Options

Yesterday after work, I was talking with a co-worker about relationships. He’s married with two kids. He said he agreed with Chris Rock’s statement that “a man is only as faithful as his options.”

Say what?

I really wanted to ask him, so if you had good options, you’d cheat on your wife?!? But I got sidetracked by the rest of our convo and didn’t get the chance.

I just can’t accept that statement. That implies that men don’t have the conscious ability to DECIDE not to cheat, regardless of their options. Doesn’t give any credit to the men out here who simply don’t cheat because they don’t want to mess up what they have. No credit to the men who know that it’s simply WRONG to cheat!

What the deuce?

I feel like blaming things on testosterone and nature is just a cop out. We all have brains, and we need to use them.

I refuse to believe that my fiancĂ© doesn’t cheat because he has no options. I believe he doesn’t chest because he does not want to. He respects our relationship and recognizes the value of it.

I guess I’m just tired of men being given a pass for cheating, because it’s just innately in them.

Shenanigans.

Do you think men are just ready to cheat? That they’re just waiting for the green light? Lying in wait for a willing participant?

Carowinds!

Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend, and the day off if you had it.

On Sunday, after my swim assessment, we decided to go to Carowinds. The original plan was to attend a cookout, and to hit up Carowinds on Monday. HH was afraid it would rain on Monday. So we changed up the plans. Not to mention, the cookout we were going to, the hostess was allergic to fish…so there wouldn’t have been much for HH to eat.

We got to Carowinds around 5:00pm and it was nice and sunny. I was surprised to see so many people arriving at that time. We paid our $12 to park and headed on in. We parked over near The Intimidator…didn’t know I’d be screaming on that thing hours later. LOL!

We decided to upgrade to the Gold season passes since the sale was ending that weekend. Before you go into the park you have I take your receipt to another location where they take your pic and issue your card. HH was making a goofy face and had to take his pic twice. He is a comedian.

After we made it in and made a bathroom pit stop, we ended up in line for the Vortex. This is the stand up roller coaster. The line was moving quickly and we got to the platform stairs, and all of a sudden there was an ominous buzzing sound. We couldn’t hear exactly what the employee was saying, other than technical difficulties. HH said, “it’s broke? As hell nawl. We out!” LOL! Needless to say, we left that line.

Our first official roller coaster ride together was the Carolina Cyclone. The line was extra short, and after riding I realized why. That thing is the shortest roller coaster in the history of coasters. If it lasted 25 seconds I’d be surprised. LOL! I think this was one of the first coasters at the park…so you gotta ride it just to say you did.

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After that, it was on to The Drop Tower. I’ve been on this before, but of course this whole park is new to HH. It’s 160 feet high, and you end up free falling about 100 feet before the mechanism catches you. After it takes you up, you pause for a few seconds. So, you’re sitting there like, “oh, there’s uptown Charlotte in the distance…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!” I am laughing out loud as I type this, because HH’s face after this ride was priceless.

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Next up was the Carolina Cobra. It’s a boomerang coaster that takes you forward down a hill, through a loop and then up a hill…and then you do it backwards. This was the first long line we encountered, but well worth it.

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The pic they took of us on is one was hilarious, so we got the magnet and the 6 x 8:

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HH lamented, after riding this one, that maybe he’d lost his coaster mojo. LOL!

They have a new ride this year, called the Wind Seeker. It’s a swing ride, but this thing takes you up ridiculously high. 301 feet, to be exact. Then it swings you around at 30 mph, and the arms of the swing go out to a 45 degree angle. It’s not that old school swing we’re used to. HH loved it. I enjoyed it, but I found I had to keep looking out at the scenery, because if I looked in and to e left at the other people, my gaze wanted to drop down and that would’ve made it worse.

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If I had to pick. I’d say my favorite ride was The Intimidator. Named after the late, great Dale Earnhardt, this one debuted in 2010. The seats on this are not your typical harness style bucket seats…but they work because there are no loops on this one. It’s just hilly and FAST!

