One morning, soon after my oldest two kids had moved back home for the month-long winter break, my daughter and I settled by the fire to do work. Since the boys were asleep, the house was quiet.
Then I heard a thumping noise coming from upstairs. It sounded like someone jumping rope. I set down my laptop to go upstairs and investigate when my daughter offered an explanation.
“Oh, that’s Boy in Black. He must be planning to take a shower,” she said, barely glancing up from the stack of papers she was grading.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s his rule,” she said. “He doesn’t get a shower unless he’s done a bunch of exercises.”
That’s right. Boy in Black won’t shower unless he first does push-ups, planks, and leg lifts. The jump roping comes last: I know after I hear the thumping noises that I’ll hear the shower run.
“Yeah, I keep to the rule even when I'm at a tournament,” Boy in Black told me when I asked him about it. “Even if I've played a 100 points and I'm exhausted, I won’t take a shower until I've done my exercises.”
I like the common-sense idea of incorporating exercise into my life by tying it to something routine. Last night, I resolved that I would do 50 stomach crunches before taking a shower. My abdominal muscles could use a little tightening.
This morning, I got up, thought about exercising, and then decided that since I was staying home today, I didn’t need a shower anyhow.
Clearly, I am not as self-disciplined as my oldest son.