Smith Kids MSU Tailgate

Smith Kids MSU Tailgate
Dominica, Veronica, Rebel and Miranda

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Run Vern run!

         Life without TV is busy, full of happiness and incredible.  I do not miss the television at all these days especially since I picked up a cheap pocket version of Wheel of Fortune for a buck at the Goodwill last week!  (Mird I will loan it to you when we come to Kenny's Bday party, if you actually write an update for the blog and quit watching TV again!).  The best part is it actually works!  Now when I am really missing the Wheel I can sit down and play a game or two!  I finally beat the old high score from the previous owner this morning too. Had you been in our living room, you would have thought I'd won real cash because I was so excited!  Anyhow, mostly I have been focusing on spending quality time with the kids, enjoying the glorious season of summer, making decisions for the new house (so far we have a basement) and running.  I run a lot, but with the Grand Rapids Marathon less than three months away I need to be running a lot to be ready. So I run whenever possible.
            In the world of runners there is a phenomenon called “bandit running” or “rogue running”.  As far as I can tell, the two terms are used interchangeably, but I am not an expert.  For fellow runners out there this definition will be unnecessary, but for the rest of you a bandit runner, or rouge runner, is someone who shows up at the race and runs without officially joining the race.  The bandit doesn’t sign up, get an official time or bib number, and most importantly they do not pay. Bandit runners just tag along with the mob of sanctioned runners and log as many miles, the same miles, in the festive upbeat race environment.  Oftentimes bandit runners do so as a means of completing important training runs for upcoming larger events like marathons, ultra-marathons or iron man competitions. 
            Well up until recently, I had never been a bandit runner. I had never had reason or desire to do so.  At past races, I had always signed up, paid my registration fees and followed all the rules.  Well I have now joined the ranks of bandit runners across this great nation!  I ran a 5K and 10K back to back as a bandit. I have to admit, it was so kinda fun!  Here's a brief overview of the whole experience including how I ended up a bandit in the first place. 
           First of all, a brief explanation of the events leading up to my bandit run.  When I quit my job nearly two years ago my husband was convinced we were going to suffer because I had always been the bread winner and he was certain that we would not be okay with just his income.  As a result I spent nearly the entire first year at home with the kids living in fear that he would prove me right and we would end up homeless, or worse living in one of our parent's basements.  I pinched pennies like they'd never been pinched before and I clipped coupons until my fingers blistered. I felt quilty every time I spent money and I pretty much gave up running.  But I was miserable without my hobby.  I need to run.  So when Hazel was about eight months old, I went out for a run.  I felt so much better that I just kept running almost everyday.  If I was stressed out, I ran.  If I was sad, I ran.  If I felt like the world was going to end, I laced up and went for a run.  Generally after the kids were sleeping, but I ran.  It didn't take too long before I wanted to start running races again so after many heated negotiations, Jeff and I entered into a running agreement.  It worked well for the past year or so until we made the decision to build our new house.  Well my fears didn't come true the first time, we didn't end up homeless or living in my in-law's basement.  But as the costs of our new house add up all of Jeff's financial concerns have resurfaced and to be honest my fears are back too.   And this financial concern is what lead to my I recent debut as a race bandit.  It was all about saving a few bucks.  Jeff joked that it could buy us a door knob.  Maybe?  I have found that household building supplies are ridiculously priced so probably not.
       The race itself was as most races are inspiring and full of energy.   Whenever I am left waiting for the start of a race I get a little nervous, but as a bandit runner I was extremely nervous.  Once I found my running buddies I settled down significantly and waited for the start of the first race, the 5K.  My friends teased me in good taste about banditing the run and joked about me getting arrested.  I handled the abuse pretty well.  We took off and agreed to take it easy during the race since we still had to run a 10K later that morning.  As we ran, I relaxed and enjoyed myself.  It was  nice weather for a run.  I had great tunes on my I-pod and a friend at my side so the race went by quickly and uneventfully.  As we approached the finish, I mentally debated how to finish. Should I run through the shoot or around it?  Should I do cartwheels or other acrobatic maneuvers?  Should I completely avoid the end and cut the run a little short?  I couldn't decide.  At the last second, I sprinted as fast as I could past many other runners, through the finishing shoot until I ran out the other side of it.  I didn't want to get busted at the finish line and get in trouble.  I think I was just a pink blur to the timing officials, if they even noticed me at all.  For the 10K finish I opted out of the shoot altogether since there were just three of us finishing together and I thought my presence would be more noticeable. 
      My first bandit experience was perfect. The only thing that could have made it more memorable would have been if I had pulled off my cartwheel, but that would have been risky since I have not done one in years and a pulled muscle or broken bone would be disastrous to my marathon training.

