I Heart Jim Beam. Gym Beam, Not As Much.

Hello hello Blogstalkers.

Jumping right in today.  No time for long rambling introductions.  Ryan is currently out to dinner with friends and I thought I had all this free time to write an entry but just now he's texted me that the restaurant he's chosen is cafeteria style and thus he'll be home before I know it.  So there goes all the plans I had to not spend time with Ryan tonight.

I shouldn't be surprised I suppose, the cafeteria is where he's always brought his dates.  I'm not complaining though, there's something extremely romantic about a boy you like swiping his meal card for your dinner in his college cafeteria and whispering, "Put back one of those rolls, I'm not made of Wildcat Willie Bucks." Don't you think?

Plus that roll thing only happened the first time.  Ryan stopped telling me what I could and could not have at the cafeteria when OJ joined us for dinner that night and asked Ryan to cover him as he had forgotten his meal card and then proceeded to grab two rolls.  Clearly that wasn't allowed and so first I gave Ryan a silent look like, "Do you see what is happening here, tell him about how you don't have a lot of cat money or whatever."  But when Ryan was only like, "Stop looking at me like that, that look makes me nervous," I had to take matters into my own hands.  So I used said hands to slap one of the rolls out of OJ's hand and said, "Two Rolls?  Really?  When you're making Ryan pay?  He's not made of pussies and willies you know."

So as I said, jumping right in to the meat of the post today.

When my siblings and I were small children, my mom, like many moms, signed us up for a variety of activities.  We did t-ball and piano lessons and community plays, among other things.  One of those other things being gymnastics.  And that is the thing I am going to talk about today.

That thing, that thing that thi-i-in-ing.

God I am so musical.  Must have been all the piano lessons.

But moving forward.

I was not *great* at gymnastics.  My little sister however, was really really great.  The gym we went to was a serious place.  It was run an Eastern European couple and their two sons.  They were in the business of training promising young girls for the Olympics.  To fund that business, they were also in the business of teaching less promising young girls to walk the balance beam without falling off.

Guess which group I fell into.  Also guess if I fell off of the balance beam a lot.

I was TERRIBLE at gymnastics.  I've never had any sort of balance and I hadn't yet grown into my exceptionally long limbs.  There were four main areas in the gym: Floor, Bars, Beam, and Vault and all four of them were tied for being my least talented area.  Like, I know those coaches and their sons sat around the dinner table at night and talked about which girls showed a real knack for the sport and should receive a lot of attention.  And then I know one of them brought up my name as a joke and the rest of them spit sauce across the table in spasms of hilarity.  I used to picture them in the throes of their laughter and think, "Can't really blame them I guess."

Because I was well aware of my awfulness.  I watched my sister move up the ranks from D Team to C Team to B Team and so forth whilst I twiddled my thumbs in Junior Squad, a large nine-year-old island in a sea of five-year-olds.  

Once I had firmly figured out that gymnastics just was not my thing, I pretty much never stopped begging my mom to let me quit.  I just wanted to sit quietly in the viewing room while my sister did full twisting layouts and read my book.  Eventually she (my mom) complied but it took a couple of years.  Here, in no particular order, is a short list of things I remember from those years.  These things may or may not have contributed to my mom's eventual decision to let me quit.

* The coaches' sons were named Eric and Dale.  Eric was nice-looking and this was right around the time The Little Mermaid came out in theaters so a lot of the gymnasts had secret little swoony crushes on him and called him Prince Eric behind his back.  I thought all of this was nonsense and also I was saving myself for Almanzo Wilder and his dashing horses (Oh Manly, I still carry a candle for you even though you are dead) so I was more interested in the fact that the second brother's name was Dale.  Now these classes were in the middle of the day during the week so mostly it was moms and grandmas and babysitters bringing their charges to the gym.  When a dad would make it in occasionally, the instructors would make sure to let the child show off a little bit.  My dad came in once.  They decided it was too dangerous to let me do a round-off-flip-flop-flip-flop combination like I suggested and instead said, "What about a forward roll?"  But that would not do because I could not do a forward roll.  So we were at standstill.  When my dad brought me home that afternoon and my mom asked, "You're home early! How did it go?"  His answer was, "Well your daughter wanted to do some sort of flip and they wanted her to do some sort of roll and then she shouted, "Roll out the Rescue Rangers because I'm doing it!" and tromped over to the floor mat."  "OH MY GOD they didn't let her do any flips did they!?" asked my mom.  "No, they lined up the two young guys to help her out since she seemed so adamant.  She got a running start and then stopped, nodded to them and said, "Chip, Dale, I think we're done here."  And then we left."

