Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Tag: vacation (Page 1 of 10)

Now appearing in real life, sort of…

I exist!  Really I do!

Not just a figment of someone’s imagination that was left in Mexico somewhere, nope, nope, not at all!

While I still have so many hours of photo editing, which means the vacation isn’t yet COMPLETELY over, I have had a nice gentle return to reality (thanks to my team at work, you did a GREAT job giving me plenty of time to catch up and reacquaint myself with choices slightly more serious than the lido deck or the promenade).  So, I suppose I should announce here that… IM BAAAAACK!

A few random thoughts from the trip while I make the pictures pretty…

Great vacation weather > shitty vacation weather > no vacation.  However, when some of your activities are based upon light and visibility, sometimes shitty vacation weather puts a damper on things.  Especially when the ocean in Roatan decides to attack you instead of being nice, when you were looking forward to it most of all, but more on that later. ><

Wind nor rain nor crappy visibility nor currentous waters will not keep me from my fishies though!!!

A fantastic way to make sure you don’t gain weight on vacation is to develop a minor stomach bug at the end of it (thankfully, just enough to have a slightly upset stomach, not enough to ruin my vacation).  Seriously, the scale today said 1.2 lbs lower than I weighed the day before I got on the boat, and my appetite is definitely what it was before, if not lower.  I’m definitely not loving the not-100% feeling that I’m feeling but I’m trying to find the silver lining here… 🙂

Going on vacation with family members who’s main goal is to eat all the food makes not eating like an asshole YOURSELF a challenge, but one that I did not completely fail.  One that I didn’t completely succeed at, for sure, as referenced by the midnight pizza one two nights, and the unfortunate discovery of bags of potato chips freely given at the deli counter, but obviously, I didn’t gain back all the weight I lost since March like I feared I would.

Coral rash sucks, but sucks more for the coral. 🙁

One thing that helped was the gym was SUPER nice.  Unfortunately our schedules didn’t sync up with any spin classes like we hoped, but they had nice new cardio machines and a boatload of kettlebells which I used every day we weren’t in port (and port days included between 1.5-3 hours in the water so I wasn’t completely slacking there either).  While you can’t out exercise a crappy diet, you can at least account for a few beers or extra bread and butter with dinner with some activity and I did my damndest.

And finally, I’m not entirely sure if there’s anything more relaxing than a massage on the beach after a few margaritas listening to the sound of the rain.  If I need to go to a happy place in the future, Costa Maya will be in my arsenal. 🙂

Moar later.  For now, I’m reacquainting myself with vegetables and gentle workouts (my body is not quite ready for anything ass kicking yet) and opening up the calorie tracker for the first time in a few weeks and stopping by Snap Kitchen on the way home for easy peasy healthy food to get me through to the weekend when I can make some of my own.  Life.  And back to it.

2017 wrap up – an epic year of drive and exploration

I can’t let December 31st come and go without a nod to how the year went, so, without further ado, the tale of the year of freakin’ epicness which was 2017 shall commence.

One of the best moments of 2017.

A Race: Ironman Texas.

Done, and dusted.  It’s kind of amazing to have such a warm glow around a race with so many trials and tribulations during it, and one that you can envision literally taking HOURS off your time with a better day, but you only have one first IM and I’ll always remember it fondly.  Shit canal, Hardy toll road headwind, and wonky knees and all.

I envisioned it as the training being a means to a goal, and all the payoff being that day.  I actually really enjoyed the process, the journey, and I might have been just as proud of some of those long training efforts as I was finishing the Ironman proper.  But that red carpet moment was pretty effing awesome, don’t get me wrong.

Smiling because I did not at that point know exactly how close I had come to Nationals.

Also, getting your big goal race out of the way in April was kind of awesome.  I committed to nothing for the rest of the year and found out a few things:

  • I wanted back on my bike rather quickly and I set goals to ride centuries because they sounded fun.  So, 2017 organically became the year of the bike with over 3500 miles, very little of them indoors.
  • My run training went so well from Jan-Mar, and then everything went to hell, both with my body condition and also my motivation.  It was a very small mileage year with about 450 miles and I’m okay with that.
  • Swimming… eh.  Again, I did a lot to prepare for the IM and then all I wanted to do was ride my bike after.  Even during the summer.  All said, I swam 52 miles this year, so that’s not shabby.
  • Weights – I hit a routine for a while with bodyweight workouts over lunch but struggled to get to the gym to lift heavy most of the year.

I actually had two pretty decent sprint triathlon results at Jack’s Generic and Kerrville (let’s ignore the shitshow that was Lake Pflugerville 8 weeks out of an Ironman), which have ignited my goals to qualify for Nationals next year.

I also spent a lot of time really digging into coaching (got my cert) and psychology reading non-fiction triathlon books, and have started working on my mental game here (and will expand upon this in 2018).

Habits and Practices:

Full of washed veggies. And also cooked and eaten outside.

  • Facebook and twitter – I spent a lot of the year using them sparingly, and then I found some awesome triathlon groups on Facebook and found myself involved (but also wasting a lot of time on social media).  I’ve logged back out in December, and I think I’ll just have to continue to be conscious about the mindless and not-super-relaxing scrolling while watching TV.
  • I made a goal to stop rushing and fumbling with things.  I would not give myself a passing grade on this, and it’s kind of the core of my intentions for next year.
  • Washing my fruits and veggies – I would give myself a 98% on this one.  It’s one of those stupid things not to do and an easy goal to conquer.  It’s now habit.
  • I wanted to weigh less than I did Jan 1, 2017.  Check.  I’m about 5 lbs down, give or take, but that’s still something.
  • Beer January – check.  The rest of the year watching my alcohol portions?  Still something I struggle with – mostly because I have a large tolerance and it doesn’t affect me the way it affects most mortals.  One large slice of cake makes me ill, but I can drink a mess of whiskey and feel fine (as well as the next day).  I also enjoy  whiskey way more than cake.  But… neither of these things are great in large quantities.  The battle continues to control my portions next year.

I made some way-too-ambitious goals for self-enrichment and I think I learned from that for 2018.  If this was my full time focus, if I wasn’t also a triathlete and a wife and a daughter and a full time game producer and didn’t have friends, maybe I could have made more progress – but right now, all those things take priority over these.  And that’s ok.  It’s not my livelihood, its just something I’d like to pursue someday.

One of the best books I read this year…

Learning/Certification:

  • Finish my triathlon coaching class and pass the exam – CHECK
  • After IM Texas, start researching some sort of part time or volunteer opportunity that will help me get some sort of experience. – NOPE.  Instead I rode my bike a lot.  Oops.
  • Continue to work on my social media plan for this blog as practice. Eh… I use hashtags on Insta.  I post occasionally on my AR facebook page.  I haven’t really been trying as of late.  It stopped being a focus and that’s ok.
  • Read some business books and other triathlon training books instead of JUST my pulpy sci fi. – CHECK.  At least 1-2 per month starting in the back half of the year.

Set Up

  • Write a business plan and figure out who I really want to reach and the services I want to provide. NOPE.  I’ve had some thoughts here but nothing concrete.
  • Create a website with all the bells and whistles it needs. NOPE. 
  • Start writing some book notes CHECK.  More than, actually.

(Big) Baby Steps.  By the end of the year I want to:

  • Have a website ready to go that can take people’s money and provide a service. – NOPE. 
  • At the very least, start providing a small service via fiverr or something similar to test the waters. – NOPE.  I decided this wasn’t a great idea until I really decide what my business plan is.
  • Have a published book (even if it’s just self published).  NOPE, but I’m getting close to draft 1 done, so that’s something!

Other Stuff:

Sunsets and stars outside were definitely highlights of 2017.

Game night – we had three and then our end of year booked up so fast we didn’t have a free weekend.  I’m really looking forward to reviving this next year!

Video games – I was really bad at this in 2017.  I wanted to list 20 that I played multiple times, and I can only do the games I work on, Clash of Clans, Dance Dance Revolution, Gran Turismo 5, Stardew Valley, Job Simulator, That’s You, and… errr… that’s it.  Oops.

