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  • Writer's picturedaisacondit

It's been two years since... (Aug. 2022 - May 2023)

Updated: Jun 27

…I last wrote a blog!

It was August of 22’ and we were wrapping up our last summer trip with the Glamper…when it broke down…on the side of a mountain…in West Virginia. In a nut shell, we made it home safe and sound but sans Glamper. We rolled into Palm City for Azlan to start 3rd Grade and I immediately hit the ground running, taking off for the Orlando Belly Dance Convention. It was such a delight to get back into Belly Dancing for a few days, it is a passion of mine. We traded in the Jeep shortly after for a comfort SUV we call Cadi. The Jeep was a super FUN vehicle but was a pain in the ass during traffic hours and lacked in comfort.

If you are reading this aloud – this is where you need to cover your kids’ ears or stop reading for the moment! One Saturday, August 27th to be exact, Azlan brings up Santa Clause. He already learned the tooth fairy was not real and he starts talking about how he doesn’t think Santa is real either. I try saying if you believe, then it’s real but he’s not having it. He looks me dead in the eye and asks “Is Santa Clause real”? I could not bring myself to lie to him anymore. I didn’t like the idea of lying to him all the previous times either – it didn’t sit right. Plus, here we are trying to teach this impressionable young man to be honest and we are lying to him…my integrity level was zero and my hypocrisy level was 100. There are other ways to teach kids about giving for the sake of giving (not requiring any recognition) without lying to them, without emphasizing the Santa Clause concept and all the corrupt commerce that accompanies it.

“No, he is not real.” Came out of my mouth before I could think on it. Well, SH%T! He was devastated. I profusely apologized to him and promised I would not lie to him again (and so far I have kept my word). It was not enough…he was extremely upset that all the other kids were being lied to as well and felt obligated to tell them the truth. We had a boat to go look at so I asked him to set it aside for now and we would revisit it later. Boat shopping was our big to-do that day.

As we park the car at Sandsprit Park, I look up to see a huge group of people. I start recognizing one by one…holy cow…I know all these peop- “SURPRISE”!!! It was EPIC! 2 of my friends planned the whole thing and my best friend came up from Miami and surprised me too!! I felt very loved that day, all these people showing up to celebrate my birthday! Azlan, however, probably had one of the worst days. He sulked and I periodically left the party to chat with him. Over the next few months we worked with him to help him understand that it was not his place to tell the kids about Santa Clause. That was for each family to decide for themselves…but I am pretty sure he planted some seeds of doubt before we finally got through to him.

After a few weeks of being home and getting back into working out daily, I started teaching STRONG & Zumba on Monday mornings and Top Guns + Tight Buns & Zumba on Thursday nights at ZT’s Fitness Studio. Ted flew back to WV to move the Glamper from shop (engine) to shop (cosmetic) and then, on a second trip, with the help of some friends, drove it all the way back home. Azlan started off school successfully and I joined his class for my first field trip as a chaperone. One of the activities was wading into the water to sieve for shrimp and other small ocean creatures. My son refused to participate, he was the only one…I was livid and was loosing my temper. He gave no reason why, just that he didn’t want to. His teacher came to his rescue suggesting I not force him into the water…and later brought up that chances are, he was acting that way because I was there. Eventually we learned that he was afraid of stepping on a poisonous stone fish…and that was the last field trip I went on for the rest of the school year.

In September of 2022, Hurricane Ian swept over Florida, devastating the West Coast. We experienced loss of power, some flooding around the dock area, and my Papaya tree fell over but there was no lasting damage. Unfortunately, that was not the case for those on the other side of the state. Over a year later, repairs are still being made. Speaking of repairs…off goes the Glamper to the local shop in FL for some fine-tuning issues and the question comes up – to sell or not to sell? In the meantime, Azlan starts soccer on Sundays with i9 Sports, Ted and I fly to Chicago for a close friend’s wedding while my parents stay with Azlan, and then we paint his room to include a rainbow wall as an early Christmas present.

The Glamper Era officially came to an end in November. We sold it for just about what we owed on it. It was a true blessing to have had the experience of witnessing our beautiful country first hand. 50 States, 35,000 miles, and priceless memories – a true adventure of a lifetime. I had mixed feelings as I watched it drive away, wanting to hold on to the possibility of more travels, but alleviated by the freedom from the financial burden. A vivid bitter-sweet moment that is engrained in my memory now.

Winter break was spent in Brazil. Ted, Azlan and I joined my parents, my brother, and his family and we spent time visiting family and old school friends. Santos was our first stop where we had a big blow out BBQ at the Airbnb we stayed at, spent time on the beach, took a boat across the canal to hike to the Fortress History Museum of Santo Amaro da Barra Grande. We then flew to Florianopolis to get to Porto Belo for New Years, that is where my sister in law is from. The days there were mostly spent on the beach, drinking cocktails and taking naps. We returned from our trip fairly refreshed despite some family drama…which we ALL have in our own families.

Upon returning home in 2023, I went to Miami for Wodapalooza – the Cross Fit games. Two of my accountability partners were flying in for it, one which I had not met in person yet. These ladies were a HUGE part of my fitness journey over the years. I drove down to join them and watch extremely fit and strong individuals perform feats I didn’t know a human could do! I left there inspired to lift heavier and workout more…which led to my goal of body composition – but we will get to that later.

