Going to War With Each Other Is Not Necessary (but sometimes it is)

In keeping with the theme of why I love my husband – he rarely stays angry for long.  It takes something pretty huge to make him permanently angry at someone, and there are not many things he stays angry about when it comes to me.

That said, like all marriages, we have some bad moments.  The other day was a long and grueling day for both of us.  We had a frustrating experience while out and about and both of us had annoying days at work.  Traffic this time of year is simply crazy, we have too many places to go and not enough time to get everything accomplished and still sleep, work, workout, etc.  Very irritating.

On this annoying day, we had purchased a replacement bulb for our halogen lamp in the living room.  This lamp is very bright and lights up the whole room without being glaring.  We also have a ceiling fan that had a bare bulb in it that I hate.  It is not very bright, the cover for the bulb part never fit right and has since disappeared, and for my purposes its only use is in the summer when we need the fan part to keep things a bit cooler.  Will, however, does not mind this light, so the halogen bulb burning out is not something that he finds terribly inconvenient or annoying.

We decided that he would run into Kroger and get the bulb while I filled the gas tank to conserve time.  We then ran a bunch of errands and happened to be gone for most of the day.  By the time we got home we both forgot about the bulb.  We get inside, I am immediately annoyed by the stupid overhead light and ask him if he brought in the halogen bulbs and he didn’t.  He goes out to the car to get them, comes back inside without them, and promptly gives up on the exploration with ill temper.

As I had never even had my hands on the halogen bulbs, I quickly become every bit as ill tempered.  I grab one of my little flashlights, go outside and look through the car.  The light bulbs are not in a bag, they are in the side compartment of the door where he puts all of the things he later forgets about and leaves in the car.  I come inside, set the bulbs down on the coffee table, and tell him that since I found them and brought them in, he can change the bulbs.  I do this in part because ever since we got the lamp I have zero recollection of him ever changing the bulb – this does not mean he did not do it once or twice, he may have, but not to my memory or my knowledge.

“I’ll change it when it becomes a priority for me,” he said nastily.

I go from being ill tempered to instantly pissed.

“Fine.  I’ll be in the same room as you again when it becomes a priority for me,” I reply venomously.

I know, I know, I marvel at my own maturity and reasoned responses, too.

I stomp into our library.  Get online for a bit, but am still too mad at him to be in such close proximity as one room away.  I go downstairs to shower and contemplate if this is a big enough deal to go to war over.  My sister has a phrase that she uses, “Do I really want to die on this hill?”  Meaning, is this such a big deal that I am willing to fight it out in a huge and possibly endless argument?

I think about the past few weeks where we have made deals such as if I do A, he will do B – A gets completed and B gets an excuse as to why it cannot possibly be done today or anytime soon.  I think about how angry I will be if I have to change that light bulb myself.  I know myself pretty well.  I know that if I have to change that light bulb, there will be some permanent resentment.  Permanent resentment in marriage, or any relationship, is bad because it can potentially ruin a relationship if there is too much of it.  I decide that it would be better to scale an all out war with him than to change the light bulb.

I am willing to die on this hill.  I am willing to nuke the hill entirely, in fact.

I figure that my best tactic is to find ways to make changing the light bulb a priority for him.  Step one is to hide all of the spare light bulbs we have in the house.  I have easy access to where we keep them from downstairs, so I can get to them and put them somewhere he will never look before I come upstairs for the night.  Step two, in the morning, since I wake up well before him, I remove all of the light bulbs from every other light fixture in that room and every lamp in the house.  All of the light bulbs will be gone and hidden.  I figure that total darkness would be a pretty good motivator – maybe even good enough that changing the light bulb in the halogen lamp would become a priority for him.

If that didn’t work, well, let’s just say there was escalation in my head – up through step 10 that I had planned out to make changing the light bulb a priority.  I know my husband well enough to know there would be retaliation, but figured that I would be able to annoy him faster and more effectively than he could annoy me.  I envisioned the ending of the movie “The War of the Roses” where Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are dying, in the remains of what was once their house that they have systematically destroyed through upping the ante.  I think that this would be the likely result and am angry enough that I conclude, “So be it.”

I come upstairs and figure that I should at least check to see if he has replaced the light bulb before I start with step one of hiding all of the other light bulbs in the house.  The halogen light is on and lighting up the living room beautifully.

War averted.

