Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spinning in Circles

A couple of weeks ago I was at an audition to teach spin at a new gym and take on my FIFTH part-time job and I met a really frickin' crazy woman.

I realized after typing that last sentence that it's looking like (in a hushed tone), I am the crazy person of whom I speak. 

Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm not as crazy as I may sound, I swear. 

Let me explain- See, I go to the gym every Thursday morning anyway, so why not get paid for it, right? I mean, the whole reason I decided to become a spin instructor was basically so I did not have to arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of a spin class in order to reserve my bike. I could just show up, moments before class started and I'd get to pick the music for the whole class instead of listening to Van Halen or techno music for an entire hour. 

So really, it makes perfect sense to become a spin instructor if you are a control freak with superior taste in music that is prone to tardiness, as I am.

Crap.That actually makes me sound even crazier.

This was not what I was planning to write. This has taken a surprising turn, indeed.

So, anywhooooo....

A few weeks ago I drove an hour across town to the gym where auditions were taking place, one of the worst neighborhoods in town. I scanned the parking lot and ran serpentine through the parking lot wondering if I had chosen the wrong colored bandanna for that neighborhood to mop up my sweat. 

I sat down and completed in the smallest, weirdest application I'd ever seen. It was just for their, "records" since they already had my resume via the on-line application process so, whatever. It basically asked me to spell my name and give a phone number and emergency contact in case I died during class. I figured there was an excellent chance of getting nailed in a drive-by shooting in the parking lot because of my blue bandanna so I used my best handwriting on that part.

I'm guessing most of you are not spin instructors because 1) most people are not 2) if you were, you would too narcissistic to read a blog that was not about yourself, and so I'm also guessing you've never been to a spin instructor audition so allow me to tell you what usually happens:

  • You arrive at the assigned time for your audition and then stand around for about 40 minutes while the girl behind the desk tries to locate gym manager
  • You meet the other 19 instructors that you are competing against for the one job you all applied for on Craigslist
  • You act nice to your competition but secretly you hope they all suck, have seizures or pull a hamstring during their audition
  • You try to guess the ages and the number of cosmetic procedures performed on the other instructor-wannabe's. You tell yourself you look waaaay better than at least one of them (it will not matter to you that she is in her 70's and has a lazy eye)
  • You are eventually lead to the cycle room where each applicant has about 3 minutes to instruct a workout. The group consists of the gym manager and the other applicants that you just spent 40 minutes sizing up, through a song of your choice
  • You leave having no idea if you got the job or why you thought a French braid and camouflage bandanna was a good choice for your "look"
So after handing my abbreviated application back to the girl at the desk, she lead me to the workout room that looked like any other cycle room except for two things:

There was not a room full of others waiting to audition. 
There was not even a room full of bikes. 

It was just two ladies, dressed in business suits and sitting at a small table that was set directly in front of one spin bike. Uh-oh.

Linda was in her mid-forties and used to be a spin instructor. Bev was in her mid-fifties but she didn't say what her previous experience was. I had a feeling Bev was the boss as she did most of the talking. I also got the feeling that the last time Bev saw a gym was as she walked passed it on her way to Chico's clothing boutique.

Both ladies were all smiles to me as they did their best to make me feel comfortable. They asked me all sorts of questions about my past life experience, my husband and my kids. They did not ask me about my workout routine or my instructor experience. They told me that they were only in town for the auditions-  Linda was from a neighboring state, while Bev came from across the country. I realized that they were Big Wigs as they told me how the national chain of gyms they worked for had plans to build 18 more warehouse-sized gyms in the city where I live. Gulp.

And then they asked me to "teach" a class.

Now, a lot of instructing is sort of like acting, in that you have to act like one or more of the following:
1) you are not working as hard as you actually are because you can't look like you're out of shape 

2) you are working harder than you actually are because you're super tired or on your period or you already worked out that day and (or) you just feel like phoning-it-in that day

3) you have NOT heard that song by Pink a bazillion times already this week

...however, I'd never had to act like I was talking to a room full of people before this. But what the hell- I'm crazy, right? I figured they'd either think I was a nut and rip up my resume or they'd realize I could fake my way through anything and hire me. So I demonstrated how to set up a bike in front of a room full of new-to-spin gym members and then "taught" an entire four minute routine to these same, imaginary people. I threw out phrases like, "You got it!", "Don't slow down!" and "Just give me 10 more seconds!" as if I had a twenty, sweaty ladies in front of me working their asses off.

