I Did It, And I’m Proud! (ish)

I found the above title on a completely blank post in my Drafts folder.  I don’t know what I had originally intended to write, but I’m going to run with it now. (Fasten your seatbelt, because the upcoming segue will produce severe g-forces.)

So… speaking of running with it: Remember the aerobics classes of the 1980s?

I was in university then, living in the city after growing up so far out in the sticks that even the fashion-conscious folks were several years behind the current styles.

University was an eye-opener. Suddenly I was confronted by Fashion with a capital F, in clothing, shoes, home furnishings, music, EVERYTHING. Including fitness. My dismal attempts at sartorial style are a post for another day (actually, many days), but I seized on aerobics as The Fitness Thing To Do.

My first aerobics class was taught by one of my interior design classmates. She was perfect in every way. Blonde, petite, a talented interior designer, fashionable, and so insanely fit that fat cells couldn’t even exist in the same room with her.

She was everything I was not. Dressed in her sleek bodysuit, tights, leg warmers, and perky matching headband, she led the class through a complicated and gruelling workout without apparent effort. I gallumphed gracelessly at the back of the room, puffing like steam engine, sweating like a toilet tank, and flailing wildly in an attempt to match her dance-like choreography.

If she hadn’t been such a nice person, I would have suspected her of keeping an eye on me and purposely changing the routine the instant I managed to catch up. But I knew the truth: Even though I’m generally pretty well-coordinated, I’m hopelessly choreography-impaired.

I hadn’t thought about aerobics classes for several decades, but this week it all came back to me. We don’t live close to a gym now, so I follow an online program that’s focused on strength training, not choreography.  The movements are simple and I can keep up.


There’s an add-on module for extra ab work, with a randomized selection of timed activities. Which means, “Keep up with the class, kids”.

So there I was again: panting, sweating, and hopelessly out of sync. The only change from 38 years ago was that this time I was on my back, doing a strikingly accurate imitation of a beetle that’s been flipped upside-down: Arms and legs flailing in the air, body rocking spastically back and forth.

I managed most of the routine before I collapsed and lay there laughing helplessly at myself, while the mechanized voice prompted, “X-Man crosses for 30 seconds starting in 5… 4… 3…”

But at least I’m exercising. I did it, and I’m proud(ish); as long as nobody confuses ‘proud’ with ‘dignified’.

Anybody got some leg warmers I can borrow?

Book 15 update:  I spent most of last week wrestling with a knotty plot (which is not nearly as much fun as wrestling with a naughty plot), and did a big reorganization.  I’m on Chapter 27, and it should be clear sailing now!  (Says she, with misguided optimism.)

35 thoughts on “I Did It, And I’m Proud! (ish)

  1. I am having to go to phys ed for tight hamstrings after falling a couple times on hips that should not be fallen on at my age. maybe the beetle part doesn’t fit but I told Donna (PE) lady we were certainly not in sync. I found one of the best, not on her home list, is just using my computer chair and using my feet to pull me around. Works the back of leg pretty good.


    • Smart! We use a mechanic’s rolling stool to scoot around in our crawl space so we don’t have to stoop. It works well, and you’re right, it’s a great workout for the hamstrings. And I’m a fan of anything that keeps you from falling! 🙂


  2. I learned at a young age that being fashionable is just a sneaky way of being bullied. If I have to look and act only the way other people around me think is ok, I’m out. I’m happy to say that both of my adult children are like me. Close enough to fashionable to not be openly mocked, but far enough away for people to say “that’s an interesting combination.”


    • Wow, you nailed it! “…being fashionable is just a sneaky way of being bullied” – you’re absolutely right. Why should anybody care what anybody else wears, as long as it’s clean and doesn’t create some kind of occupational hazard? Hooray for “interesting combinations”! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure it must be a medical condition. 😉 And it’s funny, when I wrote ‘sweating like a toilet tank’, I thought, “Geez, I’m really showing my age here. Nowadays all new toilet tanks are insulated.” I haven’t seen an actual sweating toilet tank in years, but the memory remains vivid!


  3. Haha! I think the politically correct term, even to describe yourself, is “choreography-challenged” instead of “choreography-impaired”. This came to me after I heard a local of St. Augustine call the homeless people of the area “residentially-challenged”.

