What does the last of the housewives do?

Category: the Schoolgirl Figure

And I Thought the Boot was Bad

You thought you’d be reading more about the Thermomix today didn’t you. I did make a very exciting breakfast in it, but the rush and swirl of my life means that that is yesterday’s news. My friends, capricious Fate, or rather an apologetic young doctor, has put me in plaster from my fuschia toenails to my knobbly knee. Yes, it’s the skiing injury still. Apparently my foot has decided to cope with its ongoing inflammation by putting a great deal of pressure on the bone at the top of my arch, resulting in the precursor to a stress fracture. The only treatment is to immobilise the foot completely and it isn’t even allowed to touch the ground. Which means I’m on crutches for six weeks.

I can drive. It’s a waterproof cast, so I can shower standing on one leg, and I can swim. That will be interesting, but it’s the only exercise option left to me apart from lifting weights. Although having been on crutches now for three hours, the no exercise might not be such a problem, it’s quite exhausting using crutches, even more so if you decide bugger it, I’m hopping. I’m going to end up with a giant left buttock. I can feel it developing already.

The first crushing realisation was that I’m not going to be able to get a takeaway coffee for six weeks, because I won’t have any hands free. I suppose being forced to sit at a cafe isn’t so bad. Then, how am I going to hang out the washing? The girls at the cafe helpfully pointed out that I could put the wet washing in a bag and sling it over my back, so that’s sorted. Shopping will be problematic. I’m pretty sure if I can find a park up on Ramsay Street, Frank will take my fruit to the car, and perhaps I can wait until the kids get home to unload it. I am not not not going to use Coles Online because they suck more than I can bear to think about. I used to use them when the Horror was little and not fit for public consumption, and they’d always bring me stuff that was close to or at expiry, and the order was never complete.

I can cook, so that’s a relief. I had already organised my baking corner so that almost everything is to hand and if I hop over and open the oven first, getting a baking tray in there only requires one hop. I have the oven door open right now letting some biscotti cool down before I attempt to hop anywhere with it. My husband had put in an order for five days worth of morning tea, because he’ll be away all next week reorganising the Army, and the Army vastly prefer my baking to the officially endorsed Arnotts Assorted Creams. I’d hate to let down the Army.

Yes, that’s right, I’m on my own all next week. That means my dear children will have to make themselves very useful indeed or risk getting poked with the crutches. By the time the husband gets back I should have developed some upper back and buttock musculature, some coping mechanisms that don’t involve too much alcohol and should be complaining less so it’s probably best for our marriage that he’s away.

Of course the hardest thing will be accepting help. I had to start almost before the plaster was dry, because my car was parked down a set of stairs from my doctor. A very kind lady offered to take my handbag and crutches while I swung myself down the stairs by the banisters and it really was a lot quicker than doing it myself. My first instinct is to bark “I’m fine!”, but I’m not. Hopefully I will be soon, the plaster is due to come off the Friday before the Verdi at the Town Hall, of which more later, and hopefully all my bits will be behaving themselves and will be allowed to be free.

And look! It’s denim blue! I have a bit of an urge to bedazzle it.



I’m not surprised the Australian swim team were taking drugs, swimming laps is very very tedious.

I have a lot of reasons not to swim for exercise. My hairdresser doesn’t approve, for a start. He can tell if I’ve swum in the previous week, he’s more a hair whisperer than hair dresser, and has given me a whole system for protecting my hair against the evils of swimming pools. I have trouble not thinking about all those bodies in the water, all the oozings and flamingos goddamn you auto correct, not flamingos, flakings. It’s all very erky. Also I have a gym membership, so it hurts a little to scoop six dollars fifty out of the bottom of my handbag for non gym exercise.

But I’m STILL not allowed to walk for exercise, and running is so far out of the question that my sport doctor just gives a hollow laugh when I mention it. I like my pump classes and cycle classes, but they’re on at nine thirty and this morning I was child free at seven forty five ante meridian with a well equipped indoor Olympic pool right around the corner. It was like fate.

Because it’s so very tedious I break it up into five lap chunks. A freestyle, a backstroke, a freestyle, a backstroke and then a reward lap of breaststroke. I don’t know how anyone does all freestyle, it’s bad enough my way. And because it takes a bit of psyching up on my part to not only get to the pool, but to get in as well, I like to spend a bit of time there. I do thirty laps. I spend a lot of that time pondering the peculiarities of lap swimmers.

