Thursday, January 24, 2013

So THIS Is How Normal People Live

Some days I really miss my life in Vegas.  Most days, actually.  Don't get me wrong, there were things I hated about it--always having to work holidays, never getting to spend time with family, etc.  And while I've traded those bad things for all of the pluses that come with living in Nashville, I really hate the fact that I have to work about twice as long (at a job I'm not really that fond of) for less than I used to make dealing cards in the casino part-time.

And believe me, even being stuck on a poker table full of crappy and annoying players for a half an hour at a time is way better than being chained my desk eight hours a day down at the Shawshank-on-the-Cumberland where I'm currently employed.  Right now, that's my lot in life and although I've made peace with it, I'm not happy with it.  Like Andy with his rock hammer and Rita Hayworth poster, I've been planning my escape for some time now.

Longtime readers know that when I first left Las Vegas I faced some very serious health issues that damn near pulled the plug on me for good.  (Here he goes again!) So serious that the doctor at the Vanderbilt critical-care unit told me to call my family and say goodbye. Somehow, miraculously, I pulled through that and even though I was unable to function normally for about six months afterwards, I've made a complete and full recovery and I'm even better off than I was before.  Y'all know I was big--morbidly obese is the clinical term which sounds so awful that I don't even like saying it--but since then things have turned the corner.  Right now I'm about 150 lbs lighter than the last time I graced a poker table at Sunset Station and I'm still slowly shrinking.  My pants are 14 inches smaller around the waist and my old leather belt that I wore every day almost goes around me twice.  I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting there.  At 45 years old, I'm probably healthier than I've ever been.

I discovered that one of the exercises I like the most is hiking.  Back when I couldn't lift a gallon of milk or carry anything more than about five pounds, the only activity I could really do is walking.  So I started 'hiking' to build my strength back up.  First it was laps around the back yard, then I ventured out to the cul-de-sac to do a loop before shuffling back ten minutes later utterly exhausted.  Eventually I made a full mile without stopping to rest, which ironically was a hell of a milestone for me. But my proudest moment came when I did the two-and-a-half mile Harpeth Woods Trail at Edwin Warner park. 

Normal, in-shape people would say that it's a 'moderately difficult' trail, but for me, it might as well have been Everest.  It's very hilly, and pretty steep in some places, although the maximum elevation change is only like 300 feet or so.  But to me, 200-something pounds overweight and just a few months out of the deathbed, it was quite formidable.  It took me almost two and a half hours to complete it, but when I finished, I had to admit that it was one of my accomplishments that I was most proud of.  What made it even better was that someone I know told me that they had to turn back on their first attempt to hike the trail, it was just a little too steep and maybe they were a bit too hungover, but for whatever reason, it was too much at the time.  But my chubby ass made it to the top of that mountain on the first attempt.

And once the hard part was over, the last half mile was a nice flat stroll along a creek back to the trailhead.  An excellent payoff after all of the effort, if you ask me. A serene walk where I could process the totality of the obstacles I'd overcome--not only from that day, but everything else I'd faced before that.

It may sound overly dramatic, but one would've had to have walked those two-and-a-half miles in my moccasins to really understand.

It must've been some kind of turning point for me, because once I got home, showered, and was able to finally relax, rest, and think about the progress I made, I couldn't help but wonder what other challenges I could tackle.

About the same time, Reverend Dave (my younger brother, for you noobs) decided that he wanted to get into backpacking.  And as much as I loved sailing in my previous life out west, reality dictated that I needed to find a new hobby.  Backpacking it was!

At some point thereafter, Dave had the brilliant idea that he wanted the hike the Appalachian Trail, all 2000+ miles of it, all the way from Georgia to Maine.  I thought it was a good idea at the time, but figured there was no way I could do it. I was just too fat, too weak, and too out-of-shape to do it.  Fast-forward a year and a half later, and here I am, preparing to go in March of 2014.

Yes kids, I'm doing it.  I'm going to hike the Appalachian Trail.

There.  I said it.

While I was on hiatus from this blog last year, I thought about doing a hiking-centric blog, but it wasn't very good, so I bagged that idea.  And while I missed writing on this here Hurricane Mikey site, I figured my life in Nashville just wasn't interesting enough to keep people reading it.  But hey, if there can be a thousand successful mommy-blogs talking about shiat I have no interest in whatsoever, I figure there are all kinds of freaks nice people out there who'd be interested in what I have to say...  So I'm back, and part of the reason I'm back is that a goal is most likely to be accomplished if you announce to the world what you're going to do.  I have plenty of supportive readers who'd like to see me succeed, I'm sure, and I know I have a few trolls who'd love to rub my face in it if I failed.

But you know what?  I don't care--I'm here today to announce my intentions, and whether I succeed or not, at least I have the stones to try.  And like the high-wire dude who performs his craft without a net, I'm throwing in the added degree of difficulty by telling the world of my plan.  It would be much easier to be anonymous and give it a try, and nobody would know if I failed.  But I guess there's a big part of me that performs better under pressure, so that's why I'm sharing this today.

Another reason for all this is to let you, my loyal readers, in on the secret.  Linda Lou has been on my ass for several years now about writing a book.  And now I have a topic.

It's an epic journey from the ICU at Vanderbilt Medical Center, being mostly-dead all day, to the top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine, and my plan is to tell the world all about it.  Y'all are the first ones to know.  Being chained to my desk every day for the next year or so may be the river of shiat that I have to crawl through to get to freedom, but eventually I'm going to make it.

Prepare to be entertained.



Jon said...

That is wonderful news all around, Mikey! I cannot wait to read about your journey up the Appalachian, and look forward to placing my order from Amazon for your book!

Michael said...

Awesome news, and congratulations on getting healthier! Can't wait to hear about the time leading up to the hike.

THOMAS said...

damn...2000+ miles...hell of a journey...gonna be awesome to read about! how long will the journey take...or do you even know???

Hurricane Mikey said...

Should take about six months, give or take a few days. If I leave mid-March, I should be done by mid-September. At least that's the plan.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

This is all going to be FANTASTIC!!! So much to look forward to.

Josie said...

Holy crap! Congrats on the weight loss! I can't wait to read more.


T-Rev said...

Kudos to you Bro-Ham, big ups for your Lb loss and planning out the big trip up the trail.


Kellee said...

Awesome. Just awesome. Way to go!

Exiled in Maine said...

Good Luck!
I wish you the very best. When you hit the Maine border I would love to bring you some lobster.