Month: January 2010

Remember when…

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1. Being sick meant you felt quasi-bad for a day, but by the end of the day, you were second guessing whether or not you actually had felt well enough to go to the gym?

2. A million dollars sounded like a LOT more money than it does now when you really break it down in your head (taxes, mortgage payoff, etc.)

3. The one child that you had seemed like the hardest job ever.

4. You weren’t going to be one of these people who never travels overseas. After all, there’s plenty of time for that…

5. Vacations actually felt like vacations? Mostly because someone else was paying for it and you could just relax rather than busily trying to ensure the kids make a memory.

6.  Sex was REALLY exciting.

7. Your current job was simply a means to an end, and not a definer of you as a person to everyone else

8. You could stay awake at night (in bed) through an entire prayer.

9. Aerosmith was a fairly young band (you can also insert “U2” here)

10. Cold weather didn’t bother you and the beach was NEVER too hot.

11. You had friends that you could spend time with.

12. The cost of gas for your car was the most important expense you had.

13. You could eat an entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts and not notice the result the next day (uh huh, you know who you are)

14. Choosing between getting some sleep, or staying up and watching THE most important sporting event of the year on TV was a no-brainer.

15. You didn’t get mad when the fireworks went off on New Year’s Eve and July4th (thereby waking you and the kids up)

16. You thought reading a story to your kid(s) at night was going to be a wonderful and precious thing, rather than just another chore you have to do before you can get some quiet time.

17. You had time to actually cook…using knives and other fun utensils.

18. ANY alcohol at all–even cheap-o Mad Dog 20/20– tasted good to you.

19. Your parents looked young(ish)

20. You felt young(ish)

Winning friends and influencing people

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Yep, that's me "back in the day"

When you’ve been working out for a long time, in a relatively small geographical area, you tend to meet the same people over and over again regardless of how many times you change gyms, or how dramatically you change the days and times you exercise. Not being the social type at the gym, I have a barely discernible “nodding” relationship with these people; meaning, that when we see each other, we don’t walk over and do bro hugs, or talk about our kids. No, most of the time, we just give each other a knowing nod, perhaps a smile, and we move on to the next set.

Long story short, we aren’t friends, or buds. We just…have a casual run-in kind of relationship.

There are a lot of people like myself in the gym. We come in with our headphones on, and we do our thing and we leave. There are also people who come in and spend a good 1/3 of their time talking to others. Those people are usually there a lot longer than the former group, but hey, it’s their time.

Lately, time has been taking its toll on me. Part of it, I think, was overtraining. But regardless, it all boiled down to the fact that I just didn’t have that burning desire to go hurt myself on a daily basis anymore. I dunno…call me crazy. Too, I think a lot of it has been stress–stress from a new whiny baby; stress from a new job; stress from just…I dunno…stress. In response, I’ve cut back a bit. I take at least one extra day off per week and so far, it’s working for me.

The other day I was at the gym and in walked in a fellow I’ve seen for nigh on ten years. He was at my last gym and now he’s at my new-ish gym. He’s short–prolly 5′ 4″, but he’s built like a little brickhouse (and I mean that in weightlifter terms, not in a “he’s got a bit of the gey” terms).  He’s always sort of walked around like he owned the place, or so I felt, and I generally don’t mix it up with people like that.

But, within a few minutes, he ended up on the bench next to me and I figured, “What the hay” and spoke up:

“Hey man, I haven’t seen you around in a while. Did you change your workout times, or have you just been absent?”
As I said this, I noticed that he too, had a bit of the gray going on his sideburns and for just a moment there, I felt a kindred spirit.

“Nah, I work out at about 5:30 in the morning, so I miss most of the people here,” he said.

I just nodded.

“Plus,” he continued, “Nowadays, I’m just trying to maintain, you know?”

I did know, and I responded in kind. And that was it. End of discussion.

But as I wrapped up my workout and reflected on our brief conversation, it struck me that he seemed like a pretty cool guy. And, knowing that people have told me how unapproachable I appear at times, I wondered if others look at me the same way.

And then I thought, “What a waste.”

I wonder how many potential friends I’ve missed out on because of my “leave me alone” attitude? But, it’s not that I’m dying for friends, but the older I get, the less important things like “work” are to me and more important quality time is–both by myself and with other people. It’s funny how we change over time.

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Tomorrow morning I’ll be making one of the more difficult choices I’ve ever made. My Doberman of almost 13 years has gotten too sick to remain with us. An otherwise healthy and active dog, she has succumbed to ravenous cancer and near-crippling arthritis that prevents her from doing much more than just lying down all day. Despite heavy medication, even getting up to use the bathroom causes her to yelp in pain and I just can’t let her go on like that.

Knikki has been with me for almost 13 years. I picked her out of a litter of pups when she was about 9 weeks old. She was the one who, like me, sat apart from the group and watched. Together we made it through having her ears clipped (and my re-taping them multiple times),  my recovering from a bad breakup that nearly made me want to give up on life, and she was there literally, when I met my now wife. Together we’ve run more miles than I can count; chased more balls that I can remember and terrified more ducks than can be found in Central Park.

She moved with me to Ohio for a year while I worked a contract job, and then came back to Atlanta with me, where we have lived since. She’s put up with numerous additions to the family, all the while accepting a smaller and smaller amount of my attentions. She’s put up with rambunctions children climbing on her, and an overexuberant Weimeraner who steals her food when she’s not looking.

All the while she’s been a faithful and obedient companion. And I’m going to miss her terribly.

Lord, if there is a place in heaven for your child’s best friend, please make a place for my Knikki. She deserves it far more than I do.

Goodbye.