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2 Birds….1 Rebreather

So you know the old saying “Kill two birds with one stone?” Well when you live with the mad scientist behind KISS Rebreathers that is often the way most days go. I’ve mentioned before about vacations doubling as diving adventures but there is also the sacred time alone that I get with my hubby to just hang out and enjoy each others company without a schedule to keep or plans to maintain. That being said, although my always on the go husband does find some down time for his physical self , I’m afraid his mental self (no pun intended…okay maybe a little) is always developing new projects. This often leads to his testing time running in to our alone time, which means I have learned to get used to the idea that our “normal night in” may not look like others. It goes beyond our alone time though and now has just became our normal daily life to never take things at face value.

For instance seeing crock pots lined up and turned on might make you think dinner was cooking, but in our house it means die is being heated up to color aluminum. The treadmill in the corner? Well imagine coming home and your hubby is geared up to dive but running on that instead….nothing unusual there just testing his oxygen sensors and seeing how far he can push himself. Oh and that 55 gallon drum in the backyard full of water? No silly its not for the kids to play in its for your husband to get in with his dry suit on so he can find leaks. Although it is entertaining to watch the kids look in it as he pops out like a jack in the box.

Back to our alone time..yesterday we had some time to hang out on the couch and watch a movie together..something most couples get to do every so often. Just me, Mike, and his latest project. Yup 2 birds, one rebreather.

So today in the KISS shop..

So today in the KISS shop..

We had some visitors stop by…not just stop by they actually drove in from Arizona. Amanda and Liz, who if you haven’t met them you should picked up a boat and then headed home. They spent a total of about 16 hours in our town but most of that was sleeping. Amanda had just finished riding a bicycle for over 180 miles…I’m still not sure why…especially since most of it was up hill. Liz is also an amazing athlete and the two of them together are a force to be reckoned with. Did I mention they also both dive KISS rebreathers? Yup….oh and they are usually packing more than bologna sandwiches if you know what I mean. So they have more in common with my husband than me and because of that I am so glad I got to meet them in person.

I don’t know about you but watching my husband go places I can’t  bothers me almost as much as watching other women go with him. Do you get what I am saying? So not only do you watch your significant other swim away with a female diver but then you also see them swim back and listen as they talk about the amazing things they saw. Don’t get me wrong I am happy that they had that adventure together and the rock that he brought me back..well that’s just special. Hey I had fun too, I mean I almost caught a lizard but there was this spider web and then..oh never mind. My point is its not always easy to share the excitement your mate shares with someone else and that’s okay.

So getting back to Liz and Amanda, you guessed it, they have shared experiences I haven’t with my hubby. Not only diving experiences but also conference experiences and let me tell you nothing says I miss my wife more than a picture of your husband on Facebook surrounded by women while eating out in Vegas. It’s not his fault though right? I mean he HAD to eat and the fact that the picture showed up as I was crawling in to bed alone after a long day of work and mommy duty was unfortunate for him as were the endless text messages he received from me for the next 3 hours.

So maybe I let my imagination get the best of me….did I call the hotel they were all staying at to verify separate rooms? Well wouldn’t anyone? Did I stalk Facebook for the next 3 days until he came home? Perhaps…and when he came home all excited about the conference and the neat things he and Liz and Amanda talked about did I just listen intently not worried at all about these new friends he is smitten with? Um no…but when I did finally get to meet Amanda and now Liz I realize how lucky my husband is to have friends like them and I as well. Oh and the best part? Guess who will be with them this year at the conference.. that’s right..this girl. So if your anything like me and your significant other will be at the DEAMA conference this year..send me their pic and I will keep and eye on them and make sure they are remembering their KISSmate.

 

First picture is Mike and Amanda working on stuff at the shop today, second picture is Liz, Mike and Amanda and they may have gotten some KISS swag on their way out.

Are you a KISSmate?

Are you a KISSmate?

What is a KISSmate? A KISSmate is the person who sits on the rocks and watches as their significant other disappears into the unknown. You’ve given up precious suitcase space so the most important member of the family “the rebreather” travels comfortably. You have more than likely spent important holidays on a dive trip because it served two purposes, for instance my honeymoon was spent camping at Ginnie Springs a well known cave diving system.

You know the passion your partner has for adventure, especially adventure that takes him beyond cell phone signal.

You’ve shared your partner with a mistress that you can’t compete with.. the ocean/spring/cave… whatever he calls her she’s both enchanting and addicting and when she sends him back to you worn out and weary eyed and full of stories that you can only imagine, you don’t get resentful you get grateful because the alternative is that she keeps him forever.

You may have tried to experience some of his world, if you can’t beat them join them right? But she knows… she senses the difference between those that are committed, hooked, drunk with desire and those that are just trying to look cute in a wetsuit and keep their mask cleared. You enjoyed seeing the ocean life and he babysat you long enough to earn a dive at his level where you can’t go and truthfully your so exhausted from just trying to stay alive you welcome the solitude.

You have learned that he needs this time of exploration and you have also learned to not take it personally when he kisses you goodbye and leaves looking happier than he has in months.

Eventually you will learn more about Rebreathers than you really need to but you’ll also learn how to use his weakness to your advantage. After all, hanging out at a resort with an open tab, eager pool boy and the latest novel from your favorite author isn’t the worst way to spend your time.

