Category Archives: That surfer guy

Wild Bill

I have never had the opportunity to see my husband surf waves like this.

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When he went to Costa Rica for a week this past January, I was jealous.  Not because of the great folks he was with, but because they got to see him surf those waves and I didn’t.

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Now I have, and it was better than raw oysters, girls.

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Hubba hubba!

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Calico skies

“It was written that I would love you, from the moment I opened my eyes. And the morning when I first saw you, gave me life under calico skies. I will hold you, for as along as you like. I’ll hold you, for the rest of my life.” ~ Paul McCartney, Calico Skies

20120208-211917.jpgХудожник

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Digging deep….5 years, and a letter to you

Suffocation, oxygen, DOA, born again
Anesthetics numb the pain, new beginnings start again
Pick myself up off the floor, and find the strength I had before
I am digging deep

 

Here we are Billy.  That survival number quoted so long ago to us by I don’t even remember who….maybe one of the thousands of web pages I combed through in those early days.  In about 2 months it will have been 5 years since you got sick.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I felt like someone  plunged a knife deep into into my heart and cut off my air supply.  You.  Not you!!!  You were invincible.  You were my rock.  You were vibrant, alive and could do anything you put your mind to.  How could you be sick?  I was heart broken, Billy.   I literally had to scrape myself off the floor and force myself to function.  It was like someone flipped a switch inside of me turning off all innocence and trust I had in life.

Television, tunnel vision, execution and exhibition
Narcissism, indecision, desperation, lack of vision
Take the pleasure with the pain, find the strength to rise again
We are digging deep

 

God gave us the strength to dig deep into our union and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and carry on.  Every day was like a roller coaster ride in those early days after your stroke.  Some days were deceptively normal.  Others were obviously not.  The stroke shattered our safe little world.  It made us wake up and think…..about life, living and what was truly important.  It was a gift.  A weird little gift of vision and clarity….seeing with eyes peeled clean of ambivalence.

 

Poison air, breathe it in,
let it bleed, heal the skin, desecration, revelation, medication kicking in
What we’re feeling will transcend the situations we are in
We are digging deep.

 

Who we are together is what made us able to do this thing.  We are the definition of man and wife, my husband.  Hand in hand through thick and thin.  We took in the poison and survived.  Our skin is thicker.  We knew this was another fork in the road. We had been there before, not in such a dramatic way, but here it was again……that choice that lay before us with so much uncertainty.  We bravely chose the brambled, scary path into the unknown, but I wonder if we really ever had a choice.  All the stones laid so carefully in our path, directing us where to go.  It was divine.

 

Gentle leader, violent bleeder,
expectations, limitations, killing time until I die
I saw the future in your eyes,
I know why you won’t sleep tonight, I’ve seen you in a different light
You are digging deep

 

That was the hardest part, then and now…..looking in your eyes, those eyes I know so well, and seeing the pain and worry in them.  Knowing you felt bad, feel bad but won’t tell me.  I can hear your sleepless nights.  I can feel them, even when you just lay there not making a sound.  Even when we are not touching, there is an invisible thread connecting us.  I know  beyond a doubt that sometimes you are struggling, digging deep and trying to find a way out for yourself from this hand you have been dealt, trying to come to grips with it,  and at the same time trying to hide it from me.  You have become very good at pulling that veil down.  I am sorry you felt you had to do that back then, FEEL you have to do that now,  to protect me…to protect yourself from my fear.    I wish I wasn’t so weak in this regard, but when I have to think about losing you I feel a panic that I cannot describe.  Like how it must feel to be drowning….an awareness of the pain to come and knowing I am going to suffer….and so one flails and thrashes around, fighting it all the way. Can you blame me?  You are my life support.  My heart beats because of you.  We have had this conversation before. I told you I could not go on if something happened to you.  Do you recall what you said?  You replied “Well, I guess you have a problem then because you will have no choice in the matter”.  Always, always telling it as it is.   I am weak in that regard, and always have been.   I am not good at being strong, but I swear to you in the days we have left, be that 30 years, 20, 10,  5 more precious years….or just 1,  I will try to dig deeper into my soul and find what it takes to be to you, as you have always been to me. A pillar of strength. Always.

 

Always hanging on, in the twilight sleep,
never giving up, forever digging deep
Always
Always*

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20.5

My husband has always been a hottie to me and still is. This is what he looked like when I met him….well, minus the towel on his head. Wild Bill.

Unfairly, he still has the same body. I am not sure how men do this, or if it is just my man, but it blows me away. He weighs the exact same as he did 20 years ago…. aside from losing his hair and gaining some wrinkles…..oh, and minus the hawt tan that caused the wrinkles, he still looks like my Billy. Certainly not as buff, but not much different in my eyes.

We have been married 20 years now, and are almost 1/2 way to 21, but really, not much has changed around here between us. I still think about him even when he is in the same room with me. He still makes me catch my breath, and get that burning feeling deep inside of me when he winks at me. I want him near me all the time (well, almost), and I seriously miss him when he is at work. I get butterflies when the dog runs to the door around 5, signaling Bill’s arrival home.

It isn’t perfect. We have our blow ups and arguements. I have gone days without wanting to talk to him and the same for him with me. There are times when I want to throw something at him and hear a satisfying thud when it hits him. But that is marriage! That is the reality of living with a totally unique and different from you individual. Who ever told you that marriage is a cake walk? Tell me who so I can give ’em a swift kick in the a$$. It is all the good with the bad, and by God you better believe that there are days when you just want to walk out the door.

But you don’t, because with time you learn that those days are few and far between. They are a small part of a bigger picture. You learn that love is so deep and rich, that it covers all the wounds like a comforting balm. True love endures and rises above it all. The years flow like a river, carving out deep lines in that face you fell in love with. Love wears difficult memories into smooth surfaces, like the stones worn smooth by waters flowing since the beginning of time…no longer sharp and painful to tread upon.

Love looks at you through rose colored glasses, as it should. It most certainly does. It does not use a magnifying glass to find the flaws and highlight them.

When I look at Billy, I still see that surfer I met in 1987. The one that never let a day go by without calling at least 2 times just to see how my day was going: “Jody, what have you been doing today?” amusement and curiosity in his voice. (To this day he always uses my name when talking to me and it makes me swoooooon) . The one that wore paisley shirts buttoned to the top and wire rimmed glasses under curly, flaxen hair. The guy who gave me butterflies just by looking at me and could make me melt just by saying my name. The one who always tasted of the sea. The man who still touches me with the same passion that he did that very first time.

20.5 years. That’s a long time. No, not much has changed. Same body, same voice, same crazy antics, same love. He is still my wild Bill.

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Winter surf

I know! You are like, “How many times do we have to see your husband surfing Jody?!!” My answer is “at least a couple thousand times”. Seriously, how could anyone get tired of this:

Or this:

I obviously have a thing for surfers. It has been an illness of mine since college. Tans, nice and lean, broad shoulders and strong arms from paddling. I like the blond variety, hand down.

When I first started dating Bill, he showed up at my garage apartment one cold January evening after a winter surf session. He came inside and propped up his board, then curled up on my futon with me to watch a movie. He was all chilly, blond hair wet with salt water, skin salty and smelling of the ocean. I! was! HOOKED!!!

In the winter the water temps here are in the 50’s for the most part, and the skies are gray and dreary, so Billy is in a wetsuit …and I am on the pier freezing my buns off taking pics. Winter surfing can be rough, and although I own a wetsuit, I prefer sunny skies and warmth for surfing…..water temps in the high 60’s and air temp warm enough that I don’t loose feeling in my hands.  Billy surfs all the time. Cold front? He’s on it. Rain and cold? If there is surf, he’s out there. He does prefer the warmth of early fall, spring/summer surfing to the cold, and loathes getting in and out of a wetsuit, no doubt…….

The following images were taken by Jennifer Kidd of Marinedreams, Port Aransas on a sunny day. Aren’t they great? Look at those arms…hubba hubba

……..I loath one on him too. I think wetsuits cover up far too much. ;*)

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53 degrees

Saturday kicked up some great surf for us here at the coast. Too bad for me that I have been hacking and coughing my brains out for a week now, and was not up to immersing my body in 53 degrees of salt water on a cloudy day with temps in the 50’s as well (and for this I am being called a poser at every opportunity since). Lucky for me, my husband is a maniac and he got in the water and caught some great waves for me to photograph.

You can get an idea of the wave height here. Chest to shoulder high?

I love it when he runs his hand along the face of the wave.

Getting out of the water was fairly painful. He got to the car and his hands were completely numb and he could hardly use them. Here he is trying to put on a shirt and remove a wetsuit without working hands. I was really helpful snap, snapping away! I think he said something like “come on, cut it out”. When the numbness wore off, the pain set in, and from a man who rarely curses, I think I heard the “f” word at least a kazillion times.

His body was convulsing with shivers and he continued to do so for easily 45 minutes. I am sure he has close to zero percent body fat, so all he had to keep the cold out was the wetsuit. I would have fared much better, as my body fat is……..um, much higher than his……so I am like a seal. Or a bear. I am my own furnace. But dang if watching him didn’t make me frozen. I was up on the pier taking the pics and hollering down at him “Whooo hooo, can you feel your hands baby, because I can’t feel mine?” which I know went far to making him feel all toasty and warm.

