Join a gym.
And I tell myself that I really haven't done so, that this is not really a gym but more of a um...okay...a rehabilitation facility.
Bing found it. Her back is still not healing well and she misses her workouts. Mostly, she misses running and swimming. So, she has decided that her goal is to swim again for now. She is only able to water walk.
So, she found this place. A sort of re-hab gym for people who are healing. Or as she calls it: the home for broken humans. She came home with a brochure and was intrigued. We looked at it together. Decided to take a tour. In order to join, you must have a doctor's note saying that you have an infirmity. For me that's easy, as in TAKE YOUR PICK:
1) rheumatoid arthritis
2) Meniere's syndrome
3) back with a herniated disc
4) type 1 diabetes
We took a tour together and I had to admit that I liked the place. I've always resisted gyms before because 1) they seem to be overrun with fitness nazis 2) the dressing rooms/showers are dirty and 3) I'm lazy. This place was a bonanza of
50 bucks a month. Or if we joined as a couple, 80$. I also liked the fact that when Bing inquired about us joining as a couple, not one eye was batted. Sure, that was fine. So, we took the plunge. And she made me smile when she kept saying, "I can't believe you are carrying a gym bag and we are going to the gym together!"
It wasn't a "real" gym bag, though. It's a pink bag that I received free when I did the Susan Komen walk/race for breast cancer.
And this is my swim suit:
And no, that is not ME modeling it and my breasts are nowhere near that um....bouncy. Oh...and I have cottage cheese thighs, not sleek ones like the model and ok...varicose veins on the backs of my knees. But, otherwise, we're twins.
We've been going to the gym together nearly every day and I am astonished to say this....but I actually like it. So far, we haven't done the second floor, which is where the treadmills, walking/running ramps, recumbent bikes, free weights and all that jazz is. We have a routine. We walk the pool. Bing likes the regular pool. I prefer the warm water one but so do a lot of others, so if it's crowded, I go to the regular one. I do my marching exercises and arm weights and a few really lame kicks. And I swim a few laps.
Then....it is partay time as I allow myself to sit in the whirlpool for 15 minutes. I was amazed that it is almost always empty but an attendant told me that people with heart conditions are not supposed to use it, and since about 75% of the people at the gym are heart patients, it is almost always empty. I sit in there with a hard jet on my back and another one on my...um...okay...I'll just admit it....my HAMMER toes and bunions. And it is bliss. Sheer bliss. Sometimes Bing gets in with me and we talk about how perfect this pool would be to make love in. But...of course...no...we don't do that. We do hold hands a lot and I run my toes up her leg now and then. And we talk. For some reason, our best talks occur in that 15 minute time frame. I never figured a whirlpool as couples therapy, but this one works for us.
And then...even better...I go to the hot dry sauna and she goes to the steam one. She says it reminds her of home, which in her case, is Louisiana. I tried it once and agreed. It was freakin' humid and stiiiiiicccckkky in there. I felt like every single pore on my body was wide open and gasping for air. I went back to my hot dry Finnish sauna and enjoy every moment of it. I am almost always alone in there and I sit on the hot dry wooden bench and feel every single bone and joint in my body relax. So soothing. I close my eyes and run my list through my head. You know what the list is. You probably have one too. It is an ongoing list of troubles. And for some reason, my mind is clear and open in that hot dry heat and I problem solve like nobody's business.
I feel so good in there and my life seems to be easier, sleeker, happier.
I swear to baby hey zeus, this is the best therapy I have ever had.
But, that isn't all. Our membership entitles us to one free massage a month and we've decided to make it the first Saturday of each month and go together. We also get one free family/friend pass per week, so Liv has been joining us and it's like family night. We go to the gym and then go to a nearby Brazilian cafe that we found afterwards. Since Liv is on a swim team already and they practice daily, she skips the pool and goes right to the punching bags. She has charmed one of the attendants, Bill, into teaching her some boxing techniques and he has informed Bing that "your daughter is pretty skinny, but she's a fierce little boxer...she wants to learn kick boxing too if it's okay with you..."
It is. I like knowing that if some randy boy decides to get fresh her, she can kick box him good and hard. Or if some deadbeat tries to jump her some night, he'll be so fucking sorry.....
Maybe we should look into changing our couples membership into a family one....
At any rate, I am now sort of a gym rat. Or I guess the proper term for this is a rehab rat. I never thought that would be me.
I am getting muscles, people. Like...noticeable muscles in my arms and diaphragm. Bing says that it looks like a beginning little six pack and claims that it is sexy.
At any rate, I am liking it. And now that I am getting more of a workout than just walking the dog every day, I sleep better too.
Maybe soon I will stop thinking Lucky Charms for supper is bad and a salad is good.
Who am I kidding? I will never be one of those people.
But, I like seeing my calves tone up. Or as an elderly British woman who happened to be sitting next to me as we dressed afterwards said: "You hahve lovely cahlves, dear."
That brings me to the one downside of the gym: there are lots and lots of naked people there and I have somehow become one of them. At first, I pretty much undressed while holding a towel against my breasts and dressed the same way. Now, I just strip off my wet bathing suit and barely notice the people around me. Which is good, because we are all pretty much damaged in some way or elderly. No fitness nazis here. Just us on the rehab island of misfit toys.
I've never been to a gym where the towels are heated. Where there are big bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and shaving cream in every shower and it is the good stuff, not cheapo. Where there is a spinner to take excess water out of your suit before you put it in your gym bag. Complimentary hair gel.
Free tampons or sanitary pads. It almost makes me wish that I wasn't through menopause already. I would totally stock up on those suckers.
Free razors. I never have to buy razors again or worry about cleaning every bit of body hair out of the bathtub. Nope. I do my weekly shaving of legs in the gym shower. Let it clog their drains instead of mine.
I feel pampered. And healthier. Damn it. I feel healthier. And I LIKE it. What the hell is wrong with this picture?
There are also pilates and yoga classes. While I am not limber enough for pilates, I just might try yoga.
Grass smoothie anyone?