One year

IMG_20140320_095842_101[1]

A friend of mine gave me these bracelets a few months back, to remind me of the things I          need to preserve within myself.  I usually wear one that matches whatever I’m wearing — today, I’m wearing them all!

A year ago today my life took a dramatic turn when my marriage fell apart. All the hopes and dreams we had were dashed. The plans we had made together were gone. I was alone, cold, frightened, and frankly, right on the edge of the darkest places the human mind can go.

I mourned and grieved the loss of my wife, my marriage, and especially my happiness. My health was affected (physical and mental). My view of life was always tinged with grayish black around the edges. I cried. I spent many a sleepless night wondering where tomorrow would take me. I was lost.

I lost some friends (and a family member) over the whole thing. But I gained new friends and was reminded time and again that I already had good friends and family members who spent a lot of time holding me up when all I wanted to do was lay in bed with the covers over my head.

I took on a part-time job in order to both make ends meet, and keep myself busy. I care for an 80-year-old woman with dementia. That experience has taught me things about myself that I never knew. Through her I was able to find a way to make peace with my own mother, with whom I never had a good relationship. There was a reason this woman was sent to me.

I am a different person today, forever changed by the events of the past year. Most importantly, I survived — I honestly didn’t think that would happen. But it’s not enough to just survive, and now I am working on thriving. We’re still haggling over stupid things in the divorce and it seems as though resolution is a long way off, but I’m in a healthy place with all of it. My sense of humor is intact and the colors of the world are more vivid these days. In my mind, this is the best revenge I can exact for my wife’s infidelity and destruction of our marriage — to be happy, healthy, and thrive.

If you’re reading this status this morning, it’s because I have chosen to keep you in my life for some reason, or because you have come into my life since that day a year ago and have brought me love, friendship and support in ways that I cannot begin to describe and truly thank all of you for. My sister Tammy and my son Joe Awsum were the two biggest factors in my survival. Tammy with her bossy determination, and Joe with his quiet strength. I owe both of you so much but can only tell you that I love you so much!

Today, I break free from the bonds of the past year. Today, and each new today that life brings me, I’m alive, I’m happy, I’m surviving, and am thriving. I’m starting my own parade!

Take that, Lisa!

Application to date Pat

            APPLICATION TO DATE PAT MARTINEZ
SECTION A: THE BASICS
Full name:
(Please write legibly)
Have we ever dated before? Yes No
Did that work out for us? Yes No (please go to section Z)
Decade of birth:
1940s Please go to section B 1980s Please go to section S
1950s Please go to section B 1990s Please go to section R
1960s Please go to section B 2000s Please go to section Q
1970s Please go to section S
SECTION B: QUESTIONNAIRE
1 Are you out?
a. yes
b. no
c. a little
d. I’m not even at bat yet (Please go to section Z)
2 Do your siblings, parents, or other relatives have a habit of hitting on your girlfriends?
a. yes
b. no
c. Um….I don’t know?
3 Employment
a. Employed full-time _____ years
b. Employed part-time _____ years
c. Employed full and part time
d. Unemployed _____ years
e. Independently wealthy
f. I live off the public tit (Please go to section Z)
4 Number of jobs in the past 2 years
a. 1-2
b. More than 3
c. 0
5 Where do you reside?
a. Under the aqueduct and/or in a cardboard box (Please go to section Z)
b. With my parents, sibling or other relative
c. In my car (Please go to section Z)
d. In an apartment
f. I can give you that address as soon as you give me yours (Please go to section Z)
6 Have you ever rented a U-Haul?
a. Once or twice but ONLY to move furniture to another place I lived alone
b. Once, but that didn’t work out so well
c. Is that an invitation?
d. Are you kidding? I had to get Mayflower to move me!
7 Do you have pets?
a. Dog(s)
b. Cat(s)
c. Bird(s)
d. Fish
e. Reptile(s)
f. Rodent(s)
g. Kid(s)
8 Have you ever had to be seen by a doctor because of a fear that you have possibly acquired something that Ajax, Lysol or Listerine won’t wash off?
a. Yes
b. No
c. I just ignored it and I *think* it went away (Please go to section Z)
9 Do you have a therapist?
a. Yes, and I even have my therapist’s home phone number.
b. Yes, but I only go once a month for maintenance
c. Yes, and my therapist is my #1 speed dial on my cell phone
d. No, I drink heavily instead
e. I don’t need a therapist, I have my binkie

