Archive for August 9th, 2006

ON TO THE XGAMES! (and other weird random things)

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

BMX guys

BMX Ramps

BMX guy who designed the ramps

BMX area before the crowds

The jump that made history! Travis Pastrana

More XGames history

Tressells –San Juan Capistrano — Old Man’s

Tressells — San Juan Capistrano

Our friend Barry has a contact at ESPN and said he would work on getting us in if we wanted. Of course we took him up on it. I really just wanted someone to tell me where to go and what time to be there — if you look at the schedule it is very overwhelming, and I had no idea where to start. Barry helped with all of that. An Intern from ESPN, Jen, called us and had everything ready to go, all we had to do was get there.

At the time it seemed simple, but here’s the weird random thing. I was getting the kids out of the car in a parking lot earlier in the week, when this van/trailer next to me started moving forward (the van was in the spot in front, and the trailer was next to me). When the guy pulled his van out (and probably turned the wheel too much), his trailer caught my drivers side door and kept on going. The door was now “taco-ed”, as mike would affectionately call it, it was bent so far forward it was parallel with the wheel well. Luckily, no one was hurt. I almost lost my voice screaming, (grandma, don’t read this part:) “WHAT THE F@#$! HOLY S@#$! STOP THE F&^%ING TRUCK”. I think that scared the kids more than anything. The guy had insurance, so we had that going for us — which is nice.

But now how do we get home? Or, more importantly how do we get to the XGames? I know there are a lot of people out there thinking “well, it was Julie driving, what do you expect…” — hey, I wasn’t even in the truck, it was turned off and the keys were in my purse, so please don’t use my prior “record” as any indication or influence…

Mike and I thought A LOT about what to do, because the door wasn’t even close to being able to close shut. Even when we forced it as hard as we could, it came within about 1.5 – 2 feet of actually closing. Mike did get it close enough to turn off the interior light and that annoying buzzing sound when the key is left in the ignition. Could you imagine driving across the country with the door half opened and the buzzing in the background? — Although you probably wouldn’t hear it with all of the road noise. He thought he could drive it home like that, but didn’t feel comfortable with Anne and Joey coming along. I asked the other guy’s insurance company and ours if it is even legal, and they quickly ignored me and changed the subject. No one knew. I think the deciding factor was when Mike came home after driving with the truck door strapped down but still open, he looked down and noticed that his wallet was just about to fall out. Now THAT would suck. Driving across the blazing hot desert, door ajar, ears ringing from the deafening noise, stopping to get a bite to eat and realizing your wallet fell out somewhere between Flagstaff and El Paso.

We called Kathleen, and without even hearing the entire story she FedEx-ed us some tickets. We all flew home together, it was pretty fun actually. Kathleen totally ROCKS! But she already knew that…

Anyway, on to the real excitement — the XGames.

On Thursday and Friday it was practice sessions and the place was pretty much a ghost town. It was record heat temps, I made Johnny use a stroller, but he was too pumped to use it. We met some other families that were with Make A Wish, their kids wanted to come to the XGames as their Wish. We watched the BMX guys practice and even went down on the ramps to get some autographs and meet the pros. I had no idea who any of the people were, but Johnny was filling me in. Over the past year he has caught up on all of the action sports stars by watching Fuel. He would tell me someone’s name and all about their “First Hand” (show spotlighting a particular pro), or when they were on the Daily Habit, or whatever.

Then it was on to the street session (skating). One of the guys from Real (the company who made Johnny’s signature board) was there — Dennis. This seemed to interest everyone Anne, Joey, Johnny, the other kids from Make A Wish, everyone except Sophie — imagine that. We had “Family and Friends” access which meant we could go pretty much anywhere we wanted to, when we wanted to. Both Thursday and Friday we only stayed about 2 hours before Johnny was ready to go home. But we did go back Friday night to watch the Moto X.