* I was not allowed to walk on the regular balance beam for a very long time.  Instead one of the coaches put a line of duct tape down one of the mats and I got to practice on that.  Once my toe got looped in a piece of the tape that was sticking up and I kneed myself in the face.  They let me use the real beam after that.  And also go on the Bars for the first time after I successfully argued that I could not possibly be more dangerous to myself in the sky than on the floor.  I remember the fact that there were zero obstacles inside the gym for me to smash into in the air being one of my talking points.

* When it was really hot the coaches would open the outside doors in the gym.  One day a bird got in.  When I walked into class that day the only thing I thought was, "Well they're definitely not going to let me do the bars today."  

* After I was finally allowed on the bars in class, I decided to show off at school a little bit on the bar that was directly in front of one of the slides on the playground.  I tried to do a somersault over it and then slide down the slide.  Instead I knocked out my front (permanent) tooth and spent the afternoon in the dentist's office.

*  I had a lot of power with the tiny people that made up the rest of my team.  I was older and bigger and they listened to me.  They let me lead the squad from exercise to exercise and they followed along behind me as we traipsed around the gym.  I called them my ducklings.  Until I figured out that we were basically the F Squad.  (Technically it was the Junior Squad but there were six teams and they were A, B, C, D, E and Junior Squad.  So let's call a spade a spade.)  Then I called them the Little Fs.  I was nine and had absolutely no agenda with this.  I got in trouble once when they were dawdling when moving to a new area and I was like, "Hurry your Little F Butts Up!"

That's probably about enough for tonight….

But to end this post with a flourish, I shall now do a forward roll right here on my rug.  Me posting is cause for celebration after all.

Ok I honestly just tried to do a forward roll ran into the table.  I was going to come back all triumphant and be like, "And THAT is how both posts and sandwiches should go, meat in the middle, rolls on either side!"  And now that doesn't make sense at all.

Sigh.

Try to do a somersault right now, I'll bet you can't.  It's much harder than you think.  You go upside down for one bit.  So it's basically like a roller coaster.  With no seat belts.

God I am so bad-ass.  Must have been all the gymnastics lessons.

P.S. Friday is my three year anniversary of blogging so I shall be doing a massive and fantastic giveaway.  Prepare yourselves Little Bs.

Also, picture of my baby, obviously.

Little F.

51 comments:

  1. I adore your posts!! And Fi!! And no way am I doing a somersault in my living room.... My chiropractor would shoot me!!

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    1. Your chiropractor sounds a lot like my husband. Lauren, don't do somersaults you'll hurt yourself. Lauren, don't forget you moved your dresser and bang your leg on it in the morning. Lauren, stop complaining about your leg.

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    2. Lauren, Ryan sounds and awful lot like Brian. Do you think they secretly know each other and swap stories and ways to lecture?

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    3. It's possible. I always hear Ryan talking about me on the phone and there's no telling who is on the other end.

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    4. I think it is probably a support group conference call he started for all our SO's so that they can compare notes to see how we are progressing in our clumsy/ridiculous - ness that week.

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    5. Oh My Gosh, that's totally what it is.

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  2. That is 100% how I would have been in gymnastics. I took ballet for a few years, but my dad made me quit because I was just that bad.

    In unrelated news- were they seriously called Wildcat Willie Bucks?!? Because that is amazing.

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    1. I don't think they were called that exactly but I can not remember the exact term. I know their meal cards were called Wildcards. Wildcat Willie Bucks is just something Ryan would say because he thought he was hilarious. Still does think that, in fact.

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    2. Their mascot was totally Willie The Wildcat though!

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    3. Haha I will give him funny points for that.

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    4. Yes well I am taking funny points away from him for a terrible pirate joke he made yesterday. Can't let his ego get too inflated.

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  3. Is she ever not smiling? Next time she frowns we need to see a picture.

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    1. And thank you for posting before 10 so I could go to bed happy! Miss you!

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    2. She is just a perfect baby, says the mother of the baby.

      Oh she has her moments, a stranger would say.

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    3. "She's absolutely perfect and never stops smiling" a friend would say, to Lauren's face, and then totally turn around and quietly whisper "Well, mostly."

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    4. I'll take "Well, mostly."

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  4. You must never stop blogging again. I adore you.

