The Word-Nerd WOD

On Friday, I lit a fire under my butt and decided to tackle the ever-growing stacks of discarded books that darkened the hallway of our office.

It started a few months ago: Dave was cleaning out his office, and he stacked books he wanted sell at Half Price Books in the hallway. I began to add my own castoffs and now, we’d grown accustomed to maneuvering our way around the four stacks of books that were about five feet tall and teetering precariously. I also regularly stubbed my toes on them while making the journey from my office to Dave’s. Something needed to be done.

Given that it was hot and humid — and that a laundry basket full of books weighs somewhere between 20 and 50 pounds, depending on how many thrillers and geek books one tosses into the bin — this particular chore quickly turned into a WOD.


The Word-Nerd WOD
For time:
Move four 5-foot tall stacks of books from the office to the car, approx. 100 yards roundtrip

My time: 33:27


Things I Learned During the Word-Nerd WOD

The best WODs not only train your body, they teach you something about yourself and the world at large. Observe:

1. Lifting and carrying hundreds of books in 95-degree weather might be more strenuous than some gym WODs I’ve done.

2. Books about computer programming are heavy.

3. No matter how much you want that book you started and discarded three times to be good, it’s never, ever good.

4. Cockroaches like to hide behind stacks of books.

5. Do not wear rhinestone flip-flops when roaches might be involved.

6. A 4-inch thick computer programming book, dropped from 4 feet high, is an effective roach killer. (Leaving the book/dead roach for your spouse to clean up is perfectly acceptable behavior.)

roachkillerYes, there’s a squashed cockroach under there. And yes, I really did leave it there for Dave to clean up.

7. Wheels are, indeed, one of man’s greatest inventions; moving books in a shopping cart is far superior to schlepping them in a laundry basket.

8. There is nothing at all ridiculous about owning both the Kindle and printed version of a book. Or several books.

9. I cannot resist buying a new book (Hello, latest Sid Halley novel!), even when I’ve just spent hours packing and carrying reject books.

10. There is no such thing as too many copies of Jane Eyre.


The books stacked in the backseat filled three shopping carts at Half Price Books and netted us $256.00 — which I immediately donated to our local Meals on Wheels because I heard an NPR piece about the effect of the government shutdown on Meals on Wheels, and it just about broke my heart.

We are quite fortunate to have the luxury of being super picky about what we eat. But there are thousands of people out there whose only meal each day is from Meals on Wheels. In many cases, the funding for those much-needed dinners is supplemented by federal funds, which are non-existent during the shutdown. Just $35 provides 5 meals for needy seniors; you can learn more about how to donate on the national Meals on Wheels web site.


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  • regan says:

    My grandmother uses Meals On Wheels so thank you so much for your donation to them!

  • Renae says:

    Wow. A WOD and a donation to a great cause. That’s a good day, right there…minus the cockroaches 😉

  • Holly says:

    1. Half Priced Books is just about my favorite place on Earth!

    2. I am also 100% unable to NOT purchase books there when I am in there specifically to GET RID OF books. (2 steps forward, 1 step back.)

    3. That Meals on Wheels story made me weeeeeeeeeeeep! That was such a thoughtful thing to do.

    • Mel says:

      Half Price Books. I can kill HOURS there, even when I don’t buy anything. I have serious book coveting issues.

      Meals on Wheels makes me weep anyway, but add the risk of the govt shutdown and I’m just about done in.

  • Melissa says:

    This is the first time I’ve visited your blog. I finally bought your book last week since I was constantly being drawn to it at work (I work at B&N) and set up the paleo endcap in our store. It was the recipe for the Moroccan meatballs that really had me. Well, that, and the fact I’m working on living healthier and I’ve been really curious about the paleo lifestyle. Oh, and I’ve had a really bad cold and something with that much cumin is really about the only thing I can taste right now….kidding. Anyway, the night I bought your book, I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning reading it. I appreciate that you shared so much of where you came from.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far, and I’m glad I found your blog! I’ll definitely be back!!

    P.S. The dead cockroach under the book thing…totally acceptable. I’m with you on that.

    P.S.S. The meals on wheels things…just plain awesome!!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. I love that you read the book until the wee hours… YAY! Did you make the Moroccan Meatballs yet? They are crazy good.

      The cockroach was so disturbing, but once again, a book saved the day 🙂

      • Melissa says:

        Yes!! I tweaked a little (didn’t have ground lamb, so I used ground turkey and beef), and added some sliced carrots to the sauce. We gobbled it up!! We’ve also tried the stir-fry sauce. YUM!!

  • Loved this post! It caught my eye because I very recently did a “word nerd” post myself. Yours was much more strenuous than mine! lol
    I just leaned out my bookshelves and have my own stack to get rid of, loved your idea of donating those funds.
    Keep the creative recipes coming!

  • Kay says:

    We moved recently. and if moving isn’t hard enough work, I had about 20 years of books to contend with. We sold some at a garage sale and donated the rest. We had a few shoppers buy some to donate. I really loved that. The hardest part was getting all the books piled along my bedroom downstairs for the sale. That was a workout. I also am a book nerd. Will read anything.

    • Mel says:

      I always find selling books both liberating and heart breaking. Hard to see those “old friends” go… but it does make room for new friends 🙂