Yesterday before I left for work I took a quick peek at my email and saw the following message from Eliza:

I think you should come to New Orleans on Feb. 28, 2010, and run the Rock & Roll Mardi Gras half-marathon. The race is flat, there are bands along the way, the weather should be decent, it’s in New Orleans, there’s plenty of time to train, and it’s my 35th birthday! Just an idea, if you’re feeling crazy!

I smiled, thinking that of course I couldn’t do that, but it was sure nice of her to think of me. Then I gathered my things, got in my car, and started my drive to the office with Visqueen’s Message to Garcia blaring in my ears.

About the time I was crossing the I-90 bridge, I pulled out my earbuds, because I wasn’t listening to the music any more. My brain was back in front of that email, worrying at it like a dog with a bone. In order to distract myself from the pointless exercise of dedicating a single molecule of effort towards considering such a crazy endeavor, I started thinking of my response.

Hey, thanks for the suggestion, but I can’t because . . .

Well, because I can’t. Duh.

At that point, I did something I’m not really used to doing: I started picking apart the reasons I couldn’t, in order to look for solutions.

I can’t run 13 miles. Okay, valid. Right now, I cannot run 13 miles in a row. I can run a 5K, but never once have I finished a 5K thinking, woo, if only there were another 12 miles to run! It’s more like, OH DEAR SWEET JESUS THANK GOD THAT’S OVER WHERE’S THE FUCKING BAGELS.

But I have until February 28, 2010, to train. That’s four months. I know from experience there’s a lot a person can accomplish in four months.

I don’t have time to train. Dude, when the hell am I going to find time to run all week long? I work outside the house, I have two demanding kids, it’s dark in the morning and it’s dark at night, I don’t have a treadmill. There’s no way I can run often enough to work up the endurance for a half-marathon. No way.

But wait. Let’s think about this. Most half-marathon training schedules involve four days of running. Three of those days are relatively short runs, with one day that includes progressively longer runs. I could do the long run day on a weekend when JB is home to watch the kids. The other three days, well, maybe I could run early in the morning before the kids are up. Or right after JB takes them to school, before I get ready for work. Or squeeze in a run during lunchtime at the office. Or try and finish my work day early and run before dinner.

We’re talking about 25-45 minutes of running, I think, for each of those three days a week. Can I find that time? Scratch that, can I make that time? I think I can.

I can’t run in the winter. It’s going to be dark. It’s going to be cold. It’s going to be raining.

This is true. But I can suck it up, can’t I? Get some winter gear and deal with the fact that warm August evenings only happen in, you know, August?

Yeah. I can do that.

I can’t afford to travel. We don’t have a lot of extra money right now. Plus, Christmas is coming up and that always sets us back. There’s no way I can swing plane tickets and hotel costs for this.

But I have always, always wanted to see New Orleans. JB and I have been talking about taking a trip together for months. His folks would be willing to stay with the boys. A flight costs about $250, and hotels aren’t nearly as expensive as I would have guessed.

In the grand scheme of things, will it mean more to me to save that money? Will I look back on this and regret having spent the cash to accomplish such a huge goal, while traveling to a part of the country I’ve always wanted to visit? Will I be sorry I looked at this opportunity and found my way to yes, instead of sticking with no?

I don’t think so.

I’m saying yes. I’m going to run a half-marathon in New Orleans on February 28, 2010. Oh my god.

Eliza, AB, Erin, and Dawn are going to run it too. Psuedostoops, Sarah Lena, and Regan are thinking about it.

Want to join us?

If not, is there something else you want to commit to that’s bound to kick your ever-loving ass, that sounds completely fucking impossible until you dig your way through to the YES that’s buried in it? Because I can tell you right now, it feels really good. Terrifying, daunting, and like adding another fifty plates to the ones already spinning . . . but really, sincerely goddamned good.

I’m going to do this thing. Training starts next week.

Last year I read Melissa’s post about doing a Halloween Boo and I thought hey, what a great idea! Then I promptly forgot all about it, because my brain can only contain three or four useful pieces of information at any one time and I’m usually at capacity with things like basic motor skills and remembering where in the hell that sippy cup went.

This year I was inspired to start one in our own neighborhood, and while my Boo treats were nowhere near as awesome as Melissa’s (stupid creative crafty people making us all-thumbs mouthbreathers look bad), it was a lot of fun to put them together.

The Boo supplies. I mostly filled the bags with candy, and a few other Halloween-themed items I thought kids would like.

I printed three copies each of the pages from Melissa’s site—one is the instructions and Boo ghost for the recipient, the other two are for them to pass along to the next neighbor—and tied them up before dropping those in the bags too.

Riley helped me tape up the bags, and I cut out some ghosty looking blob-things for the front. I’m not even sure what that meshlike stuff is, I found it in a kitchen drawer. Cheesecloth?

The finished bags, with printed Boo signs. Also, a shitload of Scotch tape.

Riley, ready to Boo. JB and Riley crept out under cover of darkness (easy, since it’s now pitch black at, what, 6 PM?) and dropped off the bags at two houses where we know they have kids. JB wasn’t too thrilled about the knock-and-run technique, but they pulled it off. Now to see if the ghost signs start going up, or if our neighbors are a bunch of Halloween grinches.

If you want to start one of your own, it’s not too late! Super easy to do, lots of fun, potential for spreading joy and happiness throughout the land.

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