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IMG_1082A smile spread across my face.  With my razor-sharp pocket knife I sliced open the package that greeted us at our door after a long day’s work.  Weariness disappeared with the awaiting gift in a brown cardboard box.

One of the ways that I keep my blood flowing during the week is stopping by our athletic club and jumping into the pool.  The pool is 25 yards long.  For me to swim one half of a mile I need to swim 36 lengths of the pool.

For anyone who does or has done it, that is a lot of swimming and it is also incredibly boring.  It is not possible to concentrate on technique, lap counting, stroke style or any other related mental feature of swimming.  Some mindless lap counting habit needs to be incorporated so that you don’t think about doing it.

Then, any variety during the laps is a huge help.  I mean ANY variation is a plus.  Some listen to waterproof MP3 players.  Others, sing to themselves, compose while stroking or just tough it out through the tedious task of lap after lap.

I like to throw in some wind sprints.  Take the word “like” very lightly.  Just to break up the monotony, I put on speed fins for about a dozen of the laps that I elect to swim.

Speed fins are shorter than the typical snorkeling or scuba fins.  To get the best benefit out of them you kick more repetitions than the ease based snorkeling fins.  But, they make a huge difference in my speed.

Besides increased speed, the energy expended is enormous.  It is like to doing wind-sprints.  My lungs are heaving and screaming for oxygen.

I can see the tiles racing by on the bottom of our club pool.  The wake off of my head feels like a wall of water resisting my progress.  Deep breathes are not enough to satisfying my craving for oxygen.

Now, my package is opened.  New speed fins emerge.  I had to try them on and model them for the next visit to the Club.

Today I have retired my old speed fins for these faster and lighter style.  They even fit more comfortably.  They will help me keep the monotony at bay with each workout visit to the club.  Want to give them a try?

photo credit: brucefong photography

Today I did not set my alarm. After all, I’m on vacation. At the very least this is one of those times during the year when I can enjoy “a bit of a lie-in”, as my Scottish friends are fond of saying.

Ahead of me lay a six-plus-hour drive. Most of the trip is not enjoyable. If the drive were appealing then it would be a different story.

This is a one-day drive. At least we are not on the road for days on end. There was a day in my distant youth when I enjoyed driving.

Yeah, I admit it. When I was young long drives on multiple days was not a problem for me. I liked it. But, things have changed over the years.

Now, the destination is more important than the journey. Poo on the old adage “It’s not the destination, but it’s the journey.” I love that philosophy as long as I’m not having to drive a car.

Wait! Rewind! If the journey is through beautiful country, I’m game. But, if it is through desolate, boring and extremely HOT arid terrain, I’m open for other options.

This trip is to see our son and daughter-in-law. So, the destination is well worth the process of getting there. Behind the wheel we set out on our journey.

First, we need to safely escape the Bay Area. Congested traffic through the busy freeway of the Southern Peninsula are our first challenge. We make it through unscathed.

But, before the day wears on too long, I call for our on-board attendant. She fixes me a custom beverage: Dr. Pepper in a cool bottle to quench my thirst.

Next, there are the honey-roasted nuts to munch on while washing them down with my specialized soft drink. These nuts are yummy. Whoever came up with the recipe of honey roasted nuts hit on a winner.

Then, it was time to try a new selection. Jerky is not new to us. But, the pepper blend is too spicy for me. Teryaki is our prefered blend.

In the past we have tried beef and turkey. Both are fine. They keep your jaws churning and that keeps your mind off the mundane part of driving.

Now, the tricks are starting to wane. The terrain is becoming barren, boring, redundant and tiring. Turn up the radio, turn up the AC and start singing every song that I know. God, “Are we there yet?”

photo credit: google image