Saturday, November 13, 2010

Never Ending Renos

As I watch my husband head out the door for his weekly trip to Home Depo, I can't help but shake my head. “What?” He asks with a little bit of attitude in his voice. “Nothing. Enjoy yourself,” I call to him. I don't say a word more. It's too risky. I don't want to put any barriers up that might impede him finishing his project.

At the beginning of each home improvement renovation, I make an estimated guess of how many trips to Home Depo this particular project might involve. The average is about 15. This bathroom fan he has been installing over the past 3 months has already needed 6 trips. I wonder if there is a genetic predisposition for not reading instructions, asking for directions and planning events?

Instead of reading the instructions and making a list of all the equipment that will be needed for a particular renovation and making one trip to purchase the various components...each trip comes on an as needed basis. Crawling around in the attic, he needed a breathing mask; The flexible aluminium hose that connects to the roof was forgotten, another trip...and the list goes on.

I wonder whether this ritual weekend trip is really about needing another nail? Is this male ritual the equivalent of girls night out for scrapbooking? Book club? Bingo? Do the weekly Home Depo powwows buoy him up for further work? Or is there some sort of brainwashing music luring these shoppers back to Home Depo for the purchase of a another tool ...another renovation.
What was suppose to be a 2 week bathroom renovation during the summer has turned into a 6 month and counting project. I was scared when he announced his plans to remodel our bathroom. I knew what this could mean. I might need counselling to make it through months without a hot morning shower.

The toilet was the biggest obstacle. It wouldn't come off, and the new one wouldn't fit on. It was one problem after another. Our two kids, age six and four were scared to go down to the basement bathroom on their own. Do you know how many times a four year old has to go to the bathroom during the day? Need I say more? Since having kids, my bladder capacity at night has been significantly reduced. The knowledge of not having a toilet at my disposal put my bladder into overdrive.

My husband refused to call in a plumber. He kept repeating his mantra..he could do this, he just needed more time. After the 3rd month, I'd reached my limit. I was ready for confrontation. Either fix it or forget it – call the darn plumber. But yet again, another trip to Home Depo, a new saw, more advice, the hole in the floor was enlarged and the toilet was installed. Cue the angels “halleluiah.”

I was sceptical, then happily surprised and impressed. I could see the enthusiasm for another project building in his face. His confidence increasing after solving problem after problem. He was becoming a handy-man.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Resuscitating the Exercise Plan

I've decided to dust off the elliptical machine. Vowed to get back to my exercise plan. To date, my plan has been a little sporadic. Nevertheless, I've got to continue. Push on. Plug away at it. Muster the strength to move on. Tali-ho!

It's not that I don't want to exercise, I just don't have time. By the time the kids have bathed, eaten their bed time snack, read their books and been tucked in, I'm falling into bed myself. Then I hear that voice again..."You've got to make time," it whispers into my ear.

Back at work, people all around me seen to be a good influence. The lunchtime runners, the dieters, the hard core marathoners, the body pumpers. I watch them all gather just past the beige cubicle, ready to get fit. Revelling in their exercise induced high. They blather on about how great they feel and where to buy the best salads. I watch them in awe. Where do they get the motivation to run during their lunch hour? Bloody exercisers.

Stewing in my cubicle, the endless sitting feels like pure misery some days. As I stretch my arms and follow the prescribed exercises my employer encourages so that I don't get carpal tunnel, flat bum syndrome, epicondylitis, vision problems, and the dreaded muffin top, I reach for my pumpkin spiced latte and sigh. The most exercise I've had is walking to the printer which is about 25 yards away. When I get there, I'm slightly out of breath. Next week. I'm on it. I don't want to be the type of parent who can't keep up with her kids because I'm tripping over my muffin top.

I've signed up for hot yoga, and I'm even considering boot-camp conditioning. Throw in the occasional power walk and the elliptical machine and there we have it. Skinny jeans, here I come. “What's boot-camp?” my girlfriend asks. “Torture, pure and simple torture that you hate and curse every second for the full duration of the class. Then the blast of endorphins will course through your new svelte body and you somehow manage to talk yourself into returning the following week. Oh Bliss, Oh Joy!” She looks a little scared.