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The Love Handles Saga

When my husband and I conceded to the fact that we’d succumbed to middle-age pudge, we decided to reject the gift outright and get busy looking like we were thirty again.

It’s important for you to know that we come up with a lot of bright ideas as a couple, and those ideas are now sitting on closet shelves, or in our storage unit, or at the bottom of a body of water.

There was the time we bought a sailboat and lost the sail somehow when we tipped over, having lifted up the daggerboard to see what it would do on a windy day.

That sail is sitting at the bottom of a very large pond on Cape Cod somewhere. (I can draw you a map if you’re feeling adventurous.)

There was the time we ordered a $200 pressure cooker set from an infomercial but could never get the charred sludge off the bottom after we misused it on the first day.

And here’s the truth: We buy the large popcorn at the movies without remorse. That’s what kind of misguided couple we are.

But even after these misadventures and many others, we still seem to charge ahead like the light brigade from time to time, oblivious to the fact that we have a poor track record for big ideas.

When we recently decided that we were getting chubby, we picked a course of action: buy a juicer and two bikes. Not: join the gym, or walk each night after dinner, or stop eating large boxes of popcorn, but, yes, buy a juice extractor and two bikes.

Nothing good could have ever come from this, but off we went to the department store and then on to the bike shop, so full of ourselves you’d have thought we were 16-years-olds who were just dropped off at the county fair.

The plan was to starve ourselves for an entire weekend, drinking only juice. The juice is made from the extraction of fruits and vegetables that you force through a chute and which miraculously comes out a spout on the machine as two full cups of pure green micronutrients.

By Saturday, I was too tired and miserable to wash the carrots. I was the first man down. I looked like I had just fought a war, splayed out on the couch, weak and weary.

“If you want juice,” I said, “you’re just going to have to make it yourself. It takes the equivalent of two carrots to even stand up.”

Still we didn’t eat. We only drank the green juice and we were really worse for the wear by Saturday night. We couldn’t watch TV because every single commercial was about hamburgers or chicken or french fries. We had no energy to go for a walk or converse.

“I think we might be dying,” I told him. “But we’ll be the healthiest dead people the coroner has ever seen.”

So, my husband gathered his strength and gave me the halftime pep talk. It was something about how when the chips are down, the underdogs ride bikes.

I’m not sure how he talked me into this, but Sunday morning I was propped up on my bike, ready to show the world how a weak middle-aged woman overcomes the trials of starvation and love handles by riding 15 miles without meaning to.

Oh, my husband just kept riding on that day, as if the winning Lotto number was at the end of the road. He was going to prove to the world that by golly, he’s never going to be old. Look at me! I can ride 15 miles on six ounces of celery juice! If he had bothered to look back, he would have seen me trudging along with a look on my face that would have aged him 20 years more.

And that’s why he didn’t look back.

By the time we reached our front porch, I was ready to unleash fifteen miles of fury, but I was too tired.

“Hon,” he said, “I’m so proud of you! You rode 15 miles after two days of not eating a thing, and you’re recovering from bronchitis! You should feel really proud.”

“Proud isn’t the word for what I’m feeling,” I said, wiping sweat from my brow. “I am not 30 years old anymore, and to be honest, I don’t want to be thirty. So what? I have two love handles threatening my jean size, but I earned those! I am finally sitting down after 20 years of scrubbing dishes and folding endless loads of laundry and running the long race of motherhood.”

What could he say?

I suggested we put the bikes in the back bedroom, and go collapse on the couch where any good starving couple belonged.

And that is the end of our so-called ten-pounds-in-six-days weight loss story.

I’m happy to report we are going to the movies next weekend.

And you all know exactly what I’m going to do there.

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