It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.
Oh boy, all this exciting stuff has happened since I posted last.
Actually it hasn’t. Sorry to disappoint you. But stuff in general has happened.
I drove to Quincy via Highway 2, through Leavenworth and Wenatchee. I kept almost driving off the road, gawking at the gorgeous fall color. It wasn’t New England-y in the least, because it was almost entirely bright yellows, and mostly deciduous interspersed among evergreens.
The sun glinted off the river, which flowed and rippled in some places and in other places moved slowly enough to reflect the golds, bronzes, reds, and oranges in still patches. Higher up, mountainsides bare of trees had transformed into a patchwork of the most vibrant green, red, orange, and yellow heather (?) you’ve ever seen. The view was just spectacular. Words really can’t do it justice, and I was on a schedule, so I sadly couldn’t stop for pictures.
Then I got to Quincy, little North Mexico. I stayed in the Crescent Motel, which was my second-worst motel experience ever (my first-worst experience being one involving bedbugs on our drive across the country with the U-Haul). It was dark — half the lights in the hallway were out — and depressing. The ceiling was low compared to the incredibly wide hallway, and every room had hospital-width doors, which made it feel oddly surreal. The decor was hideous. The carpets were stained in bizarre, disturbing ways. I could hear everything happening in the room next to me (happily, nothing like this): The TV show and phone conversation in the evening; the 6 o’clock radio alarm clock; the shower; those cement wall blocks don’t insulate very well. I had a fly in my room, found a hair (not my own) in the tub, and a centipede in the hallway. I hate centipedes almost as much as I hate earwigs. The continental breakfast was the nastiest I’ve ever seen — OJ settling out, congealing scrambled eggs and sausages, a few quartered old muffins and some old bread for toast. Most of all, there was the entryway:
Yes, those are three 3-foot-tall Elvis statues in front of home-made gold glitter letters, since you ask. The second night I spent there, it was a real effort not to slit my own wrists out of sheer desperation.
The next day, Friday, I learned from one of the PE teachers that before becoming the state’s nastiest motel, that building had been a mental hospital (“place where crazy people live,” is the way he put it). SO MUCH was explained.
Wednesday afternoon I paid $75 for the pleasure of staying there. I thought that covered Wednesday and Thursday nights — it was that quality of place. But the Thursday afternoon I got back and found my keycard had been disabled. I had to pay another $75 to spend a second night there. Now I kind of wish I’d just gone to the Best Western-style place down the road. Shudder. It was awful.
Happily, that was the worst part about Quincy. The teachers I worked with were engaged and willing to give this a try, even if they weren’t sure what they were getting into. We had five PE teachers, and it was so refreshing to have more than three participants. It’s amazing how even just a couple more makes all the difference in the world. I’ve taught this enough that I feel confident coming into a town, scouting it out, and teaching confidently without knowing all the details going into it. I’m much more comfortable winging it/playing it by ear now. I think the teachers can tell that I’m relaxed and competent and enjoy doing this.
Although we had a real concern about time this time — one of the teachers had to leave at 1:30 to coach a football game, two hours early — we got through everything in good time and didn’t have to sacrifice breaks or lunch. I was glad none of them wanted to be TS101 certified. That sped things up. One of them was also a bicyclist who owned a pretty nice bike, and that really helps too: One of their peers saying “When I ride my bike, I…” has a lot more credence than if I say the same thing.
Overall, I’d say it was a very good training. And now I know to never, ever stay at the Crescent Motel again.
I got home about 5:00 on Friday afternoon, having managed to miss almost all the traffic, which was excellent. Highway 2 was pretty, but not so spectacular in the rain. As usual, I came home exhausted. After the trainings, there’s all this follow-up work, and I always forget how draining teaching is. I work hard to be energetic, engaged, and enthusiastic, and that takes a lot of energy. Also, driving for 3.5 hours is amazingly tiring, maybe more so than riding my bike an equal time.
However, Dad and I did tentatively agree to do a bike ride Saturday morning, weather permitting. I woke up at 6:45 on Saturday and heard all the rain on the roof and knew that plan was out. But we quickly improvised and decided to hike up Mt. Si instead. Hiking is much nicer in the rain than biking. Along the way, we encountered a couple of our biking buddies coming down as we headed up. They, too, had evaluated the weather and opted for hiking.
On clear days, you can see all the way to Seattle from Mt. Si. Here’s what we saw at the top today.
Back at the bottom, I played with my underwater camera a little bit more (more here).
See what I mean? Nothing exciting, but stuff did happen. Next week is looking low-key, and then the following week it’s off to Skagit Valley for another training. Oh, and tomorrow is the first Team Group Health event, their Annual Meeting (where we shell out all that $$ for team kit, racing licenses, and what-have-you). Excited and nervous about meeting my teammates.