For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you may have figured out that my husband is addicted to having fun. Not necessarily what I would deem as fun, but that's beside the point. (Let's visit the beside-the-point for just a moment… my idea of fun is stitching and watching a Jane Austen movie. Not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with someone hanging onto me like a backpack while I free fall toward the earth.)
Mike and Bre have been talking for a while about doing a tandem jump together, but it never quite worked out in the past. It seemed that when Bre was ready, Mike wasn't, and so on. But a few days ago, Mike suddenly announced he was going to just do it while he had the chance, and invited Bre to make the trek back to Omaha so they could finally jump to their doom together. Unfortunately, Bre couldn't get off of work at such short notice, so Mike ended up going it alone.
Sophie and I went with him to stay on the ground and record the event. 🙂
Here's Mike – who was surprisingly not acting the least bit nervous – listening to his instructor, Gary, teach him what he was to do first…
Then how to free fall…
To properly "fit" together during the fall, Mike was to lift his legs up in between Gary's legs…
To the left of this photo is Klicky, the guy who would be videotaping Mike's jump. He was a fun guy, and was very enthusiastic about his job, which made it all even more exciting (for Mike)…
Let's do this before we chicken out!
Soph and I gave him lots of hugs good-bye, and he was off to cross one more thing off of his bucket list. (Mostly his bucket list includes bored games he wants to play before his Last Day on Earth. Btw, Last Day on Earth is the title of a bored game he's always trying to get me to play.)
Good luck, Big Papa!
We love you!
You're insane, but that's okay!
Soph and I sort of got quiet as the plane growled away, bc we knew there was no turning back now.
I had asked one of the videographers ahead of time what color Mike's chute was so we would hopefully be able to spot him, as there were several jumpers going at the same time, and I didn't want to have to guess at who to watch.
Sophie and I got very excited when we first spotted him…
Unfortunately, we couldn't see his landing bc it was behind another plane, so we anxiously waited for him to walk into view.
And we waited..
Finally, Klicky walked toward us, and we were starting to get concerned. Especially when I asked how Mike did, and he said, "We made it… barely!"
Turns out, after landing, Mike's instructor had to catch his breath for a bit. During their free-fall, they'd been chatting a bit through the mic/headset before the first canopy deployed (which is used to soften the blow of the main chute opening). However, it was the first time this particular brand of canopy was being used, and the instructor wasn't prepared for its sudden jerk, and he got the wind knocked out of him. At that point, there was no communication bw Mike and Gary, which was a bit unnerving for Mike, needless to say. A few moments later, when Gary regained his composure, he said to Mike, "Don't get nervous, but I need you to make some adjustments to your harness…"
I do believe I would have expired at that point. But Mike's wits never left him and he made the necessary adjustments (although he did confess that he was resisting the urge to say, "Couldn't we have made these adjustments when we were on the ground?"). When they landed, he and Gary talked over what had happened, and that's why they took so long emerging from behind the plane. 🙂
Btw, here are a few photos taken up high!
What a day that was! Sophie was very proud of her Big Papa, and I was too!
In case you'd care to see it, here's a video of Mike's crazy skydive… Klicky did a fantastic job on it, and it even had me wishing – just for a tiny moment – that I could have jumped too. But then I snapped out of it and got back to my own bucket list: stitching an entire reproduction sampler while watching Pride and Prejudice.
Big Papa's First Jump from Paulette Stewart on Vimeo.