Books, Creativity, Diving, Emotions, History, Learning, Life, Reading, the World, Thinking, Writing

Venting the Ship

I didn’t intend for this to be an angry post. But the more I read in the news the angrier I got. They are taking this author’s books away because they are racist, or they show this or talk about that. They have pulled this artist’s art work because they are offensive to this or that culture. I am over the cancel culture! Two problems for them. 1. You cannot and will not be able to please everyone. EVER. 2. YOU CANNOT CANCEL HISTORY! You can learn from other’s mistakes. But pulling down memorials and plaques and destroying things that are from that era that you think represent a bad thing isn’t going to change a damn thing. How about you step up and start at home by educating your kids to be decent human beings, whatever their race, religion, sexual orientation? The cancel culture is emulating what the people they are trying to erase are accused of doing. What happened to being a decent human being?

Ok. I am getting off my soap box. Rant over. Another thing I found while reading the news was rather interesting and very close to home. You may or may not know that I live in northern Michigan. I also have a love for archaeology. The article I stumbled on deals with a shipwreck that was found in Lake Michigan. I live next to that lake. The wreck site is across the lake slightly north of where I live. Another cool bit is that the ship was called The Griffin, which is my last name. It was considered a cursed ship and had disappeared on it’s maiden voyage. I don’t know a whole lot beyond that. And needless to say my interest is peaked. So do I continue to research this one? Or do I put it on a back burner (this is the second time this particular ship has popped on my radar in a few years, the last time I never followed through on any research despite my interest)? I am at a stuck point for my werewolf novel. I can go through my creativity books to try to get the juices flowing. Or…. I can start researching this. Comments? Suggestions? All are welcome!

I see that I need to wrap this up and get moving. Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Diving, Dogs, dreams, Life, Thinking, Writing

My Weird and Wacky World

Ahhhhh a day off!  It is chilly and a bit overcast but the weather is supposed to warm up.  I am also expecting the builders today to possibly finish the garage.  We shall see.  So far no one is here.  If no one is here by noon I will call to see what the problem is.  I didn’t get a lot of personal stuff done at work because it was pretty much non stop.  And that is ok.  It was nice to be doing something.  The two major things were one of the transporters got stuck (and I mean stuck; I stood in one of the holes and it was up to my knee) and the kids and I came back around 7pm to release a car for a couple.  I actually took all three.  Essie surprised me by wanting to go.  I think part of the reason she doesn’t want to go anymore is she is starting to have trouble getting in and out of the car.  More in because I usually have to help her.

I sent in photos to my employer asking if there was something that could be done to the yard a) because the ground is so soft damn near anything can get stuck in that area of the lot and b) the area where he was stuck was completely torn up trying to get him unstuck.  Here’s to hoping.  Dammit.  I just got a call from my diving instructor.  Hang on…  Yay!  He left a message!  I had a dream last night about doing my diving training.  Took me forever to get ready because I couldn’t find a place to change.  The first time (in my dream) I wore my swimsuit.  The second time I brought it with to change into.  Weird.

I think I may work on my interview today.  I need to try to finish my one review book as well and get going on that review.  I am trying to dole out my new review book.  As of right now I don’t have a due date on that one.  I need to get writing more.  I’m trying to figure out how to branch out more.  Not to mention use that to pull in more money.  I would rather work from home doing the writing like I am (I enjoy driving to the meetings then reporting them and such because it gets me out of the house but not into Traverse and it is only 15 minutes away).  Maybe I will take to Twitter and ask for ideas.  Most of my writing friends/acquaintances are on Twitter so that is a better platform to ask for help.  I suppose I ought to do the hashtag thing too.  I still don’t completely understand the whole thing with that.  Am I supposed to use it every time I  share something?  Only when I want certain people to see it?  I have no idea.

The sun looks like it is trying to come out.  I should probably get off of here and try to get some of my various projects done or atleast worked on.  I hope everyone has a great day!


Diving, Learning, Life, Nature

Diving Down and Rescuing a Hummingbird

Last night’s diving was a (mostly) success.  I think we got down to about 15-20 feet and were actually swimming around for a while before my ear gave me any trouble.  It felt like someone had hit me in the ear with a knuckle.  Not a bad sharp pain like the last dive.  So it is healing.  When they checked my ear out they didn’t see anything wrong.  We discussed options and I ended up getting some special ear plugs to try.  So if I go this weekend (it was strongly hinted at that I go by my instructor) it will be either Saturday at am or Sunday at noon.