The ladies cheered for me and held direct eye contact with me as they sat at their little cafe table a few feet from me. It was a strange and surreal experience. I felt naked and wondered if this is how it would feel to go pro as a stripper for the first time. And they cheered for me as I dismounted the bike.

Bev began by congratulating me on my attitude, my enthusiasm and my choice of music and then she said she wanted to give me a little piece of advice...At this point, I think I knew she was going to say something off- but it still sort of threw me.

She said, "When you're up there- on the bike. Try to give more. I mean, you're attitude is wonderful, and you're very motivating...just try to give..."

I stood there and waited as she completed the sentence.


Um. Ok.
More what?

Bev continued and this time she gestured with her hands, palms turned upward as if she was kneading imaginary bread in mid-air, "I mean, you're up there. And you have the attention of the entire class. And they're watching you. And you're showing them how to do it. Just give them...more...." she said as she looked beyond my shoulder.

More what?
Who's on first?

So, I get it. I'm naturally very dry and monotone. I can fix that.
"So, I need to be more enthusiastic?"

"Oh no! Your enthusiasm is great!", she said with a smile, "I just want...mooore...", she trailed off.

More what?!??!?

 "Do you know what I mean?" she asked, looking me straight in the eye. Finally, an opportunity for some clarity on what, exactly, she wanted more of.

"Yes. I know exactly what you mean", I said, acting once again.

And I smiled.
And Bev smiled.

And she offered me the job that day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

They're Just Like A-Holes

It's been a while since I've done this.

First off, I am, by nature, a flake.
Second off, fuck off, I've got shit to do!


Let's start again.

I'll start the next paragraph saying something that I've said way too many times lately.
I'm sorry if I was rude to you. I'm a bit crabby today. I've been full of excuses lately, it seems.

Let's just say I've been busy. Too busy to write. Or do anything besides go to the gym and then (maybe) do laundry* and  take nap after lunch. So yes, I'm sleeping instead of blogging while my kids are napping and/or coming out of their rooms every 17 minutes to ask, "Is naptime over yet??"

I work 2-3 days a week as a high school teacher and I teach spin class at two different gyms, 2-4 times a week. I also moonlight as veterinary technician, assisting a veterinarian in exotic animal surgeries (think rabbit rumenectomy** or an iguana inguinal hernia repair) on weekends occasionally. There's also the odd, freelance (paying!!) writing gig for a veterinary technician magazine. And then there's the other veterinarian that I work for every now and again when someone calls in sick or gets married.

But enough about me, let's talk about crazy people. Not sadly crazy, like off-their-meds-and-he's-running-around-London-thinking-he's-Captain-Cooke kind of crazy (yes, I really know someone that did that). Not dangerous crazy either. 

Just harmless, Wow-I-can't-believe-that-someone-like-you-exists-in-real-life crazy.

How 'bout you sit and think on that one, tell me about your 'Enkounter with Krazy' story and I'll tell you about mine from a couple weeks ago?


(*psst...laundry has never actually gotten done after lunch time)

(**psst...there's really no such thing as a rabbit rumenectomy but if there was, I would totally assist in that surgery because it would be awesome!)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"No Thank You" Notes

If you don't have kids, I'm certain that you have heard about them.

Unless you are like my sister-in-law who claims she has never seen a realty show. Not once. Not ever. She only begrudgingly admits that she knows of their existence at all.

But you are not her and you will admit that you have listened countless times as your Friends Up-bringing Kids With Inexplicable Tenacity (or FUK-WITS, as I prefer to call us), tell you over and over, "nobody ever told me about.......", before becoming a parent.

For example, the most famous one, of course, is that the expectant mother will poop in the delivery room when she is in labor. "They" say that you just don't care about pooping on the floor at that point because either, "You're just too happy because you are now a mother!"  (barf) or more realistically,  you really don't care because you just want that thing OUT by that point. 

At any rate, yes, I'm a parent and there are things that nobody told us before we had kids because they wanted to have a good laugh at our expense, once we became FUK-WITS, they wanted their kids to have at least a few friends of a similar age with cool parents or more likely, they just forgot because they are tired.


All of the time.

So after doing this parent thing for five years now, a few weeks ago I discovered something new and nearly as awful as pooping in front of a room full of strangers.

Kid's birthday parties.

I won't go into great detail because (see * above) but I will summarize by sharing with you the Thank You notes I will NOT be sending out this year, a few weeks after The Not-So-Little One's fifth birthday party.

"Dear XXX,
Thank you sooo much for asking if it was "OK" to bring the rest of your kids and husband to my five-year old's birthday party! 
Although I put your daughter's name only on the invitation, you were unable to take the not-so-subtle hint that this was a party for FIVE YEAR OLDS. 

