Fitness lamentations and celebrations

It’s been a demanding week with my body in revolt for most of it.

I’ve succumbed to some bad moods but for the most part kept it together— and even enjoyed another pizza outing with the teenager and my blind friend Nan where we have officially determined that Nan and I think Nicolosi’s eggplant parmesan is our new favorite pizza. The teenager is in the chicken-bacon-ranch camp.

The teenager has been housesitting and her own dog F. Bean Barker seems to prefer sleeping in her crate downstairs to being in the teen’s bedroom alone with the two foster cats, Mars and Khloe.

Mars & Khloe

It has taken a few nights of sleep deprivation to discover this.

And it’s cold. And rainy. So the dog and I are both grumpy.

But this week I have started a new routine— getting up at 4:15 am so I can write for 30 minutes before work. In addition to my publishing business (Parisian Phoenix Publishing), I also need to commit to my writing.

Speaking of commitment, I’ve been trying to buy a bookshelf all week.

But I did buy a microphone for the business so that hopefully we can record some authors reading their work and have discussions with and for writers as part of our marketing material.

Nan and I got together today to run errands, see what was going on with Axiom, drink chai and read poetry. The best publication we looked at today was definitely *82 Review which featured Nan’s poem, “Brewing Chai.”

The magazine is very very diverse in its style and I am very excited to read more.

One of the best pieces I’ve read in a long time is “A Child in Need of Services” (a flash submission) where the speaker talks about the origins of their three talents, with such humor and joyful voice that you just don’t see the ending coming. The author is Amanda Skofstad.

We retrieved Nan’s laundry and I parked the car at the high school and walked the half mile in the cold rain (uphill as the teen would remind us) to the gym so the teen could have the car after school to go to work.

But I made it to the gym… for session 73 at Apex Training with my trainer Andrew. I love his current approach— a lot of back and shoulder based weight training for the upper body and creative more-or-less body weight exercises for the lower body so we can develop some muscle memory in those body parts that don’t understand how to play on a team. We also did some hex bar work and other stuff. I always feel good when I leave.

But by far, the hardest exercise for me today was wide stance squats. That had me struggling, concentrating, breathing and thinking I wouldn’t make it through. For squats. Bench squats at that.

Let me explain.

My cerebral palsy makes this the ultimate torture. Remember— my quads, hamstrings and calves never relax. My heel tendons are too short and my ankles don’t have the right mobility. My knees point in because of my femoral anteversion, and that just means the top of my femurs go into my hip sockets at the wrong angle.

So when I do that wide stance bench squat, I need to practice the most muscle control I can. I have to plant my feet and manually rotate my toes to what feels like uncomfortably out. And when I rise, I need to maintain balance, push with my upper region of my legs and force my hips out so they can force my knees out.

It’s damn hard.

But I can feel those body parts trying to cooperate and that’s exciting. If Andrew and I had more money and could work less at traditional full time jobs, I would love to train every day.

I posted this to Facebook:

I came home and stood in the rain for ten minutes holding an umbrella over the dog and she still wouldn’t pee. I took a shower, got dressed and gathered laundry. The washer wouldn’t work. My seven month old washer.

So I made myself an omelet of peppers, two eggs, heaps of Black Bear Mexican turkey, a slice of black pepper Cooper, a half slice of horseradish cheddar and piled it on my last slice of ShopRite bakery seeded rye.

The teenager came home and I googled the error code on the washer and she moved the whole wash tower and ripped the rear access panel off. When the drain pipe wasn’t back there, I had her read me the exact model number so we could Google again. We found this video, by a man with nice hands: Fixing the washer.

The teenager watched about half a minute, grabbed a bucket and ran to the front access panel. Within seconds, she had removed the whole plug apparatus and flooded the bathroom with gallons of wash water.

“How am I supposed to get that into a bucket?” she asked.

I continue watching the video. There’s a tube you empty first.

“There’s a tube!” she yells.

Oh, Pop Pop on the Mountain, wherever he is in the afterlife, is laughing his ass off now.

The apparatus is clogged with poly fill, a metal ring, quarters and other nonsense. That is fixed now. Drain hoses cleaned. Wash loads continue.

So then we Google the dishwasher as the teen also wants to clean that. We find Big Al. Clean the sprayers in a Maytag dishwasher.

I’m still cold and wet but now some of the appliances are clean.

First Experience in Home Improvement vs. Home Repair

My husband and I moved into this house in late January 2003. As with any older house, there is an endless list of things that need to be done— from bathroom sinks that flood the house to ceramic walls that fail to sewer lines that crack and hot water heaters that fail. And back decks that threaten to collapse.

Home ownership is not for the feint of heart.

But this is the first time in almost 20 years I am undertaking a home improvement project versus a home repair. And it’s a small one, but it’s still a roller coaster.

I’ve been through two small mom-and-pop appliance stores. Times have changed. I used to go to a family-owned appliance store (Schaffer’s Appliance in Easton) where I could walk in the door (like Norm from Cheers) and they didn’t know my name but they knew my Maytags.

I could walk in and say, “I need the stove to match my refrigerator” and they usually knew off the top of their heads what model I had. If not, they had a small box— like a recipe box from back in the day— where an index card listed my name, contact info and all my appliances.

I miss those days.

When my original Maytag Performa washer (circa 2000) died about four or five years ago, Schaffer’s had sold the business to another small shop. But now that shop has closed.

When my original refrigerator (alsoMaytag circa 2000) died two years ago, the replacement came from Best Buy and the experience was decent but I hate the fridge. When Schaffer’s delivered a fridge, they delivered it cold. They ran it at the shop to make sure it was good to go.

So now I’m building a laundry room.

I ordered a Samsung washer dryer combo from Lowe’s, based on various reviews I read online. At first, I had some issues ordering as I did it online and I’m not sure I got all the connectors/plugs.

Last night I received a call from Lowe’s asking if I really meant to order a washer and a dryer. I got nervous I accidentally ordered two pair. The person on the other end assured me I only ordered one pair.

The very nice person called back stating that they didn’t have my dryer, in any color, but they could deliver the washer. I told him I had a washer so I didn’t need two washers. I needed a dryer.

This confused him.

I’m building a new laundry room, I explained, so the combo has to be stackable. The old dryer has been dead for three years, but the washer is fine. It’s just not stackable and it’s not coming up from the basement.

So we canceled my order and he said I could come into the store and special order something but that Samsung could take months.

This made me grouchy, but such is life.

He called back at 8 p.m. and said he mentioned my plight to his manager and she found that model of washer/dryer that someone had recently canceled and I could have it.

So appliance delivery on again.

But out of three handymen with electrical experience I contacted only one even contacted me. My neighbor offered to help, but with the time frame, I have about ten days to figure this out.