Friday, September 4, 2009

The Creaky Joint Gets the Grease

by Susan McBride

I've been helping my parents move this past week, and it hasn't been easy. I feel bad for my mother who loves her old house (built in 1921 with green tile roof, original stained glass, and character coming out the wazoo). It's been hardest on her as she told us once, "I want to die in this place." But my dad's bum knees and back made it tough for him to go up and down stairs (and that house had plenty of them). So they put Casa McBride up for sale a year ago and looked at ranch houses, finding one they both really liked. Only their house didn't sell. It was on the market for months and months, and no bites except for a man who looked twice with his fiance, nearly made an offer, and then decided he didn't really like his fiance anymore. This year, they hired a different realtor, started at a bargain basement price (something Mom was not willing to do a year ago), and they sold within a month. Thankfully, they found their new house just in time. They closed on it last Wednesday. The buyers closed on their old house yesterday.

For the past few weeks, it's been Crazy City with my mom trying to clear out stuff that she couldn't take to a house 1,000 square feet smaller than Big Old House. She had my sister come in town from NYC to go through all the crap she'd stored in their basement (and closets and third floor). Molly hardly got rid of it all, but did fill several Goodwill bins. Then my brother (who is married with two kids and has a plenty-big house of his own) finally took everything belonging to him that they'd been keeping for years and years, too. Even still, there was too much to move. So last weekend, they had an estate sale of lovely antiques (and, yes, some junk) that Mom had collected for 30 to 40 years. It went fabulously with about 75% selling on the first day and another 15% selling on Sunday for half-price. (Um, anyone want a 17" x 21" rug, a chrome and glass coffee table circa 1972, or a very old French baker's rack?)

My aunt, uncle, and I helped them load a U-Haul before the real movers came. Mom didn't want movers doing any packing of boxes. We moved about five or six times when I was growing up (Dad worked for IBM = I've Been Moved), so Mom's an expert packer. Well, she packs by kind of throwing anything within reach into one box and then moving onto the next. Precision-packing it ain't, but it gets the job done. We filled the rental truck with box after box after box, finally shoving in anything else that wasn't bolted down that we could lift. We unloaded it all at their new house the next day then went back again for another load. Oy!

I'll be 45 in October, and I usually feel a decade younger (have to keep up with my husband who's, er, 35). But after all that bending, lifting, and carrying my right knee and hip felt about 100. I used to pride myself on being so athletic and flexible. I was a gymnast, a cheerleader, a Varsity track star (okay, a really slow star, like one who trips over the finish line after finishing last in the 400 meters). What had happened to me?

I can't even blame it on the breast cancer. That was 2-1/2 years ago, and I've got nearly full range of motion in my left arm/shoulder and darned good strength again. I hired a personal trainer once I was cleared by my surgeon, and Nicole whipped me into great shape before my wedding in February of 2008. I kept to that routine even after I couldn't afford Nicole anymore (or at least, justify spending $60 an hour on Nicole several times a week), and I felt as good as I've ever felt. Until my deadline crunch this year with two books due within five months of each other nearly killed me. My Epstein-Barr flared up again, which is like having mono revisit. Oh, joy! I felt drained, exhausted, tearful. The only way I could write 24/7 and get the books done was to drop everything else I could possibly drop. Yep, I stopped exercising.

Now I've got everything turned in, and I've started testing the exercise waters again. I went to Nicole's Pilates class several times to check it out, and I'm hooked. It's like one of those things where you feel like you're doing something but you're not sure how much because you aren't dripping profusely with sweat...and then the next day you can hardly move. I wish I'd had about a month or two of those classes before The Great Parental Move. I feel like a wimp.

I read somewhere that it takes 10 days to lose the benefits of regular exercise and at least 10 weeks to regain it. That hardly seems fair. I just wish someone could invent WD-40 for humans. "One squirt and you're silent as a well-oiled door hinge!" It'd make billions.

9 comments:

  1. I can empathize with the parents' move. About 10 years after I got married and move out-of-state,my parents finally decided to follow me. (Okay, truth is they decided to follow the grandkids.) They'd been in the same house since before I was born. (We won't say how many years that is!) It makes for some sad, sentimental moments to make a move like that.

    If you find the human WD-40, let me know! Hope you bounce back quickly.

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  2. Oh, Kris, I can only imagine! My parents had only lived in this Big Old House for 13 years. I can't imagine if they'd lived there forever. But that's so cool your folks followed you (um, their grandkids)! I think kids benefit so much when they spend time with grandparents. As for that human WD-40, I'm on the lookout. So long as it isn't made in China, I'll give it a squirt. ;-)

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  3. I could go for a whole new body. I think I've worn this one out. :)

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  4. I can sympathize with you, Sue. My sister and I closed down our parents' home back in '93. It was an emotionally draining experience besides being back-breaking work.

    As for sore joints, I know what you mean. Had some left groin pain which finally drove me to a doctor this past Spring. Xrays showed I have arthritis in my left hip.

    Arthritis?? Not me, I told the doctor. I'm too young for that!

    He just smiled and waved my medical info sheet in my face. I saw my birth date there and realized that no, I wasn't too old for that.

    We're all 20 years old in our heads. Unfortunately, our bones are way older. :)

    Good luck with your exercise!

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  5. Tori, sometimes I feel like that, too! One of these days, they'll probably have a drive-thru "Parts R Us" store, where you can order, "One new right hip, please!" And then go home and install it. I wish doctors had those gadgets they have on Star Trek where they just buzz it over you and say, "All organs are functioning. Blood looks good. Your cholesterol's a wee bit high so take it easy on the butter. Otherwise, you're looking good!"

    Mary, I've seen you in action. You ARE young. I think your doctor had the wrong patient info sheet. ;-)

    BTW, the Pilates class this morning went great! I feel like it's going to take me awhile to learn the breathing stuff, but I'm getting better at focusing on controlled motion and core tightening (translation: I look less like a spaz than I did my first two classes).

    Cheers,
    Susan
    http://SusanMcBride.com

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  6. I feel sorry for my kids when that time comes for us--though I suspect it will only happen when one of us dies. My hubby is a pack rat of the worst kind. He can't bear to part with anything. Consequently he has a barn full of junk, an office full of old magazines and books and newspaper clippings, and I think every piece of clothing he ever had that doesn't have holes in it.

    I had to quit stressing over it because nagging accomplished nothing.

    Marilyn
    http://fictionforyou.com

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  7. Marilyn, you are a smart woman (like we all didn't know that already!). Ed's got the finished part of the basement as his own, and it's full of his many books, computers, and stuff. The rule when we bought this house was that, as long as he keeps the rest of the house neat, I can't touch The Pit (well, I can dust, but I can't throw anything away or put anything away). Unless I have to call the Oprah show to get them to bring Peter, the Clutter Guy, to rescue The Pit, I'm okay with it. Pick your battles, eh? And I guess future generations can worry about the clutter later!

    Cheers,
    Susan

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  8. I've had that sore-the-next-day-but-no-sweat experience in yoga many times. Yeah, it's good for you! It's just hard to believe it at the time because it feels so slow and non-calorie-burning. It's great that you're getting back into your old fitness routines. Always seems to me that any stress I'm having is compounded when I don't exercise, and lessened when I do. Your pre-deadline fitness will come back soon. I'm proud of you!

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  9. Aw, thanks, Rachel! :-) It does feel good to be getting back in the groove again. And with the worst of my parents' move done, I can breathe a little easier (as can they!). Hope everyone has enjoyed their long weekend!

    Cheers,
    Susan

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