Bent, But Not Broken

About a little over a year and a half ago, a week before my 40 Birthday, I made a change in my life that would affect me in ways I never imagined.

I started running when I was 17 years old.  It was easy to do, didn’t take much thought or preparation.  I quickly learned I was pretty good at it.  I could whip out 4 or 5 miles without even really thinking about it.  Running was also a nice mental break for an hour.  For a while, I got into running half marathons.  I loved the challenging myself and my body to new limits and the feeling of accomplishment when you reached the finish line.  Oddly, I loved the mental growth that was gained from pushing myself to new limits.

After 23 years, I was pounding out 5 miles a day, 7 days a week, and found myself longing to try something new.

That’s when I met my new love….CrossFit.

A friend of mine invited me to try a free class and I was hooked from the first countdown.  For those of you that don’t know what CrossFit is, it’s Olympic lifting, gymnastics, strength, conditioning, and cardio all crammed into an hour of intense craziness.  You show up every class to a programmed workout where you push yourself to your limits physically and mentally, tearing through internal barriers and rebuilding a newer, better version of yourself.   You walk away each day dripping in sweat, gasping for air, and feeling pushed to your limits.  You also leave counting down the hours until your next WOD.

Now I know you’re thinking.  It’s a gym.  You lift things and workout.  You can get that anywhere.  Yes, you can, but what you also get at a CrossFit gym that you don’t get other places is a community of support, encouragement, and friendship.  Everyone in the gym is pushing themselves to their limits while cheering each other along as well.  CrossFit really is a community.  When a workout ends and the bodies hit the floor, they then all get up and congratulate each other.  They offer sweaty hugs and chalky fists for jobs well done.  They ring bells and send up cheers when new personal records are met.  They offer kind ears and words of encouragement when needed too.

When I joined my CrossFit gym, I not only found new muscles and levels of pain and exhaustion, I found a whole new group of friends.  I mean who wouldn’t want to be friends with these crazy fools!

They are even so awesome, they sent me ‘Miss You’ photos when I was out-of-town!

Since I stared CrossFit, I’ve been growing and changing as a person.  I’ve been accomplishing things I never dreamed I would.  I’ve been feeling stronger and better, both physically and mentally, than I have in years.  I’ve been feeling not 41.  Then this last week happened.  My body betrayed me and a new level of sadness and fear set in.

Many, many, many years ago (we are talking in the 90s) I had reconstructive knee surgery and had 3 screws put in my knee.  It’s hasn’t been much of a factor since then and it certainly hasn’t limited my activities…until now.

A week and a half ago, I started feeling some sharp stabbing pain.  I figured I could just work through it.  I rested a little.  It started to feel better.  I thought it was nothing.  Seven days in, the pain returned stronger this time with swelling.  I woke up Friday unable to walk on it normally or bend it.

Silly me, I actually looked at the WOD that morning and was thinking about hobbling in and trying to do part of it.  Instead, I went to the Ortho doc who fixed me up years ago to have it looked at.  He drained the fluid off my knee, gave me a cortisone shot, and then gave me some devastating news.  Doc said that I have the beginning of arthritis in my left knee, where the screws are, and that I can no longer run.  Blow. To. The. Heart.  Full disclosure, I did go home and cry.  I’ve always considered myself a runner and to think I can NEVER do that again was devastating.  Even though I’m at CrossFit five days a week, I still love going out on my off days and pounding out some miles.  And that’s the problem.  All that pounding has done a number on my knees.  After digesting that information, I quickly started explaining my CrossFit regimen and held my breath.

Luckily, the answer was music to me ears.  As long as I stop running and watching the jumping, I can keep beating my body to exhaustion and pushing myself to my breaking point.  I can keep lifting heavy weights and climbing ropes.  I never wanted to jump off a table and hug someone so much in my whole life, but I’d just been banned from jumping, so Doc was safe.

