Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is it Hot Out Here, or Did My Sweat Glands All Just Explode?

Colorado and Texas have many differences.  Like their shape.  Texas has a peculiar easily-recognizable shape.  Colorado's borders seem to point to the fact that as our country expanded westward, governmental officials lost all creativity and just drew large rectangles on the map and designated them states.  There's a reason the four corners are in this part of the country: lack of imagination.
A more important difference lies in the weather.  While west Texas is, like the Front Range of Colorado where I lived, an arid area, the humidity goes up as one travels east towards the Gulf of Mexico.  Incidentally, due to the relative importance of the two countries, shouldn't we rename it the Gulf of America?  Consider that the next time you're munching on some Freedom Fries.

Having been raised in Illinois, I am used to humidity at moderate levels, and in the San Antonio area the humidity seems around the amount that I grew up with, which is great.  As compared with the deep South where even the bugs sweat, I can handle this, although it's much more humid than what I had grown accustomed to among the Rocky Mountains.  The temperatures on the other hand, which have been hitting over 100 degrees daily, is a bit more than I'm used to. 

I didn't really have a problem with the heat until I went for a run yesterday afternoon.  I felt pretty good doing several laps on the track outside, then I stopped running and went into the gym for some pushups and situps.  Suddenly I was extrememly hot, thirsty, and drenched in sweat.  Fortunately the gym was air conditioned, which I know because it was less muggy and nobody else's face was beet red like mine.  Apparently all that heat was building up while I was exercising outside for all of 10 minutes. 

It took me 20 minutes to cool down enough to stop pumping water out of every pore in my body.  The water fountain couldn't dispense water fast enough to satiate my thirst in less than a dozen visits.  Before I could hop on the treadmill for another 1.5 miles I had to make repeated trips to alternately stand in front of one of the industrial fans and the paper towel dispensers trying to dry off between sets of pushups and situps.  There's something wrong with getting up from the mat where you've been doing situps for 30 seconds and needing a squeegee and a mop to clean it up.  I guess I'm going to have to get used to this new climatical paradigm.  There definitely will be no wearing the same shirt to workout in twice without washing it first.  On the bright side if I do my running outside I don't have to wear a hot sweaty shirt, and my body acts as a natural reflective device for safety purposes.  Looks like I will be breaking up my cardio and strength training into separate days.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Travelling to Texas

Heather and I finally said goodbye to Colorado (I'll have to replace John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" with Marty Robbins' "El Paso" on my iPod playlist) and we decided to make the drive from Colorado Springs to San Antonio in two days, with the bulk of the driving on day one.  Along the way we both fought cases of the drowsies on the first day (not enough sleep), and said goodbye to the mountains we have grown to love.  My love/hate relationship with the GPS continued, as it guided us successfully for almost a thousand miles, but caused a couple of missed turns with ambiguous map displays at some intersections.  I really need more than 3 seconds at 70 miles per hour to read two highway signs for competing roads that are both 4 digits long.  Who makes highway numbers in the thousands anyways?  I digress. 

The biggest excitement came as I made a sudden exit from the left lane in Abilene and watched as Heather's CRV floated past in the right lane - unable to follow me.  After pulling off at the next exit I called her and she made her way back to the correct turn and caught up with me.  I wasn't sure if she had come to the exit I took or had gone down the road and got off at the next exit for highay 277, so I went on, and we called out landmarks we were seeing as we went.  Finally we realized she was indeed behind me, and I drove slowly while she caught up.  I was definitely glad we both had cell phones - made possible by Heather's mom buying her a trac phone with 3 month's service.  Thanks Pat!

As we were driving through one of the many small towns that dot the Texas countryside, we passed by a tombstone company, with a headstone out front with the following engraving: "Drive carefully - we can wait".  I got a good chuckle out of that one.  I also enjoyed the fact that many Texas drivers will slide over onto the shoulder and drive there so you can pass them if you are going faster than they are.  That plus the fact that even rural highways have 70 mph speed limits reduces the travel time across this Jupiter of states.  (Ok, technically Alaska would be Jupiter, and Texas would be Saturn, but who associates Saturn with being the 2nd largest planet in our solar system?)

When we got to the Motel 8 in Abilene they only had handicapped accessible rooms left, and the lady at the front desk (who apparently in her spare time was attempting to "leatherize" her skin by tanning, and was succeeding wonderfully) asked if I minded staying in a handicapped accessible room.  I said "sure", and was rewarded with an extra spacious bathroom complete with toilet handle on the right side (who knew?), pull bars in the tub, and a seat in there as well.  I was tempted to test drive the seat but I'm too OCD to put my naked bottom where someone else has placed theirs, and I don't think 3 strips of toilet paper would have held up well in the shower.

After a good night's rest we did the final four hours and found ourselves in San Antonio.  We are staying in the billeting on base, and luckily our phone and internet (landline only - newsflash Air Force - this is the 21st century!  How about some wi-fi?!) didn't work in that room so they had to move us to another one.  I say luckily because we moved from the 3rd floor to the 2nd floor (less stairs to climb - too impatient to wait for the elevator), and we upgraded from 80s era 20 inch tube TVs to 26 inch(ish) LCD tvs.  Yeehaw!  I don't know how long Heather will find my singing "El Paso" to be amusing, but I really need to learn more than just the first and last lines of the song.  I guess I need to make an electronic trek to iTunes tonight.  "...One little kiss and Felina, Goodbye..."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moving Day

Almost four years after coming to Colorado Springs, the time has finally arrived to move on. The Air Force has determined that Heather and I should make our way to Texas, and so we shall go. The cars are packed with all the things we think we will need (like clothing), don't want the movers to lose (like photos), or the movers won't move (like 2 propane tanks). Today the Mayflower folks get to pack all the rest of our earthly belongings into boxes, and tomorrow they load them on the truck.

Fortunately Heather and I don't have a lot of stuff, so the movers decided to do all the packing in one day. That gave me an extra day - Monday - to clean out a lot of junk that had accumulated in our basement, and get the cars packed. One trip to the dump and another to the Salvation Army later and we were ready for phase two, which commences today. I look around my house wondering what won't arrive, or will arrive damaged? It's just stuff, so I'm not too worried about it. Still, I'll be glad when we get down to Texas, find a house, get our stuff delivered and settle in. I'm just glad the military pays professionals to do this, because I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to spend hours boxing up stuff and packing it onto a truck.

I'm going to miss the Springs, as we have loved it here, but I know I will be back to visit friends and do some more hiking and skiing. My friends Matt and Jenny even let me store my ski/snowboard gear in their basement so I don't have to haul it back this winter when I come back to use it. I'll have to find a new location once they move in a couple of years, but that works for now. I bought rather than rented my equipment, and I have many more days of using it before I break even. Sounds like a great excuse to me to come back here every year!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day in the Park

I could pen a blog entry, but let's pull another Poem out of the archives for today.  I would like to tell you I wrote this under a majestic oak tree on a beautiful morning, but like most of my poetry, it just came to my head while sitting around.  I don't make this stuff up, I just write it down.

A Day in the Park

A breeze eases its way
Over my face, bringing a trace
Of the scents of the day

The sun's orb glows white
High overhead, while a tree shades my head
And creates a haven less bright

Bees dancing slow
Humming their song as they fly along
And swoop down so low

Birds' melodious choices
Placed in their head by their creator to wed
Our hearts to their voices

The chorus complete
With laughing and giggling, rolling and wiggling
And pattering feet

Perfection’s not here
But the blend of sensations brings contemplations
That divine presence is near

My heart fills with wonder
Reflecting and knowing, its gratefulness growing
Clapping with uproarious thunder