Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mission Skydive #2: Accomplished!

I did it again! Jump-out-of-airplane #2 happened on Saturday, May 2 at about 5 pm. Aaaiiiii, it was FUN!!!!!!

Here's the video!

When my feet were back on the ground after my first jump in November I knew I wanted to jump again, and I couldn't pass up the chance to buy my second jump at 50% off original price if paid for before I left the drop zone that day. Those skydiving people are crafty ones.

It was imperative to jump before hot, humid summer arrived. I don't like to sweat and there would be nothing but sweating going on were I to be wearing that long-sleeved jumpsuit on pretty much any day in June, July, August, September or even late May for that matter, thus May 2 was chosen. My friend Jill, who has wanted to go skydiving since she was 16, was very excited to accompany me for her first jump...jumping with a friend is so fun!!

I did notice that in the weeks leading up to May 2 I felt oddly nervous when I thought about jumping for a second time. I got to the point where I avoided thinking about it. I don't like to feel can lead to sweating. I started checking the weather about 10 days out: scattered thunderstorms for Chester, SC. Oh no! Except the closer the day came the more I noticed a tiny little part of me that thought, "Maybe they'll have to cancel and reschedule...", a tiny traitorous part that actually sort of hoped for a reprieve to give me some time to work out my nerves. The weekend arrived and so did Jill (bearing lemon cake, bless her heart! Jill, you come back anytime now, y'hear!) and I started to think about all the fun things Jill and I could do with our day when we wouldn't have to make the drive to and from Chester, PLUS Jill could come back for another visit the weekend of the rescheduled skydive...perfect!

The morning of the EVENT was calling for storms to start at 3 pm in Chester...we were scheduled to jump between 4 and 5 pm. It didn't look good/it looked great! (dang traitor in my head) Maggie, the very sweet woman at Skydive Carolina who talked to me every time I called to ask what the weather verdict was, finally admitted that they couldn't be sure what the weather would do, and it was our call...and darn Jill and her excited yet rational self...she pointed out that this could just as easily happen again when we rescheduled the jump, thus we should take our chances and go. Sigh, ok, here we go.

Don't you know the sky was sunny and blue with puffy clouds floating lazily along when we got to the drop zone around 1 pm. At one point during the afternoon there was one ominous looking dark cloud that hung around for about 15 minutes and then drifted away. I began to realize that I wasn't going to be getting out of anything...except for an airplane at approximately 14,000 feet. I was so nervous! And I still have no idea why! I had no worries about anything bad happening, so I really don't know what my deal was. My tandem instructor did tell me later that it was common for people to be more nervous about their second dive. Ok, so I'm not a lone weenie at least; there are lots of weenies sort of like me!

We hung out and watched several plane loads go up: I was nervous.
We sat around and watched a team practice their freefall formations before going up: I was nervous.
We watched people repack parachutes: I was nervous.
We watched the "you can't sue us if you die" video and went through the training with Chuck, my instructor from my last jump: I was nervous.
We suited up and I met Robert West my tandem instructor for this jump: He was so nice! I was still nervous.

Oh and remember how that small suit didn't work out for me last time? Um, the medium suit was MIGHTY SNUG this, eating too much + not exercising enough really does have the effect they say, huh. Well, I'm working on that now. (I should say I'm relying heavily on God to help me work on that now and stick to it. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (And so can you if you let God help! Grab a Bible and read Phillipians chapter 4, verse 13)) We got on the plane, and BOY WAS I NERVOUS.

Even my hair looks nervous.

Honestly I don't remember the last time I have been so swamped with fear. I was praying as hard as I could and just deciding that I wasn't going to let the fear overwhelm me. It was a struggle, and I clung to God the whole time. I watched my altimeter on the way up so I'd be prepared when the instruction came to put my little diving hat on and get ready. We goofed around for the video, got all hooked up and suddenly that plane door was sliding up and people were falling out left and right...on purpose...and my turn was coming.
My goal for this jump was to keep my eyes open during freefall, and I was determined to follow through. I even paid for another video plus still pictures to encourage me to make the expense worthwhile. That's why I got them...not because I love to see myself in pictures or anything (haha...ha, ok, that was sarcasm). So I was thinking, "Keep your eyes open keep your eyes open, Kimberly, YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!"
I did actually help with the scooting down the bench this time (as opposed to last time when I wasn't actively resisting, but I sure wasn't helping Chuck get us closer to that gaping hole in the side of plane), but only because I was practicing wearing my big girl panties. Oh, look, there's my dear friend there by the door about to--oh, there she went...we're at the door, Robert says, "Ready, And, Arch!" and out we go. And I am staring at Terry my video flyer with all my might. And my eyes are open! And it is AMAZING! I am immediately really excited and proud of myself and trying to take it all in and mug for the camera, and did I mention I was proud of myself? These big girl panties sort of fit, don't they! (And that is no comment on my slightly too-snug, size medium jump suit)
My only issue this time is that I can't figure out how to breathe with all the wind in my I'm gulping like a fish the whole time. If you watched the video you may have noticed this strange behavior. Gulping results in pictures like this:

Yeah, not cute. But that just means that I have goals for next time! (That and my atrocious form...arms were supposed to be bent 90 degrees, not straight in front of me Superman-style, and I was supposed to arch so that my legs were pushed up behind me, not dangling down in front) Terry offered the mid freefall spin just as video man Pete did last time, but I wasn't ready for that yet, so you can see me in the video try to let him know a couple times I'm not up for the spinning. This gesturing resulted in pictures like this:

But gorgeous pictures skillfully taken of me making horrid, unflattering faces aside, THE JUMP WAS AMAZING! Keeping one's eyes open adds SO MUCH to the experience! Duh, right?? Makes sense...I was absolutely overwhelmed by the sight of the clouds and the sky and the ground and the tiny trees and Terry falling right with me, and the loud rush of wind. So overwhelmed and absorbed that I forgot all about checking my altimeter at any point. In the plane Robert had showed me the rip cord attached to me and said, "If you get scared or you see that we are at 3 or 4000 feet and I haven't opened the chute, you pull this", and I said, "Ok!" I am very glad Robert was awake and on the job because I was having such a good time I didn't think anything about how many thousand feet up we were at any given moment.
Once he pulled the chute and we slowed down I couldn't help but yell, I was SO excited about the amazing freefall. Bless Robert's heart, he's trying to do his parachute thing and I'm all, "OH MY GOSH THAT WAS AMAZING! WHOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WOOOOOOOW! THAT WAS AMAZING!" I was so full of the amazing thing we had done I just couldn't keep it in. He said it was a great jump as we had been stable (falling on our stomachs) from the very start without any flips or rolls. Cool! I like to think I helped with that in some way. I didn't, but I still like to think that.
The canopy ride was of course absolutely fun and amazing; I could even see Jill and Chuck below and in front of us. The wind was right for Jill and Chuck to do a stand-up landing while Robert and I scooted to a very soft sit-down stop. Jill has actually written up her experience here, so you can see what it was like from her perspective.
What an amazing adventure it was. It was SO much fun to share this experience with a friend, and I can't WAIT for my next jump!


Pony Girl said...

Wow, that is amazing! ;) Good for you! I would love to do that...but think I'd be too terrified to do so! I had to chuckle at the gulping fish...not being able to breath would really bother me, too! Sometimes I get that when I am blow drying my bangs, I can't would I feel falling from a plane?

i cant sew said...

oh kimberly you wrote that so well i felt like i was there with you!! i couldnt close my mouth from excitement just like you couldnt close your mouth due to falling throuhg the sky at break neck speed. thanks for such a great ride, i am off to watch the movie of you and then visit your friends site.
smooches %*_*% rosey

Donnamo said...

Well, just when I'd almost given up on you posting is your most amazing blog ever. You ALMOST made me want to jump and that is saying something :)

You are an Academy Award Actress honey, you did not look act or talk the least bit scared :)

I love you; and have I told you you look and act a little bit like my good, good, friend Margaret Fober....go figure :)

Jill Carson said...

Dude, this is not helping me get over my desire to do it AGAIN! I'm all curious now whether I'll freak out more the second time, and what more I'll be able to pay attention to, having done it once. Yay for next year!

Heather said...

nervous hair. lol.

Denine Z said...

So well written! I am proud of you for keeping your eyes open the 2nd time! I too was concerned that the medium purple suit wouldn't fit...I prayed Lord, please don't let me have to wear the LARGE size! So funny but my instructor didn't say or do the same things as yours. And we didn't stick the landing which sucked cos that was my biggest fear! I signed up for the 1/2 off my next jump (marketing, marketing) and Allen is going to jump with me. So much fun but it is over too quickly!