So today I returned to the gym.  A little more cautious, a little more careful, but determined to keep on working, sweating, pushing, pulling and passing out.

I may have to hang up my running shoes, but could someone please hand me some chalk? 

A moment in Tim

Well first and foremost I have to say…. I’m back!  To those of you who used to swing by here on a regular basis, I will apologize for disappearing on you.  It was never planned to disappear for that long.  One day I was writing and posting on the regular.  The next day life and moming and jobing and adulting got in the way.  And the words stopped coming.  I hope you’ll forgive my absence and visit again.  For those of you new to my Chaos, welcome!  I hope you like it and come back too!  Now, since the words have returned…so will I!

In the last year and a half, I have become a little bit of a CrossFit junkie. I decided after 20+ years of running that I needed to shake things up.  Seven days and over 30 miles a week just wears on you.  My treadmill was bored with me and I had run out of Netflix shows to watch.  That’s when I met my new love… CrossFit.  (My apologies to my hubby, but there is just something about throwing up heavy weights and climbing a rope that makes me swoon.  But that’s a blog for another day.)

In my world, workouts get down before the sun comes up. I love my family, but the only time I can get anything done without interruptions is to crank it out while they are dead to the world, so I am a solid up at 4:30 am at the box for 5 am class type of girl.

If you know anything about CrossFit, we are in the depths of The Open right now, a series of five grueling workouts that test you both physically and mentally.  A few days after the latest WOD, I woke up at 2:45 with tremendous, shooting back pain.  No combination of pillows or body contortions would make it stop so I could return to dreamland.  After 30 minutes of trying, I gave up and got on my workout clothes.  (You know, that activewear many just wear to actively get coffee and have their nails done.  I make mine earn its name.)  I had planned to pick up some groceries after class, but decided, since I was already up, I may as well hit the store first.

You know what Wal-Mart is like at 3:30 am…glorious.  Sure, there are employees in the aisles stocking shelves and palettes to dodge, but you now what wasn’t there…other shoppers.  It was phenomenal! I was able to navigate the whole store, get all the household items and a week’s worth of grocery for four (I have a 14-year-old boy, so it was more like groceries for 6), and hit the checkout in under 30 minutes.

And that’s where I met him.

You know what happens when there are no shoppers at Wal-Mart?  There are no checkouts open, so me and my overflowing grocery cart saddled up to the self-check out station and got to work.  Before I had even scanned the first item, the security guard walked over to me with a second shopping cart.

“Hi!  Good Morning!  Here, this will make it easier to you.  You can just put the full ones in it.”  

After wheeling me over the cart, he leaned up against the wall next to me and started talking.  At first it was the usual, the gorgeous weather we just had, hopes it would stick around permanently, fear we would get still one more snow storm before spring really arrived.  Polite small talk.  Nice.  Friendly.  Then he started talking about a meal he had recently with his mom and brother.  He lives with his mom.  His washer recently broke.  He didn’t have the money to buy a new one, so his mom found a place that sells used appliances and helped him purchase one.  He said it had actually broken weeks before he told his mom, but he didn’t want to upset her with the news, so he’d been washing his clothes in the sink for a while now.  

He has an uncle who has a vacation house and a boat.  Boat upkeep is expensive!  He wished he had enough money to be able to have a boat.  But his uncle is a very nice man.  Invites them over and helps him out.  The kind of guy who would keep giving you the shirt off his back time after time, no questions asked. 

They struggle, but they get by.  Tim’s dad was supposed to leave him and his brother some land and inheritance in his will, but he changed it right before he died and left everything to his step mom.  He looked hurt.  His dad wasn’t a nice guy.  We was a jerk (not the words he used, but I cleaned it up for you.) Oh well, that’s how things go I guess.

He shared about a visit with his dad from a while back.  His dad was starting to say something derogatory towards a person of color that was nearby.  He stopped his dad, told him you can’t say that.  That’s not ok.  His dad attempted to belittle him for not ‘manning up.’  I’m not that type of person.  I don’t feel that way about others.  People are people.  We’re all here together.  

