Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gym Time!

I LOVE going to the gym! When my kids were small, it was due in very large part to getting a little kid-free time. But now with all my kids in school all day, that is no longer a motivation. I've always really liked knowing that my body was strong and capable. And since I climb far fewer trees these days than I once did, a gym is the easiest way to accomplish that. I've seen how quickly a body can betray, and so while mine is still working well, I intend to work it!

A few months ago, I let my membership at a local rec center lapse. It's the gym I've used for years, but it was no longer meeting my needs. I intended to just focus on my half marathon training on the roads and trails and combine that with push-ups and other things I could do here at home.

But then a swanky new gym opened in the downtown of my cute and adorable little town. It took over the old hardware store and is that perfect combination of raw old brick walls, distressed but gleaming old wood floor, and lots of  dark metal. It's opening happened to coincide with my decision to get back into weight lifting again. (I don't think I've really focused on lifting since before I had my daughter. She's six now.)

I love my swanky new gym! It's a 24 hour facility and doesn't always have staff there, so the other day I used my key card to get in only to discover the whole building dark and empty! This, btw, is one of my definitions of heaven. A whole gym, completely tricked out, and all to myself!!

I then spent the next 10 minutes mentally writing a book involving the murder of a woman who is all alone in a swanky new 24 gym. All this while lacing up my sneakers, picking out my treadmill, programming it, queuing up my running playlist on my iPod, and just settling in.

Heaven, y'all.

On the TV screen in front of my treadmill they were showing some sort of championship basketball game for high schools. Basketball is the one sport I don't mind watching. And it was a NJ high school playing against an Indiana high school in a very close game.

I was all alone, so I cheered loudly at every basket the NJ team made. I booed out loud at missed or lousy calls against the NJ team all while running with my ear buds in.

It was after one particularly hard-won basket, I threw my arms up in the air and yelled "YES!" for the NJ team, and noticed an older gentleman had come up the stairs at some point and was exactly in my blind spot.

See?? Total potential for a murder mystery! I have no idea how long he'd been there, but he was clearly amused at my enthusiasm for high school basketball.

I finished up my miles on the treadmill and then moved over to do my first arm work out with the weights in a reeeeaaaaally long time. So long, in fact, that when I attempted to put my previous lifting weight on the barbell for chest presses, I optimistic.  So much so, that I could not lift the bar back up and had to slither out from under it, off the bench, and on to the floor.

A friend of mine once commented that I reminded him a little of Lucille Ball from "I Love Lucy". At the time I bristled a little at the comparison. But as I've thought of some of the stories I've told him from my life over the years, it's fairly apt. Anyway, as I was slithering out from the bar none too gracefully, that's all I could think of.

The guy at the gym was nice enough to pretend he didn't see me make a fool of myself that time. I managed to finish up my workout without any further shenanigans, thank goodness.

I'm happy to report that my subsequent visits to the gym have yielded no such stories and have simply been boring.

Not so good for anecdotes, but much better for my ego.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Twoo Wuv

Todd and I have been married for a little over 17 years now, and we've known one another in varying degrees for the better part of 34 years. We've reached an age where a lot of our friends have married, had kids, and are beginning to divorce. Or in some cases, have already divorced and are remarrying.

I can't say that will never happen to us. Mostly because I've learned to avoid definitive statements like that. I've eaten my words far too many times after uttering "I'll never...". That being said, I genuinely like Todd. He is such a good man and I'm always so amazed at his generosity of spirit. 

The other day, I asked if I could borrow his iPod for the day so I could go running. (Technically, I own an iPod, too, but mine is big and clunky and no fun to run with. His is delightfully small AND has my running mix loaded on to it.) But he and the kids have been listening to the musical "Hamilton" on the way to school each morning. When I remembered that, I waved him off with the kids and told him that I would just run later that night when he got home or run without it during the day. No problem. 

Todd is so busy at work with meetings that we often have zero interactions throughout the day. So he leaves the house at 7:20 am, and I don't see him again until 7 pm. (You can take the businessman out of New York...) However, 20 minutes after leaving the house that morning, he pulled back in the driveway. I assumed he'd forgotten something, so I opened the front door to find him coming up the walk with his iPod, as he hurried back to his car to get to work after handing me said iPod he said, "We've listened for the morning, now you can use it to go running today!"

