The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge Saga…


Dearest Readers:

My last post discussed briefly the issues we endured in Charleston, SC during our ‘winter storm.’ If you recall, the ice on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge was an issue…one the engineers did not believe would be an issue. Statements were made that the ice would melt and not fall on cars. Damage to cars was not an issue — to the engineers.

DUH!?! I ask you, must one have an engineering degree to have just a bit of common sense???

Living in Mt. Pleasant, I drive across the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge almost daily and I hated that it was closed for such a long time, but I did consider that ice on the cable stays might be an issue. Others disagreed with me; however, when the ice began melting and falling from the cable stays, my theory was 100% correct. http://www.live5news.com/story/24599717/ravenel-bridge-shut-down-as-ice-falls-from-diamonds

When the breaking news about the falling ice was reported, cameras on the bridge showed viewers how large and dangerous the ice was. Reportedly, drivers dodged the ice, while other drivers were not so lucky! Photographs revealing shattered windshields and damaged cars demonstrated the danger better than any reporter could.

I phoned my husband who was back at work for the first time since the crippling winter storm. I suggested that he would probably be in another traffic jam on his drive home since the authorities appeared to be scratching their heads about when the bridge would reopen. “Let us use our common sense, people…If the bridge is losing icicles, is it a good idea to reopen until certain the ice has stopped dropping?”

Duh!

I do hope the engineers, SCDOT, and the authorities learned something about the bridge. Yes, it is beautiful. An amazing landmark for our beautiful city; however, when we have a rare occasion of ice and snow, those cables do freeze and it takes a bit of time for them to drop or melt from the cable stays. I doubt there is a de-ice that could be used. Those cable stays are not exactly easy to heat. Let’s not consider using a blow dryer! Mother Nature must do her job to allow the ice to melt. Perhaps next time a freak but beautiful winter storm comes our way, the authorities will remember the icing issues and keep the bridge closed UNTIL all the ice is melted. We are fortunate that a driver was not killed! Just picture it. You have a car with a sun roof. Ice crashes from the cable stays onto the sun roof. Would the driver actually survive this? I doubt it. The ice would be a missile exploding onto the sun roof, or windshield. We were blessed that God protected the city. All the engineers need is a bit of common sense while recognizing that no one can predict in what direction those icicles will drop. There are approximately 128 cable stays on the bridge. Next time, our city must be prepared. Yes, closing the bridge is an inconvenience; nevertheless, Charleston is not exactly a city known for bridges, or convenience along the roads. It took 10 hours during the last hurricane for my husband and I to drive 57 miles out of the city when we were told we must leave. Yes, I said — ten hours, to drive 57 miles! I love living in Charleston, but I do not like how this city does not plan for the future regarding traffic issues. If you move to Charleston, you must consider when we have storms, we are not as prepared as we should be.

Today, I am happy to report is a beautiful day of sunshine. No doubt the groundhog will see his shadow. Who cares! The weather in Charleston will change. Spring will soon arrive and all will be beautiful again. As for the bridges — only Mother Nature can control them or predict any dangers along the way. Happy and safe driving, Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge drivers!

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Br-r-r-r-r…But Baby It’s Cold Outside!


Dearest Readers:

But baby, it’s cold outside! It is Thursday morning. Normally, I rush to my Weight Watchers meetings on Thursday mornings; however, this Thursday morning is the exception.

Why?

Simple. I live in Charleston, SC — a city that markets itself as a city with ‘a mild climate.’ Mild climate? Are they nuts? It is 26 degrees outside this morning. My yard is still covered with spots of snow. Icicles are still on the mimosa tree. Yes, baby…it’s cold outside!

For two days I’ve been inside the house striving to stay warm. Occasionally, I walk outside to feel the crisp, cold weather on my face. When it started raining with ice in the rain early Wednesday morning, I walked outside to feel it on my face. I wasn’t certain if it was rain, or ice, but when it dropped onto my head, I felt the ice. For two days, my husband has been home from work due to — ‘in-climate weather.’ Tuesday, nothing happened. Wednesday morning — excuse the expression, but all Hell broke loose and the City of Charleston was crippled. We, the residents of Mt. Pleasant, were crippled effective Tuesday evening at 8pm when the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge closed. Moments later, the other bridge leading us out of Mt. Pleasant, the Don Holt Bridge, was closed.

