Me vs. the new work computer

Macbook: Hello! I am pleased to meet you.

Me: I’m not sure I believe that.

Macbook: You seem awfully suspicious.

Me: Oh, believe me, I have my reasons.

Macbook: Well, I’m nothing like those unwashed hooligans. Anyway, you can either set me up yourself or wait on hold for 90 minutes for I.T. to tell you that they don’t know anything about Mac computers.

Me: I have made it my life’s goal to never deal with I.T. again.

Macbook, cracking its knuckles: All right, let’s do this.

Me: OK, I’m unplugging the old computer and plugging you in.

Macbook: So far, so good!

Me: Um, the Ethernet connection doesn’t fit.

Macbook: Well, I’m sleeker and skinnier than my previous counterpart.

Me: Yeah, I noticed that when I tried to stuff the old computer into your box.

Macbook: Yeah, that chunker was never going to fit. Try checking the accessory boxes that came with me.

Me: You mean this Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter? I don’t even know what that is.

Macbook, rolling its eyes: Yeah, you don’t need that. What you actually want is the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

Me: I feel like you’re not even saying real words.

Macbook: Just try it.

Me: Hey, it worked! OK, you’re turned on…

Macbook: That’s what she said.

Me: Please don’t.

Macbook: Sorry.

Me: You’re on, but the monitor isn’t.

Macbook: Heh heh. When you said, “You’re on,” it sounded like you said, “urine” in a British accent.

Me: What?

Macbook: Ahem. You just need to find the monitor connection. See that cord that splits into three other cords?

Me: Yeah, but there’s only one port left.

Macbook: Well, you just need to use one of those three cords, so it’s all good.

Me: Which one?

Macbook: Well, it wouldn’t be fun if I just told you, would it?

Me: Oh my God.

Macbook: Ha! It was the last one you tried – classic!

Me: Shut up.

Macbook: This is fun! Are you ready to set up your printers?

Me: No, because every time I print something, I have to wait three days for it to print out.

Macbook: I believe if you walk over to the printer, you’ll see that it already worked.

Me: Holy crap, it did! That’s literally the first time I’ve printed something and had it show up immediately.

Macbook: You’re welcome.

Me: Wow, this is pretty aweso–Oh, dammit!

Macbook: What’s wrong?

Me: Well, I had access to Facebook and YouTube and Twitter, but now I.T. blocked it again.

Macbook: Like you need access to that stuff anyway.

Me: Actually, I do.

Macbook, winking: Sure you do.

Me: I do! I write content for clients’ Facebook pages and copy for videos that are hosted on YouTube.

Macbook: Well, it looks like you’ll have to call I.T. anyway. Enjoy!


Weathering the weather

I have spent 3 out of the last 5 weeks being sick, which in addition to bringing me to my knees in coughing fits (literally), pisses me off. I drink water, I sleep well, I exercise, I got the flu shot. I am playing by the rules here, what the hell, logic?

So in addition to already being ornery and sounding like an elderly tuberculosis patient (thanks, asthmatic lungs!), I have been dealing with some weather here. You may have heard a little about it; this is Sunday’s delightful forecast:

Negative 50 below with the wind chill. Jesus Christ.

This morning, I took the dog outside before work and didn’t put on gloves because I was only going to be out for three minutes. I didn’t factor in the wind, which buffeted me against the house the second I stepped outside and made me say out loud, “Well, now you’re just being a bitch about it,” and yes, I talk out loud to the weather, because it is actually a physical being at this point. When I got back inside, my hands were curled into little frostbitten claws of pain, and I was whimpering, so I had to warm them under water for 5 minutes. Ridiculous.

Also ridiculous? The fact that I had to actually scrape the inside of my car windshield yesterday before leaving work. Please note the ice shavings on my dashboard. Unbelievable.

Luckily, our governor has called off school state-wide for Monday, so most of my coworkers, myself included, will be working from home. I intend to spend the entire day wearing fleece clothing and drinking hot chocolate while buried under an electric blanket and two heat-giving pets as I work from my bed-desk.

