Monday, January 23, 2017

What A Washout

I knew it was going to be a rough day when I got out of bed to find I could barely get out of bed.

The ‘leg day’ of the previous day was repaying me in pain with no payoff of a positive kind just yet (what can one expect, I guess, having been to the gym but once in the past 2 years).
So I staggered into the bathroom, reminiscent of the floppy fish foot experience of 6 years ago (part of the reason for my lack of gym time), dragging my sorry self in for my morning ablutions.

I thought I was being clever utilising my time on the toot to rub some menthol based anti-inflammatory cream onto my aching extremities…only to be faced with the fact that I still had to, well, er conclude my business with at least one menthol-coated hand (I did have the forethought to use my left hand for the pain rub, leaving my right to wipe). But then I had the dilemma of pulling up my pj pants again, or walking like a cowboy to the shower in case I rubbed pain relief cream where it would in fact cause extreme pain…

Settling the matter with the latter, I entered the shower and whimpered as quietly as I could in case I woke my slumbering family (why are they always asleep at these crucial times I do not know).

Dried and dressed and ready to face the day I hit the highway for my early morning commute. As the sun hit the windscreen it dawned on me (literally and figuratively speaking) that the car didn’t get the bath it was supposed to over the weekend. The kids drive a hard bargain when it comes to chores and I was thinking of a less expensive choice.

Since I still had time, I decided to do what I’ve done on many an occasion, and zip through the 24-hour carwash down the road. It’s never busy at that time, and the distance of my drive to work ensures the duco gets a decent blow dry.

This time I wasn’t alone in my cunning plan, the car wash also doubles as a dog washing centre and there was a woman already there doing the shampooch thing.

Given that I didn’t have an exorbitant amount of time, or money, I chose the budget Express Wash.

Oh the irony.

At first the machine wouldn’t accept my shiny new note, and kept insisting on giving me change in return. On the third attempt, a coin made a break for it and rolled underneath my car, leaving me short.  So I reversed my car, got out and under the driver’s side to retrieve the errant dollar and try again.


Not so fast.

The word “Enter” lit up so I did as the sign said, and also came to a “Stop” when told to, albeit a little crookedly alongside the safety rail at the wheels.

The carwash bay doors swung inwards and shut in front (an important point to note), and the L-shaped washing bar of the machine swung into action. So far, so good.

After an initial rinse the machine proceeded to spray the soap all over my grotty little vehicle, then started the next rinse.  After a minute or so I realised that the right rear panel of my car must’ve been particularly dirty, or the thing was stuck.  Another minute or so of spraying in the same spot, I decided the thing was definitely stuck, but so was I. (I mean, who hasn’t seen those videos of people getting out of the car in the car wash and copping a washing of their own?!)

It was when the sign light went out altogether, and the spraying ceased to a half-hearted squirt I became concerned for my predicament.  It was 6.40am, I was seemingly stuck in a carwash, with only one other person around, and like the movie says: In space (or inside a car inside a carwash), no one can hear you scream.

Thank goodness for modern technology- present carwashing company excluded- I searched on my smartphone for the number on the off-chance that there was someone onsite (or even up) that ran the place.  Nope, voicemail, informing me of the staffed hours (from 10am!) and to leave a message about any issues with the equipment. I briefly informed them there were indeed equipment issues, where and when I was calling from, and think I ended with a frustrated “Dammit” before disconnecting. I did not leave my return number so am not expecting them to get back to me as promised.

Here I consider my options:
#1: Sit in the car until someone shows up (only 3 and a half hours later!)
#2: Give it another minute or so in case it starts up again (maybe I wasn’t the only one having trouble moving this morning).
#3: Get out of my car and see if I could in fact get my car out. The front way was a bust, the aforementioned inward-opening doors were not in my favour.

I gingerly opened my door and stretched out the back, giving the washer bar a prod to see if it would start moving again – ready to dive straight back into the car if that was the case (I’d already had my shower thankyouverymuch). It stayed stuck.

So I gauge the distance between my tyres and the safety rail down below, and the gap between my car and the bar at the back. I figured it was worth a shot in view of Option #1.

I put my window down, pull my mirror in, and put the car into Reverse. Boy those rails are close and tricky to navigate backwards! Happily I have a little SUV so I went slightly off road and onto the rails to ease her back. Next I summon my superhuman strength that seems to show in times of stress and physically push the machine out of the way so it doesn’t take off my mirror.

Both me and my car made it out in one piece, although half my car was covered in suds (the right rear panel mind you is absolutely gleaming!)  I see as I start to make my way out of the carwash centre that there was now another car lover in the bay next door now, using the one hose I could’ve commandeered to clean off the shampoo.

But by the time this sudsy saga played out I was now running late for work, and the budget Express Wash had cost me dearly.

Next time I’ll just pay the kids extra to do it for me.
© 23 January 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Raising the Barre

My gym is now open 24 hours a day. 
Now if I’m going to be completely honest, it’s been about 17,520 hours (or 730 days) since I’ve been to said gym.

There are almost as many reasons why:

  • I have a son with multiple chronic illnesses.
  • I suffer chronic pain myself.
  • I also have a teenage daughter with a demanding extra curricula activity schedule.
  • Plus a husband who does shift work.
  • And now 2 new furry family members (more on those at another time).
  •  I now work fulltime, with a daily commute of 3 hours round trip, up to 6 days a week.
  • I am basically broke.
  • I am permanently exhausted.
  • Plus, up until now, the gym hours did not synchronise with my schedule of spare time (whatever that is).
Nonetheless this morning, on my 1 day off in 13, I awoke at my regular hour of stupid o’clock, up before the birds, the dogs, and the rest of my family.

In my enthusiasm (or perhaps delirium) I decided that it was about time I went back to the gym, and today was the best time to do it.

So I dug out my gym bag, struggled into a pair of tights (which were by definition and demeanour quite tight), borrowed my girlchild’s water bottle and headed for the home of pain and torture, otherwise known as my fitness club.

After finding out with some delight my membership card still scanned and let me past the gates guarded by electronics, only to find no human guardian waiting on the other side, I walked confidently into the workout room, with hope in my heart that I could in fact make it through a work out.

I was the first one there, aside from the instructor, and was relatively hopeful that it being so early on a Sunday morning, there would be more people worshipping at the altar of their chosen religion, or still asleep, and there would be few people to see my attempt at getting fit (because it’s worked so well in the past for me as evidenced here, and also here)

Unfortunately, by the time I checked in with the trainer and discussed both my physical difficulties and desire to overcome them, the room had filled, and there were any number of fit looking females taking up position at the Barre.  Here I should mention that this particular class I was venturing into was somewhat scarily entitled Barre Attack, and involved the trainer attacking our muscles with the use of a good old fashioned ballet barre.

She said it was best for me to grab a spot at the back of the room so I could see her in the reflection while also keeping an eye on myself, to check I was doing it right. Now I don’t like looking at myself in a mirror at the best of times, let alone hot and sweaty and ridiculously uncoordinated both physically and fashion-wise (yes, I did indeed notice after looking at my reflection that my ensemble was nowhere near as on-trend as the others in the room). 

It was even worse when the trainer declared it was a barefoot class, and I was aware as soon as I took my shoes off, of just how long I’ve left my toenail polish on (it was like a reverse French pedi just so you know, with the tips of my toes showing a mere shadow of colour, with the rest of my nail the shade of white only my bare skin seems to bear).

At this point I also realised the error of my ways leaving my ankle brace at home when she declared it was ‘leg day’ and the majority of the workout would be working on our lower extremities. With bonus ball work. What joy.

And so it begins...

I was almost over my shock of confronting myself in the mirror in such a brightly lit room when she asked if we had warmed up enough to put the fans on, “Yes” I either gasped or rasped, with both my breath and my voice already giving up the ghost.  I then noticed in my haste to be as close to the door as possible in order to make a hasty escape if necessary, I was nowhere near a fan … leaving me looking longingly at the breeze blowing straight over my head, and onto every other person in the room except me.

Once we’d warmed up (darn near overheated in my case) she instructed us to put our left side to the Barre. I was happy with this instruction as it meant I was at the back of the row and able to watch the others carry out the movements, as I still had no clue about the full range of techniques we were attacking at the barre.  Halfway through the pliĆ©s my legs were pleading to stop the torture, and it was with all the grace of a dying swan (literally not classically speaking) I tried to keep up with the class to my front.

When she then turned us all around to face the opposite side I realised the entire class was now facing my backside, and my wobbly attempts at the kick-and-curtsey combo were also in full view.  While the instructor reminded us that the barre was there for support if needed, and most of the class were gracefully holding their arms in beautiful imitations of First and Fifth positions whilst hoisting the ball above their heads, I was managing a mangled Third with extreme barre-o-metric pressure as I hung onto it for dear life for fear of falling over on my unsteady feet.  Thankfully I could hear no laughter over the sound of my own ragged breathing.  I couldn't believe it when she said it was good to see us still smiling, while seemingly looking straight at me - clearly she mistook my grimace for a grin.

After a few more minutes of my inadequate inelegance, the trainer said it was time to go to the floor. “Sweet relief, it’s cool down time” thought both my legs and I in agreement, until she decided there was more torture to endure.  I swear if my legs weren’t shaking so much I would’ve burst the ball I was gripping the thing so tight in my state of tension, as it was it was so sweaty by this stage it’s a miracle the thing didn’t squeeze out and shoot across the room.

I can’t even recall what went on for the remainder of the class itself, as I fear I had an out-of-body experience; anything to not experience the pain my body was in.

At least I wasn’t alone, and the others who had put in even harder yards than I had, given their experience and fitness level, appeared to be equally exhausted.

It wasn’t until a random cockroach crawled out from behind the mirror and scuttled across the floor (thankfully nowhere near me, I’ve had my share of those creepy crawly critters thankyou) that we all found our energy reserve and leaped up away from the thing; the instructor included, so she concluded the class.

I had survived my return to the gym.

I wasn’t barred from the Barre!

I even resisted to urge to attack some sugar on my way home.

And if my legs ever forgive me, I might even make it back for an encore performance next weekend.


©22 January 2017