Archive for the ‘Stress’ Category

In the last story, I was telling the tale of my poor car, which had suffered damage at the hands of Spider-Man (or, as I like to call him, Brad). The tale continues…

So, I went to the body shop that Supportive Partner Woman and I used when Mario the Super Honda was accosted by the snowplow when SPW was working up in Teh Jerz. They hemmed and hawed and came up with a figure of $1,718 to get my ride back in presentable condition. (Note: Only $43.75 of that number was for parts.) The body shop guy seemed rueful as he said it was probably more than the value of my ride (which is 15 years old and kind of tired).

My poor car

My poor car

I contacted the claims representative, gave her the estimate and she said that I could have a field adjuster come out, look things over and we could go from there.

Monday morning, bright and early, the adjuster showed up. He took pictures, asked me what I wanted to do, and asked me to give him a few minutes. He came back with a figure near to what the body shop estimated, shook my hand, told me I’d be getting a check, and went on his way.

I got the check the very next day.

The. Very. Next. Day.

I can’t argue with the service I’ve gotten from Spidey’s insurance company. They’ve been prompt, courteous and professional. If I have need to change insurance companies in the future, I will certainly talk to Erie.

Now my debate goes on… do I take the car in to get fixed or do we use the cash toward some other things?

In other news, I’ve been to see the wound care specialist about my continuing issues with Wayne. They seem to think that the problem is caused by my toe tending to point downward, putting all sorts of pressure on the tip of the toe (where it blisters). The solution is to wear the Boot of Shame for awhile, then once it heals, have a procedure to fuse one of the toe joints, eliminating the tendency to curl under and hopefully stopping the blistering. I know I’d be happy to put the Boot of Shame out to pasture. Of course, before I dug the Boot out of the closet, I finished my Revenge of the 5th 5K (part of the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy). I did it on the elliptical in a time of 20:22, which makes me pretty happy. Hope I’ll be whole for the next leg! (See what I did there?)

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Hope you have a great day!

Song of the Day: Us and Them (Live) – Pink Floyd
Currently Reading: Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

So, I had to go get a haircut today.

Now, it may seem weird, but I travel 35 miles for a haircut.

Why, you may ask.

I go there because I’ve been going to the same person for over twenty years. She does a good job, knows how I like my hair and charges a fair price.

Winneba-Gogh, perhaps?

Winneba-Gogh, perhaps?

However, the parking lot has a very interesting vehicle. It’s a 1977 Winnebago painted to resemble VanGogh’s Starry Night. The colors are rather faded, but you have to love it. Apparently, it’s for sale… only $2,495.

After my haircut, I headed back home. On the way, I passed a Kreider Farms truck that was advertising their status as a “micro-mooery” The back of the truck also offered some interesting graphics. Gotta love Lancaster County.

Also got news at the office last night that I had not gotten a position I had applied for. I won’t deny that I’m actually pretty bitter about it. Kind of sucks when all the hard work you’ve put in learning your job for the last 13 years is basically swept under the rug in favor of some other folks who aren’t nearly as experienced, regardless of how much training they have. It isn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’ll still continue to do whatever is asked of me, but the next time I’m asked to train people or the powers-that-be drop a shitty job on my desk, well, it will take every ounce of self control to not tell them to get one of the new all-stars to do it. I know I’m not fooling anyone… I will do what I’m told. It’s how I was raised. This is, however, a shining example of why some people who deserve a better skill classification don’t even apply for it in the first place.

My first instinct was to run for the food. I did have a Klondike Bar, but that’s as far as it went. I’ve come too far to let them beat me.

OK, rant over. Now back to your regularly scheduled bitterness.

I also got 3.25 miles in this morning around the neighborhood. It was cool, but very humid. I also did it in just under an hour. Yay me.

At any rate, that’s all I have to offer today.

Song of the Day: Metal Health (Bang Your Head) – Quiet Riot

Currently Reading: The Millionaires – Brad Meltzer

544790_10200671889614808_1645566182_nLike many folks, I found myself flabbergasted by the events around the Boston Marathon yesterday.

