In order to ensure a top-notch newspaper column from yours truly, two important events need to occur each and every week.
#1: Go out and do stuff.
#2: Write about it.
Well, as it turns out, #2 is a tad bit difficult to accomplish when #1 consists of little more than sitting around in my climate-controlled house praying that the air conditioner holds up for another week.
I realize this is pretty much THE most Captain Obvious sort of statement I could possibly make, but it's HOT out. We're not talking "hey-it's-a-little-warm" out. We're not talking "pass-me-the-SPF-20." We're not talking "be-sure-to-stay-hydrated."
This is, like, END OF DAYS hot. The kind of hot that makes Al Gore go, "Told ya so." The kind of hot where you don't even want to take your lunch hour because the half-block walk from the office to the car just seems unbearable -- but should that lunch be raw, you can at least rest in the knowledge that you could, in a survivalist situation, just grill it up right there on the sidewalk.
The other night, I came home from work to discover that some schmuck had shattered a bunch of glass in the alley right behind my garage. The time it took to grab a broom and sweep the glass into a dustpan was, oh, I'd guess about eight minutes. By the time I made it in the house, I was drenched in sweat from head to toe. I swear to you, I've taken showers that were less wet. It's official -- this summer is gross.
This is putting a serious crimp on my original plans for the summer, which involved hopping on my bike, starting up a workout plan, shedding around 125 pounds, developing large muscles throughout my body, then going down to the beach to kick sand in the face of wimpy kids. Or at least trying to get enough exercise that I might live to see cooler weather.
But I'm pretty sure that sometime in this past week, I've managed to sweat out ALL of my summer motivation just trying to get home from work every night. In this climate, taking a breath is exercise enough for me. You know those people you still see out jogging even in weather like this? You might look at those nimrods and applaud their dedication and motivation. I look at those nimrods and applaud the fact that I'm not one of them. This is dangerous hot -- sitting around and worrying about the heat is all the cardio I'm willing to risk in these temps, thanks much.
That's why sitting in my basement right now in a kajillion unassembled pieces is the latest addition to Casa Del Shane: a recumbent exercise bike (some assembly required.) And after having owned my very own piece of home workout equipment for approximately 8 hours now, I'm beginning to understand how the exercise regimen works.
Step One: Walk to the basement. Step Two: Take note of the recumbent bike sitting in hundreds of pieces. Step Three: Pick up assembly manual that appears to be written in Swahili with helpful diagrams crafted by the ancient Egyptians. Step Four: Give up in frustration, grab the nearest heavy object, and throw it across the room in anger. Viola -- exercise.
Eventually, though, one day soon -- at the future thanks of my father, a man who can apparantly read both Swahili AND ancient Egyptian yet strangely can't find the power button on your standard remote control -- I will have myself a device that should allow me to get a moderate level of exercise without leaving the air conditioned confines of my house or having to deal with any of that pesky nature stuff whatsoever. Thumbs up.
And I didn't skimp on quality either. You might think an exercise bike should be little more than a pair of pedals and something to hang onto, right? Wrong. That's when you stop having an exercise bike and start having a future fancy clothes hanger. Nope, I wanted to ensure that I actually USED this bike -- that's why I had to buy a model juuust pricey enough to make me feel reeeeally guilty if I let it sit around.
In this case, the extra dough I had to cough up pays for something called "iFit" technology. Since it's still in a billion pieces, I'm not exactly sure how it works yet, but I know it involves the use of Google Maps, which will allow me to plot out a fake route anywhere in the world and thus be treated to images from Google Street View as I fake bike through fake neighborhoods. And seeing as how the bike also changes resistance based on the incline of your map route, and estimating my current level of physical conditioning, I'm going to guess that I'll be doing a lot of biking through fake... Topeka. Or anywhere flat. I hear fake Omaha's lovely this time of year.
If that's not enough, apparantly if I don't bike up to proper workout levels, Jillian Michaels comes on my screen and presumably calls me a wussie or something. THIS is the kind of motivation I need.
Note: This is NOT an encouragement for wayward thieves to rob me, either. The bike may be cool, but it also weighs roughly 150 lbs. Getting it DOWN the basement stairs was challenging enough - if you can get it back UP the stairs, you don't need an exercise machine. You're doing just fine on your own. Leave the bike for wussies like me.
So, Mother Nature, for now I have the upper hand. I'd sure prefer it if you cooled things down a little bit before birds start spontaneously combusting and we discover at what temperature dirt melts... but as long as the air conditioner gods don't let me down, if you need me, I'll be in my basement getting all slim and iFit.