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Archive for the ‘aging’ Category

Parenting 102

In aging on August 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm

It’s easy to take parenting for granted when you’ve been doing it for awhile. Somehow, the trepidation I felt about parenting when that little head first came out of my wife’s vagina 11 years ago has disappeared, ya know? I’m a dad, most of my friends are now parents, blahblahblah. It’s a skill that becomes rote. Or easy to fake.

Until the fall. My boys are starting 3rd and 6th grades this fall, and they’re going to different schools for the first time. Today, in a rare moment of reflection and understanding, I looked around and realized the effort it truly takes to be a parent to two young men. It is a lot of work! That sounds cliche, certainly, but consider the following task items that are pertinent to this discussion:

– Doctor visits.
– Immunizations.
– School registrations.
– School uniforms.
– Coordinating carpools – yes, my oldest son is going to a charter school not in my neighborhood. More about that some other time.
– Buying school supplies for each kid. Have you seen a list of required school supplies these days? It’s like you’re trying to open your very own Costco!
– Getting said Costcos to each school on the first day.
– Meeting each teacher to make sure they’re good. I’m the type of parent who always has his finger on the eject button until I know my kids have good teachers. You hear that, my public schools? Don’t fuck with me because I will go private! To their credit, I have not had to push the button ever. And I’m a believer in having some blinders on. Our elementary school had some admin drama last year, but as long as my kids have good teachers, I’m happy. Is that bad? Who has time for drama, anyway?
– And finally, figuring out what times and dates my kids need to be at school. No easy task, let me tell you. I take the school schedule and put it into my google calendar each year, because I swear the kids have random days off every other week. “Teacher training days” or some such bullcrap. Ah well, they do what they do. I don’t know how kids with two full time working parents do it, though. I’d lose my job if I had to take that many days off…..good thing my boss now is so understanding.

That’s a lot of responsibility. And for a moment, while i was reflecting on that responsibility, I was very proud to be a Dad. Then the kids started fighting and the spell was broken.

Hey, good lookin’

In aging on January 12, 2009 at 6:23 pm

personal-trainer

Mrs. C and I were at a holiday party over the, yes, holidays, at some friends’ house. It truly was a nice party; good food, good cheer, good drinks. And let me preface this by saying that my wife is gorgeous. Sure, I could be just saying that, but people tell me that. A lot. Some of them in an admiring, “She’s really good looking” sort of way, but many of them in a “How did you convince such a creature to come live in your lair, Jeff?” sort of way. At least that’s how it sounds in my sarcasm-bleached brain. Anyway, so we’re at this party and a woman comes up to Mrs. C. and starts recounting a previous Girls Night Out event that they had both gone to. And this woman says, “I asked Mrs. C, ‘are you the one with the good looking husband,’ and she said ‘yes,’ and here you are!”

Maybe that’s standard stuff when people have been at a party. But when you’ve been living under the shadow of a Goddess for 13 years and you’re using to eating table scraps of compliments while she gorges herself on “Damnyouradeliciouslookingwoman Steak” at every meal, this kind of thing doesn’t happen often. So I was caught a little off guard. And then once I recovered from my initial shock, I thought I’d better write a blog post. Because while I don’t necessarily think I’m Pierce Brosnan just yet, I know I have been undergoing some changes. And people have been noticing. To whit:

A year ago I went to get a physical. Mostly because I’m getting a little older and I want to make sure there aren’t things going on I should know about. Well, as it turns out, there are. Before we get to that, though, let me recount the funniest bit of the physical. When it came time to get the prostate exam, my doc said, “It’s really your choice if you want to get this done. You’re still young enough that it’s a choice.” To which I replied, “Let’s do it. I have little kids and I want to see them graduate from college.” So my doc bent me over and stuck his finger up my ass, all in the name of me seeing my kids graduate from college. Then he says, “Pleased to meet you.” To which I replied, “I was really hoping you’d buy my dinner first.”

Anyway, my prostate was fine, but my blood pressure and cholesterol were both a little high….not that he needed his finger up my ass to tell me those things. So my doctor said I could start taking drugs for these issues if I wanted to. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of being medicated unless it’s totally necessary. And I’m a big believer in making your own destiny or choosing to try to do so, anyway. So I told doc, “I’ll take care of this.” And I joined a gym. And I signed up with a personal trainer. ‘Cuz that’s how I like to approach things: Find a problem, solve it. Or at least make your body hurt while attempting to solve it.