“The City of Charleston is all but crippled now,” I said to myself. “Only in Charleston!”

Yesterday, I strove to write, only staring at my computer screen instead. I could not understand why the bridges were still closed. ‘Couldn’t they clear the roadbeds?’ Regardless, the roads to and out of Mt. Pleasant are crippled — still this morning. What an interesting day this will be!

Yesterday, since my husband was home I recognized that he would interrupt my thoughts, my chores, my busy-ness constantly — and he did! Once, while staring at the computer screen, he rushed to my desk. A look of panic on his face. At first I thought ‘oh my…is he having a heart attack?’

Nope. All is fine with his heart. To those of you who do not know, or understand my husband, let’s just say — he is blessed with a technical mind. Common sense? Definitely lacking.

Yesterday, his emergency was due to a lacking of common sense. My husband is named Phil. As a child, it appeared to my observations that EVERY boy I met named Phil was either a geek, or a nerd! You guessed it — I married a “Phil,” and named my only child “Phillip!” DUH!

Let me explain the scenario of yesterday. Phil rushed to my side, asking if I had a ‘moment.’

“What now?”

“Can you take these tiny tweezers and see if you can get something out of my ear?” He held the tweezers that looked more like a small jewelry tool to me.

“What have you done?”

“I was cleaning wax out of my ears and something broke off inside my ear.”

“Let me guess. You used your eye glasses again, didn’t you!”

Mr. Gifted Technology just doesn’t get it. Never do you use the tip of your eyeglasses to clean your ears!

Phil grabbed his car keys. “Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m certain the bridge is open now. I need to get my ear checked.”

“Arthur Ravenel Bridge is still closed. You will not be able to get out of Mt. Pleasant.”

Phil ignored me, and off he went. About thirty minutes later he returned home. No medical facilities were open, and all of the bridges were closed still. He could not understand why the Ravenel Bridge was still closed. OK…Allow me to explain.

The bridge is a twin tower structure, with cables! Wouldn’t icicles form on the cables? Yes, they could clear the roadbed, but do we actually expect someone to clean the cables, clearing them of the icicles…and IF a car drove over this bridge now…what would happen IF an icicle fell onto the car? Wouldn’t it work like an unguided missile?

Just my observation, as a writer. You must understand…Mr. Gifted Technology thinks women do not have common sense, or brains! I’m happy to announce, HE IS MISTAKEN!

At 3pm, the announcement was made that the Don Holt Bridge was open for traffic now. Phil decided he needed to get the tip of his eyeglasses out of his ear. He kept asking me to go with him. At 5pm, we left, driving across the Don Holt Bridge to I-26. Still, Phil could not understand why the signature bridge, Arthur Ravenel Bridge, wasn’t open. I decided to keep my thoughts to myself about my theory. He would never agree with me!

When we arrived at the VA Hospital, everyone got a bit of a kick out of Phil’s reason for being there! Using the tip of your eyeglasses to clean wax from your ears???

Yep! It makes sense to me…NOT!

And to think, this man is a computer whiz! Whenever neighbors or friends need computer service, Phil is the one they call to fix the problems. He is gifted with computers and can always repair the problems I have with mine. Common sense???!!?

Well, let’s just say, anyone who uses the tip of the eyeglasses to clean their ears needs a bit more in the common sense area! Eyeglasses are prescribed to assist eye sight, not to clean the ears.

Phil is home again today. Due to the parking lot of traffic on Don Holt Bridge, he cannot make it to work. When he called, he was told, the power was out at the office, so just stay home.

Joy! Another day with a man who insists on using eye glasses to cleanse the ears. I can only imagine what will happen today. We still have snow on the ground. The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge has been closed since 8pm Tuesday night, and If I attempt to write, I am certain I will be interrupted again. I think the next time we have a threat of a ‘winter storm in Charleston, SC’ I will escape. I’ll keep that little secret to myself!

