The Time I Flew…In A Wind Tunnel

I think it’s time for me to go skydiving, for real, for real. I know that it sounds dangerous and scary, especially with me having knee issues, but I really want to check this off of my “bucket list” before my knees get too bad.

My sisters and I went to the iFly Indoor Skydiving facility in Paramus last week, and I enjoyed it. It seemed expensive for only 2 minutes of my life, but at the same time, I think it was worth it. The facility was not very big, there was one wind tunnel in the center of the room, and one person flying at a time, which was controlled by the instructor. They have a very brief “flying school” that you have to attend. They basically give you a crash course on how to conduct yourself in the wind tunnel. Our instructor was this adorable, dimpled, happy girl named Nikki, who calmed our group down and got us excited to fly. While we were sitting in the waiting area, it looked pretty complicated and almost painful. You could see others going through it with the instructor, and you could see the skin of their cheeks rippling as the wind pushed aggressively through the tunnel. Some people had their legs so high up it started to make MY back flair up in pain.

Fortunately, my concerns were all in my head (fear is something else isn’t it?), and when I did it, I was fine. It feels as if you are floating and your instructor is just coaching you through it trying to help you hover. Yes, the force from the wind is powerful, and you can feel it everywhere around you, but once my form was good, and I started to float, it became very peaceful. I imagined myself doing it from a real plane and viewing the beautiful scenery below me. I have a friend who went skydiving, and he described it as “The most peaceful 10 minutes of my life.” My sisters didn’t like it the first time they did it, but the second time they were okay with it. One of my sisters said that the wind was too strong on her arms, and it was causing her some pain, other than that, she was cool with it.

Once the groups completed their flights (ours had ten people), they would go in the tunnel and do some other stunts and tricks that us newbie’s didn’t know how to do. I think it was so they could have some fun and to show that there are other things you can do there besides hover, hoping that people would come back. I would do this again if someone wanted to do it, but I am more likely to want to research the real way. Out of plane. On purpose.

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Let’s Talk About Lazy People

I used to be embarrassed at all the crazy things some of my family members do, so I never used to talk about it to anyone. As I got older, I realized that everyone’s family is a little crazy, and maybe “normal” didn’t exist. Not going to lie, it made me feel better because I didn’t feel so alone. I tended to be friends with the “me” of the family; the dynamic they had with their families was very similar to mine. Sometimes we would even trade war stories.

I don’t get too involved with my family beyond my siblings and father, mostly because I’m too busy with my own life and I don’t want to overstep boundaries by telling people what to do with theirs. The issue that Lorenzo and I have with some of them is that there is no motivation to do anything productive with their lives. I am not the kind of person who can wake up every day without a mission to accomplish. There are so many things I want to do and have, so I work towards them. I have a hard time understanding those who wake up, do nothing (or who knows what) all day long, every week, every month, every year. No job, no goals, no plans, nothing.

What I feel is worse than a person who conducts themselves this way is the person who is enabling this behavior by supporting them. That bizarre, co-dependent relationship is unsettling because it’s hard to determine who is worse: the one who doesn’t do anything or the person who allows it to continue. What happens when the enabler decides they’ve had enough or passes away? Does the leach seek out another family member or significant other to seek out and mooch off of (I think the latter is where the term “hobosexual” comes from)?

I just don’t get it. Why do some people work hard to have the things they want in life while others will literally let life pass by them while making up every excuse in the book to explain why they don’t have anything? Where do they get this sense of entitlement that they think that others are obligated to take care of them, forever?
I know a man who lives this lifestyle. He is almost 50 years old, never married, no children, has barely been able to keep a job for more than a month in the past 10 years, and was living with his mother up until she passed away this year. And when asked about this is always “This person doesn’t give me money anymore; I don’t talk to that person anymore; this person; that person.” Never taking any accountability, never assuming responsibility for the things you haven’t done with your own life. Everything is everyone else’s fault.

I don’t know what this guy is going to do, just like I don’t know what is going to happen to other people that I know who are in this same situation. I tell Lorenzo, I don’t mind helping some people, but I am not an enabler, I’m not going to support a grown adult as if they are my child and there is no amount of conversation and counsel you can give someone who refuses to do anything about it. Even though it seems harsh, sometimes you have to be an advocate of tough love. Some people NEED to metaphorically “fall on their butts” to finally hear what other’s may have been telling them and there’s nothing you can do about that.