My first reaction was one of disbelief… I figured it was a gas explosion or something like that… a horrible, tragic accident.

I was wrong and I wish I wasn’t.

My second thought was that I hoped my teammates from Team All Ears, three of whom were in the race, were all unharmed.

My third thought was quite honestly, “What kind of sick fuck does this?” I know that’s kind of blunt, but it’s obviously not the work of someone with even a tiny piece of humanity.

See, it bothered me more than I think it would have if I wouldn’t have gotten involved with TAE. While I’m not a real runner and probably never will be (let’s face it… the closest I’ll ever get to doing a marathon is driving 26.2 miles in a car), I have felt so welcomed by the team and the community that it feels like some of my family have been attacked. Just reading the posts has been eye-opening… the sheer amount of love and support poring from folks connected by one thread has really warmed my heart and put things in perspective.

I also want to give a shout out to the Mickey Miles podcast who organized a live call in show last evening with the able assistance of Mike Newell and MouseWorldRadio. Co-hosts Mike and Michelle did the right thing by giving folks a forum to discuss yesterday’s horrific events amongst similar-minded people.

I ask that you support Boston in the coming days. If you’ve done some running, wear a race shirt today (I only wish I had one to wear). Most importantly, KEEP RUNNING! We are strong and the actions of a coward or cowards (Yes, I said cowards) should not stop us from living. I refuse to live in fear, because a life lived in fear is a wasted life. You can get killed crossing the street… does that mean you should never cross the street? Does the thought of a crash cross my mind every time I step on board an airliner or board a train or even drive my car? It does, but my alternative is to never go anywhere or see or do anything. That’s not living.

So, stand up and be proud to be who you are. It’s when we change our way of life that the bad guys win. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to give up while there’s still time on the clock.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There is an international disease which feeds on the notion that if you have a cause to defend, you can use any means to further your cause, since the end justifies the means. As an international community, we must oppose this notion, whether it be in Canada, in the United States, or anywhere else. No cause justifies violence as long as the system provides for change by peaceful means. – Richard M. Nixon, 1970


Posted: November 25, 2012 in Disney, Exercise, Stress, Walking, Weight loss

all I ever wanted.

Vacation, had to get away…

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I are headed to Florida on Wednesday for our annual WDW Today Reunion trip. We’re really looking forward to it… Lord knows we need it. Between family stuff and SPW’s new job, she’s been under a lot of stress and I have, mainly because I stress when I see SPW is stressed.

It’s only been a couple of months since the last time we were in the World, but there will be a lot of new stuff. There’s been a massive expansion to Fantasyland that will officially open in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we look forward to soft openings (previews). In addition, it’s a chance to see our friends that we only get to see once a year or so.

I’m really going to focus on eating better during this vacation. I usually strap the feed bag on at Ohana. This time, I’m going to cut down on the amount of meaty refills. I’m also going to try and avoid the grazing that I often fall prey to. Ideally, I would like to actually lose a few pounds while we’re down there. I am prepared for the possibility of blisters, though… I have two huge rolls of moleskin and a box of gauze pads. I also bought a three pack of Nike Dri-fit socks. Supposedly, these should help keep my feet dry and offer some serious support while we’re walking. The other thing that should help is that the temperatures are supposed to be in the low 70’s.

Other things that we are doing include the Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris as guest narrator. We are dining at Ohana (as mentioned before), Artist Point and a dinner at the new Be Our Guest restaurant in the expanded Fantasyland. Other meals are as we can grab. One of our other events is a special dinner called the Meal of Fortune that should be a lot of fun.

I hope to get a couple more posts in before we jet off to sunny Florida. I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a peaceful Black Friday.

Warning: This isn’t exactly an upbeat piece. There’s some profanity. If it bothers you, my apologies.

I sat in the Nerd Lair Monday night, opened the bottle of John Jameson and had a drink. This is not something I do often anymore. See, alcohol and insulin aren’t always the best of bedfellows.

It’s not that I’m a teetotaler. I have my share of nights I don’t remember. Granted, that was mostly back in college. Suffice it to say, I had a day Monday that was simply booze-worthy.

