This was such a rollercoaster of a weekend. My first weekend getting together with a group of friends… but also lots of bad news too 🙁
Saturday morning kicked off with a quick four mile trail run with Sugar, which I hoped would sufficiently tire her out without wearing me out too much.
Then, I dove into some leftover pumpkin baked oatmeal for breakfast, since I knew I needed a lot of energy. My friends Heather and Laura and I had agreed to do the “Tour De Matt” – a metaphorical marathon of seven Peloton bike classes taught by our favorite instructor, Matt Wilpers. I wasn’t feeling that into it when it was time to start, but Heather was going to be celebrating her century ride (100 spin classes) midway through, so I didn’t want to bail!
During the rides, I kind of zoned out a little bit, and definitely didn’t push as hard as I probably should have. Honestly, my legs were already a little bit tired! I also didn’t love the spin drills we did in the last few classes (e.g., unclipping one leg and pedaling with one foot) – even though I followed Matt’s lead in leaving my unclipped foot behind the bike, that leg felt so awkward and unsure. But it was a lot of fun to be doing all these classes with Heather and Laura – and we also discovered that a few other people seemed to be on the leaderboards doing the same exact rotation of classes. I really like how the Peloton ecosystem allows you to feel like you’re part of a big community all in it together; as much as I love running and hiking solo, this gym camaraderie is great.
After the bike was done, I had to hustle – I had learned from a text midway through the ride that the rest of my plans for the day had gotten moved up half an hour. I took a quick but thorough shower (felt so good after the trail run and ride!), then rushed to finish making the mini flan desserts I had prepared for dinner that night at my friend Kelly’s house.
Kelly had organized a small group of our friends to do an “Argentinian Asado” – basically, an Argentinian version of a barbecue. Kelly and her husband spent two months in Argentina, and this was one of their favorite traditions from the trip. As Kelly explained it, we would spend the morning horseback riding, then spend the afternoon and evening grilling all kinds of meats and veggies while drinking malbecs and catching up. This sounded like the perfect way to get some quality time with a group of friends I hadn’t seen together in months! Seven of us were participating – me, Heather and Kirk (yup, she was rushing after our Peloton ride too), Kelly and Den, and Mike and Brittney.
But before I got to the stables, I got a call on my way there that completely changed my mood for the weekend. My dad has had a few heart attacks in his life, and at his most recent doctor’s visit, he learned that he’s on his way to another – his heart function is only at 43%, so he’ll need to have heart surgery to see if it’s a failed stent or if something more drastic (like a bypass) is needed. I was shocked by this news, and of course, my dad didn’t want to give me any details and just told me it was no big deal. When I hung up with him and called my mom, she told me that he didn’t even want to tell me, but she insisted that he call each of us kids before the surgery. I was grateful for that. The news definitely hit me hard, to say the least – and I was pretty quiet on the ride.
I haven’t been to New York to see my family since Christmas, and one thing that has been stressing me out is not knowing when I can go see them. I know there is a misperception that things with COVID are easing up, but the truth is, our circumstances today aren’t all that different from where we were in mid-March. We have “flattened the curve” a bit, so there’s less risk of a rush on hospitals and ventilators, but there is still no vaccine, and I believe it’s irresponsible to travel and continue to spread this. But I miss my family so much, and the idea of not being able to see them for another year (or more – twelve months to a vaccine is certainly optimistic) is heartbreaking. On Friday night, while I was stressing about this, I finally decided, screw it – everyone else is being irresponsible and traveling and not social distancing; I want to do the same. I spent some time pricing nonstop flights to Albany, and was planning to discuss the idea with my family on Saturday, to see if they’d be comfortable with me visiting.
But now… I of course want to see my dad even more, but there is even more reason I can’t. I can’t risk exposing him to germs I already have, or might pick up while traveling. Now, when I so desperately want to see my family, it’s even less okay for me to do so 🙁
For Saturday, though, I tried to push that aside (though of course it was still lurking in the back of my mind all day). My dad hadn’t wanted to tell me about it because he didn’t want me to worry; I knew he’d be upset if I didn’t go ahead with my weekend plans, especially since he knows and loves this group of friends.
