My initial thought when Cody told me he was going to invite Dad to the Last Frontier: 
"What on earth could Cody and Dad talk about 
for 6 days in the land of reindeer and rouge??"

Good news: 
They both survived. 
Cody and I are still married. 
I'm still in Dad's will (premature assumption).



Through the duration of this entry, understand this:

  • I will refer to Phil (Dad) and Cody as "Phody". 
  • I will also document this as told by Cody. 
  • I will use real screen shots. 


August 12:
Phody flies from Indianapolis to Anchorage, then rents this deal:



August 13:
Cody spent the day facilitating a showmanship clinic in Palmer with Alaska's youth. Phil disappeared with a guy named Rayne (pronounced "rain") to see the sites around the city. 

Mid-afternoon Phody headed to the Kenai Peninsula, where Cody would eventually judge the stock (beef, sheep, goats, hogs, yak and reindeer). At some point, Rayne told Phil to stop at the Portage Glacier. As true adventurists, they decided to do so along their trek and came upon the path to Whittier: a one-way tunnel shared with a  freight train. 



As Phody pulled up to pay their toll, the toll gate guy took their money.
Dad: What's on the other side?
Toll gate guy: Nothing. 
Dad: Then what the hell are we paying for?
Toll gate guy : I have no idea.........

Turns out, at the end of the tunnel they found a blue-collar-fish-town which may be Phody's personal version of Alaskan Heaven. Phil made friends with locals and Cody made sure they could continue their trek...which eventually turned into a bar crawl southbound on the Kenai Peninsula. 

They saw an Eagle snatch salmon, and Phil got a better look:



Phody arrives at the Captian's Retreat for the duration of their stay. (<- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

August 14:
Phody headed south to Homer for the day where Cody put on fitting clinic. Halfway through the clinic Cody realized Phil had disappeared. He found him off the fairgrounds at American Legion Post 18, making friends and telling stories of raising cattle in beautiful Indiana to the local men and women. Phody spent the evening at the Inlet Bar, continuing that story-telling. Can you imagine the number and extent of fishing stories?






August 15:
 It was on this day that Cody called me asking if I'd heard from Dad. 

JeanWhat? No. You're with him in Alaska. I'm at home. Why are you asking me that?
Cody: Well....because I  judged the stock all day and Phil was with me, but now it's over and I can't find him anywhere.
Jean: ...........hesitation. Do they have that big beer garden like they have the last two years? Right by the turnip display. To the left of the reindeer meat sausage deal. Did you check there?
Cody: ................I'm walking there now.............Oh boy...
JeanWhat?? I asked, maybe now a bit worried that Dad went on a self-guided tour of the Last Frontier
Cody: Found him.... in the beer garden.......with, actually, the most attractive women I have ever seen in Alaska, sitting around him......
Yeah, Phil! I'll take one - Thanks!

In the same breath that Cody had found Dad, he was ordering a beer with him - and the prettiest women of the Last Frontier. 
It was it that moment that I knew all was right with the world; and that I'd sleep better if I hung up now.



That evening Phody dined at Patty's Fish House (A FAVORITE) then bought beer. They enjoyed the local brews as the waves rolled in during the Alaskan sunset. Phil, 63, got his feet wet and cold. 



August 16:
Phody drove to Seward for a much-anticipated whale-watching boat trip. 






But the waters didn't cooperate and the pair was forced back to beautiful Anchorage early to shop for their wives.  

Legend tells that it took Phil 45 minutes to find something for his wife of 36 years.



Turns out, he may have found several things in that time:

After shopping, Phody enjoyed world-famous Moose's Tooth Pizza. As it turns out, there were leftovers. And - as you may have caught onto - Phil doesn't take leftovers lightly (one of twelve kids). He had the leftover awesomeness packed in a cardboard box, the night before Phody arose at 3:30 AM to fly back Indianapolis. 




(OOC = Out Of Control)
There is more...



Dad just really liked the pizza in Alaska. 

Cody says that he showed Phil the stuffed moose that he bought niece Bayler, and Phil may have felt a bit guilty that he didn't pick up anything for baby Oscar back home. So, as a last-minute souvenir, Phil packed a Delta blanket in his pizza box for his grandson. 