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Yep, kids: no shoulder harness!

The first drop is 211 foot drop angled at 75 degrees. For those of you who aren’t good at math, it’s not a straight drop, but it’s only 15 degrees away from it. LOL! If you heard somebody screaming in the distance on Sunday around 7:30 or so, that was probably me…

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Not a coaster for the weak!! LOL

We stayed at the park until closing time, and we had a blast. We’ll probably take the teen when he gets here, if he can stay outta trouble.

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(in line for the last coaster, the Night Hawk. Literally in line for an hour and it was 10:00pm by the time we got on.)

How was your weekend? Anything exciting?

Swim Assessment

So today was the swim assessment. The email they sent us advised that it was between 12-2. Apparently the mentors were given a different time, as when we arrived they weren’t quite ready for us.

Eventually the kinks were worked out and they were ready to start assessments. They kept trying to get us to try in the 6ft-17ft pool. Um, no. If we’re telling you we’re bubble blowers, that’s where we need to be.

Let me back up. There are four “levels,” if you will. Bubble Blowers, beginners, intermediate, and advanced. If you’ve got no breathing technique and can’t really float, you need to be in with the BB’s. That would be yours truly. LOL!

Thank Yah, Allah, Buddha and the Toof Fairy that they have a 25 meter pool that’s no more than 5 feet deep. I think it goes to like 4 feet and some change. That works for me.

We got in and the first drill involved kneeling down in the water and holding our breath for five counts. I couldn’t stay all the way down, but the mentors assured me that was a good thing.

Then we split into smaller groups and started working in breathing. This is where I struggle. Obviously I need more lung capacity or something. I could stay under for too long and I couldn’t get the hang of still blowing out as you come up to take your next breath. Thankfully, my mentor was someone I’ve known since 2002 so I felt very comfortable working with her, and she was very patient with me. LOL!

I won’t bore you with all the details, but our last drill was to practice floating on our backs. I thought I could at least do this, right? Uh, no. LOL! I couldn’t get my legs to stay up and I kept halfway sinking.

They are meeting again next week, but I’ll be at the jazz fest. It’s only $6 for us to go to the aquatic center during the week, so I’m going to try and go 2-3 times per week. I’m also going to look into private lessons, as I clearly an a remedial bubble blower and need extra one on one time. LOL!

I shoulda learned this mess as a kid! Oh well.

Are you a swimmer? When did you learn? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been give regarding swimming?

Day 16: Body Language

Your opinion about your body and how comfortable you are with it.

Sigh. The thing is, I’d absolutely LOVE to have THIS body back:

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That’s the half marathon body. The size 6 that I made my way back to completely by accident. How I stumbled into training for a half because I ran into my old supervisor at the greenway, and she and some friends were training for one. How one day I went shopping at Ny & Co and could fit a size 6 pair of pants…a size I hadn’t seen since college.

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How we had no real training or dietary program, other than running 4-5 times a week. And yet, the pounds just fell off and stayed off.

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Until the injuries kicked in. First it was the plantar fasciitis, which kicked in at the most inopportune time. I was finally running consistent 9:30-9:45 pace. That’s not fast by any means, but considering I started up in the 13s, I was quite ecstatic. My feelings were so hurt when I decided to take a running break in September 2010 to give myself time to heal. I figured I’d rest from running, do other cardio, and pick it back up in January.

That didn’t happen.

What did happen was my maternal grandmother dying on 10/23/10 and my dad dying on 11/12/10. Funeral planning, stress eating, and looking back now, what I can identify as depression. The knee injury that started at a bowling outing in NY. Clothes I took to NY at the beginning of November, I could not fit into by the time I left NY.

Everybody said, “oh it’s just stress weight. You’ll lose that when things calm down.”

Nope.

Every other time I’ve set out to get in shape, it hasn’t been an issue. This time, my body is not cooperating. I don’t know if it’s a function of being almost 40, or what. I probably work out more/harder than I ever did before. I stress about food. Calories, fat, carbs…am I getting enough, am I getting too much? Did I drink enough eater today? What does the scale say?

