I got a phone call around 3 this afternoon. It was my daughter.
"Mom, you know we were talking earlier today about you wanting to get an exercise bike? Well, I'm over here by the Catholic church and there's one sitting here on the curb. It looks like a good one and it looks like it's free."
"Really!" said I.
"Yeah, and if you want it I'll park here across the street from it and you can bring your truck and pick it up."
"I'll be there in a few minutes!" I said, and I grabbed my keys and my wallet and away I went. Not only was there an exercise bike but an elliptical bike/rowing machine, I guess you'd call it. Both free. Both in excellent condition. And both with my name written all over them. I tried them both, both worked, and we packed them into the bed of my pick up. Now they've got homes down in the basement. I am back to pedaling to the metal...in more ways than one. I listen to pretty jazzy music while I'm riding that inspires me to pedal fast!!! Sorry...no Lionel Ritchie or Celine Dion or...well, you get the drift. I pedal to Cold Play and Annie Lennox and Dido and The Beatles and...well, it goes on and on. Something that gets me past 5 mph.
You see, while I was pushing the double stroller 4 or 5 miles per day, 4 or 5 days per week, I was staying firm and well-toned and my weight stayed the same all the time. And then the grandboys began to grow -- really grow -- and pushing at least 100 pounds worth of kids and stroller and groceries was becoming a real challenge, especially considering I'm getting closer to 57 all the time. And Mr. Independence with a capital "I"....little Mr. Cooper...no longer wanted to be riding in a stroller. He wanted to walk "big boy" walks with his brother. So I began mixing up bus riding with walks included but walking with two young boys who want to stop and examine everything wasn't quite doing for me what power-walking with a stroller did. And all that muscle around my middle...the waist I still had, no love handles in the back...began to soften and sag. And I began feeling like the Pillsbury dough boy. And I DID NOT LIKE IT! ONE BIT!
But what to do, what to do? My days are so jam-packed as it is. I don't have the time to go to a gym. So I tried doing aerobics with Cindy Crawford. Uh....no. What I could do 20 years ago is no longer something I can do comfortably now. I had always loved my exercise bikes in the past. I wore two of them out and pedaled something around 15,000 miles on them both. Seriously. When I had my hysterectomy a couple of years ago, tho, and tried to ride again a few months after my operation it was no longer comfortable to sit. Maybe I tried too early after the surgery...maybe the internal area still wasn't healed enough. I don't know. But I got frustrated and gave up on it and walked...and walked...and walked...instead.
Well, now the walking is a thing of the past, pretty much. I can talk Cooper into riding in the single stroller once in a blue moon and usually only when he's in a good mood and willing to compromise...I tell him we'll go for a "big boy" walk after Dylan comes home from preschool and after their naps. But it hasn't been enough.
This morning I started looking on Craig's List here in Portland to see if I could find an exercise bike for sale. There were a few. Most of them in the $200-$1000 range. A little steep. I got discouraged. I'd bought my favorite bike second hand for $50 maybe 10 years ago. I figured I'd keep checking and see if something more reasonable popped up.
And then the call came from my daughter. As we loaded the bike and the elliptical/rower into the back of the truck she said it was like kismet because we'd been talking about one just a few hours ago! And here we were, finding one for free.
For those of you who think I'm crazy getting up at 3 am, my new rising time is going to be 2:30. Yes, you heard that right. You see, you never find time to exercise. You have to make time. And what's a half hour less of sleep? The bike is quiet. It's down in the basement. I'll have on my disc man. No one will hear me. Perfect.
Can't get much better than that!
And as I was trying it out to see if it worked ok I jokingly said, "You oughta get a picture of this!" and the next thing I know, she did. And I was smiling! I sent the photo off to my younger brother and he wrote back and said, "I can't believe you let someone take your picture!" My loathing of pictures of myself is legendary in my family.
One thing I learned from this photo: I look like my dad.