When I got home last night I was really really sore.  A good sore but sore none the less.  The kids were happy because I was only gone three hours.  I didn’t even read in bed.  I tried nut my eyes wouldn’t stay open.  And wonder of wonders Stella (and Essie but she is usually pretty good, just lately has been fussy) was quiet the whole night until Chris got home.  So I actually slept.  For that I am extremely grateful.

I finished my online work for the scuba class and passed.  I even got a neat little certificate to print out.  I brought it with as I thought I would need it as well as my finished exam….. I’m back.  Had to rescue a hummingbird that had flown in the house.  He got in and realized he needed out but kept trying to get out the wrong side of the sliding glass door.  I finally ended up getting him to land on the edge of my Minion backpack to bring him to the right side of the door to go out.  It took a few tries because he thought I was taking him the wrong way to go out.  Poor guy.  Anyway we never did anything besides the diving.  So I’m not sure what tot make of that.

Nuts.  Saving the hummingbird took longer than I thought.  I need to get ready for work.  Cheers!


Diving, Dogs, Life

Unsinkable? I Think Not

I apologize for not doing another blog yesterday after work.  I just wasn’t up to it.  I am really wiped out right now.  I’m having problems hearing correctly out of my left ear.  It still aches.  I don’t feel good (please not another cold) to boot.  Stella is on my lap, Essie behind me and Moose on the right side of me.  I think I am gonna call either today or tomorrow and tell him I’m not going to be there for Sunday’s test.  I will still do the stuff online (I was very good at work and continued reading the course book even though I’d already decided not to go) and see how far I get.  If I do the written maybe I will try at a later date to do the testing.  It’s just not happening tomorrow.

In dealing with this I have had to put off things that I needed to be doing or get done so that has ratcheted up the stress.  So I took the afternoon for myself (mostly) and went to bed early (well earlier than the past week).  I actually feel worse than when I went to bed.  And I slept hard last night too.  Ok, here goes… back to Thursday night’s class.

I wasn’t feeling all that motivated to do class as I pulled up to the shop.  It wasn’t fun anymore and I just didn’t want to do it.  But I wanted to try one more time.  I walked in and we looked for a mask for me (mask, not goggles; fins not flippers lol).  The shop owner lent me a pair of his to try out for the night.  I have a small head (which I know those near and dear to me would argue otherwise some days) so it was difficult to find me any that fit and seal on my face.  He said I could try his out  and if they worked great but if they didn’t I wouldn’t be out the money (did I mention how awesome these people were?).

As I got my gear together I asked one of the guys for a ride.  I knew that if I drove I wouldn’t go or I’d leave before class was done.  If someone else drove I’d have to atleast try.  And try I did.  Things were actually coming together for me.  I got my fins on and off a lot easier than I had the rest of the week.  Putting my gear together and breaking it down when we were done was getting easier.  I wasn’t excited about some of the new drills we were going to learn but I was still going to try.

We get in the water and get the run down for the evening.  I’m a bit anxious as we go under to sit on the bottom (I think maybe 7-10 feet of water) but I’m proud of myself.  Not only do I manage to sit my butt down on the bottom I also manage to do it so that I don’t kick up any sediment so all around me is clear.  Then it happens.  I was equalizing my ears as I went down and things seemed to go well.  I sat there waiting for my turn in the drills it felt like an ice pick was being driven thru my left ear.  Brought tears to my eyes.  So I’m holding my hand to my ear trying to ease the pain as well as trying to get it to pop.  No yawning, no jaw movement, no holding my nose and gently blowing.  Nothing works.  So I signal the problem and he sends me to the surface.  I practice my drills in the shallows for the rest of the class essentially.  I tried sitting on the bottom in the shallows (maybe 4-5 feet) and even then it hurt.  The drive back to the shop hurt as well as the roads here a lot of the time cause your ears to pop.  I spent a lot of time holding my ear and trying to get it to pop.

