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January 24, 2019

I cannot believe that nice little old gentleman with the almost Speedos that shows up every day to swim around the same time I do at the Y, said to me today, “You swim like a dog”.  “I used to do that seven years ago when I started”, he added.  Really, Mister? So I suppose this is one of those times where practice does not make perfect.  I’ve been at this for ten months as you can see by my post below of last March.  Off and on. More on that off. That applies both to my swimming and the weight.  Yes, those stubborn, “I’m going on that damn vacation with you “ pounds won out and I had to take them to Italy with me. I was not happy.   On the bright side, the fascist foot pain disappeared on exactly November 6 while watching Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson Theater.   Lucky me, it went right from my right foot to my right knee. A pain so severe when I got up from the chair to leave, I had to drag my leg along behind me a la Tiny Tim Cratchet to the car. Why? Why do you suppose the universe has kept me from walking like a Labor Day lad on Jerry’s telethon for a year now? The one thing that was my sure fire weight loss weapon for almost four years- my first thing in the morning daily 45 minutes walk no matter where I was in the world.  I have added now recently a 20 minute chair exercise. At least I get some upper weights workout.  But I miss the daily walking more than anything. It was my best time for writing think.  I would come home from the walks and go immediately to the computer to begin a piece.    Muses come in all shapes and sizes and that was mine.  I miss it a lot.

I have been to doctor pillar and post and no one is closer to figuring it out. It’s not gout or rheumatism or arthritis or any other “ism” or itis they can come up with. I have had every blood test known to man including bubonic plague at my request. Nothing. MRIs and X rays to the volume of I could produce my own slide show set to music. Nothing. The pain moves around like a demented game of hide and seek. One minute in my ankle. The next in a knee.

I’ve done holistic chiropractors, acupuncturists, and traditional physical therapy. The only thing left is an exorcist or a witch doctor, neither of which is out of my realm of possibility. But I chug along; I paced myself with an afternoon siesta every day in Barcelona. My travel partner expressed amazement at what we fit in with a bum leg. She would be too exhausted to travel with me on two good legs, she said Pain to me is an opponent that simply will not win. I will go over it, under it and around it if I need to, but I am NOT sitting around waiting for them to find some cure for this. I truly believe it’s the result of putting on near 30 pounds in 14 months, plain and simple. And so I keep at it. Sometimes it’s two steps back and one step forward, literally but I keep at it. I will overcome. And so to my lovely little old swim mate, I say ‘woof, woof’.

From March 28, 2018…..

A thousand words before I sleep. That’s the plan to keep this writerly muscle exercised, as my flipping fascist foot is not allowing any other type of exercise these days. I refuse to take one sixth of me to Italy this summer. I just am not but without the requisite daily movement in the way of a walk each morning, it is so difficult to lose it. Until such time as this heel pain heals, I am now going to give a daily adult swim a shot at the local YMCA. I hate public pools or any public water for that matter. My entire swimming career has been spent in my friend’s pool next door.   But since I cannot walk, Zumba, hop, skip or jump right now, the Y is the only wet game in town. First though, I had to find one of those cute swim caps so my very expensive dyed hair doesn’t turn a lovely shade of Trump-orange. I stopped just short of the pink, yellow and orange flowered one.   It is a public pool after all.

What I do to get from one end of this very long pool to the other can only loosely be called swimming. I never learned how to properly nor do I want to, frankly. I move my arms and legs in some fashion that seems to propel me just fine from end to end. I don’t understand the concept of putting your face in the water when you are swimming on top of the water. That to me is then just the same as diving way down into the water. I never took swim lessons. My mother barely let us near the water as kids, and I managed to do the same to my kids. We are just not ocean people. A pool where you can get out when you want irrespective of any moon-tide relationship and no sharks is good enough for this type of swimming. My kids never wanted swim lessons. Self taught they are in said pool next door. I have to remind them of their lack of formal training whenever they tell me they are going to the beach. Don’t go in the water, I caution, you really can’t swim. Never took a lesson, remember.   Not a clue if they listen when they actually get there.

The other time consuming thing about public pools I now need to address on a daily basis is things floating in the pool that don’t belong there. Now it is more likely that young children make these deposits rather than the two old gentlemen and water Zumba gold crowd I encounter each day, but still the thought crosses my mind.   I don’t like to go late in the day. I prefer very first thing in the morning so as to reduce the chances of pool pee accidents by my pool peers.   But I will persevere damn it! No other way to exercise for now.   This morning was interesting. As I was flailing from one end of the pool to the other some fire alarm sounding thing went off. I looked at the guy next to me and figured we don’t need to go anywhere. Best place to be in case of a fire, right? He agreed. Off I doggie paddled to contemplate how bad this chlorine is going to be for me on a daily basis.

I am also so not a ‘gym’ person. All my exercise was done at home. The first day I bring my towel, car key and hit the locker room only to stare at the locker for a few minutes and wonder what the odds are of me putting my stuff in here with no lock and someone coming along to try and use the very same locker. I figure 50-50. Ok I know there aren’t only two lockers in there but I still calculated it as very high.  So I just took my towel and sweatshirt and pants and threw them all on the bleacher bench near the pool and hoped the nice lifeguard wouldn’t yell at me for making a mess or  leaving my flip flops right near the edge of the pool.  I can’t stand walking barefoot and I could only imagine what kind of foot disease you could get from walking around a public pool.   So that’s what I was doing with my clothes and then today I notice all these nice hooks at the other end of the pool and that people hung their bags on them. That was interesting. I could pack my stuff in a bag, carry it in, put my clothes in it while I swim. Then take them out and then and then… I was exhausted just thinking about it, so no bag. I’ll just keep throwing my clothes and keys on the bleacher and hope no one trips over the flip flops.

It’s quiet. I hate the sound of quiet. I know most people love it; so relaxing, so peaceful, so dead. Sons are gone up north to visit their father and even the dog has gone with them. The two Japanese students must live on a farm in Tokoyama cause I have never seen kids go to bed that early.  I get jetlag but wow. They barely make it through dinner at 6, then a shower then in bed by 7. It’s a great hosting job. So the house is completely silent right now.   I suppose there are those that enjoy this. Not me. It is spooky. That’s what it is. You don’t hear the sounds of a creaking floor or the refrigerator hum or the house breathe when it is filled with talking. It’s like a constant pulsating effect all around you. I don’t like it much. Perhaps because it is so foreign to me as I have not lived alone, well ever really. I see no point in starting now, especially with a flipping fascist foot that will render me incapable of fending off any monsters under the bed or in the closet.

The oddest thing about this week is not having a soul to tell my comings and goings to. Even if it was just the dog at home, I would tell him to behave that I was going out for a while.   I find myself thinking I have to get back soon so I can- then stop myself and realize I don’t have to get back to do anything for anyone actually. Nor do I have to tell anyone where I am going. But then what happens if I don’t return. There is no one with ground zero information for where to start looking.   See this is what happens when it’s this quiet. The mind wanders and you go creeping quietly behind it on tiptoe with a flashlight and a prayer.   No, give me noise or give me death. Pretty much how it will end up.   My sons will come home and five minutes later I will be looking for this quiet. I don’t really want to find it but look for it I will again am sure.   Well that was 1187 words, so I suppose it is time for sleep as long as the quiet doesn’t keep me awake.  It has been known to happen.  When I moved to California from the Bronx, I drove cross country with a friend of mine.   One night we had to stop in a motel in some town outside Lincoln Nebraska because of a big basketball game or something that made it impossible to get a hotel room in the city.   It was late at night, the innkeeper answered the door in a robe and curlers and gave us a room.   It was the quietest I had ever heard in my life and it scared me silly.  I made my friend push the dresser in front of the door as I was sure we could be killed in the middle of the night in this quiet and out in the middle of nowhere.   The Bronx with the sirens going all night was no problem of course to sleep through.  And sleep now I must and to all a good night.