Justin’s Gym

Workout1For the past few weeks, Justin has been insistent that he join me in the gym (our garage) every morning so he can work out with me. However, Justin’s idea of working out is sitting on the futon while watching cartoons or playing Wii while I sweat my ass off and curse at last night’s carbs. Plus, Justin likes to talk in the morning…a lot! You’ve never met someone as chatty as Justin is at 6am. He wants to tell me all about the latest Minecraft thing and all I want to do is keep breathing.


Now that Justin has started to excel in his swim classes, I thought I could help him get faster and stronger for the pool with a few exercises. I offered to “coach” him a little. Excitedly, he accepted my offer.


It lasted all of 2 mornings before he went back to “Teen Titans Go” on Netflix and “Kirby” on Wii. I assumed the information went into one ear and out the other. But, much to my surprise, I was wrong! Here is an illustration Justin did for a school assignment called “Summer Fitness Plan:”


 Looks like he got it! (And, thanks to his drawing of me, I’ve never been in better shape!)

Boy – I’m Gonna Make You Squeal like a Pig!

As you may remember, Justin had an accident involving a treadmill, a box of winter clothes, and an idiot parent who was only three feet away. (If not, you can read about it here.) This story has taken an unexpected twist in the past 24 hours. It turns out that the “accident” was only the second most traumatic event Justin experienced this week. What has turned out to be far more psychologically damaging to both Justin and I was the process know as “Band Aid Removal.”

Justin has one large band aid on his elbow and another large one on his thigh. Both needed to be removed yesterday before I could give him a shower. A few times over the course of the evening, I casually mentioned to Justin that we needed to take his bandages off, but it wasn’t until I got off the sofa that he realized what was about to happen. He immediately ran off and I discovered him hiding under his bed.

I ended up closing his bedroom door just to make sure that he couldn’t escape and I began to negotiate with him. He was having none of that. Justin kept telling me “It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt.” and I kept assuring him that I would rip the Band Aids off quickly to minimize the pain. I then pointed to the ceiling with one hand, tried the “Hey – look over there” method, and then attempted to rip off the Band Aid with the other hand while he wasn’t looking. That failed and Justin yelled “NO DADDY, NOOOOOOO” while squishing himself into the corner of his room to get away from me.

I then tried again to coax him out with promises of toys and stories of how I had much bigger boo boos when I was a little boy, but he kept flailing his arm to try and get me to go away. (All of this while crying, mind you.) In a flash, I quickly grabbed his floundering arm, yanked him forward onto the bed, and attacked the Band Aid again. Justin was screaming bloody murder and began punching me in the face with his free elbow. I took blow after blow to the head while trying to get the corner of the Band Aid to lift off of his skin – but the damn thing was stuck! Finally, after pinning Justin down like an out-of-control prisoner on death row, I was able to tear off the Band Aid! Justin screamed as if I had just ripped his whole leg off. With all of his strength, he pushed me away and scampered back to his corner – all the while screaming “AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH.”

There we were – Justin on one side of the room crying and nursing his wound and me in the other corner of the room trying to consol myself after “attacking” Justin. I kept telling myself that they had to come off or his bruises would have gotten infected. The two of us were in shock and breathing heavily like warriors coming off the battlefield.

GWE peeked her head inside and told us to keep it down or someone was going to call Social Services. And then she said, “Oh, and don’t forget about the other Band Aid.” Justin and I looked at each other and thought the same thing – “SHIT!”

Justin made a run for the door. I grabbed him by the leg as he was halfway out and I took him down to the ground in the hallway. Once again, I pounced on top of him as he screamed “GET OFF DADDY, GET OFF,” but I just couldn’t. I had to get that last Band Aid off! He screamed and kicked and I kept trying to find the edge of the bandage. With the heel of his foot, he blasted me in the forehead twice – but I would not give up! Finally, I heard RRRRRIIIPPPPP! I had it! I had the Band Aid in my hand.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, he scooted away from me, looked at me with distain and said. “I don’t like you daddy. You’re not my best friend anymore!!” And with that he stormed off looking for mommy.

I laid on the ground for an extra minute or two thinking – “I am such an asshole. He is never going to trust me again.”

Ten minutes later, he was fine. I was still an asshole.

…But it goes to Eleven!

Let me preface this story by explaining that 1) I was three feet away from Justin when the event happened, 2) He was completely supervised, and 3) Accidents happen even when you are looking!

Halloween was over and I removed all of the decorations from the front of the house. As I do every year, I place everything in a giant black bag and store it in the corner of the garage next to the sub-zero freezer. However, this “corner” of the garage had become the Bermuda Triangle and items that were stored there tended to get lost forever. So this year, I decided to clean out that area of the garage. And, to my surprise, I had a volunteer! Justin asked to help me, which I was very excited about (until I realized that he was using me – for my TV.)

GWE and I are in the process of cutting back Justin’s television viewing time (which is odd considering that’s how I make a living.) When I told Justin that I was going into the garage, he clearly saw an opportunity. He thought “Hey – there is a TV in the garage!” Then he thought, “Daddy’s a sucker and if I’m nice to him, he’ll let me watch a movie.” (I am and I did.) The television is on a stand facing my treadmill so I can watch it when I work out. Justin decided to sit on the bottom of the treadmill and look up at the television.

However, while looking up, Justin noticed all the “bells and whistles” on my treadmill and begged me to turn it on. Since HE WAS SUPERVISED, I decided there would be no harm in turning it on and I put it on the lowest setting – .5. He got up and began walking a half a mile an hour. He said “faster daddy, faster.” I agreed and then put it on 1. Now, he was “speeding” at one mile an hour. And, again, he said “faster.” This time I said “no.”

At that point, I saw him put his hand on the control panel and press “10” (the highest setting) – and then time itself slowed down. I heard the engine kick into high gear and then looked at Justin as he stared back at me. He then said “daddy?” and then “daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy……” as his little legs tried to keep up with the track. I reached out, but it was too late. He lost his footing, fell onto his hands and knees, and then finally – his 62 lb body was “shot” backwards at 10 miles an hour into a cardboard box of winter clothes. He collapsed between the box and the rotating tread which continued to “eat” his arm and leg.

I quickly raced over to him, yanked the emergency stop cord, and lifted the treadmill off of him. He looked completely shocked and began to cry while holding his wounds. I quickly scooped him up and brought him into the house. GWE bandaged him up and made sure to kiss his boo-boos.

After the ordeal was over, he came over to me and said, “That was awesome, but I don’t want to do 10 anymore.”