The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I spent a lot of time last week cleaning out our garden house, which is what we call a cute little structure that Ken built many years ago in our side yard. In the summer, it’s a nice place to sit and relax, and in the winter, it stores all of our summer furniture. So with the weather getting nicer, I decided it was time to take everything out of storage and get the place spruced up. There was only one problem—earlier in the spring, in a sudden moment of lunacy, I had purchased a used elliptical machine from our neighbours across the street who had posted it on Facebook. “Look!” I said to Ken. “It’s not very expensive, we just have to wheel it over here, and it fits in perfectly with my exercise plan.” Ken gave me the look he always gives me when I announce that I’m going to exercise, which is to say, he looked at me with incredulous disbelief.

“Just put it on the porch for now,” I directed him. “We can bring it in the house when I figure out where to put it.” But finding a place for a very large piece of exercise equipment proved to be more daunting than I thought, and the elliptical stayed on the porch until I had another brainstorm. “Let’s put it in the garden house. I can exercise in there.” Ken rolled his eyes, as one does, but loaded it onto the handcart and wheeled it over. “Remind me who’s supposed to be using this to exercise again?” he asked, but I promised that it was ME. And to prove my point, once it was installed in the garden house, I immediately hopped on to prove to him that I was serious. Then I immediately cracked my head on one of the ceiling joists to prove to him that perhaps this wasn’t the best idea. But we repositioned it so that I could—I don’t know, do you RIDE an elliptical?—do whatever it is you do on one of those without giving myself a concussion.

And there it stayed until last weekend, when the weather suddenly got much warmer. It was a gorgeous day and I immediately headed out to the garden house. I stood there contemplating the elliptical, when I had yet another brainstorm. The garden house would be a perfect spot for an outdoor office, where I could sit and write whilst listening to the bubbling of the fishpond outside the door and the birds singing in the trees nearby. But there was an elephant in the room, and by elephant, I mean a giant metal elliptical machine that, by this point in time, may or may not have become slightly spiderwebby from disuse, and that’s not my fault because I’ve been quite ill lately and here’s a slight tangent for you:

I finally called my doctor and he wanted some ‘samples’, so he sent me to a lab over half an hour away to pick up the sample bottles, and let me just say that for someone in my current situation, driving that far away from home during a pandemic when there are NO open public washrooms was one of the most terrifying things I’ve done in a while. But I made it there and back without incident. At some point later that evening, I was able to provide the required samples (which was an ordeal in and of itself and one I will NOT be sharing with you, and yes I can hear your palpable sighs of relief), and the instructions said to refrigerate them until taken back to the lab. I couldn’t stand the thought of them just sitting there in the refrigerator though, so I went into our dining room closet which is obviously where we keep wrapping paper and gift bags, and picked out a small but cheerful little bag to put them in. Then I placed the bag on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Sometime later:

Kate: Ooh, what’s this?
Me: Don’t look in–
Kate: What the hell, Mom?!
Me: I tried to warn you.

The next morning, I had to return to the same lab, with the same sense of terror, this time with my cheerful gift bag. The line-up to get in was very long, and I was glad that my offering was charmingly concealed. When I got to the registration desk, the nurse asked why I was there:

Me (whispers): I’m just bringing back some samples.
Nurse: Oh, what a lovely little gift bag.
Me: You might think it contains sweets or a treat. Yet it does not.
Nurse (laughs): I’ll take it in for you. Do you want the bag back?
Me: No. No, I don’t.

I’m still waiting for the results and a thank you card. Tangent complete. I believe I left myself staring at the elliptical machine that was obscuring my plans for an outdoor office. I decided to sweep and mop as I considered my dilemma, all the while being taunted by the elliptical:

Elliptical Machine: Why did you buy me? You’ll NEVER use me. Be honest.
Me: But I want to use you. So bad.
Elliptical: You never will.
Me (sadly): I know.

For sale: one elliptical machine. Bit of a bully but works fine otherwise. Just want what I paid for it, or will trade for a comfy chair. (Update: Someone is coming for it today–I hope it’s kind to her).

49 thoughts on “The Gift That Keeps On Giving

  1. First let me say, that “garden” shed is just adores!! I want one of those in my back yard. If and when I ever close on my house, but maybe Ken can come over and build one for me? 😂
    Anyway, yes those exercise machines can be bullying at times. Since taking up yoga my treadmill is constantly taunting me as to why I’ve abandoned it. I’m like, loo dude I’m just trying something different, I’ll be back. And it responded with “Your going to drop on your run time, I’m going to make sure of it.” Then gives me an evil laugh as I do updog pose.
    I too have had to take said samples to a lab, it’s very awkward. Especially standing there with others with the same type of samples.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t believe the elliptical means to be a bully. It just has severe self esteem problems, because it grew up thinking it had this higher purpose in life to help people exercise… and like most of its brothers and sisters, it merely wound up becoming a very expensive coat rack…

    Liked by 5 people

  3. That’s an absolutely perfect writing room but I find that writing near a bubbling water feature tends to prompt regular trips to the facilities, which might be useful if you’re collecting another kind of sample.
    The elliptical has also fit in nicely with the idea of using the garden house as a writing room since it’s prompted you to write something. It has served its purpose and can now move on.
    Also the few times I’ve used an elliptical I didn’t feel I was getting exercise so much as being propelled. Maybe it really is good for burning calories and building muscles but I think there are better devices out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh wow, that garden house is such a gem. I’m sure you enjoy it and you will your exercise plan…whenever (we all know the feeling, but the intention is what counts.)

    Now imagine having IBS and how terrifying it is when there are no public toilets to use.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My mental imagery of the garden house was not at all in line with that beautiful building and space. Well done, Ken! It’s charming and inviting and I want one too!! I can see, how one, if one were so inclined, come to believe that exercise could happen there. I’m not so inclined, and I’m glad you were able to offload it. It looks like a fantastic place to write!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So are you writing in your…dare I call it a she shed? It’s delightful! As well as its porch! Also, glad you and the elliptical parted as friends instead of your having to toss it out on it’s ear? tread? pedal? because it hurt you while you were on it. Also, I bet your samples would have fit perfectly in the Nieman Marcus bag someone had given me a gift in. Glad it didn’t have samples in it, but the gift? Yea…no. Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ah, yes, elliptical machines (and any exercise equipment, really) all too often falls under the category of “aspirational purchases.” I always find the best thing to do for myself with unused aspirational purchases is to admit defeat and sell or donate the item in question. If I don’t, it sits in the corner as a testament to my failure! Haha!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You’re brave, even if you couldn’t not make that hour’s drive. We could have taken a lot of little day trips over the past fourteen months but didn’t because I refused to go into a public restroom. Or public buildings in general. Or, most days, outside.

    Why mess up a lovely office with a machine that makes you sweat?

    Liked by 2 people

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