Like ripples in a pool of water, making one big change in life can lead to other changes and unintended discoveries.
As anyone who has been keeping up with this little corner of the Internet knows, I’ve been out of work since Feb. 27, when the company for which I had worked 21 years eliminated my job and I was escorted out of the building.
That was a big ripple.
There have been many smaller ones since then. For starters, I began sleeping in just a bit and going to work out at the Muscatine Community Y during what perhaps could be called Mommy Hour. I found myself attending cycling classes and group strength classes at 8 or 9 in the morning that are often filled with women. It creates a somewhat different dynamic than the classes I previously attended at 5:30 or 6 in the morning.
For starters, it’s been ear opening to hear what the ladies are saying when they forget I’m there or don’t think I’m listening. Fellows, I can tell you they don’t think we show enough appreciation for what they do. In fact, some of them may even think that we think they are doing nothing but sitting around all day eating chocolate. And if that’s what it means to be home most of the day, I want to know where the heck are my bonbons?
The chocolate fairies will likely skip over me, though, because, to tell the truth, I’m no better than the next guy. I may even be worse than most.
But in addition to hearing what the ladies are thinking, this little bout of unemployment has given me plenty of time to shoulder a few more household duties. I’ve been trying to keep up with the dirty dishes. And I’ve done more laundry in the past month than I had done in the previous 11 months combined.
I’ve been pecking away at those chores today as I work on this little bit of writing. It’s only fair. I’m sure I dirty the most silverware, glasses and dishes. And the kitchen usually looks as if a hurricane has gone through by the time I’m finished fixing a meal.
Laundry is another story. If there is a downside to working out two or three times a day and going on bike rides several times a week, it can be summarized in one word: Laundry. Again, it seems only fair that I wash the growing piles of my sweaty gym clothes. And so I have been.
The laundry is something I actually kind of like to do. There is a sort of a Zen aspect to washing, drying, folding and putting away clean clothes that were part of a sweaty pile only a few hours earlier.
Sadly, I’ve never been able to find the same meditative qualities from working in the yard and garden. That just seems too much like chores. So I limit my involvement to mowing grass — almost always followed by drinking a beer.
On occasion, I am also called to unload and carry bags of soil and other heavy stuff or dig holes to plant trees, shrubs and other big items. This, too, is often followed by a cold beer.
There is an aspect of functional fitness involved when it comes to digging a hole with a shovel and spade or throwing around 40-pound bags of manure. And as most of you probably have already realized, I’ve always been pretty good at slinging manure.
More on fitness: I made it back Monday morning for another workout at Warrior Crossfit Muscatine. This time the workout consisted of:
1. Doing one back squat at the maximum I could lift, which turned out to be 165 pounds.
2. Doing 20 super squats — one back squat every 10 seconds with 70 percent of the maximum I could lift, or 115 pounds.
Then I did three sets each of:
1. Seven dead lifts with 135 pounds on the bar.
2. 14 Burpees.
3. 21 pull ups, which I modified by pulling myself up on a pair of rings from a near-horizontal position.
Everyone in Crossfit is big into recording workouts in a notebook and pushing to improve. I haven’t gotten into that too much just yet. But I am going to publicly state here my first goal: Getting so that I can do at least one legitimate and unassisted pull up — all on my own power.
A friend at the gym guarantees I will be able to accomplish this goal in time. And I’m going to take her word for it even if “in time” means 30 years from now.