Monthly Archives: January 2010

Awful Aerobics Instructors

After I had my kid, it took three weeks before I was back at the gym. I went to an Abs class, which wasn’t a wise choice. I remembered my sister telling me that after having her daughter she went to the gym and couldn’t do ONE sit up. She was sitting there on a mat, unable to get up, and so, laughing, rolled onto her side and stood up. I remember thinking that was so embarrassing and surely that would never happen to me.

It did happen to me. But eight months later my abdominal muscles are in much better shape and I can do at least one sit up.

But I was annoyed upon returning to the gym in general, and not just because of feeling so out of shape. Before baby, I was able to motivate myself to exercise most days a week and I could usually stay on the the equipment until I felt I’d gotten a good workout. But after baby, I have relied almost exclusively on fitness classes to get me going. I’m very often so tired now that it’s all I can do most days to shove myself through the gym doors. I need the motivation of a class so that I don’t have to think about what to do and how long to do it for.

Now, I’ve always preferred classes over working out alone, but nowadays it’s ESSENTIAL to getting a workout at all. I need the structure of a class to keep me going. Otherwise, I’m likely to spend 4 minutes on the elliptical, and with no Jillian Michaels barking at me to do more, I’ll stop. Maybe pick up a free weight or two. Maybe stretch. Can’t leave yet so soon after I’ve arrived because it’s embarrassing when I have to pass by the counter people again on the way out.

So, my point is that when you rely on a fitness class to motivate you then it better be a kick-ass class. And to be a kick-ass class you have to have a kick-ass instructor. I can’t tell you the number of classes I have attended at my gym where the instructors are just terrible. They move off-beat, they start movements on uneven counts of said beat so that nothing is on the 4 or 8 count of the music (which to those of you who know what I mean, it’s SO DISTRACTING), they don’t cue you in time, they do more repititions on one side than the other, their music is too slow or too eighties, they make up moves that don’t flow together, they forget their sequences or they do the same move over and over and over to the point of fist-eating bordom.

Now, I’m not saying I could do it any better. But that’s why I’m not an instructor. And when I’ve seen oodles of instructors who choose great music, who can count, who construct routines that are fun and challenging and who LOOK like you WANT TO LOOK, then there’s no excuse to hire terrible people like that.

I’m sorry, I’m sure these ladies are lovely. But they are just not good. I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but maybe put them on desk duty or something. Their awful classes are doing nothing for my dough-boy belly.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Club Member

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Bathing Suits Are Difficult

I love swimming. We were a camping family growing up and have always been exposed to waterplay. I’ve often said that I could have been a professional athlete, and I reckon swimming would have been one of my top choices for sport. (My sister and I took gymnastics, which, given our height wasn’t the most logical.) Yes, lanky, skinny and sinewy was I (every man’s fantasy!) with broad shoulders (even sexier!) and a flat chest (please stop!) which meant I was just born to glide through water.

And I did! I took swimming lessons and I was really good at it. In fact, if my parents had ever wanted to encourage sport in us kids I could have gone for the gold. Which, I guess, obviously means nothing seeing as I never actually competed…whatever. I COULD HAVE DONE IT.

Perhaps one of the simpler reasons I was so fond of swimming throughout my life is that I never felt awkward about being in a bathing suit. Of course, as per the aforementioned description of my physique, I never did have what one might call a bangin’ bikini bod, but I needn’t have been self-concious either. Until now.

I have mentioned I have a kid that I bore myself. I have also described my resulting stretch marks. But pregnancy does all sorts of other things to your body, too. Things that are hard to label and that, singled out, would seem nit-picky but as a whole create something that is not quite right. It’s the sum of these parts that has left me a little…off. You know? Like the puckering of the skin above the navel? And the persistent linea nigra that they SAID was supposed to FADE after childbirth? Or the slightly puffy consistency of the newfound ponch? Or, worse, the fact that I now hardly have the time to self tan, leaving my skin its original mottled paleness? Yes, it is all these things that made me less than eager to shop for a new bathing suit today, which at the best of times, for most women, is an event that’s little less than totally discouraging. I think it goes without saying that I chose a one-piece for the first time in, oh, fifteen years.

All that said, I don’t actually mind it all so much, this new body. I mean, how often am I in a bathing suit? And how many people are going to be sniggering behind my back at the beach? And who cares, anyway? Yes, that’s a … very … good … question … And wouldn’t you know it, I’m pretty sure I got a one-piece that’s not all that matronly. However, even if you see me in it and mistake me for a woman ten years my senior I don’t think I’ll care, come to think of it.

Where was my rant in all this? I forget.