After everyone else (there is one other guy who stayed out with me because he wore a 3mm suit instead of the 7mm that we’d been wearing all week and was too cold to dive (don’t think that he was being a wuss either.  If you dive could and are shivering you are using up more oxygen and you lose focus.  On a dive that can kill you.) came back in we broke down our gear and back to the shop.  Our instructor asked me how my mask worked out for me.  I told him it was good but my problem was getting it to seal again after I had taken it off in the water.  I couldn’t get it tucked back under my hood on the top.  He told me his wife had a similar problem.  What she had to do was when she bought a new hood she had to actually cut away part of it because it came in too close on her face.  So if and when I get my own gear that will probably be something I need to do.     One of the guys ordered us pizza (the 8th basic food group) on the way back so we ate that and talked about what we did that night.  Once everyone was sated somewhat we moved on to the book work.  It went fairly quickly as we were already learning a lot of this from day one in the water.  It was how to deal with various emergencies under water.  There were a few new things like how to pull someone back to the boat or shore but most of it we already knew.  After that he gave us the low down for Sunday and testing.  There were four of us who needed to finish up online before Sunday and print up that test.  We would meet at 1pmish (our instructor was doing a very special favor for a friend and might run late) at the shop for the written test (yes another written test) then head to the water for the diving portion.  He also pointed out that there were only two of us that he would actually pass at this point in the water.  Everyone needed to work on stuff.  But if things didn’t work out we could take the test again another day.  He wants us to be safe and ready in the water.

After we broke for the night my instructor walked me to my car and we chatted about me.  He thought maybe I’d cleared my sinuses too well with the Sudafed and to try tea with honey and see if that helped.  Also Sunday his wife (who was a dive master herself) was going to come along to help me specifically.  The shop owner might be there as well to help out.  I was grateful for the support and said so.

And that is where we are.  This morning my ear feels partially block and very sore.  Bruised even.  I have no intention of trying to dive with it as it is right now.  So we wait and see.  I hope everyone has a great day!  Cheers!


Diving, Life

The Reality

I apologize for the shortness of this post.  Although you are probably grateful as they seem to be long posts all this week.  I didn’t get home until late last night and thus I didn’t get to bed until almost 1pm.  And I went straight to bed.  I did not read like I normally do.  I was sleeping so hard that I had to wake up with my alarm.  I am quite exhausted.  And because I am running behind this may be another double post for the day.

Two things happened last night.  The first was I don’t think I am cut out to be a scuba diver.  I don’t find it a challenge to be overcome.  I just get down right terrified.  It is something that is no longer on my bucket list.  The second thing is I may have done some damage to my left ear.  I still was having problems getting it to equalize but when it did I got a sharp pain and it has just been a dull ache ever since.  Right now I noticed the difference in how my typing sounded.  All this being said my instructor still wants me to take the exams on Sunday.  Which means it will be a scuba reading session at work tonight and then the next few days I will tackle the online material.  It won’t be a lot to get through but some of the tests will be a stinker because they don’t use legit answers at times.  So that may gum things up.

I don’t know if I will even be able to try any diving Sunday with my ear in it’s current condition.  I am tempted to go to the doctor but I don’t have the co-pay so I am gonna have to wing it and hope for the best.  My instructor is going to bring his wife to give me some one on one training Sunday (she is a dive master).  If my ear is not any better I will call and tell him what is going on.  I may show up for the written either way.  Truthfully I don’t care if I make it or not.  I tried and I learned a lot of new skills and I was able to over come some fears.

I will give a breakdown of the day once I get home tonight.  It will be nice to just stay home for once instead of rushing off.  I hope everyone has a great day!  Cheers!

Diving, Emotions, Life

Day Three or the Unsinkable Me

This morning is not good.  I am so exhausted, both emotionally and physically.  My body aches and has bruises (that equipment is damn heavy).  I can’t get enough consistent sleep after class.  Truthfully right now I am miserable.  I am worried I am getting a cold.  I just have tonight’s class then Sunday we do our testing.  I am tempted to call of diving tonight.  We’ll see how I feel.  As it is I have to get Sudafed once Chris gets up to see if I can get my ear to pop and stay that way when I dive.  I understand that it will need to be done over and over but my left ear refuses to do it at all.  But I digress.  BEHOLD!  The next chapter in my learning to dive!  Read on!

