6 Years @ the Mandalay, 4 Years @ Snap
This week marks the sixth anniversary of living here at the Mandalay. The apartment was a nightmare when I looked it over in early February 2007 and it wasn’t much improved when I moved in later in the month. The carpet was soaked in cat urine, the replacement fridge sat outside the door in a pile of snow, there were no blinds or curtains on any of the windows, and everything (and I mean everything) had been painted beige that day, so a musky fresh paint smell lingered all night long while I slept on my bed mattress on the living room floor. The good thing about living situations starting out so poorly is that they can only get better with time. In a bit of a coincidence, a snow & ice storm delayed my move during the last week of February 2007, and this week we were hit with almost continuous snowfall over 36 hours that resulted in a foot of fresh snow on the ground.
This has been the longest period of time living in one place as an adult, and it equals the length of time spent living in that 2-story house on Royal Drive between the 5th and 11th grades. In the six years I’ve lived here I have lived without cable television. I have a television and DVD player hooked up in the corner of the living room but neither are used much these days. Given CFU’s current basic cable subscription rates, I’ve saved over $1,300 over six years, not to mention who knows how many thousands or tens of thousands of hours not spent watching television… earmarked instead for movies, books and (since 2009) afternoon workouts at the gym or on the trails.
I’ve also neglected to paint the rooms a different color. The beige is boring, and once in a while I think about buying some paint, but I never follow through. I usually tell myself that I’d end up moving shortly after painting and therefore it wouldn’t be worth the hassle. However, during the summer of 2011 I did scrape the beige paint off the tiles on the bathroom walls and applied two coats of primer to the upper drywall. It looks better than it did before. That’s the sum total of my home remodeling.
In 2010 I began a comprehensive decluttering project. I purged two huge boxes of paper files, donated more than 90% of my books, magazines and movies, along with unused clothing and excess dinnerware. Presently the apartment is rather spartan in appearance, and that’s how I like it. In fact, I still feel it’s a bit cluttered, in the sense that it’s merely untidy. But hey, it’s a work in progress. This past weekend I finally sorted through a decade’s worth of film negatives, stored in two checkbook boxes. More than half were culled from the collection. In a bit of unfortunate timing, Porter’s closed their doors for good last week after 100 years in business, so now I need to find another business that will professionally scan the remaining negatives for me.
So, in 2009 I joined a gym. I had been growing my hair out for a few years and the rest of my body was following suit. I was pushing 200 lbs and I knew I’d have to get moving if I wanted to shed the flab. A friend recommended Snap Fitness, a 24/7 gym near the corner of 18th & Main. I walked in on the 5th of January, one of many new years resolution types, though I was one of the few who managed to keep up with it when spring came and most newbies fall off the bandwagon. I lost 25 pounds during the first few months and I learned how to run more than a quarter mile without running out of breadth, a remarkable achievement for someone who was never athletic growing up.
To my surprise, I’ve kept up with exercising for the past four-plus years. My attendance is a bit cyclical in that I’m at the gym 5-6 times a week during the late fall, winter and early spring, then less so as the weather warms up and I can afford to bicycle or jog on the nature trails. But even in good weather I try to go to the gym 2-3 times a week to lift weights.
A couple weeks ago Snap moved out of the cramped confines of its strip mall location and into the first floor of the renovated Oddfellows building on the corner of 4th & Main, right in the Parkade. There’s twice as much space, separate rooms for cardio workouts and resistance training, plus larger bathrooms (with a shower) and a wider range of weightlifting equipment. Some machines still need to be fine-tuned and, like the old location, a few of the treadmills seem perpetually out of commission, but I wasn’t expecting world-class service from a small-town gym. It meets my needs and I’m happy. The hard part, until the snow melts, is going to be forcing myself to get out of bed on the weekends and work out before lunch, something I used to do with solid regularity up until last fall.