Baby Fat…


…is something that all women have to deal with after that freaking blessed event of allowing a far too large object to slide out of the smallest portal on our body!

Let’s face it girls. We really don’t give much thought to our expanding girth when it’s falls under the guise of ‘baby fat’. As that little sucker grows inside of us we cling to that self-serving deception tactic of “I’ve got to feed the baby” or “I’m trying to protect the baby” with all this added cushion.

B-u-l-l-s-h-i-t!

Pregnancy brain makes us delusional is what I think.

What we’ve really done is stuffed our bloody faces until we look like we’re ready to explode because we think no one’s really watching our weight–they’re only watching the blessed progression of a developing baby.

So, flash forward a decade or two.

You realize your kids are nearly adults now and you’re still carrying around a pile of flab that’s been there since way back when.

Double CRAP!

With the recession like it is now, so many of us are left to our own devices to get in shape because gym memberships are still at a premium. The price of working out one-on-one with a personal trainer is also out of reach for most of us, so what do we do–we start looking around to find the cheapest possible way to get the most for our money.

Hubby and I usually walk every morning at our local park. If we go around the outside twice we can get in about two miles. Unfortunately, when it’s a little cooler outside, we take a shortcut so we can stay in the sun. Hello…short cuts will not get rid of said baby fat.

But the good part is, we find new inspiration during these little treks because every day we’d see different groups working out. You’ve got your boot camps, your one-on-ones, basketball games, joggers…there’s a plethora of people trying to get fit, or as I like to think of it–getting your J-ello to finally set.

One group I’ve notice over the past year is made up of several young mothers and their toddlers. They use the strollers for balance, use their kids as free weights, and all in all, they seem like their having a good time instead of just sweating their asses off alone. They’ve got that camaraderie going on, and from the look on their faces, they really don’t seem to mind the stretching, crunching, or jogging so long as they can do it together.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. You grab a bunch of your ‘baby-fat’ friends who are stuck at home with their young children and you work out together. It’s the perfect world–like minded women at the same place in their life.

So after pondering this idea I finally got brave enough to go ask them if it was an open group and how much did it cost to join.

“We don’t pay anything, we just work out together because it’s more fun to do it this way,”  says the girl who kind of looks like she’s leading the group.

“Oh,” I said.

I notice that they’re all kind of staring at me in that odd kind of way because it’s obvious I’m a lot older than all of them.

“Could I come?” I ask.

“Well…you’re..um…I think you’re a little old for our group,” she says looking me up and down with that smug superior look on her face.

I want to bitch-slap her but I refrain from doing so because this might be my ticket to shed a few pounds without spending a dime so I keep my cool.

“No…I don’t think I’m too old,” I say as I crush the urge to take this bitch down right then and there. “I’m not as old as I look you know.”

The whole pack of them exchange a look, you know the one. I can see them trying to formulate a reason to get me to go away.

“Do you have kids?” she asks because I’m pretty sure she can see the daggers flying out of my eyeballs right towards her heart.

“Yeah, I’ve got kids,” I reply waiting to see where she’s going to go next.

She looks around at the others in the group trying to surmise by the looks on their faces whether or not she should offer me a place in the group. They pull themselves into a little huddle and have a short conference. A moment later they separate and the spokesgirl takes another long look at me.

“Why don’t you come Wednesday…WITH your kid,” she says. “We’ll see if you can keep up with us.”

Oh no you didn’t girl!

I can’t believe she went there so fast!

Yep, she upped the ante by attacking my competitive side. She may very well have opened Pandora’s Box!

Oh well, maybe this was exactly what I needed to hear to motivate me to undo what time and gluttony had done to me.

“Okie-dokie, I’ll see you Wednesday then,” I say.

I can hear them giggling as I walk away.

CRAP!!

I may have bitten off more than I could chew!

So here’s one of the only perks of home schooling. My son is constantly available, and fortunately for me, he has the same warped humor that I do. I know he’ll be game for this, and besides, he loves to work out so it’s game on.

Tuesday rolls around and I go to my neighbor and ask if I can borrow her jogger stroller.

“What do you need a stroller for?” she asks.

I lie and tell her I’m going to be babysitting a friend’s kid on Wednesday.

“Oh, okay,” she says.

Wednesday morning, I get up early, wash my hair, do my makeup, dress in my best workout clothes. I’m not going to let these young she dogs see the real morning me under any circumstances!

I get my son up, feed him so he won’t get cranky, and we head off to the park.

When I pull into the parking lot I can see them off in the distance. There’s five or six of them and they’re already stretching, and sucking back the last drops of their coffee. Why the hell do they look so perky already? I slap my face a few times trying to get that ‘warmed up already’ redness in my cheeks.

I get the stroller out of the back of my car, set it on the ground and try to open it.

Crap!

I guess we should have done a run through at home.

I realize it has some kind of dam fangled lock on it somewhere but I just can’t find it. I look around in desperation, and like a mirage before my eyes, there appears another health nut, a mother, with her kid, in the same kind of stroller, and I know she’s not part of the mommy group I’m about to join. She sees my plight and comes to my aid.

She flicks a little toggle and the god damm buggy springs to life just like when you pull the toggle of the life jacket on an airplane. Oh yeah! That’ll be a story for another time!

I jump out of the way and she laughs at me.

“Sometimes these things have a  life of there own,” she offers.”They take some getting used to.”

“No shit!” I say thinking these things must be manufactured by Toyota.