Not sure why it was so bad… just one of those days I felt like King Midas in reverse. Everything I touched turned to shit. So, I sat in the half-light, nursing a whiskey on the rocks and feeling sorry for myself. That’s the one thing I was excelling at yesterday. That and generally being very down.

Now, Supportive Partner Woman (Very supportive!) has been good at attending to my moodiness. She always asks what she can do to make me happy (or at least happier), but I never really seem to know what will boost my mood for the long-term. That’s pretty sad, when you stop and think about it.

I don’t really know what makes me happy anymore.

That’s not an indictment of SPW (Best friend I’ve ever had!)… not by any stretch. If there’s a better match for me out there, well, I’d need to see some serious proof before I was convinced. Maybe the issue is that I don’t seem to have any dreams any more. I just can’t conjure up enthusiasm for much of anything. What I do find myself enjoying winds up being a quick fix and it’s all too soon back to cold reality.

Maybe I just stopped trying to have fun because I figured I’d screw it up anyway. The awkward part of myself is like a bull in a china shop and the uptight side of myself tells the other side, “See? This is why we can’t have nice things!” It’s like I just broke the collectible Elvis plates that mama had stashed around the double wide.

The only thing I feel I’ve ever been marginally successful at is being fat. And yet I still manage to mess that up by not being jolly. Pretty sad when you can’t even be a proper fat guy.

I can’t help thinking that maybe what I need is some success. Something to just go right. A break. Maybe a day when my commute to work is not filled with red lights, tractor trailers, cement mixers, Amish buggies and the armada of complete dickholes who think that them getting to a stoplight 2 seconds before I do is important.  Maybe a day when my hips and ankles don’t hurt. Maybe a period of time when I can stop being so judgmental of everyone and everything. Maybe a day when I’m not angry and bitter about one thing or another.

I certainly wasn’t raised to be this way, but it’s been this way for a long time.

I’m not kidding about the long time part, either. The last time I can truly remember being generally happy would be third grade. See, when I went to the fourth grade, I changed schools. I was the new kid, I wasn’t popular. I was bigger than most of the other kids and I was bullied. Bullied for being new, for being awkward, because my family wasn’t in the right tax bracket.

Bullied for being different.

I wasn’t physically bullied very much… I was bigger (taller, too) than most of the other kids and I could hold my own. It was mostly mental… the taunting, the insults. The worst bullying really came from my sixth grade social studies/reading/spelling teacher. That was pretty much just a mind-fuck (excuse the language) by a vindictive bitch of a teacher who had about as much right to teach kids as a pedophile does to be a camp counselor. My crime? I made the mistake of arguing over the spelling of a word that was mistyped on the vocabulary sheet. According to the sheet, “Research” was spelled “Reasearch”. I pointed it out and for that I was branded as disruptive, my desk was moved to the corner and I spent most of the year being basically ostracized. Bad enough it happened with that particular teacher, but she passed the word to the other teachers that I was trouble and it took an awful lot to work out from under that shadow. I don’t know that I ever fully emerged. The really good news is that it’s my understanding that she went on to be a guidance counselor. How’s that for a kick in the teeth?

Where were my parents during all this? Well, they were old school. They believed that the teacher was always right. Apparently I was neither the first nor the last target for this particular teacher and once the parental units found out about that, they apologized for not listening to me.

I think I started dying a little on the inside at that point. I know I stopped trying in school, figuring if I didn’t always get great grades, maybe other kids would like me. That didn’t work too well… they just made fun of me for getting lower grades. I put on a big show of  “I don’t care”, but the truth is I did care, and it hurt. It hurt a lot. I tried that whole “sticks and stones” thing… yeah. That didn’t work so well. Because even a small trickle of water will eventually cut through a rock.

It came down to me trusting no one… not even myself. I never went to anyone about this. I just became adept at bullshit. Call it my coping mechanism. Well, fast forward 30+ years and my gift of bullshit is deserting me. Maybe it’s not deserting me, maybe I just realize I’m getting older and other than SPW and a few close friends, I don’t have anyone. I have plenty of acquaintances, but few friends.

