Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Responsibility and Personal Growth

In March, I was at my favorite coffee shop when my computer crashed.

Now, last winter was not exactly my best season. Winters are hard in Pittsburgh, I was broke, I was stressed, and I took this fairly common technology hick-up as a very personal affront from the universe.

My laptop died, and I started crying. In the coffee shop. In front of people.

Because, I had work to do and needed a computer to do it. We are a new company, it's not like we have extra laptops to use if one crashes - we all rely on our personal laptops. I didn't have extra money to spend on computer repairs. And, perhaps the most inexcusable thing of all is that I had nothing backed up - meaning 4 years of my digital life may have just disappeared.

Most of my Thread work was backed up in Google docs and email. But my personal stuff; photos, and music, and the journal I keep to save all of the stories I don't want to share publicly - gone.

Jenna was with me, and told me to pack up my stuff, took me to lunch, then dropped me off at the Apple store. Where, it was determined that my hard drive was ok, the repair would be a minimal charge, and I would have a working computer again in 24 hours. I bought an external hard drive on the spot, and sat there for 2 hours while they backed up everything.

Sometimes we do live and learn.

So yesterday at 4:30 pm, when my laptop crashed on me 14 hours before I was going to be on a flight to San Francisco for a week, I wasn't even phased.

I made an appointment at the genius bar and planned out a worst-case-contigency-plan, which involved buying an ipad in case they couldn't fix the problem that night so that I could get work done from San Francisco. Not only was I now a responsible adult with her laptop backed up, I was a responsible adult with an emergency fund. And I know, I know, emergency funds shouldn't really be spent on ipads, but if that's the solution that was necessary, I was ready for it.

I didn't have to buy an ipad. They rushed the fix so I had a working machine again in 2 hours. I've found the Apple Geniuses to be incredibly accommodating people, and wish that more customer-service interactions involved them.

6 months and everything about my response to the same situation had changed.

And obviously, this whole story is nothing but a first world problem. But I also feel it's symbolic of my response to my life in the past 6 months, which is to say that the stuff causing me to burst into tears last March are such fixable and manageable problems now. That's nice to know. Even if it also means there are a whole host of new seemingly personal affronts from the universe to deal with.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marathons, Montreal, and Marriage

The past 2 weeks, since returning to Pittsburgh after my most recent trip to Haiti have been kind of a blur. A blur in which I haven't spent much time at home or sleeping, but have been having a lot of fun.


So we'll start with Montreal. Back in January I made the resolve to make running in cool places a focus for 2013, and signed up for the Montreal Marathon. Because I had never been there, because it was a fall race, because I love Poutine and everything French and so how could I not love this city?

In a power of persuasion I didn't know I was capable of, I somehow convinced the owners of Franktuary to sign up with me. None of them had completed a half or full marathon before. Somehow, despite them running a restaurant, and my failing at any real training program due to working at said restaurant and traveling back and forth to Haiti once a month, we decided it was still a good idea to go and try, and run this race and see what happens. The majority of us, myself included, having decided that the half was enough of a challenge, planned to stop at the 21 k mark.

It was cold and rainy and we started the race on the bridge, which felt like being at home, and was miserable. Our coral finally got to cross the start line, and I took off, quickly losing my friends in the crowd, determined to get myself warm and to end this race as soon as possible.  It took a couple of miles, but then I hit my stride, and a fast one (for me) at that, which carried me all the way through till mile 11 when I had to walk a couple of blocks due to a charlie-horse, and then ran the rest of the way home.  I did not complete the full marathon as planned, but I did manage a PR on the half, shaving a full 7 minutes of my best half marathon time, and making a sub-2 hour marathon seem less like a distant dream and more like a real possibility if I put some focus on it.

Everyone finished the race - Tim finished the full - and that night we all hobbled out to a great restaurant where we ate our weight in moules et frites, and toasted to running farther and faster than we ever had.

Starting line bridge, new PR, Prosecco.

Montreal was a great town, and I was reminded of how much I love exploring a new city. Megan and I did some thrifting at some great vintage stores on Saint-Laurent boulevard, we ate poutine every day, and ordered pastries in french fresh from the boulangerie in the morning.  


Last weekend, one of my closest friends and former poly-house roommates got married, which is one of the most grown-up sentences I've ever typed on this blog.  Kurt is one of the most genuine, kind, and fun people I have the privilege to know and to celebrate the fact that he's chosen to spend his life with a woman who is as kind and genuine and fun was a joy.

Everything was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and we all camped out after the reception. Then, woke the next morning to waffles and mimosas in the barn, which quite frankly is my dream come true.  We also had a roommate reunion, and it's so good to see and spend time with that group - my first chosen family - and see us grow up and into ourselves and hear about the adventures everyone is on. Also, I had the best dates ever. Chris and Alyssa, let's just go to all the weddings together.

The mother-son butterfly kisses dance and the best wedding dates ever.

The highlight though, was that 6 years ago, while living together, we made the bet that the first in the group to get married would have to dance to butterfly kisses at their wedding for the mother/son or father/daughter dance. I didn't really expect that I'd be the first married out of this group, but can I just tell you what a relief it is to know it's not me? IT'S A HUGE RELIEF! Kurt - a true gentleman - lived up to the bet, and it was the best mother/son dance I've ever seen.

It's been a couple weeks of feeling pretty lucky to know some pretty cool people.