Night Crawler

There are many unspoken rules in life. Don’t interrupt people when they’re talking. Don’t ask a women if she’s pregnant when you’re not sure. Always answer the question, “Does this make me look fat?” by saying no.

There are also certain rules of etiquette that people just know. Especially when it comes to the gym.

Pick up after yourself.

Wipe down the equipment.

Use ear buds when listening to music.

Don’t count your reps out loud.

Don’t be a loud breather.

Did I mention pick up after yourself?

To me that’s the easiest and most basic of them all. When you get something out, put it away. Weights. Mats. Your ego. Whatever.

The gym I go to is at work. It’s an awesome perk we have and I feel very lucky that I have a convenient and cheap place to get a workout in. It’s also nice that they teach fitness classes in our gym, have personal trainers available, and have all the latest equipment. I’m spoiled and really have nothing to complain about.

Well, maybe one thing.

I arrive at the gym every morning around 5:30 am. Lately there has been a lot of stuff lying around or left behind. Monday I came in and found this waiting for me in the locker room.

Someone’s wet and gross dirty towel lying on the table. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve found something left behind on my, er, this table.

[Sidenote: I’ve been working out and showering here nearly every morning for the last 5 years. I always use this table. Everyone knows that’s my spot and they all stay clear of it in the mornings. Kind of a sign of respect. I’m a creature of habit that way. When I establish something that works for me, I want to keep it. If someone else sets up camp there it just throws me all off but more on that in a later post.]

Anyway, I head out to the gym and in to the fitness room to find this:

3 pieces of equipment left out on the floor of the room. Perhaps this person was so wiped out after their workout that they simply had no energy left to put away the box and Bosu ball. Or maybe they tried to jump on that tall box and fell, hurting themselves so bad that they just couldn’t clean up.

Let’s fast forward through the week. Here is what I found in the locker room on Tuesday.

Towel is still there and now with the addition of a pair of socks. There are 2 problems here.

1. There are smelly used socks on my, er, the table. Next to the spot where I will be getting dressed and ready.

2. The fact that the towel is still there means that the cleaning lady left it behind. Which then leads me to wonder what else she didn’t clean in there. Its not like this is someone’s personal towel from home and she didn’t want to disturb it. Its clearly a gym towel because it’s white and cheap.

Sticking with the locker room, here’s Wednesday.

Dirty towel on the table? Yup.

Smelly socks? Check.

Oh whats this? A new addition! A second towel and on the floor!!

Thursday:

A water bottle! Also, items are now starting to migrate to my, er, this side of the table. Not a good trend.

The towel has now moved to the bench. Was this the sloppy persons doing or the cleaning lady. And again I wonder, if the cleaning lady can move it here, why can’t she move it to the hamper?

Oh, and what’s this? A half empty (or is it half full?) glass of water on the counter.

And finally, Friday.

Everything’s back on my, uh, the table and still on my side. This is getting ridiculous.

The gym was no better. Here’s what I walked in to each day of the week. I found it like this…

And this.

Oh, and this.

Here’s another one.

After weeks of this nonsense we have given the person who leaves stuff out in the gym a nickname – The Night Crawler. Why? Because obviously this person works out at night. And only a wormy sort of person wouldn’t pick up after themselves.

Let’s take a minute to psychoanalyze this person. First of all I think Night Crawler and Sloppy Locker Room Lady (SLRL) are the same person. Looking at the size of the weights left out (15 lb. steel bell, 15 lb. dumbbells, a light barbell) Night Crawler is likely a woman (or a really weak dude….but I’m going with a chick). My guess is a single woman who has the time and availability to exercise at night. Probably a millennial who either still lives at home with her parents or has a really messy apartment. Also likely is that Night Crawler has never belonged to another gym because I doubt other gyms that are staffed 24×7 would put up with this nonsense.

Is it stereotyping too much to predict Night Crawler is named Ella or Madison or something like that?