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    1. Don't you tell me what I must and must not do.

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  5. Why are you so hilarious? I can't even keep up. I did gymnastics as a little girl - just floor stuff - but I was pretty good. Then my instructor moved somewhere she could have actual paying clientele and so ended that dream.

    My boyfriend is actually way better at gymnastics than me now, due to his fearlessness and my newfound paranoia of hurting myself.

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    1. I think a healthy amount of paranoia in one's life is really a great thing. I'm paranoid about lots of things. I'm paranoid that there will be balloons or fireworks every time I go to a party, I'm paranoid that there will not be cake every time I go to a party, and just now I'm getting paranoid that I'm paranoid about nonsense things.

      And why are boys like that? Ryan did a cartwheel in the yard yesterday just to prove he could. I don't think he's ever done one in his life before. But he seemed to have no concerns about just throwing himself at the ground.

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  6. I just tried a somersault.

    My attorneys (and one of my cats) will soon be in touch.

    I swear I could do those 40 years ago. What happened?

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    1. Right!? Right!? I even went outside and tried it in the soft grass and didn't get any closer. Also my neighbors were out on their patio, so that's their first impression of me.

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  7. My sister was the gymnastics superstar in our house, and I couldn't do a cartwheel to save my life. I did once find a $10 bill under the bleachers during one of her meets, which provided the best concession gorging our ragtag bunch of gym siblings group ever had.
    Relatedly, after my mom deciding she wasn't going to pay for me to continue being in Class I gymnastics just so I could jump off the beam into the pit for an hour twice a week, I tried ballet (I'm pretty sure it was the only class whose time coincided with my sister's gym times.). There I repeatedly got my foot caught on the bar (barre?) and would spin forward, toes jammed between bar(re) and wall, doing some sort of awkward pendulum-illusion that required assistance from an adult every time.
    The next season I played soccer and softball. Turns out I have no grace, but an abundance of forward-propelled-energy, so those I could do!
    Good to read you back! (I was going to write "good to SEE you back", but that seemed weird? So I said "read"? I don't know.)

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    1. I know exactly the pendulum maneuver of which you speak! I've done that when one of my dumb friends talked me into some sort of Barre Fitness class. We must have similar sports skills (there I go insulting you) because I was good at softball as well. My sister was better at that too, but I was no slacker. I was great at sliding. All that practice falling down on accident finally made me good at something.

      And it's good to read you back as well. I like it. I'm going to pretend I made it up.

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  8. sadly I haven't been able to do a cartwheel ever. I don't think I want to try a summersault, that's just going to depress me further. I was a little bummed this wasn't about Disneyland, everybody could use some of that!! :-)

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    1. Disney was wonderful this time around but less about the shenanigans and more about keeping the baby cool so sadly I don't think I have many funny things to write about from there, but I'll brainstorm!

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  9. I was freaky flexible as a kid - not so much any more. If I tried to do a somersault right now, I'd probably break a hip. Also, Fi is ridiculously cute.

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    1. Did you ever have to do that thing in gym class where they measure how far you can reach your fingers while sitting with your legs in a V? I feel like you would have been really good at that and I want to know how many inches you could reach. I just tried to do it now. Don't do that. It's not worth it.

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    2. I don't remember anyone measuring but I do remember that I could put my foot behind my head. I'm pretty sure if I tried that now, my leg would snap off.

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    3. I could do that too! But it was more of product of me having really long legs than being any sort of flexible. The splits were a total mystery to me.

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  10. They put me in gymnastics once for my gym class when I was in middle school even though I did not sign up for it. Terrible, terrible decision.

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    1. Seriously! Gymnastics is evil.

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  11. Yay! You're posting. So lovely to have a giggle at the latest post whilst I'm sat in the office dreading the day ahead. Thank you for cheering me up. And post on!

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    1. Thanks! I totally stalk you on Instagram by the way. Your pictures are actually interesting, mine are just photos of the same small child over and over again.

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  12. I commend you, as a mother, for attempting the forward roll and suggest that you continue to do so every now and then, because God knows you'll want to have as many weapons in your ways-to-humiliate-my-daughter arsenal as possible when Fi hits the tween years and needs more reasons roll her eyes and say, "Oh my GOD, Mom!" You'd think your very existence would be humiliating enough (and it will be), but it never hurts to spice things up a little. Trust me - I have a 12 year old daughter. In the mean time, enjoy that fabulous chubby gummy-smile time from that completely adorable baby who thinks you're the best thing ever and doesn't care about clumsy.

