Monthly Archives: May 2013

I Did It!

csIMG_8212Before today my longest walk was 8 miles. That was a 3 hour walk. Today was gorgeous and I had hopes of being able to take a very long walk. How long, I wasn’t completely sure about. I am in the process of completing all the areas north of 496. I had about five areas I need to walk before I will be able to say I have walked everything north of the highway. The chunk I walked today was actually supposed to be 2 separate walks. However, when it’s near 70 with perfect partly sunny weather it’s hard to take a short walk. If you add into that the beauty of everything coming into bloom at the same time and the harmonious bird songs filling the air, well that’s the perfect excuse to walk over 13 ½ miles (almost a half marathon) in a four hour walk-a-thon.
csIMG_8209Flowering Trees were everywhere
csIMG_8181Maples Lining the Streets
It wasn’t my intention of walking the most I’ve ever walked before. I just couldn’t help myself. It’s true that part of the walk was because of the facts already stated, but a much darker truth is that I am very stubborn. I set my mind to doing something and I will not fail. I might wail out a frustrated, “I can’t do this”, but I will pretty much be planning my next attempt at the end of that sentence. Some think I continue to do this project because I am kind, thoughtful, generous and full of positivity. Don’t get me wrong, I hope those things are true. Yet, another part of me just won’t let me stop. I started it and I’m going to finish it. Tell me I can’t, well I’ll show you! Stubborn. It was my stubbornness today that had me over stepping my abilities and left me panting for a small drink of water 3.5 hours into my walk. Towards the end, for an hour or so I had been searching all the homes I passed, hoping someone was watering their lawn. No one was. I hoped to pass a business I could buy a drink from. I didn’t. Finally, when I didn’t think I could make it (I was weaving as I walked at this point) I saw a woman in her home. I got my courage up and I went up to her porch and laughed at how ridiculous my statement was going to sound: “I went for a much longer walk than I had intended because I’m trying to walk all these streets in this area so I don’t have to come back and walk it again”. Well, it was something like that. I continued, “Could I have a glass of water. I’ll just drink out of your hose even.” She didn’t hear the last part because she had graciously turned back into her house and was getting me a much needed glass of water. When I saw the full cup of ice water in a plastic cup, I almost cried. She gave it to me and asked about my journey. I told her about my walking project but she then cut me off and ordered me to take a drink; (I’m thinking I might have looked a little rough). I finished that off and told her the rest. I do like meeting people while I’m out and talking to them. She loved the idea and wanted the blog so she could check it out. She then took my glass back inside for a refill. When she returned she had the glass full and a cupcake with a napkin. csIMG_8222My Cupcake and Ice water. 
It was her daughter’s birthday. She gave me my treasures and sent me on my way. With this boost of refreshments I was able to complete this entire section which I was thinking that after all this work I would need to come back to walk 4 blocks. But I did it! I walked it all; almost a half marathon of neighborhood walking for this project! That’s the most I’ve ever done, time wise and distance wise and I’m not too sure I’ll do it again. But I might. Just don’t tell me I can’t.

Getting it Done

csaaIMG_3589_1Sometimes I like those days where the schedule is chronologically challenged. Yesterday was one of those days. It started at about 4:15 a.m. when a text came through Pat’s phone letting us know our nephew had been born. It’s a bit hard to go back to sleep after that but I did try. Pat and I already had a few things on our plate that day but thought we could include a visit to the hospital quite easily. We eagerly got the twins on the bus and quickly got dressed for the day. Pat had a client that needed some computer updates on the south side and I had some streets I needed to walk. Now our schedule was: kids on bus (done), trip to hospital, meeting on south side, City Saunter walk on south side. I also had a lunch date with my favorite elementary school teacher, Cathy Colando Riley. We had finally agreed to a time and place weeks ago and I didn’t want to cancel that. That was at 1 p.m. in Okemos. By 9:00 a.m. Pat and I were in the car heading into town. We didn’t eat breakfast. We decided to stop at McDonald’s. We had coupons, buy one breakfast sandwich get one. We each could go in, use the coupon and take the extras to the hospital. So now our schedule was this: kids on bus (done), get ready (done), stop at McDonald’s, drive to hospital, drive to client on south side, drop me off to walk south side roads (about 1.5 I thought), get back home so Pat can work and I drive to Okemos to meet Cathy. After eating our McDonald’s sandwiches in the car we started heading into Lansing. Should we bring a gift? What would they like, flowers, candy, a soy smoothie from Biggby? All were great choices. On our route into town is Frandor. We already needed to stop at World Market for coffee beans because it’s Wednesday and on Wednesday when you buy coffee you get double punches; no, not to the face, on your coffee card to get a free 12 oz. bag of coffee. We use it to try the really expensive Jamaican blend or some such kind. So we decided to stop at World Market. So this is our morning so far: get kids on bus (done), go to McDonald’s and use b-1-g-1 coupon (done), drive through busy East Lansing to crazy Frandor (I refer to it as the 10th layer of hell) and stop at World Market for coffee and gift, drive to hospital, drive to south side (Dunckel and Jolly), drop me off in random parking area so I can  walk, Pat goes to meeting, he picks me up, drive home and I leave to go to my lunch date with Cathy Colando Riley former Gier Park and Otto teacher.