So now what? I could write an aggressive note on the mirror (“Pick up your stuff!”). Put a nice sign up (“Please be considerate of others and put away all equipment.”). I could come up with a fun poem (“Roses are red, violets are blue. If you can get it out, you can put it away too!”). I actually thought about reaching out to security and asking them to check the security camera recordings.

Or I could just deal. I don’t deal well when it comes to others being rude and disrespectful. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves. But it’s also not worth losing my serenity over.

So, I’ll continue to ignore and get ready around the crap left in the locker room, and put away the equipment left out in the gym. And I’ll hope that Ella or Madison learns the unspoken rules of life and the gym.

Because if I should run in to her someday and ask if this outfit makes me look fat, she better say no.

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Frankie Says Relax

I’m sitting here watching my daughters play outside with their friends. Its a cool, rainy day but they don’t care. They bundle themselves up and forge on outside.

CJ is upstairs painting our bedroom. Sandy is sleeping on the couch next to me.

What am I doing? Racking my brain trying to think of something productive to do.

I’ve already gone to the grocery store, done several loads of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, planned meals for the week, sketched out ideas for the bedroom that CJ is painting and read 2 articles for a class I’m taking.

All before 3:00.

But now what? I really need to pack my bag for work tomorrow. And there are a ton of boxes downstairs to go through. However, both of those options would require me being on a different floor as the play group and I really don’t want to leave them alone, unsupervised.

Part of me says, hey, just sit and relax. Read a book! Watch TV! Play a game on your phone!

Another part of me feels guilty for that. Like I’m not contributing if I’m not actively doing something for the greater good of the house and family.

I’ve struggled with this problem for years. The inability to relax and “do nothing”. Even in situations where it’s my job to relax (i.e. during a massage), I can’t do it. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened at a chiropractic appointment:

Doc: OK now relax your arm.

Me: Yep, I am.

Doc: No you’re not. Your muscle is engaged. Take a deep breath and just relax that muscle.

Me: OK, done.

Doc: *sigh* Um, no. As he let’s go of my arm and I’m still holding it up.

Sometimes I look at this one and envy her.

Sandy, like all dogs, never has trouble taking it easy. She can sleep anywhere, anytime.

In some ways I think a lot of women face this same struggle. We try to be everything to everyone which means we are always moving and going. If we stop for too long, someone or something will suffer.

Men never seem to be plagued by this.

I have to remember though that the more I push myself, the more I wear down. Relaxation is good for me. And what’s good for me is good for everyone in my family.

So now that I’ve spent half an hour writing and editing this post, I think it’s time to publish and then sit and read a book with a hot cup of tea.

Ah.

Hero

Hero. For such a little word it sure has a lot of meaning. When you label someone a hero, it’s kind of a big deal.

And then, as if being a hero wasn’t big enough, we also have the next level up which are super heroes. I am personally a big fan of one super hero in particular.

Yet being a hero doesn’t have to be such a status symbol or echelon event. We can be a hero to someone just by paying for their coffee if they’re low on money. Or sending a card to say “I’m thinking of you” when you know they had a shitty day. How about standing up for them when no one else will.

Or buying them a donut because you know they really want one and would eat it if someone gave it to them but would not buy it themselves.

Ok maybe that last one is just my idea of a hero.

I used to think a hero was someone who literally saved lives. Now I’d be cool with someone who just saved me a seat in a crowded room.

Isabella was asked to do a writing assignment about a hero. She had to include a main idea, 3 details, and a concluding sentence. Of course because she’s my daughter she did extra credit and added 2 extra details.

Here’s what she wrote:

My mom is a hero. Do you want to know why? If not, stop reading.

She is pretty. She gets her hair colored. Dad says she is beautiful. Every time she gets a haircut Cora says, “You look pretty.”

She is fun. She plays lots of games. She will play almost anything. She plays games on TV.

She is daring. She does the Polar Plunge. She does lots of scary stuff. She does belly flops in the water sometimes.

She is strict. Sometimes she yells. One time she took away my toys. She makes us follow so many rules.

She is nice. She bought us angel food cake. She gets us toys. She smiles a lot.

So now I’ve told you all about how my mom is a hero (if you read it).

See. All you need to be a hero is pretty, fun, daring, strict, and nice. Its achievable yet also enough criteria to weed out the posers.

Also, I don’t know where she got the belly flop thing because I never jump in the water….I’m afraid of water. Can a hero be a hero and still be afraid of water? I feel like that in and of itself shouldn’t disqualify me. I just won’t be the kind of hero to save you if you’re drowning.

What is a hero to you? Who is a hero in your life? Have you told them? Maybe you should. I guarantee they’ll feel pretty special.

Now let’s go talk about it over angel food cake. I’ll buy!

$#*! My British Friend Says – She’s Back!!

I have some advice for you. Go get yourself a British friend. I highly recommend it. They sound cool when they talk- regardless of what they say (and they say some weird things). They eat some gnarly shit but they know good tea and how to drink it. And they’re just downright awesome people.

Ok so I’m generalizing. I can’t vouch for every British person there is. But I can vouch for one – the Brit.

The Brit and I had dinner the other night and it was fun to spend time together again. It was like old times.

Here are a few highlights.

  • He’s F*ing rude! But good. Don’t forget good.
  • I love it when you order pudding. I like watching you eat.
  • [The waitress] “Do you want 6 or 9 ounces of wine?” The Brit holds up 9 fingers and says “6”.
  • Are you going to finish your chips? I love to eat them like a sandwich with coleslaw in the middle.

In other exciting news, The Brit and I are planning a trip back to the Annex to explore our old stomping grounds and see what adventure we can rustle up. Stay tuned!!

The Box

I’m going to share a secret with you. Something that’s been haunting me for 5 years.

But first, let me tell you about last week.

I spent 2 days in a leadership class. In that class we talked about our saboteurs and our guardians. A saboteur is that negative voice in your head. The one that tells me I can’t do things or I’m not good enough or I might as well not try because I’ll fail anyway. The saboteur keeps me from sharing ideas at work because they might be stupid. Or from swimming because I could drown. Or from singing karaoke because people might laugh at me.

The guardian, on the other hand, is the all knowing voice that guides you, protects you and says loving thing to you no matter what. The voice that counters the saboteur and shuts it up. My guardian is a tiger. A strong, sleek, beautiful, warm, regal tiger. I call her Tigra.

And now for that secret.

I’m afraid to jump on the 2nd level box in the gym.

It all started when I returned to work from maternity leave with Cora, back in 2013. One of my first days in the gym, my trainer told me to jump on the box. No big deal, I used to do it all the time. So I jumped. And fell off. I tried again. And hit my shin.

That was it. At that point my mind said, “We are never doing this again” and it shut down. I tried to make myself do it but to no avail. I would bend my knees as if to jump but it was like my feet were nailed down. One day my trainer and I stood there for almost an hour trying to do it, staring at that damn box and no matter what he said or did, my mind wouldn’t let my body move.

My saboteur was in full control.

You’re going to fall again.

Do you want to hurt yourself?

It’s too high.

You can’t do it.

When you miss everyone will laugh at you.

You’re too old for this.

Just go get the small box. That’s s all you can do.

And on and on.

It bothers me. I pretend it doesn’t but it does. I want to conquer that box. I hate that it has control over me. Every day I walk by that box and it mocks me. Or when I see another woman jump on it with ease it’s like a knife to my gut. The competitor in me comes out and thinks, “How come she can do it and I can’t? ”

Well the truth is, I can. I just won’t let myself.

That all ends now. I’ve decided my next goal in the gym is to beat that f*ing box. I am going to take a step bench and raise it a little higher every day until I have my confidence back.

I will succeed.

Goodbye saboteur. Tigra is winning this battle.