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.
There is a house at the end of our street that is slowly decorating the outside with it’s insides. There are rocking chairs on the front porch and chairs with cushions on the back deck. Last year I noticed several new planter boxes and a bench in their front yard. A few months ago a painting appeared on their front porch. I am waiting for a couch to appear on their deck. I have to wonder what the inside of their house looks like if they have run out of wall space for paintings. The funniest part about this painting is that it is of an outdoor scene. So whoever hung it apparently thought that the actual flowers and trees in their yard were not nearly enough nature and a painting of nature was necessary to create the proper outdoor vibe.
I know a hoarder when I see one. I come from a family of hoarders. My grandparents had geese on their front porch that my grandma dressed in outfits according to the season. Have you ever seen a goose in a sweater? If so, you may have lived next door to my grandparents at some point. When my grandpa retired he spent a lot of time finding new projects to make. He made bird houses out of license plates and garden figures out of wood. As they made their way to my parents’ house I watched my dad turn them into garbage by accidentally running into them with the lawnmower or dropping them onto rocks. My dad’s fingers were never as buttery as when he was attempting to hang one of my grandpa’s new creations. It wasn’t that my dad didn’t like these decorations, there was just too much stuff in the yard already.
My mom decorated the backyard with some interesting pieces. For years an old fashioned sewing machine table stood next to the fence. It was surrounded by river rocks and bushes. The entire perimeter of their backyard consisted of bushes and plants, but in any open space my mom found, some form of a decoration appeared. There were fishing nets and sea shells, terracotta angels and birdhouses. I could understand the nautical decor since they had a pool, but what a sewing machine stand had to do with a relaxing backyard was beyond me. Maybe she had a lot of Quaker friends who would appreciate it, but I didn’t get the concept at all. This item was replaced by an old fashioned pipe radiator at some point which makes a little more sense to me because maybe people need to heat up a little after they get out of the pool. It would make even more sense if my parents’ pool wasn’t heated to a very comfortable bath water degree most of the season.
I think my husband sees the pattern and has that fear that all women eventually turn into their mothers because he secretly throws out things when I am not paying attention. He used to sneak things into the monthly bags of donations on the front porch before he left for work in the morning hoping I wouldn’t go retrieve them before I left the house a few hours later. This came to an end when I quit leaving the house in the morning. I don’t know how he smuggles the stuff out now, but I looked around our garage last week for an hour trying to find my flag that goes up during football season with no luck, so he’s getting it out of here somehow.
I can see where his fear comes from though. While decorating for fall I found that I had not one but four fall themed wreathes in the basement. We have one front door so I’m not sure what will become of the other three. I guess I could always walk them down the street and see if the neighbors need one. Maybe I will drop it off on my way out to buy a new Spartans flag.
I wrote this post while listening to the new Interrupters album
Go where the locals go and do what the locals do!
What do you do when an adventure is in front of you? Do you take it or do you look for every reason to say “I can’t”? I come from an adventurous family. We traveled a lot when I was growing up and it was always an adventure. My Dad was the kind of guy who would jump in a car, or better yet on a motorcycle, and just go. And I was right there with him ready for the next big adventure. Most people get less adventurous as they get older. They see enough of life to be scared of what they may be saying yes to and the closer they get to death, the more cautious they become. Not me! I am as carefree and impetuous as ever. When an adventure presents itself to me, I suit up and go for it.
When I was growing up we took a lot of trips by car. During these trips, we would do a lot of sightseeing but it was never planned. My Dad would take a scenic route and we would just see things. It was an adventure. It wasn’t until I got married that I realized that people actually planned to do things on vacation. My family always just showed up and figured out what to do once we got there. When I was thirteen we spent a week in Mexico where we swam, rode jet skis and visited Mayan ruins. My parents rented a car and drove us to Chichen Itza where we climbed ninety nine steps to see an empty room that smelled like feet. We also stopped at a little country store and walked through the backyard zoo where they had baby leopards and cheetahs on leashes in dog cages. You don’t see that by staying on the resort property. You also don’t accidentally drive into the middle of a cock fight in a small village because your uncle isn’t great at reading maps if you stay on the resort property, but we won’t get into that story. It still gives my Mom anxiety to recall all of the villagers peering in our open windows as we smiled and backed out of the dirty back road. We didn’t see anything other than the resort property after that little adventure.
