July 09, 2009
busy like a fox

Who would have thought that it would be harder to find writing time during summer vacation than when I was immersed in my job? It's a curious fact about teachers that we save up our tasks for what others consider our abundant leisure, storing jobs to last us through the slack time. Truth is, I've been busier in the last two weeks than I ever am at work. I work all day now, from the time I get up until I drop, exhausted & sore, into bed. I don't take my evenings off like I used with school on. The only difference is that if I want to spend the day in my cut offs, or if I want to spend a scant few minutes on knitting, I can. I'm happier.

I'm also much more sore. I've been struggling with my weight this year, and it got a lot worse this spring. I investigated the summer boot camp classes, figuring I could use the time off to reinvent myself (c. Burn After Reading), but they're all booked. I suppose I'm not the first teacher to have this idea. During our Canada Day bbq of the last entry, I looked at my brother, newly returned from tree planting in BC.

"Hey Nic. You're a personal trainer. Want to do a boot camp with me next week?"

"Sure. Fifty bones an hour."

Eep. There was some bargaining, some mention of the truck I rented on his behalf Easter Monday and the rental fee owed. The family card was played. I got him down to a hundred bucks for the week, and forgiveness of the U-Haul debt. Sweet. I wasn't sure that it would work, and there's something creepy about employing my brother as my trainer, but it's the cheapest option going while I'm between gyms.

I flaked out on Monday's session, as a visit to Palaver in the hospital entailed a 45 minute wait before we could bust him off the floor. (It was a wait both boring and funny: Schereazade, Mason & I played six games of Connect Four, we experimented with a Battleship game that was missing an astounding number of pieces, and we were in the middle of an inept dominoes tourney when Palaver was given permission to leave. Also, Scherezade & I were hit on by another patient. Good times.) Tuesday was my first session at O Brother, Where Art Thou Boot Camp.

It. Hurt.

It hurt to do, and it hurt to recover. My brother believes in old school Russian style exercises that use free weights to purge the decadence. The two things working in my favour are I enjoy spending time in my backyard, and I've been cleaning my house for three days in preparation for tonight* and thus I haven't had time to sit down and seize up. Yesterday hurt less, but it was more extreme and I sweat more. Today I got a reprieve when Nic called in sick. I sort of miss the endorphins.

Blake has been spending the week at the Humber Arboretum, a nature camp both my brother and I attended when we were the age for day camp. It's a pretty fantastic place to go, learn about Nature, sing songs, water fight and get incredibly, spectacularly dirty. Blake is already giving me the guilt trip about not having him in for longer than a week. I'm pretty sure that he likes camp better than school, and I can't say I blame him. It looks so fun from the outside that I'm wondering if I should exploit my Dorian Grey-like appearance of youth and sign up to be a teenaged camp counselor. I'm pretty sure that my cynicism will lead to my unmasking, but it will be a good ride while it lasts.

My brother also has positive memories of the place. We took him with us yesterday to pick up Blake, and the two of them ended up jogging through the woods like a couple of size-mismatched dogs while Mason & I picked our way gingerly through the paths, cursing our impractical/disintegrating footware. Those two dogs have a ridiculous amount of fun together.

And Blake has never been so happy, so tired, or returned to me so filthy, in his life. Yesterday his shirt, a casualty of raspberry snacks, looked eerily like the t-shirt his Uncle Nic wore to the GWAR show in the early nineties. Gross and triumphant, all at the same time.

Speaking of ridiculous amounts of fun, I started my Sock Museum contribution yesterday after picking up the pattern and yarn from Lettuce Knit. Ususally 2x2 ribbing rots my nuts after awhile, but this yarn (Socks that Rock, Treehugger) is so beautiful that I'm kept happy by the colour changes. That, and I don't get a lot of time to sit down with it, so it's always fresh to me. Can I finish two socks in two weeks? Maybe. I choose not to do the math to find out what I have to accomplish each day. Instead, I'm just giving'r. Zimmerman would be proud.

* Tonight I will be billeting high school students from Texas, who are coming to my church to perform Godspell. I figure that with my spare bed and working familiarity with today's modern teenager, I would have been a cad not to volunteer. This is why I've been cleaning the house for days, doing the deep down scrubbing that I've been avoiding since the change of the year. My house is/was messy. And now it's less so.

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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*