Ten weeks ago I began commuting to work. *grin* Not really, but that’s how the idea arose. We were having “Ladies Lunch in the Sukkah” (not yet blogged) and we were talking about the various changes in every day life since the pandemic. We were discussing the pros and cons of working from home. While I love the convenience, I do miss the office companionship. Kate said she missed her commute, because that was her only exercise. Amy said she’d read somewhere that missing the commute was a common theme and she’d read an article that suggested walking around the block 5 times before sitting down to work. I don’t know why but that resonated with me 100%.
Kate and I agreed we’d try “commuting” together. Well. *grin* It didn’t work out. The very condensed version is we made it ONCE, in the AFTERNOON (the commute home), along with her elderly dog. If you have ever taken a walk with a very small elderly dog you understand that there is no way we reached what I would consider a commuter’s pace. We also only made it around our block once. I’d say that counted as 2 blocks however because our block IS the size of 2 since a street stops before it bisects the block.
I knew I’d never make it around the block 5 times – how boring would that be???? Silly as it sounds, I didn’t even want to walk AROUND it once. No, I don’t know why. Maybe that’s leftover from all my own dog-walking days. I decided that “5 times around the block” meant 20 sides – 5 x 4 sides to a block. I set out in the morning and walked 20 sides. Yay me!!! I did it again the next day, and the day after. I got faster, I got more fit, I got inspired.
I am now walking 32 sides (that’s 8 blocks if you are counting 🙂 ). That includes The Hill – I walk UP the hill. I used to walk clockwise one day and then counter-clockwise the next. But now that I do The Hill, I always go clockwise so I can go UP The Hill. There is another slight rise walking in the last quarter of the route going clockwise so I always feel very virtuous at that point.
I mapped the route and it is 2.54 miles. On a good day – meaning one when I feel I can go at an exercise pace – I can do it in just under 45 minutes, or just better than 3 mph. Yes – these little numerical breakdowns are EXACTLY how I get through the walk each day. I use the time to try to take my mind away from my life & work, to try to practice ‘mindfulness’ – being in the moment. Hence the photos (this batch is the last of the fall leaves, I’m sure). I’ve also managed to NOT walk on days when I knew my body was not going to respond positively. Yesterday’s walk was a very short walk, no hills, no rises, because my back was hurting. I doubt I even did 2 miles. BUT – I DID get out and walk and I did it without pushing myself to the point of pain. *smile* I’d call that a successful walk.
I went up to Corporate yesterday for some meetings. I was a little concerned about the weather forecast. They’d been predicting 1-3 inches of snow up there by dawn and perhaps another inch in the morning. The commute was surprisingly trouble-free (for me anyway – there were accidents and tie-ups all over the place according to the traffic reports). I only wish I’d had time and place to pull over to take a picture of the trees along the lake as well. You may think that I was shooting in black & white but I was not. *smile* The world was gray and black and white all the way up, during the day, and then walking back to my car by moonlight (and safety lights & cameras). It was beautiful.
Yesterday was one of THOSE commuting days. It took me 2.5 hours to go 75 miles up, and just about 2.5 hours to return. That’s 5 hours commuting to spend about 6 hours meeting with folks. I spent a LOT of time simply sitting in traffic, waiting to inch forward. I remembered why I used to try to be on the road by 6am and not leave the office until after 6pm. That made for an extremely long day but a much shorter commute. Yesterday the weather was beautiful, although a bit chilly in the morning. I should have tossed on a jacket for the ride up. I was in the convertible and even with the windows up and the heat blasting, my shoulders were cold. Riding up it took me nearly 90 minutes to reach the Palisades. I think that might be 40 miles. That’s terrible progress. I think the fastest I ever got moving on the NJ Turnpike after Exit 11 might have been 40 mph. Most of the time it was 25 mph. On a road where I can usually hit 80 mph.
Coming home I spent quite a bit of time sitting on the Tappanzee Bridge (No, I will NOT call it the Mario Cuomo Bridge) as you can see by the pictures. Apparently there was some accident further north on the NY Thruway. Heading from Westchester county to Rockland county in the afternoon rush hour is always slow, but this took it to a new delay for me. I apologize for the poor quality. Every time I picked up the phone to take a picture, we got to inch forward half a car’s length. I finally held the phone up and pushed the button and hoped something would come out. Of course the camera assumed I was looking at the barriers, not the pretty sailboats out there on the Hudson. Still, I think you can get the idea. I do love looking at the river, the palisades, the mountains, the boats. That and the Kensico Dam and reservoir really make up for the ride on the NJT between exits 11 and 14. *grin*
I may have mentioned that I enjoy driving my red convertible. A lot. Somehow even when I’m stuck in a traffic jam if I’m in the convertible with the top down, it’s just not that annoying. My other car has a sun roof and I keep it open as much as possible, but it still feels like being locked in an box when I’m stuck not moving in traffic. In the convertible it feels like I’m out enjoying the day.
This week I drove up to HQ for some meetings. The weather was perfect convertible weather. I listened to the traffic reports before I left and I knew there had been a truck fire on the highway and I knew I’d hit some of the remaining jam. I hoped that I was leaving sufficiently after the incident that most of the traffic would be gone. I know, silly me, but if you don’t have hope in this world, things get bleak fast. Of course there was the 5 mile backup but you know what? I didn’t really care. I took out the suntan spray I keep in the car, took off my dress jacket, sprayed my arms and coated my face, and enjoyed the sun on my skin. Hit another traffic jam up on the Palisades, and I’m in the trees there, but still the convertible makes a difference. You can smell the surroundings much better with the top down than in a car with all the windows open. (And yes, that is both good and bad. Going past landfills is not very uplifting. 🙂 ) The Palisades section of the road had that heavy moist tree smell.
I was far enough behind rush hour that the bridge was not a problem so I got time to actually look at the gorgeous new structures. The last leg of my journey takes me past one of the NY state reservoirs. I love that piece of road. No matter how stressful or aggravating the commute has been up to that point, the sight of the water and trees and rocks always resets the mood. 🙂
New Jersey Turnpike – Like the Homeowners’ Motto “It’s Always Something”
Driving up to CHQ this morning I was in the usual stop-and-go slowness on Rt 287. I was in the far left lane and looking to merge right as my exit was approaching. I happened to notice the hubcap on the truck next to me. Quite eye-catching, isn’t it? I don’t know it there was a matching cap on the far side as well, but I do know that none of the other wheels on my side of the truck matched that hubcap.
I confess – I really, really enjoy these warm, sunny spring days, driving my new-to-me convertible with the top down. 🙂 “And she’ll have fun fun fun!”
Let me add that I’m really enjoying being ABLE to commute again. Whereas I love the option to work from home and skip the commute, NOT having the option and HAVING to work from home can get tiresome. I missed the camaraderie of the office and the change of scenery. I still don’t enjoy the traffic congestion, but I’m so happy that I can drive again. Even if it’s NOT in the convertible! 🙂