I did finally contribute to his thawing out by climbing in his lap and wrapping my arms around him and putting his hands on my back.  Salty skin, exhilaration from the cold water and waves. (sigh) I love surfers. Especially shopping for new boards with one. The smell of surf wax, surrounded by every board imaginable. “Um, honey, what do the fins on that board look like?” Quicksilver jeans are one of man kinds greatest creations…..

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Take a left, please

Why I survived my 20's

You are looking at the reason I survived my 20’s.

Call it a fate, or whatever you want, but I met him at a crossroads in my life. I could have gone down the path of the endless party, meeting some pretty boy that would give me superficial fulfillment. Or, I could follow Billy down the road to the left…..the one that would wind around mountains to hike, oceans to sail and surf, and children to marvel at.

I am glad I went left, when most of the people I knew then went to the right.

This man, the one I followed, is one of the nicest human beings on earth. There are times, of course, when I want to strangle him, but for the most part he is everything a woman could ask for and then some.

I feel very lucky to have taken a Louie with him.

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Robert August, dude!

Roberto

On Friday, our family had the absolute pleasure of meeting one of the surf communities true legends, Robert August.

When he was 18, Robert August and his friend Mike Hynson were documented in the filmThe Endless Summer produced by Bruce Brown, as they circled the globe following summer and finding surf that had never been ridden before.

Meeting him was a pleasure, as he is just such a nice person. He is a vacation local here, and spent the late morning talking with us,
Chatting

and Mia enjoyed playing with his daughter.
Mia and her new friend

He signed Cory’s cap, and a shirt for me. We were going surfing after the visit and had our boards in the truck so I was all “You HAVE to ask him to sign your board, Bill! How cool would that be??”, but Bill kept waving me off. I finally bullied him into allowing Robert to sign his board. Bill now has a Robert August surfboard, signed by Robert August himself. Too cool.

A pleasure

Signed by Robert August

Thank you Robert for your hospitality and kindness. We might just take you up on Costa Rica this summer.

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Righteously

Righteously

You don’t have to prove your manhood to me constantly
I know that your the man, can’t you see
I love you righteously……

Think this through
I laid it down for you everytime
Respect me I gave you whats mine
You’re entirely way too fine”

The sexiest song, hands down that I have ever heard is Righteously by Lucinda Williams. Go upload it, ditch the kids, dim the lights grab your honey and hit play. Mmmmmmmm.

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Affection

Affection

He is lucky to have such an affectionate dad, and we are lucky to have such an amazing son.

I am sorry I have been so sparse here. Bill hasn’t been feeling well the last 2 weeks. His PSS (post stroke syndrome) has been back really bad, and it had us quite worried. It finally eased up on Friday and on Saturday he went surfing, so the worst is behind him us, we hope….if you don’t count him being up at 1a.m. Sunday night with a headache, me curled on the couch next to him waiting for the Motrin to kick in. His headaches , to us me, are much like the bell Pavlov used for his dogs.

When he feels bad, I really can’t deal with the outside world. I try and be a good friend, but honestly, I don’t have it in me to be there for anyone other than Bill and the kids right now. I try, but fail miserably. Case in point that I did not show for a friends B-day party Saturday night. I am sure they think I am a snob or something, but then again when I try and explain, it feels like it falls on deaf ears……..like talking into a wind tunnel, so why bother.

So, I shut down. Which is where I am right now. Back in my familiar little shell. I need to hang a sign on it that says “Private! No friends or relatives allowed”.

Thank God my little shell is filled with sights such as the one above. And the ocean. And the beach. And boats. And surfboards. It also has cupcakes in its pantry. And rice crispy treats. No, you can’t have any.

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Another reason I keep Bill around

Imaginative toilet paper storage

He still makes me laugh.

A few days ago, he asked me where I wanted to put some new towels that I bought, and in frustration I said something like “Just stack them on the back of the toilet for now”.

mebeli
The next day, while unpacking groceries, I handed him a package of toilet paper and asked him to put it away for me………………………

The subliminal message here is that he doesn’t like the towels on the back of the toilet. Got it.

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How it feels

Bringing you right there into the lineup.

Paddling out
Paddling out

Waiting for a set
Waiting for the next set

Catching the wave
Catching the wave

Surfin’!
Surfing

Walling up

Can you feel the salt water on your face? Can you feel how cold the water is, but you are having so much fun it doesn’t matter? Can you feel the power of that wave as it walls up and breakc? The real thing is 100 times better, but for the armchair surfer, this is as close as I can get for you. Enjoy.

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Oh baby

I got my husband another surf board for Christmas, because, well, you can’t have too many when the stoke hits. It doesn’t matter that he had just bought a 9′ Robert August board a month ago, oh no. See, this one is a high performance 9′ board. The nose is slightly turned up, like a snob, and she has beautiful angles. You might just have to trust me on this.

I didn’t plan on buying the board. I planned on getting him a wetsuit, but when I got there and called him to ask what size and style he wanted, I also asked which board it was that he had been obsessing over for the last 30 days. He replied “Oh, no, don’t buy a board…………..but its a Robert August Saber”.

And yes, I bought it. And the wetsuit. And lots of wax.

On the way home I glanced in the rear view and thought “how do you hide a 9′ long surfboard from a surfer in his own house”. I mean, it is not like it would fit in our closet behind my clothes. It certainly would not go in the attic. There was no way to just slip it in underneath the other 4 boards. So I called Billy and chit chatted on the drive home. About 10 minutes into the conversation, I said casually:

“Hey, I was just sitting here thinking about something”
Billy: “Oh yeah, what are you thinking?”
Me: “I was asking myself how to hide a 9′ long log from my husband, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions”
Billy: “You did NOT buy that! No!”
Me: “Are you mad?”
Billy: “Are you serious?”
Me: “Oh yes. The nose is leaning up against my head right now.”
Billy “You should NOT have done that.”
Me: “Do you want me to take it back?”
Billy, very quickly: “NO! Don’t do that.”

When I got home, we unloaded it and he unwrapped a bar of wax and, with something like reverence, began waxing his virgin board.

Oh baby

It was hilarious to watch. I felt like I needed to fan myself. Whew.

Wax on

Why did I do this? Because he would not have done it for himself. It made me feel like laughing and clapping my hands when he saw it.

“But he already had a surf board”, you might say! “And the economy!!! Jody!! you are insane!” Well, you know what? Now he has a nose rider and I went with him to the beach and watched him ride it every day last week. I watched him wriggle into his wetsuit, walk down the beach with his Saber, attach his leash and paddle out into the line-up with all the young guys 1/2 his age….and he smoked ’em. When he came in, his skin was salty and chilled, and as I kissed him I realized that you can bring yesterday back around. And it is better the second time.

That was worth every damn cent.

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Deer might fly, why not? I met you…..

The first Christmas that we spent together, Billy set the standard tradition.

We were in Fort Worth, and it was the second time for him to meet my parents. As quiet as he is, I imagine he was a bit overwhelmed with the Italian loudness and fun. Christmas Eve at my parents house means an evening of visiting with friends and family over mixed drinks and a roaring fireplace. Dinner is at midnight, and I remember Billy was ready to go to bed.

The night grew long opening presents. It was close to 1 a.m. when he leaned over to me in the midst of wrapping paper, laughter and all the chatter and whispered in my ear “I want you for Christmas”.

My breath caught, and all the sounds around me grew muted. All I could hear were his words ringing sweetly in my ear…..his warm breath lingering like a promise.

That is all he has ever asked for at Christmas.

I hope he knows how pleased that makes me.

Tonight, after the kids are all tucked into their beds and the lights on the tree are glittering, Santa will visit, leaving green, red and silver packages shining under the tree.

Bill will be waiting for me. He is all that I want.

Merry Christmas From our family to yours.

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Memories

I have had time on my hands today as I nursed myself and Mia back to health, so I have been browsing all of my photos. Holy cow, no wonder my computer runs so durn slow. I have thousands and thousands of images!

The above image popped out at me, not because of it’s stellar composition or clarity, but because I remember that day very clearly. We were in Galveston to go to an interview for Bill. It was July 2006, just 2 months after he had his migraine stroke, and we were in pure panic mode. The giant, guttural pull to find a job with health benefits was consuming, and as I look back on it, I am so glad that he did not get that job.

I know that we were trying to find our past again. A past in which Bill was whole and healthy. A past that was filled with so much happiness. We wanted to go back in time, and that was not a good reason to move.

The day I took this image, we were at the hotel pool, and Bill was so quiet and abrupt with all of us. Early on, I was not able to pick up on how his moods reflected the intensity of his post stroke symptoms (mostly tingling on his right side), so I was feeling hurt.

It wasn’t until a day or so later that he told me he was feeling bad that day.

