I Fired My Sister Today

mr zip

I Fired My Sister Today

Yes, I did. Fired her. She deserved it, too.

There I was, working away in one of the stories I service, calmly putting out the newest greeting cards, minding my own business. The quiet ‘ding’ on my phone informed me I had a new text message. I pulled my phone from my pocket and saw a message from my sister.

BTW. You are older than zip codes. They started in the early 60’s.

Now really, Susan Elizabeth! Was that necessary? Did you really need to text me just to tell me I’m old?

Of course, after my ‘Gee. THANKS!’ reply where I pretended to be offended and in a bit of a huff, I had to retort back and remind her that she’s right behind me.

A little later, as I was chuckling to myself, I had to turn around and text my mom and report that I’d fired my sister, and why. (Reporting…tattle-taleing…same difference.)

Mom replied:

Yes, don’t you remember? We still lived at 740.

740 is our street address when we lived in Glendora. We moved from there in 1969, when I was 11. The funny thing is, at that age I wasn’t sending a lot of letters. (A lot as in…none.) But to this day, I still remember Glendora’s zip code. 91740. Maybe because it had our house address in the zip.

But, I didn’t remember zip codes starting then. It seems that zip codes have always been around. (Even though, being a lover and collector of vintage post cards I know that this isn’t so.) Naturally I had to come home and Google some information about when zip codes came into being.

Darn. Don’t you just hate it when you have to admit that your younger sister is right? Again? This is the second time in the past two weeks. Enough already. I don’t really care for the taste of crow.

But right she was about the zip codes.

In 1943, the earliest zip code began as postal zones. The volume of mail was increasing, having approximately 20 million pieces per year being sent, sorted, and delivered. With so many young men going into the service, the post office was also staffed with many new, inexperienced postal clerks who were having trouble sorting the mail. The zone system was initiated with a one or two digit number being placed between the city and the state.

Between 1943 and 1962, the mail volume doubled. On July 1, 1963, the post office introduced the Zone Improvement Plan Code, now referred to as ZIP Codes. The new five digit codes corresponded to different zones. The entire country was divided into coded delivery areas, with the first two to three numbers designating the state.

Of course, this system soon became outdated too, and to improve efficiency, the ‘ZIP + four’ system was implemented. Fortunately we don’t have to include the + four digit appendage. This brain has enough trouble remembering my own current zip code – without the extra four digits. However, I think that 91740 – the zip code of my birth – will be permanently engraved in my memory, even though I don’t remember its inception.

My mom reported in a later text, that she recalls the new system very well. She says it was a pain. She remembers having to contact all the people she wrote to, to get their new-fangled zip code. And back in those days, it was a phone call – on the party line – or a handwritten letter. No quick text to find out. No hopping on the computer for a quick Google search.

The new-fangled system didn’t interrupt my world. I had bigger worries at that time. I started kindergarten two months after that. While my mom’s world was adapting to the new mail regulations, my world was adapting to its own changes. I had to go to…(shudder)…school. I had to learn how to socialize with other children. (That one didn’t go very well.) I had to learn my numbers and letters and start learning to read. (That one went better and I haven’t put down a book since.)

And if I ever forget that I’m older than ZIP Codes…never fear. I have a younger sister that will remind me. Yes, she’s still on the payroll. I still claim her as my sister. I never fired her.

After all – I have Google in my world now. I can easily find out what she’s older than! I see a few paybacks coming in her future.

zip code

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Kickboxing? At 60?

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“Kickboxing? Are you crazy?”

At least I didn’t ask – Are you out of your ever-loving mind? Those words are closer to the actual ones that bolted through my brain when Mary asked me if I wanted to try out a new exercise activity with her.

“I found a free ten-day pass for a place in Keller. Ten days, all the sessions you want…for free!” She dangled the free part in front of me, knowing that I enjoy a chance to save money when I can.

What Mary didn’t understand was that I’m not so much into the physical exercise part of the equation. She’s spent most of the past year or so that we’ve worked together participating in several different exercise regimes. 5K walks – I can’t count how many she and her husband have finished. The numbers a lot larger than the two that I’ve done in my entire life. Camp Gladiator is another one that she’s done for some time – exercising in different parking lots with groups of people, using weights and balls, and all sorts of nefarious torture devices.

Nope. Not for me. I’m more of a yoga gal. Quiet. Serene. Slow movements. Soft, mellow music drifting through the background. Sweet and spicy incense wafting through the air. Peace and zen. That’s me. That’s my kind of physical exercise.

