Monday, August 15, 2005

Sluggardry and comedy

I haven’t been to the gym for two weeks.It’s been a busy time. My old job ended two weeks ago, and I had a week’s holiday during which the D. B. came to stay for four days. He’s been under a lot of pressure lately, as the final month of his Master’s project is approaching and he’s been working far too hard (as is his wont). Just before he came up, he was convinced he shouldn’t be taking any time off at all, soI was a bit worried that he wouldn’t be able to relax (indeed, I was slightly worried he wouldn’t come). However, we had a great time: the Edinburgh Festival is on at the moment and we went to see The Odd Couple with Bill Bailey and Alan Davies – which was very, very funny, despite a rather wandering accent (New York by way of Essex and quite possibly Australia) from Mr Davies. We also saw the Improverts comedy team who are always splendid. They improvise sketches based on audience suggestions. Whatever they are. Anyone who can improvise a musical, complete with songs, about a light that won’t turn off is a genius in my book.

The rest of the week was mostly taken up with doing weddingy things, like booking a car and trying on dresses. Shamefully, as I had to admit at the beginning of this blogging thing, some of the reason I'm trying to shed some of myself is to look good in said dress. I know pretty much what I want: I’ve seen it in a magazine but it costs £1,400. Even if I could countenance it for a dress I'll wear once, we DO NOT have that kind of money to spend on it.

I’ve tried before to blog about trying on wedding dresses, but have found it very difficult to express what I feel about the whole thing. I love clothes, but I have a kind of split personality about them: on the one hand I love to dress up on occasion, but on the other, I don’t like fussy fastenings and overelaborate details. Also I invariably feel that whatever it was, it looked better on the hanger.

Most bridal samples seem to be a size twelve (US 10), which means I spend a lot oftime standing about pinned into dresses that won’t do up at the back, and with my arms crammed into too-tight sleeves. This isn’t terribly good for the self-esteem. Hardly any dresses have sleeves, because the fashion is for strapless bodices. However, since we’re doing the deed in church, and I hate my arms anyway, a more covered-up style is essential. But the choice is so limited: we’ve yet to find a shop with more than three styles with sleeves, and I don’t really want a jacket or wrap as I will still want my arms covered in the evening. I have seen a dress that will do if we can’t find one I like better… That’s not the attitude! I don’t think we’ve entirely cracked it yet. I'll stop moaning.

But, the exercise. And more importantly, the food.

I might let myself off not going to the gym while I was on holiday – I did go for some long walks – but I feel bad about not having gone this week. My new job started on Monday. It’s what I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and an end to my weird half-life of working in the mornings and volunteering in the afternoons.

The weird half-life had one advantage, however. I got an hour and a half for lunch, which was plenty of time to go to the gym. Now I’m slightly further away, which means I have to factor in two ten-minute walks. If I allow fifteen minutes for changing and showering, that only leaves me fifty minutes to do two lots of cardio and Nautilus – oh, and to eat my lunch. Because my new job involves working with unique historical records, it’s forbidden (perfectly sensibly) to eat lunch at your desk. Call that fifteen minutes, and all you have left is thirty-five. It’s not enough.

In this job I’m working flexi-time, which I’ve never done before. The idea is that you can work whatever combination of hours you like between seven a.m. and seven p.m. The working day is seven and a half hours long, but you can work longer if you like and earn yourself some time off later. Or vice versa. So I could take a ninety-minute lunch if I liked. The snag would be that I’d then have to get back those extra half-hours, either that day or another day. That wouldn’t be the end of the world, but if I work late I miss eating dinner with my family. The ideal thing (and lots of people here do it) would be to start earlier, but I am not at all a morning person.

Myold job started at nine and frankly I wasn’t too awake then. This week I’ve dragged myself in for 8.45 three times, 8.30 once, and felt like a total zombie (PMS didn't help much). I’ve also been really tired and spaced-out in the evenings – I even fell asleep on the sofa on Tuesday. Usually the evening is my good time. What’s the point of getting up early so you have time to have a life after work, if you’re too tired to do anything once you finish?

What I think I’ll have to do is this: start going to the gym on Saturdays. Then I can take an extra half-hour on Tuesday and Thursday, probably at the end of the day rather than lunchtime (I’ll just take the minimum allowed half-hour lunchbreak). That would still be seven and a half hours at work.Then I’ll only be late home two days a week, which won’t be so bad. I’m not going to earn myself many days off this way, however!

Eating lately has been rubbish. I’m forced to admit it – I am not good at this dieting business. I just accept helpings of things on the spur of the moment, and don’t plan ahead enough. It wouldn’t be so bad if I said “OK, I had chocolate mousse yesterday – that means I have to eat slightly lighter than usual today to compensate,” but I don’t really do that either, although I always tell myself I will when I’m giving in to temptation.

We have had guests, which means that more treats have been around than usual. But I’m in danger of getting into the habit of eating badly when the D. B’s around, because I tend to be on holiday then, and I’ve got to teach myself not to – preferably before he moves up here at the end of next month.

Update: This was written on Friday. I still haven't been to the gym, because I am in pain (TOM). On the other hand, I have been to see the Lost and Lonely Rebels – three men, three chairs, comedy splendour (feat. Archie from Balamory, and Stuart and Humphrey the Improverts – see above). They could make anyone feel better.


Rosemary Grace said...

You have my sympathy on the wedding dress hunt, I agonized for a couple of month over it all, then found a dress I really genuinely liked, and bought it FOUR SIZES too big because the shop assistants had me all freaked out about how I could not return it if it was too small. I got lucky and found a good seamstress to fix it up for me.

I'm not much use with shopping tips for the UK any more, but have you looked for bridesmaids dresses that come in white or ivory? That's a popular cheat to save money over here.

Rosemary Grace said...

There's the permalink to my take on the frock hunt.

You are not alone, most women I've spoken to said the dress hunt was the most terrifying decision of the whole wedding!

Niki said...

I found your blog through Shauny's and it was almost like reading my own thoughts! I'm a librarian who has just started a new job, working flexi-time for the first time - and I'm also working out how to use the system - plus I'm trying to lose weight and eat healthier for a wedding in 6 weeks...not mine, but I am a bridesmaid. Geez - as I said, it was like meeting a twin with the same brain!