Around this time, I started working at Bessey Creek Elementary School as a teacher’s assistant in the 2nd grade, 3 times a week from 10:30am – 2:00pm. Why? Well, Ted thought it might be a good idea for him to become a substitute teacher…considering that the schools were in need of teachers and it was a way to possibly inspire young minds and make a little income as well, so I decided to pursue it too. The application process took 4-5 months, but Ted did not complete it as he started working for a small company, training dogs! Dog training was a great fit for Ted, he got to instill his dominance, the dogs didn’t talk back, and even when he had to be very stern with his trainees, they still loved on him day in and day out. Being a teacher’s assistant in an elementary school was not a great fit for me, I felt like I just stood around most of the time (although I was assured I was being helpful), the kids definitely talked back (a lot), and the voices of 20 children talking at once became quite loud on many an occasion. However, when working one on one with them I very much enjoyed the moment when a student finally understood something they had previously had trouble with. I also put together an after-school Dance Club for 8 weeks (one hour a week) and taught the girls a little choreography that they performed at a spirit assembly at the school. Additionally I volunteered with the PTA and got to practice my art skills for Literacy Week and the School Dance. There was fulfillment there, but I do not think I will go back to ‘teaching’ in schools, instead I will focus on helping out through the PTA in the future.

In January of 23’ I also started Belly Dancing consistently, attending a weekly Skills & Drills class. Oh how I missed it SO much! I was very rusty but was able to catch up and keep up over time. Within 2 months, I had an opportunity to do a mini performance and teach a mini workshop at a ladies night out event. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but it went well…or so that was the feedback I got.  It was my very first belly dancing gig…but not my last! It was around this time that my right knee started hurting. It wasn’t a big deal yet, the pain felt like it was random, inconsistent, and was not constant.

Our kitchen floor nightmare continued. The first time the floors were done, it was a piss poor patchwork leveling of the floor with cork. The LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) lifted up, the cork got wet, the floors were destroyed within a few months. We got a refund, but the LVT was discontinued and the new company we hired said tile would be better. We bought tile. When they came to install, they said they could not do tile…it had to be LVT…WTF?!? So now we bought LVT, they did a crappy install job and we settled with them paying ½ the original invoiced amount.

In January 2023, Ted started the Yamaha Maintenance Program at the Chapman School of Seamanship, he knew a lot about boats, parts, and driving them but had insufficient knowledge about motors and mechanics. The course was perfect for him to enrich his knowledge, especially since the course was well structured, informative and the instructor was top notch! This led him to complete a few service jobs for some people in the area, where he learned that sweating his ass off in the sun day after day tinkering with motors was not a career path he wanted to pursue at the moment.

On March 24th, 2023 Ted and I flew to Gettysburg for the 20 year commemoration of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s jump into Iraq. The long weekend at The Lodges at Gettysburg was filled with drinking, hung-over breakfasts, back slaps, jokes, walking tours, and even an impromptu fitness class for a few of the spouses. It was so good to see Ted reconnect with his Paratrooper buddies, reminisce about good times and mourn their fallen brethren. It was great seeing everyone and honoring these brave Sky Soldiers.

Ted’s Dad, Grumps, passed March 28th just before Azlan’s 9th Birthday. Grumps passed away at 84 after having a very hard time breathing and had been in the hospital for months. He had a whole life, a good career, successful kids and grandkids, explored parts of the world he wanted to and had a relatively quiet and enjoyed retirement. He is no longer in pain and we are grateful we got to spend some time with him in the last few years. This left Ted without any parents, his heart hurt as he grieved – as we all grieved. Ted struggled more than we expected, he and his father had a strained relationship, but they loved each other. Grumps was quite a character. I will always remember his charming, yet sometimes sadistic personality. Rest in peace Grumps.

Shortly before he went, he wanted to make sure Azlan got one last cool gift from Grumps, so a new bike from Grumps, one with gears and big tires. Faster rides to and from school were now going to be a thing!

I started working with a nutritionist (Jen at Your True North) to work on body composition, fine tuning burning fat and gaining muscle simultaneously. I started tracking macros again along with sleep patterns, workouts, weight, and how I was feeling in terms of energy level. I really liked how we started out by figuring what my caloric maintenance intake was and then started cutting back from there. I began learning about what stress can do to the body and how it can affect fat loss and muscle gain, taking me to a whole new level of awareness.

I joined my fellow dancers from my Skills & Drills class at Festival of The Nile, a belly dance conference. I took a few workshops, one of which I had the opportunity to participate in a stage performance. This was extremely nerve-racking as I hadn’t performed in many years, but so worth it! I even acquired a new costume, a fancy belt and bra set, along with making new connections and friends! Shortly after, I was back in Orlando for the SCW Mania Fitness Conference where I got certified in Active Aging and attended various nutrition and health seminars. We ended up making new friends from around the world, soaking in the hot tub and dancing in our PJs. In furthering my fitness repertoire, I took Sweat & Swagger Instructor Training, a wildly addictive class that fuses hot beats with easy-to-follow steps so you can tap back into your inner BADASS! I look forward to teaching my first class eventually. In addition, I had the privilege of giving a presentation on self-worth and meal prepping for the ZT’s Fitness Studio’s Transformation Challenge. It was humbling to be so vulnerable while sharing my personal fitness journey with these amazing people.

As Azlan finished 3rd grade we rolled into the swelter of South Florida with plans to not travel and explore our area more. Keep an eye out for another recap and this summers adventures!


Daisa, Ted and Azlan


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