It is a lifestyle? Or a life sentence? Having even the smallest of lifestyle blocks can doom the unwary to a life of unruly sheep, petulant pigs, downright despicable chickens, unfortunate episode involving electric fences, and water pumps that break down on the Friday evening of long weekends. Rachel Wise tells it like it is. Mostly
I'm taking part in a health and fitness challenge.
I didn't mean to but I'm a bit of a "joiner" and when it was suggested in the office that we all do it, well, it was hard to resist.
And I have to admit to putting on a bit of winter flubber, okay a lot of winter flubber and I can't really blame it on winter either, as I started putting it on way back in the summer.
Of the year before last.
And while I've tried to shift it, in a half-hearted sort of way, the summer-before-last flubber seemed way more keen to stick around than I was to get rid of it.
I tried to call it "curves" to make it seem less of an affliction, and I used my middle-aged-ness to explain its presence. I told myself it was a good excuse to buy new clothes and that I never likesd my old clothes anyway.
But when I recently went on a three-day equestrian course and someone took pictures, I had to admit to a horrible truth.
Seated on my horse, I did not look the picture of elegance and grace that I thought - in my head - that I did.
No. I looked like a Swiss ball with legs.
I looked like I was wearing one of those very expensive inflatable riding vests that puff up when you fall off. And that I had puffed it up but omitted to fall off.
I don't own one of those vests, so the inflation was all my own. I felt quite deflated ... though I didn't look it.
"Why didn't you tell me I had a larger rump than my horse?" I asked my family.
I guess the fact that I'm easily offended may have something to do with it.
So I decided to do something about it.
First, by sulking. But when that didn't make my trousers any less tight I went into the garage and looked for the treadmill I bought about five years ago and used twice for actual treadmilling. It had been quite handy for draping damp clothes on to dry, though.
But it took up a lot of room so when I got the exercycle that I now use as a coat rack, I relegated the treadmill to the garage.
I probably got more exercise lugging the treadmill out to the garage than I ever got walking on it.
So it's doubled its efficiency now that I've lugged it back in again ...
And used it another twice.
It's currently draped in damp towels but once they are dry I will plug it in and do a few kms ... truly I will.
So when the email about the office health challenge came through I thought "Nah, I have my treadmill and I eat the occasional vegetable, I'm fine."
Then I read the bit about incentives and prizes and, being partial to incentives, I thought "why not?" And before I could have third thoughts I signed up.
The next day an email came through with an exercise challenge.
It was the letters of the alphabet and each letter had an exercise alongside it.
The idea was to do the exercises that corresponded with the letters of your name.
Okay, so beside "R" it said to do a 60-second plank. "A" was 15 pushups, and "C" was 20 crunches ...
By the time I got to "H" with its 30 jumping jacks my abs were sore. No, not from doing the exercises, I hadn't even got off my chair. My abs were sore from laughing.
"I don't think so," I emailed back.
"Just see how many you can do, and how much better you get over the eight weeks," responded the bright spark in charge of the whole idea.
So a colleague and I set out to try and spell our names in exercises.
My plank sagged, my pushups were face-plants and the 20 crunches turned into a little lie-down.
My colleague had bragged that she had a shorter name so she'd fly through it. Then she realised most of the letters in her name involved pushups so she quit before she even started.
I struggled on through wall-sitting and burpees and one more lie-down (that wasn't in the challenge, I just added it).
Afterwards, feeling virtuous and a little faint, I put an alarm onto my phone, declaring "I am going to do these exercises every day at 3.30pm."
"And every day at 11.30am I am going to leave the office and walk up the hill behind the building," I announced, putting another alarm into my phone.
I think that was Monday.
I was busy on Tuesday. Otherwise occupied on Wednesday. On Thursday I had to go on a course and they made me put my phone on silent. That will be why I didn't get any alarms on Friday, because I'd forgotten to put the sound back on.
Besides which, after Monday's efforts I was too sore to do anything else for the rest of the week.
There's another Monday coming up though and I'm ready to make a fresh start!