The smile on her lips turns sour and she glares at me.

I slap my hand over my mouth.

My bad!

I look down at her beautiful little girl who is also staring at me now.

“I’m sorry…that just kind of slipped out,” I say trying to salvage my bad self.

She say’s nothing in return for my apology. She just turns away and heads off with an air of indignation.

My son looks at me and we both burst out laughing.

Okay, so now we’ve got the stroller ready for loading. I look at my son then look at the stroller and wonder how this is going to work.

At six-feet-five inches this is definitely going to be interesting.

Knowing that my son’s in pretty good shape I figure we should be all right. It might take a minute or two to finagle his gangly limbs into it—but come hell or high water—it was going to happen!

My pride and mid-life fat was on the line here.

After ten minutes of pushing, shoving, contorting, and cramming his gangly body parts this way and that, he was sufficiently trapped in the damn blasted contraption.

Was he a happy camper? No!

“I can’t breathe,” he said. “My balls hurt!”

“Oh shut up you big baby,” I said slamming the sunshade down over his head.

Then it hit me. This was so uber-perfect because he was acting like a two-year-old.

I win!

As I approach the group I am met with stares, glares, and more of those WTF looks they’d given me on my initial approach.

I still win.

They never mentioned anything about an age limit—their loss—my gain!

“You didn’t say anything about your son being…well…older,” Miss Perky Boobs says.

“You never asked,” I say smugly because I know she can’t think of one damn thing to come back with.

I could see a couple of these young girls checking out my son and it brang a smile to my lips. He’s pretty damn cute if I don’t say so myself. He’s tall for his age and I’m pretty sure there’s a few gutter thoughts breezing through one or two of these young mother’s minds. But you know what? I don’t mind so much as long as they let me work out with them…FOR FREE!

Oh the sacrifice’s we mother’s make to save a dime here and there.

“Well, let’s just start then,” Miss PB says.

Now here’s where having my son in the stroller pays off big time. We’re starting out with squats.  I can see that these young girls are really going to have to use their leg muscles in order not to tip over their strollers as they use them to keep their balance. I watch as they check the safety straps and harnesses that will keep their littuns’ safe and sound.

My son is an anchor for me. His hundred and seventy five pounds of lean muscle hunkering down in that stroller means that I can disperse the muscle usage equally between my double chinned arms and my less than toned legs.

“Just hang on dude,” I warn him because the straps on this stroller are unusable with his size.

He unfurls his thirty-six inch inseam limbs, adjusts his gonads, then pushes the sunshade away so he can watch me. I here the first hint of a giggle sneaking out of him because he knows this is my least favorite exercise and I really have to concentrate so I don’t start laughing.

Miss PB starts the drill.

“One…hold it………………..Two…………..breathe.”

During the second squat, I start to feel that old familiar gurgle that emanates from my five-decade-old gas pipes.

CRAP!

Remember: mid-life and squats are not the best combination for me, especially with the absence of GasX . That’s what got me into this situation in the first place.

I take a deep breath and squeeze the old sphincter muscle as tight as I can in hopes that I can avoid the possibility of my butt actually erupting.

OOPS!

There goes the first warning shot! I count my blessings immediately because there’s no obvious noise.

Smell…well that’s another thing. Thank God I was down wind.

Dipping for number three felt a little better. I guess the warning shot had relieved enough pressure to let me continue without fear.

WRONG!

When I finally get all the way down—my butt, which has acquired it’s own life cycle, has decided it’s time to party. Oh yeah…bells and whistles—drum roll please—it was time to blow the party horn. The best I could hope for is that it wouldn’t react like a piñata that might actually spill its guts.

“WOW, THIS FEELS FANTASTIC,” I scream at the top of my lungs hoping it will drown out the sound of the thunderous blasphemy that seems to be taking its time exiting the building.

Of course my outburst is greeted with more WTF stares. I fight fire with fire and stare back because I don’t really care because, if I had my druthers, I’d rather they think I was a crazy old bitch instead of a stinking rotten smelly one.

I’d been so worried about the noise I didn’t notice that the wind had changed direction.

My first hint that something was way wrong was when my son clutched, first his nose, then his throat before making that gagging face over and over. About five seconds later he keeled over and played dead.

One of the girls noticed him slumped over while he was playing possum and pointed towards him.

“Is he okay?” she said with real concern in her voice.

“Oh yes, he’ll be fine in a minute,” I assure her.

I kick the bottom of the stroller to get my point across, to tell him to quit it. If he blows this for me there’d be a steep price to pay later.

That’s when he throws in a full body twitch just to make sure he gets his point across—that being that I’d nearly killed him as last night’s broccoli regurgitated itself.  I guess there’s only so much a person can do to reign in our personal carbon footprint.

“He just needs a little fresh air,” I say and start squatting again.

“Noooooooo…!”

It comes out of his mouth like a little childish whisper.

“OMG! Don’t do it Mom!” he says seeing me as I prepared to do the fourth squat.

“Can you just shut up?” I say to him.  “You don’t see any of the other kids making a scene.

“Hello…What are they, six months old…a year?” he says in his own defense.

I look over at their sweet little faces. They look like little angels ‘NOW’ and all I can do is smile.  They have no idea what’s to come ten, fifteen years from now.

Miss PB calls off the squats, announcing that we’re now going to jog around the park twice.

Oh Lord!

I knew I should have quit smoking a long time ago.

My mind starts to reel as I anticipate the possibility of respiratory failure. I know if I keep a fairly slow pace I can probably do it, but it’s much, much harder than I’d anticipated. I am comforted by the fact that I can see the giant hospital directly across the street from the park. I’m sure that if anything happens, like me going face down, the six of them can surely drag my sorry ass across the grass and deposit me in the emergency room in a timely manner.

The six of them take off leaving me in a heap of dust. Bitches! I watch their perky little asses and am fascinated by the fact that they don’t flop up and down like mine. WTF?

Before I can even think about running we have to reconfigure my sons legs back into the stroller so we don’t get tripped up and end up on a gurney for other reasons.

Okay, so we’re off. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be except for the fact that I can’t remember the last time I ran anywhere while trying to push a car in front of me.

My son decides he’ll help out by unfurling his legs and straddling the stroller trying to run along with me. Each time his foot hits the ground however, the stroller zigs in the opposite direction and we end up looking like we’re drunk.

“Put your damn feet up,” I yell. “You’re gonna kill us both.”

“I can’t, you have to stop first.”

“No way Jose,” I say looking over my shoulder. The girls are about to lap me.

He somehow pulls his legs up so we can keep moving. I try desperately to keep ahead of them, but it’s no use. One by one they zoom past.

CRAP!

I hate failure!

Try as I might I cannot keep up. Plan B starts to formulate in my befuddled, not enough morning coffee brain. I can see the group is about to round the last corner of the track, the home stretch, and realize that if I don’t act now I’ll have to go down in defeat.

I tell my son to get out and we cut across the center of the track. If I time this right, not only will this put us ahead of them, we’ll also have enough time to squish him back into the stroller and build up a little sweat.

When the girls finally ‘catch up’ with us they look confused.

“I know…I know, you didn’t even see me pass you huh?” I say pretending to be breathless. “Evelyn Wood’s Speed Running…took that course last year.”

This seems to impress them or at least this is what I tell myself.

Really, all I want to do is sit down, slug back some water, have a smoke, and rest for a few minutes.

No such luck. Apparently this workout group works like a ‘real’ boot camp. No rest for the weary.

This is really fucked up! How come I didn’t notice the ferocity of their regime during my walks? Guess that boils down to the old adage of ‘you only see what you want to see!’  But then again, this is probably why Miss PB’s boobs are still perky, and why all their butts are so firm. Guess I’ve been out of the loop a little too long.

Miss PB barks out that we are about to use the children as free weights so we should unleash them from their stroller seat.

I gasp, my son sighs!

We are instructed to lie on our backs, pull our legs up to a fetal position and then place our child up onto the lower part of our legs so we can do callisthenic leg lifts.

As I lie there on my back looking up towards the sky and the smirk on my son’s face, it hits me that I should have brought a towel because now my back will be scratchy all day as the dead grass penetrates my t-shirt.

“Wipe that stupid smile off your face son, this is serious business,” I say.

“Oh I know, I can’t wait to see how this works out,” he says getting down on his knees.

He maneuvers his chest onto my lower legs. About two seconds later as his dead weight hits home, I feel all the air in my lungs disappear.

OMG!

Where oh where had my lower body strength gone?

I’m the handy man/woman of the house! I’ve framed in walls, built fences, framed out and built concrete stairs, hung drywall, plastered walls, moved two tons of pebbles, sand and rocks, planted trees out of their twenty four inch boxes, changed tires on cars, reworked plumbing, and gave birth twice vaginally.

How was it that this had not strengthened my legs. Why was this hundred and seventy-five pound punk suffocating me?

I looked to my left then my right, and each one of these girls was breezing through the routine.  Well no shit! They were balancing maybe fifteen or twenty pounds at the most.

Miss PB is glaring at me by this time. I’m sure she’s formulating the words she’s going to say to me after all is said and done that will make me go away and let them get on with their business of getting fit.

My son is looking down at me with that ‘what are you going to do now’ look and all I can do is smile.

“You know, you could help me out here you little Peckerhead! Put your hands on the ground and take some of the pressure off,” I say to him.

“But Mom…that would be cheating wouldn’t it?”

He says this not knowing that these words were, in reality, a death wish on his part.

“Sweetheart, if you don’t help me out here your gonads might just meet up with an unsightly accident,” I say smiling through gritted teeth.

“Oh,” he says as the smile evaporates from his lips.

He realizes that he’s in a compromised position. He lowers his hands to the ground in self-defense.

Okie Dokie then! In this position I can actually lift him. We manage to get about ten leg lifts done. Just as I really start to get the rhythm down Miss PB says we’re done.

She stands up and sets her oh so sweet daughter down in the middle of the circle with the other toddlers. She looks over at me, smiles her movie star smile, and I start to wonder whether or not my family can sue her for unnecessary cruelty in the event that I actually drop dead from exertion.

OMG! I know she can see the sweat pouring off me like Niagara Falls, and that my face must be red as an apple at this point, but she doesn’t say a word—nor do I.  It’s just another moment where I want to bitch slap her for pushing me to, or rather, beyond my limit.

I am older and wiser and she is not going to win!

I need to gather myself here and pull my t-shirt up so I can swab away some of the fluids that have leaked out of me. Not a good move on my part because now they all see the body sucker I’ve been sporting under my clothes to reveal only my curvy side.

OOPS!

I can see them staring at me.  Yep! There were twelve eyes bearing down on my girdled midriff.

“I have a bad back. I need the pressure to hold my spine in place,” I say returning my t-shirt to where it should have never left.

