A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Saturday, March 16, 2019

How I Got Trapped in a Bathroom at the YMCA

I swim laps for exercise. It’s a good workout, I love the water, and while I’m doing it nothing hurts – which at age 44 with an osteoarthritic hip (sexy, I know) it’s getting harder to find an activity where that’s the case.

I was a swim team member as a kid and I can recall swim-a-thons where we hit fifty, sixty, and seventy laps in a night, but it had been years since I had that kind of endurance so when I rejoined the Y a year ago I was only swimming thirty, ten of which I was using a kick board.

Since then I’d been creeping up on laps. I hit forty, even fifty, but never the elusive sixty that signals a mile. Swimming a mile and walking a mile are very different things as far as one’s body is concerned.

So Wednesday when my sister asked me if I wanted to go for a late swim with her, I said sure and headed over early. She’s a lot faster than me so if I was going to hit sixty laps in the same time she could I’d need about a twenty or thirty minute head start. When she arrived I was almost thirty laps in and feeling good.

An hour into my swim I did it – I hit sixty laps! Technically the end tally was either sixty-two or sixty-four, I stopped a few times mid lane to adjust my goggles so the lap counter on my smart watch malfunctioned a couple of times.

I was elated! Also, I desperately had to pee.

I quickly exited the lap pool and went into the poolside bathroom. It’s a single, spacious unisex just a few steps away from the hot tub.

Blessed relief.

Now, if you are female and wearing a one-piece swimsuit there are two ways you can approach a bathroom break. You can yank the leg of your suit to one side, thus stretching out the material and running the risk of flashing a butt-cheek later on, or you can pull the entire sodden contraption off and basically be naked. I had opted for the latter, as butt-cheek flashing wasn’t high on my YMCA to-do list.

My suit is a racer-back, with cross straps and is also, I must add, a size too small for me. I order suits a size smaller than my pants size because I want them to fit snug and firm with nothing flopping around.

As I stood I realized, to my abject horror, that in the minute I’d been sitting there my arms had gone limp as noodles, all strength completely drained away. Simultaneously, the soaked fabric of my swimsuit had turned into an impenetrable rolled knot of fabric, strangling my upper thighs.

I pulled, I tugged, I wrestled, using arms that felt about as strong as those of a wee newborn babe.

Eventually the terrible reality dawned on me and I stood there for a moment, dripping and horrified.

I was trapped. Naked. And unlike the last time I’d gotten into a predicament like this there would be no kindly, long-suffering stranger to rescue me.

Outside the door was the lap pool, with it’s fifteen-some-odd of my fellow male and female YMCA members (including my sister) blithely carrying on their workouts with no idea of my plight. There was also a good fifty feet of freezing hallway standing between me and the sanctuary of an appropriately naked locker room space.

They would not, I thought, appreciate a portly, pale flasher running by. Notwithstanding the fact that I could only toddle, not run, with the fabric of my suit knotted about my legs.

In desperation I took the suit off and rung it out, thinking perhaps if it were dryer and not rolled over itself this would be easier. Alas, that meant I now had to start the process all over from the beginning.

I shimmied, I yanked, I jumped and pulled in at the same time, using gravity and momentum to inch my sodden swimsuit up over my panicked body bit by excruciatingly tiny bit. All the while I was wondering if my sister was concerned about why I’d now been in here so long and exactly how long I would need to be missing before somebody came looking and thus revealed the mortifying truth.

Quietly, my workout tracker pointed out that my pulse had gone a bit high. Yes, no kidding, I silently responded to it – I AM TRAPPED NAKED IN A PUBLIC UNISEX BATHROOM, WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU EXPECT?

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the suit was at least up over all the necessary bits. Crooked, twisted, cutting off circulation to my left breast and right buttock, but blessedly, mercifully up.

I limped over to the end of my sister’s lane and waved to get her attention, telling her I was headed to the showers. I then disappeared into the relative solitude of the ladies locker room before she could do more than give me a puzzled look over why I’d been gone so long. Or looked so pink. And disheveled.

And that’s how I got temporarily trapped naked in a bathroom at the YMCA.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Tax Return Siren Song

Tax season is upon us. And so begins my annual Don Quixote quest to convince people that receiving a large tax return is not, repeat not, a good thing.


Every week, bi-week, or month, depending on your pay schedule, your government takes away a portion of your paycheck in taxes. They do this so you don’t have to pay them all in one big lump sum which would prove too much of a financial burden for most of us who aren’t the best at saving up resources.

