The past month has been strange to say the least. My child is home all the time, my husband is home but working long hours, we can’t go to church, the library, my beloved Target or out to dinner. But the change that is most disruptive to me is that I can no longer go to the gym. This was such a concern to me that before I even thought about getting my daughter set up in her new remote learning space I was online ordering an elliptical to be delivered as quickly as possible. I was fully aware that not everyone in my house would make it through this crisis if I was not able to sweat it out for an hour a day. While everyone was out raiding their local grocery store for toilet paper, I was online comparing elliptical specs. I don’t know why I bothered since I picked the one that most resembled my favorite machine at the gym. When shipping options appeared I opted for the white glove set up after remembering our last experience with purchasing gym equipment. My husband and I nearly killed each other trying to get a treadmill down a flight of steps into our basement twelve years ago. Clearly that experience scarred me for life as it was the first memory that popped into my head when I was ordering.
When I clicked “submit order” I was a little surprised to see that it would take two weeks to deliver. I set up a delivery time for a saturday afternoon and headed outside for a walk. Over the next few weeks I discovered all kinds of new places to walk around my house. There is a nature center less than a mile away where I spent hours at a time walking and watching wild turkeys and deer while I made observations about my fellow hikers. The one thing I didn’t do was sweat. I was getting desperate to get back to my routine when I received a call from the delivery company informing me that my equipment would arrive the following day between noon and 2 pm. That night I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. I actually dreamed about riding my shiny new elliptical. I had cleared out the space in my office where my new machine would be placed and I even vacuumed the floor. I was going to sleep in my workout clothes just to be prepared, but I thought that may be a little much.
The following morning I was awoken by a truck rumbling outside my window. I knew it couldn’t be my delivery since it was not due for several more hours, but then my doorbell rang an there was an immediate pounding on the front door. I shook my husband awake and told him to run downstairs since I was in my underwear and my hair resembled something from a bad new wave video from the 80s. Within that ten seconds my phone started to ring. These delivery men were anxious to get in our house. Maybe they had heard about the mass amounts of hand sanitizer I had lined up on the counter.
When my husband answered the door he was informed that they were not all that anxious to get in our house, they were actually not even allowed to enter our house. They rang our bell at the crack of dawn to tell us we would have to reschedule or they could leave the box at our door. As I heard this from the top of the stairs I yelled down “LEAVE IT!!” knowing I would not survive another few days without a good workout, let alone another few months. They shoved the enormous box through our front door crashing right into the closet, knocking the door off the track. They said that was their “white glove service” and scampered away. My husband later informed me that we were supposed to have received a call about the delivery change which we still have not received a month later. As a matter of fact, the $250 charge for the white glove service has also not been refunded. Apparently Nordictrack charges a fee to send a couple of guys out to break your closet doors, just in case anyone needs this service. Maybe this is a ploy to get people to buy additional equipment. I can attest that after several calls, e-mails and online chats with no resolution, I need a good workout to burn off the anger secreting from my pores.
Delivery day turned out to be a lot less like Christmas day than I had anticipated. It was more like Tuesday at a work camp. After my husband and I stood staring at the box for an eternity, we finally got to work. It took a good 30 minutes to get the giant box on it’s side and cut open, and that was just the beginning. We decided that if two delivery men could lug this monstrosity up the stairs, so could we. This was the same magical thinking that had us believing we could set up a treadmill unassisted twelve years ago. We spent a much longer time than we should have walking around the machine trying to determine the best way to approach the lifting. Then we proceeded to circle the machine several more times trying to lift it periodically, both of us convinced that we could lift the side that our spouse was clearly too weak to lift. Neither of us could lift one side alone and we didn’t want to scratch up the hardwood floor trying to drag it. We were able to come up with several solutions to our problem, all of which included having other people move this beast which was not going to happen for awhile.
We finally conceded and dragged the machine into the living room using rugs. We were only able to move it an inch at a time and about halfway through I laughed that we had ever thought we could carry this thing up the stairs by ourselves. I did finally get to sweat the way I had been craving and was getting a full body workout just trying to situate the machine in the least obtrusive place. There is no such place with a piece of gym equipment in a living room. Gym equipment is obtrusive, especially in a living room. While we used the tiny tools to attach the arms to the machine I thought back to going to a relative’s house for a party where they had an entire gym in their living room. It was the first thing you saw when you walked in the front door and I was perplexed about why they would do such a thing. Now I know that they probably moved into the house and gave up on trying to move the equipment once they got ten feet through the door. Luckily nobody would be coming to our house to see our new home gym/living room.
The good news about this is that our living room faces the street so I still get the people watching I got at the gym, just with more dogs and kids. I get to read my book while I peddle away as well as watch the neighbors walk their dogs and weed their gardens. My kid has also decided that riding the elliptical is a blast so she hops on for a half hour at a time when she can’t get outside. My husband hasn’t used the machine much. I can’t determine if it’s a matter of not having the time or if he is holding a grudge from when one of the arms swung down and beamed him on the top of the head during assembly. Either way, he isn’t complaining about it being an eyesore in the middle of the living room. I’m just happy that I am able to get in a good workout in my own house. Lord knows I need it after the pandemic pantry bingeing that’s been happening around here.
*I wrote most of this in my head while on my new elliptical, but here’s some good workout music in case you decide to open a home gym in your living room…
I attended a charity fashion show last month where there was a purse auction. My mom, daughter and I all bid on purses in between sipping tea and scarfing down tiny cucumber sandwiches. Right before the end of the auction my mom actually outbid me on the purse I wanted just so she could buy it for me. She knew I wanted it, so she wanted to give me a gift. That, or she is just super competitive or has a bit of a spending problem. I’m not going to analyze her motivations, I got a great bag out of the deal.
When we came home my daughter was excited to tell her dad about the event. She was going on and on about how we “won” purses. As she was showing him the bags I butted in and said “actually, I didn’t win my purse, my mom outbid me and bought it for me!” to which he replied “You mean you PAID for that purse?!” I told him that technically my mom did, but yes, money was exchanged. He just shook his head as he turned the bag in circles, looking at it from every angle. He has since named it my Fraggle Rock purse. Apparently he thinks it’s ugly and reminds him of a cartoon character from his childhood.
I have now had this purse for about six weeks and have received no less than 20 compliments on it. Every time someone is on an elevator with me or passes me in the grocery store and compliments the bag I immediately text or call my husband to let him know. He asks things like “was it a blind woman?” “was she wearing crocs?” and “was it in that way that people tell parents with ugly babies how cute they are?” He clearly does not appreciate my purse. I have had a librarian call me back inside as I was exiting the library to tell me how pretty my bag is. I have also had a woman drive out of her way down an aisle in a shopping plaza to compliment my Mokey Fraggle. I couldn’t see either of their feet to check for crocs but they appeared normal enough. None of these women have been blind, elderly or wearing hospital gowns. One was even sporting the same Louis Vuitton purse I was carrying before swapping it out for Gobo. I know that my taste can be a little iffy, but in this case I now have scores of women agreeing that this is the cutest purse on the block.
My husband has more fun than he probably should teasing me about my choice of attire. I’ll admit I often dress like a teenage boy in sleeveless band t-shirts and ripped jeans. I also have a certain affection for plaid and anything with a hood. But most of my clothing is some shade of black, so the sheer amount of colors included in this handbag should have been call for celebration for my husband. I am not going to remind him of his ill-advised soul patch of the early part of the 21st century or his facial hair in general during our early courtship. I will also not point out that he wore only white socks for years. I am saving up all of my jabs for when he is elderly and wearing the same white socks with sandals or pajamas bottoms as pants. I am waiting until the day he buys a pair of loafers or a double breasted suit coat and then I am going to remind him of how he teased me about the work of art I carried on my arm. I’ll probably also be wearing pajama pants in public and possibly crocs by then so my words won’t mean much but I’ll be ready.
Family vacations are always a mix of pure joy and total exhaustion. Children don’t acclimate to new settings as quickly as adults so their reactions to pretty much everything are usually a little over the top. They are like little ping pong balls bouncing back and forth between bliss and terror. My mini-me is usually on the verge of wetting her pants with excitement or trying to find a safe place because the sky is falling. Also, once she is excited, there is very little slowing her down. She is like a tiny energizer bunny. Unfortunately, her recovery time from a walk into terror town is of similar length.
We took a trip down to Florida last month to test out the latest Harry Potter ride at Universal. This was not exactly the trip we were planning to take at the end of June, or really at all, but it happened. We had gone to Universal during Easter break and somehow when I planned the trip back in March, I bought two sets of tickets to the theme parks. This sounds ridiculous unless you know me. I buy duplicates of things all the time. In fact, I realized on this trip that I had packed a pair of shorts with a tag still on them that I had worn several times since May. I had not actually been wearing the pair with the tag on them, I had been sporting this pair’s doppelganger for a month prior to buying the shorts I took on vacation. I usually pretend that I intentionally bought duplicates because of my undying affection for whatever the item is, but this tactic was not a good one in the case of the duplicate tickets. I had to fess up that I accidentally bought two sets of tickets whilst confused about how many days and how many parks we planned on visiting. Needless to say, my husband was not thrilled about this trip but mini-me was over the moon, especially since a new ride had opened just two weeks before our arrival.
During our flight down to Orlando, my daughter talked of nothing other than the timing of our riding the new ride, where she most wanted to sit and how many times we should fly through the air strapped onto a metal track during our stay. She vacillated between titillation and crippling fear for the three hour trek. She loves all things Harry Potter but is nervous about roller coasters, so there was much ambivalence. She had watched several YouTube videos of the ride which were apparently replaying on the screen in her brain repeatedly.