Crap!

This is going to hell in a basket!

Miss PB rolls her eyes back in her head. I imitate her so she’s aware that I am not going to let her throw me. She announces that she’ll stay with the children while we go free jog.

WHAT? Free jog? She can’t be serious! That last stint nearly killed me even at the piddly-assed pace I tried to maintain. If I had to move faster than that, which I assumed she would want us to, I might never see my family again.

My son plopped down amid the toddlers and waved me off.

“Go on Mom, don’t worry about me,” he said right before he burst out laughing.

I put one foot in front of the other and made my way back to the track. Without the distraction of the added weight (my son and the stroller) I figured I could ace this portion of the workout for at least for one lap—maybe even two.

Unfortunately, my boobs, otherwise known as thing one and thing two, had other plans. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about doubling up on the sports bra, I just know that I hadn’t. Big mistake!

I was now being bitch-slapped by my own flesh.

My breasts had turned into out of control Slinky’s—undulated up, down, side-to-side—stretching in ways that could—in no way—be considered flattering.  I slowed down in order to stop this hideous circus act. I hadn’t even reached the second turn on the track when two of the young mothers lapped me.

Son of a bitch!

I did the only thing I could. I stopped.

I made my way back to the center of the track.

With my shoulders slumped in defeat I headed directly to Miss PB.

“You win! I’m done.”

“But we’re just getting started,” she says flashing her chicklet-white smile.

I’m so tired I can’t even be witty. I glare at my son who is currently sucking his thumb mimicking the other toddlers. I have just enough wherewithal to pull my shoulders back and stand as proud as I can.

“Let’s go son,” I say.

“Where we going Mom?”

“To lick my wounds!”

As we finish packing everything back into the car I catch sight of a group of seniors doing Thai Chi under the shade of several giant eucalyptus trees next to the parking lot.

“Ah-so young grasshopper,” I say smiling at my son. “There is a God after all—I’ll be right back.”

…is something that all women have to deal with after that freaking blessed event of allowing a far too large object to slide out of the smallest portal on our body!

Let’s face it girls. We really don’t give much thought to our expanding girth when it’s falls under the guise of ‘baby fat’. As that little sucker grows inside of us we cling to that self-serving deception tactic of “I’ve got to feed the baby” or “I’m trying to protect the baby” with all this added cushion.

B-u-l-l-s-h-i-t!

Pregnancy brain makes us delusional is what I think.

What we’ve really done is stuffed our bloody faces until we look like we’re ready to explode because we think no one’s really watching our weight–they’re only watching the blessed progression of a developing baby.

So, flash forward a decade or two.

You realize your kids are nearly adults now and you’re still carrying around a pile of flab that’s been there since way back when.

Double CRAP!

With the recession like it is now, so many of us are left to our own devices to get in shape because gym memberships are still at a premium. The price of working out one-on-one with a personal trainer is also out of reach for most of us, so what do we do–we start looking around to find the cheapest possible way to get the most for our money.

Hubby and I usually walk every morning at our local park. If we go around the outside twice we can get in about two miles. Unfortunately, when it’s a little cooler outside, we take a shortcut so we can stay in the sun. Hello…short cuts will not get rid of said baby fat.

But the good part is, we find new inspiration during these little treks because every day we’d see different groups working out. You’ve got your boot camps, your one-on-ones, basketball games, joggers…there’s a plethora of people trying to get fit, or as I like to think of it–getting your J-ello to finally set.

One group I’ve notice over the past year is made up of several young mothers and their toddlers. They use the strollers for balance, use their kids as free weights, and all in all, they seem like their having a good time instead of just sweating their asses off alone. They’ve got that camaraderie going on, and from the look on their faces, they really don’t seem to mind the stretching, crunching, or jogging so long as they can do it together.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. You grab a bunch of your ‘baby-fat’ friends who are stuck at home with their young children and you work out together. It’s the perfect world–like minded women at the same place in their life.

So after pondering this idea I finally got brave enough to go ask them if it was an open group and how much did it cost to join.

“We don’t pay anything, we just work out together because it’s more fun to do it this way,”  says the girl who kind of looks like she’s leading the group.

“Oh,” I said.

I notice that they’re all kind of staring at me in that odd kind of way because it’s obvious I’m a lot older than all of them.

“Could I come?” I ask.

“Well…you’re..um…I think you’re a little old for our group,” she says looking me up and down with that smug superior look on her face.

I want to bitch-slap her but I refrain from doing so because this might be my ticket to shed a few pounds without spending a dime so I keep my cool.

“No…I don’t think I’m too old,” I say as I crush the urge to take this bitch down right then and there. “I’m not as old as I look you know.”

The whole pack of them exchange a look, you know the one. I can see them trying to formulate a reason to get me to go away.

“Do you have kids?” she asks because I’m pretty sure she can see the daggers flying out of my eyeballs right towards her heart.

“Yeah, I’ve got kids,” I reply waiting to see where she’s going to go next.

She looks around at the others in the group trying to surmise by the looks on their faces whether or not she should offer me a place in the group. They pull themselves into a little huddle and have a short conference. A moment later they separate and the spokesgirl takes another long look at me.

“Why don’t you come Wednesday…WITH your kid,” she says. “We’ll see if you can keep up with us.”

Oh no you didn’t girl!

I can’t believe she went there so fast!

Yep, she upped the ante by attacking my competitive side. She may very well have opened Pandora’s Box!

