TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THREE…no holds barred

“Ok, go as hard as you can. I mean it. Don’t take it easy on me. No holds barred. Give me everything you’ve got”, I remember saying to Greg as I was buckling into my safety gear.

“Are you sure?” he answers back in his quizzical way when he’s not sure if this is a good time to reveal to his spouse, whom he loves and really enjoys getting along with, that she is not the same spring chicken she once was. I could see the wheels turning in that big ol’ brain of his…”We’re having such a good day…If I do what she tells me, who knows what will happen. On the other hand, if I tell her she can’t do the same things she used to do she might turn into mean Angie Beth. No one likes that version.”

“Go on, I can handle it” I assured him.

I was reminded of those famous last words I spoke 4.5 years ago at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. I demanded my husband spin me in one of those shuttle simulators where you put on a seatbelt of sorts and hold all your limbs tight to your body, in order to experience centrifugal force. The tighter you hold your limbs to your center, the faster you’ll go. Pushing your arms away from your body and raising your head, slows you down. And when I say “pushing” your arms away, that’s exactly what it is. The faster your going the harder it is to move your arms. I’m not underestimating my reader. I’m merely attempting to set the stage for the events that followed that fateful day.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

While I was spinning, I felt like I did when my cousin Hal used to swing me in circles by my wrist in my grandparents yard. I couldn’t stop laughing. Just like being spun in my grandparents yard, the experience was exhilarating.

Finally when the spinning began to wind down, I unbuckled and climbed, or more to the point, fell out of the simulator. I was unable to walk in a straight line for an hour. Oh hell, who am I kidding, between the shuttle simulator and kerosene heater back in the day, I’m still waiting for my brain cells to return. Fingers crossed on that one folks.

Immediately following, I had to sit down and rate my up-chuck factor, which If I remember correctly, was on a sliding scale in the 80th percentile range. The high-end of the 80th percentile range.

The longer I sat, the more the world around me started spinning. “I need to get up and walk around” I said to Greg. I quickly found that wasn’t the solution either. Panic was setting in, “What if this spinning and unsteady feeling doesn’t go away?” I thought. I needed it to stop right then and there or I was going to have a full-on panic attack.

Luckily, we were nearing the end of our visit to the museum. I attempted to walk myself to our car but five steps in, immediately stopped to steady myself against a garbage can. At this point I recalled a few flashbacks to my college years.

I was feeling a bit left of center for a good three weeks, if you know what I mean. I say “left of center” because my world really was gravitating towards the left side of my body and eventually turning into a full on spin.

I have since recovered from that experience but occasionally I come back to it when I randomly pass trash cans in parking garages or when I stand up too fast on an empty stomach.

It also reminded me of the time Abby began her acrobatic phase. All of the sudden busting out into hand stands and cartwheels  at random moments became the norm.

And somewhere down deep inside, I just knew I could still do it. So the only thing to do in that particular moment was to just go for it. Did it matter I hadn’t done anything remotely acrobatic in a decade? I laugh in your face and loudly proclaim, “it’s all about muscle memory”…right? How about warming up the old brittle muscles for my first attempt at acrobatics in a decade? Yet another dubious question worthy of a spat in the face. I want everyone to know, I did neither. No you pussies. I put my all into it. Go big or go home, Right? I went outside in the comfort of our back patio and attempted my first ever handstand in over a decade. Against our concrete constructed home. With our concrete floor. Even though there was ample grass space in our back yard, I chose to do everything on the concrete floor.

Suffice it to say I had a wee bit of trouble the rest of the day.

Naturally, I needed yet another reminder just this week, that I am no spring chicken.

My mother-in-law bought the girls a trampoline almost a year ago. I always wanted a trampoline growing up. So naturally, I get on it every now and then with Cecilia.

I’ve been too busy with life to make it a regular occurrence but every now and then I’ll knock myself out with some of my impressive tricks. Like the other day when Greg took Abby and Phoebe to the movies leaving Cecilia and I behind so she could get a nap in. Before I put her down, I thought to myself, “I should let her get her wiggles out and spend some energy. It was a gorgeous day…the sun was shining, it was only 58 degrees, “Perfect”, I thought, “this will give me a chance to perfect my old school acrobatic skills. I’m going to tear that trampoline up!”

Cecilia only had to ask me once to, “Get on Mommy!” At that moment, I thought, “If I do something completely amazing like I think I probably will, there won’t be anyone here to acknowledge it.” On the flip side, the thought of getting hurt briefly entered my mind and then was immediately dismissed with delusions of grandure.

I won’t go into specifics, but rest assured, my “tumbling career” is in fact, over. Not because I hurt myself, although I did do that, but the grace with which I fly through the air is just gone. If there were any doubts on my part, I completely eradicated them on that fateful day.

Well just as in my centrifugal force experience, my attempt at hand stands, back-end, cartwheels, and now jumping on the trampoline in my middle years, I can now add shoulder tweak to my growing list of physical complaints. I fell victim to the whole 5 minutes of bravery and gave it my all. I honestly hope my neighbors were out and about or at the very least, nowhere near their windows. I can’t imagine what I must have looked like. I half expect to find myself on YouTube making a complete fool of myself.

This can’t really be my stopping point can it? Am I really never going to do another cart-wheel again? I used to be pretty good at hand stands and backbend. I wonder if I started taking yoga to improve my flexibility and balance…if in six months time, I would be able to slowly ease into my old tricks. I know Yoga is a great way to warm up the body. I could do Yoga. It’s only an hour or so. Is now a good time to acknowledge my intense dislike for “calm talking” and someone telling me to “breathe through the pain”.

Thats ok. As far as I’m concerned, I have plenty of other interests I can involve myself in without causing any physical harm. Unless I accidentally stab myself in the eye with a knitting needle. Rest assured, if something that horrific were to happen, it would be in the spirit of “balls to the wall”. There’s no “half-assing” going on over here friends. We just don’t do things half heartedly at our house. The Spranger’s a more of the “no holds barred” philosophy.