Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Step gone bad

Do you ever just feel old?  Last night, I felt old. And out of shape. And uncoordinated.  And kind of foolish.  Last night, I went to a step aerobic class at the community center. (You know the kind, where you have that cool plastic step and you do all kinds of fancy moves over, around and next to the step). Believe it or not, this was not my first step class.  Not that I'm a seasoned veteran or anything, but I actually attended a class on Saturday.  By some stroke of luck, the instructor on Saturday was a sub, and since she didn't know what kinds of steps the class knew, she kept it simple.  It was perfect for me.  I was able to pick up on most of the steps on the first try, and if not on the first try, then very shortly thereafter.  I got a great workout and it was pretty fun. Based on that experience, I decided to go again last night.

Last night was different.  The instructor was not a sub and he did not keep it simple.  The steps were incredibly complex, and had specific names.  And they were set to very fast music.  So he would call out a step, or a series of steps as he did them very quickly and I tried to keep track of where his feet went and how.  Of course, half of the routines he did had us turning around, so I would start the routine and be doing all right, but then would turn around and wouldn't know what I was doing anymore! As if that wasn't bad enough, apparently each step has an advanced variation that you can do should you be able to do the basic without tripping over yourself.  (By the way, I will likely never be coordinated enough to master the advance variations.)  Well, the instructor almost always did the advanced variation without explaining that there was a simpler way to do it.  I only realized the simpler way when I saw some others in the class doing it, and this was after I nearly killed myself trying to do the advanced step.

There were several points throughout the class when I just stood still, with a bewildered expression on my face. At some moments I found this comical.  I think I even laughed out loud, and may have uttered the phrase "Are you kidding me?"  At other moments I felt disheartened and frustrated, and came close to tears at least twice.  With the range of emotions I felt in just a short hour, you'd think I was pregnant! (I'm not, by the way.)  By the end of the class, I had kind of figured out some of the step routines, but by then I was so tired that my brain and body did not always want to cooperate.

I still got a great workout, and I will probably go back again on Wednesday.  But the more I think about the class, the more annoyed I am, and here's why.  The instructor could very clearly see that I was struggling - it was pretty obvious, after all.  Why didn't he stop and take just one minute to show me the steps?  Now, this may seem unreasonable to some, particularly any of you who are in the advanced step category (are there any you out there?)  But there are three conditions that I think make this quite a reasonable request.

First of all, there were only 7 total people in the class, and I was the only one struggling.  It t not have detracted from the rest of the class, and in fact, probably would have helped them as they wouldn't have been distracted by me fumbling and bumbling about.  If the class had been 20 or so, and I was the only one struggling, then I could understand just letting me figure it out on my own.

Second of all, there is no beginner's class.  The community center only offers two step classes, and both are in the same category.  Does that mean that since I haven't done step before, I shouldn't be able to go?  I don't think so.  If they don't offer a beginners class, then, in my opinion, the instructors should be more helpful to those of us who are, clearly, beginners.

Finally, this is, after all, a community center - not some fancy, schmancy, high-end gym or athletic club.  The community center clearly tries to be acessible to everyone, so by extension, I think that their fitness classes should also be accessible to everyone, particularly if they have only one level, as mentioned above.

I hope that, on Wednesday, I can pick up the steps a little bit better.  I may also just outright ask the instructor to help me out - I do have some agency in this whole process.  What do you think? Am I being unreasonable?  Should I have expected some help, or not?  Or, should I have not even gone to the class in the first place since I couldn't keep up?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Praise for ... a Bathroom?

Earlier this week, Jason and I managed to secure a scholarship for an annual membership to the Southwest Community Center, part of the Portland Parks and Rec network.  I did water aerobics there for the three months or so of my pregnancy and was really impressed with the facility.  When Jason and I decided it was time to really commit to a healthy lifestyle, but also knew that we couldn't afford a gym membership, we were thrilled to discover that the community center gave scholarships.  We applied, and were approved, and just in the past week Jason has attended four times (twice on one day!)

