Archive for the ‘home improvement’ Category

Greetings to all!

I’m proud to report that I’ve discovered another way to get a workout.

Yard work in the heat.

It makes you sweat, but you still manage to make the yard look better. It’s a win/win! Speaking of yard work, many of you might remember the tale of Wanda, the evil bitch queen of our HOA. Got a missive from her complaining about weeds around our air conditioning unit.

Weeds we had already pulled.


So, I started on Thursday with my latest Xfinity run-in. This time, the internet was down. I called Comcast and talked to a rep who seemed to be less interested in solving the Mystery of the Missing Internet and more interested in getting me to subscribe to HBO, Skinemax and whatever other overpriced crap they can foist on you.

No, if I wanted to upgrade my package, I’d have called that department, or spoken to somebody regarding TV. All I wanted was the Internet to work. That’s all, folks. Also, when scheduling a repair appointment, don’t hold that appointment hostage to whether or not I want to buy a service protection plan. That’s kind of bush league, guys.

I also managed to hit the driving range twice this weekend. Saturday was far more entertaining. There was a guy in a bad toupee (I know, there is no such thing as a good toupee, so calling it a bad toupee is redundant. It was seriously heinous, though. If there were war crimes trials for bad hairpieces, this bad boy would be guilty of crimes against humanity.) all by his lonesome in a stall about four spots behind me. After every shot, he’d say (loudly), “Now that’s a golf shot!”

To himself.

My first thought was, “Well, no shit, Captain Obvious…. You’re hitting a golf ball with a golf club. Of course it’s a golf shot!”

My second thought was, “I can’t make this stuff up.”

Now, I finally got around to finishing the mulching. So I’m a little behind. My advice is to not spread mulch before you go to the gym to get in a strength training day. It tends to make things a little sore all around.

On to the meat of the post, though. It was a good day in that I got my first donation for the 5K. So, a huge thanks to Janet for breaking the shutout. Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated. Anyone wanting to join Janet in backing my 5K bid can do so by visiting my Avon fundraising page.

We’re getting to a point of the year where it’s easy to backslide. It’s so hot and oppressive that it’s easy to not get your work in and stay in the air conditioning. If you really want to stay in the AC, go to your local mall to walk. Many malls have information about how far one lap of their building is for the walkers and it helps break the humidity. You’re still that much farther ahead of the guy on the couch.

I’m going to do better with my writing this week. I’ve slipped a little of late and I’m not happy about it. Hope you have a great week and stay comfortable. If you must be outside, remember to hydrate. It’s important.

Song of the Day: If I Had No Loot – Tony! Toni! Toné!

It’s Tuesday and I’m a little loopy from sniffing polyurethane. Yes, I was in a well-ventilated area, but that stuff is pretty potent.

Progress continues to be made on my shelf project. All parts are cut and sanded, and all but a couple of sides are stained and polyurethaned, It should look pretty good when it is finally complete. Next job will be to find a place to hang it. Yikes!

So, I had some more inspiring folks I wanted to give a shoutout to. Todays co-honorees are my Team AllEars co-captains Michelle and Mike.

These are folks I again met through Magic Meets (are you sensing a pattern?) and they’ve always been great friends to myself and Supportive Partner Woman. Michelle is actually a frequent Words With Friends opponent (she usually wipes the floor with me) and has been subtly encouraging me to join the team. They have seen my struggles to keep up with the crowd at Reunion and seen me suffer through the blisters from hell. While I was in the program, both Mike and Michelle would check in with me to see how I was doing and it was hard to tell who was more excited when I committed to join the team from my hospital bed. They even sent a lovely flower arrangement that lasted over a month.

It’s hard to express how much their encouragement has inspired me, but if you want to talk about great leaders leading by example, I would be hard pressed to find a pair of co-captains who exemplify that adage more than Michelle and Mike. I’m proud to call them my friends and my inspirations.

So, second shift is going well after one day. It’s not a crazy busy week with the upcoming holiday, but it works just the same. I even got out for a 1.5 mile walk on break with a nice detour through Home Depot for air conditioning. Have to do it again tonight, assuming the weather stays dry. The foot looks fine, so I think it’s safe to say that the blister crisis is averted.