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Useless Renovations

My husband and I bought a place at the height of the market. It’s not that it was stupid; we needed a place, we didn’t get in over our heads, and we could have waited forever for the market to take what some suspected would be a bubble bursting in 2008. What bugs me is not that our place is assessed slightly lower now than when we bought it. Like any investment, you have to expect highs and lows. What annoys me is not even what the market or circumstances or our useless realtor did to us – no, it’s what WE did after we bought the home that still gets to me, two years later.

Our unit needed a facelift real bad. Everything was tacky, dirty, uncared for, horribly maintained and cheap. What a bargain for several hundred thousand dollars! Why, oh why, did we not get two?

Let me show you this listing, my dear clients: the carpet has clearly not seen a vacuum in months and is worn down to the plywood, the walls have so many holes and other damage that it may be better to just re-drywall the whole thing, the kitchen and bathroom are original from thirty years ago, the subfloor in said bathroom is rotted, the electrical switches do not correspond to any outlets, there are no main lights in any rooms so you’ll have to buy a crap-load of lamps, the closet doors don’t hang or close right (and if you’ve never tried to fix that kind of problem, I only have two words: GOOD LUCK), every square inch of wall and ceiling will need several coats of paint, every window will need blinds, the broken tile floor will have to be removed but you’ll also discover a treat of four layers of linoleum underneath, the load-bearing wall will need new studs because it’s seriously wonky, oh and least (but certainly not last) the backyard meadow of old weeds, cracked cement and fence gate that won’t open will also need your attention. Sign on the dotted line!

And we did. Please, please…give me a minute…this is one of those things that’s hard to reflect upon.

Okay, I’m alright. What’s past is past, right?

We did all the work ourselves, and by that I mean with the help of the numerous tradesmen in our family. Every single thing we did from the major (kitchen gutting) to the minor (vent replacing) presented a challenge. There was not one project we undertook where everything proceeded as expected. EVERYTHING had at least one aspect that was unforeseen, unusual or downright disastrous. There was not one wall we opened up that didn’t have issues underneath. There was also not one wall that didn’t need hours of plaster/sand/repeat before we could even think about painting. There was not one surface that had even so much as been wiped down to prevent the buildup of a sticky layer of dust and hair that must have taken years to accumulate.

And would you know, even after we had torn it all down, rebuilt to code, done everything properly and made everything new, I STILL look at the paint that took me several trips to Home Depot and countless hours to choose and I think, dammit that colour is ugly.

But because I am trying to look at the glass half-full, let me congratulate my husband and myself for becoming really, super handy.

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My Man Keeps Me Awake

I am one of those people who needs nine hours of sleep. Sure, I can get by on less, but to be productive and not feel like taking naps during the day I am dependant on more. Because I have always been like this, I am distrustful of people who can be fully functionable on a few hours a night.

I’m sitting here now at one-thirty in the morning. I went to bed early – 11 o’clock. Even though I’m bushed, I am still wide awake. Now, being awake two and a half hours after you go to bed is frustrating enough, but when you have a partner whose head no sooner hits the pillow and he’s knocked out, bedtime becomes especially annoying.

I envy my husband’s ability to turn off. I’ve always been facinated by people like that, because I’ve always had this problem and I can’t fathom being any other way. Now, most of the time I am able to forge indifference at his gift while I stew in my own sleep-deprived frustration, but I simply have no grace when he SNORES.

And while I’m on the subject, how is it that snorers can’t hear their own snoring? Every time I have to smack my husband to get the rattle/foghorn to stop, he inevitably turns towards me in his half-haze and complains, “What dij’ ya do that for?” To which I’ll snarkily ask, “What do you think?”, and he’ll reply, “I wasn’t snoring!”, all irritated-like. Then I’ll say, well, I didn’t just hit you for nothing…but there’s no reason to continue the dialogue because he’s only marginally awake and logic doesn’t work in such a semi-conscious state anyway so I’ll just grunt and he’ll turn back and resume his one-man-band, usually just when I think I’ve jolted it out of him.

You have to think that the snoring must be louder in the snorer’s own head, too. Just like when you plug your ears while speaking. Though, I have to say, he does have a point in suspecting me of so mercilessly and deliberately disturbing him. I know this is cruel, but so help me sometimes I try not-so-subtle measures to get him to awaken when I’m laying there into the third hour and I’ve tossed and turned and tried every angle and been to the washroom and drunk some water and I’m thinking he should be suffering with me.

But the joke’s on me because, of course, not only does nothing wake this man up, but when he is roused he can go straight back to la-la-land without a ripple of disturbance on his mind’s radar.

I know I wish for lots of things, but if I only had the proverbial three wishes, being like my husband when it comes to sleep would definitely make the cut.

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