Friday, June 26, 2020


I've been thinking about it all week.

But when Dad's text came in tonight, telling me that his friend Geri had texted saying she'd pray for us tomorrow, it took me a moment to remember why. My phone jingled just as I was closing the door to the kittens' room after feeding them. Foster kittens are a great distraction.

It was only as I dialed his number to ask him that I remembered what I've been thinking of all week: tomorrow is the second anniversary of losing Mom.

Time flies, doesn't it?

I don't cry as often as I used to, and that's a good thing, because crying over your dead mom only leaves people wondering how to comfort you, and uncomfortably aware that they can't comfort you. But I think of her every day, and sometimes, in the privacy of my home, I still find myself overwhelmed by the loss. The child version of Meg that still resides in there is wholly lost without her mommy.

But Grown-Up Meg carries on. I know she is proud of me, wherever she is. I know she didn't want me to be miserable--and I truly am not miserable. I love my job, I am surrounded by people who love me, and having three tiny foster kittens taking over my home hardly leaves me any time to do anything but laugh. But I miss her constantly. I am always aware of the loss of her.

That Geri remembered the date without any sort of prompting meant something to Dad and I. Mom was special to a lot of people, and we all miss her. I'm not alone in this. Dad and I spent a few minutes just now reminiscing; how lucky we were to have her. She was ours, and we were hers.

Even after two years, that rogue wave can sweep me into the sea. Right now it's tossing me around and in a few minutes, I'll no doubt be thrown back on the shore, a bit bruised and fragile, but still alive.

I will never stop missing her.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Working Out in a Pandemic

Since March, when everything shut down, I've been working out exclusively at home. Fortunately, I have a nice little collection of weights and other items that enable me to get a decent workout, supplemented with plyometric exercises and a daily walk or jog.

Then, on Monday last week, as I briskly marched through my neighborhood...I fell. Hard.

Fortunately, nothing is broken, but my foot has been bruised for a week-and-a-half now, and walking has been more difficult. Going for a 2-3 mile jaunt in my neighborhood has been impossible. No plyometric exercises on this foot--just thinking about how that would hurt makes me feel ill. It's getting better, but I still have to rest and take it easy.

The lack of working out has been really, really hard.

I have been wanting to get a simple spin bike for several months now, because the gym ones can get a little out-of-repair. But for now, I decided that since my gym re-opened this week, I'd try going in for a workout.

I had my reservations. While masks are "required" in California, enforcing it is hard, and a lot of businesses simply don't have the needed resources to do so. But 24 Hour Fitness has put a lot of things in place to make re-opening feasible, like:

  1. Limiting how many people can be in the club at one time, and requiring a "reservation" for a one-hour block.
  2. Between each one-hour block is a 30-minute block where club employees clean.
  3. Masks are encouraged, but it's hard to require them when people are huffing and puffing on a treadmill.
  4. Everyone is being encouraged and reminded to wipe down all equipment.
  5. Equipment has been spaced out to promote social distancing. 

Still, a lot of people are not keen on going to gyms now, and if my foot wasn't giving me trouble, I'd stay away, too. But I really, really needed some cardio, so I went, taking some precautions of my own:

  1. I wore a bandana tied around the lower half of my face to keep my own huffing anThed puffing contained. I kept it off my nose and practiced the in-through-the-nose, out-through-the-mouth breathing technique.
  2. I took my own hand wipes and some Lysol wipes to clean down the bike and weights. 
  3. I religiously avoided touching my face with my hands, using my workout towel to wipe sweat, scratch my nose, etc.
  4. I did not go in the locker room. 
The experience wasn't terrible. For a gym that is usually very busy, there weren't a lot of people. I don't know if that's the limit on how many people can come in, or if people are staying away. The cardio area was better for distancing than the weight area, since machines had been removed to force it. I noticed the weight area was slightly more crowded. 

Most people did not wear masks, though some of us did. I would think that encouraging people to breathe in through the nose (not covered) and out through the mouth (covered) would help--that is how I've learned to breathe when working out, anyway, and then you can get air in without a mask impeding you, while also shielding everyone from droplets from your mouth. Perhaps it's not a perfect solution, but I'd think it's better than everyone just breathing all over.

Most 24 Hour gyms have really high ceilings and decent ventilation, so that is helpful. This article from the Wall Street Journal gives some excellent insight on how the virus seems to be spreading, and ventilation in inside spaces seems to be a huge key.

If I were immuno-compromised, I would still completely avoid going to the gym. Even now, I'm hoping to resolve my own situation so I don't have to go back again for some time. I've signed up for some online training with a trainer I met on last summer's cruise, and now more than ever, buying a spin bike for home is something I'm seriously considering. I like doing spin--it's great cardio. I've missed it these last few months, and I'd love to be able to hop on here at home.

So, should we all be rushing back to the gym? I think it's a bit early to tell. I went out of some desperation and took a few extra precautions along the way. I likely will not go back soon, and just see what K. the Newbie (he'll need a new nickname) can come up with for me with my foot.