More a little later in the week.

Song of the Day: Nineteen Forever – Joe Jackson

Good evening!

Last post I did, I started my little series of recognizing the folks who have really inspired me to make some life changes. These aren’t exactly folks who have supported me… in many cases, they don’t even know I found their stories or journeys to be inspiring. Now it’s my chance to throw them some recognition.

Today’s honoree is Glenn, also known as Vegan Wayne (long story).

Glenn was a pretty big guy… also a member of the Disney community, I met him through the fine folks at WDW Today. I’ve always told him he’s my favorite Hawaiian attorney (He’s the only Hawaiian attorney I know, so of course he’s my favorite, but don’t tell him that… it’ll spoil the gravitas that goes along with that honor) I say Glenn was a pretty big guy because he’s no longer that big. Some of my fondest memories of Glenn involved chowing down at the Ohana feast , so imagine my surprise when he told me he was going to a vegan, whole foods diet.

I was stunned.


The voice running through my head was that of the aunt in My Big Fat Greek Wedding saying, “Whaddaya mean you don’t eat no meat?”

Of course he took some ribbing about that major dietary change, including when we all went to Ohana and he had  them bring out the vegan platter while the rest of us did our best barbarian impression, eating meat cooked with fire. The gauntlet was thrown, as well, with our friend Jeanine making a snarky remark about “those four months you went vegan”. To Glenn’s credit, he’s stuck with it and has lost well over 100 pounds.

The road isn’t always smooth, but if you stick with it, you can succeed.

photo (8)My current project of a minifig display rack is moving along. I finished cutting the wood for the outer frame. I even used the router table to cut shelf guides. The first attempt wasn’t too successful… I did each side individually and the alignment was WAAAAAY off. So, I had to buy another piece of wood and start over. I managed to rig some scrap wood into a jig, which kept everything nice and aligned. The shelves are going to made from 1/4 inch oak plywood, since there’s no real weight to the figures. I’m going to make the basic design in a cross-hatched pattern so there’s some support to keep the shelves from sagging under their own weight.

So, that’s what’s been going on. The router table has proven to be a most excellent acquisition, so I’m pleased about that.

Oh, one tip… if you’re outside getting exercise on these hot days, remember to hydrate to the best of your ability. You don’t want to get dehydrated, so avoid caffeine and sodas. Instead, stick to water and sports drinks. My sports drink of choice is PowerAde Zero in the orange flavor. Seriously yummy stuff.

More soon.

Song of the Day: Running on Empty – Jackson Browne

Today I made the elliptical machine my bitch.

Or was it the other way around?

Jury is still out on that, but I can say that it felt good to do something other than pound the treadmill. While my legs are STILL a little rubbery some 6 hours later, my ankles and feet feel fine.

This week and next week are really booked up at the clinic’s fitness center, so I’m only getting one session each week. I just need to make up the time at the Rec. There are worse fates. I might try to get some weekday swimming in… although the probability of a Gratuitously Naked Guy sighting is much higher during the week. But, dear readers, I’m willing to risk it.

Now, I know I’ve posted about my inspirations for losing some weight and getting healthier, but there’s one that I keep overlooking. So, I’d like to give a shoutout to my friend Matt. I know Matt through the Disney community… he was a fellow Magic Meets volunteer and, like me, was a big guy. Not as big as me, but a bigger guy nonetheless. I hadn’t seen Matt since the last Magic Meets, but would spot him on Facebook from time to time. Then there was one post that blew my mind. Matt was running in last year’s Disney World Half-Marathon.


Not only that, but he was deep into martial arts and just really seemed serious about getting healthy and making the lifestyle changes. That was in the back of my mind as I progressed through my program. There’s someone who was doing it. Someone I knew.

I knew that I could do it, too.

The road is long and anything but smooth. I’m getting there, following the footsteps of someone whose success and determination has really been an inspiration. Thanks, Matt, and keep up the awesome work.

From here on in, I’m going to make an effort to recognize those folks who have inspired me to keep going. Who knows, I might even have nice things to say about my jerk co-worker who really got the ball rolling.

