Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rainy Days and Sundays

Posted by: Jenn Latino
I am a fairly quick decision maker. I don’t dwell over things. My “gut” typically leads me toward one option or another and I confidently make my choice and move forward. When a decision calls for a more complex process than just the “gut,” I rely on my trusty, no fail, method of Rock, Paper, Scissors. A game of R-P-S aided in my decision to buy my first (and only) brand new car (R.I.P. Winnie the marvelous CRV) and solidified my decision to become a Seminole when the graduate school choices were too overwhelming. It works!! My CRV hung in there for 10 years and nearly 250,000 miles and Florida State University served me well and I landed one of their diplomas on my wall.

I don’t see much need for dwelling over decisions. I find it easier to make a quick choice and then deal with the circumstances (or consequences) that come with it afterwards. Kind of like taking off a band-aid. Just rip it! Then rub it really fast to take the sting away.

This method works in most aspects of my life. I have found only a few situations where decisions do not come quickly. One of those situations is the Komen 3-Day for the Cure! A lot of the decisions that come with the 3-Day process have been challenging for me. From deciding to join in 2009 to choosing just the right “luggage” to carry (do you remember the fanny pack or back pack woes of Captain Kim last year?) there are many very important decisions that daunt a 3-Day walker and it can be quite stressful!

This weekend I had another adventure at REI (you can find a series of REI reports from many of my teammates in the archives of our blog) and, as usual, I spent far too much time trying to make a decision. I do not accept all of the blame for this indecisiveness. REI is like the Ikea of sporting goods. They are only located in really fun, large cities (NOT Columbia, SC) so when you are near one, you just have to go in! And, since the store is larger than some countries, it’s overwhelming!

I was looking forward to my trip to Raleigh this weekend because I needed to make a final purchase to complete my gear for the 3-Day. A raincoat! My logic is, if I have a raincoat, we won’t need it. Last year, we needed it. And, I had my cheap “water resistant” plastic jacket that had accompanied me to several outdoor concerts and sporting events. On Day 1, when the rain started during the opening ceremonies as a light mist and by lunch became a torrential downpour that soaked our sandwiches (and our tushes), my trusty coat was a complete failure. Water resistant and water proof are two very different promises. I actually tested this theory with one of my dad’s watches when I was a child. The same held true then and my dad landed himself a new watch and I am sure I landed myself with some time alone in my bedroom. A water resistant rain coat is about as effective as placing a patio umbrella up in Florida during hurricane season. It may look good, but it’s not going to function well. It resisted the water for a few minutes but quickly became like a second skin, sticking to my arms and chest, anywhere that skin was exposed, and turning my entire body into a Dutch oven! I was wet and roasting in that jacket, making for a less than pleasant first 20 miles. I promised that I would invest in more appropriate rain gear for the 2010 event and, thanks to two of my aunts, I entered REI armed with the funds and the gusto to find just the right jacket.

You might be surprised how many options there are for raincoats! There were at least 5 racks, 4 arms per rack, all completely loaded with an array of rain gear. I eliminated a few immediately based on price tags. Holy cow! My dad has purchased vehicles for less than the cost of a Marmot brand jacket. And it was a BMW! The second elimination was any tag that read “water resistant.” I have already learned that lesson. The third elimination was based on the cuteness factor. While I am the first to admit that the 3-Day is Not for Pretty, there is no excuse for wearing a shiny smock of nylon just because it will keep you both dry and warm in sub zero temperatures. Just layer up in cute sweatshirts and quit whining!