Things that have made me happy lately

  1. Hearing my friend’s story about her son and Picture Day. Her child hates wearing underwear, and dress pants, and anything that my friend wants him to wear, really. So she sat her son down and explained, “Look. I know you hate wearing these things, but it’s important. I want you to wear this dress shirt and these khakis and your underwear, but it’s just for one day, OK? After that, you can wear whatever you want.” And her son sat patiently and when she was done reiterating the importance of Picture Day Clothing, he said, “I got it, mom.” And then she went to work and her son went to school and when she got home and greeted him coming off the bus, she saw he was wearing a Batman sweatshirt and camouflage sweatpants.
  2. All of my pants are too big. This means I can do the whole “remove my pants without unzipping them routine,” which is both fun and strangely weird.
  3. Freaking out about what to buy people for Christmas, having a 15-minute conversation with Jason, and already having 1/3 of our stuff purchased in less than 4 hours.
  4. Watching the ridiculous Bears-Vikings game yesterday. After some jerkhole on the team named Ellison not only dropped a sure TD pass, but also got nailed with a blatant face mask penalty on what was supposed to be the game-winning kick, it looked like the Vikes were screwed. Our kicker then missed a super-long kick (thanks to the penalty) and the Bears were ready to score a field goal for the win. But then their usually reliable kicker missed, and the Vikes had another shot. As I was scouring the field for Mr. I’m Purposely Throwing This Game, our kicker made the FG and we won. Nice try, Ellison! 
  5. No snow on the ground yet.
  6. I have to use up some PTO before the end of year or else I lose it, so I have two days off next week to do nothing. And it is going to be glorious. The most taxing thing I have planned is to add bubbles to my bath.
  7. We played Pictionary on Thanksgiving with my family. As usual, it was the men versus the women, with the men sharing a collective brain cell and using minimalistic drawings to garner correct guesses in about 15 seconds. Utterly ridiculous. Someone would draw a straight line and in two guesses, they’d have the right answer. Obviously they were cheating. One of the funniest guesses though, was when one of the ladies was drawing the word “ripple” and someone guessed “wave.” The person drawing made the universal signal to shorten the word and the guesser said, “wa?” (She used the signal to mean that a ripple was shorter than a wave, but we still joked about it for the rest of the evening.) Honestly, I should’ve just recorded the guesses, because that was funnier than the drawings. One of the guys kept shouting, “TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE!!!” over and over and after they were done, one of his teammates said, “What’s going on, Mr. Redundant? What the hell is a TRAIN LOCOMOTIVE?” (The answer was Amtrak.)

Why I stopped treating my body like a dumpster and learned to love working out

(You can all thank NGS for this loooong-winded diatribe.)

After we got back from our trip to Turks & Caicos, Jason decided he wanted to get serious about working out. I agreed. For the past two years, my body has been feeling more and more decrepit: I had burning hip pain, I felt parts of my body moving when I walked that I hadn’t felt previously, and I didn’t care at all for the direction I seemed to be heading, health-wise.

After visiting (and almost immediately discounting) CrossFit, we decided to try a local fitness studio I had heard about at a Workplace health fair. After one free session, we were both hooked and signed up for memberships immediately. I was initially cheesed at myself for having to pay for exercise when I should be doing it at home for free. But then I realized that I was not, in fact, exercising at home and that this was the only way to commit to exercise, so I immediately got over it. I just keep telling myself that it’s an investment in my future health that will hopefully reduce my future medical costs.

I don’t want to list the studio by name because there’s only a few locations and I don’t want the people there to find this blog. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t care at all if they found this entry; it just makes me feel weird when people I know in real life read my blog (family members excluded). I know this seems dumb, and some of you who follow me on Facebook already probably know what I’m talking about, so I’ll throw you a bone and give you a few hints.

There’s 3 parts to the studio name:

Part one is a color and also a type of juice you may have with breakfast.

Part two is another word for a scientific idea. You may see it in such phrases as “________ of relativity” or “string ________.”

Part three rhymes with “witness.”

So, I work out at ColorIdea Witness, more or less.

The main reason I love ColorIdea Witness so very, very much is that it’s circuit training. This is key for me. I hate being bored by a workout. But here, I’ve been going 2-3 times a week for 6 months, and it’s never been the same workout twice. I absolutely love that. The nerdy part of me loves coming in and seeing the workout on the board; it’s like a miniature Christmas morning 2-3 times a week. (Re-reading that, it just occurred to me that maybe I need to get a life.)

Training consists of three circuits: one on the treadmill, one on the rowing machines and one on the floor. During your hour-long workout, you can wear a heart-rate monitor on a strap that posts your heart rate and calorie burn on TV monitors. As unnerving as that may seem (everyone can see everyone else’s progress), I really like seeing my numbers since it helps me know that I can push myself harder. (I also compete with myself to try to beat my previous numbers. And, if you are next to me on the treadmills, I’m trying to beat your speed/distance. You may not realize this, but it’s happening. Don’t worry, I don’t gloat.) There are three stages your heart rate can be in (without giving away Google-able terminology, think of a stoplight, with the yellow replaced with the first word of the studio name) and you’re aiming to stay in that middle stage as much as possible.

