You'd think Smythe Oregon would be closer to Seattle. (aka The Reunion)

I haven’t seen Bitchy for 10 months.  

That’s ten WHOLE months! 

Remember when she moved back in with me after college and we were like Felix and Oscar? Remember when I was calling her “grandma” because she was going to bed at nine, staying in on the weekends and going grocery shopping every Sunday with her mother?  Remember when I had her bags packed even when I had no idea she was moving anywhere?

Some of you might recall that her knight in shining armor flew across the country, bundled her up into her white Honda and rode off into the sunset; far, far AWAY into the sunset, the sunset that sets on the west coast of the country in Seattle, Washington.  While this was quite a happy day for everyone involved (especially her mother), it has been (SURPRISINGLY) incredibly difficult to be that far away from my firstborn.

I’ve never understood how parents can beg or plead for their child to live at home or near home when there is a whole world out there for them to explore.  It never felt right to me to ever question my children about where they should live OR work.  I think that we each have a path to follow and that it’s important to not impede your child’s journey by imposing a selfish wish upon them.  I’m just sayin’. 

HOWEVER, it certainly has been a bit harder than I expected. 

Nevertheless, my knight in shining armor decided that we both needed to see Bitchy, and arranged for us to fly out there for a trip at the end of June. I’ve been blown away by our trips to Las Vegas, The Cayman Islands, Florida and the wine country.  But this trip, this one to visit a part of my heart, well I have no words to adequately describe my gratitude.

We flew first class (Who knew?  WHO KNEW?  People, they practically wash your hands and give you a massage on the trip.) and it was crazy.  Did you know that the first thing you do when you board first class on a trip across the country is order your four course meal? THEN you get to enjoy some drinks while waiting for all things spectacular.

But I digress.

After a day long adventure with buses, planes and automobiles, we finally made our way to their apartment.  We parked and walked up the steps and saw them waiting for us.  I walked towards her smiling and we wrapped our arms around each other. I laughed and smiled at first, but couldn’t stop hugging her.

Then as I was holding my girl in my arms I started to cry. It started quite unexpectedly and quickly turned into ugly sobbing.  You know the kind, the sobbing that ends in those weird hiccupy things.
“OMG, mom! Are you crying?” I heard her ask as I clung to her.  I nodded my head and kept my arms around her. “You are hysterical,” she laughed, all the while allowing me to cling to her like a drowning woman.

I finally composed myself and we walked into their place arm in arm.  I couldn’t explain to her what had happened, because I wasn’t quite sure myself.  But what I wanted to say- what I should have said, was this.  A child holds a huge part of a parent’s heart. That heart is never quite the same until that child is back in their arms.  

And so that ugly crying?  That was my heart weeping for joy.



Wait, you're from IOWA? (aka Angels live ALL over...)

The Jet Ski adventure PART THREE!!

She was smiling and holding a Corona as she approached us.

“Hi!” she said, “We’ve been admiring your Jet-Ski’s!  My husband and I have a couple back home and we love them!”

“Well,” I said with a hint of the exhaustion in my voice, “we’ve only had then for three days, but wait until you hear what happened.”  I recounted the events of the day for her, all the while trying to edge closer and close to the tiny amount of shade I noticed being cast down by the massive palm tree next to me.

She listened to my story and her eyes got huge. “WAIT HERE!” she said excitedly, “I think my husband can help!” She turned towards the cottage next door and then shouted over her shoulder, “He used to RACE Jet Ski’s. I’m sure he can fix it!”

I watched in shock as she ran across the sand. I looked back at Ray who had been watching and listening to our exchange.

“Wow!” he said. “Wouldn’t that be crazy if he could help?” I was WAY too tired and sun burned to hope, but I did anyway. 

Moments later a very attractive, very muscular guy with amazing tattoos up and down his arms came strolling across the beach.  He smiled and shook our hands as we introduced ourselves.  He wasted no time walking around the Ski and then ran back into his unit for his snorkel and mask.  His wife stood with us and assured us again that if anyone could fix a Jet Ski, it would be Jack.

He came out quickly and walked out into the muddy, murky, seaweed-laden water to inspect underneath the Jet Ski.  We watched intently and held our breath.