I’ve been on the fence about the surgery for several months. I guess a large part of me was scared that even if I do get down to a normal weight, I’ll still hear the comments, the snide remarks about the rhino in the room. You know what? I’ve spent my whole life worrying about what other people might think. The people who don’t matter.

You know what I say?

Screw ’em. Screw ’em all.

I’m doing it because it offers the best chance for me to improve my physical health and my mental health. I’ve been cowed for 30+ years and I’m not going to put up with it anymore. Gotta move on.

All that being said, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I don’t deny that. I caused hurt to people and I regret that most deeply. If I ever hurt you and didn’t apologize, well, I’m truly sorry. On the other hand, if you were an asshole to me and it never bothered you, I’m sorry for you. But if figuratively kicking someone who’s down made you feel that much better about yourself, well, I’m so glad I could help.

So, there you have it. I’m getting the operation. And it’s going to be a success.

God knows I need one.

I also want to point out that I have a lot to be thankful for and it’s not all gloom and doom. I have a good family, I’m not living on the streets and I have the best wife I could ever want. She’s my rock.

Hoboken, NJ PATH station being inundated with flood water from Sandy

First of all, I’d like to say that my heart goes out to those impacted by the superstorm known as Sandy. To see the devastation wrought along the coastlines and in New York has been sobering indeed. My sympathies to those who suffered personal injury or property damage, and my thoughts are with fire/rescue and police personnel tasked with leading the rescue and cleanup efforts. The visuals splashed across the screen by the media were chilling enough. We had tunnels under the East River being flooded, a construction crane collapse, and an explosion at a ConEd facility.

We were fortunate at MOASTBFFG HQ in that we suffered no real damage. Yes, the wind did manage to drive water in around the garage door and the storm door, but as of this morning, no flooding or structural damage to report. In the immediate area, there were some 5,000 homes without power and the local river cresting a few feet over flood stage. Fortunately, the Susquehanna did not flood, as it did last year.

Leads to the point that you never know what will happen. Meteorological events can be notoriously hard to predict and we are often faced with making choices based on the data we have. For SPW and I, well, we saw the predictions and remembered last year’s flooding and opted to take the time and prepare. Luckily, our worst fears did not come to fruition. The next time, we will take similar precautions, even though we didn’t need to do all that we did.

In the weight loss front, I cancelled my exercise session yesterday. I didn’t want to, but I felt I needed to be home, just in case. Other than that, not the greatest food week I ever had. I was nervous about the storm and just lacking focus in general. SPW and I managed to come up with a nice dinner option on Sunday evening. I made the mushroom risotto I described the other week (with no-salt stock) and made oven-roasted horseradish crusted beef tenderloin. It’s so easy to make… slather horseradish on a hunk of beef and throw it in the oven at 350 until it’s done.

At any rate, I’d just like to mention that today, SPW and I are celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary. I’m lucky in that I married someone who had become my best friend. I look forward to many more years together.

I might also add that she deserves a medal for putting up with me.

Just sayin.

Song of the Day: Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke? – The Alarm

After the abject negativity of yesterday’s post, I slept on it. Not for too long, but long enough to get the gist of what happened yesterday. Basically, it was me being petty and spiteful and ignoring the blatantly obvious.

I’m still eating too much.

It’s nowhere near what it used to be. In my heyday, I would think nothing of swinging by Chick-Fil-A, snagging three sandwiches and a box of nuggets and scarfing them all down in one sitting. I could eat an entire pound of ham, and a pound of cheese, and go looking for more. I usually would feel disgustingly full after I did that, swear to never do it again, and promptly do it again the next weekend.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I never got a good handle on why I did stupid, mindless shit like that. All I knew is that food made me happy. The texture of some thick, dense bread on the tongue would make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s an addiction, like alcohol or drugs or gambling or sex. Just so happens, my drug of choice is food and you need food to live. Talk about a kick in the teeth. To live, I need the very thing that will prematurely kill me if I can’t succeed.

