Saturday, March 22, 2008

Eavesdropping Again...

God I feel bad. It’s like I’m reliving these strange moments all over again, yet vicariously. Early this morning (or late last night) around 1am, my neighbors came home from a night out on the town. They’re a young and attractive couple in their early thirties who live right below me. Usually, I don’t hear much from them. If I do hear anything, it’s a brutal fight – to the point of physical abuse. Hardly any words are spoken in that condo except for bickering. The walls are very thin, because when they do talk, you can hear every single word. I guess it goes the other way around too. All we hear are footsteps back and forth periodically, until they go out drinking.

Well it all started last night. His loud Ford F150 (probably with no muffler) pulls up to the complex.

“Get the fuck outuv’ the car!” he yells over to his girlfriend still probably trying to unbuckle her seatbelt. He slams the car door and starts yelling a few more choice words to her. I didn’t hear much from her end. She knows that everyone in the condo can hear everything that goes on outside. Even if someone is talking low outside, we can hear everything. Low building costs I guess…

Then the building trembles as the guy slams the front door. Then, I hear another huge bang. I wasn’t sure what it was. Then it starts. They begin to fight – and I mean high-pitched screaming from her end. I never hear a peep from this little woman, but boy, does she have a set of lungs on her! Now, from the blurbs through the wall as I was eavesdropping like a nosey body, I’ve gathered that she was trying to stop him from driving home after he had more than 5 beers. She “gave a look”, (so he states), in front of his friends that indicated he had too much to drink. It wasn’t even about cheating, lying, flirting or anything…

Then, this simple argument that could have been resolved with an agreement and understanding turned into something more devastating. They start bringing up past traumas that each of them brought into the relationship.

I hear the girl scream, “You act as though you’re completely innocent! You always yell at me – over anything! And the shit you’ve pulled on me throughout out entire relationship!”
“What shit?”

“The abuse!!! The physical and verbal abuse! You abuse me!”
“I know, I know, I admit that, but why da’ fuck do you hafta’ make me look like an idiot in front of my friends?”
“I shoulda’ broken up with you 6 months ago! I don’t know why we’re in this relationship! You hit me right when we walked in!
Do you know how much that hurt? Do you?”
“I pushed you.”
he replies, in a softer tone.
“No. You hit me and I fell againt the wall!”

I’ve heard him throw her around quite a few times after a night out. I was scared. He sounded apologetic at this point about “pushing her”, but I still kept my ears opened. I didn’t want to get involved, but as long as I heard she was ok, then I was fine. I don’t like calling the cops on my neighbors, but last night it was getting really bad where I was lying awake just to make sure she was ok. I was up until 5am, until they fell silent and probably went to sleep.

This morning I woke up around 9am to loud screaming and arguing once again. It’s amazing how a night out on the town can manifest itself into an argument that snowballs into other issues that haven’t been resolved. You think, why can’t they just talk it out, resolve the issue about the drinking and driving, make a pact that when one person drinks, the other will drive and make up? But, it’s not that easy. As I recall myself being in numerous arguments with someone I once loved, and trying to reason with them while their unforgiving hearts still remembered ‘a time when’ would always resurface. There’s no reasoning with somebody when they refuse to forgive you. This goes on both parts. The neighbor (the guy), kept bringing up a time in the past where she flirted with one of his friends. It just wouldn’t stop. He never let it go.

I feel so bad for this couple. You can tell there are a lot of raw emotions going on and you can see how in love they are, but you can also see the hatred starting to develop. How can you love and hate someone at the same time? It’s such a fine line when the love is so strong, and if not handled properly, can turn into hate.

I just heard the door slam and saw the two of them in their workout attire and bottled water in hand ready to go jogging. I hope they can work things out.

I need coffee. All that eavesdropping is exhausting!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thank God for Good Friday!

As a kid growing up, the thought of Good Friday was a dreadful one. I was never taught the actual events that took place. I was raised an Italian Catholic, went through the motions of going through communion and confirmation and all that good stuff, however, there was no passion in any of the teachings that were given to me. It was too complicated for me. It wasn’t “real” and it didn’t have a great impact on my life. I knew that there was a God, and that I needed to be “good”, but as far as knowing the history of God and how God is present in our daily lives was just as real as Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy to me.

I was out of control in my late teens reaching into my early 20’s. I had no direction as far as "religion" went. I sat in a confessional booth filled with guilt every 2 years or so – but only after I did something really, really bad. The priest would forgive me, but more importantly, isn’t God supposed to forgive me? I didn’t get why we had to have a medium there. I might as well have gone to a psychic in a fancy tent.