Vacations: I didn’t do my reunion in Reno/Tahoe, and we chose Bonaire over a liveaboard diving trip, but I was super excited to take all these trips:

And, all the other things.  Did I mention I like goals?

Little stuff:

  • Hem/fix a few pairs of pants. NOPE.  2018?
  • Clean out both cars. CHECK (and then they got dirty again, funny how that happens…)
  • Take my existing extra hoka soles and cut them and put them in my less comfortable shoes. NOPE.  So easy, and not done.  Oops.
  • Appointments
    • Find a new doctor and get an exam – CHECK
    • Financial planner – NOPE (2018)
    • Bike fit – CHECK!
    • Eye doctor appt and exam (my frames are SOOOOO scratched) – CHECK!

Bigger Stuff:

I still have yet to do a full reveal but here are some fruits of our labor…

  • Clean out and renovate the office.  We were hoping to get to it over holiday break, but it didn’t happen. CHECK!!! This is where I’m writing this right now.
  • Figuring out a place to store (or a new home for) this other gaming table we have that is currently threatening to impale anyone that sleeps on the left side of our guest room. CHECK! (It’s right next to me)
  • Make the workout room a proper pain cave with a TV, computers and monitors for Zwifting.  CHECK – the trainers now live in the workout room and I found I actually enjoy music more than movies/screens so we’ve been rocking that (though I haven’t done more than an hour).
  • Figure out a more permanent solution than boxes and a blanket in a closet for the leezard (though she seems ok with it). NOPE – 2018.  She’s fine with it but her plate of salad falls over and makes a mess.  
  • As long as our financial situation seems stable, picking a renovation project (kitchen, patio, etc) and do it. CHECK.  Kitchen has like two things left on the TO DO list (to do later today).
  • Get a shed.  CHECK. 
  • I want to train myself to be ambidextrous on the bike.  NOPE.  Need to work on this one on the cruiser without clips first.
  • iFly.  NOPE.  At least they never expire…
  • Comedy tickets.  NOPE.  We went to a few shows but not enough to use up the tickets.  I gave them away as presents to people at work.  Oh well.
  • #goplayoutside – CHECK.  The camper and being a crazy cyclist really helped me spent a lot of time outdoors.  The last two months (between cold weather and kitchen renovation obligations) have been driving me nuts, but I know playing outside season will come back again and I’ll be out there.

I usually do this thing where I try to distill the year into three words and I’ll do it again.

2017: the year of turtle home, for sure…

Epic.  I mean, yeah, this word is overused, but my first Ironman, riding so many bikes, buying a camper and spending almost three weeks in it in the second half of the year.  25+ hours underwater back in my happy place in Bonaire.   Tri coach certification, finishing a kitchen remodel and a lot of other fairly major house projects, and eeking out 3/4 of a draft of my first novel.  SO MUCH THIS YEAR.

Explore.  I feel like I got to know my town better, biking over what felt like every inch of it over and over.  We camped SIX times in the span of four months in the camper.  I hit the water in five different countries this year.  I also explored the inside of my grey matter a bit pushing myself through Ironman training and racing, and then working on my head game in for Sprints.

Driven.  I felt a pull this year like no other year to really expand my goals beyond being a triathlete.  I’ve wanted to write a book for over half my life and I finally started it.  We’ve been talking about redoing the kitchen since we moved in.  We’ve been talking about Ironman since we started triathlon.  While there are a lot of things on my list still to do from this year, I checked off, or at least started, some of the real big ones.

Hope you have a happy New Year’s Eve, and cheers to a fabulous 2018!

What’s your biggest 2017 accomplishment?  Share in the comments, since goals make me unreasonably happy!

I heart Bonaire.

I love what I do for my job, most of the time.  I love triathlon, like, a lot.  I love camping and spending time playing in the woods.

The face of a happy girl who’s been in the water all damn week.

But I’m pretty sure given the choice of doing anything in the world, this would be it.  I’d wager that a condo within steps to the beach with filled scuba tanks ready and waiting for me whenever I feel like diving under the sea to the most beautiful reef I’ve ever seen would be my first choice 99% of the time.  Diving days are the best days, and when every day is a diving day, it’s like my own personal paradise.  Even the days we didn’t dive were filled with multiple hours of snorkeling, which is sometimes even BETTER.  Some of my favorite pictures and moments came from those days.

A “day to day” of where I snorkeled and dove and ate isn’t going to be that interesting of a story, so I’ll just give you a best of the best.

Diving Locations:

I’ll be honest, there are hundreds of places to dive here, and we’ve hit a very small sample of them, so I can’t give you a cohesive review (yet), but in my narrow opinion, these are the TOPS.

Just breathe.

Bari Reef is my home.  We just happened to stay there on our first trip, and now I never want to stay anywhere else.  It’s beautiful, it’s diverse, and turtles live here even if the house octopus shunned me BOTH trips so far.  We did half of our dives at this one location.  Sure, it’s convenient, but I also stand by my statement that if we could only dive one place, it would be here, and I could dive it four times a day for a month and not get bored.

Sunset on the pier.

Salt Pier is my second favorite dive site in the world.  We drove down there twice early in the week, because I wanted to dive it multiple times, but it was closed (one day there was a salt boat, the other, construction), and then when it was finally open, it took up two of my last six dives of the trip.  The setting is gorgeous even above the water, the background of the thick steel pipes accentuated with coral growths and pops of darting fish.  Also, you always see unique things there.  Last time, we hung out with a giant turtle feeding in four feet of water.  This time, two squid became our friends and hung out while we shot a bunch of pictures and video.  They’re usually so skittish and run away quickly, so it was a treat!

Let me give an honorable mention to Invisibles and Sampler.  Sampler showed me my first (TWO) seahorses.  They’re so tiny!  The were amazing to see, but very difficult to photograph since we had a big group of divers and I only got a few “proof” shots, none that were in focus.  Invisibles had a trench in the first reef that lead you to a second, deeper hidden reef (thus the name Invisibles).  This was the first dive in a while I actually had to watch my nitrogen levels and I was wishing for more time below 60 feet.  I guess it’s time for Nitrox certification so I have that option.

Things I want to hit next time: 1000 Steps.  Last time, Zliten was less than a year out of his bear fight resulting in three leg fractures, so we didn’t want to chance the entry.   This year, we wanted to hit it, but with Zliten getting sick, we didn’t want to walk ALLLLL the way there for potentially a 5 minute dive that we’d have to abort (and then haul a full tank ALLLL the way back up).  Next time, we’ll hit this one early, maybe first dive on the second day.

Underwater moments:

The Bari reef turtles are our homies and we love them.  We saw at least one of them almost every day.  However, two encounters stuck out in my mind.

Wednesday, we were snorkeling, and one of our turtles came to the surface to check on us.  It was breathtaking to float next to him and watch him breathe for a bit and then descend again.

Goodbye, Bari.

Friday, during the last few moments of our last dive, we found one of our turtles under a rock.  He swam and lead us to the other turtle as they danced at the surface for a bit, and then went their separate ways.  We followed the smaller one back to it’s home (it had anchored itself under a rock), and I waved goodbye to it and it literally waved back, I think it was actually mocking my movement because when I stopped, it stopped.

I always say Octopus are my spirit animal (spirit cephalopods, whatevs), but the squid contingent are definitely vying for that place after this trip.

At Salt Pier, we encountered two very large squid that after careful approach, didn’t run away.  We got really close and they were curious about us and our cameras.  I’m used to getting close enough to get a blurry “proof of sight” picture and having them dart away, so it was awesome to get a ton of in focus pictures and video until we swam away, not them.

Squid buddy!

Then, the next dive, at Corporal Meiss, a pod of squid surrounded us and danced – flashing different colors and waving their fins.  We had jumped in there quickly after lunch instead of a planned dive, since we heard there were octopus in the shallows.  Well, they dissed me, and the rest of the dive was pretty mundane, but this made me day.

