A few months ago I did something very clichéd – I joined a health club. OK, go ahead and laugh; Mr. S certainly did. In fact he couldn’t stop guffawing once he heard what I’d done. Little Miss Copycat then joined in and proceeded to roll around on the living room floor in an exaggerated fashion, clutching her stomach and shrieking like a banshee before suddenly sitting up and asking ‘Why are we laughing?’
Maybe it’s because the last time I rode a bicycle was at least twenty years ago when I was still a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young undergraduate. Or perhaps it is the fact that I can count on one hand – with fingers to spare – the number of times my current swimming costume (bought about nine years ago, if memory serves) has seen the light of day. And so I have to concede that maybe the family has every reason to laugh at the thought of me joining a health club as, an enthusiastic exerciser, I most definitely am not.
So, why the sudden change of heart?
I’ll let you in on a little secret – my joining the health club had nothing to do with the very real need to work on my ever-expanding wobbly bits and everything to do with the need for a little time to myself, away from my shadow, and constant companion, Miss S.
For that reason I did not even spare a second glance at the local gym two miles down the road, which seems to be a decent place, but there is no escaping the fact that the goal of its members is to exercise and get annoyingly fit and toned. It has no extra bells and whistles, just lots of toned and trim people pounding away on treadmills, getting all hot and sweaty and – God forbid – fit! As I was technically looking for a hideout – masquerading as an emporium of health and fitness – the type of equipment and exercise facilities came a poor second to all the other things necessary for quality alone-time.
And so I was given a tour of the impressive facilities. However, while the overly-enthusiastic PR person pointed out the finer points of all the wonderful state-of-the-art exercise equipment, I was taking surreptitious note of all the ‘extras’ which were vital if this was to become my new home-away-from-home. The soundproof, adults-only area was a must as I certainly did not flee the never-ending chatter of my own child just to be subjected to the screams of someone else’s little darling. While hiding out one naturally requires plenty of sustenance in the form of delicious food and mochachinos so the on-site restaurant and coffee shop got bonus points. The absence of anything chocolatey was to be deplored but I suppose one has to make sacrifices in the interests of ‘getting fit’ and besides, this was more than made up for by their to-die-for carrot cake muffins. These delicious slices came topped with cream cheese and nibbled walnuts. That should actually be ‘nibbed’ walnuts but the first time I read the product description the mush that masquerades as my brain supplanted ‘nibbed’ with ‘nibbled’ and so it has stuck. Of course, the first question that came to mind was ‘who nibbles them?’ and I amused myself for a while with a mental picture of a production line of chipmunks all nibbling away at the walnuts needed to decorate the carrot cake slices. Once I’d Googled the word I found that it actually refers to almonds (although if even the walnuts are now nibbed it appears that no nut is safe) prepared solely for decoration and shaped like old-fashioned pen nibs. Huh…
And so I took some time to appreciate all the effort that had gone into preparing the decoration for my carrot cake muffin although I have to admit that whoever is being paid to nib (can the word be used as a verb?) the nuts is not earning their wage. There were no pen-nib shapes that I could see; the whole thing was more like an ink blot test and so I didn’t feel too bad about scarfing down my carrot cake muffin and crunching happily on my nibbed nuts.
So there I was, all set to enjoy thrice-weekly sessions of ‘me time’ in quality surroundings when my plans for a few hours of peace were blown out of the water. You see, the family decided they would join me in my endeavours to ‘get fit’. Various appropriate homilies spring to mind; you are probably thinking ‘the family that plays together, stays together’, right? I’m thinking more along the lines of ‘your sins will always find you out’… As a result Mr. S now plays tennis four times a week while Miss S has been signed up for weekly tennis lessons.
And me? Well, the thrice-weekly sessions of ‘me time’ in the company of a mochachino, some carrot cake and a good book have been replaced with thrice-weekly sessions in the gym (and no, that is no longer a euphemism) while Mr. and Miss S play tennis together (aka father-daughter bonding time). This is followed by a delicious supper at the health club restaurant, which I didn’t have to cook. It also provided me with the perfect excuse to indulge in a little retail therapy as I could not expose the members of the health club to my outdated swimming costume and therefore I am now the proud owner of a chic navy swimsuit. But the real plus is that I have convinced Mr. S to take Miss S to her tennis lessons, complete with breakfast at the health club restaurant (aka more father-daughter bonding time), and so I get two whole hours of ‘me time’ every Saturday morning in the quality surroundings of my own home.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together 😉