Thursday, December 8, 2016

Team Len Has a Defection

Each and every one of us probably has a team of professionals in the background that helps to keep us whole.  For instance...

My internist, dentist, and orthopedist are the best in LA and consider themselves as partners in my health.

My accountant is top notch and always there to answer my stupid questions. When it comes to my taxes, there are a lot of them.

My financial consultant is a great friend who makes me smarter every day and keeps me solvent.  He also advises me on health insurance, which is always a perplexing situation.

My hair stylist keeps me looking good and laughing at the same time.

And then there's my personal trainer Christina seen above with her son Bodhi. Indeed, she may have been the most important professional in my life the last five years.  And, sadly, I had to say goodbye to her as a trainer last Friday.  She remains as a friend living in Sedona, Arizona, but our work together is over and that pains me like the elbows she used to weld into my IT band twice a week.

The backstory began in 2011.  I finally sought out some physical therapy for my achy arthritic right knee.   At the time, a transplanted personal trainer from NY named Jeff was trying to start a business with the customers of the PT facility.  I thought why not.   Trust me, after two sessions, Jeff was making a difference in my mobility and my overall dexterity.   

But his wife didn't dig the LA environs and he wound up returning to his old hospital position in Manhattan.   He gave his client list over to this girl named Christina and I hoped for the best.

My first encounter with her was not a success.  Whatever she asked me to do, I wanted no part of.   She expected too much of me.   I made fun of her Boston-Italian accent.   Oil and water.

That day marked the very last time Christina and I were not on the same page. Since then, twice a week, we have been completely in sync.   And, in short order, Christina became very much more than just somebody who kept track of how many pounds I was lifting during cable rotations.

Five years is really a long period of time when it comes to life changes and we both went through a lot of them.  A former actress, she was making a career switch with this business.   I evolved from one employer to essentially one with his own consultancy while concentrating more on writing.   As a result, she somehow morphed into a script reader and advisor.   When we staged a showcase of our project last February, Christina not only took a small role but also helped with a last minute replacement when our original male lead flew the coop.

I remember the one day four years ago when she inexplicably cancelled a session because she had a doctor's appointment.  The next time I saw her, I opened the session with a simple question.

Are you pregnant?

I was a genius.

Four months later when she was training me right before her maternity leave, Christina got behind my back as usual to help me stretch my chest muscles.   I felt a little kick from her stomach.   Hey, kid, I'm one of your mom's legacy clients.  Leave me alone!

So as we meandered through two hour-long sessions every week, we ran the gamut beyond stretching and exercising and massages.   She got me to eat nothing but vegetables for at least two meals a week.  She'd listen to my nonsense about everything and anything.   She would push me that our sitcom project was too good not to live some place.  She's one of the few people I would talk politics with.   On the flip side, I would correct her grammar, tell her that her sister could be a jerk, and frequently side with her husband when I heard about some of their arguments.

Somewhere in the middle of our association, I tore the meniscus in my left knee which completely changed our course of action.   Christina focused on my core prior to the meniscus surgery.   And I'd like to think I was back on my feet quickly because of her hard work with me.

Then, last year when I fractured my right knee cap in three places by tripping over my own two feet in the building garage, I called up Christina from the emergency room gurney and she took the news harder than I did.

"I feel like I failed since you're supposed to be better with your mobility now."

Well, shit happens.   And, again, it was Christina who helped me recover from that fracture faster than most people would.   

Most importantly, besides being a trainer and a massage therapist and a psychologist and a script editor and a casting director, Christina is a friend.   I only hope I have been as good a friend in return.

She gave me the news about her impending location switch before she told her other clients.   Her husband's father and grandfather live in Arizona and there is some evidence of senior abuse going on, so they want to be closer to that action.   Out of the blue, Christina's husband got a spot in the Sedona Police Academy.  They quickly bought a 40 foot trailer and packed up the house.   There was little time for me to grieve.

Servicing me to the end, she took care to help me pick out a replacement trainer at the gym.   I had often chatted amicably with one of them, a trainer named Peter and the main attraction to me was that he grew up as a Met fan in Southern California.   But, Christina made sure that he shadowed our sessions so he could fill the bill.   I am sure Peter will be fine when we start working together after Christmas.

But he won't be Christina.   While we won't have the client/trainer relationship, we both have pledged to text and e-mail and call.
Because that's what really good friends do.

Thanks, You.  Talk to you next week.

Dinner last night:  Chicken and sausage gumbo.

And from New York!

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