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    1. I love this comment. LOVE. I relish this time when Fiona thinks I hung the moon and stars. And also doesn't know yet that I can't carry a tune. To her, I am nothing but melodious.

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  13. Is a somersault like a forward roll thingy? Because I can totally do one of those. I know it's not the side-wheeling cartwheel thingy because that's called a cartwheel and I'm utterly incapable of even doing a bad looking one of those but if you're telling me to lower my head to the floor (safely protected by my hands) and awkwardly kick my feet over top of them so that I roll forward and smash my legs/feet into a table, a chair, a television or something? That I can TOTALLY do!

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    1. Yep that's it! And I am duly impressed at your somersaulting abilities. Now you have to work on being able to do a Willy Wonka Somersault, all flourishes and landing on your feet at the end. With video.

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  14. So glad to see another post from you! Also, Love the "Chip, Dale, I think we're done here" comment! :) Also, thank you for the bonus Fiona picture. She is adorable beyond belief!

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    1. Thank You! I think she's adorable too, but, you know, mommy goggles and all that.

      (I was VERY into the Rescue Rangers as a child.)

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  15. That baby is PRECIOUS. The rolls. I can't with the bakery deliciousness. Also I have zero hand-eye coordination so major props for playing softball because in my childhood that was called "watch Andrea swing at thin air and pull out her shoulders out of their sockets." They're thinking of making it an Olympic sport.

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    1. Once playing softball I got hit in the face with a line drive and had two black eyes for literally, like actually literally, one year. So it wasn't all stars and stripes with softball either..haha. That's not a phrase is it? Stars and Stripes? That's just describing a flag. Dumb Lauren.

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  16. If it makes you feel any better, while I can do a somersault, I failed out of gymnastics on the standing backbend, you know, the second thing they teach you? Right after doing a backbend on the ground. I could not catch myself and landed on my head every damn time. Thankfully though, my mom let me quit immediately.

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    1. Oh yeah I could only push up from the ground as well. To me a backbend is just like a slow-half-flip-flop. Like, if I can't do it quickly and use my momentum to propel me forwards into completion, why on earth do you think slowing it down so you can actually see the ground coming at you is going to help? I should be in charge of gymnastics probably.

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    2. Really? I thought I was the only one who took gymnastics and couldn't do a standing backbend!

      If you want to do something like a somersault, but that is easier, you can do a forward roll. Step 1, find an open spot away from coffee tables. Then, basically, squat down (so you are closer to the ground, though you can do this from standing if you get good, but you don't want to start there), raise one of your arms up in the air, then bring it down (across your body) and onto to ground (it should touch the ground, not your body), then follow it with your head, curling it to your chest, and flop forward. Once you get the hang of it, rolls are fun. I do those and cartwheel (ugly ones, but cartwheels) randomly in our yard a lot.

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  17. Having been a gymnast for 15 years, I LOVE this post. My nickname was "Klutz" and I was often referred to as a "weirdo" for doing things like dancing in line ("Stop dancing and just wait your turn!"). I feel like we would have been great gym buddies :)

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  18. I was always incredibly jealous of anyone capable of doing a back flip... On purpose, at least. I did a somersault at your suggestion and it was successful. I might work up the bravery to try a cartwheel as well. If I do, I'll get video evidence. Best case scenario: bragging rights. Worst case scenario: ER visit and commiseration. It's a win-win, really.

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  19. So glad you are back! I took gymnastics when I was about 8 or 9 years old, it was very short lived. Our coach was also the coach for the high school girls gymnastic team, he was fired for buying them booze....... I don't really remember anything about gymnastics other than it suddenly stopped, I'm sure I fell a lot though!

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  20. I used to be deathly afraid of the vault. I guess I probably still am, but I don't have any vaulting opportunities that cause me to come into close contact with the springboard and the evil vault. I really really hated gym class. But I really love that you're back with a new post! Yay!

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  21. Yay!!!! I'm so glad you're back!!! And so glad you failed at gymnastics, just like me. Now I don't feel so alone in my lack of flexibility and coordination.

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  22. I never liked gymnastics, it took me all my time to walk in a straight line and after falling off one of the benches we sat on for assembly they didn't try me on any kind of beam. I thought I would give athletics a try but after somehow throwing the javelin backwards and nearly spearing the teachers foot they banned me from throwing anything ever again.

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