I love you so much I went to WalMart

This is my daughter’s ninth summer attending resident Girl Scout camp. She’s been handling preparing and packing for the last few years.

But this year, her drama almost made me lose my mind.

Because that’s what teen girls do, right?

Our recent road trip should have made this simple. She needed to take clothes out of one suitcase, launder them and repack in a bigger suitcase.

Except she just didn’t do it.

Until Thursday. I ordered her makeshift riding boots on Tuesday with two-day shipping, except the web site acted up and my husband had to do it over from a different computer and forgot the 2-day shipping.

Luckily, they arrived Friday evening.

Drop off at Camp Wood Haven is Sunday, 1-4. Saturday she makes a list of things she needs, including the shampoo she just lost after our road trip, a new water bottle despite the fact that we have a million, and a swimsuit because suddenly the two bikinis I bought her a few weeks ago aren’t good enough.

But we did it. And got her the cutest black one piece with scalloped edges.

Then this morning her shoelaces broke and while she had compiled a list of addresses to send mail, she didn’t have stamps.

So I went to Payless and got shoelaces AND spare shoes. Stopped at the grandparents because old people always have stamps.

Killing it.

And we decided to go to IHOP since it was a highlight of our road trip. The IHOP was packed so full it would have failed a fire inspection.

So we ended up at Arby’s. My sandwich didn’t agree with me but darn do I love their cookies.

We arrive at camp. It’s 100 degrees. Really, it is. They ask her to grab her swimsuit for her swim test. She forgot it.

“How?” I ask. “We bought it yesterday?!?!”

They ask her if she has a sports bra and gym shorts. Nope. She only wears jean shorts.

Now I should have made her wear left behind lost and found clothes. But she is my baby and she looked so sad.

So instead of accompanying her to her unit, I went to WalMart 30 minutes away.

I hate WalMart. But through the farms and Mennonite country, my husband and I went to WalMart.

I found this cute blue suit. Blue is her favorite color.

I was going to ask someone at the customer service desk to staple a note on it so the camp can deliver it.

It was too busy.

I saw these brown paper sacks at the cafe. I can write on those. Smile.

I got to the car and realized I forgot my iPhone X. I have NEVER done that before. Luckily the cashier noticed.

Phone retrieved and swimsuit delivered.

We won’t know until Friday if the child liked it.

Left for camp: about 11:45

Arrive at IHOP after grandparents: 12:50

Arrive at camp: about 2:20

Left camp: 2:50

Returned to camp from WalMart: 4:05

Day 7… and we’re not killing each other

Today is my daughter’s 14th birthday.

She wasn’t happy when I sailed across the room and leapt on her bed screaming in a falsetto, “it’s my baby’s birthday!”

At 6:30 a.m.

Today we hope to make it to around Richmond, Va., since we are due home tomorrow and I have to be back at work at 7 a.m. Monday.

I wonder if they missed me.

Our exciting plans for today include the bird sanctuary that was closed on Monday and an afternoon visit to the paranormal museum.

And finally… the Quality Inn right off I-95 in Fayetteville, N.C., may have been my favorite hotel balancing price and function. With taxes the room was about $70. The breakfast wasn’t exciting but in included a variety of hot items in addition to the continental selections. And personally, I loved that they offered peanut butter with their bread products.

The room was clean but sparse. Refrigerator a tad busted up but while trying to freeze water bottles into ice cubes for the cooler we almost had one freeze. The water pressure in the toilet was poor. But the pool open 10 a.m. to dusk and it was clean and a nice size for a small hotel. Coffee was decent. And they had a former room on the first floor converted into a fitness center. And a public laundry room.

The human experience of the Thin Mint Sprint

I have anticipated this 5K for a long time. My training started in November, paused for the Holidays, resumed in mid-January, paused in February for an illness caught from my daughter and then in March I dropped a 15-lb dumbbell on my toe, which is still a little sore and definitely swollen.

So last week, I could finally resume training, but new routines at work have made that difficult too. And my training partner and other half for this run is my almost-fourteen-year-old daughter who gave up on running weeks ago.

Three years ago, I swore I would get in shape before my fortieth birthday. And I did. At that time, I had explored some walk-run 5K events with my friend Gayle and found the Yuengling Lager Jogger. After the first year running for beer, I vowed to try and run my next one.

And two years ago (April 11) I finished the Lager Jogger is 44-minutes something.

Now, the Girl Scouts have hosted a fitness series of three events. I attended the orienteering style one at Camp Laughing Waters with Gayle and her niece and my daughter. My daughter planned to attend the second event, a walk-run through the camp, but she ended up with bronchitis and I wouldn’t let her attend the race in the race with a troublesome set of lungs.

Then Gayle registered me, the girls, and her nephew for the Thin Mint Sprint in Wissahicken/Fairmont Park outside Philadelphia. The sign “Welcome to Philadelphia” is on park grounds.

I have always wanted to run a 5K, and run it. It didn’t happen today, but I did shave two minutes off previous times for a new personal best. Well, except for the times in training that I came in at 38-39 minutes. That was when training was working.

But I want to tell some stories from the day.

