Monday, April 8, 2013

Mile Three and Fifty-Three Sixty-Fourths

It's spring break and everyone but Mike got to sleep in today. Nick, Adrian, and I also had time, after an eye doctor declared that Nick had eagle eyes, for a long walk before Adrian had to leave for a baseball game.

How do you keep a kid from complaining about walking four miles when he's got a doctor's note that says he can't push against that sore knee for a reason? You get out his old Razor scooter and have a new friend convince him that it's cool again.  Thanks Ryan! At least that's how the four miles begin.

At the beginning, I start my RunKeeper app even though this trail is marked with accurate quarter mile markers. I love my RunKeeper app.

Mile one - Two dogs and two boys race ahead enthusiastically! One boy is happily gliding on his scooter. Did you know that the kid actually burns more calories on a scooter than I do walking behind them? The smaller dog, a pug, trots along with a grin on his face. The larger dog does fly-bys but never actually knocks anyone over. I try to keep up, picking up poop piles as I go. My carpal tunnel syndrome kicks in as I grip the knots I tied in the plastic bags. A numb finger and thumb. The grass is green as if it's St. Patrick's Day. Trees are blossoming pink and white all around me. The sun tries to shine.

Mile one and a half - I can feel my fifty-three year old feet in my boots, already a bit sore. The boys and dogs race ahead but stay in sight. An unfriendly dog causes us to leash our enthusiastic ones for a bit, but we get to let them off again around the bend. The horses at the horse farm are excited to see us, but we don't approach them, respecting the signs that indicate the property lines. It's hard to keep the big dog from rushing up to the fence, but he follows directions. A little further down, there are elk tracks! Nick drops his scooter and we head up a side trail, tracking animals. How do I know they are elk? There's a common comment I hear from other folks walking this trail, that they saw the elk herd along the way. Nick announces that they are deer tracks, too small to be elk. I don't correct him. I think it's important that we don't become the people who always have to be right. Really, it could be deer. It could. Before we reach the falls, I look at the pug, snorting each breath now, and ask Adrian if we need to turn around. He informs me that his dog is still bouncy so he's okay.

Mile two - We arrive at the overlook and give the dogs a snack. The pug looks relieved as the boys and dogs all snuggle together on the bench that has the best view of the falls. High water has filled it out and made the rumble more audible from this distance. I finger the single applesauce pouch in my pocket, wishing I could surreptitiously suck it down without telling the boys. I ask them about that one bit of food I carry, and everyone abstains, looking proud of themselves since I don't have enough to share.

Mile three - Adrian announces that his feet hurt. The minute I look at him, he begins to limp. His toes are rubbing, he says. I try to stay enthusiastic as I tell him how much further we have to go.

Mile three and a quarter- Adrian tells me that his feet really hurt and he slows down to granny gear. I keep up my enthusiasm, staring at his feet as he walks, as if that might help. It doesn't. Nick and the two dogs are up ahead, still enthusiastic. It begins to rain, just a little bit.

Mile three and three-eighths- Adrian tells me that the reason his feet hurt is that he's not wearing any socks. I try not to express my udder disbelief that he could get out of the house with the intent to go for a walk without socks. He tells me he was in a hurry when I drove into the driveway. Somehow, that puts it back on me. So this is my fault because at some time in the past, I asked him to look for my car out the window when I'm coming to pick him up in the morning for school. I get an idea.

Mile three and seven-sixteenths - I yell for Nick to wait up for us.

Mile three and 15/32 - I ask Nick to give up one sock for Adrian's sorest foot. When Adrian tells me they're both sore, I tell him he can switch it at the half-way point. The rain comes down a little harder. I notice that neither of the boys are wearing rain gear.

Mile three and 17/32 - I can tell by Adrian's pace that this isn't going to be enough. I offer my socks to Adrian, but he won't accept them. I have another idea.

Mile three and 21/32 - Nick isn't going to like my idea.

Mile three and 23/32 - I ask Nick to wait up and to think if there's anything else that could help Adrian.

Mile three and three-fourths - Nick admits that the easiest way for Adrian to get back to the car is on his beloved scooter. I pull the hood of my ugly red rain coat over my head, feeling a little guilty at being dry inside it.

Mile three and 25/32 - Nick reluctantly gives his favorite scooter to Adrian to use. He tries to complain just out of earshot as Adrian glides ahead, but I shush him. I tell Nick that people can tell you're complaining about them even when they can't always tell what you're saying. We both agree very quietly that Adrian wasn't prepared and that Nick is sacrificing because of it. Then, I try to change the subject. The big dog is still doing fly-bys past the pug.

Mile three and 51/64 - Nick tells me that his knee is hurting him. Ever since we went to the doctor and she gave it a name, he uses the terminology whenever I'm supposed to feel bad for him. Osgood-Schlatter disease. I remind him that the doctor said that walking was okay. He reminds me that she said I needed to have him stop whatever he's doing whenever he said his knee hurt. Point taken. I didn't know I needed to be a lawyer to go on this walk. I would have prepared by looking up some important Osgood-Schlatter cases.

Mile three and 53/64 - Nick talks about making up a liability form for Adrian to sign on the possibility that he'll hurt himself on the scooter and sue for damages. I offer Nick the GoSqueeze pouch from my pocket to shut him up. He sucks it down before Adrian looks back. I even take the empty pouch when Nick is done. I usually refuse to carry his garbage. Adrian glides down the really big hill and turns around to wait for us with a huge grin on his face. He offers up the scooter to Nick. We walk four paces and Adrian tells me that his feet hurt even more. We see a snail in the grass alongside the paved trail. It seems to be moving faster than we are. My flannel-lined blue jeans are getting wet below the knees where my rain coat ends. The boys hair is plastered to their heads. The pug tries to walk between my feet as if I'm going to be a great big red umbrella for him.

Mile three and 59/64 - I can see the fence at the end of the trail, but Adrian stops to put the sock on the other foot. My big dog does a couple more fly-bys while the pug stands, panting, as he watches Adrian play with Nick's sock.

Mile three and fifteen-sixteenths - I can see my car. The rain lets up a little. Another dog comes along and my big dog pulls his head out of his collar to go play with him. Nick, seeing the car, offers up the scooter. Adrian, also eyeing the car, refuses with an air of self-sacrifice. The pug is panting and walking along behind Adrian with his head down. My feet hurt. I imagine I'll soak them in epsom salts tonight.

Mile four and 1/32 - We arrive safely back to the car, hop in, and head home. The sun shines through the rain, but I can't see the rainbow from where I'm positioned behind the wheel. I may have put in my miles today, but I think my patience has been more thoroughly tested than my feet.

Thank you for listening, jb


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