Welcome to Charleston, SC — tourists… A city with mild climates? I’ll let the snow birds and tourists debate that statement. I’m still looking for spring!

Losing, the Weight Watchers Way!


Dearest Readers:

Today is always the day — for my ‘weigh in’ with Weight Watchers. How did it go? I suppose since I am totally exhausted from lack of sleep — again — awakening at 2:00am, turning the television on, thankful that I can now record “Designing Women” and the “Golden Girls,” I watch several episodes while Father Time ever so slowly ticks, ticks, tick-tocks, the night away. Last week I did not go to the meeting. I was much too tired due to lack of sleep and another migraine headache. Let’s just say, I’m not a fun person to be around when I have a headache.

Recognizing that if I do not get myself to the meeting I will have the tendency to slack off, I force myself to get to the meeting. This has been a good week, not just because I anticipated a good weight loss. It’s been a good week because I am working out more often, walking on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and I am using the treadmill. So, this week, life has been good.

Arriving at the meeting, I hop on the scale. Minus 1.8 pounds this week, and I have finally broken that silly plateau that I was on — for seven months. Those seven months were a true test for me. Was I really determined to stick it out and continue following Weight Watchers?

The answer is Yes! Even when I didn’t lose, or gained a bit, I kept telling myself —
This I Do For Me!
Even If I Gain, I’m Still Following Weight Watchers
I Am Making New Friends – All to the Credit of Weight Watchers
Healthy Eating, the Weight Watchers Way is The Only Way!
Just Move – Walk…Use The Treadmill, Work Out…Simply Because — IT WORKS!

This week, while cleaning my husband was home. As he watched me doing the household chores, he kept looking at a part of my body – only this time it wasn’t my chest. “You know,” He said, “Your butt is getting smaller!”

I placed the dust cloth on the table. “You mean, you’ve actually noticed?”

Coming from him that is truly a compliment. He is quick to look at other women, especially when their booties, or boobs attract his eyes.

Turning back to the housework while my husband continued to be a couch potato, I was pleased that he noticed, a bit annoyed that he never offered to help with housework. Yes, my husband is from the old school — the Archie Bunker school, I might add!

No wonder I am such a feminist!

I have come to terms with the reality and pride of what I am accomplishing with Weight Watchers, and my Thursday morning meetings really start my day (and weekend) off with a bit of strength and newfound confidence! I am proud that I practice a completely new lifestyle now, and I’ve discovered that when I share with others that I am doing Weight Watchers, they are supportive. That was another reality check for me.

When I joined Weight Watchers, I did not share the news with others. Two weeks after joining, I finally announced it to some friends, and they are always asking me how it is going…am I still doing Weight Watchers…how much have I lost…and does it really help to join Weight Watchers?

I have had a couple of friends who joined after I did. One lost weight quickly, but then she lost interest. I haven’t asked her if she has put the weight back on. I strive to be sensitive to those issues, recalling the many, many years when I was so sensitive about my weight gains…losses…gains…haven’t we all struggled in that respect. Another friend joined Weight Watchers On Line. At first, she lost quickly, then she stopped. She confessed to me that she had given up and was cancelling her membership.

Perhaps I persuaded her to go to a meeting. At first, she was apprehensive. “I don’t want others to know how much I weigh.”

The meetings are confidential. No one can read the scales. You don’t have to be ashamed…we have all been there!

She went to a meeting, and I do believe she is still going to the meetings. She lives miles away from me, so we don’t get to see each other in person.

Today, it felt good to return to Weight Watchers after missing last week. Soon, I will tip the scales with a 40 pound weight loss. I’ll be so happy when that day arrives. I will probably meet with the leader then to decide what my goal is. I have a number dancing inside my head, but I’ll not share it — yet! Just know, for me — and perhaps for others, Weight Watchers is truly the key to losing weight and keeping it off. “Weight Watchers, because it works,” Jennifer Hudson says, and for me, I can truly relate to those words. As I watch the pounds, inches and clothing sizes decreasing, I finally gave myself a gift I haven’t shared with anyone.

