The Biltmore House

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Before you start, this isn’t really about the Biltmore House.  I’ve been to the Biltmore House.  I think it is gorgeous….but I’m not exactly writing about it.

I’m also not sure how funny this will be.  I’ll try.  I really didn’t want to write this, but since it has been on my mind for the past 3 days, I decided to just do it.   I haven’t written in a long time, because I haven’t felt funny.  Now I feel like I should write this, but I don’t want to get all preachy.  (I try to avoid ANY preachy people like the plague)….this made it difficult for me growing up since I lived with a Baptist minister….who is probably reading this blog just like you are and shaking his head and hopefully laughing. I also lived with the preacher’s wife (my mom) and the preacher’s daughter (the good one…my sister)…you can guess which preacher’s daughter I was…or if you know me at all, you don’t really have to guess.

That’s the thing though.  Sometimes when I try to avoid things…it bites me in the behind.  Like always.  I could write an entire book on me being too lazy or stubborn to do something which resulted in pain.  Multiple excruciating sunburns come to mind.  Hello SPF…anyway.   I am one stubborn piece of work.  Just ask anyone.  Especially the aforementioned Baptist minister who is now retired from that line of work so don’t ask him to come preach at your church.  He is a general contractor, so you can ask him to fix your house.  Which leads me to my point!

I grew up with Jesus and sawdust.  My dad’s dad was in construction.  My dad’s grandfather was a rock mason.  I have 2 uncles are in construction.  One uncle was a heavy equipment operator, plumber, rescuer of plants and shrubs.  Yes my dad was a minister, but has had his General Contractor’s license for almost as long as I can remember.  I grew up getting dirty….and LOVING to look at blueprints.

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I wasn’t really allowed to get all up in the blueprints…probably because my dad needed them to do a job and he didn’t want me messing them up…but I.LOVED.THEM.  The big slick paper.  The blue ink.  They have a certain smell sometimes.  You shake them out of that tube and you can look at what is coming….an entire project at your fingertips!  You can picture an entire house, just by looking at the paper.  I bet the blueprints for the Biltmore House were freaking AMAZING!!! I also bet they took up more than one tube!

It occurred to me the other day, that my life has had a set of blueprints. (JUST THE OTHER DAY… not for the past 41 years that I have sat in church being TOLD that my life has had a set of blueprints, no, not me…no need to listen to that…nah)  There is an architect/contractor who has had this set.  There is only one set and He is not making a copy of it for my convenience.  I don’t get to see the blueprints.  That has been the catch.  I WANT to see them….and if I can’t see them, I’ll just do my own plan made up in my head.  The architect/contractor would rather I not mess them up, but he is a generous kind of architect/contractor who will let me change things even if they don’t make sense.  This has resulted in my life turning out sort of like a Dr. Seuss house.  I mean….like seriously.  My life has a bathroom coming off the roof.  Stairs leading to nowhere.  Doors that don’t open.  Bedrooms that are too small.  A kitchen without a sink.  All because I thought I was a better builder than he was.  The garage is 3 doors down.  The paint….dear LORD.  Lets just say that Lisa would have a FIT.  No Sea Salt, no Greige.  My house is OUT.OF.HAND.

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And He let me do it.

And I was wrong.

I do not like to admit that I am wrong.  I hate it.  I try not to do it too often, which has resulted in a perfectionist living in a house with a bathroom hanging off her roof.  Go figure.

I could’ve had the BILTMORE HOUSE!! 

So now I am in the middle of the greatest remodeling project I will ever be a part of…and I have participated in a few epic ones.  Walls have to come out.  That bathroom hanging off my roof is going to have to go.  Everything needs to be completely rewired, new ductwork.  The paint, oh the paint.  I suspect it is going to have a hefty price tag, and I am going to have to pay it.  When I say pay it, I mean pay it in my pride.  The heftiest price tag of all was paid on a Cross.

I could’ve had the BILTMORE HOUSE!!

I am hopeful at this point to just have a modest 3 bedroom ranch with a nice tiled shower and granite countertops.  But who knows.  I can’t see the blueprints and I never will.

