Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Skydiving: Lesson Learned

"What?!" was my reaction when Rob told me he wanted to go skydiving. Rob is the most level-headed individual I know, which is exactly why I thought he would never be insane enough to skydive! In our 16 years together, this topic was never discussed. I had no clue this was something that he was even remotely interested in.

It's raining skydivers

Rob can surprise you though, and that is one thing I learned. While not a risk taker per se, Rob does enjoy activities like mountain biking, he's not afraid of heights, he likes to snorkel, he likes to go camping, and though he doesn't seek out danger for some sort of "high", he also doesn't back down from things out of fear. He doesn't do this because he wants to be seen as "a tough guy", he is genuinely interested in things that might be a bit out of the ordinary for most people and will take advantage of trying those things if the opportunity arises. I swear, if going to the moon was a reality for him at this point in his life, he'd do it.
Joe and Rob showing off "Tandem Style"

Let me back up a bit here; my brother-in-law's fiance said my brother-in-law, Joe, wanted to go skydiving for his birthday. She asked me if I thought Rob would be interested in going along. Initially, I thought there was no way Rob would want to go but to my surprise, after talking to him, he said he wanted to go. I must admit it here and now, I was a little freaked out. We have four children, he has a wonderful life, not to mention the fact that he has me, why would he ever feel this crazy urge to go skydiving? Remember, it's something he had never-ever even showed any remote interest in up until that point.

Rob checking out the sky he'd be falling from
After the initial shock and a bit of back and forth, I decided I was being a bit irrational and agreed that if he could provide me with some statistics on the safety and/or dangers of skydiving, then I could make an informed decision. Instead of opposing the entire venture because of my own personal fear-based, emotional reactions and feelings, I should be informed of the facts and look at it from a scientific point of view. Just because I would be freaked out by the entire concept, doesn't mean he couldn't enjoy it.

Scout imagining what Joe would look like during the dive
Parachuting dates back to 1100's in ancient China, but "parachuting" as we think of it did not occur until after World War II. With the massive surplus of parachutes left over after the war, soldiers continued to jump for sport and soon sky diving competitions began. By the mid-1950's, the first commercial skydiving centers opened, with schools popping up a couple of years later.
The safety statistics, according to the United States Parachute Association, are quite interesting:
  • With 3.1 million skydiving jumps in 2012, there were 19 fatalities.
  • USPA reported that with 3.1 million jumps in 2012, there were 915 injuries. That statistic means there are around three injuries per 10,000 dives.
  • Most injuries are caused by human error, not because the parachutes fail (which was my biggest fear).
  • Each year, because of better training and technology, skydiving only improves and becomes safer.
Random Skydiver and Jet
The most interesting point, and one I couldn't argue with, was this bit of information that came from a Discovery News article, "...there are an estimated 3 million jumps per year, and the fatality count is only 21 (for 2010). That’s a 0.0007% chance of dying from a skydive, compared to a 0.0167% chance of dying in a car accident (based on driving 10,000 miles). In layman’s terms, you are about 24 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a skydiving one."

Allowing myself to be educated about skydiving worked. I had faced the facts and realized, though I personally have zero interest in skydiving, I couldn't stand in the way of Rob's skydive. If I were to do that, I would also have to stand in his way of driving to work each day because of the statistics about car accidents.

When we arrived at Skydive Dallas, I realized there was nothing to worry about. People skydiving into the drop zone was at a constant while we waited for Rob and Joe to go on their dive. The entire thing ran like clockwork and the people who work there take safety seriously, but still have fun.

Time to Suit Up!

Two (seemingly) worrisome issues of note while we waited were:
  • The man sitting next to us that had a broken arm and leg. He went skydiving in the morning and had landed badly, breaking his arm and leg. He was there waiting while his friends jumped. He was from a big group of people from Sweden who come to Dallas every year to go skydiving all day.
  • During one of the rounds of jumps, we saw a lone parachute gently falling through the air with no diver attached.
In both instances, the jumpers were solo and not tandem, and tandem is what Rob would be doing, so I was a bit relieved. The guy with two broken limbs did not land correctly after trying a trick. The lone parachute was from a jumper who had tried a trick that didn't quite work out and the strings got tangled. He cut the strings and used his reserve parachute.

Finally, it was Rob and Joe's turn to go up. It was strange, but I wasn't even a tad bit nervous. I was actually excited! At an altitude of 13,500 feet, Rob had a 60 second free-fall. After landing, Rob said it was truly awesome. With a huge smile on his face, he stated without hesitation, "It wasn't anything like I expected."

Skydive Time!

The plane approaches
The tiny black speck is Rob and his tandem instructor, the even tinier white speck is the camera man

Rob (blue, white, and black) and Joe (yellow)

Rob coming in for a landing
Look at that face!


Joe's turn to land


Happy to see his fiance
This skydiving thing really taught me a lesson that I hope to apply throughout my entire life: I tend to react quickly on a subject and make decisions without hearing things out first. Rob showed me the stats and the numbers are hard to deny; skydiving is safe if rules and safety precautions are taken seriously. Jumping out of an airplane may not be my cup of tea, but it is Rob's, and I have to respect that. In order to be a rational, scientifically minded person and have evidence based beliefs, I need to evaluate things a bit more before jumping to conclusions.

Oh, and Rob has a new convert to skydiving...Jude. Right after Rob landed, Jude came up to me and whispered, "I think I want to skydive." The old me would've tried to talk her out of it, the new me smiled and told her she'd get to do it for her 18th birthday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My MadPicLab Photos

During the month of May (ugh, I can't believe May is OVER), I participated in a fun little project that consisted of taking photos each day according to the assigned subject, for example: May 7 was lemons. I thought I'd pick my favorite photos that I took during the project and post them here.

"Mad Artist"






"Happy Mouth"








Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Mad Artist GiGi" Day 31 of MadLabPic

Since this was the last day of the MadLabPic month, I wanted to do something that I haven't done before, so I created this .gif for "Mad Artist"! I think I'll be posting some of my favorite MadLabPics I took. It'll be right here on my blog, so keep an eye out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rob and Gabrielle's 12th Anniversary, by Gabrielle

The day before our anniversary, Rob told me what his surprise present for me was going to be: he was going to take me to Lake Fannin and we'd go camping. I have to admit, at first, I really didn't know what to think about it. I am a girly-girl and I like my hair, make-up, and a nice hot shower. I am not one that likes to "rough it". I then realized that I was being silly and that Rob really wanted this time alone together; we could have a little adventure, have some nice conversations, be free from the distraction of technology, and do something we haven't done before. What wife would pass up that opportunity?! I am so happy to say, other than our Hawaii trip for our 10th anniversary, this was the best and most memorable anniversary we've ever shared.

January 8th happened to be an overcast day (no sunglasses or sunscreen required). It was a day that wasn't windy or too cold. It was nice enough outside to wear a jacket or coat without being cold or uncomfortable.

When we arrived, we sat by the lake and ate our lunch. Rob then took me walking on the bike trail he and Joe ride on. It was about a two hour walk at a nice brisk pace. After that, it was time to pick out our campsite, so we drove around and found us a quaint little spot that was right by the edge of a hill. It was so peaceful and quiet.

We set up camp, which meant starting our fire in the fire pit and preparing our van for the night. We folded the seats into the floor of our minivan and laid out a twin-size foam mattress to put our sleeping bags on. We got the fire started (firewood was provided) and enjoyed keeping it going. We roasted hot dogs, which were the best I've ever had. We then made s'mores. Around nine o'clock we decided it was time to head to bed.

It was probably around two in the morning when the rain started. Though it woke me up quite a few times, I enjoyed it. There was something so wonderful about being cozied up next to my husband, in our sleeping bags that we zipped together, and being protected by the shelter of our van from the deluge of rain that was falling from the sky. Luckily, it was just hard rain and it didn't get too bad. Shoot, it never even thundered.

We woke up about six thirty and headed over to Claire's to pick up the girls. She had watched them for us, but since it was Monday, she had to go to work which meant we had to get to her house before she had to head out.

I love you, Rob. I look forward to doing this again!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Family Meeting, Sept 19-25th

Okay, I know, we're bad. It's been almost a month since our last blog. I apologize. You know what? We've been crazy busy. That's no excuse, but I'm going to use it as one for now.

Best and Worst of the Week

Best: Rob gets to work from home every Wednesday. I cannot tell you how awesomely awesome this truly has been. 
Worst: Terrible headaches and eyes hurting (I went to the eye doctor though, and I think that is helping)

Best: Movie night
Worst: Being sick

Best: Meeting up with Chanti at Cracker Barrel for lunch
Worst: Being sick
Best: Meeting up with Chanti at Cracker Barrel for lunch
Worst: Being sick
Best: Getting Halloween stamps from Chanti
Worst: Got sick and sneezed

Best: Finished his Halloween costume
Worst: Not working out when he was sick

Other Highlights:

-On our family night out, we looked at the stars
-Briar eats her boogers
-Rob and I watched Louie CK comedy special (pretty darn funny)
-Got our house in Florida picked out and our trip is SET!!
-It rained a few sprinkle sparkles

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Family Meeting for Sept 12-18 2011 by Gabrielle

We had an extremely fun and exciting after-meeting-game to play, so we started off getting the girls pumped up about that, though we didn't disclose the exact game itself.

Best and Worst

Best: Artsfest
Worst: homework

Best: Finished putting up all the photos in the lobby of Gymnastics Sport Center. I printed pictures of the team girls and hung the photos up in 8x10 and 4x6 frames. The lobby turned out pretty well, if I say so myself.
Worst: started feeling sick

Best: playing in the "pit" at gymnastics while I was working in the lobby hanging up pictures
Worst: getting sick and having a fever

Best: going to the library and getting books
Worst: Briar being sick

Best: Going to gymnastics THREE times in the week
Worst: hurting her ankle

Best: hanging out with Chanti all day (Artsfest, Panera Bread, shopped for work clothes, looked at vacation homes in Florida)
Worst: pain under rib cage still hurts after three days

Other highlights of the week:
-Rob wrote a tremendous paper for his composition class
-We finally picked which rental house to get in FL for our vacation
-Rob and I went out to get coffee and got to talk amongst ourselves
-Jude thought open gym was fun!
-Rob's Halloween costume is coming together
-Both Rob and I are doing great on our weight and physiques

To end the meeting we talked about a possible Christmas project we might do.

After the meeting ended, we played a game. It was based off of the "fishing" games you see at carnivals. We pretended the kitchen table was a boat and the girls were in the boat. Rob and I were under the table and had toys and candy that we would hook onto the fishing lines via clothes pins. Fun was had by all involved. With the lights turned low, we started our game. Here are some photos:

Rob handing out the "fishing poles". He created each one custom made with the girls' animals on them

Jude's had a frog
Zoë's had a duck

Briar's had a butterfly

Scout's had a lady bug

Rob's and my view from under the table. This was Briar's line
One of the prizes Jude got: a skeleton thingie

Scout got a balloon

Zoë got a rat

Briar with her Jack-O'-Lantern she caught

They even caught a DADDY!