And so our life post-stroke began. He would get moody and I in turn would get worried. The ebb and flow of his symptoms came and went with no predictable pattern at all. It was interesting to see how my instinct kicked in with him, and our years of togetherness made him so transparent. I learned how to read his moods and realized that he needed his space on those days….when he was ready, he would come to me unexpectedly and tell me he had felt bad a few days before. I knew though.

It is hard to believe that it has been close to 3 years now. It doesn’t consume our daily thoughts. It is not the first thing I remember when I roll out of bed in the morning anymore. We have certainly not forgotten though. It shaped our lives and who we are today.

Today we are grateful. We are happy. We are together and we have learned how to love life with gusto.

That day in July, I zoomed in on him and snapped the picture. I wanted his image to fill my lens before he disappeared. When the shutter went off, it was burned into my mind forever.

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Old Mr. Webster could never define

I was waiting for you that morning in January of 2000. I sat wringing my hands and watching for your truck through the kitchen window.

I took a deep breath when I saw you come around the corner and down the road to our driveway. I walked nervously through the garage, right up to the truck you had just parked. I slapped that pregnancy test up against the window. You looked at it, bent closer, looked some more, then back to my face. Then you smiled, reached over and locked the door.

I started shaking and crying, and you opened the door. I climbed up into your lap and hid my face in your neck. I was not sure how you were going to repond because you had told me “no more” in no uncertain terms.

I felt you shaking and I remember saying “You are so mad…..Are you mad?”.

You said firmly “No”, and as you put your hands on my shoulders and pulled me back, I saw that you were crying.

You said “I’m crying with joy”.

Quinn was born late in September, and nothing could have prepared me better for all that we went through with him, than those tears of joy that you shed that winter morning.

“Old Mr. webster could never define
What’s being said between your heart and mine.” ~performed by Allison Kraus


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When you say nothing at all

For the most part, I have never been a clingy, insecure person with Bill. I have had my moments of insecurity, but they have always been hormonally driven by my cycles, child birth, or having an infant permanently attached to my breast.

The truth is, I have always found strength in our relationship. Strength that I never knew I had. I had the strength to allow myself to fall deeply in love. Something I had never allowed myself to do before.Early in our dating relationship, I had the strength to allow him to walk away from my arms when he got scared and confused.

Most importantly, I had the strength to trust him again and give him my heart when he was ready to come back.

From that moment on, I never doubted his love. It is just something I accept in the same way that I accept my right hand. It just is.

Time has proven his undying love and unconditional acceptance of me. He brings me so much joy and has made my life one that I can look back on and simply be in awe of it. He dazzles and fascinates me. In September we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. This Christmas we will have been together for 21 years. Unreal. I have so many memories of him that are special. In the coming weeks, I intend to post some that stand out in my mind as magical.

It’s amazing how you
can speak right to my heart.
Without saying a word
you can light up the dark.
Try as I may I could never explain,
What I hear when you don’t say a thing.


I wonder if he remembers that day when I moved home from Florida before we got back together again (we had broken up several months before and I had moved to Florida…we had stayed in touch), I moved into the dorms 3 days after arriving back in Texas, and was feeling afraid to give Bill my heart again. The problem was, how could I resist?

I spent that day getting re-enrolled in school, arranging my room (in a co-ed dorm much to Bill’s dismay) and fretting about calling him as he had asked me to as soon as I arrived in Galveston. I finally did that afternoon, and he was not happy that I had waited all day. He came right over, and we spent the weekend together. It was really hopeless for me, but I resisted getting close. He could really sense my distance, and kept asking if I was okay.

One evening the following week I didn’t call him, and at around 9pm there was a knock on my door. When I answered it I was not prepared to find a pissed and distressed Bill standing there. All he said to me calmly was “I have been waiting, and you didn’t call. I have no way to get hold of you (there was no phone in my room). Why didn’t you call? You should have called.” He walked in the door, and the feeling I got was that if I so much as touched him he would simply fall apart.

Bill, I am going to tell you this and I want you to listen…..That night you came into my dorm room and paced about it in frustration at the fact I had not called you that evening. You were feeling jealous and insecure, and you said “I don’t like the way I am feeling. I don’t want to tell you how I feel”.

Although you did later that night, you really didn’t have to say a word….I knew. I just had to watch you to know the truth. You had fallen in love, and I would have followed you to hell and back after that evening.

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Parents day out

Billy celebrated his birthday just a week or so ago, and as a gift to himself, decided that he wanted to join the long boarders club. After weeks of painstaking research, he is now the proud owner of a Robert August 9′ log and surfing has moved right up there with sailing as a free time filler.

After spending so much time in the water lately, I have my surfing mojo back…..or basically I have found my groove. I feel comfortable on my board again, and not so much like a kook. I pretty much can catch every wave that I paddle for, and it feels so great.

I think that having lost a bunch of weight has contributed much to my balance on a board. It is hard to describe, but I will try. When Billy had the board made for me about 18 or so years ago, I weighed about 105-110 lbs dripping wet. The board was custom made for me. I learned how to surf on it, and had it wired.

Fast forward 40 lbs and you have a very off kilter surfer girl. Everything was off. Paddling was harder, catching the wave was harder. As a wave approached, I had to turn and paddle my ass off to catch it (or not, as the case was 70% of the time). My balance was totally off. I was a kook.

Now subtract 20lbs. Paddling is that much easier. I can literally turn and bury my board as the wave approaches and let it pop up in the momentum of the wave and voila! I have caught it! Yesterday Billy and I went surfing alone together, and I rode every wave that I attempted.

It was so fine.

What was even finer was my honey sitting on his board and “whooping” out loud when I caught a wave. I wish that every married couple could feel the thrill of that kind of bond. There is just nothing like it.

Your friends can’t fill it. Your parents can’t. Your kids can’t.

Foster your marriage my friends. Don’t take your husband or wife for granted. Make him/her your best friend and treat them as such. They deserve nothing less.

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Duck dive

I love watching Billy paddle out into the line-up. He gets on that board, and it appears so effortless to me. His arms stroke the water evenly and his board seems to move as if it is being towed by a boat.

In the photo above, he is about to “duck dive” under the breaking wave. He raised up on his arms, pushed the board underwater and “dove” through the wave. When he got to the other side, he resumed paddling just like that 10 foot wave he just plowed through was never there.

It was a long paddle to the line-up. The images that you see above were shot with a 70-300mm telephoto lens, and I took them from the T head of a 1,240 foot pier. The man is going to be 51 years old in less than 3 weeks.

Sure, it looks effortless to me. I am standing on the pier watching. The reality is that it was hard, and by the time he got to the line-up he was tired and it was difficult to paddle hard to catch each wave.

Still, he made it look effortless.

That day he paddled out there for 3 different sessions. I imagine he burned somewhere around 34,000 calories. He was exhausted, and eating everything in site. I gained weight just watching him eat. It was spectacular.

This summer the kids went to their grandparents for a week, and Billy and I were able to do some things alone that we normally cannot with small children. Surfing together was one of those things.

I had forgotten how much fun he is out on the water. He is so at home there….like a seal. For every wave I caught, he caught 5. We laughed and horsed around, and…..well, I just can’t describe it. It is a different culture all in its own, and we connect there. Billy is the fun, blond, blue eyed surfer boy I always knew I would find.

Ike is making his grand entrance into the Gulf in the next day or so, and as we watch anxiously to see where he will make landfall, as surfers, we just can’t stop thinking “I wonder what kind of waves we will get this time?” A babysitter just might be in order.

Posted in Surfing, That surfer guy | 7 Comments

Gustav

When there is a hurricane in the Gulf, the first thing we do, after making sure it is not coming to us is…..check the surf report.

The waves were head high, some big sets that rolled in were several feet overhead. It was fabulous. I made it to the outside once, but the current was really strong, and it did my arms in trying to paddle and paddle to stay out there. I ended up on the inside, and caught some smaller waves there.

Bill surfed until his arms fell off, so I had to drive home. ;*) Just another day in paradise.

**the whole Gustav surf set can be seen here.

Posted in Surfing, That surfer guy | 10 Comments

Quintessentially Bill

This hat is the bane of my existence. I have spent more money buying hats that could possibly replace this hideous thing, but in the end, it really isn’t about him loving the hat…….it is more about loving and relishing how excellently it pushes my buttons.

Tormenting me is his job, and he takes it seriously.

Posted in That surfer guy | 6 Comments

Solo

When the kids and I were out of town many months ago, Bill took Calypso out for a spin on his own. Our dock neighbor was out as well, and they took some photos.

She’s a pretty boat, and he’s a mighty fine sailor.

**note that the jib (forward, small sail) is fuuunky with a capital F. It appears it is not an original, but until we suck it up and buy new sails, it’ll do.

Posted in That surfer guy | 1 Comment

Changing gears

My husband can’t sit still.

He is a man of movement and is always doing some chore or another. At home he does laundry, cleans, mows the lawn, and somehow always finds something to keep himself preoccupied.

It really is no different on the boat. There is ALWAYS something to tinker with. No sooner had we dropped anchor was he in the water cleaning the hull. He ended up doing 3/4 of it and I finished the rest.

The interesting thing is, even though he is a man of motion, he can break his stride in a heartbeat and slip right into the laid back life of vacation on the boat.