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With the help of God….my architect/contractor…that will be just fine.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55: 8-9

 

 

 

Cardio Dance Blast

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Thoughts on Cardio Dance Blast: Originally Posted to FB 2017
First of all…let me just say this. I’m not a dancer. I never took dance as a child, for one thing because it is a sin (JUST KIDDING)…and for another thing because my parents were spending their money on things like food, mortgage, electricity etc. So like all things in life, you can blame your failures on your parents in just about any scenario….Thanks Ken and Susie.
Secondly, let me say this. I want to be a dancer. I want to be able to Move like Jagger…I want to be able to Move like Ginger Rogers…I want to be able to move like any dancer you can think of. But, alas, I do not move like any of these people. I move like Carlton. Maybe not even that well. Moving along.
Cardio. Dance. Blast. This would imply that we will get our heart rates up while dancing…and either it will be a blast, or something will explode. Hmmm.
Walk into class on a Sunday after noon. I think, surely it won’t be too crowded…but there stood 25 people in varying shapes and sizes. 23 women, 2 men. I wonder why on earth those 2 men are here but then I think I am being sexist and move along to wondering why I am here. I am wearing a tank top and spandex leggings…like every other woman in the class, thanks be to God neither male had this outfit on. I think I’m dressed appropriately, but then, I spot the instructor. She is in a tank top and very baggy sweatpants. Lets stop right here. People who dance in baggy pants look amazing. I don’t know why, but I’ve seen So You Think You Can Dance enough to know this and I am worried.
She asks, “Who is new?”. It is like being in church when they ask for visitors. Do you raise your hand or not? Does being new exclude me from something painful (like the church offering) or does she just want to know who to look at throughout the class to get a good laugh. I raise my hand. So does another lady. Then, baggy pants says “give me 3 tries”. You may hate this class the first time, but please come back…Seriously??? I may HATE it? HATE is strong. What are we about to do? I see a door to my right. A girl sees me and says to me “its not a back door, its a closet”. OK then…no escape route…great.
BaggyPants hits play and here we go. The first words across the sound system were: “Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy”. AWESOME. I have NEVER in my LIFE woken up feeling like P Diddy. I don’t know what he feels like in the morning, but I bet its not what I feel like. I am not a multimillionaire. I am going to work in a hospital. This is not what P Diddy feels like. I can not relate. Also, I have never brushed my teeth with Jack Daniels. (Third line of song) I have drunk Jack Daniels on many occasion…but never brushed my teeth with it. I brush my teeth with Crest. Again, do rock stars/musicians operate on a level completely out of the understanding of the real world. Kesha, what are you thinking?? Rapidly I tell myself to stop worrying about Kesha’s life choices and pay attention. Things are going on with Baggy Pants that I do not understand. My feet to do not move this fast…and my arms can not do something in the opposite direction of my feet. Also, I have identified a critical mistake. I chose the back R corner of the room. Those of you who have taken a new class have all done this. Only ONE person to your L can see you and you hope she isn’t Jane Fonda…but in a class of 25 people, I can’t see the instructor. I need to see her feet. WHERE ARE HER FEET? And please for the love of God turn around with your back to me so that I can tell whether my Left foot or Right foot should be moving. I can’t dance anyway, I certainly can not juxtapose the moves quick enough to keep up.
And so it went. On and on and on and on. Hip Hop song after Hip Hop song. Move after move. I could not keep up. Never did I get it right. I tried, oh did I try. I do not want to know what I looked like. It is bad enough in my imagination and I’m sure reality is even worse. I then realized yet another critical mistake. I did not wear a watch. I was really tired of concentrating…I realized what the BLAST part of class meant. It meant my head was going to explode in purple smoke like that commercial on TV. I don’t know what that commercial is selling, but all I could see was the top of my head blowing off in purple smoke. I wanted to stop. Not because I could’t breathe, but because I couldn’t think. All of the sudden, my brain STOPPED telling my feet what to do. STOPPED. But guess who didn’t stop…Baggy Pants, that’s who. I had no idea how much time was left, but my brain was done. I was suddenly happy with my decision to stay in the back of the class. I am here to tell you that I don’t think my feet did anything they were supposed to for what turned out to be the last 15 minutes of class.
And then…a slow song. And what I identified as stretch moves disguised into sort of dance moves. I can DO THIS!! YAY!! I stretch-danced my way through that last song in the class like Juliette Hough. And then, it was over.
Praise God. No one said anything to me. One girl literally GLARED at her friends who had apparently dragged her there under the false pretenses that “you can do this”.
I ambled out of the class and walked downstairs and out to my car like I had not just spent the last 60 minutes of my life looking utterly ridiculous.
Ginger Rogers, I’m coming for you.

