Heather is always trying to mess me up when I’m keeping count of something. I tend to mutter the count under my breath, just loud enough to be a target. It can be a measurement for curtain bars or number of shots in the cocktail shaker. I believe my audible counting is a holdover from helping my mother with her catering business. She’d make huge batches of food that required measuring and mixing. And she’d be counting, telling us to be quiet and continue the count. It wasn’t always prudent to mess with the counting.

However, when someone is doing sit-ups, that would appear to be the perfect time to mess with the count. Heather and I used to do this all the time when in L.A. after stair running. We’d sit on each other’s feet and count the sit-ups. After we moved, we joined a gym and we’d count for each other on the ab machine. Once Leta was born, we ended our joint gym trips and the counting stopped.

Since I’m now working from home, we’ve been able to go to the gym together a couple of times, and the counting has started again. Sort of. Heather tried to mess me up with a random string of numbers, most of them within the counting range. While I’m on the ab machine, she’s walking around and telling me, “8… 14… 18… 7….”

When it’s her turn on the machine, I walk by and do roughly the same thing. However, I decide that to really mess someone up, it’s better to bust out algebraic expressions. I never knew how powerful the square root of 52 could be.