Friday, September 9, 2011

Hanging at the Gym

When you work out at a gym and attend classes frequently enough, you get to know all the “regulars” at the gym and maybe if you are dedicated enough, become one yourself. I’ve been making a real effort to get to the gym during lunchtime lately and have started to notice the regular cast of characters that seem to be on the same rotation as me. Thought I’d share my observations with you all.
• The athletic brunette in the front of the total body conditioning class. I hope she appreciates that fantastic body because the rest of the class certainly does and hates her for it. It won’t last, honey, so enjoy it while you can. No really, nice job.
• The chic with the toe-shoes in the middle of the class. We all now know that you are a belly dancer on the side. Quit shaking your butt during class, this ain’t a dance class. And those shoes are ugly.
• The blond chic that keeps pretending not to know how to do the exercise to get the instructor’s attention. Quit hogging the hot instructor, why do you think the rest of us come to the class?
• The backbenchers. Quit showing up for class early and taking up all the back space. You aren’t leaving any room for me.
• The older lady who insists on walking around the locker-room naked. Yes, you look great for your age. But please, for the love of God, put some underwear on. If I have to see you bend over one more time, I may need to poke my eyes out.
• The Russian girl who insists on wearing bright colored underwear under white clothes. You are taking “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” to a whole new low.
• The older gentleman who always sings during spinning class. You rock.
• The guy with BO in spinning class. There is a thing called deodorant. Use it
• Finally, the conditional class instructor. You are one fine specimen with a cult following, and you know it. That’s ok. You can yell at me all you want.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mosquitoes v. the World

It started innocently enough, as it always does on the chat list. A friend and neighbor asked if anyone had ever used a service by Mosquito Squad to spray and reduce mosquitoes in their backyard. As an aside, Carderock appears to be where all the mosquitoes like to hang in Bethesda -- something about all the trees, natural landscaping, and nearby creeks, makes it a natural breeding ground. And these vampire mosquitoes are early risers, sucking blood 24-7, whether you are going for a jog at 6 am or enjoying an evening walk as the sun sets. So back to the question at hand.

A few neighbors posted sympathetic responses about the mosquito woes and asked to be included in the group request for a discount. Then..... the naturalists emerged and joined the chat, a breed perhaps even more dominant than the mosquitoes in our 'hood. You know, the ones that have more than one type of compost pile, use a hand-pushed mower, and recycle like its a religion. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

50 emails or more later, the debate had been crystallized. Either you are a selfish mosquito-hater who chooses personal comfort over saving mother earth or you are a good neighbor, declining to spray pyrethoids (or something like that) in order to save all the crickets, butterflies, the Chesapeake bay, and let's face it, the world.

Some helpful suggestions for alternatives were thrown out along the way. My favorite was installing a bat house in your backyard. Apparently bats eat up to 600 bugs an hour. Great, I thought, although there is no way my kids would go in the backyard with bats flying all around them, no matter how great a reduction in the mosquitoes. Seriously, bat bite vs. mosquito bite? Not even a choice.

But the bigger question raised by this debate is when is my bizness my neighbor's bizness? The original poster did not ask to survey everyone's opinions on the safety of the service, just whether it worked or not. But the neighborhood treated it like it was up for a democratic vote, and the OP's choice could be vetoed by the naysayers. At least this time the tone of the discussion stayed somewhat friendly. But remember village, if you wouldn't feel comfortable walking over and talking to your neighbor directly about their bizness, doing it by email doesn't make it any better. At least, that's my opinion.

Now I am going to go kill me some mosquitoes the old fashioned way -- one slap at a time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ode to the Douchebags

I had the pleasure of driving home from Atlantic City on Sunday after a very relaxing weekend with my hubbie at the Water Club. Dave usually drives but I was driving home solo since he was taking the train to NYC. Maybe our lack of success at the tables colored my drive but I penned the following ode to the douchebag fellow drivers on the road, while powering home.

-- to the guy who had to swerve onto the left shoulder to avoid rear-ending me when we hit a pocket of traffic. Newsflash, if you have to drive off the road to avoid hitting me, you are a douchebag.
-- to the girl who sat in the left hand "pass lane" and matched the speed of the car in the lane next to her. Just like any escalator in the DC metro area, you stand on the right, and pass on the left. Memorize, repeat. Get out of my way, douchebag.
-- to the BMW model 335i manufacturers, who manufacturied a crappy fuel pump, so that the "engine malfunction" light popped on as I was crossing the span bridge to Philly. As I get older, my vertigo is getting more intense and I feel like I am going to drive off the bridge. The fact that the light came on as I was crossing the bridge? Thanks, douchebags.
--To the Ford Escape who sped up to block me from merging onto the highway, thanks douchebag. I really hope Ford has improved the safety records of their cars, no really.
-- to Apple for making my iPhone and giving me the option of putting my entire itunes library on shuffle so I could play "guess the artist" on the drive home, you guys are NOT douchebags.
-- to the car with the guys sticking their feet out of every window as they drove home from the beach. I am REALLY happy that you had such a relaxing weekend. That is awesome. Please, spread the love and get OUT of the FAST lane.
-- to the lady manning the toll both who rocked along to my itunes as I paid my tenth toll of the day. Rock on sister, you are NOT a douchebag.
-- to the guy in front of me who hit his brakes, causing me to swear and also avoid a speeding ticket. I love you, you are not a douchebag.

Conclusion: I could not believe how many douchebags were on the highway during my drive home from Atlantic City. Luckily, and obviously, I was not one of them.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Best Imitation of Myself

A comment by a neighbor at the pool got me thinking about this topic the other day. Earlier that day, I had posted about my triumphant return to spinning class on Facebook, and she commented to me that she didn't know how I could be so "active" and do all the things I post about on Facebook, or here on my sporadically updated blog. I responded oh, it has been forever since I went to spinning class, and shrugged embarrassed, thinking to myself heh, she has no idea what a slug I am.

Later that week, I was flipping through the photos I had posted on Facebook and it struck me. If you took these snapshots and my status updates as the sole representation of my life, you would come to the following conclusions: I am an avid skier and love to go snow tubing, we spend every weekend outside doing sporty activities, I work out every day, my children and husband are perfect, I frequently adopt dogs, and I never ever have any problems at work.

The reality is: those two sets of photos of me skiing are the only two times I have been skiing in the last ten years, ok we spend a lot of time on the weekend taking the kids to sporty activities but we are couch potatoes who like to watch a lot of TV, the times I have posted that I worked out are pretty much the ONLY times I have worked out, my children and my husband are, OMG, not perfect, and I try not to post about my job, at all, ever, regardless of whether it is a good or bad day.

The time that Alex screamed that she hated me and slammed the door in my face, didn't post about it. The time that Jack spent all day saying "whatever Lady," when I asked him to do something, and no, he was no longer trying to be funny, didn't post about that one either. The fact that I have signed up for two triathlons and failed to do them both times, yeah, somehow that didn't make it into a Facebook post.

I suppose there is no big mystery as to why that is. Consciously or unconsciously, we use Facebook (or twitter) to project a "version" of ourselves -- without all the blemishes, bruises or warts. You know, the "reunion" you, the shiny, hair blown-out, nails done, new outfit sporting you that has the best career, the best spouse, the best kids, and the best life. I don't feel like broadcasting, nor do you really want to read about the fact that I fed pizza to the kids for the second night in a row, am typing this blog rather than writing a memo I should be writing this evening, had to clean up dog pee from the carpet twice tonight, and I let the kids go to bed without washing their hair because I just didn't feel like dealing.

So next time I post about my wonderful day and that awesome work out, remember, I do the best imitation of myself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Float Night

So last Saturday night started the summer tradition of "float" night at our neighborhood pool. No, this does not refer to finding a floater in the pool, something that is likely to shut the pool down for the night. Rather, our float night draws everyone to the pool, that special night once a week when the ban on pool flotation devices is lifted and the kids can pile into the pool in a sea of plastic and neon colors. I really need to take a photo of this to capture the event, but imagine giant ducks, whales, and the more boring blow-up beds bobbing amongst a froth of arms, legs, and writhe childish bodies, clambering to pile on to these floats as dusk settles in the air.