Stein Mart recently had a full-length mirror at a special price. All of my life I have wanted a full-length mirror. Each time I thought about buying one, I talked myself out of it, because I had too many bumps on my body…I didn’t want to see myself in a full-length mirror, but this time, I found the courage to buy it. One afternoon while dressing to go to karaoke, I tried a new short skirt on. I looked in the floor-length mirror. Much to my surprise, I heard a voice say, “Girl…you’re looking good!”

Is that really me in the mirror? For the first time since losing my father in July, 1999, I felt proud of myself and the image looking in the mirror. I cannot wait to reach goal and see the image again!

For me, Weight Watchers is my new lifestyle change. I am eating healthier now. I actually enjoy fresh fruit again, and I have learned that when I am fulfilled, I stop eating. My husband says I eat like a bird now…compared to his appetite, I suppose that is true.

Next Thursday is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Regardless what I eat on that date, I will enjoy every taste of the delicious foods and fruit I eat. Weight Watchers will be closed on that date, and I doubt that I will attend a different meeting. I’ve gotten to know the people at our meeting and I enjoy chatting with them. Who cares if I don’t attend a meeting next week. I’ll still be loyal to Weight Watchers.

“Why?”

Simple…because Weight Watchers Works, for me…and for millions! And now, I’m off to attempt a nap. If sleep fails to captivate me, I’ll just hop on the treadmill, and fight with my mini-Schnauzer, Hank. He totally believes the treadmill is his big toy.

Enjoy your week, readers and remember — “Weight Watchers, because it works.”

Losing Weight — the Weight Watchers Way


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, I wrote a bit of a monologue about my struggles with weight loss. Today is Thursday — my weekly ‘weigh in day’ at Weight Watchers. Arriving at the meeting, I shared the poem that I mentioned yesterday, “Don’t Quit”:

“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be nearer when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse you mustn’t quit!”

After weighing in, I asked our leader, Kathy, if she would like to share the poem at the meeting. I explained to her that this passage was something I could relate to. “Many times it has given me strength while guiding me through the darkness of my life.”

Kathy smiled. “That is your anchor, isn’t it.”

Yes, definitely! I cannot tell you how many times I have read and re-read that passage just to lift me out of the darkness. While my dad battled cancer, I read it as tears streamed down my face. When my mother died, unexpectedly, I read it – giving me strength to forgive and forget the bitterness we shared. During fights with my husband, I read the passage, reminding myself “Don’t Quit…It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

Receiving rejection letters from publishers, producers, agents, I held the passage in my hands, reminding me I must continue this journey. Now, I’ve suddenly realized that passage is so appropriate for Weight Watchers. Just ask yourself — how many times have you wanted to throw in the towel? With weight loss, marriage, kids, or life? I’ve lost count!

Yes, these inspiring words are my anchor. They have served as a guiding light for my life, my desires, my dreams and my passions. Today at Weight Watchers I walked inside with the strength of confidence on my shoulders, a bright smile on my face. I was so ready for those scales to encourage me. This was a good week for me. I truly stuck to writing my foods in the journal, tracking, and I used the treadmill during the dreadful storms. A new Weight Watchers friend and I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, but the storms would not stop so we could ‘hit the bridge.’ So, I fought with my mini-schnauzer and let him walk on the treadmill for a bit, then I turned it off, so he would hop off and I could walk for thirty minutes. Then, I did side bends, arm and bicep exercises and I patted myself on the back for doing something for me. After all, when I joined Weight Watchers my slogan was, “This I do for me!”

How did I do this week? I inhaled and exhaled, held my breath and tried to watch as the receptionist wrote the number down. She smiled, handed my booklet back and said, “Congratulations. Two pounds!”

Yes, some of you will say — ‘oh, big deal. You only lost two pounds…in a week.’

If I wasn’t a Weight Watcher, just imagine what I would weigh today.

What will I do next week? Will I accomplish another loss? We are under tropical storm watches in Mt. Pleasant, but that isn’t going to discourage me. This I can do for myself. I suppose you’ll just have to stay tuned to this blog to read what this writer and singer is doing, and if she is successful. Until next week:

Don’t Quit:
“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be nearer when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse you mustn’t quit!”

