Life Or Something Like It

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Comedy Club

It ain’t easy being cheesy. I should know. Before television, I spent 4 years turning song titles into sexual innuendo on the radio. Add to that all the Dad Jokes my kids have groaned at for the past 25 years. It’s a wonder anyone in my family has laughed in a quarter century.

But my cheese is just that. Goopy, sloppy retorts I slather on every conversation. I’m more of a joke shot gun than anything else. Fire enough ammo, and I’m bound to hit something.

My oldest son inherited that. Sorry dude.

17218503_10210702893920682_1843461757024607662_oMy youngest, well, he’s more analytical. Before he could even talk, we could see it. When Nick learned how his fingers worked, we could something happening behind those brown eyes. It was like his brain was trying to take this new-found skill and use it for something all together different than its intended purpose.

There was always something happening behind those eyes. Whether it was deconstructing Barney the Dinosaur’s “Clean Up” song, or befuddling his older brother with a 4-year-old’s logic, Nick kept us on our toes.

While his older brother excelled at sports, athletics never clicked for Nick. But he would insist on following in his brother’s footsteps. Still, we could see, it didn’t quite fit.

10400398_1188405063170_7327712_n

Nick was a rebel. Not in the usual sense. He didn’t get into trouble. But unlike kids his own age, he didn’t care what anybody thought about the way he looked, the things he did, or the people he called friends.

While his brother could walk in and own a room, Nick would rather sit with the adults and ask questions. He didn’t ask normal questions either. He always took conversations to deep and unexpected places. Like his first sex question. Not the usual, “what’s making out?” or “where do babies come from?” Nick asked, “What’s a blow job?”

Kinda glad I wasn’t in the car for that one.

In high school, his brain got him into all sorts of scrapes . . . mostly with teachers ill-equipped or unwilling to humor a kid with a mind of his own. Imagine a free thinker in a high school religion class.

Then came that day in his senior year. The semester was winding down. It think it was just before exams. Nick came to his mom and me and told us he had finished studying, and wanted to go to a bar the following night. (It’s Louisiana. So, yeah, it was legal.)

1486119_10103411106417425_4690932779115612618_oHe didn’t want to drink or party. He wanted to walk on stage and tell jokes.

We were floored. The kid with the huge intellect and the weird questions, the kid who would rather sit in his room and read the internet from start to finish, wanted to stand up in front of people and dare to make them laugh.

What could we say?

We could have said, “Hell no! You’ve got exams this week Mister Funny Man!” I may have even tried. My wife stopped me.

The first time we saw him, we could not believe it. He was funny! Not just family-gathering-inside-joke funny. For nearly 30 minutes, Nick held a barroom full of people in the palm of his hand. And they laughed.

They laughed hard.

A funny thing happened that night. Our awkward rebel found a home. It was amazing to see. In 30 minutes, my whole vision of my son changed. He wasn’t that awkward kid who listened to that man who cusses at movie screens on the internet.

He was a man. Talking about grown up issues. Challenging the conventions of everyone in that room, just as he had in all those discussions in our living room. Only this time, his audience wasn’t a curmudgeon who thought he was a communist, it was a crowed bar full of people. And they ate it up.

1014703_722230284527768_768910072053536914_o

I don’t know when my chest puffed out bigger, or when I had seen our little brain so happy.

That was more than three years ago. Every opportunity since that first open mic, Nick has hunted a stage to make people laugh — a job that may be even harder than being a parent.

This week, Nick heads west to chase his dream. (Something I could have never done at his age.) Seven booked shows in seven nights, in Los Angeles.

So, if you’re in LA between June 30 and July 7, look him up. He’ll be the kid in ill-fitting clothes cracking wise beyond his years.

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Feelgood

When your doctor is on indefinite medical leave, it might be time to find a new one. Don’t get me wrong, I love my doctor. He’s a great guy. And he’s the team physician for a local college football team that begins with “L” and ends in “U.”

© 2007 Robert Seale Robert Seale Photography www.robertseale.com 832-654-9572

He’s nursed me back to health from all sorts of work-related injuries. Like that time I blew out my knee chasing Lil’ Boosie’s momma around the courthouse. And he’s probed me in places even my wife won’t touch.

Just a few years ago, the doctor was simply the dude in the ER who stitched me up after a dare gone bad. Now, it seems I need one weekly. Men, in general, have an aversion to doctors. I think it all starts when we are kids.

On the little league field we rub dirt on it. We walk it off. Blood makes the grass grow. We don’t need doctors. We just need a little time to shake everything back into place.

5440740-9779688409-39705

In high school, the doctor asks you to turn your head and cough. In college he gives you a shot of penicillin and sends you on your merry way.

In short, the good doctor is rarely good.

Even into adulthood, the doctor holds only bad news in his gloved hand. High blood pressure, cancer, migraines, depression, diabetes. He’s almost as scary as Jason Voorhees.

Then of course, there’s the reason his hand is gloved.

Which brings me to the reason I needed a doctor this week.

download

It’s time for the yearly drop-em-and-bend procedure. Without a current doc, I did what any man would do — took the first name on the list at my local hospital.

So, I called Dr. Blaise. Of course, he’s not taking new patients, but a new physician in his practice is. Well, sign me up.

The kind voice on the other end of the phone told me I would be seeing Dr. Candi.  “With an ‘I.'”

There were a number of thoughts that whizzed through my cortex. But they were not what you might think.

No, it didn’t bother me that Dr. Candi With An I was a woman. It’s 2017, and I’m old. It wasn’t that she was “new.” In all those years in med school, she had to learn something.

The one thought that stuck in my head when I was told that I would be seeing Dr. Candi With An I was, “Great, I got the one stripper who really was paying her way thorough med school.”

il_570xN.1253432507_a0yeI freely admit that is chauvinistic and completely inappropriate. I also admit that before my appointment I showered with that special “smell good” soap my wife bought me.

Dr. Candi With An I was completely professional, and completely lovely. She asked about my medical history, my family, my health. We talked about diet, exercise, work, Crossfit. Turns out she’s a fan, though not a cult member.

It almost felt like a first date.

Then came the moment of truth, and I learned she had one important qualification my old doc didn’t. Small hands.

When it was all said and done, Dr. Candi With An I gave me her number and told me to call anytime.

I think I might have a shot.

 

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Satire, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yah Nasty

isla_280x280.25591620_jocox1yoThere are few things worse than coming home smelling like a photog — crackhouse fires, sewer plant explosions, swamp ass, eaux de politician — most days, I could knock a buzzard off a shit wagon.

Lately, I’ve cleaned up pretty good. That’s saying a lot considering what I’m working with, but it’s not me. It’s the soap.

It started off as gifts for my wife — samples from a local hair dresser perfecting her recipes. Handcrafted soaps made from natural clays, aromatic oils, and all kinds of other stuff guys like me don’t understand. I just know my wife came out of the tub soft, smelling great, and relaxed.

My favorite is the name Yah Nasty — because why else would you use a great-smelling soap.

In all seriousness, it’s great soap. Hell, we have a bar in every room and they keep the whole house smelling great, and they look better than any Glade Plug-In or those crappy pull-top air fresheners.

il_570xN.1253422059_ghsfAnd when you get right down to it, who would’t want to smell like Grandma’s Couch? Soft rose scents with a hint of jasmine take you back to those days sneaking cookies on that ugly floral couch.

How’s about an old goat? Rolled Goats, made from goat’s milk, oats, and essential oils smell like no barnyard I’ve ever schlepped a camera through.

il_570xN.1253432507_a0yeShe’s even got one for men. Put A Beard On It, with it’s sandalwood, black tea, and activated charcoal scrubbed off the nastiest assignments the Adult in the Room has thrown at me and left me smelling good enough for my wife to actually sit next to me.

You owe it to yourself — or the lady in your life — to check these out.

My next bar is going straight into my work car. Gas fumes and stale cheese poofies don’t stand a chance.

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Family

It happened 11 years ago this month, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Hurricane Katrina had flooded New Orleans. Every television station was broadcasting around-the-clock live coverage. Every photographer was pulling 16-hour shifts. There was no end in sight.

