Ah, yes ... my gym membership. Pull up a chair and grab a drink. This is a long one.
Before the triplets arrived, Charlie and I belonged to a local gym and for a while - we actually went. After the triplets arrived, we canceled the membership because we thought that the $75.00 a month we were spending on dues would be better placed on diapers. Besides, when did we have TIME to go? If there was a lull in activity around the house - we were going to lay on the couch and vegetate, definitely not pack a bag ... drive to the gym ... and stand on a treadmill all the while wishing that we were at home on the couch. Vegetating.
But as the babies grew a little bigger ... and we grew a little bigger ... we decided that maybe a gym membership wasn't such a bad idea, after all.
We live in the midst of a suburbia boom with all kinds of new development around us. A mile to the north, we have a brand new Target and Lowe's. A mile to the east, we have a brand new Walmart and Home Depot. They are building a massive mall a mile to the west. And just over the ridge from us ... they put in a brand spankin' new LA Fitness gym. With ... wouldn't you know ... an introductory offer to join. What could be better? This is our chance to get in shape ... hopefully stay in shape ... and all for the bargain basement price of $60.00 a month. We signed up for the gym in January, just in time for our New Year Resolution. (Isn't January the highest month of the year for gym enrollments? I think it is...).
The first couple of weeks were great because much to our surprise, we went. And, we were overjoyed that our money was being well spent. Charlie and I would alternate staying home with the kids, while the other one would go to the gym and workout ... and then take a nice hot shower in the luxurious limestone locker room.
Things were going fabulously ... until we got sick. And then we started to get better ... and then we'd get sick again. And again. And again. All told, we were sick FOUR times between January and May. That's almost every single month of the year and definitely not a great track record. Because we both felt like a huge pile of dung, we stopped going to the gym. But, we continued to fork out our monthly dues of $60.00.
Four weeks ago, I was just starting to feel better from the sinus, ear, strep throat infection hell I had been battling since my business trip to Palm Springs. I packed up my gym bag one morning, fully prepared to get in a good workout, take a shower, and head to the office. I got in my good workout, but when I went to take a shower, I realized that although I had packed my razor, bathrobe, flip flops, towel, make-up, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, Neutrogena Sesame Seed Body Oil, deodorant, change of clothes, change of socks, change of shoes, hair dryer and hairbrush ... I had forgotten my shampoo and conditioner.
Bugger. I could have SWORN I put those items in right after I'd packed the kitchen sink.
There is no way that I can take a shower without washing my hair. And, although the locker room at this gym is luxurious ... the little dispensers in the shower are only stocked with body gel. So. My option is take a shower using body gel on my hair ... or ... skip the shower and head to the office sweaty and gross.
I feel like I should be embarrassed saying that I didn't ponder my options too long. See, I'm a geologist. I love to camp. I've gone days on end without showering when I'm deep in the wilderness. Add to that, I'm also the mother of triplets. I've gone days on end without showering when I had a house full of needy newborns that constantly spit up all over me. When faced with the option of using body gel on my hair ... or not taking a shower at all - - it was a no brainer. If I'd used body gel in my hair .... I probably would have lost half of it trying to brush the knots out.
Sweaty and gross. I've been there before. It ain't too bad. Fortunately, I wasn't stinky because I DID remember to pack my deodorant.
Since that time, I came down with another bout of crud, which came on a few days after the kids were sick. No, I didn't write about it on my blog because I figured that nobody wants to hear me complain about how I, alone, have gone through 14 boxes of Kleenex since the second week of January.
In the midst of all this, Charlie and I have been experiencing a tad-bit of marital disharmony. The problem is, my gym bag is now completely packed with everything I need. And, I don't want to unpack it for fear that I will forget something the next time I drag my arse to the gym. As a result, I have had to resort to using Charlie's razor to shave my legs whenever I take a shower. Charlie's a pretty easy go lucky guy ... but this one thing sends him completely over the edge. He does not like to "share" his razor. I know this. Which is why I've been stealthily using his razor during all of my showers and feeling pangs of guilt every time he comes out with a bleeding nick on his face inquiring why his new razors keep going dull. I think he suspects me - but I continually deny it.
I am steadfast. If I took the razor out of my gym bag, I knew I'd forget it the next time I went to the gym. And not shaving my legs during a shower is even worse than washing my hair with body gel. Moreover, if I take the razor out of the bag ... I may as well just cancel my gym membership, because I'm obviously not committed to going.
I do have a conscience. If I didn't -I wouldn't feel bad about this.
Last night was my monthly More-The-Merrier dinner. This is a "support" group comprised of HOM (high order multiple - - i.e. triplets or more) families that live in San Diego. There are ~50 or so families that actively participate in this group. We exchange e-mails, meet for playgroups, swap survival tips, commiserate, celebrate ... and all the mom's get together one night a month to
One of my fellow triplet mom's, who is also a neighbor, told me that she takes her 3-year old triplets to the gym daycare at least three days a week. The same gym that we belong to, and have been paying $60.00 a month for - - and have gone all of about 10 times since the beginning of the year.