I finished up the last of my items and headed out.  I thanked him for the talk and wished him a good day.

“What’s your name?” 

“Kerry”

“Hey Kerry.  I’m Tim.  Have a great day!” 

Tim stopped time.  Tim slowed me down.  Tim was kind.  Tim was honest.  Tim was open.  We could all learn a lot from Tim.  I know I did.

Girls Night Uh-oh

I am lucky enough to have been blessed with a group of gals who I have been friends with since high school.  In our 25+ years of friendships, there have been ups and downs, blessing and tragedies, joys and sorrows.  To help keep us sane, we venture out once a month of a Girls Night Out.   We like to keep things fun by trying new and different things each month.  Last night we ventured out into the frigid evening to get mani/pedis, have dinner, and then tune up our pipes with some karaoke.

After a cold, snowy, stress-filled week, I was super excited to go hang out with my gal pals, first to pamper ourselves, and then to embarrass ourselves.

I wrapped up the week at my office and headed out to make sure everything was copacetic on the homefront.  Kids home.  Homework done.  Errands fulfilled.  Now, time to make myself GNO ready to go.

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Not too bad for a soon to be ol’ lady.  (Full disclosure, the glasses are not mine.  They belong to my mini-me.  I think I do them justice.  Can’t see for crap out of them, but I look cute! 😉 Plus, it annoys her when I take her things and take selfies.  Score one for mom! )

On the way to meet everyone at the salon, I made a quick stop at Target to pick up a few things.  Since it was GNO, I traded in my daily ‘student chasing’ tennis shoes, for a cute little pair of black heels.  A girl’s gotta look good after all!  Click-click…  Click-click…  Click-click… I cruised myself into and around Target, grabbing what I needed, but, as I clomped around, something just didn’t feel right.  Click-click… Is it my zipper?  Nope, that’s up.  Click-click… Did I remember to turn off my straightener?  Yes, I know I did.  Click-click… Do I have my phone?  Yup, it’s right here.  Click-click… So what could it be?  Click-click…   Click-click…  Click-wait…am I limping?  It’s at that moment I realize what I wrong.  A quick look down confirms my suspicions.

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I’m wearing two different shoes.

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Not only are they different shoes.

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But they are also different heights.

I’m an idiot.

In my rush to get out for a night of relaxation and laughter with the girls, I didn’t even realize what I had put on my feet.  I can maybe excuse myself because they are the same color with similar toe shapes, but I have no words for the fact I made my left leg an inch shorter than my right.

I’m a girl who believes in signs.  These shoes are a sign of two things.  1)  I desperately need a night out.  2)  The universe wants me to buy new boots.

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I’m nothing if not a rule follower…

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Sleep, what’s that?

Sleep, it’s the most important meal of the day.  Wait, that’s breakfast or something.  Anyway, people are always going on and on about how freaking important sleep is.  ‘It’s rejuvenating.  It recharges the body.  It keeps you looking youthful.’  Blah, blah, blah.

I always knew I wasn’t getting enough, but I didn’t know the half of it.

I go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 pm everyday and wake up at 5 am.  People are always preaching this luxurious 8 hours of sleep, but that is an illusive mirage in my casa.  I figure getting a good solid 6 would just have to do.  Sure, I woke up every morning feeling just as exhausted as when I had crashed the night before, but that’s just normal, right?

Wrong.

For Christmas this year, I asked my lovely hubby for a fitness monitor….and he actually listened!  He gave me a Garmin Vivosmart, a nifty little gadget that does way more than count my step and tell me my heart rate.  Along with the added features of telling time, tracking my runs, counting my calorie burn, and being able to turn on my iTunes library (so cool!), it also gets my phone notifications and …. (drum roll) monitors my sleep.

