After a hectic morning playing video games with people immediately upon waking, medicating and feeding various pets and foster kittens, finding ingredients for “elephant toothpaste,” telling people they couldn’t eat brownies for breakfast, trying to get people to please just clean up their dishes, telling people they had to go outside–you know, the usual–I decided I needed to take care of myself.
“I need to exercise,” I said to nobody in particular.
“Oh! We can jump on the trampoline!” Noah suggested. Feeling a bit guilty, I said no because I really wanted to do something solid I could sustain and relieve stress.
I wanted to do an exercise video, but the dog really needed some exercise too, so I decided to take her on a jog, not my preferred form of exercise. I found all the things (except my earbuds–I stole Leon’s) while a child kept making mistakes with his elephant toothpaste and needing to return for more ingredients, and then I took the impatient, barking dog outside in a hurry so she wouldn’t wake Leon. It was getting hotter and I wanted to just get ‘er done. I opened Spotify and my running/biking app.
Outside, I found a running hose, two happy boys, and every ingredient for elephant toothpaste and two glass containers directly behind the tire of my car. (Note: The kids have already popped one tire by leaving a glass item behind it.) I got them to move the things, and one child announced his intention to come with me.
“OK!” I said, grieving my quiet time but thinking it would be good for him.
“I’ll go get my bike!” he said.
“No, here, just run with me!” I said, not wanting to wait for the helmet search, the digging for the bike, etc., and we had a discussion before he finally agreed that we could just leave. I put in just one earphone and played a song, and I started my timing app. I quickly realized I couldn’t hear my music over his talking so gave up on Spotify. We ran not quite halfway around the block and then his knees hurt, and he wished he had his bike. So we ran back and I paused the app and went inside to help his brother briefly before I left him to get his bike ready while I ran around the block. I restarted my app and headed back out.
My dog sucks at being a running companion. Or really, to be fair, I guess we just have different running goals. My goal is to run at a moderate, even pace in one direction on the correct side of the street. Her goal is to run as fast as possible in really any direction and all directions. This often causes the music on my phone to abruptly change songs or quit all together. So running with her is kind of a struggle, and it makes me a little grumpy.
When I returned, he complained, “My bike is stuck”–he clanged the pedal against the kickstand–“and my helmet is gone.” I grumbled about his negativity–“Just ask for help”–adjusted the pedal, and plucked his helmet out of its hiding spot. That’s when the other boy showed up.
“Did you fix my bike? I want to come too.” I had not yet fixed his bike because I forgot that he crashed it and broke the rear brake. I mentioned that we still had the small bike, and he went to get that one. I ran up and down the street until I saw him emerge.
“Where’s your brother?” My first companion had disappeared.
“I don’t know.” He went to look for his brother while I ran up and down the street, feeling like a weirdo but still striving valiantly to exercise. He came back. “He’s mad at me. He’s not coming.” He got on his bike and pedaled out, explaining why his brother was mad. (Note: it was his brother’s fault.) “This bike is so small.” He suddenly remembered that piano was starting soon, so I went back to the house, paused the app, and went indoors to remind the daughter that the teacher would soon be calling.
My companion told me, “This bike is too small. But that’s OK, I will just run with you.” We brought the bike back, and I paused my app.
We started to run, resuming the app, and he announced that his knees also hurt. He stopped to help a worm, and while I slowly jogged on, hollered, “Hey Mom! Wait up!” I started to walk, pausing my app, and so did he, about ten feet behind me, explaining the worm’s whole sitch. I got him to start to jog again, resuming my app, and he told me he’s out of shape, but he really did try to keep going. I kept yanking the dog off of people’s lawns, where she had stop to sniff things. I got the pair to sort of follow me, dragging, to the end of the block at least. We walked the length of a street, and I got them to run/yank again, forgetting to restart my app.
My son cheerily pointed out a swing he likes, and then he remembered the little free library, so we stopped for a look. No books for him at the moment. He and the dog both ran into my legs when we tried to jog again and I was going straight and they were clearly going somewhere else.
I think by that time we were all pretty eager to get home, so we did manage to keep up a relatively steady pace for the final block home. Once we were there, I got him to move the elephant toothpaste ingredients a little further in, and everyone asked for brownies again. No, no brownies. Yes, I know I let the sister have one–I spaced.
I tried to stretch while one cat persisted in lying down on the yoga mat and everyone asked for lemonade.
I guess I’m not gonna be running any marathons soon, but I did manage to bang out about 1.5 miles in the course of…forty five minutes? An hour? And now I’m off to jump on the trampoline.