It also makes the hit we take seem painless, since they forcibly remove a chunk first and then allow us to have whatever is left over when they are finished. In terms of nature, think of us as a pack of hyena taking down a zebra, then the big lion comes and eats a chunk of our zebra, leaving us whatever is left when they’re full. I believe the fastest way to tax reform would be to let people have their entire paycheck so they have to write the government that big whopping check each time and see just how much is taken away from them, but that’s another post.

Many people allow the government to keep far, far too much of their paychecks all year long so that at year’s end they receive the over payments back in the form of a tax return. Many refer to this as the forced government savings program.

This means that many, many people are giving the United States government a completely interest free loan, every year, out of their hard-earned money. I personally do not like the United States government enough to give them a single penny more than what they insist upon taking away from me by force, even if they give some of it back later.

Ted and I have a goal of owing and receiving exactly zero each year at tax season. Sometimes we owe a little, sometimes we get a little back, but usually we come pretty close to our goal and that’s great. If we achieve it, that means we haven’t given the government anything that they didn’t demand from us and instead had control of as much of our own earnings as possible all year to do with as we deem appropriate, not as the government sees fit.

Listen, if you want to save up money that’s fantastic. It’s a great idea. Go to a bank and tell them how much you’d like to save up by year’s end, divide that amount by 52 and have that portion of your paycheck shunted into the account that you control and that the bank (unlike the government) will pay you interest for.

As for me, I won’t be giving my government a red cent more than that which they take from me at gunpoint. Think I’m being dramatic? Try not paying your taxes and see who comes knocking on your door.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Diamonds are Forever Wasted Money

I have a 1.5-carat emerald cut diamond solitaire engagement ring. It previously belonged to my great-grandmother Henrietta Murray, and since my now-husband (then boyfriend) had to ask my parents for their permission to give it to me, pretty much everyone in my family knew I was getting engaged before I did.

When I look at it now, I think of how much I love both my Grammy and my husband, so it has great sentimental value to me. That is, in fact, its only real value. If I tried to sell it, it would be worth very little, maybe a couple hundred dollars.

I don’t wear it often. I find it clunky to have a big rock dangling off the back of my hand and I tend to fret about losing it. Also I think my hands just look weird with traditional girl things attached to them – like sparkly rings or red nail polish. It’s just not me.

I think most people know these days that the DeBeers Company invented the diamond engagement ring pretty recently in the 1940’s via what was possibly the most effective marketing campaign in modern history.

Now, looking back at my engagement, I’m relieved that Ted didn’t waste money neither of us had to purchase a worthless and common sparkly rock that might have been mined via abusive child labor practices. I’m also disappointed that we perpetuated the marketing tactic at all, and that neither of us knew enough at the time to shirk the tradition altogether.

Wasting money does not prove love. Even saying “I love you,” does not prove love. I often say of my husband that of all the romantic interests in my life who said, “I love you,” he is the only one who turned those words into action. He is the one who was patient, who was kind, who did not envy, who did not boast, who was not proud. He is the one who always protected, always trusted, always hoped, and always persevered. Actions prove love, not words and not gifts.

Love takes time to show, years to build, a lifetime to cultivate, and must be tended always with faithfulness and care.

Diamonds are not even an investment. Much like cars they depreciate the moment you take them off the sales lot. If you need to spend two months’ salary to prove your love or entice someone to marry you, you’d be better served finding someone who is more attracted to your interests and personality than your bank account. If you demand an overpriced tribute to help you decide who to spend your life with, you need to seriously reevaluate your mate selection process.

Choose your mate by hours spent lying in bed laughing on a lazy Saturday morning.
Choose your mate by knowing who will lie awake all night cradling your head in their lap when you are sick.
Choose your mate by recognizing a soul that lights up in response to the same things yours does.
Choose a mate that challenges you to think and grow and stretch who and what you are, and who is challenged by you in return.
Choose a mate who is your biggest fan, and whose biggest fan you are.
Choose a mate who works as hard as you do to prioritize, tend to, and care for the delicate relationship between you. And work hard, very hard, every day. It is worth it.

These are things I have learned in sixteen years being one of the most happily married people I know. All these things are the true treasures and riches in life. A sparkly stone will sit on your hand, then sit in a box on a shelf, long forgotten.

You can’t get that money back, and it would be far better spent on building a life together than in service to a ridiculous tradition generated by a successful marketing campaign.

It’s just a rock. And not the type of rock that creates anything resembling a firm foundation for a lifetime of marriage.