Yes, I am once again back home in my beloved Washington. Don't get me wrong, South Carolina is nice and all - but it's not home.
I have so many stories to tell you, dearest reader...and so many photos to sort through! So I'll start with my "photo-free" anecdotes and go from there.
I spent 14 nights at the Embassy Suites in North Charleston. I picked it because-trust me on this one- you do not go LOW END in the South unless you want to share your room with various and sundry insects. I lived there for 6 years, I know of what I speak. (That would be North Charleston, not the Embassy Suites.) Anyhow, the hotel was reasonably clean, it had a decent fitness center, the room was okay, the staff was...okay. And I don't care where you are, the experience gets really old around Day 9.
All that being said, the Embassy Suites was a 10-story building. Yes, I had access to a stairwell. Yes, I'm a firefighter in training. Yes, I'm a raving egomaniac who thinks she is in much better shape than she actually is. What happened next, I guess, was inevitable.
On what was probably the hottest day of my vacation, I got it into my head to skip the treadmill and do some stairclimbing. I texted Alex, because I can't do something like this without bragging to my firefighting homeys. "I'm climbing the stairs today...wish me luck!" With a big stupid grin on my face, I stared at my phone and waited for his enthusiastic response. Hmm...perhaps he is sending a GROUP TEXT to the entire Stevens County force, telling them of my spunky fortitude! My enthusiasm was met with silence. I was beginning to get a complex when I realized that I had texted him at about 5 a.m. his time, so I let it slide. Friendship does have its boundaries, I guess. I GUESS. (she says while rolling her eyes)
So I put on my blue capris with the pink trim, my Stevens County Stairclimb 2012 t-shirt, my black Zumba shoes, and headed for the stairwell. How many flights will I do? 40? 50? 60? Or will I simply lose count and climb up and down, up and down, until I finally have to stop because it's time to go out to dinner with SP? Oh, the ANTICIPATION! I spend an hour a day on the treadmill - the health of my cardiovascular system knows no bounds.
The blast of stagnant, humid air smacked me up side the head approximately .438 seconds after I opened the door. I don't know why this didn't occur to me, but STAIRWELLS ARE NOT AIR-CONDITIONED. Go figure. And remember how I said it was a hot, hot day? Sigh. Anyhow, I was not to be dissuaded by a minor inconvenience such as a little heat, a little humidity. After all, my firefighting brothers and sisters do this all the time, right? And in full gear, right? And frequently dragging some a hose or whatnot with them, right? RIGHT!
So off I went.
Around floor 3, I noticed that I could actually SEE the air. It was that freakin' humid. But I am Kat, hear me roar.
Floor 7 - my, I have a little burning sensation in my calves. How affirming to know that I'm working my muscles!
When I hit floor 10, I got to go DOWN 10 flights back to the ground floor, which was nice because it gave the the opportunity to catch my breath. By "catch my breath", I mean dragging myself down the stairwell using the handrail, and wondering if the old adage "if you vomit in a stairwell and nobody sees, does it make a sound?" held any water, as my lungs heaved and gave a mighty effort not to collapse upon themselves.
Floor 12...every ounce of fluid in my body has been aspirated through my lungs and I am now in a state of complete and utter dehydration. Death is imminent.
Floor 15 - who knew that Hell was so damn HUMID? I certainly didn't. I always thought Hell was hot, dry place, completely devoid of any creature comforts - a place of utter desolation, pain, eternal agony and regret. You know, like MTV.
Words fail me as I try to describe the 20th flight. As I rounded #19, and headed up to the very top of the tallest building in South Carolina, my life flashed before my eyes. It truly did. I saw my first day of kindergarten; my first crush; my first kiss; my first broken heart. Since they all happened on the same day, I was able to relive it all in that one flight.
I hit 20 and knew that I was done for. That was it. No more. Stick a fork in me. The rest gets a little hazy, but I somehow made it back to my room on the 3rd floor and collapsed on my bed. I laid there for gawd knows how long. When you are hovering at Death's Door, time tends to refract, bend, pulse, morph into something you really can't comprehend. Anyhow, once I was able to see color again, I reached for my phone and left Alex a voice message, which said, in effect:
WHY IN GAWD'S NAME DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THAT STAIRWELLS AREN'T AIRCONDITIONED? I WANT TO DIE! I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS! JUST GET HERE NOW AND HOLD A PILLOW OVER MY FACE!
By this time, he was out of bed, so he texts me: "How many flights did you do? 40?"
Jerk. Isn't he funny.
I spent the rest of the day flopped sideways across a queen-size bed at the Embassy Suites, floating in and out of consciousness, until SP came around. My darling SP decided it would be a "good idea" to massage my sore calves. After 1 quick squeeze, he realized the error of his ways. I did forgive him, because he has so very many good qualities, and when you love somebody, you are supposed to do that kind of stuff. Or so I've read in Cosmo.
It took 3 full days for my legs to recover to the point where I could hit the treadmill again, which I gladly did. I only hit the stairwell one more time after this debacle, when the power went out and the elevator quit working for a bit. I seriously considered just sliding down the elevator cable.
Thus endeth the lesson. I did 20 flights of stairs in a stairwell that was easily 95 degrees, and probably 80% humidity. I rock.
ps-Alex is not a jerk. Any previous reference to jerkiness was verbalized when I was in an oxygen-deprived state. But he does pick on me a lot, so don't feel too sorry for him.