Running with the Rovers

Poppa wasn’t sure if Camille would be up to the Shamrock Run, as it’s a big event, and she’s never done anything like it before.  As it turns out, her attitude was “Faster, Dammit!” and “More!!”

Camille - Runner Girl

Runner Girl!

Camille’s Momma Christina was definitely there cheering us on in spirit, but as she has something that I am told is called “Common Sense”, she prefers to do her running indoors in a clean room.  I chose to run my first race in the middle of 35,000 people of questionable sobriety, pushing a gleeful little speed freak in a wheelchair, and Dear God I hope that was dog poop I cleaned off my shoe.

Normally, I only run when being chased or, for example, escaping from a burning building.  As a dancer, my endurance is great, but my body really isn’t into going a long way in a straight line.  I need a lot of motivation – for instance, a little girl who in another life would have been a jet pilot and/or rock star.  Honestly, I think she could be the reincarnation of Buckaroo Banzai.  Who I am aware is fictional, but some days I’m not sure that we aren’t.

Our Posse

Our Posse

Knowing Camille’s taste, I built us quite a playlist of loud music; a . . . let’s say eclectic . . . mix of Irish, Rap and Rock.  Blasting this out of her little portable speaker is probably the only reason that we didn’t kill anybody – they could hear her coming.

Since it was our first big run, I chose the 5k, which is a little under three miles.  I’m pretty sure we went at least four, zigging and zagging to go fast enough for my running buddy while avoiding assault charges, EMTs, and possibly a priest.  My recorded time was a twelve minute mile, which isn’t zippy, but given the all the extra to-ing and fro-ing, we were probably closer to nine, which is not too shabby for a first race.  Without the obstacles, we could probably have gone even faster.



I had assumed that we would be the slowest runners there, which definitely was not the case.  I’m just glad she doesn’t have a cattle prod.

And as for length?  Camille bounced, partied and hollered for the entire race.  The only meltdown we had was about 100 yards past the finish line, because why the hell is Daddy slowing down, and let’s keep going!!  And I was more charged than exhausted, largely from the running with a kid who is probably as crazy as I am.

The best part of the day?  How everybody treated Camille.  Talking, waving, high fives, complementing her excellent taste in music, telling me how cute she is . . . treating her like her rock star self.  The awesome Providence staff was super excited about her outing, and had her dressed up in her green “Kettlebells – Because Running Sucks” t-shirt.  Nobody batted an eye, because they know her attitude.  And our teammates in the 8k were so excited to see Camille at the starting line, you’d have thought Macklemore dropped by.

Next time?  8k, definitely.  I’m renting a racing wheelchair, to reduce rolling resistance so we can go even faster.  And Camille would have liked a bigger boombox, so we’ll probably do that next time, because, you know, safety.

The Dynamic Duo hit the Pub

So this is how my day started yesterday . . .

And yeah, I’m all about it.  Miss Camille likes her music badass, with a beat.  So it was mostly Marshall and George Thorogood.  You may want to bring your earplugs next time you ride with us.

Kells Green Rain

Kells Green Rain

There’s a lot of reasons to love Portland its ownself, but #1 for me (and the reason I moved here) is how weird people (and I use that as a compliment, being among them) are treated not just as normal (or as normal as we get) but like Rock Stars.  Which, I assure you, is not the case back in South Cackalackey.

I showed up early for the Kells Green Rain, which is one of our favorite events.  I mean, hanging out with my kid at a pub first thing in the morning, with live music and a bunch of money?  It’s like an Irishman’s rap video.

Discovered, when I got there – early (and that’s miraculous) – that some genius (who obviously doesn’t dig my priorities) had decided that it was more important for me to hang out and count money than share the experience with my kid.  So she had been sent to school, instead of coming on the event bus.  I explained, somewhat colorfully, that this would not be satisfactory in the future (let’s just say that I’m happy there were no recording devices) and Ran to the car (which is hella easier since The Warrior Room, puddles notwithstanding).

Met Camille at Hosford Middle School (Go Huskies!), just as she was getting off the bus.  Rolled her chortling self into the Camille-mobile, cranked the tunes, and raced downtown.

Got there just after the first dance, photobombed the media, and settled in to party.  The dancers from Murray School of Irish Dance were astonishing, as is the Piper who plays there every night.

Rolled Camille back to Hosford after the party, then returned to Kells to for the Countin’ o’ the Green.  As I was the only exception to a lively hen party (which seems to be the story of my life; straight guy, not complaining) I enjoyed energetic conversation while we tallied up $6,823 – which the McAleeses have doubled for 19 years and donated to Providence Child Center.  So next time you go in for a beer and the waiter chucks a buck at the ceiling (trust me, you cannot do it) it’s for a good cause!



Today I headed over to Providence to help move her from Team 1 (high medical need) to Team 2 (moderate).  As there are fewer emergencies on Team 2, there is more time for attention and action for Camille – which is like oxygen.

One of Camille’s schoolmates, Joel, is on Team 2, as is her old friend Emmie, and Nurse Chuks, who is cooler than you.  Trust me.  Her BFF, Emily, is still on Team 1, but we have made sure that they will have plenty of dinner dates.  Both amuse the hell out of each other, and one higher cognitive resident calls them “Thing One and Thing Two”.  I am pleased to note that Camille is Thing One.  Emily’s favorite thing is rude noises, which Camille is a world class pro at delivering.  Honestly, it’s like hanging out with Jerry Seinfeld.

The biggest thing that struck me is how much Camille will be missed, even though she is just one floor away.  These people were strangers a little over a year ago, and now they are a very real part of her family.  As a Dad, I cannot tell you how much that cracks my heart wide open.  Everybody is thrilled that she will be coming up for visits on a regular basis.

Camille is one of the most fun people I know, and the biggest Enjoyer . . . pure emotion, no filter.  She has “Scattered Skills”.  Short version, her verbal communication is at about 9 months; her music appreciation is approximately that of a New Orleans Bluesman in his nineties.

Good thing there was a Scot in the room.

Good thing there was a Scot in the room.

She is classed as autistic spectrum because of her sensory issues, but is the single most social person I know, so that bucket doesn’t fit.  She is “non-verbal” (mostly), and non-ambulatory (largely due to balance issues), but is super active, has even muscle tone, and if you dip her in the pool, she turns into a powerboat.  Albeit one with no steering wheel, who really enjoys the theme from “Jaws”.

Y’all may wonder why Camille has a separate blog.  Well, several reasons:

  1. I have a hella busy mind, and now that I’m buckling down to getting things on paper (or electrons at least), separate blogs help me stay focused.  Even pre-stroke, my brain has a somewhat pinball machine like quality.
  2. I am hoping to have other contributors join me here, including Christina (who can write circles around me), caregivers, and friends.  As well as Camille, in her own unique way.
  3. Running several parallel blogs forces me to write more (a good thing) to make them more . . . um . . . I guess we’ll go with “bloggy”?  I respect the English Language in the same way that Shakespeare did, by helping it grow.  Often through theft, or, as above, makin’ shit up.

BTW, did you know that “Weird” originally meant “fated”?  Own it.

Y’all stay groovy.  Camille would expect no less.