Monday, October 29, 2012

New Torture Apparatus

Here it is, late Sunday night/early Monday morning again.  Gotta make this quick.  What did we accomplish this past weekend?  Not much, sorry to say.   Carl cut more stone for Aaargh, but it's too cold to mortar.  We've been down below freezing every night since Thursday now.  We may be done mixing mortar for the year, phooey.    Last Thursday, we were in the balmy 70's, but a fast-moving cold front brought thunderstorms and cold temperatures.  We dropped from 73 to 30-something overnight.  The storm also brought more rain, which is a good thing; the Quarry has a little more water in it now.

Teeny pond has reappeared
My mother, aka the Elusive Lucille, has been coming to help me put the garden to bed while Carl concentrates on cutting stone.  At 92, she is still as agile as always, getting up and down with ease.  She has never enjoyed kneeling in the garden, though, and prefers to sit on the ground instead, in a posture I can never emulate.  Kneeling does get tiring, but if I sat on the ground as long as she can, I'm not sure I'd get back up without a hoist.  Sometimes, Mom semi-reclines to weed or cut plants down, which does look alarming to those who don't know her.  She told me a week or so ago she was lying on the ground out by the road at her house, cutting back some peonies when a car drove by.  She didn't think anything of it until she was startled by a voice asking, "Ma'am, are you ok?  Do you need some help?"

Though Mom hadn't noticed his return, the driver of the car must have turned around and come back to check on her, which was very nice of him.  She assured the driver she was fine, and thanked him for his concern.  I asked her if she knew who her would-be rescuer was, but she didn't recognize him.  "I guess I should be more careful how I look when I'm weeding out by the road from now on," she told me.   "I'll try to sit up more instead of laying down, at least where people can see me."  Though she feels a bit sheepish about it, she remains very impressed that this person would have come to her aid if she needed assistance.   (And I'm happy, too.)

 Every afternoon Mom comes down and we march out to do battle with the wilted hostas and other perennials.  We yank out the annuals, too, placing them in pails and eventually I tote them to the car trailer.  We usually manage to fill the big trailer every day while Carl is cutting stone.  Then, just before darkness falls completely, Mom heads for her home.  I help Carl put his tools away and lock up the chickens and gather the eggs.   Then we hook up the trailer to our car and Carl heads out back to our compost heap.  While he is busy unloading the day's plant refuse, I take Teddy and Pudding out for their night walkies.   We usually don't get in much before 7PM, though that will change when the clocks are set back next week.

On Saturday, Mom was housecleaning (no, I don't help her, she's adamant about not needing my help) so even though the garden is not all cleared of plant material yet,  I decided to take on a job which has been bugging me for a few years now.  I don't have any pictures, but we have a very large rock pile that has become overgrown with sumac, grapevines and blackberry bushes on our two acres and I'm tired of looking at it.  We're going to need some more rocks to extend the tufa wall in the hosta garden, and there's still a small stash of tufa in there somewhere, so I decided to poke around and see what I could find.

The rockpile became home to any and all rocks we have collected over the past 34 years which we had no particular use for right away.  Joel was home for a bit and lent me a hand with the truly big flat rocks we have stashed there for our eventual waterfall renovations in the Quarry.  We worked together for about an hour before he had to leave, sorting the stones and putting them on pallets, but the pallets fill up way too fast.  We're going to be needing a whole lot more.  If you don't like rocks, you won't understand what I'm about to say, but what a hoot this job is proving to be!  There's so many memories tied up in this old pile, Joel and I were remembering rock excursions from twenty years ago when he was barely old enough to hoist the rocks he handles now with ease.  I'll be lucky to have the pile moved before the snow flies, but I'm looking forward to the process.

Just what I need, more weight training.  And speaking of weight training, I was thinking I could use some more free weights to add to the roughly one hundred pounds Carl found in the dumpster.  Many of the exercises in the 'New Rules of Lifting' are done on machines at a gym, and I was trying to find ways to modify the moves for home use but needed more 'weighty' accessories.   On Sunday morning I decided to check Craigslist to see if anyone had weights they didn't want anymore.

And that's when I came across this posting:

Bodycraft Total Home Gym--$200.
Not used much. I want it gone, as it is mocking me. Has a bar that you pull down vertically, one you pull out horizontally, another for bench presses, and the part for your legs. Comes with 2 extra bars for use with the gym, 3 for free weights, and 300 Lbs of weights. I used it primarily as a clothes rack, and it works great for that too. It is currently disassembled and in my garage ready to go. 

Well, there I go!  A total home gym which also doubles as a clothes could I go wrong?  I wouldn't even need to go to a gym to be mocked, as the ad said it was good at that, too.  This machine had it ALL.

