Monday, September 23, 2013

Family Fitness: A Tale of Two Sisters.

"Amy! Look I'm doing it! I'm doing it!
Snap the damn picture! Snap the picture!"
My sister is an exercise lunatic. She's been that way her entire life, and if my memory as an 18 month-old child serves me correctly,  I am 100% accurate in this assessment.  When my mom brought my new baby sister home from the hospital, she promptly began bicep curling her bottle and she hasn't stopped curling, twisting or lifting since. 

She was always flipping outside in the yard, while I was inside eating Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips and waiting for Growing Pains to start. Sure, I would occasionally join her in her outdoor antics, but I'd stop as soon as I felt remotely uncomfortable. Sweat, insects, dirt - yeah, all of those things made me uncomfortable. So, I'd turn a few cartwheels and head on in for a weekly dose of Kirk Cameron and his shenanigans as Michael Aaron Seaver. Yes I know his First, Middle and Last Name - I had his posters all over my room. Kirk Cameron was dreamy. 

In high school, my sister dove, cheered, ran and swam. I gave it all a whirl, but eventually decided that my time would be better spent cruising the whip and trying to illegally buy cigarettes. 

In college, get this- she worked out. What the hell was that about? Physically speaking, isn't the whole point of college to put on a few beer and pizza pounds? Well, not my sister - this girl regularly attended the IU's SRSC and of course, majored in Exercise Science. I majored in Journalism, and I certainly did not work out, but I could tell you when 25 cent beer night was going down at the Bluebird.

I visited IU's SRSC just once. Even its acronym was intimidating. SRSC?  What did that even mean? I think it roughly translates into: Fuck exercise, it sucks.  

Whatever, it meant, I didn't fit in. In order to attend, you had to be in really great shape, wear full make-up and flaunt super cute workout clothes. I wasn't in great shape - I was hungover and flaunting my too-tight poly-blend high school gym shorts. The SRSC made me about as uncomfortable as insects and dirt, so I'd head back to the dorm for some candy and 90210. Luke Perry was dreamy. 

My sister's honeymoon photos featured her and her husband mountain climbing, kayaking, and bike riding. On my honeymoon, Justin and I rented a pontoon boat and took it out about 50 feet before we decided that it required way too much effort and returned it. We are clearly the perfect couple as we were in total agreement that peddling that damn boat in the ocean was ridiculous when there was a minibar to play in. Her pictures were filled with adventure. My pictures were filled with food from the buffet.

I avoided all sorts of working out, until I had children and realized that if I didn't whip myself back into shape after the babies, I'd be all sorts of morbidly fat for life. So begrudgingly, I took up the elliptical and Jillian Michael to keep myself in just enough shape as to not totally disgust myself.

So, when Amy, my dear sister, invited me to her TRX class, I said I'd go along mainly because there was nothing good on TV.

I wasn't entirely sure what TRX was and her description of stretchy bands was a little misleading, or more likely, I wasn't paying attention. I should have Googled it. I walked into some S&M looking chamber with ropes hanging from the ceiling. I'm pretty sure I read about things like this in 50 Shade of Gray. What the hell was going to go on in here? Leave it to Amy to find the most horrible form of exercise on the planet and enjoy it. 

Shit. Now what? All these weirdo exercise people looked excited to get started. I was terrified - pretty sure I was about to be bound and gagged and not in a sexy Christian Grey type way but more in a move my body in a painful, Biggest Loser type way. 

Then it began. We pulled the bands with our biceps, our triceps, our quadriceps and all of the other important 'ceps. It wasn't so terribly bad, 'cep when it came time for the ab work.

My sister knew I was in trouble. She looked at me in a panic and said, "Abbie, just don't do it. Really - just don't do it."

What in the world? I'd made it this far. What was she scared of? That I'd fart?

This particular maneuver was, indeed, beyond my capabilities as it involved holding myself in plank position with my feet in the bands and then moving my feet inwards toward my head. Sound complicated? Well it was. I felt like a fat sausage on a rope.

What made me feel better was that my sister couldn't do it either but only because she couldn't stop laughing at me. This is why it is so much more comfortable to eat chips and watch sitcoms - you're the one laughing and potato chips are delicious.

After class, I returned home and bicep curled my own bottle - a wine bottle. Girls gotta work her 'ceps.  Would've been nice if Amy could have joined me for a glass, but that lunatic was out running or cartwheeling around her neighborhood. I would've joined her but Grey's Anatomy was on and Patrick Dempsey, well, he's McDreamy. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Finger On The Bus Goes Up & Down.

Good luck, moms. Very soon we will be off to the races. And don't kid yourself — it is a fucking race.  From August until May, you better have your wits about you or you will either lose your damn mind, start beating your children or become an alcoholic.

Here it comes. The permission slips, the homework, the lunches, the special projects, the class parties, the school programs. With joy and fear in my heart, I humbly approach the school year and pray to God that I make it until Fall Break, before I start forgetting to pack lunches, losing backpacks and killing class pets. 

This year, though, I’ve decided to make it a little easier on myself.  

Last school year, I would get off work around 2:45 pm and race to pick up my kids by 3. I was always late and when I finally arrived, they weren't exactly happy to see me but rather riled up and ready to go at me for my tardiness. 

"You're always the last one to pick us up!"

"Why are you so late?"

"Why do we have to wait so long?"

What they were really saying is…..

"Why do you suck so bad? A better mom would be on time to pick up her kids."

I've heard it said (maybe on Grey's Anatomy or some other equally compelling prime time drama) that "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation."  Well, Amen. 

I'm sick of listening to it. I know I'm late, but I've heard that the school bus is always on time. So I'm making good on my threat. I'm throwing those girls on the bus. Dun. Dun. Dun.

Once upon a time, back before I knew better, I vowed that I'd never put my children on a school bus. Why? Because on Southwest Dubois County School Corporation's Bus Number 2, I didn’t just get a ride home, I got an “education.”

“Hey Kid!”

That kid, yeah, that would be me —  6 years old, carrying a Pound Puppy backpack complete with matching lunch box.

“Kid! Do you know which finger is the bad finger?”  Do you know how to use it?”

I didn’t know there was a bad finger. If there was a bad finger, was there also a good finger? This was thoroughly confusing. Was this a “This little piggy went to market type thing?”  Did I also have a finger that ate roast beef and went "wee wee wee" all the way home?

“Hey Kid!"

Yeah, again, that kid was me.  

“Kid! You don’t believe in Santa do you? HA! Kid — You. Are. An. Idiot!"

Idiot? Huh? I wasn’t even sure I’d heard that word before - so you can imagine my surprise when F-bombs started flying around the bus come spring.

Santa? My parent’s couldn’t be Santa, how could they fit the presents down the chimney?

I was six, confused and just flat freaked out by the bus and its giant acne-ridden teenage riders.

Seeing that the girls are now 6 and 8, I've deemed them old enough to learn about F-bombs, and Santa. It's time they grew up. They can learn the down and dirty facts of life on the school bus just like their good old mom did back in the day while they go riding "wee wee wee" all the way home.

And if they don't like it, well, when they get home...I'm sure they'll give me the finger.