Well, it’s 9:35 and World Market doesn’t open until 10:00 a.m. So we decide against the gift because driving into the 10th layer of hell, yelling at Pat for not turning onto a one way when he had the chance and then not having our store even open yet took about 20 minutes and I was a bit frustrated. A few minutes later after parking at the Sparrow parking ramp (I will need to come up with a catchy name for this place as well) we soon find ourselves on the third floor staring at the sign on the maternity ward wall that states: Visiting Hours 11:00 a.m. We needed to wait over an hour to see our new nephew. Fortunately for us a social worker over heard us talking and called the nursing station to see if we could visit early. Ahaaaa, we finally get a break! We stop at the nursing station, get the room number and sneak our way through the very quiet hallway. I gently tap on the door, open it a crack and let them know we’re here to see the new baby. Yippee! As with our timing with World Market we again were denied. Our sweet little nephew was about two seconds away from getting his own breakfast. Back to the waiting room Pat and I went. I was able to pass off the extra breakfast sandwiches before leaving though; finally success! So we wait. And we wait. About 45 minutes pass when the new daddy pops his head in and walks us back to the room. We had a quick visit and had to be off to our other scheduled plans.
ImageWe quickly make it out to the south side and Pat drops me off for my walk and he goes to his client. This part of town is not made for walking but I often find those areas more interesting. My first interesting thing was a goose. He was sleeping about 5 feet from the road, directly in my path. What would a goose do if I snuck up on him?  I found myself laughing all alone on the side of the road at the idea of goosing a goose. I stopped and took photos a few times hoping my shutter would wake him up; it didn’t. I move closer and he’s still sleeping. I move a little closer and he’s still sleeping! I am now about 5 feet from him when he picks his head up, looks right at me and hisses. I hate that noise. So now I am stuck with speeding traffic on my right, a sloping pond on my left and a hissing goose directly in front of me. I wait until most of the traffic clears (it’s quite busy here) and move out into the road hoping by keeping my head down and not giving the goose eye contact he won’t attack me.ImageI’m walking in the road, with my camera, laughing out loud, with fast traffic speeding towards me hoping to not get attacked by a drowsy goose!  
For the next hour I continued on my sidewalk-less travels and finished off this entire south eastern edge. It was almost 3 miles and it was quite close to 80 degrees outside. I was quite sweaty and very flushed. It was getting very close to the time that I needed to be picked up to make it home in time to drop Pat off and leave for my lunch date with Cathy Colando Riley, one of my favorite teachers. We spent a couple of months learning all the songs on the “Chicken Soup with Rice” record in 5th grade. One of my most cherished memories. When my twins came home from school a couple years ago singing those songs I exploded with joy; not literally, but I was really happy. I had a copy of the CD I had bought for my older kids. They never got into it, but Evan and Ellie know every song and often play it as they go to sleep.
My phone vibrates. Yes, Pat is done! We meet back at the random parking lot and head back home. We do indeed make it back through the 10th layer of hell, passing World Market, knowing full well that we need to come back sometime that day to get our extra punch from our coffee purchase. At home Pat gets out and I even have a few extra minutes to change into dry clothes and race off for my lunch date with Cathy Colando Riley who looks exactly the way she did when I was in second grade and I told her I was a hypochondriac to which she said, “that’s a big world for a little girl”.  And she looked the same way she did when she met me at the Calbery Awards ceremony in 4th grade where I won 3rd place city wide.Image
She definitely looked the same from when I use to get off my bus from Eastern High School and walk up to Otto to visit with her. I spent about an hour and a half catching up with her then headed home. I had about an hour to upload photos before the twins got off their bus. We would be returning to the hospital so they could meet their new cousin. We also stopped at World Market for that coffee and even stopped at McDonald’s again so the twins could have some ice cream for being good during the visit. At the end of the day we were happy to say we got it all done! And that 10th layer of hell? We drove through it 4 times yesterday.  I think that’s a new record.