Now, Jason was excited for his workouts, but was even more excited when he realized that we could take Cy to Family Swim. Bathtime is one of the best times of our day, and it just seemed a natural progression to get Cy in a pool.  In fact, Jason has been planning for and talking about  "the big event" all week.  He even had me drive across town to buy a pair of reusable swim diapers so that the three of us could take advantage of the family swim today!

After a few hiccups in our plan (including a baby who not only slept in until 9am, but then took an unprecedented 3 hour nap at 11 - why does this only happen on days when I plan for his "regular" nap schedule?)...where was I? Oh yeah, so once we finally got ourselves out the door, we realized that getting the three of us changed and into, and back out of, the pool was going to take some maneuvering.  We had some elaborate plans worked out until I remembered that I had seen family changing rooms at the community center. I had never been inside them before, though, so I wasn't sure how helpful they would be.  I pictured maybe just a basic bathroom with a changing table, and figured we would still have to go shower in the main locker rooms.

Let me just say, of all the things that have impressed me about this community center (and there are a lot), the family changing rooms may just top the list!  Each room has a sink and a toilet, a changing table, a long bench and - get this - a shower!  And the room itself is huge - plenty of room for several children.  It was easy, then, for both Jason and I to take Cy into the changing room together, allowing us to trade off holding him and dressing him while we got ourselves dressed.  It made the whole process so much easier and more enjoyable than it could have been.  Plus, there are a total of four family changing rooms!

I had also been thinking about signing Cy and me up for Parent/child swim classes in January, but was concerned about the whole changing/drying off process, especially since I would be by myself.  Seeing the family changing rooms has eased my worries and now I'm even more excited about the prospect.

I have to know - is this whole family changing room thing common?  Am I just a newbie mom who didn't realize how accomodating some places would be?  Because in my limited experience, most places seem the opposite  of accommodating.  Sometimes I almost feel bad for having a baby in tow.  In fact, I've been surprised by the number of places that have zero space to change babies - and don't get me started on the lack of changing tables in men's restrooms! And yet, whoever designed the community center really thought ahead to the needs of families, and made the swimming experience completely accessible, and, dare I say, easy.  I was already impressed - now I'm downright in love!   (On a related note, Washington Square does have its own extraordinary family restroom, complete with a miniature toilet right next to the big person's toilet.  I don't think I've ever thought of a toilet as cute until I saw that one.  It makes me excited for the day Cy can use a toilet, and I think we may go to the mall just so we can use that one!)

So, needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), we will be frequenting the family swim time and most definitely taking full advantage of these fantastic changing rooms!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flashback Friday: Jager's Accidental Overdose

I've managed to let the past two Fridays slip by with nary a Flashback, and I just couldn't let it happen again! So, here is another Jager story for you.  As you may remember, Jager finds just about everything edible.  Her credits include chapstick, an unused pregnancy test, clorox wipes, and 20 PB&J sandwiches.  However, her most infamous - not to mention most dangerous and expensive - incident occurred two years ago on this, the Friday before Thanksgiving. 

On that Friday, Jason and I had gone out to dinner after work.  We arrived home to pools of dog vomit all over the hallway and living room.  It was like a crime scene unfolding before our eyes.  With each step we saw another, and another pool of vomit.   We quickly realized that she had gotten into something, so we began scouring the house for evidence.  I don't remember who discovered it, but one of us got to the bedroom at the back of the house first, and there it was - an empty bottle of Ibuprofen.  It was a large bottle of 200mg gel caps, one of the 80 count ones and it had been a little over half full when we left that morning.  We figured that she had consumed somewhere around 50 caplets - a total of 10,000 mg of Ibuprofen.  Yikes.

