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Merry Christmas y’all! Well, we don’t really say “y’all” even though
it’s our fourth holiday season in North Carolina. The interesting thing about the part of NC we
live in is that nearly everyone here is from somewhere else – over half the
people in our county were born out of state!
So around here, the first thing you ask folks you just meet is, “Where
are you from?” It’s rare to find anyone
who’s a local. The net result is that we
don’t have anyone from who we can learn a Southern accent!
This year has been a bit more exciting than most
for us! It started with a bit of a
surprise in January, when I can down to breakfast to find Nancy googling the
Internet while looking a bit peaked. I
asked “Do you feel ok?” to which Nancy
said, “No, my abdomen hurts right here.”
Before long, we were off to the doctor and then to the emergency room as
her appendix out! It was certainly a
surprise for us, but Nancy
has fully recovered since.
Our February adventure was a bit happier, as we
headed to Dallas
for the Super Bowl! Well somewhat
happier, given that Dallas
had an unusual snow storm during our visit.
We were hotel-bound for a day or so, not quite the trip we planned. We did eventually get out though, and got to
Plaza where JFK was
assassinated and the museum there. We
did make it to the game, where we had to wait in line for security to get into
the stadium for two hours. We’re glad we went – check that off the
bucket list – but honestly, the best place to watch the Super Bowl is on TV.
Jerry in front of
the Big Sign (and the snow) at the
Super Bowl in Dallas
(strapped to front of instructor on left) jumps out of a perfectly good
Back on the ground, still in our
April 16 brought a different adventure, as a tornado
passed about a mile from our house. We
saw it from our back porch, but it was so, so big that we didn’t even recognize
it as a tornado, just a very large and dark cloud that came all the way down to
the ground. We were fortunate to not
have any damage to our house but there was a lot of damage around us – the
local fire station was destroyed as was a Lowes Home Improvement store a few
towns away (you may have seen that on the news, even where you live). We didn’t get any pictures ourselves but we
found plenty of videos online. Caution:
some of the language on these videos is a bit salty, as you might expect if a
tornado was bearing down on you!
Tornado Video 1 Tornado Video 2 Tornado Video 3 Tornado Video 4 Tornado Video 5 Tornado Video 6
The month of May found us “up in the air” as we
went skydiving for the first time ever!!
This was another of those “bucket list” items we’d always wanted to do,
so when a Groupon popped up to do it at a substantial
discount, we took advantage of it. We
drove to a small airport way out in the country where we signed release forms
that said literally “This is a dangerous activity; if you do this you might
die.” Undeterred, we went through our
pre-jump orientation and boarded an enormous cargo plane. The jumps were tandem jumps, so we were each
strapped to very experienced jump instructors, who were responsible for taking
care of all the very important tasks such as pulling the rip cord when the time came. When the instructors asked who was going
first, we just looked at each other. We
solved the conundrum via rock-paper-scissors, and Nancy went first. I can think of few experiences that match the
sheer drama of watching your wife fall out of the back of an airplane! We both landed safely and found the
experience to be exhilarating. We plan
to do it again.
Skydiving Video Jerry’s
The month of May continued with a cycling adventure
as I and a group of friends rode our bicycles 150 miles in a single day, from Cary to Wilmington,
NC – an adventure called “The
Crazy Ride”. Nancy served as our support vehicle, ensuring
we were well-supplied with food and water during the trip. We experienced three flat tires along the
way. I nearly quit after 100 miles, but
three cheeseburgers later I was feeling much better and pushed through to
accomplish one of my most challenging physical exertions ever.
June brought our annual vacation, this time to Alaska. Our first visit to Alaska was in 2000, a land-only tour of the
interior. For this adventure, we joined
an Ohio State
cruise which departed Vancouver, toured the
Inside Passage, and ventured further north, all the way to Kodiak
Island. The views of the
ocean and the snow-covered mountains were great and the wildlife was all
around. I was literally speechless when
a whale surfaced just 10 yards off the edge of the beach we were standing on. We made great friends on the trip and enjoyed
our time on the cruise. For 2012 we’ve
already booked a cruise to Greece
so are looking forward to that, especially as we’ll be going with some friends
on this vacation.
August brought another storm our way, this time
Hurricane Irene. While this storm caused
great damage on the NC coast, we’re about two hours inland so didn’t experience
much more than 30 mph winds. Still we
were unsure until the last couple days before landfall if we would experience
severe weather or not.
August also brought a return to North
Ridgeville, Ohio for my 30th
high school reunion, while September brought another return to Ohio, this time to Columbus,
for the annual Ohio State University Marching Band reunion.
The focus of this year was my desire to complete an
Ironman triathlon. Although the most
famous Ironman race is in Kona, Hawaii, there are actually a number of such events
throughout the world, including one in Wilmington,
NC. It took a year of training to build up to
this event, with its 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run. Six days a week, sometimes multiple workouts
a day, and often up at 4 or 5 a.m. to get in some training before heading to
work. The training also required lots of
support from Nancy,
as I spent so much time training that there wasn’t much time left for me to
help out with chores around the house.
After all the training, I successfully completed the Beach2Battleship Iron-Distance
Triathlon in late October. I am an
Crazy Ride, with just 150 miles
Nancy and Jerry, somewhere in Alaska
Our careers are still continuing. Nancy
is still a contract IT project manager at Blue
Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina through the end of the year. We’ll see what the New Year brings for
her. I am still at IBM and spent about five months working in Charlotte which was a convenient drive from home, plus
also projects in New York City and Chicago. One cool part of working in NYC is getting up
at 5 a.m. for a training run through an empty Times Square on my way to Central Park.
Nancy has also kept busy with volunteer activities. She served on the executive planning committee
for The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run, a 5k running race that is also
a fundraiser. She also has been active
in coordinating events for Project Management International (PMI).
Our kitties Jackson and Spookie
continue to keep us amused. They are indoor cats although Jackson has an obsession with the garage, and
both would like to break through the window screens to get at those squirrels
in their yard.
We hope we can keep in touch with our friends more
frequently during the year. If you are on LinkedIn or Facebook
please find and connect to us using the links below.
Nancy and Jerry
Last updated 2011-12-16