Oh, but the ad had been posted four days ago....I quickly typed my response, asking if the gym was still available.  Five minutes later, I had a reply.

"I have someone coming to look at it around 12PM.  I'll let you know either way."

Aw, rats.  I was too late.  I typed back, "Ok, thanks.  The trailer is hooked up to the car, I'll be waiting to hear from you."

I busied myself getting dinner on the table and tried not to think about it too hard.  I mean, really, did I want a big gym-thingie like that?  Where would we put it?  Will I use it?   Is it worth $200?  Oh well, I thought, as I tossed a salad glumly, I don't have to worry, because I'm sure it will be sold out from under me.  While I was cooking, I was bouncing these same questions off of Carl.

"We can put it in Dave's old bedroom," he said.  "And as far as if you will use it or not, if you go at this weightlifting business the same way you've walked the rug to bits in the living room, I'm pretty sure you'll use it, alright.  And if you don't like it, we'll sell it." 

Well........yes, I guess we could put it in Dave's old room.  But did I want to clutter up the spare bedroom with a big machine?  I guess so, why not?  The room has been empty for over a year so it would make sense to use it for something useful other than storage.  

I couldn't resist checking my email just before we sat down to eat, and was surprised to see this response, "As I surmised, the people weren't willing to pay my full asking price, so if you would like to view the gym, it is still available, just give me a call."

I have to admit, this poster had a way with words.  I made the call and we arranged to meet at 2PM.  We dined rapidly and drove up to the house right on time.  There he was, a tall young man, seated in a lawn chair in the driveway with parts and pieces of the home gym laid out around him.  Next to him, barking up a storm, was a ferocious, chubby Chihuahua on a long chain.

 We got out of the car and our host warmly greeted us with, "Hello.  I have to warn you in advance not to try anything shady.   I do have an attack dog here, as you can see."

 I had never been that close to an actual Chihuahua before, they are really cute; and he soon stopped barking and laid down with his little head on his paws. 

Carl, Joel and I all stood and stared at the piles of parts lying in the man's driveway.

 "I don't have an owner's manual, but I can tell you how it goes back together," the seller said.  "It just looks daunting, but I guarantee it's not that bad.  I bought it from a friend a few years back for $500, but he didn't have a manual, either."

Everything was in very good shape, and though I know next to nothing about home fitness equipment or even if all the pieces were there or not or if I'll even use this thing we sealed the deal and loaded it up on the trailer.  I was supposed to have a 'rest' day today from weightlifting and walking but by the time we got the gym home and hauled upstairs and assembled, we were all tired.  Carl and Joel worked on putting it all together after I found a manual online we could print out.

While they were tightening nuts and bolts, I carried the 300 pounds of free weights up the steps in 20 pound increments while talking to Mom on the phone.

 "You are all out of breath," she said, "What are you doing?" 

"Carrying weights upstairs," I huffed.  "We just bought a used exercise machine."

"Well, I don't even know what an exercise machine looks like, but listening to you all out of breath, it sounds like it's working already.  What do you do with an exercise machine?"

"That remains to be seen," I said. 

"Oh, why's that?  You bought it, but you don't know how to use it?"

"Yes, that's right.  But the guy we bought it from assured us it doubles as a very useful clothes hanger."

"For $200?  That's a pretty expensive clothes hanger," Mom said.

There it is, Karen's Torture Apparatus.  (This is the picture from the ad...not our house.)

Carl and I made sure all the bolts were tight and then we went through the exercises in the book I have to accomplish tomorrow, trying to figure out how much weight I can lift and how to adjust everything.

"All I'm asking of you is this: take it easy and be careful!   The last thing you need is to get hurt," Carl warned.

Before Joel left for the evening he said, "When you start to use the machine, you should text me at work and then when you're done, let me know, too.  That way if you get in trouble, someone will know and you won't be trapped until one of us comes home."

Funny, Mom said the same thing, "What if you get caught in that contraption?"

No one has any faith in my ability.

The ad was right--- the mocking has already begun.



FlowerLady said...

Oh Karen ~ You all are so busy, your dear mother is such an inspiration to me. WOW, 92 and still going strong.

Glad you got some rain. Sorry you won't be doing any more mortar work on the castle.

Your machine was a good price. I was thinking about you and Carl the other day and being careful with all that lifting, etc. that you do. Now you've got this contraption. Be careful and take things slowly, you DO NOT want to get hurt.

Love and hugs to all of you,

Junebug said...

Oh Karen you are braver then me!! Just looking at the torture chamber scares me.

Love the story of your Mom! What an active gal. Yes, head her warning!

