Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pay it 40ward in action: Mile 21

Still riding high today, Saturday, after getting a surgery date squared away yesterday. I am sure come March 19th, 20th, 21st... I will wonder what I was so happy about. In the long run, I know it's a good thing.

We spent today enjoying a relative 'down' day schedule-wise. After the usual weekend clean up stuff this morning we headed out for an afternoon of shopping. I splurged in honor of my coming 40th by buying a (low-end) bike trainer. I planned to use it tonight - (I'm SO excited to have it!) - but unfortunately the bike I have has the wrong size 'pin' in the back wheel so the inaugeral spin will have to wait. Crumb! I also, at long last, had my unruly mass of hair hacked off. It is short-ish and the intent was to create something that could stand to be unkempt for a few days at a time. You'll see a picture soon enough... but it's definitely not worthy of a special shot!

This was probably the first day since D-Day (February 10) when the weather taunted me about not being able to run. We were in Portsmouth - a good chunk south of home - and when we got out the car we were all blown away at the temperature. Coats off, we walked toward the shops pondering "Are we in Florida?" and "Is it June already?" It was, indeed, spring like weather just begging to be run in. Drat. (Truth be told, it probably barely touched 50 degrees, but you know how it is...)

Now for the real purpose of this post! I have THREE(!) stories ready to be told about how team members of Pay it 40ward have put their amazing ideas into good deeds. I will start today with mile 21, Kim. She's the mother runner who's kiddos sent me those delightful bracelets and get well cards after my fall. She's an English teacher so you will notice she writes real good-like. Here's her story:

Kim (left) and her BR&TF (Best Running & Teacher Friend), Kelly

Our Pay it 40ward project has a back story to it. it goes...

In September 2011, our house was flooded due to the torrential rain that we received from Tropical Storm Lee. I can't explain how horrible that experience was for our family. Around 11pm, Mike and I started moving our belongings upstairs while the girls slept, but by 2am it was clear that our efforts were futile. We were thigh deep in dirty water and it was coming in fast. At 4am the power went out. We grabbed our children, some new school clothes (if we were going to be refugees, we would be good looking refugees!), baby pictures and an air mattress. We "camped out" at CHS and waited for daylight so we could assess the damage. In all, we were lucky. Our finished basement was a complete loss, but the majority of our home was livable. Many family members, friends and my "wrecking crew" from Ithaca High School helped us get back to normal by donating money, time and items we needed to rebuild.

Kelly was one member of the wrecking crew, and she is also my partner in all things 9th grade. She is the peanut butter to my jelly, my running buddy and just a fantastic friend. Her mom, Chari, sent us a very generous donation to help us buy building supplies. I have never met Chari before, and I was overwhelmed by her generosity. Kelly explained that her mom considered us family and this is what family does...they take care of their own.

We recently learned that Chari was diagnosed with cancer for the third time. She has been undergoing a chemo and radiation treatment that is very aggressive. It wipes her out and leaves her feeling "punk." She has also been working full time 6 days a week to make sure that she can pay for the treatments and keep her job. Kelly asked me if the girls would make some pictures for "Nana" to cheer her up and we took it a step further. We sent Chari letters, loom bracelets, valentines and some "loot". We left her specific instructions that the "loot" could not be used for bills, it could only be used for fun. Chari sent us these pictures to document that she was, indeed, enjoying life to the fullest:

Chari went to a Scottish festival (below) with her friend Irene.....
Chari and Irene

Out for lunch at the famous Mickey Diner (below) in St. Paul.

Kelly said that Chari is rationing out the rest of the loot, so she can go on more dates and adventures. I think that you will appreciate that "she is getting a lot of mileage out of the gift."

Thank you, Phoebe, for creating this project. My heart was singing when I received the pictures from Chari's adventure. To pay it forward, or backward depending on how you look at it, to such a deserving person was an incredible experience.

How amazing, right? I love Kim's notion that she is actually "paying it backward". Maybe, really, we're all just paying it circularly. Is that even a word?

Stay tuned! And thank you to all who are tuning in to this adventure. 

P.S. Don't forget to spring ahead tonight!

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