Every August, Laura and I receive our annual all-access credentials for our photography work at KU. We rarely look at the badges. We have clipped the credentials on so often over our many years at KU, we never give them a second thought. What a surprise it was then for Laura to discover recently that her pass has become something quite special.
To the likes of Adele, Gisele, Beyoncé, Madonna, Cher and Oprah, now add Laura. Laura’s mystique eclipses any need to use her last name in the eyes of KU. What a celebrity!
Maybe that is why the famed Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman took time to retweet Laura’s tweet about her arrival in Los Angeles with the KU swimming and diving teams to launch their winter training trip. That trip is a great bonding experience for Laura and the women she works with in her real job as the teams’ academic advisor. The photographs are just a bonus.
She loved L.A. and then Hawaii. Actually, the North Shore of Oahu. While the team lived, trained and competed in super crowded Waikiki, the trip to the famed winter surfing grounds of the Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach left Laura longing to move to the sea. She even made a second trip north on her final free day because she was told the “waves will be epic.” Considering that Laura is not (or was not) a fan of the ocean, that is quite the revelation. Blame it all on Jaws when she was young. Hopefully a team snorkeling adventure at Hanauma Bay and the excitement of sighting a sea turtle swimming just below have allayed some of her concerns. She also revealed she is glad our urges to ditch the Midwest for warmer climes have yet to coincide. A grandson is a big factor, but warm weather and a desire to be around water is getting hard for us to resist. Let us know should you hear of any juice stands for sale.
Laura would have enjoyed it all even more if her laptop’s hard drive had not crashed on the last day in Los Angeles, taking many pictures down with it. Seems she ignored the portable hard drive I urged her to use every day. That threw off the rest of the trip, and led to fewer pictures of my favorite beach girl than I received, and still cherish, from Puerto Rico last winter. Blame me and my big speech how sand, surf and camera gear do not mix well. That did not stop her from putting together an excellent photo gallery from the trip for the swimmers and divers on the KU website.
This will go down as our winter of separation. With my Dominican Republic trip followed soon after by Laura’s 10-day trip, we both came home tired and missing each other. I really struggled with the four-hour time difference that had me going to bed while her day was still going strong. I missed our long phone calls before bed. Same for her while I was gone due to limited international cell minutes on a KU phone from the Dominican.
There will not be much “us” time for now. I leave Thursday for Miami with the women’s softball team. It will be a whirlwind trip with little chance of exploration. However, temperatures will be in the 80’s with plenty of sun. Warmth and sun are always the start to a good trip.
The rest of this month and early March find me following track and field to Ames, Iowa, for the Big 12 Indoor and then to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for NCAA Indoor’s. KU’s chances of winning the women’s team titles in both have never been better. Laura will be with swimming and diving for a week in Austin for the Big 12 Championship and then will follow the women’s basketball team to Dallas for their Big 12 Championship. Depending on what happens with the women’s team and their NCAA run, we hope to meet up again somewhere along KU’s run back to the Final Four.
For now, I will just have to revel in the fact my wife has become a one-named celebrity. I have often heard all the clichés how I out-kicked my coverage, married out of my league and am the blind squirrel that found the acorn. That does not bother me at all. I am the proud man who sleeps beside Mrs. Jacobsen. Go ahead. Just call her Laura.