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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
Mominator
by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal

Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I would like to tell you about going to the gym with my boys Ė David, who is fifteen and Andy who is ten. I say that I would like to tell you about it, but I donít know if I am physically capable of it. At the moment I have a pencil clamped between my teeth and I am typing by gently bobbing my head over the key board. Odd, I know, but every muscle in my body is screaming in protest. Did you know that you use butt muscles to type? Oh, ow, yeah. Especially on the letters "y" and "h." Whoídve thunk? We started working out again this week after a brief (ten month) hiatus. We did really great last summer, going to the health club two or three times every single week. Then school started and . . . well, you know how it goes.

Last summer Andy worked out with the staff at the gym. David liked the free weights and the girls and I worked together. We each got on a tread mill and would stroll along flipping through Cosmo and chatting. We used the weight machines, swam, and spent lots of time in the whirlpool and the steam room. But this summer the girls are off blossoming into young adults and Iím left to work out with the boys.

The first day they started me off easy, "Because of your age problem, Mom." Two miles on the bike, then the stair thing until my knees dissolved. Then they rolled me over to the weight machines. I argued for "light weight, frequent reps" pointing out helpfully to them that I was at very high risk for osteoporosis since they had nearly sucked the life out of me during my pregnancies, but they were having none of that. "Mom, my shoes weigh more than that. Push it a little, why doncha!" First they put me on the Screaming Eagle Leg Blaster. They had to adjust the seat for me because that pin is really hard to pull out. I could barely keep track of where I was because I found the guffawing distracting. And they are such sticklers! "Mom, listen to yourself! Eighty-nine does not come after twelve!" The rest of the session is kind of a blur of agony for me. I think I greyed out. I am fairly sure at least one of those machines they put me on was adapted from some manhood ritual somewhere, although I donít see any evidence of needles being bored through my pects. After the weight machines they tried to get back at me for all the injustices I had perpetrated on them in their young lives by sticking me in the racquetball court and proceeding to bombard me with a little blue ball. I won though, because they kept losing their footing in the big puddles of perspiration I left when stationary. Ha!

I was thrumming like a high tension line in a windstorm and I thought we were done after they got mad when I tried to hide that nasty little ball in the back of my shorts. But no. I thought when we headed downstairs we were heading for the locker rooms. But no, again. The basketball courts are downstairs. When I was a kid, we played "Horse." You know, you shoot until you get a basket and thatís an "H" and then each subsequent basket is the next letter until you have spelled "horse" and then you go have some Oreos and red Kool-Aid. We played "Wimpy." I think they made it up. You had to shoot for each letter, just like in Horse, but then they said the loser had to run around the basketball court with the ball under their shirt quacking like a duck. I lost, but I didnít have to do the quacking part. I just casually asked them how many times they wanted liver and onions for supper in the coming week, and they decided it was time to go swimming. I might be out of shape, but Iím no fool and I do the cooking. I just reminded them of what they already knew.

I think itís great that my boys are interested in getting fit, and I thought it would be a good way for us to bond, something we could do together that didnít involve any cleaning products. But once again I was wrong. Itís O.K. though, Iíll still go to the health club with them. But next time Iím taking Grandma Beth with me and the boys can just fend for themselves. Grandma Beth knows how important a nice steam is, and she wonít make me cry.
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" - June 1, 2005 Column
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