Helping hands

Amazing day, a seriously good day.  How long has it been since I bought the jump rope? It’s been three months (damn, I really like the flawless recall ability this website affords me.) Have I jumped rope every day since? Nope, not even close. Twice maybe three times a week max, sometimes skipping it for a week or two at a time. It has been frustrating. To hold a rope, to “know” how to jump it, and to be unable to jump it. Over and over again. It has been a great cardio exercise I guess, an exercise in futility.

The morning went the same as yesterday, still didn’t sleep much better, yet this morning I was excited for the mission of the day. With the publishing “deal” struck yesterday, I just needed to come up with some cash to seal the deal.. well, that flopped a bit, and a text or two with my “publisher” flipped the script on me. They need to sign up people each day and she did pull a heck of a deal ($180 for a $799 contract!) Yet, it was a deal for the day… and apparently, I missed it with my… non-liquid cash source.

Slightly dismayed yet obviously still encouraged I had gone right down into the basement to take that photo.  After finishing the text conversation I went to work in the basement. It was harder than I thought- heck I didn’t even think of this part being hard. Really though, I moved seven giant yellow five to ten-pound (?) medicine balls from my basement, up its steps, across the yard and placed them on my car. Three inside, four on top properly secured for a quick trip across town to Kroger.

There were breaks of course.. breakfast, tea, a bit to smoke, exercises.  A few firsts today… I like to hang out. A lot.. from my pull-up bar.  I couldn’t even count the time on it, thirty to sixty minutes a day at least, sometimes more. It decompresses my spine and really feels like it’s helping to straighten me out. I also try to do pull-ups, some days can get two or three, but I start mine standing up with my palms under the bar facing me.  Hanging, my hands are over the bar and facing away from me.

While hanging, sometimes I just hang dead, trying to numb my body to my mind, focusing only on the existence of my fingers. Other times, and more so lately, I try to swing back and forth, twisting my core and trying to produce more, better, and deeper sounding cracks (ohh, the quiet deep ones in my sacrum are too good…) Today I did the same and started to ‘pull up’ from the dead hang position, I couldn’t make it up very far and went back down.

Weeks or months ago, trying to do the same would cause unbearable pain throughout my left side, from mid-thigh up and through my groin, all the way up two and under my ribs and pecs. Today all those same muscles screamed at the very idea of what I was trying to do and I told them that there was no twine and I will take no whine.  By the third or fourth rep, I was able to pull all the way up into a chin-up! Those same muscles exploded in euphoria as I hung back down. A full-on dopamine rush, the good stuff, pure biologically created feel-good juice.

I’m no stranger to drug experiences, so I can firmly say that high was worth at least five bucks. Honestly, if it would have lasted more than thirty or forty seconds I’d a paid a twenty (if I had a twenty.) I tried to go up one more time and couldn’t. I released the bar and landed on my feet and they felt good, they felt strong, they almost, almost felt like a real pair of legs and my left was a little less drunk.

No, my left leg doesn’t have a drinking problem, though that would summarize a lot of the issues I have with it. It feels drunk. Have you ever gotten really drunk? When the hips get loose and the knees go out? Wobbling around trying not to fall down drunk? That describes my balance issues caused by the left leg/pelvis/sacrum/spine, in some combination. I suppose I’m glad I used to drink so much (decades since problematic levels,) as it gave me plenty of practice learning how to walk around with minimal balance control.

Feeling great, I started squatting up and down, twisting and rotating my hips, stretching up onto my toes (my toes people, the left foot is starting to remember how to use toes!) Full extension from the left foot through my core, twisting to look over my right shoulder, I heard and felt a large pop in my left knee. Felt it move. The next squat was different, my left knee moved in a whole new way (a very old, distantly familiar way.) Squatting turned into jumping as I set up a line of communication with my knee.

Out, in, out, in, I could move it quick enough to land on it.  Landing on my toes, flexing my ankle, and bending my knee. I could jump. I instantly thought of the jump rope, grabbed it, and went outside. A few practices jumps like all the rest, pull the rope over my head, jump, then untangle my feet and try again.  The third or fourth attempt- with my gaze on the horizon, which here at home had me staring directly at St. John Church, right where the Tabernacle sits.

When it worked, it worked, out in, out in, eyes on the horizon, out in, out in, out in, eyes up, out in, out in, out; and there was no in, my eyes dropped, and my feet tangled almost bringing me down with the momentum that I had gained. Absolutely ecstatic I lost my mind in another dopamine rush and a true sense of accomplishment. Throwing the rope to the ground, I declared my victory to anyone within earshot as I damned the rope demon to hell and welcomed it back to become my friendly rope angel again.

Motherblanker. I’m sure you can guess the right word. I don’t always speak politely to objects.. certainly didn’t at that moment. That Rope Demon has whipped me relentlessly for three months. Oh, well no one is perfect.  My core trembling, and my pelvis area just jittering. I had to go inside and rest, excited, so rushed feeling- I typed a few pieces and made a media post. Then my list came back to me, time to do the cans. I can do cans. There is no twine.

A ‘new’ book idea?
byu/alex49201 inauthors

I went out to the car and as I went to open my door, I looked up again at the church and instantly said to myself “It’s Saturday”. Random, it is Saturday, I looked at my watch, it was three ten. Confession time.  The day as it had gone, the perfect moment of time, someone moved me.  I released the handle and walked down Cooper to the Church. Coming around the back side, my timing was perfect- there was Fr. Chas walking into the Church to begin hearing confessions at three fifteen.

