Monday, November 17, 2008

The Sioux Falls Airport

Sitting here in the Sioux Falls Airport, waiting for our delayed plane to take us “home” to Denver, my mind drifts back to my first time here. It must have been some twenty-two (or so) years ago. I was standing on a window ledge at the end of a long, abandoned hallway (probably the same window ledge I sit near now--near gate 8). I stared out at the tarmac and the runway lights and craned my neck, trying in vain to catch one last glimpse of my Grandpa and Grandma as they boarded their plane. When I began to feel the tears creep up from somewhere deep inside and threaten to spill over my eyelids and down my cheeks, I must have reached up for my father's hand.

On the way home that night, Dad stopped at a truckstop just off I-29 and bought me some Rolos. He handed them to me with a promise that we would see Grandpa and Grandma soon enough.


Less than a half hour ago, I removed my contented son from his Grandfather’s (my father's)arms. His little hands made one last exploratory grasp for Grandpa’s earlobes and cheeks and then, with a quick hug, we said our good-byes and headed for airport security. Deep in my gut, it feels a lot like that day some twenty-two years ago. Only this time, we’re the ones leaving. Grandpa and Grandma are the ones staying. And this time, there are no Rolos.

We’re grateful for a good week in Iowa. A good week with Adrian’s Grandpa and Grandma and the rest of the family. But sometimes, it’s hard to be reminded of what we (and Adrian) are missing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Big Mouth

Back in Jr. High, when older brother Micah was qualifying for state track meets in high school and brother John was shattering the records in grade school, I decided I wanted to be a runner too. So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a showed up in the grade school gym with a few dozen of my classmates for track practice. We'd slog out a couple of miles together and then return to the gym, wheezing, to do sit-ups and push ups under the watchful gaze of (my then hero)Coach Landstra . And then, every other week or so (or maybe more often, I've tried hard to blot this time of my life out of my memory) we'd climb on the bus and drive to Orange City or Hull or Rock Valley for a meet.

The meets did not go well for me. Mr. Landstra always put me in the mile (which is not to say I was an actual "miler"). Back then I liked to think it was because my coach/hero saw some potential seeded deep within me--a gift that would blossom at any moment and result in a beautiful bouquet of ribbons and trophies. In retrospect, I've realized that it was most likely because the mile race always had a fountain start. This meant that Mr. Landstra could enter as many runners in the event as he desired--which is really a way of saying that he could have me "participate" in the meet without having to worry about my liability to the team.

I'm not bitter.

At any rate, I donned my blue "SCCS" t-shirt and lined up with the other slow guys (and a few fast guys) for every mile race for two years. As you might have guessed, I did not win any of them. There were, however, personal victories. One of the greatest came that cool spring day in eighth grade when I not only managed to finish without getting lapped (a first)but also came home with a fourth place ribbon. Never mind that there were only three other participants that day. It was still a victory for me.

Some day, I may write about my brief foray into high school track. (Being the brawny fella that I am, I naturally signed up to throw the discus, which really means that I signed up to ride around in the van and hang around in the weight room with my pal, Dave). This lasted for three weeks, until the coaches threatened to make me run. Then I heard other duties calling my name and quit.) But suffice it to say, running and I don't get along well. We never have. Probably never will.

All of which might make you wonder why I'm considering running a marathon.

That's right. I'm considering running a marathon. There are probably a lot of reasons for this (Dealing with my demons? Being white?). I'll leave those for the professionals and say that the the main one is that I told Jill that I would. To be more precise: I told her I would if she would.

This, of course, was a foolish thing to do. Jill has a much better history with running than I do. Not only does she voluntarily run on a regular basis, she's actually finished a marathon, and a half marathon (trail!), and several 25k races. She's reallly quite something.

But back last March, when I heard this sentence coming out of my big mouth, all that seemed like a distant memory. Jill was eight months pregnant and, um, not exactly in peak running form (though she was actually very fit--for a pregnant lady.)In fact, she was wondering if she would ever get back to running again. So, being the loving/encouraging husband that I am (and going through my annual three week flirtation with running, where I pick it up, try to convince myself that I like it, and then drop it again), and being a man with little or no ability to think before I talk, I told her that, if she wanted to get back in shape and needed a training partner, I'd be that guy. I would run a marathon with her. (I don't know why I didn't offer to do something more pleasant with her--like make a practice of climbing mountains on our knees with our hands tied behind our backs, but I digress).

So, long story short, Jill is looking at doing the Ft. Collins Marathon in six and a half months. The question is, should I be true to my word? What if I ran with her for four hours--but only covered a mile or two? Would that honor the sprit of the thing? Is it even physically possible for me to cover marathon distance in less than, say, nine hours?? Or should I say to my beloved wife, in the indelible words of the great Meatloaf, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that?"

Please tell me what you think. And then go and conduct my pants experiment and report back (you bums).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Adrian Update

More video of our little boy. I'm impressed that I managed to cut thirty plus minutes down to five. You should be too. This is all from October, which was full of "firsts." He now sits, is working on eating solid foods, went in the jumper. Oh yeah, he's also huge.

The six month stats are:

  • Height: 28.5". 95th percentile
  • Weight: 19 lbs. 75th Percentile

In other words, my sixth month old can beat up your six month old. Probably.

A few other notes on the video:

  • For some reason, I'm in most of the shots and Jill is not. This is not because I'm a more active parent (Jill is probably caring for Adrian over 90% of the time). Its so that when he's nineteen, full of resentment, and in therapy, we'll have at least some proof that his father was around.
  • We do talk to our son. Quite a bit, actually. However, I hate the sound of my voice, so I've managed to cut nearly all of the adult chatter out.

    Adrian, Oct 08 from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.