Mind or Body?

I’m having a quandry. I’m trying to decide what I want to do with the minimal amount of time I have left in my day. Seriously, there is no minimal amount of time left in my day… and will be even less when the harvest begins, but I have a couple of things I’ve been debating on doing and I can’t make up my mind which is more important. I think I know, but maybe I’m just too close to the situation. I welcome your input.

Option I: The Mind
From my earliest recollection, I loved music. All music. My parents would have Montovani, Jackie Gleason, or Andy Williams playing during dinner. I would sneak to the basement on Saturday afternoon to soak up American Bandstand on our 12″ black and white TV. (Yes, kids, there were things called black and white TV). I had a little am radio that I would sit in my corner of the basement and rock and listen to until my mother would yell at me to get out of the house and go play…and from my earliest recollection, I loved guitar music and piano music.

I’ve told the story of ending up with a trumpet… and how years later in my adulthood I would finally learn to play the piano. Unfortunately, I’ve long forgotten all that I learned. I don’t know how it happened, but lack of time led me to let it slip away. I’ve regretted that decision. Lately I’ve been contemplating taking lessons again. It just so happens my best friend is my piano teacher and she never pushes me a bit, but has said she can always fit me in. I would need to get the piano tuned… a piano that is much better than the one I learned on, thanks to her. We bought it at a ridiculously reasonable price when she got a new one. I’ve never really played this good one! It would mean hours of practice. If I do something, I want to do it well. It would mean spending more time with a friend that I e-mail each and every day, but rarely see any more (due to my anti-social tendencies?). It would mean music to feed my soul.

Option II: The Body
My body is junk. I’m falling apart before my eyes. I’m not the person I used to be, thanks to the passage of time, gravity, and a love of all things lethargic. I used to be in good shape when I was young. I used to ride my bike everywhere, walk when I couldn’t ride, and was a skinny little thing. I remember those days of energy and boundless enthusism. Okay, I remember the days of energy… I’m not sure I ever was enthusiastic.

Everything I do, every hobby I have, involves no physical activity to speak of. I sit at a computer every day, all day long. In my free time, I … sit at a computer… or, read, cross-stitch, crochet, rubber stamp, and watch TV or movies (some of these can be done in conjuntion with each other). I do the normal house-wifey things like cook, and clean, which involves physical activity, but in minimal doses. Same with gardening. I go in spurts, but in no way does it constitute long term “exersize”. I walk my 50-lb beagle, but he goes slower than I do. I ride my stationary bike. A little. I fall down. A lot. Injuries to my ankles and feet and wrists and back are common. I could lose a few pounds… okay, probably quite a few pounds. At least a beagle’s worth.

Now that Em (don’t forget! she has a new blog!) has moved home and changed jobs to one less physical, she’s been wondering about joining a gym to keep in shape. We’ve had some talks about it. Several years ago when I worked at a job on campus and a girlfriend and I who worked in the same office would go to the gym on campus after work. It was handy, being right next to our parking lot, and we would go in all pumped up to get in shape. This was the old gym, the one with the free weights and the weight machines that were not automated. We each had a weight key and lifting gloves and amidst the raging testosterone and sweating twenty-something muscle bound college men, we two middle-aged married ladies would try and make ourselves transform into something better. It worked for awhile, and I probably was in the best shape of my life, strength wise. I was getting toned and fit… and then… life changes and I got a different job and she got a different job and we no longer had access to the gym or to each other and it never fails to amaze me how fast that toned body can melt back into goo.

I had my doctor appointment Wednesday. My blood pressure is a bit high. My blood sugar is a lot high. My ankle is still swollen from falling out of the RV. (I knew it was still twinging a bit now and then, but didn’t realize it was still swollen!) My doc is waiting for some tests to come back to see if she’s going to put me on insulin. It isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a sign that things are getting worse. I’m too young for this shit. I love my family, my critters, even this stupid blog-stuff, and I want to be around for a long time to see how the story ends.

I think Em is going to be around for awhile. She’s going back to school this month, and at the moment living with us. I don’t see that changing for awhile. She’s in pretty good shape (oh, who am I kidding – she’s in GREAT shape) but has promised not to leave me in the dust. The gym we’re thinking of has three locations in our town, plus one has an olympic sized pool. Have I mentioned I love to swim? As long as I can get over my phobia about me. In. A. Swimming. Suit. I love the water. I could use the exersize for so many reasons, and I know if I had my coach urging me on (and hopefully, I could do the same for her) I think I would actually use the facilities. These are all pluses.

Okay, there are the options. Discuss among yourselves and let me know what you decide. I’m putty in your hands.

You Can’t Kill ‘Em – Special Edition – You Be the Judge

Observe the following behavior:

-Name calling (not bad names, but cutesy irreverent names)
-Using things without asking (vehicles, tools, shop supplies, basically anything they can get their hands on)
-Never see ’em unless they have a problem or want something.
-Taking things that don’t belong to them (in the real world, I believe this is called theft)
-Unreliable (saying they’ll do one thing and then not completeing the job or doing it half-assed)

Now, is it just me or would all of these things rolled into one family piss you off? I’ve probably left a thing or two off of this list, but this is my brother-in-law and his family. The name calling? I swear he doesn’t know my husbands’ name. When he calls and asks for him on the phone, he’s always got some stupid cutesy name to call him – always. C’mon people, at least one of you is in his 50’s and the other one is in his late 40’s. Grow up already. This is not a revered childhood name, just whatever stupid name he’s thought up at the time.

