Tag Archive: Nature


Facing Your Fears

This past week, I was privileged to travel with a group of about 30 youth and a few adults to Jackson Hole Wyoming for a youth conference.

In my mind I tell myself that I am an adventurous soul, but then some situations I get in I truly ask myself, “What were you thinking?”

Our first day we embarked on a river raft trip down the Snake River. I was all stoke for this until we actually got to the river. All of a sudden, I remembered the time I almost drown as a kid and I started getting really nervous. Not to mention that the entire boat contained young girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Then there were four women and on guide. In my mind I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t we have at least one more guide so if I fall in someone can help me back in, while the other guides the boat?” No, no more guides just Alex.

As we started off down the calmer part of the river, Alex was good as relieving our fears and told us he hadn’t lost anyone yet. This particular sentence wasn’t very comforting because I had a doctor tell me he had never had any problems with a certain surgery and guess what…I was his first problem and nearly died. So I kept thinking to myself, I will be the first of Alex’s “losses”.

I realized that as we conquered each wave, how I relaxed more and actually started enjoying it even though the water was only 48 degrees and I had lost all feeling in my right foot.

I came on this trip with three of my children, one daughter and two sons. I knew two of my children were the adventurous type, but my one son really surprised me. You could get a bracelet for jumping into the river at a certain point. He actually jumped into the water. My daughter was the first on our boat, which was not surprising, to jump in and my other son… He had to do it three times. I am not sure I would have been that adventurous at their age.

At one point my “safe” son was actually “riding the bull” at the front of the boat through the waves. This really surprised me. After we got on the bus, my younger “crazier” son informed me that he had ridden the bull through the lunch counter. This almost gave me a heart attack. I guess he figured it was better to do it and then ask for permission later. This kid will be the death of me.

By the time we ended the trip I was really wanting more river to conquer as was most of the girls. The whole trip was designed to get us out of our comfort zone and try new things. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and would in fact do this again. It was very fun.

That night we drove in to Jackson to play night games at the high school. I actually found this to be more out of my comfort zone than almost anything else we did just because of what happened there.

I am an extremely jumpy and paranoid person. Because of experiences growing up, I am extremely cautious when put in some situations. A couple of weeks before coming on this trip, we had a retired police officer come and speak to the girls about being safe and how to avoid bad situations. It was very informative and added to my paranoid nature.

While we were playing night games, I started to get really thirsty. I noticed a building by the football field where we were playing. I decided that I would walk over and see if there was a drinking fountain. Now it was dark and the only light came from a couple of street lights and some flashlights the kids had.

When I got to the building and noticed it was restrooms, I decided I was use the facilities while there. As I approached a door to see which bathroom I was at, a voice came out of the dark asking me what we were doing. I nearly died. I couldn’t see anyone and could only tell in what direction the voice was coming from. I knew the voice was not attached to anyone I knew so I was extremely startled. I explained that we were playing capture the flag and the person asked a couple of more questions. At this point I had a few red flags going up in my head. I decided to leave the conversation and continue on to my destination…the lady’s room. When I got to the back side of the building, I started getting more and more nervous. I realized that I had just put myself in an extremely volatile situation. I was behind a building, in the dark and a stranger knew I was there and I was pretty sure that a few or anyone even knew the stranger was there.

I decided to go into the bathroom anyway because at this point I really had to go and couldn’t wait. When I entered the bathroom, the light automatically came on, which kind of scared me because I was already on edge. I got in the stall and did my duty and as I was getting ready to go out of the stall, the lights went off. I nearly had a heart attack. I kid you not, I thought I was about to get involved in a smack down and no one would a hear a thing that happened. I stood there with hand on handle listening and waiting to see if I could hear anything.

After a couple of minutes had passed, I knew I couldn’t stay in the stall all night and that I had to come out. I slowly opened the door and tried to look in the dark for any movement. Because the stall door next to me was opened, it blocked any dim view I had of the exit. I stood there for what seemed an eternity before I finally shoved the stall door next to me hoping that if someone was on the other side of it, I would knock them out on impact.

