Sunday, July 29, 2007

I went skydiving, I went rocky mountain climbing, I went...

Last weekend was our Father's Day celebration. I know, you are thinking, "Father's Day was last month!" True, but my family had to go out of town and we celebrated Mother's Day with our friends the Condellos and the Unwins. Perhaps I will write about that another day. It was fun...for the guys.

Anyhow, the girls decided we should celebrate together again. So the first time we would all be together was last weekend. I was told to wear nice clothes and a tie; to bring a sleeping bag, matches and a spoon. Steve had to bring (I can't remember) and Brian had to wear a swimsuit under his jogging pants. This was all a rouse as I walked outside to see everyone and they were not wearing what I was wearing. The girls had a great laugh about that one. Then the three guys were blindfolded.

We jumped into the car and drove off. I told Jeanne-Ann that I have an amazing sense of direction and that I would figure out where we were going. I figured out that we were in Mollala. Not bad, huh? We got out of our vehicles and were lead up to a wall where the girls took our pictures and then we turned around and took off our blindfolds. We were at Oregon Skydiving!!!!!!!

For EIGHT years I have been saying, "This is the year." Well, this is the year. We went in for training and waited...and waited...and waited. The clouds were out in full force and they don't dive when you can't see the ground. They were hoping it would happen, but not hugely optimistic. We set a new date for yesterday.

Now I had all week to get mentally ready for this great event in my life. Well, we woke up to clouds again after a week full of sun. We got there and it was still cloudy. We waited...and waited...and waited. We went to get lunch late and said if nothing by 12:30 we would jet. We waited a little bit longer and at 1:15 there was some blue spots and some activity inside. Finally the first group (from 9AM...we were at 10AM)went up.

Then it was our turn.

I realize this a bit longer than normal...but what an amazing day!

We went in and got our straps all set, put on our "really cool hats" and walked out on to the airstrip. The plane pulled up and we began the boarding process. I went in first, which meant that I would dive last. The plane went down the runway and turned around for take off. The engines roared and we began...then we slowed down. I was upfront, basically next to the pilot, and heard him tell my guide that the front tire felt flat. That was fine for take-off, but not landing. We all got out while they put air back in the tire.

Then, finally, we got back in. With roaring engines we took off. There was not a lot of wiggle room and the windows were pretty low, but we got a pretty good view of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. We climbed and climbed and climbed. It was not like taking off in a 747. The climb process was pretty slow, but it built our anticipation up a lot. Steve, Brian and I kept high fiving and knuckling each other. We were so EXCITED!!! Out of the 3 of us, Steve went first. When Steve stood at the door and I saw his face, my stomach really started to tumble around.

If you know me, you know I love to be scared and thrilled. This was THE moment. Steve went, and then Brian was up. He rollwed out with a gorgeous view behind him and then it was my turn. Looking at the propeller in front of us and the ground below my heart was elated! Then we rocked...left, right, roll! Yahoooooooooo!!! I was flying. I did it.

I was in the air. 13,100 feet above the ground. I told Kirk, my guide, to have fun and spin all he wanted. I was thinking when the chute had deployed. He started to spin moments after we jumped. Faster and faster. It was like when you are on one of those playground "merry-go-rounds" and you look up, but you are looking down. Then he kicked his legs to the other side and he spun us the other way. I wondered if I would get queasy, but I never did. One more spin on both sides and then suddenly YANK! He opened the chute and we began to float. Wow!

We had a very serene floating moment and then he asked if I wanted to steer. Of course! So he told me to pull down on the one side and we began to spin. Haha! More spinning. It was crazy cool. We went all the way flat in a spin. Then he had me pull the other side and we spun the other way. Then I pulled both. Weightlessness. When we would spin, there was an intense amount of pressure on my legs. They began to lose circulation but it didn't matter. It was like the pain I enjoyed from the sunburns I would get on my college spring break trips to Florida. I didn't care that it hurt, I was just glad I got color.

Steve landed first and Brian and I landed at almost the exact same time.

It is hard to explain the feelings I had. Excitement, thrill, joy, bits of momentary fear, smile, trust, weightlessness, bodily stress, stomach whirl. If there were a word for that combination, that's what it would be.

You gotta go.

Seriously, I mean it. You must go skydiving. this is your sign!

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