I Think It’s Time For Me To Go Skydiving

And I think I should do it soon before the weather gets too crazy. Why? Because its one of those “bucket list” items that I want to (finally) scratch off the list. Oh you mean ‘why do I want to do it?’, well because like it said, its always been on the list of things to do, along with the long list of places I want to travel to. I really can’t come up with another reason of why I can’t do it now, or why I shouldn’t, so I think its time that I just stop putting it off.

I did some research, and there are multiple places that do it in Georgia and its not super expensive. I went to a few websites to get more information so I could answer Lorenzo’s questions (who is not on board with this at ALL, but is willing to support me if I really want to do it). Both of our schedules’ are packed this summer, so trying to find time to schedule it was a bit difficult.

I want to do things with my life that are a little out of the ordinary. I grew up seeing people just either work, not work, have kids, substance abuse issues, or both, then die. It just didn’t seem like much of a life to me. I felt that there are so many things you can experience in the world and I didn’t want working myself to death to be one of them. I grew up poor; my parents were poor, grandparents, etc. I didn’t have a rich uncle or family member to help us get through tough times. We were all struggling to get through the month…every month. I decided when I was young I wasn’t going to live like that: paycheck to paycheck, just getting by, not knowing where my next meal was coming from. I wanted more and I was determined to get it.

I want my obituary to say more than, “was born here, went to school there, worked here and died”. Even though I know that I probably won’t be able to do everything on my list, I am going to start making plans to do some of them or as many as I can, and skydiving has always been on the list. I’m not a thrill seeker, I don’t see myself doing this more than once and I’m not really interested in doing other things like bungee jumping (that actually scares me). Its just one of those things I want to do before I die just to say I did it. From the information I read on the website, its relatively safe as long as you follow crew instructions, not many get hurt doing it.

I find that many people around me have this fear of skydiving. My sisters are willing to do the iFly (indoor skydiving) with me, but I still want to do it the REAL way. I don’t know why they are scared, and I’m sure they don’t even know why. It might be that they are just conditioned to be afraid of something because the world tells you it’s “scary” and not for you or if there is genuine concern or lack of the need to want to do it. Maybe they’re just not interested.

I told Lorenzo when we were dating that I liked to try new things. I don’t know if he was aware that this is the kind of stuff I was talking about, not going out to restaurants or out to clubs.

jumping plane military training


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So, We Made It Out Of DR Okay…

I’ve been gone a while. I’ve been trying to post at least once every week but the past month has been a bit all over the place. So much has happened that every time I tried to write about it something else happened, and then my “9 to 5” really picked up lately also. So, what’s been going on? Lorenzo and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary over Memorial Day weekend by traveling to the Dominican Republic with another couple. He works with the husband, and we got to have dinner with them once a few weeks before the trip.

We stayed a the Grand Bahia Principe-Bavaro in Punta Cana, DR for 4 days. Now, I know what you are thinking,  “What about all those people that are dying over there?” To be fair, I had only known about the one couple that had died in the car accident by the time we went. We didn’t start hearing about all the other American’s dying there until after we were already home. Now, while I did feel somewhat safe while we were there, Lorenzo and I always take precautions when we are vacationing, whether we are out of the country or not. Its one of the results of growing up in the ‘hood, I’m cautious of EVERYONE. Now, while I’m glad that our group made it out of there unscathed, I’m really hoping that someone finds out what exactly is going on over there. Lorenzo wanted to start planning our next trip. We were invited to Puerto Rico next February with the same couple and Lorenzo has been inquiring about visiting the Mona Lisa (so we will see how that goes).

I’ll be flying up to Jersey this weekend and Lorenzo will be joining me next week. We are going to celebrate his birthday (which is today) in New York City. I was thinking next year, for his 40th to throw him a very sophisticated party. But I have to start planning that now I think, mostly because there are so many moving parts. Lorenzo doesn’t really celebrate his birthday. Most of the time its because he’s always working with the military so by the time he gets home all he wants to do is rest. He’ll let me take him to dinner, a spa,  or to a hotel for the night, but he really doesn’t do much else. I think a really nice party would be a nice way to thank him for all that he’s done and to get a change to finally celebrate HIM.

I think for my birthday I want to go sky diving. It’s been something that’s been on my bucket list for years and I think its finally time to just do it (okay NIKE, don’t sue me). I have a friend who did it one year, he actually found the deal on Groupon, and the price wasn’t unreasonable. Of course Lorenzo has his doubts about it, but I’m really interested in doing it. He can just be there for moral support. I’m getting to the point now that I have a little money to do the things that I want to do and whatever I don’t have the money for I can save for it, so there is no point in putting things off any longer.IMG_6828IMG_6854IMG_6846

 

 

 

Good News and Bad News

I only like to receive good news. I don’t get angry when I receive bad news, but I hate that a lot of times you have to receive some bad news in order to get some good news. Its unrealistic to think that you can ONLY receive good news in life, but to be honest, wouldn’t that be nice?

I am very late posting these past few weeks because there was just too much going on. My family is going through some really hard times; first we received news that my Dad’s bother suddenly passed away and then 3 days later my maternal grandmother passed away…while Lorenzo and I were on vacation celebrating our 4 year anniversary.

I only wanted to talk about the vacation but I think the family stuff takes precedence. My uncle that passed away was my father’s oldest brother (he has another one who lives in North Carolina). Even though my dad is the youngest, he was always the most responsible. About 8 (maybe 9 years ago) my uncle ended up in comma due to some bad decisions he made. When he came out of the comma, my grandmother had to care for him like he was a child. His memory was all over the place, he couldn’t do anything for himself. He got better, but his behavior was a bit much for her and she needed help (my Dad was there but he worked all day so he wasn’t always around). So he’s been in a home for the past few years. My Dad was always going to visit him, taking care of him, bringing him home for Christmas, etc., but apparently his kidney’s just gave out on him.  He only has one son, who is a year or two older than I am, but I don’t have a relationship with him.

My grandmother who passed was my maternal grandmother. She would’ve been 93 this July. What I think is cool about her is that she’s met a few of her great- great- grandchildren. For all of my life I’ve known her to be the sweetest woman on the planet. She had a calm spirit, liked to laugh, would tell us stories of her childhood, and when I was younger she and I would have really long conversations about God and church and how to apply those things to everyday living. She never used profanity and even used to make jokes about herself when she needed dentures. Apparently all of that was a front because if you let my aunt’s tell it, she was mean and was only nice to her grandchildren. Now, I can’t sit here and say what is true or not, but that has never been MY personal experience with her. However, I do remember on one occasion she told me about woman who was in her church that she wanted to hit with her cane because she was always saying negative things about her. Apparently the woman was upset that everyone in the church called my grandmother,  “Mother” and would hug and kiss her. The lady didn’t like that. What was worse was that my Aunt was ready to back her up to hit the woman! My grandmother was in her 80’s at the time and could barley walk. I had to tell her to stop being a thug at church.

So is been a pretty rough few weeks. I don’t grieve the way that other people think I should grieve, so I’m pretty happy that I’m not around my family right now. I’m not a screaming, crying, passing out, rolling on the floor,  throw myself in the casket, while screaming “take me with you!!!!” kind of person, so many people take me to be cold hearted because of that. I just process things differently. It’s almost a running joke among my siblings.

Reading The Signs

I think might have to give up dairy,  for real. I am really sad about that because I love cheese and eat it almost daily.

I remember about 10 years ago when I first returned from Iraq, I went down to Miami with a friend for the weekend. We bought a couples massage package that included a facial. The guy I had told me I needed to stop eating cheese and fried foods and I’m almost sure I told him to go [@#*&] himself with my facial expression alone. Ever since then, every now and again I will read or hear things about not consuming diary, but again I didn’t listen. I didn’t want to.