Our group met up at Bear Creek Stables, where distancing measures were in place for us to sign waivers and get saddled up. We had the option to wear helmets or not (they were free), and I was the only one in the group who did; we were also told that we could take our masks off on the trails, and again, I was the only one who did.
To be honest, it felt uncomfortable to be the only taking these precautions – like I was some kind of paranoid nervous nellie. But I learned from the Full House series finale in 1995 that it’s important to always wear a helmet while horseback riding (ha), and there was no reason not to wear a helmet other than looking dorky. I felt the same way about wearing my mask throughout – it probably wouldn’t be a big deal to take my mask off, but there was also nothing to be gained by doing so, so why not just continue to wear it? To me, both decisions are like buckling your seatbelt in a car – you just do it, without thinking about it, because it’s very little inconvenience to trade for a decrease in risk. I was already pretty sad about the news about my dad, and on the ride, I felt even more alone because of my safety decisions.
But when we headed to Kelly’s house after the ride, I felt a lot better. I took my mask off once I got to Kelly’s, and that made me feel less isolated. (Ouch, in light of everything going on in the country with anti-racism, what does this say about my ability to take a stand? I can’t think about that right now.) Between removing the mask and also sampling a good amount of wine, I was able to relax with my friends and mostly ignore the hard stuff looming in the back of my mind.
On the food side, we grilled seven different kinds of meat, and also had four different desserts – and of course, I couldn’t resist sampling a little of everything. Fine, and a lot of the dessert. Although I hadn’t drank all that much, I ended up ending the night feeling totally stuffed and a little bit sick to my stomach – probably a combo of how much I ate and how I haven’t really been eating much sugar lately. Reminder not to go too crazy in the future!
I called it a night around 8pm and headed home, but my night didn’t end up finishing there – a friend in the neighborhood came over with his dog, and he and Sugar had some playtime in the backyard, before I snuggled up with her for a bit at the end of the night to get some comfort from my tough day.
I woke up the next morning still not feeling totally great, but Sugar and I headed out for our run as usual. However, the more I ran, the better I felt, so we ended up running longer than I expected – 7.5 miles to start the day!
But then, the day hit a downturn. Long story short, I took Sugar for a walk around the neighborhood with my best friend Chris, and after the walk, Sugar bit Chris’ husband. Based on the circumstances, after reporting it to the foster agency, I had to make the difficult decision to stop fostering Sugar and return her to the boarding facility. Although I had trouble getting a response from the foster agency, and didn’t end up being allowed to take Sugar back until Tuesday, I was pretty upset all day Sunday. I was really upset by the bite itself (and felt absolutely horrible that I had let this happen to my friend’s family), and was also devastated by the double whammy of losing my sweet dog who’s been keeping me company for the last two months, right when I especially needed some comfort after getting the news about my dad 🙁
After moping around all day, though, I did get some comfort from a dinner date, which was a really nice distraction. I made Budget Bytes’ chimichurri chicken and rice, and definitely recommend it – just make sure you double the spices, as I do with all her recipes for extra flavor.
In all, this weekend was pretty depressing – and put me into a bad place for the week ahead. Tuesday was really tough to say goodbye to Sugar, and while my dad’s surgery was originally supposed to be Thursday, it got delayed till next Tuesday – so I now need to get through another weekend of worrying before I’ll get more answers. I had originally planned to take a day off work on Wednesday to “vacation” at home (I was thinking I’d do a beach theme after how much fun I had planning my French-themed vacation), but while I still took the day off, I spent it hiking really far / hard (16 miles and 4900 vertical feet), listening to podcasts, and trying not to think about all my stressors.
I think my motto for this upcoming weekend is going to be similar to what I was thinking on Wednesday: “into the mountains I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” I’m really hoping things turn around soon.