Me? It takes a bit longer to shrug off the everyday stresses and get acclimated to life without distractions. I have to ease into it.

Jumping in the water and cleaning the hull refocused me and when I came out of the water, I believe I had left the distractions behind.

Posted in That surfer guy | 1 Comment

He’d rather be sailing

The grooms cake at our wedding was German chocolate cake. Across the front the baker had scrawled “I’d rather be sailing”.

This is my husband in his happy place. He has always been and always will be content wherever he is, but it sure is nice to see him in his element.

Posted in That surfer guy | 1 Comment

Father, daughter

2 years ago this month, life flipped upside down on hits head, and told us this was the new normal….being topsy turvy and full of anxiety. If you told me back then that all was going to be okay, I would have filleted you.

I saw the above sight on Saturday, and really thought I might just sit down on the steps of that auditorium and have a good cry.

My husband was here with us, well and fit, to watch his tiny daughter dance.

Folks, THAT is the definition of paradise. Not the sand between my toes or the salty wind in my hair.

If you are surrounded by the ones you love, and can feel the presence of God in the turn of your life, then you tell me what else could you possible need.

Posted in That surfer guy | 6 Comments

Defying gravity

I love this picture. Why? Well, for one thing it has a hot surfer in it. But you knew that, right? Slim, broad shoulders…ahem.

It is a baby wave….nothing spectacular. Kinda sloppy and mushy as waves go, to tell the truth. But I love it because it is so typical….the arm flying out, sometimes grazing across the water. The way his body leans at angles that defy gravity. How relaxed he is on a board. I am not sure if I can say that I have ever seen him fall.

I love this picture because it is my definition of contentment. Laid back, healthy, hanging on a board on an island in the sun.

La flippin’ buena vida, baby.

On an island in the sun, we’ll be playin’ and having fun. And it makes me feel so fine I can’t control my brain. ~ Weezer

Posted in Surfing, That surfer guy | 3 Comments

War of the Roses

We have little silent battles at our house.

Remember Bill the minimalist?  If he does not like some nick knack that I have, he will simply put it away.  After a day or a few, I will notice it missing, and start the hunt. Upon finding said object, I will place it out again in its proper place, Bill will see it and start the whole process over again.

These little silent exchanges go on forever at times, some lasting months, until it happens when I am on my period someone finally cracks or the object literally disappears.

Bill and I have our own sinks for the first time in our married life.  We have so much bathroom space it feels sinful. I never knew that loving a bathroom was possible.  In our old house, the one bathroom was a place to get in and out of as fast as you could so the next person, who could be all of 3, wouldn’t pee on the hardwood floors outside the door. Now, I have my own space.  I can take a long, hot bath uninterrupted (the genius of locks on doors that do not require a skeleton key that was lost around the turn of the century…boggles the mind), and can hide from the kids sit in my carpeted walk in closet and read a magazine in peace.  Yes, I am that weird.

As you know, I decorated our bedroom/bath with ocean decor….seashells, coral, etc.  On each sink, I have a little shell filled with seashell soap, some red coral, seashells and hand soap.  It drives my husband up the wall. Stuff! On his side of the sink! A place that must be bare so that he can wipe it down without having to move stuff around.

Almost every morning, the little soap dish on Bill’s side is moved somewhere in the bathroom, and his coral is relocated to the garden tub.  When I discover it, I move it back. This has been going on now since September.  We never say a word to each other.  Little, silent, playful battles.

Saturday morning, I woke up to this:

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Which side do you suppose is mine?

Posted in That surfer guy | 9 Comments

Fate

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I am thinking that these pictures were probably taken within the same year. I must be 4? Pam, you might have to help me on that one. Bill is maybe 11? 12?

It seems so weird to look at our little selves.

I sit there, oblivious to his existence on earth. I am in pre-kindergarten. Glue, scissors and chasing lizards are my focus living in north Texas.

He sits there, surfing his #1 priority, on the cusp of adolescence, ready to take on the world in south Texas.

If we had met then, I would have been just another child that he would have patted on the head and talked to in a high pitched voice.

We would not cross paths for another 18 years.

It would take those 18 years for the world to throw its best and worst on us, while we grew up into the mature adults we were when we met.

During that time, I would find my way to the coast. I would attend college there, learn the difference between Corona and tequila, and meet a young man who, in all his absolutely charming ways, inadvertently fostered the best in me and sculpted me to be the woman Bill would fall in love with.

Bill and I would meet at the ages of 22 and 30. We would marry 3 years later.

From the time those pictures were taken, and today, almost 40 years have past.

When I look at the picture of Bill above, I recognize my husband. I see the same eyes I have gazed into for more than 20 years. His soul shines in them. I see the same nose that I have kissed the tip of. I have run my fingers through that hair.

He was mine then, and I was his. My lopsided smile. My sleepy eyes. My inability to be comfortable in a dress. It is all still the same.

Those 2 kids found their way to each other.

But really, they didn’t have any choice.

It was fate.

Happy Valentines day, Billy.

Posted in That surfer guy | 4 Comments

Date night, a love story

For the last few months Bill and I have been able to take an evening to ourselves each month.

The babysitting situation is premo….it only costs $15 for the entire evening. The cost of finding a baby sitter was what had kept Bill us from wanting to do it more than, say, once a year. Face it, after you pay the baby sitter $10 an hour, factor in dinner, a movie and gas, your date night could cost well over $100-$150 or more. The part of Bill that needed to be with me alone could not quite overcome that part of Bill that hates to let go of money.

Since we moved to the coast, on date night we have 5 hours to do whatever we want.

The night usually consists of dinner out and then time alone on the boat……..I can’t tell you how amazing it is for us to just sit and talk uninterrupted.

We have slowly been touring the restaurants that Bill has deemed too expensive to bring all the kids to….which completely ticks off Cody, as he is the one who checks out the leftovers that we bring home. “HEY!! You had crawfish! You went to (insert name of restaurant the kids want to eat at every night of the week). That isn’t fair!!!”

Last night we hit a local place that is BYOB. You get a table, then head next door to the liquor store, select your drink for the night, bring it back, then they chill and serve it to you.

The food is superb, with a fresh sushi bar, and some amazing gourmet food.

We sat there for 3 hours eating sushi, sipping ice cold Heinekens, in an intimate setting with lots of friendly locals. I met a couple that Bill knew from work ties, and I instantly liked them. I said to Bill “Now see, I think I could really enjoy their company” and I felt a little of the wall I have placed around me give way.

Afterward we went to the boat. Remember how cold it was at the beach making plaster hand prints? Well, the boat was even colder. The hull is basically floating in the water like a nice bottle of beer chilling in ice water…..but instead of drinking that lovely, cold beer you pop the top off and crawl down the neck into it.

We opened some hatches and lit the stove until things warmed up to a point above “Why are we doing this” level. Then the most romantic thing happened. We crawled into the aft bed and fell asleep….a nice, uninterrupted, dozing sleep that only a parent with lots of small children can appreciate.

I think they call it REM, and I highly recommend it.

Posted in That surfer guy | 5 Comments

All that I am, All that I ever was

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We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
they’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
-Snow Patrol

Sometimes when I speak it all comes out wrong. Sometimes it just seems impossible to tell someone what is in that complicated brain that sits up on my shoulders. How do you put emotion into word? I can’t. I just can’t.

I can’t convey to my friends back home why we left. I can’t explain to anyone here at the coast why I won’t let them in, why I have become an island…..why my family has become an island. I can’t even convey it to myself.

It hurts that there are some people who are still mad bewildered/upset with us. It hurts that they don’t understand.

I can’t use words to make it simple for everyone. It hurts too much to try.

I can use someone elses though.

I can take those words and copy them here, and maybe someone will read them and understand. Maybe someone will grasp how much I love that man.

Everything else in my life pales in comparison to my family.

I will never look back on this time in my life and feel regret for making my husband a priority.

I will never regret turning my back on everything else outside of my family.

I know one thing. I never in a million years knew that I could love someone this much…..that I could lose myself in them.

The line is blurred as to where I end and where he starts.

And I have to tell you, I would go to hell and back with him……coming here was easy.

Posted in That surfer guy | 10 Comments

Date

It has been a very long time since Bill and I had time alone together. I really miss his 6 days off. If I were to say what the biggest adjustment with our move has been for me, it would be Bill changing jobs, hands down.

He has a great job. We are both thrilled with it, but I miss my husband. I miss our days together alone. I miss our bike rides. I miss him, period.

Having said that, I can say that the time we get together now is much appreciated and cherished. I am adjusting.

We had a date last Friday. No kids!!! I anticipated it all day, and 5pm could not have come soon enough.

We went to a seafood restaurant that we had not been to before, and the food was excellent. Just excellent. Beer, crab and lobster bisque, salad, 5 kinds of shrimp, and key lime pie to round it off. It was amazing how quiet it was, and we were surprised that no one screamed, wrestled with each other, or threw themselves on the floor crying. Instead they all spoke with their indoor voices. Amazing.

We went straight to the boat afterwards. It was dark, and the Christmas lights were on at the harbor. The outdoor tiki bar had a singer, and Jimmy Buffet songs floated down the dock to our boat.