I think I’ve seen stuff like this 3x within the past week. I have a friend who went from eating meat to 100% vegan a little over a year ago and he hasn’t looked back since. I’ll sometimes give him a call and ask for advice but I mostly admire his ability to stay so disciplined and focused so I guess in a sense I use him for motivation too. Cheese has always been my issue. I stopped drinking milk years ago and its only occasionally that I’ll have things like cream cheese, heavy cream, or sour cream.  It’s just cheese, I love it. I didn’t realize how much it was a part of almost everything I consume, especially when I go out to get fast food like Chipotle, Panera, or even Starbucks (they have a grilled cheese and tomato and mozzarella sandwiches).

I tried to start paying attention to what I was eating, but it was less than 2 days later that I was eating something with cheese in it again. I really want to see if this experiment will have any affect on my skin. I was told by my doctor and aesthetician that I have hormonal acne, so I was just under the impression that unless I was continuously on medication that I will just always have it. Since I hate being on medication (I have an issue with consistency) I just accepted it. Now I’m curious to see if cutting out dairy will help at all. I’m just concerned that I’m severely restricting myself with food, because I love food. But I also love my skin and would like to see it improve if at all possible. I have nothing to lose by trying it out for a few months to see if there is a difference.

Right after I’m done with this family sized bag of cheese tortellini.

Money Matters: Get Your Finances in Order

One of the things that I love the most about Lorenzo is that he very responsible when it comes to his finances. He kind of had to learn on the fly in college, like I did, but money management is something that he doesn’t shy away from. This was a major issue I had with an ex boyfriend who would discuss marriage, but didn’t know where is money was going (literally paid on Friday, broke by Saturday type of situation). So naturally that was something I considered heavily when I started dating again.

One thing that I don’t like to do is loan people money; I’m not a fan of it at all. That’s not to say that I don’t do it, I want to clarify that I don’t like to do it. I made a rule a few years back that I wouldn’t loan out money that I couldn’t afford to lose. Once, I had a friend who I didn’t talk to often call me in a bind and asked for $300, at the time I had it to give. Then a few years later, when I was in a bind and really needed it back, she sent me $80 and never sent me the rest. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people who have stories like that. There were times where I flat out had to say “No” to family and friends because I knew I would never see my money again and couldn’t afford to risk not being able to pay my own bills in order to help someone out. Honestly, these were people who I knew that if I was in a situation, wouldn’t be able to help me out if I really needed it.

Lorenzo handles things like this very gracefully. Last year we had a situation were a family friend asked for money and Lorenzo was cool about lending out. A few months later the same person was asking for more money and then 2 more times on two other separate occasions. Not once they even try to pay Lorenzo back from the first time. He kindly reminded them that they still owed money from last year, and will not be able to lend it out. The friend was respectful and understood (but to this day still hasn’t paid him back). Another incident came up recently where a family member was mismanaging their funds and wanted help from Lorenzo. He provided more advice and assistance rather than money.

Lorenzo always says that he is never going to give to the point that he can’t pay his own bills. He will happily give advice, because its free. Teaching someone how to manage their money or get out of their “situation” will be more beneficial than just giving them money all the time. Its really sad that you have to tell adults “pay your bills, ignoring them won’t make them go away, stop creating new debt” but sometimes it has to happen. Lorenzo says that someone’s environment may be a cause, because they just genuinely don’t know how to manage their money and its not something that is taught. He and I disagree on this because I feel like, if you can get on Facebook everyday to post things you can use that same internet to educate yourself on how to create a budget, how to improve your credit, reduce spending, and ways to maximize your money.

Lorenzo and I are what our families consider “very successful” so he says that people are going to come to us for help all the time. He would rather give them information how to create their own success and set them up for the long run instead of shelling out cash. I just hate the narrative that if someone has it, then they should just give, no questions asked. We have things because we WORK for it, we also PLAN and SAVE. No one sees the sacrifices, the planning, the changes, things we give up, things we go through, they only the results.

I don’t like to borrow money as a way of money management. My mother used to call it “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul”. Its a never ending cycle. Lorenzo and I are constantly talking about how to save money, make money, and how we plan to spend it. I don’t understand how many couples, well adults really, still don’t see the value in this. Lorenzo says they are just “winging it through life”. I don’t know man, my fear of being broke won’t allow me to do that.