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I’m about to do something I’ve never done. See below. (And I’m not sure why my hair looks gray on top. It’s not.)

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen on the Weight Struggle Bus:

I know your pain. I was with you in more than spirit a year ago. As a reminder, here’s a photo from Trish the Human’s wedding on Sept. 9 last year:

I cringe when I see that photo. I’m clearly trying — and failing — to hide behind Dominic.

Here’s a photo from a year earlier:

Notice the body language. (I’d say to notice the dark, slimming colors, but I wear black despite how much of me there is.)

I was MISERABLE. How to hide in photos was the least of my worries.

Bigger worries:

  • High cholesterol
  • Inability to give campus tours without getting out of breath (especially up one particular hill)
  • Ridiculous amount of self consciousness
  • Negative self talk
  • Wardrobe reduced by 80 percent
  • Snoring
  • Sleeping even less than I do now
  • Hot all the damn time

I’ve shared with you my turning point. It’s different for everyone, but let me say this about that:

It is NEVER going to get easier.

There is no magic pill.

Surgery can be a fix for some but still requires changes in eating habits.

You have to decide you are going to do something about your health. Then DO IT.

The program I chose worked for me*, but may not work for you.

Despite the fact that I’m married to someone in the CrossFit Cult (or maybe, actually, BECAUSE of that), I hate exercising. I lost almost 50 pounds by controlling what went in my piehole.

Now that I’ve lost the weight, I go to the gym three times a week for my Biddy Boot Camp.

I hit my goal weight in April, and I have maintained it with very little effort.

I FEEL GREAT!

That’s what I say to anyone who will listen. People not even living with me notice the difference.

To that end, I’m going to do something I’ve never, ever done — and never would have done if I hadn’t lost the weight: Publicly post a bikini pic. No filter. No cropping. No Photoshop.

Here we go.

I know I still have some work to do, but I feel more confident than I have in more than 15 years. I’m brave enough to take and share this photo, anyway.

And if this move inspires even ONE of you to make a change for your sake and for the sake of your family, then my nervousness at doing it will have been worth it.

If I can do it, you can too. I believe in you.

Love and all my best wishes for a healthier you,
Beth

 

* Eddie is now a coach in the program. Send me a message if you want me to hook you up.

 

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EPISODE 2: All’s Quiet on the Chlorine Front
Rated G for give a girl some space

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

Enter MOTHER and her 13-YEAR-OLD SON. (When asked if he wanted to go, her 14 YEAR OLD on his Xbox said, “I don’t know.” And that was that.)

Despite the fact that it is prime sunning hours, the pool is nearly deserted.

MOTHER notices a leathery GRANNY is in residence in the corner.

This is exactly where this woman has been every single time MOTHER has been to the pool this season. MOTHER wonders if she should be concerned. Perhaps this woman doesn’t have a home beyond the pool.

On a lounge chair a mere four feet away is a THIRTYSOMETHING WOMAN reading a book.

A MAN IN SHORT BATHING TRUNKS enters the pool area, and chooses a lounge chair in the same strip as the WOMAN.

MOTHER wonders why he has to be all up on her when there are dozens of other chairs.

Perhaps WOMAN thinks the same thing, as she quickly departs.

When she leaves, SHORT SUIT moves a chair within five feet of MOTHER.

MOTHER sighs. She is not a fan of people being too close to her.

MOTHER and SON and FATHER who has appeared in the interim decide they’ve had enough of the pool and people being too close and leave.

No drama. MOTHER didn’t want to start anything. (Sorry.)

END SCENE

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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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United States Olympic Training Center this ain’t.

Dear H2Oldsters,*

Now that I’ve lost the equivalent of nine five-pound bags of sugar (!), it’s time to firm up what remains. Taking on those wobbly bits means I take on water — aerobics in the YMCA pool.

Why that and not some other group exercise class?

  1. I don’t like to sweat.
  2. It’s easier on the joints.
  3. I feel like a badass when I can do all the exercises you can’t.

Sorry. (Not sorry.)

Yes, I’m about 30-40 years younger than you. Wet behind the ears, even. (Yuk, yuk. Sorry. I am sorry.)

But it isn’t that.

Here’s the thing:
I bet you COULD do all the exercises if you would SHUT YOUR BIG YAPPERS and try.

Elderly avengers assemble!

From the moment you get in the pool, you do not stop talking. The class begins, you keep at it. People like me who are there to GET STUFF DONE have to swim around you.

Why you gotta be like that?

For real: Why are you there? Why bother putting on a bathing suit? Just meet the other crones at Starbucks or whatever. Or hang out in the Y lobby and chat. There are comfy couches there. Easy on the bones.

At the very least, go to the other end of the pool.

If you do, all this will be water under the bridge. (Sorry. I can’t help it. It’s too easy.)

Yours through hell and high water,
Beth

* Come on! That’s a little funny, no?

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Dear Trish,

The family and I are in Arizona because of you, my long-time blog cast member. This is not my kind of place, and I can’t believe you willingly came to live here.

The pilot told us the temperature as we were landing: 102 degrees. That’s not hospitable for human life.

When we walked out of the Phoenix airport, a furnace blast nearly killed me on the spot. Remember that guy whose face melted in “Raiders of the Lost Ark?” Like that.

Stop with that “at least it is a dry heat” crap. It’s a hot heat. So hot. Hotter than Kid Rock’s “So Hott.” Satan’s sunroom hot. Like I crawled into a pizza oven hot.

We drove to Sedona in air-conditioned comfort — thank God — but the poor Chevy Cruze did struggle.

You know what we saw on the way? Dirt.

Dust.

Cacti.

Cacti giving us the finger.

Who lives here voluntarily? What the HECK, Trish!?

You are paler than I am. How can you stand it?

I’ve put my lily-white skin in peril for you. You know I wouldn’t miss your big day, even though you and Irv did decide to get married on the same date Eddie and I did. You date hog, you.

Well, at least we spent our anniversary doing something fun. Sedona turns out to be one lovely spot in this godforsaken land. Thanks for choosing it as the final destination.

And you clean up nice, so there’s that.

As much as I’m complaining here, you know we would not have missed your big day.

Love you, and congratulations!
Beth

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EPISODE 3: Bad taste in beverages
Rated G for grandma, giant babies and “Good God, that Guy is … Gregarious!”

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

ENTER FATHER and TWO KIDS, DOMINIC and GIDEON. MOTHER shows up 30 minutes later after finishing the Season 2 opener of “Jersey Shore Family Vacation.” (Ronnie had a meltdown on social media? Say it isn’t so!) FATHER and MOTHER practically double the average age of pool denizens.

MOTHER
Who are these people (referencing the dozen or so twentysomethings)?

FATHER
No idea.

GIDEON
Can we go home now?

MOTHER
Dude, I just got here!

FATHER (to MOTHER, who is wearing jeans)
Are you swimming?

MOTHER
No.

DOMINIC
Then let’s go.

MOTHER
Here’s the key. We’re going to hang out for a bit.

DOMINIC and GIDEON exit.

FATHER (referencing the cooler MOTHER has brought)
Anything in there for me?

MOTHER (handing him an adult sippy cup)
Yes.

MOTHER plays Words with Friends. FATHER watches a video of a man getting sucked into an escalator in Turkey. MOTHER overhears loud talking from one member of the youngster group.

MOTHER (to FATHER)
Why is there always one loud guy in the group? Which one is it?

FATHER (to MOTHER, whose back is to the group)
Look around. It’s the one you think it is. It’s always that guy.

MOTHER (glancing over her shoulder)
It’s the big guy in the hat, isn’t it?

FATHER
Yup.

LOUD GUY (repeats this phrase three times)
It was the best time of my life.

MOTHER
All right. I’m going to throw this out (references her empty can) and get out of here.

FATHER
Great idea.

MOTHER sees that these children don’t even have good taste in beer.

MOTHER
Bud Light? Ultra? GAH! (The Athena is hers.)

Look at this trash!

MOTHER
You coming?

FATHER
Yeah.

END SCENE

 

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