My Gym Rat


This week contains my last few “normal” days before I begin terrorizing the citizens of St. Louis every single night,[1] which means I’m spending whatever little bits of time I can with Husband—cuddling, sitting with him while he finally watches Mindhunter,[2] and taking care of some projects we foolishly put off until the least convenient season.


Yes, I really want to tell you about one of them, but I can’t.  It’s too big (and not at a shareable stage yet).  We’ll get there, I promise.


But my altered schedule makes my nightly call with Offspring easier; most nights I just call him when I’m on my way home to wash the blood out of my hair.[3]

(Ready or Not) Bride in torn, burned, bloody wedding dress, covered in blood spatter, hair matted with blood and grit, giggles.



OFFSPRING:  Welp, I’m gonna go hit the gym.
ME:  Again?  You just went!
OFFSPRING:  … That was yesterday.
ME:  I said!
OFFSPRING:  (patiently)  Yesterday was leg day.  Today is chest and—
ME:  Ugh, don’t be that guy.
OFFSPRING:  What guy?  Strong guy?  Bigger guy?  Healthy guy?
ME:  Are you stronger?
ME:  Healthy?
ME:  Then you’re fine.  Take a break.  Eat some bread.
OFFSPRING:  (huffs)  I just want to look strong.  There’s nothing wrong with that!
ME:  Unless you’re auditioning for Jersey Shore.
ME:  Be sure to oil up real nice—I hear they like that.
OFFSPRING:  I’m not—
ME:  Don’t forget to spray tan!
ME:  … What?
OFFSPRING:  … Nothing.
ME:  What did you say?
OFFSPRING:  Nothing.  I said nothing and I wear my sunscreen every day.
ME:  Because if you give my baby cancer I will straight murder you.
OFFSPRING:  Wait… you’re threatening me if I—
ME:  Yesssssss.

(Fantastic Mr. Fox) Felicity Fox, hands on hips, confronts her husband (Mr. Fox) and his Badger friend looking suspicious in black skull caps; with narrow disapproving eyes she announces, "If what I think is happening is happening... it better not be."


And—for now, at least—Husband is staying up to participate in The Call on my nights off, so we still get the occasional “real” family conversation thrown in.


Or, at least, our version of it.

wooden sign reads: Normal around here is just a setting on the dryer


OFFSPRING:  Seriously.  All night long.  One call after the other.  “What?!  You can’t open a port?!  Just do your damn job!”  Yes, I can do my job—I can do all sorts of things but what I can’t do is the thing I asked you to do which is CHECK THAT IT’S ACTUALLY PLUGGED IN BECAUSE I CAN SEE FROM HERE THAT IT’S FUCKING NOT.
ME:  How’s that combat pay working out for you?
OFFSPRING:  (sighs)  So not worth it.
ME:  Told you.
OFFSPRING:  And you know who’s the actual worst?  Human Resources.
ME:  (ripping into box)  Usually the case.
OFFSPRING:  They’re literally only here so the officers can give themselves even more awards and promotions, but they call me up with their bullshit about how they need this printer to be Mission Effective—
ME:  (pauses, holding knife)  Okay, I’m going to need you to stop using that phrase—
OFFSPRING:  That’s what they say!
ME:  … and I’m especially going to need you stop applying the phrase “mission effective” to office equipment if you expect me to take you—or the US Army—seriously ever again.
OFFSPRING:  It’s what—
ME:  I just can’t.  I’m sorry.  (mocking)  I need these paperclips to be mission effective, STAT!
HUSBAND:  (laughs quietly)
OFFSPRING:  What’s worse is I’ll ask them if there’s another printer in the room.  “No!”  Okay… can you see another printer from where you are?  “Yeah, but it’s way over there!”
ME:  Okay, if you can see another printer from where you are, use that one, dumbass!
HUSBAND:  The correct term is “adapt.”
ME:  Your dad says when they whine about their “mission effective” office supply bullshit you should just say “Adapt” and hang up.
OFFSPRING:  (chuckles)
ME:  Probably want to stop giving your when you answer the phone if you’re gonna do that, though.



Ooh, that reminds me!

My desk, showing new laptop, vertical monitor, and snake  plant named Monty.

Plant and sexy chair are from Ikea.


One thing we got done around here—finally—was buying and setting up my new laptop (the old one rudely crapped out while I was traveling, which… I mean, where’s the loyalty?) and I have to tell you, the fact that literally everything I do is a billion times faster has already reduced my stress levels.  Better living through technology!


The monitor is another improvement along the same lines, and I highly recommend it to all writers, artists… actually, everyone.  Try it.  Go drag out a spare monitor[4] and flip it, so you have both orientation options in front of you.  Tell me your life isn’t better with a vertical workspace.[5]


Then thank me for fixing a problem you didn’t even know you had.



OFFSPRING:  What’s going on?
ME:  Oh, we’re trying to set up my monitor to be wireless—
OFFSPRING:  Why do you need a wireless monitor?
ME:  Because I’m a spoiled fucking princess and I want to be able to sit across the room on a comfy couch with my laptop and lounge and still be able to see my genius words projected on the giant fucking monitor on my desk.
OFFSPRING:  … Oh-kaaay.  So what’s wrong?
ME:  (frustrated sound)  It’s not connecting.
OFFSPRING:  Well, ma’am, it sounds like what you have there is a help desk problem.  I’m just the network guy, so I’m gonna—
ME:  You asked, gym rat!
OFFSPRING:  There’s nothing else to do!
ME:  Have you considered lying quietly on your bunk and reading a book?
ME:  (sniffs)  I’m so proud of you.

Andrea Barber smiling, says "I couldn't be prouder"






[1] I mean, not for money, anyway.

[2] Which, if you want to get technical, also involves cuddling. And a lot of me saying, “okay, pause. Please tell me you know who this is.” (He never does.)

[3] Speaking of which: if you came away from a haunted house in St Louis slightly damp, that was me and I’m not sorry—it’s funny as hell. If you’re That Karen who stood there and complained for five solid minutes, holding up the flow of traffic while she complained about three drops of water on the top of her head, please know that we still talk about you and wonder how much you pay your friends to put up with your shit.

[4] Oh, like you don’t have a couple laying around?

[5] Don’t. I’ll know you’re lying.

3 comments on “My Gym Rat

  1. Rivergirl says:

    Being The network guy is frustrating g enough, but being the network guy in combat? I’m sorry, it sounds hilarious. And more importantly… far enough away from random IEDs to let mom breathe a little easier. Mission effective printers. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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