Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cheap Therapy

            Yesterday was one of those days. I had signed the kids up for a sports camp all week so I could work day shifts at my job. I wouldn’t be making much money—but I really prefer working days to nights and the financial trade off seemed worth it to me. We have a great summer program run through the school system here. The kids can choose from six different sports and the cost is very reasonable.
Then my car broke down Wednesday night while Owen and I were shopping for a birthday present for James. I had it towed to my mechanic and called my manager to say I wouldn’t be at work the next day. I felt a little guilty because we’re really short staffed right now, but I didn’t see an alternative.
            My neighbor was kind enough to lend me her car to bring the boys to camp. I was a nervous wreck—my car is a ten-year-old Windstar with 111,000 miles on it. Her car is a Jaguar that has half the miles and is rarely used to transport juice box wielding little boys.
            It took most of the day for the mechanic to figure out what was wrong with the car. It wouldn’t stall out for him so he had to keep taking it out to drive. Finally in the afternoon he called to say it was the cam sensor and it would cost about $400 to fix. That’s the second $400 repair bill in less than two weeks. Also, the part wouldn’t be in until the next day, which meant another day of missed work unless I rented a car.
            I called around and renting a car would cost me slightly more than I would earn if I went to work on Friday. I made another guilt-ridden call to my manager and explained the situation. I was feeling worse and worse. I couldn’t shake that “everything sucks” feeling that had taken over my brain. I had put out around $280 to send the boys to camp so I could work this week and I only ended up working six hours. Plus I had a $400 repair bill on my hands.
            My husband came home from work a little early so he could pick up the kids from camp. He asked me if I wanted to go to the gym after dinner. No, I didn’t want to go to the gym. I wanted to wallow on the couch with some chocolate ice cream and watch old episodes of Dr. Who (my current obsession) on Netflix. But I couldn’t be a slug in the face of Dan’s dedication to fitness, so I grabbed my iPod and laced up my Sauconys after dinner.
            Dan went to kickboxing, which is really intense and held in an un-air-conditioned gym. I’m not quite as insane dedicated as he is so I went to the nice cool fitness center and found a treadmill. I jogged for the first ten minutes or so wishing I had never left the couch. My foot hurt, my knees ached, and even with air conditioning I felt hot. I pushed myself to stay on the treadmill and slowly started to unwind. My body warmed up and stopped aching. The tension came out of my body along with the sweat. I started putting things in perspective.
            So, my car was broken down. It happens. I was missing work. But I had a job to go to in the first place. I was paying for the kids to go to camp. They were having a great time and I had managed to get a few things done around the house. I was going to feel like I owed favors to the coworkers who were covering for me. Big deal—what goes around comes around.
            By the time I had been on the treadmill for 45 minutes I was calmer and happier. I started working out to be thinner and stronger. I stick with it for what it does to my mind and spirit. I don’t make time for exercise as often as I did when my boys were younger. But I’m always happy when I do. Besides, I still managed to watch a little Dr. Who and I didn’t need the ice cream anymore.