And maybe start with some quick asides:

  1. The portapotties were nastier and covered with more human feces than anything I ever saw in Africa, and that includes facilities with no running water.
  2. Parking was awful but the park was so gorgeous it is quickly forgotten.
  3. There is a rustic coffee house IN the park.
  4. I’m sorry, but strollers do not belong in 5Ks.

So onto MY experience…

I love how other runners will say kind things to you.

The first half mile was physically easy but breathing was difficult. At mile marker one, I would have traded my first born for water.

I reached the road (that actually had cars on it) that the race route crossed WHILE TRAFFIC WAS STOPPED. The cars were waiting for us and backed up for what seemed like miles and I was part of that initial horde for whom officials stopped traffic. That was awesome.

I thought the first half was all downhill, so I expected, since the race was an out-and-back, the second half would be uphill. It also seemed to be downhill. How was this possible?

I had a lot of what I call “little disappointments.” I couldn’t get my new iPhone X to start MapMyFitness so I had no idea “how I was doing.” I felt most of the way, that I wasn’t performing as well as I had wanted myself to perform. I had to let go of those thoughts.

By the time I reached the finish line, pushing down that final hill, running… I saw the clock at 42-minutes something and I was overwhelmed. Not with any discernible emotion, just overwhelmed. Hot. (It was 80 degrees and I have never run in temperatures over 70). Dehydrated. (I drank 25 ounces of water before the race and the cup in the middle.) Tired. Proud. Disappointed. Happy. Crying. Smiling.

Journaling across generations

I started keeping a journal after a writing workshop at University of Pennsylvania that I attended as a high school student. I kept them faithfully for at least a decade, tapered off in my consistency after the birth of my daughter, experimented with forms (most recently adapting a bullet journal style) and renewed my habit in the last few years but still not with the same devotion I once did.

I used to fill a standard cheap journal in a month. Larger, fancier volumes took longer. I color coded a lot of my text. One color for fiction, one color for poetry and another for personal experience. That sort of thing.

The blank ones included sketches. Briefly, I used calligraphy pen and even briefer a fancy fountain pen.

My current fascination is Alphabooks, blank journals in the shape of alphabet letters. I found the A on clearance. My husband had recommended his mother buy me the N for Christmas as it is the second letter of my name, but I fooled them and mentioned if I had the chance I would continue the series with B and write alphabetically.

I also have an affinity for Sharpie pens. I bought a set in August 2016 and they are still going strong.

Eventually, my journals ended up in a box in the attic. Or, several boxes, more accurately.

My now 13-year-old daughter has always been captivated by the written word, always written in notebooks, constantly starting projects and ripping out pages (and never finishing). She has started working on her own stories, but journaling hasn’t held her interest.

 

But she keeps asking to read my journals. I cringe.

I tell her she needs to remember that journals have a lot of angst in them, a lot of unfiltered, unedited thoughts and that what I say in these journals might not always be… well… nice or even what I would say on a different day. And some of my tales might color her opinion of the people she knows, even her own family.

But she keeps asking.
I bought her a nice journal for Christmas. And a HUGE set of Flair pens. She has journaled for 15

days straight. She starts on her journaling journey as I wonder if mine has been worth it. Who wants to read that drivel? There are so many volumes are they worth sifting through? Do I say hateful things?

She asked again. She volunteered to get them from the attic. We sorted through the boxes and at some point I had labeled the cover of the journal with the major events of that time period. I selected a pile of about ten I said she could read.

She started with the journal that included when her father and I got married.

She’s read me excerpts: story ideas I’d forgotten about, adventures and misadventures,

my life as a vegetarian. My favorite thus far has been a poem about my nephew when he was about 3, and a page where he scribbled in my journal. Then my daughter found a journal where she was 2, and I let her scribble in my journal.

So I guess those journals are worth something.

In Training

My teen and I have officially begun training for our 5k in April. In the past, we have always participated in walk/runs but this time it’s just a run.

My girlfriend Gayle registered us, and I could say she tricked me. I agreed without remembering what I was agreeing to. But Gayle knew this was on my bucket list.

A lot of things are on my bucket list, like seeing Syria and Afghanistan. Learning Arabic & Afrikaans & Euskara. Cleaning my damn house. Building a stealth camping van and living off the grid.

Running a 5k was one I thought of when I was thin and in shape. Since then I’ve gained ten pounds and broken an ankle.

So my teen and I have started the LiveWell program 3 weeks to a 30 minute a day running habit. We had to repeat week one as child came down with bronchitis.

She hasn’t really trained with me in a week, so I’ve reached the interval of run 2 minutes/walk one minute x 7 sets.

We train at the local college so instead of minutes we do laps around the indoor raised jogging track. One lap = 1/10 of a mile.

The last time I trained (I ran a mile with child on rest day), I did this routine: 2 minutes running/1 minute walking x 5; then 1 minute running/ 1 minute walking x 5. The first mile I can complete consistently day after day in 14 minutes.

On my last training run, I thought, “why is this taking so long?” 30+ minutes and I wasn’t done. Then I realized, I ran 2.5 miles in 39 minutes.

And I’ve also realized I don’t do well with the cold, uneven terrain and hills. The jogging track fixes that. And even better, I like logging/tracking distance versus time.