Weightloss Dad

Over the last year-and-half, I’ve lost about 115 pounds. I really needed to lose the weight – I was at risk for all the typical diseases that go along with obesity (yeah, I was OBESE): diabetes, heart disease, suicide (underrated as a risk, but believe me, it’s there). I was at a point in my life where I just didn’t care how fat I was, although I attribute most of my weight gain to one consistent factor in my life at the time:

Heavy drinking.

I’m going to assume that it’s OK for me, as a former fat person, to joke about being fat, as long as I keep the joke-a-pult pointed in my own direction. My favorite joke when I was at the peak of my meatiness was to walk(?) around quoting Jabba the Hutt. I have the very unfortunate genetic tendency to carry 90% of my weight in my face, which made Jabba impressions particularly funny for my kids. My second favorite joke was to unexpectedly fall through any weak part of the floor. OK, a slight exaggeration. I broke my leg in my son’s room saying goodnight to him, simply by twisting on my foot, losing my balance, and snapping it on the way down. Spiral fractures are not delicious.

My beautiful wife loved me in spite of my weight. She claimed it didn’t matter what I looked like. In fact, she liked me bigger because there was more to hold onto, maybe more to love. But I hated being fat. Everything was harder. Just getting off the floor after playing ‘Climb Daddy Like a Mountain’ was almost impossible. I hated getting out of breath walking up stairs. I hated ruing my jeans through the wear of my thighs rubbing together just walking around. My legs got so fat I lost one of my ankles.

For the first few months, my weight loss was accidental, fueled by my decision to not drink alcohol. Later in that same year, I stopped losing weight. I had decided to lose weight, since it was coming off all by itself, and stopping while I was still over the ’still look really fat’ mark wasn’t an option. I became the Jared of Starbucks: I just stopped eating. I reasoned that if you don’t put it into your mouth, it can’t make you fat. I cut my meals down to one a day, and sometimes that meal was very light. I became (predictably) obsessed with my weight – if I didn’t lose at least 1 pound in a day, I would resolve to not eat again until that pound was GONE. It turned into weightloss fueled by rage, only instead of big and green when I got mad, I turned thin and even paler than when I started out. Hulk in reverse.

I still have a roll of fat over my lower abs (my wife calls it ‘loose skin’), and I still look in the mirror, expecting fat to explode back onto my body like the end scene of the ‘Nutty Professor.’ My weight fluctuates in a nine-pound range. I eat more, gain a little weight, stop eating again and lose it. I know this is NOT perfect weight loss maintenance, but I can’t seem to do it any other way.

I have not drunk any alcohol.

Am I happier? Yes. Would I recommend my weight loss strategy to anyone? Probably not. It worked for me, but I’m not the most balanced person in the world, if you know what I mean. But if someone WERE to try losing weight like I did, I would offer the following 2 step program:

Stop drinking

Don’t drink any alcohol. Ever.

Get hungry

Skip meals and don’t snack. If you feel really hungry, you’re doing it right. Repeat.

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho…

I have to remember to stop for gas.

I’m going to work this morning! I’ll be sharing the road with other Commuters, going to their Jobs. I spent all last night updating my corporate vocabulary (‘downsize’ is now ‘uptick’, ‘leverage’ is ‘offshore’, and the phrase ‘work smarter not harder’ has been reduced to just ‘work harder’). I also spent a considerable amount of time in the last week reciting the Astronaut’s Prayer.

I’m hoping to find a ride share after a week or two. My commute is going to be pretty long, and I won’t be able to take a train like I could when I worked in Seattle. Getting into a carpool would be ideal – even reducing number of times I drive by 2 days a week would be awesome.

Last night, I told the girls I wouldn’t see them this morning. It didn’t register right away, that this is the day that I’m going to be at work. But then Panda hugged my neck hard from her bunk bed and said ‘have fun at work, Papa!’

I’m taking the hug with me.