Death by Fitness

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Aqua BootCamp Thoughts: (originally posted to FB Feb 2017)

9:10:enter the pool, people introduce themselves. they are friendly. they are all older than me. i appear “fitter” then half of them. half men/half women. class size: 10

9:11: instructor says “swim to the end and back” to warm up. UhOh. this is my usual entire pool exercise regimen. there are 59 minutes to go. this may have been a mistake.
9:15: after instructed to swim to the deep end and tread water with a ball over my head, I begin to panic. is this the Navy Seal class?? I am not in the Coast Guard. dear God what have I done.


9:16: instructor looks at me with pity and hands me a pool noodle to stay afloat while “treading water”. I am the only student needing a noodle. I suck.


9:20: straggler enters the pool. he weighs approximately 350#. looks unhealthy. I think to myself. maybe, just maybe I will be able to be better than him. (I am sort of competitive)


9:25: it is evident that I will absolutely not be able to keep up with him. he does have buoancy on his side, but apparently has much better lung capacity than me too.


9:30: how much longer? dear God I am sorry for all the bad things I ever did.


9:35: when told to do jumping jacks from the shallow end to the deep end I think…does this instructor realize that I will not be able to touch the bottom at some point? the others don’t seem to be concerned. I watch. Ummm I can’t do that.


9:40: very nice man strikes up a conversation: informs me that when he started, he was “the weakest person t
oo”. tells me I will improve. gives me hope while telling me I suck. I am afraid to ask him how long this improvement will take.

9:45: instructed to do the breast/breath stroke. I don’t know which it is. I never was a swimmer. I don’t know how to do that. everyone else does.


9:50: started planning my
funeral. I want American Girl by Tom Petty played.

9:55: instructor gets out the red “kickboards” I have a full blown flashback/panic attack from swim lessons at the outdoor pool in Brevard NC. I sucked at those too. think to myself: at least I won’t sink.


1005: more comments from classmates about how hard this class is but how good I’m doing. a thumbs up from Jim…the obvious social butterfly of the class…who is at least 65 with a beer gut and doing WAY better than me


1010: instructor says we are done. looks at 350# man and tells him he did a good job. does not look look at me and say this. other classmates realize this and tell me I did a good job. I know they don’t mean it, but again, they are a friendly group.


1015: walk out of pool area to find my husband waiting. have to restrain myself from falling into his arms and sobbing.


1030:  arrive home. check schedule to see when next class is.

Aunt’ing Ain’t Easy

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Posted on Facebook May 24th, 2017.