We went down below to the aft cabin, opened the window, laid back and gazed at the stars. A gentle breeze blew in, and we talked softly to each other. The waves lapped up against the hull, and the boat gently rocked with the wind, lulling us to sleep. It was just magical.

I swear, if I remember one thing when I am 80, I want it to be about that night.

Posted in That surfer guy | 3 Comments

Bill, the minimalist

If it were up to my husband, all of the countertops and furniture in this house would have nothing on them. Nothing, nada, zilch.

Our bedside tables have been bare since the furniture arrived, and I had added an old lamp to mine for the purpose of illumination while I read.

Bill did not want a lamp. His philosophy is that the bed is for sleeping, one other thing, and nothing else, so why should he need a bedside lamp?

Well, alrighty then.

In come the coral lamps.

I ordered them a week ago, and they arrived today. I set them up, and called Bill in to see them.

He was like, “Um, I don’t want a lamp.”

And I am like, “Um, well, you have one now.”

He said “Oh…..well, take it back”.

And I am all, “Whoops, they were special order and cannot be returned”.

So, my husband has his first ever bedside lamp, and he is less than excited.

Myself? I am not sure how I feel about my non-returnable, coral lamps. I like them, but then again………

What do you think, oh worthy internets?

Posted in That surfer guy | 17 Comments

His lap is a comfy leg rest

Ahhh.

That is more like it.

Things have settled back down here, and we finally have a closing day. Title is now clear. The boat will soon be ours, and we can get that part of our trip behind us. The paper work, hand wringing, check writing part.

Now on to the sailing part.

Today I started the Flickr 365 Day challenge. A self portrait for each day, for a year. I can’t say how interesting it will be, but I will do my best.

My first photo begins here, with an awesome sexy lap

Add legs, and you have an awesome sexy lap put to use

Todo bueno!

Posted in Life's good, That surfer guy | 1 Comment

Nothing will ever match the sweetness

As usual, I could see Bill ahead of me, his legs moving smoothly and strongly. We were on a bike ride and it was a beautiful day. Not a bright,sunny, blue skies burning kind of beautiful. It was actually cloudy, hot and muggy. Texas coast muggy. The beauty was in how vivid all the colors were. It was surreal. The greens were so deep and varied and the wildflowers had grown waist high with all the rain we have been getting. I have never seen so many gorgeous wildflowers. Did I mention the green? It was like someone Photoshopped the landscape and I was riding my bike through velvet.

I was about 1/8 mile behind Bill when I saw him stop, get off his bike, walk it to the edge of the road and lay it on its side. He walked into the wildflowers and bent over with his hands on his knees. My heart stopped beating. It looked like he was getting sick. I was already spent physically from our ride, but a burst of energy called panic had me standing up in the pedals and pounding up the hill towards him. It was uphill, and I swear I was going about 17mph or more , straight up it. Fight or flight, baby.

My mind was racing to horrible thoughts such as ruptured aneurysm, stroke….you name it. He had been sick all week, even successfully warding off a migraine. It was just like the last time, when he had the stroke. Same symptoms, but then again he has had them come and go all year, so why was I in such a panic? Well, it had also been one year to the day since he had experienced his stroke. Happy anniversary, honey.

I pounded up the hill. God, not now. Not yet. Not here.

Then I saw him stoop and reach into the brambles repeatedly, each time pulling back and touching his other hand. Huh?

As I neared him he straighted up and started to walk toward me. I breathlessly got off my bike as he reached me. Glancing at his hand, I saw plump, ebony berries staining his bike glove. He picked one up and placed it into my mouth and kissed me. The wind blew around us, bending the golden grass. Then he said knowingly “You really made it up that hill fast. What were you thinking?” I replied, “I was thinking you were getting sick. It looked like you were getting sick.”

The berry was as surreal as the colors painting the landscape. It was warm and the sweetness exploded in my mouth. How could one berry have so much juice in it?

We clipped back onto our bikes and started back home. Another uphill, a straight away, and then a long downhill. I peddled all the way down, my speed reaching 30mph. The taste of that dewberry was fresh in my mouth. The wind screeched past my face, snatching my sobs and whisking them away behind me. Post-stress anxiety, plus a huge helping of relief and thankfulness.

Thank you God, for that special moment with Bill, and for the blessing of one more day. Thank you for that dewberry.

Nothing will ever come close to the sweetness of that one berry on that hot afternoon.

Posted in Life's good, That surfer guy | 5 Comments

Conversations

While on a bike ride together…

me: I am so loving this!
Bill: Loving what?
me: This being together stuff.
Bill: Oh
me: So, is this like, more important to me than you?
Bill: What do you mean? How would I gauge that?
me: Well, okay, then I will re-phrase…How important to you is it that we get to spend so much time together now?
Bill: Awesome important.

________

I get a call from work today asking if I could come in and work the ER tonight. After telling them yes out of pure guilt, I spend the rest of the day anticipating a Friday night in the ER….

me: What are you looking at with that grin on your face?
Bill: You.
me: Why am I so funny.
Bill: Just because. It is funny watching you in this mode.
me: What mode is that?
Bill: Watching you agonize over going into work for one night. You work yourself up into a worry frenzy, like a wounded, dying snake coiling around and around itself ( said with hand motions imitating a dying snake rolling and writhing).

Posted in Life's good, That surfer guy | 3 Comments

The screwdriver

Not that kind of screwdriver…getcha mind outa the gutta and read on.

My whole life I have been very independant. Fiercly so at that. I did everything myself, and even though my brother was 5 years older than myself, I went everywhere with him. It drove my mother up the wall. All she had to do was turn her back for 1 minute, and I was out the door and half way to the creek.

I have been from one end of the country to the next on my own, and lived by myself for years prior to meeting and moving in with Bill. I took out my own trash, payed my bills (always late), took care of my own automobile, and at the age of 19, have even changed a flat on the highway, in the middle of rush hour traffic in Phoenix, Az.

I have ridden Slick Rock in Moab, Utah right beside Bill. I have crossed 12K foot mountain passes on my bike. I have raced in triathlons, and have found myself on the foredeck of a boat, waves crashing over me, sky as black as night as I set the spinnaker, my legs straddling the bow of the boat with nothing else holding me to the deck but the fear of falling overboard into a ragging bay.

After Cory was born, I was a take charge mom. I did the baths, checked their school folders every afternooon, was room mom, etc etc. With my first 3 pregnancies, I worked up until delivery, holding someone elses legs and yelling “push” while I was 38 weeks myself.

All of this changed after I began to miscarry. After the second one, I folded into myself and became very dependant. I was afraid to lift anything. I was timid. I whined more. I couldn’t surf, because we were trying to get pregnant, and it might hurt the baby. Running stopped. I wouldn’t even go for a walk after I ovulated for fear of somehow screwing up implantation. I swear that I became what I dreaded most in this world……….a Barbie.

It wasn’t until Mia was 19 months or so that I started to get my nerve back. I started riding bikes again, surfing and running too! But that fragile element remained in me. That “haylp, save me” Barbie attitude had woven its way throughout every fiber of my being. Bill took out the trash. Bill lifted the heavy laundry. If a jar lid was too tight, Bill opened it. Bill had just stepped in and taken over where I had simply dropped the ball and it had happened so gradually, I didn’t even know what had happened.

Until this new job came and with it, Bill’s absence for 72 hours at a time. It has been so good for me. I feel like I am gaining back my old self reliance and it really feels great.

When we first decided to go for it and take the job, there were people who were concerned. They had questions like “What will Jody do if one of the kids gets sick?” “How will she handle 4 kids by herself??” To be honest, the questions did more to get me back in gear than anything. I mean, what the hell? I have had these kids for a while now, why would I not be able to handle them without Bill? And, hello! I am a nurse. Yes, I probably panic a bit more when they get really ill, but I know damn well what to do in an emergency. Shesh.

Then Bill left for his first shift and the world did not stop revolving. The trash got out to the curb. The kids got to school on time. They got baths every night and some even got the croup and lived. The bills got paid. I opened jars on my own, lugged the laundry down stairs, fixed plugged toilets and sinks, and handled belligerence without screaming like a banshee.

And damn if felt good for Bill to come home and see the house in order and the kids happy and fine. Things were not perfect, but when are they ever?

I still need to get the balls to drive the 5th wheel and hopefully I will do that on our next trip to the coast. But hey, baby steps.

Bill still is…well, Bill. He likes to do things around the house. Feh, what is a girl to do. He likes to sweep, mop, do the laundry, fix the cars, mow the grass, renovate our kitchen, paint, and he is great in bed. All in all though, I am self sufficient again, (save for that last little part).

One of the things I had to take care of this week was a new license plate for my car. It was torn off in the wreck I had last week. The wreck I had in front of my house…while driving to the bank that is across the street. The bank I could have walked to, but didn’t. Ahem. Bill nagged asked me to go get it taken care of that day, so I agreed.

I called and inquired what they needed from me, gathered my wallet etc, and walked out to the car. I opened the door, and started to climb in but could not help but notice the enormous screwdriver on my seat. I would need it to remove the license plate on the rear of my car, and I have to be honest to say that it would have never occured to me to bring a large screw driver with me to get a new plate for the car.

