March 1st, 2010

Mr. Incredible

A Whole Family of Supers

For reasons known only to a 10-year-old boy (and those of you with 10-year-old boys know they're unable to articulate reason) my son wanted to take karate. My money is on Naruto, Teen Titans and other anime ninja characters made for 10-year-old boys. So my wife collected his birthday money and made an appointment with the local Taekwondo Master (Reid's Martial Arts Academy), and as my daughter was in attendance, he let her join in the free tryout as well. She took to it like a fish to water.

Eschewing her mother's suggestions of "dance" class next door, she chose to pursue taekwondo with her brother, which completely changed the pricing structure...making the (for lack of a better term) "Family Pack" the most reasonable purchase. "Do you want to take taekwondo?" my wife asks me. "Why the hell not." I say, having NO IDEA what I'm getting myself into, and now, between the kids' schedule and ours, we're there a full five days a week and my previously calm, sedate life has been turned completely upside down.

Lots of things have changed drastically since the beginning of the year, actually.

Our first class was about six weeks after I started losing weight, all of which was in my ass apparently, because my wife quipped I was beginning to look like Mr. Incredible - as my jeans were becoming more and more baggy (though I wasn't quite losing any gut at that point). While on the surface that *sounds* complimentary, she meant the post-wife & kids Mr. Incredible when he was in his old uniform, just prior to him banging Mirage on the side and working out.

So yeah, not exactly flattering:
All this losing weight and working out business (and the associated increase in (marital) sexual activity) has certainly taken its toll on a number of previously extra-curricular activities, like watching television, know, blogging. Which I really haven't done much of lately. And this would upset me if I weren't so freaking busy. Its been an interesting/tumultuous time at work this past month for a variety of unprecedented reasons, and I've been doing my part by playing the good-natured hero with the unflappable attitude. Getting things done and helping people. The hours are long but fruitful, and with this overall increase in both physical and mental health, I sleep great every night. But that could just be the exhaustion. Either way...

Its keeping me honest.

But its not just about the time, and my wife has quantified the expense in other, less obvious ways. Normally when the kids get home, they drag-ass getting homework done, sometimes stretching it out for hours - which takes its toll on her. Then the neighborhood kids invade. Sometimes five days a week we get an influx of children running through the house. In and out, in and out, in and out. Pure bedlam. Arguments, complaints, and yes, even boredom in the midst of all this activity. All this usually translates into bedtime being a nightmare.

But since we've started doing this as a family, the kids do their part when they get off the bus by finishing homework quickly and getting ready. Sometimes I make it home first, sometimes I meet them there. Regardless, only a glass wall separates us whether we're working out, or the kids are, and our discussions usually surround encouraging each other in the day's lesson. Its a cooperative business which makes this happen, and without the distraction of television, or friends, the children seem more focused, and its just around bedtime when we make it home which makes for not only a very calm day, but what with being there 5-days a week, calm weeks as well. We're becoming more cohesive as a family unit with a common goal, and that's worth the price of admission.

I'm suddenly a very active person. My after-hours schedule is just as rigorous as my daytime schedule, but I've lost a full thirty-pounds since the beginning of the year and cattttiude and I were awarded our "white belts" this past Thursday. That was one hard-fought accomplishment - and as an aside, the "four-finger pushups" are KILLING me. I cut off my ponytail again; taekwondo seemed to be as good a reason as any and I'm hoping it will keep me cooler during my lessons. Speaking of, having a Master Instructor is a lot like hiring a personal a benevolent dictator sort of way. If I were going to go to a gym three days a week I would just stare at the equipment and chew cud. NOTHING I would do on my own would be as exhausting as my lessons, or as motivating. In that regard, once again, I refer you to Basic Training. You never, never, never tell your Drill Instructor, "I can't."

He reminds us each day that his lessons are for learning, and home is for practicing. Problem is, we're never home. But between gaming with my kids on the weekends, and martial arts during the week, I'm about as happy and content as I could ever hope to be. Go me. AND the family I rode in on.