Today was our day with the boys as Lynn Huggins Blackburn is at a conference and Brian Blackburn was working. I usually take 1-2 days off a year to keep the kids for various reasons. There are reasons why my sister asks me to do it (conferences, appointments, etc) and reasons why I do it (I love them, I want them to feel like we are an important part of their lives and I want them to know that they are an important part of ours, and last but not least, I am going to be old one day and I will need James to check me in to a nursing home…I want him to pick a good one) Moving on.
Today is that day, and for the first time, Uncle Josh is off work with me. The boys are incredibly excited about this, as am I, because I mistakenly think “I will have help”. No. This is not what happened. What happened was that I had a 39yo, 8yo, 6yo boy to keep up with today! We started the day off with me picking the boys up and heading back to the house. They REALLY needed to see Piper and Maggie. Unfortunately, Maggie didn’t not share their enthusiasm and immediately hid in her crate. I told me sister this, who texted me back that sometimes she wants to hide too….what have I agreed to? Maggie was lured out with treats and we watched the Jungle Book while we waited on Uncle Josh to get back from somewhere so that they could discuss baseball/football cards.
The Jungle Book. One of my all time favorite cartoons and now one of my favorite “new” movies. In the first scene, Mowgli is running through the jungle. J is quiet while D loudly proclaims “he is SOOO good at that”. I start to wonder if I will be blamed for my nephew running about the yard in minimal clothes, attempting to swing from trees. I figure there is a good possibility this will happen. I shrug to myself and think that if that happens, I will play dumb and pretend complete ignorance. I find that planning ahead for “surprises” is important! We watch on. If I hear one time I hear 20, “when are we gonna hear the Bear Necessities song?”. Hmmm IDK…after you see the big bear. If you can’t see the bear, I doubt that song is close. Not rocket science. (I start to wonder if I’ve had enough coffee)– I am also peppered with questions regarding who exactly is going to die in this movie. I say, nobody, about the time that Sheer Khan literally THROWS a wolf over a cliff. 2 little heads turn to me and say, “where did that wolf go”. Dear God, where is the Bailey’s to go in the coffee. I explained that the Tiger threw the Wolf over the cliff. Silence. Quietly, we watched on. Where is Uncle Josh? Who even knows. Finally, Josh is home. It is time to discuss baseball cards. Of course this happens while the Bear Necessities song comes on, so I sit on the sofa alone and sing along. Uncle Josh usually trumps Aunt Jennifer…until they are hungry, hurting, or tired:)
Now, before we head to Gravitopia, we need to run to University Ridge to try to obtain a permit for a septic tank. I will spare you the details because if you have ever been to County Square, you don’t want to relive it. Comment from the boys: “maybe next time you need to go talk to the government people, you could do it on a day when you don’t have us!”. Maybe the next time I need to talk to the government people, I’ll take a Valium first.
I am also painfully aware that Tornado warnings are bouncing off of every radio tower in the Upstate. Im trying not to go there with the boys. Until they figure it out. I am asked if I am worried. I lie and say “nope!”. I pray to the God above that if we have to survive a tornado together today, I will need a level of superhumanAuntskills that few possess. I tell the boys that we will go to the basement if necessary. I silently wonder if this is where we are really supposed to go. I think that I am going to be responsible for a catastrophe when the radio announcer says “you should go to a basement or interior room”….thank God for WESC telling me how manage my emergency preparedness. Moving on.
Gravitopia! I think 30-45 minutes tops. But because they are home schooled, we got a discount! And an extra 30 minutes. Sweet Jesus, Yay! SARCASM.
I get hurt within minutes. D was DYING to trapeze into the foam pit. So I think, whats the big deal. So I trapeze myself straight into that pit, on my stomach, somehow stretching some sort of spine muscle that should have not moved that way. I crawl awkwardly out of the pit and shake it off. we still have 89 minutes to go and we played for EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Basketball, Dodgeball, Ninja Course. Yes, while teaching them to be “includers” and arranging a game of dodge ball with the one little boy who desperately wanted to play but had no friends, I managed to hit D straight in the face with a ball. He shook it off, but looked at me like I should be glad that he will likely not be asked to pick my nursing home! I felt bad, I really did. I was AIMING at UNCLE JOSH. I PROMISE!! Anyway, I had to drag all 3 boys kicking and screaming out of there! Note to self. Uncle Josh does not keep up with the boys. I think he has one and I have the other, nope. He has NOBODY. I explain to him that bad people lurk in places like Gravitopia (doubtful, but possible) and that we must be on our A game. He looks at me like I am the biggest helicopter aunt on the planet. They will not get hurt on my watch (unless I do it do them with a dodgeball to the face!).
Next up: Chik-Fil-A. I ate a salad and contemplated the fact that I think I burned 36,700 calories and will likely not be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Also, they no longer eat kids meals. When did THAT happen?! They eat adult food. My sister better sell ALOT of books just to feed them!
Then we RACE home to meet E off the bus at 315. J is getting anxious about my timing, but I assure him we will not be late (wonder where he gets that). We make it with time to spare. The boys, E, and I lay around like lazy slugs watching Star Wars until Brian gets home. The boys deem it a “really fun day”. Except for that government thing. That was not fun at all. No one was (seriously) injured. No tornados happened. I can breathe and sleep well tonight.

I Pity The Fool!

aggressive-219804_1280I have had a rough couple of weeks.  I won’t go in to the details today, but lets just say that I am ON EDGE.  That being said, life doesn’t stop because I am on EDGE…apparently, God says, I think you can handle one more thing.  I personally think God is overestimating me, but doctrinally speaking, I can’t handle anything without Him, so He certainly wouldn’t overestimate Himself, so theoretically, it will all work out OK.

At any rate, I had some things to do yesterday, one of which was driving to Anderson to see some friends.  For those of you not reading this blog from SC, it is important to note that my life basically runs along the I-85 corridor.  The corridor of dreams.  A driving pleasure to be sure.  I live in Greenville.  My dearest friends live in Anderson.  South to Atlanta or North to Charlotte you can pretty much accomplish anything you need to do.  My husband works between Greenville and Spartanburg, right off I-85.  Of course, at some point you will need to hang a left to Western North Carolina to get to the rest of my family, but you can do that from I-85 as well.

