Sunday, December 14, 2014

Me? A runner?

When I was in 6th grade, my mother made fun of the way I run. She pranced around with her hands up by her shoulders and said that I "run like a girl". For a half an hour that day, she taught me how to run hard by punching my fists out in front of me and keeping my posture straight. This was supposed to help me be a better softball player.  Instead, it taught me to hate running.... and to hit home runs. :) 

Since then, running has been something I wished I could do. I tried. Many times. And usually failed or gave up. In college, my friend and I would run at night on the track. I made it to almost 2 1/2 miles!  Might as well have been a marathon.

So, it has been with great pride that over the past 6 months, I have been running. Well, more like walking/jogging, a few nights a week for exercise. Some days are better than others. I've increased my distance, bettered my time and bought a lot of running gear. But, there are many times that I see another 'runner' and realize a runner I am not. There are many things that real runners are good at.  These are just a few of those things that I will never conquer:

1. The beautiful, runner's glide. In one smooth motion a runner can make a 20 mile course look like a short walk around the parking lot. I, on the other hand, look like a crazed bull, running through the streets of Barcelona. 
2. The ponytail bounce. You know it. The perfect sway back and forth, back and forth. My hair.... usually stuck to my face or drenched in sweat.
3. Breathing. Who in gods name can breathe while running and make their stomach rise and fall. It's impossible. I am a mouth breather. 
4. Electronics. I have an armband but trying to 1) change the song and 2) keep it from sliding down my sweaty arm without having it cut into my skin is pretty much impossible. 
5. The side stitch. Why in god's name does this exist?! And why does it not go away?!?  
6. Sweat. Hot. Cold. You name it, I've got it. In spades.
7. The group run. See #'s 3 and 6.
8. Encountering others on the road.  What are you supposed to do when you see another runner? Smile? Wave? I have not quite figured out the etiquette. 
9. Shoelaces. Seriously. Just stay tied.
10. Drinking while running. Impossible. Splashing, choking, coughing, up the nose. Anything except quenching my aforementioned dry mouth.
11. Boob bounce. No bra in existence can keep these in check.
12. Hills. Again, why in god's name do these exist? And why do I keep running the same route with them?
13. Running in general. I may never be a 'runner', but I am proud that I am getting outside and trying. :) 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Video Game

It started this summer. I thought it was innocent enough. It's just a download. Big deal. What I didn't realize at the time was how quickly it would take over our lives. 

My husband plays a Lord of the Rings game online that is a lot like Farmville. He is in an 'alliance'. Has friends. 'Battles'. He plays it constantly. I know you probably think constantly is an exaggeration. But, it's really not. When we take our dogs out to go to the bathroom. Playing. On an escalator in the mall. Playing. In the bathroom. Playing. Constant. It has taken over. 

It makes him laugh. Frustrates him. Keeps his attention. Makes him happy. He is drawn to it. Obsessed with it. When we're eating. In the car. In bed. 

So, it begs the question. Is this cheating? Is my husband cheating on me with a video game? He spends more time paying attention to the game than me. He has conversations with the other people in his alliance when he could be having conversations with me. He plays it when he's on the phone with me. Not paying attention to what I'm saying, but rather, strategizing his next move. He is never without it. Never.   

I'm tired of it. I've made comments like "wow you're really obsessed with that game." He gets defensive and asks if I really want him to stop playing. YES I scream on the inside. no. I sheepishly say in reality.  Hoping secretly that he will eventually get tired of it and move on to something else. Me? Another game? Reality?  

Is this just a symptom of our society now? Instead of dealing with reality, we escape to imaginary worlds. Boredom is cured by constantly having a device in our hands. Making 'friends' means chatting with people you've never met. We never have to be alone. Or have uncomfortable silence. Or face tough challenges head on. We can just escape. But, if that is true. If that is what is really going on, why is he escaping from me? 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

That time we packed my mother-in-laws stuff

It's 3:00 pm and we've been working all day. Hot, sweaty, tired, no, exhausted and ready to give up, I tell myself we're halfway through. We started on Saturday. Packing my mother-in-laws belongings is not something I ever imagined. I never thought about what it would be like to go through someone else's things. Not just go through them, but make decisions about them. And now, we're in it. It started at the storage bin she rented. Years of knitting supplies, Christmas decorations, rugs, curtains, pictures, things she considered treasures. Things we considered junk. We packed it all into a Uhaul truck so that we could bring it to the pod we were loading. The pod that will eventually be delivered to Charlotte. Her new home. Our home. 

Saturday went by fast. Boxing up. Throwing out. Piling up the junk at high as we could. "Why are we saving this?" we often asked out loud. "She is not going to have enough space."  The tension was palpable. Anger. Frustration. Uncertainty. Sadness. Hatred. These emotions and so many more swirled around the mess we were creating. At 5:00, my sister-in-law cracked. She threw a tantrum because my father didn't unplug the cable TV the way she wanted to. Slamming things around. Yelling. Stomping. Swearing. She had cracked. 

On Sunday, the tension increased. We found odd things. Food in the bedroom drawers. A bag of hair from a dead cat. Old used soaps, dried up in the dining room cabinet. Paper. So much paper. 

While I worked on emptying the bedroom closet, an avalanche of puzzles falls on my head. It's 3:00 and at that moment, I want to give up. My sister-in-law runs into the room and yells "I'm sorry but you are going to have a mother fucking bitch that you are going to have to take care of." Then, runs out.

Left stunned I continue working and shrug it off. In this situation, I can't yell back. I can't get angry or throw a temper tantrum or scream. I keep working and working. My hands hurt. My throat hurts. My muscles are weak and my eyes dry. The piles of treasures seem to get larger as we go and to see it all inside the pod makes me question my own treasures at home. Why do we keep so many things? Why do they matter? What really matters? In silence, I ponder philosophical wonders of life. Why do we exist? What is the point? 

By Monday, we've had enough of each other and aren't even talking. We've gotten into a rhythm of carrying, taping, tossing, shifting. On Monday night, I'm left alone with my sister-in-law. The anger she feels has been building over the past 72 hours and she starts to take it out on me. Yelling at me. Screaming in my face. "Stand up for yourself!" my head screams at me. I try to hold back, but yell back "YOU NEED TO STOP YELLING AT ME!" I can't take it anymore. Why is she so angry? Why is she full of hate? I leave the house in a hurry. Sad and alone. Exhausted.

Tuesday is the final day. It's raining. We feel beaten. Defeated. The massive amount of items in her home has found their way into the pod, waiting to be introduced to their new home in a couple of weeks. We thank each other. Hug. Smile. Cry. We don't apologize. We don't explain or try to make it better. In mere moments we're gone. On our way home. Bruised. Scarred. Tired. And, onto this new time in our lives. Taking care of my mother-in-law. Every moment since has been about her. Her medicine. Her stuff. Her health. Her happiness. Unhappiness. And all I can think is how are we going to do this? How are we going to make it through? Be her caregivers? How are we going to figure this all out? We will though. We will make it through. Figure it out. We will because in the end, we love her. Not her stuff. Not her treasures. But her. She needs us and no amount of tension, anger or difficulty will stand in the way of making sure she is cared for. That is the point.