At the age of 23, I realized there was a God. There is a God! And, there’s history behind this concept of “GOD” too. I started studying the bible and learning more and more about Jesus. I knew the basics of course and that He died for our sins, but I needed to know when where why and how! This Catholic stuff wasn’t working for me, so I decided to develop my own personal relationship with Jesus and get to know Him better on my own.

Amazing things happened in my life, which I’ve written in my book. They were miracles that God has given to me in order to not only make me believe the word is true – but know the word is true. I’m stubborn- I’ll admit that. There are things that I just won’t give up for one person. But think about what God gave up for all of us: His son. He gave up His only Son, because He knew we were all a mess. We were out of control and losing grip on life fast. We couldn’t do it all by ourselves. If sin is going to continue floating around in this world, we’re inevitably going to get plagued with it. It’s impossible to perfectly live by the law.

Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.

That one sentence says it all: {“For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”}

God saved us by giving us His Son. He gave us Jesus. Then, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, so we wouldn’t feel alone when he left us. A lot of people don’t fully understand what the trinity stands for. But it’s all in one package: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They merge together in an awesome salvation for those who believe.

So today isn’t just a day where I curse the sky because I can’t have a burger, however, I thank the God above for sending His only Son, so that my sinful butt can be saved and that my taste for tofu will rise above the rest. But it goes so much deeper than giving up meat on Good Friday. It’s just a symbol of sacrifice that some of us can’t even comprehend. Today is the day when Jesus died a very painful and slow death…for us. Can you imagine the love that went into that? I still can’t imagine how deep His love is for all of us. Who else would do that for us? He loves us more than anyone can possibly love anyone on this earth. It’s a greater love than the human mind is capable of understanding. It’s like fish trying to comprehend algebra. Impossible to fathom.

Today I’m going to stop whining about life and its petty circumstances it brings forth. Instead, I’m going to remain grateful and remember when, where, why and how Jesus gave up His life for us.

Even if lost and neck-deep into sin, Jesus already took the burden off you…if you’re willing to accept it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cause of Death: Unknown

YOU CAN DO IT!...

Remember the Gazelle by Tony Little? Remember how humiliating this looked? (My apologies to my best bud Lisa!)

It’s the most unnerving, unsettling and unpleasant thing to have somebody talk to your personal trainer while you’re working out. Don’t talk to my trainer! I own her for an hour! We’re upstairs where the huge scary wall-to-wall mirrors are, and she is training me on free weights. She’s in charge of counting, as I try to perfect my form. A lady doing crunches on one of those big beach balls started chatting up a conversation with her about the dangers of smoking. Not only did my reps go up to 75 per set because there was a bit of a distraction, but I was compelled to say, “Is this enough?” My triceps swelled into huge knots. My personal trainer is a really nice lady and I know she doesn’t want to be rude, but she also doesn’t want to see me cancel the next day because I can’t move out of bed.

I was always used to the old fashioned way to do sit ups. Either half a crunch on the floor and feet set firmly on the ground or use the sit up bench, which gives you an incline. I never thought the other weird ways would work, such as lifting both legs in the air and using your ab muscles to lift up. I always thought it was some new fad and seriously thought they didn’t work. Boy, was I wrong. I could hardly move today. She had me lifting my legs, scissoring them, and tapping each foot on the floor as I raised the other half of my body twisting myself diagonally as I suffered in pain.

“Let’s use the 10 lb medicine ball now!”

She placed this 10 lb medicine ball on my lower abdominal and made me do it all over again. After I was done with all of my sets, I lied there, staring up at her in agony almost muttering out these two words: help me. I wanted to be strong for her. I wanted to show her that I didn’t waste my life savings on this training program. I’m a trooper. In my mind: oh GAWD what have I done?!! She literally had to pick me up off the floor, this way I could do these weird body leaps across the room like a leprechaun on crack. I can’t tell you how foolish this maneuver looked, but when I started to finally get the hang of it, a ton of people piled in and I was red in the face with embarrassment. What happened to conventional workouts???

After my training program, my instructor ordered me to go on the stair master…for one hour. She really wants to see results more than I do! She asks me, “Do you exercise outside of the gym too? I told her I did in the morning. I thought she would give me some sort of mercy on my physical well being. Nope. One hour up on that stairmaster until I hear some EMT volunteer yell, “CLEAR!”

When I walked out of hell, (the gym), I had to go to the supermarket to go grocery shopping. I looked like a drowned rat, hair up in shambles, sweat pants that looked like I’ve been rolling on some linty floor and my face smeared with cover up lines because I refuse to walk out of my house without makeup. Wouldn’t you know it – I bumped into every single person I know. I bumped into old co-workers, my old housekeepers, a few friends from high school and an old flame that remembered me looking like a decent human being and not a cavewoman.

