Monday, July 21, 2014

I Live in Iowa: Week 161

This was a good week. Not a week I want to repeat everything again anytime soon, but there were a number of things which I definitely would do over again.

Starting with Sunday, I took four teenagers from my church climbing who had never done any climbing at all before. That was a blast! We are already planning to go climbing again. I really enjoy introducing people to new experiences, whether that is rock climbing, backpacking, running the farthest in his or her life or any number of challenging new experiences. I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit by taking four people without any experience climbing, let alone tower trad climbing. But I spent hours thinking about it, and while a couple of my friends could had added to the experience I was a little worried about people being bored or getting in the way. Thus to lead the tower I gave the heaviest of the four a gri-gri to belay me as I led the pitch. Then I belayed everyone from the top, and rappelled and climbed back up every time they changed harnesses because I wanted to make sure they were tied in correctly.

A funny part is the other climbers that were there were apparently making all sorts of comments about how crazy I must have been, or that I didn't know what I was doing, although I was usually up above so I didn't hear, I just saw the looks they gave us. Anyway, on the drive home, as they were telling me this, and how they tried to hint that I was just on Mt. Everest, one of the girls asked, "do most rock climbers have big egos?" and I responded with a huge smile and a laugh, "yes!" I consider myself to be part of the big ego crowd, for taking four total newbies rock climbing without any help, yet it worked out really well and I do have the skills, so maybe it's not ego. I don't know. Regardless, I've introduced hundreds of people to rock climbing and I really enjoy it because it is a big mental challenge.

Monday and Tuesday were usual work days, except that Tuesday we were in the middle of a "cold front" so temperatures were in the 60s and I ended up running 20 miles because it was so nice out.

Wednesday, I woke up at 2:15 AM to pick up a colleague and drive to Moline to catch a flight to Dallas and then a flight to Alexandria, Louisiana for work. I won't go into details about work, but it involved a lot of time driving (690 miles in three days) and time spent around loud machine in the forest. It was a good trip, despite uncovering one potential new issue…

Friday, as we were at the airport trying to catch our flight back to Dallas, first it was delayed over an hour getting in. Then it was delayed for maintenance. Now a maintenance delay at a tiny airport on Friday evening (at least for American Airlines) means they have to call the technician, who takes 45 minutes to get there, before he can start looking at it. I had told my coworkers that I had to be in the Wisconsin Dells at 2 PM Saturday for my cousin's wedding, and one suggested we just rent a car and drive. As we found out more details and I explored other options, like flying to Milwaukee Saturday morning, at 8 PM we finally decided to rent and drive. Had I tried to fly to another city, or had our backup flight plans had any delays, even half an hour, I might miss the wedding entirely. So at 8:35 PM we rolled out of the airport Hertz lot in a 2014 Toyota Camry without cruise control. We stopped for some slow food at Arby's then proceeded to roll north through rural roads and then Interstate 55. It was a remarkably uneventful drive. It can't really even be called a road trip, it was just a long drive. After picking up my van in Moline and then my suit in Dubuque I headed north to the Dells.

At 2:07 PM I walked into the church, on the side aisle of course, before all of the bridesmaids even walked in, so I ultimately had a good five minutes to spare before I missed any of the talking. I don't know why I rushed so hard for 15 hours…

The wedding was great! This is my first cousin to get married, and I only have four cousins, so each one means a lot to me. Although I will say I'm not the best at talking to them very often. It is nice to welcome Rick to our family!

My immediate family went to get coffee then to the wedding reception which was similarly fantastic! My sister and I sat at "that" table which was really fun. It's so strange, my cousin is married. I mean I think of all the times we were little kids running around, given that all my cousins are women, that often meant playing dolls more than I cared to, or going to dance recitals. It's funny to see how we change as we grow up. I mean how we mature to deal with emotions, work on our careers, decide we are going to spend the rest of our life with another person, all of these big hard things, which you just don't even think about when you look at a six year old.

I'm here. I'm alive. I'm healthy. I live in Iowa!?

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