Sunday, April 23, 2006


Darren has been training for the MS 150 since January. It's a 180-mile bike ride from Houston to Austin, to raise money for MS research. It's the largest one in the country, with 13,000 riders. My sister-in-law, as well as my cousin, have both been diagnosed with MS, so this affects us personally. Darren has $55 to go to reach the required donation amount, so if you would like to help our cause, feel free to mail me a check or go to Darren's website, There is a link on there to his MS website.

Anyway, Darren's brother Sean has ridden this ride for the past three years. A knee injury prevented Darren from doing it in the past, but he was determined this year to ride it. He bought a new bike in December, and began participating in training rides on the weekends. During the week, he would get up early, stretch, then ride in our kitchen on a trainer. I think he was worried about completing the ride, but I knew he could do it. After all, he is an Ansley, and they are known for their "willfulness".

Plans changed numerous times about how we would handle the weekend of the ride. It was finally decided that someone would drop Darren and Sean off in west Houston for the 6:30 start of the ride, then Jamie, Zach and I would leave from The Woodlands and head to LaGrange. I had no idea how big the campsite was; I don't know what I imagined, but this place was HUGE! It's the Fayette County Fairgrounds, and there are tents and people barbecuing everywhere. Jamie planned to camp with the guys, and I got a hotel room in Austin for Zach and me. I'm not much of a camper, and I didn't want Zach to keep 13,000 people awake. We arrived in LaGrange at around 9:30, somehow managed one of the security people to let us drive through the site, and set up tents. Afterwards, we walked around for a while, and Sean called to say he would be arriving around 11:15. We walked over to where the riders came in, and starting cheering on all of the riders. Sean arrived around 11:20, then went to have a massage and eat. He took a bus to a school for a shower. We went and waited for Darren, and also saw some other guys who we knew come in. Darren arrived around 1:45, then we went to the HP tent so he could have a massage and eat. Each rider signs up for a sponsored team, who provides a place to sleep, a van to carry their clothes to LaGrange and then Austin, and also meals for the trip. There are also several rest stops along the ride. We sat and ate barbecue for a while, then Zach and I left for Austin around 3:30.

Zach and I arrived in Austin around 5:00. After checking into our hotel, we went and explored the local Target. I needed some aloe and sunscreen, since I have a nice burn on my face and arms. Afterwards, we tried to go and eat at the Hula Hut, but after fighting for a parking space and finding out about the hour and a half wait, we drove back near our hotel and had dinner at Outback Steakhouse. We went back to the hotel afterward and crashed by 10:00.

This morning, we checked out of the hotel around 9:45, then went and grabbed breakfast at McDonald's. Darren called to say that he was at the lunch stop at 10:00, and would be in between 12:30 and 1:00. Zach and I headed downtown, to where the finish line is, and parked in a garage a few blocks from the finish. We met up with Jamie, who had gotten a ride with someone, and headed down to wait for the guys. Sean called and said that he was 5 miles away, and arrived at about 10:50. Darren kept calling to give me updates, but cell phone circuits were busy, and my phone was going straight to voicemail. We waited and cheered on the arriving riders, and Darren arrived around 12:45. We went and met up with some other friends and waited for Sean and Jamie's neighbor to arrive. Darren changed clothes, and we were on the road at 2:30. Jamie and I had a mission: eat at a Dairy Queen, since there are none near where we live. We stopped and ate at one, and before long, all three boys were snoring in the back of the truck. We arrived at Sean and Jamie's house around 6:15, loaded our cars, and headed home.

Jamie and I were inspired by the people completing the race, and decided that we want to train for the ride next year. If a 300-pound woman can complete it, I'm sure I can, too! Stay tuned for further bulletins.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Day in the Life

I decided to take on this challenge from one of the blogs that I read every day. Yes, I do actually get on the computer every day, usually multiple times, but I have felt very uninspired lately about blogging. I can't imagine that anyone really wants to read about my life! Anyway, here is a recap of my day so far:

12:00AM Lying in bed with a squirmy four-year-old who won't stop kicking, praying he goes to sleep before I lose it