However, next Friday marks the six-month point since I started the bariatric program. Theoretically, I’m ready for the operation, but I don’t know if I want to have the surgery done. I know there are benefits, but there are also some pretty big risks as a counterpoint. Also, if I do have the surgery, what procedure do I have? Do I go for the band, which is the least invasive? Do I go for the bypass, which is the most invasive, but also offers the best success at “curing” the Beetus? Do I opt to try to go solely with diet and exercise? Also, do I have the operation this year while the insurance still pays more or do I wait until after the holidays?

Even the name is right…

See, so many choices and me with so few answers. And I really am not good at making decisions.

I think I’m going to see how this week goes, see what my regular doc has to say, and go from there. I’ll just keep moving forward.

This would be about right…

So, I might have mentioned Supportive Partner Woman’s wonky back. She’s been dealing with it for five days now, and don’t let it be said that she doesn’t have salt… she went to work four out of those five days. The rest of the time, she was pretty much cuddled up in bed with her best friend, the heating pad. Seeing as it was a holiday weekend, she couldn’t get ahold of the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. So, I woke her up and she called this morning. She scored a 10:20 appointment and managed to get poked and prodded and x-rayed and scheduled for physical therapy. She’s finally starting to move a little better, but I’m very relieved. I was stressing pretty hard because she was in so much pain. It was hard for me to watch. Let me just say that getting older isn’t much fun.

Otherwise, things are pretty good. Had a decent holiday weekend… didn’t do much, but did manage to chauffeur SPW to and from work. I felt a little better about that as she didn’t have to walk as far as she would’ve had she parked in the garage. I did mostly domestic stuff, laundry, rotated the mattress, all that stuff. I even whipped up a couple of dinners using Stuff From the Fridge. I’m always excited when I can do that… makes me feel like I’m doing something important. The one thing that fell by the wayside was my gym-going. I went over to the Rec on Thursday only to find the fitness center closed for annual cleaning. I was told I was welcome to use the tennis courts, but that wouldn’t do me much good, as I don’t play tennis. I was supposed to have a session with Ryan this morning, but I had to reschedule so I could take SPW to her appointment. I’ve got an appointment tomorrow morning at 8:00. Yes, it’ll be early, but I need to go. I have three weeks until we head off to Florida and I plan to get to the gym as much as possible. The good news is that Cory will be back next week, giving me my usual appointment times and class sizes. Ryan did a heckuva job running the show all by himself, but I’m sure he’s looking for a break.

The other thing that happened was that I wasn’t particularly mindful of what I was eating between meals. I know… NOT a good thing. I think it just made me feel better at dealing with my stress and I didn’t want to do anything else in case SPW needed me for something. My actual meals weren’t too bad… cereal or eggs in the morning, a sandwich for lunch, and a sensible dinner. It was the between meal visits to the fridge for cheese or ham or a tortilla that caused the problems. I need to refocus and remember how good it was feeling.

Well, that about sums it up. Not only is SPW on the way to recovery, Stubby is in pretty good shape. We will see how he does tomorrow.

Song of the Day: Bad – U2
Currently Reading: The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Seems like that’s the question our IT guys are always asking when we call to bitch about something not working.

I think it’s time for me to do a reboot of my life. Not a complete cold start, but that hold the home button and power switch on the iPhone until the Apple logo appears. I’ve been stressing hard, and well, it’s not a good place to be.

I mentioned howe pissed I was about the blister. It’s pretty much healed… in fact, I see the podiatrist tomorrow. I’m hoping he will see fit to say I can back to my usual workout routine. It has really been depressing the last few days, not being able to do the workout I’ve become accustomed to. I also have a consult session with Ryan on Tuesday. Hope I’ll be fully back into it by the end of the week. I will probably avoid the treadmill for another week, but the elliptical or arc trainer should be fine. I can hopefully start getting back over to Hempfield Rec on my off days. I just can’t believe how much I miss it.

We’ve also been dealing with some personal stuff here at Chez T that I’m not going to go into any details on. Suffice it to say that SPW and I are both fine, but there has been a recent issue that’s taken up a lot of our time.

