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Friday, October 31, 2008

Farmwife Fitness

You may have heard of first-year college students battling “the Freshman Fifteen”. Well, I’m currently dealing with “The Farmwife Fifteen”. I’m not one to fuss over my weight but when my normally loose clothing is tight enough to give me the appearance of a stuffed sausage, I’ve got to stop and take notice. I refuse to admit that my metabolism has taken that much of a turn since I hit 40 last spring. I could blame the extra weight on the fact that I’ve been pretty sedentary, sitting at a desk for 6 to 8 hours a day since my latest contract began in June. I could also say that my first summer season on the farm kept me too busy to exercise. But that doesn’t really make sense, does it? One would think that farm work would be a very good form of exercise. It certainly wears me out, to dig in the garden or pitch hay all afternoon. So how have I managed to pack on a pound a month since I became Mrs. Farmer Fisher last August? I’ll tell you how: this Farmwife has been having a bit too much of the good life!
When I’m stressed, I clean my house for hours on end. When I’m sad, I can’t eat or drink. When I’m happy, however, I loaf about, treat myself to comfort foods, and indulge in copious amounts of good red wine. Happiness is making me fat.
Oh yeah – and did I mention the Farmer is a really good cook? He goes by the “everything tastes better with butter” rule.
In an attempt to regain my pre-Farmwife figure, I joined the local gym. I think I have managed to attend one fitness class and to do two half-hour workouts since I joined a month ago. One day I squeezed in a workout after work and by the time I got home, the Farmer had just finished weeding the entire garden. I felt like a very bad Farmwife indeed. He didn’t complain about doing my chores while I was at the gym – I’m sure he’d like to have a wife who is in good shape. Maybe he is remembering last winter when I didn’t have the strength or endurance to pitch hay for more than a few minutes. And forget manure. That stuff is heavy. Whenever I try to lift a forkful of that, I end up sitting in it. Nice.
It has been said that one very good way to keep your love alive (not that I am worried about this after just one year of marriage!) is to try new things together. So, I put my need for exercise and my love of music together with a great idea for a “date night” and signed us up for ballroom dancing lessons. The Farmer wasn’t too crazy about my telling everyone the secret behind where we go on Thursday nights, but I let the cat out of the proverbial bag last week.
We were on our way home from lessons when we noticed flashing lights at the intersection of O’Neill and Patterson’s Corners Road. I couldn’t believe the police had set up a R.I.D.E. program in our neck of the woods. At 9pm on a Thursday in October. The constable stuck his head in the truck window: “Have you had anything to drink, folks?” and the cheeky spirit of my late father took me over, much to the chagrin of my beloved husband: “We just came from ballroom dancing lessons. Alcohol would make us miss a step.” My daughter let out a groan from the back seat.
The constable, equally cheeky in his own way, backed away from the truck and turned to his mates: “Hey. Come ‘ere. This poor guy just came from ballroom dancing lessons!” Then he stuck his head in the car again: “Just how long have you two been married, anyway?”
I beamed, and told him. To which the officer nodded knowingly, winked at my poor Farmer, gave the truck a pat and backed away, waving us on.
“Well. He thinks he’s pretty funny, doesn’t he?” I mumbled. The Farmer just let out a heavy sigh and said nothing.
Ballroom doesn’t look very difficult, but it is. We have to break for a drink of water halfway through the 90-minute class, as we never stop moving. Instructors Ron and Sharon Cook are very entertaining as they teach basic steps for the foxtrot, jive, waltz and cha-cha. (Don’t take this the wrong way, Ron, but we had quite a giggle last week when you were teaching us “Cuban hips”. Remember that character Martin Short used to play?)
We have been frustrated with the intricacies of some of the steps, but we are slowly gaining confidence, after a month of lessons. We might even set up a dance floor in the basement so we can practice (as if the kids didn’t already think we were weird).
So here is my new Farmwife Fitness plan: skip the butter (the Cook already put enough in the recipe), eat only salads and soups when we go out, do a little bit of physical work around the farm every day, dance as much as possible and get thyself to the gym before the office opens in the morning.
That plan should have me back to my normal shape by springtime.
The Farmer worked very hard on various projects this summer, including building another house. He’s quite pleased with how he has lost weight over the summer. He even had the audacity to report that someone recently called him “skinny”.
My husband hasn’t bothered to weigh himself (that’s just another thing men rarely have to worry about, along with wrinkles and grey hairs…) but suspects he has lost between 30 and 40 pounds.
Well, if he’s lost weight, I’m pretty sure I know where it is.

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