10

Have you ever had to make a visit to the ER because of an accident that happened during sex?
a. No
b. Yes, but they got that little gerbil to quit squirming around in there
c. No, I just waited until the batteries died and it stopped moving around in there
d. Uh…what if it wasn’t an “accident?”
11 Have any of your sexual partners had to make a visit to the ER because of an accident that happened while having sex with you?
a. No
b. Yes, but they got that little gerbil to quit squirming around in there
c. No, I just waited until the batteries died and it stopped moving around in there
d. Uh…what if it wasn’t an “accident?”
12 Do you now have, or have you ever had a criminal record?
a. I thought that was expunged!
b. I’m on parole
c. I’m on probation
d. In which country?
e. Nope, haven’t been caught yet.
f. I’m such a good girl…..
13 Do you currently, or have you ever attended meetings of groups that have the word “Anonymous” in the name?
a. Alcoholics Anonymous
b. Narcotics Anonymous
c. Only for the free coffee and donuts — honest!
d. Um…it’s ANONYMOUS for a reason!
e. Nope, I have my drinking/drug use under control — I can quit any time.
14 Have you ever been told that ORANGE actually looks good on you?
a. Um…it does!
b. Yes, but only by Taystee
c. No, and besides, it clashes with my hair
SECTION C: Fill in questions (use back for more space)
1 Please list FIVE reasons why you feel you should be considered for this position.
2 Please list FIVE reasons why you WANT this position.
3 Please list all hobbies, habits, clicks, ticks, and twitches that you might have.
SECTION D: Written Exam** (Use back for more space)
If considered for this position, there will be an interview conducted where you will have to take me out on a date. Where would you take me and what would we do?
**Note — applicants that make it past Section D will be contacted for an Oral Exam
SECTION Q
Do your parents know where you are? Please go to Section Z
SECTION R:
You have reached section R because my sneakers are older than you. Thanks for playing. Please go to Section Z
SECTION S:
While you may be older than my shoes, you are still younger than my kids. Thanks for playing. Please go to Section Z.
SECTION Z:
I don’t think this is going to work out. It’s not me, it’s you.

Fired!

We got fired by our veterinary clinic, Coldwater Animal Hospital.

This is the end result of my having completed a survey that I was sent — a survey in which I was very candid and left my real name on (rather than do it anonymously).

In 1991, when we moved into our house, I was pleased to find a veterinary clinic just a mile or so away from the house.  We had a beautiful all white cat (with BLUE eyes!) and I began my relationship with this facility at that time.  About 12 or 13 years ago, back when Lisa and I first got together, Dr. Christina Nemcheck joined the practice (it might have even been before that).  We fell in love with her immediately.  She’s a very vivacious, outgoing, caring individual who was always sensitive to not only the needs of our pets, but to our needs as well.  She knows that sometimes people’s circumstances change and that they don’t always have the money for some things, and she always tried to work with us in a way that we could afford.

Almost seven years ago we had to put our beloved Tigga down.  She had masses in her insides that it was determined was most likely cancer.  We made the agonizing decision to not extend her life with cancer treatments because we felt the QUALITY of her life would be seriously degraded.  Dr. Nemcheck agreed that it was the most humane and loving thing we could do for Tigga.  When she gave our old girl that injection, there were tears in her own eyes.  This is why we entrusted the care of all of our animals to her — she clearly loved all animals, and they didn’t have to be her own in order for her to feel the sting of their death.

Although we didn’t intend it, Idgie came into our lives just a short month later.  Dr. Nemcheck was obviously excited about Idgie — she loved the name we had given this new little creature, and was clearly delighted with the little ball of super-soft fur that came out of that carrying case.

Four years ago our youngest cat, Sadie, was in real trouble and ended up needing surgery.  We had to take her to Animal Emergency Services because it was 4th of July weekend and Coldwater wasn’t open.  We had a horrible experience at AES and whisked Sadie away from there immediately, entrusting her to Dr. Nemcheck for post-operative care and follow up.  We could not have asked for better care for our little fur baby.

Two years ago, we began to think that Simba was diabetic.  We were concerned enough about some things that had been happening that we called to have him seen as soon as possible.  Dr. Nemcheck was on vacation and we agreed to see Dr. Korte.  Dr. Korte was rough, gruff, and initially argued with us about the possibility of Simba being diabetic.  In his defense, Dr. Korte said that Simba “…presents as a normal, healthy cat.”  But we insisted that the urinary accidents he was having, along with the sweet smell of the urine were cause for concerns.  Dr. Korte finally agreed, and took Simba “in the back” to check his blood glucose levels, which returned at around 400.  He was diabetic.  Not knowing much about feline diabetes, we allowed ourselves to be talked into some specialized food for diabetic cats that was, of course, highly priced but our later research showed that it was nutritionally inappropriate for a cat with diabetes.

