Saturday, January 10, 2009

Read the fine print

Two months after Elyn was born, I was discussing with my mom what I wanted for Christmas.

(I don't know if it works this way in your house, but my mom doesn't play favorites when it comes to Christmas gifts. If I get a pair of socks that cost $2.50, then Marty might get a tube of lotion that cost $'s always been equal.)

Christmas of 2007 was a VERY good Christmas for me, thanks to Marty. My mom had gotten her a "surprise" gift that pushed my limit a tad bit higher that it had been in the past. I thought and thought about what I needed, wanting to get the most for my money.

A gym membership. (And a new camera, but this story is focused on the gym membership.)

It was a perfect gift as far as I was concerned. It was the opportunity for me to get started on the "get-the-body-back-to-the-way-it-was" goal AND I was going to be able to drop my two children off, who both happened to be under the age of two, for FREE. Perfect.

There was only one drawback to this new membership. The closest gym to our house was about 20 minutes away.

As a nursing mother I had to time Elyn's feedings so that as soon as she was done eating I could throw both girls in the car and head out to the gym.

Because once we got there:
I had to get their coats off; give instructions to the workers; give Nora 200 kisses and convince her that I would be returning soon; debate between actually working out and sitting on the comfy couches and reading a magazine/taking a nap; decide to work out; head to the bathroom and pee (because I don't want to be on the treadmill for 5 minutes and realize I have to pee); suck-in in front of the mirrors in the bathroom for a few minutes and almost convince myself that I don't really need to work out; head to the treadmill anyway; look frantically for an empty treadmill and nearly cuss when the only empty one is beside the Kate Moss look-alike; decide that sucking-in is not going to work for the 45 minutes I am on the treadmill because I am about to pass out; compare myself to just about every woman that walks past me; financially try to figure out how many bags of plasma I would need to sell before I had enough saved up for plastic surgery; decide I should have asked for plastic surgery for Christmas; cheer when the 45-minutes is up; head back to the bathroom to pee again; suck-in in front of the mirror again and wonder if the 45 minutes did anything at all; go pick up the girls and realize that Nora did not miss me at all because she has been playing with electric cars and watching Dora; rush to the car and throw girls back in; make it home just as Elyn is starting to announce her hunger.

That was our routine starting last January.

But, I didn't care too much because a new gym was being built FIVE minutes from my house. A bigger and better gym! And my membership allowed my to attend it without paying any extra.

It was a little annoying because they kept pushing back the opening date of the new gym. At first it was supposed to open June 1, then it was August 1, then it was October 1, and finally it was promised to open on December 1.

Did I give up going to the gym that was 20 minutes away? Oh no. I kept going, 2-3 times a week. Each time I went, I knew I was one day closer to the new gym opening and one day closer to a 5 minute drive.

If you remember the gas prices last summer, you might recall that they were a little on the high side. In fact, they were so high that Matthew asked me to make my trips to the gym really worth it. He didn't mean I should workout so hard that I come home 2 sizes smaller (but wouldn't that have been nice). He meant that if I go to the gym then I should get all of my errands out of the way on that side of town so I was not "wasting" gas.

December 1st arrived with great anticipation. So, so excited!

But we didn't make it to the gym until the 3rd.

I made a huge deal about going to the NEW gym on the morning of the 3rd. Nora kept asking me what kind of toys the new gym had and if she was going to get to watch Dora (grrrr). I kept explaining to her that this was a NEW gym and we would find out everything when we got there.

But, weren't we EXCITED about going to the NEW gym!!!!!!!!!

I bundled both girls up, put a snack and juice in their bag, made sure a newly potty-trained Nora went to the potty and headed out on our glorious five minute drive.

We walk into the gym and it is FABULOUS! Almost worth the wait. I think I even heard Nora say, "Wow!". Fabulous!

I scan my tag and hear the familiar computerized "enjoy your workout".