So I was told to come on early so we could replace my mask.  I did.  We didn’t replace my mask.  I got a different one to dive with but I didn’t replace my personal mask with another that would be my new personal mask.  (I hope we do this today.)  When I got there everyone seemed to be scrambling to get gear ready to go.  I was early what was the deal?  Oh well.  I proceed to get my gear together.  I ask around to see if I can cage a ride from someone because I a) don’t want to use up all my gas (I should have enough to do everything tonight and come home) and b) my Jeep doesn’t like the stop and go traffic.  I am worried something bad will happen (the check engine light came on and I don’t have any extra money to spare if something does go wrong).  I got a ride with one of the guys and loaded my gear in his vehicle.

The ride there was interesting (we made it alive… I won’t share details incase somehow he reads this or hears of it).  I was feeling pretty good about things.  OH!  Let be rewind a bit.  Before we left I ended up chatting with the owner of the store about how I was doing.  We had a good long talk in which I was encouraged to keep going and that if I needed extra help it would be there for me.  He shared some of his early diving stories and issues.  It did help (I cannot recommend Scuba North in Traverse City, MI enough).  So back to the beach.  I got my gear together and my suit and such on with minimal (for me) issues.  No one could seem to get my lower strap that held the base of my tank to work like it should.  Mu instructor fought with it for a while and I actually had to remove my BC (the vest that holds the tank etc) off once I got in the water so that he could get the dumb thing to work.  But other than that I did pretty good with my equipment.  The collar on the suit didn’t feel as tight this time.

Into the water we go!  I made the mistake of putting on my fins too near the shore so it took me forever to work my way to the group.  But I was doing ok mentally.  One of the guys had a problem with his air not working correctly so I was able to mess around on my own underwater while they fixed it.  I think this helped.  about 15 minutes later class was back in session.  We had some new drills to run through.  These were kinda fun.  Despite the fact that I would be taking my breather out of my mouth part of the time (we learned how to share air and swim up together).  We did run through the drills we had already learned underwater.  For some reason I completely freaked underwater.  I had issues keeping myself level once I got down to the bottom.  Then I was scared when I had to take my breather out and “lose” it behind me so I could do a sweep to recover it.  Then the mask clearing kind sent me over the edge.  I did a no no and bolted for the surface.  My instructor surfaced with me each time to ask what was wrong and talk me through it.  When I shot up to the surface he firmly explained the dangers (again as he has said them numerous times before) and that I needed to get my butt back down there.  I could do this.  He wasn’t mean or anything.  Just matter-of-fact.  So I stayed at the surface for a few minutes shedding tears of frustration (actually no tears fell but I was crying) I put my breather back in and went down.  I did my drills and did well.

Next was going to be a dive.  I was both excited and apprehensive.  I had done my best to make sure that my ear would equalize so I could dive.  We buddied up and began.  No joy.  We didn’t get very far when I found the pressure too much and I could not get my ear to pop.  No plugging my nose and blowing, no popping my jaw, no faking yawn.  Nothing worked.  So once again I got sent up while everyone else we for a dive.  He said they would be back in 10 minutes but I’m pretty sure it was sooner than that.  I’m not sure if someone was running low on air or too much sediment being kicked up so low visibility.  Whatever the reason they were back.  We learned a new drill and practiced.  I actually demonstrated that I could do it well (even underwater) so my instructor pulled me aside and we did a mini dive to see if we could get my ears to pop.  I think I got down to maybe 10 to 15 feet.  I had a bit of a struggle getting my BC to deflate.  It was either too fast or not at all (yes I will be getting a different one for tonight).  But we went down as far as I could with my ear and then swam around a bit.  It was a good feeling.  Problem was I kept getting worried that I would go too far out just gawking around so I had to surface to see where I was.  Once I swam back to the group we got it all together and headed back to our vehicles.  I got my gear broken down and in my bin and loaded up and me dressed.  When we were ready to go back our instructor said that he’d buy pizza and to meet him back at the shop.

We were the last ones to arrive because the guy I rode with lived out in that area and decided to stop at his house on the way back.  Not sure why but there it is.  I was only a passenger.  I was a bit upset because I was getting the stink eye from the others (the guy I rode with enjoys pot and smoked it on the way back so I’m sure we both smelled like a big lit joint) and I am NOT a smoker.  So.  Anyway we ate pizza and went through the rest of the chapter.  This one was on equipment.  We did a tour of the store and he explained the equipment and what was good and bad about each piece.  Some stuff we skimmed over because we had talked about it in depth the night before.  After that we sat down for a few minutes more (everyone was fading fast) and finished up the chapter.  Once that was done everyone faded out the door and headed home.