And hurt it has. My trainer, Tiffany, is an athletic 20-something year old who tried out for American Gladiators….but, more importantly, she puts up with me. For when my first visit with Tiffany involved “pushups,” I just laughed. “Pushups? You’re funny. I haven’t done a pushup since 6th grade.” And seriously, I hadn’t. I had lived most of my life as a stand-in for the Pillsbury Dough Boy. But, because my doc had pointed out a problem, I was there to solve it. So pushups it was. Or, as I told Tiffany, “Pushups? You mean pushUP. There will be only one. In fact, there MIGHT be only one. You’ll be lucky to see one out of me.” And one it was. A year ago I could do one pushup. And a year ago Tiffany and I embarked on this relationship that has changed things for me: 20 something buff personal trainer with a sense of humor and 44 year old sarcastic guy. I complain about everything. Tiffany: “Okay, now you’re going to do 25 jumping lunges.” Jeff: “No, now I’m going to get a cup of coffee and watch YOU do 25 jumping lunges.” Yet, somehow, it’s always me doing the jumping lunges. A personal trainer sort of has that influence over you. I guess in that way, she’s like my Obi-Wan. And I’m her Anakin. Which means I might grow up to join the Dark Side….or have I already joined the Dark Side? Is working out at the gym constantly and being addicted to working out at the gym constantly a sign that you’ve joined the Dark Side?

It’s not like I wasn’t in halfway decent shape – I have been playing hockey for years. But, as you quickly come to find out when you meet with a personal trainer, it’s not enough to skate your ass off once a week. No, Tiffany took my measurements at our first visit and mine fell under “Dough-ey.” I didn’t even know that was a category, but when she tickled my tummy I giggled. Pillsbury Dough Boy joke, anybody? Anyway, at first I was “unhealthy” or “slightly out of shape” or “rotund” or something. But as I continued to meet with her and try out all these exercises I’d never done (“Pullups!!!???”), I noticed that all these little areas of fat on my body started to disappear. And as Tiffany took my measurements semi-regularly, we noticed the numbers started to improve quite a bit. Body fat down 8%, waist shrinking, clothes starting to be too big, more than one pushup….and, more importantly, people started noticing. I walked into a different party in December and saw people I haven’t seen in a couple of years and they thought I was Matthew McConaughey. Okay, so it’s not that extreme – there’s still some belly fat and I still can’t do pullups for shit – but I’m honestly quite happy with the results. I can now do 35 pushups (over 3 sets) and if you would have told me that at the tender young age of 44 I’d be able to play hockey once a week AND get my ass kicked by a future member of American Gladiators once or twice a week AND run a couple of miles once or twice a week, I’d tell you to give me some of what you were smoking.

I haven’t been back to the doctor to get my vitals checked or to make him buy me dinner. But I can tell you I’ve been sleeping better, I skate faster, and my XL shirts are like muumuus on me now, so I’ve switched to L shirts. And I really have Obi Wan…ur, Tiffany to thank for it. Well, and myself, for putting in the time. But if anybody needs a personal trainer recommendation, I’ve got one for you. And you won’t even need your light saber. But be prepared to be humbled by measurements. And then astonished at results.

A Tale of Two Weekends

In aging on December 22, 2008 at 6:09 pm

black-crowes-pic1caviar_in_jar2

Such is December:

 

Last weekend I found myself at the Black Crowes show at the Fillmore, here in Denver, with some friends.  Great show (I love the Crowes, so my bias will show through), great night.  Naturally we went out drinking beforehand at the Uptown Tavern, where they were having happy hour, so I ordered two rounds of vodka for every round I really needed.  Which is to say I was probably mildly intoxicated.  Hard to believe.  Then, by the time the Crowes took the stage, you could barely see the stage through the haze in the Fillmore.  Which is to say people in the audience were partaking of a green leafy substance which is, by one friend’s account, legal in Denver.  I’m a little hazy on that and, by the time the Crowes were finished playing two hours later, I was a little hazy on just about everything.  Which is to say I was probably legally stoned.  Hard to believe.  So, to sober up, we went back to the Uptown Tavern and had nachos and, yes, another vodka or two.  And I spent Sunday on the couch, watching football, recovering.

 

This weekend, by comparison, was positively uppity.  Friday night Mrs. C and I went to the VIP Night at the Jersey Boys Musical down at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.  It was something that one of her co-workers put together; basically somebody pays for a table of 10 and you go early, have some drinks, have a nice dinner, and go see the Jersey Boys show.  Now keep in mind that at the Black Crowes show last week, my friends and I were in the upper 5% of age in the place, I’d guess.  I mean, I’m 44.  But at the VIP Night at Jersey Boys, I’d say my wife and I were in the lower 5% of age in that place.  It was a positively older, well-heeled, gray haired crowd.  And they know how to party, albeit in a less hazy way.  Good drinks, good dinner….but the part that made me think about the dichotomy of the weekends was when the waiters were walking around with hors d’oeuvres and a guy came by with a sashimi tuna thing on a little cracker….with caviar on top.  I took one, ate it, and realized, about a half an hour later, that I had caviar stuck between my teeth. 

 

One weekend I’m getting stoned second hand and listening to the best damned rock and roll band in the world with 3,000 of what, that night, were my closest friends, the next weekend I was dressed to the nines with caviar stuck between my teeth, hanging out with wealthy gray hairs and watching a musical about Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons.  Yes, my friends, this is the dichotomy of being 44 years old and straddling youth and middle age.