We've taken the plunge. We're joining a gym. It's just a matter of which gym we are going to join. I am content at this time to be courted by two, as they offer me free trials and call me with once-in-a-don't-join-the-other-opportunities.
We tried out the YMCA on Friday. I left all five boys in the babysitting service there, something I have never done anywhere else--ever. I worked out for an hour by myself in the middle of the morning. Something I never do--ever. I had been running the occasional mile and a half here and there and even at that, not for a few months with life becoming more complex with these growing boys in my house and their ever more and more sophisticated needs. I ran over five miles on Friday in that hour.
Was it because I exercised at a time I don't usually or because it was more than I have been doing for some time, I don't know, but when we got home I started cleaning, cleaning like a mad woman and fixing things that were on my fix-it-over-the-weekend list. I even swept the driveway and waxed the van. I chased a huge and nasty beetle out of the toy lawn mower and signed for the delivery of a new computer the UPS man left in the breezeway. When my husband arrived home, I fixed up a creative dinner from the bare cupboards and served it with a smile. After clearing plates, I headed out the door to the mall in search a few things for me (can you believe it!) and few for the boys.
Arriving home at a late hour, I found the computer ready to go with software uploaded. I started ripping my CDs onto the hard drive in order to save what might be saved from our precious CD collection that the children have dutifully sandpapered over the years. In the meantime, I gave my husband a fashion show with some of the things I had picked up for myself.
Come midnight, my husband wanted to go to bed. Hu? I was just getting started. I realized the hour was late, but I just wasn't tired. I laid in bed for a while pretending I wasn't a maniac and that I would drift off at any moment into the ethereal world of dreams, but sleep would not come and so I got up and took a shower. Then I cut my hair. Yes. I cut several inches off and even gave myself a few long layers at 2:00 AM (naturally curly hair is very forgiving).
Next morning I was up at the usual time and serving breakfast to all, as my husband had an early meeting. I did not regret the cut, thankfully, and continued to rip CDs until my husband arrived home and I left for grocery shopping.
I returned a few items I had bought the night before and then headed out to grocery destination#1. I found myself in the middle of a wicked downpour. I stood, without an umbrella, or even a hope, in the parking lot of grocery destination #1 frantically throwing bags into the van as I received the drenching of my life. Once the groceries were secure and I took cover, the rain let up. That's when the the chill began; the chill that reached to my very bones and pained my sore, sore muscles with painful shivering as I shopped around grocery destination #2.
Arriving home, my husband was hard at work installing a new garbage disposal. As I unloaded the groceries, the late-night haircut seemed to catch up with me and the soreness in my muscles from the workout combined with the feverish chill of the downpour brought to mind such illnesses as I've only heard described in novels, illnesses we have vaccinated out of our own experience. But there was no time to dwell on such things; it was time to go to Confession. Leaving everything behind, I headed out again into the wet, wet world.
The rain came down in heavy sheets. The van threw up huge jets of water up like fins on either side as I sped down the road to the church. I parked the van and opened my bright, yellow umbrella into the brightest sunshine. The rain continued to fall despite the glowing rays of sun which seemed to gain in strength with every step I took, puddle to puddle, all the way to the huge and heavy church doors. I searched for a rainbow and found none.
There was no rainbow to be found though all the elements were perfectly aligned and the city seemed to stand breathless in eager anticipation. There was no rainbow, though I felt the sacrament I'd just received could itself offer one. I looked and looked and never saw one, neither then nor driving home. I searched the streets and sky. Surely there was a rainbow somewhere evading us at every turn.
"I can't get this" my husband said as I came through the door back at the house. He asked me to look over the last few steps required for installing the garbage disposal. "Let me see," I said. Moments later, I found myself cramped beneath the sink holding a very heavy object over my husband's trusting head, and that at such a strange angle and for far, far too long. I understood, perhaps for the first time, why some people cuss.
We were not successful in our installation and so I had to make dinner without a sink and I did so at a very late hour. Thank goodness for meal planning, for I was all out of creativity, all out of energy: Saturday night burgers on the grill with melted cheddar, chips and cole slaw, fried onions with mushrooms and bacon.
"I'm really tired." I confessed.
"I suppose if you had a glass of wine you'd pass out," my husband wondered.
The noise had cleared and I sat alone at the dinner table. Without a sink, there was no pressure to clean the dishes. I sipped slowly from my wine glass and tried to sooth away at least the thought of my sore muscles and tired, tired head, sore muscles, chilled bones.
Just then, Nicholas came around the corner holding our illuminated globe. He set it on the floor beside me and plugged it in. In the ever darkening room, the soft blue light of the earth shone peacefully upon his face and on the hightlights of his summer curls. He turned the earth with gentle awe under his fat, toddler hand and exclaimed in bright wonderment over the all the features of our beautiful planet. And I sat, with aching muscles and chill-nipped bones in wonderment of him and all God's blessings.
Such is my life. A crazy life, a busy life, a harried life. A life where you probably won't see a rainbow when you think you've earned one and it would only be proper and you were looking everywhere for it and done everything right to deserve one, but a life where suddenly --and when you least expect it-- the whole world lights up and the joy you feel is so immense it leaves your tired body quite behind.