We called animal poison control and were told to monitor her for stomach ulcers and kidney failure.  At first she seemed her usual, peppy self, but by Sunday morning, she refused to go outside, would hardly leave our bed and was peeing all over the house.  We did some research on-line and found out that Malox could help dogs with potential stomach ulcers, so we went and got some.  And here's the funny part - our dog, who eats literally everything, balked at the Malox.  She clamped her lips closed, and when we forcefully opened them and poured in the MAlox, she shoved her tongue to the roof of her mouth and forced it back out again, spitting out showers of chalky, white Malox. Then she ran away with her tail between her legs.  To this day, shake a bottle of Malox in front of this dog and she runs for the hills.  And they say dogs have no memory.

Anyway, we finally took her to the vet on Monday morning.  Before we set out, we determined that she had a budget of $500 - that's all we could afford to pay.  When the vet examined her he found that she had extreme kidney failure and bleeding stomach ulcers.  And, even though she had been drinking water vociferously, she was severely dehydrated because the ulcers kept her stomach from absorbing the water she drank.  He admitted her overnight and gave her IV fluids and antibiotics.  The total - $580. Ok, we figured, we can handle that.

The next day, however, the vet called back to say that she could not keep food down and would therefore have to stay another few days - probably until Thursday, but since that was Thanksgiving and they were closed, they would keep her until Friday but not charge us the extra day.  The total for the remaining four days - $500.  Well, here's the thing.  At this point, we had already invested over $500 into our dog.  So if we brought her home early, we had the possibility of losing not only our dog, but also our $500!  So, we dug deep and paid the additional $500.  

Yep, that's right, we spent over a $1000 on our dog - we are those people.  But the thing is, she is part of our family, and at the time, we had no children.  We realized then, though, that if we had had children, we would not have been able to make that choice.  Lucky for her, we could, and we did, and she has now made a full recovery (though her bladder control was never quite the same). 

Fortunately, we've since learned our lesson.  We do a "Jager check" every time we leave the house, just to be sure that we haven't left anything tempting.  And we've learned to expand our definition of what is edible, because with a dog like Jager, you just never know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

...And We're Back!

Well, I really did think that I would maintain a little more momentum after finishing NaBloPoMo, but then we went to Kansas for a wedding...which is actually one of the main reasons why I did NaBloPoMo in October instead of November.  So, we have returned from our week away, and as entry back into the blogging world, I thought I would share a few little tidbits I discovered while in Kansas:

1.  I love weddings.  I don't know if it's going to more weddings or simply getting older, but each wedding I attend (particularly those for people to whom I am close) I get more emotional than I did at the previous wedding.  Maybe weddings remind me of my own wedding, or maybe I just love the whole sentiment.  This wedding was a little bitter-sweet, as it was the last of the Wells siblings' weddings.  There are no weddings looming in our future and this makes me sad.  However, Jason's sister Kelly looked beautiful and the wedding was quite the party!

The happy couple and their wedding party.

2.  I play a (very distant) second fiddle to my child.  On several occasions, various family members, on seeing us for the first time on this trip, ran excitedly toward us and exuberantly greeted Cy.  Then, only after smiling and cooing at him, they noticed either me or Jason and then said hi, generally as an after-thought.  I would be offended except that this happened so often that I must simply take it as a compliment that we made a baby too cute for our own good.

3.  Babies are cute and welcome almost everywhere.  A wedding party-bus (or trolley, in this case) is not one of them...Yes, this was a little lapse in judgment on Jason's and my part.  Jason was in the wedding party, and after the ceremony, the wedding party boarded the trolley/party bus to go take some more pictures around Kansas city before the reception.  At the last minute, myself and a few other spouses were invited on.  Without thinking, Jason and I agreed and Cy and I boarded the trolley...Of course, babies need to eat, and they don't often want to wait for the 1.5 hour party-bus ride to do so. However, a bunch of unmarried young folks don't necessarily want to see a baby nursed on their party bus.  Nor do they want to hear said baby screaming at the top of his lungs when he has to wait to eat.  Add to that the beer bong and bawdy drinking songs, and well, I think I just earned the "worst-parent-of-the-year" award...

Cyrus melting...