I went home that night, exhausted. I grabbed a beer and flopped in my recliner hoping for a few minutes to clear my head of the carnage I had documented over the previous month. My 9-year-old son wandered into the family room, gave me a hug, and asked me, “Dad, why would God let this happen?”

I honestly do know where the answer I gave him came from. “Sometimes, bad things happen, and it’s up to us to be an example of God’s love to other people.”

That seemed to satisfy him.

img_5135As we muddle through the recovery from our own flood, I’m struck by how true those words were then, and still are now.

My wife left our home with two duffle bags of clothes and no idea where we would lay our heads for one night, much less for the months it will take for us to get back into our home.

Friends took us in. They fed us. They sheltered us. They gave us a shoulder to lean on. Not just for a night or two, but an open invitation to stay as long as it took us to get back on our feet.

Three days in, they took in our son who had also flooded. They gave us a place to huddle together to regroup, to rest, and to prepare for whatever came our way. In our time of greatest need, they gave us what we needed most. A place filled with love and hope for better days ahead. They gave us a home. A family.

img_4843Even before the flood waters had receded, an army of family was making plans to help gut our house and speed us onto the road to recovery. Strangers from around the country poured into our neighborhood to help however they could, whether it was manual labor, supplies, food, or just to stop in to pray. They lifted our spirits.

It’s been two months since the Amite River invaded our home, and we still see God’s love all around us: in neighbors swapping cleaning supplies, the Red Cross wagon that circles our neighborhood almost every day with hot lunches, and the trash crew that is slowly getting our street clean.

Today, we are well on our way to rebuilding our lives. Thanks to talented friends willing to give their nights and weekends, our house again has doors, electricity, insulation, and walls.

God’s love manifest itself almost daily in our lives, mostly in the little things. We just don’t notice it until we are at our most desperate, our most vulnerable. It’s in those times, when we need Him the most, that we find Him in the people around us.

img_5170And if there was ever any doubt, this afternoon, while we were raking drywall crumbs out of our grass where our entire house was emptied and hauled away to the dump. My wife found this.

My grandmother’s rosary. It was a gift on our wedding day. At this point in our lives, we did not need the reminder. We have seen His love in the face of everyone who has helped and encouraged us along the way.

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Here’s Your Sign

northern_cardinal_7 Whether it was as a kid watching the scarlet blurs flit in and out of the pecan trees of my grandmother’s back yard, my fellow E. D.White High School Cardinal classmates, or the color a former news director’s face would turn when he yelled at me (which was pretty often), cardinals have always made me smile. And with all that’s happened since the Amite River invaded my home five weeks ago, I could use a smile.

Since the muddy waters have receded, my wife and I have heard a constant refrain. “I love your attitude.” “You are so strong.” The truth is, we are not strong. We simply have no choice.

Every day since August 13 has been an emotional roller coaster, unbelievable highs over the simplest good news, followed by unbearable lows when that good news turns out to be false.

The worst is the uncertainty of the recovery process. FEMA seems to be making things up as we go. In the morning we will not have to raise our home. By lunchtime, we will have to raze it.

15732101329_6d797462c2_oIt’s not that our house is that important. It is where we have raised our family, where we’ve weathered the storms of colic, adolescent angst, and watched our boys leave the nest. It is where we celebrated life through middle school sports, high school wrestling, and rock concerts. Where we have gathered with friends for Super Bowls, game nights, and New Year’s Eve parties in the middle of February. Crawfish boils, pool parties, and hammock time, our house was always alive.

It’s the place we slowly made our own by the sweat of our brow, stripping wallpaper, sanding sheetrock, painting, installing floors and lights and counter tops. But it is still only warehouse where we lived in with our stuff.

29147005140_88e571937c_oLast week, as I wandered inside the empty shell wondering if we would ever celebrate another birthday or choose another wall color here again, I cracked.

It was not the idea of bulldozing the life we had made here that drew the tears to my eyes. It was the thought of losing what little we had left in the world.

I walked into the woods behind our house and cried. We had been faithful. We had not questioned. And I would not do it now.

Through the tears, I prayed for strength. The strength to let go, to trust in someone stronger.

