Lose weight… feel like an idiot? That can't be how the saying goes…

The problem with working out is two-fold. Number 1: I suck at it, and number 2: I hate it. Ok, I don’t really hate it… there are just other things I’d rather do. Like eat.

I have succumbed to the great American scam… I have joined a gym. They fool you is what they do… you walk in because your friend has a guest pass and there are all these pictures on the walls of women with six packs in sports bras and boxing gloves, kicking the shit out of some punch bag. You develop those swirly things in your eyes and walk with your arms jutted out like a zombie, right to the front desk, and without realizing what you are doing you robotically say “I want to look amazing and be able to kick-box like that girl from Alias. I want to do that by joining your gym. What type of payment do you require? I have here with me the fruit of my labor which is my first born son.” Then they thrust paper at you, one sheaf right after the next, saying things like “Oh yes, everyone simply loves coming here to Energy. Just sign here, on the dotted line. No, not with ink, here’s a knife so you can cut your finger and sign in blood. Anyway our rapport has been excellent. The fat just drips off as you work out! Here, sign this also. Don’t worry about reading it!”

So it’s Monday, and I wake up early and pack my clothes so I can walk right to work afterwards. I don’t own a “gym bag” so I use a suitcase. And I’m wearing a hat, a long coat, and mittens. I look like I’m travelling home… to Saturn. They see me coming from a mile away. “Hi…” I stammer at the front desk. “It’s my first day.” There’s a teeny little muscly girl at the counter who looks me over. I know she’s thinking no shit, but she says “well, welcome! There’s a dressing room downstairs.” I assume I’ll get to the dressing room and receive further instructions, so I haul my luggage down to the dressing room, peel off my winter armor and stuff everything into a big locker. No instructors. Hmmmm…

I venture outside of the locker room and I’m standing there, feeling quite idiotic, staring at all the equipment. Erm… now what? I notice two girls on what I assume are Elliptical machines, watch them for a minute to get the general idea, and wander over. I try not to swing my arms too much when I walk. The last thing I want is to be in front of these work-outers with my ass jiggling all over the place in my yoga pants. (They’re not really here to work out. They’re here to laugh at me. I know it.) I choose a machine behind them. I’m hoping that if I just step on it and start moving stuff around, it will work and everything will become clear and I won’t look like a moron. 

So I’m working out! I choose the “fat burning” setting on the machine, and I’m sweating like a teenage guy on his first date, and I’m kinda proud to be honest. I’m breathing real hard and I sort of smile to myself, thinking of all the calories I must be burning. And suddenly the machine beeps at me, like real loud, and a couple of people turn around. I ignore it, but it beeps again… BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! What!? I ask it, looking down. The electronic banner across the top says SLOW DOWN TO REDUCE HEART RATE! Wait… reduce my heart rate? I thought I was supposed to feel like I’m about to die. I notice a button with a glowing heart on it, and give it a push. “Heart rate – 200″ it flashes. That means nothing to me until I see a chart on the machine that says my “target heart rate” (whatever that means) should be about 130. Uh-oh… After looking around and seeing teeny muscly people everywhere, I choose to ignore it. I feel ok… I mean maybe I’ll slow down in a minute or get off this thing or something. I continue to move the pieces of this machine, feeling with each passing stride like my limbs are going to fall off, huffing and puffing, but proud of myself nonetheless. Then I look down at my time. 3 AND A HALF MINUTES!?!?!?! YOU’RE SHITTING ME!! And what do you mean I’ve ONLY BURNED SEVEN CALORIES! LIAR!!

Amazingly enough, I stay on that damn thing for 30 minutes, then stumble off and back into the locker room, where I pass out on a bench, my legs still quivering from the strain. When I’m able to stand again, I shower and dress (out of my suitcase). Monday’s score reads – Elliptical: 1, Megan: 0. I’ll be back Elliptical, when you least expect it!

Today, as I stand at the doorway between locker and scary machinery, I wonder what the hell those big bouncy looking balls in the corner are for, and should I be using one?