Our second to last dive at Something Special, I met the next top Angelfish.  This fish was my little superstar.  While these guys aren’t always shy, this one just came up to my camera and would. not. leave. me. alone.  I had to keep backing up to get it’s whole body in the shot.  This is one of my favorite videos (still working on that part but here’s a shot of my favorite angel).  This fish make me laugh out loud and almost lose my regulator.  It was awesome.

My little superstar angel!  I’m pretty sure he would have followed me home if it was possible.

Honorable mention is literally every other moment snorkeling and diving.  Most of these happened the last day of diving.  If that day never happened, I’d have some almost equally amazing memories from other days hangin’ with seahorses and eels, and other turtles and spotted drums and scorpion fish and the little bitty things Zliten points out to me to photograph.  Every dive here is amazing.  Snorkeling Bari could keep me amused for a week straight.  I spent 25+ hours underwater in 7 days for a reason and I’d be right back there now if I could.

Things we missed that I’d love to see next time: we didn’t see any rays, those darn sneaky octopuses, and more seahorses for Zliten

Food highlights:

Diving is the primary objective, food is always secondary, but suuuuuuper necessary.  Diving for 4 hours a day is probably the equivalent to riding bikes for the same amount of time in terms of calorie burn.  I ate SO MUCH.  However, you don’t travel to Bonaire just for the food, but there are some amazing things to eat, and it was hard to narrow it down…

Between Two Buns has to go on this list.  It’s a sandwich shop, it’s only open until 3pm, and the line is always out the door and I don’t think you can pick anything bad on the menu.  I had the Mona Lisa the last day of vacation, which is a salami, buffalo mozzarella pesto, pine nut, peppers and onions sandwich, and it was pretty top notch.  But, I will say that the burger is the best thing there I’ve had so far.

Rum Runners at Captain Don’s needs to be mentioned.  I had one of the best BBQ chicken pizzas of my life as a late lunch one day.  When I returned the last night of the trip, the only reason I didn’t get it again was that I couldn’t bear to throw out the inevitable leftovers.  Instead, I got some chicken pasta that was also to die for.  Last time, I obsessed over their fish fajitas.  I’m also pretty sure the scenery makes the food taste better, as you can watch giant tarpon play in the water from your table.

The Cactus Blue truck was our lunch stop on Monday and Friday.  We had a curry burger and then their specialty, Lionfish burgers.  They are open 11-3pm and they run out of Lionfish EVERY DAY, even with 16 hunters supplying the fish.  I was excited to try it because it was a novelty, but they were honestly EXCELLENT and worth the wait.

Honorable mentions:

  • I had an excellent chicken curry sandwich at a hot dog, ice cream, and peruvian food joint.
  • Breezes and Bites was the restaurant in our complex.  We ate there a lot out of convenience, but they also had pretty tasty food.  They had some delicious fresh fish catch of the day plates (I ate two) and the garlic shrimp was heaven.
  • Our kitchen: we got a pan of lasagna at the store that lasted two dinners and it was so nice to just chill on the patio and not worry about getting dressed in actual clothes.

Things I want to try next time: there was a vegetarian Indian place down the street that sounded awesome.  Honestly, if we had two weeks instead of one, I’d like to take some more time and check out a wider variety of restaurants and check out some of the nightlife downtown… but with our short time there, honestly, it was just getting fuel for the next dive.  On our walks, we found out the complex has some grills and I’d like to make use of them next time.

Things we did not in the water:

Watching the sunsets.  Sometimes we took them in just after (or before) surfacing for a dive, sometimes relaxing with beer on the beach, but Bonaire sunsets are pretty divine.

My husband, the Iguana whisperer…

Feeding the iguanas.  At first they were skittish, but once they learned that we would save our fruit and veggie scraps for them, they would actually follow us around.  We named them.  There was Wild and Crazy guy, Little Shit, Zliten’s best friend, Red Dewlap… they were our friends.

Taking pictures of the property.  This place pretty much photographed itself and it couldn’t help but be stunning.  This is now the lock screen on my phone and I get a little Bonaire every time I look at it and it makes me happy.

There were a few imperfect things about the trip:

The travel there is not terribly convenient.  I mean, it’s no Australia, and it’s better from Austin-Houston-Bonaire than some places where people were taking four or more connecting flights, but it’s still a 13 hour travel day end to end because of the inevitably long Houston layover.

