Thursday, December 30 2021

mental stimulation, a personal trainer, and the suspension ladder

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Thursday. We've finally arrived at the last working day of the year. It's almost all over. Just find something marginally useful to work on, and before you know it we'll all be signing off for a long weekend. January 3rd 2022 will be a big day for all of us. School starts again. Work will pick up to regular speed. We've got projects to do and a move in the spring. But for now, let's take things one day at a time.

Sip. It's good to be here today. I'll be frank, I wasn't excited to sign onto work this week, but the mental stimulation was good for me. I told a teammate yesterday that writing code is like chicken soup for the brain, and the past three days have cured just enough of my mental holiday stupor to make me feel ready for the real deal next week.

Weird things happen to you when you don't engage your brain for extended periods of time. I mean, look at Rodney. He was wide awake long after he went to bed, biding his time by trying to bait us into small talk with made up dinosaur facts.

"Hey Momma. Did you know that humans are dinosaurs?"

"Not true dude," sighed Marissa. "You and I are humans, not dinosaurs."

"Yeah," replied Rodney. "And did you know that turtles are dinosaurs?"

"Hey dude," I interrupted. "Did you know that Owen Grady is a T-Rex that likes to eat farts?"

Was Rodney phased that I went for his idol, Owen Grady? Not at all. "Wow, I didn't know that," he replied with feigned amusement.

It's been different having Rodney around. I miss mine and Marissa's quiet adult lunches during Miles' nap time. During the break, we've had to exchange quiet sandwich eating with hectic combat. Marissa and I are like hapless referees in a wrestling ring. Rodney and Miles egg each other on while we bark the same repetitive reminders: Sit on your butt. Eat your food. Use your fork. I let out a deep sigh watching Miles slap a handful of leftover pizza off the table.

"I feel like Rodney was easier at this age," I said in reflection.

"Oh, no he was not," laughed Marissa. "You were just at work, remember? Why do you think we went to the zoo so often? It's because he was driving me nuts."

Marissa reminds me of Rodney's screaming phase. He used to scream when it was time to leave places. He used to scream when it was time to go down for a nap. "Every time I put him in the shopping cart at Target, he would straighten his legs stiff as a board and scream," laughs Marissa.

Pending any bad news with COVID, Rodney goes back to school on Monday. I can hardly wait for that first quiet lunch where Marissa and I can sit beside each other and eat sandwiches in silence.

In other news, Marissa and I met with our new personal trainer, Greg. We're signing up for his 12 week transformation program that begins with the new year. We had a mid afternoon zoom chat to get our questions out of the way.

What is it like having a personal trainer? Would Greg be a merciless perfectionist, like Billy Blanks? Would he be like the trainers from The Biggest Loser, treating every workout like it was a matter of life and death? Neither of us have ever worked with a personal trainer before. I don't have a better reference than reality TV or workout DVDs from the early 2000s.

Greg was none of those things. He patiently smiled and nodded as we lobbed him every question that popped into our heads.

"What about counting calories?" I asked. "I don't really measure things when I cook, so it's hard for me to diet that way."

"Not needed at all," he assured me. "That's what I do as a professional. I'm anal. That's me. But the average person doesn't need to be that exact."

"How about equipment?" I asked. "We've outgrown our house, and we're also trying to down size things so we can move in the spring."

"Maybe a few weights," he remarked, "but you can use resistance bands too."

Marissa jumped in. "Greg, I just want to be able to do a pull up."

Greg chuckled. "I love it," he said. "I like to say if you don't set a goal, I'm gonna set one for you. Something about pulling your own body weight up. Like, what are you gonna do in a zombie apocalypse if you fall in a hole? You gotta be able to pull yourself up."

After our zoom call, Greg's relaxed confidence rubbed off on us. We felt energized about the program.

In other news, we're getting some more work done around the house. This week, we're painting the walls and ceiling around our winding staircase. Marissa packed away the picture frames. She painted everything within arms reach. Last night, it was finally time to break out the suspension ladder so she could reach the ceiling.

We used a beach towel to cushion the feet. Marissa wrapped a pair of fuzzy socks over the top rungs. "Don't make fun of me, but I want to wear a helmet," she said.


From the ground view, it doesn't look very high. But Marissa invited me to try it myself. Just standing on the fourth rung of the ladder looking down over stairs, I felt a tingly pang of adrenaline course through my fingers.

That's what I got today. As a freebie, here's a picture of Miles and I wrestling on the bed yesterday.


Thanks for stopping by today. I think I'm going to take tomorrow off writing to leave more time to reflect on the year. It's time to break out the pictures and have one last night of nostalgic merriment before the new year. Have a great Thursday, everyone.