Years later my Dad once again rented a car in a foreign country. We lost a hubcap within five miles driving down an incredibly narrow rural Irish road. We got lost once during that trip as well but it may have been because my Dad and I spent most of the night in Temple Bar and forgot where we were staying. It happens. Luckily, we didn’t wander into any cock fights, although my Dad did wander into a gay bar that was hosting a drag night. If there is an exact opposite of a cock fight, that place was it. It was confusing for the Old Man and ridiculously amusing for me and my Mom. We still bring it up from time to time. In true adventurer form we went to an after hours bar with some locals we just met, and ended up drinking real Irish whiskey in their house. This was all after my Dad almost threw down with the guy at the first bar we were at because he didn’t like Americans. I also made friends with the locals and slung drinks and DJed before crawling back to my room the second night on the Isle. Apparently we had many daytime adventures too, I just slept through most of them, waking up only to take some photos here and there. We returned the rental car with a new hubcap and about 1,000 new miles on the odometer.
When my husband and I first started traveling together it was frustrating to him that I packed the night before leaving and arrived at the airport about thirty minutes before departure for our international flight. In my defense, we have only missed a few flights in the fourteen years we have been traveling together. I have saved him hundreds of hours of my complaining by showing up as the gates are closing.
Reading the release forms took longer than the flight!
My better half is a pretty good sport even if he is a little anal about planning. On our honeymoon I got him to go snorkeling and parasailing, although both adventures were booked in advance. A year later he climbed into a helicopter to fly around the island. He videotaped the event, which I think he is keeping just in case he ever needs to prove how I drove him completely over the edge. That was the same year that he foolishly allowed me to drive our rented Jeep around the island and I got us stuck in the sand more times than I can count.
By the time we went to the Bahamas five years into our marriage we were flying by the seat of our pants. I actually got him to plunge down a sixty foot nearly vertical slide through a shark tank where he almost sterilized himself with his swim trunks. I later sweet talked him into getting into the same shark tank with me to swim with the sharks. He now wants to swim out in the ocean with sharks. He encourages our little girl to go down the scary slides and jump in the water with the baby stingrays. In the past few years she has held starfish and urchins, crabs and even pet a baby shark. She never asks what the plan is, she makes the plans. The kid is an adventure seeker and she doesn’t even know it.
The top of this temple smelled less like feet and more like fear!
Is it strange to be more afraid of the urchin than the sharks?
I don’t deserve the credit for my husband’s conversion though. It was the trips that we took with my parents in our early years of marriage that brought him over to the fun side. We took a trip to California to go to the Rose Bowl. Over the course of a few days we cruised up and down the Pacific Coast Highway seeing the sights. We stopped at a restaurant named Duke’s in Huntington Beach for lunch one day. The following day we found a restaurant with the same name when we ventured up to Malibu. It was, in fact, owned by the same Duke. We read in the menu all about Duke and his amazing life as a swimmer and surfer. My Mom also read that there was a third Duke’s in Waikiki (there are now six locations). She said it would be a good idea for us to try all three to make sure the food was equally as good at all of the locations. These are the kind of comments that most people laugh about and forget when they return home from vacation. Not my Dad. We ate at the Duke’s on Waikiki beach the following year.
But the view on the other side was amazing!
This view was totally worth almost killing two members of our hiking group!