Far be it from me to exclude your two teenagers, your one year old baby and your husband who has never spoken a word to me! Please let us pay for all of them to eat pizza, cake and have game tokens in exchange for a $9 gift that my kid will likely break or forget about by the end of the weekend.
We're so glad you could ALL make it- oh wait- that's right, you did not make the party after all. 

At least you were kind enough to RSVP via text message telling me (three days before the party) that all SIX of you may or may not make it to the party.

Hope you can (or cannot) make it (or not) again next year!
Love, Sue"

"Dear Grandma,
Thank you for showing up a half hour late and half drunk. We are all very grateful that you live close enough to see your grandkids  often and that you are still in reasonably good health- I mean, successfully navigating a Chuckee Cheese parking lot while half-tanked just proves how good your fine motor skills still are!

Again, we are lucky to have you here and even luckier that your grandchild still thinks that gifts purchased from Walgreens are the shit
Funny, me and the Tall Guy think they are shit! Ha, ha!
Love, Your Daughter Sue"

"Dear Old Friend from High School that Has No Kids But Thinks She Knows Everything About Them Anyway,
Thank you for getting my kid that whore-y looking doll that is totally inappropriate for a girl her age.
No, wait, inappropriate for any girl of any age.
Her little arched back, her pouty lips, her sky-high legs and micro-mini skirt all scream, "Five Year Old Girl Toy", I know, but do you really think a teeny, pink, plastic flask is appropriate for a little girl that is genetically predispositioned to have substance abuse and thrill-seeking issues in her future? 
Looking forward to the Hello Kitty Thong you'll undoubtedly bring next year!
Love, Sue"

"Dear Old Friend That I Used To Work With That Is No Longer a Part of 'The Gang' Because
Your Husband Was Fired By One of My Kid's Friend's Mom, Who Is Also At The Party,

You did not receive an invitation to attend my kid's fifth birthday party.
You're welcome.

Love, Sue"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is That Soo Wrong?

More often than I'd like to admit, I find my internal monologue asking myself, "Is that so wrong?"

Actually, no, that's not entirely accurate. 

Truth be told, it's with more frequency lately my little voice asks, "Is that soo wrong?!?", in an almost incredulous, how-dare-you-ask-that-of-me (but secretly knows I'm guilty of something) kind of voice.

Here's a list of what still has me wondering, is that soo wrong?
(Do your best not to judge, please)

  • Considering not letting my soon-to-be-five-year-old (the Bigger Kid of my two) to go to the birthday party of a classmate the day before her own party because the other kid's party sounds waaaay cooler than the one we have planned for our kid
  • In response to a text message sent by my 70 year old mom to tell me she cannot talk due to a case of laryngitis, I promptly reply, "It's as if all of my dreams have finally come true!" And no, I did not include an emoticon happy face at the end of my message :(
  • Using the cheap pre-grated cheddar cheese for my kids while saving the expensive, imported stuff for me and the Tall Guy
  • Pretending I'm asleep when one or more children enter my room before seven am on the weekend and letting Tall Guy get up with them
  • Not wanting to invite my daycare provider's nice kid to Bigger Kid's birthday party because it might mean SIX extra mouths to stuff pizza, cake and ice cream into if she decides to bring her husband and all FOUR of her kids
  • Not wanting to invite certain adult friends to BBQs at our house because I'm afraid their eight year old son may torture my dog or light the house on fire if left unattended 
  • For years, deliberately withholding information about Facebook (specifically, that Facebook exists)  from my mother because I don't want to be "friends" with her on it.                                          Even though I'm "friends" with all six of her brothers and sisters 
  • Jokingly asking the Bigger Kid if she would like peanut-butter on toast for breakfast every morning even though she is highly allergic and would likely need emergency medical treatment if even one bite was taken*
  • Feeling guilty when Tall Guy offers to let me go overseas for a friend's wedding without him (because we cannot afford airfare for all four of us) but accepting his offer anyway
  • Eventually getting mom on Facebook but only after explaining that no, I will not be her "friend" because of the Slippery Slope it would create for me and the possibility of having to "friend" my mother in law**

This is not a complete list and it's probably not the worst of things I've said, done or thought today, much less this week. 

This may have to be a regular thing, though, I think it may be somewhat therapeutic, for me.

What have you done lately that has made you ask yourself, is that sooo wrong?

*The Bigger Kid always laughs and says, no to the peanut butter on toast
**The Facebook thing about my mother-in-law is true. It really is a slippery slope