Now I’m Back (I mean it this time)

Ok, so maybe I lied and I wasn’t back. But now I am. It’s not that my tailbone was still bothering me so much that I couldn’t sit, but, well, you get out the habit of doing something and it gets hard to get back into the habit. Turns out that’s super true about blogs.

I was gonna try and catch y’all up on what’s happened since I last had a chance to write at some length, but that’d just involve a lot of old news. I mean, Keaton’s birthday was chill and everything, but no one wants to hear about what happened in January now that it’s May and baseball season’s been underway for a month.

With the injury, I was off my feet for almost a whole month. After the first two weeks, I discovered that I could get a little bit of a workout in the pool if I just used my arms and didn’t kick, but that wasn’t a whole lot of fun. Even the boys could tell it was lameass. Finally – and it really did take a whole month – I was able to swim full-out, and, dang, did that feel like the best day of my life. The doctor said I should concentrate on swimming rather than the gym at first, since like y’all know, swimming isn’t weight-bearing. So it was another couple weeks before I could go back to my regular workout schedule, which turned out great since that was when the show came back off hiatus and we started devoting the “Hshred” (I cringe every time I write them, but even Maya has started calling them that) segments to recovering from an injury. I didn’t have to tell the camera how I busted my tailbone, but we did have to disclose what my injury was so people could understand what I was coming back from.

Everything I do on TV in the gym has to be double-checked with the place that supervised Matteo’s diet. We want to be careful about giving good workout advice and it’s not like I have a degree in kinesiology. From what I understand, the Vshred dude (Keaton: “your competition, bubba”) isn’t that careful. The Beverly Hills Institute of Advanced Kinesiology and Weight Reduction set up my program of recovery exercises and said that it would be good for people with low back trouble as well as busted coccyx bones.

I’ve been telling you about ‘my segment’ in bits and pieces for a while now; maybe it’s time that I explained it more fully. Basically it’s two minutes every week about fitness, with an emphasis on baseball, since that’s what I know about after all. I’m not a fitness expert, and I’ve been asking Lucas for advice since they told me I was going to have the segment. Lucas worked with strength and fitness coaches while he was working with me on baseball, and, all through my college and pro careers, I was never the first guy in the gym in the morning. (Ok, ok…maybe if I were that guy I’d still be playing, but I don’t really believe that.) I reckon I’ve always been a fit guy: I ran around plenty as a kid, I played baseball whenever I could, and I spent as much time in the pool as I could too, but I didn’t give conditioning too much thought. Until now, when it’s how I make my living. Keaton says that what I’m selling is that, if you do my exercise regimen, you can look like me. Ok, I know that sounds narcissistic, but I’m not such a dumbass to not have realized that how I look has something to do with my having my own segment on the show. Just look at what people are saying on my Twitter and Instagram. I never had a six-pack until this started, and that took a lot of advice from Lucas, who (I just saw him for spring break) is still ripped. But now I have the six-pack, and, even if it probably is kinda gayass, I spend a lot of time on TV with my shirt off.

And I got handed a one-year contract and a raise in exchange for doing it. Keaton says I’m kinda being a whore (Keaton: “and I know what being a whore means”) as well as totally gayass (Keaton: “bubba, you’re almost as gayass as the Vshred dude sometimes”), but I gotta make my living somehow…and, as Maya pointed out, the exposure can’t hurt. Not that I’m planning to have a career on Netflix or anything like that…but because…maybe y’all remember my baseball resort plans? If it becomes #baseballboy’s baseball resort and a reality, that’ll be fine with me.

And I want to make it super clear am not in competition with the Vshred dude. No matter what Keaton says. Or what Joyce says (we had a huge fight about it.) Or what a bunch of people on my Instagram say. Vince what’s-his-name’s got his deal, which is selling potions and powders that are supposed to make you look like him, and I’ve got mine, which is showing people how to do some basic exercises in the gym the right way, and how to develop some basic baseball skills. And, oh yeah, recently I’ve also been showing the audience some exercises you can do in the gym if your back is fucked up like mine kinda still is. (I’m still using the donut. I’m sitting on it right now.) I even had a guest appear on my segment: last week we filmed me and Lucas doing throwing drills – basically showing the people at home how to play what we used to call Kiké Hernández Catch, when you throw just to the outermost limit of where the other dude can catch it. It’s gonna air this Wednesday…and Keaton said I should warn everyone not to be disappointed because me and Lucas keep our shirts on the whole time lol.

