Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where's Your Head At

Im going to apologize in advance due to this being a long post...I am currently sitting alone in a giant room in a nuclear plant doing a detail that involves looking for smoke and/or fires...Sounds pretty lame right?It is but in a way it's a reward, I've worked my way up to this position from just a general cleaning job which in the nuke field is a glorified term for a janitor.But no more will I clean other peoples messes because I'm more important now. I came into this field by way of my father in law, He is a long-standing veteran of the nuclear field but on the other end of things. He breaks, demolishes and decontaminates old nuke sites. Hopefully after this little stint in this field I can graduate to something even better than my current job as a firewatcher and procure something full time and not just something here or there. We'll see hopefully he can pull some strings for me after I prove myself as competent in this situation. Before I got into this I never really thought of or had learned about how the science of how nuclear power was made. But after a short time I'm actually kind of interested about the many different facets of work that go into it. The other day I even saw a nuclear fuel rod being exchanged in the giant fuel pool. The pool itself is about 60ft deep filled with water (which is an excellent barrier for radiation) and has I would say about 300+ slots in which to put the fuel rods into. Now the rod itself is just a normal run of the mill metallic road I'm guessing 2ft x 2ft x 28ft long.They are placed into the pool using a huge crane that's built into the building. Once in the water is where the magic happens. The rods are then "injected" with a chemical or substance that makes them radioactive and in turn makes them produce energy. When you see the rod in the pool before it gets places into it's slot is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The rod itself glows in the water with one of the deepest blue colors you will ever see. I can only describe it as watching a beautiful sunset but only in blue. Really amazing stuff here. After witnessing this event I was told by my escort that I was very priveledged as to have been able to see what few people ever will. It puts a lot of things into perspective just imagining how powerful that one piece of metal is. If that were to come out of the water it would kill everyone within a pretty large radius. The miracles in science that we create are stiffling to think about. Which leads me onto my next topic...The miracle of life...my wife and I are expecting a baby in late August or early September...The road to being parents for us wasn't a stroll though the park. A few months after we had gotten married we found out that my wife was pregnant it was great news because it was exactly what we wanted. Unfortunately several weeks later it was not to be and we lost the baby. The weeks and months following were probably the most emotionally difficult time I've had to endure in my life and while it was a loss for both of us, I'm sure my pain was nothing in comparison to what my wife went through. So now, a few years after losing the first one we are on our way to having a baby again. At 21 weeks we are much farther along than before and feel almost in the clear. But I still cannot help but think about the life that we lost. I think about it probably every day. I try not to dwell on it too much but I feel it would be harsh of me to just put it behind me and forget it all. When we found out years ago that we were expecting we did what a lot of parents do, we bought some baby stuff, most noteably of which was a baby book. Prior to the miscarriage we each wrote notes to the baby telling them about their parents (us) how we met, how we fell in love, how excited we were for them to arrive, and how much we loved them already. This book at the end also became a place to say our goodbyes and our final I love you's. We wrote letters to our unborn child about the indescribable pain we each felt when we learned of their fate. We put in poems and songs also trying to describe our feelings, all in an effort to try and deal with the biggest loss we both had ever experienced. I look at the book from time to time and remember the feelings all over again. It hurts everytime I do it but I wouldn't give up that pain for any amount of money in the world. You can't put a price on a human life, unborn or alive. I've never really written any of this down or shared this with anyone until now. I have finally felt that this was an appropriate time and place to share this. I don't expect a lot of people to read this or to even understand it. It's just something I needed to do. I'm sure that someday we will show our new child the book of the memories we have of the brother or sister that we all never knew. I hope they never forget either, and they learn to value life because we all take it for granted so much. I don't understand how people go through life killing themselves on purpose by doing drugs, smoking cigarettes, and not staying healthy. I can say with a clear conscience that I have never done any of those things that would harm my body. I want to live forever, as silly as that sounds...In the end I just hope that I was a good parent and instilled all the proper things that my kids will pass on to their children...Now onto the bike side of things...My friend Joel and his friend Calvin decided to make a trip up to the Chicagoland area from St Louis to go to...IKEA...With them Joel also brought with him what has to be the best gift I ever received...An Orbea Orca and Zipp 404's along with an older 7800 Dura Ace group from Joel's teammate Patrick. The bike and the wheels are on loan out to me and I am purchasing the group a few dollars at a time. But I am still in shock over the fact that there are still some food people in the world who are unselfish and are willing to help out a fellow human being...I don't know if I'll ever be able to thank Joel enough, all I can do is honor his request and go out there and race. Hopefully I'll cause some trouble and maybe even get a win or a podium in there. One thing is for sure though I couldn't have done any of it without Joel and Patricks help. My coach tells me that we are kind of behind the eight ball right now in terms of training and just a little behind on the racing. I normally have a few preparation races and then open up shop on Memorial Day Wknd. Probably not this year though. May is going to be a big training month and hopefully in June is when we'll see some action. I hope I can salvage some decent results this year and make up for lost time. I know my season is going to be cut short with the arrival of the baby. So that means no Gateway Cup in STL this Labor Day Wknd. That's okay with me as long as my baby is fine and healthy. I may try to catch a few CX races after it's here and I get the all clear from the wife. I'm sure the lil' person will be attending the races next year and cheering for daddy. I remember some of the first bike races I attended as a kid, cheering on my dad as he flew by on what seemed so fast. The speed is probably the same nowadays but the races and the crowd is a bit different. I see all the masters guys racing now who I used to watch in the big races when I was a child, sometimes they recognize me and sometimes I tell them my name and they get a flashback to when I was just a skinny little blonde headed kid at the bike races living a carefree life. I hope one day my son or daughter falls in love with cycling and makes it their passion. I hope they succeed and go farther then I ever did and make their dad proud. At least I hope that's what they do. I'll try to guide them into it but I won't push them until they're really committed. I'll support whatever it is they choose to do, but I have a feeling that they'll feel the same fire I do inside about bike racing...It's in their blood. In their genetic makeup. Which reminds me, at the last ultrasound appointment the doc did all the measurements to make sure everything was on track without any developmental delays. Come to find out, the baby has over developed and longer than normal femurs already...I'm super pumped...Its like destiny...My kid is going to kick your kids ass on a bike one day...You heard it here first...Thanks 

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