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Yay, Wetsuit!

Jan. 20th, 2007 09:08 pm
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
Back in September, Bobby and I set my birthday money and some other extras we had to buy our wetsuits. Today, finally, I got mine. Bobby didn't...quite.

We had lunch at Mi Casa and then headed over to Columbia Scuba. Walking into Columbia Scuba, I always have to stop in the vestibule and just breathe in. It smells like neoprene. What does neoprene smell like? I can't quite describe it; it smells like, well, neoprene. Perhaps being able to accurately describe the smell of neoprene will be the barometer of judging my worth as a writer; if I can describe that, I can describe anything.

But since the sense of smell is closely tied to memory, the smell of neoprene, of Columbia Scuba, always awakens a flood of memories and emotions. Most good, some not. I try to focus on the good ones.

Bobby had called Triangle Diving in Bermuda, where we'll be finishing our certifications, and the dive instructor there had recommended that we get 5 mm wetsuits. Of course, this is between the standards of 3 mm for warm water and 7 mm for cold water, so it looked like they'd have to be special ordered. The salesguy (whose name I don't know, though he's always the one to sell us stuff) had us try on 3 mm suits to get an idea for size. I ended up in love with a size eight with super-stretchy material over the neoprene. Putting on a wetsuit is not fun; stuffing a sausage casing comes to mind. It's rather like putting on rubber clothes, not that I expect that this will help many people. (I have a rubber shirt, so I know that they're similar.) So the stretchier the material over the neoprene, the better. They're supposed to fit tightly because a wetsuit works by letting in just a tiny amount of water at the wrists, ankles, and neck that stays close against the body and warms to body temperature, keeping a person warm in cold water. (A dry suit, on the other hand, lets in no water and is worn with long underwear underneath!)

Since the size eight went on painlessly, I picked that one. And, as luck would have it, they did have a 5 mm in my size! So now I can go into my closet and smell neoprene whenever I want. (Don't think that I won't; upon getting home, I buried my face in my new wetsuit and just smelled it.) Unfortunately, the dive community just like every other industry, has something against the color red because they don't make red wetsuits in the brand that I chose, so I got the next best thing: solid black.

Planted right smack in the middle of the store was a little table with some clearance items. Including a BCD (buoyancy compensator device) in Bobby's size, XL, marked down from $550 to $225. Apparently, they'd gotten in the new models and this was the only one left in last year's model, so they just wanted to get rid of it. Good for us! Bobby tried it on; fell in love with it. So he spent his wetsuit money on a BCD instead, and we'll save up again, go back in a few weeks, and get his wetsuit and my BCD. Then we'll just need regulators to have all of our own equipment...but I told Bobby with tax-time breathing down our necks, that it might be best to wait and settle for renting regulators in Bermuda.
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Since I had to return my rental gear to the dive shop today, I photographed it all per the request of [livejournal.com profile] ladyelleth. The others are on their way within the next few days!

Taking the lead from [livejournal.com profile] sirielle, I have Photoshopped in comments indicating what you're looking at (since dive gear can look pretty mysterious to a non-diver) and explaining what's what for anyone who is interested. The only thing I couldn't photograph were the air tanks, which we returned yesterday. But that's one of the more boring items anyway.

Oh, and if you see strange numbers painted on the stuff...it's rental equipment! The wetsuits, BCD, gloves, hood, and regulator are all rental gear.

Photo Meme--My Diving Equipment )
As of this moment, I can officially admit to having run about in the outdoors through the cold mud barefoot  and wearing naught but a bikini on a 47F/8C morning in the pouring rain.

And guess what? We are no closer to our open-water certifications than we were this time yesterday! (Through no one's fault but the cruel witch called Fate....)

Running about in the Rain in a Bikini at 8:00 in the Morning...or Dive Training )

Bobby and decided to go home and chill out for the evening. Alas, we were five minutes from home when Bobby's friend Wayne calls: His girlfriend got sick, and he can't use his tickets for the Capitals' home opener tonight, so do we want to go instead?

Hockey!!! )
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I know that some of you are scratching your heads and saying, "Yep. Dawn's officially lost it. Halloween is still twenty-nine days away."

However, in the House of Felagund, Halloween is a month-long festival rather than a single paltry day. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I just asked Bobby and he says that he likes Halloween about the same amount as Christmas. So we go a little crazy.

At the moment, our apartment is decorated with:

  • one string of jack-o-lantern lights on the balcony
  • one jack-o-lantern on the balcony
  • one jack-o-lantern kite thingy from the Kite Loft in Ocean City on the balcony
  • five Halloween bears on the CD/DVD shelf
  • one gargoyle on the TV
  • two tombstones on the TV
  • one jack-o-lantern on the TV
  • one jack-o-lantern pillow on the couch
  • one ghosty pillow on the couch
  • one ghost-shaped candle holder on the end table
  • one Halloween candle on the end table
  • one orange candy bowl with a protruding hand that grabs you when you take a piece of candy
  • one plastic ghost inherited from my grandmother on the front door
Erm...I think that's it. Obsessed? Us?? Nah.

More Daily Life Blather )
This was a busy, hectic weekend, and not always in the most pleasant of ways.

Friday, we met the inlaws for supper at Rocky Run and then saw Flyboys. Anyone who read the reviews that I posted yesterday knows how that turned out. I wish I could have that two-and-a-half hours of my life back.

Saturday, we had plans to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival with our friends Cindy and Andy. A more detailed post with pictures will follow. I love the Ren Fest, but since we go a couple times each year, this one was approached as "Oh, we'll do what you want to do since we'll be back!" with the result that we got to do very little of what we wanted to do. Meh.

Sunday was dive training. It was not the best experience.

Dive Training (X-posted to The Nautilus) )

Sunday afternoon, Potter came over, we went to La Fiesta for supper, and saw Jackass Number Two. Which I am not going to review because I have nothing to say about it, just that I needed to watch people beat themselves up after this weekend.

Oh, what a weekend.
X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] the_nautilus. I swore that I would keep my scuba post there this week, but I want to remember these experiences in my own journal, so sorry to friends of both places that put up with double-post spam! :(

Breathing Underwater?! )
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(X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] the_nautilus with apologies to friends of both!)

Well....

I've been rambling about it, squeeing over it, and generally making a nuisance of myself with regards to it for about two months now. Well, it officially arrived today, so while I think it too much to hope that I will stop talking about it, at least I will hopefully direct my ramblings in a more productive direction with less hyperactive fangurlishness. (Can one fangurl SCUBA diving? I guess I just did....)

Today was the first day of training, and we are officially 25% of the way toward our open water SCUBA certification.

What I Learned )
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Yes, you read that correctly. Last night, Bobby and I officially began--and finished--half of our Christmas shopping.

Picture it: Dawn sitting at the desk, painting Meryth's cloak in a color called Goblin Green; Bobby sitting on the couch with his laptop surfing SCUBA sites. Now Bobby and I had made an agreement that Christmas this year is not going to be the exorbitant affair of years past. It has always been my philosophy that holiday monies are best spent doing things that will be memorable in years to come rather than buying junk that will be under the bed and forgotten by the New Year. Anyway, at last, I got Bobby to agree. Since we decided to pursue this whole underwater-as-a-hobby-and-career thing, we have been eyeing up a camera called the SeaLife camera, which is a top-of-the-line digital camera that functions both above- and underwater. We decided that rather than driving ourselves--and each other--nuts with piles of unneeded gifts this year, we would split the cost of the SeaLife camera, which we will both use and enjoy.

The SeaLife camera with all things included--including the strobe--costs (hold on to your seats, misers) $999. Yes, one of those "if I end it with a nine then no one will notice how dear it is." Harumph. You can buy the camera by itself for just over $500.

Returning to our happy picture of Dawn with green-painted lips (from licking my brushes all of the time; that detail in AMC does not come from nowhere) and Bobby surfing using the latest in Internet technology, Bobby suddenly blurts out, "Oh my god, I just found our SeaLife on sale on scuba.com--the whole package, strobe and all--for $500."

Silence falls.

"That's pretty cool," Dawn says, after verifying that the usual price is in fact about a grand, and goes back to painting Meryth's cloak--and her lips--a nice even Goblin Green.

More silence but one with a vivid imagination can hear the wheels turning in the House of Felagund.

"Soooo..." says Dawn.

(Now, just as background, Dawn is the Official Skinflint, Cheapo, Miser, and Tightwad of the House of Felagund. Bobby has to put her back in line all the time. Just the other night, at the movies, Dawn wanted a soda and realized that she had forgotten her coupon for a free one. "Oh, well," she said. "There's always next time." "Dawn!" Bobby shouted. "You can still get a soda!" "But it's four dollars for a medium....")

"Soooo..." says Dawn the Penurious again. Bobby gives her a careful look. "Are you going to get it?"

"I don't know," says Bobby, who has had enough ill-fated run-ins with his miserly wife to have learned to ask, "What do you think?"

"Well," says Dawn, "if we think of it logically, it seems foolish to wait three months and pay $400 more for something that we want to get anyway."

"True," Bobby agrees.