It’s off to work I go…

Introductions

I was writing a post about robots, and I realized that I haven’t properly introduced the ‘cast of characters’ of my blog. The robots will have to wait. Over the next week or so, I’ll be introducing the people in my life that make their way into my blog, cataloged on the ‘Cast’ page that I will create starting with tomorrow’s post.

I’ll start with my beautiful wife.

Who, incidentally, just had a route canal today. She went in for fillings and the dentist found more serious problems going on in her lovely mouth which required immediate attention. Ow. I stayed home babysitting our girls, dropping off and picking up the three-year-old from preschool, and hanging out with the one-year-old playing Keep the Baby On The Changing Table While Changing Her Diaper (I almost lost), Don’t Lie On the Puppy, and Get Incredibly Dirty In Thirty Seconds Flat. Ah, fun games. BW (beautiful wife) is really glad that the one-year-old and I have finally established a solid connection. It was harder to bond with her as a breast-feeder – it was difficult to juxtapose myself between her and the source of all life and goodness. Spending time alone with her has definitely helped me get closer to her.

Who, incidentally, is STANDING NOW! Yay! She’s been pulling herself up for a while now, but she’s actually able to stand up from a sitting position. Sometimes she’ll stand up and forget she’s standing, and start playing games. She’s very careful to sit back down when she’s done, and we know she’s going to start walking any day. BW got a shot of her yesterday at the park, doing her thing.

It is polite, or good blogging etiquette to have a cast? Should I (anonymously) introduce the people in my blog? I have no idea. I can’t seem to find the daddy blog rulebook anywhere. Most of the people in my life are my immediate family, our pets, and a few fictional characters who may or may not be introduced. I guess I’ll just go with it; if the internets doesn’t scream at me to stop, I’ll introduce all the people and animals in my little life to you :).

But no robots. Yet.

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Tomorrow the World Will be Ready

Panda (the 5-year-old) has been taking to getting herself dressed in the morning before school, and she breezed into our bedroom this morning in an outfit that prompted a ‘Chic!’ from BW.

[Note: ‘chic’ in German is pronounced ‘shick’ (like Shick-Shadle Hospital – only 10 days, plus a couple of weekend follow-ups to get that nasty monkey off your back), and is used to describe an outfit that looks flattering or cool on a person. They use this term more often than we use it, and it applies to children as well as adults.]

Panda stood next to our bed, looking at BW’s bedside lamp through das Kronjuwel of her outfit: sunglasses. She then conducted an informal application of the Scientific Method:

Panda: Hey, the light doesn’t look right.
BW: Really? Why is that?
Panda: Hmmm. It looks right when I take off the glasses.
BW: Uh huh. What if you put them back on?
Panda: It looks wrong again!
Me: So what do the sunglasses do?
Panda: Make me look cool!

At the bus stop, I waited until the bus was lumbering down the street before quickly cleaning breakfast off her face, and snagging the shades in the process.

Panda: Hey, I was going to wear those to school!
Me: Sorry kiddo, the world isn’t ready for that much cool!

Employed

It’s official – I’ve got a job. I start on Tuesday. I’ll be working for a contractor for a large software developer, which has an office about 30 miles from where we live. While I’m not looking forward to the commute, I am definitely looking forward to regular income, and paying the bills and stuff. The company has strict policies about blogging, so I’m not sure what I can blog about. The NDA I signed said something like, “If you have questions about the content of a blog post, you probably shouldn’t post it,” or something like that. So what can I blog about now? Is everything off limits? I need some kind of rubric for determining what’s still valid content for my blog. Like this:

  • Do not post any content having the words Jar Jar Binks anywhere in the post. Actively hunt down other blog posts with these words and try to delete them.
  • Do not post any technical content, or parenting content that has to do with robots (e.g., robotic nannies, automated changing tables, or child robots, like Astro Boy).
  • Do not post anything about rainbows. Even if they are double rainbows.
  • OK to post about left-handedness, peanut butter (generic), unicorns, and parental opinions as they relate to non sequiturs.