I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

Tomorrow will be more of the same… gym, work, and maybe playing with power tools. We’ll see what the weather is like after work.

Song of the Day: Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
Currently Reading: The King’s Deception – Steve Berry

P.S. I think the elliptical won… word of the day? Ouch.

Good afternoon!

Neil at Fenway

Neil at Fenway

It’s been a few days since I’ve written. A lot has gone down. First of all, they took care of those two jokers in Boston. That’s a good thing. Granted, it’s not much solace to the folks who lost their lives or were permanently maimed, but it means they won’t be hurting anyone else. Secondly, Neil Diamond showed at Fenway Park to lead the crowd in Sweet Caroline. Granted, he was singing along with himself, which has to be a little awkward, unless you’re Bieber or any other of those modern-day hacks who can’t perform live to save their souls. At least he wasn’t lip-syncing.

We had Marvin the glass man in yesterday to replace the first two of four windows. He did a really nice job. It’s so nice to be able to look at the window and see more than just moisture between the panes. There’s one tiny hole where the gasket doesn’t fit the frame perfectly, so I went downstairs to find some caulk. What I found instead was a big puddle under the water heater. The water heater is not fast, though, however, the feed pipe has a pinhole in it. So, I’m waiting for Rob the handyman to show up and fix it. I always say that it’s important to have a stable of people who can do this sort of stuff, so you can get it fixed promptly by people you trust.

Other than that, the food intake has been improving, even if the toe isn’t improving that much. I’m still pretty bummed about that, but what can I do? No matter what I do, the tip of the tow rubs against the sock, the floor, or the Boot of Shame. I think I might have to have the podiatrist release the tendon that’s causing the toe to curl. Better than losing another toe. Back onto food, I managed to eat more scallops yesterday. They go down well and, more importantly, stay down. This is good. I’ve not had anything come up for two days, and I’ve had scallops and pulled turkey BBQ. Pretty yummy stuff. I can’t consume a lot of it, but that’s a good thing.

Weight has continued to decrease. Am down to 321.0 this morning. That makes 59 pounds lost, which is a good thing. I can’t help but think how much I’d be losing if I could actually work out. I know… nothing I can do about it, but I really REALLY want to get back to it.

Speaking of going back, I go back to work tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I’ll be glad for the work and the paycheck, but it’s the busiest two weeks of the year, so it will be a little crazy. Plus, I have to hope that my food continues to stay down. That would be awfully embarrassing. I’ll keep you posted.

I did manage to get up this morning to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel ran away with the race, but the two other podium spots belonged to Lotus, which made me happy, especially since Kimi Raikkonen finished second. He’s become my favorite driver, mainly because he spends more time drinking the giant magnum of champagne rather than spraying it. Gotta love it.

Have a great Sunday!

Song of the Day: Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond (It really couldn’t be anything else)

Since I need something to keep me busy, I thought I’d share the saga of the living room windows.

I might have previously mentioned that our development is the reason they instituted building codes in our township. To say that the contractors took some liberties would be putting it mildly. They used a lot of cheap materials (mainly the roof) and apparently the windows. Don’t get me wrong… the specs are fine. They are double-paned, low-e glass. That’s about where the good points stop. See, they have an alarming tendency to break the seals between the panes causing condensation. This has been the case with our living room windows since we moved in.

It’s not always been super high on our priority list. The truth is, we have sheer curtains that block the view of the window panes and, well, out of sight, out of mind.

This changed in the previous weeks… out of nowhere, one of the panes cracked. The inside pane. Just a big crack, nasty as you please. This has required us to engage the services of Marvin the Glass Man. Marvin came out, took measurements and will be installing new glass next week. I mentioned to SPW that it would certainly be nice to be able to open the windows. She concurred, then we realized that the skeevy previous occupant’s giant dogs did a number on the screens for those windows. I decided to give rescreening a try.

Now, know that I have never done this. I did not have tools or even know what was involved. I talked to me neighbor, who said it wasn’t too difficult. So, I went to Lowe’s, bought the materials and came home to give it a try.

