Saturday, September 18, 2010

Doggie Poop Bags

Great title eh? Got you intrigued?

A little over 2 years ago when Wally and I moved from our cute little house with our quaint little yard from our quiet little town with our two adorable little dogs to our little apartment in the big city we had some adjusting to do. On many fronts.

Not only did I need to get over the fact that I wouldn't need to plan for the extra 20 minutes in the grocery store for a last minute milk run because we didn't know a single soul here (let alone every other soul related to that soul). We also had to get used to the idea that we did have to plan for the extra twenty minutes it would take to drive a block in a half through traffic during rush hour.

Something else we had to 'come to terms with' was the fact that we no longer had a convenient fenced in yard to house and employ our dog duties. This meant a minimum of three trips a day down 7 flights in an annoying old elevator that moved at the matched snail pace of 95% those who used it.

I remember a couple of weeks into newly established daily doggie outing schedule (which by the way, we never ever had before) thinking 'Oh my goodness. 3 walks a day times 365 days a year for at least 2 years equals 2190 (ok so I didn't exactly do that math in my head but you get the idea) walks while we live here! How am I ever going to do this?!'

It overwhelmed me to think about the fact that I would have to pick up their poop that many times before ever getting the luxury of just opening up the back door and letting them run freely to a tree or spot of their choosing (in the dark cold morning might I add). I know it sounds silly but this tidbit of reality gave me a bit of panic.

Would I be able to pull myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to do this? What about in the winter time when the snow is above their little heads and there's no where to scamper to ... you know, move things along? What about when one of them came down with the dreaded doggie poo flu? Yikes how would I deal with that in the middle of the night seven stories up?

Well two years later I have learned that you do what you need to do in situations you just have no choice about.

It only took a few months before I completely forgot about the looming 2190 poop pick ups that would have to be done (which is good considering that number will likely turn out to be closer to 3285). We got into a new rhythm in our lives and all of the 'fun' of no backyard became the norm at our place (along with the 75 layers of ridiculously mismatched winter wear that rears it's ugly head late every fall).

My silent hopes that our dogs would be flu free while living closer to the sky have been dashed, more than once. I have found myself outside of our building at 3am in my pjs trying to encourage a sick dog to get everything cleared out before returning to fits of vomiting ... or worse inside.

Through it all I have wished on more than one occasion that we didn't have carpeting everywhere and have definitely dreaded the elevator wait in times of desperate need (doggie bladder infections aren't cool, nor are plugged anal glands - gotta hate when that happens). But I have learned it can be done. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

I'm not exactly sure when I stopped counting the poop bags. Maybe when I accepted that this was our reality for now and the only other choice would be to get rid of these furry little creatures, which for us wasn't (and isn't) an option.

Sometimes not having choices is the best thing for us.

Why do I bring this little story up?

Yesterday was my first workout alone and with the realization that's how it would be for ... ever.

My immediate thoughts while I was in the middle of my rather intense self torture went to wondering how many more times I would have to do this before it was over. Unfortunately the answer didn't bring relief.

I remember when I first started doing cardio twice a week, as prescribed by Dee, and sitting on the bike (which by the way I abhorred and think I may still when I put it at a workout level) thinking 'Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to do this forever! I hate this. *pant pant* How am I ever going to get through it? I hate this. *pant pant* How am I not going to quit? I hate this. *pant pant* What if it doesn't make me lose weight? (Clearly I cared deeply about my health then). I hate this. *pant pant* How many more times do I have to do this? I hate this. *pant pant*'

I won't lie, I still have days when I wonder if I'll be able to stick with it and wish it wasn't a part of taking care of the health I've been blessed with. Overall though I look forward to getting my heart pumping (even though I still hate the bike I force myself to do it because it makes me work hard and sweat lots). In fact after doing weight training I look forward to mindless stuff like cardo on a machine and oddly now consider it the dessert after a healthy meal (sick I know).

My hope is that I will soon forget thinking about how many more I have to go and begin to crave it as a necessary part of feeling good.

The one thing that has kept me in the gym through moments of wanting to absolutely give up and never return has been neglecting the worry of 'next time' and focusing on just getting through 'this time'. I can't tell you how many times this strategy has helped me succeed through a tough time.

I've mentioned this before but in the past I've approached diet and exercise as 'all or nothings'. I had to do something perfectly or I would give up. This time around I have been able to approach things more in the moment and it's been an awesome discovery.

People often joke that if you knew what was going to happen in the future you'd never get out of bed to face it because you'd be worried and scared all of the time. But life does happen when we least expect it and challenges come our way that we overcome or at least learn how to live with (often not without a good scrappy fight along the way). We get bumped and bruised, and don't always feel so hot about what we have to do and often resent the fact that we have to do it. In the end though most of us do it. We survive and some of us even thrive through it.

Some of us eventually stop counting the poop bags and just look forward to the walk.

I want to look forward to the walk and enjoy the one I'm already on.

It's ok to sit down once in a while and rest, that's what benches are for. As long as we eventually get back up and keep walking, right?