Oh well, maybe this was exactly what I needed to hear to motivate me to undo what time and gluttony had done to me.

“Okie-dokie, I’ll see you Wednesday then,” I say.

I can hear them giggling as I walk away.

CRAP!!

I may have bitten off more than I could chew!

So here’s one of the only perks of home schooling. My son is constantly available, and fortunately for me, he has the same warped humor that I do. I know he’ll be game for this, and besides, he loves to work out so it’s game on.

Tuesday rolls around and I go to my neighbor and ask if I can borrow her jogger stroller.

“What do you need a stroller for?” she asks.

I lie and tell her I’m going to be babysitting a friend’s kid on Wednesday.

“Oh, okay,” she says.

Wednesday morning, I get up early, wash my hair, do my makeup, dress in my best workout clothes. I’m not going to let these young she dogs see the real morning me under any circumstances!

I get my son up, feed him so he won’t get cranky, and we head off to the park.

When I pull into the parking lot I can see them off in the distance. There’s five or six of them and they’re already stretching, and sucking back the last drops of their coffee. Why the hell do they look so perky already? I slap my face a few times trying to get that ‘warmed up already’ redness in my cheeks.

I get the stroller out of the back of my car, set it on the ground and try to open it.

Crap!

I guess we should have done a run through at home.

I realize it has some kind of dam fangled lock on it somewhere but I just can’t find it. I look around in desperation, and like a mirage before my eyes, there appears another health nut, a mother, with her kid, in the same kind of stroller, and I know she’s not part of the mommy group I’m about to join. She sees my plight and comes to my aid.

She flicks a little toggle and the god damm buggy springs to life just like when you pull the toggle of the life jacket on an airplane. Oh yeah! That’ll be a story for another time!

I jump out of the way and she laughs at me.

“Sometimes these things have a  life of there own,” she offers.”They take some getting used to.”

“No shit!” I say thinking these things must be manufactured by Toyota.

The smile on her lips turns sour and she glares at me.

I slap my hand over my mouth.

My bad!

I look down at her beautiful little girl who is also staring at me now.

“I’m sorry…that just kind of slipped out,” I say trying to salvage my bad self.

She say’s nothing in return for my apology. She just turns away and heads off with an air of indignation.

My son looks at me and we both burst out laughing.

Okay, so now we’ve got the stroller ready for loading. I look at my son then look at the stroller and wonder how this is going to work.

At six-feet-five inches this is definitely going to be interesting.

Knowing that my son’s in pretty good shape I figure we should be all right. It might take a minute or two to finagle his gangly limbs into it—but come hell or high water—it was going to happen!

My pride and mid-life fat was on the line here.

After ten minutes of pushing, shoving, contorting, and cramming his gangly body parts this way and that, he was sufficiently trapped in the damn blasted contraption.

Was he a happy camper? No!

“I can’t breathe,” he said. “My balls hurt!”

“Oh shut up you big baby,” I said slamming the sunshade down over his head.

Then it hit me. This was so uber-perfect because he was acting like a two-year-old.

I win!

As I approach the group I am met with stares, glares, and more of those WTF looks they’d given me on my initial approach.

I still win.

They never mentioned anything about an age limit—their loss—my gain!

“You didn’t say anything about your son being…well…older,” Miss Perky Boobs says.

“You never asked,” I say smugly because I know she can’t think of one damn thing to come back with.

I could see a couple of these young girls checking out my son and it brang a smile to my lips. He’s pretty damn cute if I don’t say so myself. He’s tall for his age and I’m pretty sure there’s a few gutter thoughts breezing through one or two of these young mother’s minds. But you know what? I don’t mind so much as long as they let me work out with them…FOR FREE!

Oh the sacrifice’s we mother’s make to save a dime here and there.

“Well, let’s just start then,” Miss PB says.

Now here’s where having my son in the stroller pays off big time. We’re starting out with squats.  I can see that these young girls are really going to have to use their leg muscles in order not to tip over their strollers as they use them to keep their balance. I watch as they check the safety straps and harnesses that will keep their littuns’ safe and sound.

My son is an anchor for me. His hundred and seventy five pounds of lean muscle hunkering down in that stroller means that I can disperse the muscle usage equally between my double chinned arms and my less than toned legs.

“Just hang on dude,” I warn him because the straps on this stroller are unusable with his size.

He unfurls his thirty-six inch inseam limbs, adjusts his gonads, then pushes the sunshade away so he can watch me. I here the first hint of a giggle sneaking out of him because he knows this is my least favorite exercise and I really have to concentrate so I don’t start laughing.

Miss PB starts the drill.

“One…hold it………………..Two…………..breathe.”

During the second squat, I start to feel that old familiar gurgle that emanates from my five-decade-old gas pipes.

CRAP!

Remember: mid-life and squats are not the best combination for me, especially with the absence of GasX . That’s what got me into this situation in the first place.

I take a deep breath and squeeze the old sphincter muscle as tight as I can in hopes that I can avoid the possibility of my butt actually erupting.

OOPS!

There goes the first warning shot! I count my blessings immediately because there’s no obvious noise.

Smell…well that’s another thing. Thank God I was down wind.

Dipping for number three felt a little better. I guess the warning shot had relieved enough pressure to let me continue without fear.

WRONG!

When I finally get all the way down—my butt, which has acquired it’s own life cycle, has decided it’s time to party. Oh yeah…bells and whistles—drum roll please—it was time to blow the party horn. The best I could hope for is that it wouldn’t react like a piñata that might actually spill its guts.