After the door stopped swinging, I listened for noise and didn’t hear anything, so I decided to head for the exit. I took about four steps when the light came on. I stood there with a deer in the headlight look thinking I was going to see the perp in front of me who had shut off the light, but there was no one. After my heart slowed to 300 bm I realized it was possible that the lights were automatic in some way. This did not remove the fear I was feeling. I stood with hand on the exit door handle for about five minutes trying to figure out what I should do. Do I slowly open the door and look side to side or do I just bust out like the flippin’ john was on fire. I came to the conclusion that if someone was out there, they would be surprised by my bolting out of there and thus giving me an upper hand.

It was probably about 5 minutes before I had the guts to bust out. I swung that door open and flew out of there like there was no tomorrow, not looking what was behind me.

I later found out that this guy ending up being obnoxious and thus ending the kids’ night of fun. Which confirmed my suspicions of the guy to begin with. I shook for quite a while afterwards.

The next day of our adventures took us to a ropes course at in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. Here we would be facing our fears on a rock wall and zip line. I was really stoked for this and thought it would be fun. When we arrived, I soon noticed how secluded it was and how some of the trails were hard to see.  Now we had been seeing bear warning signs along the road, so in the back of my mind there was a small thought of perhaps running into one. As we were walking along this trail to a hidden pavilion, all of a sudden I see a giant brown head. I nearly dropped dead right there until I realized it was a brown lab. I told myself what a stupid idiot I was to get so scared and the chances of seeing a bear would be slim to none.

Well that fear was intensified when the advisors of the course told us that a black bear had just come through there earlier that morning. Geez! Are you kidding me? Now to add to the anxiety of the zip line, I was freaked out over seeing a bear. My mother’s cousin was mauled by a bear in Alaska and the story was published in a book. I had been reading this book earlier this year and decided that I would never come within 100 yards of an Alder bush. This whole book was about grizzly bears coming out of Alder bushes.

When we finally got to the rock wall, I was nervous but I had done a rock wall a couple of times before so it wasn’t too bad. It was when I got to the top and realized that the only way down was the zip line. I don’t know how I had ever talked myself into this, but me and heights have never been bff’s and it wasn’t about to start this day either.

I stood there in almost a frozen fear of how high I was and how it was intended for me to get down. I shook as the advisor hooked me up to the zip line, thinking how stupid I was to agree to this. We were at least 30 feet in the air and one had to walk out on this plank that was no wider than 2 feet and perhaps 2 1/2 long. It looked like 4 inches square from where I was standing. I climbed out on the plank holding on to the telephone pole behind me like a stinkin’ cat. I stood there with everyone cheering me on and trying to get up the nerve to go. I just could not get myself to jump. I kept telling myself to do it and just get it over with, but I couldn’t. Then I looked below and there stood my two sons, yelling at me “You can do it Mom!”. I knew at this point, I had to jump. They had to see that their mother was not a wuss.

I truly believe I passed out on the jump because it was a blur and then I am pretty sure I woke up the entire community of Driggs from my scream. I screamed, and screamed and screamed. Was it fun? In a sick sort of way. Would I do it again? Not entirely sure. As we were leaving the course to go to the cars, it was getting dark and I realized I was on a trail that was surrounded by what looked like Alder bushes. I nearly plowed over those in front of me trying to get to the cars. If there was anything that scared me more than that dang zip line, it would be something coming out of those bushes and getting me. So did I face my fears? I felt like I was the entire trip. Do I think I handled them well? Perhaps some of them, others not so much so.

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Home remodeling is not for wusses.  During my growing up years, there is only a couple of houses that I recall not being involved in a remodeling job of some sort.  My mother had this innate ability to take something ugly and make it beautiful.  I remember one particular house that I went with them to look at.  I remember walking into this four walled container of fecal matter and telling my parents that I would not move into that house if they decided to buy it. It seriously looked like someone had urinated on the walls or something in the front room.  The toilet was so disgusting.  The house smelled horrible.

My parents bought the house because they got a great deal on it.  I moved in kicking and screaming.   The house did have to be cleaned up before we moved in which helped a little bit.  When my mother was done with it, it was beautiful home.

