Posts Tagged ‘Diane Reiter’
I’m very excited to share a guest post from my friend and fellow blogger, Christi. Her unique perspective on life in the “burbs” keeps me glued to her blog, “One Chic Mom’s Adventures in Suburbia.” Be sure to check it out (and don’t forget to welcome her here with a friendly comment!).
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you step off of your treadmill at the gym and two rows behind you spot some guy going at it full throttle on the elliptical machine wearing a black leather jacket zipped up to the neck!! What the hell?! Now I’ve never seen anyone having a workout in leather except for Bono in concert who is always sweating up a storm in his leather jacket and pants. But he’s a rock star! Maybe this guy is a Bono-wanna-be but come on, who wears a leather jacket to work out on an elliptical machine?
When I walked back to my treadmill to wipe it down after my workout, I noticed that the woman next to me was walking barefoot on the treadmill with her shoes neatly lined up next to the machine. Again, what is going on today?! I can see not wearing shoes if you are swimming or in a yoga class, but no shoes on a treadmill is rather odd. And yes, I have read the accounts of the new craze of running barefoot outside which supposedly helps prevent foot injuries. Ouch! I’ll stick to my sneakers both indoors and out thank you. But what is worse? Going barefoot on a nasty treadmill or wearing Crocs or flip flops while lifting weights? I’ve witnessed both at my gym. Hopefully flip-flop wearers have a good grip and don’t drop anything on a naked toe.
Since I’m being so judgmental today about what constitutes proper gym attire, I’ll just continue on with some of the odd workout wear choices I’ve noticed recently. As always, there are the gals in full make-up, dosed with perfume in their expensive coordinated workout outfits. At least they are wearing shoes, albeit costly ones. At the pool a couple of times a year some poor man who is not training for a triathlon will don a Speedo. Cringe! Then there are those folks (men and women alike) who should just not be wearing lycra.
I always love the old men who wear their running shorts mid-thigh with their white tube socks pulled up to their knees. Occasionally (usually during a college break) you’ll get some young and incredibly shapely girl clad only in her sports bra and lycra running shorts. She’s usually paired with her beefy college boyfriend who keeps the gawkers at bay. Sometimes you can spot “youth” wearing their knit black skull caps and very loosely fitting shorts with their music cranked up louder than the already cranked up music blaring on the gym loudspeakers.
One of my all-time favorites is an impressively well-endowed woman in her 30s who runs sans sports bra on the treadmill. She rolls up her tank top, tucks it up under her breasts so everyone is in full view of not only her flopping chest but her roll of stomach spilling out over the top of her shorts. Not a pretty sight, but I see her dressed like that every time so she must be quite comfortable with herself. Maybe that’s what it comes down to. What is your comfort level? Everyone’s is different but some people certainly are more out there than others. But I guess it doesn’t matter what you wear, as long as you are working up a sweat.
Now most members of my fitness club do adhere to the unwritten proper dress code, including myself. But I do have to admit that I’m one of those skinny girls clad in a running top and shorts who is frantically lifting weights to add some muscle weight to my slight frame. Yes, I’ve set myself up for this one so fire away . . .
Christianna Shortridge is a chic suburban Mom who left the rat-race and political fiasco of Washington, DC behind her when she moved to the Twin Cities eight years ago. In addition to driving, feeding, and monitoring her two independent teenagers, one high-maintenance tween, and a very barky Cairn Terrier, she is a freelance writer and owner of her strategic communications and graphic design firm: UnConventionally Yours. Christianna loves blogging about the everyday life of suburban Moms, running 5K races, tending her flower gardens, baking elaborate desserts, and climbing mountains in Japan.
I hope you enjoy one of my popular posts from last fall.
“Hey, Mom. We found a chair and it’s a recliner…and it’s really fuzzy. And it was free. And we thought we could use it when we wanted to play Airsoft…or if we need to chill somewhere. It’s a good chair. So, yeah…call me back when you get this.”
That was the voicemail message Noah left on my phone one afternoon when Ron and I were out running errands. “Eww….” I said to Ron after relaying Noah’s message to him.” I wonder where they found that chair. They better not have brought it home.’ I didn’t call Noah back and assumed that if I didn’t give him permission to bring the chair home, it would end up at a friend’s house instead.
A short time later, we pulled into our driveway and to our delight, we found a stunning, green chair (circa 1974) parked in the second stall of our garage. Noah and his friends were nowhere in sight.
We got out of the car to inspect it. “Gross,” Ron said as we both stood gazing at it. The fabric was seasick green-colored synthetic fuzz probably made from a combination of polyester, nylon, and melted plastic. The piping along the front cushion had worn down to its pallid grayish innards, there was a hole in the back where a button used to be, and the handle that operated the reclining mechanism was hanging precariously by a thread. Taped to the front of the chair was a piece of paper with the word “FREE” scrawled across it in bold Sharpie lettering. As I sized the thing up, I could only imagine how many cans of Billy Beer, Cheetos, and episodes of “All in the Family” this chair had seen in its lifetime.
“Great…what are we going to do with it?” I asked my husband. “It’s disgusting.”
“He’s going to bring it back to where he found it,” Ron responded matter-of-factly.