“WOW, THIS FEELS FANTASTIC,” I scream at the top of my lungs hoping it will drown out the sound of the thunderous blasphemy that seems to be taking its time exiting the building.

Of course my outburst is greeted with more WTF stares. I fight fire with fire and stare back because I don’t really care because, if I had my druthers, I’d rather they think I was a crazy old bitch instead of a stinking rotten smelly one.

I’d been so worried about the noise I didn’t notice that the wind had changed direction.

My first hint that something was way wrong was when my son clutched, first his nose, then his throat before making that gagging face over and over. About five seconds later he keeled over and played dead.

One of the girls noticed him slumped over while he was playing possum and pointed towards him.

“Is he okay?” she said with real concern in her voice.

“Oh yes, he’ll be fine in a minute,” I assure her.

I kick the bottom of the stroller to get my point across, to tell him to quit it. If he blows this for me there’d be a steep price to pay later.

That’s when he throws in a full body twitch just to make sure he gets his point across—that being that I’d nearly killed him as last night’s broccoli regurgitated itself.  I guess there’s only so much a person can do to reign in our personal carbon footprint.

“He just needs a little fresh air,” I say and start squatting again.

“Noooooooo…!”

It comes out of his mouth like a little childish whisper.

“OMG! Don’t do it Mom!” he says seeing me as I prepared to do the fourth squat.

“Can you just shut up?” I say to him.  “You don’t see any of the other kids making a scene.

“Hello…What are they, six months old…a year?” he says in his own defense.

I look over at their sweet little faces. They look like little angels ‘NOW’ and all I can do is smile.  They have no idea what’s to come ten, fifteen years from now.

Miss PB calls off the squats, announcing that we’re now going to jog around the park twice.

Oh Lord!

I knew I should have quit smoking a long time ago.

My mind starts to reel as I anticipate the possibility of respiratory failure. I know if I keep a fairly slow pace I can probably do it, but it’s much, much harder than I’d anticipated. I am comforted by the fact that I can see the giant hospital directly across the street from the park. I’m sure that if anything happens, like me going face down, the six of them can surely drag my sorry ass across the grass and deposit me in the emergency room in a timely manner.

The six of them take off leaving me in a heap of dust. Bitches! I watch their perky little asses and am fascinated by the fact that they don’t flop up and down like mine. WTF?

Before I can even think about running we have to reconfigure my sons legs back into the stroller so we don’t get tripped up and end up on a gurney for other reasons.

Okay, so we’re off. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be except for the fact that I can’t remember the last time I ran anywhere while trying to push a car in front of me.

My son decides he’ll help out by unfurling his legs and straddling the stroller trying to run along with me. Each time his foot hits the ground however, the stroller zigs in the opposite direction and we end up looking like we’re drunk.

“Put your damn feet up,” I yell. “You’re gonna kill us both.”

“I can’t, you have to stop first.”

“No way Jose,” I say looking over my shoulder. The girls are about to lap me.

He somehow pulls his legs up so we can keep moving. I try desperately to keep ahead of them, but it’s no use. One by one they zoom past.

CRAP!

I hate failure!

Try as I might I cannot keep up. Plan B starts to formulate in my befuddled, not enough morning coffee brain. I can see the group is about to round the last corner of the track, the home stretch, and realize that if I don’t act now I’ll have to go down in defeat.

I tell my son to get out and we cut across the center of the track. If I time this right, not only will this put us ahead of them, we’ll also have enough time to squish him back into the stroller and build up a little sweat.

When the girls finally ‘catch up’ with us they look confused.

“I know…I know, you didn’t even see me pass you huh?” I say pretending to be breathless. “Evelyn Wood’s Speed Running…took that course last year.”

This seems to impress them or at least this is what I tell myself.

Really, all I want to do is sit down, slug back some water, have a smoke, and rest for a few minutes.

No such luck. Apparently this workout group works like a ‘real’ boot camp. No rest for the weary.

This is really fucked up! How come I didn’t notice the ferocity of their regime during my walks? Guess that boils down to the old adage of ‘you only see what you want to see!’  But then again, this is probably why Miss PB’s boobs are still perky, and why all their butts are so firm. Guess I’ve been out of the loop a little too long.

Miss PB barks out that we are about to use the children as free weights so we should unleash them from their stroller seat.

I gasp, my son sighs!

We are instructed to lie on our backs, pull our legs up to a fetal position and then place our child up onto the lower part of our legs so we can do callisthenic leg lifts.

As I lie there on my back looking up towards the sky and the smirk on my son’s face, it hits me that I should have brought a towel because now my back will be scratchy all day as the dead grass penetrates my t-shirt.

“Wipe that stupid smile off your face son, this is serious business,” I say.

“Oh I know, I can’t wait to see how this works out,” he says getting down on his knees.

He maneuvers his chest onto my lower legs. About two seconds later as his dead weight hits home, I feel all the air in my lungs disappear.

OMG!

Where oh where had my lower body strength gone?

I’m the handy man/woman of the house! I’ve framed in walls, built fences, framed out and built concrete stairs, hung drywall, plastered walls, moved two tons of pebbles, sand and rocks, planted trees out of their twenty four inch boxes, changed tires on cars, reworked plumbing, and gave birth twice vaginally.

How was it that this had not strengthened my legs. Why was this hundred and seventy-five pound punk suffocating me?