    So, do you know Charlene Pricket? She was the aerobics queen of the eighties with video tapes and TV performances. She might be Canadian as well, actually. The reason I know her? That’s another story. 🙂

    Happy flailing! And, I’m glad you got that plot issue figured out. Smooth sailing is always good!


  4. I can relate. Every exercise I have ever done (both of them) has involved arms and legs flailing in the air and body rocking spastically. Come to think of it, most of my body movements involve arms and legs flailing in the air and body rocking spastically.


  5. The leg warmers never made sense! I mean, if I’m sweating, the last thing I want it something constricting and turning sweatier by the moment. But maybe I’m missing the 80s Fashion Statement™ part of it…and I’m a guy, so “fashion” for me is picking a clean tee and sweats off the pile. Although the leg warmers, leather thong and trench coat worked for Prince back in the 80s. 😁

    Good job on the workouts–I hope you can keep them up! I always felt better after some tiring exercise myself, even if said exercise mercilessly tried to kill me several times along the way. But my favorite aerobic exercise is being out on the rail trails on the bike, and that won’t happen until 1) it warms up and 2) I can put off my day work until evening so I can get out there for a few hours and rack up the miles. I think that’s why gyms never appealed to me–it’s rather boring to stay in the same spot. And less embarrassing if I screw up. It’s also a chance to wear the heavily padded Spandex biking shorts (which are added on top of my own natural padding, alas), but there’s really nobody out at that time of day to admire anything and besides, I’m too modest to walk in anywhere without slipping on a pair of baggy shorts over the biking shorts.

    I think Aydan had the right idea in working on the cars in her garage–I have a couple of projects ahead this spring, and could use a little muscle flexing in the form of a breaker bar or lifting a cylinder head, or acrobatics involving intake manifold bolts tucked way up under the throttle body. (Repeat job, unfortunately…at least I have eaten this pain for breakfast before!) Although I should say that as I get older, after a few hours outdoors working on the cars, I feel as though I’ve been dragged through town behind the horse and beaten with buggy whips. And not in a FUN way!

    I admit I’m an out of shape mess. But eagerly awaiting the better weather to get out and kick some aerobic butt!


    • Right on! I’ve been out doing some landscaping already, which is always an interesting wakeup call in the fitness department. And I’m thinking I should have had a pair of those padded bicycle shorts the first (and last) time I attempted a ride many years ago. We went about 40 kilometres at an easy pace, just toodling along and sightseeing. And I couldn’t sit down for about week. Lost interest in bicycle touring REAL fast.

      You’re right about the wrenching workout, too. Gone are the days when I could manhandle (womanhandle?) the straight-6 head from my ’53 Chevy into a sandblasting chamber and glassbead it holding the pressure nozzle in one hand and turning/twisting the head with the other. Now I’d be lucky to be able to lift the damn thing with both hands.

      But at least the old engines are easier to get at than the new ones. If I ever have to do anything major to my Ford Escape, I’ll probably have to dismantle the whole vehicle just to find the engine.


      • My wrenching is out of necessity–saves a ton of money, and I somewhat like the abuse. I’m lucky the Civic has an aluminum head on it, but by the same token, aluminum is like putty and it’s so easy to strip the threads out on things like the valve cover bolts (7 lb/ft of torque for those), and the timing belt tensioner a previous owner’s mechanic partially stripped out when they replaced the timing belt last time (which required a $100+ TimeSert kit to repair).

        Good news is, I learned how to replace a cylinder head and gained confidence–it’s not hard work, but it’s tedious, and requires some acrobatics. Bad news? I have to do it again (burns too much oil–have to clean or replace the oil rings on the pistons) but worse, my kiddo’s car needs major surgery if we keep it, including replacing a rusted piece of subframe and the transmission…meaning I’m actually crazy enough to considering doing it.

        That’s cool about fiction imitating life, and you had (have?) a ’53 Chevy to work on! I’m probably in the tiny portion of your blog readership that would enjoy a post about it one of these weeks.