Lose weight… feel like an idiot? That can’t be how the saying goes…

The problem with working out is two-fold. Number 1: I suck at it, and number 2: I hate it. Ok, I don’t really hate it… there are just other things I’d rather do. Like eat.

I have succumbed to the great American scam… I have joined a gym. They fool you is what they do… you walk in because your friend has a guest pass and there are all these pictures on the walls of women with six packs in sports bras and boxing gloves, kicking the shit out of some punch bag. You develop those swirly things in your eyes and walk with your arms jutted out like a zombie, right to the front desk, and without realizing what you are doing you robotically say “I want to look amazing and be able to kick-box like that girl from Alias. I want to do that by joining your gym. What type of payment do you require? I have here with me the fruit of my labor which is my first born son.” Then they thrust paper at you, one sheaf right after the next, saying things like “Oh yes, everyone simply loves coming here to Energy. Just sign here, on the dotted line. No, not with ink, here’s a knife so you can cut your finger and sign in blood. Anyway our rapport has been excellent. The fat just drips off as you work out! Here, sign this also. Don’t worry about reading it!”

So it’s Monday, and I wake up early and pack my clothes so I can walk right to work afterwards. I don’t own a “gym bag” so I use a suitcase. And I’m wearing a hat, a long coat, and mittens. I look like I’m travelling home… to Saturn. They see me coming from a mile away. “Hi…” I stammer at the front desk. “It’s my first day.” There’s a teeny little muscly girl at the counter who looks me over. I know she’s thinking no shit, but she says “well, welcome! There’s a dressing room downstairs.” I assume I’ll get to the dressing room and receive further instructions, so I haul my luggage down to the dressing room, peel off my winter armor and stuff everything into a big locker. No instructors. Hmmmm…

I venture outside of the locker room and I’m standing there, feeling quite idiotic, staring at all the equipment. Erm… now what? I notice two girls on what I assume are Elliptical machines, watch them for a minute to get the general idea, and wander over. I try not to swing my arms too much when I walk. The last thing I want is to be in front of these work-outers with my ass jiggling all over the place in my yoga pants. (They’re not really here to work out. They’re here to laugh at me. I know it.) I choose a machine behind them. I’m hoping that if I just step on it and start moving stuff around, it will work and everything will become clear and I won’t look like a moron. 

So I’m working out! I choose the “fat burning” setting on the machine, and I’m sweating like a teenage guy on his first date, and I’m kinda proud to be honest. I’m breathing real hard and I sort of smile to myself, thinking of all the calories I must be burning. And suddenly the machine beeps at me, like real loud, and a couple of people turn around. I ignore it, but it beeps again… BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! What!? I ask it, looking down. The electronic banner across the top says SLOW DOWN TO REDUCE HEART RATE! Wait… reduce my heart rate? I thought I was supposed to feel like I’m about to die. I notice a button with a glowing heart on it, and give it a push. “Heart rate – 200″ it flashes. That means nothing to me until I see a chart on the machine that says my “target heart rate” (whatever that means) should be about 130. Uh-oh… After looking around and seeing teeny muscly people everywhere, I choose to ignore it. I feel ok… I mean maybe I’ll slow down in a minute or get off this thing or something. I continue to move the pieces of this machine, feeling with each passing stride like my limbs are going to fall off, huffing and puffing, but proud of myself nonetheless. Then I look down at my time. 3 AND A HALF MINUTES!?!?!?! YOU’RE SHITTING ME!! And what do you mean I’ve ONLY BURNED SEVEN CALORIES! LIAR!!

Amazingly enough, I stay on that damn thing for 30 minutes, then stumble off and back into the locker room, where I pass out on a bench, my legs still quivering from the strain. When I’m able to stand again, I shower and dress (out of my suitcase). Monday’s score reads – Elliptical: 1, Megan: 0. I’ll be back Elliptical, when you least expect it!

Today, as I stand at the doorway between locker and scary machinery, I wonder what the hell those big bouncy looking balls in the corner are for, and should I be using one?