So I will give it a go again tonight.  Instead of doing testing on Friday (our instructor had something come up) we will be doing it on Sunday.  Noon to 5pm I think.  I’m not sure how I will do.  I may end up with a few more lessons before I am ready to be certified.  We’ll see.  All in all I’m glad I’m doing it.  Cheers!


Diving, Life

The Sausage Turtle Queen Part 2

Ok. So we had gotten in the water. Our instructor told us to put our fins on. Once he thought we had he went on to explain about…. but wait! He is the lone female all but falling in the water struggling with her damn fins. After showing me and (thankfully someone else) an easier way to do things we learned about inflating and deflating our vests. Next we learned to clear our masks if we got water in them. (I got a lot of water up my nose from this one.). Then how to use our air and how to find our mouthpiece if we somehow lose it (say it gets kicked or hit away by a floundering classmate…). Then we get to practice all this underwater.

I have a hell of a time purging my mask. As it turns out it is too big. So water was constantly sneaking in and I couldn’t get a good seal. (Mom got my stuff for me as a surprise so guessed at sizes.) Worse was remembering to let the air out of my vest so I could sink. Once I had that down I found myself being gently rolled over (usually backwards). I am constantly struggling to right myself and then show that I can do the mask purge. Then for the dreaded moment. I have to pull the air from my mouth underwater so I can “find” it again. The first few tries I hurriedly pull it out then frantically try to find it to put it back in. My brain kept screaming “You have no air you idiot! You’re going to drown!” I finally do it the right way and surface.

Once everyone has done it we are told to swim around underwater for a few minutes to get the feel of things. Sounds easy enough. Except I keep forgetting to hold my hose up as I push the button to deflate my vest. And I can’t seem to get used to breathing under water. I freak and force myself to stay under then I flounder to the surface. And I try again. My instructor see me having issues and comes to help. He gets me calmed (ha ha) and we go for a swim together. Just to the pier and back. Now something cool happened while I was under water. A fish swam with me. Didn’t seem spooked or anything (and with all of us moving around in the water you’d think it would keep wildlife away). In that moment I forgot my issues and thought, “How cool is this!”

Once the fish disappeared I wondered how far out I’d gone since I didn’t remember seeing and pier legs. So I surface and of damn! A bit too far. So I submerge again and head back toward the group. Not sure where I am I pop up randomly to see where everyone else is. Our instructor gets us all together again. We are going diving. He gives us our diving buddy, tells us in what order to follow him and we head down.

It was all quite beautiful despite my struggles to stay underwater. Up until I couldn’t get my left ear to pop. My right one did no problem. My left just kept filling with pressure and getting painful. My instructor kept checking on us and I signaled my problem and we all resurfaced. On the way up my ear finally popped. One of the other guys had the same problem with the same ear. We were told to head back toward shore and practice while everyone else continued the dive.

Well I dinked around half-heartedly because I was seriously thinking this whole thing was a bad idea for me. Finally the rest of the class came back and we headed in. Everyone was able to get their fins off. But me. So I said screw it and tried to head in anyway. No joy. I ended up kneeling in the water trying to get the damn things off. Finally my instructor heads out. Just as I am getting them off. Completely dispirited I head for my car to strip my gear off. Once that is done I ask my instructor to help with my tank because I don’t think I’m doing it right (I wasn’t). I finish putting everything back in my bin and load up my Jeep. Instead of getting the free food that the other divers had brought (diving really does burn enough energy to make you very hungry) I headed back to the shop.

I only got lost once and it really wasn’t lost I just turned right instead of left. Once back at the shop I thought about just going home and calling it quits. Then I got a text from a good friend telling me he’d had a stroke. My heart sank even further.

One by one everyone started to arrive. We spent time unloading gear and putting it away before we headed to the classroom. All the guys were really supportive trying to make sure I stayed. We ran through the rest of the chapter and rehashed what we covered in the water for the next hour or so. Exhausted we all headed home.

