Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We are celebrating our 7-year itch in a unique way


On Monday, J & I hit 7 years of marriage. How do most people celebrate their anniversaries? Dinner date, movies, maybe even a weekend getaway somewhere. But, we like to live a life less ordinary, so we settled for a hospital admission for a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism (PE).


I had this whole blog post written about the 7-year itch, and how we've gotten to 7 years. However, this experience trumps that post for sure. Let me start by saying, I am okay and on the road to recovery. I got out of the hospital today. I had two significant blood clots in either lung and the clot in my left lung did a little damage, so I am taking meds to prevent any new clots and to manage the pain (oh the pain, the horrible, dreadful pain). 

So what happened? Rewind to Oct. 8, when my journey to the hospital started. I had a slight pain (like a Charley Horse) in my left calf while in Denver. Immediately, Rachel/DocDoc worried that it could be a blood clot (given the fact I've been on birth control for close to 20 years and that is a HUGE risk factor). After it subsided with heat and ibuprofen, then went away completely 4 days later, I was relieved. 

A few days later while at the cabin at 10,000 feet, I developed some chest pain, in my sternum area. I attributed it to the fact that I decided it would be a good idea to do a few Insanity NOW workouts. Figured I pulled a muscle and this was completely unrelated to the calf pain I had a few days prior. 

What really made me scratch my head was that when we returned to Denver 3 days later, the pain in my chest was still there and I was short of breath. Shortness of breath is a no-brainer for me at the cabin, but not a few thousand feet lower in Denver. We were only going lower and lower in elevation, so when we got to Chicago and I still had the pain/shortness of breath, I was starting to worry, but made more excuses especially because on Friday, I was miraculously 100% better. No pain, no shortness of breath. Phew, my medical mystery was resolved. 

Then Saturday, I woke up with pain all along my left side from my hip to my shoulder. I must have slept wrong, I thought. In hindsight, I was being way too stubborn. But Sunday, the pain worsened. We were with friends in Columbus and Adrienne/theAccessory is admittedly a hypochondriac, so she of course was googling all my symptoms and rallying for me to see a doctor. 

Finally at around 10pm at night when I couldn't walk, lie down or sit, and I looked like a ghost, it was time. There was chaos getting me there, I won't lie. Which is why I showed up to the hospital with mismatched socks. I have never had to go to the emergency department in all my 35 years, but there is a first for everything. Had to check that off my bucket list I guess.



I went through just about every test they can give in triage (can't wait to see that bill) and they determined I had the clots in my lungs and admitted me to start blood-thinning therapy, monitor my breathing and blood work. While I hated being in the hospital, especially for 2.5 days (it is NOT restful when they are poking and prodding you every 30 minutes), I was glad I got a diagnosis and a solution. No more birth control, but bring on the blood thinners! Pulmonary embolism is not something to take lightly and I am not. 

But maybe someday we will laugh about the way we spent our 7th anniversary! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Eastbound


Our Colorado time culminated with a James Buuuuffet concert. My 5th, J's 14th. One of the main reasons I go to JB is for the tailgating entertainment. Plus, Jamie/SIL Adventure and Rachel/DocDoc had never been, so taking newbies is always a treat.

Since they had to work (damn those people with real jobs), we couldn't get to the parking lot to start tailgating until close to 6. We were bummed, but went with the plan. Guess how many carloads were tailgating when we got there at 6? THREE. Unreal. Maybe it was the fact it was crisp October in Denver and dark by 6:30pm, but still. Of course we made the most of the tailgating and JB never disappoints in a performance. 



So our time in Colorado has ended ... for now. I know you are all curious for "what's next?" I have no answer for you. For some of you, having a blank canvas and not knowing where you'll live, how you'll make your money and what you'll drive for the next few months is about as terrifying as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. But for us, it's only as terrifying as being stuck in the highest carriage on a ferris wheel when the motor suddenly breaks. We embrace obstacles and challenges like this; they are not sinkholes that swallow us whole. I'll be sure to keep you posted. 