"It's GREAT. It only costs $10.00 per child a month - and you can go every single day and leave the kids there for up to 2 hours at a pop. I get in my workout, shower, the kids have a good time ... it's a total win-win."
As I sat there drinking beer and shoveling in my hot fudge brownie sundae ... I pondered this. My girlfriend looks fit, tan and fantastic. I, on the other hand, am still reeling from my clothes shopping trauma two weeks ago. I wiped the hot carmel that was dribbling off my chin and asked, "So, uh, what time are you gonna be there tomorrow?"
As I was speaking the words ... my mind was reeling with why I would ever ask this stupid question. Am I actually crazy enough to think that I would take my 3 toddlers to a gym ... by myself ... leave them in a daycare (which I've never done ... well, except that one time I tried to take them to the church nursery and was called out 10 minutes in to the service because two of the three were inconsolable) ... and try to get in a workout?
"I'll be there at 9:00 and it would be FANTABULOUS to see you!"
Uh-huh. We'll see about that.
As I eluded to in my recent posting, the kids have really become ... energetic ... in the past few weeks. Our traditional routine of staying home and quietly reading books in the morning is no longer acceptable for children that must always be GOING, GOING, GOING. I am finding myself hard pressed to come up with things that will keep the kids constructively entertained while I am trying to think ahead to what we are going to constructively do next.
It dawned on me this morning that maybe I wasn't being a fool suggesting that we'd go to the gym. The more I thought about it - the more sense it made. The kids have their most energy in the morning, as do I. What better time to go burn all that energy - and cellulite (for me) off? More importantly, I can take a shower, in luxury, while I'm there. Heck, my bag is already packed!
I'm not sure what exactly happened then. My body started going through the motions of packing a diaper bag and getting the kids ready to leave the house. But my mind was not entirely convinced that what I was doing was wise. Leave the house for the gym? With the babies? By myself? Just before nap time?? Yet, there was no stopping my body ... it was as if my body knew ...
"Must leave house. Must leave house. Must take children and leave house. Now. Now. Now. Body must go, mind will eventually catch up."
Since I'd never used the gym daycare, I called up to find out what I needed to do to drop the babies off. The woman on the phone was incredibly helpful. She said that she would start the paperwork now and by the time I arrived, it would be ready for me to check them in. She asked me when I would arrive at the gym. I looked at my watch and quickly surveyed the kids. All I needed to do was put on their shoes, put on my shoes, and get them in the car.
"Let's see, it's 9:00 now ... we'll leave here in 10 minutes, so I should be there in about 20 minutes."
I locate their little shoes and the babies start running around the house, excited because they know we must be going out. I got one shoe on Carolyn, turned to grab the other shoe ... and it was gone. Five minutes later, I found it beneath a teddy bear, in the doll carriage, being pushed by Elizabeth. I chase down William to put on his shoes. One shoe, on ... second shoe ... missing. Five minutes later, I found it buried beneath his mega blocks in the toy box. Elizabeth's shoes are found ten minutes later ... in the Little Tikes Kitchen.
I put my shoes on, bring the kids out to the garage where I load them in the car ... I put the dogs outside ... do a quick inventory ... three kids buckled safely in carseats, three loveys, gym membership ... I'm golden.
I back the car out of the garage, fill up the water bowl for the dogs, let the dogs back in the garage, give them cookies to keep them occupied while I close the door, and jump in the car. As the door is just about to close, I spot the triple stroller. In the garage. Garage door opens, Monty and Molly take off running down the driveway. I chase the dogs back in to the garage ... throw out more cookies ... re-arrange the stuff blocking the triple stroller, drag it out, disassemble it, load it in the van, give the dogs more cookies (it's no wonder they are getting fat) and close the door.
I jump in the car and am surprised that I've broken out in a sweat. This is good, I'm getting my cardio in before I even get to the gym. I look at the clock in the car. It's 9:40. So much for my being there in 20 minutes.
We get to the gym and I unload the stroller and the babies. I grab their loveys, snack traps, and diaper bag. I meander my way across the parking lot and am happy to see that someone has propped the front door open. We glide right in and I am greeted by the clerk at the front desk.
"WOW! You made it!!!"I felt surprised to be standing there. At the gym. With our triplets. By myself. An hour and a half before nap time is set to commence.
I collected all of the paperwork for the babies and their admission to "Kids Kamp". The "counselors" open the door and let me in. I scan the place ... not so bad ... it looks clean. There are a few little babies, and a few more little kids - but I don't see my friend's triplets, anywhere. I smother my kids in Purell, unload them from their stroller, and they are instantly surrounded by older kids from the "Kamp". All three of them stand holding on to the stroller for dear life, like it is a life raft and they are stranded in the mighty blue ocean.
