• The Piquant Storyteller

Whatever it Takes

Looking forward to rewards is a great motivator. The promise of a cold Diet Coke has pushed me through many workouts when my muscles were screaming in agony at the opportunity for growth. Sometimes I indulge in my favorite beverage and sometimes ice water is all I need. Knowing that the soda is waiting for me is really all I need.

In August I had surgery. Every day I showered and would stare longingly through the shower glass at my bathtub. I rarely use it, but it was torture that it wasn't an option. The best day was when the doctor told me I had healed enough that I could "tub" if I wanted to. It was music to my ears. I had little strength for my daily shower combined with plenty of soreness from surgery. The bathtub seemed like a haven I wanted to soak in. A tepid pool of my own filth. Oh but how nice it felt to climb in when I finally could. My hotel bathtub was another motivator when Heath and I were in Victoria B.C.

This time we planned to have cabs take us where we wanted to go. We went to Victoria for our honeymoon nearly 18 years ago. Back then we had no money, so we walked everywhere. On our last day, Heath splurged on a cab to the Craigdarroch Castle. That was an experience! It was a snowy day. Being from Utah where snow is the norm, I didn't realize how rare a snow day in the Northwest is. I didn't have much patience for the timid drivers and the flake by flake coverage of the storm on the news! I want to believe I have matured over the years. The jury's still out on that one.

While we planned to cab around Victoria this time, we ended up walking. It's a very pedestrian friendly place. I was impressed with how patient drivers were when Heath and I accidentally walked against the light. It was a moment where both of our brains had simultaneously shut down for a brief moment. Heath was busy talking about something when the green left arrow came up. He started walking and I followed. Though the whole time I was thinking, "This isn't right. I don't think it's our turn yet. The red hand must mean something."

Yet I walked on without listening to that little warning voice in my head. It was when the first car had to stop and wait for us, as we illegally crossed, that we finally realized our mistake! I told Heath that we would never see those people again, meaning the drivers. It is a real possibility that the couple standing at the light with us when we decided to plain old go, was part of our tour to the Butchart Gardens. I'm pretty sure they got on the bus with us. But I didn't want to know, so I didn't look at them once we all made it to the other side of the street. What I don't know won't keep me up at night right? *sigh*

Heath had been checking the weather the closer we got to our trip. We were excited that there was no rain forecast. Winter is the rainy season so it's a big deal that there was no rain forecast. No rain also means extra cold. In the winter, the clouds keep the heat in, like a big blanket covering the atmosphere. No clouds equal sunshine and bitter temperatures.

I went back and forth on wardrobe choices, including coat options. The problem with my coats is that they were all purchased in California. Winter temperatures in California are usually 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) with humidity. Now that I have lived a few winters in Washington, I realize what a baby I was in California! Winter temps of 30's with significantly more humidity are much colder! I chose a coat with a scarf and decided if I also wore sweaters I would be fine. At 11:00 am Friday morning we stepped off the warm Victoria Clipper. We were greeted by an icy blast of reality. My first thought was, "I am not at all prepared for this!"

Some stretches were warmer than others. Usually the parts of the street that were in full sun away from the waterfront with little breeze. Other parts felt like an angry Arctic blast in our faces. Our mouths froze into position and we would have to massage them back into place to speak properly. My legs were as sore as if I was in the middle of an intense bike workout at home. My shoulders and neck kept cramping up. I realized it was because my muscles were involuntarily flexed against the cold. By the end of the day, we were exhausted.

Well, by the middle of the day we were tired. We checked into our hotel room and rested in the room for about an hour watching Love It Or List It - Vancouver. In the states it's called Love It Or List It Too. All the commercials were the same too except the names all ended with ca. Wendy's ca. Old Navy ca. Anyway, the point is we were happy to find some warm comfort inside. As much as I wanted to go to the Butchart Gardens to see the Holiday Lights, it took some effort to want to brave the cold. Especially since the sun was setting. Because it's hard to enjoy holiday lights in the middle of the day!

Walking through the gardens was magical. I will do a separate post about that. Toward the end we were getting uncomfortably cold. My feet were starting to feel cold. My legs felt like ice blocks. The crappy one-size-fits-all gloves I was wearing weren't cutting it anymore. Heath's fingers were numb because it's hard to take pictures with gloves on. Some of his pictures were blurry because he needed a tripod for the long exposure shots to fully capture the lights. Trying to hold a camera steady while shivering makes for some blurry pictures. We had almost an hour before the bus would arrive to take us back downtown. So we did laps in the gift shop.

We couldn't believe the bus driver had set the inside temperature to 22 degrees. Celsius that is. It was a nice 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The bus was nice and toasty. Getting out didn't seem too bad either. The air was calm and cold but manageable cold. So we chose to walk to the hotel. We crossed the street and I don't know that I have ever experienced that level of painful cold before.

Heath was trying to get pictures of the buildings with their holiday lights because I wanted those shots. He got some pictures of the Parliament Building and some of the decorated boats on the water. I told him to put the camera back in the bag. We did not need any more pictures!

Our teeth were chattering and our bodies were literally convulsing in the cold. An overwhelming feeling of sleepiness made it feel like we were trudging uphill in knee high sand drifts. I felt like I could not move to walk. Everything hurt. I whine and cry during my workouts on the days that I'm tired and would rather do anything else than workout. This was ten times worse. I honestly felt like my choices were to force myself to walk to the hotel or let rigor mortis set in.

I don't know how we found the strength to keep walking. I truly have never felt physical pain like that from cold before. I told myself that if I could get back to the room I could soak in the tub. The vision of the tub held my focus. We gritted our teeth, groaned a lot, and by the strength of God walked back to the hotel. On our way to the elevator, we passed the hotel's restaurant. Heath grabbed a menu and we both found something we liked. We went to our room for about ten minutes to just sit. Then on to the restaurant we went before it closed for the night. I could have fallen asleep in my food. Exhaustion doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.

Heath ended up soaking in the tub. I never did. By the time dinner was over, it felt like too much effort to have to undress, soak, and get dressed again. With my last ounce of energy, I changed into pajamas. We fell asleep watching TV. The tub though. It was a sacred experience to see it so vividly in my mind as we pushed our way through the cold city. Motivation is whatever it takes to keep moving forward. In this case, it was a bathtub.


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