Archive for the ‘Stress’ Category

Never had this happen before

Posted: August 22, 2012 in Stress

I write this from the waiting area of Jones Honda.

“Why are you there?” you might say.

I’m here because Mario the Super Honda tried to digest me.

That sounds a lot worse than it is. Basically, I got in the car to head to Lowes for a new toilet fill hose. See, the new toilet I was installing sits a couple inches taller than the old one. Ergo, the hose is a couple inches too short. I got in the car, drove to Lowes, and couldn’t get out of the car. The driver’s side door lock had frozen.

I’ve been locked OUT of a car before, on many occasions, but never locked in. I tried to open the lock multiple times, no dice. So I drove to the dealership where I had to crawl out the passenger side. It wasn’t that bad, once I shoehorned my tubby ass over the center console. Guess that workout stuff is paying off, since I was flexible enough to actually climb out without breaking anything. Bone, car or otherwise.

So, that leads into today’s topic. Stress. As recently as three months ago, I would’ve had a meltdown. Cussing, pounding door with fist, general furiousness. This time, other than some light cussing, I just sucked it up and went to the dealership.

The most stressful part was trying to get ahold of SPW. This happens the one time she doesn’t have her phone, iPad, or is not logged into Facebook, Twitter, or email. Luckily, she eventually got the message and called me. She’s here now, next to me, enjoying the waiting room experience.

We’ll see what they say. Hopefully not too expensive. In the meantime, we will wait.

Oh, and I never did get that toilet hose. Sigh.


Update: Car needs a door latch mechanism. Not too crazy, but they won’t have it until tomorrow. In the meantime, their advice? “If it happens again, keep pressing the button. It will open eventually. And I got the hose.

So, when we last spoke, we were talking about me fitting in t-shirts I haven’t worn for a while. That’s old news. Well, it’s still news, but not the newest news. You get the picture.


I decided to take advantage of the Southwest sale on Friday. I could get the flights to/from Orlando for $150 less than what I would’ve had to pay and I even got to add an extra day to the vacation. Apparently everyone had the same thought, because things were FUBAR from the get go. I got a confirmation. Then ANOTHER confirmation. And ANOTHER. Oh, and one more for good measure. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s four confirmations. All with different ticket numbers, for the same flights on the same days. For the same people.

I waited another hour after this.

I called their toll-free number and it was busy. I retried 12 times before it rang. After making my selections, a pleasant recorded voice told me that my call would be answered in the order received and that my estimated hold time would be between 42 minutes and 1 hour and five minutes. I wasn’t thrilled, but I figured I could use the hands free and get some things done while waiting. Now, Southwest does not have hold music. They have a series of amusing vignettes starring real ramp workers and customer service reps talking about the policies and services they offer. I should rephrase. They cease to be amusing and become annoying after about the sixth repetition. I mean, I KNOW you can’t take a #$%^#$ giraffe on a commercial airliner! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

After about two and a half hours, I decided to go to bed… besides, if they would’ve answered, I might have erupted. As it was, I tried again in the morning and was told my wait time would be between 23 and 42 minutes. 90 minutes later, I packed it in.

So, I finally got through to a real live person around 11:30 PM last night. Becky was very helpful and apologetic, had the extra flights cancelled and everything good in around 10 minutes. I was still annoyed, but relieved that things were set. I added an additional night’s DVC lodging and was ready to go. Went to bed, and, well, when I woke up and checked my email, there was ANOTHER email from Southwest stating that my remaining reservation was cancelled. WTF? I went and called, and was told everyone was busy, but they would call me back, which they did. Again, Cindy was helpful, but I couldn’t get a reason as to why this reservation had been cancelled, other than “confusion” and “a glitch”.

Now, maybe I’m old-fashioned, but this isn’t “LUV”. I’m not looking for anything but a specific explanation. It doesn’t help to go off on the phone rep… it’s not their job to listen to that, but I am still not happy. Grand total of over four hours on the phone… they could’ve updated the hold message saying that they had a systems problem and they are working to correct it instead of the stupid “You can’t bring a giraffe on the plane” bit.

Suffice it to say, I miss AirTran. Never had an issue with them and the one time they cancelled a flight on us, well, I called and asked about it and without being prompted, they issued travel certificates for our next trip as a way of apologizing for my inconvenience. I’m going to think long and hard before I decide to travel via Southwest again. I know people love them, and maybe I just got the perfect shitstorm of issues, but it is what it is. I’m an unhappy customer and I’m not finding it easy to contact someone who can give me the answer I’m looking for.

Granted, if they tell me I’m too fat to fly, well, then all bets are off.


Hope you all had a nice weekend. I’ll be back later with the tale of the family dinner.

Sunday morning

Posted: July 29, 2012 in acid trip, Danny Boyle, Maru, Olympics, Stress

I spent a good chunk of yesterday waiting around for the gnomish little notary guy. He finally showed, paperwork is all officially signed, and the house is refinanced. Yay us.

As we were waiting for him, I took a plunge and installed Mac OS X Mountain Lion on our iMac. We had originally purchased the Mac last summer and it came with OS X Snow Leopard. About 2 weeks after we bought it, OS X Lion was released. Since I’m a Windows guy from way back, I would probably say that, to me, Snow Leopard was like Windows XP, Lion was like Vista, and Mountain Lion seems like Windows 7. That’s not saying that Lion was nearly as horrendous as Vista, but Vista does pretty much suck. That is a fact not in dispute.

There is no truth to the rumor that the next release of OS X will be named after teh Interwebz most famous feline.

It makes me wonder, though… if Apple is naming all the versions of OS X after big cats and they’ve used Lion, Tiger, Cheetah, Leopard, etc… what’s next? Do you make OS X Lynx? OS X Sabre-toothed Tiger? Or, do you go a little more internet and call it OS X Maru? I think that would be perfect.

After the gnomish little guy left, both Supportive Partner Woman (lead wire editor for the day!) and I headed off to our respective places of employment. It’s funny… I don’t like to work the weekend, and getting there is horrid, but once I’m there, it becomes easier to take. There’s usually a lot less stress on the weekend, the phones aren’t ringing, and all the chatterboxes are always chattering.

Wound up working on a particularly nasty job for a client involving all sorts of text and data manipulation. Hoping that the job is done by the time I get in tonight.

Yes, both SPW and I have to work tonight as well. The hard part for me about working a Sunday is that it’s straight time, since it’s the beginning of the week. That’s a recent change… used to be Saturdays, Sundays and anything over 7.5 hours in a day was considered overtime. Now you have to make it to 37.5 hours in a week, then it’s considered overtime. I realize that this just means that Friday is all OT, but it’s a psychological thing.

So, anyway, since it’s Sunday, SPW (taco enthusiast!) and I will probably make our weekly trek to Chipotle over in York. While it’s not the best food calorically, I can get a freshly made burrito bowl that usually feeds me two meals. I opt for brown rice, black beans, peppers and onions, chicken, pico ge gallo, lettuce and cheese. I accidentally got some of their hotter salsa last time and it was pretty tasty. Just sayin.

Did any of you watch the Olympic opening ceremony? I used the phrase “Danny Boyle’s acid trip” to describe a large part of it. Maybe the craptacular coverage by NBC diminished its impact, but while there were high points, there were certainly some WTF moments. For me, the real winners were the Queen’s bit with Daniel Craig that even had a cameo from two of the Royal Corgis, and, well, Rowan Atkinson was hysterical during the Chariots of Fire number. The real trippy moments included the scared children being calmed down by the squadron of Mary Poppinses, the freakishly large baby and the Industrial Revolution being overrun by a battalion of Sergeant Pepper wannabes. The NBC coverage of the Parade of Nations I found to be lacking, since there were no shots of that kinda hot javelin thrower from Paraguay. Oh, and can somebody tell me what the appeal of Ryan Seacrest is, cause I’m sure not getting it.

Anyways, that’s Sunday for you. The next post will be #100. Still not sure what it’s going to be about, but stay tuned!

Haven’t been particularly into it these past couple of days. No real reason except work is getting a little stressful. Not so much the work, but the incessant chatter of certain coworkers. I’m all in favor of having a good time while working, believe you me, but I really don’t need to hear your entire life’s story from DNA up until that afternoon. I ESPECIALLY don’t need to hear it every day and at volumes that could be easily heard over a Rush concert. It’s days like these that I really wish my headphones went to 11… I just want to go and do my job and go home. Is that too much to ask?

Ok, mini rant over.

Seriously, though, I’ve kind of been feeling blah the last couple of days. I’m not quite sure why… I think it’s going back to the dietitian appointment. I know logically that it’s no big deal, but emotionally, I feel like I’ve already failed. I’ve thought long and hard about why I get these feelings at the slightest bump in the road… And I’ve never come up with an adequate answer.

That’s not me at all.

I think one thing I really need to do is just learn to relax. I remember when I was a kid seeing a poster or sign and on this sign there was a picture of an old man and it was captioned, “Sometimes I sets and thinks, and sometimes I just sets.” (sic) I remember thinking that was kind of stupid… Why would you just sit? The older I get, the more sense that makes. I never learned to just sets. Probably explains why sleeping in is never an option for me. Once I wake up, my brain is going a million miles an hour. Even when we go on vacation, I am usually up and raring to go and obsessing over time and what we planned to do. (Note – I did some research and the quote is actually from baseball legend Satchel Paige)

In other news, also adding to the stress level, Supportive Partner Woman and I recently closed on a refinance of our home. Reduced the mortgage interest some 2.5%. Or at least we THOUGHT we closed. Turns out when the gnomish little notary guy came to the house yesterday to sign the paperwork, well, he forgot one. He called, frantic, and since I was at work last night and SPW was visiting her parental units, he agreed to come back over this morning at 10:00. It’s now 11:30 and no sign of him. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but this does not make me happy. Sigh. If I don’t hear from him by noon, I’m going to call. Hopefully nothing untoward has happened.

So, how to learn to relax? I suppose I could learn to meditate, but my sister in law gave me another option. Yoga. She found a DVD that she thinks would be useful and she swears it helps to relieve stress. I’m concerned that if I try to do some of this stuff, I’ll spot weld in whatever downward facing dog pose I’m trying. But the DVD sits there, tempting me to try. I think I will need to consult with Ryan on Tuesday and see if he thinks it’s a good idea for me to try. I need to try something because I’m getting closer to falling back into the old habits. I do not want that to happen again.

Point of the matter is, it’s just a scale. A collection of sensors and electronics that could have been having a bad day itself. Maybe the humidity level threw something off. Maybe my shoes really do weigh 7 pounds more than my other shoes. Maybe I needed to use the bathroom. I don’t know. Whatever the cause, reason, I was NOT happy and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up. I’ve gotten this far… I’ll get farther. My usual M.O. of trying for a bit then giving up isn’t going to cut the mustard. At the same token, I’m human and nowhere near perfect. I’m going to stumble. I’ll probably stumble a lot. Just need to keep moving forward.

One day, one meal at a time.

Had a visit with the dietitian today. According to the scale there I’m seven (count them seven) pounds heavier than I was last week at the regular doctors office.

I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but it’s so nice to have a number. A nice round number allows me to put it in perspective. To say, I lost “X” pounds rather than to say, well, I’m fitting in my clothes better and my legs aren’t as swollen.

I guess I just expected more. I’ve been working hard and I’m just not seeing the results I had hoped for. I won’t lie to you… it’s incredibly frustrating. You start feeling like Sisyphus, endlessly rolling that stone uphill.

This is where it is so easy to get discouraged. I’ve been sidetracked by this before. You start second guessing what you’re doing. You even start questioning WHY you’re doing it, if you’re not going to lose weight anyway. You wonder what the point of all the sweat and pain is.

Did I want to cry when I read the scale? Yes… did I get pissy? Oh, yeah… Then I remembered what several of you told me. It’s not just about the scale. I have to take heart in the fact I’m wearing a shirt I haven’t worn in awhile, or that two of my favorite polos that I haven’t worn in over a year are just about there (they fit, but are a little short to cover the Buddha). I can take heart in that I’ve pretty much revamped my entire diet and am eating mostly healthy food. I can see that my blood sugar is falling into place nicely an I should have no problem getting my <8 on my next A1C test.

This isn’t just a battle of the bulge for me. This is a war, where the stakes are my life. I win, I can live like a normal person. If I lose, I’m well and truly frakked. So, the hell with the scale. I hate the things anyway.

So, had a bariatric class today. Usually one of the first things you do is weigh in when you have class and with all the time I’ve been spending at the gym, I was excited to see the results. See, I’m currently too fat for our at-home scale, so I really don’t have any idea how much I weigh on a daily basis. The last time I got weighed on that scale, it was 368.

Today? 365.

I somehow expected it would be about ten pounds less. I feel so much less fatigue when I climb steps, my clothes are fitting better… and, well, I’m still pretty hefty.

Today’s session was about stress and its effect on eating habits, with a dose of night eating syndrome and a bit on binge eating disorder. Very timely. If I hadn’t been made to think about my stress reactions and the compulsion to eat, I probably would’ve gone home and gnawed the lining out of the fridge. Instead, I did something both more beneficial and less productive.

I took a nap.

Dr. Collins, the psychologist who works with the bariatric team, normally conducts this session. She was out today and her slot was filled by a Dr. Christa Coleman. Dr. Coleman talked about how adjusting to stress and developing better coping mechanisms can help aid us in our quest to be healthier. That’s something I need to learn to do. I usually internalize a lot of my stress, which really doesn’t help my metabolism and doesn’t help me in the weight loss quest. I just have a hard time letting go of things and I’m a worrier. Maybe I need to learn how to meditate or do yoga or something. Of course, if I try to bend myself into a pretzel, well, I’ll probably stay that way.

So, to make a long story shorter, I came home, had a sensible lunch and took a nap. Dinner tonight will include some pulled pork carnitas in a wheat burrito with salsa and a little cheese. Supportive Partner Woman (master of the slow cooker!) makes a mean carnitas that is reasonably healthy and loaded with protein.

View from our seats. Hall of Fame Club!

Tomorrow, SPW and I will be meeting up with our friend Fred and taking in the Roger Waters show at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. Roger will be performing The Wall in its entirety and as Fred described it, “This is bucket list stuff, dude!” The set is supposed to be incredible, dominated by a wall measuring some 40 feet high and 500 feet long. We are supporting the local economy as well, seeing as the rigging is done by a Lititz, PA-based company called Tait Towers and the sound is by the world-famous Clair Brothers, based in Manheim, PA.

In short, there’s a chance my next post will be a review of the show. I hope I’ll be able to capture some video, although any video I might capture will not do it justice.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Yup… you read the title correctly. I’m opting to use part of my break to write rather than attempt a distance record. See, the dogs were barking after last night’s walk. I thought it best to take an abbreviated walk rather than risk blister city and be knocked out of action for weeks until it fully healed.

So, tomorrow morning I have my first session with Ryan. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also pretty intimidated. Here’s a guy who’s exceedingly fit, next to me, Captain Schlub. My biggest exercise is usually raising a fork full of food to my face. I’m looking forward to it because here’s a guy who can teach me how to get the most out of a workout. I’ve done the gym many times, and it never seemed to help. It was like I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Plus, I was always intimidated by the gym because of my bulk. Some of the looks you could get from other members were downright brutal. I got the impression that they were offended by the mere presence of a fatty among them.

This general feeling of not being welcome has become a constant. I’m not saying everybody is like that, but you can see the disgust that my weight causes in some. I said in an earlier post that it seems that fatties are the only group it’s still ok to discriminate against. Seems that the beautiful people are disgusted by what they perceive as unattractiveness. Found a good article at about the anti-fat hate crimes that are taking place. Here’s a small excerpt:

People tend to have unconscious but powerful negative reactions to those they find unattractive. Weight specialist Dr. Ian Campbell: “It’s innate in people to dislike what they see as a lack of attractiveness. It makes them think such people are worthy of derision. Very young kids have been shown to have a bias against their overweight peers.”

It’s sad, really, and while this is one of the things that the bariatric program has taught me. It takes work, but you can lose the weight and be healthier. I know I can get there. I made it once from 410 pounds to 270. Now I’m going to learn how to finally make the life changes I need so as to not rebound. Whether or not I have an operation, there are medical options as well as surgical. Plus, I have support that I didn’t have before.

If I leave you with anything tonight, please don’t ever feel ashamed to ask for assistance. If you feel you have nowhere else to go, search for bariatric physicians or ask your regular doctor. There are so many folks willing to help you be healthy and if you’re willing to listen, they can help. This is something I’m finally learning. I’m not alone. You don’t have to be alone either.

… We have news for the beautiful people. There’s a lot more of us than there are of you. – Lewis Skolnick

Well, the appointment with the psychologist went well. It was nice to lay out a lot of what’s been eating at me over the last however many years and to get some affirmation that I’m not crazy. Dr. Collins was able to give me some recommendations and also some helpful hints to get ready for the surgery.

Yes, I think that as of this juncture I’m going to go through with it. I’m about at the end of the rope with the injections and the constant joint pain and the sleep apnea and everything else. I want to be healthy… I waited long enough to find the right woman and I want to have as much time with her as I can. I owe it to myself to stick around, too… there’s a lot that I haven’t seen/done, so I need more time to work on the bucket list.

Speaking of bucket list stuff, we’re about five weeks from the Roger Waters show. To see The Wall performed live will be something to cross off the list. If, by some miracle, David Gilmour were to show up and do Comfortably Numb with Waters, well, that would be cause for an eargasm.

It’s been a sad year for music, though. There’s been a lot of good ones (IMHO) who have departed the mortal coil in 2012 so far. Let’s take a look at that roll call (and I’m sure I missed a few… I’m getting old):

Etta James
Whitney Houston
Ronnie Montrose
Leon Spencer
Earl Scruggs
Andrew Love (Memphis Horns)
Levon Helm
Adam (MCA) Yauch
Donald “Duck” Dunn
Donna Summer
Davy Jones
Robin Gibb
Eduard Khil

So, folks… there you have it. I have my first group session on Friday… we shall see how that goes.


After yesterday’s tangential rant, I thought I would take the focus back to the weight. See, tomorrow afternoon is my psych consult. Apparently, they want to figure out why I am the way I am. Good luck with that. As Charlie Sheen said, “You can’t process me with a normal brain!”

And I just know this is what it will look like.

Seriously, the purpose of the consult is to determine if I’m a good candidate for surgery. Seems they won’t do it unless I have the right attitude and frame of mind to make it work. I’m actually looking forward to this, but I’m nervous at the same time. I’ve been thinking I should seek out a professional for some time, because I know that I have issues. I’m hoping that a session will be a good beginning, something that I can build on and get better.

I have no doubt that I have issues. I think everyone has issues of some kind, in some cases buried deep, in others, right on a sleeve. It’s finding the issues, confronting them, and reaching a peace that’s important.

I’ll let you know how it goes… so please keep good thoughts for me.

Change of scenery

Posted: May 29, 2012 in diabetes, Stress, The Beetus

I’ve found that when you’re in the midst of a down cycle, whether it be food, mood, whatever, sometimes a change of scenery can help.

I’m spending the week at another one of my company’s facilities doing some acceptance testing on a new version of our typesetting software. I came home from work and stuck a blood sugar reading of 113. I’m pretty pleased about that. Usually it’s a lot higher when I get home from the office. I think that stress has something to do with that. Sometimes my job, or the BS surrounding it, can be rather trying. I don’t want to deal with the BS… I want to go and do my job and come home. Maybe that means I’m asking too much, but that’s how it is.

It was a good food day. I took some leftover tomato/mozzarella salad and had some crackers. Reasonably filling and tasty. That’s all you need.

Hope to check in over the next couple days with something more substantive.

Oh, and I started culling the Facebook friends list. If I never met you face to face and we’ve not had any meaningful exchanges, don’t take offense, but you probably won’t make the cut.