Call a spade a spade, or a Barbie a Barbie…..but I like that he does these things for me. I smiled from ear to ear and thought, what the hell would I ever do without him? I had my answer as I drove down the road, with my screwdriver beside me in the front seat……I would miss him. That is what.

I would miss the hell out of him.

Posted in Life's good, That surfer guy | 7 Comments

Scrubs

Yesterday my husband put on a pair of scrubs. He went with my friend the anesthesiologist to the hospital to intubate people. If you are the primary practitioner in an ER, you must be able to intubate. Airways are very, very important and must be kept open….always remember; airway, airway, airway. Learning to intubate on a trauma patient would not be very fun….sort of “”there is blood coming out of their mouth, OhmyGodtheyhaveapneumothorax, no blood pressure, and are basically dead if I don’t get a tube in!! Get me a blade, I need to intubate for the first time in my entire career! AAHHHHH”. Really, really, really not a good idea. So, he went to the hospital with “D” and intubated sleeping, non-Helter Skelter people. People who were not traumatically dying. Way, way less complicated.

At 5:30a.m. he donned scrubs and came out into the kitchen where I was making him a latte to go. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, and had to do a double take. I have a thing for guys in scrubs and this was the first time I had seen my husband in them in a professional capacity. He sat down on a chair to put his shoes on and I jumped in his lap and jokingly said “Oh baby, scrubs really turn me on”. He started laughing all shy-like and said “Get outta here”. It was too funny.

This whole new job thing has me really happy. See me smiling with emoticons :*)) We can lounge around the house in shorts and flip flops for 6 days at a time. The kids are loving the time he has with them. I am mixed up about the days of the week because every day feels like Saturday………and! and! I get to see my hubby in scrubs.

Now, on to something of real importance…..an artsy picture of my new shoes

Roxy

Are they not cute?? I wore them with a knee length, peasant style skirt yesterday and my mom just about had a fit. She thought they were the ugliest shoes on the planet. She asked me why I don’t dress nice for Bill. I informed her that Bill likes the way I dress and she just would not believe me or let it go. She said, “You should dress up for your husband and look pretty for him!”. Oh, wow. Um, so very 1950’s. So very not me. Why the heck did she have to say that?

When I came home I told Bill about it and he just wrinkled his forehead, cocked his head to the side and said “She actually said that to you?” He then got up from his chair, came over to me, lifted my hair up into a pony tail with his hands and said “You are right, I do like the way you dress. I am sorry your mom hurt your feelings” and he kissed my neck and my cheek. If he had been wearing scrubs I would have taken advantage of him right then and there.

Are you in love with him yet? I am.

Love

Posted in That surfer guy | 11 Comments

Affiance

We are in the kitchen. Dinner is cooking on the stove.

The kids are wild. In 1 more day St. Nick will come and fill their stockings.

They are running through the house, sliding on the floors and laughing. Running ’round and ’round the kitchen.

Bill is sitting in a chair at the table, thumbing through Surfer magazine.

Not listening.

In his own world.

I can’t get him to engage.

He is unwinding from work.

His brow is furrowed.

I sidle up to him, slide him and the chair back, and climb in his lap.

At first he jokes that I am breaking his lap, his arms remaining on the chair rails.

I kiss him.

He tells me dinner is burning.

Whatever.

Finally he melts, wraps his arms around me and I snuggle down into him, kissing his neck.

The kids are spinning around us. Laughter and noise.

We stay like that for an eternity.

When I try to break away, he grabs me back and holds me tight.

The kids are everywhere.

We look at each other.

Finally connecting in the chaos.

After all of the kids are asleep in their beds, Bill climbs into bed next to me.

He wraps his arms around me.

No words.

I just know.

I got his attention.

Happy Love Thursday a bit early.

Posted in Life's good, That surfer guy | 6 Comments

Illusions

Yesterday evening, we got a babysitter and went for a bike ride. This was the first time I have ridden since the end of April. I don’t feel out of shape, as we have been surfing so much, but I asked Bill to be kind to me none-the-less. He has been riding at least 3x week for the last month or so.

It would be an understatement to say that my husband smoked me. He is 8 years my senior and he smoked me. This in and of itself would not be so humbling. Many of you out there could say “But, he is a male. Males are stronger, faster, etc etc”. Yes, this is true. Some males have a bit of an advantage on females.

The thing that makes this so remarkable, is that this male had a stroke 2 1/2 months ago……and he still kicked my arse.

I rode behind him much of the way, and I found myself watching him and looking for signs of the stroke. What I saw was perfect form, a lean, hard, strong body and effortless pedaling.

You would think that this would be so reassuring to me. It is, but then again it isn’t. I mean, he was like this before and then **WHAM** our lives were set upside down.

Just….like….that.

Last night after our ride, I sat beside him on the couch watching Le Tour. I turned to him and said “You know. I am not okay.” He looked at me quizzically and said “What do you mean?”

I told him that I am constantly on guard all the time now. When I hear him get up in the night to go to the bathroom, I wake fully and wonder if he is okay. If I hear him rustle in the cabinet where the medication is, I wonder if he has another headache. I watch his gait when he walks. If he grimaces at all, I freak. One time it was because a knat flew in his eye. I check in with him daily to see how his symptoms are (stroke syndrome lasts a long time….his residual at this point is the tingling, and it comes and goes in strength). A good day, one with almost no tingling, sets my mood up in the clouds. A day of stronger tingling or a return of any of the other symptoms can send me plummeting into worry and despair.

Don’t get me wrong. The roller coaster has leveled off dramatically. The huge, gut wrenching dips are gone for now. It is just the lingering feeling of…….of…..anticipation would be the only way I could describe it.

He rolled his eyes and said “Well, it sounds like you need to get a grip. You can’t live like that. I can’t live like that.”

This from the man that one night, while I was up and down with Mia and getting increasingly frustrated with her, decided that 2 a.m would be a good time to pull one on me. I came back to bed and he was breathing really funny, and making choking sounds. Folks, this is my husband. He is constantly messing with me, and has done this before. Nothing new, except the fact that I had read a few days earlier on a stroke forum a man describe that one early morning he awoke and heard his wife breathing funny and making choking sounds, and he called 911….she had had a stroke.

So, I climb into bed and hear this, and my logical mind knew it was Bill being a horses ass, because he had just been awake 2 minutes ago when Mia cried out. I punched him and told him to stop, and as usual, he didn’t. I tickled him, and got no response. I then started to get a bit alarmed, so I sat up and shook him, and it continued. At this point I started to cry and shake him, calling out his name. He sat up and said “what’s wrong? I am just kidding” and I started bawling and told him about the man on the computer.

Welcome to The World According to Stroke.

Riding with him, and seeing him strong and healthy made me feel happy.

But deep in my heart, I am scared that it is all an illusion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

**edited to add that, with almost 3 years behind us, I can say that it is not an illusion. He is fine and doing great. Typing this just now feels so damn good.

Posted in That surfer guy | 9 Comments

Guitar

I love listening to good music. Be it anything from Pachabel to Green Day, if it inspires me or brings out emotion, I have it in my CD player.

Sometimes I listen to a song, and the words are so perfect, they fit my feelings to a tee. I wish so much that I could write music like that. I feel it welling up inside of me, but I lack the talent to form the notes and words.

When Bill and I were at the ranch a few weeks ago, we were sitting on the swing at dusk, drinking lovely drinks and talking about everything under the sun. Bill is a man of very few words, but that evening the bourbon was flowing and the beauty of that place was just consuming us. He was opening up and gabbing, which is extremely unusual for him.

Cory came out to sit with us, and we got on the subject of music. That kid is musically gifted. He loves the coronet, and wants to play the guitar. He asked if he could get one. I will never forget what Bill said:

“Cory, I think some people are given the gift of making music. Some the gift of appreciating it. I wanted to play the guitar so bad when I was younger. I tried and tried to learn it, but I could never do it. I was so frustrated. I was just not talented enough to play. So I listen to it instead. You have the gift of being able to play music. I think a guitar would be great for you.”

I never knew that about my husband. I know every curve of his body, every birthmark, every mole. I know that every morning his alarm goes off, he hops out of bed, and I can listen and anticipate every move he makes in getting ready. The slide of the medicine cabinet door. The sound of the lid twisting off and the tumbling of pills as he shakes out his morning vitamin. I know precisely when the shower door will open, and the sound of the water being turned on. I can predict it all, down to him sitting on the side of the bed next to me to put on his socks.

But I never knew that he wanted to play the guitar.

What he described to Cory was exactly how I feel, and it made me think………..when you meet someone, and click with them, much of what attracts you to one another is a mystery. The puzzle fits together so perfectly, but you don’t know why. There is a hidden magnet. Thoughts and emotions that you share, but are unaware of.

I am in awe that after almost 19 years with this man, the mystery of his mind is still unfolding for me. I want to know everything about him. I want him to tell more stories like that. The little things that make him who he is today. I want to know the way his mind works.

This morning I went to get milk and the paper. On the way I turned on the CD player, and I listened to “Good Riddance” by Green Day. When I pulled back into the driveway, I gazed up at our house, and I heard:

“So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while ”

and I cried because it was all just so amazing. Our life. What we have done. Where we have gone. The hardships, the joys, the sorrows. This new test that we are going through right now. It is all just too much to fathom. What we have created together is enormous. These kids, friends, and all the love. The music was saying everything I feel. It was worth it. Every bit. If I lost it all tomorrow, I would have all the memories tattooed in my mind. God has been trying to teach me that since the day that Bill reached across the table to me, to tell me something was wrong with him.

And then I remembered something else Bill said to me that night at the ranch. We were talking about his stroke and how we need to cut loose more often. With tears in his eyes he turned to me and said, his voice cracking with emotion, “Our life is changing again.”

“Another turning point – a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist – directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life ”

Dude!

Posted in That surfer guy | 11 Comments

The weight of air

I am beat. Do you mind some bullet points?

Bill finally allowed me to get him to a specialist for a second opinion. He had no choice. It was either go to the doctor, or die from the brain trauma that I was inflicting on him with my constant crying and pleading. That and having to shovel me off the floor every time he complained of what we are now affectionately calling “bobble head” (disequalibrium and uncoordination).

*We went to the neurologist yesterday. Not just any neurologist, but one who did his residency at mayo clinic.
*Bill had a sensory stroke in the white matter of his mid brain.
*It is not visible on the MRI from 2 weeks ago
*The one that is visible is not of worry….could have been an infection from 30 years ago, so he doesn’t even think that area is a stroke.
*It could have been the migraine that caused the stroke
*Less likely it could have been some mild plaque build up in his carotid arteries and his aortic arch that broke off.
*He needs to get his LDL down to below 70.

The great news is that because he started his meds so quickly, he probably (but no guarantee) will not experience any future problems. The Crestor he is on will kick the LDL’s rear.

The symptoms should disappear in 3 to 6 months, and they will come and go. That is normal for this type of stroke. He may have some mild residual deficit.

The doctor was decisive, had a calm voice, was super friendly, and spent an hour with us. He was not vague, and answered each and every one of our questions with knowledgable answers……he just knows his sheite! He reassured me that this is not a death sentence, and if Bill follows the treatment plan, he should be fine! No guarantees that it won’t happen again, but we have reduced the risk to almost nothing by having him on the Crestor, aspirin and Altace.

I wanted to jump up and kiss him full on the mouth!

But I didn’t, in case you were wondering.

I kissed Bill full on the mouth once we got to the car.

Later that night, Bill scooted across the bed to me, after I had already dozed off, and said “Thank you”.

I roused and said “What for?”

And he replied “For making me do that today……I feel so much better”.

Up until that point, I felt like I was moving through water. The weight of everything was exhausting. It was as if air was so heavy, it was an effort just to inhale it into my lungs.

It feels weightless now.

And I can breath again.

Posted in That surfer guy | 17 Comments

Up and down

Butterflies in my stomach. Adrenaline. Sinking feelings.

If I didnt know any better, I would have to say I was on a roller coaster ride at Disney World.

We have good days and bad days. Friday was a great one. Bill felt better, the tingling was gone, and all he was left with was a slight heavy feeling in his right side. One fine day, for sure!

approach the lift hill, and begin slow ascent to the top of the track after 2 weeks of back to back loops

Saturday sucked. Bill called me from work and said he did not feel well. I asked what was wrong and he said “My head doesn’t feel right. I’ll talk to you when I get home” and we got off the phone. I looked at the clock and it read 10:30. I had to wait almost 2 hours to find out what the hell was wrong. I worked myself up into a complete panic.

find myself gazing down, as the car gains acceleration and plunges me into the double dip from hell

When he came home he said he just felt fatigued. We spent a quiet day at home. Napping and lounging. That evening we drank a little beer.

Sunday he felt way better and we had a great day. We even went to the pool and he swam with the kids. Then we had a drink in the evening. We joked about becoming alcoholics.

the cart slows and continues on a flat track

This morning he told me that Saturday he just felt weird in his head and right leg….like they were not coordinating together. He could walk fine, it just felt weird and disjointed.

the cart flings itself into a monster looping corkscrew, and the G-Force leaves me stunned

I called him at work just a few minutes ago, and he said that today he feels much better.

clack clack clack clack…. the chain pulls the car up the track to set it up for another free fall….clack clack clack clack

Up and down, round and round. Every turn leaves my stomach suspended high above me. Then it catches up with me and I can stop holding my breath.

Right now, I can breathe again.

Posted in That surfer guy | 5 Comments

DEFCON 3

Because I am still fatigued from my illness, and just too durn lazy, I am cutting and pasting something I wrote in an e-mail to a friend. Things are good.

“Bill went to a neurologist on Tuesday, and to make a long story short, it was a waste of time. He told Bill that the stroke area
in his brain was not causing his symptoms and that he was probably having another stroke that wasn’t showing up yet (after a week?) or that he had MS……he said that a right sided stroke would not effect the right side of his body.

When Bill came home and told me this, I went all postal on him. I told him that the doctor was wrong, and that we needed to go get a
second opinion. He said no, and we went back and forth until we had a huge argument (Bill actually said something like “He is a
NEUROLOGIST and you are just as stupid nurse”……yeah, he slept on the couch) and went to neutral corners.

Well, last night Bill came home from work and handed me some photcopied pages from a Neurology book that he found in Dr. Tim’s
library. Basically the authors state that a right sided stroke in the area of the brain where Bill experienced his stroke will cause
the EXACT right sided symptoms that he is experiencing.

This morning over coffee he said he was sorry, and that I was right.

More improtant than being right, what this means is that he is not experiencing multiple strokes**…..it is the one lacunar infarct. It also means that he does not have MS. The book stated that full recovery should be expected in a few weeks time, and he is not more likely to have recurrent stroke as long as preventitive treatment is initiated and continued (he started the meds the day of the MRI). He should have no lasting
effects from it.

The pain in his ear is gone, as is the fatigue and heaviness. The tingling is also going away. Our God is good”

At lunch today we talked some more about the last two weeks. He said when he really thought about it, he remembered having a persistent headache and that he was constantly popping Ibuprofen in an attempt to alleviate it. The more we discussed it, I recalled seeing him going to the medicine cabinet and getting Motrin frequently over the course of several days, then I left town to go see my mom. While I was gone, he said he just felt bad, “almost angry…. but not really angry, just not happy….and the headache. It wasn’t what I would call the worst headache in the world…just persistent. Then the tingling started.”

So…….he had a stroke. It was in the right side of his brain in the white matter. It effected his right side and was what is called a “pure sensory lacunar infarct”. We still don’t know why and may never know. He is on preventitive treatment, and his symptoms are disappearing!

In his words: “Well. It is what it is. I may never have another one, or I could have one 20 years from now. Or 10, 0r 5. Or tomorrow.”

For now, we have gone from DEFCON 1 to DEFCON 3. We will probably never be at DEFCON 5 again. Ever. Our innocense is lost.

At ease.

**edited to add…We are hoping that this is true. There is always the chance that, yes, indeed, he is having a second stroke that is not showing up yet. Most of the literature showed that most lacunal infarcts will appear on MRI usually within 3-5 days. He had his at least a week after his symptoms appeared. This is not 100%, as nothing in medicine is 100%. We are just hoping that this is the scenario, based on some of the literature we have read.

Posted in That surfer guy | 8 Comments

More random tidbits.

Bill had a visit to the cardiologist on Thursday. He had an echocariogram, a stress test, and this morning a doppler of his carotid arteries……all of which where normal. Officially.

At this moment, he is seeing a neurologist. I was supposed to go to this appointment….instead, here I sit, with Mia in my lap running a 104 degree fever, hallucinating. Hence, my non-presense at a particularly important appointment.

Bill has been told by me, his anxious wife, that he must regurgitate every word the neuro doc utters. There will be no guttural grunts or “I don’t knows” allowed in his explanation of the appointment to me later today. Men…..if only their communication skills could go beyond “it was fine”, “I don’t know”, “whatever” or the occasional fart.

Now I must toot my sons horn. A few weeks ago, Bill had him mow the lawn, and afterwards, because he did such a good job, Bill paid him $5. We normally do not pay our kids for chores around the house, but Bill knew he was saving for a particular object, so he paid him a bit.

Saturday, I mowed the part of our lawn that is on a very dangerous incline, and Cory mowed the rest. It was hot, and we were both dripping sweat. I came inside for a drink, then sat on the back porch to wait for Cory. He came around the corner, shirt soaked in sweat. Bill met him in the drive, with his wallet out, and Cory shook his head and waved his hand in dismisal, refusing the money.

I love my first born. He is turning into quite a nice young man, doncha think?

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Hi, how ah ya?

7:00am
Me: How do you feel honey?”
Bill: “Buwa bu, na gee ni”.

9:00am
Call to Bill at office:
Me: “You feeling okay?”
Bill: “Well, I am not dead yet.”

11:00am
Me: “How are you feeling?”
Bill: “How are you feeling?”