He emerged a short time later and tossed his snorkel and mask onto the beach. “There is an ANCHOR sticking our of your engine, and I’m pretty sure there’s a good amount of rope inside it.  We’ll have to put her on her side and I think I can get it out.”

We were all stunned and very hopeful! Ray ran to his unit and grabbed some tools, and I ran to the fridge for some very needed Corona’s for all of us. 

We got back to the beach and all hoisted the Sea Doo on it’s side. Now remember, this is the ski that is VERY BIG. It fits three people and can pull a skier big. The three of us, a 72-year young man, a 50 some year old school teacher and a 30-year old beach babe held that 1200 pound ski up while Jack pulled/cut out the anchor.  He proceeded to pull foot after foot of rope out of that engine, while three or more gentlemen (and I use that term loosely) watched us ten feet away in the pool area. WATCHED. 

After 15 minutes or so, Jack proclaimed the engine rope-free and we lowered the Jet Ski into the water. Thank the Lord, because I was pretty sure we couldn't hold that thing much longer. 

Jack looked at Ray.  “Start ‘er up.” 

I looked at Ray and said a prayer. 

He stepped onto the ski, swung his leg over and looked at the three of us as he reached for the key.

The engine ROARED TO LIFE!

“OH MY GOD!!” I shouted.  “Oh my GOD YOU ARE SO AWESOME!” I shouted at Jack and his wife. “What are the odds that you guys-who were staying right next door to us- would be able to fix the Jet Ski?  Oh my God.”  We all laughed and went about tying the skis up to the dock. We invited them back to our unit for some additional MUCH needed beverages.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting to know this young, amazing couple from Des Moines, Iowa.  The couple who not only sells real estate, has four children between them, organizes and manages MMA bouts across the country while he works an amazing job at Wells Fargo bank, but who are apparently miracle Jet Ski repair people.

What kind of crazy miracle was that? 

And then the next day, our group Jet Ski adventure began…


Cast Away....Cayman Style....(Except for the Island, and the plane crash, and the spears....)

We were bouncing across the ocean sitting back to back on my bright green, sporty Jet Ski. Ray’s larger, much more powerful one was bobbing wildly behind us at the end of a ten foot towrope. In fact, it looked a bit like an angry child being dragged into the doctor’s office against his will. (I remember being the dragger on MORE than one occasion and it’s not a pretty sight.) 

I hung onto the handles on either side of the seat with my back to Ray’s, praying that I wouldn’t be bounced off the back and into the path of the crippled Jet Ski. Ray had the ours going about 3 to 4 miles an hour as we chipped away at the journey ahead of us. 

This particular part of the sea is apparently a VERY busy one, as charter boat after even larger chater boat passed us coming and going.  Now, you would THINK that one of these captains might have thought that PERHAPS two old people on one Jet Ski pulling one wildly behind them might possibly need some help. I guess that was a crazy notion.

We bounced and bobbed and weaved and made our way across the beautiful blue sea one mile at a time. We closely watched a blanket of dark gray clouds off to the east follow us while the sun beat down on us from above.  The precious sunscreen and our hats were tucked neatly inside the waterproof compartment in Ray’s crippled Jet Ski, and we could feel our skin burning.  Fortunately the spray from each crashing wave fooled us into thinking that we were NOT burning.

As we finally closed in on the opening to the bay, the gray blanket of clouds overhead opened up and came pouring down, along with several loud kabooms of lightening and thunder.

“Honey,” I turned and shouted to Ray, “Wouldn’t it be HYSTERICAL if we made it the whole way across the bay alive and were killed here in the bay by one of those bolts of lightening?  Wouldn’t it?”
He laughed and gunned the throttle trying to outrun the storm. At this point the no-wake zone in the bay meant nothing to us.  When we made it to our own beach a few minutes later the storm decided to leave us alone and headed out to sea. Thank God. 

I jumped off the Ski and stood, exhausted, on the sand. Ray walked over and we both stood there quietly for a minute digesting what we had just been through.  I’m sure he was trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do, and I was wondering I needed some medical attention for what I was sure was going to be sun poisoning.

It was then I noticed an adorable young girl in a skimpy bikini walking over to us from the cottage next door.  She carried an ice cold Corona and a beautiful smile on her face.  Little did I know that what she also carried with her was something that was going to make our day….