We did some research on “the protocol” for feline diabetes and followed that for a short period of time (a couple of months).  Dr. Nemcheck wasn’t really happy with that but she patiently explained to us how the pancreas works and that she felt that what we were doing was not forcing his pancreas to work properly.  We listened to her and it made a lot of sense even though “the protocol” made sense, as well.  We decided that our vet was the source to which we needed to listen and so we discontinued “the protocol.”  We’re happy to say that, after a rocky start, Simba is a different cat today than the one that saw Dr. Korte two years ago, all due to Dr. Nemcheck.  Dr. Nemcheck didn’t take it personally when we started buying Simba’s Arthrogen online.  She knew, and understood that it was way cheaper that way.

I learned to do Simba’s blood sugar curves myself, and emailed them to Coldwater when I had done them.  We gave him his insulin, his Arthrogen, watched his blood sugar levels, and did everything Dr. Nemcheck asked of us.

Back in September or October I called for a refill on Simba’s prescription for insulin.  It had been a year since he had last seen Dr. Nemcheck, so they asked that I make an appointment for him and, in the meantime, they would fill the prescription.  I picked up the insulin, which I noted had increased in cost by about $50.  When I called them back and asked them about it, they said that there was currently a “shortage” of Prozinc and that was why it was so much more expensive.  I don’t believe in so-called “shortages” of medications — I believe the manufacturers “manufacture” these shortages.  But, what could we do?  I looked around online and found the pricing to be just as the vet’s office had charged us (within about $10).  A week later, something came up (I don’t remember what), and I called to reschedule the appointment I had made for Simba.  As Dr. Nemcheck wasn’t going to be available when I was available later that week, I told them I would call back when I was able to determine when one of us could break loose and take him to the vet.  It totally slipped my mind (irresponsible, I know).

When I called last week to ask them to ready a new vial for us, the girl on the phone told me that Simba’s prescription had expired and that he would need to be seen before they could issue another vial.  Dr. Nemcheck was booked up for that week, and was not going to be in this week.  They offered to book the appointment with Dr. Korte and I told them “No, I’d rather wait for Dr. Nemcheck — I’d take him someplace else before I take him back to Dr. Korte.”  After all, Dr. Korte is, in my opinion, an arrogant dick.  I was scheduled for an appointment 3/18 at 5:10 with Dr. Nemcheck and she was supposed to call me the next day to tell me if she would grant another vial of insulin before that.

As promised, Dr. Nemcheck called at noon last Tuesday.  Instead of the warm, bubbly person I was used to speaking to, I found myself feeling like a child being scolded for being naughty.  I was reminded that I missed the last appointment and I gave my word that I would be there next week.

Monday I stopped by to pick up the insulin.  I needed syringes as well, so I expected that I would be paying about $220 or so for the whole shebang.  I learned that the insulin had risen in cost AGAIN and was now $193.  What else could I do? I needed the insulin, and I had given my word.  I paid and left.  When I got home, I opened my laptop and started doing some pricing research.

  • 1800PetMeds $130/vial plus $20 shipping — Total Cost: $150
  • VetDepot $105/vial plus $20 shipping — Total Cost: $125
  • Drs. Foster and Smith $95/vial plus $25 shipping — Total Cost $120
  • VetRXDirect $110/vial plus $20 shipping — Total Cost $130
  • Allivet Pet Pharmacy $95/vial plus $25 shipping — Total Cost $120
  • Heartland Vet Supply $100/vial plus $25 shipping — Total Cost $125

There are more, but I think you get the idea.  I also called another local veterinary clinic and found it for $140.  It was explained to me that the online pharmacies buy in greater bulk quantities and therefore get better pricing than a smaller vet clinic.  I get that — truly I do.  But Coldwater Animal Hospital was clearly gouging on the price of insulin.

Either Monday or Tuesday night I got an email asking me to rate my experience with Coldwater Animal Hospital.  So I did.  I basically called “bullshit” on their pricing of insulin and said that MY PERCEPTION was that they had lost sight of their mission and that money was their first priority.

When I got home yesterday, there was a pink slip in the mailbox.  The USPS had unsuccessfully tried to deliver registered mail — nobody was home to sign for it.  Lisa got it this morning — it was a packet from Coldwater Animal Hospital telling us that, effectively, they were “firing us” as clients because, as they put it, I had indicated that I didn’t trust the decisions of the doctors.

