Well, here it is. Summertime. And if the forecasts are correct, we’ll have our first true summer weather this week here in central Washington. Kind of scary to hear about the heat in places back east compared to our shockingly cold (record-breaking cold) spring.
When I first moved to these parts, I remember one day in mid-June when we had a 115 degree day at Hanford. I don’t think it’s ever been that hot since then.
Last summer pretty much sucked. I went from a very demanding work schedule to dead air almost overnight, and I didn’t handle it very well.
One of the things I promised myself last spring was that I’d never let myself get into worse physical condition than I was when the newspaper went under. I’d spent about five months glued to the computer (including weekends) as the business I’d help build flailed itself to death. Although I hadn’t gained any weight, I found myself in the worst physical shape I’ve ever been in.
The week after the paper closed, by 67-year-old mom came over to help me with some yardwork. She kicked my butt. That was the day I realized I basically had the stamina of a nine-month-old baby.
I don’t think I’ve gotten quite back to that low point after a year of teaching, but three hours in the car every day and ten hours of grading every other weekend hasn’t helped.
Unfortunately, I’ve always disliked the idea of specifically “working out”…particularly because my given my circumstances (horses, three kids, big house, big yard) there are ALWAYS a ton of physical tasks that aren’t getting done. Although I admire the Zenlike focus of folks who are good about hitting the gym, working out just for the sake of working out has always felt incredibly selfish to me. Maybe this is just an excuse, it always seems faintly ridiculous to look all these folks pounding away on treadmills when our highways are choked with garbage and there are old people who need their lawns mowed.
As a mother of three in under three years (thanks, twins) I have spent the last twenty years meeting everyone else’s needs before my own. The idea of taking an hour of the day to lift weights just for the benefit of my biceps when there is fence that needs fixing, manure that needs scooping, weeds that need pulling, floors that need cleaning…well. I know this doesn’t sound very liberated, but that’s how I feel. I worked for eight years without a single week’s vacation (not to mention the carved-stone fact that moms rarely/never get days off) so I’ve always placed a ridiculously high value on my spare time. I just want to get my stuff DONE.
On the other hand, I also have hit my head against the horse-person brick wall that all of us middle-aged idiots riders run into at one point. Horse people have to be extraordinarily body-conscious. We even have to control our emotions, for crying out loud. And when we get on a horse, we’re not sitting there as if we’re playing some sort of a video game. The cold, hard, inescapable, indelible, and unpleasant fact is that we ride with our bodies.
So I started thinking of ways I could get things done and get my physical strength back. My first plan is to attack the Russian olives and assorted noxious weeds (Canadian thistle, milkweed) in the horse pasture, and I plan to work at least an hour every day.
One good thing is that the horses always like to come over and “help” with projects like this. Once when I was trying to dig out a fencepost, my fillies both tried to help me “dig” with me with their front feet—I remember I couldn’t stop laughing at how earnest they were about helping me. I must have really looked like I needed assistance.
I weighed myself this morning and even went as far to take my measurements (something I don’t think I’ve done since I was a teenager). I will spare you the gory details—wish I could spare myself—but they’re on my computer and I will be rechecking them every two weeks. I’m particularly worried these days about my “core”…after housing over 17.5 pounds of twin boys seventeen years ago, that’s an area of my body that gets weak in a hurry.
Wish me luck. Going to need it.