Gym – Don’t Make Me Go!

I hate going to the gym. That might be a little too strong, but I detest it. Detest might still be a little strong. I just plain don’t like it. It’s not that I think I shouldn’t exercise but I’d rather exercise at home. First, I don’t like that you have to get dressed, whereas I can wear my pajamas when working out at home, and when I’m really pumped I put on my compression pants and take the 10 or so steps into the little den that I turned into my exercise room. The idea of putting on clothes that match and looking good to go to the gym is mind boggling to me. Why can’t you just throw on whatever you have? But nooo… you have to plan an outfit, sometimes the night before. The gym becomes another “getting ready for work” task. How many of you shower before going to the gym? Well, my spouse takes a full shower with perfume. I find that to be ridiculous to go to the gym to get sweaty and you have to shower when you get home. I say that every time she goes to shower before the gym. I just wash the parts of my body that smell and I’m done with it. I don’t like having to leave my house early in the morning to beat the early morning crowd of people exercising before they go to work. I have joined many gyms in my lifetime, and when I walk in, there’s always someone (usually a woman) that’s made up with mascara, lipstick, and false eyelashes, whose hair looks like she just left the hairdresser. I wonder, if she looks like that to come to the gym, what does she look like going to work? That’s too much work for the gym. When I get past the fashion show at the gym, I trudge myself over to the treadmill, and about 10 minutes into my 30-minute routine, I feel somebody on the next machine taking sideways glances at the stats on my machine. I guess that’s why people put a towel over the part of the machine that shows your stats. When seeing your stats doesn’t work, the person on either side then tries to speed up their routine as if we were in a race. My spouse likes that secret competition with the person next to her. I like being home where it’s me; only me. Have you ever noticed that gyms keep their windows extra clean for the outside world to look in. You do realize that’s free advertising for them, letting people look at you pouring your heart out on the cardio machines. Then there’s women and men exercising in the same facility at the same time. I sometimes wonder, is it a place to get fit or is it a place to be social and meet your next significant other? I like being alone. Even when I wasn’t married, I still preferred being alone. I could not wrap my head that the gym as a place to meet my next date. The next thing I hate about the gym is because when people finish on a machine, how many of them actually wipe them down properly or at all? Most gyms have towels and solution to wipe down the machines readily available, but some people are in such a rush to get to the next exercise that forget about hygiene. Yuck! At least I know that at home it’s only my spouse and me using the equipment. These days, with all kinds of diseases, why can’t people be more responsible? When a person leaves a machine and doesn’t wipe it down, that means I can’t just continue my workout on the next machine, I have to wipe down the machine I’m using, plus the machine they used. Then the space allowed to workout in is usually so small because they have tried to cram every machine that they can into the gym that there’s nowhere to walk. I know that most gyms have a room for group exercising but then you have to find out when there won’t be a class so you can use the room. Now it’s no longer your schedule but theirs. Unless you are taking a class, you can do most exercises from home. There’s Peloton, which is cycling, and my favorite cycling is Virzoom, which allows you to play games or ride through different countries. When I exercise with Virzoom I enjoy cycling through Africa or somewhere in Paris. It makes the time fly by. Virzoom also has games. I really like the tank shooting games. I have weights and use Stealth, which is another piece of equipment that allows you to play games while you plank. I just bought a Dribble Up medicine ball. There’s an app that goes with the ball and you get timed exercises. The object is to stand about 6 feet from your phone screen and follow the trainer who shows you how to do each exercise. When you have the routine, then you move the ball to hit each circle using the form the trainer gave you. Have I spent a lot of money for exercise equipment, whereas I can go to the gym for $10.00 a month? Nope; I don’t think so, because my equipment will last longer because it’s only me using it. I don’t have to wait for a machine when it’s rush hour at the gym. I can just ease on down the hall 10 steps to a clean machine with no waiting line. I have now put it out there why I hate the gym. I only go when my spouse insists that I go with her. Why? I don’t know, maybe I’m so slow that I make her look good. Bravo to her, but please don’t make go with you to the gym!