Yes, that is a beer bong.  Don't ask me, I'm not nearly cool enough to get it!

4.  Snoring is almost never cute. Unless it is a baby doing the snoring.  Then it is extremely cute.  And must be recorded.  And shared with everyone we see the following day.  I would share this video with you, except that I  can't figure out how to upload a video with the new editor, so I guess we will save that for another day.  If you do know how, please share!

5.  Due to aforementioned cold, I now realize that my child is never allowed to have anything worse than a low fever and mild congestion.  This very minor illness ripped my heart out and brought tears to my eyes.  Anything even remotely more severe will likely kill me.

6.  A sick and slightly cranky baby is not the best traveling companion.  Unless you are flying a nearly full Southwest flight and wish to have an empty seat in your row.  Then, a cranky, sick baby may be just the ticket.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Self-esteem rising...only to fall again

I'm going to go out on a limb here and generalize that those who blog do so with the anticipation and hope that others will read their writing. I will go even further to say that those of us who leave our blogs open hope that strangers may also read and find interesting the things that we write. Even if this isn't true for other bloggers, it is for me, even if I wasn't willing to admit it right away. Blogger has two easy ways for me to know if others are reading my blog: the follower gadget and comments at the end of posts. So far I have three followers (one of which is my mom) and I appreciate them all. And, I think around 8 or 9 people have commented on my blog overall. Not bad, considering that this blog has really only been active for a month.

Now, I will admit that I've decided that I will feel somewhat successful as a blogger when I have a stranger either comment on my blog or become a follower. So, imagine my delight when I opened my e-mail a few days ago and saw a comment from a person I did not know! My confidence sky-rocketed and I felt ever so slightly proud of myself. It was on my post about jogging strollers, which I did think was a pretty interesting post, if I do say so myself. And then I opened the e-mail to read the comment and saw this:

"Thanks for sharing that! Nice post. I just glanced through it. "

It was followed by a link to buy strollers.

So. Not only did my one stranger commenter only "glance" through my post, but he then used the comment section to advertise! Not exactly what I had in mind...

Oh well, I guess I haven't quite reached stranger-commenting-worthy status yet, after all. It's a good thing that I don't really base my self-esteem on the comments on my blog or that could have been a real doozy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reflections on NaBloPoMo

Here it is, November 1, and I no longer "have" to write a daily blog post - and yet, here I am, still writing a post. Even as I plopped down on my couch this evening and proudly asked Jason "Guess what I don't have to do tonight?" I had three blog post ideas running around in my head. So, I guess NaBloPoMo served it's purpose. Here are some other things that occurred as a result of writing 31 posts in 31 days:

1. I now think about things from a blogging perspective. At the beginning of the month, I really had to push myself to come up with something to write about every single day. As I've already mentioned, small occurrences in my daily life now practically write themselves into posts!

2. I've realized that I really enjoy the idea of a blogging community. I've learned new things or gotten new perspectives from the comments people have left on my posts, and that is an unexpected positive side-effect.

3. Things I thought might not be interesting sparked thoughts in other people. Some of the posts that I did simply as a way to make sure that I wrote a post every day garnered the most comments, or at least prompted people to ask questions that will lead to other posts.

4. I've gotten over some of my perfectionism and am OK to post something even if I can't weave my words into the work of art that I'd like to.

5. I've enjoyed blogging so much so that I started a second blog for Cyrus.

6. I had a really good excuse to finally write Cyrus' birth story - something I'd been wanting to do for three months!

7. Perhaps one of the greatest things is that I now have almost 40 posts for the year of 2009! That averages out to nearly 4 posts a month for January through October. Of course, 31 of those happened in October...

It helped having Kristen plugging away right beside me. And, now I get to sit back and relax for the month of November and read Bridget's blog as she completes NaBloPoMo this month. I will say that this was a tougher challenge than I thought it would be and yet one that I'm proud to have accomplished. Now we'll just have to see how long I can maintain this momentum!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...