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When Bad Workouts (And Bad Days) Go Good: The lady at the dismembered baby store gave me the keys to the police precinct. True s

Posted Feb 19 2013 12:49am


 You want to know how this happened. Yes you do. Short version: the lady at the dismembered baby store gave me the keys to the local police precinct. No this isn’t a mad lib. It’s so so much better: It’s my life!

Confession: I’ve been cheating on my fancy, cutting-edge (ish) workouts with an old school burn. I’ve been doing step class. That’s right, like this:


 Minus the thong leotard. Believe me, I have worked out in one (don’t ask) and they are misery.

And loving every sweaty second of it! The funny thing is that it all started out so badly.

Once upon a time there was a Cardio Queen who ruled over all the land with love and Lycra. She hamstring-curled, she step-touched, she ellipticized and bounced on Bosu balls and ran in her fat-burning zone but what she loved best was Ye Olde Steppe Class. She loved it so much she did it three times a week, sometimes more. All the fancy choreography! All the fun variety! All the military precision and difficulty of a drill down!! But after years of walking up and down numberless flights of Stairs to Nowhere the Queen began to get mortally bored. Plus as the Queen started hearing rumors about cardio maybe not being all it’s reported to be and the Knights of Weight Lifting came to woo her, she decided to move on to other things.

Which is how it came to be that it’s been five years since my shadow had darkened a corrugated plastic board balanced on iffy risers. It wasn’t that I hated step or thought I was too good for it – it really was just that I did it so much I had total around-the-world burnout. But when I ended up at the gym the other day with no Gym Buddies and no gumption to push myself through a workout (some days it’s just nice to be told what to do, you know?), I discovered the only available class was step. “Try it,” my friend Cherie, an avid stepper, said. “Ehhh, it’s a case of chronic cardio and I do not need to catch that illness again,” I whined. ”Trust me, they’ve changed it since you last tried it. It’s more of a HIIT type class. You’ll like it!” She convinced me by setting up my step for me.

You guys, that class kicked my toned tushie hard. I haven’t sweated that much in a long time. It was basically an hour of weighted plyometrics interspersed with burpees, push-ups and some weight lifting. Oh, and a lot of up-and-down stepping. I was sucking serious wind. Plus the variety was fun. And you know how much I like my butt handed to me. I’ve been going back every week since!

I love it when something I think is going to be awful turns into something amazing. It happens to me with some regularity in fitness (I had a guy challenge me to do an entire workout of nothing but chest presses, back squats, military presses and deadlifts – haven’t been that worked over in a year!) but I love it when life in general throws me some serendipity. Take tonight, for instance.

My husband and I packed up the kids (and this being winter in Minnesota I do mean “packed” – coats, hats, mittens, boots, chapstick) and headed to the Twin Cities to find a little electronics store my husband had heard about. We were in search of little LED lights with which to trick out the boys’ Pinewood Derby cars (because in our family it’s all about how rad your car looks, who cares about speed?). But instead of twinkly lights and random electronics we found this:


A legless, armless, but otherwise anatomically correct baby doll strapped to a pole! And the best part: It crooned, “Come on, give a baby a huuuuuuug!” in a gravelly baritone every time we walked by it. I was creeped out. Jelly Bean was mighty confused. My boys were delighted.


But that wasn’t the only bizarre baby as we quickly discovered Michael Bolton baby belting Black Flag. Tin foil diapers are the new tin foil hats? At this point I realized we’d stepped out of suburbia into a warped wonderland. This was going to be epic.


I actually kind of like my Barbies life-sized, bronzed and with an oil funnel for a head. Clearly we caught her in the middle of a game of Capture The Flag. Or catching butterflies.


Oooh look! Another baby! This one about to urinate on a giant wall-climbing spider! Wait, what were we here for?


Oh, right! Sparkly lights! Hey honey, I found some! Although they might be wrapped around a gigantic hot dog apparently made out of babies and yelling. “I’m gonna destroy your way of life!”


I think I nailed the pose. I like my outfit better but I daresay her I covet her boob harness – this high impact bras isn’t for wusses! Note: the bowling pin strapped to her ankle like a grenade in a holster.


The sign says… aw heck, does it even matter what the sign says when you have Armageddon happening right here in the craft corner?


I so totally DID open the box. That is completely worth 95 cents.


This may be the first public place where Jelly Bean’s “eclectic” style of dressing herself actually makes her fit in! Everything she’s wearing she came in with except for the butterfly net.


“RESISTANCE TRAINING FOR PYTHON PULLING!” (Feel the poison burn!) How have I never tried this workout?!?


To whoever had the brilliant idea of making nose-shaped pencil sharpeners: YES. I love how astute the employees here are.


A box of rubber chickens with a plastic pig is probably the most normal thing in the whole store. I’ll let you ponder that.


Larry, Curly and Moe for UN ambassadors!


I think this pretty much sums up the zeitgeist of the whole store. BAM.


This feels so true to me I didn’t even bother to Google it. I’m a believer.


This might be the best sentence ever written. I’m crying that I didn’t think of it.


The evening took an interesting turn when Jelly Bean had to use the potty rightthisverysecond and I was first surprised and then amused to be handed the keys to the cop shop next door to use their bathroom after hours. Let me repeat that: The lady at the DISMEMBERED BABY STORE gave me the KEYS to the local POLICE PRECINCT. It was the real deal, I can assure you – handcuffs, hanging police jackets and all – which led to some interesting conversation with Jelly Bean.


After we left the Ax-Man store (yes that’s its name, seriously), the kids were starving so we headed to the store right next door which cheerfully advertised Soup! Sandwiches!. Of course, being in Wonderland still, we discovered it contained neither soup nor sandwiches but the Russian specialty deli did have cold pickled liver, beet saurkraut and boiled pigs’ feet. They also had the biggest rack ever of Russian candies in bins under a very CAPSY sign that while I couldn’t read it, I’m pretty sure said “NO TOUCHING NO TASTING NO PUTIN”. Don’t quote me on that.

IMAG1474 We were game to try some odd delicacies but when my husband tried to order something, we discovered the proprietress spoke not a speck of English beyond “Hello!” and the only thing I remembered from my high school Russian was “I like to look for mushrooms in the forest!” And thus we weren’t able to communicate what we wanted from the deli. So instead the kids settled on these for dinner: Cookies Dream. And you know? I fully believe that cookies do dream. Especially after tonight.

Have you had an experience recently that started out awful but turned out wonderful? Have you revisited any of your old fitness faves lately? Tell me: which one of the above items do you secretly wish you owned now?

P.S. We found some LED lights for the cars and some things way better than lights for the house. And a single trampoline spring. You never know when you’ll need one of those.

PPS. The cookies dream were not very dreamy tasting. They need to dream bigger is all I’m saying.


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