community

I tell my husband all the time that Crossfit is more than “just a gym”. I could go to Planet Fitness and work out on my own (and they even have bagels and pizza parties!) but I go to Crossfit because of the community. That doesn’t really mean anything to anyone who has never experienced it, though.

The first Crossfit gym I went to had no sense of community. I thought my friends were crazy when they talked about how great it was, because, for me, it was just a place where I hung out in a corner by myself and did back squats. It was very lonely there. The second Crossfit gym I tried was very clique-ish and I felt awkward and nervous every time I was there. I could see that there was a community, but I was very obviously not part of it, even after being a member for a few months. The third Crossfit gym I tried (yes, I kept trying, even after striking out a couple times over the course of a couple years) felt like home.

And this one? When I found this one, I felt like I’d struck gold again. My second day, all the coaches already knew my name. When I walk in, people wave and say hello. I get invited to go to other activities outside the gym. Yes, I go to get stronger and faster, but I could get stronger and faster almost anywhere. I mostly love it because it also feels like home.

So last week I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I was glad I’d suspended my membership, though, because I was actually out of work four days this week. My job isn’t ideal. It’s basically a contract position, and if there isn’t anything for me to actively work on, I go home and don’t get paid. It’s only happened a few times this year, but I was anticipating it with the holidays coming up. No one wants to start a new lawsuit over Christmas. So in addition to all the other added expenses coming up, I’ve been out of work. There’s no way I can afford my Crossfit membership right now.

Yesterday, after a long day of resume writing and a pretty intense pity party, I got an email. It was from the owner of my Crossfit. It was very short, but it basically just said that someone (or possibly more than one someone) has “taken care of” my membership for the next two months. They don’t care if I can’t pay, they just want me to be there.

I cried when I read it. I’m almost crying now, recalling and writing about it. I just can’t wrap my head around that. I’m half-embarrassed, because money problems are not something I want to advertise about myself, and … well, completely thankful and just blown away that anyone could care so much.

I told my husband about the email, and I think it was the very first time he got an inkling of what it means to be a part of a Crossfit gym. It’s not just a gym, it’s a community. And I’m so thankful that I’m a part of it.

househunting: part… whatever

We finally heard back about why our offer was rejected on Friday. The owner doesn’t like that we wanted a 60 day closing (not our choice! If we get a USDA loan, that’s pretty much standard these days) and we asked for the washer & dryer plus closing costs. The thing is, we offered list price, but that’s not what the house is worth. It’s worth about $4-5k less than we offered, which is why we offered that much. We didn’t really think he’d leave the washer and dryer (they were brand new and seriously nice) but without closing costs, we would have offered about $4-5k less.

So we’re thinking of going back and offering the same amount with closing costs picked up by the seller, but minus the washer and dryer, along with a note to the realtor that if he wants to make any movement on it, he’s got to explain to his client that negotiation is a back and forth deal and we can’t just keep offering more with no movement on his end. I don’t know if it’ll work.

In case it doesn’t work, we’re actually going to see a townhouse tomorrow afternoon. Pros: It’s got about the same square footage as the rejected offer house, it’s a townhouse so there is no yard to maintain, it has a “loft” area that would be perfect as an office/game room. Cons: It’s a townhouse and it only has two bedrooms, and it might not hold its value as well as a detached home. Also, there’s a playground and a pool in the community which means HOA fees. I don’t think I’ll ever use the pool. It’s probably mostly kid pee, anyway. But if you live there, you have to pay to maintain it. Oh, another pro I forgot – it has a screened in back patio! No mosquitoes, yay!

I’m not really sure how I feel yet… whether I would prefer the detached one, which costs more but has a nice yard, or the townhouse, which I haven’t even seen yet.

I jump the gun too much. Count my chickens and whatever. I should calm down.

burrito aversion

I’ve been having a bad week. I finally got health insurance, but it will be so expensive that we’ll probably have to stop eating in order to afford it. And between that, trying to save money for a house and the news that my school loan payments are increasing… well, I couldn’t justify the cost of my Crossfit gym. So I had the owner put my membership on hold. My last day was Wednesday. It’s only been a few days, but I feel sad and disappointed and a little empty. It’s not just the gym. I mean, it’s not the fitness part, anyway. That was my place to be social and blow off steam and to feel… I don’t know. Empowered, maybe. Like there was one thing in my life that I could control, and it was something that was all mine.

