Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stop and Ask for Directions

Anyone who knows me knows that I am directionally challenged. When I leave the house on my way to some place unfamiliar there is physical tension that can be felt wondering if I am actually going to make it to my destination. Yes, I have GPS. Doesn't matter. The stress of not knowing where to go, even when I have directions, can be paralyzing at times.

My latest misadventure happened the other day when I went for a run. Typically, I try to run 3-5 miles about three times a week. I pick this range because I feel that if I ever need to run from a stray dog, the police (just kidding, I am a role model you know!), a falling tree, a large rolling rock, or an out of control car, that 3-5 miles should be a sufficient distance. Always be prepared, as the motto says.

So I start out for a run and on my way out the door my youngest tells me about a "shortcut" through the woods in one of the neighborhoods that I run in. I was already feeling pretty confident about a trail that I was told about by a co-worker so I thought what could possibly go wrong?

Well, I got out about three miles and hopped on the first trail that I already knew about and made it to an area that I had familiarity with. I then employed "the shortcut" (please keep in mind that I have an app on my phone that is keeping track of me on a map that shows all major roads)...(oh and of course I have Lynyrd Skynyrd blasting on Pandora Radio) which involved running on a part dirt, part grass trail.  About a half-mile later I find myself in the middle of a woods. About a half mile later I find myself in the middle of a corn field.  Never being one to back down, I ran forward and now I am in the middle of a corn field and a lettuce patch (which I thought should have been picked already quite frankly).  Next thing my phone beeps to tell me that I have 10% battery life left. I have to stop playing "Freebird" (not kidding) to conserve battery life.

Now I am beginning to worry a bit. It is the brink of dusk, I AM NOT LOST, I just don't know exactly where I am, and I am running. I find some power lines that look like they are parallel to a roadway and head for them. Next thing I know I am deeper into the woods/cornfield/lettuce patch. I continued to make my way until I heard the sound of cars. Eventually I found a roadway and finished my run. When I arrived at the house SEVEN miles later I thanked my son for the "shortcut".  He asked where I went and he said "no, I meant for you to take the trail on the OTHER street". Never a dull moment.

Speaking of directions, my family and I like to geocache. If you haven't heard of it you can go to for complete directions, but in a nutshell you use a handheld GPS or an app for your smartphone and use coordinates provided by the website to find different "treasures" in the woods, near landmarks, etc...  There are geocaches all around the world and there are varying degrees of difficulty (some are even under water!). When you find one you usually write your name on a log file and then report it to the website. We have been doing this for about five years and have found about two hundred caches.

Over the summer my wife and I decided to take our dog and go find some caches on the Erie Canal trail, near the Sims Store. We headed out and made our way down the trail. We ran into some students, past and present, like Julie Barriere (@juliebarriere), her sister Emily, and one of their friends and compared geocaching notes. They indicated that there was a cache on the other side of the canal. I put the master plan in place by walking the length of the canal down to the Sims Store from the park, crossing to the other side, and walking back to the car on the other side while grabbing the cache that would surely be along the way.

Everything was going well until we got to the other side, didn't find the cache, and realized that there was no longer a pedestrian bridge at the lock like there used to be. We had to turn around, walk all the way back to the Sims Store and then all the way back down the other side of the canal to our car. Over 7 total miles.  If the dog could talk I am sure that she would have had some choice words. Good clean family fun.

The moral of the story is that...well there is no moral to the story. I am terrible with directions, Pandora radio drained my cell phone battery, I made the dog walk seven miles, and somehow I am fortunate to remain married.  I am in the best shape of my life though!

Over the next few weeks you may hear information from teachers or coaches about ways to run some of the clubs and intramurals that were cut from the budget. Our hope is that through a partnership with the Town of Camillus and some volunteer work that at least some of those opportunities will be restored, and I appreciate your patience through this process.

I know that most of this blog has nothing to do with school, but I think sometimes it is okay to reach out beyond these four walls and let people know that I do things just like everyone else except for getting lost. If getting lost was an Olympic sport I would be on a Wheaties box.

Enjoy homecoming this weekend as well as the Race for Respect.  Let's hope it stays dry!