Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grouch overload

I am tried of people bitching at me. My new classes include several with a lot of older, crotchety people. A few of the classes amazingly have participants who have been taking part for 10 or even 20 years. I find that pretty incredible. A lot of the ladies (and men) are kind and helpful and appreciative. But there are a few grouches who are driving me crazy.

Of course they tend to be right up at the front of the class pointing out what they think I am doing wrong or how they usually do it. Now, intellectually I know I am a good, experienced, knowledgeable instructor. I have been doing this 11 years and am clear and easy to understand. I put a lot of work into my classes and always switch them up. But emotionally, sometimes some of these grouchy women make me feel like crap.

One of my classes in particular has a lot of women in their 60's and 70's. Most of my normal music would not appeal to them, so my supervisor gave me a stack of CDs of music better suited to their taste. On Monday I popped in one of her selections and got my class moving. A couple people were loving it, bobbing happily along to It Had to Be You. But there were a few vocal naysayers. One came up to me during a break and said, "40's music?? We're not that old!"

Another lady came up and said, "Thank you so much for bringing this music. We loved it."

Then after class, a cohort of the first grouchy lady came up and said she didn't like the music and that I should even bring "hip hop and rap." Um, no. Not for this crowd.

I would say a majority of the ladies enjoyed the music, but it is hard to ignore the vocal minority. I don't ever remember approaching an instructor with anything but a compliment and never a comment about their choice of music. I don't think these participants realize the amount of work and preparation I put in for their class for not very much compensation.

It's frustrating of course, but I am trying to be patient and understanding and not defensive. Are these few ladies just particularly grouchy or do we all get outspoken and grumpy as we get older?


Monday, September 21, 2009

Here we go again

I am sitting in Starbucks between classes this morning. The week is starting off far better than the previous one, though I very nearly overslept again. I have two alarms on my clock, and I caught myself turning off the second one and settling back into my pillow.

"Oh crap!" I thought, and I swung my legs out of bed, realizing I almost embarrassed myself again. But I thankfully I didn't and got out the door in time. That's despite Q waking up with me at 5:00 a.m. and demanding his oatmeal. I left him at the table eating and watching cartoons.

The weekend was nice, but busy. My well-intentioned cleaning schedule has fallen a bit by the wayside, and the house was getting a little gross. So I was determined to clean it from top to bottom. I began Sunday as the laundry was going. I cleaned every inch of the house (with T pitching in to mop the floors). It felt good to have it spotless for once (until the kids woke up of course). And it feels good not to have to clean it all week.

On Saturday, I had a practice session for a new very part-time job. I will be helping in the practical examinations for AFAA. I showed up at the location in Janesville and after a brief tutorial from the certification presenter, the six ladies were ready to test. They each had to wear a number and then were asked to demonstrate various things like a three-minute warm up, a strength and stretch for quadriceps, etc. I had a bubble sheet and walked around to judge how they were doing. If I was up to par, I will actually be paid next time.

It was fun and interesting to see these new and prospective instructors and to interact with the very experienced presenter. The nervous applicants reminded me of my own certification test at the University of Missouri eleven years ago. I was so nervous as the examiners walked around with their clipboards, monitoring our every move. It is strange but very rewarding to be on the other side now.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why the Y

Whew. I am worn out this week. I have taught eight classes so far with two more to go till the week is over. My core muscle and hips ache a little. This is going to take some endurance!

Last night I subbed at the last minute for a class at the Y. I haven't taught at the Y in about 10 years or so since I was a lifeguard for the pool. Last night T and the boys came along. T worked out and the boys went in the free child care.

The place was just buzzing. Little boys in their karate outfits with bright orange belts were filing into the gym. Other kids were kicking and splashing in swim lessons. It was crowded, happy, and energetic. The Y is just an incredible place for families.

Truthfully, the YMCA pays horribly and doesn't offer very good incentives, but it is a wonderful place to work. The Y is so family-oriented and passionate about health and wellness and offers so many opportunities. T says he is so happy I work there now so we get a very reduced membership rate. He has a new enthusiasm for working out.

I am off there now to teach a Pilates class and to put the kids in the childcare for 45 minutes. I look forward to taking the boys to future swim classes and sports lessons.

I imagine we will be members for quite some time.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Celebrating the Wiener

What a weekend! We took part in the 150th birthday celebration for a small town nearby called Waterloo. It's annual festival is called Wiener and Kraut Days and this year they were calling all wieners....dogs that is to take part in their little parade. We happily obliged.

It was quite a sight to see with dozens of dachshunds, a high school band, and even the Brewers racing sausages. Some dogs even came in costume or with impressive props.

We couldn't stop laughing. It was just a neat thing.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing and enjoyable. We went to an art fair, took a long bike ride, and watched the Packer game with pizza ordered in.

I am flustered this morning because I overslept. There is nothing worse! My eyes popped open and fixated on the clock with the numbers 5:52 glowing back at me. I blinked a few times, hoping 45 minutes would roll back. But alas, it was eight minutes to 6, and I was due for my class 25 minutes across town.

Thankfully I had laid out my clothes and planned my class the night before, so I quickly dressed, skipped brushing my teeth, and sped over. I called on my way and asked the front desk to tell my participants to start warming up. I still arrived about 17 minutes late. They were mostly nice though assuredly annoyed. I was embarrassed and mad at myself.

Then I had to speed back home again to brush my teeth and get my music for the next class which I had left behind. That class went better.

Not the best way to start the day and the week even, but I made the best of it.

Next time my alarm is going to be across the room.


Friday, September 11, 2009


R is a daring little 17-month-old. He is constantly on the move and seems to fear nothing. That scares me. He is always trying to keep up with his older brother and that often means scaling the giant play structure at the park and then barreling down the slide headfirst. He pushes his little stool over to the counter or stove in an attempt to check out dangerous things like knives and boiling pots. I am always worriedly chasing him.

At the park today, he was off and running, hiking to the top of a hill and then toddling over to the steep drop off before I whisked him away. Later he quickly climbed the bleachers.

Of course these adventurous exploits often lead to falls. R's head is mottled with goose eggs and his legs are spotted with bruises. He seems far older than his 17 months.

I sure hope this tendency tapers off before his teenage years.


Monday, September 7, 2009


It feels like Sunday. I am going to be discombobulated this week. Plus, I start my new schedule of 10 classes, some at 11:15 am some days, 11:30 others. Some Monday and Wednesday, some just Monday. I know something is going to go terribly wrong. I am excited though. I am ready to be busy and productive again.

There are things I miss about my old career and small reasons I would possibly return to it if the right opportunity arose. I like the excitement of it. I like feeling like I am good at something. I like doing a job that is valuable and interesting. But there are a long line of things I didn't like, and one of those was crystal clear today. This is the first time I haven't worked on Labor Day since I started working. It was a refreshing change to just have today off and to do what the rest of the world has been doing all this time: spending time with family. We went over to my parents, stuffed ourselves and watched the boys play.

It was a fun, easy, enjoyable weekend. I think I could get used to this.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

College Crazies

College seems like it was so far away and just yesterday. T and I went to a Wisconsin Badgers football game yesterday. He is sharing season tickets with a co-worker so we have tickets to three home games. Yesterday was the opener, so we got a sitter and headed for the stadium.

Downtown was a sea of red. We don't even have Badgers paraphernalia yet, so I donned a plain red shirt and T put on a red and white-striped polo so we wouldn't stick out like sore thumbs.

Finding parking and bus transportation to the game was a little tricky, but before long we were semi-comfortable on our bleacher seats.

We watched the student section in amazement. The college kids are on their feet most of the game, chanting, singing, and moving their arms in unison. It was impressive.

The Badgers won, and after a rousing "fifth quarter" performance by the marching band, we filed out to find our Bucky bus. Drunk students stumbled past us on their way to late night parties and bottomless kegs. T and I were ready for bed.

The students look so young to me now, and that life seems a world a way. I would not have the energy or the desire to stay up till 4 a.m. taking shots and drinking plastic cups of warm Miller Lite.

But still I find myself envious of their excitement and passion for life. They have so much potential before them. I feel as if my life is basically decided. Maybe it is just a result of entering my 30's and recently giving up my career.

I am mostly content and proud of my station in life, but something about seeing those crazy, energetic college kids makes me look back.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

A little relief

There might be an end in sight to my horrible back pain.

I went to a DO today, which while I don't entirely understand the distinction, I believe it means they are doctors that treat the whole body more so that an MD. Or something. She was in the same clinic as my primary care physician, and I will still see her as well, so I am not completely sure how it works.

I filled her in on my history: pain during both pregnancies, but particularly intense during the last one, crooked hips in the morning or after running, and intense pain in my lower left back. She poked and tugged and called the difference in the level of my hips "remarkable," and they weren't even particularly rotated today. Some mornings my left hip is dented in while my right one protrudes. It's quite alarming.

She said they need to separate my pubic bone so that it can line up correctly again. That doesn't sound particularly pleasant. Her manipulation was fairly gentle and didn't involve all the cracking and snapping that goes on during a chiropractic adjustment.

I will see her several more times and she also referred me to physical therapy. She gave me a prescription for muscle relaxants as well. The problem she says is that my ligaments are overly stretched and loose and my pelvis, hips, and spine slide into crazy positions. She says the pain I am feeling is ligament pain. Whatever is hurting, I don't like it. I feel it every time I take a step or bend over or pick up a child. It is really debilitating and frustrating.

The problem is clearly much worse after I run, though I love to run, and it is a big part of my life. My doctor told me I will have to put running on the back burner for awhile. She believes they can do a lot for me, but I may never be pain-free. That's pretty discouraging news as I am only 30 and consider myself to be very healthy. I do have a 50-mile relay run I am committed to next month, so I will still have to do some running, though I might be able to take the easier legs.

I also have a lot of concerns about any future pregnancies. My hip and pelvic pain with my last pregnancy was breathtaking, so I am fearful of what the next baby could bring.

In the meantime I am glad at least to have some hope for relief.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ready to work

Next week my life will get considerably busier. I will go from my current schedule of teaching 2-4 fitness classes a week to teaching at least 10 and maybe 11 classes. Some of these classes are very gentle or will require me just demonstrating form and walking around, so it is not like I will be sweating away for 10 hours a week by any means.

I am a bit intimidated but mostly excited. Leading these classes is something I really enjoy, and it is all my own. It is not kid- or family-centered. It is my own thing, and I have ideas to share.

It could be a bit frenetic at times especially when it comes to juggling children, but I am ready for this new challenge.