On a sun-dried limb 30 yards away, in the fading light of the day, the brightest cardinal I have ever seen perched. He cocked his head my way as if to make sure I had seen him, then he flew away.

I laughed until I cried. I had been leaning on someone stronger the whole time.

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Losing It

14232489_10208956828370825_7740601966627015887_nRain cascaded off of the hood of my slicker suit, past the eye cup of my camera, and dropped into the shin-deep water under my tripod. I barely noticed the reporter blinking behind water-speckled eyeglasses. It was the boat motoring down what, 12 hours earlier, had been a neighborhood street that had my attention.

An elderly man in a plastic, yellow coat wrapped his arm around a gray-haired woman shivering under an umbrella as they drifted toward me. On the deck, a garbage bag that I assumed held the couple’s only worldly possessions not soon to be underwater. At the aft, a middle-aged man wiped rain from his face as he steered.

I’m actually surprised I remember so much detail; my mind was not on my job. I was thinking about my wife.

I had left her just thirty minuets earlier. I had snugged the blankets around her as I kissed her forehead and left for work. Before leaving, I had checked the neighborhood. The weatherman had said water was on the way. Our neighborhood had survived the great flood of 1983, then the flood of ’91, and Tropical Storm Allison which had put so many others underwater. We would be safe. But how close would the water get?

The Amite River meanders through the dense woods between our neighborhood and the city of Denham Springs, a mile-and-a-half east of our home as the crow flies. At 6:30 that Saturday morning, it was just 80 yards from our back door.

img_4423
It was 7AM when I got the text. “The water is at the door. Paul and Eileen are helping me leave.” I told my wife I was on my way. She told me, “Why? There is nothing you can do. It’s coming too fast.”

Before she left, she took one picture, “I saved the important stuff.” A joke, something to lift my spirits while pushed down my emotions to focus on my job — getting information to a bewildered, waterlogged, and lost community.

Over the next two days, the Amite’s muddy water seeped past our locked doors and made itself at home. It left its mark at five feet, just above the light switches. I shot images of homes
with water to their roofs, newly homeless wading on flooded high ground with garbage bag luggage, reporters interviewing shell-shocked evacuees. I filed reports solo via cell phone. I sat at the anchor desk chatting with viewers about what I had seen. img_4674About what we had lost.

It was an on-air question by my friend, our main anchor Greg Meriweather, that did it. “How can you sit here and be so upbeat and calm when you just saw your house with water almost to the roof, and you realize that, like so many of our viewers, you just lost everything?”

For two days, I had answered anyone who asked, “We are lucky.” It wasn’t a cliche. We were.

My wife, son, and I were safe. Wonderful friends had taken us in and offered us their home for as long as we need it. We got out with two duffle bags of clothes when many had only the clothes on their backs. We were not in a shelter. Our employers had not been flooded. We would not miss a paycheck.

I don’t know where the answer I gave Greg came from that evening, but I talked not about the flood, or our luck, or our community. I talked about my childhood.

About a blue collar neighborhood where people don’t sit around complaining about work that needs to be done. They go out and do it. About faith. Not the kind we practice in church on Sundays, but the example of service lived by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart who ran my high school. I talked about lessons. Not not lessons taught in class, but those absorbed growing up in a small town filled with selfless people, that there is always someone more important than me. And lessons yet to be learned, like accepting God’s grace in the form of helping hands from friends and strangers.

I told Greg that what had humbled us most over those two days had not been the scope of the waters or the power of nature. More humbling for my wife and I were the number of people who launched their boats off the interstate to help. They were not marshaled by the police, or requested by the government. The Cajun Navy showed up on its own.
img_4830Boatmen like the middle-aged man in my lens two days earlier had come to help. They did not ask about race, religion, sexual identity. They just put people in their boats and brought them to safety.

Most humbling was the number of friends, family, and total strangers who offered prayers for our safety, our future, and our strength.

One week after the flood waters left our home, my wife, son, and I stood drenched in sweat inside the shell of our home. We looked around at the army of friends and family working pulling sheetrock, ripping out cabinets, and hauling debris to the curb. Greg’s question rolled through my head. “How can you be so upbeat and calm, when you’ve just lost everything.”