I couldn’t go to bed right away (Stella has two accidents) so I didn’t get to bed til much later than I should’ve. We’ll see how tonight goes. It can’t get any worse. Right?

Diving, Life

The Second Day of Class or the Sausage Turtle Queen

Well this morning I was awakened by a shivering Pitty.  There was the soft rumble of thunder which apparently meant that the world was coming to get her.  So here I am typing with Essie on one side of me and Moose on the other.  Stella remains carefree snoozing on the couch.  Oh well.  More time to recount the day’s adventures.

Sooooo I got to class early as requested to get fitted for a dive suit (wet suit is the proper term incase you were wondering).  After trying to put the thing on backwards (no one told me that the zipper goes in back!) I wedged myself into a 7/8 suit.  Probably the most uncomfortable thing I have ever worn.  I peel myself out (picture a banana) and put it in my very own labelled bin.  I then try on gloves, booties and a hood (to keep the sausage from popping out no doubt).  My instructor is satisfied with the fit so into the bin they go and I wander the store as the others go through their little piece of hell.  I also pick out a tee and a Dive Training magazine (there are sharks on the cover).  Since everyone is occupied either filling tanks or getting gear I wander the store looking at all the goodies divers may need.  So many gadgets and do dahs that may one day save your life (or atleast make it easier).  Once someone is freed up (staff member that is) I but said tee and I happily find out that the magazine is free.  As a matter of fact Wreck Diving magazine is the only one they sell.  So any copy I see of Dive Training I am allowed to just take home.   I brought home seven.  And yes, I believe it was one of each issue they had available.

Once everyone has been fitted we meet for a quick debriefing before setting out for the lake.  There is a night dive that will be going on at the same time we are there so we needed to be careful of what we did and stay with our group.  We got basic directions and told what to tell Google maps.  Grab your bin and air tank (I got a small air tank thankfully) and lets roll!

Let me just say that Google maps in a royal pain.  It sent me to a park up the way from where we were supposed to be.  After sitting and not seeing anyone I went back down along the water and finally found them.  I get parked and (since I was the last one there) we go through our tank and equipment set up.  It all makes perfect sense.  Until I have to do it.  How does this fit in?  Damn it.  Am I putting this on the right side?  This strap won’t get any tighter…  Giving up I just go get my instructor.  I did about half and half right and wrong.  My enthusiasm was waning.  Now for the sausage casing.  Grateful that I was not the only one struggling to get into the damn suit I get it on and have someone zip me up.  I tried (there is a long bit of fabric attached just for that purpose) but naturally mine was stuck on something.   Then I fought with the legs to get those situated properly so I could zip them, booties (oh look!  those zip too… and barely because of the suit beneath them) and last the hood.  I was having problems because I don’t like things around my neck and the suit fits tight enough that I felt like someone was choking me.

Next was to get the tanks on.  And of course I needed help with that because I didn’t do it right.  Once I got the my tank on it almost slid out and I almost pooped my suit.  Fine.  Got that fixed.  Time to waddle to the water.  And I am here to tell you THAT EQUIPMENT IS HEAVY!!!!  I hoped the water would help.  Marginally.   I say that because I was still light enough that when the waves would come through (which seemed to be fairly often) I would start to lose my balance.  Backwards.  And if I did I had a hell of a time rolling even to my side.  I felt like a turtle.  A sausage turtle.

I hate to end it here but I need to get to work.  I will do the second half when I get home from work.  Cheers!

Diving, dreams, Life, Writing

The First Class or Me in a Pool

My blessed blessed babies let me sleep in until just about 8:30am this morning!  I can’t tell you how amazed and grateful  am!  Yesterday was stressful but worth it.  Work was work but when I got home I felt very bad about only staying a few hours then leaving again for another few hours.  The kids sensed my anxiety even though we played a bit (although it seems that the girls -together- destroyed what was left of Essie’s battered frisbee so out toy choice was limited as to what they would actually go after).  I gave them bones just before I walked out to my doom.

