Archive for the ‘Supportive Partner Woman’ Category

So, it’s nine days following the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. Supportive Partner Woman and I were in attendance, along with 14 of our closest friends and family members, to see if California Chrome could add the second leg of the Triple Crown to his resume.

It would be so easy to jump to race #12 (the main event) and not talk about the entire weekend. Luckily for you, I don’t take the easy route. We make an entire weekend of it.

So, Friday, SPW and I loaded up Mario the Super Honda and headed to South Jersey for the annual pre-Preakness feasting at my sister-in-law’s home. The SIL made a perfectly delicious beef tenderloin roast and there was much mirth and merriment. Various folks stopped by to join in the festivities, but eventually we all hit the rack for some much-needed shuteye. See, it’s a looooong day.

We shoved off about 7:30 AM, headed for Pimlico. For those of you not familiar with Baltimore, Pimlico is not located in what you would call an attractive section of the city. Poverty abounds and the storefronts that are not vacant are occupied by check cashing joints, chicken & trout stands, and the occasional bail bonds establishments.  Preakness is the one time of year it’s pretty safe to go there, as it seems that the entirety of the Baltimore Police Department is deployed in and around the track. It’s also probably the best time to commit a crime on the other end of town (not that I am advocating illegality). Just sayin’.

That being said, it’s an amazing sight to see that decrepit old track filled to the rafters.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was that SPW came home with a pair of high end tickets that belonged to her boss who was not going to the race. These seats were choice… pretty much overlooking the finish line and away from the cigar smokers behind our regular seats  (I don’t have an issue with cigar smoking, but there were quite possibly the nastiest smelling cigars I’ve encountered. No lie… they smelled like burning dogshit). We still opted to spend most of the day on the rail, but we went upstairs for the main event.

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin' down the stretch

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin’ down the stretch

Not the best video, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I did manage to capture a pretty good still frame of the leaders down the stretch.

All in all, it was a fun day. Very tiring.

The feasting aspect went better this year, though, as my gut isn’t nearly as sensitive as it was last year. I also didn’t overdo it, so there was no issues of malabsorption. The arts and crafts were successful as well. It’s kind of funny when you have a group of 40-60 year olds smuggling booze into a venue like a bunch of teenagers at a Hoobastank concert. Speaking of concerts, though, the infield entertainment for 2014 included Nas and Lorde. In my humble opinion, the quality of infield concerts has generally declined since the first year they were done (ZZ Top), although this year’s crop was better than Pitbull. At the current rate, I expect next year’s acts to include Nickelback.

In other news, my foot is healing at a somewhat steady pace. It’s certainly looking better than it was, but it’s still not fast enough for me. I think I need to talk to the doc and see if there’s something they can do to splint the toe so it doesn’t continue to put pressure on the wound. I’m thinking duct tape or a big hose clamp. I somehow doubt that will meet medical approval.

At any rate, that’s all I have for right now. We have the dreaded yard sale coming up on Saturday, so hopefully I’ll have good stories to tell.

See you on the other side.

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, after working until 2AM, I staggered home and pretty much collapsed into bed. Supportive Partner Woman (Sleeper of extraordinary soundness!) didn’t even stir and I was sleeping the sleep of the dead (or the truly exhausted).

SPW’s alarm went off and I staggered downstairs to pack her a lunch and make my own breakfast. I was folding some laundry when I heard an insistent knocking at the door. I opened it, fully expecting to find some overzealous proselytizing religious fanatics.

Instead, I found Brad.*

Brad is my neighbor. I didn’t know his name, but I did know him from his kids selling subs for scouting. Brad was wearing a somewhat sheepish grin. I lowered the screen and the exchange went something like this:

Brad; Howdy, neighbor!

Me: Um, hi?

Brad:  Is that your green car?

Me: Yes.

Brad; I was taking my daughter to school and got freaked out by a spider on the windshield, and, well, I kind of sideswiped your car.

Me:

Brad: I’m really sorry. We can exchange information.

Me:

Brad: It’s still drivable.

Me:

Brad: Looks like the mirror, primarily

Me: Ummmm, you hit my car?

This does not bode well for my day. It could be worse… the car is drivable and a little superglue will set the mirror enough to keep it from flapping in the breeze. Plus, Brad’s insurance company already called. They will even provide a rental while mine’s in the shop. The damage is to the driver’s door, left front fender and the mirror.

I was a little pissed, but I’ve calmed down. After all, while he didn’t stop immediately (he took his daughter to school), he stopped on his way back and took responsibility. I can appreciate that.

I only hope this isn’t an omen.

In other news, I finally bit the bullet and booked an appointment to see the wound care specialists regarding Wayne. My podiatrist and I are both hopeful they have some magic up their sleeves so we can get Wayne healed up and maybe get a good blister prevention plan in place. I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found a few products that look like they might be promising. This whole blister saga has me second guessing my 10K plans for January. If a 5K tore it up this much, what will a 10K do to me? It’s a question for my medical team. Although, as my co-captain Michelle has told me, “You tell them what you want to do and let them figure out how to make it work.”

Sounds like good advice.

* Name changed to protect the innocent and arachnophobic

I’m pleased to report that the six day period of hell has come to a close.

This started last Saturday when we buried my cousin Bill, who had passed away a few weeks beforehand. I had written about the sense of loss I felt at that time, but we finally got his ashes to their final resting place. We followed up with a family brunch at the Exeter Family Restaurant , which was underwhelming to say the least, then Supportive Partner Woman and I made tracks back to cow country. The following day, my mom came up so I could do her taxes. We then took her for her first ever visit to Wegman’s.

She was a bit overwhelmed.

She called when she got home to let us know she was safe, then a few minutes later, the phone rang again to let us know that Aunt Marie had passed away on Saturday night.

(thump)

The other shoe had dropped.

That funeral was this past Friday… bookending a six day stretch that was crappy, to say the least. This week was also filled with too many work obligations, not enough sleep, and not enough fresh air.

All it proves is that life is too damn short.

In the good news department, though, I did manage to construct a solidly-built ramp for my in-law’s home so my mother-in-law can get out to the family room. It was a chance to use power tools (which I’m always in favor of), and a chance to bitch about cheap Chinese-made wood screws. I might have something there… there’s NO reason an 18v cordless drill should be able to torque the head right off the screw. This happened twice. Not happy, but what can you do? I also opted to build a computer stand for the iMac, freeing up space underneath for the external hard drive and the Time Machine.

I also got some good exercise in. My group meeting took place with the exercise physiologist and he had us doing circuits. I was doing OK, but the mountain climbers really hurt on Saturday. The part that made me feel pretty good was the running in place… I was able to go 45 seconds without too much effort. This leads me to believe that I can do some intervals during the Troegtoberfest race and not be dead last. Woot!

I’ve also come to a conclusion that I’m going to go see a wound care specialist about Stubby and Wayne. These things are healing, but it seems the podiatrist doesn’t have a clue on how to make it more permanent (and faster). If I have to go back in the boot for awhile, so be it… if it really helps, I’m all for it.

So, I’m calling it a night. Hope that you all have a very happy Easter (Passover, etc.) and I’ll catch you in a few days.

Greetings, my friends.

It’s been a little bit since I’ve written. There’s been a lot happening, but that’s no excuse. Fact is, I’ve been pretty darned tired and haven’t really felt like it.

So, the big news is that Wednesday was my one-year anniversary of my bypass. Hard to believe I was propped up in my bed moaning and begging for death. It was almost like having a hangover, except for the five holes in my abdomen. People have asked me if I had any regrets. I think my biggest regret (other than being in such a bad way that I needed the operation) was that I didn’t do it sooner. I could’ve maybe avoided the diabetes and not have the damage to my feet that will probably stick with me the rest of my days.

I had my one-year appointment with Dr. McPhee. He was concerned that I had gained 26 pounds back, but since starting in the Back on Track program, I had lost 11 of those 26. That’s been going great… I find that Dr. Collins has a way of hitting the root causes of why I eat like I do. She’s been able to get me refocused and nudge me in the right direction, which is a good thing. I was starting to really feel down about myself during the two months I was on the shelf. Between the group and the fact I can be back at the gym, well, it has made a world of difference.

What a coincidence... both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW's is the slate blue band.

What a coincidence… both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW’s is the slate blue band.

One of the other things I did was to get a FitBit Flex. It adds a bit of a game to my daily routine and I love those days when I hit my goal and my Flex will start buzzing at random. I guess I’m intrigued by the gamification of calorie counting and fitness tracking. The sleep tracking is a nice feature as well. I also got one for Supportive Partner Woman… I hope she likes it as much as I do. I must remember not to cheer or taunt too much because that can get to be annoying. It’s like when someone will comment on EVERY Facebook status you post. It’s irritating and the last thing we need is more irritation.

The actual process of getting these bands was kind of comical. I had swung by my local Best Buy with the intention of looking at the band. In a surprise move, no one was around to help when I could’ve actually USED the help (Usually, I get one creepy dude who keeps asking me what he can help me with… when I really don’t need any help), so I left there and swung by the Apple Store, on the off chance they had them. They did, although the associate there tried to talk me into the Nike+ Fuelband. I tried, but it’s too rigid and didn’t fit my wrist comfortably. I took it back the following day and so far, I’m very happy. Supportive Partner Woman wanted a different color than I got, but they only stocked pink and black. I had the black and, well, she’s so not a pink person. Luckily, the Apple website had the blue band available and was able to ship it to the store in a couple of days. Problem solved. The website said shipping it to our home would take a week, but I could pay an extra $10 and get it by Friday. Or, I could ship it to the store for free and I could have it Friday. That’s a basic no-brainer, so, yay me.