Once we arrived, we could hardly hold her back while we checked into the hotel and grabbed lunch. As we headed toward the park (by foot since it was faster than the water taxi), she skipped ahead of us calling back for us to hurry up. When I finally barked at her to slow down and settle down she turned to me and said very earnestly “I know, having kids is hard. Maybe you two shouldn’t have gotten married.” Just like that – mom, these are the consequence of your actions, live with them. She stroked my arm while saying this, the same way I have touched her while doling out a punishment for the last several years. I couldn’t help but laugh. Proud of herself, she skipped off ahead of us again.
My husband and I spent the rest of the vacation blaming every minor disappointment on our marriage. Everything from long lines to the rain that arrived halfway through our third day was the result of our nuptials. Apparently the butterfly effect of all things can be traced back to our wedding fifteen years ago, even the decision for overweight women to wear short shorts. Who knew?! Luckily, the same rules applied to all things that went right. Riding the front car of the new roller coaster wasn’t luck, it was the direct result of my saying “I do” in 2004. If not for our marriage, the ride probably wouldn’t even exist. If nothing else, the recurring joke saved us our sanity while fighting crowds in the sweltering heat.
By the final night of our trip, my family was literally falling asleep at dinner. The fact that the seating at the restaurant was groups of couches did not help. We fought the sleepiness long enough to inhale some sushi before collapsing into our beds. My child’s sudden narcolepsy was of course blamed on her parents’ marriage. I had to point out that this was probably the most accurate assessment of the entire trip. This crew really does wear me out!
Turning into my dad is scary enough, but I have also married a man just like my dad. I don’t even want to think about the psychology behind that one.
Years ago we used to make fun of my dad after my mom came home one day to find him painting one of the bedrooms in the house completely naked. He was home alone and didn’t want to ruin another shirt with the little paint splatters that accompany a paint roller. It has been a running joke to never show up at my parents’ house if my dad is painting. My mom has told everyone she knows about the day she came home and found her husband painting naked, so even her friends would joke about stopping by unannounced. They would say things like “I’m dropping off some paperwork in your front door. Pat’s not painting is he?” The poor Old Man has been the naked painter for much of his adult life. Luckily, nothing embarrasses him.
I don’t know if this is something other people do because I am never the one who paints the bedrooms or the furniture or anything else. When the paint comes out I typically head in the other direction. I have had to clean up my daughter after she helped grandpa paint and I can see where the naked painting thing could be the way to go. My husband does the painting in our house, and I think that’s the way it will probably always be. He has been a painting madman over the last week and I have hidden in another part of the house and remained busy so he could not ask for my help.
We participate in an annual trunk or treat event at my daughter’s school. Our themes have ranged from KISS to My Little Pony. Our daughter picks her costume every year and we go with that theme. It’s a lot of work, but we get to create something as a family and our daughter is always so proud of what we put together. This year was a Harry Potter theme. My husband constructed an entrance for the back of the car from wood and fabric to look like the wall for platform 9 3/4. The kids enter through the tunnel to get their candy. He built and painted all week. A few nights ago after I got our daughter tucked in I walked down into the basement where he was painting the fabric pieces that make up the walls of the set. He looked up at me from the floor where he was squatting over the fabric spong painted brick wall wearing nothing but a smile and declared “I totally get it now!” He went on to explain how he had to hang the pieces to dry from the ceiling and didn’t want anything to touch his clothing which was balled up on the floor.
I guess the naked painter torch can now be passed to my husband. If anyone needs to drop anything in our front door during the fall or any other time we may be working on a project, it may be best to call ahead, or don’t go peeking in the window if nobody answers the door. I would like to say this is strictly because of the naked painter thing, but truly I also vacuum in my underwear so it may just be a family thing. Again, I married a man just like my dad and I have turned into him as well.
Our trunk or treat car was a success, mostly because my daughter has a dad and a grandpa that will do anything for her. The guys got the car set up at the school. They assembled the structure and hung the fabric while I got the props set up and the pumpkin juice and candy ready for the littles. I scared some kids as Bellatrix and John was mistaken for a mad scientist by more than one kid who wasn’t familiar with Harry Potter, but we had a lot of little wizards and witches who loved the theme and most of the parents had at least seen the movies if they hadn’t read the books. And my entire family was able to keep their clothes on for the entire event. Miracles will never cease!
**This post is brought to you by lots and lots of punk rock and mass amounts of coffee. They are the two things that keep me going on a daily basis.
The other night I told my daughter we were going to church in the morning because it was a holy day of obligation. When she argued that it was a weekday and not a church day I told her we were going to celebrate the virgin Mary. I explained that we have all kinds of celebrations for Jesus but just this one day for his mother who was so important. She asked “will there be cake?” I guess it’s not a proper celebration without cake in her mind. I almost lied just to get her to comply, but I knew that would somehow lead to me actually purchasing a cake, so I stuck with the truth.
When I shared this story with my husband his reaction was “I’ll go to church with you if there’s cake!” Now he is sending me photos of cake ideas. He’s going to be really surprised when he comes home to find 24 cupcakes with rosaries on them. He forgets it is summer and I am home with a small child all day – we have nothing but time. So for anyone who didn’t celebrate the Assumption with a little cake after mass – you are doing it wrong.