HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO Casey Robles!!!!!!!!!! His family loves celebrating anything they can, so we were sad that we stole him away for his birthday last year. We did our best to act like it was his birthday all day, but nothing like his family would have done for him.
When we arrived in Rhode Island, we were informed that there wasn’t really anywhere to park the RV for the swim. They escorted us to a school, where they then carpooled people down to the water. I stayed with the RV, since that is where my ducklings were. Aaron Hopkinson may have gone down to the water for a while, and then ended up back there with me.
While our posse was down at the water, I looked around the school yard and realized that there was a soccer field where I could run. I thought that if I just did laps around the field, the kids would be right there, and I could run on grass. I am kind of a junky for trail running, so grass would be the next best thing. I was really giddy at the thought of getting this run in!
I quietly got dressed, and slipped out of the door. It was still early, so the kids should still have slept for a while. I went over to the field (just across the parking lot) and I began running. I did several laps before I noticed a white school district truck in the parking lot. The guy in the truck (I could see when my lap took me close to the parking lot) was watching me and being weird. Not like rapist weird, but watching me like I was a concern. I am sure a blonde, mom running around a grass soccer field seems pretty sketchy…
I was annoyed that this guy was infringing on this time, that I had ALL TO MYSELF, even though he wasn’t actually doing anything. Soon enough he stops me, “Hey, you can’t run here.” I immediately was ready to take this guy on, head on! “I can’t run on public school property?” He responded to me, “Nope, not without special permission.” I walked closer to the truck, “You are telling me, that I can’t run on this grass soccer field, during the summer, when there is no school, unless I get special permission from the school? Sorry, I am not leaving.” “You HAVE to leave!” My response, “Nope, I am not leaving. I don’t care what you say, or do, I am not leaving.” “Why is that RV there? You need a permit to park it!” I explained, and he got all lippy with me. It took everything I had to not start laughing at this guy. Why on earth did he care?!?! He left, and I knew that we weren’t finished.
Within 10 minutes, he returned and parked right at the curb by the school entrance. Then the police pulled in. I kept running, and waited until I was motioned to come over and talk to them. I couldn’t help but feel SO HAPPY when Kronk got out! If you don’t know who Kronk is, he is on Emperor’s New Groove, the funniest movie ever made! This guy looked EXACTLY like Kronk!!!! “Hello ma’am. What do we have going on here?” I calmly responded, “I am running laps on this public soccer field and that grumpy guy is trying to make me leave.” The police looked confused, “You are running on this grass, and he tried to make you leave? He can’t do that.” I started to love my new friend Kronk even more! “I know, I told him that I wasn’t leaving. He didn’t even ask me nicely, he just came over and acted like a total jerk!” “Well, he probably meant well, but IS kind of grumpy. We know him pretty well. What is the RV doing here?” I explained our situation, how there wasn’t room to park it down at the water. They apologized for the inconvenience and walked over to speak with the guy waiting at the curb. He was clearly ticked, because he peeled off, never to be seen again.
By now Aaron was outside. I told him what happened, and he started laughing, “Man, people take life so seriously.” We soon hear kids coming out of the RV, Lily was dying to know the whole story! The group in RI had provided us with some breakfast foods, which they set out on a table by the RV. The kids were thrilled when they came out and had a buffet to choose from. Just moments later a woman came by, “Which way did the Iron Cowboy go?” We explained that they were down by the water, “I need to see what Superman looks like,” in a thick eastern accent! We both just about died laughing!!!!
When the swim was completed, we were given an address and instructions on how to get to a house, I am pretty sure it was the ambassadors house. We sent everyone off on bikes, then we loaded up the van to head over to the house. Brian Hancock and Brytin Delanie Waterlyn came along in their rental car. We drove through a beautiful area, and into a rustic neighborhood where all of the houses were tucked back into the trees. We found the super cool house, tucked back in and we all piled in.
I got right on the laundry while the kids explored outside. The Zyto people set up their station at the counter. I remember there being food, maybe leftovers from the day before. We just hung out for the day. The kids explored in the woods, ate food, and got emails and work stuff done. We got everyone showered and decided we wanted to run a couple of errands before heading back to the school for the 5k.
We found the dollar store, but on the way we got to see the bike group go by! It was totally a coincidence (like in California) and it was so, super-duper exciting!!!! The kids went into the dollar store with Brian and Brytin, I quickly went next door, with Brittany Chatwin Light, to an athletic store to buy James a couple of pairs of running shorts. He had been running in shorts that were not designed for running, because he is obsessed with them. The people in NC had bought him a pair or two of running shorts when he was there, so I figured we should pick up a couple more. This was all a manipulative tactic to start wearing running shorts everyday! Ha!
I went back to the dollar store and waited a bit longer for them to find their treasures. We went out to the car and the birthday boy Casey was out there. I guess someone had crashed, so he came to the van to get him a few Iron Cowboy gifts, that he could deliver to him in the hospital. As he left I yelled, “Oh! Happy Birthday buddy!” We all laughed!
We went back to the school to wait for the bikers to finish and head off to run for a bit. Tommy Rivers Puzey was there and had set up a hammock between two trees. The kids were so excited and wanted to play there at the school and use the hammock. Brittany and I went to the grocery store to get Casey the best, crappy grocery store cake we could find. The kids had grabbed him a few things at the dollar store, so now we had a birthday party ready for him. I made sure to grab some Dr. Pepper and some milk to top his birthday off perfectly.
When we got back, we planned it out to be as annoying as we could in presenting it to him. My laundry hadn’t quite dried all the way when we had to leave house, so I was draping it all over the place. I hung most of it on the bikes on the back of the van, and off the side mirrors. While I was doing this, Casey and Aaron pulled up with their music blasting in the Subaru. They got out, left the doors open so that we could hear the speakers perfectly, and started to dance like two mad-men! Well, there was only one option, to join them! We spend the next 15 minutes dancing in the parking lot! We were only stopped when it was time to do our jobs because James pulled up!
He was hungry, so he pounded all of the food that he could see that was out. I remember this being leftovers too, but I am sure that people provided food as well. He chilled for a while; he too was attached to this hammock. He said 10 times, “Man, this hammock is awesome!”
Soon enough it was time for the 5k, and this is when it was time to sing Happy Birthday to our special birthday boy…so we started and belted it out as loud and as obnoxious as possible! He was given his funny gifts and the 5k began. The girls and Jessa sold shirts and the evening was chill. We visited with several supporters before and after the 5k.
James had several people stick around to finish the run with him. Now that we had made it through so many states, and now that the run times were finishing early like 11-12am (not 3 am), he had a lot more support during his run. He also managed to get miles in before the designated 7pm 5k start time. This also contributed to earlier finish times, which we were all grateful for!
Brittany had run with James for 8 miles, and then helped me get the RV ready for the evening. We had many distractions as we tried to get it pulled together. Lots of people would come to the RV and knock because they wanted to extend their love and appreciation. It was so thoughtful, and I was just amazed at how much this journey had impacted people. We got the kids settled, after they had enjoyed plenty of time running around in the dark. We had them sleep on the full bed (table converted to a bed) so that James could sleep comfortably in a twin bed.
When James finished, Brittany and I worked on him. Brittany had gotten motion sickness the night before, because of Casey’s awesome driving, so she tried sitting this night to help. She also immediately took Dramamine when we left to stay on top of it. (That was one of the things we picked up with the birthday cake earlier.) Soon, we were late into the night, and I was ready for bed. She continued to work on him until 2 am, when she climbed into the twin bed next to me for a short sleep.