Sunday, August 31, 2008

Special Prayer- Hurricane Gustav

As Hurricane Gustav heads towards the Louisiana coast line, I feel a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. My heart goes out to the people in the storm's path, and it seems so completely unfair and unjustified that New Orleans should bear the brunt of another huge storm, especially so soon after Hurricane Katrina. It's only been 3 years ago. New Orleans tried to hard to rebuild, to bring tourists back, to bring their city back to the former glory it once was. It seemed they were making progress. It seemed that life, though different, was returning to normal. For the rest of us, it's a sobering reminder of the scope of our own silly problems, and a call to a realization to be grateful for what we have.

And now, another monster storm heads that way. For people in the hurricane belt, we can't help but feel grateful that it's someone else's problem, but I think it affects us more knowing that same fate could be ours someday. It infuriates me to see reporters and ambulance chasers running into the storm while the real people, the ones whose lives are directly impacted, run the other way. All those "cool" video feeds and photographs and reporters blowing sideways in the wind have no respect for the people who don't get to turn the channel when it's all said and done. When it's old news and everyone's salivating over the Presidential election again, they're the ones who'll be picking up the pieces of the battered homes you see on t.v.

On that note, yesterday I emailed Mark Sudduth, founder of I was very upset by his blog and the fact he made no mention of how dangerous it is to go plowing into an oncoming storm. He was very responsive and professional in his return email, which gave me hope for the integrity of people. I get very upset when I see sensationalism and disrespect for these storms, and I'm glad at least one hurricane tracker seems to understand that.

Here's what I wrote to him:

I'm a regular reader of and have even ordered several posters from you in the past. I enjoy your blog-- especially the emphasis you always place on hurricane awareness and how crucial it is that people in the danger areas pay attention to the forecasts and evacuate when they're told. That being said, I have to ask since your latest blog does not clarify-- are you going to New Orleans to set up your instruments and leave before Gustav arrives, or are you planning to stay for the duration of the storm? I realize you have a responsibility to your readers, especially now that you are offering these premium services and have corporate sponsorship, but with that I hope you realize how much of an influence you have on other people and their actions. How can you lecture people over and over again about the importance of heeding the evacuation order when every time a new storm threatens the United States, you go plowing towards it? I respect what you've built and accomplished as a fellow amateur storm tracker, but frankly, in particular with very dangerous Hurricane Gustav, it's irresponsible. Not because I don't think you know what you're doing, but because you're encouraging others to do the same thing even though that's not your intention. I'm sure you'll continue doing what you're doing, and will do it well, but I hope you will take the time to acknowledge in your blog for the thousands of people that listen to you and respect you that going towards a storm when emergency management is telling people to get out is not the best thing to do. Personally, I get pissed off anytime I see some reporter being blown sideways in the middle of hurricane force winds, but they do it for sensationalism and there's no way to get the point across to them. For you though, I hope you will remember why you started doing this in the first place, and that putting yourself or other people in danger isn't worth the photos and video clips that will come out of it. Respect these storms with your actions, not what your write in your blog, and remember this is real life to these poor people that are going to be affected by this storm, not just some really cool video feed.

And his response:

Your email makes very good sense. Believe me, the equipment we have developed with allow us to not be in harm's way during the worst part of the hurricane. Perhaps I should mention this more in my write ups, that we have an un-manned system of gathering data and video. I should also mention how we use the video to match up with the wind data recorded. Getting in to more technical details about our work is a good idea and should help to convey a message that it is dangerous, we do take it seriously but that our mission is to gather info, data and video of the event in a manner that is safe.
Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns- we appreciate that. We really appreciate the time folks like you take to help steer us in the right direction. I made a good statement on the update just put on about people that are refusing to leave. Some are quite stubborn- we won't be, as soon as we set up our gear, we will retreat to a hotel inland and remain much safer.

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Don't you just love old 80's advertising references??

Well another week down with full time Scrunchie duties. MAN, I'm tired! I hit a wall this week and had a mini meltdown, typical Chantel-my-world-is-crashing-down style, and now that I got that out of my system I'm feeling much better. After two straight days of regular fits and lack of events to put on the social calendar, I suddenly wanted nothing more than to run back to my cushy old job and retreat into my own little world. I had no concept of how much is really involved in being with my own child all day, every day. Sure, we had the weekends before, and I was always picking him up by 3:30 each day, but that really is a completely different beast than being Mr. Short Attention Span's soul source of entertainment. I started feeling like I did when I first had him-- like I was a failure as a mother because I wasn't enjoying our long days together... and it seemed neither was he.

After a few better days, help and pep talks from the always-supportive Adam, and a well deserved massage, I don't feel like I'm buried under an Anthony avalanche anymore. I realize that ALL moms feel this way at one time or another, and it's the lack of structure and schedule that's getting to me more than anything. In a week, I'll be starting the long anticipated Baby Boot Camp classes, and I've developed a full social calendar in addition to the regular classes, so hopefully me, Anthony, and my clients will be happy, entertained, and fit for some time to come!

I logged in 20 miles running this week, my first post 15 mile week since the beginning of the summer. Marathon training officially starts next week. Erin and I are psyched. I've been preparing so long, I'm ready to plow into this endeavor full force. It won't be long before they turn off the faucets here in central Florida and the weather starts getting nicer, and it'll make it easier to get out there. Yesterday morning, we went for a 6 miler and I felt like I was running through a sauna (or a bowl of soup, same difference) the entire time. It wasn't a good run yesterday. I felt sluggish and tired, but I think that was a result of the early start time and the fact I had such a long and exhausting week. It didn't bother me though, because I did complete the run despite the fact it wasn't going that well for me, and I know it's just a one day thing and not the start of a new trend. Now why can't I approach the rest of my life with such an easy attitude? Why do I always tend to be so all encompassing with my gloom and doom when it does hit? I need to take my running attitude and apply to to my mommyhood!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

First Week

My first week job-free is complete! It was very strange waking up in the mornings and having no where that I had to be. I certainly didn't miss driving to my former pointless job and sitting around all day. My hats are off to all the stay-at-home moms out there-- taking care of your own kid all day long is hard! The main thing is keeping him entertained. Anthony is not a kid that's content to sit around and build block towers in the house all day. He requires a daily dog-and-pony show. I did my best to accommodate, because goodness knows I'm not a big fan of hanging out in the house all day either, so we went to Playmania, went to story time at Barnes and Noble, went to the park (a rare event in August in Florida-- it was comfortable out because of the close proximity of Tropical Storm Fay!) We even walked the mall and drove to Ruskin to get some free play time at the Family Support Center there. Whew! I don't mind telling ya, Mommy was tired!

We've definitely entered our premature terrible 2's. You could set your watch by our daily meltdowns. This morning Hurricane Anthony terrorized the living room when Mommy took away the banana he was playing with. Yes, how Mommy Dearest of Me... I was putting it in his backpack so we could leave for the park! Last night, Macaroni Grill proved to be the site of yet another dinner fiasco. It wasn't entirely his fault, they did take forever in getting our food out, and he was just tired of sitting there. At least he's polite about it. He kept whining and saying "up please" until I obliged and spent the rest of the meal watching him run around on the sidewalk outside. At least they didn't care that I took my glass of wine with me!

So we're about to enter week two. I have several outings on our event calendar so hopefully it'll be a good week. After that, one week to go until Baby Boot Camp classes start! I have to say, I'm already restless. It just doesn't work for me to not have a definite plan and somewhere I have to be in the morning. I just hope this all works out and I don't have to go back to working for "the man".

Running's going well... Official Marathon training begins the week of 9/7. How ironic! That's when Baby Boot Camp starts too. I welcome some structure into the days and a goal to strive towards! Last week I completed my first 7 mile run since the spring, and have been doing a lot of hill and speed work on the treadmills. I vary the inclines of a 3 mile run between 1% and 6% on the hill intervals, and for speedwork I actually did a 27:30 3 miler this week. Whoo-hoo! Hopefully all of this will help build the strength and endurance I need for the marathon.

In Health,

Friday, August 15, 2008

The End of my Computer Era

My last cybercamp photoshop masterpiece, mommy tiger and cracker-eating cub

Well, the era of slack is ending. I am leaving Giant Campus. No more will friends be envious of my days spent surfing the internet and watching old 80's sitcoms on YouTube. I'm embarking on a new venture as the franchise owner and instructor of Baby Boot Camp. I'll be spending my days helping other moms get back into shape and find their post-baby sanity again, and chasing after Anthony. The slacker life as I knew it is no more.

It was a decision that did not come easy to me. I struggled long and hard with whether or not I'm a complete idiot to leave a job where they paid me to do nothing. After nearly three years though, doing nothing left me restless, tired, and unmotivated. When I found myself walking out feeling like a complete loser, I knew it was time to do something different. I've never had a job where I was in complete control of my own destiny before. It's exciting, but intimidating. There's no one else to blame but yourself when things don't go well. I think my feelings will be hurt if I go to Adam complaining about my lousy boss!

I don't know how this venture's going to turn out. A year from now I maybe applying for another work-for-the-man job. Or, I may have 50 clients on my roster, two other instructors working for me, and be scouting my fourth and fifth location. Who knows. All I do know is I'll work very hard to make this business successful, and let the chips fall where they may

No more Cybercamps, retirees, or Excel classes for me. My sister in law Aimee said recently, "do what you love, and the money will come." I'm making that my mantra and hoping fate guides the rest into place.

Goodbye, MacDill Family Resource Center. Goodbye, Giant Campus. Thanks for a great 2 and a half years.