I have been 37 years old all week. So far so good. For the record – you can teach an old dog new tricks. I present to you a recap in pictures of all of the things I have learned this week.
This old dog has learned to love running. I have spent the winter and early spring on a treadmill, running only two days a week and trying to be kind to my body but it was time to get outside before the summer sun prevented me from hitting the streets. Wanna see me in all my spectacularly slow glory? Hillsborough Running Club. Good people, good routes, meeting right near a little street with particularly good beer, bbq and coffee for sale. Wednesday nights, be there or be square. I make dinner for the family and roll out. Solo. In the evening. I might not make it inside a bar, but I park right near one and that is good enough for me. It feels good to be out, to have plans that do not involve the kids or a meeting or a chiropractor appointment. I have never been such a joiner before but stay at home motherhood has me signing up left and right. Give me a schedule, give me somewhere to be and I am on it.
I am learning to love running. So much so that I got a tshirt and a bumper sticker. Running might be my new favorite band.
I have learned that I can clean my entire kitchen floor and run my vacuum in less than three minutes. I have fallen in love with the steam mop. It does nothing on the dog hair front but it steams the dried up yogurt right off of the floor. (Sidenote: Fisher eats everything that hits the floor and some things before they even land. But he’s not a fan of yogurt, hence the dried up yogurt.) How do I clean my entire downstairs while the human wrecking ball that is Lucy is tearing around the house? Simple.
The kid can climb. Up. And up only. She climbs up on to the table and she stands there in stunned silence. I have approximately three minutes to pick up all the tupperware from the cabinets she has emptied, return the board books and the stuffed animals to their cubbies and sweep, mop and vacuum before she gets bored and begins to bellow, begging to be returned to the floor so that she can climb up again. She stands and watches. The faster I move the more rapt her attention. Three minutes. I learned it only takes three minutes to get “company clean.”
I am a bit of a neat freak in the house. Note that I said “in the house.” When I was a teenager a perfect punishment would be the afternoon my father said “C’mon, we’re gonna clean your car.” Not only was I not going anywhere in said car, but I would be standing in the driveway with my father while my secrets were revealed. Coca-cola cans and fast food trash, overdue library books and too short skirts were pulled from under the seats. In spite of the fact that I ended up with a clean car (my father can make a 1981 Dodge Aries station wagon sparkle, y’all!) this was not enough to make me enjoy this ritual.
I am still not a huge fan of cleaning my car. I am better than I was. I try to pull the trash out of the side door cubbies while I pump gas. I don’t let the kids eat in the car often. My car is no longer the trash can on wheels it once was, but it isn’t pretty. For years my car has been a collection of Diet Coke bottles, peanut M&M trash and outerwear that I brought along to make me feel like a better mother. No one ever wears the sweatshirt, but dammit you had better bring one.
I have learned to love water. No more Diet Coke cans for me. I cleaned my car out this week. I might have had a few water bottles in there.
I have made peace with the fact that my car is messy. I am what I am, I guess. Speaking of making peace with who I am and where I am in my life – I am Sporty Spice, guys. I wish I was Scary, I would love to be Posh and the red hair dye of my early twenties reveals my deep-seated desire to be Ginger. But I am Sporty Spice and there is no denying it. This week I learned I can put my jogging stroller on my bike rack! I can take Lucy running on the downtown route I love without cleaning out my trunk to make room for the stroller!
I might have been outrageously excited. I just might have run four miles only to find that Lucy was passed out and I had no choice but to keep cruising around downtown. Lucy napped through the library, the post office and the co-op grocery store. And I learned that even when you are winded and you’d like to sit on your ass you will keep walking if it means your kid will keep sleeping.
I learned that I can clean my shed with help from Lucy. I can keep her from drinking from the gas can while organizing bungee cords and rakes. I learned that eating clean is swell in theory but that it is totally possible to eat an entire red velvet cake almost by yourself and not feel bad about yourself at all. I learned that sucking it up and committing to a nap schedule really will make for an easier bedtime routine. I learned that oven baked chicken is fine and dandy but pan fried in Panko is really where it’s at. I learned how to use two of the thingamajigs on my bicycle multi-tool. I re-learned the finger tip drag freestyle drill and how to maximize the efficiency of my stroke (say that with a straight face, I dare you.)
And perhaps the most shallow but the biggest immediate change – I learned that cutting off all of my fingernails did not make my typing any better. But it will mean that Sporty Spice won’t spend two hours a week fixing her damn nails anymore. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Not when there is so much more to learn. Happy Birthday week to me. May the learning continue…