In this very moment, we are merely headed to the East Coast for the next few weeks. It is our regular route from West to East via Chicago & Columbus. 

We certainly don't go through Chicago for these guys … 

But for this guy! 


And, we certainly don't go through Columbus for these guys … 

But for Mr. Sushi! 

So East Coast ... here we come!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Strike a pose!

Back when we started our contract with BP, we got an e-mail from our boss asking if we were available for a photo shoot on July 19. Of course we complied, thinking it was probably related to the tour.

As the photo shoot got closer, we received the contract and were surprised to see so much activity:
We'll shoot them in snow and little snowshoeing, a high-alpine lake for a hike and lunch, and some rock climbing. 

As we read on, we were a little confused:
We'll shoot the tires on snow, mud, dirt roads, rocks, and pavement. 

The tires? Why would they want the tires of our Sprinter van in the photos? And we really can't drive that van on snow, dirt roads, rocks & mud!? The sponsor will have our heads!

Reading further, we realized we going to be the MODELS for a Goodyear Tire Shoot. They rented a sweet truck and put these all-terrain tires on it to show what you can really do in the outdoors with the right equipment!

But let me tell you about a day in the life of a model. We were up at 5:30am for sunrise (good light) and didn't finish until 8:30pm for sunset (also good light). Long day. While a lot of the shots were "fixed," we did get down and dirty, did some hiking, biking and rock climbing. I do not envy models. Not at all. It is HARD work!



And now, you can find the result on page 10 of BP's November issue!


I'm not going to tell you that somewhere out in Internet-land, there is an embarrassing commercial that goes with it. Only a select few people get to laugh with us about that one. We may be good models, but we are not good actors. 

Autographs by appointment only ... 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 days in Colorado ... 10 things we have done

We've been in Colorado for 10 days now. And in no particular order, here are 10 highlights of our time here so far.

1) J's Bday
We celebrated J's bday with football watching (that is a Sunday tradition regardless) and a home-cooked dinner and Rum Cake made by Rachel/DocDoc with some friends.



2) Speaking of home-cooked meals, I have been enjoying having an oven and full kitchen again! After spending months getting creative with our "home-cooked meals" in the van and eating out more times than we have in our life, we are happy to be back in a normal routine of eating at (our temporary) home.



3) Carbon Leaf Concert
We introduced Jamie/SIL Adventure and Rachel/DocDoc to our beloved band by taking them to a concert in Denver. Apparently, we are no long superfans because they have released 2 new albums in the last year and we own neither one. This concert actually starts what I would like to call "fall tour," as J has SEVERAL concerts lined up in the next 2 months. In fact, we are going to a Jimmy Buffet concert with Jamie & Rachel on Tuesday, so I would say there will be a concert at least once a week from here on out.

4) Officially Saying Goodbye to the "Bu"
J went to collect our personal belongings from the Bu before it and its rusty parts goes to car heaven.



5) Jamie/SILAdventure was short players for her kickball game last week and made us play in the rain and freezing temps. Kind of like being in 5th grade again, but with beer and more competition. And we won!!!

6) Jamie/SILAdventure's friends were also short on trivia players and invited us to join. Trivia is quite possibly my weakest area. Well, maybe behind math. But seriously, I had no business being on a bar trivia team (and we didn't win).

7) Jamie/SILAdventure also decided it would be a good idea to take advantage of J's "man"powers and hang some large pictures in some tricky places around their house. I am happy to report the pictures are still hung, but J is still nursing a deep gouge in his left thumb.

8) We did pop into the BP offices while we were up in Denver to finish up some meetings and drop some goods back to them. BP's holding group just bought Warren Miller Entertainment and moved into their offices. Very chic environment!


9) We took our second hut trip to one of the infamous 10th Mountain Division Huts in Colorado. Why yes that is snow you see in the mountains. It is, afterall, Colorado. I would call CO's fall confusing. It's not a fall like the colorful ones we experiences on the East coast (lots of yellow from the aspen trees changing - still pretty though!). The temps still range drastically and there definitely can be snow falling in the mountains (actually, it can snow any month of the year here). Anyway, back to the hut trip. It was a quick 3-mile trip up to the hut, which was one of the most fully equipped huts in the system (electricity, running water). We had 13 people on the trip! Fun times reading, relaxing, eating, playing games.










10) Last, but not least, no trip to Colorado is really complete without a stay at Rachel/DocDoc's cabin in the mountains. We've been here all week and are enjoying the quiet, the scenery and the snow (?!). Seriously, this is quite possibly my favorite place to be.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bucket List Item Checked ...

We now have Phil Keoghan on speed dial. Okay, that's a little of a stretch, but it was really fun to be chummy with Phil for a day.

Earlier in the afternoon, we met Phil only briefly before our presentation, and thankfully, I don't think I showed how star struck I was. Then the evening began. J & I did our regular Gear & Go presentation and Phil slipped in about 25 minutes into it, then we invited him up to share some of his stories (in particular about the nutrition bars he created that we've been promoting all summer, but of course about The Amazing Race). We took questions from the live audience and from the Internet land and then he signed a bunch of autographs.

J & I figured that most of the people who came to the presentation came for Phil, but of the 130 people, there was still just as many people who came up to us afterwards and thanked us for the information and asked us questions. There was even a handful that said they just came for the BP presentation and didn't even know who Phil was!

After the presentation, we went out to PF Chang's with Phil, his wife, our nutrition bar rep, Jamie/SIL Adventure, Rachel/DocDoc and the rep that took care of the webcasting. Phil is a talker and a joker. He wife is one of the sweetest ladies we've met. Like I said, it was fun to get chummy.

Of course we told Phil we have tried out for The Amazing Race in the past. But he really discouraged couples from participating, saying the stress and being in the public eye is not really fun at all. It actually made me rethink wanting to be on, although I can't take it off my bucket list yet. J is still keen on applying and we will probably put together a video in the next few weeks, so we will see if it is ultimately in our cards ... our whole life has been about fate, so who knows??


It was fun to know that so many friends and family were watching!!!! Thanks everyone and hope you enjoyed!!! If you want to watch it again, here is the link:



Monday, October 7, 2013

You TOO can see our presentation!

All summer long, friends and family asked if we would be coming to a town near them because they wanted to see us present (or maybe they just wanted a chance to win cool prizes). Well, the good news is if you are free Tuesday evening at 8:30pm EST, you can watch our presentation LIVE (sorry, you can't win prizes from home)!

So tune in and join us for our LAST stop on tour!!!

http://rei.yourbrandlive.com/c/gear-and-go/


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy birthday J!!!


First of all, happy birthday to my old man!! 

For the many, many years, he would tell people he was 22 when they asked his age. Lately, he's been saying 31. Getting closer to his real age, but still in denial! J shares his bday with a number of our friends and friend's kids … popular time of year since people are getting busy in the cold, dark winter and around Valentine's Day! 

We are making our way to the last stop of our tour—DENVER! This is also where we will meet and present alongside Phil Keoghan from the Amazing Race. I still can't believe this and won't until he is standing in front of my face. 

We've done a ton of driving in the past week and through some beautiful territory in California, but also through some snow, ice and crazy winds in Wyoming! We had to rethink where and what month it was, but clear that we are in fall approaching winter. 

Just as our tour is wrapping up, so is our hiking season. We may be able to get a few more hikes in while in Colorado, but here are the shots from our recent hiking excursions.

First in Nevada (with our awesome BP contributor as a guide). 






Then in California inside and outside of Yosemite National Park.





Until we encountered this ... we had no idea this was going on in our country!