my summer of bugs, books, and risky behavior – part 2

You can find Part 1 here.

A large portion of my summer was spent as a single mom or skydiving widow because Scott pursued his dream of becoming a professional skydiver.

When I met Scott I took his ‘hobby’ of throwing himself out of planes coolly. That’s nice. Oh, you fly planes too? Hmmm…good for you.

He was perplexed over my lack of awe. “You’re not impressed easily.” I responded, “Am I supposed to be?”

“Well, c’mon. It’s pretty cool.”

I guess. Hohum.

He was right – I don’t get wowed easily regarding some things, but juicy gossip, an awesome episode of Parks and Rec, or my kids getting a perfect score on their spelling tests has me over-the-moon! I thought he should be content that I accepted his risky behavior with a level head. There’s no logic in willfully leaping into the sky from thousands of feet above the ground. Just because I didn’t hang off his arm and gush about how fabulous he was didn’t mean I didn’t care. I cared – I cared that he landed safely and showed up to our next date.

He’s been doing this a long time. It came with Scott, so I don’t get to be one of those women that declare you are out of your mind! It was part of the deal when I married him. I’d be ripping out his soul if I said no. I’m not exaggerating. This thing courses through his veins. And this summer he was all in. Not only did he want to jump out of planes he wanted to film other people doing it. Be a professional. This takes dedication and time – a lot of time.

Scott and I believe in dreams and the pursuit of them. I have an entire book I could write on the pursuit and failure and phew-we-made-it of dreams. So, for two and a half months I was the supportive wife saying, go ahead. Pursue. I just want to see some money at the end of this.

Some of you might be thinking how cool I am by proxy or how terrified I must be, but before you get too caught up in that let me tell you that Scott already has a full time job and kids. Emphasis on the kids. My primary concern was making sure all of us saw each other and cooking. I can do no-frills pasta and toss a beautiful salad, but cooking is mainly Scott’s domain. The prospect of me taking on almost all meals scared me more than his parachute failing. He didn’t abandon us, but my kids spent a lot of time drawing Scott in the sky with captions that read, My Daddy with a sad face beside the man under the colorful parachute. I kid. There was just a lot of, “Is Daddy skydiving again?” But Scott made it up to me by sending me to a writers’ conference against my will, taking the kids camping for a weekend and giving me the greatest gift of all – the house to myself. I didn’t realize how much I craved silence until I could hear birds chirping and nearly wept when no one came into my room between 6 and 7am.

Scott fulfilled his dream and he has the video footage to prove it. He was happy and that happiness came home, which makes the sacrifices worth it. And now that summer is officially over, sanity has been restored. Almost. September brings its own kind of crazy.

Swept up

In books! I mentioned books in the title. So let me tell you about a few books I read this summer that I think you should read.

Throwing Rocks at Beehives is a great, gripping novel by my friend Scott Radnidge. I was lucky enough to be one of his early readers and I loved this book. I got it in pieces, so I’d be reading it at ballet, the ice rink waiting for my kids, and kept pestering him for more. I wanted to know what would happen to Mia (the protagonist) and would she be okay? A good book is one that keeps me turning the pages. Scott’s book does that. Here’s a bit of an overview from Barnes and Noble where you can buy the ebook. After leaving their home one rainy night in a panic, Jenny and Mia Waters, identical twins, have to start a new life, living in a fourplex on the outskirts of a town they’ve never heard of, surrounded by mysterious characters, their lives unraveling slowly. It was on that miserable autumn evening when Jenny, Mia and their mom came home and found their dad in bed with their neighbor, that the course of their lives changed forever. Plucked from their home, they drove for hours in the rain on an unfamiliar highway. Their mother, inconsolable, did her best to keep the car on the road as they headed for a nameless town. They were starting over… Go. Buy it and enjoy!

