Monday, February 05, 2007


Making things happen

In our household, some things seem to take forever to happen. Things like house maintenance, and gardening, clean ups (and yes okay with me it's the everyday cleaning...)

Some things, I have to say, happen only because my meritorious Other Half makes them happen. I am the dreamer, and the follower. And the Personal Assistant. In some instances I get carried away with an idea (like "Yes, let's do the Big Ride again"), and I push for it to happen. But I rely on him to supply the logistics, the technical know-how, and the motivation. Particularly when it comes to motivating the whole family, because sometimes I have trouble just getting myself going.

Sometimes though (and less often than I would like, actually, because I am lazy that way), things just land in your lap. Those palm trees - that dropped the fruit that lay over the ground that Tracey raked and shovelled and did her back in because of - are 'gooorrrn'. Over the weekend. Already! Gone, gone, gone. And there was me saying that was yet another of our 'get round to it' jobs.

The neighbour's 21 year old son works for his uncle who does tree lopping. While he doesn't get to do much 'up in the trees' work, he has a chainsaw. And so, because there were quite a few other branches and foliage from trees on our side of the fence which had grown too far over onto their side (dropping leaves in their gutters etc..) his Dad thought it was an excellent idea to get him up out of bed on a Saturday morning to earn himself some extra 'pocket money' for half the price it would cost to get the uncle himself to do it.

We thought that sounded ok.. and while we were talking about that.. we suggested while he was at it he could also lop off the offending fruit and dead branches of the palm tree .. and, actually, why not get rid of the damn things entirely? Them and the annoying other branches along our fenceline... all for $170. We're happy, he's happy, his dad is a bit of a slavedriver it turns out, but seemed happy, and we got to chat and get to know each other a bit more. (He's a nice "kid".) And Marc took 3 trailer loads of it all to the tip, which turned out to be a lot cheaper than getting a 'professional' to cart it away.

It's a bit strange - the gap where they used to be. They did block out a bit of the western sun, but they were only going to get higher (and thus even harder to maintain...) So.. it's OKAY. Geez, it hadn't even made The List, and it has already happened!

I wish more things could happen serendipitously like that.

Reality is, of course, that with most things you have to put a bit of effort.

Satisfyingly we did 'make things happen" in other areas of our lives over the weekend. The important area, which is the Big Ride preparation.

It did take Mr Dad to get us going.. with a 5 am rise on Saturday morning to go into town for the 6.30 am community bike ride. (6.30 - 8.00, then you get to sit and have coffee, and something nice for "brunch".) We only rode about 26km (a bit more for Marc and the two on the triplet, they rode in a faster group, which Cait and I haven't been able to keep up with.) But it was time in the saddle, and it made us do it. (And it made us practise getting up.) And, amazingly, after the previous weekend's 130km, no bum amongst us felt saddle-sore on such a 'small' ride. The merits of training. It's not just about the aerobic and muscle fitness.

So Sunday he scheduled another, bigger, training ride, with some hills. 63km total.. including a 3 km long hill winding up through the banana farms, and then some ups and downs for the rest of the way. We learnt last year that we would have been better off if we'd done more training. And now that we know what sort of riding days to train for, Marc is intent on getting us better prepared in what weekends we have left. (He will have another trip to KL between now and the Big Ride.) Just as well we've got him to make us do it.

It wasn't easy. Hills can be hard! (Especially on a tandem.) I was feeling it. To my shame I was even doing a few Sharipova imitations.. though apparently I sounded more .. disconcerting... Not so much "grunt", more "wail" perhaps. I did feel like crying a couple of times.

"You need to get more aerobic training, kiddo" said he. "You're the one that wanted to do the Big Ride again." I held back the tears of frustration, knowing he had a point... and as I continued riding I thought the answers I should have come up with immediately:

"Well, what do you think we're bloody doing right now if it's not training?" and

"Yes, I pushed for us to sign up again, because sometimes it actually is me that makes things happen and I do believe it was you and Cait who were the first to say you wanted to do it again", and

"Last Wednesday I couldn't walk without my back hurting, so I think, under the circumstances I'm doing pretty well riding this", and

"I haven't had swimming squad for 6 weeks over the holidays, which definitely helps my aerobic fitness (I went to my first session back last Friday and had to ditch because of my back..) "...AND

"I had that cough for 6 weeks, so, again, under the circumstances, I think I'm doing OK."

And .. "Yes, thank you for making us do this training because I know we need it AND we're all frigging MAD doing this, what in god's name possesses me to want to do stuff like this?"

[I know the answer to that last question, of course. It's the RETROSPECT. The Explaining Of Which would be the topic of a whole new blog post entirely. ]

Meanwhile, on the 'making things happen' front, I am wondering how much money I can feasibly sink in to my fitness, and maintenance of my dicky back. The alternative, though, is to sit back and vegetate, so it is probably not an option.

Weights with the trainer today. Swimming squad. (The back did twinge still, so I am thinking one more chiro session might be necessary to get me over this latest 'attack'.) I've a solo bike ride with a friend scheduled for Wednesday. More weights and more swimming on Friday. And more bike riding on the weekend.

I'm sure that goes some way towards making things happen. We'll just not go into all the other stuff I should be making happen.

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Good on you Tracey, it doesn't matter how we get up and do something, as long as we do it and we want to do it.
It is extrememly difficult to get motivated after an absence from something, I certainly know that.
At least you wont be incapacitated from raking up those palm fruits.
Obviously someone up there is listening, and to excellent effect! Perhaps you'd better scrap that line from Imagine.
Take care, Tracey. In a warm glow after my little episode at the gym I came home and read your entry. Anything that I do palls to insignificance.
Hmm, well, if there is anyone up there listening, perhaps HE should stop people all over the world killing and torturing each other, instead of concentrating on the (relatively) banal. Which is probably sort of what John Lennon was implying.

Despite evidence to the contrary (this is a 'do what I say' thing).. you shouldn't compare yourself to the 'perceived' achievements of others. Particularly when it comes to physical fitness. Anything I do pales into insignificance between, say, a Tour de France cyclist, or a triathlete.. or whatever.

If you're getting out and giving something a go, then it's gold star time IMHO!!

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