Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hip Hop Flabs

Hey guys, who wants to pretend to work out with me? Yeah! Great! Now, go get those pajamas back on and let's go down to the basement with a cocktail!

That's basically how my first workout with Hip Hop Abs went. See, I have not been kind to my body since marriage and moving. I have, quite literally, let it all hang out. Call it boredom, call it loneliness at the gym; call it fear of the geese walking and $hitting all over the path I would go for a run on or call it "I love bread more than I love sweating." Whatever. The point is, I recently realized I was one pair of sweatpants away from The Biggest Loser and it was getting ridic.

I had a flash of motivation one day. I was like "Today is the day! I will do some activity!"

But, well, I didn't want to do TOO much activity. It's not like I'm training for a marathon. I just wanted to have fun working out again. And then, as if the fates were smiling on me as I laid on the couch, I saw a commercial for Hip Hop Abs.

Hip hop? Dance? Promises of never doing a crunch? I'M IN.

For the uninformed, Hip Hop Abs is a set of workout DVDs that promises you can dance your way to a 6-pack. I've never been a fan of DVD workouts, but on that night, at that moment, between those bites of old wedding cake, I was inspired. I ordered the DVDs and napped my way through the next few days until the mailman delivered the life change I had been waiting for.

The DVDs came with some elaborate swag. There's a billion brochures for diet plans, vitamins, etc etc etc, and a very detailed form on how to take your "before" picture (which I definitely didn't do) and a handy measuring tape to take "before" measurements. This was nice, considering I had previously been using the aluminum tape measure in my tool kit. I went downstairs to hide from the prying, judging eyes of my husband and popped in the first DVD.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Miley Cyrus I had fun. For 30-55 minutes, I got to dance around, twerk, strut and shake what my mother gave me, and apparently that counts as a workout. (It was troubling, though, because I distinctly remember the instructor dude -- Shaun T y'all!! -- urging me to tighten my abs and all I could do was make an awkward "Have to go to the bathroom" move. I'm guessing here, but I probably wasn't doing it right.)

I finished the first of, like, 1,000 workouts on the DVDs and was actually sweating. A lot. Maybe it was all that vodka. Who's to say?

Anywhatzit, I've been trying (and failing) to do one of these "workouts" every day, and I gotta say: I like it. I like a lot. It's silly and fun and active and I probably look about as "hip hop" as your grandmother, but I don't care. I'm also 112% sure it's not actually DOING anything, but I love Shaun T and I love club dancing, so it's all good.

Sure, it's not the ideal workout plan. Sure, I should be spending hours in the gym and not eating weeks-old cake for dinner. But you know what? I'm NEVER going to be that person. I'm never going to be the person who wakes up early or stays up late or misses a Friends rerun to go lift tractor tires or run on a machine. I hate those things and I'm stubborn. It's a brutal combination. So, in the absence of the one thing I actually LOVE (a butt-kicking kickboxing class), I will settle for my second-favorite love for something I'm not great at: club dancing.

So here's my review: I'm pretty sure Hip Hop Abs is not going to transform my body into that of a professional backup dancer. I'm almost certain it won't be effective enough for me to swear off Spanx. But, all in all, I've done worse things with 55 minutes in my day.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Season 1 Finale

Well, we made it. Geo and I have officially been married for one full year. We celebrated the milestone with an awesome weekend getaway in beautiful Bayfield, WI. But it still feels like only yesterday I was stressing out about favors, flowers and photo booth pricing. I remember thinking "Man, if I can just make it through Aug. 10, 2013, life will be a breeze.

I neglected to consider that after the wedding is a Marriage.

A lot of my friends have gotten married this year, and one of my BFF's nuptials are just around the corner in October. Plus, you know, the ultimate Waste of Space Kim Kardashian got married recently, too. With that in mind, I feel it's my duty to enlighten the newlywed masses about what the first year of marriage is like.

