The whole package of suffering.

February 2nd, 2012 | by TJ |

A situation composed entirely of COMPLETELY UNFAIR CIRCUMSTANCES is going on here, and I have to tell you, I TOLD ME SO about going to the gym. Aside from all of the good things that come from going to the gym, nothing good ever comes from going to the gym.

I told you we were thinking about joining the YMCA, and we did join. And I was going every weekday, even though I still hate it, even though no one’s promises about the joys of exercise have ever come true, and even though it triggers extreme paranoia about how I smell at any given moment. I had been going every day, because it was good for me, and because dropping Penny off at the child care area was good for her.

The child care area has been great. They really like Penny, and there’s usually one child minder for the babies alone. Penny’s often the only baby, but I’ve never seen more than two or three there at a time, with plenty of attention given to them. And they’re separated from the galloping hooligan older children. Man, I’m glad Penny’s going to stay a baby forever.

Anyway, to add insult to what is sure to be inevitable injury, considering I just now kind of hurt my neck while trying to scratch my back, with Phil being gone for three weeks, I have to somehow convince myself that exercise qualifies as my alone time. No one comes home in the afternoon to give me a little baby relief, so I have to drop her off at the child care center in the Y, and then exercise, and tell myself that it’s great and restful and rejuvenating and totally the same thing as flopping on the couch in my underpants and watching Ellen while Phil takes care of the baby for a little while, but you know what? It’s not the same. I try to make myself at home on the treadmill, with my headphones and my videos and what not, but watching the elegance of upstairs/downstairs life in Downton Abbey loses something when you’re huffing and sweating and trying to stealthily check yourself for stink.

I am pretty sure I will never been one of those people who craves exercise, or feels like the day isn’t complete without a workout, or enjoys any of the benefits that high school gym teachers promise will come from putting on a stinky pinny and trying to be enthusiastic about dodge ball. There will always be something I would rather be doing. There will always be something I would rather be doing that I would never choose to do under normal circumstances. I’m saying I would always rather be cleaning my toilet.

But I’ve KEPT GOING ANYWAY. Even on days where I’ve decided to skip it, where I’m sure I’m not going to go, where I eye up the toilet and its need for a scrub, I have gone. Sometimes the decision  to go is made three minutes before I’d need to be out the door, but I have GONE.

And do you know how I have been rewarded for this? For joining a gym, putting on gym clothes, dealing with smell worries, ignoring the people who are actually working out in favor of plodding along watching television, for exposing Penny to other children and the experience of learning that when we leave her somewhere, we always come back?


Here I am, Phil gone for three weeks, and I’m still going to the gym and taking Penny to experience life outside of my hermitty bubble, and how am I rewarded? With PENNY’S FIRST COLD. Penny’s first cold, which has coincided nicely with Phil’s trip and the cutting of four teeth, along with the frustrated baby shrieks and indignant refusal to sleep that come along with trying to learn a new skill, causing my still-immobile baby to find herself on her belly and confused in the middle of the night, needing not only to be rescued, but also a loving parent on which to rub her snot.

And so we are watching endless Sesame Street and I am dealing with a baby who insists on being held and not held AT THE SAME TIME, because “YOU ARE NOT DADDY AND I ONLY LET DADDY HOLD ME BUT HOLD ME BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL GOOD PUT ME DOWN NOT DADDY HOLD ME.”

So I’ve missed a couple of days at the gym, because she’s been miserable, and I’ve been trying to hold and not hold her at the same time, dealing with a baby who wants both to be cuddled and to headbutt me repeatedly, and also, she PINCHES, and that would be okay, kind of, because I hate them gym and also, PJs@TJ’s is next week and I still have so much to do. And she seems like she’s starting to rally a bit, or at least she did last night, so I took her to Chipotle and she was delighted to eat a quesadilla and then equally delighted to… project it back over the floor of said Chipotle. And then again all over Phil’s side of the bed.

But now I also am sick, because Penny has insisted on rubbing her gross drippy face directly onto mine, and I still have a lot to do, and Phil is still not here, and I can’t even watch Downton Abbey because I told myself I could only watch it AT THE GYM, where I can’t go right now, because Penny brought home pestilence FROM THE GYM.

It is also kind of possible that she might have gotten the plague from that time I was too lazy to put her shopping cart cover down and I turned around for a minute to ponder my choice of frozen chicken products only to turn back and find her sucking on the cart handle. But it was probably the gym.

Here is a photo from happier times.

OH, ALSO? I found an injured baby bunny in the yard and I had to take it to an emergency vet and they put it down. That doesn’t really go with the rest of the post, but I feel like it’s part of the whole package of my suffering right now.

21 Responses to “The whole package of suffering.”

  1. By Melissa on Feb 2, 2012

    She is adorable, I almost can’t even believe how adorable she is.

    And you can’t avoid the pestilence. You just can’t. If it wasn’t the gym or the grocery it would be Phil bringing it home from someone at work. Or you’d open the door and BAM! pestilence flies in. It is unavoidable. And awful. I’m sorry you’re suffering.

  2. By clay on Feb 2, 2012

    The pinching SUCKS. How does something with such little fine motor control manage to grab a piece of flesh and talon its way in like a barn owl.

    I got to experience the joy Emory trying to scale my leg via handfuls of leg hair last week.

    Also, did you check the rabbit for pinch marks…I’m just sayin.

  3. By Life of a Doctor's Wife on Feb 2, 2012

    As if the Chipotle barf and the hold/not hold and the absent husband and the pinching and the sweat weren’t ENOUGH, the BUNNY?

    Oh TJ. I wish I could offer you more than a Sheldon-style “There, there.” but the Internet is in the way!

    Hang in there!