When we went inside of the house, Noah was sitting at the kitchen counter eating a snack. “What are you planning to do with that chair in the garage?” I asked him point blank.
Noah paused long enough to look up from his Ramen and said, “Me and Jake and Eric are going to take it into the woods and shoot it. You know…with our Airsoft guns. It’s cool.”
“You need to take it back where you found it,” Ron told Noah. “We can’t have that thing sitting around here.”
“I don’t even remember what house we got it from, Dad,” Noah said.
Noah explained that they had discovered the discarded recliner at the edge of some yard off the county road and they were so pumped when they saw it, they didn’t pay attention to where they were when they began hauling it home. Now none of Noah’s friends were around to help him lug it anywhere, anyway. And the clincher was that even if Ron did load the chair into our truck to help Noah get rid of it, our observant teenager didn’t have a clue where it needed to go. What if they ended up chucking it in front of the wrong house? Try explaining why you’re dumping a giant pile of green trash on someone’s yard to the cops.
So, while we tried to figure out a cheap way to get rid of it, the chair sat in the garage. For weeks it sat. Then weeks turned into months. We walked around it. We parked next to it. We moved it across the floor a few times. We stored things like toolboxes or huge bags of water softener salt on it. Finally when Ron got tired of constantly maneuvering the thing around the garage, he pulled it out onto the driveway.
“You still need to get rid of that thing, ” he reminded Noah again and again.
Noah’s chair-hauling posse had been gone for months. The chair never made it to the woods, and to my knowledge no one ever shot it. Now outside, the green albatross endured snow, sleet, rain, and acorn showers. And yup…Greenie was displayed front and center outside our house on the driveway. We were quickly turning in the classiest family in the neighborhood but unfortunately, no one was jealous enough to sneak up and steal the chair.
I know you’re wondering. Why didn’t we just throw the thing out? Well, that would mean a painstaking call to our waste management service and a hefty fee to have it hauled away. I wasn’t ready to fork out money to have trash hauled away that wasn’t ours to being with. So, we just left it there, hoping that it would eventually turn to compost and blow away. But since it was made from some super secret 1970’s indelible material, it didn’t. The chair had pretty much become a lawn ornament and sadly, it had gotten to the point where I barely even noticed anymore.
A few weeks before Stella’s graduation party Ron had finally had enough of the nasty recliner and handed Noah a crowbar, saw, and sledgehammer and said, “Go chop the chair up.”
Noah was ecstatic about this idea and quickly ran to the driveway and set to work. After an hour or so of sawing, hammering, and prying, the chair had been broken down into bite-sized pieces that were easily dropped into our trashcan. The next day, Walters Refuse finally hauled ol’ Greenie away. And the best thing about it was that we didn’t have to pay anything extra to have it done.
Have your kids ever brought anything strange home that you had to deal with? Did you ever do it as a kid?
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In spring my dear friend Ann and I began a strenuous walking routine (like once a week at a clip of about 2.17 miles per hour), covering grueling park bench-lined paths that wind through the serene county park adjacent to our quiet neighborhood. Our walks were awesome — filled with chatty gossip and commiseration over our middle-aged medical issues. You know…stuff like failing eyesight, fallen arches, and menopausal mustaches. But sadly, I haven’t seen Ann in months.
The reason this is strange is because she lives in the house directly behind mine – so close that her son, Eric, had Noah convinced that he watched us eat dinner every evening through a pair of binoculars pointed at our kitchen window (for the record, when I asked Ann about this, she said they don’t even own a pair of binoculars). I know when Ann is mowing her lawn or tossing something into the recycling container parked next to her garage door. I can hear her, but I can no longer see her.
You see, we’ve stopped visiting one another because the brush and trees in the woods that border our properties have become severely thick and strangling. What once was a easy stroll to her house via a path her husband had cut through the woods (originally, for our boys so they could “hang” together) has become an extremely hazardous undertaking. Roots and vines threaten to trip us, limbs pull relentlessly at our hair, and branches angrily scratch us if we try to maneuver our way through. But that’s not the only reason we no longer venture into the woods: our teenage sons have warned us that there is a girl that lives amongst those trees — and not a nice one that sits around braiding her hair, skipping rope, or playing with pink toy tea sets. This girl is creepy and haunting. She is The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes.
I first heard about The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes a couple years ago after Noah had spent an evening jumping on Eric’s trampoline with a group of friends. It was dark and although I left a bright yard light on, a fearful Noah bribed his friends to walk him home through the forest with the promise of candy from a glass jar that sits on our kitchen counter. Frightened, but hungry enough for a few pieces of candy (stuff no one in our house wanted like banana Laffy Taffy or stale Tootsie Rolls), Noah’s friends agreed to the terms, walked him through the dangerous woods, and received the sugary payment for the task. But as they did it, they scared each other with horrific stories of The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes that hides in our woods – a hideously grotesque girl so lonely that she’d drag you away and hold you captive forever. No more iPod. No more television. No more Xbox. Ever. Plus, she ‘s not the kind of girl you wanted kids from school to see you with. She was really ugly.
The entire notion of this dreadful girl living in our woods was starting to freak me out a little bit. “Did you hear about The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes?” I asked Ann one day as we were chatting.
“What? No! Wait…what are you talking about?” Ann responded, visibly shaken. I proceeded to tell her about Noah, Eric, the woods, the candy bribes, and the scary bleeding girl that was living in the stretch of trees between our houses. I spilled it all–and then I almost wished I hadn’t. “I think I’ve seen her,” Ann said, her eyes wide open staring into the trees.
When I opened up my email later that day, Ann had sent me her rendition of TGWTBE (The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes). And you can clearly see how ghastly she is. Do you blame the boys for not wanting to walk through the woods alone? For the candy bribes? For the fear of the forest?
Ann’s composite drawing of The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes
As I mentioned, this summer those woods have become intensely overgrown and the path from my house to Ann’s is almost indiscernible. Chilling sounds are heard coming from deep within the trees and neither she nor I can help but wonder if the noises are coming from The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes (or one of her captives). What I do know is that neither of us is willing to risk life and limb to get to each other’s house. Especially to exercise.
Ann has mentioned wanting to feed The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes (TGWTBE) daily just to keep her happy. But personally, I think that if she’s living in our woods, she needs to earn her keep and help out around here. I don’t think pulling weeks, mowing the lawn, or shoveling is totally out of the question. And heck…since she’s out there, she may as well scoop the dog poop, too. She’s living rent free in our woods. Then she has the nerve to scare us on top of that?
Because fear has overtaken me, all I can do is stare out my window at the trees and know Ann is beyond them somewhere. But until fall when the leaves begin to drop, the brush clears, and the path is visible again I shall not see her. All because of our teenage boys who told us of The Girl with the Bleeding Eyes living in the woods.
What kinds of things get your kids worked up? Have they ever transferred their fears to you? Please comment!
I love doughnuts. Cake, glazed, old fashioned, French…it doesn’t matter what kind. I love them all. That’s why when my husband came home late one night with a box filled with a dozen delectable Dunkin’ Donuts he had purchased while in Chicago on business, I thought I had died and gone to pastry heaven. We don’t have a Dunkin’ Donuts within hundreds of miles of our home so this was a rare and magical treat.
After Ron placed the giant orange and white box on the kitchen counter in front of Stella, Noah, and me, I lifted the lid and let out a gasp. The doughnuts were lined up in three glorious rows – chocolate, cherry, filled, sprinkled, cake, glazed…a virtual fairyland of fabulous treats. Because it was bedtime and I didn’t want to increase the chances of adding a layer of “doughnut top” to my ever-expanding “muffin top,” I decided to wait until the next morning to begin feverishly devouring the box’s contents. Since Stella and Noah had overdosed on chocolate chip cookie dough earlier in the day and hadn’t yet come down from their sugar high, they agreed that they also wanted to wait until morning before gobbling their share of the loot.
I didn’t sleep well that night. I dunno why. Maybe I had work on my mind. Bills The creepy animal that has been lurking in our back yard this summer. Or maybe it was just pure excitement over the lovely box of doughnuts that were waiting patiently for me in the kitchen. All I know is that by the time the sun came up, I felt horrible and was exhausted from hours spent tossing and turning. ”How will I get through this day?” I asked myself as I rolled out of bed and plodded downstairs to make a pot of extra-black coffee.
I had almost forgotten about the Dunkin’ Donuts box on the counter where I had left it the night before. I excitedly started my coffee and retrieved a plate from the cabinet for my long-anticipated doughnut. I could literally feel the smile spread across my face as I slowly lifted the lid and peered inside.
But wait. What the…?? I could see movement in the box. Lots of movement. In fact, it was extremely busy in there. I leaned in closer to see that my delicious, gorgeous doughnuts were now covered with a giant frickin’ layer of ants.
I felt my pulse accelerate and my breathing became labored. “No… no! This just can’t be!” I exclaimed gasping for air. I picked up one of the glazed raised and eyed it yearningly. “Could it really be that bad?” I asked myself. “After all, I’m sure millions of people around the world have eaten an ant or two. Maybe I can just…” I tried brushing the bugs off the doughnut but the attempt was in vain. That one alone must have had a half million ants on it. Hungry ants that clearly liked doughnuts even more than I do.
I tossed the ant-sprinkled doughnut back inside, closed the lid, and and sprinted out to the trash with it. .
I spent the next few hours that day in a trance, wondering where in the heck the ants had come from. Were they in Ron’s truck? Hiding someone deep within my kitchen? Had they hitch hiked all the way from Illinois deep within the Dunkin’ Donuts box? All I know is that as quickly as the gazillion ants had appeared in my kitchen, the moment I whisked the box into the trash I didn’t see another trace of them.
Later that day, I stopped by the grocery store’s bakery counter to purchase a lackluster clear poly container of doughnuts. The only thing they had were some pathetic-looking chocolate iced donuts and a few white ones that looked like they were dug out of some old lady’s attic. The woman behind the counter informed me some dude had just stopped by and bought nearly all of the best doughnuts they had and that’s why the store didn’t have many left.
Yeah… that guy must have had an ant problem at his house that morning, too.