Sunday, June 5, 2011

Patty says: Thanks! That was fun!

OK, first, I need to apologize to everyone: Jef and I have done a horrible job of maintaining the blog this spring, and posts have been few and far between.

Jef's been buried in work for I don't know how long, and since he's still got an injured hip*, he's lost one of his best stress relievers and is in no mood to update a log. (I don't have any excuseI've just been surprisingly scattered this spring.)

So anyway. Remember back in January when we started planning to rappel from Lansing's tallest building, Boji Tower? A number of you opened your wallets to pledge money to the Team Lansing Foundation, which received the money raised by the rappellers. We very much appreciated your support; Team Dope on a Rope (the two of us) raised $1,265.

Yesterday was D(escent)-Day.

Jef and I were scheduled to rappel at 1:35 p.m.; by the time we made our way down the building, it was closer to 2:30. It was hot and humid: the photos my Dad took in the two or so hours he was there (two of them illustrate this post) showed the temperature as displayed on the Boji Tower sign rising from 83° to 88°. And did I mention that we were required to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts?

So. Hot. Humid. Overdressed. Behind schedule.

Worth. Every. Minute.

I really thought I'd have a tough time stepping over the edge of the roof, but when you're concentrating on backing over a railing and getting your foot out from under one of the ropes while wearing a harness that does nothing for your mobility, you just don't have time to second-guess yourself. It didn't hurt that the guy working my rope and double-checking my safety equipment was someone we know and trust.

And then suddenly, there were were: Dangling side by side, nearly 300 feet above Capitol Avenue. Look to the left? There's one of Lansing's prettiest old churches, just over Jef's shoulder. Look to the right? There's one of the buildings where I used to work. Look behind us? There's Michigan's Capitol Building. Look down? Hi, Dad!

We slowly began making our way down the building, stopping frequently to rest our arms, to perch on a windowsill and enjoy the view, to wave to my Dad and, once, to steal a kiss. (I mean, come on. Were we ever going to get an opportunity like that again?)

I honestly don't know how long it took us to descend. We were told it would take five to 15 minutes, and we milked it as long as we could without throwing the event further behind schedule. There's something wonderfully surreal about walking down the outside of a tall building. I was sorry when we finally reached the ground.

But in a whirlwind, it was over. Unclip the carabiners, return the radios, thank the belayers ("Did you guys really kiss while you were up there?" one of them asked) and walk back into the building. Take the elevators back up to the 22nd floor, hand back your helmet, unbuckle your harness and step out of it. Claim your bag full of droppable stuff (cell phones, water bottles), your commemorative photo and your bragging-rights t-shirt. Thank the volunteers.

Take the elevators back down to street level. Step back out into the heat and humidity. Step back into being completely ordinary.

(Sigh.) It was great while it lasted.

*About Jef's hip: They think it's a torn labrum. (Per something I just found online that explains it better than anything I was coming up with, the labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the socket of his hip joint. It forms a ring around the edge of the socket of the hip joint and helps to provide stability by deepening the socket while still allowing flexibility and motion.) He's having ONE MORE TEST tomorrow; if everything goes as expected, they'll be scheduling surgery.


La Professora said...

Patty, the two of you could never be "completely ordinary", even if you tried.

Thanks for sharing the photos. It's good to know that all went according to plan and nothing kept you two from deriving as much fun out of the experience as you could.

What's the plan for next year?

Jim Smith II said...

Very cool! Please give Jef our best, being on IR is the worst!

Charlie said...

Glad you gad fun, I went through rappel school in the Army and it is something awesome to do. Sorry about the hip, Jef was missed at Hawk Island. Sounds like his injury is very similar, only a bit more severe, to what I did to my shoulder last year. I didn't need an operation, instead I had physical therapy. Get better and get ready for next year.

Netagene said...

Glad you both were able to do it, but don't complain about hot. Here in Birmingham, Alabama, we're had about 3 weeks of temps high 90s, and my porch thermometer registered 105 awhile yesterday. And glad of course that you raised money for a good cause! I agree with La Professora: what's next?