This time, a different answer came to mind. We may have lost everything we owned. But we have not lost everything.

 

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Flood

So many people have been asking about how we are doing here in Baton Rouge since the flood. I’m sure I’ll sit down soon and reflect, but right now, there is just no time. It’s easier to update everyone this way, so here it is.

We are doing swimmingly!

I got to my house yesterday. (Been out since Friday.) I was at work. Gail got out about 7:30AM with her car and two duffle bags of clothes. Brock’s car was too low to drive through the water. It went from dry street, yard and neighborhood when I left, to two feet in the streets that fast. We had a little more than 5 feet of water inside. Everything else is gone.

Life is amazing. The number of people praying for us is the most humbling thing Gail and I have ever experienced. Everyone we know, and many people we don’t know have and are offering any help they can give. The best are just the silent hugs when words fail. We are safe, dry, and well-fed. Some friends have taken us in and offered us the 2nd floor of their home for as long as we need it. We have a roof, soft bed, and hot shower. We may never leave.
We got back into our house yesterday. Outside, it looks like God sifted a giant can of Chocolate Quik powder over the entire neighborhood. River silt everywhere. Brock’s car is no longer black. It’s chocolate. We’ve got this heavy-ass, 12-foot bench made with laminated beams. It takes 3 men to move it. Well, it walked across the back yard for a better view of the flowerbeds.
Inside, smells awful. Hell, you can actually smell it from outside. It looks like our living room furniture decided it was hungry and migrated to the kitchen for a snack. Everything is covered in the same slimy silt. All of the sheetrock will have to come down. The wood floors will have to go. All of the furniture, appliances, cabinets — hell, everything will have to go. But that’s no big deal, we were going to remodel our bathroom anyway.
We haven’t totally decided on the clothes yet, but we’re pretty sure after 3 days in that crap, the smell will never come out.
Before Gail left, she threw a bunch of pictures and sentimental crap on the top shelf of our bedroom closet. All of that is safe. We are so thankful for that.
We visited the house late yesterday after work. We haven’t begun the moving out party yet.
Thankfully, we are insured. The adjuster will be here Thursday or Friday. Gail and I will take that day off to begin the clean out. I can’t call it clean up because there aint much to clean.
My youngest son, Nick’s, home was also flooded. He is with us now. Thankfully, Brock is in North Carolina at Marine Combat Training. He has no electronic device of any kind and is blissfully unaware of all of this.
We are the lucky ones. We are alive. And we are in a home surrounded by friends instead of a shelter somewhere. The flood has not taken our jobs from us. We will not miss a paycheck. So many don’t even have work to occupy their minds for a few hours a day, and have only what’s not there to think about.
People can’t believe that Gail and I are so at peace with all this, but really, there is not much to be upset about. It is beyond our control, and our faith tells us that God is in control. The most upsetting part of this is that we are usually The Helpers. We are the ones cleaning out someone else’s home, cooking dinner for a family that has worked all day, or helping out at a shelter. This isn’t supposed to happen to The Helpers. But again, it is a chance for us to learn about God’s grace. To learn to be on the receiving end.
People ask constantly what we need. We are not at the point where we even know that much yet. What we need most are prayers. With everyone’s prayers, we will get through this. Hell, we have no choice, we have to find out what happens to Ethan Lovett.
Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Devine Humor

They say be careful what you pray for, that God has a sense of humor.

As parents we pray. We pray even before we have kids. We pray to simply conceive. Then, one day, we see that faint blue line in that little window. We pray our pregnancy will be normal, that we can actually do this. We pray the morning sickness will pass.We pray for ten fingers and ten toes. We pray for health. And at 8 months, in the dead of summer, we pray this will hurry the hell up.

brock gail sleepWhen our first child was born, my wife and I prayed like all new parents do: for knowledge,  for happiness, for strength, and for sleep.

But it’s the little things most people never pray for: just for a normal kid. Or first son lived the first two years of his life with a big purple bruise in the center of his forehead. He just liked to bang his head on things. The floor, the wall, the table, the concrete driveway. Anything!

He clung to his mother. She was the only one who could feed him, take him for a walk, or put him to bed. He refused to let his grandparents (or pretty much anyone else) hold him.

“It’s a phase,” they said. “He’ll grow out of it.”

He didn’t. It got worse.

If we went grocery shopping, he worried that we would get locked in the store, or that we would not be able to find the car when we left. He worried we would get lost any time we drove anywhere. If there was a white cloud in the sky, it was going to rain, and we were all going to drown.

Through it all, we prayed. We prayed for a normal kid, one who could run and laugh and play with the other kids, a care-free kid who leave the house without looking at the sky. But we could see the fear on his face every time we dropped him at school or at a friend’s house.

God heard our prayers. He gave him a younger brother who took care of him, who calmed his fears, and kept the family sane

A psychologist finally diagnosed him with social anxiety. Banging his head had been the only way a toddler could cope with the overwhelming fear he felt. “He’ll out grow it,” he said.

clownsFor nearly 12 years, we prayed for something to free our son from the prison in his mind. Medication helped, but that brought on other side-effects. A fearless younger brother pushed him. Gymnastics gave him confidence in his body, but his mind still held him hostage. And we prayed. We didn’t want anything special for him, just a normal life.

The doctors were eventually right. By high school, he was a normal kid. He could finally hang with his friends without panicking. He could play in the rain. He could talk to anyone. When he walked into a room, he owned it. It didn’t matter who was there, jocks, geeks, emos, preppies, teachers, parents; they all loved the him.

DSC_0259Our prayers had finally been answered. We had our normal kid.

By the time college rolled around, he was the life of the party. And that first year of college was a party. We prayed our normal kid could balance everything. He could not.

When he dropped out, we prayed he could finally buckle down, find a job, and be responsible. It took us kicking him out for that to happen. As a parent, it was the hardest decision we had ever had to make.

Just because your kid leaves, doesn’t mean you stop praying. You pray more.

You pray he can make the rent, that he uses a designated driver when he goes out, that he doesn’t fall in with the wrong friends, that he doesn’t come home with a kid of his own, that he gets his act together, that he’s happy. And when your kid lived with crippling anxiety, you pray he stays strong, that he stays brave.

This week, we send that scared kid with the perpetual bruise on his forehead into the Marine Corps. Proud of the man he has become, and nervous for what lies ahead.

DSC_0576

And we pray. We pray for his safety, for our country, our leaders, and all those men and women serving with him. We already know God hears prayers. He’s given us the kid we’ve always prayed for.

DSC_0139And if there was any doubt, He sent him off with a party in the middle of one of worst thunderstorms ever to hit our house. Good one, Big Guy.

 

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

There Will Be Mud

DCIM105GOPROFrom the euphoria of conquering Everest to the muck in the bowels of the mud pit, one thing the Tough Mudder course never does is let up. My intrepid team of Mudder’s had barely set our feet on solid ground when the trek to the next challenge began.

My son and I ran point. My sister and cousin trod in our footprints, a half-mile up a gentle incline. But nothing about the Mudder is gentle. This slope was covered in soft, dry sand. Better to muscle through and rest at the top than to break our pace and breathe easy.

DCIM105GOPROAnother mile and three more obstacles down the winding trail, we saw it. The Mudder’s namesake. The Mud Mile. All this time we had been gradually ascending. Now the Mudder would throw us into a pit of Hell. Down another winding trail with no place to stand but loose, red dirt.

We kept our feet moving. To rest was to tumble through the legs of the Mudders ahead of us. Up one pile of freshly dug dirt, and down another until we reached the canyon floor.

DCIM106GOPROIf the Mud Mile were simply mud, what would be the challenge? Water, thick as pancake batter met us first. First to our ankles, then above our knees, but that is for kids. The batter reached our chests as our legs sank past our knees in soft, squishy muck. Then it was over slick clay walls nearly as tall as we were. Not one, but three per mud pit.

Then out of the pit and across more loose dirt and sand. It clung to our clothes and caked inside our shoes. We repeated this ritual for a mile, maybe more with nothing but belly-crawls through loose sand as an interlude.

