The funny position of Nicks legs when he sits without his prostheses is caused from an outward rotation of his hips. I think.
Nick and I have been ITCHING to make the formal announcement of his first jump back, something he’s been working toward for 18 months. A motivation so strong it’s kept him going through his darkest hours dealing with pain and the loss of so much. With a barrage of set-backs along the way, we are thrilled to say, “It’s HAPPENING!”
I’m sure many people think he’s foolish or crazy to jump again. We get the million dollar question often: Why? To us, him jumping again isn’t even a question. There hasn’t been a millisecond of time since Nick’s accident that he’s questioned skydiving again. It has always been a matter of when and how; not if or why.
But to people who don’t understand, who don’t jump, or who don’t know Nick, I realize that “Why?” is a legitimate question. Nick and I have talked about it a lot, I’ve heard him answer the question many times, and yet, I don’t think it’s something the English language could ever illustrate properly.
Nick has expressed himself in a variety of ways, saying things like, “It’s part of who I am. It’s my life. I love it. You don’t stop driving if you get in a car wreck. It’s like that moment you discover you can orgasm for the first time.” While these are solid, maybe a little too graphic answers, and certainly worthy of consideration, I’d like to take a stab at answering the question by making a more universal comparison. I may not have been hurt, but I was there living the nightmare with him, and I’ve since returned to the sport that stole so much from me. I understand where he’s coming from and support his return wholeheartedly.
Skydiving is a lot like love.
If you’ve jumped, you know what I mean. If you’ve been in love, think about it. Try explaining the feeling of being in love with someone… to a 6 year old. That ecstatic, heart-racing, toe-tingling, mind-numbing, nothing-else-matters, I-can’t-get-enough, want-to-feel-this-way-forever feeling when you’re falling in love for the first time.
You can’t describe love, even though poets and scholars have tried for centuries; you just have to feel it. Even after 2300 times, I still can’t put my finger on why it feels so good to jump out of a plane and fly through the air. Nick’s accident was like a mud-slinging, life-shattering, multiple affairs, no prenup, front-page-of-the-tabloids divorce, and now 18 months later he’s healed and ready to love and trust again.
All this to say:
Nick is finally jumping again!
NEXT Saturday, December 8th at Tsunami Skydivers in Oceanside, CA.
Everyone is welcome to come out and be a part of the celebration. We will be arriving early to prepare for the jump(s), and taking off around 12 noon. We will be Barbecuing for lunch, our treat. If you want something besides hamburgers, turkey burgers, or veggie burgers, bring it and we’ll throw it on the grill!
It will be a cozy, laid back atmosphere with lots of friends and fun.
We already have several tandem jumpers lined up to join us, including a few of Nick’s therapists. If you’d like to make your first jump, call their office and set it up in advance. Jumping over the beach in Oceanside offers the best views anywhere in Southern California. If Fener can do it, you can too!
To get a rough headcount for the BBQ, please message me or make a quick comment if you plan to come.
Thank you Rich Grimm and Tsunami Skydivers!
Nick and I have always had a relationship of steel. It’s come naturally, and we know how lucky we are. But even so, it’s a choice and it’s work.
A dear friend sent me this article that, in my opinion, accurately describes what it takes to be happy with someone long term. What it takes to keep your partner fulfilled and faithful for the long haul.
With lots of love to all my friends; single, committed, or confused. Give this a read, absorb it, and share it with those you love.
Read here: 10 Ways to Affair -Proof Your Marriage by Samantha Parent Walravens
A funny young girl checked us out at Home Depot. Well, she wasn’t checkin’ us out, even though we are quite a spectacle, she just rung up our items and took our payment.
She wore a pair of white Vibram shoes, the ones with the separated toe slots. Nick asked her if they were comfortable and if she thought they’d be comfortable for him too. Without missing a beat, without blushing or stumbling on her words, she said, “Yeah, why not?”
Then we all got a good laugh visualizing Nick slicing his fused plastic toes apart with a knife and cramming them into his own pair of Vibrams. Size 12. And since he’s getting his new set of feet tomorrow morning, we could easily make this joke a reality with these current, outdated feet.
Home Depot homegirl gave Nick an over-excited high five and a “Hell yeah!” with the news of getting his new feet tomorrow.
Hell yeah! High five!
We spent a whole day and a half out in the desert over Thanksgiving weekend. You know what’s cool about that?
I can chalk it up to a totally crucial WIN for Fener. He used to be a desert rat, spending holidays and every other weekend either in Glamis, Barstow, or Ocotillo for years. That is, until skydiving burst into his life. But even then, he (we) went to the desert all the time. He even bought me my own quad to ride back in 2006.
This weekend, we rolled into a camp full of friends and blended right in. There was very little talk of, or focus on Nick’s injuries. We didn’t speak much of his accident or therapy, or catheters, or pain, or prostheses. Well, maybe a little. But come on, that’s part of our “new normal.” What I’m saying is we got to have a blast despite all that. And there was never any waiting for Fener. He never held up the program. Never the weakest link. He held his own.
We slept in a tent, sat by a fire, rode in a buggy and ate lunch in a shady crevice in the middle of a vast desert. We laughed with friends, lit fireworks, roasted marshmallows (me, not Nick), and came home content with being caked with dirt from head to (prosthetic) toe.
The only modification we made was the toileting situation. Nick had to use a friends trailer, no longer able to “rough it” like me or you. Other than that, we were good to go. It was just more work for me than it ever used to be, loading and unloading everything. But I’m totally fine with it. May as well get used to it. That’s our “new normal.”
Here’s Fener carving the turkey at Mom’s house, with Paul cheering him on.
This year at Mom Fener’s, Nick climbed the stairs on his own, was able to finally use the guest bathroom, carved the turkey, avoided a post-feast nap, took minimal pain meds, helped me make a yummy sweet potato dish and cleaned up afterward, and when we left he got behind the wheel and drove two hours into the desert, allowing me to digest the meal I ate that could have fed an entire village. Who am I kidding? It could have ended world hunger. And it was delicious! Thank you Mama.
We made a last minute decision to join the extended Nootbaar clan for a day and a half in the desert. So here we are, in our green, triangular Coleman tent in Ocotillo Wells, enjoying the perfect weather, big bonfire smell, clear starry sky, random fireworks, and the “braaap braaaap braaaaaap” of dirt bikes in the distance.
Holy smokes am I grateful! We just passed the 18 month mark since the accident, and if you told me a year ago that we’d be camping in the desert over Thanksgiving holiday the way we used to, I’d have said you were out of your fucking mind.
But here we are… slowly, but surely, getting our life back together. And not just any life: the amazing life we used to have, minus the convenience of pristine health and the naiveté of untraumatized youth.
Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped us along the way. Physically, emotionally, financially… we have not made it this far by ourselves, and would have long since crumbled without the immense and unfathomable kindness and dedication from our friends and family, and strangers too.
We love you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you… times ten million!
Unorthodox after-hour prostheses fitting with Cyrus. I know it appears as if he’s baking us cookies, but he was actually slaving away to get Nicks new sockets juuuuust right. It’s so cool having a reliable, overachieving prosthetist who is also fun to be around.