Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Exercise Program

This all began back in September when my oldest daughter Cody decided she wanted to start delivering newspapers in the morning to earn some extra money. While I admired her ambition at the same time I cringed a bit because newspaper routes are demanding. The paper is delivered every single day of the year, so what about days off? I am not good at planning ahead and what about those times when we want to just take off for the weekend? Who would we get to substitute? This was especially valid for Cody because of her participation in Speech and Debate at school. The Debate season is long one. And with this being her 4th year involved we had learned that it typically meant she would be gone most Friday nights and Saturdays traveling to meets. In relation to the paper route this meant she would regularly need a sub on Saturday mornings. All of these thoughts ran through my head as she recited her list of reasons why this would be a good job for her to have that would allow her time for activities and homework after school and in the evenings. I felt like I couldn't tell her no, so I said that she should talk to her dad. If he was willing to sign on as her permanent sub we could make it work for her. Well, her dad said yes, so there went my last option for telling Cody no to the paper route.

For several months Cody has done very well getting up early and delivering the papers. Six days a week she walks the route wearing her lovely paper bag with the front and back pouches for holding the papers. Early on she started taking our terrier Jake with her for some company. Jake loves doing the paper route. His enthusiasm at 4:30am every single day is rather inspiring. Cody lets Jake run along with her because he will actually come when called and there is rarely anyone out at that time of day for him to bother. Our fat lazy beagle Sadie was perfectly content to stay curled up inside when Cody and Jake left in the mornings. Sundays we quickly figured out were much easier with a car and driver to help because of the size of the papers - she couldn't carry them all because they just didn't fit. Still it usually meant me or Terry driving and Cody doing all the running of the papers.

This worked great until a few weeks ago when there came a Saturday when both Terry and Cody were going to be out of town at the same time. For some reason they both looked at ME when I asked who would cover the route. I had never done it by myself. The only time I'd helped was on a couple of Sundays when I magnanimously told Terry he could sleep in. Sundays were nice - I got to stay in a nice warm vehicle and slowly follow Cody down the street. A Saturday by MYSELF did not sound nice at all. The things we do for our children. On the Thursday before Cody and Terry were going to be gone I found myself getting up early, dressing in layers as my daughter recommended, being handed a flashlight and a map of her route and trudging along behind my eldest child as she carried the bag of papers and started explaining to me which houses get which paper. Before we left I had decided I was not going to suffer this alone so I grabbed a belt, put it on around my waist, hooked a leash to the belt and hooked Sadie to the leash. Sadie, unlike Jake, does NOT respond well to voice commands. With the leash hooked to the belt I still had my hands free for handling papers. No staying home all warm and comfy when I had to go out in the cold and wind!! Misery loves company.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when I found that delivering the papers with Cody wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I actually enjoyed it. It was fun to visit with Cody as we walked and Sadie was happy as she always loves going for walks. A thought occurred to me as we made our way through the route. I looked at Jake. Jake had slimmed down and toned up quite a bit since running with Cody in the mornings. He easily covers two or three times the distance the people do because he runs ahead and runs back and occasionally chases one of the many rabbits that inhabit the bushes in our neighborhood. And my daughter was in pretty good shape from walking every morning and carrying the papers. Roly-poly Sadie and I, on the other hand, did not measure up as well in the physically fit department. If I was to be completely honest, my physical activity level was rather non-existent. I work in an office at a desk during the day and I wasn't terribly active at home either - I spend too much time watching tv with Terry and the girls or on the computer. Hmmm....

You might guess where this is going and the answer is, "Yes, I am now delivering papers with my daughter in the mornings." It's very good exercise for me and Sadie - you know, I wasn't going to let her go back to lounging in the mornings either!! I have Cody for company most days and on the days when she is gone I make Terry get up and go with me. I don't know if this will continue after she leaves for College in the fall, but for now it is good and I will enjoy it for the blessing it is to me and my dog and my daughter. Her younger sister Kati adamantly declares she has no interest in taking over the route when Cody leaves, but I have several months to work on her. And at least by then I should have the good habit of every day getting up and getting out with the beagle - even if only for a short walk. This is definitely not what I had in mind all those times the thought would come that I needed to get more exercise. And yet, in spite of all of my objections - it works and I like it. Go figure.