What I Thought I Learned From Friends

During this 24 mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, I froze when two flying saucer sized sting rays decided to accompany Doug. The boat pilot said not to worry, they wouldn’t hurt him.

The dolphins were magical and they showed up three times.

But the jellyfish sting took us by surprise. A jellyfish sting hurts because small nematocysts, located on a jellyfish’s tentacles, release venom into the skin upon contact. It creates an allergic reaction, the degree of which can be all over the board. Doug immediately started sneezing and his stomach was cramping.

I had recently watched the episode of Friends where Monica was stung by a jellyfish on the foot and Chandler and Joey had to pee on it to alleviate the pain. In the show it worked beautifully.

So, I knew just what to do.

One of our kids, who wishes to remain anonymous in perpetuity, obliged.

For some odd reason I also had nondrowsy Sudafed in my backpack and threw out a couple of those.

Doug decided to swim another 1,000 strokes and see what happened. He seemed ok and decided to keep going.

Now that we’re home I’ve done some research I see that the pee thing is a myth. It does nothing except possibly cause more of the toxins to be released causing more pain. Urine, which is only weakly if at all acidic, doesn’t have the strength to stop the sting.

You basically need to be prepared to treat an allergic reaction, fast. (Benedryl, Sudafed, Epi Pen) Vinegar can also help. And if a tentacle is stuck inside of you, it needs to come out via a stick or fishing gloves or more stinging will occur.

Friends is nothing but folklore. I’m done with them.

The Big Practice

What do you get when you cross your family as your crew, the best boat pilot in Tampa and a very organized and well run 24 mile marathon swim?

You get to come in 7th out of 20 solo swimmers.

Some of our kids were able to make it and along for the task came the one who is more like family than family … Meg. Meg has been our babysitter since Mack was a baby. She’s way more than that now.

Our pilot’s name was Brent and he’d been messing around in boats in Tampa since he was little. He knew the bay like the back of his hand but the James Bondish equipment he used didn’t hurt either. He kept Doug out of shallow water that promises oysters that will cut your feet. He’s a big ingredient in the formula mentioned above that allowed us to finish.

We counted his strokes every ten minutes on the dot, arranged his 500 calories of goo every thirty minutes and we provided some interesting medicine for a nasty jellyfish sting. Meg organized and I took pictures.

Gordy provided the music most of which I don’t care for alone but when mixed and played by him it seemed to have a touch of magic.

In the end, My Bionic Boyfriend was tired and a little beaten up but brimming with confidence about what’s around the bay at that place called the English Channel.

Note: All of the photographs may be seen on the Facebook pages for:

A Long Swim
My Bionic Boyfriend
The 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim

Another Note: Check out Doug’s blog for his perspective. http://www.alongswim.com

PS – In case anyone is thinking about stealing Brent next year … he’s ours. Meg too.

The 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim … Coming Right Up

90 degrees and a 13 hour boat ride is one hell of a way to spend Easter. The kids and I will guide from a boat, treating this as one big practice for the English Channel.

The 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim is an ultra-distance race that starts at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and ends on the Courtney Campbell Causeway and covers the entire stretch of Tampa Bay. The event is held each year to celebrate Earth Day and the revitalization of Florida’s largest estuary and is the longest race that is sanctioned by United States Masters Swimming.

There will be 20 solo swimmers and 31 relay swimmers.

You can learn about the race at http://www.distancematters.com.

Their Facebook page will probably also provide updates. You can find it by searching “The 24 Mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim.”

My Bionic Boyfriend now has a facebook page and I will attempt to make regular and fun reports via my iphone.

"Hey, It’s Doug’s Tomato!"

Dear Greg,

I know you. You are the larger-than-life guy who lived forever next to Doug’s parents in Dundee. You had the best kick ass house in the neighborhood and you were flashy and you were really, really nice. As the most popular guy around town it was probably hard to remember everyone’s name. So whenever you saw me you used to say, “Hey, it’s Doug’s Tomato!”

You made your way into my heart 25 years ago when, on the morning of my wedding, dressed in ratty shorts, a torn t-shirt and no shoes, you drove your Rolls Royce into Doug’s parent’s driveway and tossed Doug the keys. “Drive it for the day. You and your Tomato have a good time.”

We did. And thank you. The car was the icing on the cake.

25 years later you made your way into my heart again because you just made a big donation through Doug’s blog … http://www.alongswim.com … which benefits The Les Turner ALS Foundation. It was ALS that took Doug’s dad, a good friend of yours, away from us. I can still hear him laughing every time you forgot my name.

You were a pretty cool guy then and you’re a pretty cool guy now.

All My Love,
Doug’s Tomato

PS … The picture above is a tomato ornament that I gave to Doug on one of our first Christmases together. The Rolls will be eternally etched in our minds as a photograph of it on that day does not exist.

Hello Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs With Butternut Squash Sauce

Endurance athletes need to supply themselves with a high carbohydrate diet as well as lots of protein from a foul or plant based source.

Enter spaghetti and turkey meatballs with butternut squash sauce.

Susan: “I’m not sure how good this is gonna be.”

Doug: “I am. I hate butternut squash.”

Looks like it’s all good with Ashley.

PS … I didn’t make the squash sauce by hand. A company named Dave’s Gourmet did. They’re out of San Francisco.

In WAY Over My Head

So I’m blow drying my hair in the bathroom, trying to make my curls straight on this humid, springy day, and he comes around the corner, talking above my blow dryer before he really comes into sight, “Who else is going to be on my guide boat for this 24 mile Tampa swim?”

I knew it. He thinks I’m the czar.

“It’s gonna be at least a 12 hour thing ya know.”
“Maybe 15.”
“You ever been on a boat for 15 hours straight?”
“I’m not sure if the boys are up to this.”
“Billy gets sea sick after a couple of hours.”

Note to Self:
April 23rd
Tampa Bay
24 miles in ocean water, albeit warmer than the English Channel
Gotta count his strokes
Gotta have 1,000 calories of his gooey stuff every hour
Gotta watch for sharks and creatures
Gotta offer encouragement
Gotta take pictures

Gotta pack
Gotta get the kids psyched
Gotta get used to the idea of going on a boat for 15 hours
Gotta get a hotel
Gotta get a dog sitter for the new puppy
Gotta get lots of his gooey stuff
Gotta get lots of sun screen
Gotta get sea sick pills for Billy

Love Is Like Water

While Doug and I are working with our kids toward this gigantic goal of his English Channel swim, we never take our eye off our #1 project … loving them. Things aren’t always easy through the ups and downs of life, and believe me our waves are pretty rolling. I can, however, put it in perspective through this analogy … love is like water.

You want to give them enough to nourish them so that they’re not thirsty. Because what the nutritionists tell us is that once we feel thirsty it’s kind of late in the game. We should be handing out little sips all along.

And you don’t want to over water them. Because that means you’re hovering and run the risk of smothering and drowing them.

As our kids get older the line we walk becomes more fine and the decision about how much love to offer becomes unclear. Sometimes I give them too much independence and by the time they come around they’re a little needy. Sometimes I give them too much attention and by the time I realize that I’ve over watered them things get a little squishy.

A reoccuring story …

I hadn’t heard from Mack (23, living in CA, on his own, nice job) in a number of days, which isn’t unusual. He’s the kind of guy who likes to talk to you on his own time if he has some of it free. He called me on my cell …

Mack: “Mom, how ya doin? I have some free moments and thought we could talk for awhile.”

Mom: “Doug and I always say you’re kind of like a cat. We have to love you on your terms … in your own time.”

Mack: “Well, then, meow.”

We had a delightful conversation for 30 minutes … until he had to go.