That makes tomorrow’s blog post pretty easy:

Opinion: left-handed unicorns in the peanut butter again? That’s OK with me…

This week I’ve been trying to finish up the various projects I’ve been working on. I’m also spending more focused time with the girls. It’s funny how the prospect of leaving makes me evaluate what’s important to me: I’m really going to miss being here every day. For two years, I’ve been here every morning. Now, I will have left long before the girls get out of bed. I’ll miss the routine we’ve built (cacao, feeding the dogs, walking Panda to the bus stop).

To my readers who have encouraged me these last few months, thank you. Your words have helped me more than I can express. This has been a difficult time for all of us here (Beautiful Wife included), and knowing that there are people out there pulling for us, has kicked my ass on more than one occasion. I’ll let you know how the job goes, without disclosing any real information.

Alltop – I’m in!

For those of you that commented on my last post, please indulge me today. I know I promised you some introductions, and I WILL get to them, tomorrow at the latest. Please, please stop flooding me with comments on this! I don’t know how to do the ‘comments closed’ thing in WordPress, and I’m too lazy tonight to figure it out.

I joined Alltop! So cool! And, get this, my listing is only 1 row ‘below the fold’!! How cool is that? FYI, ‘below the fold’ is an old printing term applied to newspapers. If your ad or article was below the half of the paper that the main headline was on, you were ‘below the fold’. My monitor doesn’t fold, but I imagine that in the computer context, it means below the page that is visible. On your monitor. At the time.

I have heterochromia, or more accurately, sectoral heterochromia, which is much less common. Heterochromia is the pigmentation anomaly that causes Siberian Huskies to have different colored eyes. My childhood neighbor had a Husky with one white and one blue eye. Kinda weird. According to wikipedia, my company includes Christopher Walken. Woot!

How else am I special? Statistically? OK, since you asked:

  • I’m left handed (90% of people are right handed).
  • I don’t have any wisdom teeth, and never did. My dentist said that was one in a million.
  • I was adopted. And, the middle child. Between two non-adopted siblings.
  • I juggle. Balls and clubs, tricks with both. That’s kind of rare, right? I’m the only one in my family…
  • I’m married to the most beautiful woman, and best mother, in the world. That makes me one in 6.5 billion

Out! LED Flashlight Dispenser

[Job update: background check has not been completed yet so I’m still waiting to hear final confirmation on my job. However, my contracting agency has assured me that, barring something unforeseen (I robbed a bank, and didn’t tell them about it because I forgot), I will be reporting to work in a couple of weeks. I should hear something final in a day or two. I hope… ]

We love our dogs. Sawyer (named for the character on Lost) is a Lab mix, and Josie (Jo-Jo) is our King Charles Spaniel (a beautiful gift from Oma). My job is to feed and clean up after our canine friends, and maybe provide them with some additional exercise every once in a while. BW used to take them to the dog park, but Sawyer has some kind of chronic injury to his hindquarters that we don’t have a handle on quite yet, so short walks through our neighborhood is all we try.

Last night, we got the kind of weather forecast I was expecting: dark, with scattered light toward morning. If you’re like me, you dread the thought of going outside in the dark, while it’s freezing cold, to walk your dog who may poop right on the street. To even think about doing this, you’d want a good LED flashlight, some easily accessible plastic bags to pick up any poo, and a nice warm jacket. Enter the Out! LED Flashlight Dispenser and Pick-up Bags:

The Out! LED Flashlight Dispenser and Pick-up Bags is a compact unit that attaches to your dog’s leash, providing you (the designated dog-walker) with a super-bright LED flashlight, AND, convenient bags for picking up your dogs’ gifts to the world. Assembly of this tool is super-easy – just remove it from the package, open it by removing the flashlight (it just unscrews), and ‘starting’ the plastic bags by taking off the tape and pulling the first bag through the slot on the side of the dispenser.

Screw the flashlight back onto the dispenser (there are guide marks on the flashlight and the dispenser that show you where to line it up), and then attach it to your leash with the handy carabiner.

And now, you are ready to walk your dog!

After a little convincing, Sawyer was totally up for a little walk. I couldn’t find Jo-Jo’s leash, so I left her at the house. The LED flashlight is bright, and stayed attached to the leash without any trouble.