So, a few things here:

  1. Why send out a survey to your clients if you’re not willing to hear what they have to say?
  2. Dr. Korte’s termination of our professional relationship (he’s the owner) was clearly a childish knee-jerk reaction to what I said in the survey.
  3. Dr. Korte reinforced my perception that he’s an arrogant dick in taking this action.
  4. Dr. Korte merely cemented, in my mind, that he couldn’t defend the outrageous pricing of the Prozinc and, rather than discuss it like an adult, he gets rid of his clients.
  5. This has made me realize that maybe I didn’t “forget” to reschedule Simba’s appointment last Fall — maybe it was Freudian that it slipped my mind.  The difference between Dr. Korte’s pricing and everyone else’s is an office visit for Simba.  We only have a set amount of money that we have budgeted for the year for our pets.  We spend every dime we have available in that budgeted amount.  If I had an extra $50, I would take Simba in twice a year instead of once.  Isn’t that better for the animal rather than better for the vet clinic’s bottom line?

We’ll miss Dr. Nemcheck, to be sure.  Other than that, it’s no skin off our nose.  There are a slew of veterinary clinics in this area.  Today I called a couple in Henrietta and one in Livonia.  The one in Livonia doesn’t sell the Prozinc but issues a prescription and a list of reputable places that sell it.  One Henrietta clinic is considerably lower than Coldwater with the Prozinc but indicated that they don’t stock a lot of it so we would have to give them an extraordinarily good lead time to procure it, otherwise it would be costly for them to order and have it delivered overnight.  They advised it would be cheaper for us to get it online and they would be happy to provide us with the names of reputable online dealers.

See?  How hard is that?  And why does Coldwater Animal Hospital need to charge $193 per vial?

Because they think their clients are stupid?

Because it seems that they have, in fact, lost focus on what their original mission was?  If you look at their web page, their tag line is “Caring makes all the difference.”

I don’t believe it.  I think money makes all the difference for them.

It’s a miracle (ear)!

Last Tuesday I got fitted for two hearing aids.  I’m not deaf as a stump or anything like that but I do have a mild to moderate hearing loss in the upper pitch ranges.

Forty years ago (Oh.My.GOD!) I joined the Army and became a Morse Code Radio Intercept Operator.  What that means is that I sat for 8 hours each day with headphones on, listening to Morse Code.  In the first place, a person would need a brain made out of oatmeal to be able to do that job and do it well — I fit that bill quite nicely back then (and probably still do).  The job involved tuning a radio receiver, not unlike those used by ham radio enthusiasts, to find the Morse code signal, fine tuning it, and then copying what was being sent onto a teletypewriter.  Often the signals were surrounded by natural or man-made interference and, if it couldn’t be “dug” out of that mess, the operator just had to sit and listen to the signal amid all the extraneous noise.  It really was an interesting job and I enjoyed doing it — I was good at it, and I knew it.  I saw others around me fall victim to the hearing loss monster, and was keenly aware that my time would come if I stayed in the field for too long, but it was an interesting job that offered pretty decent overseas assignments so I stuck with it.

I don’t remember when I noticed the ringing in my ears.  It might have been 10 years ago.  It could have been 20.  It’s just been with me for so long that my brain has likely accepted it as normal.  This incessant ringing (known as tinnitus) is a major part of my hearing deficit.  While undergoing a hearing evaluation in a soundproof booth with tones being transmitted into my ears, I’m very aware of the ringing and find that it blocks out those tones that match the same pitch as the ringing sound.  Add to that the fact that, with the natural aging process, I have a slight hearing loss without the ringing and that pretty much describes my hearing issues.

We have had the closed captions activated on the television for a number of years now.  The family got tired of me asking “What did he say?” during a movie or one of our favorite programs.  We found that, by the time they were through telling me what was said, they had missed other things.  Lose-lose all around.  Another disadvantage of the closed captions is the placement of the captions on the screen.  Why they aren’t “coded” to just display at the bottom of the screen is beyond any logical explanation.  They “float” around on the screen, sometimes taking residence right in the middle of the screen forcing the viewer to choose between understanding the dialogue, or seeing the picture.  This is especially true of sporting events.  Embedded captions all stay at the bottom of the screen (embedded captions are usually found on DVDs or BluRay disks) so why can’t over-the-air closed captioning?

Over the course of the past few years, I found myself asking people to repeat themselves, sometimes more than once.  I stopped saying “Huh?” and started saying “Say that again?”  I think that, in addition to the mild hearing loss, I may actually have some sort of deficit that causes me to process the spoken word a bit slower.  Sometimes I will say “Say that again?” and, by the time I get that out, I realize what has been said.  I think I also have tremendous difficulty filtering out “background noise.”  In a crowded restaurant, I am unable, for the most part, to carry on conversation with anyone at my table, if the conversation level in the room is loud enough.  It doesn’t have to be a roaring crowd, just a crowded room with normal conversation emanating from all around.  In one-on-one conversation with others, I find that if they speak to me while facing away from me, I can hear their voice but am unable to understand what has been said.

