Monthly Archives: December 2015

Wonder Land

Sometimes I wonder why we live in New York City. To be fair, I am not alone in asking this. The boys have each requested a change of venue recently. One would like to move to “a rural community because I like silos.” The other alternates between wanting to live with various grandparents and hoping we could all live in the pretend tree house at the playground. And I think my mom never stops asking herself what the $&@% we are doing here.

As a native Midwesterner, I have spent most of my time here perfectly pleased with my surroundings. After September 11, I swore I would have to be cut out of the city with a knife and fork. But then we moved to Philadelphia, so that shows how much I know about it. (Fortune teller: another career path closed to me)

But moving back to New York with my little brood into our cozy den, the city just seems hard sometimes. There’s a lot of schlepping. There are all kinds of stores you can’t go in because the stroller won’t fit. There are a lot of unpleasantly scented elevators to get to certain death on the subway platforms. There’s lots of dog poop. There’s lots of milk to be lugged up to the fourth floor. There’s just a lot of hassle sometimes.

But sometimes, sometimes, the city gives you presents: perfect days just for you. Like the time some TV network flooded an entire section of Chelsea market and filled it with crocodiles to promote some uh . . . oh who the hell knows what they were promoting! The point is, there were crocodiles that the boys could visit at what is effectively our neighborhood grocery store! Real! Live! Crocodiles!

And yesterday, just as sort of an offhand fluke thing, we went to Wonderland! I know, I know, it is a Target Wonderland, but that doesn’t keep it from being awesome! (And free). And it just opened that day, so not very many people know how fun it is. Tomorrow, the entire city will be there and never leave  so it will become one of those things that would be amazing, except you can’t see it because there are too many people. (I’m looking at you, High Line) But yesterday, it was amazing and special. Yes, it was wretched excess. But it was wretched excess on a scale that only New York seems to manage effortlessly.

See, this is how New York gets you: once in a while you get the amazing and special things that feel both like they are just for you and that you are part of some larger beating heart. Or a life size Lego pirate ship with a giant ball pit.

Ball! Pit!

 Maybe they have these special things where you live, too. Embrace them! I think Philadelphia has them sometimes. (But I refuse to believe that, despite what one of the Mister’s former coworkers swears, Philadelphia has waiters with tuxedos and trays loaded with glasses of wine roaming the city. That can’t possible happen, right? . . . Right?)

So yesterday was a day when I knew exactly why we live (and love it) here!

We’re home. Fist Bump.

Ho Ho Hulk!



Filed under The outside world

Fun Apartment Fitness Plan

I got a stack of “how to be hot . . . err healthy” magazines at the Y, which was kind of awesome. But after reading nothing but Self, Shape, and Women’s Health magazines, a girl could be forgiven for thinking that she’s not doing enough to keep her smoking hot self in good shape. So I developed this Fun Apartment Fitness Plan to help all the other moms in tiny apartments on track to set a PR (it only took me two months to figure out they meant parenting record, not public relations.)

Morning: wake up early to the relaxing tones of shrieking children fighting over old Halloween candy and dumping out bins of Legos. Take a minute to visualize throttling them with their own licorice. Give yourself a good long hamstring stretch as you reach down to clear a path wide enough to reach them. Then drop into a squat to scoop one of them up and carry them away from the battlefield. (Lift with the legs, keeping the knees behind the toes–remember, form is important!)

Incorporate some yoga into your morning preparations. Assume the downward dog thingy to check for the library books under the table. Use warrior pose with your honey when he suggests that he might want to work late tonight. If you really stretch with your back leg, you might be able to reach the bathroom door. Hold it closed to remind your older son than he really needs to flush before he comes out. Then swivel around–engaging your core–to direct him to the sink for washing his hands. Finish with child’s pose when one of the children tells you that they need 44 purple-frosted cupcakes by 10 am today, for the party they thought they told you about.

Stare at is picture of a labor intensive breakfast consisting of multiple complicated and / or expensive ingredients. Then make yourself some peanut butter toast and pour a large mug of coffee. Remember, coffee is just one of the few flimsy things that stand between you and prison.

Now that you’ve completed the warm-up, it is time to get that heart rate up. Just check the clock and realize that you should have left uh now. Kick it into high gear by jumping around the apartment on alternating legs while trying to put on pants. Windmill your arms to get the children moving toward the door. Make sure you leave some critical item behind, so you can have the added benefit of running back up to the fourth floor an extra time. Want to make it harder? Forget something else and remember it only on the second trip down. Now you can really feel the burn!

High intensity and high impact time! Let’s take it outside! Make sure you carry a minimum of 40 lbs of kid and backpack as you race walk the half mile to school. If you like intervals, you can alternate between carrying and dragging. Do this a minimum of four times and your biceps and back will love you for it! Remember, poofy down jacket season is just around the corner!

For strength training, look no further than your trip to the grocery store. If possible, wait until you run out of all the heavy stuff at the same time: milk, cat litter, laundry soap, box wine–all the essentials. That way you can maximize your heft and really throw those shoulders out of whack. Plus you will really blast some calories hauling all that stuff up to the fourth floor. Be sure to reward yourself with a few chia seeds when you get upstairs.

If you are looking to build stamina, you can just clean the apartment by walking from one end of it to the other, carrying things back to their base of origin. Based on my expert fitness assessment, one can do this circuit a total of 237 times and still have crap to put away. It is a great way to keep your heart rate and blood pressure up!

And for the real tough mothers, you can take on the laundry challenge. Haul 40 lbs of your family’s dirty clothes three blocks away to the nearest laundromat! For extra burn, carry the large size detergent–or better yet, run back for it! You will feel great as the weight of all those quarters tugs down your pants!

Let’s not forget the fitness fad of the moment: kickboxing! If your day is anything like mine, then you probably have numerous opportunities to practice your jab and cross, followed by a nice, satisfying roundhouse. Be creative in your workouts: think outside the gym! You could be throwing down with the clerk at the drugstore, the walkers-while-texters weaving around on the sidewalk, the UPS guy, the inept contractors working upstairs that inadvertently cut off heat to your apartment, the pot-smoking teenagers occupying the slide at the playground, and pretty much anyone working at your insurance company. Think of all these daily encounters as chances for calorie-burning and muscle-building! Thanks everyone! (After all, the relaxed feeling you experience afterward is probably keeping your family alive!)

Make sure you incorporate some more cardio intervals as you race from one school to the other, because of course they dismiss at exactly. The Same. Time. You can really torch those calories by alternating between dragging the kids behind you because they are “too tired to walk” and racing to catch them because they saw a dirty plastic spoon in the street that they need to bring home and keep forever! Make sure you turn up the burn by carrying their backpacks.

I’m sure you are already planning your high protein, fiber rich, healthy fats, green veggie filled dinner made from limp scallions and whatever is in the freezer, rounded out by peanuts. Make sure to engage the hamstrings when you are cleaning shells off the floor!

After dinner, hoist the lads  into the tub and boost them into bed. Finish up by raising your middle finger at the article that encourages you to do squats and lunges during commercials. When you have finished your wine glass bicep curls (about 150 reps ought to do it, adding more weight as necessary), reward yourself with a nice stretch, face down on your bed.


Mommy is tired.

Workout complete! Tomorrow you can shrug your shoulders hopelessly as you admire the payoff when you look in the mirror! You go, girl!


Filed under Not cool, Mommy, The outside world