Do you know how hard it is to type with ice packs on your hands? I’ll tell you hard it is … damn near impossible. Do you know why I posed this question? Because I am typing with ice packs on my hands. As well as a bag of frozen peas between my legs. If I could somehow manage to unplug this computer and take it with me, I’d be typing from the inside of my freezer so that I could halt my blood flow and stop feeling the stabbing pains radiating throughout my body.
It is for reasons like this that I keep telling Nate I need to be portable. I need a laptop. Nate, are you listening? I need a laptop so that I can blog from the freezer. Is that too much to ask?
Do you want to know why I have ice packs on my hands, why I’m sitting on tonight’s side dish and why I feel like someone poked me with a pitchfork all over? I wish I had some crazy, raunchy over-sexed story to tell you, something that involved batteries, edible sheets and oxygen because WOW wouldn’t THAT be exciting and wouldn’t Nate just be happier than a pig in shit but no, it’s nothing like that.
I am in pain because last night, I went bike riding for the first time in about twenty years. The last time I was on a bike, it was five years ago in a spinning class at the gym, when I slammed into a brick wall at 200 mph and broke every bone in my body. Oh, wait. It only felt like I did that. I didn’t actually go anywhere since the bike was stationary. It’s all coming back to me now, with excruciating clarity. Like how my uterus hurt and I couldn’t walk or pee normally for a week and I wound up calling the gym afterwards asking them to put up an Attention: Lost notice for my spleen that I swore dropped out of my body somewhere between Spin Room 1A and my car.
The time before that, I think I was ten and didn’t even know what a spleen was.
I went biking last night for the sole purpose of bonding with my daughters. I don’t know why bonding has to be so damn physical. What’s wrong with just laying around, breathing?
If you recall, I need to lose about twenty pounds and lower my cholesterol. Actually I need to lose forty pounds but my doctor and I agreed on twenty because he likes me and didn’t want to see me cry in his office that particular day. Since my exercise in recent years has been limited to rolling my computer chair from here to there and back to here, I am sorely lacking in the fitness department. About the only thing on my body that is in semi shape is my left pinky knuckle and that’s only because by the time I get to that particular knuckle, I’m too tired to crack it having spent all my energy on cracking the other nine.
All of us have bikes, except me. Nate just got himself a new one last week, a shiny blue one with a matching helmet. He spent twice as much as he said he was going to spend as he was walking out the door that morning and I wish I could say that I was shocked but really, the only thing that surprised me was that he didn’t spend three times as much. I keep telling myself that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What do you want to bet that Lao-Tzu was not married to a spendaholic?
Nate told me that he found a nice bike for me as well so off we went to the sports store where he pointed out a bike that was big, ugly, incredibly old fashioned and looked strikingly similar to the one ridden by Miss Gulch a/k/a Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Did I mention that it cost a mere fraction of Nate’s bike? And it wasn’t shiny. Did I mention that Nate’s bike was shiny?
So I just stared at Nate with reproach, because I simply could not think of one nice thing to say. What do you say to a man who, subconsciously or not, thinks of you as (1) old, and (2) not shiny worthy, and (3) a horrid green shrew?
Needless to say, I passed that bike up and we proceeded to test out several other shiny bikes, none of which I could straddle without taking a running leap and launching my body over the frame whereupon my short, stubby legs could not reach the floor or pedals and I found myself balancing precariously on the seat only to lurch forward onto the top bar of the bike.
And you know what? When you accidentally slam your entire weight down upon the top bar of a bike, it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl because regardless of whether you’ve got nuts or bolts south of the equator, it’s going to feel as if someone just pounded a stiletto heel into your nether regions for an hour and the pain is going to be searing and you’re going to cry. A lot.
After a couple of hours of shopping, I got sick and tired of being publicly humiliated and feeling like a deformed oompa loompa and I told Nate that I would just use Zoe’s old bike for now as it had one of those cushy tushy seats because my ass certainly does not have enough padding on it to be considered cushiony. And for those of you who know me in real life … shut up.
But I still needed a helmet. So I then commenced trying on 361 helmets and I don’t think I have to tell you how difficult that is for someone who is so absolutely phobic about head germs that she had to be physically restrained from grabbing every single Lysol can from the next aisle, ripping them open and dumping their entire contents into every single helmet that came within two inches of her head.
I got my shiny pink helmet but let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty sight and as much as I love you, I just can’t relive the horror of it all right now.
