Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hotel Stories: Larger than life

When someone tells you that you are larger than life, you hope they mean you live boldly and embrace life. In my case, I imagine they are thinking more in terms of blimps, tent-sized clothing, and less than self-control during table experiences.

Actually, it's the hotel living at fault. I mean, I have already told you that eating out and cooking are a problem. But it is worse than that. I think it might be change of climate, not selling our house, not having a permanent headquarters for life, or any one of those. Someone told me that moving is one of the high stressors of our life--on a scale with things like divorce and death.

I tried to tell myself I am not stressed. I like hotels. But, my body seems to disagree. In any case, I have literally gained 10 pounds. That is not the direction I was heading. I was thinking more like The Big Loser--except, I meant the weight, NOT the description of my status. Oh my.

So, I decided that I cannot really wait to begin a regular exercise program. Somehow, I foolishly thought I would put off the heavy-duty exercise program until we got into a house. That was when I was under the illusion that such an event would occur sometime before 2019. Since it has been a year in the hotel by the end of May, 2009, I have clearly concluded that exercise is a must, not an option--and, of course, for more reasons than weight loss. I need to maintain some sort of routine, some attempt at health, and to unload some of this stress I must have, whether I "feel" it or not.

My first order of affairs was to buy one of those exercise balls. My large one is in IL, so I bought a smaller one. It came with a video, and I thought that would help. It is still in the box on top of the pile of DVD's and CD's. But, I will get to it, as soon as I get Jay to inflate it.

Next, I put on my list to bring my stretch bands from IL, and I now find myself happily stretching and pulling in various directions, at various lengths, in the hope that one day my upper body strength will magically appear. I will keep you posted on how I'm doing with that.

The front desk informed me one day that as a resident of the hotel, I was permitted to use Gold's Gym as a guest. This was good news. I made it the two miles to the gym about a month later, and sure enough, I was allowed to use the gym. What the front desk did not know, was that I would only be permitted to do this if I were an occasional guest--not a permanent resident. They did allow me to use the gym for the entire week, and i had some interesting adventures on the day I began. The woman on the treadmill next to me worked at the local prison as a guard, and we had a great chat as we did our miles on the machines. The next time I tried to do the gym, it was dark out when I finished my exercise, and it was raining. I do not drive at night, and i definitely don't do rainy night. My return trip to the hotel was fraught with me holding up lines of honking traffic, and this was so shattering, I lost my motivation to return during the rain-snow season--which is every season. I determined to find another solution.

I did hear a rumor that some of the carpenters on-site at the hotel were there to build an exercise room. Haven't heard another word about that in the six months since the rumor started, so I have given up on that one too.

After becoming a dedicated Macbook Pro user, I discovered this amazing thing called Garage Band. Once I figured out how to play the pre-recorded background music bits, I was delighted to find that the Latin beat was the perfect background for moving around our one room and stopping at the mirror to do The Twist, or whatever other dance steps I can remember that go well with Latin. The microwave timer allows me to continue the dance for many minutes (usually 17), when I switch to the stretch bands for the final 8 minutes of repetitions, which I am more in the mood for after dancing to Latin music for 17 minutes.

I also walk. I was doing laps around the hotel, but was discouraged that I didn't know how many laps it would take to do the two miles I was aiming for, at first, and three eventually. So one night, I had Jay drive me around the hotel, to clock how many rounds were needed to do a mile. This particular night, Guru, one of the hotel guests from India, was out by the dumpster, smoking. Guru, a wonderful name for a computer nerd from India, is about 31, and here for a short software engineering project. We had gotten to know him on the occasions we had breakfast at the Gate House.

Anyway, this evening, as we circled the first time, Guru waved, glad to see us on an evening, I am sure. On our second round, Guru timidly waved again. By the third time, he had developed a strange look, and didn't wave. Round number four produced such a look of bewilderment that we stopped a moment and rolled down my window.

Guru asked if we were having problems finding a parking place--even though he knew that was a foolish question, since there were many on all sides of the complex. We, of course, said no, and that we were circling to count how many laps I had to make to walk two miles. With that, Guru broke into gales of laughter, slapping his thigh, and proclaiming, "Oh, that is a good one, that is a good one." I was glad to bring such joy to his dismal hotel evening, which was obvious if smoking at the dumpster was his idea of a good time.

Since that evening, I have faithfully walked my 3 3/4 laps for one mile, and have often accomplished 7 and a half for the two. At first I tried using my new headphones and listening to my 6 gigs of music on my IPod Nano. But the headphones are heavy, and the lighter ones fall out of my ear and distract me. I do miss the Latin music a little, but I am sure there will be rainy days when I will need it. I have decided this walking time should be for prayer, and I really love the time to concentrate on praise, thanksgiving, interceding for others, and asking for various things on my heart.

But, I was getting a little humdrum about it all, and just as I was wishing for some variety, Jay came in one evening from work and announced that we can both use the company health center to exercise with equipment. I can't believe it. I can even hire a personal trainer--which my children all think I should do. The only holdup is getting the forms filled out and getting the required physicals involved. This is more complicated than it sounds, since finding health care providers was not yet at the top of my list. Well, now it is. So, all I have to do now is decide: 1) what town to find providers in when we do not know where we will be living, 2) whether to enroll in Medicare before my birthday, which will be this summer or try to continue on our HSA plan if possible, 3) get appointments made after 4PM for Jay and anytime for me. Then, since the company health center rules say I, a guest, must be accompanied by an employee (who I imagine should be Jay), I simply have to convince my husband that we NEED to do this THREE times a WEEK. That, my friends, will not be easy. Will keep you posted on that also.

So, there we have it: exercise, hotel style. I welcome your suggestions and comments. After all, if you follow this journey, we are in this together,

TTFN (Winnie)