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Posts Tagged ‘Out of the house’

March of the Pensioners
Narrated by Morgan Freeman (of course)

Each day, a truly remarkable journey takes place. Dozens of elderly women — likely awake since before dawn — don their supportive bathing costumes, abandon the security of their single-level homes, and make the long trek to the YMCA for their life-changing morning ritual: water aerobics (i.e., boot camp).

The goal? To stave off or reverse the damage done by a penchant for butter and sedentary living.

These be-grayed specimens tumble into the water of the indoor pool, nattering incessantly about ungrateful and noisy offspring.

1950s perms encased in swim caps, liver-spotted skin cleansed by the chlorine — their leathery haunches strain to move through the water.

Intrepid cultural anthropologist and writer Beth C. — also a lover of butter — attempted to infiltrate their ranks.

The pack was immediately suspicious of this young whippersnapper. (“Young” is relative.)

The alpha female tried to warn her off with a series of loud barks. Beth responded with barks of her own, indicating she would not be intimidated.

Resolute, indomitable, driven by the overpowering urge to rediscover her long-lost abs, she was determined to stand her ground.

The journey was hazardous as the women eyed her as a predatory threat.

Yet, after many long weeks of delicate maneuvering, Beth finally was accepted into the pack. They greeted her by name. Asked about her recent vacation. Swapped phone numbers.

Beth felt vindicated. Acknowledged. And (thankfully) streamlined.

Her magical journey will continue three times a week as she becomes further enmeshed in the pack’s routine.

 

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That’s right, readers: We are still living in the apartment complex. We decided we liked not having to maintain a house and its landscape. Something’s broken? Call maintenance. It’s great.

So that means we’re here for another summer, which means the return of “Dispatches from the pool.” Here are links to the starts of Seasons 1 and 2, if you need a recap. Enjoy!

 

EPISODE 1: You’re not melting, I promise
Rated G for gentle sprinkles

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

ENTER WOMAN (usually referred to as “MOTHER,” but this time she is blissfully alone, having had the house to herself for two days while the others were traveling)

Seven TWENTYSOMETHINGS are scattered around the pool area sunning themselves like alligators on a riverbank.

WOMAN settles into a lounge chair with her trashy magazine (People, of course) and adult sippy cup.

WOMAN sees the girls taking pics she assumes are for Insta.

WOMAN feels the need to do a meta photo. A pretend Instagram photo of her legs, in typical Insta style, that includes the girls posting to Instagram. (Pretend Instagram because her actual Instagram features the adventures of a taxidermied raccoon paw.)

(Note: This photo would never have happened 50 pounds ago. Remember how whaley and uncomfortable WOMAN was in Season 1? That’s right.)

 

WOMAN’S phone BUZZES with a response to an earlier text

 

 

Raindrops FALL.

Every one of the TWENTYSOMETHINGS immediately scuttles away.

 

WOMAN, an actual meteorologist, looks at the clouds and knows the rain will pass.

WOMAN (under her breath)
Oh please. It’s just sprinkling. You’re not going to melt.

WOMAN continues reading her now slightly damp magazine. She is now completely alone at the pool, but not for long.

FATHER and ONE KID — GIDEON — appear in the pool area.

FATHER
You run everyone off?

MOTHER (no longer WOMAN as she is not alone)
(Shrugs)

GIDEON
Hey, Mama!

MOTHER
Hey, Baby. You have a good time in Savannah?

GIDEON
Yeah.

That’s it. No further conversation from that one. He’s 13.

General discussion ensues between FATHER and MOTHER regarding a friend’s golfing and early-bedtime habits.

GIDEON
Watch me skip my sandal!

MOTHER discovers she has reached the end of the beverage in her water bottle.

MOTHER
Right. Time to go.

FATHER (who also has reached the end of his)
Yeah.

END SCENE

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Dear Miriam,

I thought we were friendly work colleagues. Why do you want to kill me? I can think of no other reason you would invite me to “Core Power Yoga.”

Core Power Yoga, aka Satan’s Clubhouse

I thought yoga was supposed to be this calming, centering, channeling-your-inner-Gandhi kind of thing.

But add the “core power” modifier, and this is some next-level madness.

I’m not sure why you go to this “sculpt” class at 6, right after the hot yoga class. That means the room is 145° at least.

But there I was, right on time, because of your invitation.

The class starts. I’m keeping up. What seems like two hours pass. I look at my watch through the waterfall cascading from my forehead.

6:16

I wish for death.

6:23

For those who don’t know what this class is like, let me describe it:

Mix the Jane Fonda workout with the calisthenics from eighth-grade gym class. Sprinkle on some Southern California namaste seasoning. Add an Imagine Dragons soundtrack. Set it on the surface of the sun.

6:32

My face is throbbing. I might pass out.

I leave the room to get air, water and the number of a medical professional.

I ask the lithe girl at the front desk how long this class lasts.

“Hmmm. Not sure if it’s 60 or 75 minutes. Let me check,” she says.

“75 minutes?!” I squeak.

“Oh it’s 60 minutes.”

Even so.

The exit was so close. Sadly, I had left the locker key in the pool of sweat near my rental mat.

6:47

I think it’s the cool-down phase. Not sure. All I know is my heart is racing like I just outran a bear.

6:51

I’m certain that I’m clinically dead.

6:54

I’m deftly performing the Patrick Star pose on my mat. I feel a slight breeze. Perhaps I’m on a gurney being rushed to the ER?

No.

The instructor is walking around the room flapping a towel.

She appears to be flapping more over me.

I’m sure it’s because she spotted my soul leaving my body.

7:00

The class is over. The instructor says, “Sorry it was hotter than usual, and the workout was more challenging than usual.”

Oh. How lucky for me.

I slither to the locker room on liquefied legs.

Time to survey the damage. Warning: graphic images (i.e., I’m hideous).

Let’s take a closer look, shall we? (Be thankful this blog doesn’t offer Smell-O-Vision.)

What’s that you say, Miriam? Show the air-conditioned, rested (i.e., sane) people at home the back? Sure.

That was Thursday. Today is Sunday, and still everything hurts. I can’t lift my arms. How can I have ribcage pain, Miriam?

I’m not sure what I did to you, but I apologize for whatever it was.

Please forgive me.

I’ll never do it again.

I also likely will never do this class again, despite the assurances from the instructor that I did “an awesome job for my first time.”

Sincerely,
Not downward dog but no thanks, dawg (aka Beth)

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Dear Parents of Older, Non-teenage Boys (i.e., Survivors):

I need your advice. As you may know, I have a 14 year old who tests my patience.

But I just spent a week on a cruise with him. It was … interesting.

It started out in typical fashion. He was cranky:Once on the boat, it seemed like he would fall into last year’s freak-flag-flying habit of making a face in every photo:

But then he got sick:

And kept everyone up three nights in a row by coughing. So I got back at him in my own special way: by harassing him mercilessly:

You can tell he isn’t feeling well:

And here he is being nice to his “cousin” Mia:

But we Lysoled the place every day to reduce germs:

And soon he was back to normal, making sure the stingray was a girl before he would kiss it:

And harassing his father:

And Ryder:

And telling me he planned to troll the hot tubs to score numbers (in this getup and baby glasses he found, no less):

So my question for you is this:

How do I keep the funny, silly Dominic and get rid of the one who is such a pain on the reg?

Not fix his phone so he’s forced to communicate with us? (He’s shattered two.)

Or just accept that he is 14, hormonal, and PERHAPS too much like me?

Thanks in advance for words of wisdom.

Gratefully,
Beth, Mother of a Dragon

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Dear Carnival:

It was so great to see you again. I’m sorry our three-family tribe cheated on you with Royal Caribbean.

It won’t happen again.

You have everything we want:

Comfy chairs where Edgar can nap, and Pat can play his games

Photographers willing to take unusual pics

Plans

Limited tolerance (for what, I’m not sure)

Maybe for Swedish girls throwing gang signs (?)

Places for Uno battles to break out

PLENTY of places

Places to play with children too

Even enough room to pay a push-up penalty if you are too loud while playing Uno

An unflappable wait staff

Exotic food liked smoked oysters with some kind of weird froth

Games designed to titillate while taking Edgar’s money

Elevators big enough for parties of 11

The ability to get intimate with sea life

And, most importantly, the chance for friends to get together and have fun year after year

There is only one thing we needed but couldn’t have: unlimited bacon.

Fix that, and we’ll love you forever.

Still, we’ll see you next year.

Wet, sloppy stingray kisses,
Beth

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Dear Lisa (aka Goat Yoga Lisa),

You are a great friend. One of the best. Not only do you play Bingo with me, write guest posts, and let me stay in your house all the time, but you also loan me your husband.

Well, Rob loaned himself, really.

And it truly was a shock to all of us hanging out in your living room.

When I said I needed a dress to wear to do the weather* because the chroma wall hated the one I brought, you said you would go with me.

But then Rob piped up and said, “I’ll go with you.”

You, Gunner and I swiveled to look at him. Silence. Two eye blinks each.

Me: “Wait. You will go DRESS SHOPPING with me?”
Rob: “Yeah! I’ll go.”

Maybe it was the wine talking. He vinoteered.

Or maybe he is jealous of all the blog space devoted to you.

Or maybe he just wanted to hang out with his pal Beth.

He might have regretted it in the morning. But then I brought him bacon in bed. (That sounds way saucier than it was. You were there. You made the bacon. You suggested I take it to him.)

He might have regretted it when we got ready to go. But then he filled a to-go cup with wine for fortification.

He might have regretted it when we got in the car. But then I put the convertible top down and fired up a great rock playlist.

Rob seemed to be having a good time in the store. This was his first selection:

img_8037

Thank God he was just joking.

Then he suggested a housedress with a belt. Ha ha, very funny.

We headed to the fitting room with three contenders. Rob, the fitting room lady and I unanimously chose the third option.

We were in and out of the store in 15 minutes. For real. He was in shock.

Rob: “It’s like a blur.”
Me: “You didn’t even finish your wine.”
Rob: “I was just sipping, but now I don’t need to.”

We did have to stop by the CVS on the way home. But Rob even helped with the ridiculous receipt.

We were back at your house just 30 minutes after we left.

Me: “Thanks for the date!”
Rob: “It was fun!”
Me: “Did you actually just say it was fun?”
Rob: “Yeah, it really was.”

I’m pretty darn proud of us.

To my additional astonishment (that Rob — full of surprises), he really took ownership of the situation. After my segment in the early newscast, you told me he said “his” dress looks great.

Then Gunner sent me this message:

And then the man, the myth, the dress baron himself weighed in after the later newscast:

So, I give thanks to you for the loaner spouse, and loads of thanks to Rob. He’s like my hubs away from home!

See you when I’m back in Savannah.

Love to you and the super shopper you married,
Beth

* I can’t believe I’m still filling in at the TV station after all these years.

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Dear Fellow Moms:

Today I celebrate you. Actually, I celebrate you year-round. After all, you and I work our asses off every day, not just one Hallmark holiday.

I’m also celebrating you because, chances are, your family is not. If you are like me, you are the one in your house who plans the events, gets the cards and gifts, wraps them, and makes sure they get where they need to go.

Also, if you are like me, you recognize that no one is going to step up and do it for you for any holiday.

So, like me, you have to take care of yourself.

This is why I go to New York every year for my birthday. Alone.

Eddie doesn’t have to worry about planning or buying anything. He’s happy.

I get to be by myself, eat what and when I want to, go where I want to go, and have peace. I’m happy.

Last year, I stayed in bed for half of one day, drinking red wine and watching a “Friends” marathon. It was fanfreakintastic. (Could it BE any better?)

I return with patience restored. (And shopping bags, but that’s another story.)

Everyone wins.

My family “celebrated” Mother’s Day last Sunday because they forgot when it actually was. I came home to this:

It’s thoughtful, yes, but let’s take a closer look.

Do any of you really want to be called the “boss?”

That aside, let’s take a peek inside the card.

That’s Gideon, who usually is the nice one.

Here’s the other weighing in:

Perfect sentiment, even down to the signature. Dominic actually does have some self awareness after all!

Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day from one beleaguered mom to another.

I’ll raise a glass (or seven) to you.

Love,
Beth

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