Feet thudded up the stairs endlessly. Was it Prince Charming rising to his Rapunzel? Was it Roland DesChaines of Gilead, ascending the Dark Tower at last, the bodies of all those he loved littered in his wake? Was it an ascetic yogi, making his way to the very top of the tower of wisdom?

Nope. Just me.

Barbara is working on my cardio endurance, so my at-home HEP (Home Exercise Program) includes going up and down the stairs at least once a week, and more if I can stand it. When I began, it was three circuits – from basement to second floor and back down again – and I walked.

Now I’ve increased my stairs to four times, and I do a sort of very ugly half-shuffle that might be considered “running” up the stairs if I was a hundred years old. This involves a lot of elbow-pumping, to heave my rib cage up in the hopes that my hips – which are definitely attached – will also go up, dragging those brutally-heavy feet with them. And I lurch from side to side like a sumo wrestler getting up his mojo…

…but by damn, I make it up those stairs! I hold up the number of “ups” that I still have to go when I pass by the two Chinese ladies on the basement staircase landing; they don’t speak English, so I have to use sign language.

And then I hold up fingers for the victory at the top of the stairs; I do this to show the door to Rusty’s room how far I’ve gone. The door, like the Chinese ladies, expresses neither encouragement nor contempt, but I like to keep them informed just the same. Keeping it straight (four fingers on the way down, one at the top, three on the way down, two at the top, two on the way down, three at the top, one on the way down, four at the top – usually followed by a victorious fist in the air) keeps me from thinking about just how loudly I’m puffing and panting.

It’s eight flights in all; 112 steps. A pathetic number to leave me winded and gasping… but in truth, I suspect I could throw in a fifth circuit if I had to. Maybe even a sixth. And I’m not as winded as I once was.

So I guess I’m climbing to somewhere pretty great after all!

PS: Prince Charming never climbed to his Rapunzel, bub. She took matters into her own hands and climbed down herself, because she was a badass who kept herself in shape in her locked tower. Stick with the HEP, children. You never know when you’re going to have to take action to get to your less-than-capable Prince Charming!


These are the cherry blossoms who watch serenely over my endless up-and-downing. I keep them posted on my progress.

3 thoughts on “Climb

  1. I live up a hill one-quarter mile from the mailbox. When I first moved here, I couldn’t hike back up without a couple of stops to catch my breath and halt the wheezing. Now I can really feel my heart pumping but I don’t have to stop or some days, even slow down. It gets easier doesn’t it, if we keep at it.


  2. A perfect way to end 2017 and begin 2018. Totally love the finger count and totally smitten with you Chinese ladies. I, too, do the basement to 2nd floor stomp each day … usually with some abominably wonderful ABBA running through my head (I have a hate/love thing going with disco when I “exercise”). Here’s to a grand ol’ 2018!


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