Here's what happens in Year One:
  • Suddenly your spouse's bill-paying habits reflect on you, and vice versa. That can be a great or a terrible thing. Either way, FICO scores become more important than Kate Spade surprise sales. Well, almost...
  • You have to do things you don't want to. Non-marrieds get to la la la their way through their days without any concern for anyone else. Marrieds have to move to Rochester and hang out with the in-laws instead of playing Ultimate Frisbee on a Saturday afternoon.
  • You can (and will) totally stop wearing makeup
  • But your spouse can start clipping his toenails in the kitchen
  • Making dinner becomes an exercise in futility. You can serve up a plate of kale salad and grilled chicken, but the other person doesn't have to eat it. And they're allowed to say the meal...could be better and less burned. 
  • You may not go on many dates anymore, but you don't really want to because you'd rather save up for a house
  • You will say something like "I'm just saying that I wish I had known you were completely unwilling to ever unload a dishwasher before we got married."
  • Your spouse will have to get rid of that gross thing on your back.
  • People will ask about your plans for kids. A lot. It'll be annoying and rude.
  • You will use approx 15% of the gifts you registered for. The rest will be tucked in a closet because no one in their right mind wants to pull out the china for burned lasagna. Also, I guarantee that you registered for too many glasses. Who needs 12 liqueur glasses? Also, what is liqueur?
  • You have to start saying "my husband" or "my wife," which will make you feel 10 years older than you really are
  • Ladies? If you decide to change your name, it will be an inconvenient process and you will still sign your old name for the next 6-12 months anyway.
  • You WILL get mad when he/she fails to tell you about going out for Happy Hour after work because dammit, dinner's on the table and you wanted to go to Costco to get 6 billion rolls of paper towels together!
  • Anniversaries have themes, and no man will every really want anything made out of paper (unless it's money, or tickets to a Vikings game that he can bring his brother to).
  • It's simultaneously better and harder than you ever expected
Well, that's the gist of what I have learned in the past 365 days. Are there any things I missed, fellow n00byweds?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Angry Birds

This week, on the Nature Channel, we explore the delicate - and painful - relationship between girl and bird. Watch now, as these winged creatures flap their way into a nest of terror and intimidation. These beasts truly know how to mark - and then poop on - a territory.

Guys? I am LIVING IN THE NATURE CHANNEL. Apparently, the bird-like creatures of the animal kingdom had a meeting this winter and were like "Birds, when the time comes, we will reign down a feathery terror on thy enemy, and thine enemy is PHARON! SOAR!!!!"

See, my birdmare all started back in Vegas. I had gotten through a terrible flight (not ironically) and was ready to calm down with some ladies. On our first morning there, we all spread our towels out on the lounges at the Paris pool and before I had smoothed the creases out in my rented towel, I felt a slippery wet blop on my back. I reached back and felt the strap of my ill-fitting bikini and pulled my fingers away to see a brownish GUCK.


That was only the beginning. Then the birds started targeting my car.

A couple weeks after I recovered from the back poop saga, I was driving back to the Cities on one fine Tues. morning. It was like 6:15 a.m. when I raced out of Rochester. Ahead of me, I saw a bird. A bird on a mission. It swooped and rose before me, but when it should have ducked out of the way of my (barely) speeding vehicle, it instead locked eyes with me. And then it bird-dove RIGHT INTO MY WINDSHIELD.

Bird kamikaze.

I was being sent a message. A message that I would not soon forget.

It was but days later when I had recovered enough to venture out into the world in my car again. I cautiously drove down the streets of this city, calmly navigating obstacle after obstacle. And then I saw two birds bobbing and weaving together in the air.

"Love," I breathlessly thought. How adorable!

And as I tried to dodge the airy lovemakers in my car, I heard a faint "POOF." I looked in my rear view mirror in horror as two birds lay smack in the middle of the road. I was inconsolable.

I tried to calm my nerves (and stop getting fat) by walk/running around this one lake in Rochester. I was elated to learn that there was a lake with watery goodness and tasty trails upon which I could tread. But the bird word about me had gotten out to other feathery fiends. On my first trek, I met this gentleman:

Apparently, this jerkwad then alerted his buddies and about 100 yards later, this blocked my path:

Yeah, a bazillion hissing geese just waiting to peck my eyes out. Needless to say, my foray back into fitness was short-lived.

I really thought that I was overreacting; overly sensitive to the wily ways of the airborne terrors. But then it happened to poor Geo. Geo, who is unflappable, was stung by the bitter beak of airborne bullies.

We were sitting on our patio, enjoying a glass of wine and probably a conversation about why I can't wear two different shoes if both are equally cute. I noticed a tiny pile of comically miniature poop on our patio table. I tried googling from what creature the poop might have come, when Geo announced "I'm going to open the umbrella to keep the sun out. Is that cool?"

I replied "Ha! Yeah, as long as a bat or something doesn't swoop out."

And then, as if I had conjured up the beast myself, a bat SWOOPED out of the umbrella. Geo ran for the hills. I ran, much slower, and hid behind him; swatting at the unholy beast that I figured was trying to nest inside my unwashed hair.

I know a bat is not a bird. I know a bat is like, I don't know, a vampire or a rat or something. But whatever. It had wings and it was OUT FOR BLOOD.

What I've learned from this summer is that birds are not our friends. They don't make cute chirping noises to talk to each other about fun new worm spots or to spread juicy gossip about that one blue jay who we ALL know is just out to get some tail. They are, in fact, talking about how they will destroy the human race.