“Mom, have you seen the infomercial for the Mari Winsor ACCELERATOR Pilates tape?” my toned and trim daughter asked me on the phone.  “I was tempted, and I knew you would be too.”

I had heard of the new addition to the collection of Pilates DVD’s this wonder woman developed.  But I had decided, quite practically, that it involved extra equipment and was too complicated; I was entirely satisfied with the Advanced Circle Pilates set.  I have accepted my body, just as it is—supplemented, that is, with a staggering heart rate and muscle toning routine, daily.  My name is Kathleen Clary Miller, and I am a workout-aholic.

So is my daughter Kate.  Unfortunately, we feed off each other. Whenever she visits, instead of shopping ‘til we drop, we pump, pedal, and pace ‘til we flop.   Fortunately, we also nourish each other when the panic sets in.

“I am leaving work late and we’re having people to dinner so I don’t have time to workout,” gasps my empathetic energizer.  Her heart rate is elevated merely due to the stress of not having time for her rigorous regimen:  elliptical trainer for 30 minutes followed by Pilates for 40.

“It’s okay,” I reassure her. “Remember your honeymoon…”  This consolation reminds her that she was in the Bahamas for a week, eating and drinking to a newlywed romantic heart’s content.  She only moved to leave chaise lounge for mai tai bar line.

“…And I didn’t gain a single pound!” she completes the rote reminder.  It does the trick every time.

Who am I to smirk and cast stones?  I am the one who bought a back-up resistance circle and DVD when one day I snapped my ring and another day my DVD attracted a mote of dust and wouldn’t work.  Now I have two of each, just in case.

Kate’s father and I purchased an RV in order that we might travel more economically and with large dogs to visit grown kids who live all over the country.

“How fun!” squealed Kate when we showed it to her on the lot.  I nodded, then pulled her aside for an emergency therapy session.

“My only fear is that I won’t be able to workout like I do now!”  My retirement routine currently consists of the same two formal exercise options she enjoys and the icing on the cake: an hour-long race-walk in the woods with dogs.  Kate can’t wait to forsake youth for old age so she has that kind of time to tone.

“You can do the Circle Pilates here in the camper, and still walk the dogs…you just won’t have the elliptical,” she counseled.  Yes, but what if Brad wants to drive ten straight hours?  And he doesn’t walk fast enough!

As such thoughts quicken my pulse, I ask her if she thinks we might need professional help.  She ruminates and then responds.

“Yeah, maybe we should talk to a trainer.”

Or maybe I just need another portable exercise option like Pilates.  Is there anything aerobic to be accomplished while riding shotgun?  Other than anxiety?

The other day Kate and I were concluding our daily phone discussion—the one that is always timed around exertion sessions and includes an enumeration of exercises performed, when I groaned at the sight of dog hair tumbleweeds gathering in the corners of the room I only cleaned yesterday.

“I have to vacuum again already!”  I whined.  Kate didn’t miss a beat.

“Housework is a great workout.”

I’m all over it.

Kathleen Clary Miller is a Huson writer whose current monthly column, “Peaks and Valleys,” appears in Montana Woman Magazine. Visit her blog to read more stories: kcmillersoutpost.blogspot.com.