Heavy lifting

Yesterday at the gym I had to do floor presses. Essentially, that means lying on my back and extending my arms perpendicular to the floor, holding dumbbells. Then I bring the dumbbells back toward my face, one at a time. I’m not big on weight lifting, but I do what my trainer tells me and I actually don’t mind this one.

The only thing I find a little awkward about the exercise is picking up the dumbbells. I either have to do it before I get on the floor, which means maneuvering my way down with a bulky weight in each hand, or while I’m half prone, which means I have little leverage. I find the latter slightly more doable, so that’s the approach I took yesterday.

Everything went fine until round three. I came back to the floor press station from the preceding exercise, sat on the floor, and picked up one of the weights–no problem. When I tried to pick up the second weight (one-handed and with less agility, as I already had the first weight in the other hand), I couldn’t do it. I mean, I just could not get that thing off the floor.

What the what?

I had just done this twice before with no issues, but try as I might, this time I couldn’t make it happen. No matter from what angle I approached it, the dumbbell would not come off the ground. It baffled me, and I felt silly.

My trainer saw what was happening and offered to help. Of course, I refused. I knew I could do it. The dumbbell wasn’t that heavy, and I had already done it twice before. Besides, I HATE to ask for help. Or accept it. Or even admit I need it.

Still, try as I might, I couldn’t separate the weight from the floor. Thankfully, my trainer didn’t ask a second time. He jogged to my side and lifted the dumbbell into position. The rest of the exercise went off without a hitch.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since. Why was I suddenly unable to do something I had been able to do only minutes before? And why did I stubbornly refuse help?

According to my trainer, this was a perfectly normal situation. My muscles were fatigued, predictably. He stood at the ready to help (that’s what spotters are for, right?), but I was determined to handle the situation myself. That turned out to be futile.

Sometimes we get tired and we need a boost from those around us. Most of the time they don’t think a thing about it and gladly lend a hand. In fact, like my trainer, they feel needed and valuable when they can jump in. It saves time (ref: my repeated unsuccessful attempts to lift that dadgum weight) and gets the job done more efficiently. And when you’re on the other side of it, sometimes you have to just jump in despite the refusals.

Thanks, Bryce.

Make a difference

For most of the week, my posts have conveyed stories about things that didn’t work. Although they’ve taught some valuable lessons, I don’t want brooding clouds of negativity to gather into an overcast outlook; the sun is going to break through in this post–just like the real one outside on this gorgeous Friday.

Today’s sunshine is named Stacy.

Stacy works for my daughter’s foot doctor, managing the office, the patients, and (I’m pretty sure) the doctor himself. Stacy makes things happen, and she does it in a way that exudes a rare combination competence and cheerfulness. She’s the kind of person you search for reasons to talk to. She’s the kind of person who keeps you coming back.

Even on my very first phone call to set up an appointment, I was impressed. I had never even met Stacy, but I hung up the phone feeling relieved and comforted that someone had listened. And understood. Since then, she has solved every administrative issue we never got a chance to have because she preempted it. She’s one of those people who can do ten things at once and still make you feel as if you are the center of her universe. She looks for ways to help.

Here’s a story that tells it all:

On my daughter’s first follow-up visit to the doctor after surgery, the door to the office suite swung open just as she hobbled up to it. At first I thought someone was coming out, so I started to tell my daughter to make sure there was room to pass. Before the first words passed my lips, however, there was Stacy with a huge smile, saying, “I can hear crutches a mile away. Come on in!” Even without considering that the desk she left was two doors and a corner away from the door she had opened–not an uncomplicated maneuver–she put a huge smile on my face. Really, who does that stuff anymore? Who jumps up to help?

We need more Stacys in the world. Stacys make a difference.