The seats were AWESOME. Right down in the front, close enough to have my teeth coated with dirt when the guys landed. We were lucky enough to watch Travis Pastrana make XGames and Moto X history and see him land a double flip. That was so cool. We were close enough we could have given him a high five — we tried, but he couldn’t hear us over the screaming fans and media attention.

Our contact person Jen, stopped by to meet us and take us to the athletes lounge. It was pretty cool. Again, I only knew the big names, but everyone else knew the pros. Hey — I saw Sandra Bullock and Jesse James! Anyway, it was amazing. I know I have used that word over and over again, but it truly was.

Mike came with us Friday night and Saturday, he was pretty impressed too. On Saturday, we were late getting to the Games. They started at 9am and we didn’t even get out of bed until 10am. Jen called us to find out where the heck we were because she wanted to take us to the athlete’s lounge. Saturday we met Bob Burnquist (my favorite because he is always smiling), and Bucky Lasek — Johnny favorite since he was about two. Meeting Bucky really made me get all choked up again. Just because he has always been Johnny’s favorite and he was so nice to us and played around with Johnny, not even knowing his story.

The only guys we didn’t meet, that we would have loved to were, Tony Hawk (of course), and Shawn White. Mike said, “the kids aren’t even into Tony Hawk, besides he doesn’t even skate anymore.”. NOT INTO TONY HAWK?!?! What planet do you live on? We’ve been to every Boom Boom Huck Jam in Texas, have the remote controlled Tony Hawk (he’s old, beat up and naked now, but he still works), and every finger board ramp I could find on Ebay. Johnny doesn’t make a move without a finger board in his hand. I step on those frickin’things in the middle of the night, and vacuum the microscopic pieces up daily. But I digress…

We did see them from a distance during the Vert competition. That was cool.

Surprisingly, Joey is totally into the Moto X — the guys that call themselves The Metal Militia, most notably, Brian Degan. Joey knows all about comic books and video games (I dread the day he asks me to drive him to one of those nerdy conventions, I glance in the rear view mirrow only to see him wearing a Captain America cape and Spock ears…). He actually thinks he’s getting a Moto x bike for Christmas, he’s even talking CC’s and everything. Of course in a very technical way, body weight, inertia, gravity, blah, blah, blah, etc… I kinda tuned the rest of it out… But he really wanted to meet some of those guys. Crazy huh? You think you know your kids…

Johnny was able to see the street and vert stuff as well as some Moto X. We left about 3pm, it was too crowded and we were all just too tired. We came, we saw, we conquered!

The summer vacation of 2004 was fun, it was before Johnny was diagnosed, and it was the first time in a long time I didn’t have to worry about naps or diapers (possibly something only a mother would use as a gauge as to whether something is fun or not). I thought it would be hard to beat.

So far, the summer of 2006 totally ROCKS and beats 2004 hands down!


Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Not happy waiting for his spinal… Joey made him laugh though.

Today was Johnny’s first clinic visit since before vacation. He did really well considering that he had to get a spinal tap. He couldn’t sleep last night, and was up until 1am tossing and turning. Poor thing.

His counts were awesome — ANC 1,220, HGB 12.5 and platelets 188. I was totally expecting something far worse, but was relieved when the official counts came back. The mouth sores are par for the course for him, and his nose seems to be fine today, so the doctor’s went ahead with the LP (spinal). He is still only at 50% of his oral chemo and it will probably stay that way for a long time (maybe until 2008…). We are also going to try for clinic visits every two weeks as scheduled, but his counts wouldn’t allow happen until now.

I asked about going to school this year, and both doctors said yes! WOO HOO! I don’t know how excited Johnny feels about this, but with Sophie and Johnny both in school I don’t know what I’m going to do with my time… the social worker gave us a “Going Back to School” package for the kids and teachers, and I asked if there was one for the parents too. They laughed, but I was half way serious…

August 21, 2006 will be Johnny’s first day of school — third grade, new school — the works. He hasn’t been to school since first grade. It’s kinda hard to comprehend. He will have a bunch of friends to keep him busy though. I think after the first week, he will fit right in, no problem.!