In August - after several conversations - husband Cody decided to do what no man on the face of the Earth has ever done before in documented history:

He traveled with my Dad to Alaska.

It was an adventure.
...One that is over. 
I'm grateful that, at 63, Dad was able to check one major thing off his bucket list. 

They've been home for a month and Cody still stays up late, telling me stories like he has just returned from summer camp. 


Also, he has yet to ask why we're still eating two-week-old leftovers. After six days "vacationing" with Dad, I think cody now 
gets it. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Fiercest Competitor

There was a time in my life when I thought Eli Young Band's song, Guinevere, was written about me. 


She don't hold onto nothin' new for very long
Yeah she writes you in as just one more tale
and then you're gone



But then something changed. 
I found something I didn't want to let go of. 
I found something that completely captivated my attention. 
I found something that I've actually held onto - quite closely - since it came into my life.


A Fitbit.



Yep. A a small rubber bracelet with a tiny chip inside that daily tracks my water intake and  steps, all while basically gauging my self perception and appreciation. 
I'm serious. 
It's come to that. 

Maybe we should rewind. 
I've never been a really competitive person. 
I know what I want, I go after it and all works out in the end. 
I also believe this to my very core:



I think my lack of competitive spirit began in third grade when Torri Richardson and I agreed to race across the gym and the first to reach Jason Ward was his girlfriend (unbeknownst to him). I got half court and realized 1) I was out of breath 2) I had too much to live for rather than have a boyfriend. I lost interest and moved on to the next third-grade-amusement. I think it was lunch. 

But then Fitbit rolled into my life three weeks ago and I've found myself doing crazy things to compete with it, to beat it, to conquer it, daily. You see, a Fitbit tracks your goals for exercise and activity, so each morning I wake up with a blank slate and a bazillion steps to take.
Maybe not a bazillion, but pretty darn close. 

On the weekends I can fly right past my activity goal. Building fence, chasing cows, running errands...all contribute to a gal on the go. 
But come Monday morning I'm as sedentary as a headstone. A heavy, ugly one, going nowhere. 
So I've found ways to increase my walking during the day. 
Working out, you ask?
Using the Cardinal Greenway, you ask?


Nope:

Two weeks ago I got into the habit of eating my lunch in shifts:
Walk down to the break room, get out my hard boiled eggs, take them back to my office, eat them. 
Walk down to the break room, get out my string cheese, take it back to my office, eat it. 
Walk down to the break room, get out my yogurt, take it back to my office, eat it. 
Walk down to the break room, throw away all of my trash.
= 311 steps and comfortable shoes
(I really hope my boss doesn't read this entry.)

For three straight Sundays I've walked to the mailbox to get the mail, then had to act surprised when there was nothing there. 
=284 steps and some good acting

When we're together, Cody now has to park in the farthest parking spot from our destination. Annoying for him, especially when we got to church late Sunday and someone was in our familiar pew. I guess that's the problem with a service full of back row Baptists? We went up to the balcony. 
= 210 steps, stairs included (which should count for double)

Last week we had lunch at the local Mexi joint and Cody was on the phone when we arrived. He stayed in the truck to finish his conversation. I hopped out of the truck and proceeded to walk circles around it; circling the truck like a shark waiting for a canoe of kittens to capsize. By the time we got into the restaurant I was so dizzy Pedro seated us in the handicap booth. 
= 437 steps and an annoyed husband

But the problem with this strange obsession isn't with my newfound commitment to taking the long way. The problem lies in how often I check my steps. Last Sunday I checked my Fitbit three times during the one-hour service. Turns out standing and sitting for hymns doesn't count towards steps. Dang
I've even checked it while riding as a passenger in a car, and while my steps didn't increase with each mile traveled (dang) I did catch myself daydreaming at the thought of turning the miles into steps...


Just imagine how bright 
those little lights 
of approval and success 
would twinkle

As the song Guinevere says, I generally don't hold onto anything new for very long. I move on. But I have yet to get there with my Fitbit. Being down 7 pounds from the day I began using it may have something to do with it, despite still eating pork rinds for breakfast. 
FACT: I'll stick with anything that cancels out pork rinds.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm 417 steps away from beating my personal goal for the day and all of the chores are done. This means I'll need to make 138 laps around the coffee table before I'm allowed to sleep tonight.