What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Snorkeling Sickness March 11, 2017

My husband and I aren’t usually seasick people. We’ve ridden on boats from canoes to cruise ships and neither of us has ever gotten ill. Until we went snorkeling a few weeks ago.

It was our first double day off since September, so we treated ourselves to a little trip to Key West. We rode the catamaran down. That was great! I read the whole way, my husband played his video game. We spent the evening exploring and woke up the next morning ready for a snorkeling adventure!

That’s where the problems began. We left to hotel too early for their breakfast and had to find food on the docks. My husband, feeling adventurous, chose a Cuban breakfast sandwich with pulled pork and chorizo. Then we got on the boat. Everything was still fine, but since it was a little choppy, they decided to take us to the soft coral instead of the actual barrier reef. Still super cool. I’d never snorkeled with soft coral before.

Then we got into the water, and I learned something very important: soft coral doesn’t hold down sand. It was like trying to swim through a sand storm. (more…)


Captain’s Log March 4, 2015

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 12:30 pm
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Captain’s log. Star date…I’m too cold to care.

I’ve been in this ice box called Upstate New York for two days now. After the first few hours, I managed to build a fire for warmth. But there is still no water.

I found a block of ice that had frozen a shoe to a pipe in the laundry room.


I had hoped that by ridding the ship of that ice, water would begin to flow. I was mistaken.

The crew’s morale has gone down with the inability to flush the toilet.

I have been trying to melt snow to dump down the contaminated commodes to make them flush.

It takes a strangely long time to melt snow next to a woodstove without melting the plastic buckets.

I have heard rumors of a professional coming to look at the pipes to find the issue. Perhaps the pump needs priming. Either way, we will need help from Starfleet Command before we can continue our mission.

We will press onward with our struggle to survive.


The Legend of the Apollo February 18, 2015

I love sailing. I even went to sailing camp growing up. And while a few stories from those experiences are a bit too deep and dramatic for my taste, there is the excellent tale of the Apollo.

The Apollo was a wonderful, ten-person sailboat. Just the spend a day on the lake kind, not the rich people I have a kitchen kind. But since the Apollo was so big and expensive, only the most experienced and responsible sailors at camp were allowed to take it out. Somehow, miraculously, I wolfed myself in that category.

I had it all planned out. I handpicked whom I thought I would be able to tolerate for a few hours with, and we headed down to the shiny, beautiful Apollo, our hearts set on an afternoon of fun.

It was all going beautifully. I was having fun pretending I was sailing a pirate ship. My friends were having fun going really fast. And then suddenly we weren’t going really fast. (more…)


The Waste of Water December 6, 2014

A few days ago, I read an article about water conservation, particularly in the form of toilet flushing. I know the toilet subject is taboo, but it’s important.

The whole “if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow” saying was created for a reason and not just because flushing the toilet is hard. It’s because it’s a waste of water. I grew up on a well system, meaning if the well is dry, you have no more water. No showers, no laundry, no cleaning dishes. And we did have some very dry years. But even if we had had a good rain, we never flushed the toilet unless it needed it. Why? Because you’ll want those two gallons later. You’ll be thirsty, you’ll want to wash your face, or mop the floor. Things that will seem a lot more important than perfectly clear toilet water.

I understand that the majority of people’s homes don’t run on well water anymore. They run on city water. Nice, clean, fluoride-treated water magically comes out of the pipes. But here’s the thing: if you really think about it, all that city water is coming out of a giant communal well. A well that will eventually have a bottom.

Fresh water is a precious resource. Live through a drought, and you’ll start to appreciate what a gift it is to be able to shower and have clean clothes whenever you want.

If you have to choose between yellow in the toilet and clean dishes, which would you choose? Maybe if we start making the choice to turn off the tap while we sud our hands, or to not flush the toilet at home unless we need to, we won’t be forced into harder choices later on.

And please forgive my posting late for the second time in a row. I’ll be better in the future, I promise!


Water Water Everywhere June 9, 2014

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 8:54 pm
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Where I am currently living in Alaska, there are signs up around the whole building that look like this:

photo (3)

And it occurred to me that running out of water may be a strange concept to most people. It is, however, normal to me. (more…)