I’m Still Here – Kinda, Sorta

Well, hello there, blog readers. I did not fall off the face of the internet entirely. I’ve started typing a few new posts, thought about even more in my head and have been reading along with some of you even though I’m not commenting like normal.

Last month the kids and I moved into a new townhouse about 25 miles away from the house I shared with Zachary. They still split their time 50/50 between the two of us, and I’m driving them to and from school in the “old” town each day they are with me.

The new place is quite a bit smaller than the house the kids still share with Zachary. No basement, either. As I think about the boxes still left at Zachary’s (how weird to call it his house instead of our house) that I need to bring here I freak out a bit wondering where those holiday decorations and old family memorabilia will go. I look forward to summer but question how the kids will fare without a huge yard to run in when they are with me.

The thing about a divorce is that nothing else in life slows down so that you can deal with it. It just runs right alongside you, laughing the whole time, “You thought you were busy before? Let’s throw some legal hassles at ya now and see how ya do!” I may need to pack and move and unpack and research new insurance policies and help my lawyer draft responses and figure out how to get the kids enrolled in a new school district and and and and and… but my kids still need their mother, my business still needs to run, I have the part time job I still work. I’m also interviewing for a new part time job at another restaurant since I don’t get enough hours at the first one.

Here are a few random facts I’ve learned this past month:

1. I have a ton of books. Like, a billion. Or maybe just hundreds. But it’s a lot and about half of them were in boxes in my basement I hadn’t touched in more than six years. College textbooks on literary theory, short story anthologies, poetry books written by my professors. And I can’t bear to part with any of them. Except The Help, Under the Dome and the Sookie Stackhouse series, among a few others. Those are definitely going.

2. I love 30 Rock. How have I lived my life without seeing this show? I’ve been watching it while I exercise or when I work at home and it’s awesome. In fact, after I hit publish on this I think I’ll help myself to a glass of wine and watch another episode. Long live Netflix!

3. I am still not good at dancing or Zumba. Still putting in the effort, though! You’d think after all this time tagging along with friends to the gym or to go out salsa dancing I’d have the moves down, but I may have to accept that I have no grace or rhythm. At all.

4. Budgeting when you don’t know what your expenses will be is hard. I don’t know how much to budget for gas because my driving patterns have totally changed. I don’t know how much to budget for groceries because I’ve never had my kids just 50% of the time before. I don’t know how much my utilities will be each month. I’m going to make sure I don’t gain a single pound because I don’t want to have to buy any new clothes unless necessary. I went thrifting and bought a bag full of (necessary) clothes for me and the kids for less than, I admit, I have spent on just one new shirt at the mall.  It’s going to take a few months in this new place with the new job to figure out my financial groove.

5. This winter is endless and that makes even die-hard winter fans grouchy. I do not love snow or cold, so you can imagine how absolutely blah this dreary weather makes me feel. Seriously, we just had record snowfall last Friday that canceled my kids’ field trips. It’s madness, and it needs to stop because I’m in need of some sunshine and the option to wear footwear that does not require socks.

6. Cooking for one is kind of a waste of time. When I don’t have the kids I usually eat oatmeal, eggs or a sandwich for dinner. Actually, I eat one of those for almost every meal when I’m alone. Anything that takes more than five minutes to prepare seems like overkill.

7. I have an odd compulsion to sign up for 5Ks. I think I’m up to four or five for this year. Never mind that I’ve never participated in an actual 5K before. As far as mid-life crises go, jogging slowly with throngs of others seems pretty tame.

So, there you have it.

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What I Learned in Zumba Class

There’s an exercise class you can take now called Zumba – maybe you’ve heard of it? Okay, I’m being slightly sarcastic because I see references to Zumba all the time and I think it may be true for you, as well. You can read on the Zumba website about some of the press this workout has received.

I have two friends, in particular, who rave about their Zumba classes. They go twice a week or more, without fail. They’ve bonded with their other classmates. They feel energized.

Since I’m recommitted to fitness lately I thought I’d give it a try. Never mind that my previous dancing experience is limited to fraternity parties, wedding receptions and crowded clubs, and all of that occurred when I was 10 years younger. Except the time a few weeks ago, but that’s a story for another post.

My local gym has a small fitness center but free childcare, which more than makes up for the tiny size. They started offering Zumba classes and I happened to be at the gym one night when class was held. Lucky me, one spot opened up and I got to try.

It wasn’t pretty. Eighteen women in a hot room with a wall of mirrors. No instruction from the instructor except hand movements every few moments or so to indicate, I assume, which direction we’d eventually be moving.

Our instructor is young, tall, thin and confident, and I’m thinking her hips may also not be entirely connected to the rest of her body because I couldn’t understand how she got them to move the way she did.

I fumbled along, grateful for the crowd and the other newbies in the class who were (almost) as bad as me.

“I’ve never done this before,” I confessed during a brief break to a woman who surely didn’t need me to tell her that.

“This is only my third time,” she replied. I had a co-fumbler!

I left the class feeling slightly foolish, but strangely determined to conquer this class. I went again last Tuesday.

On Tuesday there were only five participants, plus the instructor from my first try. This time, three of us were new and the other two women had only been to class a handful of times. I am quite sure I saw our instructor trying not to laugh as we tried to follow her graceful, hip-shaking movements, and failed. There was no crowd to disguise my lack of coordination.

My third attempt is tonight. Hoping each class renders me slightly less awkward. If random, non-dancer celebrities can work it on Dancing with the Stars, surely I can learn to not look like an idiot in Zumba? That’s all I want – to not look like a rhythm-less moron. I’m not aiming too high.

Here are some things I learned in Zumba in my whole two classes. Not about Zumba, but important, self-realization facts.

1. It’s possible my hips aren’t physically able to move like the instructor’s. I still have not figured out how she shakes her hips while simultaneously turning in a circle and moving her arms to the beat. I can barely shake my hips as it is, much less move my body in other ways AT THE SAME TIME.

2. I still need to lose weight. Tighten up, get stronger. I may have lost 45 pounds, but when faced with your own image in a mirror it’s clear to see where work still needs to be done. It doesn’t help to be standing next to the tall, thin, tan, flexible instructor, either.

3. I am pale. Ghastly pale. How do I know this? Because I wore a black or gray shirts to the gym last week and no makeup and had to stare at myself in the wall of mirrors for three hours last week in that fitness room. How is it possible I barely even flush during a workout? I need some sun. And I may have to consider applying at least some blush before I head to the gym. I don’t care what other people think, I just don’t want to have to look at my own semi-transparent skin again.

4. Coming off that last lesson, I realized I don’t care what other people think. Yes, I might want to cackle at how ridiculous I look trying to duplicate the Zumba moves, but I don’t really care if other people think I look stupid. They’re probably focused on their own images in the mirror, anyway, not wondering if the woman next to them was ever allowed outside or not.

With my competitive nature, I’m not going to give up on Zumba yet, despite the evidence that I have no natural ability whatsoever to move my body in a fluid way. I’ll report back to let you know whether I improve (my Zumba skills or my tan, that is).

And no, you do NOT get a photo with this post.

Have you tried Zumba? What do you think? Love it, leave it, or need to try it again to decide?

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