I took yet another hearing test last year in April. Up until that point I had been told that, while I did have a mild to moderate hearing loss, I was “…not a candidate for amplification.”  Last April I was written a prescription to go out into the world and find hearing aids.  I have listened to my Aunt Wanda complain that her husband’s hearing aids cost $2,000 per ear.  We don’t have that kind of cash just lying around so Lisa and I decided to increase the withholding of flexible spending money out of her paycheck, and we set our sights on getting one ear done this year, and the other next year.

As it turns out, it’s really not a good idea to do one ear at a time because that marvelous computer inside our heads makes rapid adjustments to almost everything life throws at it.  If I had bad hearing in just one ear, getting just one hearing aid wouldn’t be a problem but, as I have bad hearing in both ears, had I done just one ear the brain would have compensated for that and put more energy into that hearing ear and could stop sending signals to the bad one.  It’s just not recommended to do it the way we had originally planned.

hearing aid

I now have two hearing aids – at a cost of $2,700 per ear.  You would think that, for almost $6,000 the stupid things would sing and dance and tell jokes.  For that kind of money, they should have an act.  But, I suppose the “miracle” of hearing is enough for now.

I have an Over the Ear device, with the receiver in the canal.  As you can see by the picture, they’re not noticeable at all.  They also come in a variety of bright and subdued colors.  On Lisa’s suggestion, I took brown because she felt it better to try to match my hair rather than try to match my skin, which would likely be impossible and would make the hearing aid stand out that much more.

The problem now is that I hear E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

  • I can hear my pantlegs “swooshing” together when I walk.
  • I can hear my keyboard when I type (and it’s a “silent key” keyboard).
  • A co-worker wadded up a piece of paper and I jumped about 3 feet out of my chair because it startled me so badly.
  • I can hear the tick-tick-tick of the cats’ claws on the laminate floor when they walk around.
  • I can hear the fan in the air conditioning duct inside the ceiling over my head.
  • I can hear the buttons on the phone being pressed when I dial another extension.
  • I can hear the whine of the tires on my vehicle as they turn furiously on the highway.
  • I can actually hear the “whoosh” of air when someone walks by me quickly.
  • I can hear the echos of sounds in the hallways at work.
  • I can hear the noise of toilet paper as I wad it up in the toilet (I know, TMI).
  • The volume on the TV has gone from an average level of 35+ to about 12.

My hearing aids are not yet programmed to allow me to adjust the volume.  I’m supposed to get used to hearing what I’m hearing and not making my ears and/or brain lazy by turning them down if life seems a bit too loud for me at the moment.  I may get that ability today, although I’m doubtful  I’m only at 85% of my prescription and, if this is only 85%, it terrifies me to hear what 100% is!

I find that my ears itch a lot now but there isn’t any good way to scratch that itch with the hearing aids inhabiting the ear.  Also, the little “dome” at the end of the tube eventually causes discomfort after having had them in my ears for a lengthy amount of time.  By around 2:00 in the afternoon I end up taking them out while I go for my 15 minute walk, just to give everything a break.  They go back in and I wear them home but then, again, by around 6:00 I find I’m taking them out for the night because the inside of my ear feels bruised from having those little domes inside of them all day.

It’s an adjustment, but I’m hoping that this $5,700 investment was an investment in improved quality of life, not just for myself, but for my family and those I encounter on a day-to-day basis.

And now, for your viewing, I’m going to bring back some blog posts from the past.  This first one relates to the new diet plan we’re on right now.

In my younger years, I was an athlete.  I played every intramural sport there was for girls at our high school – field hockey, soccer, basketball, softball, tennis, track and field.  There was nothing I wouldn’t try and it seemed as if I could just never sit still.

At the completion of my senior year in high school, I was 5’3” and weighed a whopping 88 lbs. (with clothes on).  If I stood sideways and stuck out my tongue, people mistook me for a zipper.  Breasts? Is that what those little pimply-looking things on my chest were supposed to be called?   Honestly, I longed for the day that I could grow enough boob to fit into a 32A bra.

I joined the Army right out of high school.  The least I could weigh on enlistment was 103 lbs., waiverable down to 97 lbs.  The doctor that performed my physical said “You’re in excellent physical condition and will do fine in basic training” when he read those pitifully small numbers on the scale, so he entered those two digits I needed on the physical form. 97.  What he didn’t know what that I’d had 4 bananas for breakfast and had ten rolls of quarters in my pockets.