Pink KISSMate_Pink KissMate

The D Word

The D Word

So if you are a Kissmate then most likely your significant other just returned from DEMA. If they did not make it to DEMA, don’t worry one day they will and then this will make more sense to you. Until then store it away.

 DEMA happens to us every year. It is the magical place where our divers get together and talk about their adventures, their gear, their upgrades, their accomplishments, and their greatest love….no, not us….their love of diving. 

DEMA is always in November and for me, that means usually it falls on my anniversary. For my husband this creates a time of stress because not going to DEMA is not an option, but leaving his wife alone on their anniversary comes with baggage. You know, the kind of baggage that just sits in the corner waiting to be unpacked at the most inconvenient times. 

Of course, I am always invited to go, but it is not always that easy. If you have kids at home you get this. They cannot miss school just because you have a trip planned, and usually they are involved in extracurricular activities that have to be honored. If you have a job then you will have to use the time off to go.  And if you do go most of your divers time is spent networking or going to classes. Let’s face it, as much as you support your diver, a little bit of talk about “laying new line” or “less decompression” goes a long way. 

I noticed this week on social media that there were other celebrations posted from afar. There were happy birthday posts to wives that had been left behind with kids, happy anniversary posts, sorry I missed the recital posts, etc. My husband did an epic “Happy Aniversary” post and even started a day early with a hidden present in our house. From the outside looking in it probably the like a major win on his part, and it truly was, but remember that baggage in the corner that is waiting to get unpacked about choosing the DEMA over me? Let’s talk about what I did to keep that baggage from coming out this year.

In May when we scheduled his flight to Vegas and put the date in his calendar I suggested that a smart man would also put his anniversary in his calendar. See, I am no longer of the age of waiting on surprises or judging how much I am loved by what effort has been gone through. I am of the age that I know what I want so I do what I can to make it happen. In turn this means making sure my husband has our anniversary marked in his calendar. Does he love me any less by not remembering on his own? Nope, he loves me even more because he puts up with my insecurities and prideful needs. I also suggest to him which pictures of me are okay to post and remind him that posting a picture of himself having dinner with a group of girls at a nice restaurant is probably not the most appropriate thing to do on our anniversary if I am not one of those girls…..oh yeah it happened…and those were some big bags to unpack. Yes it was dive related and yes it was innocent in nature, but when you are home alone managing the house and kids sometimes you get resentful.

So I get it. And I feel you. If you looked at my social media page last week and thought “My diver doesn’t do that for me the then its because you have not show him how. Keeps the bags in the attic where they need to stay. Let him know what your insecurities are and help him to handle them appropriately. And most importantly, look at all the vendors that are at DEMA and let him know which bling he needs to bring back,…I mean if the bags do have to come out then at least they should be full of gifts!

Flippers and Goggles and Wetsuits oh my

Flippers and Goggles and Wetsuits oh my

KISSMATE 101

When my bestie and I decided to join in on this “scuba” thing so that we could spend more time with our husbands we had to learn a few things in order to fit in with the “cool crowd”. Lesson No. 1 is you don’t yell out “Hey babe I need some FLIPPERS” in front of your husband and his peers. Lesson No. 2 it is a mask and not goggles and at some point someone is going to spit in it and if you squeal and say gross and rinse it out it’s just going to happen again. If you think there is any thread of dignity left in your relationship it will be tossed out the window when your partner has to help you get in the wet suit that seems to be made 3 sizes to small. Jumping up and down while he holds the sides and you pray that all the extra fluff that you have been hiding all winter will magically push up to where you really need it. Of course you will only reach this point after first putting it on backwards. And because they wont tell you this in the beginning…Lesson No. 3 Plastic Bags will keep you from running away crying hysterically because you can’t even get the stupid thing over your feet.

So you know how they say “come diving with us, it will be fun”. Please realize they are inviting you to share with them an experience they have mastered. Most likely their equipment is the perfect fit for them, they have their buoyancy down and the system waited perfectly. You on the other hand are borrowing a wetsuit, squeezing your feet into fins that are too small (because what girl wants to admit they wear a size 10) and having a group of men judge how much weight it will take to get you to sink….really.

Lesson No. 4 Be honest…tell them about your huge feet. When they are trying to figure out your weight remember this key phrase

FEAR FLOATS!

So, if you are anxious you are going to breathe faster and air makes you float. Also the bigger the wetsuit the more weight you need and the more fluffiness you have, (yes fluff not the other F word) the more weight you need. The good news is that extra fluff will keep you warmer. When your partner is telling you to calm down because you keep bobbing like an apple and they look like they were born in the water remember, it’s not their first rodeo. Instead of thinking of all the ways you are going to kill them when you get back on dry land because they are making it look so easy, think about when you first learned to ride a bike, it took a couple of tries but it was worth it.

Lesson No. 5

BREATHEBe still, Relax your shoulders, Enjoy your surroundings, Accept the challenge, Tackle the fear, Hold on to your buddie (if they are OK with that), and Exhale.

This picture is of myself and Lynette (office manager of KISS) when we decided we were ready to hang with the big dogs. Look closely and you can see Lynette is holding a rock because of her bobbing abilities…when you swim with the big dogs they do not worry about weight being right, they just hand you a rock to swim around with…

Lesson number 6….just take the damn rock.

And for all you KISS divers out there reading this blog….”Make sure DECO is the only time-out you’re put in”…..remember your KISSMATE.