Category Archives: Life reflections

Ai-eeeee/I mean chi

One reason I like Wytheville Community Center’s facilities so much is the pool. Reasons, one might say, because they have four. The regular lane swimming pool and the kiddy area are interconnected by a three foot wader access. These are kept about 84 degrees–according to the facility. Those of us plunging in for semi-weekly aerobic classes beg to differ.

Then there is a small therapy pool, kept around 94 and big enough for 6 people to social distance. The hot tub (limit 3) is around 104. One sees the emerging pattern. It is a great delight to emerge from the big pool after class and sit a happy five minutes in the hot tub with two other women, discussing the events of the class or the week.

In addition to the classes throwing me into cold water twice weekly, I decided to try Ai Chi. Tai chi in the water, yep. Problem: it is popular. The WCC has people sign up for their classes on the third Wednesday monthly. Your attendance for years (perhaps decades) is not protection; everyone applies again on that Wednesday. It’s not unlike working for state or county government and being suddenly required to reapply for your 25+ year position.

They do that so young whippersnappers like me have a chance to get in. I took advantage in December and arose at 6:03 am to call the front desk and secure an Ai chi spot. Even as they sent the confirming email, I felt a great disturbance in the force, the voice of someone somewhere crying out at being shoved from the therapy pool.

The first week I showed up, so did she. It is standard practice for wait-listers to hang out and take the spots of no-shows for that session. If someone hasn’t called in but misses three times, you get their spot. (Not much consolation in a monthly regimen, but there it is.)

Let’s call her Lydia. I took her spot. She had plans. So did her friends, already waiting in the pool. Why did my mind flash an image of crocodile eyes just above water in a still river?

They were all older women, and as a true Appalachian I have been raised to respect my elders. I gave them each a friendly nod, recognizing most from the deep water aerobics class immediately before. (I dropped that morning class in favor of a far less crowded evening class that turned out to have much greater age diversity.)

“Welcome to Ai chi, newbies.” Only I was new. I took a position near the steps. Thin stretched smiles, and “well look who’s joining us, welcome aboard dear” comments, ensued. I could feel hostility entering my body and accelerating my heartbeat.

Stretches began to soft synthesizer music. I felt something brush my thigh. Lydia was moving in. She had taken the position immediately before me at the steps, a little close but I wasn’t in a position to argue. As the class progressed, she moved closer with every stretch, always with her back toward me, until by the time we were doing the free float, I was scrunched in a corner, no place for my feet to reach surface.

I did briefly consider one good mule kick to clear space, but she is older and would bruise easily. Please see: Appalachian values. Also, by then I had ascertained the relationship of Ai chi to the two things I sought: relaxation, and stimulation.

Relaxing, not so much, as I cowered against the wall while the rest of them stretched into warrior poses. Stimulating, yes; it felt like fighting for survival up in here. One of them turned, and her warrior palm extended into something resembling a blade as she aimed at me. She smiled…..

Last Wednesday was the signup for next month. I dropped Ai chi in favor of a nice safe Zumba class. Nobody puts Lydia in a corner.

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Filed under humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

Home Economics – –

Jack gets there on time again – woohoo!

Sometimes we can be really stupid!

A couple of days ago Wendy went to re-heat her coffee in the microwave oven. Alas, when she pressed the button she heard a ‘phut’ and it died. We both tried various things including un-plugging it and re-plugging it. Still nothing. Our trusty microwave was dead.

The original one with the dead outlet behind!

So we debated at length about the next strategy, because what American household will last long without its favorite coffee reheater? We checked out models on Amazon and various regional box stores, and eventually decided she should see what the local Walmart had in stock. We could get a cheap one there to keep us going and maybe later get a better one via Amazon.

She hadn’t been out of the house for ten days because of a bad cold, etc. (not Covid, test was negative!) so she was gone for some time enjoying a little retail therapy. I don’t worry too much about Wendy’s retail therapy sessions because they tend to center around cheap stuff we will for the most part use. Mostly.

This time she eventually came home with—along with a half-price pack of underwear for me, a clearance scented candle for her, yarn (I pretended not to notice) and assorted bags of “I am going to can this” reduced produce items—a $60 microwave oven.

We man-handled (actually man-and-woman-handled) the defunct machine off the shelf and I got the new one up and plugged it in. Went to set the clock. Nothing happened. I looked for an on button to no avail then read the instruction booklet, but still no information.

Finally, in desperation I plugged it into a different outlet and it immediately lit up.

Hhhmmm – so I cleaned the original microwave thoroughly and got it up on the shelf and plugged it into the alternative outlet and bingo! It lit up – –

So we now have a cheap oven for Wendy’s upstairs office and I have the task of investigating the outlet – or maybe our good friend Leroy-the-Electrician will have to be called yet again. Wendy says the idea of me taking on electricity during a COVID surge that limits emergency room services and might require running a gauntlet is, to use her word, frightening.

Neither of us is interested in going back to Walmart this month: Wendy because her sniffles have returned, me because, scented candles, clearance underwear, yarn….

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Filed under between books, home improvements, Life reflections, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch