Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt Poynette, WI
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You wouldn’t know it, but we have a barn.

You wouldn’t know it, but we have a barn.
March 11, 2010 Mary Jo

I joined a health club on Sunday.

The brochure said they’ve got a great outdoor program, featuring a nice combination of cardio and strength training.  The facility consists of an overgrown pasture, choking in grapevines and buckthorn, and the foundation of a turn-of-the-century barn.  They cited some upcoming improvements that sounded pretty promising – there was a rehabilitation project in the early planning stages and they were also looking to bring in some sheep and day-old chicks to instruct a few classes.  Looks like there’s a really popular Fence Building class coming up and also the Build a Chick Brooder seminar, which is all the rage these days at neighboring health clubs.  Intriguing, I thought, and the price was right.  So I joined.  The prerequisites for membership were a tad strange, requiring a tetanus shot, steel toe boots, and leather work gloves.  I understood the tetanus part the moment I stepped on a rusty old nail in my very first workout.

I’ve been attending the Barn Cleanup Class, which is conveniently timed during Errol’s morning nap.  In the class, I’ve been working all manner of muscle groups, lifting barn board weights, balancing on the intermittently-placed patches of ice, filling and pushing a wheelbarrow.  I was pleased to learn that they play some kind of exotic, nature-based satellite radio station out there – lots of crane calls, (they’re BACK!) rooster crows and other miscellaneous bird chatter, and a persistent drip-drop of snow melting from above, setting the pace like a metronome.  The ventilation is great – plenty of fresh air, even some sunshine as weather permits.

Even Andrew stopped by to try out the new Chainsaw Cardio class, where he set about clearing out all of the brush strangling the barn entrances.  He seemed pleased with the workout.  I think he may officially join this weekend.

Overall, I’ve been entirely pleased with my membership with one minor exception.  If you’re also thinking of joining, I’d recommend you start slow.  You’d also do well to avoid the blonde trainer they have.  I forget her name, but she’s the one with the crazy look in her eye and no regard for limitations of time and power.  She instructed me on a Trailer Loading and Hauling exercise and I’m embarrassed to say that it was a total debacle.  Oh, it sounded so great as we began – I could tell Andrew later that I had single-handedly loaded and hauled away an entire trailer load of barn junk.  Indeed, the loading part was easy.  But the lane proved too muddy and slick, the trailer too heavy for the conditions, and the van too tired make it happen.  I laid down ashes for traction, placed grapevines and other detritus under the wheels to try to make it up the hill, but nothing could keep those tires from spinning.  Meanwhile, from the safe and cozy confines of the carseats, Isadora led an ongoing refrain of “We’re stuck! We’ll never make it!” while Errol wailed.  I grew worried about getting the van itself stuck in the mess, rendering me homebound until help arrived, so I unhitched the trailer and slowly wiggled the van up the gentle incline.  At some point of this back-and-forth, easy-does-it process, I managed to run over the trailer hitch.  Instead of the “Hey! Guess what I did today!” phone call I had hoped to make, boasting of my exploits, I instead had to make a “Hey.  Had a little adventure today…” humbling phone call.

I’m seriously thinking about reporting that trainer to management.

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