Miralax Run and Dogsled Downhill

Been watching the Olympics? Me too, but in between, I’ve been competing in my own Oregon Coast Olympic events. Not sanctioned by the IOC, of course, but just as challenging. Let me describe a few of these events for you.
Miralax Run: To be done in preparation for my every-five-years colonoscopy, in which doctors send a tiny bobsled with a camera up my colon. I began with five days of a restricted diet and one day of nothing but liquid. Then came the big event, four laxative pills and 16 glasses of lemon Crystal Light laced with laxative powder, to be drunk between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. before reporting to the hospital at 6:45 a.m. I spent the next nine hours on a drink-and-run marathon, reaching the bottom of the pitcher just in time. Lost a few style points along the way, but I made it to the finish line.
Dogsled Downhill: Ten days ago, the coast was covered in snow and ice, but Annie still needed her walks. So I pulled on my flowered plastic boots and hit the slopes of 98th Street. My pooch pulled me up hill and down through patches of snow, ice, and slush while I screamed, “Don’t pull!” “Slow down!” and “Aaaaaah!” We finished in 497th place.
Slush Slalom: As the snow melted, the dog and I slid through the slush. Annie darted back and forth across the road, sniffing every weed, Starbuck’s cup, and pile of poo while I shushed along behind her, trying to stay up on my ski boots. Our form was less than perfect and we failed to earn a medal.
Pellet Stove Pentathlon: You drive to the lumber yard, load up the car with 40-pound bags of pellets, slide home through the snow, unload the bags in the garage, carry the bags one at a time into the house, load them into the hopper, adjust the thermostat, and watch the clock as the stove hums and twiddles its sooty thumbs. First competitor to see sparks wins. If the stove sighs and goes silent, push the reset button and start again. No medals here either.
Hot Tub Hustle: There’s nothing like soaking in 100-degree water under the stars, but one 30-degree night when the snow was all gone, I stuck my foot in and jumped into the air, did a triple flip and landed back on the deck. The hot tub was cold. Fast forward to standing with a service guy in pounding rain as he tested the electrical circuits and declared the heating element dead. While he ordered a new one, I moved on to the next event, draining the tub with a pump and garden hose while hail bounced off my head, the deck and the surface of the water and the dog hid inside because she’s no fool. Results pending return of service guy.
Flying Tree Fling: The snow and ice melted, and we were glad, but then the rain and wind came. As lawns turned to marshes and water rose in the ditches to the level of the road, 75-mile-an-hour gusts sent trees, signs, and yard art flying. The table on my deck moved three feet east. Bits of trees fell everywhere, and the giant tent just put up for next weekend’s Newport Seafood and Wine Festival collapsed into a pile of metal rods and torn canvas. I think I saw Dorothy’s house flying toward Oz. My house is still here. I win.
We have another week before the Sochi Olympics closing ceremony. Locally, the rest of the schedule remains unknown. But at least we have avoided Bob Costas’ pink eye plague.
May you rack up maximum points in every event this week.

To each his own Easter

Yesterday was Easter. That means different things to different people. For me, it meant the conclusion of Lent and five days in a row at church, singing with the choir, praying, meditating and experiencing the whole story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Finally we can say “Alleluia” again. Jesus died and rose from the dead. What we believe about that is up to each of us.

For Christians, the resurrection is the point of Easter, but most of our society seems to be more focused on parties, candy, colored eggs, and Easter bunnies. Even without the church part of it, Easter is a grand celebration of spring, where the world, like Jesus, comes to life after a long winter.

Some people just ignore the day, going about their usual activities. The streets of Newport were clogged with tourists and locals visiting the beach, the bayfront, the aquarium, the local shops and restaurants on a day that wasn’t sunny, but at least it wasn’t raining or windy. In fact, it was almost warm.

In my neighborhood, it was a day for outside chores. My neighbor’s tree-trimming chainsaw harmonized with lawnmowers, boat motors, children and dogs playing, and the hum of my washer and dryer. As the clothes washed, I tackled the spa. Uncovered for nearly a month until I could get help putting the cover torn off by wind back on, the water was full of dirt and pine needles. The filters were clogged. After several false starts,  I got the submersible pump working and pumped the water out of the tub. Then I climbed in and started scrubbing. Soon my clothes were soaked as I lay in the puddles at the bottom, mopping with a big yellow sponge. The plastic surface is hard and slippery, but I managed to get it clean without  hurting myself. It took over an hour to refill the spa with clean water from the garden hose and replenish the bromine and other chemicals. Then, triumphant, I turned the tub back on and the heater roared to life. This morning, the water is 100 degrees, just right.

I had invitations to Easter celebrations, but I chose to spend the afternoon on my own, doing whatever I wanted. My husband Fred died on Easter weekend last year, but that wasn’t the reason. I just wanted to do it my way. So I cleaned the hot tub, washed my clothes, walked the dog, wrote a silly poem, ate spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and watched TV until I fell asleep on the couch, comfortable in the knowledge that God is alive and my spa is clean.

I hope your Easter was as good as mine.