This morning my mother called, I usually bring the kids over to see them for at least a brief visit on the weekend and we were planning to get together today. As soon as she started talking, I realized we were not getting together today, it was one of those conversation openers that you never like to hear:
"I have to tell you what happened to dad yesterday, but before you get upset you should know that he's alright now."
She proceeded to tell me that he was down at the boat yard with a 74-year-old fellow retiree friend trying to fix the cover on the boat. He was pulling a line to increase the cover tension because high winds have been a big problem down there. I'm not sure whether the line snapped, or the attachment point on the cover ripped, but immediately there was too much slack. He was pulling hard enough that the sudden slack caused him to lose his balance. Their boat is situated at the very corner of the boatyard and when he lost his balance he fell backwards, miraculously clearing the 8-foot rock-lined drop before he hit the river. He broke through the ice in the river and went to the bottom. He was able to pull himself up towards the surface, but was unable to find the opening in the ice where he had fallen through. Somehow, he found a small opening and his friend was able to direct him to a larger opening in the ice where he held onto something until he could be directed towards a way out. I don't have the details, I'm not sure anyone is clear on any of it, it happened so fast. There was no one else in the boatyard yesterday afternoon and if his friend had not been there, he wouldn't have made it. If he had fallen with just slightly less force, he probably would have smashed his head into the rocks on the way down and not come back up. If he hadn't been able to find that opening in the ice as quickly as he did, well, you know what I'm saying. His friend was quite overwhelmed, too, as he realized quickly how helpless he was in that situation and as he told my mother what had happened she broke down completely. My dad lost his glasses and he needs a new wallet. He's got some nasty gashes on his head from where he hit the ice trying to break through from the underside. He's also pretty sore from the force of breaking through the ice somewhere on his lower body. But thankfully, he's alright. My mom said he was pretty quiet last night, I can only imagine what a horrible experience he went through and especially coming just 3 months after hospitalization for heart troubles, his mortality has really been shoved in his face recently. They needed a quiet day at home and I'll see them when I get back from my trip.
On a lighter note, we had a great family afternoon- just what I needed before spending five days away. The kids were very excited to show me a new trail in the woods off our road that they found last week while walking with dad and the puppies. We set off after Superman took a rare nap, the boys each pushing their doll strollers and Paul with the puppies while I tagged along. It's about a quarter of a mile to the trail entrance and from there it was probably another half mile, across a shaky bridge over a small stream and following on an embankment that at times was pretty steep, until we reached the place that they stopped last time. Hot Wheels spotted a point where it looked like the trail picked up again, on the other side of the stream. Of course there was no bridge of any kind at this point, so we scouted out an area where the rocks seemed close enough that the boys could make it over with some help from dad. I'm not really known for my steadiness or being all that sure-footed, so dad was in charge of stream crossing. The puppies, of course, just jumped in and across, and I followed along as best I could. We guessed at where we were heading and we were wrong. About half a mile later we ended up on a road sort of close to where we thought, but not close enough that we could take it home. So, back into the woods, over the stream, along the embankment, over the shaky bridge and back home. Our quick walk turned out to be a very enjoyable trip almost 2 hours long. The boys both walked alot, Superman needed a lift after we hit the first road for a few minutes and then they both needed to be carried a bit about 2 tenths of a mile from home. Not bad mileage for a 2- and 4-year old. It was a beautiful 50 degree day and one that made it so nice to be a family, spending time together outside. Not that we didn't lose our patience a little when Superman started dawdling along picking up sticks and rocks and generally poking along, sometimes we forget what fun it must have been to be a 2-year old out in the world. As much as I'm excited about this baby coming, it was also one of those days that made me just slightly sad that while the boys are becoming so independent and self-sufficient, we'll be starting all over again soon. We've got strollers that can do off-roading and I've got a good baby carrier, so we'll try not to stop the normal pattern of life completely, but things will be different again for a while. But it's all worth it.
Not much more than 12 hours from now, I'll be on the road to the airport. I'll be home around 7pm Friday. I'm trying to look at the bright side of being away that long. I hope to get 4 nights of uninterrupted sleep, I get to sleep in all the way until 6:30am and still get in a workout before heading off to work. However, I'll be at work until 6pm every night and I'm usually done a 3:30pm. Eight hours a day of instrument programming and instruction and then we've all got to go to dinner together, so it will be a long week. I hope the hotel has a decent gym, but I guess we'll just see what happens. Happy week, all.
Pregnancy status: 18 weeks, 154 days to go.