In an ironic turn of events, after I cancelled my membership, I found out that pretty much every single thing I’m getting for Christmas is gym-related. I’m getting a new gym bag and rehband knee sleeves and mobility floss. I’m so angry, I want to burn them. But neoprene probably off-gasses something awful, so I won’t.

I know I can keep working out on my own. That’s kind of the point of Crossfit, right? You don’t need a fancy facility to do it. But the overarching reasons that I went… the more emotional reasons…. well, I can’t recreate that on my own at home. I hope I’ll be able to go back in January. Once we have an offer accepted on a house and we’ve figured out how to deal with our smaller budget, maybe I can figure out a way to add this back in. I have a feeling it won’t happen until after we have a house, though.

After my bad week, I decided to go grocery shopping for lunch things, to avoid eating out or (more likely for me) not eating all week. I went up and down the grocery aisles and realized that I was starving. So I high-tailed it out of there (after getting too many snack foods, even though I specifically tried to avoid this) and was going to go to Chipotle for a burrito. I love burritos. But as soon as I started driving that way, I had a weird twinge of aversion. A sad, desperate feeling. I knew that if I got a burrito, I would probably cry while I ate it. It took me a while to figure out why, but I think I’ve finally nailed why I can’t eat at Chipotle without feeling sad.

You see, it reminds me of law school. There was a Chipotle on the way home from school, and I would go there about once a week. The last time I ate Chipotle in DC was the day I found out I was 2 credits shy of graduating, and I would have to take a class that summer. It worked out for the best, and I got to spend a month in Italy for the same amount I’d have spent staying a month in DC, but at the time I was devastated. And now I can’t eat Chipotle burritos without feeling an echo of that crushing disappointment.

So I got Pad Thai instead. It was delicious.

house hunting: part 3

We found a house we liked and made an offer on Thursday night. They had until Friday at 5pm to accept, reject or counter. I waited and waited, going more and more nuts, minute by minute, all day Friday. Finally, at around 430pm on Friday, the realtor emailed me to let me know… that our offer had been rejected. No reason given, no counter, nothing. Just flat out rejected.

Funny thing? We offered list price. It wasn’t worth list price, but we offered list price if the seller would pick up closing costs (which would bring it to almost exactly what the house is worth). He didn’t even give a reason, which is inexcusably rude, in my opinion. (And don’t bother telling me that the seller doesn’t owe me an explanation, I’m going to go on feeling like he was rude because it makes me feel better.)

I’m a little heartbroken. But maybe it’ll be for the best. We have some very good friends who just contracted on a house. Made an offer the same day as us, but theirs was accepted. We saw pictures tonight. It’s huge and gorgeous. Seriously beautiful. I have to admit that I’m very jealous, and I’m trying very hard not to be.

We probably won’t look again in earnest until after the new year. My school loan payments are changing, because my job changed last year. They’re going up. So we need to see what we can comfortably afford before continuing on with the house purchasing thing. Right now, my payments are set to increase to around $4,300 a month starting in January. Yes, you read that right. I sent in my updated income information, though, and I’m hoping that it goes back down a bit. If not, I may have to leave the country.

So, back to the beginning, only we’re even worse off than before because of the school loan situation. How very depressing.

house hunting: part 2

I didn’t expect to do any more viewings so quickly. I assumed we wouldn’t really look at anything until after the new year, when life got a little quieter and more houses went on the market. I didn’t expect anything to move so quickly.

Today at about 2pm, I took a break from work and checked the new listings. There was one in a little town just south of where we are now. It’s farther from work than I’d like to be, but everything we looked at will be pretty far from work anyway, so I may as well get used to it. It’s in the same neighborhood as the Little Old Lady house that we looked at before, within easy walking distance to a park. The pictures were all nice, it was a good size and it was well within our budget. So I called our realtor and asked if we could see it. He suggested we go ahead and look at it today, so we wouldn’t have to wait over the weekend to make an offer if we wanted to do that. I didn’t think we’d be making any offers, but I agreed, today sounded as good as any other day.

So we met at the house at 6:30pm. I got there first and wandered around the back yard. About 1/3 of an acre. Nice. Fenced in with a wooden shed and some trees. A nice deck. Went around to the front and sat on the porch swing.

