Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Major Overhauls
A few months ago, my husband was told his cholesterol and weight were too high. I'd have gotten the same advice, if I'd had the checkup. Don and I are do it yourselfers - spreading mulch, mowing, remodeling, or laying a brick sidewalk. For the past few years we've kidded ourselves that effort equals fitness, in spite of nightly disrobings in front of mirrors screaming otherwise. We were overweight, flabby, and unfit, inside and out.

The doctor also suggested Don have his neck checked out. Some things creep up on you; 75% of the range of motion in his neck was gone. He'd ask me if the lane was clear to pass, and I'd answer, "if you go right this second, really fast." We didn't notice what it signified. The physical therapist told Don probably the best scenario was 75% restoration. It would take 3 visits a week, for at least 6 weeks.

We joined a gym close to home. Neither of us enjoys exercise, but if we did it together, with no get out of jail free cards given, we might stick with it. We began work outs in early December. Don started on his new cholesterol reduction medication and we cut down ice cream frequency at home. (Chick-Filet does not count.) His "neck wrenchings" began about a month ago. The appointments take at least 2 hours. We currently have no night life. Three nights a week he's out getting his neck wrung (I love to say that), and the other three we're sweating side by side on the elliptical machines, or lifting weights together. The look on our faces reminds me of childbirthing days gone by. Yes, romance is a'bloom at our house. Sweaty, tired and sore all over will do that to you. We don't have headaches, we're just worn out from trying to get put back together.

Then Don went to his dental checkup. His teeth are about shot. Never had a cavity, but something has to be done about thinning enamel. Back in the early 50's nobody, but nobody had braces. I remember two girls in my jr. high who had braces. The other 99% of us just had crooked teeth. Braces would have prevented the excessive wear he now has. Don's parents grew up in the depression, picking beets for a living, so braces seemed exorbitant. I wish they'd picked a few more beets, personally.

This past weekend, our pastor asked that we clean out our closets; bring unused, outgrown clothing to church next week, to be given to the local shelter. My husband is a Certified Packrat. We still have his letter jacket, erector set, and Mr. Invisble, in case he ever wants to invite the neighborhood boys over. We could clear out a spot in the basement mess; I could make some shake 'n bake and stuffing, just like our mamas used to do. The man doesn't throw much away. That staying power is lovely in a relationship, but in basements and closets it's not so great. The repeated neck wrenchings must have cut off the circulation to his brain a bit. He came home from church, and emptied out half his closet, literally. The entire pool table is covered with everything from undies to suits. I'm beginning to feel like I'm married to a new man. He's even lost 10 lbs since all this began. (Hip hip hoorah, I've lost my 5, and am trying like the dickens not to find 'em again.)

I went to the dental consultation with him yesterday. For the mere cost of a very nice used car, he'll soon get veneers. Otherwise, his teeth won't last as long as he's likely to. The high cost we expected was higher. We'd budgeted for a used, rusty car. We got a used car, nice paint job, heated seats, cool wheels, and low miles. Don's DNA lends itself to taking frugality to another dimension. Beet farmers don't raise extravagant kids. As we ate lunch after the dental consult, I lovingly bluntly told him, "if it was my teeth, you'd say, do it, in a heartbeat. The miser in you won't do it for yourself." He agreed he should go ahead, but his face had that pinched look generally accompanied by physical pain. We left lunch in separate cars, me headed for the bookstore, him headed back to work to make a little more money to cover his recently high maintenance costs.

As I pulled up next to him at a light, I phoned him. Looking over where he sat in the other lane, I told him, "look, I know you hate to spend the money, are worried you won't get your money's worth (the fear of all misers), so here's what I'll do. When you die, how 'bout if I ask them to lay you out smiling, just a bit. Enough to show off your pearly whites (because this treatment will include zooming). That way, anyone who hasn't seen you recently will see the new improved version. Would that make it more palatable to spend a small fortune on your mouth?"

He, using that newly re-acquired range of motion, turned to me and said, "could you pose me, smiling, with my neck over my shoulder, and lying on my side so they can see that my belly doesn't hang out as much as it did a few months ago? How 'bout that?"

I would say we both died laughing, but that would just be tacky.

"I can do that", I told him. We hung up, drove away. How I love this quiet, sweet funny man, his sense of humor. He's well worth the cost of a really nice used car. Heated seats and all.


  posted at 10:22 PM

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