Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weddings, Walloon and Skydiving

There is never enough time in a Colorado summer to do everything it is that I want to do. This is especially true when you add weddings into the mix. Sometimes your friends get married on the exact same day and you and your husband are both in said weddings. So you split up and do your friend duty- especially since both friends did the same for you.

Our friends Kim and Bryan and Lisa and Matt just happened to be those fortunate couples to tie the knot this year. Chad has known Kim and Bryan since his college days and I have known Lisa since my sister introduced me to her in high school as, "this is my friend you are giving her a ride home." Having a car and being sixteen made me popular with the younger crowd so I tended to hang out with friends my sister's age. Lisa and I have been best friends through the various stages of our lives throughout the years. When I went to college we grew apart until my sister came to grad school at Auburn and ended up living with Lisa. Then after Lisa graduated we both lived in Birmingham together as two "single" girls in the city (Lisa had a boyfriend at the time who was long distance). She showed me the art of tapas and I got us free drinks at the bar. We spent a lot of time together in Birmingham until I got my job as a flight attendant and moved to Denver and she moved to be with her boyfriend in DC. We visited each other in our respective cities - her showing me the art of eating Ethiopian food and me showing her Vail skiing and miller lite promos and studio city living. She was in my wedding and designed my programs, helped me pick out bridesmaid dresses and made me an inspiration board, so it was only natural I repaid the favor in some small way.

Lisa and Matt took everything relatively in stride on their wedding weekend considering mother nature threw them a curveball. It was record hot temps (over 100) and a freak storm knocked power out all over Bethesda. They had to bring in fans and generators for the outdoor wedding and the carousel couldn't run but it was a beautiful wedding full of Lisa touches. My favorite was the sangria with red and white paper straws, the cupcakes and the cheese grits at dinner. They had a photo booth which I spent a lot of time in and a live band which I subjected many people to my dancing. It was a whirlwind weekend where I drank too much, stayed up way too late and made many new friends. Sometimes going to a wedding solo can be a good thing because it forces the social butterfly in you to take flight.

After Lisa's wedding I headed up North the the shelter of Walloon lake. We weren't able to make  time to head to Walloon last year and regretted it every day so we were sure to make the trip this year. The Lipps were up at their cottage this year which meant even more friends to water ski with and have dinner with on the lake. Now that I know how to slalom ski my days on the water are even better with less face planting. I will say that I tried to get up on one ski and, well that just wasn't happening this year. We also bought a wake skate where you use a short rope and ski the wake behind the boat. It's definitely weird trying to get up on a board your feet aren't attached too but once you master the feeling it's a lot of fun. I spent many afternoons saying, "ok ok just let me try ONE more time." We were at the Lake over the 4th so we  took the boat out on Lake Michigan and had a nice picnic lunch on the unusually calm lake before watching the fireworks in the Petosky harbor. Considering Colorado was under a fire ban and no fireworks were taking place I was glad to be out of town where we could actually watch a show. Watching fireworks is a treat in itself, but watching it on a boat made them even better.

In-between water skiing and boating was a lot of time soaking up the sun and yoga on the dock. Before I knew it, the week was over and it was time to head back to Colorado. Considering I had been gone almost two weeks it felt right to be back home.

Chad's birthday was the week after Walloon and being that it was during a week day we had a spread out celebration. We had a special dinner for him at the lake and then on the day of his actual birthday I made him dinner and then we headed out to Denver Beer company to celebrate with a few friends. I took the day off work so the most important gift I could give was my presence!

Three weeks before Chad's birthday I had organized a surprise present for him - skydiving. I sent a message to a select few friends to garner interest then fine tuned the plans. I decided on a Sunday because Chad and I had signed up to do the Zombie Run for your lives 5k that Saturday. It was an awesome event where we were volunteer zombies to chase the runners then we ran the 5k ourselves. The runners have a belt with flags and it was our job as zombies to steal the flags aka their "life." Despite the heat and the three hour shift we had a good race once our friends got there around 2 to run with us.

On Sunday I had told Chad to get up and that we were going to brunch. I was going to "present" him with his present at brunch. I woke up extra early and made him a breakfast burrito so he would not be mad that we weren't really going to eat we were going skydiving. I drove us all the way to Longmont, which is about an hour away and he had no idea until we got close and saw people parachuting in the sky. I still don't think he believed it when we arrived in the parking lot because his words were, "we aren't skydiving are we?" umm yes, yes we are. I knew he would be mad because it was a lot of money to spend on a experience but it was for our anniversary and his birthday so I felt that justified the cost. After arriving our friends Leanne and Chris and Sherry and Dan arrived which really set off the adventure because even after chad learned we were sky diving he had no idea that anyone was coming with us.

We chose Mile High Skydiving and they were a great company to go with. They were running an hour behind when we go there and very busy for a Sunday so if you go make sure you buffer your time if you have any plans for the afternoon. We  waited awhile until our group was called and then we were given jump suits. to put on over our clothes. Then we met the instructors we would be diving with. I don't know how they chose who gets who but my instructor was personally very awesome, witty, funny and made me feel at ease. The strap a huge harness to you, explain how to fall out of the plane and what to do after you fall out. I told my guy I wanted to spin and do anything cool we could possibly do to add to the experience. We loaded up in a truck and drove to the airport strip where we stacked into a waiting plane. Here's a tip if you want to jump first get in the plane last because that's the order they go in. In the plane the instructor clips his harness to yours and then it's time to enjoy the ride. We got up to about 12,5000 feet and they opened the door and then we were out two by two. One minute Sherry was there the next she was gone - that's how fast they move out of the plane. I can honestly say I wasn't scared, just excited  and nervous to check this off my bucket list. When you first go out the door you feel a rush of cold air but I never felt like I was falling - more like suspended by the air. After about 30 seconds I got to pull the chute and we floated down to the earth, twirling and twisting through the sky. It was one of the best experiences of my life that words or pictures cannot do justice to describe so I would encourage anyone who has ever dreamed of going to make that leap of faith. If not now, when?

It was a crazy few weeks and that was only the beginning of July, more 14er hiking and adventures to follow!

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