Thursday, March 24, 2011

Culture of Exercise

Occasionally I will wake up in the morning and wonder what other people, people who don't exercise or plan out meals, think about. What does it feel like, not having these issues weighing on one's mind? Is it liberating? I don't know anyone who doesn't exercise. At least I don't think I do.

That being said, there is a difference among exercisers. There are those who, like my in-laws, have decided that they need to exercise for their health, and so they do what's necessary to accomplish that. There are others who get exposed to the fitness bug and run (pun!) with it. And then there are those who, like myself and my brothers, were raised in a "culture of fitness". Allow me to explain.

It all started in the womb. My mother never allowed her first two pregnancies to slow her down. She walked/biked, gardened, and only gained 18 pounds with me. When she was pregnant with my brother she tells the story of when she biked to church in freezing cold weather, me in the bike carrier and her 8 months pregnant. I'm convinced that's what inspired me to make my cross-country trip when I was 8 months pregnant (to see Damm, who was graduating from Basic. I had a good reason).

Growing up we remained active. Walking, parks, gardening. When I was 8 my parents decided that we were going to play sports and enrolled first my brother, then myself, in soccer. It was a love affair that survives to this day. My love of running is a fortunate by-product of this previous enthrallment. Eventually, with three kids in soccer and two parents who played pickup games and a mother who coached, we had soccer practices five days a week and games all weekend. We were always on the move.

Later I decided that I was going to run races. When I was 7 my grandpa had run a 1-mile race with me, and I had run one or two others in the intervening years. My aunts were active runners and triathletes, and my grandparents decided that at 50 (I think that was their age) they were going to learn how to ski because the prices went down astronomically. Everyone was active. There was no escape. So I ran a half-marathon, a couple of shorter races. Then I decided to tackle the marathon distance, and ran the Austin Marathon twice. My brothers also have run races and the youngest participated in triathlons with my parents. Today, in case you were curious, my parents are arriving in Las Cruces, partly to see us over Spring Break and also so my dad and I can run the 15-mile Honorary Bataan March. Perfect vacation activity.

So, as hopefully I have illustrated, exercise was not an option growing up. It was something we all did, constantly and enthusiastically. Interest in nutrition has also stemmed from our "culture of exercise", and although we (Damm and myself) don't have the best of diets right now we are always trying. I want to pass along this ingrained need to be active to my children as well. I want them to consider exercise as part of their lives, and not as an optional activity. Given that their dad is in the army and I do things like INSANITY workouts for fun, I think they're well on their way to being raised in a "culture of exercise".

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Progressive:

Dear Progressive Home Advantage,

You might remember me.

I am the father of two young but adorable children who is a full time student with the adorable children's mother and a member of the national guard who fulfills all his obligations and makes payments on time and helps others and donates 10% of his income to either the poor or the church.

I'm also the name on one of your smaller policies. A policy started on January 12th for approximately $20k in insurance for a year, for a payment of $225? Something like that. I know it sounded a bit too nice. I should have known better.

You see back on March 10th my car was relieved of my book bag and several other bags containing items worth about 1/10th to 1/20th of my policy value. Trying to be high speed and reliable I thought I should report this as soon as possible and called that night for a police report. After doing that I was told by well meaning friends, "hey maybe your insurance will cover this?"

So Friday March 11th I called you to ask if this theft incident was something I should even talk to you about? The friendly lady said hey sure that's covered you can make a claim. So that morning I made a claim with your company. Because you know... that is what the insurance is for.

Imagine my surprise when Saturday March 19th I get a letter in the mail. A letter mailed 6 days after my claim. A letter saying my policy had been canceled. Due to "unfavorable loss experience".

I called you in surprise as soon as your office opened Monday. Your very cheerful professional staff explained that it was your policy to cancel any policies that made a claim within the first 60 days of the policy. Oh. Yeah that was a bit of a shock. You kindly sent me copies of my policy and pointed at page 32 on the right hand side where it explains that you can cancel the policy for any reason at all within the first 60 days. Ah bother.

To bad I hadn't waited until Monday instead of being high speed. Because Monday March 13th....would have been day 61. Instead of Friday March 11th, Day 58.

So as it is I'm sorry that the theft of my belongings happened three days too early for you and I dearly hope that you don't miss my business too much because I can no longer do business with you or any of your subsidiaries and as soon as I can I will be saving you the bother of insuring me for the least amount possible on the other items you say that you cover for me.

Your former policy holder.