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Insomniaville -- All the Stuff that Keeps Me Up At Night

1/6 -- This is Not a Resolution.

I just hate this time of year.

If Christmas-haters hate the holiday season, I hate January 2 even more. No more parties -- birthday, Christmas, New Year's, or otherwise. No more days off work. No more Starbucks eggnog lattes. No more lights and decorations.

Blech. No fun. No fun at all.

Our office building whisks Christmas out of sight right on January 2 (or whenever the building re-opens after New Year's). I walked in on Tuesday past the big wreath over the security desk and the festive tree in the corner. When I left for the day, they were gone.

There are still some stragglers in our neighborhood with their light displays up, but other than that it's just another month. A rather gray and depressing one this time out, too.

We did get one last gasp of Christmas on Thursday morning, when I stayed home from work (so much for the "no more days off") to wait for our treadmill to be delivered. Getting ready for the treadmill took us most of the week, which is why I've been a slacker about updating. We wanted it in our living room in close proximity to the stereo and the TV, and that meant some serious putting-away, cleaning, and furniture-moving. As I told my notify list, put two packrats who rarely throw things out (or put them away) into a relatively small apartment, and then watch the fun when they buy a big treadmill. Getting the place ready was a workout in and of itself.

To my complete surprise, the delivery was as easy as the purchase had been. (Bill did a lot of online research on treadmills, we picked out the best-sounding one for our purposes and finances, went to the store in McLean, and said "We want that one." And the store guy said "Okay.") Aside from a brief spat between the two delivery guys over which one of them had a screwdriver they needed to assemble the thing, all was well.

And so far I like it. It isn't terribly noisy, although it makes a satisfying "thump" when we're walking intensively. Ordinarily I'd worry about disturbing the neighbors, but the disgusting hogs living below us have taken to blaring their stereo early in the morning. Even on weekends. Especially on weekends. I guess if they can't lounge around on the lawn drinking out of paper bags with their shirts off and their flabby man-boobs hanging out in 25-degree weather, they've got to find some other way to piss us off. I hope the treadmill sound is really, really annoying downstairs.

And although two miles per hour doesn't sound like much, try punching it up on the treadmill when you're utterly out of shape. I had to grab the side rails to keep from flying off and leaving a cartoon-style Nicole-shaped hole in the wall.

So now we're both doing our level best to become "exercise people." I've got this irritating voice in my head that keeps taunting me with "Yeah, right -- what makes you think this is going to turn out differently from all the other times you've tried this?" I keep telling the Inner Cynic to piss off. I'm trying to ease in as slowly as possible, rather than using the kamikaze exercise approach that's doomed me in the past. ("Sure. I can get on this stationary bicycle and do two hours after not working out for two years! This workout thing is gonna be a piece of cake! Mmmm ... cake ...")

Exercising more is not a New Year's resolution. To me, "New Year's resolution" is synonymous with "Something you do for a month at most and then let slide." I'm determined to not let this slide this time.

In other news, Bill and I have been congratulating ourselves all day long for using an online service to purchase groceries from Giant, a local chain grocery that's got good brands but a horrendously annoying store in our neighborhood. We shop more often at Trader Joe's, but I do get tired of their house brands after a while.

We were somewhat skeptical that everything would go as planned, but today a Peapod employee showed up at our door even earlier than the delivery time we'd selected (he'd called ahead to ask me if this was okay). And our order was exactly right.

Wow. No crowded supermarket. No idiots running into you with their carts. No doofi leaving their carts in the middle of the aisle. No screaming kids. No checkout employees moving at the speed of snails. No hauling cat litter and water up the stairs. Bill and I put the groceries away and strutted around as if we'd actually accomplished something incredible.

This afternoon, we braved a movie theater crowded with everyone else in the entire world in order to catch "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" After the godawful "The Big Lebowski," my faith in the Coen Brothers was a little shaken, but they've redeemed themselves. The movie's very much in the vein of "Raising Arizona," my favorite Coen film. (Except that it's based on the Odyssey, something I studied in both high school and college and have managed to almost completely forget in the intervening years. And I'm probably going to have to reread it now just to say "Oh yeah, that's who that guy was supposed to be." Dammit.)

It's not one of their deeper films and it isn't their best film, but it made me laugh my ass off. And anything that makes me laugh my ass off in this dreariest of months is a good thing.

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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January 2000