The Farm vs. The Gym


Today I had a gym session.  With a personal trainer coach master torture-inflictor.  Let me be clear that I am an active, card-holding (charter), all be it somewhat not so silent, member of the National Organization Against Organized Exercise (NOAOE).  I will not drive to a gym.  I do not buy memberships.  It’s just one of those NOAOE standards that I won’t cave on (well, except for that once when a friend person convinced me to join that ladies’ work-out circuit thingy).  And had I asked a few more questions or gotten outside of MY thinking and into Prince Farming’s thinking, I could have avoided this little massive NOAOE rule-breaker.

He asked me to help him lay pipe.  Looking out my window, I saw the trenches he’d been digging on a cute little excavator for weeks days.  And I saw piles of pipe.  Big pipe and little pipe.  Pipe, pipe, pipe.  In my mind, we were going to go down there, and I’d help him carry these pipe segments and lay them where they need to be, to what – like, see if there’s enough pipe? (just writing this makes me realize that I didn’t think this thing through.  Duh!).

During this work-out session, I experienced weight training.  Have you ever lifted 6" PVC pipe?  I’m talking about 6" in diameter.  20 feet in length.  That’s weight lifting!  And I’ve heard people talk about "reps".  We did reps alright.  If I were to guess, I’d say probably 50 reps.  But that wouldn’t be right.  In reality, we only moved about 8 lengths of this pipe (surely it was more than that!).  BUT we moved each one more than once.  From the pipe pile to next to the trench.  Then down into the trench.  Sometimes back out of the trench and then back in.  And these reps actually got fairly creative in the muscle groups they worked, which probably is in direct conflict with the very term Reps.  This weight-training included walking (from the pipe pile to the trench), obstacle course (over 3′ piles/ridges of dirt dug from the trench, and then jumping stepping  maneuvering over the trenches – sometimes more than one), and squatting (to lower the pipe – it might crack if you drop it, like those strong, muscular, cut dudes do to the weight bars in the gym).  Then we had to clean and apply adhesive to the segments and heave them together.  Using a cracked 2 x 4, whacking the end to make it join in to the elbow piece, or "T" or coupling.  "Harder.  Harder!  HARDER!  It’s not going anywhere!"  Trying to be effective in a 36" wide trench.  Sideways.  With limited time, the adhesive bonding almost on contact.  Sheesh.

And those pansy little step-aerobics in gyms (or in front of the TV) don’t hold a candle to our step aerobics.  Forget 4", 6" or even 8" steps.  These trenches afforded 18" to 72" steps (depending on where along the trench we were).  Step in, out, over, and back.  In, out, over, and back.  You got it!  Now again. In, out, over, and back.  Now with a 20′ pipe!  In, out, over, and in.  Add stones and dirt in your boots, to toughen you up. In, out, over, and back.  Shut up!  The Marines could have used today’s little venture as their physical/mental stamina-building routine finale.

Okay, so that was the warm-up.  Now for the work-out part.  This work-out was one of those whole-body experiences.  I mean we did abs, quads, butt, thighs, dangly arm-bits, attitudes, relationship, language, existence, is there a God, whole-body work.  After the first two segments of pipe, I knew the agony was more than my imagination when Prince Farming said (out loud, in a voice I distinctly heard and he can’t deny) "This is harder than I thought it would be."  And we kept going.  For 5 more hours.  And we’re only half way done with the job.

We’re doing the drainage at the barn.  Both barns.  We had to start at one end of the old barn and run pipe the length of it (all the time ensuring that we were allowing a slight decline – used surveying tools – a transit – to do that) then meeting up with additional pipe along the perpendicular side of the new barn – they had to meet at the same depth and continue down-hill toward the other side of the old barn.  So sometimes we had to dig a little deeper (pick & shovel), and sometimes we had to add soil back (bobcat and shovel), so we didn’t drop too quickly and so that we could make all the pipe meet at a happy junction on the way to the drain by the road.  Then we had the extra puzzle of having to junction in to downspouts (which we had to add to the old barn as we went) at one time requiring the joining of 4 pieces of HUGE pipe.  We’ll finish it some time this weekend.  And if I have energy I’ll take photos.  But seeing pipe lying neatly in cut trenches – all pieced together nicely – really isn’t going to give you an accurate picture of the absolute torture of getting it there.

Excuse me – I need to convene a NOAOE forum to recommend an addendum to the charter.  Anything that smacks of a work-out needs to be included.  No matter what the venue or guise or cost (or not) might be.  It’s all a conspiracy that we must be alert and attentive to.  Pay attention, people!

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11 Responses to “The Farm vs. The Gym”

  1. CrazyCow Says:


    I’m a member of our local NOAOE. Perhaps it’s time to form the IOAOE?

  2. Amy Says:

    I believe that your rights as an NOAOE member have been violated. Let me suggest a good lawyer…

  3. Louise Says:

    I am NOT a member of the NOAOE, and I think any time you get a good workout without DRIVING somewhere is a bonus! I hate driving to work out. Suck it up. Think how sculpted that body is going to be!

    Other than that, this was HILARIOUS! And when did you post this? How did two people get here before me?

  4. kspin Says:

    LOVED this post! I actually just found you from the Skywatch site, so this was a fun surprise! I think I need to add laying pipe to my workout now…

    Great sky pics too!

  5. Michelle Says:

    I’m with you..LOL..minus the pipe laying part…

  6. david mcmahon Says:

    Thank you for your very kind comment.

    I really enjoyed this post – and your writing style. More power to you!

  7. moannie Says:

    You are one very funny lady.

  8. carol Says:

    This was delightful…not for YOU, but for the reader! My exercise routine needs major tweaking. Maybe some pvc, some adhesive…..

    I came over from David’s authorblog. I’ll be back!

  9. Hilary Says:

    Hilarious. I have no doubt that I’d be more fit if I lived outside of the city. I could only hope to be this amusing though. Here from David’s. :)

  10. Sandi McBride Says:

    Oh my, you’ve just told my “I’m Retired” story…and made me laugh what little butt I have left, off! FUNNY and well told!

  11. » Blog Archive » Fall Skywatch Says:

    [...] to the equipment.  Prince Farming had borrowed a little excavator (you remember – for the barn plumbing job) and tried to dig around the stump enough to get it out.  No luck.  He’ll have to [...]

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