Tuesday, October 8, 2013

974. Here's What Happened to Me Today

I hired a personal trainer.  Before you think I’m some wealthy heiress, know this:  I suffered from a debilitating back injury over the summer.  After ER trips, X-rays, drugs, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, massage, and a renewed desire for a drink called a “zombie” (a nauseating-sounding blend of rum, brandy, pineapple juice, and orange juice—don’t judge), I figured I had earned a few sessions of personal training. 

Personal training would not only cure my back pain, I rationalized, it would inevitably turn me into Claudia Schiffer.  Or Heidi Klum.  Or Gwyneth.    

Anyway, things went great with my trainer until he announced that he expected me to be working out on some of our “off” days.  (Note to self: I always thought “off” meant “off”?)   Since I can only afford the trainer twice/week, that meant he expected me to work out at least three of the remaining days. 
Deflated, I asked him if it would be okay if I swam on one of those days. 

“Sure! I think that would be a great idea!” he enthused. 
The next morning at 5am sharp, I was in the pool swimming laps.  I had new goggles, a new swimcap, and a new attitude.  I was a female Michael Phelps. 

When I got out of the pool, I decided to chat with the lifeguard for a few minutes.  Since he would be the one saving my life if my future self happened to hit her head against the cement pool wall, I thought it would be good to at least know his name. 
It was a difficult Russian name and I immediately forgot it.  I changed the subject and asked him if he liked swimming.  (Gimme a break, it was early.  I couldn’t think of anything else to chat about.) 

He promptly replied, “I can’t swim.” 
Yikes!  The lifeguard can’t swim?! 

Realizing his error in language, he corrected himself:  “I am not allowed to swim while on duty.” 
At least I got my heart rate up.   

trifecta writing challenge/ exactly 333 words/ key word is "zombie"

Saturday, October 5, 2013

973. How It Feels to Beat a 9-Year-Old at Checkers

It feels great.  I’ll be honest:  if feels really great.  Especially when that particular 9-year-old happens to be my junior Einstein son, Tall. 

Everything this child touches turns to gold.  He is smart, funny, athletic, and has tons of friends.  He is also one of these people that instinctively understands how to play a game he has been introduced to mere moments before. 

I made the mistake of allowing him to sign up for his school chess club several weeks ago.  Ever since that time, all I hear is, “Mom, let’s play a quick game of chess!” 
And it is a quick game, since I find myself in check mate in a matter of 10 minutes, sometimes less. 

But he was not going to win at checkers.  No.  Checkers was mine. 
I taught him the basics and of course he beat me.  Twice.  But then something kicked in, some sort of primal need for redemption, and that was it.  He was half my size and one quarter of my age.  I could take him. 

My guys got across the board in record time.  “King me!” I cried out, with an inappropriate amount of glee. 
Next thing you know, I had Tall’s two remaining pieces backed into a corner.  I tried not to laugh a wicked little laugh, but I couldn’t help it.  I had not won a game against this child since that time he had the flu when he was three and he was just not up for Monopoly that day. 

Tall saw that he had no way out.  He abruptly stood up and intentionally upended the board, with all the pieces splattering across the table and the floor.   
I guess he gets his good sportsmanship from me. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

972. My New Trainer Is a 100-Year-Old Leprechaun

Lately*, I haven’t written much (* at all) because I injured my back over the summer.  Not in a I-slept-on-it-wrong or I-might’ve-pulled-a-muscle kind of way, but more like I-have-to-go-to-the-ER-right-now and How-fast-can-you-fill-my-Vicodin-prescription sense of urgency.  It was horrible.  Giving birth to two boys in the eight pound range seems like a lazy day at the spa compared to my back pain. 

My gorgeous-and-just-out-of-med-school back doctor immediately recommended physical therapy, which did exactly nothing for me.  My therapist basically gave me a polyester heating pad to lie on and then told me to walk on his ancient treadmill for 15 minutes.  This was not how I wanted to spend my $25 co-pay.      
So I did what any sensible person in my position would do:  I upgraded.  To a personal trainer. 

After my sexy doctor gave me the green light, I enthusiastically signed up with a trainer.  “What exactly are you looking for in a trainer?” asked the Supervisor of Trainers at my posh gym. 
I thought long and hard about this question.  Did I want someone that would push me to my limits?  Or did I want someone that would coddle me and go at a slow pace if that is what my injury required?  Did I want someone who was ultra-perky, like a cheerleader, to make me feel good about myself?  Or would I rather have someone who had spent years in Physiology classes learning the exact way the muscle groups respond to exercise? 

Finally, the Ultra Virgo in me won out.  “I want someone who is on time.” 
The Supervisor of Trainers recommended Pat.  “I have known Pat a long time, and he is extremely reliable.” 

That was all I needed to hear. 
I showed up for my first session at 4:30 am, half an hour early so I could get cardio out of the way without having to pay Pat.  (Let’s ignore the fact that I go to the gym before the local Starbucks is open or the newspaper delivery guy is out; I just wake up that early, I can’t help it.) 

As I got out of my car in the near-empty parking lot, I noticed an older gentleman parking and getting out, too.  He was pale, short, and wearing a bright green shirt.  “Pat” is an Irish name, and clearly this gentleman was Irish. 
He was also about 100 years old and 50 pounds overweight.  According to the Law of Things Do Not Always Go My Way, this would be my new trainer. 

I braced myself for the inevitable: a trainer that did not look like a trainer but would of course be my personal trainer.  I tried to give myself a little pep talk:  MOV, who cares that he is fat and old and ohmygod, is he smoking?!?  None of that matters.  Give him a chance. 
I went in, entered my membership number onto the key pad (my phone number, obviously my posh gym knows that my brain is too full to remember any additional numbers at this stage in the game), and grabbed a hand towel.  Next, I went upstairs and got on the treadmill for 25 minutes. 

Normally I stare out the window or figure out how many miles I would have to walk to burn enough calories to drink three chocolate shakes in a row (I am not saying that I drank that yesterday, but what if I did, how bad would that really be?) but today I was focusing on something else:  How I was going to fire my new trainer in the first five minutes of our work-out session. 
When I re-told the story to my son Tall later, he said, “Mom, you should have said, ‘Pat, I want to explore all my options.’ No one can be offended by that.” 

It was oddly comforting that Tall will be really good at breaking up with his future college girlfriends when they try to lock him into a long-term commitment. 
But I digress.  The point is, words were orbiting my brain, words like, “Sorry, I was looking for someone younger,” and “Maybe I should train you instead of the other way ‘round?” 

In the end, I told myself that one hour with fat, old, chain-smoking Pat was merely a small price to pay on the way to me achieving Merit Points From God for Being Nice.  I would not get any closer to my goals of physical fitness and a healthy back, but at least I would not be going to Hell any time soon. 
“Are you MOV?” asked a friendly voice belonging to a buffed out twenty-something. 

My new trainer was not the older gentleman from the parking lot that I feared; but instead he was exactly what I had expected, hoped for, and dreamed of about a new trainer: 
He was on time. 


****Watch for lots more essays in this space in the weeks to come!  My goal is 30 new essays before Christmas to bring my overall essay count to a landmark 1000. 
xxo MOV