Vern Out

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Juggling kids

Somedays I am left feeling like a circus performer instead of a mom.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I felt like I had physically juggled kids all day and then tamed a lion or two all while ensuring that nap time was honored.  It was grueling.  I was so tired out by the end of the day that I just sat comatose on the couch for about an hour.  No need to worry. My NOTV reputation is in tact, the television was not used even for a second.  We just listened to the tigers game on WLAV.  So how did I end up so worn out?  I will provide a short recap.

This past weekend marked a momentous occasion; it was the first annual Christmas in July!  No we didn't head to Art Van to peruse mattresses. Our Christmas in July was a gathering of Jeff's family (in leiu of our normal Christmas Eve gathering) for a full day spent at the lake swimming, socializing and having fun.  And it was so fun, but it was also exhausting.  For all those people out there who run around at Christmas time like an exhausted ball boy at the Wimbledon, I would recommend transplanting one of your most inconvenient gatherings to the middle of summer.  It was a huge success.  More people attended Christmas in July than any Christmas in the past two decades! 

We spent Sunday trying to recover;  Unsuccessfully I might add because when we woke up Monday it was clear that something was wrong.  Everyone was out of sorts, everyone was moody and my heralding and death defying circus performance began! I honestly think I would have rather spent a day walking the tight rope than having to care for my kids yesterday.  If Christmas lists were made by Santa today my kids would definitely be on the naughty list.  The other notable instance was at about eleven when I also had to logistically juggle some kids.  Kara went off to Grandma's for a planned sleepover (thank goodness) and through some dumb luck of my own I added two additional kids to the mix (I know I am a gluton for punishment).

Anyhow, I survived and without my television thank you very much!  The two add on kids did enjoy watching "Santa Clause" during nap time in an attempt to stick with the Christmas in July theme.  I normally would not allow television for visitors, but amidst the circus act I made an exception.  At least no member of our family was involved and it kept them out of my hair for an hour and a half.  That way I was able to fumigate our house from the circus act that has been going on here the past few days!

Vern Out

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NO TV not even for Criminal Minds

I am realizing this is the longest stretch of the entire year that I have gone without an update on NOTV2011.  It has been since July 8th since I have updated the blog. And shockingly none of my siblings have been on here either.  I hope you can detect the sarcasm in my voice and I hope that you missed me and are not saddened by my update today. Although to be completely honest it is a pretty lame posting, but read it anyways since you are already on here.

Anyhow, I have been successful with my goal to watch absolutely no television. Of course it has not come without a price and that is complete and total exhaustion.  I have been way too busy planning, coordinating and carrying out the Brainy Day 5K race.  It was all consuming and now I find myself still recovering three days after the event. I hope to be feeling like my old self soon. In the mean time, I am muddling through at the library since it is air conditioned and our current house is not.  I am back trying to watch my kids and write and it is not going very well.  My lack of success is probably due to being completely out of practice.  I guess this experience should work to shock me back into my usual routine. 

This was supposed to include an update on the Smiths, but I find my vivid imagination has gone on vacation so it will have to wait until next time.  Rebel and Leslie you got lucky so just get on here soon and you can be spared from my embarrassment!

Vern Out

Friday, July 8, 2011

First week-second half

Okay the first week of the second half of NOTV2011 is over. It went by really quickly and is but a blurr in my memories that is looked upon fondly.  I am reading Amanda/Miranda a novel set in the early nineteen hundreds in the British Isles so if you catch a hint of old school language with a titch of British flair that is the reasoning behind it.  Not that I've gone completely mad, nor has my Mrs. Doubtfire/Julia Child hybrid character spilled over into my writing.

The book is totally not the kind of book I would generally read, but it is surprisingly good. I ended up with it after Miranda read it.  She was born in 1982 while our mother was reading Amanda/Miranda (back then it was new) so my sister was in fact named after this book. Who knew people back then still had crazy stuff going on in their lives.  It really could give soap operas of today a run for their money with all the crazy scandalous stuff that is happening in the book and there are some steamy parts too!

So far I have maintained the perfect ten score for this second half of the year. I know we are only a week into it, but still I feel happy that I have not watched even a hint of the bloody television this week. There are so many more wonderous things to do than to tune in to TV. For now I am tuning out to go run some errands which include getting the Brainy Day 5K tshirts picked up this afternoon!  Oh and Rebel and Leslie the next time I get on here it will be to write about you!  That is not a threat, but a mere promise!

Vern Out