Live longer…and less bruised

What kind of an idiot falls off an exercise ball ?  I prefer not to judge.  I would like to say that it would have to be a special kind of an idiot.  A lovely person who is obviously… a special kind of an idiot.  Oh yeah that special person would be me.  Oh, I do have special tripping talents.  I have managed to fall down stairs a couple…ahem…a few…ok…numerous times over the years.  I have walked into corners and furniture and stairs and I am sure I have broken my little piggies a few times.  Falling off a bouncy exercise ball is a new kind of injury for me.  Now, if you can stop laughing hysterically for a second, I will tell you the story of “The Exercise Ball and the Idiot”.

Once upon a time, about 5 months ago, I started going to the gym.  Wiseguy signed us up.  Wiseguy wanted to strengthen the muscles around his knees.  Me?  I wanted to build up arm muscles so when I fall down (which I do quite often) I would be ninja-nimble and would be able to stop myself from a catastrophic fall OR I would be able to more easily pick myself up instead of laying there helpless saying, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  Both good reasons to hit the gym.  I must admit that seeing all the toys…ahem…equipment, made me want to have some of those fun things at home in case I couldn’t make it out to the gym.  You know, sudden summer snowstorm or something like that.  I live in Canada, eh?  Anyway, this is how I ended up being the proud owner of an exercise ball.  A very large, round exercise ball.  One that needed to be air filled prior to use.

I am not sure if you know or not, but there are different size balls that you can purchase. When Wiseguy asked me what size I wanted I figured go for the biggest one.  It made prefect sense to me.  More ball for the money.  Hmmm, knowing what I know now the largest ball was NOT the way to go.  It’s sort of like riding a bike that’s too large for you.  If your feet can’t reach the floor, you have the wrong equipment.  Don’t get ahead of me.

I waited for Wiseguy to blow it up.  No, no, not KABOOM! but more like foot pedal and pump to inflate my new ball.  I couldn’t wait to start doing exercises!  Time passed.  My ball, like my spirit, was deflated. I wanted to get rockin’ on some ab/core exercises.  That ball had to be filled!  I decided I had enough smarts to do this on my own.  HAH!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like reading instructions.  I believe I’m smart enough to figure out how to do stuff just by looking at all the available parts.   Round peg, round hole right?  I opened the box and heaved out the ball.  I dug out the pump.  I pulled out the hose.  Back to basics:  Stick nib on pump.  Stick nib into hole in ball.  It fits…round peg, round hole.  Hose attaches to pump.  Press foot up and down on pump.  HA!  Easy-peasy!  The air whistled as my ball began to expand.  It grew and grew.  It got rounder and rounder and fuller and fuller.  Hmmm, how full should it be?  I had to get the instructions.  Ummm 0.6 psi.  Great!  How much is that?  I briefly scanned over the instructions to see if there were any hints it could give me about the psi.  Then my brain had a genius idea.  I recalled sitting on a stability ball at the gym.   I would test my new equipment with “butt memory.”   I plopped my rear end on the ball, perused the instructions to see if the pictures could give me a clue.  There were a variety of pictures of stick figures sitting incorrectly on the ball.  Large “X” through their bodies.  In picture language that meant “DO NOT” sit like this.  Well duh…of course not.  Right?  Only an idiot would fall off an exercise ball.  Right?

I bounced up and down a bit, ever so slightly to test the firmness and bounciness of it.  That’s when art became life.  I became the stick figure with the grand ‘X’ running through it.  The rest happened in slow motion.  Nooooooooooooo!!!!  I felt my body lean sideways.  I felt my one leg raise off the floor.  In trying to regain balance I managed to get the ball moving in a mostly backward direction.  Ah….the law of gravity…why would my body not break this law!  My ball slowly rolled backward.  My left foot became air born and started heading skyward.  I struck out with my right foot to try and get some floor with it, but that only increased the momentum.  The ball kept rolling backward.  In slow motion I felt my knees heading toward my chest, my back arching on the ball and my head going down to the ground.  No good could come from this dynamic move. Even worse were my volatile surroundings.  So serene when used as a sitting room, but lethal when an “idiot” is rolling backward on a huge exercise ball.

Behind me was a sturdy wood sideboard.  On that sideboard was a lovely stainless steel espresso machine.  The espresso machine was sitting on a glass cutting board.  The cutting board was large and jutted outward approximately one inch from the sideboard.  Beside the sideboard were my extra oven rack and my cookie cooling racks.  My mind worked quickly to assess the damage before the final landing occurred.  Metal and more metal.  Edges.  Lots and lots of detrimental edges.

Thought process:  I am going to hit the ground hard.  I will end up unconscious.  Since Wiseguy won’t be home until late I will die from my head injuries.  Waldo and Lucy, my beloved pets, won’t know what the hell happened and will continue to bark at walking passers by.  Wiseguy will come home and find me dead.  How will he survive without me?  Who will cook his meals?  No one can cook as great as I can.  He won’t last long without me.  What about the dogs?  Who will take care of them?  The grandkids…I won’t see them all grown up.  I won’t see them married off.  Will the kids think I’m an idiot too?  Who will clean up the blood?  Hope it won’t hurt too long.  Wish I had Life Call.  “Help I’ve fallen…” you get the idea.  Then…

WHACK!  CRACK!  BANG!

My head hit the floor.  My right foot whacked into the oven rack.  My left foot hit the glass cutting board.  MOTHER-FATHER!@!!!$#@^$@!!!  It was after my barrage of swearing that puppy Waldo came and sat beside me.  He tilted his head side to side trying to figure out what I was doing.  Lucy bolted for a hiding place.  Obviously the sky was falling.

I felt pain.  The back of my head hurt.  My right foot hurt.  My left foot hurt.  Pain was GREAT!  I wasn’t dead!  Then hysteria kicked in and I laughed and laughed and laughed so hard the tears came out of my eyes.  I might have even peed myself a little.  So then I called Wiseguy to tell him the fascinating near death experience I had.  I could hear him shaking his head through the phone.

Over the next few hours my delightful feet became a living rainbow.  My one inch bruise on the top of my foot became a swollen kaleidoscope of different bruised hues:  red, blue, yellow, even a nasty shade of purple.  It spread like lava til it reached the tips of my toes.  Then I discovered a bump on my shin.  The bruising kept leaching over my body.  That was fine.  I WAS ALIVE! I had fallen and I had managed to get up.

I learned a valuable lesson that day:  Teach your dog to dial 911 for emergency services.

Haha!  Nope.  That wasn’t it, but not a bad idea.

I learned that I need to have patience.  If Wiseguy says he is gonna do something, like inflate an exercise ball, then let him do it.  It might take a week, 10 days, 10 months, but I’ll live longer, and less bruised, if I follow this advice.

One Step at a Time…

“…One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind…”  Thank you Neil Armstrong. Neil will always be remembered and quoted for saying this phrase when this astronaut landed on the moon.  It is a phrase that can be applied to many phases of our lives.  The most memorable comparison for me is when I get informed that any child has gone from crawling to walking.  Yes…one small step…

I am sure you have noticed a trend in my writings regarding children.  I am amazed at their tenacity.  I adore their independence. I marvel at their simple wisdom.  We adults oftentimes lose perspective of our lives because we have been educated.  We are taught to follow certain paths in our schooling.  From kindergarten to elementary school. From middle school to high school.  Perhaps we have advanced to College courses or even University.  Education is very important and yet I admire the free spirit of the young.  Don’t get me wrong, being brought up by universal standards of quality (and the wooden spoon of “tough love”)  I can now appreciate even more the wonderful open qualities of youth.

It was repugnant to me when my parents would refer to me as the “Pepsi” generation. I believed it was supposed to mean something like “you are so spoiled you don’t drink water, you drink Pepsi.”  I still haven’t really figured it out, but it sounds about right.  (Note:  my parents never purchased name brand so that is why I assumed this was something they heard and adopted).  Anyway, every generation goes through the “you have no idea what it was like when I was growing up.”  To be fair to my parents, they were right.  They were raised in a village with many many siblings (no, not 4 or 5…try 8 or 9).  Schooling was done by grade 3 due to farming obligations.  They worked hard to make their lives better and better for their children.

Wiseguy and I had started our lives in a less-than-prominent-societal situation.  We fell in love (so cliche), but it was true.  We moved into an apartment.  No real funds.  First and last month’s rent.  No furniture….seriously….no furniture.  A room on the 11th floor of an apartment building with a wonderful balcony.  Our view of the sky was magical.  There were no buildings around us.  We could actually see the CN Tower in Toronto from our balcony is Mississauga (yes, that is a city in Ontario, Canada).  Yes, we were that weird couple that got together for love and not money.

So, our lives as a couple began as one small step.  We found each other.  We became best friends.  We knew that we could live as a family.  We decided to throw caution to the wind and move in together.  A simple one bedroom apartment.  A small starter home.  We married a year later.  There were many doubters.  There were many personal and family consequences.  Again, we decided to do what we thought and believed was best for us.  Many doubted. Many disbelieved.  There were those beautiful few who believed in us and they are always remembered and special in our hearts.

The years have passed, sometimes feeling slow but nowadays feeling so quick.  We have raised 3 beautiful children.  We look at our wonderful grandchildren and I am in awe whenever I see them.  I was once asked why I quiz children and “bother” them.  I honestly answer, “I don’t bother them.  They are smart and I LOVE hearing their answers.”

Children are magnificent!  I can tell you honestly that what they think about is waaaaaay more interesting than what you have to work on at work.  Their minds are agile and fresh and ingenious.  You used to think like that until you got pigeonholed at school.  Think the same.  Act the same.  Behave the same.

Yes, our world is comprised of structure and rules.    I am not saying this a bad thing.  However, sometimes thinking and behaving “abnormally” can be fun!  Grab a box of crayons and a colouring book but DON’T colour inside the lines.  Oh I know there are new colouring books for adults…very intricate and detail oriented.  Your mind goes CRAZY if you colour outside the lines.   Even better, get a children’s colouring book and colour a monkey purple and green and pink.  Believe me, not colouring to “specific norms” will feel really weird and almost heart wrenching.  I slowly got over the “brown monkey” syndrome when I coloured my monkey green and yellow and my granddaughter said, “Here, add some pink to his head.”  Hmmm, sharing and good advice from the eyes from a child.  Monkey can be different just like people are different.

I just received a text (yes, I am a modern Baba a.k.a. grandma in Eurospeak) that my youngest grandson took his first steps yesterday.   Little “Jumpin’ Jack” will be one on May 19th so Mr. “I’m-on-the-move” has decided that there are too many adventures in life that he needs to explore and got his groove on early.  Congratulations little JJ (Jumpin’ Jack!)  May your new elevated levels of adventure be as fun and exciting as you hope them to be.  May your bumps and bruises heal quickly.  May you always know that every adventure you undertake will always start with one step at a time.