Such a simple little thing. But a reminder that he cares, and is willing to go out of his way when he can to make my day a little nicer.

Yesterday was a hard parenting day. (That's the second one in a week and with a different child. We haven't had those in a while, for which I'm grateful, but two in one week was tough.) I was emotionally spent by afternoon. I knew I couldn't call Todd because he's always either in a meeting or heading to one, and I didn't have the energy to craft an email about everything that had gone on and what I was feeling. But I needed to loop him in. We exchanged a few simple texts. He was having a hard day, too, though in different ways. Then last night right before bed, he gave me the last hoarded piece of his Valentine's Day chocolate and prayed wishes for an easier day today.

It takes so little to show someone you care about them. And while neither Todd nor I are perfect at anything, even and especially that, I appreciate the small and simple ways in which he tries.

If there were any secret to a happy relationship, it's those small and simple acts of caring. Those little things that say, "Hey, I was paying attention to you enough to know that you could probably use this." 

I am fortunate enough to be told daily by my husband that he loves me. I am kissed each morning as he leaves the house and each night when he comes home, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about these two small examples of caring from the last few days. They were sweet and thoughtful and unexpected and so very appreciated. 

Guess all those hearts with "MTS + EAB" drawn all over my 9th grade algebra book cover were worth it, even if I did end up having to retake the class. ;)

Sometimes "this" is a date to Jeni's for ice cream.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Conversations with Smiths- Part 24 or "My Son is the Interpretive Dance Penis in the High School Musical"

Hello, do you think that you could give me Bens phone number so I can get Pippin info?
Oh wait, does he have a phone?
He has no phone number. He is in the wind. Much like the anatomy he will be playing on stage.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Conversations with Smiths- Part 22

I've mentioned before that an alternate title to "Conversations with Smiths" could easily be "Poor Todd". Bless the man and all that he puts up with from the rest of us.

Also, for the record, and for context. Benjamin is totally better at doing make-up than I am. Not that it's a high bar or anything. In fact, a toddler could step over it. He's been doing dance and theater since Kindergarten, though, so he's a pro. Other than the occasional swipe of mascara and lip balm, I just don't wear it often enough to be good at application. My sisters who are makeup experts look at my blank face with lamentation whenever we go to visit them.

However, make-up is necessary on stage, darn it.  So a few times a year, I have to suck it up and paint my face.

Me: Benjamin, I'm going to a stage make up workshop in a couple of weeks.

B: Oh! Will they be doing age makeup??

Me: No. They're doing "looking fabulous when you dance on stage" makeup.

B: Hm. [Knowing he doesn't actually need that.]

Me: Could be useful for you.

B: Well, I guess if you won't let me be a stripper, drag could be the way to go.

Me: Drag is much classier than stripping. You have to entertain, not just titillate.

B: Good point. And to do good drag, Brendan said you need to know how to do your contour makeup correctly.

Me: True. Although, you're welcome, for those already fabulous cheekbones you have. Anyway, it's good to keep your career options open, right?

Todd: SHHHH!! Will you two behave? We're at church!

(Church hadn't started yet, btw, but we were probably not adding to the overall reverence of the pre-service ambiance.)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 21

I have a difficult time paying attention in church. Okay, I have a difficult time paying attention anywhere. Benjamin and I sitting next to one another is a particularly bad combination. Sometimes Todd separates the two of us if a speaker is particularly challenging to listen to.

It's a problem.

Adding to the problem is that our current congregation has a tradition of being pretty lousy at special programming for major holidays. Perhaps it feels worse for Todd and me because we grew up in churches with fabulous holiday programming. We've been here eleven years, you'd think we'd stop getting our hopes up by now. But, no.

This past Sunday was particularly painful because one of the few Christmas carols we were going to sing as a congregation was skipped when the undoubtedly nervous speaker rushed to the podium and began speaking before the organist made it to the organ. So the Bishopric let her talk and decided to skip the hymn altogether.

I was not pleased. And then the speaker as she told a scripture story described some of the people as "not righteous and wicked".

And Benjamin and I went into "we have the attention span of gnats and are obnoxious to boot" mode and this happened.

Benjamin: #NotRighteous #Wicked 

Me: #SameThing #Redundant

Benjamin: #SacramentMeetingTalk

Me: #NotReallyPayingAttention #ShouldBeSingingTheFirstNoel #Bitter

Todd [leaning over in between Benjamin and me]: #SHHHH!

