Goin’ to the chapel, and we’re…

Nick and I flew out of snow-covered Wisconsin early Monday morning to spend nearly two weeks in Florida. Warm, sunny Florida (or, at least sunny). The flight went smoother than we could have even hoped. I had last minute nightmares of the TSA doing a cavity search on one of us or worse—making me store my lovely ivory dress under the feet of little children with sticky red drinks.

But, the whole process was so smooth that I think it has ruined me for all other flights. Nick and I left the Fort Lauderdale airport with our dignity, and the loveliness of the dress, intact. We arrived at our destination in the Keys by early afternoon, unpacked the rental car, and were sinking our teeth into a lobster reuben, conch fritters, and coconut shrimp before 5:00. Fresh seafood…nothing better.

We dropped the rental car off with the plan to walk the three miles back to the condo where we were staying. We figured that we could use a little exercise to work off some of the fried food! Upon arrival in Marathon, I shucked my socks and shoes in favor of my Birkenstocks. Let me tell anyone who is wondering: even though Florida is warmer than Wisconsin, the low 50s are still pretty darn cold! The weather guys keep saying that this cold snap is almost over, but I’m questioning all of the shorts I packed!

Yesterday, our first full day in the Keys, was our big errand day. We walked through the place where were are exchanging vows, met our officiant, acquired our marriage license, and I had a trial run scheduled for hair and makeup—all in Key West, about an hour’s drive away from the condo. We had the first three done by 11:30, so we found a place to park and walked to Sloppy Joe’s.

That’s when the story turns a bit sour. I ordered a crab cake sandwich and Nick ordered the bar’s namesake. I quickly developed a crush for the Robert Plant look-alike singing on stage. After he sang Mrs. Robinson and Band on the Run, I knew that I could have spent the afternoon drinking and hanging on his every silky word. And, that hair! What is it about long curly locks that makes musicians so darn attractive!?

While I was busy drooling, Nick excused himself twice to use the restroom. I didn’t think much of it at that time because we both have delicate tummies, but when he excused himself the last time and asked me to take care of the bill, I had an inkling that something was off. I dragged my eyes away from Robert Plant and signaled for the waiter. It was difficult to divert my attention, but I did what had to be done. SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU, NICK?

What followed was an afternoon of retching. Some in the privacy of restrooms and some not so private in waste receptacles along Duval Street. I wanted to cancel my trial run at 2:30, but Nick kept saying “Absolutely not, I’m feeling better.” His pale, gray appearance bellied his words, but he is impossible to argue with when he sets his mind.

My original idea with the trial run was to get all pretty and then go out to a nice restaurant. I walked out of the studio, looking like I was ready for a pageant (or a wedding), and Nick ran across the street to puke behind a tree.

Needless to say, last night did not end in a romantic dinner. We did make it back to the condo, and Nick passed out on the couch, too afraid to consume anything. I took a picture of myself with the hair and makeup before removing all the bobby pins and showering. I know he insisted on me doing the trial run because I had been looking forward to it, but I felt just awful for staying in Key West longer than we had to.

This morning he seems to be better, so I hope that he will enjoy the rest of his time here. Now we can’t decide if it was the one margarita he had or the fact that he didn’t have a lot of caffeine yesterday. Either way, I am grateful that it doesn’t appear to be the stomach flu! Even so, the hair and makeup lady suggested Emergen-C and lots of hand sanitizer, hah! Four days left! Let’s hope they pass without incident (well, without incident besides an exchange of vows, I guess)!

I ran 1,000 miles in 2010!

This was the first year that I have ever set a New Years goal for myself. To say that I never used to respect myself enough to keep a personal goal is a fair statement of the Laura’s of years gone by. I thought the idea of resolutions was just a recipe to feel like a failure. Why promise yourself something when you know that you are going to give up after a few months anyway? (I feel like the Debbie Downer trombone’s “wah wha” should play right about here!)

Naturally, losing someone close to you changes you forever; if you care enough to look, some of those changes can be for the better. I feel like life was dull before Mom got sick. By “dull”, I do not mean unexciting, but rather that nothing that touched me seemed to make a mark. I suppose that is a defense mechanism of sorts, but all the same it keeps you from experiencing life to the fullest.

All that changed when something completely unexpected happened: my mother and best friend was diagnosed with end-stage Cancer at a routine physical. With that news, and without my permission, the shield shattered and hundreds of sharp knives seemed to claw at me for days…months…years. That phone call changed my life (I was living 1,200 miles away at the time). I felt like I cried a lifetime of pent-up tears in those initial months, and then every tiny thing would set me off. I hated it.

But I needed it, really needed it. I needed to be able to feel or I wasn’t living life the way I should, the way that Mom would have lived it had she been given more time. I’ve made a lot of promises to myself in the years since she left, and I have actually cared enough to keep them.

It was with that sentiment, almost four years after she passed, that I set what I thought would be a nearly impossible running goal for myself, particularly with having very little free time outside of work and school. It had to be a big goal that I needed to work on throughout the year, or I would have procrastinated until, oh…October.

No matter how many different ways I tried to divide the mileage (2.74 miles a day for 365 days, 19.23 a week for 52 weeks, 83.33 miles a month for 12 months, 250 miles each quarter for four quarters), I couldn’t figure out how to take an easy way out. So, I just did it!

Jingle Bell Run - 12/11/2010
(L-R) Nick, Laura, Jeff

Nick, Jeff, and I showed up for one last race this year (Jeff has completed almost 20 in 2010!) with the threat of blizzard in the sky to toast the end of a successful running year. Cheers and congratulations to everyone as they wrap up their yearly goals!