When the realtor got there, he let me in and I wandered around the house. Built-in shelves in the living room. Big enough for our huge couch. HUGE master suite, probably enough room for our king sized bed and probably some extra furniture, too. Dressers and a vanity and maybe even a small couch. Seriously huge. Two sinks in the bathroom, perfect. Then the husband showed up and we looked together. Two other bedrooms. One good for an office, the other very small but decent as a guest room. Kitchen with good flow and a space large enough for our dining room table.

Frankly, we loved it. It’s not perfect. It’s still pretty small. There’s a doggy door in the back door that we’ll have to replace. Some of the windows don’t have screens. The master bedroom is far too large and the other two bedrooms are far too small. But we loved it anyway.

So we put in an offer. They have until 5pm tomorrow to accept, reject or counter. I’ll let you know what happens.

house hunting: the beginning

We’ve officially begun the hunt for a home. We met with our realtor yesterday and he drove us around to five different properties. Before seeing them, I considered two of them to be strong possibilities. After seeing them, I think we may end up renting forever because it’s just hopeless. Here are the five, in order (and including the nicknames we gave them):

The Boss House – So named because the house is owned by our realtor’s sister-in-law’s boss. This is a tiny house. Tiny. But I like tiny houses, so I liked it. It was number one on my list… until we saw it. The living room and kitchen make up about 70% of the house, leaving the rest of the house with three teeny tiny bedrooms. I didn’t even realize one of the rooms was the master bedroom, because it was so small. I don’t think our bed would even fit inside it. But I liked the yard, and I like the location, so I was still on the “yes” side. Husband, however, has vetoed. Everything in the house is cheaply made, he says, and one of the hallways has a weird corner/bend, which apparently bothers him. My favorite house, crossed off the list.

The Cat House – So named because in the listing photos, there is a visible litter box, a cat climbing tower, and cat decor all over the place. It’s in the same neighborhood as the Boss House, and it turns out it’s the exact same layout. The big difference? The whole house smells like cat. Definite no.

Old Lady House – Where the last house smelled like cat, this one smelled distinctly like old lady. I knew it as soon as we walked in, but it was confirmed by the old lady furniture, old lady handwriting on the post-it notes all over the house and the weird long shallow old lady steps leading into the garage. This was the husband’s favorite, probably because the master suite was big and the bathroom had two sinks (we occasionally battle for sink/mirror time). I didn’t like it because it’s on a corner lot and there’s no yard at all. Plus, I’m pretty sure none of our living room/dining room furniture would fit in it. But we liked the neighborhood, so we’ll keep looking there.

The Haunted House – This one was just… well, it was just weird. I got weird vibes from the listing photos, but we went to check it out anyway. The house was a good size, but there were just too many things that we’d have to change to make it livable. Number one on the list was the three bathrooms (yes, three!) with novelty toilet lids/seats. I’m not talking like cartoon character seats for the kids or whatever, I’m talking seriously bizarre toilets. Like one was a clear resin material with coins embedded in it. Like, quarters, dimes and nickels, in the toilet seat. One had starfish and other sea life in the resin, and the third had weird mosaic tiles (not a tiled toilet seat, though, it was like the tiles were inside the resin). Just bizarre. And every single room in the house had been hand-painted with a faux finish technique, but it ended up just looking like someone from an insane asylum had been given finger paints. Another weird thing was that there was a shed in the back yard that we peeked into… and it was full of old twin-sized mattresses (not stacked neatly or anything, just thrown in among broken wood and bathroom fixtures) and mannequin heads. Yeah, totally haunted. I can’t live in a haunted house.

and finally

The Green Carpet House – This was my other top pick. It was a cute little yellow house on a culdesac. It was a good size and I’m pretty sure all of our furniture could fit inside it. But the strikes against it were fatal. Strike 1: It was covered, upstairs and downstairs, in plush dark green carpet. Our realtor called it “church green carpet” which was a pretty accurate description. It was hideous, but the price was right so we would have been able to live with it and then replace it, except… Strike 2: It backed directly up to one of the nastiest trailer parks I’ve ever seen. I don’t think trailer parks are inherently bad. I think that people at just about any housing price point can take pride in keeping a clean and well maintained home, but this place was just seriously unpleasant. We could hear loud music and banging from inside the Green Carpet House and it was a Sunday afternoon. Imagine what Friday night sounds like! So we hightailed it out of there.