Zliten caught a cold partway through the trip.  We thought his diving was done for the trip on Tuesday when he couldn’t even get below 15 feet because of sinus congestion.  We tried failed a few attempts on Tuesday before we gave up, and spent Wednesday snorkeling instead.  However, due to handy advice from the internet and dive friends, he went and found some heavy duty meds (Aleve D – a mix of two aleve and two sudafed in one pill) and by Thursday afternoon he was resurrected and did six more dives in a day and a half.   He was an interesting person to be around (sudafed makes him crazy) and I think he borrowed against feeling better quickly since he’s still recovering, but I’m pretty sure he’d say that it was worth it.  Also, he was an AMAZING spotter while on sudafed,  He found all the things.

The last day, while snorkeling, I lost one of my lights on my camera rig.  No idea how it came off and even scouring the area for another 30 minutes, I didn’t find it.  It’s not cheap, so that stinks, but at least it was the last day.  It’s the least important thing on my set up to lose, and it’s only money.  I didn’t lose my memory card or anything.

All in all though, no big deal.

If you’re interested in more oceans, sunsets, yummy food, and selfies, click on over and check out my Facebook album.  I’ll be adding videos too when I figure a few things out.

This trip really solidifies my desire to own property there someday.  Yeah, I say that a lot.  I’d have 10 different houses if I could and maybe that’s actually how I’ll end up retiring someday.  However, this place feels like home.  The ocean in my backyard.  The ability to freely, on my schedule, without a hassle, take a hundred steps from my back door, and be in the water and under the sea gives me immeasurable joy.  Palm trees.  Iguanas.  Beautiful blue sky and ocean.  This is my happy place.  I heart Bonaire.

2018 has other plans (Cozumel), but we’re already tentatively penciling in another trip in 2019, and if possible, for two weeks this time.

Where is your vacation happy place?

Playing in the woods at Lake Bastrop

We took our sixth trip in Turtle Home last weekend.

Nice to have a lake in our backyard for a few days!

We left work around 5:45pm and hit a little traffic, so we got to the site around 7.  This meant that a) the mosquitos were out in full force and b) we had to set up in the dark.

Luckily, we’re pretty good at it, managed it in about 45 minutes, and got treated to some pretty sweet full moonlight while we grilled some burgers and had some frosty beverages.

Looks kind of like an oil painting, no?

Saturday, we got up around 9:30 and our friends made us breakfast tacos!  Then, the boys went to get ice and the rest of the party was napping, I put my hokas on and went for a little hike.

I meant to just walk around the campsite but I kept going and going and found a cool trail and took lots of pictures so if I went missing, at least someone would know where I wandered by looking at DropBox.  Also, it was super pretty!

After I collected Zliten, we took Wasp and Yellow Jacket out to go play on trails.  Yes, I’m a priss and accidentally wore jewelry while playing on dirt with bikes.

We hit the Heron Trail, then the Fisherman’s Loop, and then decided to try the South to North Lake trail and it got a little advanced for us, so we just rode the other ones again and returned back with actual mud on our tires!  I still feel noobish at riding bikes on rocks but I’ve learned a few things, most helpfully, I’m much more confident leading than following (or at least leaving a bunch of space in between me and the next rider) so that helps in my quest to get a little braver.

After some delicious sausages from the grill for lunch, and a little too much fudge, Zliten decided it was time for casting.  Note that he didn’t say FISHING, but casting.

Look at that form!

After catching many leaves and twigs but no actual live fish, we watched the sun set, built a fire, and failed to make proper dutch oven popcorn (but had some real corn instead).  Instead, we dined on camping punch, laughter, and plotting and scheming for the future.

Seeing stars!

I was sad we couldn’t get the three day camp effect, but it was a perfect getaway for the time we had allotted.  Care of the time change, we got plenty of sleep on Saturday night, we were able to take the bikes back onto dirt in the morning, and get packed up and out a whole 20 minutes before our checkout time and home by 1pm.  Our heads were clear and it felt less like a chore to exist and do things than it did less than two days ago.

