Thursday, July 23, 2009

My New Girl..

Terry Stephan

I am seeing another woman. She has long dark hair and hazel eyes. We meet on Mondays, but she wears me out for half the week. She pushes me to perform physical feats that Emmy has never tried to make me do.
This sounds exciting but I’m often reluctant when the weekend is closing and it is time to see the young lady again. I’m as shocked as anyone that I’ve begun this liaison with another woman.
OK, I’ll fess up. The true nature of my Monday meetings with the other woman is almost as shocking as what I’ve tried to make it sound like in the paragraphs above.
The young woman is my trainer. I never thought that after spending most of my life’s work performing physical labor I would have to go to a trainer to get into shape. Had I considered it, I probably would have thought I’d need a male trainer who could push me into doing the things necessary to loose weight and gain better health.
The idea that a man could coerce me into doing something difficult more successfully than a woman could, is one of the silliest misconceptions I’ve found kicking around in my head. Being married, I should know better.
‘Trainer Girl’ is what I call my new health instructor. I use it here to protect her identity as well. The moniker looks politically incorrect and a bit disrespectful when I write it on paper, but I hadn’t thought of it as being discourteous. It’s one of the nicer names I call her early in the week. For a couple of days after our appointed get together on Mondays, the little-used muscles of mine that she has called into service cry out in pain. She is great at her job and I respect her intelligence but I have nothing nice to say about her on those days.
I pat myself on the back. I come up with some extremely inventive and earthy descriptive phrases for Trainer Girl, none of which should appear in a family paper. On Tuesday or Wednesday, if I do strenuous activity like picking up the remote or lifting my arm to raise that drink, there must be a bit of ringing in Trainer Girls ears.
I suppose it would be better to call her something like “Trainer Woman”, in the vein of “Wonder Women”. Maybe ‘The Six Million Dollar Lady’ would sound better. The way she crackles and pops with energy and enthusiasm, I have no doubt that Trainer Girl could start doing crunches today on a bet, and you would have to stop her sometime tomorrow so she wouldn’t hurt herself, or damage her bionic parts.
Trainer Lady has helped a lot. She is knowledgeable concerning nutrition and exercise. When I do things her way, I feel much better. Since I started seeing Wonder Woman Trainer Girl, I have lost weight and gained muscle mass.
She has a sense of humor. Just for fun, she makes me sit on the edge of a rubber exercise ball to do ‘crunches’ (I always thought of them as incomplete sit-ups). She positions me on the ball in such a way that makes my undershorts ride up, giving me a severe wedgy.
Besides receiving the extremely uncomfortable wedgy, my socially unacceptable, fat belly sneaks out from under my tee-shirt each time I lay back to start the next wedgy/crunch. They don’t make tee-shirts long enough to cover my abdomen while it is in training.
When doing certain exercises, Trainer girl often tells me to draw my belly button close into my spine. I get a chuckle out of this. My belly button has spent the last thirty years distancing itself from my spine. I don’t think the two will form a close relationship anytime soon. I’ll keep trying to introduce them.
Wish me luck, or at least a longer tee-shirt.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Corn Hill

Betty and I are in ROchester doing the corn hill arts and crafts festival. This supposed to be a profitable show. Last year it rained much of one day, alternating with sunshine which made it hard to breath with the humidity.
Yesterday started with a substatial sale before opening time, then it rained heavily for most to the afternoon washing out any possibility of a good Saturday. We had high hopes for today but an hour from closing we are a long way from a profitable show..
The people are great including the ones who live here (they leave there door open when not at home so we can use the bathroom) and the customers are heavy on compliments. Lots of returned-from-last-year customers speak of how wonderful their pieces are from last year but we are just not selling much.
We hate to give up such a nice show but...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rain and then some

We've had rain for more days than not, what a summer. Betty and I are getting ready for a rainy Rochester show, and a hike tomorrow probably in the rain..

Friday, July 3, 2009

To Smoke or not To Smoke

Terry Stephan

Changing Lanes:exsmoking:
A friend of mine is trying to quit smoking. I was a heavy smoker for twenty years, three packs a day. Years before I quit, I remember brooding over the expense. It cost a nickel every time I lit a cigarette. I felt guilty about the money taken from my wife and kids, never mind the health issues. At today’s eight dollars a pack, I would be paying the equivalent of a hefty monthly mortgage payment.
Some smokers are overly defensive about their habit. At the mere mention of it, their hackles rise. I have all the empathy in the world, even for diehard smokers.
I was a belligerent smoker, but I never rationalized smoking as many people still do with the silly, ‘I-enjoy-smoking-and-anyway-you-could-be-hit-by-a-truck-tomorrow-so-why-quit’ attitude. I resented the inconvenience of ‘smoking areas’ becoming fewer and out of the way. At the time, it seemed a cruel roadblock to my habit.
As our country was moving towards smoke free workplaces, I was delivering freight to various warehouses in Western New York. One by one, the old haunts became non-smoking.
I refused to accept the concept that while backed into a loading dock, my truck was part of any building that banned smoking. As far as I was concerned, they could do what they wanted, I lit up in the cargo box of my tractor-trailer while I stacked freight or waited for forklift operators to unload the truck. It soon became a problem when warehouse personal, most of whom enjoyed tobacco, caught on. They would stop to take a cigarette break. My popularity rose and I didn’t mind them joining me. Sometimes it gave me an advantage over non-smoking drivers. I would often get quicker service, my truck unloaded faster.
Smoking in my trailer at a non-smoking warehouse ended when a dock supervisor couldn’t find anyone on the dock one day. I was stacking cartons when he walked into my trailer. Four of his men, who had been standing around or leaning against the wall smoking, immediately picked up cartons and pretended they were helping me stack freight. Supervisors aren’t always the dumbest kids on the block and he knew as well as anybody it doesn’t take five guys to stack freight on a pallet. In fact, too many people would be a detriment to finishing the job.
After that incident, I was regarded a troublemaker. Management at the warehouse decided I was no longer welcome at their dock if I or anyone else smoked in my trailer.
At another building, I could smoke on the first floor where I backed my truck in and on the fifth floor where the company office was located but not on the freight elevator in between. I would unload on the first floor. Heading to the fifth floor to take care of paperwork, instead of tossing the butt I was smoking, (didn’t want to throw that nickel away), I would ride the elevator up, cigarette in hand. I thought I could hide it behind my back easily in the rare case of someone else getting on.
In another of a series of embarrassing unfortunate events that is my life I got on the freight elevator alone, it stopped at the second floor. This was new. As the doors slid open, I cupped the cigarette in my hand and put it in the pocket of my jacket. The owner of the building got on, preceded by eight young men and women, I later found out they were prospective hires. He was giving them a tour of the business. I stood in the corner. Several glanced at my jacket where smoke curled out of the pocket. They all knew I was smoking, the air was thick, and no one said a word.
I was thoroughly embarrassed and I’d like to say I quit immediately but I smoked for years afterward.
I did however quit smoking on elevators.