Right now, I’m mad at my body. I don’t want to be happy with THIS body. On the one hand, I have more curves than I ever had before…the curves I used to wish for in high school. Go figure! But, I would rather be a curvy size 8 than a curvy 10/12. I want to go back to the days of working out 3x a week and seeing results. Not doing an hour of cardio 4x per week and weight training and maybe losing half a pound. In a month. O_o

I want my knee to get back to normal. I want to exercise without pain/soreness that exceeds a normal tolerance. I want to get back to running again, for fun. When I run, I’m more cognizant of what/how I eat. It’s hard to explain, but that’s how it works.

I don’t wanna stand in my closet and wonder if something is going to fit. I want to know that everything in there fits.

At this point, I’m not comfortable. And I don’t want to be. Does that make sense? I don’t want to see a super round, chubby face looking back at me from pics. I want to be in sync with my body again. I don’t want to concede to a life of pain and extra weight.

I’ll have to figure out something. I know I can get there.

And let me just say, I recognize that there are folks bigger than me, who have had more weight struggles, etc. I get that. This is just MY struggle. My disappointment. I work on it and through it every day.

So, if you happen to struggle with injuries or weight loss, I feel some portion of your pain. Trust me.

For now, this is where I am:

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Where I’ll be in the future? Not sure. Maybe this really is my new “about to be 40” body and I just have to deal with it for a minute. If it comes to that point, then I’ll just work on being comfortable, and keeping the rest of my numbers at a healthy level (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.).

I guess I’m glad my struggle is to look like how *I* used to look, as opposed to the images of other women in magazines. I’m not trying to be a supermodel. For me, that’s a bit of a silver lining. I’ll take it.

Day 15: Death Row Meal

Well, I should hope I’d never find myself on death row. But I figure, if I’m going down, I’m going out with a bang.

First up:

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Pepperoni pizza and BBQ wings from La Nova Pizzeria. I loved me some LaNovas in college. If you’re ever in Buffalo, you should partake. And yeah, I know I don’t eat pork right now, but if I’m about to die…

And for dessert:

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2 please! Because I can eat a pint like its nothing. I guess it depends on how much time I have for the meal, though.

And now I want some ice cream. LOL!

What would you choose?

Brain Dump!

The first official brain dump on the new blog!

The other day, HH came home with this:

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He found it at WalMart…we had been looking at bikes the other day, but I noticed all of their road bikes were for men. This one included. I could barely climb up on the thing. I had no clearance over the bar when I tried to stand. I couldn’t even get on it to ride…but he kept insisting I was doing it wrong.

We came back in the house and I looked up the bike reviews. Dudes who were 6’2 were talking about this was the perfect bike for them. O_o The next day he went back to WalMart and was looking online and finally admitted that the bike was too big. Really? Did you need the dude at WalMart to tell you that after I told you that repeatedly? LOL

I was so happy that he was thinking of me, but I had told him I was going to get measured for a bike. In this aspect he reminds me of my dad; I wasn’t doing it fast enough, so he went out and took care of it himself, but not the right way. I didn’t want to come down on him, because I really did appreciate that he bought the bike.

Swim assessment for Tri It For Life is in a week. I need to go find a modest one piece, goggles, and a swim cap. I don’t know how this chlorine is going to work with my locs. We shall see.

The Capital Jazz Fest is coming up! I can’t wait to meet up with my sisters again this year. This is becoming our annual girls’ trip. Although this time, my cousin is coming with us, and my brother is going to meet us there. The line up should be awesome. I’ll be sure to post pics.

MamaMixtress had me thinking my uncle’s prostate cancer had returned…when in reality he was going to the doc to be tested for sleep apnea. How you mix those two things up? LOL! Gotta love the oldsters.

Going to make an appointment with the doctor soon. My knee is sore pretty much every day. I need to be able to function for my tri training.

