2017-02-15 / Opinions & Letters

Match game

Midwest Memo
by Alan Shultz

Last Thursday I had a conference call to take for a couple of hours in the afternoon. As we were still visiting in Virginia at our daughter’s home, that meant I would be stationed in the basement with phone and laptop while the cleaning ladies did their work on the upper floors. All other family members would escape the jurisdiction while all this went on.

I was given two assignments as the only person in residence while the cleaners were on site. First, I was to let team leader Maria and her crew in upon their arrival. Second, I was to listen for the dryer in the basement to finish and then disburse the clean sheets on the second floor for the ladies to make the beds.

At some point when I was given my instructions it is alleged that I was cautioned on which sheets went where. I would normally object to this kind of charge on the grounds of hearsay or some other legal technicality, but I do kind of remember something about plaids, poke-a-dots and horses. Truth be told, I was only half listening since surely I could figure out who got what in the sheets department.

The day proceeded as planned. The house emptied about 1:30. I got on my conference call at 2. The dryer buzzed about 2:15 and the multi-tasker in me carried on with my call while distributing the sheets. I had clarity about where the poke-a-dots went - they were big gold dots on clean white background, hard not to pair with a duvet of the same pattern left behind on the bed. I was then left with horses and plaids. Surely the little boy in the household got horses, his sister the plaids. The odds were 50/50.

Maria arrived about 4 and I put my call on mute and answered the front door. I let everyone in. “The sheets are on the beds,” I whispered - not completely trusting the mute button.

The conference call concluded at 5:15, Maria and crew were gone shortly after 6, family returned at 6:30 and chaos ensued right about 6:45 p.m.

That night I learned that horses don’t always match up with little boys, that - no children can’t wait a week for the correct sheets to be swapped out, that it’s good to be a good listener and that 50/50 odds means you are as likely to be wrong as right.

I was wrong.

I was also wrong thinking that I’ve mastered the Pilates exercise routine which I’ve done for about eight years now.

During our two-week visit my wife and I committed to keep up our exercise routine. We got to several yoga classes and visited the community gym a number of times.

At the yoga studio I saw where there was a Pilates class. Pilates has been the answer to my former serious back troubles and I rarely miss my weekly session - so at the allotted time I headed off in gym clothes, yoga mat and $15 cash.

Whereas yoga had been decidedly co-ed, it turned out the men in that part of Virginia have not found their way to Pilates. Let’s just say that the chatter quieted down when I entered the studio.

Julie, the instructor, seemed genuinely pleased to have an old guy join the group. Her regulars, a younger bunch - gave off a more subdued, rather chilly response.

“All right then, “ Julie said, “everyone stand.”

I should have said up front that the eight years of Pilates I’ve done is mat Pilates. All the exercises (a series of 18) are done on one’s back - from the flapping arms “100s” you start with, to the rolling like a ball to the “seal rocking” you end with.

I should have considered running when Julie said “everyone stand.” I should have definitely made my escape when she said “all right, let’s dance.”

Of the 18 Pilates exercises I am used to doing, I recognized exactly one during my hour of bouncing, contorting and dancing. I was…dazed and confused.

And now since it is a week later and I have not shown up on U-Tube, apparently, none of the ladies were filming this frightful scene with their iPhone. And, that’s a good thing!

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