#48

pexels-photo-259200.jpegWhat’s this? Posting two days in a row?  What the.  .  .?

Purging will be simple today – it’s just venting.

Vent # 1- aquafit/aquasize/water aerobics – whatever you want to call it last night. It was my second class. Because last Friday’s got cancelled. I had rushed to get there all enthusiastic and everything (and a little late, too) only to be told it was cancelled due to the Alberta Winter Games.

Well.

I knew the games were on but the instructor never said anything when she was telling us that our next class was to be held in a different pool because the one we were in needed some maintenance.

You know what they say about assuming things.  .  .?

Anyway, I made plans to go with someone to a class last night. (Double checked that the class was running, first.) We arrived and stood around looking lost because we had no idea where the class was being held – no signs to indicate which pool, no milling crowd of excited participants – just us shivering on the edge feeling conspicuous in front of the row of men sitting outside the steam room and the sauna. (We come to watch!)

Finally, I asked where the class was taking place. The instructor shows up and we get in to the water. The cold water. The deep, cold water. We were standing on our toes, water lapping at our chins.  Ever tried doing a skiers lunge in water that’s nearly over your head? Ha ha ha ha. We toughed it out, but were pretty chilled by the end of the hour.

This is what was great about the class – I got out for the evening, I spent a lot of time laughing, I got to spend a bit more time with a new friend, I got some exercise and I got to sit in a hot tub afterwards.

Vent #2 – Rewards programs.

Like 99% of the population I like rewards. I like the feeling that I’m getting a little something extra for my loyalty as a consumer.

Hence, we collect Airmiles. At the rate of about 10 a year. We have 2 travel points credit cards – which get used quite regularly, and which have been extremely beneficial. We also have a PC/Optimum card for groceries and whatever.

Generally, I don’t complain about these programs because I figure, hey,  it’s a bonus and it’s better than getting nothing. Right?

Riiiight.

In the last year our travel VISA through TD has changed the way you earn and redeem points. These were tagged as ‘new’ and ‘important’ changes.  Essentially what it means is that we earn fewer points per purchase but it costs us more points when we want to redeem.

I did the irate consumer thing and called to voice my dissatisfaction. All that got me was a “We value your opinion and we’ll be sure to pass along your comments” platitude. Despite my threat to cut the card up I’ve still got it, because, well, you know, something is always better than nothing. Right?

Recently, I’ve been forced into the PC Optimum program. This is an amalgamation of the President’s Choice family of companies and Shoppers Drug Mart.

I shopped at Shoppers quite a lot, and had earned a swack of points. I didn’t really shop at Superstore that much, just occasionally, even though I had a PC points card. So I really didn’t earn many points there.

When the switcheroo came my points transferred over and I thought nothing of it. Other than – now that the two programs are joined I might as well shop more often at Superstore, and any other stores affiliated with the PC Optimum program.

And that’s how they get you. Because you think there’s a benefit in it for you.  Well, not so much.

Now I no longer earn points on every dollar I spend. I only earn points on those items they choose to send me offers for. And most of those offers are for things I’d never purchase.

It’s an ingenious marketing strategy, and one I’m sure many producers are paying handsomely to be part of. Because now they can directly target consumers and entice them to buy their products through the promise of points that they can redeem for more of their products.

So many people use these points programs to enhance the quality of their lives. It allows them to put more food on their tables, take vacations, buy gifts they might not otherwise be able to afford.

When I consider this I can’t help wondering: if, instead of spending trillions of dollars creating these ‘loyalty’ programs, companies simply lowered their prices so that consumers could actually afford to purchase what they needed and wanted – wouldn’t that in itself create loyalty?

It’s a long one today – glad I got it all out.

Purgey, purgey, purge. Day 37

 

I’ve been busy getting back into the swing of things. Thank God I’m no longer working! I’d be completely useless. That’s not to say I haven’t been busy – I have – it’s just that I seem to require frequent rests in between chores.

My purging right now is focused on health and diet. Tim and I are both seriously over-weight and out of shape. On Monday we both started restricting calories, eating healthier and doing some form of exercise every day. This has not been a painless process.

Going from what was a very high-fat diet to one low in fat, high in protein, fibre and vegetables has taken some serious adjusting.

Then there is the restriction of alcohol to be considered.  . .

Even before our cruise with the all-inclusive drink package that came with it (which we took full advantage of, let me tell you) we were in the habit of having at least two drinks/day.

We had convinced ourselves that a couple of drinks a day wouldn’t hurt us – they were,  in fact, actually good for us. They helped us relax, they provided us with time to connect at the end of Tim’s work day, and, because we needed to believe there was some good in drinking every day we bought into some ‘research’ that said consuming one to two alcoholic drinks per day was shown to have numerous health benefits.

If we were running a marathon every day, maybe. All it did was help make us fatter, lazier and less interested in being healthy.

We have not completely sworn off booze. Oh, no! We like it – a lot – and we especially like consuming it when we socialize. It’s just our approach to it has changed. We will reserve the pleasures of imbibing for those special occasions when we’re with family or friends.

And we will not needlessly or purposely create ‘special’ occasions.

Exercise has been a challenge, too. It requires us to get up quite a bit earlier than we’ve become accustomed to. We each have a half hour routine we do in the morning. It’s a good way to start the day – grunting and groaning, huffing and puffing – but we definitely have more energy and a more positive attitude when we’re done.

Trying to fit some form of exercise in to our evenings is more of a challenge. So far this week we’re 0 for 3. We’ve decided that swimming would be a good choice. It’s just getting our carcasses to the pool that’s the problem. This morning, because we both slept in and missed our workout, we’re definitely committed to going. Maybe. Hopefully.

I’m proud of us, for recognizing that our lifestyle was seriously unhealthy and for choosing to make changes. Change is never easy, and I find that the older I get the easier it is to convince myself that it’s unnecessary and pointless.

Following the death of my father this attitude became constant and predominant. What was the point, I asked myself. If life could be taken from someone as big, strong and gregarious as our father, someone who did not drink to excess, someone who either walled, biked or golfed every day, then why should I concern myself with having a few drinks or doing nothing more strenuous than taking a stroll around the block now and again?

And then I thought of what dad’s reaction would have been to me thinking like that. He wouldn’t have chastised, judged or reprimanded. He would have simply given me that look that said “come on, Kathy Marie, you know better than that.” And then he would have probably said, “let’s go for a walk”.

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