Blogger Book Club

Hello internet,

I need your help. One of my goals in the great year of our Lord 2009 is to read more. If you had ONE book that you would recommend to me, what would it be? I’m taking everyone’s favorite books and adding it to my “must read this year” list. So leave me a comment with your pick, please and thanks!

An incomplete look at my weekend, in which I held in many of the thoughts you will see here today.

Last weekend, I went to Redneckville, Mississippi to visit my grandparents and the rest of my extended family on my mom’s side. I began blogging a list of lessons I learned over the weekend (which included “Do not use the following words in front of cousins of the stiffly religious persuasion: “bitch,” “asshole,” or “fuck.” Do not use the phrase “that’s what she said.”), but I deleted the list out of fear of hurting anyone in my family’s feelings in case they happen across this blog. I have learned over the past few months that a surprising number of people that I know actually read this blog, which was incredibly shocking to me, and also gave me a massive coronary as I searched back over old blog entries for anything that may have been offensive. It turns out I said some nasty things about my parents, which they read, and I also expressed my belief that Jesus is “a flaming liberal,” which disappointed and confused said parents and probably caused me to lose many or all of my conservative Christian readers. (That, or the repeated use of the word “fuck.” There it is again.) And while I don’t want to filter myself or be scared of writing what I feel, since that is the whole point of keeping a blog after all, I think it may be prudent for me to not discuss all the numerous low points of my weekend with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. For hilariously disturbing stories and inappropriate details, please contact me directly.

On a sort of side note, I did discover, for the first time, my purpose in life. The meaning of my life came clear to me at a Chick-Fil-A, where we had stopped for dinner on the road. It was a cold night, and snow flurried past the windows outside as my 22-year-old brother turned to me and said “I need your help.”

“Of course,” I replied. “Anything.”

“I can’t decide if I want to get TWO Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, or ONE Chick-Fil-A sandwich and some waffle fries,” he implored desperately, looking first into my eyes, then up at the glowing menu, then back down at me.

“Ok,” I said, determined to help him in his time of need. “If you can’t decide, why don’t you get two sandwiches AND fries?”

“Because you’re paying, and I wouldn’t want to do that to you.”

“Oh, I see. Well, that’s no problem; you can get two sandwiches and some fries. I don’t mind.” Speechless with gratitude, he simply put his arm around my shoulders and squeezed. I understood his meaning and found I didn’t need words.

“What are big sisters for?” I said dismissively.

“True,” he reasoned. “Big sisters are for fries.”

Even with the unexpected joy of realizing why I have been placed here on earth, the weekend was not a good one. If you are trying to recover from the dark blackness that is depression, you may want to think about it very carefully before going to visit your grandmother who has dementia. If she does not remember your name or your face, you will spend the entirety of your trip feeling lost and confused and contemplating your own mortality and wondering what the hell your point in life is, even though you thought you had just discovered it at that lonely Chick-Fil-A in Boontown.

In truth, I am so glad I visited her, even though it was one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my life to hear her ask me repeatedly “What’s your name again?” She did start to remember me on the day we left, but I worry that next time I see her she won’t remember me at all. Right before we left, when she was most lucid, I hugged her goodbye six different times and tried to remember everything about her in those moments. She’s so small and I have to bend almost double to put my arms around her shoulders. She smells like baby powder and Red Door perfume and Wrigley’s spearmint gum and laundry detergent. She kind of squishes next to me when I squeeze her, and her cheeks feel soft and doughy next to mine. She can’t remember my name, but she calls me “honey” and “darlin’” in her sweet southern lilt. If you don’t know my Mam-maw, you don’t know the sweetest, most beautiful, most patient woman alive. Get out there and hug your grandmother, if you are still lucky enough to have her in your life.

Oh, and one final lesson. Do not, under any circumstances, find yourself trapped in a car for eight hours on a day that your husband has eaten chili for lunch. This one is still too fresh in my memory to discuss further. Just please, for the love of all that is holy, take my word for it.

Kids? No problem. I live with Lance!

Last night, I walked into our bedroom and there, in the middle of the floor, was a discarded pair of Lance’s long johns and two woolly socks. I looked down at them for a sec before glancing up at the clothes hamper, which is maybe three feet away. So when Lance came in looking all innocent, I’m standing there staring incredulously at his pile of clothes.

