Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Claiming To Be A Sponsor

On Sunday I looked up the pool schedule and then called the front desk at the Y to double check. I don't want to claim that the website had a credibility problem, but the schedule had a note saying that the winter 2007 childwatch schedule will be posted soon. Plus, they always have 4pm-5pm blocked off on Sundays for birthday parties, but if no one has booked the pool they allow lap swim. The guy at the front desk told me that there was indeed a party, but after 5pm all 6 lanes would be open. I was surprised because according to their schedule, 3 of the lanes were supposed to be reserved for the Special Olympics. I should have remembered that the front desk appears to use a random answer generator to respond to questions.

As soon as I got the Y, I glanced at the pool and thought it looked awfully crowded for a birthday party that had allegedly just ended. When I walked out on deck I saw that the Special Olympics was indeed using 3 of the lanes like the schedule indicated. Surprisingly enough the schedule on the website had been accurate! Must have been a coincidence.

However, the last three lanes were blocked off by a horizontal rope, and no one appeared to be using them. Well, there's just no way that I'm going to complain about the Special Olympics using the pool (although I think the dude at the front desk should have been able to tell me that they were going to be using 3 lanes), so I thought I would just soak in the hot tub for 5 minutes and then go home. Another woman came into the hot tub and expressed similar thoughts. Shortly after that an elderly lady came out and walked right up to the teenage lifeguard and demanded to know what was going on with the unused lanes. At that point the lifeguard admitted that he had forgotten to set up the line lanes. It looked like everything was going to be peachy keen, and we all started swimming. Except for one thing: I think the front desk genius must have switched answers, and begun telling people that family swim was happening. Or maybe they changed the website. Either way, all of a sudden there were a ton of kids in the three lap swim lanes.

I think we were all getting a little bit frustrated, and when the 4th child, who was wearing a bikini, a ton of makeup and jewelry, tried to get into our lane, the hot tub lady very bluntly asked her if she knew how to circle swim. She said no and scurried off. However, that still left 3 other kids (I'm talking about 6-7 years old) in our lane struggling to get across the pool. The hot tub lady got frustrated and left. I realized that I wasn't going to get a meaningful workout and decided to just use the kickboard. This gave me a good opportunity to see what was going on.

There was people jammed packed into the Special Olympics lanes. I mean to the point at which it was really hard for people to swim because there wasn't any space. Furthermore, the signs on the lanes said lap swim so there were other lap swimmers standing over the Special Olympic lanes so they could try and jump in when people left without realizing that the lanes weren't available. The whole thing made me incredibly angry. I know that pretty soon I'll see signs hanging up at the Y saying how they are sponsors of the Special Olympics. Here's a thought: if you're going to be a sponsor, why not just give the Special Olympics all 6 lanes? You could either close the pool for that time or you could keep the pool open an hour later (since it normally closes 3 hours earlier on Sundays). Yes, I know there's cost for the Y either way, but isn't that what a sponsor is supposed to do? The idea is to treat the Olympians with respect, not crowd them like sardines.

As for bikini girl, she snuck in after hot tub lady left and proceeded to do handstands in the middle of the lane right by the lifeguard. Of course when I questioned the new definition of lap swim, the lifeguard was quick to explain how lap swim worked to the bikini girl. Not surprisingly she immediately left.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Showery Excitement

I had a hard and great workout today and couldn't wait to hit the showers. Hot water pounding on my shoulders then sliding down my salty skin is reward. My body cools when I strip, the skin getting goose-pimply as a walk over the slick tiled floors. The shower warms me and wipes me clean.

The work I've done in the gym that day sinks into the muscles and becomes the result that shows the rest of the day when I'm showering. Hot water as annealer.

I quickly stripped of my soaking wet t-shirt and shorts, tore off the sock and threw the entire pile of sopping clothing into my locker. The towel I packed had dried on the line, so it was scratchy and rough. A just reward for a job hard-won.

As I chose a shower stall, I turned and saw an older woman lying on the floor in the stall across from me. Everyone else ignored her; she was soapy but unable to get up. Naked and completely vulnerable. She just needed a little help but wisely insisted on management coming to help. And here's the weak point in the gym's design: there is no communication line between the locker room and the front desk.

I walked through the locker room yelling: is anybody dressed?? Anybody??


So I pulled my sopping wet t-shirt and soggy wet shorts back on (sans undies, this was an emergency), walked up the stairs and through the gym to get her help. Fortunately, two female employees were quickly summoned to provide assistance.

