Friday, April 27, 2012

Gearing Up

Tomorrow I'm running in Milwaukee's version of the Amazing Race--a scavenger hunt challenge like the one on TV but just around Milwaukee.  I am not really...what's the word?  Ready.

I was feeling fine until I got the final update from organizers giving us the address of the starting line.  There is an address, a map, and a photo of the building, and I still have no idea where it is.  Can you imagine when they are trying to obscure a location from me how I will fare?  Yeah.

My original thought when entering this race was that it would be fun to do with my husband.  We have complementary skill sets, so I always figured we'd be good at that kind of thing.  He never gets lost, understands bus routes, he's clever, and is familiar with parts of the city that I am not.  I am good at talking to strangers, like puzzles, and anyplace that might hire a string quartet for a wedding I've been inside of.  We have such a tag team approach to parenting that we don't get to do things together outside of the house as often as I'd like, so when I heard a local radio story several weeks back about the race I thought it would be like an all day date.  We checked our schedules, I got my assistant to cover for me at the store, and hired a babysitter.  We had no illusions about winning, it was just going to be a nice day out together, seeing our city and having fun.

But then the Army called.  The Army takes Ian away on my birthday.  The Army takes Ian away on our anniversary.  Apparently the Army has decided to come after just plain old fun days out now, because Ian is at Ft McCoy all weekend.

So!  I put out a call for alternates and got responses that ranged from "hell no" to "I'll be in Germany" to "I suppose if you absolutely can't find anyone...." and eventually my friend Linda said, "Why not?"

Linda is great.  She's the artistic director of the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, and one of the funniest most interesting people I know.  We will have a great time.  We will lose!  But we will have a great time.  Her smart phone will be more of an asset to our team than I will, but that's okay.  I'll bring treats or something.

I actually had T-shirts made for us with both the violin store and mandolin orchestra logos on them, plus our names embroidered on the backs.  They look nice.  The name of our team is "Second Place" because that way no matter how we do we will be Second Place.  (And the worse we do the funnier that gets, so we're all set.) 

My biggest concern at the moment is my foot.  I seem to have plantar fasciitis and it's creating a lot of pain in my left heel.  I've been limping around a lot for months and it finally hit me a week ago that I was signed up for a RACE where I might need my FEET so I should maybe do something about it.  I've had this same foot pain before and it's one of those things where you fix it and then slowly revert to old habits and it returns.

My bad habit?  I'm attracted to crappy shoes.  I like those simple flat Keds-type sneakers with no arch support.  And they damage my feet, but I keep forgetting about that part.  So I picked up some decent running shoes and they are helping, but I'm tempted to go out and get a spare pair that are maybe a little tighter, except I know that's stupid to get new shoes and wear them in a race without breaking them in.  Hm.  (And you know why I eventually revert back to my bad habit?  Because running shoes are so impossibly ugly anymore I can't take it.  They look like strange cartoon space ships and make me feel stupid.)

The plan today is to charge my phone, gather things like bus tickets (yes we can use the bus) and a water bottle and whatever else might be useful into my backpack, and hope it doesn't rain too much tomorrow.  The weather is supposed to be nasty and cold, which means we will have on coats that cover up our cool new T-shirts, but we'll still have our Korinthian Violins caps, so that's something.

It will be fun!  Just hanging out with Linda will be fun even if we never find anything.  Wish us luck!


  1. Good luck! No matter what comes of it, I know you will have a great story to tell. I hope you both have happy feet and swift decision-making powers.

  2. How cool! I just heard about this on the radio yesterday, and I thought it would be a lot of fun, although I would also be quite bad at it. I hope you have a great time and post about the experience!

  3. I would ABSOLUTELY have done this with you. I lurve Amazing Race. My husband and I would be a team like you and Ian. We already know who does what. I am not allowed to read a map. Or cry. ;-)

    I'm very sorry Ian was called away. I hope you find another fun date soon.


    I'm very happy I extended my stay in Germany (for those wondering, I'm the one who offered this excuse) because life has returned to Meersburg and Konstanz, and my research has made greater strides. And I was able to dunk Inari into the Bodensee. I still wish that I could have joined you for this fun day, so let's plan something for when I'm your (distant) neighbor.

    Hilarious post.


  5. The Washibgton Post does a similar thing icon the summer, which even includes puzzles at each stop. One year, my husband and I will do it! Our baby is too little right now, though.

    Good luck! And sorry the Army stole your buddy.