“Wow!” I say, gesturing at the pile in front of my feet. “Was this your idea?”

“Oh, right… sorry about that…” he begins, but I cut him off.

“Oh my gosh NO! This is the best damn plan I’ve ever seen!” I proceed to pull off my shirt and throw it unceremoniously to the floor on top of his own pile, and I peel off my jeans and just step out of them, leaving them where they fell, so that they look like two denim tunnels where legs used to be. “Like… who would have thought! I mean… think of all the time I’m gonna save from now on!”

Snorting, Lance tries again to butt in with an apology, or maybe a reason, but I plow on.

“Don’t – I’m serious! I mean just IMAGINE that ALL THIS TIME, I’ve been WASTING PRECIOUS MILLISECONDS of my life by taking my clothes off and putting them in this HAMPER! You are a freaking GENIUS! Why, WHY, has no one ever thought to leave their clothes right here, right HERE, exactly where they take them off!? I can’t be bothered to lean ALL the way over, pick them up off the floor, and toss them way over THERE into the hamper! I LOVE THIS IDEA!”

By this time, Lance is laughing so hard that it’s difficult for him to say, “You’re an asshole,” but he chokes it out and punctuates it by taking off his t-shirt and throwing it at my head.

I seriously think I’m going to be a great mom. Who doesn’t love sarcastic reverse psychology?

Oooo child, things are gonna get easier…

Early last week, when Lance (as gingerly as possible) mentioned that we may want to take down our Christmas tree soon as there are currently more Douglass Fir needles on the ground below it than actually still on the tree, I burst into tears and yelled at him “What’s our tree ever done to you?! It still has ornaments on it and that’s good enough for me AND Charlie Brown AND THAT OUGHT TO BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU TOO!”

But I had a painfully enlightening conversation with my mentor and good friend (hi Ginger! Can someone close by to her please hug Ginger for me today?) about myself, and about depression. If you have ever struggled with depression, maybe you will understand this, because I have a hard time describing the feeling. I hate, hate, hate, feeling unhappy. I hate feeling lonely. But at the same time, I feel so stuck that I don’t know how to get out of it… and I don’t want to get out of it. It’s almost like it has taken ownership of me; it doesn’t belong to me as much as I belong to it. For instance, if someone asks me how I’m doing, I’ll say (without thinking) “I’m doing ok,” or “I’m hanging in there.” Or my favorite response, “ugh.” If someone asks me to go out, I dread it and I try to find a way out of it, because I imagine myself feeling alone even though I’m with people. I find myself pulled almost magnetically to sad songs and movies. And every time I look at that pathetic, dying Christmas tree, it’s just another reminder of how I felt happy for one second and now I’m not again, and somehow it’s even worse after the holidays than it was before the holidays. There’s part of me that doesn’t know what it’s going to feel like to not be sad, and I’m worried that I won’t know how to put one foot in front of the other if my shoulders aren’t weighed down by loneliness.

But there’s this other, new and overwhelming part of me that is suddenly bursting out and screaming for rescue. After talking to Ginger I realized that I so badly want to want to be happy again, if that makes sense. So this weekend I thought about some things that make me happy, and I went online shopping and spent too much money, and I played my guitar a little and just sang some stuff to the Lord that I was thinking and feeling, and I asked Lance to take me out on a date and we went to see a movie, and I read some psalms, and I had sex, and I went to the bookstore and bought some books I’ve been wanting to read, and I went to see my nieces and nephews and played games with them and chased them and got lots of kisses from them, and I took a couple of long walks with my dog. On Wednesday I’m going to a yoga class. And when people have asked me today how I’m doing, I’ve said “I’m doing great.” It’s not entirely true, but it’s a step. It feels good to say it. And tonight when I get home, I’ve resolved to finally take down the tree, stop looking backwards, and begin trying to look forward to this year and everything it may bring.

And I don’t know exactly how I’m supposed to just stop being sad, or how to take the first step out of depression, but I do know that I’m feeling better. And God help me… I’m going to keep feeling better.