Back to the beginning, then.

At least we have a few neighborhoods that we’re interested in. This whole house hunting thing might take longer than I expected, though.

the next big thing

I briefly mentioned that lots of things were happening and that they were causing me anxiety. The bad one was that my husband decided he didn’t want children, ever. Well, there’s also a good thing in the works.

We’re buying a house.

I mean, knock on wood and all that, we haven’t found one to buy yet but we’ve started the process. We met with a lender on Tuesday and we met with a realtor on Sunday. We’re connected to the realtor’s MLS listing site, so we can search for homes as soon as they hit the MLS (as compared to the aggregate sites like Trulia or Zillow, which may not get up-to-the-minute info) and I’ve started a favorites list. I think we’re tentatively meeting next Sunday to do a first round of looking, though I don’t honestly think any of the ones I’ve favorited are “the one” and I have a feeling we won’t start looking in earnest until after the new year.

What are we looking for in a house?

Well, I guess that could evolve over time and I guess I’ll talk about it here. After all, this started out as a domestic-type blog. I just haven’t been very domestic at all lately. (Though I did cook tonight – I browned ground beef and mixed it with a packet of shepherd’s pie mix from the “British” section of the grocery store and some peas and carrots, then put it in a casserole dish and topped it with instant mashed potatoes. Still counts as “homemade”.)

Right now our main criteria are price, location and number of bedrooms. We’re pretty adamant about staying under budget. We haven’t been preapproved yet, but we’ll likely be approved for a good deal more than we can comfortably afford. So we told our realtor that we’re very strict about price point. The other thing is that we’re going to get a USDA loan, so we’re looking in more rural areas. One good side to this is that we can probably afford more house than we would otherwise, and we’ll likely have a yard. The downside is that my commute to work will probably increase by a around 10-15 minutes one-way. And we want 3 bedrooms, which is just sort of personal preference – a master bedroom, a computer/game room/office and a guest room.

So, that is the other big thing that’s happening. It’s causing a good amount of anxiety, but it’s more good than not. Still stressful, though.

On the Crossfit front, I PR’d a few times in the past couple weeks. Exciting things. My most exciting was deadlifts on Friday – I got 225lbs! Holy crap! After deadlifts, we had a short burner of a wod, involving wall balls. I was worried for my knee, but I felt fine while I was doing them, no acute pain at all. It wasn’t until the weekend that I started feeling it… soreness, stiffness. I’m starting to wonder if it’ll ever go away. This week is a weird week, what with Thanksgiving. So instead of starting our next strength cycle, we’re waiting til next week to start. Which means today is a 20 minute AMRAP. Of course. And it involves thrusters. Of. Course. I may just do something else entirely.

missing kitty arrested development

 

You ever put on a sports bra and start doing your thing, and then look down at some point and realize your nipples are not pointing in the same direction?

That’s my biggest fear at the gym.

just life in general

I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stuff lately. Some very good, some not so good, but it all amounts to the same thing for me – anxiety. I get anxious at the drop of a hat, it seems. And it’s not always about bad stuff. It can be caused by big things, little things, bad things, good things, new things, things that might happen, things that might not happen. I’m like a connoisseur of anxiety.

One of the big things that has been going on recently is that my husband has decided he never wants kids. This is a bad thing, and something that I’m not dealing with very well. You see, I used to think that my heaven-ordained purpose for being on earth was to be a good mother. I’m not so sure about heaven anymore, but I’m still pretty sure that the best thing I could ever do with my life would be to raise children to be happy, to teach them how to be happy and how to make the people around them happy. I think it’s the best thing I would ever accomplish, if I had the chance to.

My husband seems to go in cycles, so I don’t know if this will pass or not, but he seems to swing to the “never” side with a lot more assurance lately. It used to be a definite “yes”. We’d even named our potential future children before we got married. You know, all the sickeningly sweet things people do when they’re in a love haze (before real life happens and school loan payments start coming due). Then it switched to “maybe, maybe not”. Now it’s “never”. I’m not certain about what has caused the change, though I could take a few guesses. If I ask him, he doesn’t know why. He just has feelings sometimes and has no idea where they came from. This is a completely alien concept to me, since I overanalyze so much that I generally always know what I’m feeling and why.  If I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably because we rent instead of own a house, I have no job security and our expenses are high (see aforementioned school loans), and our lifestyle in general isn’t child-friendly. I don’t usually get home until 8:30-9pm and neither of us enjoys early mornings.