Keep us posted on the new adventure and keep you cell phone close! Remember 911!!!!!


Alison said...

Wow, what a big, brave step! I hope it stops mocking you, and that you get some good use out of it. Don't be too frightened of it (if you're afraid of it you won't use it), but do be careful.

Your mom is the best.

Shirley said...

Ah, so hilarious!!! We had an enormous weight machine at one time as well. It got used at first, then the novelty wore off but it did make for a good clothes drying apparatus! After years of serving us in this manner, we thought it best to part with it prior to the move and we haven't missed it. I would like a clothes drying line though!

Karen said...

Hello Lorraine, my mother is truly one of a kind; I don't have her stamina, unfortunately. Personally, even I think I'm crazy for doing all this stuff with weights; it seems so silly. It's supposed to help me...well, we'll see about that.

June, I'm keeping a close eye on the torture chamber, believe me. I don't make any moves until I'm sure everything is secure. It's a good thing I'm a big gal; I think the machine is intimidated by me, too. And my phone is strapped to my side just in case!

Hi Alison, the machine and I (I really need to name this thing) need to come to terms here; no more mocking me and in turn I won't cut it up in pieces and haul it in for recycling. I don't think I'm asking too much, do you? :-)

Shirley, the novelty was wearing thin with weightlifting before I even bought this monstrosity, but I have to admit, the clothes drying capacity is Awesome! There are so many places to hang stuff. I don't have a clothesdryer, so the ol' lever gym can do double-duty.

HolleyGarden said...

I had to laugh at your mom laying down while gardening. I do that sometimes, too! It doesn't look good, though. I'm glad a good samaritan stopped to see if she was o.k. I bet he looks for her from now on, too! The weight lifting machine looks awesome! You will love it! I don't think machines are made to where you can really get trapped in them, but you can get hurt doing too much too soon, so take care. That looks like a great deal for $200!

Alison said...

I think you should name it Steve! said...

Our family used to have one of those and LOVED IT. I don't know who ended up getting it after a move to a different house. As for your mom, you should truly get a picture of her doing the gardening in that prostrate position because it sounds priceless!


Zoey said...

That looks like a great exercise machine! I hope you love it as much as I do just looking at the picture.

Wow, I can't believe how agile your mom sounds at 92 yrs old. She must be such an inspiration to everyone who knows her.

Shirley said...

Karen, regarding your comment on my Halloween Humour post, no, it isn't so! We have a couple inches or so but nothing compared to this!

Lucky you, still no snow! How is your weather there? Will you be impacted by Sandy?

Andrea said...

So you can be sure you will be doing a lot more of those rocks in the farther future, you have the genes for long life! Your mother is an exemption these days, my mom is 82 and stile agile too! About the garden, i don't want a lot of rocks like yours, but i need some of yours. We have difficulty getting rocks near our property.

Karen said...

Holley, if Mom wasn't so dang camera-shy, I would get a picture of her. One of these days I'll recruit a spy or two to help me with this mission. The machine and I are getting along fairly well, so far the 'New Rules' book hasn't required me to do too much with it, but I'm only three weeks in to the workout. I still approach the thing with respect and hope it reciprocates.

Karen said...

Alison, I was thinking more on the lines of 'He Whose Name Must Never Be Mentioned'....I know too many nice Steves, lol.

Lana, who knows, maybe this is your old machine, stranger things have happened? The Elusive Lucille HATES having her picture taken, but I'll see what I can do.

Zoey, anything that keeps me from having to schlep off to a gym is a Big Plus in my book. Too many cutie-patuties out there, lol. Mom is amazing, and she says she rarely, if ever, has any aches and pains. Personally, I think she's just plain Tough.

Hi Shirley, oh, good, I'm glad you don't have that much snow yet. The hurricane didn't affect us, except for some gusty winds, but no rain or snow. I hope all is well with you, too!

Andrea, some days I wonder how much longer I'll be handling stones, ouch...but yes, barring accidents, we do have longevity in our genetics. Your mom is amazing, too!

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

God bless your mom at 92. We should all be that spry and lucky. I can see why the gentleman stopped though. It was nice of him to be so concerned.

Tufa Girl said...

Wow, that is quite the contraption. Like you, I get a work out lifting stuff for various projects around the loft garden but have no proper workout to show for it. It did have to snicker at my new doctor "who just knew" I was a candidate for all kinds of old lady medicine when she saw me the first time. All the tests came back with great results - but I need to exercise more (and less caffeine - eye roll here). Sheesh - I will put my daily routine against a proper exercise routine any day.

I admire your workouts and the work around the quarry garden. I am certain it would amaze any doctor if they only really knew.

Carol said...

funny story and your mom is a hoot! Carol