When I was reading the list of features, I didn’t really understand why one would want to monitor their sleep.  I’m asleep, what’s it going to tell me?  This is going to be an uninformative graph.

Boy was I wrong.

I set myself to sleep mode, electronically and physically, that first night and snoozed (I presumed) away.  I woke up in the morning, synced myself, and my jaw hit the floor.  This is what I found.

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Originally I thought maybe all those bumps and jumps were normal.  Then I compared my graph to someone else’s.  Hers had one little bump during her hours in dreamland.  ONE!

Now I’ve always known that I move around while I sleep.  Plus, I frequently wake up and check the clock to see how long I still have until the dreaded buzzer sounds.  But, I had hard-core evidence now that I don’t actually sleep when I sleep.  I mean look at last night.

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Apparently I went out mountain climbing from 11:30 – 12:30 am.  Then I went for a little jig around the block at 2 am.  In fact, I didn’t have anytime during this 6 hours and 23 minutes that I wasn’t moving.

Ugh.

 

No wonder I wake up exhausted.

No wonder I can barely drag myself out of bed.

No wonder my calorie count is showing a 500+ burn from midnight to 5 am.

No wonder I can fall asleep at the drop of a Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This boy’s delusional

I’m convinced, somedays, that my husband lives in an alternate universe from the rest of the inhabitants of the planet.  Today is one of those days.

This morning I hop into the shower just as my delusional hubby is lathering up.

“Be careful,” daydreaming man warns me, “I’m dangerous to be around now.”

The strange look on my face prompts him to show me this.

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“Um. Ok,” I say.

Skip forward about an hour as fantasy-land man is heading out the door…  “I guess this is goodbye.  I’m heading out to my meeting and when the chics there get a whiff of me, it’ll all be over.  They’ll devour me.”

“We’ve had a good run.  I’ll miss you.”  (Insert image of me rolling my eyes and shaking my head.)

I sure hope he returns.  I might be too embarrassed to fill out that missing person’s report.

‘Well officer, he used to Axe body wash and then I let him leave for a meeting….’

 

Some people’s children

As I try to make my way through each day of my existence, I am reminded, almost daily, at the gall of some people.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  Grown adults behaving badly.  Committing acts they would put their own children in timeout for, but somehow, they’ve justified in their own minds that their bad behavior is ok, using their own excuses and wrong logic to proclaim their bad behavior as ok.  These are also the same people who, when witnessing other people complete the exact same acts, will immediately cry foul, asking for blood, regardless of that person’s reasoning.

It’s funny how reasoning and excuses are ok when they come from one side of this person’s mouth, but they are offended by the same display when the coin flips.

Sometimes the acts are minor.

How dare that person cut me off in traffic, but when, “I’m late for work, it’s ok.  I mean, really.  No one got hurt, so whats the harm.”

Two Black Friday shoppers going for the same item.  One grabs it out of the other’s hands.  The winner is justified, “They should have fought harder, been quicker.”  The loser is offended, “What terrible manners.  How rude.”

The place where it’s most saddening to me is with words.  Deep, cutting, hurtful words flung from one mouth into the life of another, sometimes with the only purpose of cutting down the receiver.  At first, one would witness a lot of these verbal assaults anonymously, online, where one can cowardly hide, hurt, and not have to face their attackee.

Then it moved to opening assaulting others, sometimes ones that they claim to be hold as friends or loved ones.  Mean posts online, rude comments or tweets.  The really sick ones are held under the guise of TBH.  What a horrible thing our young people have created with this trend.  Opening inviting comments from people only to be the receiver of mean, hurtful, ‘honest’ attacks.  We’ve taught a generation to think it’s ok to be cruel and spiteful, as long as you can justify it with ‘just being honest.’

Now the meanness seems to have infected our culture to the core, so much that people will openly abuse others, face-to-face, justifying and excusing themselves with every breath along the way.  Things being said directly to people you claim to love or care for, that you wouldn’t dare utter to others, but you believe you have the right to say because you are so in the right.  Just because you’re related or have known them forever, makes some people believe they can spew vile comments without ramifications.  “What?  They needed to hear that.”  “I’m just saying.”  “It’s not my problem if they can’t handle the truth.”