In basic training, we were weighed weekly.  My drill sergeant, a very butch woman with a considerable caboose was horrified the first time I stepped on the scales in front of her.  She took to accompanying me through the chow line, heaping my tray with every high calorie food she could reach, and then some.  I ate it all, and didn’t gain an ounce. I saw the seething hatred boiling just below her eyelids every time she saw me.

Fast forward ten years and three kids later, I was up to 130 lbs.  I had gained 67 lbs. with my third pregnancy and had managed to lose close to 40 of those pounds.  I wasn’t terribly upset at weighing 130 lbs. as I thought I looked pretty good and, as an added bonus, I had real, honest-to-God boobs – the kind that move and jiggle when you jump up and down.  Compared to my younger years, I woke up mornings feeling as though I was in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Fast forward again to September of 1998 when I quit smoking.  I weighed 137 lbs. and, afraid I’d gain a lot of weight following my smoking cessation program, I began working out compulsively.  I lost about 8 pounds in three months but, once the holidays set in, so did those lost 8 pounds.  I became lethargic.  My idea of working out was clearing the snow off my vehicle in the morning.  Aerobics? That was walking in and out of work.  I worked up a sweat pulling the lever on the recliner to lean back.  Two years later, Lisa moved in and, somewhere in that U-Haul was another forty pounds that I ended up carrying.  Thirty five years after high school, I have gained the equivalent of another whole me.

This extra “me” doesn’t have a job, doesn’t help pay bills, and doesn’t help out around the house.  She drags me down when I try to climb stairs, sits in my lap, wears my jeans (with me already in them) and peers out from under most shirts that I wear.  When I walk, the view from behind reminds a person of two little kids playing under a blanket.  I’m nearing a time when I have to begin shopping for clothing from Omar the Tentmaker rather than JC Penney.  I have to keep my inner thighs shaved so that the hair doesn’t ignite from the friction of the two thighs rubbing together.  I am, in two words, physically PFFFFFFFFFFT.

And, just when I thought I couldn’t feel any worse about myself, we bought a Wii.

Not just a Wii, Wii Active, complete with 30 day challenge and a “trainer” to motivate me.

I started right in with the 30 day challenge.  Being the arrogant ass that I am, I selected “medium” intensity, thinking that “light” intensity wouldn’t give me as much of a challenge as I needed.  The next day my legs felt shakier than Larry Craig’s “wide stance” explanation.  I find myself cursing regularly at the “trainer,” dropping the “eff bomb” whenever she tells me how good I’m looking and what a great job I’m doing.  But if I went too slowly and she’d tell me “You can do better than that,” the expletives exploded from my mouth, causing all four cats to scatter and, in the distant upstairs, I heard laughter.

I clicked on “start over” and opted for the “light workout” to begin a new 30 day challenge.  The cursing hasn’t stopped yet, and I’m already into my second week of “light” workouts.

Did I mention the leg strap that is supposed to go around the upper thigh, so that the system knows you are moving?  Did I mention that the strap barely goes around my enormous thigh and, because it seemed to want to slip down my thigh at the slightest movement, I had to keep cinching the Velcro closure tighter and tighter until it was no longer an exercise strap, but a tourniquet?  Every flex of my right thigh muscle caused a deep throb from within, and I found that I had no blood flow to my leg and my right foot would no longer cooperate with the messages sent from the brain.  I exercised as I imagined Igor must have looked in Count Dracula’s castle, with one leg trailing uselessly behind.  It took a few days but I finally found a happy ground for that darned leg tourniquet – one where my foot stayed pink instead of turning bright purple.

Now, let’s talk about fat for just a minute.  Fat jiggles.  There’s a reason why “The Night Before Christmas” describes Santa’s belly as a “bowl full of jelly.”  When fat people jump, run or otherwise move quickly, the fat moves against them.  As I jogged in place (on the jogging trampoline so my knees and ankles didn’t snap off on that hard floor), I felt the cheeks of my butt jumping up and down and, on the down, I felt pain.  To add to the humiliation, my boobs were doing the same thing and, at one point, I feared I’d black my eyes.  I now wear underwear that is three sizes too small and run with my arms over my boobs, for safety.  How on earth am I supposed to feel good about myself by working out when I have to suffer this type of humiliation?

I decided that every exercise I have to do needs to benefit me some way to enhance my relationship with Lisa, or to better my life in some way other than making me hurt– it’s the only way I can motivate myself to continue this insanity.