Have you ever wondered what if this or that? Of course you have. It is our nature to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. Let’s play the what if game for a minute… If you’re married, and there’s trouble in paradise, you start to wonder, ‘What if I wasn’t married?’ and if you’re single, you think, ‘What if I’m was married?’ When you look at being married or single you believe the grass is greener on the other side, but is it? I said what if in both scenarios and find that it’s what you make it. Really, married or single, you should think about yourself and what will make you happy, or at least content. Some people say contentment is settling, but what is settling but being comfortable? There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. It feels good like an old bathrobe that you snuggle into and wrap yourself in. It feels good. Here’s another: ‘What if I was rich? I could move, pay off my bills and travel the world.’ Again, poor people want to be rich, but you never hear of rich people wanting to be poor. Why is that? I actually don’t understand that because generations ago people lived simply. It was not richness they wanted, but freedom and rights for themselves. You do realize that rich people have problems and their biggest problem is staying rich. Their problems are usually more expensive and can sometimes be the source of embarrassment when they’re played out in the media. When I say poor, I am looking at society on two levels: rich and poor. There’s no middle class. Again, what’s wrong with settling, being comfortable, like old slippers that are raggedy but when you stick your feet it’s soothing? You need to just be able to take care of you and yours; nothing else is needed. You appreciate what you have more when there’s some effort in getting it. When you want to go on vacation and you’re poor, you scrimp and save. If you’re rich, you take it for granted because you can go on vacation anytime. I prefer to savor my vacation by saving. One more what if is children. Now, this is a big one. A person I worked with wanted children very badly. She wanted her own, not adoption or any other method. I had a daughter and though my daughter was a good girl. I still sometimes wondered ‘What if?’ in moments when she wasn’t so good. When I compare myself and my friend, I realize that everyone wasn’t meant to have children. There are the obvious ones that shouldn’t have children, which we read about every day in the newspaper. I am not going the religious route, but when I sit here and think about it, there is no real answer to the question “What if I had or didn’t have children?” because this is God’s choice for women. What if I didn’t have my daughter? Then I would not have the ability to shape another life that could benefit the world we live in in some kind of way. I wouldn’t have a life to wrap my arms around; someone that’s a part of me. My friend still wonders what if she did have children, and to her, a part of her is missing. I do feel for her, but that was God’s plan; his roadmap for her life. She could have stopped for gas on the road and adopted, or used another method to have a child, but she stayed with God’s plan. There is no point in asking what if the plan was made. The point of all this is to stop the what ifs. If you’re comfortable single, married, money, no money, have children, or have no children – just be thankful. It is all right to settle. It’s all right to be comfortable. It’s all right to snuggle into you. I’ve learned this as the years have gone by – to just get my old robe and my raggedy slippers and be okay with that.

