I had never been to Massachusetts before. My friend Tina Winger-Hyde had lived in Boston for several years while her husband was attending Harvard, but we were too poor to ever make it out to visit. I was excited to see this state!
I remember Massachusetts feeling squabbly. It seemed like we were moving around, and a bit confused until James got on the bike. The swim was open water, at a small body of water. We arrived there and slept for a while before it was time to start the event. The time came to wake James up for the day, and we all stared at each other in distress. We had better get on it, knowing it would take a while to get this show going.
James dragged his feet getting started on the swim. He seemed to always do this by eating. It reminds me of when I don’t want to do certain tasks, so instead I do other productive things that I WANT to do in order to avoid the ones that I really NEED to be doing. In this case, for James, it would be eating instead of starting his event for the day. No one was going to raz the Iron Cowboy for eating. I didn’t have the same reservations as the Wingmen, “James, sweetheart, you need to get going.” I would whisper this into his ear as I would rub his shoulder. It was my way of showing compassion, but keeping this journey as the top priority, as far as getting him going in the morning.
Once I got him out of the RV, he dinked around outside. It was hilarious! He was oblivious that he was doing it, looking at the bikes, talking to people, finding more food and chowing down. Breakfast burritos and wraps came by the dozens to us on this 50/50/50. I was laughing because it was almost like he was high or something. I have never seen him so cheerful and sociable! I bet a million bucks he doesn’t remember, because really he was a zombie!
Just like every morning, the kids were sleeping, so I went down to the waters edge. I only mention this redundantly today because James had spent a lot of time up and awake before he actually headed down to the water. The kids are great/deep sleepers, but they could have easily been awoken by the amount of commotion going on that morning. The small group visited with him on the beach, and then in they went. I remember how beautiful it was, and how swimming in that little body of water must have been bliss.
I went back up to the RV, some of the kids were up and buzzing. They were cheerful this morning, and particularly silly. They played around outside, and then made their way back down to the beach with me. I imagine these shorter drives were having an impact on all of us, all sleeping better and longer.
When James exited the water, he immediately headed back up to the parking lot, and then he took the time for pictures and visiting there. He would always take the time to do pictures and visit with people. He did an excellent job at spending time with his supporters, creating a one-time experience for them.
We were told that the bike was beginning somewhere else. Oddly enough, we couldn’t get very clear instructions as to where this ‘somewhere else’ was. Maybe this is the squabbling that I remember. It took us some time to get an address, then even longer to find the address that made no sense. We ended up stopping somewhere to ask a local, in the cutest little town, where the actual spot was. We finally found it, and it was a small parking lot right off of a trail. The RV squeezed in there (New England became notorious for the tiny roads!) and we parked it for the day. We unloaded the Mazda, so that it was ready to go, but we had the van for the day! With all the confusion of the morning, we were ready to get out of there.
My mom had texted me earlier in the week and informed me that we needed to go see this ancestral home. We were in Worcester, and it was just outside of Boston. I was excited to see it! The unofficial fact is that it is the oldest standing home in the US, or something like that. It is my great grandparents, but with a lot more greats in front of that. Brittany Chatwin Light and I put the kids into the spacious van and we were on our way. We put in a DVD, and the kids were silent. Both of us stared at each other in disbelief, then I whispered, “Can you believe it?!?! This is the first time I have heard silence in weeks!” She and I visited the whole way, and it was uninterrupted!
When we arrived, we were excited to see this little, old house on the side of the road. It must be a big-ish deal, because there were signs for it. There was an awesome park across the street! This would definitely come in handy later! We went to the entrance, and Brittany ducked to got inside (she is just under 6 feet tall). We let them know that we were relatives, as my mother had instructed. Sure enough, this statement had power and we got a discount!