I’m worried we won’t be able to save enough cash for the wedding/honeymoon. :/

It has been hella fun catching up on original episodes of Dallas. I would love to have all the seasons on DVD. Same thing goes for The Golden Girls.

This weekend I have a baby shower to attend, and then on Sunday HH is participating in the Warrior Dash! Wish him luck. Mud, fire, and wall climbing. I was going to sign up, but when the deadline approached I didn’t think my knee could handle it. I was right. I’ll be there to cheer him on, instead. Maybe I’ll make a sign. LOL!

My until leader has given me the green light to start working on my Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation. The company will reimburse me for study materials and for one exam fee per exam. Who could turn that down? It’ll be nice to sink my teeth into some studying again.

Fear

“…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Today was the company outing with my new employer. Not just the claims department, but everyone: HR, marketing, and underwriting included. Everyone from our president/CEO, down to an underwriting employee who’s only been with the company for 3 weeks.

The outing took place as the US National Whitewater Center. It’s not too far from downtown Charlotte and is open year round. They have mountain bike and hiking trails, kayaking, whitewater rafting, canoeing, rock all climbing, rope courses, and zip lines. Aside from the biking, these are activities that make me face two big fears: heights and water.

We had to sign up for our passes ahead of time. You could get one that allowed you to participate in all activities, or just land and flatwater activities. I chose the latter. My unit leader – a real workout/athletic person – tried to convince me to participate in the white water rafting, but I had to decline. I haven’t started my lessons with Tri It For Life. I figured, one thing at a time.

Our outing was scheduled for 10:00am to 3:00pm. Upon arrival we had to sign in, turn in our waiver forms, and pick up our wristbands. The wristbands were used to determine which activities we were signed up for. After doing that, I headed down the stairs to start my adventure. The first thing I saw as the rock climbing walls:

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Several of my coworkers were climbing already. Guess they got there early!

I looked around and saw people scattered here and there. I talked to one of the HR reps who had been walking the perimeter trail for exercise, so I chatted with her for a bit. She decided to do another lap, so off she went. At this point, I was at a loss as to what I’d do first. Yeah, you can do activities by yourself, but it’s the kind of thing that’s more fun with a group.

Another supervisor arrived, along with one of her team members. After chatting for a bit, we decided to walk the perimeter as well. The more I looked at the water, I realized I had made the right decision to skip the rafting.

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We finished our lap, got something to drink, and then sat at a table to chat. It seems I’d found the one group of ladies who didn’t want to do much. LOL! Well, the unit leader wanted to do the Mega Zip line, but that didn’t open until 1:00pm.

At this point, two workers’ comp reps came by. They said they were going to do the Climb 2 Zip activities. They asked if we wanted to come along and I jumped at the chance. The others stayed behind. I’m so glad I went.

These are two reps I see all the time, and we speak and are cordial, but I don’t get to talk to them otherwise. Two of the nicest folks you’d ever want to meet! On the way, we saw another rep who happens to sit behind me, and he joined our group. If the company wanted us to do some bonding and team building, they were getting their wish.

After gearing up in two harnesses each, we headed up the trail. By this time, one of the WC unit leaders who sits near me had joined us. We were a group of five:

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The Climb2Zip activities included three areas: an intermediate rope course, a zip wire that you had to climb up to, and then a beginner’s rope course. We got in line for the zip wire first, and then my unit leader came by. He told us we should try the intermediate rope course. We jumped in line for that, but as I looked up at it, I felt super apprehensive.

The guide talked to us about the course and told us that if we’d like, we could try the beginner’s course first. Kristen and I left the guys in line with their bravado/testosterone, and went to the beginner’s course:

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Kristen and told me on the walk over that she was not very athletic and would probably be scared. I figured we’d be okay on the beginner’s course. The guide explained to us at we could do the inner track or the outer track. The outer track was the easiest, according to her, so that’s what we picked.

The first exercise was to climb up a rope net and then proceed over a bridge made of a series of spaced apart planks. I went first. I was sooooo scared, but I figured, now or never! I started climbing and just kept telling myself to breathe and to take it one foot and hand at a time. At the top of the mesh I crossed the bridge. Kristen was coming up behind me.