Not punching, kicking, aggressive fighting movements. Hard hitting rock and roll reverberating throughout the room. Sweat pouring down my face. Heart pounding. The smacks of gloves hitting punching bags echoing about the room.

Never in a million years did that image even tempt me. You probably couldn’t have even paid me to give kickboxing a try.

But, Mary dangled ‘free’ in front of me, and I grabbed for the bait. Besides, it was spending time with a friend. I decided to humor her. After all, what did I have to lose, besides a few hours of my time? And it was only 30-minute workouts each visit. That made it easy to schedule into a full week. I’d try it out. I’d go with her a few times and after the ten days were up, if I didn’t like it, I never had to try it again.

Imagine my surprise when I fell in love with kickboxing. On the first visit even.

Now to be honest, I didn’t embrace this new activity while I was there. We met at 9Round Keller, where there’s nine stations set up and we all rotate between the stations – only three minutes at each one.

Piece of cake.

Ha!

Some of those three minute segments were the longest and hardest three minutes I’d endured since…well, since I don’t know when. My heart pounded so hard on some of the stations I thought it would burst through my chest. Jump roping? For three minutes? I discovered it wasn’t possible. I made it about a minute before I had to stop and gather my breath. I found out that jump roping isn’t as easy when you’re not a ten-year old girl with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Things had changed in the past fifty years.

By the time we left, I barely dragged myself through the door. I probably would have tried to strangle poor Mary. Except I couldn’t muster up the energy or the gumption to move my arms towards her throat. Getting my feet out the door and moving in the direction of the car was the sole goal in my mind.

Mary offered to buy me something to drink at Starbucks. I think it was a consolation prize for going through with the horrendous torment of the past thirty minutes. I followed her down the street and enjoyed sitting – just sitting, no activity required, while enjoying an icy concoction with green tea and fresh berries. An hour later as we went to leave, I learned that it was even harder to move my legs. That three minute session with the squats involved? I would relive that painful experience in so many ways over the next three days. I found out later that night that bending to clean cat boxes has never caused such agony. I almost joked with Mary about having her carry me out to my car. But, I was having trouble being humorous about this whole kickboxing thing.

And then, on the drive home, about half way between the Starbucks and my house, I realized that I felt good. Tired, yes. Sore, exquisitely so. But despite the painful parts of the afternoon – I felt marvelous.

By the time I got home, I’d already decided. I’m continuing this.

Three days later I joined Mary and two of her other friends for another morning at my new favorite place. Thank goodness they switch up the activities of each station every day. I still had to struggle with the jump roping part, but at least the dreaded squats weren’t on the itinerary for the day. Again, by the time I got home I was marveling about how good I felt. I felt better than I had for months. Usually, getting home after a long day I have to sit and close my eyes for about thirty minutes. That night I was rocking around the house. I was in motion and getting things done. By bedtime I was still zooming around.

Another session the next morning kept me fired up.

I remember a while back, my sister and I were talking about exercise. I told her that I didn’t need to exercise. I’m on my feet all day at work. My work days, depending on what season we’re in run from five to ten hour days. All on my feet. All moving. Never still. “That’s not cardio,” my sister replied. “That doesn’t get your heart rate up.”

Well, darn. Don’t you hate it when you have to admit that your younger sister was right about something? Obviously she was and I was lacking in the cardio department. Even more obviously, it was something my body needs.

The free ten day pass is over. Now I’m in the wait-three-more-days-before-payday mode so I can go join. We’re past the free point. Now a little cash is involved for me to continue with my unexpected new obsession. But this one I can easily justify. Seeing how much better I felt after only a few sessions, I know that this is best for my health. I figure that I can either shell out a few dollars now, for kickboxing…or I can pay it out later – in much larger amounts, to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. The choice is mine and I’ll pick paying now rather than supplementing a doctor’s Porsche payment later on down the road.

And the best part? It’s not an either or. I don’t have to lose being a Yoga gal to participate with this more active routine. I can do both. Two sessions of kickboxing a week, with a day of the peace and zen of yoga. Then my heart, circulation, and body is happy, and my emotions and spirit are blissful too. It’s the best of both worlds. I’ll be the healthiest, most zenful 60-year old bopping around this town.

Now, just to remember which hand is jab and which hand is cross.

September 2018
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