The baseball segment isn’t the only segment on the show that I appear in now. Gechitzik’s got his segment too, and me and the boys and an obedience expert appear with him in it. Training a dog is hard (and super repetitive) work, even with a dog like Gechitzik who’s pretty smart. (Shepherds are supposed to be really bright, aren’t they?) I keep wanting to teach Gechitzik to jump up and catch a frisbee, but the obedience chick (they got a woman because they felt the segment was dude-heavy with a male dog and three dudes lol) keeps telling me it’s too early to teach him tricks like that when we’re still working on basics.

So far, we’re doing an okay job of teaching Gechitzik to ‘heel’ and walk on the leash, although he doesn’t need to go anywhere that he needs a leash for. We’ve got a huge property for him to run around, and it’s got a solid wall around it with only a couple gates that everyone’s been told to be super careful about keeping closed. (We even got signs to remind people.) Still, Gechitzik did get out the back gate one day, although I gotta admit we didn’t realize it until he showed up at the front gate and started barking. So I reckon he’s smart enough to find his way home. The dog trainer does have me and the boys taking Gechitzik out on walks around the neighborhood which gives him a chance to sniff around at (and pee on) stuff…and (sometimes) show off how well he can walk on the leash.

That is until another dog comes around: then he goes fuckin berserk. He’s just a big animal and has real big teeth, so it’s pretty intimidating when he starts barking and growling. And dang can he ever be loud! I think we freaked out a dude who I think may have been autistic since he was covering his ears and running from the ruckus Gechitzik was making. I reckon he’s not too used to other dogs, although he must have lived with some of them at the shelter (but, then, we don’t know how long he was living in the shelter, and they were in cages there.) One Asian dude (we have a lot of Asian neighbors in San Marino) with a little dog told us not to worry about the barking and that Gechitzik was just being a dog. I reckon that’s true, but, still, he’s like 70 pounds of dog just being a dog, and, while the beagle head makes him look friendly, that german shepherd body can look a little scary. The boys want to take him to a dog park, but our obedience guru (she’s got a name and I might a well give it to you since we use it on the show; it’s Nancy) says he’s not ready for having that many dogs around him. It’ll come in time. Kinda slowly, but, then, Nancy only comes over twice a week to give him lessons.

The lessons get filmed…and then they film me and the boys working with Gechitzik, going over what we learned with Nancy. It’s not easy, training a dog, although at least Gechitzik is okay with a camera pointed at his snout and a couple crew people watching him as we walk him back and forth and back and forth and get him used to “engaging” with the person holding the leash instead of just pulling on the leash while he sniffs every blade of grass we pass like a vacuum cleaner. And 70 pounds of dog pulling on the leash is a lot of dog to have pulling at you. That’s why the first thing we’re teaching him is to “heel” and walk on what Nancy calls a “slack leash.”

We’re not sure how old Gechitzik is. The vet says he’s probably 2 or 3, so he’s not a puppy, which means (as the vet told Maya): “You’re going to be trying to teach and old dog new tricks, Mrs. Sharpman.” Ok…so it’s not Maya who’s trying to teach Gechitzik, it’s me and the boys. Maya likes Gechitzik well enough, I reckon – I mean, she’ll pet him and she makes sure that he has everything he needs (she’s the one who keeps refilling his water dish) – but I don’t think she’s a huge dog person. Neither is Mrs. Bedrossian, who says things like “I’ve seen where that dog’s nose has been, and I don’t want it anywhere near me.” Ok, she’s got a point. (And, since she doesn’t walk him, so she doesn’t know as well as I do where his nose has been lol.)

Robert, on the other hand, really does like having a dog. He grew up with one and and another one before he married Maya, and turns out that getting Gechitzik was largely his idea. He felt that the boys should have the responsibility and everything people say comes with having a dog, but I think he wanted a dog for himself, too.

The boys certainly have both taken to him, and he’s taken to them, although, yeah, I think there’s no sense in not pretending that I’m not his favorite. He spends a lot of his outside time sleeping in the sun outside of the pool house. He still sleeps at night with the boys, though. He’s still not allowed in the bed with anyone (and he’s a dang big dog to share a twin bed with), but he takes turns sleeping in the boys’ rooms. He doesn’t seem to have gotten the concept of alternating, so the boys take turns pulling his bed into one of their rooms, and he goes where his bed goes.

Now that I’ve written all that, I realize why it is that I fell behind keeping the blog up. I’m pretty dang busy with the two segments on the show and all the work that goes with them. Yeah, it takes a lot of time in the gym to keep up the “Hshred” look, and training a dog is very time-consuming, too. Plus I have the boys to take care of, and let’s not forget my miscellaneous duties like being the pool boy. (No, there are no segments planned in which I show the audience how you add chlorine to a pool.) It’s a lot to do, but, know what?, I’m enjoying it a lot.

Even if that dang tailbone still bothers me. Like it’s doing now that I’ve been sitting typing this.

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