You'd think this would be the kids' favorite night, and it is, but really I think the adults look forward to it more. Without much prior planning, we all arrive at the pool, octopuses strapped to the top of the car, and drag our coolers of beer, bbq chicken, and various salads up to the picnic area, ready to settle in for a long night of chatting, knowing that we won't be bothered by the kids (at least those 6+ in age) for several hours in a row. A good time to catch up on the busy week we had and talk about our plans for the rest of the summer. It feels, at least to me, that the parents of the rising third graders (egad) have co-opted float night, taking the last row of picnic benches hostage, but maybe every other group feels the same way about their own set of friends.

So last night was one of our more mellow float nights. Many of the group were off stuffing themselves with pasta to prepare for this morning's sprint triathlon, while the rest of us honored their quest by drinking summer ales, wine, and talking about how crazy they all are. (You go girls). I'm sure as the summer wears on, the float nights will pick up speed, until we reach that epic float night -- when the night never seems to end, it gets so dark that you can't find your wet towels or your kids, and the children collapse in a pile on the pool chairs, having given up begging their parents to go home. Inevitably, at least one parent (you know who you are) will decide after one-too many beers that diving off the boards is a good idea, and the teenage lifeguards will look on in horror as belly flops and volcanic cannon balls ensue.

Last night wasn't it, but you could feel the buzz in the air, the anticipation of many summer nights at the pool to come. And when that endless float night arrives, we will know it, and it will be epic.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top ten signs you are an overcommitted parent:

It's been a while since I've managed to write anything so I thought this would be an appropriate topic to blog about. Drum roll please, here are the top ten signs you are an overcommitted parent:

10. You have not posted anything on your blog for over a month.
9. You have a blog.
8. You find yourself making a fruit salad at midnight for your kid's school birthday celebration the next day.
7. You stop taking showers on the weekends because that saves you 15 mins right there.
6. You look forward to going back to work on Mondays because it is a vacation from your weekends.
5. You get your elementary school children to bed at ten pm on a school night and that feels like an accomplishment.
4. The cupboards in the house are so bare that putting "coffeemate" in your morning cup of tea seems like a reasonable option.
3. You email your mother-in-law the kids' schedule for the weekend that you and your spouse are away and she seriously reconsiders coming.
2. You have communicated with your husband more in text than in person.
1. Your color-coordinated Outlook calendar looks like someone threw up on it in technicolor.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Just got the email from our swim team coordinator reminding us that sign-up for the swim team/dive ‎team is around the corner. 6 weeks when you spend what feels like every waking moment at the ‎pool cheering your kid and the entire rest of the ‘hood kids on at weekend meets. ‎

When we lived in DC, I had no idea that there was this secret Bethesda world of neighborhood pools, ‎or that there were over 10 swim teams in Bethesda alone. We sadly shuffled our way over to the ‎public pool on Little Falls Pkwy or braved one of the bigger DC pools, somehow sensing we were ‎missing out on something but not being able to put our finger on it. We naively put our name on the ‎waitlist for Palisades pool and were fortunate to get off the list, five years later, just as we were ‎moving to Carderock Springs.‎

Lo and behold, when our kids joined the Carderock dive/swim team a few years back, I learned that ‎almost every neighborhood in Bethesda has a community pool, open only to residents of the ‎surrounding neighborhood, and almost every one of those pools has a swim team. Each weekend, a ‎hoard of cars rolls into our club’s parking lot, and big and little swimmers alike tumble out, their ‎swimsuits festooned with the enemy team’s logo. If your kid belongs to one of these swim teams, ‎you are required to slap one of the team’s circular magnets on your car. I am pretty sure it is a stated ‎requirement in the parent swim team handbook, if the compliance rate on all the cars is anything to go ‎by.‎

At our pool, we even have a little pre-team, the “mini-cudas”, made up of kids who can barely hold ‎their heads above the water, who are taught how to swim by the much bigger ‘Cudas. There is ‎something very sweet in watching the older teenagers teach the next generation of little swimmers ‎how to blow bubbles and maybe, in a few years, join the team and swim a lap of the pool to the ‎reward of a bright-colored ribbon. Go CUDAS!‎