Back. Clothes back in the locker; me back in the shower stall. Corporate girls talking to our fallen lady. She has no explanation for how she fell, but it's a shower room.

Do you know about the simple one minute stroke test? Neither did the employees. Frequently when someone falls down with no reasonable explanation, this test will show that the person has had a stroke. Quickly. Easily. Before they try to get up. So I guided the trainer through the 3 questions, then witnessed as she continued checking that the woman hadn't injured herself in her fall. Fortunately, all signs were negative and the woman was assisted to her locker, dressed and escorted safely and happily from the gym. Nobody asked for ID as a witness in the accident, so I hope it's history all around.

And I? I decided that the miracle of the shower was not to be part of my life today. I quickly washed the sweat away, pulled on dry clothes and put the work behind me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oh No She Didn't!

Husband overheard the following conversation between a blond woman in her 30s and her gay friend as she worked out on an elliptical machine and he sweated it out on the treadmill next to her:

Bitch 1: So I think my maid is stealing from us.

Bitch 2: No way, honey! What are you going to do?

Bitch 1: I called my mom, and she said, "What did you think was going to happen? The help stole from us all the time."

Bitch 2: Tsk, tsk.

Bitch 1: Plus, I don't think the nanny does enough. When I'm playing with my children, the nanny should be cleaning.

Bitch 2: (Sighing heavily.) Good help is so hard to find. I am so sorry you have to deal with this.

Yes, folks, it is a damn good thing that I was not there to witness this.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Woman with the Baby

Yesterday I decided to take my chances and go to the Y around lunch time with my two kids even though that always means there's the chance that I'll have to parade through the lobby in my swim suit looking like a drowned rat to tell the childwatch that my child has farted and not had an accident like they initially thought. Can't say I blame them though for not wanting to check! With a snow storm imminent, I really wanted to make sure I had a chance to workout because, hey, I lost 3 pounds last week!

Unfortunately, since it was early, there were only two lap swim lanes open and both of them already had two people in them. One lane had someone who was struggling to swim back and forth so I did obvious thing: stand in front of the lane with my cap, goggles, kickboard, and waterbottle and try to give off "professional swimmer" vibes even though I'm not really a professional swimmer (I was a competitive swimmer for years, so I feel like that should count, right?) However, I was not alone. Next to me was a brand-new baby in a stroller (or carriage as people here in MA like to say). "That's funny," I thought to myself because no one there looked like they had just had a baby. In fact if I had to narrow it down to three people it would be 1) Me. I do look like I've had a baby recently, hey that's why I was at the Y. Seeing as my baby is only 8 months-old, that would have been pretty impressive. 2)Any of the hundred-year-old ladies in the water aerobics class. 3) The teenage boy who was struggling to make it across the lane. Unless medical science had provided an even bigger miracle than allowing post-menopausal old ladies to have a baby, the boy didn't give birth to that baby, although he could have been the father.

As I was thinking about this, the second swimmer in the lane stopped and invited me to circle swim with them. Now, that is a true miracle. No one ever invites anyone to circle swim at the Y. She was very fit and very bubbly. Just as I was about to get in, she asked me if the baby was still sleeping. Turns out it was her baby, AND he was only 5 weeks old! He also was her 4th baby. I almost fell over. She told me that "she was no stranger to the refrigerator with any of her 4 pregnancies." She and I had a nice chat which is also unusual at the Y. When she paused from sprinting across the pool a million times, I did a quick peek at her belly as I was doing my flip turn. It was perfectly flat.

straining... too much or too little

There was a guy using the cable machine. I had a clear view of him via the wall-mirror while I was on the bike, and he was much more interesting than Seinfeld without sound (I listen to my music still). Instead of pulling the cables smoothly, he would give them a big jerk. It really looked like the only way he could lift that much weight was by wrenching his muscles and joints in a very non-fluid motion. It also really looked like he was going to hurt himself. Bad.

Then there was the chick in the locker room bathroom. While I was changing back into street des, she went to use the toilet. She was much more... noisy and liquidy for doing #2 then I think either of us were comfortable with. Luckily, I finished changing and left before she finished so we didn't have to look at each other (I hope she was as embarrassed as I). But, 2 more girls walked in as I walked out. They had no idea what they were in for.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just two

One: Guy who holds his towel in his mouth while on the elliptical machine. First, there's plenty of other places to put it. Second, this is a towel that has dried someone else's crack and athete's foot probably hundreds of times. Washed or not washed, I don't put that in my mouth.

Two: The lady at yoga in her... outfit. Do you remember in the late 80s/early 90s when women started wearing leotards to work out in over their spandex pants? And then the leotards became two-pieces? And then the bottom part became a thong? Something like this, but with Spandex pants.

Anyway, this woman was wearing that, or at least I THOUGHT so. But in fact, it was just a pair of spandex pants colored to appear as though there was a thong over them. So, like a faux-teal thong. And worse? She had the world's flattest ass, so it was really noticeable that those fake curves were... fake.

Hey Baby, I'm Playing Their Songs

My gym is so prosaic; or is it on Prozac?? I don't know. Lately whenever I go, there are lots of people there working out, but nothing ridiculous or funny or strange occurs. Just middle aged folks sweating on the cardios and pushing weights. Wearing dull clothes.


Who knew we were such a dedicated and boring lot.

However, a long time ago Suzanne posted her playlist and admitted that she thought it was a brilliant idea for us all to do. My own playlist evolves almost weekly, as I am determined to find the perfect mix of music at the perfect tempo to keep me moving when on the treadmill or the elliptical, then allow me to use music as a distraction and timing method while doing floor exercises and/or weight training.

The first part is critical; the rest less so. I have also perfected the treadmill portion of the playlist; the ellipitical portion still needs to be developed (all suggestions welcome).


Song #1: played while walking into the gym and/or up from the locker room.


Bonnie Raitt: Let's Give Them Something to Talk About.

Treadmill Music:

#1. Boogie Shoes. Ya know this really is a great warm up song.. the tempo, the trumpets, the idea of shoes...

#2. I Walk The Line. Los Lonely Boys. About the same tempo as #1, longer with a very strong beat that forces me to walk to it's time.

#3. Every Breathe You Take. UB40. The breathing part of cardio is starting to kick in.

#4. Smooth. Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas. Perfect strong beat. Perfect tempo. Perfect.

#5. Oye Como Va. Gypsy Kings and Carlos Santana. I think this one may need to be moved back a little further in the play list. But the tempo and beat is good.

#6. Locomotion Breath. Jethro Tull. Increase the speed to 3.4 or 3.5 and step fiercely along with the strong bass and beat of this song. This is about the 20 minute point in a half hour workout and I'm going for the money.

#7. Layla. Eric Clapton. Same tempo at #6 and just in time to finish off the workout.

#8. Suffragette City. David Bowie. The finale. About half way through this song, I hit the half hour limit, and move into the "group exercise room" for my floor exercises. Refill the water bottle, grab a mat and get ready.

Floor exercises/ weight training/ and often elliptical:

#9. Sultans of Swing. Dire Straits. There are a number of stability and balance moves that I do. This is a great song for slowly moving legs. Besides it's my favorite earworm.

#10. Don't You Forget About Me. Human League. Usually where I do balance work and wall-sits.

#11. Aqualung. Jethro Tull. Second Time through the stability moves.

#12. Cocaine. Eric Clapton. Second time through balance work and wall-sits.

Then maybe on to weights! Sometimes used when on the ellipitical:

#13: She's Not There. Santana and Thomas again.

#14: The Way You Do The Things You Do. UB40.

#15: Evil Ways. Santana

#16: Black Magic Woman. Santana

#17: My God. Jethro Tull Live recording.

#18: Crazy Dreams. Los Lonely Boys.

#19: Elegantly Wasted. INXS.

#20: I Would Do Anything For Love. Meatloaf

#21: Brown Eyed Girl. Van Morrison.

#22: How To Save A Life: The Fray.

#23: Don't You Forget About Me. Simple Minds

#24: When It's All Over. Snow Patrol.

#25: American Pie. Don Mclean. The original long version.

#26: I'll Stop The World. The Cure.

Cool Down

#27: Trouble Sleeping. Corrine Bailey Rae

#28: Hallejulah. Rufus Wainwright.

#29 Breathless. Corrine Bailey Rae

#30 Butterfly. Corrine Bailey Rae.

Granted this playlist is heavy on the oldies, but I haven't found songs (especially for the treadmill section) that meet my specific requirements of tempo, strong rhythm, good guitar riffs and great harmonies. I will eagerly check out new suggestions that might work here, but most of the "newer" music I find is ending up at the end of the playlist.

rude and stupid

I didn't go to the gym last week so I had nothing to blog about. But upon my triumphant return, oho! the gym was ripe with fodder.