12:10 Decide to go in Zach's bed, since he refuses to leave mine

12:11 Zach starts crying for me

12:12 Go downstairs and completely lose it with Darren, who is working away on yet another freelance project on the computer

1:40 Go back upstairs to bed, after a very long discussion with Darren about various things

2:00 Finally pass out, counting the number of minutes that I have left to sleep

6:17 Curse the alarm clock and try to decide if staying home today is worth one of the two personal days that I have left for the school year, then get in the shower

6:35 Go downstairs, fix lunch, cook breakfast for Darren and me, and sit on the couch and watch the news while eating breakfast and drinking a Red Bull

7:05 Go upstairs and get dressed, do hair and make-up, and console myself with the fact that it is Friday

7:40 Load Zach in the car and head for school

7:50 Drop Zach off at day care, and voice yet another complaint about his naps, and how miserable they make me at night

7:57 Arrive at school, check my mailbox

8:00 Hang out in the hallway with my friends and chat

8:10 Unlock my classroom and prepare for the day (straighten desks, write lesson on the board)

8:15 Hang out in the hallway with my friends and chat

8:35 Mosey back to the classroom when kids start arriving

8:45 Announcements and pledge

8:55 Tell the kids how tired I am, and tell them to read silently until the parent volunteer who is doing Junior Achievement arrives

10:00 My second period class arrives, and I warn them that I am tired and cranky before reading the lesson with them. They were very talkative today, and I had almost zero tolerance

11:10 My third period class arrives, and I am so delirious that we sit and chat about shopping, food, and alligators for a few minutes before beginning the lesson

11:40 I walk the kids to lunch, then go to the lounge to eat with my friends. One of our previous co-workers brings us Chinese food, and and we catch up with her.

12:10 WIth no time left to go to the bathroom, I pick the kids up from recess, and walk back to class

12:55 We switch for advisement, and two boys stay in the room and wipe off the desks while I sit at my desk and stare into space. I call Darren to find out how expensive our car repair will be.

1:25 Fourth period begins, and the parent volunteer and I have a hard time keeping this homeroom quiet and seated. I tell her about our sleeping problems, and she tells me to try half a melatonin in Zach's chocolate milk in the evening.

2:25 The kids switch back to homebase and go to their lockers

2:35 I walk the kids to PE, then go to the bathroom and check my mailbox

2:45 I go to the registrar's office and stick school photos in my students' cumulative folders

3:05 I go meet with my team members for a parent conference

3:40 I pick the kids up from fine arts, and dread the seemingly endless dismissal period.

3:45 I consider putting my head on my desk and taking a nap while the kids play mumball in the classroom

4:10 I race to get out of the door ahead of the buses, so I don't have to sit and wait on them. I know I'll fall asleep if I have to wait.

4:20 I pick Zach up from day care, and he's his usual, happy, talkative self

4:30 We stop at the grocery store for melatonin and ice cream.

5:10 I arrive home, check the mail, unload the car, fix Zach some ice cream, turn on the TV, and go play on the computer.

6:00 Zach and I go outside to chat with the neighbors. I must move around, or I will pass out.

7:00 Darren gets home from his lovely commute (an hour and a half on a good day) with our now-fixed car, and we decide that dinner will not be cooked at our house. We decide to go and try the new Red Robin, and Darren needs some new water bottles for his training ride tomorrow morning for the BP MS 150. We explain to Zach that he will no longer get his vitamin at night, due to the sugar it contains. Surprisingly, he doesn't put up a fight.

8:00 We arrive at the shopping center where Oshman's and Michael's are. Darren and Zach go to Oshman's, and I go to Michael's to check out their current scrapbooking inventory. You can never have too much!

8:20 We arrive at Red Robin, are seated immediately, and have a nice dinner. At the end of dinner, I drug Zach with some melatonin that I crushed before we left the house. He gets really sleepy after eating.

9:30 We arrive home, put Zach to bed, and Darren and I veg on the couch for a while.

11:00 Since I can no longer keep my eyes open, and there's nothing to watch on TV, taped off the DVR, or from Netflix, I decide to go to bed.

OK, that was hard. It's depressing to see how structured my day is at work. No wonder I have no patience for waiting when I go to appointments; my day is timed down to the minute at work!