Side Lunges: One foot stationary, the other stretched halfway across the room.  OK, there’s a sexual visual there that I probably shouldn’t mention, so we’ll move on.

Running:  Okay, stamina and endurance.  This is good. I can do this.  This should give me the performance in bed that I want, and will allow me to walk up those six stairs without feeling like I ran a marathon, making me too tired for lovemaking.

High Kicks: While walking or running, you kick back high enough to look like you’re kicking yourself in the behind.  Well, I did a lot of that after that last relationship I had, so I don’t feel I need any practice doing this, nor do I see any benefit to this in the current relationship.  Lisa, on the other hand, probably wonders why she doesn’t get to do forward kicks of my behind, as that seems necessary from time to time.

Then there are all those resistance band exercises.  Looking like a large orange rubber band with handles, you stand on the band and do bicep curls or shoulder lifts or other such nonsense.  The secret here is to stand firmly on the band, lest it break free with a loud SNNN-AAAAP and whack your seriously over-padded behind stuffed inside that too-small underwear that keeps it from jiggling.

Finally, the workout ends.

I’m now free to go back upstairs, pour a large glass of wine, and eat a large plate of pasta, half a cake for dessert, and a sleeve of Ritz crackers for a snack an hour later.

I don’t think this Wii Active is doing me much good.

Another Wegmans Post

One of the many features WordPress offers its bloggers is stats on the site.  I can see how many people visited my blog on any given day, and I can see how many “views” they made (how many pages they visited).  I can track the general location from where my visitors come and, if they leave comments, I can even track their IP address to the specific town in which they live.  I can also see how they got to my site — that is, if they clicked a link to get here or if they used a search engine and ended up here.  The interesting part of that is that I can also see what search terms they used that got them here.

The post I made about the roving bands of lesbians with pink Glocks seems to be one of the most popular ones not because of the roving bands of lesbians, but because of the pink Glocks — seems there are a lot of folks out there searing the web for “pink guns,” or “pink Glocks.”

Inevitably, at least once a day, someone will land here because they have done a search on Wegmans (the grocery store chain in the northeast part of the country started right here in Rochester).  I see a lot of searches about whether Danny Wegman is a coke-head or not (and the only reason I have any inkling that he might be is because of the numerous searches on this particular topic).  I see a lot of searches on “I hate Wegmans.”  I did a rant on Wegmans back in 2007 and I recently had to turn comments off for that particular post because they just don’t stop coming in — and they’re really, REALLY nasty sometimes.  Wegmans — either you love them or you hate them.  Me, I’m a hater.

However, the point of this particular blog post isn’t about who hates Wegmans and who doesn’t — it’s on today’s search phrase.  “Why are Wegmans customers so rude?”

Indeed.

One of the many reasons I hate going to Wegmans is because of the other people there.  I’m not anti-people by any means — I’m very outgoing.  But I find that the rudeness isn’t confined to Wegmans. It is prevalent in every retail store in America.

I try really hard to stay out of the way of other shoppers at the grocery store.  When I need to “study” a selection of items, I stand across the aisle and scan the shelves, so as not to block the items I’m looking over.  Inevitably, someone will come and stand right in front of me to look at the same products. I know they’ve seen me standing there looking, but they’re so oblivious that they don’t really process that information.

Just a few days ago there was a woman in the “Ethnic foods” section standing with her cart pointing SIDEWAYS in the aisle, and she was looking over products.  Nobody could get by her, and everyone seemed too polite or inhibited to say “Excuse me.”

This is where my “rudeness” kicks in.  “Seriously?” I said, loudly.  The woman looked at me without the slightest flicker of comprehension in her eyes.  “Seriously? You have the whole aisle blocked?”  She looked down at her cart, still seeming to not comprehend what the problem was, and looked back at me stupidly.  I nodded to the two people on the other side of her that were, by that time, smirking at her, probably wishing they had my balls, and suddenly it got just a bit brighter in that store because the light bulb finally went on over that woman’s head.  As she moved her cart out of the way, she said to me “You didn’t have to be so rude!”  “You didn’t have to be so oblivious to your surroundings, either” I shot back.

One other time I was in BJs wholesale club, and I was eyeballing all the different types of tea they had, trying to decide what sounded good.  I had a HOT PINK shirt on (point being that I wasn’t inconspicuous by any means).  Two women came by — the older of the two looked right into my eyes and then they turned, stopped, and proceeded to stand there, fight in front of where I was looking.  So, I copped attitude — I crossed my arms across my chest and stood there glaring at them.  After a couple of minutes, the younger woman seemed to realize I was standing there glaring at their backs, and she said “Is something wrong?”  “Yes, I was standing here looking at that tea, when two women who were totally oblivious to their surroundings came and stood right in front of me so I couldn’t see any more.”