If you see my obituary in the newspaper, just make note that it’s either from working out or dying from embarrassment.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Humiliation

Downright humiliating. It’s what I felt as I did these freaky squat thrusts on a little mushy dome-like half ball on the floor, while these beautiful people walked past me as I stuck my butt out in “full” display. My trainer is one of those types who don’t believe workout machines will help all that much. She made me do 30 push ups (the half ass beginner ones), weird side leaps with a resistance belt tied around my ankles, looking more like my underwear fell down, 100 sit ups – but these sit ups were different – I had to lie on my back and push my legs into the air. I said, “This’ll never work.”

How wrong I was. I got a Charlie horse in my stomach muscle. Who gets that?

I could have done all of this at my house. But would I? …She even made me use one of those “steps” – the type of step that aerobic classes used from 1982 with leg warmers. I had to carry a 5 lb medicine ball and leap from side to side rotating each foot swinging the ball high in the air. I looked like some giddy gay man from a bad musical. It was just so humiliating.

Here’s the thing, I’m trying to lose weight. The last thing I want to see is a huge ass mirror covering the entire wall from top to bottom and from side to side, unless I’ve already reached my goal weight. I’m not sure what people’s motives are as far as installing mirrors, but have you ever noticed, that in retail stores, the mirrors make you look MUCH thinner? Of course. They want you to think your ass looks really nice in those jeans. When you get home, reality slaps you in the face and you’ve just realized you’ve been followed by a huge monstrosity that seemed to look a lot smaller in the department store’s mirror. Well, think of this: the gym mirror is “shortened” to make you look like a circus sideshow. It’ll make you appear fatter so that you’ll work out harder, leaving you to do only one thing: renew that horribly expensive membership.

It’s all a business.

As a personal trainer, I realize that you’re training the other person in need of help, therefore, you don’t have to do anything but demonstrate the workout, and then have your client/patient or victim (whatever you want to call them) do the hard stuff. I understand that, because they’re monitoring your form and if you’re doing everything correctly. I don’t mind that. What gets me is after the entire hour spent with this personal trainer, then they say, “Get on an elliptical for an hour to cool down.”

To cool down? For the love of God I’ll be screaming “911”!!! So, I did it. I didn’t want to look “weak” or flake out. Amazingly enough, I did the full hour on a very high level. When I got off the elliptical, my legs were so wobbly, that I needed to sit and stretch for another half hour.

Who the hell spends 2 ½ hours at the gym? Today, I’m going to bring my bed with me so I can just sleep there.

This better work.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Losing Weight in My Wallet

What is it with people? I’m starting to wonder how people are behind closed doors more and more every day. I’ve been avidly working out at the gym almost daily these days, and I’ve been noticing more and more how people don’t give a rat’s ass about cleanliness or respecting other people in the gym and wiping down their machines after they use them or even flushing the toilet in the bathroom for the love of God! How hard are these tasks? It’s even a written rule that the gym has: PLEASE CLEAN EQUIPMENT AFTER USE. –Management

Clorox wipes are available at every set of machines. What’s the problem folks?

Don’t talk to me. Not in general, but if you see me on a machine working out, sweating my butt off and my iPod on full blast in my ears, don’t ask me questions or talk about the weather. I’m not a mean and unsociable person, however, it’s evident I don’t want to gasp for air to talk about how spring is almost here. One lady nearly had a full conversation by herself. She thought I heard every word she said, when after ten minutes of her blabber, I said, “Oh, I’m sorry, are you talking to me?” She sneered at me. I didn’t want to snub her by any means, since she was sleeved up and down with tattoos and had quite the number of piercings going on, but I also don’t like to be cornered talking to somebody who’s there only to socialize.

Burn the clipboard! I hired a personal trainer – in fact, the one I mentioned in a previous post. She insists on giving me a clipboard full of things I do, this way, I can get the same workout each time and increase my levels, weights and miles per whatever. It’s a known fact that you look like a complete freakazoid when you’re holding a clipboard while working out. I even laugh at people holding clipboards. Give me a piece of paper or something nondescript. I felt myself getting hot under the collar full of embarrassment when she slipped me the clipboard while spewing out a whole buncha’ things while walking me through the gym like a lost puppy. I’ve been at this gym for 7 years now – give me a break – I know how to work the machines and get around… I just need help with a routine!