I am leaving Anderson, driving to my husband’s work in Duncan when my latest adventure occurred.  I have never been to my husband’s job in Duncan, so I needed navigational assistance.  Now, to be fair, I am not a horrid wife.  My husband’s job location changes with the winds and he has only been in Duncan for about a month.  I have no need on a regular basis to drive past Greer on the corridor of dreams, so I knew that once I got off at Exit 63, I was clueless.

Now I have been a Google Map girl for as long as I can remember.  I don’t love the navigation that comes on the iPhone, so I always download Google Maps.  However, my aforementioned husband introduced me to the app Waze.  It is a navigation app that others log in to and you can alert other drivers to accidents, hidden police, detours, etcetera.  I do not know why I did this…but I decided to use Waze to get me to Duncan.  I plugged in the address, hit go, and rocked on.

Again, I am ON EDGE.  I am trying to listen to what I call “Jesus Music”.  I do not use this term derogatorily.  I used to be absolutely against “Jesus Music” other than within the walls of church,  but I realized that if I listen to this in the car, it comes back to me in my head at interesting moments….some useful, some not so much.  I don’t think I need to be reminded that God’s Not Dead while I’m using the bathroom, but hey, you never know.  But my “JM” isn’t working for me.  It is irritating me.  I am grumpy.  Then, it starts to rain.  Pour.  I’m on the corridor of dreams, otherwise known as a giant death trap if you had not already picked up on my sarcasm, and I can’t find music that is soothing.  Then it hits me.  I have downloaded the old Norah Jones CD Come Away With Me.  It is always good to listen to to just chill.  So I fired up Norah, and settled in to as much zen as you can find doing 80 mph in the rain on the corridor of dreams.  I have just about decided that I think Jesus has ordained this Norah Jones CD when out of the clear blue, through my car speakers, Mr. T’s voice YELLS: INCIDENT AHEAD, YOU BETTER BE ALERT! (Ya’ll know you just said this in your head in his voice!)

Ya’ll.

I.Almost.Died.

Since when in the name of all things holy did Mr. T start up into the navigational business.  It is a small wonder that I did not swerve into a barrier wall in that moment.  My heart stopped.  Then it re-started.  Mr. T totally shanghaied my zen.  I can get it back.  It’s cool.  Mr. T is not in my car and he is not yelling at me.

Norah sings on.  The rain falls.  I am good.  INCIDENT AHEAD, YOU BETTER BE ALERT!  He did it again.  How do I turn this off.  I was just as startled the 2nd time as I was the 1st.  I am not going to survive this.  Who over at Waze is getting paid good IT dollars to come up with this.  This is deadly.  People are going to die.  I am going to be one of them.  I can’t die today.  I haven’t eaten at The Cheesecake Factory lately and I do not want to die if that hasn’t been close to my last meal.

OK.  You can’t fix this right now.  You are driving 80 mph.  It is raining.  You are just going to have to be OK with this until you get off the interstate…I mean…the corridor of dreams.  I know that Mr. T yelled at me no less than 5 more times before I got to my exit about what I assume to be the same INCIDENT, which I NEVER SAW.

Finally, exit 63.  No more incident’s ahead.  This nightmare is almost over.  TURN RIGHT AHEAD.  Dear Lord. This is never going to end.  Mr. T will not shut up.  I wonder if my husband has done this to me.  I mean, Mr. T did not accidentally get in my phone did he? I do not think so.  Mr. T, not so lovingly, guided me into my husband’s place of employment.  I have arrived at my destination.  I walk toward my husband.

I PITY THE FOOL!

Thoughts on…TRX

“Born in the Navy SEALs, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRXSuspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete hundreds of exercises.”–From the TRX website.

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So I decided to do TRX because a) I’ve never done it before and b) the instructor taught a Kettlebell class I took and I really liked her.  I did not exactly know what this TRX business entailed, only that there were cables/handles involved.  I considered whether or not I would hang myself inadvertently while trying to get some arm muscles.  It seemed worth the risk.

I show up at the Y for the class, wind my way around in a building I’ve never been in, (you don’t just do TRX at the normal Y)  and open the doors to the TRX room.  Which is also the Beast Mode room….which is code for the YMCA’s version of Crossfit.  This room was hard core.  Stacks of weights, kettle bells, boxes, giant tires.  I immediately feel anxious.  I do not do Crossfit.  My sister does, my brother- in- law does, their children sort of do.  I do not.  I do not want to.  I do not want to because I do not want to die.  Simple.

So I peek my head in and there is the instructor.  Her name is Wanda.  I would like to name her Rainbow Brite.  She is tiny, blonde, bubbly.  Totally approachable, friendly.  She is Rainbow Brite.  I hope if she reads this (that happened once) she understands what a compliment this is, because I loved me some Rainbow Brite as a kid.  I had Rainbow Brite PJ’s and everything.

So she says hi like she knows me…but then, she thinks I’ve done her class before.  I am struck with terror.  She needs to know that I do not know what I am doing.  Rule #1 of gym class….do NOT pretend to know how to do something you have never done.  this will NOT end well (remember Aqua Boot Camp).  I quickly let her know that she recognizes me from Kettlebell class, not TRX.  She is cool with that…because she is so FRIENDLY.

The others in the class were friendly too.  There were 7 souls, 8 including Rainbow Brite. 2 men, 6 women.  I accidentally position myself slap in the middle.  Oh well.  The class is so small there will be no hiding, and I can’t hide anyway because there are these 2 straps hanging from a scaffolding that I do NOT know what to do with.  RB is going to have her work cut out for her.

Class starts.  It starts with some seemingly benign squat jumps, followed by maybe some lunges.  Things that I thought were included in the class.  Until 5 minutes in, Rainbow Brite states, “OK, lets start class!”.  Ummm.  I started class 5 minutes ago and I’m tired.  Now it is time to figure out these strap things.  Rainbow Brite helps me get situated.  I am hanging suspended, ready to pull myself up with a bicep curl.  I can do this.  I did it! But then, apparently I am supposed to do it more than once.  In fact…I am supposed to repeat this seemingly simple move MANY times.  Then to triceps which involved a move that involved a one legged squat up to some sort of tricep maneuver that my arms did NOT do.  I had to modify.  I do not like to modify.  I am perfect and therefore will never need to modify anything.  Ahem.  I modify.

I am constantly struggling with the fact that I feel like I am going to fall.  Rainbow Brite says this is normal.  She is paying a TON of attention to me.  I am good with this because she is so FRIENDLY and manages to teach without making one feel like a total moron.

I am doing OK with the strap thingy’s…when Rainbow Brite says, “OK, time for some TABATA”.  Now this is sort of the hot thing in training.  High intensity interval training.  You are supposed to get your heart rate up really quick….then you rest.  Rainbow Brite says…I want you breathless.  Ummmm.  I passed breathless during that first 5 minutes business.  I’m worried.  I quickly scan the room…I see no oxygen tanks.  This could get dicey.    Here we go.  8 cycles of something.  I honestly don’t remember what, because my brain is stuck on the second TABATA we did.  I’ll get to that.

Stephanie is beside me.  She looks like she has done this before.  Many times.  Stephanie did not need to modify the aforementioned one legged squat to tricep maneuver.  Somehow, this doesn’t make me dislike her.  Much.  She is friendly as well and tells me I am doing a good job.  I do not feel patronized.  We do more suspension activities during which I decide that I may not be able to get out of bed tomorrow.  Wait for it….TABATA.  I put my foot behind me with my shoelaces in a sling.  I then lunge with my back foot suspended.  I almost fall over.  Rainbow Brite says, “you may need to hold on”….(or you will fall and break your face) is what I am sure she is thinking.  I hold on.  I lunge.  Over….and over….and over…and over.  I am not loving this TABATA business at all.  I decide that TABATA sounds more like a cooking style.  For our special tonight, we have a TABATA style Wreck Fish with an heirloom tomato salad and a puree of carrot and rutabaga.  (has anyone ever eaten a rutabega?)…I diverse.   I mutter this.  Stephanie thinks it sounds more like a cocktail.  We decide we want our TABATA with pineapple by the pool!  Rainbow Brite decides that we should keep doing more TABATA sit ups.

Then, TABATA push ups.  It was during the push up time that I decided that I was not going to make it out alive.  I considered dying on my mat right there…but the floor was dirty and I don’t want to die in a pile of dirt, so I pressed on.  I do not know where I will die, but I hope and pray to the Holy Lord that it is not in a Crossfit room with tires and boxes.   Let me tell you that by the end of that, 8 rounds of purgatory, my push ups looked more like a chicken pecking the ground.  Unadulterated hideous ugliness.

The most difficult time I had with the straps was during the stretching cool down.  There was some move that looked like a windmill maneuver that almost resulted in me being in a TRX straightjacket.  Rainbow Brite actually laughed.

Class is over.  I am alive.  I did not hang myself.  I can not feel my arms or legs, but I guess this is normal because no one else seems to be acting as if they have had a full body stroke in the last 55 minutes.  Rainbow Brite tells me I did great.  I beam.  I do not think for one minute that I did great, but I think I held my own and only almost died once.  And I have gained the approval of Rainbow Brite.  Perhaps the highlight of my life.

No she did not!

I had a bad day.  Really bad.  Just one of those frustrating days during which you keep thinking that nothing else will be absurd…but it is.  A day full of red tape, laziness on the part of others, tears, sadness, meanness, and just plain old craziness!

While this was going on, my mom was having surgery.  Outpatient surgery on her hand with no general anesthesia, but still, I felt guilty that I had not taken the day off.  I didn’t take the day off because I sort of (possibly) forgot to.  Let the guilt ensue.  I am the nurse.  It is my self ordained job to be present and accountable for all family medical procedures.  My family has not asked for this, nor do they likely care that I do this, but I have decided it must be done.  So. There.   But, as it was, I had to leave my mother’s hand surgery to an actual hand surgeon…go figure…an anesthesiologist…even better…and my dad.  Now, my dad is brilliant.  He can look at your home and tell you all sorts of things that you can do from a construction perspective.  He knows more Bible verses than Moses.  He can bring dead flowers from the Lowe’s clearance rack back to life.  He can fish, hunt, and fix anything.  I have seen him do all these things.  But he is not medical.  That is not to say that he doesn’t know what is going on…but if something isn’t up to par, I don’t know that he would know just how far to go in the complaint department.  I know.  I am THAT nurse daughter.

So all during the day, I got texts from him with updates, including the text saying they were going home.  All was well.  Mom is dragging her nerve blocked arm around like a sack of potatoes, but she is OK.  That last part is not true.  Her arm was bandaged and in a sling.

I finished my day.  Later than I planned.  Grumpier than I wanted to be.  I hopped in the car ready to  brave I-85 at 5:45pm.  This is tantamount to bungee jumping, climbing Mount Everest, downhill slalom skiing.  You better be on your A game and you better be paying attention.  That being said, I decided that I could divide my attention between bumper to bumper traffic at 80 mph and a phone call to my sister.

Ring….Ring…..Ring…..Ring….Ring….Ring….

To myself: “does she EVER answer her phone?”….”what if I REALLY needed her”….”is nothing going to go right today?”….”how DARE she live her life with no consideration that I MIGHT call her randomly!!!”….Geez.

“Hello Aunt Jennifer!!”.  The phone is answered by my niece.  Now my  niece has some developmental delays but LOVES to watch YouTube videos on my sister’s phone.  I know immediately that I have interrupted a video.  I also know that she is one of a tiny group of humans who will make me smile no matter how bad my day has been.

“Hi Bug! What are you doing?”  this is followed by random muttering….maybe it is none of my business.  OK then.  “Will you take the phone to your mommy?”

“OK Aunt Jennifer!”….silence….”Here Mommy, its Aunt Jennifer!”….This is said with a LOT of drama.  I am immediately thrilled that she did what I asked.  She understood what I needed…..but then… suspicious.  I am suspicious because I can faintly hear my sister talking/laughing with someone but this is quite far away.  I realize that this is all a farce.  This tiny human has  FAKED giving the phone to her mother.  I am astounded and proud.  I ask again: “Take the phone to Mom, OK?”

“OK Aunt Jennifer!”…silence….”Here Mommy, it’s Aunt Jennifer!”……crickets…..faint conversation clearly across the house…nowhere near my niece.  “OK, Aunt Jennifer, talk to you later…bye”….CLICK.  SHE HUNG UP ON ME.

Nearing the end of a ridiculously awful day, my only niece, my favorite niece, the tiny human who has had my heart for 14 years…hung up on me.

And I laughed all the way to my parents.