While holding Elyn on my hip and holding Nora's hand, I turn to the muscled man working behind the counter.

"Excuse me, where is childcare?" I ask while doing a visual scan trying to locate it.

"Right down the hall, to the left".


I take the girls down the hall, to the left. On our way, we pass a smoothie bar, a racquetball court, a TV room, and a food court. I was very impressed with how the builder had utilized all available space.

I see a sign that says, "Kids Gym". Well, here we are.

I walk up to a VERY quiet and dark room. "Hello?"

A barely-out-of-highschool girl walks up to me. "Um, hi, we don't open until 10:30".

"What? I don't understand."

She explains by saying, "Oh, and your kids have to be 3 years old or older."

I am still completely confused. I say, "Where is childcare?"

Then she said four words that nearly had me dropping Elyn on the floor.

"We don't have childcare."

WHAT????????!!!!!!!!!???????? "But, the sign outside says 'free childcare'."

She smacks her gum and shrugs her shoulders and says, "Well, we don't have it".

I head back to the front, this time not quite as impressed with the food court, TV room, racquetball court, and smoothie bar. I ask Mr. Muscle about childcare and he informs me that a nearby daycare is allowing "gym kids" to stay there for AN HOUR every Monday-Friday.


In this HUGE, ENORMOUS building the gym planner could not have set aside a few square feet for ON-SITE childcare?

Even after the explanation, driving to the daycare to check it out, meeting with the director and grilling her, leaving my children in the hands of strangers (but not before giving 3-4 phone numbers to call should something happen), hitting the start button on my watch to time my hour (because I have to pay if I am late), driving back to the gym, sprinting from the parking lot to the gym, locating the treadmills, and beginning my workout...even after all of that, I was still confused.

Off-site childcare? It didn't make any sense to me.

I was back at the daycare 45 minutes later to pick up my girls. When I dropped them off they were the only two there. When I picked them up, they were still the only two. As I was putting their coats on them, I heard one of the teachers yelling at her class. As I was turning to leave, I saw a sign that was posted for parents telling the cases of RSV and pneumonia that had been diagnosed that week.

At our old gym, the ladies in childcare NEVER raised their voices, knew who my girls were, got down on the floor and played with them.

At our old gym, there was always at least a dozen kids for Nora and Elyn to play with.

At our old gym, childcare was ON-SITE!!!!

Now, I am not criticizing the daycare. If I was a pre-school teacher, trapped in a room of 3-year-olds from 7am to 5pm, chances are pretty good that I would raise my voice 1 or 100 times a day.

I realize that even at our old gym, there are kids there that might have just gotten over RSV/flu/cold or carrying the starting of the virus. But they don't post it so I don't know about it. I like to be in the dark sometimes.

Matthew came home last week and told me that one of his co-workers had overheard why they didn't put an on-site childcare facility at the new gym. They were afraid that all the moms would go to the new gym and the old gyms would start losing members.

I should call management and let them know that I am staying with my old gym. Feeling comfortable about dropping off my kids is worth the extra 15 minutes of driving.

Good thing gas prices have dropped.

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Lane said...

Amen sister!! I totally agree! An hour?? That's how long it usually takes just to work out! Nuts!!

Kim said...

Yikes! And, good for you!

Summer said...

That is unbelieveable that they have no childcare. I am completely, 100% proud of you for getting a workout in on the 3rd. After all that fiasco, I would have chickened out, gone home mad, and eaten something. But, despite your frustration, you worked out anyways!
That gym should be sorry to lose you. The old gym definitely sounds worth the drive!

~aj~ said...

Totally ridiculous. I can't imagine what they were thinking when they made a brand new gym with no childcare.

I totally admire your determination to work out this past year. Some days I don't even want to walk all the way to the mailbox!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

UGH! how frustrating! thats just plain obnoxious. i am officially stressed for you. perhaps yuo should buy a treadmill with all that wasted gym membership moolah ;)

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