One of the counselors approaches me. "They'll be fine. Really. They'll be fine!"
I gave her a weak laugh. "Of course they will. I think." I carry them over to the massive climbing fort thing-a-ma-jiggy and they instantly forget about me. This is my chance. I look to the counselor and she gives me an encouraging smile. "Go. If we need you, we'll call." I take off, running out of Kids Kamp before they see me leave and fall down crying.
Turns out, my girlfriend isn't at the gym today. But that's all right. I AM HERE.
I'm ready to work-off the brownie sundae and beer. I'm ready to get sweaty and gross. I jump on the ellipse machine and punch in 45 minutes. Two minutes in to my workout, my eye catches the television directly above my head. I stare up at the screen and am looking at ... News.
For a pleothra of reasons ... I never watch the News. Someone was killed. Someone is missing. I don't know if the reason I am having a hard time breathing and am covered in sweat is because I'm really out of shape ... or if it's because my three babies are in the care of people whose first names I don't even know. My mind suddenly caught up to my body.
What in the WORLD was I thinking?!?!
Are these people qualified? Are they CPR trained? What if they let them use some other kids sippy cup? What if they get sick again? What if they fall off that climbing fort thing-a-ma-jiggy and land on their head? What if someone comes in and sneaks one of them out? What if ...
OH MY GOD.
Eight minutes have lapsed. First and foremost, I'm thinking about the health and safety of my children. And then I'm thinking about the $10.00 per month, per child ... that I just committed to this gym so that my babies can go to Kids Kamp while mom works out. Our monthly gym membership just went from $60.00 per month ... to $90.00 per month. I sweat some more.
The kids are fine. They've got to be fine. We're paying a lot of money to be here. The people looking after them have to be competent.
Three minutes later, I jumped off the ellipse and run downstairs to Kid Kamp. William and Carolyn are standing next to each other - two feet from the stroller - laughing and playing with a similar sized toddler. Elizabeth is 50 feet away, opening and closing a door on a dollhouse. William looks right at me ... and looks away. Not so much as a hint of recognition. Probably because I'm covered in sweat and he doesn't recognize me? The counselor walks up to me and says "You're back ... so soon?"
"Well, uh, I just wanted to make sure that everything was OK. And, uh, I didn't happen to catch your first, middle or last name. Or, any aliases you might have. Actually, I was also wondering if, uh, you have a criminal record ... or if you would mind giving me a urine sample and letting me take some quick fingerprints?"
I didn't ask that. I just asked if the kids were OK. But don't think for a second I didn't feel like asking ALL of that - - and more.
I returned to the gym. I lifted weights for 10 more minutes before spotting the Juice Bar. The kids would LOVE a smoothie. Infact, so would I.
I head back in to Kid Kamp. Total workout time ... 21 minutes. The counselor looks at me and smiles.
"It's OK. A lot of mom's are really nervous the first time they leave their kids here. But then, they get better about it. And before you know it ... they start bringing their gym bag so that they can actually take a shower."
It hits me.
I forgot my $%^@ gym bag.
I owe the curse cup some money. Hopefully, Charlie won't read this blog posting and realize that I've been ... and will continue to be ... the culprit of his shaving horrors.
The kids are delighted to see me. They come running over with arms up high and I sweep them in to a huge hug. I load them in their stroller, smother them with Purell again, and indulge them with the fruit smoothie I bought at the Juice Bar. I wheel the stroller out of Kid Kamp and a woman who looks like she should be on the recruitment poster for the gym ... a drop dead beautiful workout Goddess sporting those tight little exercise shorts that I could only
I expected that she would tell me something like, if you really want to ever fit in your pre-pregnancy pants again, you need to spend more than 21 minutes working out. And you most certainly shouldn't be ingesting a smoothie that contains more calories than you would have burned even if you'd stayed on the ellipse machine for the 45 minutes you had punched in. Maybe she might tell me that they are shooting a "Before" and "After" campaign and would I mind being the "Before"?
Surprisingly, she doesn't say any of that. Instead she gushes "Oh my gosh. Those are triplets, aren't they?! I have a 16-month old baby and I have been watching you. I had to let you know that you are my HERO!"
I am HER hero? I didn't know what to say except "Are you drunk? Look at you! YOU have a 16-month old and abs like that?! Holy Crap!!!"
She laughed, I laughed, and I felt a lot better about my sweaty self and hairy legs. It's nice that perfect strangers look at me and think that I have my act together. I threw my workout towel over my shoulders like a superhero cape and wheeled the kids out to the parking lot. It's then that I notice the tailgate on the van was wide open, as are BOTH sliding doors. In my haste to get to the gym, I apparently forgot to close the car.
Well, it's a good thing I've only been gone for 30 minutes. More importantly, no one seemed to notice. I'd really hate to blow my heroic cover.