As an employee of a Very Large Software Company here on the Eastside of Seattle, JB gets a membership to an enormous, fancy gym. Actually, it’s not a gym: it’s a health club. With a spa. Where you can purchase Botox. I am not even making that up.

The Fancy Gym is over 250,000 square feet of machines, classes, courts, pools, and a restaurant. Also, an interesting little gift shop by the front desk where you can buy workout gear in addition to very expensive jewelry, in case maybe you’ve been having a lustful affair at the racquetball courts every day at noon and your conscience pings you on the way out the door.

As JB’s official spousal unit, I got a free initiation fee for the Fancy Gym and a reduced monthly rate, which we dutifully paid for a very long time. Way past the point when I hadn’t been there in months years, in fact, because I felt too guilty to just cancel it.

Of course, paying money every month for the privilege of continuing NOT to go somewhere eventually makes you feel guilty too, so we finally canceled it last year. Since then, every time I think about going to a gym I think of re-signing up for the Fancy Gym and paying their enormous initiation fee to re-activate my account, and trying to find the time to get over there — it’s just far enough away to be inconvenient, especially during heavy traffic.

In the meantime, there’s a slightly grubby 24 Hour Fitness that I drive by just about every day, that’s maybe three miles from my house. And it finally occurred to me that hey, I bet if I don’t need Botox or an Olympic-sized pool or an on-site florist (!), 24 Hour Fitness would be just fine.

So I went in to check it out (I will spare you the description of their sales pitch except to say it was like having my leg wildly dry-humped by an incredibly inept and stupid dog) and aside from kind of a crazy parking situation where I have to sprint from an overflow lot across a busy road Frogger-style, it’s a totally great gym. They have a challenging yoga class which I have taken once and loved and they have a Turbo Kick (like Turbo Jam, only gym-franchised, I guess) class that was so fast and hard I had to stop halfway through and grope blindly around on the floor for the lungs I was sure had escaped from my body.

I am so excited to be going to a gym again. I can’t even tell you. It does wonders for my self-esteem, just the feeling of walking through the doors with my workout shoes on and my hair all nerdily scraped into an unflattering, complicated holdback system.

I switched my upcoming work/daycare days slightly and so starting May 5 this is the work/stay home/gym schedule I’m planning:

• Monday, Tuesday: work
• Wed: stay home with boys, Turbo Kick at night
• Thu: stay home with boys, yoga at night
• Friday: work
• Sat: yoga in the morning

That’s two days working, two days home, one day working, two days home. I don’t know if I could possibly ask for a better compromise than that. And being able to escape to the gym at the end of my two SAHM days is going to be . . . well, I never thought I’d say this about going to a gym, but it’s going to be RAD.

It is so incredibly hard to find balance as a parent — at least that’s been my experience — and at the moment, I think I’ve got a good situation to work with. Right now I am feeling really positive about the days to come.

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