A Grandmothers Dilemma

This is my dilemma: I have three grandsons; the oldest is 16, soon to be 17, and it seems the relationship I had with him has faded. How many of you find that as your grandchildren have gotten older there seems to be a disconnect?
Every generation strives to be better parents and grandparents to the new generation. It is not easy. I grew up in the age when being outside was the thing to do. You met your friends and went to the club and danced the night away. Now, with cell phones and video games, there’s an isolation that seems to be happening. While some still go to the club when they are of age, just as many are content to stay in front of a video game or have their face in the small screen of a cell phone. I can see that happening with my grandson. The oldest has very few friends. I mean the kind that you meet in early grades and you stick together through college and beyond. He has what I’d call acquaintances; people you meet haphazardly in school. He seems content being in his room and only going out for meals and occasional interactions with his brothers. The point is, we have just about the same amount of kids staying in and being isolated as going out and being sociable. As a grandparent, I want to help, so I ask: “What are you interested in?” The reply is usually, “Nothing,” and that’s the end of our conversation. I can tell by the silence on the other end of the phone that he wants to be anyplace but on the phone with me. This is the same kid who, just a few years ago, was drawing and talking with some ambition. Where did he go? I speak to my daughter, but as a grandparent, I have to be diplomatic in my approach. I mean, I try to be tactful by first saying what a great mom she is, which is true, she’s a parent that I never was. I then proceed to ask about each of my grandsons’ wellbeing and finding out what they are up to. I don’t want to target just him. That might not go over well. I then say how I feel that he is unmotivated and has no interest in anything.; silence is what I get. That’s the end of the conversation. I went online to find classes for him for the summer, since he applied too late to be considered for a job. He applied in June and all of the summer jobs for kids are taken by then. I told my daughter in February to start researching for summer jobs and have him apply. I found an online program with Jam.com. They offer all kinds of online courses such as drawing, photography, animation, and more. You get a 2-week trial before having to pay for the course. I was excited. Surely something there would spark something. He did the two-week trial drawing, but he wasn’t interested in the full course. What can I do now? I guess what upsets me is when he needs $200.00 sneakers, his parents can’t afford, he becomes the sweet kid I used to know. I’m a grandparent, not his parents, so what I say is I wouldn’t say dismissed, but not given the full consideration that I might know what I’m talking about. Maybe I’m so removed from his generation that I don’t fully understand about communication with his generation.
I will tell you one thing: I’m a grandparent and love all of my grandsons. I will continue to put myself out there, knowing that sometimes his distance will hurt, but hoping one day he will become that same kid that I was close to as an adult.

Retirement and Dogs Part 20

I hope you have read the previous 19 blogs, because then you have an idea that there is something wrong with this dog. If you haven’t read any of the previous blogs, take a minute so you can understand why I say he’s a handful. I want to share with you how K, GG and myself deal with Mason.

I will start with K, because he pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning. K was not a dog person at all, until I convinced her that GG needed company. I let her pick the dog, so she would feel a closeness to him/her. Mason was laying in a corner by himself while his siblings were all playing together. That should have told her something, but with her being a novice of dogs, and me not wanting to interfere, I didn’t say anything. Mason was sort of cute with his cross-eyes and fuzziness. K’s love for Mason didn’t come easy.

She wanted him out when he pooped on the floor and peed on the couch. We argued. She wanted him out when he barked all night. We argued. She wanted him out when he had anxiety and would run all over the house like every room was his bathroom. We argued. She wanted him out when he embarrassed her and got put out of Pet Smart dog training. We argued. She wanted him out when she had to spend money to buy 3 couches, a crate, and French doors to block into the kitchen and dog gates. We argued. I know you’re wondering how it is that he’s still here. He is still here because she went to Afghanistan and I knew Mason would bark whenever someone came near the house. That is the reason, and the only reason, he is still here. Mason is now 7 years old, and 2,555 days later, he’s finally got it.

K has come to love him and find him adorable. The biggest problem now is her begging and pleading with him to move over since he gradually weaseled his way up to the head of the bed so he can share her pillow. There is also the fact that he ignores us when we talk to him. We call his name, and he looks at you and turns his head. We can call him again and again and he will just ignore us. The only way to get him to respond is clapping your hands or making some kind of noise. Mason still stares at walls, which is a little strange to me. He stares at walls now even when the sun his shining. He is a dog that loves sunshine and warm weather. If it rains, thunders, lightening or snows his anxiety starts and he’s off into doggy mind land. The main thing is that, after all the arguments, money spent, begging and pleading, she loves him now. It was rough getting to this point, but we made it.

GG couldn’t stand Mason when we first brought him home. She would give me the evil eye if I touched him. When Mason came into a room she’d leave the room. GG would just look at K and I when we argued as if to say “You brought him here. I didn’t ask for him.” I think, after trying to get her to be motherly to him, Mason gave up and started trying to get her put out. Why do I say that? He’d go and hit her and steal her food and play with her toys. He’d hide milk bones and still does. Mason would do things and then sit innocently while we tried and figure out who did what. At night, going upstairs, GG would push him down the stairs and keep going into the bedroom. It was funny, but not so funny that we didn’t realize he could break a leg and cost us more money. It took her at least 5 of the 7 years to get used to him being here. She does her matador shuffle when she’s tired of him bothering her. The matador shuffle is her moving each of her paws like a matador in a bull-fighting ring. When she does that it’s on, and Mason better watch out. Mason still thinks he should be first, but I show GG love first. I can’t say that she loves him, but she tolerates him. I feel that one of Mason’s main jobs now is to keep GG moving. She’s 17 years old and I feel that he keeps her running and jumping.

I deal with Mason very incognito, because showing him too much attention in front of GG gets me the evil eye. He’s older and more settled into how he should behave. Mason is not a normal dog, and we know it, but he’s our abnormal big pawed Shih Tzu. I’ll surprise you with the next blog. Be safe.

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Retirement and Dogs Part 19

I sometimes wonder if Mason thinks he is a human because he stands on his hind legs a lot. He is the only male with three women and there are times when he thinks it’s all about him. A example is when it’s hot he lays in front of the fan thinking of only his comfort. He pushes GG out the way when they come in from outside because he wants to be first in. It’s all about him. Then when he has weather anxiety if we want peace we had better all get in the bed while he’s going through his episode. I’m counting GG with K and I because she is a female. Mason ways definitely remind me of some of the men I know. These men have limited consideration and a me first attitude. Here are more reasons where I can compare him to some men. He likes to sleep on a pillow next to one of us, but it doesn’t stop there he has to stretch out. I mean stretch out like you have no room to lay flat. You have to lay in your side. I can here K some nights pleading with him to move over. He wants to be in charge of GG, like he wants her to chase him, and when their food is put down, he likes to eat it first, and leave GG only what he doesn’t want. When GG happens to eat first, or he decides he wants more after she starts eating, he tries to sneak up behind her to snatch her food. K and I watch as he saunters behind our chair to come up behind her. It is funny because he actually thinks he’s doing something. We can dress him in different outfits and he doesn’t mind, but GG? She’s not having it. She somehow gets the clothes off, or she will just lie there like a lump of clay. One day, while K was in Afghanistan, Mason got out while I was looking in the mailbox. I had on my pajamas because it was a lazy day for me. A UPS truck drove by the house and Mason took off behind it. The UPS truck made a left turn and Mason was on the truck’s tail. I’m running down the street in my pajamas and slippers yelling, “Mason!” Of course, he didn’t stop. I haven’t run in years, but I knew as much of a headache as he is, I couldn’t explain Mason getting out and chasing the UPS truck, and me not running after him. I ran out of gas chasing him for a block and a half. Okay it wasn’t far, but to me at that time it was like a marathon. There were people out looking at me running down the street like a crazy person, however, when they realized it was Mason I was chasing, they understood. You see, Mason has gotten out before, but instead of me, it was K who was in her pajamas falling all over the yard out front trying to catch him. He’d let her get close, and then take off in the other direction. She had slippers on so when he would cut to the opposite direction and she tried to catch him, she’d fall on her butt. It was funny, but now that it was me being embarrassed , it was no longer funny. Our whole neighborhood knows of Mason because he is so loud that they can’t help but notice him. The other reason they know Mason is because when one of us is walking them, he is usually pulling us down the street while he tries to get after a squirrel. The particular day I was looking like an idiot running down the street ended when the UPS truck stopped and Mason stopped running. I think he realized he was not at his home because he was looking all around. When I finally got to Mason and picked him up, he was shaking. I guess he was scared. I didn’t care that he was scared because here I was in the street in my pajamas. I know he didn’t understand, but I used a few choice words on him from the time I picked him up until we got home. I tell you, Mason is going to get us killed. GG is nothing like him. If she was, I’d be crazy. I mean, she did have her moments, like wanting to play all the time until I’d have to go sit in my car to have some peace of mind. She has more sense than Mason, and she doesn’t follow him when he’s up to his antics. There is an opening where the gate and the gate door come together. Mason will go out the opening and run around to the front door and bang on the door. GG just stands there. What we used to do when he got was to open one of the car doors, and he’d jump in thinking he was going for a ride. When we brought him back, GG would be standing at the door, and as soon as Mason was put down, she’d jump on him. I guess she was trying to tell him something, but it took a long time for him to learn. Mason is older now, and the only thing that has changed is he no longer runs all over the place. He just goes to the tree out front, and then comes to the front door and bangs. I have stated this before just like a boy takes a little longer to catch on to things so true it is for boy dog too. I was supposed to blog about how each of us deals with Mason, but he ran out the back and came around to the front today, so while it was fresh on my mind, I decided to share some of his antics with each of you. Be safe.