I don’t get flippers at all. If you’re swimming for exercise, why do you need flippers? Why why why? Probably half the swimmers today were using them, and not for stroke correction or anything, just to go a bit faster. It’s like putting a motor on your bicycle, fine if you’re trying to get somewhere but useless for exercise purpose. I’ll never get up the courage to ask someone, so if you know, tell me.
Then there’s the age old conundrum of the slow, medium and fast lanes. This pool has suggested lap times for each lane. I don’t know about you, but my vision is just good enough to kind of work out vaguely what time it is from the clock on the wall, I have no way of knowing how fast I swim a lap. I think to be in the fast lane you need to be wearing a swimming cap, but apart from that it would seem that all bets are off. I go in the medium lane, if you’re interested.
Is there a name for that stroke where you lie on your back and kind of do a breaststroke kick with you feet?
Isn’t lap swimming in a bikini uncomfortable?
Is there really any point overtaking me if you’re going to hit the wall at the same time as me?
Do you really need to keep hydrated with your fancy water bottle every few laps?
Don’t get me started on aquarobics, fortunately I was done before that started this morning.

Anyway, I’m glad that I did it, even though now I can’t lift my arms above my rib cage and I smell like I’ve been bleached. I should do it more often. But not often enough to buy a pass.

My New Summer Accessory

There are many joys to getting older, your children need less picking up, you’re more comfortable in your skin, you saw Tom Baker’s Dr Who episodes as they were freshly minted, you are more able to express irritation to those in need of correcting. One of the less appealing aspects is the slow degradation of your body. This year I’ve twisted my knee, hurt my back and been banned from running by three different health professionals. And now, to cap it all off, there’s the Sprained Ankle.

Once upon a time if I had careened down a snow covered hill and attempted an elegant stop beside my prostrate husband I a) would possibly have actually stopped or b) if I had cartwheeled over him I’d be able to leap up with a merry laugh and been on my way. Not so for this over forty mother of three. Months of physio followed, including some stuff that included standing on one foot on a cushion throwing a rubber ball at a cupboard door and occasionally falling over that I’m pretty sure my physio invented purely to amuse herself and possibly put on YouTube.

Four months later it’s still swollen and painful. That means X-rays and MRI scans and an escalation to a sports doctor. One of the other peculiar things about aging is that medical professionals get younger. This one I’ve drawn has just done his Achilles playing footy, so understands my angst about not being able to exercise – I’ve put a lot of work into getting fit – and is a serious young man with a straight brow that rests gently on his eyelashes. His great idea, after quite a lot of muttering over my scans and pointing out all the white bits, is to plunge five millilitres of cortisone into my ankle joint with an enormous hypodermic needle and to confine me to an ankle brace for one month. In case you think that’s something petite involving whalebone and a touch of French lace, here’s a picture

I’m to wear it continuously except for sleeping, showering, swimming and spin class. And, presumably, except for washing it, though perhaps wearing it in the shower might take care of that. I have to go down steps sideways. I’m looking enviously at elderly ladies zooming past on their Zimmer frames. If you see me soon without a glass of champagne in my hand, please procure one for me immediately, it’s going to be a tough month.

The Schoolgirl Figure

Another thing us housewives do is put a bit of effort into maintaining the schoolgirl figure.  There are various means of doing this, pills that you get from clicking on a Facebook ad, eating disorders, diets you find in magazines.  My preferred method is to eat sensibly and get regular exercise.  I know it sounds crazy, but it seems to be working for me.

Last school holidays we went on the family ski trip.  On the second last day, with the sun shining and everyone feeling like they were a pretty fantastic skiier, we took the Moose down a black run.  My husband recklessly turned his head on the way down to see how he was doing and took a fairly predictable tumble. I attempted to stop gracefully beside him, but failed.  Instead I cartwheeled over the top of him and, to cut a long story short, sprained my ankle.  This has cut out quite a large part of my regular exercise, as I still can’t walk very far without it swelling up.  All that is left to me is cycle class.

There are three cycle class instructors at my gym.  The first is enthusiastic, but uninspiring.  I mainly do his class to marvel at the amount he sweats.  I feel that they should put a tarpaulin underneath him so they can reconstitute him afterwards.  The second is a hyperfit woman in her fifties, all zip and gristle and black eyeliner.  I very much enjoy her classes, but the best of all is Dmitri.  I did Dmitri’s class today.  He’s the kind of short, stocky Mediterranean type that I’d always have a crush on in high school.  It’s not that which makes his class the best, in fact I’m not really sure what it is.  All I know is that it is in Dmitri’s class that I’ve come closest to vomiting like they do on the Biggest Loser.  I probably shouldn’t have mentioned this to the young lady next to me, as she kept shooting me startled looks every time I coughed.  There’s a lot of sprinting sitting down and sprinting standing up, and giving it one hundred percent, and it seems to be over fairly quickly and I’m never quite sure that I’m not going to sink quivering to the ground after dismounting.  He manages to run the entire class without once saying “woohoo”.  The real measure of his class is that when I go out into the carpark, I can’t remember where I’ve parked.  And when I do find the car, I attempt to open it with my gym card.