I need every ounce of that going into this next month.  I’m happy I was able to play in the woods for a weekend before a big long month of adulting.

If you’re interested in the full set of pictures, you can see them HERE.

Eight is not enough

Today marks the day of eight years since we did the “I do” thing in Vegas with our friends and family.

Let’s not mention that our actual relationship would be a moody, petulant high schooler quickly approaching graduation.

Among all the normal life things like cleaning out bedrooms, launching updates at work, studying for certifications, celebrating holidays, and all that, there were some major highlights in year eight:

We became one with the ocean for 8 days in Key Largo.

We become Ironpeople after many, many months of training.

We spent more water time in Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Roatan.

We bought turtle home and spent the summer camping everywhere.

It consistently surprises me how all the years live up to each other.  I’ll think about the last year  together and think, “ok, this has to be it”.  The pinnacle of awesomeness.  But, instead, it keeps getting better.  Magic!

I mean, we are not perfect people.  Far from it.  I make him drive EVRRRYWHERE because I hate it and make completely over-the-top plans that sound awesome but are actually crazy that he has to talk me down from and I make him handle about 99.9% of the phone calls in our relationship.  He brings me junk food when I’m trying to be good, is like a cranky toddler some mornings, and somehow always beats me in races now and sometimes whines incessantly about putting away laundry.

However, we’re imperfect together and that’s perfect.

If I could give advice to myself at year one, or frankly, anyone embarking on a long term relationship, I would give these tips:

#1 Try each other’s THINGS.  I never thought I’d be into working in video games for a living.  He never thought he’d be into sports.  I resisted Dungeons&Dragons for years.  However, I trust my husband enough that if he enjoys something, it’s gotta be worth giving it a try.  Oddly enough, most times, we end up with a shared interest.  Or not.  He questions my music tastes and I question his movie tastes sometimes.  However, even if it’s one and done, you gain a little understanding about each other.

#2 Be straight.  Not mean, not even brutally honest, but if there’s a thing I want or want to do or am feeling, I tell my husband and vice versa and we do our best to accommodate each other.  Being psychic doesn’t work for us.  Playing the “figure out what’s wrong” game doesn’t work for us, no one has time for that shit.  I am never “just fine”, I’m either awesome or I’m going to tell you what’s bothering me.  If I am grumpy about the office being messy after it not bothering me for 10 years, we figure out what the actual problem is and fix it and life goes on.

#3 Be better about the way you give up control.  This is a simple one.  Eliminate the words “I don’t care” from your vocabulary.  Especially if you do.  But even if you don’t want to make the decisions there are other ways to say it.  “Can you decide today?” is good.  “I am so exhausted and have insane decision fatigue, can you suggest some places that sound good to you?” is better.  “I trust your judgement” or “I leave this decision in your capable hands” is great.  Also, “we’re going to In-N-Out and you’re going to split fries with me because I don’t want a whole order” is pretty good too if that’s what you want (see #2).

#4 Never go on your honeymoon.  My dream eight years ago was a European trip to Italy and Greece.  In my wedding thank you letters for the cash gifts, I let everyone know that’s what I was saving money to do.  I’m sorry I lied.  I have not yet set foot in Europe, but instead, after my interest turned to scuba diving, I’ve visited almost all the islands in the Beach Boys’ song Kokomo (though I have no desire to visit Indiana).  So, when they say “the honeymoon’s over”?  Nope.  Haven’t gone on it yet!

The next year promises to hold some amazing things.  Together, we’ll test our relationship and remodel our kitchen (and then hopefully stop effing with the house for at least a year).  Then, we take off to paradise again for a week underwater before we celebrate the holidays with friends and family.  I’m excited/scared to chase his stupid legs as we both attempt to smash PRs at 3M half marathon in January and then race all sorts of shorter triathlons in the spring.  We have family vacations planned in the spring.  We’re looking at racing outside the country in the fall and spending anniversary #9 underwater again in Cozumel.

It’s all sorts of exciting and it’s amazing that we get to do all this together.  Cheers to 8 years, and to 80 more because triathlon will keep us alive forever, right?

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