I looked to my left then my right, and each one of these girls was breezing through the routine.  Well no shit! They were balancing maybe fifteen or twenty pounds at the most.

Miss PB is glaring at me by this time. I’m sure she’s formulating the words she’s going to say to me after all is said and done that will make me go away and let them get on with their business of getting fit.

My son is looking down at me with that ‘what are you going to do now’ look and all I can do is smile.

“You know, you could help me out here you little Peckerhead! Put your hands on the ground and take some of the pressure off,” I say to him.

“But Mom…that would be cheating wouldn’t it?”

He says this not knowing that these words were, in reality, a death wish on his part.

“Sweetheart, if you don’t help me out here your gonads might just meet up with an unsightly accident,” I say smiling through gritted teeth.

“Oh,” he says as the smile evaporates from his lips.

He realizes that he’s in a compromised position. He lowers his hands to the ground in self-defense.

Okie Dokie then! In this position I can actually lift him. We manage to get about ten leg lifts done. Just as I really start to get the rhythm down Miss PB says we’re done.

She stands up and sets her oh so sweet daughter down in the middle of the circle with the other toddlers. She looks over at me, smiles her movie star smile, and I start to wonder whether or not my family can sue her for unnecessary cruelty in the event that I actually drop dead from exertion.

OMG! I know she can see the sweat pouring off me like Niagara Falls, and that my face must be red as an apple at this point, but she doesn’t say a word—nor do I.  It’s just another moment where I want to bitch slap her for pushing me to, or rather, beyond my limit.

I am older and wiser and she is not going to win!

I need to gather myself here and pull my t-shirt up so I can swab away some of the fluids that have leaked out of me. Not a good move on my part because now they all see the body sucker I’ve been sporting under my clothes to reveal only my curvy side.

OOPS!

I can see them staring at me.  Yep! There were twelve eyes bearing down on my girdled midriff.

“I have a bad back. I need the pressure to hold my spine in place,” I say returning my t-shirt to where it should have never left.

Crap!

This is going to hell in a basket!

Miss PB rolls her eyes back in her head. I imitate her so she’s aware that I am not going to let her throw me. She announces that she’ll stay with the children while we go free jog.

WHAT? Free jog? She can’t be serious! That last stint nearly killed me even at the piddly-assed pace I tried to maintain. If I had to move faster than that, which I assumed she would want us to, I might never see my family again.

My son plopped down amid the toddlers and waved me off.

“Go on Mom, don’t worry about me,” he said right before he burst out laughing.

I put one foot in front of the other and made my way back to the track. Without the distraction of the added weight (my son and the stroller) I figured I could ace this portion of the workout for at least for one lap—maybe even two.

Unfortunately, my boobs, otherwise known as thing one and thing two, had other plans. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about doubling up on the sports bra, I just know that I hadn’t. Big mistake!

I was now being bitch-slapped by my own flesh.

My breasts had turned into out of control Slinky’s—undulated up, down, side-to-side—stretching in ways that could—in no way—be considered flattering.  I slowed down in order to stop this hideous circus act. I hadn’t even reached the second turn on the track when two of the young mothers lapped me.

Son of a bitch!

I did the only thing I could. I stopped.

I made my way back to the center of the track.

With my shoulders slumped in defeat I headed directly to Miss PB.

“You win! I’m done.”

“But we’re just getting started,” she says flashing her chicklet-white smile.

I’m so tired I can’t even be witty. I glare at my son who is currently sucking his thumb mimicking the other toddlers. I have just enough wherewithal to pull my shoulders back and stand as proud as I can.

“Let’s go son,” I say.

“Where we going Mom?”

“To lick my wounds!”

As we finish packing everything back into the car I catch sight of a group of seniors doing Thai Chi under the shade of several giant eucalyptus trees next to the parking lot.

“Ah-so, not so fast young grasshopper,” I say smiling at my son. “There is a God after all—I’ll be right back.”

Meditation Schmeditation…


…blah,blah, blah.

I have A.D.D!!!

You know, Attention Deficit Disorder!

This is not something my brain wants to wrap around. Now don’t get me wrong here, I would love nothing more than to stop my wandering glob like orb from running like a race car without a kill switch.

Unfortunately, it seems my mind has a mind of its own.

I’ve tried all the tricks.

I’ve tried burning candles but that didn’t work out. You’re supposed to do this in a very quiet place so I picked my closet. Unfortunately the flame leapt suddenly and nearly caught some clothes on fire. All I got out of that experience was more panic.

I’ve listen to tapes but found myself dissecting and pooh-poohing the things they were trying to set deep into my brain. I guess deep down that makes me a mental conscientious objector.

Nope…my brain has a separate motor that wants to waste all of it’s gas all of the time.

I even tried yoga a once or twice but I had to quit after my health insurance company denied my last claim. Unfortunately the yoga instructor had to call the paramedics to rescue me. I’d gotten so tied up in a pretzel like position they had to use the jaws of life to get my legs untwined from around my neck. Who knew you could strangle your own damn self in the pursuit of peace?

Dog face down–my ass!

I guess because I’m a writer my brain is programed to think at all times, day or night, come rain or come shine. The shut off valve has either been hidden from me, or more likely, installed at birth by Toyota.

Crap!

‘Focus’ is definitely not my strong point!

I’ll start out the day like any other ordinary person. Usually laundry’s the first order of the day because I can do this without waking any one up because that room is outside attached to my garage. I mean, what the hell else are you supposed to do at two or three in the morning when your brain refuses to lock down on the one thing you really want to do–write?