What I like about my husband is that when I come upstairs and tell him that I am a little disappointed he changed the bulb because I had a devious master plan, he is not angry.  He is somewhat amused and thoughtful.  He tells me that his first step would be to start hiding the kitchen knives, but not all of them at once.  Just gradually a few here and there so that I feel like I am going crazy.  He would probably even act as if he had no knowledge of the missing kitchen knives even existing, because he really likes the idea of gaslighting me.

Which I have to admit is a nice move on his part.  I also have to admit that as much as I like a worthy adversary, I am glad that we are still on the same side.

Partner WoD’s – Flipping Off Will

Friday we had a very long partner WoD.  Will is always my partner.  For some reason, I was having issues breathing on Friday and I was slow and sluggish.  Meanwhile, Will was hilariously full of energy, which is nice when doing a partner WoD, because he did a lot of the tough work.

This WoD took almost 50 minutes and consisted of 100 pull-ups, 150 Med Ball Tosses, 200 Kettlebell Swings, 250 Squats, and 300 sit-ups.  The only thing that saved it from being totally awful was that since it was a partner WoD one of us would work while the other rested.  With the exception of the Med Ball throws.

Our trainer had us throwing a medicine ball back and forth during one of our partner WoD’s when we were out on the field a while back and I really had fun with it.  As the field was really crowded on Friday, instead, he had us stand an either side of the taller pull up bar and toss it over the bar to each other.  Will normally uses a 20 pound med ball, while I use a 12 pound med ball.  On Friday, we used a 14 pound med ball.  The only thing we really had to do was throw it to each other, so it did not have to be a full wall ball shot where you catch the ball and go into a squat and then throw it up to a certain height.  Will barely needed to bend his knees for this, but he can also touch the pull up bar without the aid of box, something I cannot say.

Will is 8 inches taller than me and significantly stronger*.  For this exercise, he basically just stood near the bar and lightly tossed the ball to me.  Meanwhile, in order for me to get the ball over the bar, I really had to work at it.  I did not have the height advantage or strength advantage, so I really had to use most of the force and momentum of my body to get the ball over the bar.  This means I am going almost into a full squat so that the upward momentum of my body helped propel the ball over the bar.

This meant that Iwas getting winded.  Wall balls always wind me and on a day where I was already have some breathing  issues I was seriously winded.  I couldn’t really breathe to talk and Will said, “Why don’t you do like I am doing and just catch it and throw it back?  You don’t have to go all the way down into a squat.”

I wanted to tell him that he was 8 inches taller than me.  I wanted to say that we were using a ball that was 2 pounds heavier than my norm and 6 pounds lighter than his.  I wanted to say that if I didn’t get all the way into a squat, the ball simply would not make it over the bar.  I wanted say “Are you freaking kidding me?!”  However, I did not have the breath to say any of that.  What I managed was an outraged sputter of “you… taller… ball” then I gave up and just gave him the finger – which was really what he was going for.  He looked extremely pleased with himself for reducing me to sputtering followed by a rude gesture.  Will cracks himself up.

It was one of those moments where I thought it was just Will and I (and our trainer, who is used to me flipping off inanimate objects because any time I think he isn’t looking or isn’t around, like a ninja he is there seeing me act inappropriately to the gym equipment – gym equipment that on rare occasions feels like torture devices and therefore needs to be flipped off) but a lot more people were behind us judging by the laughter that erupted when I did this.

I had several kind people tell me that Will had the easier part of this particular exercise, giving me exactly the reasons I did not have the breath to articulate at the time, and it was nice to have that solidarity.  Crossfit people are an awesome bunch.

At one point during the med ball toss, Will was giving me a moment to catch my breath and noticed that my lips looked a little blue.  He figured it was lack of oxygen because I was having breathing issues and made us rest more for the remainder of the wall balls. He even at one point tossed the ball over the bar, ran to catch it himself, and then tossed it over the bar again and ran to catch it.  He did a few reps this way, prompting our trainer to ask me if Will had stolen my energy today.  Will has a tendency to lay down a bit during the morning and ask for nap reps.

He also did a few more of the kettlebell swings than I did, and a lot more squats, but that is in part because I missed a day of doing my 100 sit-ups, so I had to do 200 hundred sit-ups that day anyway, so he knew that when we got to the sit-ups, I’d do two thirds of the work so it would even out.

Will really likes the partner WoD’s.  He likes the competition part where we try to out do each other and he likes attacking the WoD as a team complete with strategy on how we will accomplish it.  He is also really sweet with some of the partner WoD’s because he often gives me a little more time to rest while he gets in a few more reps.  Our trainer has even commented a couple of times, “What a gentleman” although there may be some sarcasm laced in that comment.

