Hey, it’s been a while…

Let’s catch up to where we are today.

By Whitney Ellis

So, the last time we talked I was planning on doing a biathlon in South Carolina. Well… that didn’t happen.

But a trip back to Ohio, a new bike and a race in Omaha did.

Most of it was exciting, some sad times, but here we are today.

During the time of the race, I had to head back to Ohio for yet another surgery for my sister. This has to be the fifth in two years, and this was because of infected mesh from her last surgery. 

Luckily, she’s doing much better – and has insurance – so she’s recovering well. She had one on my birthday that tried to relieve some of the infection, but by that time it spread enough to do more of an invasive one in later that month. She’s now back at work and doing fine.

I say insurance was a blessing because her first surgery bill was just at $200,000 – and with insurance, she only had to pay $3,000 out of pocket. Who knows what financial peril there would have been if she didn’t have it.

Well, let’s get back on track. After making it back home and doing my taxes at the last minute, I ended up trading in my hybrid bike.

I didn’t ride it much. For some reason the rear tire kept going flat, and even though I was able to change the tube in five minutes, I honestly never had the chance to ride it as much as my other road bikes. That – and I really didn’t want to. I still have plans for my original road bike (I’m going to customize the hell out of it), and that will end up being my hybrid-like bike that I can cruise around in.

I ended up trading in the hybrid and getting a mountain bike.

There will be a full review later, but the National Whitewater Center is about 20 minutes from my house. The Center has plenty of trails for biking and hiking and supposedly it’s “the place to ride” in the area. This will be a perfect opportunity to test my skills and test the bike. I’m really looking forward to switching things up and hitting the trails.

So, to Omaha. A few months back, I mentioned on LinkedIn how nice it would be to see Warren Buffett before he goes to the great beyond. The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting was happening in May, and I just put it out there how nice it would be.

So, my old riding partner in St. Louis is a shareholder. He said if I could make it out to St. Louis, he could get me a shareholder pass to get in and view The Oracle of Omaha in all his glory.

Forty thousand people who saw Warren Buffett, 88, and Charlie Munger, 95, talk about their thoughts of investing, how Berkshire Hathaway is continuing to grow, and how it will continue to grow after they’re gone. It was so packed that we ended up in an overflow room in an arena watching them on closed-captioned TV. It’s truly the Woodstock for Capitalists.

While 40,000 were there on Saturday, there were about 2,000 on Sunday to run a 5k to support local Omaha charities. For some reason, I still can’t get this 5k thing down. I wasn’t running with a goal but ended up finishing in about 31 minutes. Each darn time the hills get me – there was one heading into town that made me slow to a walk. After that, I was running a great pace – sometimes an 8:20 pace. But, still over 30 minutes.

I definitely have to work on this throughout the year – I’ve done it under 30 minutes before, and I’ll do it again. I will.

It gives me something to look forward to.

While I’ve got some things to look forward to, I can’t go any further without pouring out some liquor to one of my homies.

About 15 years ago – about the time we had to put a racist wolverine of a dog out to pasture – my parents ended up getting a Chocolate Labrador to fill the void. Hershey was one of those dogs that would always keep you going – we’d all have stories about him doing one thing or another. I still remember the time when he was still a puppy and coming home from the park, he decided he’d jump out of a car window for freedom. After parking the car and a foot pursuit, I ended up getting him back in.

He’d always keep the family on their toes. From walking through the house with a turkey leg to always having someone’s shoe – he’d always keep us going. He was also a loveable dog – he’d greet every man, woman and child he’d meet with either a paw or a tongue.

About 2016, we noticed him slowing down a lot. He didn’t want to spend a lot of time outside, and he was breathing heavier than usual. He developed arthritis and it would take him a while to start moving. Later, he couldn’t climb steps without assistance. Later, he couldn’t climb them at all.

The one that always loved going to parks or just riding in a car couldn’t do it anymore.

Near the end, he’d just sleep. It was a struggle for him even to eat, and he started to lose a lot of weight. We all knew it was time, and April Fool’s Day was the day.

We’ll miss him, but he gave us a great 15 years.