World’s Best Boyfriend

I am ready to argue the case. Here we are going into the twelfth month of lockdown. Which we have been taking brutally seriously. No restaurant food, not even delivered; grocery and booze deliveries left to decontaminate on the porch, masks to take out the trash, no excursions into enclosed spaces that aren’t utterly necessary (like being in the hospital, that was fun).

No gym.

Alpine pole walks, yeah. There’s a couple of kettlebells in the living room and you know what they say about bodyweight exercise? I’ve been doing my damnedest, really. There are local householders who’ve become used to seeing me do push-ups and dips off their retaining walls and wave from their windows (“Harold, the crazy lady is out there again”). It winds me up tighter than a two-dollar watch and feels as if I’m levering off my joint surfaces. Give me a weight I can position and push against.

Feature your host clutching two ten-pound dumbbells in clawed fingers and doing crossbench pullovers she can almost feel, over the back of the couch.

So I walk out on the porch the day before Valentine’s Day and find this enormous box. Folding weight bench, it says. I have never trusted such things; home gym equipment is notoriously rickety and I just wasn’t going to go there — even if every day I couldn’t get my hands on a serious weight I felt like I was dying a little. Okay, I had started having crying jags about it. But I forgot I have an engineer in-house who can review the load bearing specs for equipment on the Best Of Men’s Health website, knowing damn well that the little vinyl earrings sold for “women’s weight training” are about as much use to me as paperweights.

This thing is a BEAST. It’s solid as a brick wall and amazingly folds up into a foot-square footprint, if you need to. There are benches at my gym that rock and wobble more.

A day later these arrived.

Just in case there was any doubt in your mind about what you ordered. They’re each 55 pounds with a wizzo, rugged adjustment dial that allows you to take them down to why-bother weights (already got those). One’s a little balky, but I figure the movement will loosen up.

Store your dumbbells on a level surface in front of your least-played vinyl albums.

So right now ice and dreck are falling from the sky and the white is pretty but it looks like a serious rink out there, and Mama Sled is not interested in hydroplaning and it is the perfect moment for new toys. I legit choked up. Actual bench presses on an actual bench. Real pullovers. FLYES. Intrinsic muscles that haven’t engaged in months kicking in. (I’m going to feel that, even if I backed off to about two-thirds what I’d usually push; I’ve read all those stories about junkies who get clean and then relapse and use their old dose and die of it.) The calf muscle that’s been half screwed from a nasty Achilles strain kicked in, and I wasn’t even doing calf work. Your whole body engages. It’s like a hologram.

And oh, yeah, that abdomen that got opened up like a duffel bag let me hear about it, but it did its job — rolling back onto the bench with both hands loaded, stretching out cooperatively when I got into place for the pullovers crosswise. I did need the Engineer to help me lever back up out of that, but like I said, World’s Best Boyfriend.

Yep. Right there between the spinet piano and the inversion table, wearing your L. L. Bean scuffs, isn’t that how you work out?

I think I’m going to make it now.

18 thoughts on “World’s Best Boyfriend

    • Dang, I’ve missed you. I may be coming back to regular blogging if I cheer up more. (Is that good news?) I have new siding. I don’t know if that’s good news, but it’s new. The old stuff started to blow off.

      And I’m on the state vaccine registry.

    • I feel a little as if Im… back. We got rid of “the former guy,” as President Biden puts it, and I’m on a list for the vaccine, and some day I might work again, and now I have a weight bench and everything is just not quite so bad.

  1. In the nick of time, too! It’s horrible how creaky I am, but if you’re fighting the weights you can at least FEEL where the problems are and figure out what to do about them.

    Of course there was almost immediately a problem with one of the dumbbells, which first wouldn’t come smoothly out of the adjustment rack and then dropped a plate when it was picked up, which it’s sweartagod guaranteed NOT to do, so we’ll have to get into a conversation with the manufacturer, but this seems fixable. Worst case scenario we order a few cast dumbbells, but I think this is just a “car built on Monday”issue.

  2. Now that my house is well cleared of girlfriends and their children and families and THEIR children and instead has lots of room, I’ve considered a bench. Not sure if I’d use it, though. I’m an equipment minimalist. Dumbbells are also pushup stands. I just have nowhere to do flyes and I doubt that spare planking and spare 4x4s joined together with spare deck screws would give the desired results.

  3. Being able to do flies is a game changer. Also, pullovers, which are my magic bullet for tight shoulders. The bench is made by a company called MaxKare and ran about $140, and I’m still impressed at its solidity and range of positioning.

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