The latest fiasco? Involves aluminum beverage cans. Here in Iowa we have a 5 cent can refund. You pay it up front and get it back when you turn in the empty cans at a recycling center (hence the term “refund”) . The recycling center gives you a huge cardboard box with large plastic liner bags in which to facilitate this exchange. My hubs keeps one at his shop, and we collect cans at our home which he then may either take to the shop and put in the bigger sack, or just take in when he takes in the rest. A filled sack can get you something in the range of $20. It’s worth doing.

Yesterday, Hubs walks in his shop to see the younger brat nephew lugging a filled sack of cans out the other door. WTF?

Hubs: what’s up?
BIL: (nephew) is getting the cans
Hubs: I don’t think so.
BIL: …
Hubs: Those are my cans, I take them in, and I collect the money. I don’t recall saying (nephew) could have them.
BIL: … (mouth hanging open with dumb look on face – note:he does this expression quite well, has had years of practice)

Hubs said BIL left the farm a bit later throwing gravel all over from his spinning wheels. His mother was nearby (MIL). He asked her what (brother) was so upset about.

MIL: I guess something was said down at the shop that disturbed him
Hubs: Well, the last time I looked, I didn’t go into town and scrounge around their place for something to sell.

I’m sorry if I come off being a bitch. I really am. I’d like nothing better than to be able to get along with my Hubs’ family. Much as this woman has trouble with her asshat neighbor, I have these battles raging inside of what I should be feeling toward my in-laws and what I actually do feel. It seems every time I let the “good” angel sitting on my shoulder talk me into making the attempt to get along, they do something else to my family (remember this one?) and it just drives me right over the wall again. It’s one thing if they don’t like me, but it pisses the hell out of me when they treat my husband and family this way.

When my father-in-law was alive, this was his shop. His gas barrels outside. His electric, heating, and insurance bills. What he chose to do with his equipment and his building was his choice. As a father, he chose to open it up to his younger son to use. He provided his son with free fuel, and an open-door policy on the equipment. I have no problem with that. It was his son! My husband, the elder son, farmed and worked with his dad and he put a hoist in the shop to work on vehicles in the off-season, as well as collecting a vast amount of (not cheap) tools. Of course, he had no problem with his father using the tools and equipment as they worked together and it was a joint venture. Mutual respect.

When my FIL died eleven years ago, everything changed. Everything in the shop building that my husband didn’t own, we bought from my MIL. Everything. The farm equipment, the shop equipment. Everything. We don’t pay “rent” on the building, as such, but we pay all the utilities for the shop and my MIL’s home, as well as the insurance. We pay for all the supplies stored within… the oil, the filters, the nuts, bolts, screws, and washers. Everything.

The first thing my husband did was to change the locks on the shop and put a lock on the fuel barrel, giving keys to only those people who needed one. We provided one for MIL (which she proceeded to use for many years, fueling up her car and mower at our expense), the hired help (one of their perks), and our kids. OUR kids. Who was one of the first people to complain? Yep…you got it. BIL. He couldn’t understand why the barrel was locked. He complained about the shop being locked, so MIL made him a key. He complained that Hubs locked his toolbox, so MIL chewed out Hubs, making his life miserable until he started leaving it unlocked again. No, he never did get a key for the fuel barrel… although he tried the ruse of saying he needed it to fuel up Mom’s mower that he borrows. Uh huh. Yes, we provided fuel to her to mow her yard, but you think we’re going to let you take it, full of fuel, to your house… mow… then come back and fill it on our nickel? You’re NUTS. I can understand your dad letting you have all this stuff, but c’mon! You’re 40-something years old and you are NOT OUR SON. We shouldn’t have to pay your way!

In their minds (Hubs’ sister and her family are the same way, only they don’t live closeby) it’s still “Dad’s” shop. Still open to come and go as they please, to use it and anything in it at any time they chose, without asking. Using the tools and supplies with no thought to who has to pay for them.BIL uses all the oxygen? Oh, (Hubs), you’re out of oxygen. More often than not, he doesn’t even bother to tell him he used it all… it’s just “surprise!” when Hubs or our son, now working with him, go to use something and it’s gone. It does no good to tell BIL to replace it… he just says his wife has his checkbook, or she hasn’t given him any money, or he just puts it off until it’s needed and can’t wait for him to replace it. Trust me, he’s got this mooching thing down to a science.

Obviously, he’s training his children well. Me? I’m getting pretty darn tired of it. I’ve stayed out of the whole mess as much as possible, mostly because of some things that have been said since I had my breakdown. I just steer clear of him and his as much as humanly possible and bite my tongue bloody trying to keep civil. What do you say when your husband calls up ranting and raving because the “asshats” have struck again? Those are the times I bless the stars I’m an only child…

I swear, I’m going to go off on them one day… and it won’t be pretty. What would YOU do?