Friday, March 30, 2007

Yes, I am easily entertained. Why do you ask?

Driving around in the rain this evening made me realize that the little windshield wiper on the back of my car makes me happy. I'm not really sure why, but turning it on while stopped at a stoplight or driving around with it swishing around back there just makes me smile.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Percussive therapy

In my continuing quest to be able to live my life and more easily do things like wrestle my eight foot ladder from the garage to my living room in order to silence the smoke alarm that decided to start beeping at 2:37 am due to a dying battery, I decided to enlist the help of one of the friendly staff members at my gym and get a new workout planned just for me. Last Friday morning, Sue put together a neat little strength training plan that has me doing all sorts of new things that make my arms and legs (mostly my arms) sore - in a good way - when I get out of bed most mornings. She also suggested that I add some cross-training to my routine, possibly incorporating an aerobics type class or two. She specifically mentioned "Cardio Kickboxing" with Robin on Thursdays. Her thought was that this class specifically would provide me with some good overall training including agility, endurance and lots of lateral movements (I think she said side-to-side. But I'm a stability and controls engineer and, to me, side-to-side can mean more than one thing. Lateral means only one thing.). Theoretically, this will help me when I play Ultimate Frisbee with the kids at church. It also has the added (and unadvertised) benefit of being a great stress reducer.

Tonight was my first try at the class. It was a lot of fun. I know my form wasn't very good and I have no delusions about ever actually being able to really kickbox (Robin said that was good and shows that I don't normally "wail on people"). But, it was still a blast. The 30 minute class flew by, even when I had trouble getting the more complicated combinations put together. As I was driving home I realized that I was the most relaxed I'd felt in the past week (granted, it's been a long, tough week). I think part of it was that for 30 minutes I had to concentrate so intensely on doing something completely new to me. But I think the bigger thing was that for 30 minutes, I got to kick and hit stuff. I confess to having a few delusions of Buffiness a few times. (Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Amazing television program. Now starting it's eighth season, in comic book form. But that's another post for another time.) But, mostly, it just felt good to hit things (and kick, but mostly hit). It's a similar feeling that I experienced in Belize last summer, when we spent a lot of time breaking up concrete sidewalks with sledge hammers. But this caused fewer blisters. And, did I mention it was a whole lot of fun?

Therapy's expensive. Bubble wrap is cheap. Kickboxing beats them both for my new favorite form of stress relief. I know I'm going to have trouble getting my shoulders to work properly and painfree tomorrow (and my abs are going to be sore, but that's more from the 15 minute abs class I did before kickboxing. Not as much fun, but still beneficial and I'll probably be back.). But, it's a small price to pay.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Somewhere along the way I lost another month

One of the not so fringe benefits of travel, especially for work is that I seem to lose months. Not lose as in don't remember but lose as in, "What? It's already almost April? Wasn't it just the end of February?". I think part of it is that when I'm away from home I'm forced to take a break from all of the activities and most of the responsibilities that I have at home. In that way, even work trips are a bit of a vacation. But it always seems when I add up the time I spend preparing for a trip (2-3 days prior to departure) and the time it takes me to recover and catch up with everything that didn't get done while I'm gone (3-6 days, depending on the length of the trip), that the actual impact of the trip is extended by a week. For a one week trip, that's not a huge deal. For a 2-3 week trip, that comes out closer to a month.

And that's where I am tonight. This afternoon I got home from 2.5 weeks in Atlanta. My bags are unpacked, the mail is sorted through and I've been to the grocery store. So, for an arrival day, I'm doing okay. But when I was buying milk, I noticed that the expiration date was 30 March. While I know that's still a bit away, it just seems like we were just starting the month. And with a list of things that need to get done in the next week or so seeming to grow longer with every passing hour, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I know a lot of it is just travel shock. I think my body is convinced that something that is fundamentally wrong with waking up in one state and going to bed in a completely different state (different time zone even). Hopefully that will be better tomorrow. But, as it stands, I've got a long, busy, emotionally expensive four days between now and Monday. I'll get there, by the grace of God. And, if my lawn has to wait until next week to be mowed, that's probably okay. The weeds don't seem to have unionized just yet.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Not a beautiful day in the neighborhood

So, if a small pickup truck crashed through the front of your house and came to rest sitting about a third inside of the front room, why would the haz-mat team be called? If I knew my neighbors better, I could ask.

As I approached my house, on the way home from running a few errands this evening, I noticed flashing lights. That usually doesn't mean anything good has happened. When I got to the corner of the street about two houses from mine, I saw more lights, a police car, fire engine and a small red pickup truck embedded in the front room of the house across the street and down two from my house. That's not something you see every day. At the house on the corner, it looks like the truck ran up onto the front lawn at a fairly high rate of speed, came through the window, hit the framing around the window and stopped. The driver managed to miss the tree, so that's something. (Wouldn't have slowed the truck down much. I live in a fairly new neighborhood. The trees are still small.) I'm trying to figure out how it happened. There's no skid marks in the street and the driver didn't swerve any once s/he got on the grass. You can see the tire tracks in the lawn. A driver trying to make the turn onto the street, would have had the vehicle wheels turned, rather than straight, and probably would have continued to turn the wheels to try to avoid the house (and probably would have taken out the tree, but, as I said, the trees are small around here). So, that makes me wonder if the act was either intentional or committeed by an individual under the influence of something other than the nearby Whataburger.

From my front window, I've kept an eye on what's been going on and have wandered over twice just to get a better look. It's a bit odd. I live less than 100 yards from this house and I have never met the people who live there. I wonder if anyone was hurt (I arrived at least a while after the accident happened and saw no ambulance). I wonder if the people in the house, the people with the truck in the front room of their home (if this had happened to my home, I would be typing this while sitting right about where the truck's front bumper came to rest) are okay. I wonder if they're able to stay in the house tonight...or if they would want to. I wonder if they are in need of anything, a place to stay, someone to talk to...something. But I don't even know what the people who live there look like. I'm not certain what that says about them...or about me. Other than we don't live in a very close community. And I haven't made any real efforts to reach out to the people who live just a few feet on either side of me, let alone those who live just slightly farther.

The Haz-Mat truck just left. As did the police car and the wrecker with the extricated truck. The lights that were being provided by the fire engine are turned off. So, I guess things are wrapping up. I don't know if this is one of those instances where these people need their community to come together to surrond and support them. But I do know that I'm not a part of their community...not their real community anyway. I just live across the street and down two houses. I pray they've got people to be with them during this time. And I need to pray more than I would have and take and make the opportunity to get to know those who I live nearby.