At this time last year, I was on my way to gettin’ ripped. I was slathering myself with baby oil and doing dead lifts on a daily basis. Okay, that last part may have been an exaggeration, but I was working out with a trainer once a week and eating healthy foods.
Last summer, I would go to restaurants with Husband and ask them to substitute cottage cheese for the fries. I paid twice the price of normal bread for fancy whole wheat bread. About three times a week, I went to the gym and worked out until my muscles trembled. For the first time in my life, I was able to run for more than 30 seconds without feeling nauseous. When people started talking about exercising, I actually had something to contribute, rather than listening awkwardly, as I had previously always done.
I wasn’t exactly looking different, but I felt stronger. Husband was amazed that I could push his new snowblower and that I could help him lift an engine without struggling.
Then school started again. And with that, came the time commitment of marching band.
At first, I was convinced I would continue my new lifestyle. I knew it wouldn’t be as easy as when I was on summer break, but I tried. I packed my workout bag the night before and brought it with me in the mornings. After school, I went to the gym instead of driving past the exit toward my house, and my beloved bed. I took the extra 10 minutes to change clothes, take off my jewelry, and put my hair up before working out.
Finally, I would get home, about 12 hours after leaving in the morning.
“What’s for dinner?” Husband would ask. “I’m starving.”
I would like to say that I whipped up a healthy dinner full of vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, but by this point, I was beyond exhausted. So, the processed foods started creeping back into my diet. Gradually, the evenings at the gym became further apart. I told myself it was because my life was consumed with teaching band, and once marching season was over, I’d be back with a vengeance.
November came, and I
hit the gym every day abandoned it completely. By March of this year, I hadn’t been there in five months. Husband finally started to demand that I cancel the membership because it was a waste of money. I put it off because canceling seemed like conceding that I was giving up. I told myself that once summer began, I would have the time and energy to restart.
Last week, I decided to see how out of shape I was. When I was working with the trainer, I could do about 20 consecutive push-ups. So, I got on the floor and braced myself.
I could barely lift my 100 pound frame one time. Apparently, I’m 20 times weaker than I was last July. And what did I have to eat yesterday? Pizza for lunch and Madagascar-shaped mac and cheese for dinner.
When school started last year, I finally had something interesting to say for What I Did Over The Summer. Somehow, I don’t think “I blogged and drank a lot of overly sugared coffee” will have the same effect this year.
This morning, I found Foghorn Unicorn through a comment on Logy Express. This voicemail recording made me giggle out loud, which I don’t normally do. Go subscribe to this blog. Now.
Husband is an excellent driver. He can back a trailer with the greatest of maneuverability skills and has never been in an accident. Actually, he taught me to drive and I’d like to think I’m a decent driver, as well. Still, I’m a woman and sexism is alive and well when it comes to driving.
Last night, we went bowling with Sister and Sister’s Fiance, who will be known as D in this post. In order to sit in the back and watch some ridiculous video about farting, they wanted me to drive. On a side note, this video involved women sniffing each other’s farts and they used my auxiliary port to connect the phone to my car’s speakers. It made for an amusing drive, especially since I only had the audio side of it. Sorry to those of you who have a maturity level higher than that of a 10-year-old.
Anyway, I get stupidly self-conscious when I’m the driver and the boys are in the car. Both of them are critical of Sister’s and my driving skills and I always feel like they’re analyzing every move I make. This isn’t in my head. When we went over a set of railroad tracks a little faster than I meant, I saw the look they shared in my rearview mirror. You know, the one that says, “Only penises should be behind the wheel.” Sometimes they even make comments out loud. “Yeah, that’s why I installed the premium brake pads,” Husband remarked to D when I made a turn. Sister and I just roll our eyes and ignore the comments. There is some truth to what they’re saying and we know it. After all, I may never have caused a wreck, but I did pull the bumper off my old car by backing into a friend’s flower pot in their driveway.
This morning, Husband was driving and started to make a right turn to park on the side of the street. As he turned, I thought, He’s turning awfully sharp. But I didn’t say anything. A few seconds later, there was a loud thump as the right side of the car lurched onto the curb and back down. We pulled over to park and I stared at him in disbelief. He NEVER does anything like that.
“What the hell? Did you really just drive on the curb?”
“Whoops…” was all he said in reply.
“I never want to hear you mock my driving again,” I retorted.
“Oh, well. I’m sure it’s fine. I hit it on the flat part. There’s no way it did anything.”
I opened the passenger door and heard an unmistakable sound.
The look of horror and embarrassment on his face was completely worth any trouble the flat tire would cause. We got out and inspected the damage. Somehow, the curb had put a hole in the side wall.
Fortunately, Husband is extremely handy (he’s actually a mechanic) and was able to change the tire with no issues. When we got home, he looked up the price of a new tire and told me, “Well, I guess tomorrow when I get off work, I’ll take your car in to get two new tires.”
“Damn right you will,” I said. “You’re the one who broke it, after all.”
When we had those crazy windy storms a couple weeks ago, we lost our trash can. It was my fault because I left it outside and forgot it was out there until I saw it flying away as I watched through the window. Husband has been teasing me mercilessly since then, insisting that I owe him a trash can and I need to save my pennies until I can replace it.
He now says that we’re even. An eye for an eye, a trash can for a tire.
I fear that most of you who are reading this don’t know what you’ve gotten into.
You see, most of you – I’m speaking to my dear subscribers – joined me this week in response to the post “What Every Music Teacher Wants You To Know.” And you see, that’s not a great representation of what this blog is. The featured post was tagged under “Education” and I’m sure you all expect this to be a teacher blog. It’s not.
“Well then, what is it?” you ask. Shhh. *strokes your hair* I will make it all clear in time, dear reader.
For some yet to be discovered reason, the WordPress gods smiled upon me on Monday and bestowed my very first blogging honor: Freshly Pressed. Of course, that’s what brought most of you here. Let me tell you what life on this blog was like before this week. It was lonely. Sometimes I would have conversations with my echoes. Even they didn’t care enough to read it. I abandoned the blog for many months, after accepting that no one besides my close friends would ever read it. When I came crawling back last month, there were cobwebs on my Stats page. I was down to about 12 hits per day.
I was feeling inspired and ready to write again. I had an idea about ranting about the sorry stereotypes of music teachers, so I clicked “New Post.” The website coughed up a tumbleweed and asked me if I was sure.
Me: Yes, I’m sure. Now give me the damn text box so I can write it.
WordPress: Ooh. Looks like someone’s feeling spunky today. Like anyone is going to actually read this drivel? It went really well for you the last 15 times.
Me: Ok, so it’s not going to become an international phenomenon. I get it. But my 25 or so music teacher friends will probably read it, and maybe even Like it on Facebook.
WordPress: Whatever. It’s not like you have anything else exciting going on here. Give it a shot. Your perseverance is adorable.
And so I published the post. I woke up Monday morning and opened my laptop. My email indicated 160 new emails. Wtf? I usually have about 6. They were all from WordPress. What the hell? I was even more baffled when I logged on here and saw about 43 new comments – more than I had received in all of my previous posts combined. I started to read them and responded to every one. About 10 comments down, I got my answer.
They were congratulating me on being Freshly Pressed.
For a second, I was convinced they were playing a cruel joke on me. My blog is a needle in the haystack of the blogging world. How could anyone think to find mine? After heading to wordpress.com, I realized it was true. There I was, front and center.
Naturally, this has been a glorious week (and for my stats) and I’ve been blown away by all of the kind comments and generous reblogs. I can’t thank everyone enough for reading and taking the time to click “follow.”
But, I feel that I have to come clean.
I’ve deceived you on our blind date. I’m not who I pretended to be. I write about potty humor. After all, my most recent post had the word “poop” in the title. I make fun of people – usually, myself. I tell stories about my family that no one should have to experience, but I do, so I feel that the least I can do is share them with you.
I hope that you all stick around and read anyway. Judging from my stats page, that’s not going to be the case.
Yeah, I know the number on top looks nice, but check out the views on all the other posts. I’m such a one-hit-wonder, I make “MmmBop” look good.
So, whaddya say? Can I have a second date?
Husband has recently decided he’s a minimalist. Of course, he didn’t use that word for it, and I had to explain what “minimalist” meant when I told him that was what he was going for.
Coincidentally, I had discovered The Everyday Minimalist on Pinterest the day before. My typically anti-reading husband read about five posts before diving in head first and declaring that he wanted to purge all the junk from our home.
Awesome. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the trash can. I love to throw away useless crap, and even sometimes, crap that really isn’t crap and that I wish I still had. On the flip side, Husband is one of those people who owns more stuff than many people three times his age. It’s baffling, really. Probably about 10% of the stuff in this house is actually mine.
Thus began our quest to go through the contents of the house and sell it all. Husband was convinced that we had a personal gold mine of possessions and that the eBay community would be tripping over themselves to get to the computer before it was all gone.
We started in the game room. Neither of us could bear to part with our vintage game systems, which include the Intellivision, Atari 2600, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo64, and original XBox. However, we did realize that we had about 30 games that we never play. Husband and I are not sports fans, so all of the sports-themed games went into the sell pile. Eventually, we put most of our CDs, records and a few VHS tapes in there, too. (Except for the signed copy of a George Jones LP. Husband couldn’t bear to part with it.)
For years, I have been begging Husband to part with The Silly Shelf. The Silly Shelf is – you guessed it – a shelf. It contains the most ridiculous of trinkets and toys from Husband’s lifetime. It has made its ugly home in our bedroom and makes one think that a 12-year-old boy lives there, rather than a married couple. Here is a breakdown of the type of items on this shelf:
- A radio in the shape of an orange
- A rubber pile of poop
- A “Fart Fan”
- A plastic cat that dances when you squeeze the buttons on the side
- Numerous Bart Simpson trinkets
- A Homer Simpson watch that says “Mmmm…burger” when you press it
- The Taco Bell chihuahua
- A block of soap with a Troll suspended inside
- About 25 similar treasures
Unfortunately, when Husband’s father heard that we were parting with The Silly Shelf, he couldn’t bear to see it go away. He asked to keep the treasures, which means they’re still around. Le sigh. Anyway, they’re out of my bedroom.
So, we continued our quest into the office closet. This is another area where Husband and I have disagreed upon what should be there. His software, which consists of mostly floppy disks for DOS games, has taken up an entire shelf in our closet for years. Thankfully, he kept about 5 of his favorites to play on the 486 computer that’s in our bedroom and put the rest in the pile.
Since Husband works during the day and I’m on summer break, he put me in charge of the Sales Department. I began to scour eBay for the worth of our beloved treasures. Honestly, I was kind of excited. Yes, I thought. We’re going to get rid of all this junk and get a ton of money in return!
In the words of Dwight Schrute…
It’s all worthless. The completed listings were filled with red (non-selling) prices, such as $1.99 with free shipping. In other words, we’d have to pay someone to take this crap from us. So, does anyone want a copy of Madden ’94 for Super Nintendo?
I’ll even throw in a fake rock made of foam.
When I was about eight years old, I started piano lessons. I really have no idea why I started taking them. There isn’t a conversation in which I remember discussing this with my mom. Honestly, my first memories of piano lessons are of simply being in a room the size of a closet with a 30-something prude who would put check marks and smiley faces next to the exercises that I had mastered in the book.
I still shudder at the thought of those check marks.
Every week, she would assign something as homework for the next lesson, the same way I do now with my band students. For some reason, that check mark was really intimidating to my third grade brain. It was as if she were standing behind me as I practiced, scolding me for bad hand position and missing accidentals.
My main memory of piano lessons actually has nothing to do with the piano. The adult in me says that my audience might not find it as funny as I do, but the child in me says keep typing, so here I go. My family was always very open in our home. We never felt the need to stifle our enjoyment of potty humor and thus, we never apologized for rude noises at home. During one particular lesson, my worst nightmare came true. It turns out that a piano bench, with its flat wood structure and hollow middle for storing music, is a wonderful amplifier for noise. Yes, I farted during a piano lesson.
My teacher looked as shocked as I felt. I’m sure she thought about ignoring it for my sake, but instead she asked, “What do you say?”
I didn’t know.
Normally at home, the response would simply have been to laugh. Now I realized, all too late, that there was some sort of protocol in civilized society for this situation, and I had never been taught.
“I’m sorry?” The look on my teacher’s face indicated I had guessed the wrong response.
“Say excuse me.” And I did.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this little foray into my two year stint in piano lessons is that I never really learned to play the piano. Our piano ended up being repossessed and I had to stop lessons. My piano lessons were a great primer for the instrument I ended up playing for life, which is the flute. Don’t ask me why I chose the flute. I’m pretty sure that I only chose it because it didn’t require reeds and I was trying to save my mom money. (Our family’s financial situation was bleak, to put it mildly.)
So here I am, 16 years later, and it has occurred to me that I should have learned a cooler instrument. I mean, seriously, how often is the flute featured in popular music?
Anyone says Jethro Tull, I’ll cut you. My mom bought me a couple CDs when I was in middle school and I couldn’t stomach it. Now, the Marshall Tucker Band is a whole different story. Badass.
Overall, you never hear the flute used in a cool way. Piano, though, is used all the time. It’s versatile. It’s…just cool.
Allow me to cite some examples of why I probably should have stuck with the piano lessons.
First of all, Matt Bellamy of Muse’s Rachmaninov-inspired piano intro to “Space Dementia”:
Regina Spektor’s ballad “Samson”:
Amy Lee of Evanescence begins gently, but turns “Your Star” into a collage of crunching guitar and arpeggiated piano:
One of the greatest piano rockers needs no introduction for “Crocodile Rock”:
Ben Folds is one of my inspirations for improving my piano skills. Here’s “Zac and Sara”:
And yes, it’s cliche, but I have to include the original piano rocker, Ludvig van Beethoven. “Moonlight Sonata” is one of the pieces that inspired me to teach music.
Had I not stopped piano lessons about 17 years ago, I could have been pretty good by now. And much cooler. I guess I need to start practicing again.
Just don’t expect to see any check marks on my music any time soon.