Thursday, November 15, 2012

Birds on a Wire

If its under 40 degrees and hot dish and casseroles are calling my name.  What pumpkin pancakes have fiber in them?  Let’s make a couple dozen and snuggle in with a 3rd pot of coffee this morning and just watch the tundra outside.  Inside my little house, I am safe from the whirling wind that knocks down garbage cans and threatens to take out an old tree or two.  It’s a good feeling, a safe feeling and its worth some extra calories to do it right.

However, MN winter is long. Like 6 months long.  That’s a lot of casseroles people. That’s a lot of baking with butter. There’s already an extra shake in my step and not the “I’ve got it all under control” swagger my sister-in-law has perfected. You get a little to comfy in the leggings and start to look like you’ve crossed the boundary of choosing to wear leggings, into having to wear leggings.

But it’s not just the war with zippers.  There is also mental exhaustion that a MN winter can bring on.  Being inside, day after day, avoiding the weather.  With four kids, I sometimes feel like I’m preparing them for war in the morning.  Is there a mere 5 percent of your skin exposed?  Good, get in the van soldier.  In my best efforts to fight the elements, my world becomes very small.  And repetitive.  And repetitive.

 Yep.  Routine is a blessing and a curse.  My mind gets fat and foggy too.

Same brown bag lunch. Same favorite sweater. Same dishes I put in the same damn dishwasher (God bless it).  Same list of complaints.

And then there are the children of course.  The lovely little bees that have been cooped up, days at a time.  Let me just say, one fifteen minute, cold recess at school, does not make a lovely eight year old boy. Any parent that doesn’t understand the importance of physical education at school, must not spend any time with their child from 4- 6 p.m. in the afternoon.   All rooms = playgrounds and after a few weeks of nagging about shoes on furniture, I begrudgingly hand over the territory to the hungry wolves. 

Children were not meant to play indoors.  At least not my children.

Its not good for me. Its not good for them.  Before long, I have morphed into an angry, rule barking, double-chinned cartoon.  They, a selfish pack of yogurt tube sucking hyenas.

Reclaiming control must be possible, if only I could have twenty seconds by myself to find out how. Ding.

A quiet space, where you shed your mental and physical weight, and ….free childcare? Yes, the gym.

Now to me, it looks pretty great.  To my husband, it looks pretty unnecessary.  I end up feeling like a 6 year old begging for a puppy.  

Would you use it?

Would you take the kids?

Do you really think you would bundle all of the kids up in the snow to go to use someone else’s treadmill for 25 min? 

How is this better than running in our basement on our own treadmill?

Valid points. Our own treadmill has been more of a mobile shelving unit for a couple of years and I don’t have a long history of keeping my commitments to self-improvement. Its true, there seem to be some months during the year when I am completely at peace with my extra layers. I understand his hesitation, and truthfully, I feel it myself. 

However, the alternative, is not the same.  We now house an elliptical the size of a small spaceship in our bedroom and everytime I change into my comfy, elasticized waist band jammies , it stares at me. Not a friendly, “Jump on and race your worries away” stare. More of a, “Wouldn’t it be nice, if those jeans were a little more roomy, my friend?”stare.

And I guess I should be happy that its in my bedroom.   Our old friend the treadmill has been kenneled up in the basement/playroom for six years. Now, I’m not trying to pass blame here, but the basement ceiling is 6 ½ feet … lets just say I had to strategically set my gate as to not end up with a self-induced concussion from hitting my head on a light fixture.

So, in efforts to slowly reclaim the capable me, I ignore the hyenas barking for attention, walk right past the mound of clean clothes gathering dust on my dresser and close the door to the sanctuary of my own room. I climb on up to the rocket boosters and swear I will not stop until minute fifteeen blinks on my screen. 

Its delicious.  Its rhythmic. It working. I can see how people become addicts of the little red blinking light, a bouncing cheerleader for every ounce of effort.  I’m thinking my own adult thoughts, my own dreaming.  And then I wake up.

Four little faces, smugly smiling on the end of my bed.  4 little birds on a wire.

So quick from sanctuary to spectacle.

“Your fat, Mom.”.  Chuckle, chuckle.

“Yeah, I’m working on it honey”. 

Are these the assholes you meet at the gym?