"We can put it on the credit card and pay it off when we set aside money for Christmas. And we can even keep it at one of the parents' houses so that we're not tempted to use it until Christmas. Then it will feel like we got it then anyway."

"True," Bobby agrees, and silence falls again. A few minutes later: "Soooo...should I order it?"

Now what do you think the outcome was?

(Though perhaps in honor of her penny-pinching forefathers, Dawn did advice to wait to add the $60 wide-angle lens until a later time.)
Yes! I live!

It has been one of Those Weeks. I have been a very busy 'gund. I have read the last day or so of my flist for the first time in like five days, so if I have missed anything important, feel free to point me in the proper direction.

Over the weekend, Bobby and I were fitted for and bought our SCUBA equipment, so I am now the proud owner of a pair of top-of-the-line fins, a snorkel, a pair of dive boots, a weight belt, and a mask that costs more than I am willing to reveal in sensible company. However, the dive shop was having their annual sale where everything in the store was 15 to 50% off, so that was advantageous for us. So what would have cost (for the two of us) around one thousand dollars was significantly lower.

So yesterday Bobby and I took the masks down to our community pool to practice clearing them underwater. One of the tests you have to pass is to clear all of the water from your mask while completely submerged. First of all, some kid threw up in the pool, so we had to sit and wait until all of the barf had gone through the filter. Then, the pool was the busiest I have ever seen it. Usually, our pool is not so crowded; apparently, everyone wanted to swim in a recently-barfed-in pool because the place was packed.

We both got in with our masks, got them adjusted, and I discovered another conundrum: I am unusually buoyant. And no, I am not talking about my sparkling personality. I, physically, cannot remain underwater without great effort. Bobby can sit on the bottom of the pool; unless I wave my arms about quite foolishly, I pop to the surface like a cork, which made the mask-clearing exercise considerably difficult.

Luckily, I have a husband with no compunctions to holding his wife's head underwater. We both agreed that it sounded strange to hear me ask, "Will you hold me under?" so that I could practice my mask-clearing exercise. Which I did easily once the need to flail was removed. He suggested that when we finally start diving, I might consider losing my weight belt and carrying two fifty-pound barbells instead.

Tonight, I tested my extraordinary buoyancy further and discovered that if I take a full lungful of air, I can float in the lotus position without moving my arms to tread water and without sinking below my neck. Bobby can't do this; his head sinks beneath the surface. So it seems (sorry to disappoint those of you out there who thought you'd finally figured me out) that it is not the air in my head but my unusually spacious lungs that keep me afloat.

In other exciting news, Bobby is officially registered for his Chemistry 102 class. Well, it's exciting for us anyway!

In less exciting news, it has been unusually hot in Maryland, in the low- to mid-100s F all week. (That's around 40C for all you sensible metric-using folks.) And per usual, the humidity has been awful, so the heat index has been around 110F (43C). It's like being microwaved while wrapped in a wet blanket. Yech.

Aaaaand...I have been tagged for a meme! [livejournal.com profile] rhapsody11 tagged me to tell five complete and utter lies about myself. I am a dismally honest person, so this should be fun.

Five Lies about the 'gund )

Aaaaand...I have to tag five more people! I am going to attempt to tag those whom I have not seen tagged already. Per usual, if you want to tell some lies about yourself, consider yourself tagged. And if I tag you and this meme doesn't catch your fancy, just ignore the tag. You're not going to hurt my cast-iron and extraordinarily buoyant feelings.

[livejournal.com profile] digdigil
[livejournal.com profile] greenknight33--Yes, Bobby, you have not written in your LJ in a while....
[livejournal.com profile] ssotknapsack
[livejournal.com profile] linwe_ancalime--Same for you, Kirsty.... >:^D
[livejournal.com profile] atanwende
We were up and done with breakfast early. To start the day, we lounged on the beach at Copamarina. I caught up the trip diary and wrote postcards; Bobby listened to his iPod.

Today was the day that we went snorkeling at the Wall: the coral reef at the Continental Shelf. It was a quick boat ride out, still in sight of the resort. We'd been seeing waves breaking out to sea without realizing that meant a coral reef. This dive was very different from Culebra. To step back and look at the whole picture, it was less spectacular. The reefs were smaller and more insular rather than one gigantically overwhelming piece. However it was also shallower and so better suited to snorkeling. We got more spectacular underwater pictures.

Day Six )
Well, we had our first rainy day. The blister on my finger caused by my wedding rings while kayaking finally ripped open last night. Around 4:30 a.m., while turning over to avoid my sunburn (so many insignificant pains!), I pulled it again and woke up, and it was POURING! My first, barely-awake thought: Who's running water at this hour?

Day Four )