We all met at the local dive shop called Scuba North.  I think I was first on the scene.  No I take that back.  Two guys were there before me.  I wander in and the dive master calls me by my first name.  Not sure if I just look like a Jennifer I say yes.  Turns out I am the only female in the class.  Oh boy.  A teenage and his Mom come in not far behind me.  He’s doing the class as well.  It seems that we are at a loss as to if we will stay in the classroom all night or if we will go to the local pool for part of it.  The first two guys have forgotten their swim trunks.  So if no one else remembered it will be classroom all night.  As it turns out everyone else remembered so we did go to the pool.  That was a mixed blessing for me.  I am not good with pools.  That is why I signed up for learning in open water.  I almost drown twice in pools.  I am NOT a fan of pools.

Once everyone was assembled we introduced ourselves as we filled out paperwork and were witnesses for each other.  Then class got started.  I was caught up (thankfully) so I was following right along.  It was cool to listen to our instructor’s diving stories.  He has been all over and loves the sport.  And most importantly (to me) he wants to teach everyone that wants to learn to dive to do that.  One of his recent students was Autistic.  It took longer (16 weeks) but in the end she became certified.  That gave me hope.  If I want something really badly I have a tendency to make it harder than it needs to be to get it.  This was no exception.  What made sense at home and I had ready answers for my mind went blank in class.  I understood but I could not articulate the answers.  I could not figure out the equations (we are learning how to figure out how much O2 you need on a dive).  But I digress.

We talk about why we are there (mostly everyone just wants to learn to go and do it, I felt a bit pompous bringing up my marine biology and marine archaeology).  Everyone seems to be able to learn what is needed.  We got through the first chapter (and a bunch of chocolate covered pretzels our teacher brought in) around 7pm.  Then he said the dreaded words.  We were going to the pool.  I cringed.  Ok.  I can do this.  We drive separately to the local civic center and head for the pool.  Never been inside nor do I have any clue as to what to do (edict etc).  In the end I just leave my stuff in the main office and head to the pool.  I have my suit underneath my clothes so I am ready to go in record time.  I grab my snorkel, fins, mask and towel.  Taking a deep breath I head in.

A few of the guys and I chit chat as we wait.  I express my anxiety at having to swim in a pool.  They tell me it’s will be ok and soon class starts (again).  Everyone is good at swimming.  But me.  I feel like a two year old.  My body refuses to do what I tell it.  We are told to do four laps.  I am winded by the time I flounder to mid pool.  This is not good.  But I do my four laps and get better.  Next we put on all the gear we brought with (me not having a clue demonstrate this my not removing the inserts nor the clips on my fins… everyone else either knew to do this or already had done so;  I felt like such an idiot) and we are to do more laps.  This time with our faces under water.  I can do that if I know I can breath but with no mask or snorkel I am a bit… I don’t do well. My brain thinks that I am going to drown and freaks.  (We did have to swim as far as we could under water.  I made it to the 4ft depth marker.  It was farther than he thought I would make it.  Everyone else made it atleast 3/4 of the pool.)  I do quite a bit better once I get my breathing rhythm.  We do quite a few laps like this.  My first lap one of the guys passing the other way gives me the thumbs up.  I happily respond in kind.  I am winded but happy.

He has us take off our gear and head to the deep end.  Oh f$%*k.  We have to tread water.  I have no idea how to do this.  No one has ever taught me.  I flounder around and my instructor gives me helpful pointers (a LOT of helpful pointers, I was really really bad).  At one point I say “Come on girls!  Do your thing!” since they are supposed to help me float.  That got a laugh from everyone, including or teenaged lifeguard.  I did my best to follow hints and keep breathing (as soon as my brain knew I’d gotten away from the wall it would go into panic mode, I finally ended up shutting my eyes).  I was told to keep away from the walls and tread water for 2 minutes.  TWO minutes?!  Oh boy.  I kept at it though.  As it turned out I kinds got the hang of it AND I actually did it for 5 minutes instead of 2.  I got a round of applause for this from the class.  The teacher talks to us (mostly to me with the content as he is addressing that a lot of it is getting out of your own head and no one else is struggling like me) for another few minutes and then let’s us go.  It is only 8pm.  I gratefully head for the door and home.

And there you have it!  Sorry it is so long.  I’ve not journaled yet and it all just kinda poured out.  Today I have off from work but we are meeting early to get fitted for dive suits as we will head out to Long Lake Road to one of the local spots and get to use the rest of the diving gear.  Stay tuned!

Unimpressed by my feats they are just happy to have me home