…and I’m OK.
One of the best things I did for my health this winter was quit the gym.
There’s nothing restorative about thumping along on the treadmill, sucking down indoor air and trying not to listen to the cell phone conversation the woman next to you is having. The 25 TVs (can’t we escape TV anywhere?) all seem to be tuned to a different, seizure-inducing channel. The locker room is filled with sweaty, half-naked middle-aged guys, most of whom want to talk politics or Tiger Woods.
Life’s too short to do things you hate. For me, the gym falls into that category.
Instead, I’ve been exercising outside, hiking through the local woods whenever I can. When I can’t, I throw on a pack and pound up and down local hills, no matter the weather. I can feel my legs and lungs getting stronger every day and, more importantly, I get an hour or so outside to be alone with my thoughts. Something about climbing the hills triggers memories of last summer’s hikes and lends a Christmas Eve-like sense of anticipation to this year’s climbs.
Unfortunately, hiking does little for your upper body, and without the gym my back and arm muscles were taking on the tensile strength of room-temperature butter.
That was before Thursday night, when a night full of 50-75 mph winds (with gusts to 87) knocked over a 50-foot to 60-foot tree in my backyard.
My own private blowdown.
We were fortunate. The tree was on its way out anyway, and it didn’t damage anything else when it fell. That makes us luckier than many on the North Shore. Blowdowns totaled cars and damaged houses across the North Shore. As I write this, about 7,000 of my neighbors are still waiting for the power to come back on.
Of course, our deductible for tree removal is $500, and I’m a cheap bastard. I’m not going to pay someone else to do the job. I’ve got a good saw and all the time in the world. I’ve found my upper-body workout for the next few weeks. I figure clearing the branches, cutting the trunk into manageable sections and splitting the chunks into fuel for our (yet-to-be-purchased) outdoor fireplace would be an acceptable substitute for flailing away on sweat-dampened exercise machines in the gym.
And now for something completely different: