Saturday, July 28, 2012

Karma's A Bitch

Getting older (I didn’t say old, I said older – there’s a difference) means your body starts to sag in unattractive places. Things flap, things get wrinkly, and your thighs make that swishing noise when you walk even when you are not wearing corduroys.

It became obvious that I needed to take drastic measures. It was time to hire a personal trainer – someone who would make me accountable, would push me to my limits and would help me whip this 58-year-old body into better shape.
Finding a trainer is easy, but there are a lot of them out there and all using different methods. I had recommendations for a boot camp program. Ummm, no thanks. Running up and down hills at 5AM while carrying a kettle bell is not my poison of choice. I had recommendations for local gyms offering classes in aerobics, Pilates and Yoga, but it was voluntary. Nope. Too easy to blow off. I needed a personal trainer who expected me to show up at a certain time and day and who was going to charge me for it whether I showed up or not. My friend Clay gave me the number for Justin along with the highest recommendation. “He’s good, he’s motivating, he’s hot and he’s a nice guy.” What more could I ask for?

Two days later I was meeting with Justin at Doug’s One-On-One – a stone’s throw from my house and a small, intimate workout venue. We chatted about my eating and exercise habits and my goals. I liked him and said, “Let’s do it. I’m ready.” “I have time to do your weight and measurements right now,” he said.
As Justin was maneuvering around my limbs with a tape measure, we made idle conversation. “Were you born and raised here?” I asked. “Yes ma’am,” he replied. “Where did you go to high school?” I went on. “Mauldin,” he answered. When I asked him his graduation year, I realized he must have been at Mauldin the same time as my daughters. My last name is different than Vicki and Kelly, so I inquired whether he knew them. He seemed very sheepish when he told me he indeed did know them. My mama red flag went up. “What’s your last name, Justin,” I interrogated.

The second he blurted it out, I knew. I pointed a finger right at his face and said, “You were one of the boys at the pool!” He put his hands over his face, shook his head and said, “Yes ma’am, I was.” I burst out laughing at the coincidence of it all. Thirteen years prior, there had been an incident at our neighborhood pool. Several local boys hopped the fence in the middle of the night and had a little par-tay, ending with tables, chairs and umbrellas thrown into the water. As President of the homeowner’s association, I got the early morning call when it was discovered.
I was on a mission to find the culprits, which I did with a bit of detective work. I wrote letters to their parents, summarizing the damage and demanding payment to keep from contacting the local police. The money was paid, punishments were doled out and I had three teen-aged boys who wanted to see me suffer.

And now, here I was, agreeing to pay one of those boys my hard-earned cash to inflict pain on me twice a week. Justin and I had a good laugh over it, though he still expresses his embarrassment to me when the subject comes up. In the meantime, for thirty minutes twice a week, he concocts grueling exercises that leave my limbs feeling like rubber bands. For three days afterwards, I struggle to climb the stairs at work (I complete five sets of five flights five days a week) and lift my arms to dry my hair. And the worst pain, which every woman who has ever been sore from exercise understands, is felt while trying to be seated on the commode. I try to stifle the “oh, oh, oh” moans when squatting in a public restroom.
I know Justin is being a total professional as he directs my workout each week. I know the exercises he makes me perform are for toning my muscles and burning some fat. I know he would never think of pushing me just a little harder than normal in order to make me hurt just a little extra the next day. I know he would never…….  Do I really know that? As I struggle to complete the last two or three reps of a squat, or a lift or a crunch, I find myself sometimes yelling out to him, “How mad were you about the pool incident?” We both have a laugh and move on. I leave the gym covered in sweat from head to toe, endorphins spewing. I know it’s all good. But when I try to make that squat without moaning in pain, I do have to ask myself if karma really is the bitch she’s cracked up to be.

Monday, July 16, 2012

They Say It's Your Birthday

It’s my birthday too, yeah. It came, I saw, I kicked its ass. In some ways, I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but in other ways, it was a celebration of survival.

Last year’s birthday was the worst in my long history. Why? Read the blog post prior to this one. Because of the crappy memory associated with last year’s birthday, I was tentative about the second coming. But as it approached, just like it does every year like a high-speed train, I realized I was no longer afraid.  It was the Gloria Gaynor in me.

It was a birthday weekend. Friday night Molly and I (the Thelma to my Louise) hit downtown with a bullet. Green Vegas (best Greenville band eva) was playing Wild Wing at 10PM. After happy hour drinks and pulled-pork nachos at Arizona, we were starting to fade. But luckily the second wind blew in and we were on our way.

Now, it was MY birthday we were out to celebrate, and we were fringing on Molly’s as well since it will arrive three days later. When we climbed the stairs to the second level of WW, we were first greeted by a bouncer who put arm bands on our wrists WITHOUT checking ID. Bitch slap number one.
Next vision – a slew of men all wearing black t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Sean Spears is 40 today”. That party had started earlier in the day and these boys were wound up. Within the first hour, I know I saw at least three rounds of shots go down the hatches. Well, there was going to be competition in the birthday bashing tonight. We were up for the challenge.

Green Vegas rocked the house, as usual, and we danced our butts off with Sean Spears et al. For someone reason, they latched on to us. At one point Molly said, “Do you realize we were old enough to babysit these guys when they were kids?” Oooh, bitch slap number two.
I arrived home at 2am, thankful I had no reason to set an alarm. Of course I was still wide awake by 7:30 and in need of some strong coffee. Uh oh, the easy-to-use, handy-dandy Tassimo was disassembled. All the parts were in the dish drainer. I had neither the expertise nor a clear enough head to deal with that. Guess I will wait until I meet the girls for lunch and get my caffeine fix with sweet tea.

I met Vicki and Kelly at their dad’s so I could see Wyatt for a few minutes. Grandpa Vic and Mimi were babysitting so the girls could spend the afternoon with me.  Wyatt handed me my card, a plant and plainly spoke the words, “Happy birthday Ma-maw.” That was all the gift I needed. For those who haven’t heard yet, Wyatt has also got my Christmas gift on order. He spilled the beans when he walked in with his “Big Brother” shirt.
Greenville is teeming with outstanding restaurants and the girls told me to pick whatever my birthday heart desired. Subs and Clubs. Small, family-owned hole-in-the-wall short on ambiance, tall on quality of food. The place holds lots of memories for me, many with the girls. I attempted to drive into the parking lot, but couldn’t. The entrance was blocked by a fire truck and an ambulance, both with lights flashing. I was convinced we could still go in and place our order, but was overruled. The hamburger at J. Peters was good, but my taste buds still craved the infamous Chicken Philly at Subs. Oh well, there’s always next year.

We did enjoy seeing Ted, my second time. Laughing with my family was a terrific way to spend my special day. By 5PM, I was back home – and in for the night. I guess turning 58 does require a longer recovery time when you party the night before. But all in all, it was a great birthday spent with those I love most – well almost all of them. And it certainly beat last year’s.