The lady at the desk was hilariously frustrated because there was another family there who were relatives, and she was panicking at getting us into the house. Brittany and I laughed, she was overcomplicating it. We got a tour through the house, and it was SO COOL! The original part was explained, then they showed us where additions had been done. It was interesting to see the change in architecture, ceiling heights, etc. as we progressed through the house, and essentially through time. I learned that the Fairbanks scale was invented by one of the Fairbanks, which is my grandmother’s maiden name, and obviously my ancestor. So, I guess I get bragging rights for that!
The kids thought it was okay, but I L-O-V-E-D it! It was seriously amazing, and really gets you thinking about modern technology! It is amazing that today we ‘need’ so many things in order to ‘survive’ yet they didn’t have any of it then. I guess it is just interesting how much pressure society puts on us to have things that we don’t really need…
When we were done with our tour, we crossed the street to that great park! The kids played to their hearts content! I was surprised that it wasn’t longer than it was, but the only thing that mattered was that they were happy and did what they wanted. We started our drive back, and we passed a Savers (our favorite thrift store), so we stopped. The kids went inside and found all sorts of treasures for their souvenirs! We also found some great pants for school. I was surprised at how great the inventory was! In Utah, people tend to be more conservative, and we have 2 universities within a 5 miles of each other, so thrift stores are picked over. There was AWESOME stuff at this Savers and everyone loved the hunt for treasures, as well as the treasures themselves.
There was a Wendy’s in the same parking lot, so we stopped there for food. James and I love their baked potatoes, a great fast-food choice when we are on the road. We sat down inside the restaurant and enjoyed our food. The kids had loved their day, even though I made them go see this old house, ha. We were still about 20 min away, so they nestled in and watched their movie the rest of the ride.
I remember now that earlier in the day that we went to a hardware store or something…I wonder what that was for…I don’t remember.
We got back to our station location, after taking a few wrong turns. James would be back shortly, and the Wingmen were joking around will all sorts of people. I guess they had spent their day there and gotten to know a few people. I felt like a stranger in a new place sitting down with the Wingmen and the Zyto people. I seriously felt completely out of place, it was kind of weird.
Eventually James came through, I got to meet some of the people he had spent the day with, like Billy Hafferty and another guy who had done the whole thing with him. Then there was a girl who looked just like Chrissy Wellington, her name is Julia Hanlon. She and her (I think) boyfriend were absolutely delightful to visit with that night.
I am going to go off on a tangent, I can’t help it! We were meeting so many AMAZING people on this journey! It is ridiculous how many awesome people we were meeting, and how MANY awesome people there were out there. Take for instance Julia and Billy, two random people that came out to support us. We end up getting to know them and they are SO COOL!!!! This happened in every, single state that we went through. We, as a society, need to stop focusing on the bad in this world, and start FOCUSING ON ALL OF THE AMAZING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!!!!!! Drop the mic.
It was getting late and we realized that we were going to need food for after the event. The Wingmen found an Italian place that was closing, so we needed to order FAST! They got some delicious food, a lot of it with the size of crew we now had, and we feasted as James ran.
The 5k went off without a hitch, and he had a great crowd. Brittany and I got the RV organized and we were ready to take off for the night. Brittany Chatwin Light insisted that I sleep this night, while she worked on James. I hesitated to accept the offer, being that this few minutes was all that I got with James in a day. Up to this point, I had seen him…never!
James works from home, and has for several years. We spend a lot of time together. People always say to me, “If my spouse worked at home, I would kill him or we would be divorced!” But I don’t feel this way. I enjoy being with James, and enjoy his company, even if he is silent (he is a man of few words). I was desperately missing my time with him. I knew, and accepted, the way that things were, but I struggled with it. The kids got time with him, so that made me feel a lot better, but I did not. Even though he is out cold, just being with him at night did something for me.
While Brittany was on the 50/50/50 with us, I would rub James’ feet for a while, then I would slip into bed, letting her do the rest. I was so grateful for the help, and felt better during the day having slept more. I did have to give up some of my time with James, but then I was more present for the rest of the day. James said that he would wake up at 3 am to take off his Norma Tec boots, and she will still be working out knots. He and I both are so grateful for her sacrifice to be out there, and for her willingness to work while she was there!