My New Year’s Resolution: Keep Writing New Year’s Resolutions, Damnit

Who cares if I still have an unworking Stairmaster in my barn?

[Last year’s resolution: By the end of 2015, I will have either fixed my Stairmaster machine or gotten rid of i])

Who cares if I’m still in the middle of Chapter 16 in a 21-chapter book? 

[Last year’s resolution: By the end of 2015, I will have finished the first draft of Altitude (Book Three of the Flying Burgowski trilogy) and be actively re-revising the first half]

Who cares if I never got beyond the “we should get together for a walk or a cup of tea sometime, huh?” stage of inviting someone I don’t know well for a walk or a cup of tea?

[Last year’s resolution: By the end of 2015, I will have invited someone I would like to know better for a walk or a cup of tea]

As I wrote last year, “The secret to success is having really low standards.” It’s also, I believe, the maintenance of the feeling of forward progress–the alternative to which is stepping into that swamp of grumpiness and self-pity where the only escape is too much chocolate…you see where this leads, right?

So let me take a minute to celebrate the two resolutions that I DID keep last year:

  1. riding my bike in to work at least as often, if not more often, than driving: check!
  2. developing a fitness regimen that includes daily strength and stretching exercises: check!**

** ahem ** Honesty compels me to admit that I officially adopted said fitness regimen all of **cough** four days ago…but HEY. I’ve kept it up for four days, in 2015, so that still COUNTS.

023 (2)

And all of those so-far-unkept resolutions are just that, I’ve decided: not failed, just late bloomers. Who’s in charge here? That’s right. So here are my new low-resolution resolutions:

By the end of 2016 I will have…

  • Finished, revised, and published Altitude
  • Kept up my biking vs. riding to work ratio
  • Kept up my daily fitness regimen (the secret to success here was  Son Two’s idea: “Why don’t you do it while you watch The Daily Show, Mom?”)
  • Made reservations for a 2017 trip to New Zealand to research my next novel (New Zealand?! Good on ya!)

…oh, and that Stairmaster? Maybe the unknown person I invite for a walk or a cup of tea will help me figure out what to do with it.

Got a resolution to share? Don’t believe in ’em? Tell me about it either way. And…Happy New Year!

Techno-Trep: Because Phobia is for Losers

My Stairmaster is testing me.

Bet you think this is one of those “Oh-no-I’m-already-breaking-my-New-Years-exercise-resolution” posts, huh? Nope–not that kind of testing. I’m hard-wired for exercise.

What I’m NOT hard-wired for is fixing things…especially anything hard-wired. (Whatever that means. I just like how it sounds.) I’m not phobic about technology, I’m just…trepidatious. I’m a Techno-Trep. Which is why I was OVER THE MOON two years ago when my beloved, ancient Stairmaster went on the fritz and I fixed it ALL BY MYSELF.

OK, not entirely by myself. I googled the problem: pedal drop (meaning you’re mastering those stairs like a pro and all of a sudden, bam–one pedal dives to the floor, breaking your stride and messing with your concentration as you try to anticipate how many more steps you get before the next jarring drop. The Co-Dependent Genie Google (thanks, Kristen Lamb, for that appellation) took me to a video by a nice man named Mark in Texas. Mark’s video said I had to inspect and perhaps replace my drive shaft.


But, for three dollars, Mark walked me step by step through the fix-it and even offered to connect by phone if I needed more help. I did. Mark was wonderful. He told me exactly what tools to get (needle-nosed pliers, some kind of clip-thing, and…hey, remember, I’m not good with this stuff), and told me, “You can do this.”

"You're MINE, Drive Shaft."

“You’re MINE, Drive Shaft.”

And…I did. I took that thing apart, saw that the bearings crumbled away at the touch, ordered a new drive shaft, and installed it. Stairmastering never felt so real to me.

Time passed. I used my machine. Then, one day, I moved it. Bad idea.
Stairmaster ANGRY.

This time, though, the problem was apparently electrical, not mechanical: the screen said “Program Error 1” and refused to say anything else.

Back to Google. Mark was nowhere to be found on this problem, unfortunately, but I did find an online manual which told me to check the voltage. So I bought a voltmeter, took the machine apart again, and tested the battery. It was FINE.

This is when I decided to apply the number-one strategy of the Techno-Trep: I waited to see if the problem would fix itself.

Hey, machine, you wanna pout ’cause you got all jostled when I moved you a few feet? Don’t you dare give me that “Program Error 1” look. You stay in your room till you’re ready to act like a piece of exercise equipment.

So, after two months of ignoring my machine (it helped that it was summer–who needs stair machines when there are sunny trails to run?), I went back in there, stepped up, and…

Machine: “Welcome. Please Choose Workout.”

Me: HA! YESSSS!! I knew you’d come around.

Now, a year and a half later, it’s cold and windy and I’m looking for an excuse not to have to run in the sideways rain. It’s Stair Time. Except…

Machine: “Program Error 1.”

Me: You’re kidding. What did I do? I never touched you!

Machine: “Program Error 1.”

Me: Is that it? You’re mad ’cause I’ve been ignoring you?

Machine: “Program Error 1.”

Me: Fine. I see how it is.

I’m not worried. I have a working strategy. In a couple of months, the pouting fit will be over. Who needs Mark in Texas? We Techno-Treps have it all figured out.

What about you? Are you a DIY fix-it stud, a caller-for-help, or a wait-and-see Techno-Trep like me? Or does it depend on the machine? I love hearing your stories.