12:30pm
Calling from the car
after picking up his MRI films in another town.
Me: “How are you feeling? I got your MRI films.”
Bill: “Okay to both and whatever. I am eating…can I eat?”

And the day is only half over. Do you feel sorry for him yet?

Posted in That surfer guy | 4 Comments

More random “stuff”

I think I am officially depressed.

Yesterday was franitc and crazy. Today I just feel blah.

This morning I asked Bill if he was having any other symptoms, other than the tingling, and he replied “Just a very, very slight headache above my right eye”. I look at him and see a walking time bomb.

I need to mow the lawn, which is basically half of a city block. That should be fun with a 2 year old.

He told the 2 oldest boys what happened. He said that at one point he told them that “there is just a tiny area where the brain didn’t get any oxygen and that little spot died” and Cody piped in “Good thing it wasn’t a large area or you would be dead”.

My stomach dropped and stayed there.

I sit, right now, looking out to our driveway at the trailer, and where I once saw excitement and adventure, I now see a burdon and anxiety. You know, we talked about the “what-if’s” the other night, and the truck and trailer will be the first to go if, God forbid, he has another stroke of greater magnitude.

It is like someone put out a light in me.

If you walked up to me and told me “I am taking everything from you today. Your house, your furniture, you clothes, cars and personal possessions….but I am leaving you your husband, and children” I would gladly hand it all over to you. What I am imagining now is that someone is walking up to me and saying the same thing, but the only thing I may leave with is my children.

I think I need to rename my blog “Poor, poor pitiful me”.

Posted in That surfer guy | 9 Comments

Rambling, whining and cursing

Warning: You will not be getting funny today from me. If you want funny, you must go here. Be sure and wear a Depends.

What I know that I didn’t know last night:

-the stroke is in the white matter of his brain
-my 48yo husband has 36% chance of having a major stroke in the next 30 days or so.
-he has mild atheriosclerosis (fuck spelling)
-I have used the word fuck more times in the last 48 hours than I have in my entire lifetime. I apologize up front, as I know this is as offensive to some readers, as it is to me. But I am just barely hanging on here, and it keeps flying out. So there. Fuck.
-he is on 162mg 325mg of aspirin a day
-he started Crestor, 5mg/day
-the prognosis is good in the beginning, but long term is not.
-Bill is the calmest person in the word. We need to bottle whatever the hell it is inside of him and sell it as an anxiety treatment. We would make a fortune.
-he is also dragging his right foot, bumping into things, and drooling…all in an effort to make me laugh. It works sometimes, but last night it did not.

He went on to work this morning, which is a good thing, as I would imagine that it would be a bit unnerving if you had just had a stroke, and your wife was crying everytime she looked at you.

My life would have no meaning if something happened to him. There. I said it. I love my children, and I know they would give me purpose, but Bill is a part of me.

If he died, I would be half of a person. I would die of heartbreak.

**This just in…..my doctor, the wonderful Dr. Tim, who I love to death, is taking the bull by the horns and has pulled some strings and got Bill in to a fantastic cardiologist….right now. So, he is in route as I speak.

Thank you all for your well wishes, concern and prayers. I just can’t concentrate and pray right now, so you are doing it for me. Okay?

Posted in That surfer guy | 12 Comments

The verdict is in

It is not MS………………my husband had a stroke.

And I quote the radiologist:

“There is a subcentimeter lacunar infarct in the lateral posterior portion of the right centrum semiovale.”

I don’t know enough to elaborate on it. I had literally 2 minutes with my husband before he had to wisk one of the boys off to Cub Scouts.

I am so sad, scared, confused, worried, and anxious.

He is 48 years old. I want 40 more with him, dammitall.

Posted in That surfer guy | 8 Comments

As you were, folks

Wishfully spoken
“maybe nothing”

Wish granted
Prayer answered.

Thank God. The last 24 hours have literally killed me. As you read, Bill approached me Monday and told me his symptoms and how concerned he was about them. He got right in that morning with Dr. R, and an MRI was ordered. The problem was that he ordered it in the notes, but forgot to check it on the order sheet. So, anyway…..long story short, they got him in to the hospital at 11am this morning. He had an MRI of the brain, and because the people at this hospital know how to treat their patients, the scan had been read, and results called to the doctor before Bill even made it back to me in the waiting room.

We phoned Dr. R, and he returned the call immediatly (Bill had already taken off in his truck). Negative. Zero. Zilch. His brain is wonderfully normal. I called Bill, and totally broke down. My God, how I love him.

We still don’t know what is causing it. Some blood work has been sent off, and they will see what that shows.

For now, we are very pleased and relieved, and may even get some sleep tonight……….wrapped in each others arms.

Posted in That surfer guy | 10 Comments

Haiku, improper format

Weekend away
Aging mother
Sweet
Priceless

Return home
Husband greeting
Wonderful evening
Morning comes

Cappucino steaming
Across the table
Glasses off
Bomb dropped

Eyes locked
Sinking stomach
Soft touch
Symptoms given

Tingling skin
Hemiparesthesia
Face
Arm
Torso
Leg

Doctor visit
Waiting waiting
Phone ringing
Sweet voice
in my ear

Lunch time
Curled up
Mouse-like
Strong lap
So soft

More words
Aneurysm
Tumor
TIA
Multiple Sclerosis

Wishfully spoken
“maybe nothing”

We sit,
We wait
Freaking orders
To be given
MD

Not done.
How hard?
Mutter 3 letters
GET! IT! DONE!
I’ll shout them

MRI

Posted in That surfer guy | 3 Comments

Do something for me

I would like to ask each of you to do something for me. It is simple and only good can come from it.

Tell your husband you love him, right now.

Call him on the phone, drive up to his office and have lunch with him, seek him out and specifically tell him how much he means to you. Be creative……even if you are flaming mad at him.

That is your assignment for today. Please leave a note below and tell us what you did……….

Why, Jody2ms, are you waxing philosophical on us?

All I can say is…..Houston, ah, we(might) have a problem.

Details, if any, to follow sometime tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, go, git……give some lovin’ to your other half. Life can change on a dime.

Posted in That surfer guy | 8 Comments

Charmed

We have the most lovely creature living at our house with us.

She runs around in flowing pink nightgowns. She feeds her babies and covers them nite-nite. She has gorgeous, porcelain skin, and about a thousand different smiles that light up our life. She says “happy” and it sounds like “hoppy”.

And she dances with her Daddy on his feet:

Twirling with Daddy

I have always wondered how Bill would be with a daughter. Now I know.

I am charmed.

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50 things I love about my husband Bill

  1. He loves me unconditionally
  2. He shows me in word and deed this love
  3. He would do anything for me
  4. He married me in 1990
  5. In December of 1993 he decided that he might want a baby
  6. In 1994 he gave me a son
  7. In 1997 he gave me a son
  8. In 2000 he gave me a son
  9. In 2004 he gave me a daughter
  10. For a man that originally wanted 0 children, he blessed me with 4
  11. He is open to new life
  12. He has sexy, broad shoulders
  13. He looks great with nothing (in particular) on
  14. He has blond, silky hair
  15. He loves to surf
  16. He bought me a custom made surf board for my 25th birthday
  17. He can really rip on a board
  18. I love the way he looks in board shorts
  19. He can run a mile in under 6 minutes at the age of 47
  20. When we go for a run, he runs with me for the first 1/4 mile before he leaves me in the dust
  21. He has completed the Hill Country Triathlon (1.5 mile swim, 48 mile bike, 10 mile run) 3 years in a row
  22. He got me into triathlons
  23. He bought me a mountain bike for a wedding present
  24. He took me to Utah and Colorado to mountain bike and camp out for 3 weeks for our honeymoon
  25. On this trip we did the deed on a cliff with the North rim of the Grand Canyon as a backdrop….unreal!
  26. He is my one true love
  27. After 17 years together, I still get chills when he kisses me
  28. He says he can’t sleep without me
  29. He adores his children
  30. He takes the baby for walks
  31. He snuggles with his sons
  32. He smothers his kids in kisses
  33. He is soft spoken and gentle with them
  34. He lays out their clothes for them every night for the next day
  35. He gives them their baths
  36. He encourages them and lifts their spirits
  37. He prays for them
  38. He mourned with me in 2003 when I miscarried 4 times
  39. He cheered me on when I had had enough of miscarriages and infertility treatment and started to exercise again.
  40. Even though we had 3 kids, when I asked if we could adopt from China, he said yes and we could cash in some retirement money to do it…all so I could have some positive closure after the miscarriages
  41. He smiled knowingly when I told him a month later that I was pregnant again
  42. He talked about the new baby as if my miscarriages had never happened, and he had no doubt that this one would make it
  43. He took over the house cleaning when I was on the couch with morning sickness for 21 weeks.
  44. He cried joyfully when each of the first 3 children were born
  45. When Mia was born, he was looking at me because he said he wanted to see my reaction to her birth..he wanted to see my face…..and then he cried with joy.
  46. He is tender
  47. He is strong
  48. He makes me feel secure
  49. He loves God
  50. And then he loves me.
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