First let me apologize for the length of these last few blogs. I'll make them a little more to the point from now on.
Anyway, today I'd like to talk about exercising. My doctor tells me I need to get on the treadmill 3-4 times a week and really work out my heart. He says, "It's a muscle, you need to work it out." So I go to the recreation center and walk whenever I can. Because of my heart condition, I can't lift weights for fear of damaging my already weak heart, but I do get on the treadmill at a pretty brisk clip.
I noticed the rec center really picked up in activity in January. I guess it's all those "New Years Resolution" people jumping into action. I also noticed that I was..."Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?"...that's right, I was the only Dad there, or at least the only Dad in my age group! There were some younger kids, who must have been in their early twenties, working out on the free weights across from where the treadmills are, but they must work nights or something. Then there were the retired folks, and let me tell you, there were a lot of them! Let's see, who else was there? Oh yes, the women-folk were well represented - all between the ages of 30 and 90. Let me tell you, the years of watching Oprah and eating Bon Bons had certainly taken their toll on some.
But there I stood, in the middle of the exercise room, which is full of various pieces of exercise equipment. I stuck out like a ZZ Top fan who had just entered a Snoop Dog concert, it was a little uncomfortable. Everyone had their Ladies Home Journal or Octogenarian Weekly magazines all proudly displayed while they did their elliptical, stair-master or whatever. To be frank with you, I just felt like going home and punching a hole in my front room's wall. That way, I would have an excuse to buy some drywall at The Home Depot. At least then, I'd be in a more comfortable environment. I could pretend I had some big project to finish before the boss came by to hassle me. I could even swing by the house on my way there, change into a heavy flannel shirt and pick up my tape measure and latch it to my jeans. Then I'd really be accepted.
As much joy as that would have brought me, I decided to stay there. So I put on the i-POD, stretched out and waited for a treadmill to open up. One finally came available so I started my workout. Thirty minutes later, I stepped off feeling pretty good about what I'd accomplished. So I wiped down the equipment and walked out of the rec center toward the parking lot. I reached for my keys and found my ride home. I unlocked the door and stepped into my mini-van. Yes, the vehicle that screams masculinity. Feeling a little defeated now, I drove off forgetting about drywall and my trip to the home improvement store. After all, it was almost time to pick up the kids from school.
I got to their school and picked them up and they were actually excited to see me. They couldn't wait to tell me all the cool stuff that happened at school that day. From that point on, I didn't think about the rec center or who was or wasn't there. I guess a real Dad doesn't have the luxury of letting his pride get in the way of what's really important, and you know, I think I'm good with that.