Classes are limited to 24 people, with half starting on the treadmills, and half starting on the rowers or floor. That means it’s basically you, the trainer and maybe 11 other people (usually less). So you get plenty of one-on-one trainer time to help correct your form, get tips, etc. Sometimes, if you’re lucky like Jason, the trainer will hand you heavier weights. Or, sometimes, if your heart rate is below where the trainer thinks it should be, they’ll tell you to increase your speed on the treadmill. Instead of being irritating, this only serves the purpose of telling me I am capable of doing more, something I wouldn’t ever push myself to do at home.

I typically start on the treadmills because I loathe cardio and want to get it over with as soon as possible. The treadmill circuit usually lasts for about 25-27 minutes. (This is where I was extremely glad that Jason and I were typically running 3.1 miles a few times a week on our own.) We switch between three speeds: slow & sustainable, pushing it and running as fast as you can (they call it something different, but again, I don’t want anyone to Google the terminology and find this entry). There may also be incline work. You spend anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes in a given stage, with a minute of walking after the tough intervals. For the sprinter in me, this is perfect. Even when I’m dying, I know I’ll be able to walk in a few minutes. And, you can go at your own pace. There’s people who walk the whole time and people who practically sprint the whole time. (I am firmly in the jogging category.) Like the floor circuit, you never know what you’re going to get: one day it may be a lot of sprints, other days you’ll focus on longer paces at a slower speed and other days involve spending a lot of time running at an incline (my least favorite, because my legs are instantly dead for anything to come afterwards).

The floor work is my favorite. I cannot believe how much I love lifting weights. I love, love, LOVE it. The circuit usually starts with some rowing, then switches to the floor, which might involve using weights, straps, medicine balls, Bosu balls or just body-weight exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, etc. Sometimes we even use those little scooters from gym class. Remember those? The ones with four wheels that you’d sit on and race around the gym floor while the P.E. instructor comforted that one kid who always ran over his own fingers? Well here, you use them to do ab rollouts or put your feet on them and do push-ups, so now they represent some serious core work.

Another bonus that doesn’t seem like a bonus but makes you feel like a total badass: I sweat a TON when I work out here. Like, I can seriously wring sweat out of my ponytail when I’m done. Sometimes I see people getting done with their workout and they’ve barely broken a sweat and I think, “How is that possible?”

The people are really cool, too. I love all of the trainers, the desk staff learned my name after like, two days, and the other people working out are all so nice and complimentary. Everyone encourages new people and assures them it gets easier, and at every class, someone is complimenting either Jason or I on either our weight loss or our slowly-developing-muscles physique. We all joke about needing to atone about overindulgences or commiserate over particularly challenging workouts, and it’s like a little family since people tend to work out at the same time/days of the week. It’s nice. I also like the fact that for that hour, there’s nothing to focus on but myself: no deadlines, no distractions, no phones. Just the thumping music and the shouting instructions from the trainer.

Our location has four trainers. There is one who’s our favorite, so we try to schedule as many classes with her as possible. For some reason, I burn more calories in her class than any other. In an hour workout, I’ll burn anywhere from 480-570 calories. Jason usually burns closer to 800-900.

Since I started, I’ve lost about 12 pounds. That might not sound like much, until I tell you this: I didn’t lose much weight at first, but lost major inches off my hips, which was huge since I was pretty pear-shaped. In the last few months, I not only upped the number of times I worked out from 2-3 to 3-4, but also got serious about my diet. I cut waaaaaay back on the Mountain Dews and my portions are much less. So in the last 2 months, I’ve lost about 6 pounds. I have another fitness assessment this weekend, so I’m eager to hear how many more inches off my waist and hips I’ve lost. Right now, I’m about 7 pounds from my ultimate goal weight and I have nicely defined arm muscles so I’m happy. All the changes I’m making are so subtle and sustainable, it feels like I’m not sacrificing anything at all. I’m still eating the same foods, just less of them. I’m still drinking Mountain Dews, just less. So simple.

Plus, I’m much stronger. We had to lift our ultra-heavy snowblower into the back of Jason’s vehicle to take it in for a tune-up, and normally it is a huge struggle because I can barely lift my end and Jason has to do the bulk of it and we argue and it’s never pretty. This year, we lifted it with no issue whatsoever. None. It was like lifting a paper bag. Jason was all, “You got it?” and I snapped back, “Yeah, of course,” like why wouldn’t I? AM STRONG LIKE OX NOW.

So this is the perfect place for both Jason and I. When it’s a workout day, I’m excited. Like, EXCITED, excited. Like one of those insane fitness people you try to avoid because they suck. Only I don’t talk about calories or eating tofu or any of that jazz because I love cheese and food too much. But I will talk your ear off about exercising. Because I love it so much now. Sometimes after a particularly grueling workout, I’ll think, “I want to work out again. Right now.” And considering that I would use any excuse to get out of working out, that is a thought I’d never ever thought I’d have.