Thursday, September 23, 2010

The gym saga continues, part three, and part THE END of a story that's lasted too long for its own good.

"Honey, I'm kind of upset with you," said Brian quietly. I'd just told him I spent $125 signing up for a gym membership I wasn't sure I wanted.

"I can get the money back if I decide to cancel!" I said.

"Honey," Brian replied, "you should have called me. Gym memberships are down right now with the economy. They want people to sign up. You could've gotten them down to no enrollment fee."

Hmm, I thought. That sounded right. I'd read that somewhere. I should have thought of that. I also should have remembered the $0 enrollment fee on their stinking website.

"And are you even going to use that membership?" Brian asked.

"Well, I don't know," I replied. "I guess I have a month to figure it out... right?'

"Canceling that membership is going to be like pulling teeth."

"Nuh-uh," I argued. "I asked the guy if it would be a pain to cancel and he said no."

"Yeah, he said that..."

I was quiet.

Brian said, "Honey, it's up to you. If you're going to use that membership, fine. But I'm going to be really upset if you don't go. And I really wish you would have called me. You could have paid less." This was coming from a guy who went to his (free, work-paid) gym every day without fail. I wasn't sure I would be as... faithful.

I told Brian I would think about it. I hung up the phone. I was already having buyer's remorse.

With taxes and extra fees, I figured my gym membership would be costing me close to forty dollars a month, not thirty. And even if I went five days a week - which I wouldn't, unless I was entering a bikini contest in an alternate universe - it would be $2 per visit. And AFTER each visit, I would have to go home and... walk the dog. Walking is free.

And I was already feeling the crushing guilt of each day I wouldn't be able to go for one reason or another. And each month would mean thirty bucks charged to my credit card, just like that, whether I liked it or not.

Gah! How come this is such an easy decision for other people?! I just kept thinking, You can exercise for free.......

So I canceled, the very next day. I walked in and filled out a cancellation form and when the guy asked me why, I told him I hadn't planned on signing up for a membership. "You didn't mean to do it?" he asked sarcastically. "Oops, I'm signing up," he said in a high-pitched voice, imitating me as I put my signature on the paper.

"Yup," I shrugged. "You guys are good salesmen."

He watched me fill out the rest of the form. I asked, "Will there be any problems getting the credit?"

"No," he answered. "It's within the three-day cancellation period, so you should be fine. You're not the first person who's done this."

I didn't argue that I should have had a month to cancel. I was just glad I was canceling now.

The end of the story is this: I still might join a gym. I don't know. But I won't pay an enrollment fee and I won't get sucked into signing my life away. It's just that when I think about spending thirty bucks a month, I'd rather walk my dog - for free - and spend $30 on shopping.

Maybe I'm just weird. Or stingy. Maybe Brian's gotten his frugal fingers into my brain.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The gym saga continues.

In my last post, I kept you breathless and spellbound as I informed you that I was thinking about joining a gym. And since I throw myself headlong into any new project or idea, there was little else I could think about until I did something about this new plan.

So I signed up for a guest pass at the Gold's Gym down the road. It was a seven day free pass and I thought, "Well, I'll take a class each day and at the end, I'll see if I want to commit!"

That's a good idea, Maegan. A nice, level-headed decision.

So at 9:30 on Monday morning, I walked into a big studio room at Gold's for a CardioSculpt class. There were about fifteen women (NO men) bouncing around the room with me, and at first I wondered if maybe the class was intended to be... fluffy.


I worked my butt off! After forty minutes, I was dying. When is this class going to end??? When the instructor finally gave us the go-ahead to slow down and start stretching, I breathed many sighs of relief. It was a hard class! (In fact, it's Wednesday morning, and I'm STILL very sore.)

After the workout, I was pumped up and feeling healthy. On my way out, the general manager stopped me. "Wait," he said, "do you want me to show you around the gym?"

I shrugged. "Um, sure."

So while he showed me the free weight room and all the fancy equipment, I told him I was mainly interested in the classes. "Great," he said. "When we get back downstairs, I'll go over membership options with you."

"Actually, I was planning to use my week pass before deciding anything," I told him.

"That's fine, but I wanted to tell you about the two-week trial we offer on your first visit."