Once I had the initial 3 levels of elimination taken care of, I had 2 racks of rain jacket options to cruise. I tried on 4-5 different styles and decided that the perfect fit, weight, and style was The North Face Venture. This was, conveniently, one of the least expensive options AND I could fit into the Medium!!! Anything with an M on the tag and I am SOLD! Now, color. This is where the real challenge began. The Venture was available at the Raleigh REI in Loganberry red (AKA: Purple), Alpine blue (AKA: Carolina blue), Weimarnar (AKA: Puke Green), and Black. The one I most liked was the Alpine blue. Perhaps an appropriate choice for the walk. It’s the color of both Kim and Meredith’s backpacks and Meredith’s rain jacket so we would be easy to spot in the crowd of walkers. However, if I expect to ever wear this jacket again, say at an NCSU football game….Alpine Blue=Eliminated. The Weimarnar was a definite No! I blame my Fayetteville, NC upbringing for my complete aversion to anything camouflage tone. The Loganberry was just too, well, loganberry. I began to settle on the black. This process of selecting the very cute and affordable North Face Venture took nearly 45 minutes. I was in a hurry to get back to the house in time for the 8pm football game so I needed to pick up the pace. Still not 100% sure of my choice, I sent a text to Captain Kim and asked what she thought. After a quick affirmation that I definitely could not be caught dead in Alpine blue, she reminded me that after the rain often comes the very bright and very warm sun. If I had a black jacket, that may make for a very sweaty walk. TRUE! Last year after the down pour we faced an incredibly sunny and humid afternoon. Black=Eliminated.

Completely frustrated, I left REI empty handed.

Certain that my inability to make a decision was only because I had no one to talk through things with, I conned/convinced Dana to go back to REI with me on Sunday. It wasn’t difficult to do. I told her that I saw a few clearance racks in the cycling section and that was all it took. Dana had full agreement that the Alpine blue was not an option. She wasn’t very helpful beyond that. But, on Sunday, we met Jacob, a friendly (maybe too friendly) sales associate who took a very keen interest in my rain jacket selection. Jacob brought a variety of rain gear to the space were I was camped out near the full-length mirror. He started with the $300+ jackets. I had to school Jacob pretty quickly on my Saturday adventure. My time with Jacob was not very efficient or effective. At one point he took me to the back room (the brains of REI) to look on the computer and see if any other stores had the Venture in another color. Dana had long disappeared to the sunglasses display across the store and I was a little concerned that no one would know that I was in the back room with a strange sales associate. The shorter version of this very long story of my indecisiveness is that I let Jacob convince me that the REI brand of rain jacket was very similar to the Venture, with even a few more features. For only $20 more, he thought I would be very happy with this choice. The REI jacket came in a lime green that matched my CamelBak so I conceded and left, a little disappointed, with this jacket. We weren’t even out of the parking lot when I looked at Dana and said, “I don’t want this jacket.” I left it in Raleigh for her to return.

I am frustrated with this process. I’m frustrated with myself for being so indecisive. I’m frustrated with REI for not carrying the really cute colors that they have on the North Face website. I’m going to order the jacket online. It will be the jacket I want. In Melon Red (AKA: NC State Red). THIS jacket. And I hope, even after all this, that we won’t need it after all.
As I was wrapping up this blog, I had the feeling that some of my thoughts were quite familiar. After a quick review of last year’s blog postings, I found that yes, in fact, some of my sentiments from this week also appeared in the 2009 post: An Ounce of Faith is Just Enough. This may be the first step toward the devastating revelation that I, a girl with the gift for gab, may be running out of original thoughts (and words!). Good thing there are only 4 more posts before the big event!

Next week I’ll be sharing the exciting updates from the New Kids on the Walk yard sale that is happening Saturday! My car is loaded up with lots of treasures from the Columbia crew and Mom and Bunkie have been gathering goodies from the Fayetteville gang. We have a prime location in downtown Raeford and the weather is looking great! I hope we make Million$!


  1. You made the right choice. And never, NEVER Alpine Blue. Hope the yard sale is a spectacular success!

  2. Hello my friend.
    I have been spending a good bit of time in our Outdoors, Inc here in memphis--a local REI and have spotted a venture jacket in yellow (from last season) we can be twinkies on the walk! Ha Just say the word and its all yours