Rushed, as busy as he always is running a parish, saw me and shouted “Hello Jeromy” as he ended the run from his house to His home, he disappeared quickly into the silver doors. I shouted back from the sidewalk, Father, Father, FATHER! He came back out as I kept walking to meet him at the rail. I asked for a favor – a quick confession outside so that I could skip the line surely already assembled.  I could see his calculating gaze and knew exactly the variables he might be considering. Am I succinct?

Usually, no, not at all.  In confession though, yeah, I get to it.  At this point, God and I had already worked out the issue, pretty darn obvious to anyone that has been reading here.  Most sins (sorry people, skip a few paragraphs if you need to,) in my heart are washed away in prayer or Mass attendance.  Sometimes though, the big ones need to be made official, just to be sure of my mortal soul.  In Texas, I had met a prospector, achieved highs, met a masseuse, and achieved record lows.  Bad choices, bad choices, bad choices, now forgiven.

For the screenwriter; this scene is basically like a dozen others in any of the Rocky movies.  Father wasn’t in a window, but three feet above me on the concrete stairs, close enough to cup my head in his hand as he assured my absolution. I think Stallone just asked for blessings… but it’s really hard to put a real confession into a movie. He did of course ask for my medical records.. date of the last confession that is. (And I’d already given him a brief catch-up of my activities since the last time I’d seen him, to remind him that he had pointed me that way.

Back home, checked the load (everyone uses packing tape, right?) and made my way carefully to Kroger.  Once there, I found a few carts and started to plan how I would get the seven giant medicine balls into the carts and into the store.  Carefully, I placed two cards side by side, piled the bags, and repurposed some of the tapes. Just about then, two women parked opposite me asked if I needed a hand.  Well, honestly I said, I really want to see if I can do this myself- but even if I can, I don’t want to!  I finished my plan, grabbed the two carts, and was able to walk backward while pulling them both toward the store.

Five feet later and knowing I could do it, I asked for their help. The elder of the two women came over first, then the younger seemed to switch places with her.  We walked side by side as a unit into the store. So nice to have a helping hand, and nice to meet Morgan too.. even if ever so briefly.  Seven bags is a lot of cans, and that takes a lot of time. What I didn’t know is how much of a core workout it would be, especially once I started using two machines side by side to speed the pace.

A few strangers became less so. Rich with his bicycle helmet with just a few cans he’d collected on his ride. Another in and out quickly, then Freddie came in. Keeping my pace, feeding the machines, the rejected cans I set on top so as to not slow me down. As Freddie finished with his own bag of cans, he enquired about the ones that I was setting aside, I replied that those ones I couldn’t get through the machine.  “If you’re just going to leave them there, could I take them?” he asked adding that he’d take them somewhere else to cash them in if he needed to.

Sure, help yourself I said and he did.  A very quiet man, his voice low and soft, almost a whisper that I had to strive to hear. Working away, I’d probably been at it about thirty minutes so far, with two of seven bags done.  He put his last can into the machine, collected his receipt, then just paused and looked at me as I kept stuffing the machines, left side, right side, core left, core right, arm up, arm down. It felt like I was working out, I was working out. Sweat was rolling from my head, my entire core felt- feels- swelled.

Do you want a hand?

Such a timid voice really, I almost didn’t hear it or recognize it, I stopped as soon as I did and turned to see him. We locked eyes and I told him I’d split with him as many as he could stuff in a machine- I needed to get off my feet.  Without a reply other than the gentlest of head nods, he walked over to my pile of yellow bags, took one, and went back to the third bottle/can sucker machine. Thirty minutes later, we were done. I was done. Fifteen off the top for Freddie, and I’ve got net proceeds of ninety-seven dollars and ten cents. Plus a dime I found at Walgreens.


Walking through Kroger I picked up a salad, some dressing, and a couple of steaks – no cart (there is no twine,) I just walked through to get what I needed.  At the checkout, a slight snag there and not noteworthy, out the door to Walgreen to deposit the cash into my Chime account, and back home.  What a day, I am exhausted. I’ve written a bunch today, mostly on Facebook in a few groups I’m in… The Ham Radio group has been up in arms lately about Home Owners’ Associations.  Mostly a lot of good people in that group, there are a few of those keyboard warriors that never seem to have anything nice to say.

Maybe it’s the spare time on my hands, yet writing and promoting truth are things I like to do.. and Facebook needs some truth, some kind loving, and smiling truth… I post a lot in that group and love to debate.  Like yesterday when I won an online argument by default when my opponent fell down the H hole. You know “Don’t you know HOA stands for Hitler Owned Association? I can’t believe you’d agree with Hitler”. Honestly, I don’t know what Hitler’s position was on basic contract laws that HOAs are based on, so I politely asked.

See most people, once they go nuclear do not know how to comprehend a calm and patient person. I am a calm and patient person. My reply was a kind, clarifying question- What were Hitler’s policies in regard to HOAs?

More hanging, more working it side to side, twists, and pull-ups.  Hmm, I think I need to run with this upper body stuff. Okay, enough, I’m tired.

I can run, I can jump.

Oh, so soon I will fly.

Time to rest.

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