Speaking of Dr. McPhee, he recently published another cookbook for bariatric patients. It has many of the same recipes from the first edition, but there are plenty of new ones, along with portion guides and some nutrition information. Not to mention the fact that the stuff is tasty. So, if you are a bariatric patient or know someone who is, click over to lulu.com and check out the book. It’s only $4.99 for a digital download and well worth it.

That’s all I have for today.

Song of the Day: Colin Hay – Overkill
Currently Reading: The Chariot Builders – Steve Matchett

Good news!

I’m finally cleared to exercise again.

Yeah, I can go and hit the elliptical starting today. Still need to stay off the treadmill, but I’ll take what I can get. First thing I did was call Ryan and Cory, since I still have a few weeks left with them. Hard to believe I’ll be a year post-op at the end of this month.

I also started the Back on Track program at LGH. It’s for folks who are struggling a little. Dr. Collins, the bariatric psychologist, leads an eight-week session focused on getting you refocused and rededicated before the wheels completely fall off. It’s a small group, six people, and Dr. Collins has a whole program set up. I think being able to get back to regular exercise will help me… I had gotten so used to working out that it really took a toll on me when I couldn’t. Dare I say some depression set in, and I’m someone who tends to eat when depressed. Ergo, not a good combination.

To help, I did buy a resistance band at my local Target. It has helped me at least get some strength training in while I was sidelined. I would usually change things up by using the bands. The fact that you get a constant force working against you seems to make sense.

The feet are feeling good in the new kicks. They are a little flashier than I’m used to, but I can’t argue with the comfort. I was able to rehab my old Beasts by putting a spare set of orthotic insoles in and they feel pretty much brand new.

So, I’m actually thinking that the WDW 10K in January might be the last runDisney event for me. Not because I don’t think I could do it again, but because of the price. RunDisney is getting a little out of hand. The prices for the 2015 weekend are going up like a rocket ship and that’s not cool.

The prices for 2015 are as follows:

Dopey Challenge: $530 (this is the 5K, 10K, ½, full, extra medals for the Dopey and for the Goofy, and a load of shirts)

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge: $360 (1/2 and full, plus extra medal and required shirts)

1/2 or full marathon: $170

10K: $105

5K: $60

Add to that price the need for airfare, lodging, meals, park admission (granted, not required, but you’re in Disney, you should probably get to a park), getting up at 2:30 AM on race day, and you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. Supportive Partner Woman and I will be doing it, as we are hoping our niece joins us as she will be done with graduate school at that point and could probably use a vacation. If it wasn’t for that, well, I’d consider not even participating. But, it’s all about the profit and 55,000 folks participating brings in a lot of scratch.

On that happy note, I’m going to get myself moving and over to the gym. I have two months to catch up on.

20140311-233915.jpg

I know… Latin. I’m trying to be all highbrow and intellectual.

But in this case, Pax refers to the winter storm. Seriously, though, who the hell started naming every winter storm? Is it a marketing thing? Maybe like the Nolan Ryan Express? Somehow, I don’t see NOAA marketing a line of t-shirts celebrating shitty weather, but it IS the federal government, so maybe that’s the reason.

Anyway, I’ve had a few crappy days. Really started yesterday with my attempt to go to the Philadelphia Auto Show. I say “attempt” since I never got on the train. Seems that the train station at Lancaster has limited parking and several rich assholes decided they needed two spaces to contain their precious German luxury cars. In all fairness, maybe they aren’t assholes. Maybe they are just misunderstood.

Naaah, they’re probably just assholes.

I still kept my vacation day, which wound up causing me some issues. See, the company decided to get rooms at the local hotel. They did not, however, inform me, so I had to trek to the office today, in the ice and snow, all to do a job obviously much more vitally important than healthcare or government. Of course, my wonderful homeowner’s association didn’t get around to clearing the walks and driveways on my street, so I had to move the entire driveway full of heavy, wet snow. I guess that counts toward my cardio for the day. I might add that another email was sent out informing us that the snow removal contractor has suffered a “mechanical breakdown” and would not be able to remove snow today. My thought is that Wanda, evil bitch queen of the HOA, is probably pocketing what would be paid to the contractor. I have no evidence of this, just instinct, but she seems the type that would do this.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

All the medals together for a shield. Pretty freakin cool.

My week hasn’t been all terrible. I managed to register for the Nerd Herd Virtual Race Trilogy. This year’s themes are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games. I’m not totally into the whole Hunger Games thing, but the medal looks pretty cool. If you are interested in getting active and helping a worthy cause, check this out.

The start and finish will be at the Troeg's Brewery

The start and finish will be at the Troeg’s Brewery

I registered to run in the inaugural Troeg’s Hop Dash 5K in Hershey in October. I also registered Supportive Partner Woman (lover of craft beers!). It’ll be our first time participating in an inaugural event, and many of our TAE/Nerd Herd people will be there as well. Should be a great time!

 

So, to all you readers trapped by Pax, I wish you safe travels. If you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home. If you do, drive safely and watch out for the idiots. Sadly, there are a lot of those and they seem to be drawn to driving in bad weather like a moth is to a flame.