Benjamin: #Roasted #DadBurn

Friday, December 18, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 20

'Tis the Season for White Elephant gift exchanges!

Todd and I used to attend so many of these each year, that I began keeping a box in the basement full of things to give at such a party. That way throughout the year as I was cleaning out, I could easily donate to the box and then not have to scramble to find something ridiculous the day before the party. It was already in my handy-dandy box!

We haven't really gone to as many of the type of parties where white elephant gifts are exchanged over the last few years, which means I haven't really looked in the box for a while.

Last night my boys informed me that after the play they were going to, the party was going to have a white elephant exchange and what on earth could they possibly give???

They looked amazed when I told them of "The Box". Without checking the contents, I brought it upstairs and put it on the table so they could find what they wanted, which is how the following conversation happened:

Benjamin: Are those condoms??

Me: Crap! Yes. But, you can NOT give condoms past their expiration date as a white elephant present!

Nathaniel: But, why not? That would be hysterical!

Me: You can NOT give out expired condoms to anybody, but especially teenagers.

Benjamin: Because they're not as effective. Ha! They're even "ultra-thin", so twice as likely to break!

Nathaniel: But white elephant gifts are supposed to be useless. So, why can't we give those?

Me: Nathaniel, teenagers who are in possession of a condom and also in need of a condom aren't very likely to double check the expiration date in the heat of the moment.

Nathaniel: Hm. Well, most of them are too young to be having sex anyway. 

Me: Yes, but if you take 36 condoms to a party, odds are good they aren't all going home with the same person. Also, you are a freshman. Do you really want the rest of your high school career to be colored with the memory of you as "that kid who brought 36 expired ultra-thin trojans" to a party?

[Me quickly scrambling through box to make sure there's nothing else inappropriate for them to take.]

Me: Good grief, there are so many condoms in this box!!

Nathaniel: That's honestly something I never expected to hear my mother say. 

Me: Then you haven't known your mother very long.

Benjamin: Nathaniel, you should just take the bottle of hot sauce called "Rectal Rocket Fuel".

Nathaniel: I don't know. That's kind of embarrassing. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Conversations with Smiths- Part 19

Benjamin has been doing ballet for 5 or 6 years now, but other forms of dance for far longer. His ballet teachers have been trying to convince him of "proper ballet attire" for nearly as long. Since all the other dance forms he does are far more casual, he resists. Oh, he'll don a white t-shirt, and maybe some black athletic pants if black ones happen to be clean, but black ballet tights and a dance belt? No.

Just no.

[A dance belt, btw, is a balladore's version of a jock strap. Imagine, however, that a jock strap and a thong got together and hybridized. Visual confirmation NSFW.]

I am sure I'm biased, but Benjamin is a beautiful ballet dancer. (So is Caleb, but Caleb totally doesn't care about ballet other than to torture his poor teacher.) I can't be totally biased, though, because one of Benjamin's current ballet instructors wants him to audition for a summer ballet intensive that he seems to think Benjamin will have no trouble both being accepted in to and given a big scholarship to attend.

My son is feeling very flattered at the idea of such a thing and is planning on auditioning at one of the regional auditions in a couple of months. His teacher pulled him aside last week and said, "So, you know you're going to have to wear ballet tights and a dance belt to audition, right?" While I wasn't there for this conversation, I have this teacher for a dance class also, and I can imagine the gleam in his eye as he said it. There was probably internal clapping going on, too, as he thought, "Aha! I got him! He'll HAVE to come to class properly dressed NOW!"

This was the conversation Benjamin and I had following:

B: Mr. Adam says I need dance tights and a belt for the audition.

Me: Did he cackle maniacally as he told you? Or say, "Neener neener neener?"

B: No.

Me: You know he was doing it on the inside. 

B: Yeah.

Me: The time has come, my son.

B: It is the coming of the great and dreadful day of the dance belt!

Me: You poor thing.

B: There shall rain down hellfire and brimstone and dancebelts!

Me: I'm sure it's not that bad.

B: I don't even know if everything will stay in place given my lack of bottom.

Me: Maybe it will help your bottom look better.

B: I'll be in tights

Me: Yes. Well, we'll have to make time to go shopping for dance belts and tights one of these days.

B: Hellfire and brimstone and dancebelts. [heavy sigh]