Our locker room is small. There are 4 stools. At any given time, there may be 4 people. This should logically work out to one stool per person. But no. Fat Lady was sitting on one with her stuff (a plastic grocery bag) on the stool next to her. Then she made a special effort to not pick up her bag when she needed something out of it, leaning over and digging through it as though it were glued down. She found what she needed and took it out, but she also found some trash that she didn't want (used tissues, candy wrappers) and proceeded to throw it on the floor. Not accidentally-dropped-and-forgot-to-pick-up, I'm talking full out thrown on the floor. And no, she wasn't trying to make it into the trash can, which was across the room in the other direction. So while not sitting and avoiding her trash, the rest of us in the locker room also have to contend with the fact that she left her locker door (in the middle, up high) wide open. I "politely" shut it for her, she gave me a dirty look , and stormed out. Another locker room inhabitant and I exchanged "WTF looks."

Then while on the cardio machine, I'm doing my normal workout complete with normal headphones. However, I keep getting disturbed by the person next to me on her cell phone. It rang twice, and she was talking on it loudly the whole time I was there. Maybe she has some important business to cover (gossip) but you can't get a very good cardio workout while jabbering away. And we weren't on tradmills - we were on ellipticals. So not only was she wasting her time (and breath) but she was disturbing other people. Just because you can't get a good workout doesn't mean that you should stop everyone else from getting one too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What's That Smell?

I should have trusted my nose and not gone into the women's lockeroom
when I could smell some nasty perfume wafting from beneath the door.
However, I opened the door and almost past out. It smelled like someone
walked around spraying the Strawberry Shortcake doll's perfume in all
of the lockers. That mixed with the smell of sweaty feet and mold was
enough to make me start gagging. So here's my question: Why was someone
spraying that awful stuff around? Or worse, yet and probably more
likely, "Was someone actually wearing that horrible perfume?"

So That's Why We Pay the Big Bucks

I went to workout at the SoHo branch of my gym tonight. Yeah... I fit right in, let me tell you. The good part is that all the equipment is new and shiny and works. The bad part is that I was balded by all the shiny, waxed snatch parading around the locker room. The lighting seriously reflected off the poon, I am not making that up. A bald man would possibly kill everyone in sight range with the power rays that would emanate from his skull. He probably should not be in the women's locker room, though, so i think we are safe. Oy.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

I Swear I'd Never Say This...

Today was all planned out: some life maintainence stuff in the morning along with walking the dogs. At two I was meeting several of the other BlogHer editors in Oakland for a couple hours of visiting while knitting or crocheting. (I would be the K/C tutor).

In between a visit to the gym.

I calculated the time, and knew if I left the gym by 1:30 pm, I'd have plenty of time to get through the traffic in Berzerkley, find a place to park, and get to the tea bar where we were meeting at 2 pm. Easy-peasy.


And these are the words I never thought I'd utter:

I was enjoying my workout so much, that I stayed at the gym longer. And showed up late for girlie fun!!

Beanie guy

Ok, I know it's been warmer outside. (It almost got to 60!) So you don't need to wear a knit hat. Especially in the gym, where the A/C is not on, and I had to leave early because I was going to pass out. But it's ok for you, O Wearer of the Knit Hat Inside the Gym, because you're not actually working out. You are just sitting on the machines so nobody else can use them. Go ahead and wear your beanie.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My gym is a YMCA in a swank neighborhood. I do not live in said neighborhood, I just live close enough to enjoy the runoff. Every piece of cardio equipment has it's own 13 inch flat screen television with DVD/CD player and extended cable. All you need to do is bring a pair of headphones, plug yourself in and you're good to go. They even sell headphones at the desk if you forgot yours. In addition, they have a lost and found box because sometimes people accidentally forget their headphones in the machines when they are done.

The lost and found box is near the abs/back weight machines. On more than one occasion, I've seen people come in, take a set of headphones from this box, use them and return them to the box. Now these are the type of headphones that go into your ears, not the old fashioned type with the foam circles that merely rest on top of your ears. While I do not find earwax to be as inherently gross as, say, crotch sweat, it's still pretty nasty.

On Monday the lost and found box was empty. One after another folks walked over only to walk away disappointed. Then some crazy old coot tried to take my headphones, which I had rested on my water bottle and placed on my towel next to where I was working out. When I protested, she said 'Well I didn't think you were using them!' I wasn't at the moment, but that does not negate the fact that they are my private property. Step off, crazy ear wax lover.