I picked up the next 2 books at the PNWA Conference

I mentioned this memoir a few posts ago. The Next 15 Minutes: Strength from the Top of the Mountain by Kim Kircher. You can find this on the back of the book… The Next 15 Minutes offers a rare glimpse into the strange and fascinating world of a ski area professional, where steep terrain and deep snow teach patrollers how to get through the worst trials just fifteen minutes at a time. Kim seized the EMT training that helped her avoid panic when a fallen skier had to be delicately lifted from a tree to manage the life-and-death situation facing her husband. Kim is a rock star. She bombs snow-covered mountains to control avalanches and faces her husband’s illness straight-on with tenacity and courage. I know very little about skiing or treacherous mountain terrain but I could relate to Kim doing whatever she had to do to get through the worst time of her life. This book is fascinating and inspiring. You can pre-order the book here. And she’s got a blog too.

I heard Janna Cawrse Esarey speak at the PNWA conference (her workshop on narrative arc was awesome) and I read her memoir The Motion of the Ocean: 1 small boat, 2 average lovers, and a Woman’s Search for the Meaning of Wife. It is as charming as it sounds. Here is what Jen Lancaster NYT bestselling author of Bitter is the New Black has to say: “Equipped with nothing but an old boat and a new marriage, Janna Cawrse Esarey recounts her two and a half years at sea with wry humor, keen observations, and descriptions vivid enough to satisfy the most seasoned traveler. The Motion of the Ocean is the quintessential summer read for anyone seeking an adventure in life, love, or self-discovery.” When a book starts out with… Somewhere fifty miles off the coast of Oregon I realize the skipper of this very small ship is an asshole. He also happens to be my husband… you know it’s going to be good. And funny. Janna is a great storyteller. Her writing is sharp and quick and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. You can buy it here.

11 thoughts on “my summer of bugs, books, and risky behavior – part 2

  1. Jill

    I must admit, I’m pretty impressed with people who intentionally hurl themselves out of airplanes … and don’t vomit on the way down. I love watching it. I just couldn’t do it for the largest sum of money on earth.

    And like you … I enjoy a quiet house. As I know that the minute I hit, ‘post’ I have to go wake up a sleeping baby. Sigh.

  2. christy

    Oh wow your friend’s book sounds gripping and amazing – I’m definitely buying it! Thank you for the recommendations. 🙂

    You are amazing. AMAZING. I would be FREAKING out each and every time he went up in the air…but I’m a total scaredy cat when it comes to jumping out of planes. No way, no how – just WOW!!!

    I hope you’re enjoying your new house! (Have you moved?) And yes, peace and quiet in my own home is one of the biggest treats my husband can offer me. I’m hoping to get a little alone time here this weekend…fingers crossed! Hope you have a good weekend too!

  3. Kim Kircher

    Thanks for the mention here. I went skydiving last year. It was incredible. My husband is a pilot, and he said it was VERY counter-intuitive to jump out of a plane. I thought it was exhilarating and can’t wait to go again.

    1. heidi

      I should have said so much more about your book…I really loved it.
      Your husband and I agree. I don’t really get jumping out of a plane, but I support it. 🙂

  4. Toriz

    I think people who do things like that are nuts. But, hey, if that’s what makes them happy, then good for them. Just as long as they don’t want me to be doing it!

    Your friend’s book sounds great!

  5. IntenseGuy

    So, is Scott a professional sky diver? I didn’t know there was such a thing.

    Everyone should have a job were they love what they are doing – 40 hours a week is a lot of human life time.

  6. Lana

    “He didn’t abandon us, but my kids spent a lot of time drawing Scott in the sky with captions that read, My Daddy with a sad face beside the man under the colorful parachute. I kid. There was just a lot of, “Is Daddy skydiving again?” ”

    that part made me laugh out loud.

  7. Kate Coveny Hood

    This is where my husband and I are completely on the same page. We are not dare devils. We can’t even do roller coasters! Though he’s a surfer and thinks nothing of swimming with sharks… I’m a wimp through and through. Solid ground under my feet…that’s the ticket.

  8. Alexis

    Scott is already one of my favorite people because he forced you to go to PNWA! 🙂

    I need to read ‘The Motion of the Ocean’!

  9. Loraleigh

    I love my dream pursuing friends…:-) Even though the road is rocky sometimes the way you two support each other in the pursuit of your dreams is really beautiful. I like reading and hearing about all the bumps and twists and turns cause I know the end is always going to be really good. Much love to you my friend.

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