Song: UFO (Van She Tech Remix) by Sneaky Sound System (This is on my Ultimate 2011 Workout Mix — get it now!)
In an effort to make 2011 even more awesome, I’m going to commit to two things I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
1. I’m going to (really) start doing volunteer work on a regular basis.
Over the years, my attempts at volunteer work have not gone well.
First, I volunteered with a large animal shelter in Chicago. This was at a time in life when I thought I might want to become a veterinarian one day. (I know, right? Had I met myself?) I’ve told you about this before, but It was a bad sign when I was completely traumatized by the training program. (I’ve never denied being a special, delicate flower.) In my defense, the training program involved watching a video of animals being euthanized. I’m not even kidding. It also included really stupid people, like a guy who said he had his dog impregnated so his kids could witness the miracle of birth (and I guess later the miracle of death when the puppies didn’t find homes) or the woman who didn’t want her cat because he didn’t match her new couch. I only made it through the video by not actually looking at the screen. I went home and cried for hours.
I soldiered on, though, and returned to fulfill my volunteer duties in their veterinary clinic. The first day, I had to take a cat to the euthanasia room. I never went back.
Not learning my lesson, several years later I volunteered at an animal shelter in Oak Park. This time, I didn’t have to stare into the abyss of animal death, which was good. Eventually, though, I fell in love with a cat, as I am wont to do. She was older than most of the cats and painfully shy. I figured it was unlikely anybody would want the old, shy cat who hides all the time, so I would adopt her. Unfortunately, due to Oak Park’s draconian laws, I was prohibited from having more than two cats in a condominium unit and I already had two cats; therefore, I could not adopt the old, shy cat. So, I did what any crazy cat lady in training would do. I devised an elaborate kitty-laundering scheme, whereby a friend adopted the cat, employing a vast network of strip clubs and waste-removal businesses, and gave her to me. I then realized that the longer I volunteered with cats, the more cats I would have and, therefore, I should stop volunteering with cats. (I later discovered that the cats find you, anyway, but that’s not relevant to this story.)
I also attempted sorority volunteer work (tragic) and feeding and caring for a feral cat colony (involves cats) (duh). I looked into becoming a court-appointed special advocate for children (required a very large time commitment). I thought about inventing my own charitable organization/radical plan for world improvement (started strong but fizzled out) (ADHD).
Here in 2011, I have a dream about putting these failures behind me and finally becoming a productive, volunteering member of our society so I can make the world a better place (gosh darn it) and be a good example for my son when he’s old enough to know what a good example is (which, based on my track record, requires starting now so by the time he’s old enough to know what a good example is I’ve maybe found something I’ll stick with for more than a minute). I have a plan that doesn’t involve cats, potential tragedy, a very large time commitment, or an unusually strong work ethic. I’ll provide an update within the next month (I’m afraid too many details now would doom me to failure).
2. I’m going to run a half marathon (probably this one).
I’m a terrible runner. I’m embarrassingly slow. Sometimes after running, I feel sick (it’s usually not the runner’s trots — it feels like food poisoning but just disappears after, at most, a few hours). Still, I can’t give it up, so I figure I might as well make it a real challenge.
I’m going to do a modified version of this training program, which I’ll post here as soon as I put it together. It will be longer than 12 weeks and will take into account my workout preferences (for example, I don’t do cardio/running on the same day as weights). I also plan to do most of my training on the treadmill, because I really like running on the treadmill better than running outside (I’m weird). My “long” runs now are 5 miles, so I have a lot of distance to conquer, but it’ll be fun (or at least good for me). My only goals are to run the whole time and finish.
I think Ben’s going to do it, too. It’s just too bad we can’t find a half marathon we can run with a stroller, so Soren won’t be able to come with us. (One race said babies can ride in backpacks for free. Oh yeah! I want to carry 30 pounds of child while running 13.1 miles! Yeah! Maybe if this were the Amazing Race!)
Why am I telling you this? Not because it’s remotely interesting, obviously. I’m telling you this because, by putting it out there, I’m going to look like (more of) an asshole (than usual) if I flake. You’re keeping me accountable, internet.
What are you doing to increase the awesome in 2011?