The other place I really need to reboot is my attitude. It’s really not been particularly positive. A lot has to do with the job… well, not the job but with the work environment. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t mind people chatting, but for the love of God, please use the indoor voice and STOP CALLING ME DARLING OR DEAR OR HON! There are two people allowed to call me that stuff… one gave birth to me, the other married me. I might make an exception for elderly relatives, but it’s really unprofessional to call your coworkers stuff like that. You might think you’re being friendly, but it comes across reeking of insincerity and obsequiousness. I’d much prefer to be called Brian. Or if that’s too many syllables, I’ll even answer to “B”

So, as you can tell, I needed to do something fun. I had mentioned this to my friends Hollie & Charles and they turned around and invited me to the Lancaster Barnstormers game tonight. I had a lot of fun. We were sitting right behind the plate and it was nice to just relax, enjoy some nice weather and good company. It’s something I really needed. I also got to fix something yesterday. The electrician determined that a feedback loop in the cable modem’s transformer was causing isssues with the outlets in my office. I had to retire the 8-9 year old Linksys modem after so many year of faithful, pretty much 24/7 service. It’s been replaced by a new Motorola Surfboard. If it lasts half as long, I’ll be impressed. It’s amazing how costs have dropped. This ran around $53 at Best Buy. I remember buying a 14.4K telephone modem in 1991 or 1992 for around $300.

Next up on the docket is to start clearing space up here to add SPW’s desk. We’ve determined that it makes more sense to do it this way… especially now that the outlets are working right.

Well, as I mentioned, I have appointments the next two days. I’m thinking I need to do margaritas soon. There’s something about making them with fresh fruit that really does it for me. Here’s a couple of my favorite recipes:

Mango Margarita:

approx 10 oz of fresh mango chunks
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2/3 cup tequila
2 tbsp triple sec or Cointreau
2 tablespoons superfine sugar or simple syrup
Approx 2 cups ice

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, unless you have a frozen concoction maker, in which case, put everything but the ice in the blender, load the ice hopper and flip the switch.

Makes 4 cups (approx)

Pineapple margarita

2 cups ice
1 1/2 shots tequila (preferably silver)
1/2 shot triple sec
splash of fresh lime juice
splash of sweet and sour mix (or simple syrup)
1 1/2 cups of fresh cubed pineapple (or more)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, unless you have a frozen concoction maker, in which case, put everything but the ice in the blender, load the ice hopper and flip the switch.

Makes approx 4 cups

So, that’s pretty much it. If you are interested in any way in Disney animation, Supportive Partner Woman (now being followed by Hollywood director types on Twitter!) has done a review of the upcoming animated short Paperman. Find that review here:

I’ll keep you posted on how my attitude adjustment and doctors appointments wind up going.

I was working on a post yesterday… I’m kind of glad I never finished it, because it was really gloomy and doomy and full of self-pity. It was just an all around lousy sort of day. I was supposed to have a day off to spend with Supportive Partner Woman, but due to circumstances beyond our control, I wound up at work. I was set to spill all sorts of venom across the bandwidth.

Why the sudden change, you may ask?

Besides taking the Boot of Shame out for a limp, I was listening to my iPod when it showed again just how smart it is. The Shuffle setting spit out a song that just made me smile.

There’s something about “New Song” that just makes me grin. Maybe it’s that bouncy beat, or the sort of uplifting lyrical message. Maybe it’s the fact that Howard Jones was my first concert, way back in 1985. It was at the Tower Theater… pretty cool stuff.

Regardless, the day did get better.

Today was another butt- kicking session. It’s amazing how much my outlook has changed on exercise. Now that I’m limited by Stubby, I find myself annoyed that I can’t do more, instead of being annoyed that I needed to exercise. Guess that’s a good thing.

On tap for the weekend, well, SPW has to work, and I’m on the hook for Saturday. If I don’t have to work, I’m going to take my mother to  a drum & bugle show at Exeter High School. Here’s the info if you’re in the southeastern PA area and need something to do on Saturday night.

Sunday, I’ll probably join some friends for a Barnstormers game. Been awhile since I’ve been to some live baseball and I miss it.

Hope you all have a great weekend!