Retirement and Dogs Part 18

GG being bad tearing up a training pad

This is as ferocious as Mason gets

I wanted to talk to you about the difference between GG and Mason. I wasn’t a dog person always and can’t say exactly how it happened. I know I don’t like cats, because to me they are sneaky animals with beady eyes. No offense to the cat-lovers, it’s just my preference. I’ve had three dogs in my lifetime and they were two different breeds: a lab and Shih Tzu. The first dog, the lab, I left when my relationship ended. GG, my first Shih Tzu, was gotten because I was lonely and needed company, and Mason, my other Shih Tzu, I got because I thought GG needed company. I’ve wondered how many people get dogs to soothe some kind of paternal emotion they have, since having a dog is like having a child that can’t talk. I have also come to realize that some dogs are more intelligent than others, and their personalities can be quite different. It has nothing to do with their breeds, but has more to do with their personalities, like people. There are book-smart people, and people who need a little more patience for them to get it. I have found with GG and Mason that there are teachable dogs, and some dogs that need waaaayyyyyy more patience than I have. GG took a weekend to learn to use a training pad, while it took Mason four years, three couches, two baby gates, a crate, and french doors before he got the message. GG is a clean freak. When she poops or her water is low, she comes over and barks like crazy until you get up and follow her to whatever needs to be taken care of. Mason couldn’t care a bit about cleaning up anything after him. GG tries to keep her food on her mat, while Mason will drag his food to any corner to hide it for when we can’t afford to feed him. When GG gets tired of walking, she will step down on her leash to say, “that’s it for me, take me home.” Mason wants to keep walking so he can disturb the neighbors with his barking. GG isn’t afraid of thunder, while Mason is afraid of rain, snow, thunder, and lighting. You get the picture – he only likes sunshine and warm weather. Mason is on medication because of his anxiety. I didn’t have to take GG to any pet training for her to understand commands, but Mason was taken and put out of a training class. I haven’t figured out if Mason is a protector or just figures barking should take care of everything. There have been a couple of occasions when I have been walking them, and a big dog had gotten out of his/her yard. On one of those occasions, GG started to fight with the dog, and on another occasion, she just stood there hoping – like me – that someone would come get this dog. On both occasions, Mason just stood and barked, no protection whatsoever. I am not saying GG doesn’t have bad habits, because she does like tearing up training pads when she doesn’t get her way. GG hardly barked before Mason came – it was like she discovered that barking gets attention. I do know that she got all her bad habits as a result of Mason. I kept Mason because his barking gave me a sense of security while K was in Afghanistan. Mason does have his good points, but right now I can’t think of any. Really. He did grow out of being cross eyed and can be lovable at times. The point is, just like kids, these two are as different as having a boy and girl in your house. Think about a boy and girl and how different they really are in personalities. When you compare dogs and kids, is there really that much difference? I look at my floor and there are toys all over the place from GG and Mason playing, and when my grandkids come over, my floor has this same look, except I can have my grandkids pick up after themselves. My final thought is that GG and Mason are as different as a boy and girl, and dogs are about the same as children. Want to start a conversation? Email me at anitadpowell@gmail.com. Don’t forget to checkout my other blog, uniquethings.blog, and visit our store at uniquethingsonline.com. Be safe out there. My next blog will be about my problem child Mason.

GG and Mason makes the same mess as my grandsons.