  4. By MegglesP on Feb 2, 2012

    I’m actually quite impressed she made it 9 months without a cold! That’s got to be some sort of record, even if you did have a hermitty bubble. Maybe it’s the warm, dry air in Arizona? Seriously, impressed. But I’m sorry you are having to deal with this alone. I’m sure it sucks the big one. I have been thisclose to getting over a stupid cold and it just lingers and lingers in the form of SNOT EVERYWHERE. I don’t even know where all the snot comes from! It doesn’t help that in Houston we have bipolar weather and while it was about 35 degrees sometime last week, it’s a balmy 75 and raining today.

    I can’t wait to meet you and Penny at your house next week (EEK next week!!) and you will not BELIEVE the dress I found her. I couldn’t NOT get it. You’ll see.

    Take care of yourself and try to get well!

  5. By Brooke on Feb 2, 2012

    OMG. Please, woman, let me HELP you.

  6. By Erin on Feb 2, 2012

    Oh, honey, I have been there and it SUCKS. I think you should allow yourself at least one episode of Downton Abbey, as the only reason you’re not at the gym is because the gym made you and Penny both sick.

    And what IS that “hold me no put me down no hold me!” thing? Lorelai does that too and I DO. NOT. GET IT. At all. It is often accompanied by kicks to my bladder and headbutts to my nose (which I am surprised has not broken yet, so hard are the headbutts).

    You know that none of us coming to you next weekend will judge you if you don’t get everything done that you wanted to. I mean, you’ve been single-parenting a sick baby while also sick yourself. Anyone who judges you does not deserve to come to PJs at TJ’s.

  7. By Amber on Feb 2, 2012

    Oh my goodness, you poor thing!

    I hate the gym too. So much faffing about involved. I am however a big fan of the exercise video -Davina McCall is great. Obviously you don’t get the “alone time” but you do get the entire exercise experience over for the day in 30 minutes. And you don’t have to deal with any gym arseholes. Or worry about stinking.

  8. By PinkieBling on Feb 2, 2012

    Life is seriously so unfair. The gym should not make you sick!! You should not be sick while Phil is away! Bleh.

    Last night, I dreamed that a baby sneezed in my face. I do not know where this baby came from, but it seemed intent on destroying me.

    I LOOOOOVE that photo of Penny. She looks like she’s planning world domination.

    I…I still can’t talk about the bunny. *SOB*

    Oh, and what is a “pinny?”


    Alorina Reply:

    A pinny is what gym teachers make kids wear to distinguish one team from another. One team just wears their regular gym attire and the other wears a pinny over their shirt. They’re usually made of nylon or some such material and are kind of like a vest.

    Kind of like a PG ‘shirts vs skins’ for kids

    PinkieBling Reply:

    Thank you! I’ve definitely seen those, but never heard the term before. I imagine they *would* be smelly!

  9. By Suzanne on Feb 2, 2012

    I’m sorry, I totally forgot how I was going to commiserate with you when I got to that picture of the world’s most adorable baby who is not mine.

    Oh, right, the held and not held thing. My 13 month old is teething again and has injured my wrists to the point where I CAN’T do my workout because it involves push-ups and I can’t put any weight on my hands. She screams if I set her on the floor but thrashes madly if I hold her on my hip. We are watching a lot of TV (which the 3 year old thinks is awesome).

  10. By Rebecca on Feb 2, 2012

    My children got sick so often from childcare at the gym that we didn’t renew our membership this year. Instead, we got a treadmill and then I got a stress fracture from running too much! Hope you feel better soon.

  11. By Swistle on Feb 2, 2012

    The bunny story definitely belongs. It helps ROUND OUT the picture of misery.

  12. By RockyCat on Feb 2, 2012

    Couldn’t you just drop Penny off at the gym and then, like, go shopping or something? Win-win!

    I never had kids, obv.

  13. By Shelly on Feb 2, 2012

    Good thing that baby is so damn cute!

  14. By Thanks: Management on Feb 2, 2012

    Clearly you are from the school of ‘LEAVER’ Now you need to also become an Avoider.. This is one of many reasons I do not go to the Library’s Story Time during cold and flu season!! Actually I avoid most of the general public from dec-march, even the people I know!!! I am gonna die when PreK starts in the fall!!!

  15. By cakeburnette on Feb 3, 2012

    TDY = all the horrible crap happens that you don’t want to deal with alone, but it’s not horrible enough for them to come home and help you.

  16. By April on Feb 3, 2012

    Well, the least the germs could have done woils be to wait for phil before they hit. (hug)

  17. By LemonFresh on Feb 5, 2012

    Will it help that I had a dream about you last night in which you were choking on a glob of Nutella, and Phil, instead of doing the heimlich maneuver or something, was looking it up on the internet? “How to stop choking on nutella.” Seriously.

    (I promise I have no idea why I dreamed about someone I have only read on the internet. I hadn’t even checked your blog for a week or so!)

    Anyway, maybe my dream was not so helpful but perhaps it made you laugh? Or creeped you out. In any case, I hope you and Penny recover from the plague speedily and thoroughly, and that magic PJs@TJ’s fairies come and help you get ready. *fingers crossed*

  18. By Lauren on Feb 6, 2012

    Don’t be mad at me when I say this, okay?

    I don’t know how long you’ve been working out, but keep plugging away. Because there really does come a time when your body starts to crave it – when you feel like crap on the days you don’t do it – when you find yourself actually looking forward to your workout. In my experience, it took about six months to get there … But I got there. And I’m sure you will too! Don’t give up!

    For what it’s worth, which I’m sure isn’t much since you haven’t got the slightest idea who I am, I AM PROUD OF YOU!!!

  19. By Alex on Feb 6, 2012

    Ack – the sick. Poor you and Penny. Feel better soon!

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