After the bridge there is a small platform, and then you have to climb across a rope wall.

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(the girl in the pink is approaching that part)

I ain’t even gonna lie. I looked at that thing and said, “oh hell nawl. What the deuce?” I grabbed my harness rope and decided I’d go through the middle of the course because it looked easier.

Wrong!

Remember I said you and to choose the outside or inside track. You cannot switch tracks mid-activity due to the harnessing system.

insert Florida Evans “dayum, dayum, dayum!” here!

I had no choice but to continue on, either that, or quit. Isn’t that just like life? You get to a difficult part and you have to face your fear and forge ahead…or you can just quit. But then, what would you gain?

I stepped out on the rope and put the death grip at the top with my hands. I just kept the mantra “one step at a time” in my head, and reminded myself that if I DID happen to fall, the harness had me. One deep breath after another, and the next thing you know, I was across!

I reached the next platform and Kristen decided she was not trying to deal with that wall. She told the guide she wanted to get down. The only way to go backwards is if the people behind you go back as well. Lucky for her, there was only one person behind her. She went back and I forged on.

The next track was a system of steps – in the shape of big feet – spaced apart, with a rope up high and a rope at waist height, for you to hold on to. The tricky thing about the “feet” was, you needed to step in the middle, otherwise they would tilt to the side. Found that out on my second step. Thankfully, I had a Kung fu death grip on the roles and I didn’t slip.

After that, it was pretty easy, and as I got towards the end I got so excited! Yes! I did it!

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We jumped in line for the climb to the zip wire. Kristen kept vacillating as to whether or not she’d go. I told her I totally understood, but I decided I was going to conquer this fear today, and if she wanted to come along I’d help her. One by one, people climbed up and took the short zip down. the girl who’s only been with the company for three weeks, got to the top and was like, “nah.” she climbed all the way back down. Bless her heart.

I felt buoyed until it was my turn to climb:

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Um, that’s pretty high. I made it about 3/4 up and then my sneaker kept getting caught in the dang ropes. I was scared! I did NOT want to fall backwards. I finally made it to the top, and the guide clipped in the zip wire harness. Then she had me sit at the edge of the platform, and explained which ropes to hang on to, which not to touch, she said she would count to three and then I should scoot outward and go. I swear I wanted to tell her to just push me.

I should mention here at Kristen DID make it to the top and she did do the zip wire! So ego crept in and I felt like I HAD to do it. The guide counted to three, and I scooted forward with my eyes closed. But them I opened them and the drop wasn’t so bad.

At that point, it was time for lunch. We took our gear off and headed back. Unfortunately, we missed the group picture. After lunch, the guys had whitewater activities planned, so I chilled out and got some sun and held their stuff. I could’ve climbed the rock walls, but I felt like I’d had enough excitement for the first part of the day. The only thing left was the MegaZip. 1,123 feet of zip wire suspended over part of the whitewater course.

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The guys didn’t get off the rafts until 5:00pm, and then we headed to MegaZip. By this time two of our group had left. So it was just the three of us. We climbed the stairs to the tower, and that fear tried to set in again, I squashed it. I was doing this.

There are two parallels lines so two people can go down at once. Terrence got the left line and I got the right. The guide asked if we had done it before and we told him no. As he connected our harnesses he told us which ropes to hold, and how we needed to keep our feet in at the end so that we didn’t kick the guys who were waiting to undo our harnesses.

This take off was far less traumatic than the short zip line. All we had to do was sit back in the harness and then gravity began to pull us down the line:

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This was my last activity of the day. I really felt like I accomplished some things today. I didn’t climb the rock walls, but I participated in other activities that tested my faith in myself. In the process I got to know two pretty cool people, whom I don’t get to interact with on a daily basis.

I’d say this was a win all around, and tomorrow the atmosphere at work is going to be charged with stories of our adventures.