I’m thinking today is a good day to take a little break from the renovating. Since today featured a couple events of note, I thought it might be a good segue into a little bit of our history, and how we pay the bills over here while we’ve got houses underway.
Today was kind of an interesting day, and I’m feeling some feels. For the nor’easterners, it is Patriot’s day, which is also marathon Monday, when lots and lots of slightly crazy, but absolutely wonderful folks go out and run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to the heart of Boston. They also raise a bunch of dough for some pretty great charitable organizations while they’re at it. Marathon Monday has always been near and dear to me… while I haven’t had the opportunity to run Boston (yet! 3rd time’s a charm?), I went to undergrad in the city, and marathon Monday was, and is, always such a great and inspiring day. About two years ago, that day turned tragic with the marathon bombings, but the city of Boston never missed a step, banding together to help each other, to track down the culprits, and to come back even stronger for it- making marathon Monday that much more special and inspiring. I love that dirty water, and I’m forever proud to claim some Boston roots.
While the Boston marathon will always be an important day for me as a runner and former Boston resident, this particular marathon Monday also marks another event that had a big impact on little ol’ me. Today is the 5th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Tragically, 11 people lost their lives out on the rig that day, and more oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of the next few months than anyone had previously thought possible. 5 years ago, I don’t think I could’ve guessed how much it would shape the next phase of my life.
Mike and I always talk about our “5-year plan” (which, I guess we’re 2 years into if you want to get technical) so it seemed appropriate to mark the 5 year anniversary of the event that helped bring us where we are today. On April 20, 2010, I was living and working towards a master’s in Marine Science on Dauphin Island, AL, and Mike was a police officer and Coast Guard reservist in upstate New York. The oil spill cleanup and response quickly became an “all hands on deck” effort, for both myself in the role of a local biologist, and for Mike as a member of the Coast Guard. He was deployed to help with the cleanup and response efforts and to sleepy little Dauphin Island he was sent. By the law of odds on an island that small, we ended up meeting while working on an overnight clean-up shift (he as the Coast Guard representative, me in the role of wildlife observer/”turtle girl”). We forgot to exchange info that night, but happened to run into each other again, and we were pretty much inseparable after that. Long story made short, about 6 months later, Mike came down South for good, and we moved into our first house in Mobile, AL.
The oil spill continues to be a part of our lives. For awhile Mike worked in a civilian role on the response effort, traveling all over the Gulf Coast as a safety officer. I eventually ended up in my position as a Coastal Resources Scientist for the state of Louisiana (the day job), where our agency’s main focus is protecting and restoring Coastal Louisiana. Naturally, the deleterious effects of the oil spill is a recurring issue in my line of work. Mike and I have both seen firsthand the immense beauty of the Gulf Coast ecosystems, and the impact the spill had, and still has today, on already endangered areas. Between storm impacts, sea level rise and the oil spill, there’s much to be done to protect and restore our estuaries and coastal communities. So many livelihoods depend on the coastal resources of the Gulf, and the fruits of their labor are enjoyed throughout the country (fresh Gulf seafood? um, YUM). I’m so glad we’re able to live here, and that I have a role that allows me to help try to preserve these invaluable resources.
So, shout out to the day job on this bittersweet anniversary day. Coastal science/restoration is some pretty interesting stuff, even if it doesn’t involve a kitchen makeover and a big reveal. 😉 It is absolutely gorgeous out there when I can get out of the office, though, and a paycheck for doing something you enjoy is always a good thing! 🙂 The oil spill had many negative impacts, but Mike and I can’t imagine where we’d be otherwise. We definitely found our silver lining in that it brought us together, and had a role in us settling down (ok, so we’re not exactly settled…but you know what I mean!) here on the lovely Gulf Coast. <3
P.S. I know I didn’t really elaborate as to how Mike and Erin turned into Mr. and Mrs., but I’m thinking I’ll save that doozy of a story for another post, so I can really do it some justice. It’s a good one, and worth the wait, I think. 🙂