Walking the Bridge — the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge Saga Continues!


This morning I awoke from another night of fitful sleep, exhausted once again. Yesterday, I gave in to it, allowing my depression and lack of energy to defeat me. Today, I procrastinated for a bit, then finally forced myself to get up and get busy. Get off this computer. Move your legs…move your butt…just move! Isn’t that what Michelle Obama tells everyone. Just move! Great advice, but yesterday, I simply gave in.

Today is Wednesday…a new day! I refuse to allow my depression and lack of energy to defeat me today. Yesterday, I had a bit of anticipated bad news about someone once close to my life. I’ll not mention, or elaborate what the news was, but those who truly know me understand. While it would be easy for me to just say, “To Hell with it…” I will not. I have dragged myself out of the depths of depression many times…and to those of you who do not understand the struggles of depression, believe me, you are blessed to never have experienced it. The lack of energy…the sadness…the emotional roller coaster…the tears… It is so easy to allow it to bring a person down, but I’ve been down before, recognizing that when I am emotionally buried within that deep hole, there is no where else to go, but up! Today is a new day!

Rushing to style my hair a bit, I dressed and headed to the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. Today, regardless how I felt I was certain that a swift walk on the bridge was the only drug I needed to get me moving again.

I’ll attempt the first tower. Maybe I’ll feel better. The walk begins. The wind is brisk in my face, almost taking my breath away. I was suddenly thankful I had remembered to pack my inhaler in my bag, in the event I needed it. Inhaling. Exhaling. I continue the walk, forcing my legs to move faster. I time my walks, always curious as to how long it will take. The first walk was four miles total. I made this journey in 2.5 hours. Maybe not a good time for some people, but while I’m not a beginner walker, the bridge is a challenge.

Today, I made it to the first tower in about 20 minutes. OK. Maybe not great…but I’m asthmatic and the wind is forcing me to slow down a bit. Accomplishing the first tower, off I go to the second span from the Mt. Pleasant side. I am proud to say, today was a new day for me…a great day…I walked three miles on the bridge in 1 hour 28 minutes! Oh Happy Day!

Today, not only did I do something for my health, my emotional health and my demeanor, I broke my walking record while proving to myself that when the depths of depression attempt to bring me down, I can fight back without being violent (violence is not in my character) and I can beat it by feeding myself positive mental feedback!

Yes, I still worry about the situation that I heard about yesterday, but that situation is truly out of my hands. I cannot control what happened, nor can I change it. I cannot allow those sad days to bring me down, and I cannot let bad news influence me. After all, I am the person I am today because I chose to move away and not look back on my life, or the emotional scars I have endured on my journey of life. I have to continue to make life an adventure. Today, I am proud of my achievements…and I am thrilled that I can do what I set out to do today, while making a road map for future adventures. Walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is only one of my journeys in life.

How about you? What are your journeys? Dreams? Accomplishments? Let us all live to survive life by making lemonade when life gives us lemons!

There is a cliché I live by now — “This I do for me!”

Another valuable lesson in life to guide me through the disappointments and life’s challenges!

 

 

Walking At An Advanced Level While Working Thru My Fears – Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge


Today, I tackled the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge once again. My goal for each week is to walk it three times weekly. To those of you who do not know, “The bicycle and pedestrian lane is 2.7 miles long (14,400 feet), measuring from
Patriots Point Road to East Bay Street. Measuring only the part that is on the bridge structure, the walkway is 2.4 miles long (12,750 feet). Most of the bridge is limited to a 4.1% maximum slope. On the Charleston side of the
main span, the long approach is a 1.8% slope. On the Mount Pleasant side, there is a section three tenths of a mile long that has a 5.6% slope.” http://www.cooperriverbridge.org/bike.shtml

The bridge opened in 2005. Almost every time I have driven across this bridge I have always said to myself, “One day, I’m going to walk that bridge…” Thanks to Weight Watchers and the new goals I have established, I am achieving that goal. I must say, as I approach the beginning of the bridge, I look ahead, noticing the steep incline. “Focus,” I tell myself. “You can do this.” There is an inner-voice inside of me saying, “Don’t you hear the traffic. Don’t you remember how frightened you are of busy roads, cars rushing by and so much traffic.” I struggle to push that inner-voice aside…not to listen to her…to be stronger…more determined…and before I know it, I continue the walk. My first goal is the first tower from Patriots Point. Accomplishing that goal, I rest…breathing in…breathing out…remembering how I must breathe so I do not have an asthma attack.

I am proud of myself for accomplishing the bridge walk. As a child, resting inside an oxygen tent, fighting another episode of asthma in the hospital, I never thought I could accomplish this task. Doctors had said that I would never be active like other children, simply because asthma had left me weak. The steep incline intimidated me at first, but I wanted to prove to myself that I can do this. Maybe I cannot run like the joggers who pass by me, but I can achieve my goals, and I have.

Today, while walking up the first incline, I noticed a woman struggling. She stopped. As I passed by her, I turned back. “Are you Okay?” Her breathing was raspy. She held on to the rail, looking down.

“I’m afraid of heights… I can’t do this. I told my daughter I couldn’t and I’m scared.”

“Where’s your daughter?”

“Up there ahead of us.”

I touched her. “It’s okay. I have a fear of traffic. I was hit by a car when I was nine-years-old. I’m horrified that a car may jump the ramp and hit me…but I can’t focus on that. I have to believe in the power of positive thinking, and I must have faith that I can do this walk.”

The woman gave me a puzzled look. “When you were hit, were you injured?”

“Definitely. The driver was a hit and run. He was a teenager. He was drunk, but when he noticed someone was writing notes about the accident, he pulled over. I guess he knew he would be caught, so he stopped then. I had a severe concussion and my brain was swollen. The doctors and police officers said I should’ve been killed…but look at me now…Here I am walking the bridge. If I can do this with my fears, so can you.”

The woman released her clutched hand from the rail. “Ok,” she said. “How do you know I can do this…that I can work past my fears…?”

“I have faith…God will guide you.”

“You don’t know me…”

“I have faith.”

I started my approach again. The woman followed me. When I topped the second tower, I saw her again, walking with her daughter. She stopped to hug me.

“Thank you,” she said. “I did it! I wouldn’t have done it without you.”

Her daughter smiled, said thank you and together, they turned to walk down the bridge.

Funny. Today was my day just to walk the bridge, only today was a new day for me to smile at someone, share a bit of courage, and a lot of faith. Every day of my life, I attempt to share a bit of kindness to others. Never did I think I would do that on the towers of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge.

Walking down the bridge, I felt a bit wiser…a bit stronger…a bit happier with who I am. I smile at people as I pass them on the bridge. Most of them are preoccupied with cell phones, Ipods and a blank look on their faces. Today, I am thankful that although my Blackberry is inside my pocket, my Ipod is at home and I am focused on the challenge of walking the bridge…building a bridge to my health, happiness and weight loss. Much of that I give credit to Weight Watchers, but today, I give credit to the kindness of a stranger who was struggling to work past her fear…and she did it…along with me!

Weight Watchers — I Do Not Understand Why I Can Post Comments but Not Post on MY Blog!


I have attempted many times to post on my Weight Watchers blog with anticipation of getting readers to read my blog; nevertheless, it appears that EVERY TIME I post on the blog, select my category and click post, I get a foolish message that I cannot post at this time…try later.

Furious, I copy my post and add it to my personal writing blog, https://barbieperkinscooper.wordpress.com/

Today, it will be interesting to see IF this post will work. I read lots of blogs on the Weight Watchers site while I am curious as to why mine fails to post.

I have much to share, or, at least I thought I did. Lately I’ve accomplished walking not at a beginner’s level, but an advanced, walking the 5.4 miles of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston, SC. My goal was to post about this experience here, on the Weight Watchers site. Please don’t say to me, just contact Weight Watchers. Duh! I have. They told me to check my cookies. If that is the case, then why I am allowed to post comments?

So, for now, this is a test…and only a test…I expect to get that silly comment again…Here goes! If it doesn’t work here, just visit https://barbieperkinscooper.wordpress.com/