The first attempt was not good. In an attempt to stretch the screen to make it nice and taut, I managed to rip it. Just tore like nobody’s business. I was not particularly happy about this… after all, that was good money I just wasted. So, I said, “I’ll try it again later.”

The second time was the charm.

So, I have one screen mostly done, and three more to go. As for Marvin, he’s coming next week.

In other news, I weighed in at 330.8 yesterday. That means I’m down 49.2 pounds since I started the program. I’m pretty pleased about that. I also ate my first real food. I had a scallop that tasted awesome. Paired with a scrambled egg, because, well, at this point, the variation in my menu is really limited. It was nice to actually chew something with substance, and it went down well. It stayed down, too, which is always a huge help. I’m actually really glad that fish and seafood are considered to be soft foods… some of my favorite foods are in that category.

So, I’m up early today because I need to go to a funeral. My dad’s cousin passed away a few days ago and I need to go to pay respects to the family. We kind of lost touch over the years, as often happens, but it’s what needs to be done. I also have to stop and pick up my mother, because the funeral home is located in Reading, and she’s scared to drive in the city. I tried to tell her that most of the drug dealers and gangbangers are not awake at 10 AM on a Saturday morning, but she wasn’t having any of that. I’m not disputing that Reading is pretty much a shithole , but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get jacked just going to a funeral. The plus side is that I actually have clothes to wear that fit. I’m not going for a suit, mainly because my dress shoes no longer fit me (foot pronation has made them impossible to wear), but I’m sure my suit would actually fit again. Instead, khakis, dress shirt, necktie and a tweed jacket. Not exactly cutting edge, but presentable enough. It was funny, though… the last time I wore a dress shirt was for our niece’s college graduation and I was stuffed into it like a sausage. This time, it feels like a tent. I guess that’s better.

At any rate, hope you all have a great day!

Song of the Day: King of Anything – Sara Bareilles

There’s a lot going on here at MOASTBFFG. Between work and getting ready for the Dreaded Yard Sale, Pt. Deux, the neverending cleanup and cooking a lot, well, it barely leaves me time to write whatever comes to mind. So, I’m going to see where the post takes me.

First of all, how about a stop in the NL East? Cliff Lee of the Phillies won  his first game of the season. Let me repeat that. CLIFF LEE won his FIRST game of the SEASON. On July 4. There’s something so wrong about that. This guy is considered to be one of the better pitchers in the game and it’s July. Goes to show you what having no offense can do for you.

On the homefront, I started a new project today. Nothing big… just making a pair of corner shelves for my office. Need to have someplace to display the Sopwith Camel, so I figured I’d make one for the other corner. Nothing too ornate, just simple and clean.Not sure what I’ll put on the other one yet, but I’ll think of something.

Proving yet again that Comcast has a lot of channels, but no real entertainment, I actually wound up watching the premiere episode of the new Dallas. Let me just say that it was 59 minutes of my life that I will never get back, but I found it to be strangely compelling. What I’ve taken away is that Charlene Tilton has NOT aged well, Steve Kanaly is NOT a good actor, and Linda Gray is so bad, she makes Susan Lucci look like Meryl Streep. A quick check on IMDb shows that Ken Kercheval will be returning. Surprised they haven’t talked Victoria Principal into a return. Like I said, I find it so bad, it’s almost good, and I’m glad they took a page from the Hawaii Five-O return and kept the theme song pretty much intact. It was a big part of my childhood.

So, tonight’s dinner was a bowl of chili with some cheese and a few oyster crackers. I did the same chili as I made a few weeks ago and I think this batch turned out even better. Still waiting for The Management to weigh in, though, as Supreme Arbiter of my cooking.

Tomorrow brings a fresh butt-kicking at the gym, followed by a bariatric support group meeting. Since the meeting time falls right in the middle of my working hours, I’m planning on going in early and taking a long lunch. As part of the program, they require you to attend at least one support group meeting, and everyone I talk to says it’s very helpful. Apparently they have a speaker or two and lots of times, Dr. McPhee will use the demo kitchen and show some new recipes or techniques. Should be fun.

Well, that’s all I have for you today. Gotta go check on the glue for my first shelf and put some tools away so we can get a car in the garage.

Happy 4th!