Tricking the puppies

I don’t go to a gym.

We have a beautiful gym near my house, with fancy machines and fitness programs and people who flex and look better in spandex shorts than I do.

But I don’t go there.

Because, teenagers.

When you spend all day teaching teenagers, you don’t want them to see you when you’re doing things that make you gasp for air, your boobs flounce abundantly, and your spandex shorts cling ever-so-slightly-embarrassingly. You prefer to be teenager-less when you are doing those things.

High school teachers suffer. Teenagers are everywhere.

Those pesky part-time jobs they have that develop their character and teach them the value of a good work ethic and education and personal hygiene mean that everywhere I go, I encounter my students.

Buying tampons? Kid working at checkout.

Buying the bulk box of red wine, on a Tuesday? Kid pushing carts in parking lot.

Debit card fails at checkout? Kid stares at you, horror-stricken because you’re buying tampons, and the debit just failed, and the tampons are like, right there, and it’s a jumbo box, and the only thing worse is the next guy in line is a father of one of your students…

It’s a miracle I can go out in public at all.

So, I don’t go to the gym.

I work out in my Love’s garage, which I now call  The Gym because that’s where I… Work Out. I usually flex a little when I say it. “Hey honey, I’m going to The Gym. To Work Out.” I also waggle my eyebrows. He finds it alluring.

In The Gym, there is a wood pile, a huge freezer full of meat, the garbage and recycle bags (a small mountain of wine boxes), two old mattresses we haven’t thrown out yet… and eleven Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies.

I work out at 5am. For an hour. Every day.

I can’t Work Out in the house because my Love is sleeping.

The puppies wake up the minute the door to The Gym is opened, and they express their love for me at the tops of their lungs. They scream their undying affection for my very soul.

It is a piercing, intense serenade which makes it impossible to think, impossible to hear the urgings of my video workout coaches to do “just one more round”, and, after about three minutes, impossible to do anything except cringe and cover your ears. Or give up entirely and snuggle them all because, cuteness.

But I shall not be thwarted!

I would rather brave the tintinnabulation of the puppies than the uncomfortable stares of my students and NOTHING will prevent me from Working Out and thusly, I contrive a way to trick the wee canines.

I have to trick them into believing that I’m not there. If they know I’m there, they want to nuzzle and scream their way into my aural cavities… not conducive to the flexing. First I feed them… they have a single-minded zombie fixation on kibble…

…and while they are climbing over each other in a frenzy, I push two sawhorses draped with sheets in front of the gate to their run, blocking their view of my workout space. I place my laptop close to the door, so it hopefully can still connect to the distant wifi signal from the distant living room… and I turn off the lights.

Yes. I exercise in darkness. It is, after all, 5 o’clock in the morning when all this super sneakiness is happening. If I leave the lights on… they’ll know I’m there

The puppies finish eating, I begin my workout video, and they snuffle and make questioning noises because they can hear and smell that someone is in their space, but they can’t be sure. It’s just like hiding potato chips from the children when they were young. They would hear the rustle of the bag as I sneakily indulged in the darkest corner of the pantry, but by the time they found me the evidence was hidden. They could sniff my deceit, like the feral children they were, but they couldn’t find the evidence. Sneaky McSneakerson.

The chips are the reason for my current need to workout.

The teenagers are the reason for my avoidance of the gym.

The puppies are the reason I’m posting this. Nothing will prevent me from my early morning workouts! Not even epic cuteness… and they are… epically cute…

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