I’m just so sick of these self-justified bullies spraying all those in their paths.  What gives you the power to believe that your so-called ‘truth’ is 1) wanted or 2) anywhere close to the truth in someone’s life.  If I’ve learned anything in my years on this planet, it’s that there are at least two sides to every story and sometimes can be as many as four or five.  Plus, your unasked for and unnecessary additive is not only unjustified, but mean and hurtful and damaging.

So damaging.

Isn’t it enough?  Aren’t we all hurt and struggling enough?  Don’t we all say enough damaging things inside our own heads that we don’t need others to pile on the fight?

Can the tearing down of those around us please stop?  Can we all agree to that this wasted energy and, instead, put this energy back on ourselves, fixing our own houses or, better yet, using to benefit society as a whole?

I’m just saying….

A different kind of bucket list

As I muddle through this, my 39th year of existence, I feel the pressure of the world around me to follow the latest trend from fellow Gen Xers…the ‘I’m turning 40 Bucket List.’  The only thing more popular are those ridiculous month stickers people slap on their screaming babies to memorialize Junior being 9 months and crabby or Sally being 15 months and sassy.  Since I was born with attitude and raised in sarcasm, I posted this a few months ago.

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Isn’t he adorable.

But I’m just not feeling the whole mid-life crisis bucket list thing.  Mostly, because I refuse to accept this is mid-life.  I still feel 25 inside of my head, so why would I want to make a list of things to do before I die.  Bucket lists used to be for people with terminal conditions or the plots of Jack Nicholson movies. Now they seem to be a prerequisite for your Intramural Co-ed Softball registration and the last grasp at coolness before you say fuck-it and buy a Lazy-E-Boy and elastic waistband pants.

So in honor of my 39th year, I give you my Non Bucket-Bucket List.

1.  I would like to get 8 hours of sleep a night.  I dream of what that would feel like, no really, I do.  I imagine it would be similar to what heaven feels like.

2.  I would like one week where I get to watch Jeopardy uninterrupted.  It that too much to ask?  I don’t think so and, apparently, neither does Jeopardy.

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I don’t mean to brag or anything, but JEOPARDY retweeted me.  I now think I’m kind of a big deal.  The rest of my family does not agree.

3.  I would like to actually make something from one of these recipes I tear out of the cooking magazines I buy.  Sometimes I make is as far as buying a few of the ingredients, but, without fail, I forget a necessary item end up making one of my three, standard, boring meals, or buying take-out Chinese because I’m just too exhausted to try or care.

4.  I would like all my pants to fit me comfortably each time I wear them and for them to all to feel like elastic waistband pants.  I mean really.  Why do pants need buttons and belts…too confining.  I am approaching middle age.  I want to feel comfortable.  I want to ignore that my metabolism is changing.  I don’t want to have to lie to myself that my dryer is shrinking my pants.

5.  I would like to have a week, hell I’ll even settle for a day at this point, in which I do not have to play crazy taxi driver, racing around the city.  With two kids, at two different schools, in six different activities, I honestly don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  I’d kill to be kicked back in a Lazy-E-Boy in my unbuckled pants asking questions to Alex Trebek.  By the way, I’m #teammustache if you were curious.

Soooooo……

Basically, I want to be a grumpy old man now and do things in reverse.  I don’t want to walk the Great Wall of China or Sky Dive over the Grand Cannon before I turn 40.  Sure, I want to take a picture in front of every welcome sign for all 50 states, who doesn’t.  But not right now.  I’ll save all that for when I’m 80.  Right now I want to sleep, eat, sit, and comfortably watch TV uninterrupted.

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Yes, that’s me.  I plan on rockin’ old age like nobody’s business.