Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Amber Waves of Granite and Steel

So, again, I've joined a gym. Generally, I join a gym that is conveniently located either on my way to, or near work, and am pretty good about exercising regularly once I've established a routine. So, I cancelled my membership at the first gym after we bought this house because I had to backtrack 20 minutes each way to get to the gym before work. With Los Angeles traffic being what it is, I had no desire to add another 40 minutes drive time to my day. The second time, the gym was near my office. Well, getting laid off put a crimp in that plan. Which brings me to Lucky Gym #3. I really have no excuse at this point, as this is located in the next building from my office, my company subsidises half of the monthly dues, and will reimburse me up to $400 per year for whatever I lay out for "health and wellness." Sweet deal, eh? At the beginning of the month I headed over to the gym on my lunch break with all confidence that this fitness program would endure. I took the obligatory tour, awkwardly, yet briefly walked through the locker room feeling like a voyeur, and spent the rest of my lunch break perusing the literature and imagining all the group classes I would be taking. About a week later I signed up. Today, I finally worked out- sorta.

Typically I catch a bus at 6:45am, getting me to my office by 7:30am. I thought I would just take a 5am bus and have plenty of time to walk the extra distance, workout for about an hour, then shower and doll up for my coworkers. When I looked at the bus schedule last night, I realized it doesn't pick up at my stop earlier than 6:30am. Shoot. Along with my health and wellness benefit, my company also sponsers a Rideshare program. So long as we take public transportation at least 60% of the time, they pay for all or most of the fare, and validate parking on the days we do drive in. Due to the recent holidays and Fillip being out of town, I had to drive a couple extra days already. So, I figured I would just drive across the valley to the subway, ride the rails for about half an hour, take a quick jaunt up the hill to the gym, and have plenty of time.

With good intentions I left the house before 5:30am, and grossly underestimated my time and the effort involved. After driving nearly 30 minutes, finding a spot at the back of the subway lot, running down the endless stairs and through the station to jump on the subway, then waiting for it to go back in service- after all that I thought I was good to go. Except I didn't actually get downtown until 6:30am, and somehow exited the station on the wrong side, leaving me further from the gym than I expected to be. Then, I had to trudge up the hill, in the predawn dark (with all sorts of unsavory characters skulking around) with my purse and a backpack that I swear someone must have hidden rocks in. By the time I got my sweaty self to the gym I had 40 minutes total to workout, shower and get ready for work. Let me tell you, I'm not all that low maintenance. I quickly threw my baggage in a locker and hopped on a treadmill to watch dawn break over Bunker Hill. As the sun slowly came up over the horizon, it infused all the buildings in a soft amber light, slowly brightening as if someone were gradually adjusting a dimmer switch to the city. As I watched the sun illuminate the panorama of glass, granite and steel before me, feeling the quick burn of the treadmill, I thought to myself-

This is totally not worth it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Combo #6 Was a Big Hit Tonight

It's commonly thought that routine is good for kids. It creates stability and comfort, giving them security in knowing what to expect. We seem to be King and Queen of routine. Oh, not about naptime. Or bedtime. Or, well, most of the other "scheduled" parts of the day. Of course, weekday mornings require routine to get to work and school on time. Those kiddos now understand that when I need to go or I'll miss the bus, they had better let me go. This is less from an understanding of professional work ethic, as from a deeply rooted sense of awe of any bus, train or plane. Missing the bus is worse than time out in their eyes. Weekends include housework, playing outside, visiting with friends, they now include soccer (a whole other post!), and grocery shopping for the week. And Starbucks. However, there is often one day most weeks when making dinner just isn't feasible. Maybe the chicken expired in the fridge earlier than I expected. Maybe (hypothetically speaking of course) I got on the wrong bus and had to call Fillip to say I was all the way across the valley, and getting on another bus heading back, but please come pick me up at this alternate stop. Hypothetically, this wrong bus had the right number for those of you who might suggest reading that hypothetical sign.

So, about once every week or two we go to our favorite place. It's a little Mexican restaurant that has cheap, plentiful and delicious food. Seriously, going out to dinner is synonymous with going there. We rarely deviate because the reason we are going out to begin with always involves simplifying the evening, and therefore does not include a decision about where to go. The kids love it and rarely leave anything on their plates. They always get the kids mini-burritos usually with rice and beans. They are pretty good about trying new things, but hadn't yet ventured into another item. I had never paid attention to the fact that Fillip always orders their dinners by combo number, rather than name. Tonight was one of those nights when dinner at home wasn't the best option.

On the way over to the restaurant, before we had even discussed our dinner choice, we heard a little Logan voice say "I don't want combo #3." Maybe we need a little less routine.

Oh, and for the record, he ordered and enchilada instead of his burritos, ate the whole thing, and the enchilada from Fillip's plate. Hayden downed both burritos as quickly as any industrial vacuum. That's what we like about our routine.