Last month I subbed for a P.E. teacher friend of mine who was going to be out of commission for a few weeks. There are a few things that I do well: teach English, eat just about anything in large quantities, and be competitive. Notice that I didn’t say I am athletic, but competitive. Yes, I am competitive, so I am one of those few substitutes in the area that enjoys subbing in P.E., not for the athleticism, but for the competition of who wins the volleyball game or who hits a homerun during wiffle ball, or who can I harass as I chase them around the court while they run warm up laps and while yelling, “Don’t let an old lady beat you!” as I tailgate them, slightly stepping on the backs of their shoes to freak them out.
I should clarify that I enjoy subbing for high school P.E. I would walk into an elementary P.E. class like I was Dorothy coming upon the winged monkeys in The Wizard of Oz. Those little ones are possessed and ready to take you down. I’ll stick to my size, thank you very much.
A couple of days before I was supposed to start subbing, my husband finished up a cattle shoot and scale and wanted to show it off. He coaxed me into the contraption before I realized that to my right were numbers flashing before my eyes like a game on The Price is Right. At one time we had a scale in the house, but I hadn’t seen it in a long time and didn’t weigh myself much anyway. I have pretty good genetics and a pregnancy experience that seems more like a serious illness, so thanks to hanging over a toilet for nine months before I had my children, I haven’t changed clothing sizes in years, so I just haven’t been on a scale since my last doctor’s appointment, which was six weeks after giving birth. I felt like an extreme dieter after pushing a baby out of me.
As I read the numbers flashing on the cattle scale, I was surprised. Wait! No! There was an eight pound difference for sure. I jumped off the scale quickly and yelled at my husband to get on so I could see if it was correct. He said that his weight seemed normal, so I looked at myself. It didn’t look any different, but these things are gradual. Clothes are also stretchy now, so I could probably gain 20 pounds without even realizing it. I honestly wouldn’t change that for the world though. The poor women who had to wear corsets and pointy bras would be skipping with joy if they were around for our clothing, but sadly, they didn’t survive constriction and pokey-metal-object injuries from their own clothing.
After accepting the fact that my clothing has definitely been deceiving me, I decided that I was going to make this subbing experience a workout session, all day, everyday. After spending the first two days playing and running with every class, I decided that I would die at that rate, so I toned it down and just played with the ones I liked and spent the other classes just yelling at them to run harder, jump higher, and be quiet so I could stretch and read in peace.
The competitive side of me had kicked in, so I would have hurt myself seriously if I didn’t tone it down. During one class, we were playing knock out and toward the end of the hour, we started a new game with the first shot from half court. It came down to two students and me, and we just continually made shots. I’d have to sprint for my ball, run back to half court, attempt a shot from half court that I could never make in my life, scramble after it, get closer and make a reasonable shot just to sprint back to half court and start all over. After ten rounds of this, I seriously screamed at the girl behind me, begging, “Just get me out, I’m dying,” as I still tried to make the shot. Thank goodness her ball hit mine, sending it flying down the court, giving her enough time to beat me, finally. I laid on the floor, sweating like a pig, and whispered like Rose from Titanic, “Put the balls up, go get dressed, and come back to make sure I’m alive.”
No one ever came back to check on me. Kids these days! Geez!
Wiffle ball was by far my favorite though. My high school coach came out in me. When a game is being played, you should worry about nothing except precision, intensity, and above all WINNING! I would direct them on base running as I was running them down, two steps behind, trying to make the most out of a hit between players. I tackled another student trying to get to home as I was running her down with the ball, but to be fair, she was just as competitive as me and only ran home because she thought she’d take advantage of the old lady (me) subbing. I still say she was out, but I called her safe because 1.) it was close, 2.) I was slightly dazed because I was flat on my back after that tumble, staring straight into the sun, and 3.) Ummmm, I didn’t want to get sued.
I did warm ups with some of the classes, I lifted weights, played volleyball, basketball, and wiffle ball, I set up heavy posts and nets and jogged as I set up bases in the few minutes between classes.
Was I eating healthier food, you ask?
No, that’s crazy. I was ordering from the bakery occasionally and eating my lard-cooked meals on most days. One thing at a time people!
After my three weeks were up, I waited until my husband took the boys out on the farm for a quick check, and I ran out to the cattle scale for the final judgement. I climbed in and looked over for the dreaded news, but the digital scale was gone. After looking around for a minute, I gave up. I’d have to find a scale elsewhere.
I looked through the house and still couldn’t find the bathroom scale that had been missing for months. I looked and looked to no avail. I decided to go back outside and try to find the digital scale again for the cattle scale but still didn’t find it. As I took one last look around, I found the bathroom scale covered by a couple of boxes. By now I should have known, anything that I can’t find in the house is in the shed, and anything I don’t want in the house from the shed ends up in the house somehow.
I took the step, waited for flashing lights to stop, and BAM….I lost ten pounds! Whoot Whoot!
After the initial shock and feeling of elation kicked in, I thought, “If I lost ten pounds, my clothing would feel somewhat different, right?”
The jeans that I had on, that were feeling a little snug around my muffin top, were telling me a different story.
I tried the bathroom scale again, and it said the same thing. By now you've probably figured out that I'm not sharing the number. After the lady at the DMV told me I needed to update my weight "because it must be too much" when it was 100% accurate, I decided I'll let people assume that I'm whatever weight they imagine because it's definitely lighter than the truth. She was probably being nice, but we're talking about the DMV, so I'm taking it as a rare compliment.
Since weighing myself, I have yet to find the cattle scale to figure it out, but I have come to this revelation. I think my husband has hid the scale from me. He knew how horrified I was to see the larger number. He knew I’d be back again to check my weight.
So why would he hide it?
My hypothesis is kind of based on women’s dread for a doctor’s scale. You have all your clothes on, you just ate a huge meal, and the scale is from the 1880’s. The numbers are always too much. They should just ask us what we weighed when we woke up that morning, with no clothes on, and on a scale that treats us kindly by being a pound off to our advantage. My husband’s cattle scale should reflect gorging and gain, not diets and exercise.
Did I lose ten pounds? No.
Did I gain eight pounds over the last year based on the digital scale the first time I stepped on it? No.
Does my husband’s scale give him an inflated sense of accomplishment when his cows gain so quickly after he buys them? Maybe.