Wednesday, March 7, 2012

February Reprise


Yes, the stories are true. At the beginning of February, I lost my mind. Again, a few might add. Anyone else would be out finding a trophy wife. Well, trophy husband in my case, but let's not quibble over moot points. Another might buy an expensive sports car. Or take a cruise to an exotic foreign land.

Nope. Not stable, predictable, calm, and self-assured me. Nope. I started a Tough Mudder team. Late October. 11 miles. 25 military obstacles by British special ops. What better way to close 59 years on this god forsaken planet? Well, yes, I can think of better ways, but most of them are not, yet, legal.

If you don't recognize Tough Mudder, use Google and go for the first hits. By the way, the name is trademarked by those guys. They own it. Don't try to take it. It'd hurt too much.

At this point, we have about a dozen members who've put down their money. Half did so before the notification email chime finished sounding. The others took a couple of weeks. We might get a few more as the weather clears and warms going into spring.

One hasn't paid yet, that being #1 Son. He was accepted into pilot training with the USAF in early February, and we don't yet know where he'll be stationed. The sad thing is that he is one of the members who could complete the race now, no special preparation required. He also has the military's understanding of teamwork, and I'd really like to see that demonstrated on the team. I think the rest of us could learn something from it.

So to celebrate this nine-month period of enlightenment, we all started training. The first month or so is just to take the edge off, to get over the business of being sore and old, and to wrap our heads around running the course where the final obstacle is patch of wires dangling. Oh yes, charged at 10,000 volts. No, I did not goof on the use of zeros and comma. 10,000 volts. The NPR reporter was knocked out thrice before he got through.

As I told the bemused physician during my yearly physical, the training might kill me, and if it doesn't, the event just might, but then, if it's open season on Jims, I suspect a lot of people already have me already on the list.

So I traveled to San Diego for work. We stayed in the Hilton by the harbor. Flat terrain. Warm weather. Lots of grass. A three mile loop. I interval walk/ran the loop every day. Bliss of blisses.

Then we finished the work, and I had an afternoon without supervision. One loop. Stopped for water. Second loop. More water. Third loop. Foot felt off, but I wrote it off because I am an idiot.

Two weeks later, the doc pronounces a stress fracture in the fourth metatarsal of the right foot. I thought it was the third, but my fingers are fat. Like my ass. This puts me on a bike for the next while, which includes another two-week road trip.

Oh well. Does thinking about training help? Actually, it probably does, and that's where I had to hand my hat until I was in a hotel with a bike.

So this mess has kept me occupied while I wrote thank you notes and worked and cooked and slept. It's good to have a hobby, they say.

I would point out that even with three weeks travel in February, the note-a-day project stayed on track, though there were times when I wondered. Of course, I’m sure postal delivery from distant hotels added some lag to the receipt of the notes, perhaps even bumping up on the corresponding blog posts.

Towards the middle of the month, I received a thank you note for one of my thank you notes. The hotel staff guy who helped me out with my internet connection thanked me for thanking him. That really set me back, and I wonder if I’m the only person in his history who has taken the time to write what so many say as a matter of course, if not with perfunctory and social pleasantness. I hope not, but I suspect there's the distinct likelihood that mine was his first note from a hotel guest.

And forward we march. A note a day. The world slowly morphs, more likely on its own accord than because of anything I write or do. Yet this little corner seems better, and that's surely worth the postage.

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