DCIM106GOPROWhen it came to an end, we had to leave the pit, but not on the same winding trail we had entered. No, Mudders climb out, on ropes. We scaled the walls, many pounds heavier than when we entered the pit thanks to the red clay, mud, and sand in our shoes, shorts, and hair.

We had survived the toughest, nastiest obstacles the Mudder could throw at us. We simply had a mile sprint to the finish. Our months of training paid off. DSC_0307While other teams gasped for air, we trotted past them grinning ear to ear. The finish line lay just ahead, and so did the bright orange headbands that would crown us as official Tough Mudders.

We’ve had a month to bask in the glow of our accomplishments. Now, it is on to The Spartan Trifecta.

Categories: Fun, Life Or Something Like It | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conquering Everest

DCIM103GOPROThe crisp morning air crackled with anticipation. We had watched the forecast for two weeks and prayed the storms forecast for the morning of our ascent would pass us by. Now, under the mid-morning sun, my team chatted with nearly 200 other hopefuls waiting to begin our journey from base camp up the face of Everest.

The only thing standing in our way, an eight-foot wall of lumber painted black and emblazoned with the Tough Mudder logo. Everest is one of the Mudder’s signature obstacles — a twenty-foot quarter pipe sheathed in aluminum and coated with water and glycol just to keep things interesting.

But the monster lay in wait more than five miles down the course. race_702_photo_15314523Before we would get a chance to even view her, we would have to maneuver our team across and over obstacles designed to test our strength, stamina, agility, comraderie, and grit.

The Tough Mudder eats other obstacle courses for breakfast and barely burps. My son, cousin, baby sister, and I had trained for four months with our only goal to survive obstacles with names like Funky Monkey, Cry Baby, Pole Dancer, Beached Whale, and Arctic Enema.

Between each obstacle, a grueling tromp through soft sand, up hills, and across lakes of water and mud. The plan was simple. My son and I would set the pace for the run, and we would work together with our team and others to make it past anything else the Mudder would throw at us.

DCIM103GOPROThe Funky Monkey, Pole Dancer, and Beached Whale tested our strength. We blasted the Arctic Enema (imagine the The Ice Bucket Challenge on crack) by sheer will-power. Then we saw her, the orange and white megalith we had come to conquer. Amped on adrenaline, my son was the first to test Everest. A running start, a leap of faith, and the flying grip of the Mudder before him helped land Brock safely on the summit.

DSC_0195Then it was my turn. Stamina was no problem. My training had served me well. My legs felt fresh as they churned up the slope. One fourth. One third. One half the way up. Then, when if felt like I was losing steam, one giant leap. I was airborne. Time seemed to stand still as I soared above mere mortal sherpas. (It felt more graceful than it actually was.) I was going to conquer Everest.

Then, reality set in. My chest crashed on Everest’s peak. Air drained from my lungs, and gravity began to snatch my victory.DSC_0249 A hand clenched my elbow. My feet kicked and scrambled for grip on the slick surface. Two great heaves later, I stood atop my nemisis with no time to reflect. We still had two team members to help over the top.

Once we were all safe atop the peak, we paused for one triumphant moment, the sun smiling on our accomplishment. Then, like all who scale Everest, we headed back down. We were only half-way through our trek and still had a Mile of Mud to vanquish.

Categories: Fun, Life Or Something Like It | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

the warble

the official blog of Karen Ullo, author

Todd Rossnagel

My phone calls me "Horse Nail"

My great Wordpress blog

Just another WordPress site

Craig Runs...

...The London Marathon

Ubiquitous Bubba's Blog

Books, Characters, Alien Poetry, and Ponderings

Foul Mouthed Hooligans

Stories so good, you'll need to wash your mouth out with soap.

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

The Life and Times of Nathan Badley...

just like Moby Dick, but shorter and less whale-oriented.

andrewgobeil

Observations, discussions and thoughts.....

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

TNcoonass

A Louisiana boy finds a home in Tennessee

baton rouge music studios

225.769.6225 | contact@brmusicstudios.com

R. D. Harless

That's a hot box of cereal

live apartment fire

Confessions of a grey-headed reporter