Smack talking has landed me in trouble before. Any member of my family will confirm this truth. I’ve learned many life lessons, cutting the smack being one of them, but sometimes my good intentions override reason.

Meet my training partner Alice, and Haley our trainer. Alice and I classify as fitness wannabes. Haley is the real deal.

Haley, me, Alice, Jenny

Haley, me, Alice, Jenny

Alice and I burned rubber on the treadmills talking intermittently with oxygen’s permission. I relived a training session Alice missed the prior week emphasizing my introduction to hanging sit-ups. (That’s an oxymoron, right?) Haley directed me to the hanging contraption and I balked. I seriously thought she had me confused with a fit person and told her so.

Did you know when you say the word ‘can’t’ it literally makes you physically weaker? My attitude shamed me. I decided to always do whatever Haley asks of me.

Alice and I continued our conversation about positive self-talk, can-do attitudes, and teaching this to our children. The clock spun to our turn to train. Positivity oozed from my spirit. I could to do anything — twice!

“Haley, I’m ready! Bring it!” I boasted. “Do you think you can ask me to do something I can’t do?”

“Um, yes,” she said confidently, or perhaps sarcastically. Hard to tell.

“What!?! There’s nothing I can’t do! Wanna see me bust out some pull-ups right now?”

Fellow gym member, Jenny jumped in with, “I’d like to see that.”

My bravado disappeared. I confided to Jenny my goal to someday complete one unassisted pull-up. Meanwhile Haley diligently rearranged equipment installing a band across two weighted pulley systems underneath a pull-up bar. My big mouth just created pull-up day.

This looks suspiciously like Haley is working harder than me. Hmmmmm

This looks suspiciously like Haley is working harder than me. Hmmmmm

The innocent victim of my overzealous can-do spirit, Alice, shot me a quick glare expressing ‘please shut up and what have you gotten me into’ all in one look. Only the closest of friends can interpret a look so swiftly and accurately. Poor Alice. I’m sorry.

Committed to doing anything Haley asked of me, I pulled with all my might against gravity and an extra twenty-five pounds. With a generous amount of assistance from the band under my feet and Haley pushing from my shoulders, I completed twenty-four pull-ups! Halfway through our workout I staggered in a daze, Alice kneeled limp on a mat, and we both cursed my big mouth.

The cursing of my big mouth continued two days later when straightening my arm, combing my hair, or fastening a necklace resulted in winces of pain. I hobbled into my training appointment. Haley hid her giggles behind a sly smile, but showed mercy with a series of leg and abdominal exercises.

Sore, but healing, that afternoon I got a bee in my bonnet to trim the tree. The one on the corner engulfing the street sign in swaying leaves. My right arm burned as I carried the ladder over my shoulder. My left arm shouted its aversion to straightening while carrying the pruning tool. Dozens of overhead cuts revealed the street sign and even views of oncoming traffic. I allowed myself a moment of pride in a job well-done and rested my arms a bit before punishing the left with the ladder and the right with the tool on the walk back. Only the anticipation of relief carried me the last few yards to my garage. Burning arms screamed with pain.

See that street sign behind Clint's head? Only because I trimmed the tree. Here to serve, people. I'm here to serve.

See that street sign behind Clint’s head? Only because I trimmed the tree. Here to serve, people. I’m here to serve.

Within the hour my biceps began to swell. Mock body builder posses were fun for a second. An evening of great discomfort followed. Swelling decreases after resting all night, right? Not these guns. No, they woke up laughing at the sleeveless dress I planned to wear Easter Sunday.

Panic. I implemented RICE.


Remember RICE for all of your sports injuries.

Remember RICE for all of your sports injuries.

Rest. Resting after just waking up seemed unnatural.

Ice. Digging through the freezer produced a stretchy, reusable ice wrap. If only I could hold it in place and stretch the bungee material enough to qualify for compression. Chin working with opposite good-for-nothing arm produced undesirable results. Compression garments! I think I bought something like that on clearance once. I managed to pull the unseasonably warm turtleneck over my head. It sure was stretchy. Does stretchy qualify as compression? I pulled the sleeves up high to take advantage of the tapered seam. Fabric bunched around my shoulders and armpits. I declared my biceps adequately compressed, but I could really use a second ice pack. My neighbor Kellie has experienced every injury known to mankind and may have invented a few. A quick text later I was well stocked with ice wraps.

Elevate. Reaching overhead was awkward, unproductive, and caused a little weird dizziness. I decided Elevate should keep Rest company.

Set for the day.

Aaaannnnddd the next day.

The Easter dress I planned to wear.

The Easter dress I planned to wear.

The puffy-sleeved blouse I actually wore.

The puffy-sleeved blouse I actually wore.

Easter morning my worried husband insisted I seek medical intervention on Monday. No way! Imagine the embarrassment. To appease him, I agreed, only because I had no doubt normalcy would return. Besides, Dr. Trigler was coming over for Easter dinner and I could get a quick consult with him, never mind that he’s a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Monday morning revealed still braggadocios biceps! Horror. I negotiated out of a trip to doc-in-the-box by stretching the measuring tape to show a half-inch decrease from the previous expansion of two-and-a-half inches – on each arm.

I awoke Tuesday to passable arms (finally), a better mix of can-do spirit and humility, and a lingering goal to complete one unassisted pull-up . . . some day.


Yesterday’s ice storm took care of the tree trimming. I love nature.IceDamage2