I feel like all of those reasons are easily overcome, but my husband is so practical that he can’t see past them.

Anyway, he decided on Sunday night that he never wants children. So I spent Monday half in tears all day at work. I finally relaxed when I went to the gym, because I figured I could spend an hour not thinking about what a shambles my marriage was (I get a little overexcited about things sometimes, and I genuinely felt that way at the time).

Until.

A woman showed up with her adorable toddler. And then a very pregnant lady came in for a workout.

I just wasn’t prepared to see babies and pregnant people. I thought I was in a place where I wouldn’t have to think about it for a while. I hadn’t steeled myself for it. I was fine, just not making eye contact, pretending that my heart’s desire wasn’t just a couple racks over. And then I dropped an overhead squat, and my coach came by and said “Just pick it back up. You can do it.” and tears started streaming down my face, and I covered my mouth with my hands and ran sobbing to the bathroom.

I had an ugly cry. Like, a Claire Danes ugly cry.

Someone came in a few minutes later and we talked. I realized how absurd it sounded when I tried to explain. “No, we haven’t been trying.” “No, we haven’t had any ‘losses’.” “No, I don’t know why I’m such a mess.” I think I was just having an emotional day and got caught very off guard. I know I’ll see pregnant people all over the place, but I just hadn’t been prepared that day. And dropping overhead squats pisses me off to no end. I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.

I went out about 15 minutes later. Just in time for the metcon. My coach came over and very shamefacedly apologized to me for what he said. I couldn’t help but laugh. I told him it was completely unrelated, and I’m sorry I cried. After the workout, he came over and high fived me and asked if I felt better. I think he’s probably still a little leery of me.

I’ve been better the past couple days. Still upset. Still anxiety-ridden. Still not dealing terribly well, but better anyway. I probably won’t lose it the next time I see a baby or a pregnant lady. I mean, I might. But I probably won’t. And who knows? Maybe after we buy a house, I get health insurance and a better job, and I prove that I can wake up before 8am, my husband will change his mind again. And if not? Well, I’d rather be barren and still have my husband than have a hundred children without him (I mean, who wants a hundred kids anyway? Not this lady.)

I just remind myself that I could have nothing, and still have my husband, and have everything I really need. He is pretty great. Even if he’s a cold-hearted child-hater.

still pain

I’m sorry friends.

Daylight savings time has kept me sleepy for weeks. It doesn’t help that it’s been overcast most days and I feel like I never quite wake up all the way.

I’ve been doing things – nothing important, but things anyway – but I just haven’t got the motivation to write about them. Nothing interesting, at least.

Today I met with an orthopedic physical therapist. He came by our gym to do assessments to help our head coach figure out where we needed work, mobility-wise. I think that’s why he came, anyway. All I wanted from him was to check out my knee. Since I don’t have health insurance, I need to get things done as cheaply as possible, and today’s session was free. It turns out he wasn’t there to really help individually, though, and I kind of feel like I wasted my time. We went through a short battery of tests (hold this bar here and squat as deeply as you can, put your feet here and do a lunge while keeping your back upright, etc.) and then he graded us. I did very well on almost everything, but I still failed the overall test (I got a 13 out of 21… 14 is the lowest “passing” score).

Why did I fail?

Because, more than a month after the initial injury, my fucking knee still hurts. Pain in any area is an automatic zero. Anyway, whatever. I failed. Then I asked what I could do about my knee, and… he did not help at all. I asked “Ice? Compression? Stretching?” and he just said “Well, you might just want to go light for a while.”

WTF

That’s what I’ve been doing for a month and still pain. Still pain.

At least he did give me a diagnosis about what the likely problem is. I have a meniscus “tweak”. Yes, he used the word tweak. He did express surprise that it had been a month since I hurt myself, with minimal improvement since then, but didn’t offer any suggestions. He also thought it was great that my mobility was excellent everywhere else (ankles and hips, especially) since knee pain often translates into hip or ankle problems. So I’m lucky in that aspect at least. Now I guess I get to search “meniscus knee pain” and hope Dr. Google has some recommendations.

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