I found this thing that I had written in May of 2009 after taking a trip to Texas for my friend’s birthday. Sometimes I forget… “Oh yeah! I’ve jumped out of a plane once.” Here’s the story of how that came about.
TAKING THE PLUNGE….10,500 ft. San Antonio, TX. May 2009
Let me start by saying that I am not an extreme sports type of gal. I’m really not interested in engaging in activities that might leave me toothless, render me unconscious, or break my bones…but for some reason, jumping out of an airplane at 10,500 ft., potentially going splat and consequently ending my life seemed like a fine idea.
At the beginning of May I decided that I’d like to sky dive. To me, it’s just one of those things that I’d love to experience, but would probably have some hefty hesitation if I were a mother….or just older and wiser. So, I made the decision to jump out of an airplane, but I thought…hmmm, baby steps…bungie jump first!
The NEXT day…Niki called to ask me if I’d come visit her for her birthday Memorial Day weekend and would I consider skydiving. All I did was shrug my shoulders, look quizzically up and around to the Universe and say “Yes. Yes to both.” Niki squeeled with delight (which is just what The Niki does) and I booked my flight to San Antonio. The whole “bungie jump baby steps” idea flew out the window because it was just too perfect that she called the day after I had the idea.
A couple of weeks went by and then the day before I was leaving for Texas, I was watching a cartoon called Toot & Puddle with the kids that I Nanny. Toot & Puddle (for those not in the know) are two best friend “roommate” male pigs who love to travel. What were Toot & Puddle going to be doing on this episodes adventure??? You guessed it…SKYDIVING. After seeing this cartoon, I thought “there’s no way I’ll die. The Universe WANTS me to jump out of a plane!”
Saturday was the big day. Niki was so excited and bouncing off the walls. There were several of us girls jumping, so she requested that we all wear pig-tails in honor of her birthday. My hands had been shaking since I woke up that morning.
When we arrived at Skydive San Marcos, I was feeling so nauseous and my shaking hands had amplified from a 3 to an 8 on the Richter Scale. Then, I heard a noise…I looked up and saw a group floating down on their parachutes and I instantly felt better. Everything calmed down inside and I knew that it was going to be okay. We went in to register and wait for our turn to suit up.
The Universe may have said to me…”Sure. Do it…you’ll be fine, Kiddo. It’ll be good for you!” BUT…Mother Nature had other thoughts. She decided to torture us with major storms…just when it was our turn. Twice.
|Day 1: Got to register, but never made it back to suit up
|Day 2: Was able to get in my suit (where I looked liked freaking Christmas)
and then…NEVERMIND! Another storm.
So…on Memorial Day at 8:30 a.m. (after the 300 miles we drove over the weekend to get to the jump site three days in a row) we suited up, went through our 30 second training (thorough, huh!), entered the plane and got ready to jump.
|Day 3: jumping girls
I should pause here to give thanks to Mother Nature. Had she not stopped us the first two days, I might have been a total wreck, shaking and wanting to vomit. Instead, because of the baby steps I took each day…going a little further in the steps of preparing to jump each time…I was completely calm and fine. I had worked all my nerves out in the two day preparation and then in the disappointment each time we had to cancel. So when it was time for me to exit the plane, I was cool as a cucumber.
I did have a brief “Oh fuck” moment as I squatted at the opened door, but then there was the “1–2–3! ” and no turning back. My tandem jumper and I did a flip out of the plane then a free fall for 60+ seconds….and that was the BEST PART. You know that gross feeling (when you’re riding a roller-coaster) that all your internal organs are flying up into your throat? I had expected that during the free fall, but didn’t get it all. It was such a cool feeling and being able to see the grid of Texas pastures filled with cows and horses below me was really fun.
The opening of the parachutes were a jolt to the nerves. We did some spinning tricks and then I took over on the handles of the parachute while my instructor prepared us for landing (which, scared me). But what really scared me were the suicidal thoughts I had for a split second. What if I just let go? Would it be that bad if I died? Would I be missed? This is probable;y worth investigating sometime
My landing was a total disaster and leaving me miraculously unscathed. I didn’t run hard enough and tripped, which sent me tumbling to the ground with a very sizable man strapped to my back. No bruises or broken bones.
Side note…I did go up in the plane with pig-tails, but landed with a very attractive knotted bird nest on the side of my head.
That evening, I headed back home to Florida in a plane I would not be jumping out of. It was a very fun Memorial weekend filled with old and new friends, a truly spectacular diet of chips & queso, breakfast tacos, steak and countless margarita’s, and a very amazing skydive that was well worth the wait. xoxo, Jenna.