Thank-you mid-life insomnia!

I put the dirty clothes into the machine throw in some detergent and then as I shut the lid I notice there’s a chip in the paint on the wall. Before you know it I’ll have opened a can of paint, rustled through the cabinet where I keep my brushes, only to realize that I should clean out that cabinet so I can find things easier.

But then I notice an errant pack of seeds for marrigolds and realize that spring is just around the corner and these seeds should be in the ground by now. I don’t have much of a green thumb but every year I give it a shot.

When I go looking for my little shovel I see a bush that needs to be trimmed and head off to the last place I think I left the shears.

I catch sight of my car and realize how dirty it is and quickly go over to where my hose is so I can rinse it off.

That’s when I notice a few weeds that have popped up by the hose bib and that’s when I remember that it’s been leaking since the last time I used the hose. Some things just slip my mind as it races about randomly. Without missing a beat however, my last water and power bill flashes before my eyes and  I realize this is why it was so high last month.

Crap!

I return to the cabinet to get a wrench, but then I notice that the trash can is full and tomorrow’s garbage day. I take the can down to the end of my driveway and dump it in the bin.

That’s when I notice that the numbers, so carefully painted on the bins to keep my neighbors from ‘borrowing’ them, have faded to the point where they are unreadable so again, I return to the laundry room to get the paint and stencil that will return them to glory.

By this time the people who walk by my house early every morning are starting to drift by. I set the paint down on the ground and attach the stencil to the front of the bin when I see my neighbor out walking her dog. I go over to the fence and we chat for a while, and it’s then I remember I have to fix a hole in the fence where her dog wanders through onto my property.

I return to the cabinet and get some ties so I can reattach the extra fencing I’ve put in place to prevent this from happening when I notice that one of my vines has come loose from the trellis along the walkway. I stop and take one of the ties and fix the problem, and it’s then I discover the gardner has not fixed the sprinkler head like I’d ask him to.

Back to the cabinet I head once again because I can fix the GD sprinkler head myself. When I reach in to get the little bag of fix it parts the back of my hand grazes across something very sharp. That little light bulb goes off in my head and I realize that this is where the tree trimmer  has been hiding all along.

I set the bag of sprinkler stuff on the washing machine for a moment and dig the saw out because I’d been meaning to cut this bothersome branch off the tree in front of my office window for a while now.  It ruins my view and needs to go immediately.

On the way back to the front of the house my toe catches on the corner of one of the pavers on the path. Ouch! This will need to be fixed immediately. I kneel down and start to pry the stone out of its little resting place when I realize I will need a screwdriver and a little sand to finish the job. I set the saw down to one side and make the trip to the other side of the house where I keep all the big stuff hidden behind a wooden fence.

That’s when I realize there’s a few more errant weeds popping up around the fire pit. I’m going to have to spray these ones because the roots are buried deep down amid the rocks surrounding this gathering spot. Some kind of radar thingy clicks on inside my brain as it searches through possible storage spots for the weed killer. I hide this shit pretty good because I don’t want the kids or the dog messing with it. A few seconds later I remember that it’s upstairs on the top shelf in my bathroom. Of course I also realize that this spot no longer makes sense because my youngest is now six-foot-five! I sneak back into the house and move like a stealth fighter so no one will be the wiser as to my whereabouts.

Before I get to the front stairs I realize the dog is looking at me like “where’s my GD breakfast” and return to the kitchen to feed him.

I catch sight of a cookie sheet that the kids have left out of the cupboard and move to put it away but then I remember I promised to make them some cookies today. I go to the cupboard to get some cookie mix and it hits me that I will have to empty the dishwasher in order to get to the mixing bowl.

I put everything away and that’s when I see all the crap the kids left on the table after staying up too late. I set the mixing bowl down for a second and go to retrieve their dirty dishes.

I notice that there is a pile of crumbs on the floor that need to be cleaned up before the dog gets wind of them and return quickly to the kitchen to get the broom since it’s too early to turn on the vacuum. I sweep the crumbs into a little pile and decide to just finish the job and sweep the whole room.

When I go to dump the crumbs in the trash can I notice something has spilled down the front of the cabinet where the trash is kept. I run some warm water on the sponge and scrub the little spot away. As I stand back to inspect my work I notice that the light bulb above the sink is out. I go back out side to get the little step ladder because it’s the only way to reach the burnt out bulb.

Thats when I see the tree trimmer saw laying next to the path and get mad as I wonder who left the damn thing there. They knew I’d been searching for it.

As I bend to pick it up I am suddenly attacked by a small white fluffy dog and I hear my neighbor screaming for her precious AWOL pet. I remember immediately that I have not fixed the hole in the fence yet. I round up the puppy and hand him back over the fence when the sprinklers suddenly turn on and I see a fountain like stream of water spewing  out of the broken sprinkler like Niagara Falls.

I rush back to the laundry room to get the new sprinkler head when suddenly the alarm on the dryer goes off and I remember it’s time to change the laundry over. I get the dry stuff out, stuff the wet clothes from the washer in, then take the dry clothes inside so I can fold them.

That’s when I hear my daughters alarm clock beep beeping and I realize , OMG, it’s 6 a.m. I need to get her up so she won’t be late for school. I do my morning ritual of screaming at her so she won’t be late, pack, her lunch, and then I go outside to start her car so it’s warmed up and ready to go.

That’s when I again notice how dirty my car is and………….