We returned home and the girls immediately clamored all over me, begging to ride bikes to the nearby farm market for an ice cream. And I said I was totally into doing that, provided I get to practice a bit beforehand down the street in the privacy of the empty school parking lot, out of sight from any nosy neighbors that I might have to face the next day.
Did you know that there is an unwritten law that says when a 40+ year old woman is about to experience all kinds of hurt by exercising for the first time in decades, that she is allowed to practice in private and that if any human being that was not taken from her uterus by c-section sees her, she is allowed to gouge their eyes out with a metal spatula? I’d tell you to look it up but it’s unwritten, like I said. You just have to know these things.
So my girls rolled their eyes and asked me why I couldn’t just practice around our own neighborhood like we made them do when they were learning? And I said BECAUSE. And then they asked what, did I think I was better than them or something? And I said YES.
And then Nate ganged up on me, telling me to just ride around the neighborhood a couple of times to get used to the bike because driving 1/4 mile down the street to the school was a colossal waste of gas. This coming from the same guy who took 47 trips to Lowes in one day because he has the memory of a gnat. I chose to ignore him but not before first making a mental note of his betrayal for future reference.
So Zoe, Helena and I somehow wrestled Zoe’s old bike into the truck and off we went to the school parking lot. We maneuvered the bike out of the truck and I ran and leaped on the bike and surprisingly did not kill myself in the process although a pelvic fracture is not completely out of the realm of possibility.
I donned on my shiny pink helmet and off I went around and around the parking lot while Zoe yelled out how to shift gears. And then she took sadistic joy in snapping off several photos of me, telling me that I absolutely HAD to post them on this blog because I post photos of them all the time so it’s only fair.
Fair is a relative term, don’t you think? What is fair to one is simply utter humiliation to another. Am I right? I’m up to my eyeballs in self humiliation right now just riding the damn bike in the first place so I chose to post only the photos that did not depict me as (1) so pasty white as to be dead, or (2) a blob of yuck, or (3) a sack of potatoes heaped onto two wheels and topped off with a glob of raspberry sherbet.
After my practice round, we finagled the bike back into the truck, drove back home, wrenched it out of the truck and went on our merry way to get ice cream. Zoe took the lead, Helena was in the middle and I brought up the rear, as charming as that sounds. And it only took about 4.3 seconds before Zoe did an “eat my dust” maneuver and we didn’t see her again until we were at the market.
By the way, Zoe’s old bike has fifteen gears but only goes two speeds: STOP and WARP. I only mention this in case you were driving on Birch Road yesterday and saw a large pale mass in a red shirt and raspberry helmet whip by your passenger window in a blur. This would be the same mass that you passed seconds later because it came to a screeching halt within a nanosecond and appeared dazed and confused on the side of the road. Two speeds. Stop and warp. Just so you know.
Helena did just fine and seeing her big helmet on her little head and her skinny little body bobbing up and down and her skinny little legs furiously pedalling her little bike just warmed my heart. And it stayed warm for almost a mile before it was palpitating so hard inside of me that I thought it would shatter my chest and splash onto the street, followed immediately by my exhausted and overextended lungs and any other internal organ that didn’t want to hang out and watch their 96º cocoon become an 110º inferno and vaporize before their eyes. Do kidneys have eyes?
And no matter how hard I gripped those handlebars, I could not manage to keep the bike going in a straight line and more often than not, would veer off into the grass which would cause me to yelp like a puppy in the midst of my huffing and puffing and this caused Helena to abruptly stop in front of me which caused me to almost ram into the back of her which caused me to scream WATCH OUT and her to shout I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD and for me shout I THINK I AM. And throughout all of this my blood decided to swim around my head at the speed of light and I was trying to maintain my balance and let me tell you, it is simply not possible to maintain your balance and have an out-of-body experience at the same time and even though it happens instantaneously, you realize that if the near accident doesn’t kill you, your life flashing before your eyes could actually bore you to death.
I made it to the farm market and even though I wanted to mainline a milkshake, I had water. The girls were busy with their ice cream while I tried to catch my breath and get rid of the bright lights popping up all over my field of vision. And when they were finished, I got back on those wheels of death and I made it back, almost a full five minutes after they did.
There were hills. Lot of hills. They went up and down but mostly up. Both ways.
By the time I got home and crawled into the house, my hands were permanently molded into claws and my privates were chaffed and ached as if I had just given birth to a buffalo.
And that is why I am sitting here with ice packs and frozen peas.
Aren’t you glad you asked?