“You don’t have to be so RUDE” she said.  “You don’t have to be so oblivious,” I countered. “Come on, let’s just leave!” the older woman urged.

There was a time when I might not have said or done a thing in these situations.  But these days, it seems that EVERYBODY is completely oblivious to the world around them.  They walk with their heads down, focused only on their cell phones.  Or they stand in the middle of the aisles having a gab fest with friends they haven’t seen in ages.

My point is that it’s not just Wegmans customers that are rude — it’s all of us.  Wegmans stores don’t have the corner on rude customers.  They are the rule, not the exception these days.  And why is that?  My belief is that, with each generation coming up, parents are more and more and more permissive and they hold their offspring less and less and less accountable for themselves.

At work, we have parents calling the tech support line asking for help getting into their son’s or daughter’s accounts.  They get pissed when we tell them we can’t help them because we view their offspring as an adult and value their privacy.  They actually get pissed because they can’t hand carry their child through college the way they have done up to that point.  They accompany their child to advisement. They accompany them to the book store.  They make phone calls to the Registrar or the Financial Aid office.  I’m amazed they don’t accompany them to class as well.

And those college students? They’re tomorrow’s Wegmans shoppers.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve turned comments off for this post as well because, well, it’s just not worth starting that shit all over again.

Meatless March Madness

With the dawn of the new year came the dawn of yet another promise to do better for ourselves.  Lisa and I want to lose weight, and so we set ourselves a goal of just one pound per week.  Certainly this is an attainable goal and it represents safe weight loss (meaning we’re doing it smartly rather than starving ourselves or taking crazy “fad” supplements).  And we were both doing well, staying right on target, until we both got sick in early February.  We were each sick for almost two weeks.  I had lost 7 lbs. already but gained them all back in those 2 weeks, so I had to start over.

As a family, the three of us have decided to try to go the entire month of March without any red meat.  Not an easy feat for avowed carnivores who love a big ol’ slab of steak.  Surprisingly, Joe is pushing for a vegan diet — no meats, dairy products, eggs or anything else that is animal based.  Joe, who would have starved to death as a toddler were it not for hamburgers.  Joe, who goes through a gallon of milk a week all by himself.  Joe, who loves tuna melts and egg sandwiches.

I recently watched the film “Forks Over Knives.”  It really changed the way I look at food.  But it also made me do more than change the way I LOOK at food — I am motivated to DO something about it. now (if you click on the title of the film, it’ll take you right to the hulu page where you can watch it for free).

This graphic is amazing:

consumption

At the beginning of the 20th century, Americans consumed on average 120 lbs. of meat each year.  By   2007 that figure had risen to 222 lbs (that equates to roughly 5 oz. per day up to almost 10 oz. per day).

In 1913 the average American consumed 40 lbs. of sugar each year but by 1999 that number increased by more than 100 lbs., for a whopping 147 lbs. per year. (1.6 oz per day up to 6.4 oz. per day)

In 1909 the average American consumed 294 lbs. of dairy items, but by 2006 that number shot up to 605 lbs. (12.8 oz per day up to 26.5 oz. per day)

Lisa and I both agree that we don’t want to go vegan and that we don’t want to become strict vegetarians, but we also agreed that we can eat vegetarian style MOSTLY and still derive tremendous health benefits in doing so.

Both of Lisa’s maternal grandparents had diabetes.  Lisa’s mother is an insulin dependent diabetic.  There’s a case to be made here for being genetically predisposed to diabetes for Lisa.  My maternal grandmother was diabetic, although hers was controlled by diet.  I don’t know of any of my mother’s siblings that were diabetic — I do have an aunt that lives in an alcoholic fugue and, who knows, she could be too, but I don’t know and couldn’t care less.

The two of us each need to lose around 50 pounds.  There’s no getting around that.  And the loss of 50 lbs, for each of us, puts us at the upper range of our “ideal” weight range so we’re not thinking ridiculously low numbers that are unattainable.  This is our reality.

So, for the remainder of this month (at least), it’s fruits and veggies, greens, eggs, fish, and lean chicken breast.  Trying to use less butter (or, as Lisa calls it, “butter-like substance”) and more olive oil and different flavored balsamics for flavor.  Some tofu here and there.  Mushrooms. Sprouts. Reduction in the amount of processed foods.

But, don’t think for one minute I’m giving up my wine.

Image

Pat – ↓ 3.5

Lisa – ↓11.5