I will be the first to tell you that I hate remodeling.  Mostly because I hate things being in chaos and it would eventually lead to not having a bathroom in the middle of winter. Utah winters in the past were not kind. You would sometimes have to plow a walkway to the car through 3-4 feet of snow. This year it has been 3-4 inches.

When my grandmother passed away, the doctors did not want my grandfather living alone.  He was pretty feeble.  So my mother and father sold our home and we moved into my grandfather’s house.  It was a two bedroom, 1 bathroom home.  There were 5 of us.  My parents made do until we could remodel the home to have 3 more bedrooms and a bathroom. See, I told you all remodeling leads to being without plumbing at one point and time.

This remodel job started in the summer and went into the winter.  My grandfather had a greenhouse that he had made that was in his backyard about 200 feet away from the house.  When it came time to install the new toilet, shower and sink, the water had to be shut off to the bathroom.  My father built us a porta-potty of sorts in the greenhouse for privacy.  Unfortunately it was in the winter and we had a lot of snow.  I remember a few mornings making the trip out to the greenhouse dreading the frostbite I was getting braced to receive.  This makes you pretty tough.

I am about to “out” my mother on this and may she forgive me.  I did not understand her situation then like I do now that I have had four children.  The birth of children seriously damages anything related to the bladder and the lack of control thereof.  Did not understand this at that time.  I am a lot more sympathetic of her situation now.

One particular morning when our bathroom was still located in the great outdoors, she woke up and had to go out to the “greenhouse”.  She realized as she got up that she had to go pretty bad and wasn’t sure if she was going to make it.  She had a pretty steep flight of stairs to go down and realized when she got to the bottom that there was no way she was going to make it without having an “accident”.  So she made an executive decision to just step off to the side of the steps and go. She hit a patch of ice which caused her to go down along with her pants.  Even now, 25 years later, I still laugh at the picture this paints in my mind. I envision Bambi when he first stepped on ice.

Now thank goodness Google wasn’t around to do a drive by “shooting”.  I would hate to find her on a Google map search somewhere.  I could not stop laughing that entire day.  I had graduated from high school and was at home so I was stuck there painting all day.  When it would get quiet…you know the 7 minute lull….I would envision my poor mother in her predicament and start laughing.  She would just look at me and give me that “I know what you are thinking about look” and then proceed to tell me that she wishes she would  have never told me what happened.  Well today I almost had the same experience she did, only I kept my pants on and ice was not involved.

The first house my husband and I lived in had to be completely remodeled for it to be livable. I decided after the 10 years of that that I would never remodel again. I will paint, but I won’t tear the entire house apart. So for the last couple of months, I have been giving my walls a fresh coat of paint after 7 years.  Today I decided that my children’s bathroom needed a new look.  I have unfortunately been smacked with the short stump and am at a huge disadvantage at reaching ceilings, let a lone vaulted ceilings.  I have not to this day spent money on a step-ladder.  That is probably why I have nearly died a few times.

Today I had the can of paint on the bathroom sink and I was standing on the side of the tub trying to paint around the ceiling.  I had a chair in between me and the sink so I could just step around to make things easier.  I stepped on the chair with one foot to reach the paint can and for some reason the chair slid, thus causing me to do the splits.  I am sure even when I was a baby that I could not do the splits. I am not genetically built for them.  My sister tried forcing me once which, quite frankly, I was lucky I could still have children afterwards.  Anyway, as the chair slid I felt the muscles pulling in places that no woman wants muscles pulling.  My daughter and husband was on the other side of the house discussing bikes and handlebar tape.  I yelled for help, groaned for help, prayed for help.  No one came. I managed to grab on to something and get myself pulled back together. I had a flashback to when I was 24 months pregnant with my youngest son (not really, but it felt like 24 months), I went to kick a ball and missed.  Couldn’t walk for weeks from a pulled groin.

I do not think that I will be walking the same after today. There is something about pulling the groin muscle that just messing everything up.  I nearly crawled into the kitchen to where the beloved family with hearing problems were.  No comments like, “sorry, we didn’t hear you” or “are you OK”.  All I got was laughter.  It haunted my ears as I am sure it did my mothers years ago.  Why did I even tell them.  Everything you do as a teen comes back to haunt you as a parent.  At least I was within the privacy of four walls and my pants were stretchy.