Since I’m on a weight loss type of program, which includes disgusting nasty fruity fat burning protein shakes, I have to get weighed in and my fat percentage taken. It’s not a fun event when she pinches the back of your arm until you bleed with a fricken vice grip. She even measures my calves. Who gains weight on their calves??? The question should be: who loses weight on their calves? For the cardio routine, I have to wear some sort of under the boobs belt. Don’t ask. This thing is supposed to take your heart rate, so it is placed right under my boobs, so it can get an accurate rate of my heart. The monitor is on my wrist. I don’t know about other personal trainers, but I’ve experienced this with two of my personal trainers – so here’s a question to all of you buff workout freaks out there: is my heart rate supposed to get up to 190 beats per minute? Does that sound “healthy”? Or does that scream HEART ATTACK!???

You can tell I’m loving this new phase of mine, huh? I start as early as 5am on my own routine of running, and then later during the day I have an appointment with the personal trainer for an hour. I even have homework to do when I get home! I haven’t had time to blog or visit anybody because this new training program is more like a fulltime semester of school!

The good news: I can’t fit into the pants I bought a couple of months ago because they’re too big.

The bad news: I can’t afford new ones because the trainer drained my wallet.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Scared to Death!

What a couple of weeks! I want to apologize for not being around – not as though you’ve all been waiting for me like a sick buncha’ cattle waiting to get slaughtered, but there’s been such weird and distracting things happening lately. First it started off with a real bang. Madelene went off to work the same time as usual, and after she leaves, I start getting ready for my day. After a few hours I’m sitting in my office working and I noticed that Madelene’s car is still in the parking lot. Madelene never, ever comes home for lunch or for any other reason. She’s quite a predictable peapod.

I keep looking outside, staring at her car. I know it’s her car because she has dealer plates on it, being that she’s a car salesperson – aka shark. Now, it’s noontime and I’m thinking maybe the Spanish lady next door is also a car salesperson? With the same car? With the same dealer plates? Naw…

I look even harder. There’s a head in the car…not moving. I see the blue shirt reflecting off the driver’s window. I run to get my binoculars. Staring through the lens, she was in the car and not moving.

“OH shit!!!”

I didn’t know what to do first. Thoughts flickered through my mind about Madelene’s co-worker. He had died in his car of a heart attack. They found him hours later lying on his steering wheel. The dealership that they both had worked for was very stressful. They’re a bunch of hard asses that never give anybody a break. It’s competitive and sometimes quite demeaning. Her manager, who she still butts heads with interrogates everyone and makes his employees feel like crap. Anyway, in my mind, I’m thinking the same thing happened to her: she had a heart attack right in her car before even pulling out of the driveway.

I called mom.

Bad idea.

I’m hyperventilating at this point. “MA! I-I-I-I think M-M-M-Mad’s sick in the car or something!” I’m crying my eyes out screaming as though she has already entered the pearly gates of heaven. I kept thinking: how the hell am I gonna go down there and open that car door to only see the most traumatizing thing of my whole entire life???

I’m racing over into the closet to get my sneakers on. I can’t even tie them. My hands are shaking. My mom’s telling me to calm down and that it’s probably someone else and I’m mistaking it for Madelene.

No.

It was her.

As soon as I couldn’t bear anymore, I see Madelene get out of the car after 10 minutes. I stared. She grabbed her briefcase and slammed her car door as though she was pissed of at the world. I knew she had a fight with that idiot boss of hers and finally just left him hanging. I was so relieved she was walking- that I passed right out.

When Madelene entered the apartment, she found me passed out on the bed. Never mind the loss of her job – she was now focused on her sick girlfriend. When I woke up, I couldn’t stop crying for another 5 hours. The mere thought pained my heart so much. Madelene stared at me and said, “Now I know you really love me.”

My heart never raced so hard in my entire life.

On top of that, during a snowstorm the other night, our pipes busted and our gas tank was about to explode due to a lack of water cooling off the tank, as the gas company warned us when they came to check it out. They turned all of our heat off and got a few plumbers working on it because it may have blown up the entire building. As our heat was off, we made a fire. Instead of going to a hotel for the night, I told Mad we could sleep near the fire under the blankets. Not even 30 minutes after I said that, our heat was back on and everything was safe again. We had neighbors, plumbers, gas company guys and even my landlord in our apartment, because we were the only tenants with wood to burn.

Anyway, things are back to status quo: Mad got her job back (different dealership), I’m relieved she’s still alive, as well as relieved that we’re not in each other’s hair so much and our daily rituals are back on track. Due to the stress and anxiety, I’ve gotten myself into quite the workout routine. I’ve been exercising every single day for about an hour or two and realizing life’s too short to waste it on the small stuff.

Sometimes, God puts circumstances in our lives to make us realize important lessons. What I’ve learned through all this is, no matter what life slaps us with, we work as a team and not against each other. We help, encourage and reassure one another that our love is just as strong as day one – if not stronger. When something tests your relationship to extremes, you can determine the true character of someone by the worst circumstances.

Also, things could be worse!!!