Not wanting to be rude, I said, "Okay." And I thought, Hmm, two weeks? That's better than one!

So at the end of the tour, we sat down at his desk and he flipped his computer around to show me the membership options. "If you want a month-to-month plan with no commitment," he said, pointing to the images on his screen, "it's a $299 enrollment fee and $49.99 per month after that."

Holy cow, I thought, and I'm sure my face showed it, because he said quickly, "But if you commit to a year, it's only a $199 enrollment fee, and $29.99 per month after that."

Um, that's still a crapload of money. But my sucker-butt was paying attention, and I was falling for the pitch.

"But," he continued, "if you sign up today, on your first visit, it'll only be $99 to enroll and you can have a free two-week trial period to cancel."

I was quiet for a minute, and he added, "Tell you what - I'll give you a month to try it out, instead of two weeks."

You want to know something? On the Gold's Gym website, there's a $0 enrollment fee offer. You want to know something else? I didn't remember that, despite having visited the website to get directions to the stupid gym.

So my dumb butt nodded like a bobblehead doll and signed myself up for a year commitment, a $99 enrollment fee, and $29.99 per month dues. An initial credit card charge of a hundred and twenty-five bucks.

"Oh, just to let you know," the manager added, "every November, there's an additional $29.99 fee for facility maintenance. But it's just once a year. And it all goes to the building and equipment."

I should have realized - There goes my "free" month.

So I walked out the door with an expensive gym membership that I wasn't even sure I wanted when I walked in.

And when I told Brian over the phone as I drove home, he was silent for a minute. Then he said, "Um, honey, I'm kind of upset with you."

TO BE CONTINUED! I've run out of time!


Friday, September 17, 2010

My favorite thing to eat in the world, and also what I'm going to do now that I've eaten so much of it throughout the summer.

I took a bunch of pictures of my sandwich the other day, intending to show you all my very favorite thing to eat. But then the ridiculousness of that idea struck me, because the sandwich is literally this:

Toast a single slice of good bread. Slather with mayonnaise and cover heavily with ground black pepper. Slice a tomato thickly and arrange it on top. Generously sprinkle with salt. Eat zealously. Repeat as often as your loaf of bread will allow.

So that, my friends, is something for which you do NOT need a photo tutorial. No matter how little you know about cooking. But sliced tomato on toast with mayo, salt, and tons of pepper is probably what I would eat for my last meal, IF I had to choose one. Unbeatable garden tomatoes are one thing I will greatly miss about summer.

They are, however, probably the only thing I will miss about North Carolina summers. I'm still waiting for fall, and as the forecast is showing 90-degree days with no chance of rain well unto the end of the month, I'm thinking I'm going to be waiting longer than I'd like.

But you don't want to hear me complain about the weather anymore! "Maegan," you're going to say, "I feel like your blog and I are mere acquaintances! All we discuss around here lately is the weather!" And I'll nod sheepishly, then protest that, well, there's nothing really going on around here, except fall cleaning and hunting season and - oh yeah! I changed Beau's dog food brand again! See?

One new development is that lately, I've felt a stirring in my bones and in my sluggish circulation and an urgent prompting of my bathroom scale to join a gym. I've hated the idea of paying for a gym membership, because I can jolly well work out at home, for goodness' sakes, but lately I've had to acknowledge that I despise working out here. If I do a video workout, I get irritated with the repetitiousness of it and the way the instructor says the exact same words every single time. If I follow the weight lifting plan that I asked Brian to develop for me, I find myself staring at the basement wall while I count reps and listen to myself breathe. Motivation to work out is something I greatly lack.

But what if I could join classes and meet people? What if the knowledge that I was shelling out big bucks forced me to go? What if I could do Pilates on Mondays and Boot Camp on Tuesdays and Kickboxing on Fridays? I'd pay for that.

So I signed up for a seven day pass at a gym a few minutes down the road. I'm hoping it's the turn of a new leaf for me. Now, I just have to get over my nervousness of going. When did I become so apprehensive of new places and new people? Hmmm.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Morning person.

Beau is whining to go out and I am sitting at my computer with writer's block. I keep telling him "one more minute," at which he tilts his head and walks off whining still. We don't have a fenced yard, so I walk him every morning that we don't go jogging before Brian leaves for work. I feel bad for him, as I'm sure he needs to go to the bathroom, but if I don't post now I probably won't have time today.

So, lucky you! You get the benefit of my writer's-block-ramblings because I'm forcing myself to post at 7:00 AM. Lucky, lucky reader.

Mornings are not my time. I'm a night person. I always thought one could train oneself to change, but after four years of getting up early with Brian and going to bed early with Brian, I haven't changed. One night he's away and I stay up until the wee hours of the morning, busy and happy.

I love being up in the morning, drinking a cup of coffee sleepily while black turns to gray outside my window. But there certainly aren't any creative juices or bursts of industriousness that come to me. At night, conversely, I can feel my body humming with energy. I lay in bed thinking of all I didn't accomplish that day. I tell myself, "Tomorrow morning, right after Brian leaves for work, I am going to get my butt in gear and do X, Y, and Z in an hour." I wish I could transfer the energy to the morning hours, but I think it just works itself out in the constant nighttime movement that drives Brian up a wall.

"So stay up later," you say. "Don't go to bed so early." Ahh, I know that could be a solution, but I don't want to. I worry that going to bed later will rob me of the minutes I have to talk to Brian before he falls asleep. I also know I wouldn't be able to join him on 5:30 runs after a while. Granted, he's the one that pushes me out of bed to put my exercise clothes on anyway, but if I wasn't going to bed when he did it wouldn't even be a possibility.

I also worry that going to bed at a different time will somehow distance us.

So I will continue to train myself to be a morning person. Look at me, all motivated, posting so early. Maybe four more years of marriage will give me a better start.

Are you a morning person or a night person? Have you trained yourself to change? Do you go to bed when your spouse does or at a different time? I'm curious. :)

Happy Friday, all!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

One good way to look at it.

Press Release: Raleigh Dog Creates Self-Portrait in Leather Couch

Beau W., a combination pit bull, chow, lab, and boxer, has created a self-portrait of himself in Brian and Maegan W.'s leather furniture. "The couch was a bummer, sure," said Brian W., 29, of Raleigh, "but the fact that he created such an amazingly accurate self-portrait blows my mind! He truly is an artist in his own right."

The lovable Beau found himself in a creative mood while the couple was at church last Sunday, and tore an image of himself into one of the leather cushion. "The couch can be replaced, no problem." said Maegan, 22. "We saved for months to buy the set, but it's just money. I'm just amazed that our dog has expressed himself in such an intelligent way." The couple added that they will now be giving Beau free reign of the house, in hopes of another masterpiece.

Brian and Maegan will be displaying Beau's work at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where an auction of various artwork will be held to benefit the local animal rescue center. The framed piece will be included in the auction lineup.

Press release courtesy of Identity Graphic Design.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday Fragments.

Yesterday, something kind of magical happened.

I was working on my computer at the kitchen bar when I noticed a hummingbird hovering outside the glass doors on my deck. He seemed to be peering in, which I found odd. We've got bright red plants on the deck, and they often attract hummingbirds, but never have I seen one not engrossed in the flowers.

But he stayed outside the glass for a whole minute, hovering in the same area, and the whole time he was looking right at me.

After a while, he tapped on the glass with his long beak, twice. It was loud enough for Bo to notice, and he ran barking to the front door.

But my hummingbird buddy hovered a bit longer, then flew away.

It kind of felt like he was trying to tell me something.


Something funny happened, too, just the night before.

I was dreaming something very sad. Something terrible had happened to me and in my dream, I was sobbing as I ran home to tell Brian. He stood in the kitchen, holding a glass of water in front of the sink. As I told him my awful news, he just stared out the window and didn't say a word.

"Brian," I cried, "why aren't you saying anything? Don't you care?"

Finally, he said, "Honey, could you turn around? You're kind of breathing right in my ear."

I was shocked. I couldn't think of anything to say.

Then he repeated himself, annoyance in his voice. "Honey, could you roll over? You're breathing in my ear."

Suddenly, I began to wake up... and realize that I'd huddled over to Brian's side of the bed and was, in fact, breathing right in his ear. "Sorry," I muttered, and rolled over.

It's just a sad dream, I told myself. And then I laughed to myself, thankful that Brian isn't really so cold as he was in my dream.