And now I leave you with these, my favorite weekend kid-isms.

Second Runner Up:
Clark (six years old. Said as I’m making my Mii, which, for those of you without a Wii, is my self for all Wii games – you create it to look like yourself): “Make sure you make it pretty fat.”
Me: “Excuse me, I’m not fat!”
Clark: “You’re pretty fat though.”

First Runner Up:
Caleigh (four years old): “Here’s my brother Clark’s room.” (Looking at the single t-shirt on the floor, then up at me sheepishly) “I’m sorry it’s so messy.”

Winner:
Clark (six years old): “Are you and Lance trying to have babies?”
(pregnant pause while all the adults in the room look at one another and exchange eyebrow messages)
Me: “Um… what do you think that means, buddy?”
Clark: “Huh?”
Me: “Er… we… well… you see… *ahem* …in a manner of speaking I suppose…”
Clark: “Huh?”
Me: “Why do you ask?”
Clark: Because I wanted to know.”

Conversation over lunch… next time we'll know to stay home instead.

Lance: “We need to make sure and replace the car rotar this month.”

Me: “What’s the rotar?”

Lance: “The rotar has to do with the brake pads… you know the brake pads move in a circular motion, like this, so when you apply the brakes the pads are working with a very thin layer of their own material and they generate a semi-liquid friction boundary that creates the actual… what??”

Me: “What?”

Lance: “You’re giving me that look again. That look that clearly says this is the most boring thing you’ve ever heard.”

Me: “That wasn’t that look! I was just thinking that I wish you were telling me this story while we were naked in bed together.”

Lance: “Yeah right… you wouldn’t want me telling you this story while we’re naked in bed.”

Me: “Well, anything’s a better story if you tell it while naked. And you know, maybe it would be a post story. Like, a story told after.”

Lance: “A Post-Coital Engine Tale?”

Me: “Yes! That sounds good.”

……………………..

Me: “I’m totally blogging this conversation.”

Lance: “Oh, no…”

Conversation over lunch… next time we’ll know to stay home instead.

Lance: “We need to make sure and replace the car rotar this month.”

Me: “What’s the rotar?”

Lance: “The rotar has to do with the brake pads… you know the brake pads move in a circular motion, like this, so when you apply the brakes the pads are working with a very thin layer of their own material and they generate a semi-liquid friction boundary that creates the actual… what??”

Me: “What?”

Lance: “You’re giving me that look again. That look that clearly says this is the most boring thing you’ve ever heard.”

Me: “That wasn’t that look! I was just thinking that I wish you were telling me this story while we were naked in bed together.”

Lance: “Yeah right… you wouldn’t want me telling you this story while we’re naked in bed.”

Me: “Well, anything’s a better story if you tell it while naked. And you know, maybe it would be a post story. Like, a story told after.”

Lance: “A Post-Coital Engine Tale?”

Me: “Yes! That sounds good.”

……………………..

Me: “I’m totally blogging this conversation.”

Lance: “Oh, no…”

I got a D in my college Logic class.

1. It is true that I like long walks.
2. It is true that I like rain.
3. It is true that I like my dog.
4. It is true that I function best late at night.

The logical conclusion is that I must like taking long walks in the rain with my dog late at night. But this is not true, no sir not one bit.

When in marriage, do as the nerds do.

Me: “So I read this article today…”

Lance: “WHAT?!!”

Me: “What?” (realizing) “I read articles too you know! I just don’t begin EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE with the phrase ‘so I read an article…’ like YOU do.”

Lance: “Um… sure.”

Me: “It’s true! It’s just that MOST of my topics of choice have to do with emotion and the human condition and feelings because I’m not cold and heartless.”

Lance: “Ok, ok. Sorry. So, you read this article…?”

Me: “Yeah! It’s about women who orgasm while giving birth! Apparently it’s a phenomenon! There are like testimonies and stuff in the article! I found out about it on Lauren’s blog!”

Lance: (raising his eyebrows)     “…………………..”

Me: “Oh. Right. Yes, I see your point.”