        For the bicycle, I hit the same problem when I bought it new a few years ago. “You’ll get used to the seat,” my shop said. No, it hurt my old bones like hell in increasing degrees with each ride. Bought a pricier seat and nope, same problem if not worse, since I was riding it more and irritating more areas. What saved me was the Selle SMP TRK. After changing over, sure, I would still get a little sore, but not be in actual pain like with the others. And that soreness gave way after a few minutes of riding. (Plus, those first couple of rides in the season are always a bit more sore–you actually do get acclimated to a seat after a few rides.) The TRK model is just a basic seat in their lineup but it probably got me 80-90% of the way there and I’m happy with it. Enough that I could do 50 miles (~80km) and not feel like I’d been put through a meat grinder. They sell many different models, all variation on the same shape but fitted differently, and for different types of riding. And contrary to what we’d think, sometimes more seat padding leads to more discomfort, not less.


        • Wow, that TRK seat looks high-tech! I don’t have a bicycle at the moment, but it’s on my wish list, so thanks for the recommendation. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to enjoy touring someday.

          I’m afraid a post about my Chevy would be a sad one – we did the engine about 15 years ago, and then my budget got stolen by a shady body shop that decamped in the night. I was lucky to get my car back, let alone the money. Haven’t had the budget for it since then, so it’s resting in pieces. Sigh.

          And SEVEN foot-pounds of torque? Good Lord, if you glance at it sideways you’ll strip it. I don’t think my torque wrench goes that low. I’m not even sure my “finger-tight” goes that low. But hey, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be a hobby, right? 😉


          • Sad about the Chevy! And it’s also sad that there are plenty of shady mechanics and shops around who fail in many more ways than I could point out here, including shutting down and leaving customers in the lurch. That’s another reason to do my own work–I have only one idiot to blame when the repair doesn’t fix the problem. Although I usually do. And if the work doesn’t get done, that’s my own laziness or lack of time!

            Seven foot-pounds, yep. I forget the metric size but it’s a 10mm hex (M6 or M8 thread…I forget). I am getting a 1/4-inch torque wrench in a couple of weeks that measures in inch-pounds, as that’s the only way to get something down that low. The timing belt tensioner was 33 ft-lb and that was stripped. I was just starting to feel the bolt snug up when I felt it give way. The TimeSert has a drill, countersink, tap and an installation tool that lets you install a threaded metal collar in the hole. (More sturdy than Helicoils, which I use on the valve cover threads.) Since the drill fits a tap handle, I used that to enlarge the hole, since there is no room in there for power tools without pulling the engine.

            Glad I could help with the bike seat! There’s a chance it might not work as well for you or anyone else, but we’re all proportioned differently, and there are other advanced seats out there that could work also. It did work fine for me, though, and made riding enjoyable.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Why, yes, I DO remember aerobics. I kind of wish I didn’t 🙂 Actually, the times I was taking those classes were probably my most healthy in life. Aerobics without the poor fashion choices have been reincarnated a couple of times, the latest iteration being Zumba, I believe. Kudos to you for working out on your own! That takes a lot of motivation and self-discipline, in my experience. Go, you! *coughBeetleLadycough* 😀


  7. Chapter 27? Woo Hoo.
    In my books that qualifies as something to be proud of (without the ish).
    I am a klutz. And completely uncoordinated. That kid who was always picked last for ball games? That would be me. And it was completely justified. This beetle on the floor would still be there. Flailing madly.


  8. You did it! And now you are doing it again! Don’t you ever learn?
    I live 3 blocks from the Y in our little town and I can sneak up there and do whatever the body is willing to do whenever the spirit moves me. Normally I would just go for a walk as left, right, left, right is sometimes all I can muster, but it is cold and icy out in the streets. Thank goodness for Silver Sneakers so even I can afford to go to the Y.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a slow learner, but that might not be a bad thing. Apparently I still haven’t figured out that working out hard = sore the next day, so I keep on doing it. One of these days I’ll make the connection, and that’ll be the end of my fitness plan. 😉

      I’d never heard of Silver Sneakers — we don’t have it in Canada. It sounds like a great plan, though, and kudos to you for taking advantage of it. No matter how accessible the gym is, it still takes more effort to get off the couch and get there than it does to actually work out once you’re there.

      Liked by 1 person

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