Overall it was a fun, but a rough WoD.  I couldn’t laugh, sneeze, or cough without my abs hurting for the entire weekend and had some soreness in my legs.  Meanwhile, Will was really sore in his legs.  We figure that means it was a good workout.

* Will’s always been stronger than me, but since Crossfit he has gotten really strong.  He is pretty solid, and while he still has a bit of extra weight to lose, what is underneath is solid and strong.  The other night I got up to go to the bathroom, and walking back to bed I walked directly into him as it was dark, I was still half asleep, and I did not expect him to be there.  It was like walking into a wall.  I almost fell over and Will, who didn’t a budge a bit, just sort of steadied me by grabbing my elbows and wondered why on earth I would just walk right into him.

He is strong enough now that I no longer try to get into any sort of wrestling match or tickle fight, because he can pick me up and he wins rather easily.  I initially thought that since I was getting quite strong myself I would be more of a match for him, but alas, no joy.  I keep asking our trainer to stop making him stronger, but he and Will have that whole male solidarity thing going on, so no joy there.  In all seriousness, though, it is really cool that Will has gotten so much stronger and more solid through Crossfit.


100 Push-ups in 100 Days

My friend Jen told me about this challenge she has started.  Doing 100 push-ups in 100 days.  As I said in a previous post, you can break this up into 5 or 10 or 25 – whatever increment you desire – over the course of the day.  The point is that each day you do 100 push-ups.

The other version – the one that Will is theoretically doing – is 1 push-up on day 1, 2 push-ups on day 2, 3 push-ups on day 3, etc on up to 100 push-ups on day 100.  This morning I was telling our trainer how difficult the 100 push-ups was for me.  I assumed since I could break it up throughout the day it would not be that big of a deal, but by yesterday my arms were tired.  He told me I could do the gradual build version if I wanted to as they add up pretty quickly.  I said that I really wanted to stick with what I was currently doing.  After all, I’ve already done two days in a row with 100 push-ups, so might as well keep going.  Yeah, it is hard, but that is part of the point.

When I first started at Crossfit in May of 2011, I could only do push-ups against a bench.  Some people start off doing push-ups against a wall – push-ups are hard if you are not used to doing them regularly.  Heck, I’ve been doing them pretty regularly and I still think they are hard.  Gradually, I graduated to knee-pushups, but then those became too easy.  Then I went to half knee push-ups.  I lower down from plank all the way and then with my knees on the floor I push back up.

I have not really felt like I have gotten noticeably better at these half knee push-ups and I’ve been doing them forever.  It feels like at least a year.  I have decided that I am tired of not doing full push-ups.  The whole point of this 100 day challenge for me is that I hope mid-way through it or at least by the very end of it, I will be able to do regular push-ups, no knees involved.  I am also hoping to build up my upper body strength.

As an extra, I’ve decided that today I am going to fold in 100 sit-ups a day, too.  My goal there is to be able to do 100 without stopping.  Right now I can do about 50 without stopping, but those last three are really difficult.

I have a little notebook that I am using to keep track of these two 100 a day challenges.  It is so easy to forget what number you are on that writing it down as soon as you finish a set is really helpful.  Also, since I am writing it down, that keeps me accountable.  I don’t want to get to day 14 and stop.  If I am keeping track through a written record, I won’t.

I feel like I get a lot accomplished in the three days a week I work out at Crossfit Simple, but I need/want something that I do every single day.  I think this will fit that need.  It has already changed the way I watch television.  You can do sit-ups and push-ups while watching tv.  It is more entertaining to have something that you are watching while working on the 100’s.

They put the 100 push-ups a day challenge on the board at Crossfit.  So far there are only a couple of people signed up.  I am hoping more people jump on board with this.  I need someone other than Jen and our trainer to whine to about my arms hurting!  😉

If It’s Easy, You Are Probably Doing It Wrong

A few weeks ago, we had a really cool workout where we did a variety of different exercises.  I blew through this WoD pretty quickly and somewhat easily.  I was really pleased with myself for doing so well.

After the workout, our wonderful trainer took me through some of the exercises we did and made everything harder.  One of the nice things about Crossfit is you can scale things to your ability.  However, once you have mastered the scaled skill, then you have to make things a bit more difficult.  For example, one of the exercises is knees to elbows – you grab a pull-up bar and the bring your knees up to your elbows.  Well, for me, the scaled version is something called frog kicks.  I would bring my knees up to about a 90 degree angle or so instead of all the way up to my knees.  Apparently, being able to do frog kicks super fast and all at a go is too easy now, so our trainer decided it was time to bring the knees all the way to my elbows.  I went from being able to do 25 in a row without stopping to being able to almost 5, and that is a sloppy 5.  Significantly harder.

Yoga is another thing entirely.  We often start off with triangles.  Triangles used to kill me, but then I found that they became much easier and I was even able to balance myself by stretching all the way to the ground.  Yeah, that was because I was doing it wrong.  Our yoga instructor (who is awesome) had us do triangles while our backs were against the wall.  Apparently, if you are keeping yourself straight with a flat back (which is what the wall helped illustrate) and with good form triangles again become difficult and you simply cannot touch the floor.

One of the things I really love about working out is that progress is so easily tracked and accounted for, but it is somewhat disheartening to go from doing something easily and quickly to having the next level up be slow and difficult.  However, everything for me started off as slow and difficult, and I do remind myself that slow and difficult will eventually become quick and either easy or at least somewhat easier.  Everyone struggles with something, and everything is somewhat difficult.   You have to keep challenging yourself to keep improving.

One of the things I am currently doing with a friend as well as our trainer is 100 push-ups a day for 100 days.  It is difficult.  I’ve done this for only two days now and it is hard, hard, hard.  The good thing is that you have all day to do the push-ups, so you can break this exercise up anyway you want.  The first day I did 10 here and there throughout the day and the second day I did 25, now that is not a flat 25 without stopping, but more like 7, then 8 then two 5’s.  Because push-ups are difficult.

A lot of the people who do Crossfit have been life long athletes.  For me, this all pretty much new.  I think the newness is why I am amazed frequently at how progress works with this – hard to easy, hard to easy, hard to easy.  Basically, to keep improving, things have to keep being difficult.  I think in previous years of my life, things being consistently difficult would bother me.  I would be discouraged that it is always a struggle to complete the various tasks ahead of me.  However, as I’ve made so much progress slogging through the difficulties, stair stepping my way up this fitness ladder, things being hard do not bother me.  I consider the difficulties to be just another thing to master, because eventually each difficult thing will become easy and that is a lot of little successes to celebrate.

Retelling Story Endings

One of the reason I love my husband is that he will elaborate or retell the ending of stories to make me happy.  This is something my dad would do.  Apparently, I was a sensitive child who grew up to be a sensitive adult, or maybe the word people use is “over sensitive” so sad endings stay with me and stick in my head for a long time.  Like forever.

Over Thanksgiving my older sister was talking about how she does not like Bluegrass music, and I was agreeing that I also was not a big fan.  I cannot remember if it was a family member or friend that was trying to change her mind by telling her a story from one of the songs.  Basically, this man comes home – and for some reason I think the setting was frontier days and a log cabin, but I could be wrong – and there is blood on his dog and his baby who is sleeping in the crib.  The man loves his dog but figures if the dog is attacking the baby he has to be put down.  So this moronic asshole shoots his dog, only to later find a dead bear his dog had battled, presumably saving the baby’s life.

My older sister was horrified at the idea that this God awful story would make anyone like Bluegrass and I agreed with her.  Then the story stayed in my head prompting to me hate this imaginary man who killed his dog.

Driving home from Thanksgiving – a 6 hour drive – I tell Will, my husband, about the song and my thoughts on it, which are the following:

  • What kind of moron sees a bloody dog and doesn’t first check the dog for wounds?  Or the baby for wounds?  Is man’s best friend not allowed a little investigation prior to being shot?  Or maybe some thoughtful deliberation?
  • This man in the story deserves neither a dog nor a baby.
  • The man in this story is too stupid to live and should not be adding to the gene pool.
  • The dog should have just let the bear eat the baby if he was going to get shot regardless of his actions.
  • I hope the man gets eaten by a bear.

Will tells me that the song was only about this first part of the story.  See, the bear that died had a family and that family comes looking for the bear.  When they find the bear dead, they take their revenge by eating the man and his entire family.  The bears are happy with their vengeance and this dog-killer is no longer around to shoot brave and awesome dogs.

This cheers me immensely.  He knows that I would rather the entire family die than one dog die.  He knows that I am mainly rooting for the bears, and that I have a vengeance streak.

So, now when I think about this story, I am cheered that this dumb man who shoots a dog without bothering to investigate further and wait a while gets killed.  Because I firmly believe the man deserved to get eaten by a bear.  Sometimes, Will’s retelling of stories appeals to my bloodthirsty streak.

Will retells or expands on the endings of various depressing or upsetting stories for me quite frequently.  This is just the most recent example and one of the reasons why I love him.