Every year come November, usually around the first part of the month I start to feel all of the walls closing in on me.  You would think that after so many years I would be used to it, but I get stressed out to the max and feel pulling to cord to get off at a different stop.

Many things combine to make me start feeling this way.  First of all it turns off cold.  I hate the cold.  It is pretty sad when the only things you want for Christmas are things that will keep you warm like warm slippers, onsie PJ’s and an electric blanket.  I can’t use these things any other time of the year but winter.  It sucks!

I begin to start feeling like I am being pulled in directions I physically cannot go.  Because the pulling begins all at once and never in the same direction.

When I get to this point, I start doing real stupid things.  Not consciously, I just get scattered brained and start doing things that I normally don’t do.

Like yesterday…

A guy came into school a couple of days ago needing a website made.  There are three of us that will be working on it.  Two of us were at school yesterday and the proposal had to be put together.  I was the guinea pig because I was the only one that new Excel.  This was the first big thing I have had to do since being in school.  I was stress out because it had to be done yesterday.

After about 2 hours of putting it together, when I finally finished I realized that I had to go to the bathroom like yesterday.  I don’t know if I am the only one like that or other people are, but when I am so into something I forget what is going on around me.  I decided I should run up the hall and “relieve my waters” before getting on with some of my other work.  Because I had been so stressed out, I wasn’t thinking clearly and before you know it I found myself standing in the men’s bathroom.

I hadn’t even noticed the different colored floor until it was too late.  I can only imagine the look of horror on my face when I realized what I had done.  I turned and hauled my butt out of there faster than you can say, “Bob’s your uncle”.  I didn’t look behind me to see if I had been seen coming out of there like there was a fire.  I told myself…..”It’s starting” I won’t be myself again until January.

So I say to myself, “So long semi-sane until later.  I can only hope that glimpses of you will occasionally emerge to let me know you are still there waiting to come back to stay.”

My daughter showed me this video last night that I can relate with.  I am “Granny” at this time of year.

Have you ever been somewhere and saw something that made you stop dead in your tracks and say, “What?”?  You have seen something either so funny, so disturbing or otherwise that has completely caught you off guard.

Well that happened to me today.  We went to my sister’s house.  This town is boring.  Sorry sister, but it is boring.  I think they have one restaurant, one fast food joint, one gas station and one car repair shop. 

The restaurant is a little Mexican food restaurant and many times we have joked within our own family how that we would not want to use the restroom in a mexican food restaurant.  I am sure you could guess that reasoning behind this.  I wouldn’t even want to be seated anywhere near the restrooms.

Today while passing this little restaurant, I saw a truck parked in the parking lot that was painted bright yellow.  The color is what caught my attention.  Then I read the writing on the truck.  It was a septic tank pumping truck and the business was called “The Stool Bus”. 

We almost went off the road we were laughing so hard.  Then I asked my kids, what would possess someone to name their business something like that.  Of course, I am from New Mexico the business is out of New Mexico and so my children told me that that explained a lot.

I guess some might call this “creative advertising”.  I guess so, that truck will ever be branded into my mind.  I will be laughing about that for days to come.  Pretty sure I won’t forget that name of that business for awhile.  Give the ad man a raise!

SCARRED!

I want to know if I am the only person on the planet who thinks the following incident is wrong on as many levels that it can be.

I was at our local Walmart grabbing some cheese.  I happened to notice a couple just up from me across from the meat.  They caught my attention because they had a lab with them.  I looked to see if it was a seeing eye dog in training or a companion dog.  The dog had no vest or anything on indicating it was anything but someone’s pet.  This plays a huge part in what I am about to tell you because in my mind I would be more understanding if it was one of these dogs.

When I turned and looked this dog had taken a dump in the middle of the food aisle.  I thought I might heave right there.  Then I noticed the the woman had grabbed a bag from the produce department and was picking it up with her hands.  A “second heaving” started.  I was thinking the whole time, “Where is she going to put that?  In her purse?”  I immediately exited the food department and told management. 

 “Clean up on aisle 5!”

I have not been able to get myself to go into the food department since.  YuCk!