Hawaii sounded like a good adventure, so off we went. While in Kauai we took a crazy raft ride to whale watch that left my knuckles scarred for life. As I was up front with my dad trying not to lose my grip, my husband and mother were at the rear of the raft trying not to lose their lunch. We also hiked two miles through the jungle after a two mile kayak paddle to find the hidden waterfalls that left my mother scarred for life. She claims we tried to kill her on this vacation by dragging her all over a few of the islands hiking, kayaking and generally adventuring. I will admit, she did almost have a heart attack when we dragged her up Diamond Head and again a few days later when my Dad found a rope swing over the water and swung around like a teenager. Not wanting to be outdone in the childlike behavior department, my husband joined the Old Man in running right past several very descriptive warning signs to jump into enormous waves crashing into the beach. After a few minutes they actually resembled the pictures on the signs with arms flailing. They reached their limit for abuse in a matter of minutes and headed back onto solid land winded but laughing. Surprisingly, my Dad didn’t try to surf on this vacation even when he saw the North Shore surf competition twenty feet in front of him. I think he knew that it may actually send my mom over the edge to have to watch him jump onto another surfboard. Most of us came home from this vacation a little battered and bruised but happier than when we embarked on the adventure.
Travel is really just the tip of the adventure iceberg for me, but it’s one of the ways that I learned to be open to the experiences the world has to offer. It was on family vacations that I learned that the best sights were seen when you least expected it and that your day could get exponentially better by not making plans and just heading out. I learned to pack light and skip reservations. I learned to talk to people and ask questions. I learned to say yes as often as possible and to go where the locals go, unless of course that is to a cock fight.
I listened to one of my all time favorite albums while writing this blog (over 3 days!)
Nothing like a cake to feed 30 for a party of 15!
I hate when my husband asks questions like “Can I trust you to make a reasonable decision?” I want to respond with a question of my own – Are you new here? Of course you cannot trust me to make a reasonable decision. Reasonable is not exactly in my wheel house. I’m kind of a go big or go home kind of girl. He typically asks these kinds of questions in context to shopping or party planning. I hear questions like this often during the months of November and December when I am Christmas shopping and in the spring when I am planning our daughter’s birthday party. I vividly remember him telling me not to get too crazy about our daughter’s cake for her fifth birthday. I didn’t have to get crazy at all. I am fortunate enough to know a baker extraordinaire who didn’t even blink when I asked for a seven layer rainbow cake with the My Little Pony characters climbing the side of the cake. The inside of the cake was a beautiful rainbow just like the outside and the kids went crazy for it. For some reason my husband was really against us having a kids birthday party the following year.
Because every day is a party in our house – balloon archway and all!
The thing is I grew up with parents who sometimes went a little overboard. They loved being parents and they tried to make my childhood as magical as possible. I am in my 40s and they are still trying to make my life a little magical when they can! This may be one of the reasons I act like a large child in high heels. I am the girl with the most cake.
Last time I went to spend the morning in my daughter’s class, the primary school director said to me “you are pretty popular around here!” as six little girls huddled around my chair. I explained that it’s only because they are not used to seeing kids as big as me in their class. I’m a bit like a performing chimp for the kids when I show up, so they like having me around.
The other factor in my over the top attitude is that I don’t much think about consequences until I am actually suffering them. I never thought much about using all of my vacation days by mid-June when I worked a nine to five job. This was actually a fairly difficult thing to accomplish too considering I did not take any vacation days between the third week of January and April 15. That really spoke volumes about how much I hated my job when I took four weeks of vacation days over a period of ten weeks. We used to joke in my house on a weekly basis that I was sick and would need to stay home from work. Once again, consequences have never played much of a part in my decision making. Refer back, I am much like a large child in high heels.
Yup, a large child in high heels loose in Las Vegas!
Sometimes I wonder how my husband puts up with me and then I remember it’s because I am awesome. It may drive him crazy that he can’t trust me to pick out a simple birthday cake or book a vacation without saying “HELL YES” every time I am asked if I would like to upgrade, but he can also know that no matter what I get my hands on it’s going to turn out better. Sometimes I have to remind him that he is in fact the one who chose to marry a large child in high heels. Just in case he forgets, I periodically send him pictures of me in high heels acting like a child. He is not nearly as amused by this as I am. So, no, he most definitely cannot trust me to make a reasonable decision, but he can trust me to make anything I touch ten times more awesome!
Today’s post was written while listening to: