We’ve reached the depths of winter in the Midwest, and the part of that dismal season when changes in temperature mean melting snow, then refreezing, then melting again, then refreezing again. It makes walking outside a treacherous exercise that is not for the faint of heart — especially if you’re walking on ever-slippery brick.
But there is an alternative to outdoor exercise for those of us who are too cheap to get health club memberships but who desperately need the exercise if they hope to stave off the condition of Rapid Waistline Expansion. It’s called the stairs. And if, like me, you toil in an older building where there are lots of stairwells with different designs, like the stairwell shown above, the stairs can be a pretty cool option aesthetically, too.
According to the medical experts, taking the stairs does have the effect of burning some calories — although not enough to allow you to rationalize eating a Snickers bar a day, unless you’re walking to the top of the Empire State building on your way to work — and other health benefits as well, including building and maintaining health bones, muscles, and joints and improved aerobic capacity. I like doing it because it gets me moving and gets the blood flowing during the day, and I feel like I’m at least doing something to maintain or even improve my health while at the office.
Of course, it’s a lot easier taking the stairs going down, than going up.
My name is Penny.
I am a good dog. I really am. I am a faithful member of the pack. I guard the house and patrol the perimeter. I keep an eye on Kasey and try to keep her out of trouble. I am good company for the Leader, too.
So why do the Leader and the old boring guy keep moving into places that have these terrible things? When I saw these yesterday, I said: “Oh no! Not again!” But when I saw our pack’s things here, I knew I was stuck.
I hate these slippery and slidey things. I even hate them more than I hate cats, or that mean dog that tried to bite Kasey once. When I try to walk on these things, I feel like I am on an icy pond. I am afraid that my paws and legs are going to go shooting out sideways and I am going to fall on my chin.
Why oh why did we come here? You know, I bet the old boring guy had something to do with this. But I’ll teach him a lesson. I won’t go up them, period. At night, I’ll just sit at the bottom and whimper and bark. Ha, ha! Good luck getting some sleep, old boring guy!
My name is Penny.
Something big has happened to our pack. I mean, really big! Yesterday the Leader took Kasey and me to a new place that we have never seen before — but some of our things were there. I’m not sure, but I think we might be staying here.
I don’t know why we left our old place. It’s the only house I’ve lived in. I liked it there. I miss it already.
I have to admit that this new place has some interesting smells. Kasey and I have had some fun exploring. But I hate this thing about our new place — the stairs and the floors. The stairs are way too tall, and I have to really jump to get up them. And the floors are just too slippery and slidey for me. Who wants to be slipping and sliding everywhere?
But our whole pack is here — even the old boring guy. Kasey and I like it best when we are together, wherever we are. And our food is here, too. That is a good thing, because with all this slipping and sliding I am hungry!
Every morning, as part of my morning exercise regimen, I climb up the back stairs of the firm to the fifth floor. Before I begin, I take a look all the way to the top, because the view reminds me of the movie Vertigo. I crane my neck upward, get a little dizzy, then begin my trudge upward.