Sawyer didn’t poop, so I’m saving you that image, but the bags are thick enough to handle dog waste and disposal. This gadget worked well, and if we lived in a city in a condo where walking the dogs was mandatory every day, I would buy one of these, no question.

Weaning, on a Jet Plane…

My beautiful wife is from Germany. Someday, I’ll tell the story of how we met and fell in love. But for now, I’ll just say that she is a native German speaker, and had not had any experience speaking American. She’d learned English English in school in Germany, so she learned a lot of what she knows now by living here. To my credit (I think), I only blatantly took advantage of this once.

One day she was singing Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver. I sang along, but munged the lyrics to be leaning on a jet plane, and made up a story about how the guy singing the song was waiting for his flight to leave a hangar, and was just leaning against the plane while he was waiting. I kept a straight face, and she bought it. I walked funny for a week or two after she found out, and I swear my coffee tasted like saliva for a month or two after that. You don’t wanna mess with my wife. She’s nice. But she gets even. And she’s sneaky.

IB is still breast feeding. She feeds once in the morning, at nap time, and bedtime (and sometimes during the night). It’s definitely less than she used to, but she still depends on the boob. Specifically, it’s the right boob (just in case anyone was curious). During the day, she drinks watered down juice, and eats pretty much what we do at mealtime.

My beautiful wife is done. Our beautiful toddler is not.

So the question is, to wean or not to wean? When should it happen? What’s a good way to go about it? IB does not drink milk at this point. Even chocolate milk goes in, and then comes right back out. Do we just endure a few months weeks days of screaming until she’s over it, or should we just let it happen naturally?

I should clarify my own position in all this: I really don’t have one. I’m happy to have my wife’s milk duds (her words) converted back into her former maidenly bosom, but for me, the holy bond of breast feeding is non-Dad territory. Baby blanket? No problem. I can even dispose of binkies. But breaking the bond between child and mother at this most basic level is where I draw the line. I will support my wife, of course, but we’re both curious to know what you think.

I can’t blame you if you don’t have an opinion, seeing as I don’t myself, so here’s an alternate question: what’s your favorite John Denver song? Everyone has one, right?

Guilty as charged

Should I blog about feeling guilty?

About being guilty (and for what infraction)?

OK, both. I feel guilty about drinking. Not actually drinking, as I’ve now officially been a non-drinker-of-adult-alchoholic-beverages for over three years. But dreaming about drinking. Once in a while (much less often than it used to be), I have a dream in which I drink. Sometimes it’s a lot, but even if it’s just a single Moosehead, I wake up just feeling awful. I know I’ve blown it. Ruined everything. Gone back to square one. And even after I (and my wife, children, and extended family) convince me that it was just a dream, I still have a hangover. All morning.

It’s not fun.

I know there’s no reason for me to feel this way, but even worse, it’s unqualified guilt. There’s nothing I can do to take responsibility for what I did, other than to go to dreamland rehab. I don’t ever want to feel this way again. I didn’t state this as a resolution, but I’m putting it out there now: I don’t want to experience guilt this year. Not even once.

Top 10 ways I’m going to avoid guilt:

10. Hire Dennis Quaid to enter my dreams and stop me from drinking.

9. Become a Puritan. Or a Spartan. Whichever membership is cheaper.

8. Create a ‘This many days [X] without guilt’ sign and hang it in my office.

7. Look for a job every single day until I find one (phone inerview today! Woot!).*

6. Turn off my emotion chip.

5. Tell myself not to drink before I fall asleep.

4. Drink as much as I want in my dream, but then throw up, have a hangover, and wake up feeling refreshed.

3. Intentionally dream about something other than drinking. Like clowns.

2. Just stay awake. All the time.

1. Tape a motivational poster over my bed: Easy does it. One dream at a time.

*Not related to the guilt about dream-drinking, but another potential source of guilt.

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The Waiting is the Hardest Part

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Back where I’m from (the 80s), Tom Petty was huge. And, for better or worse, his songs carried me through some of the most difficult moments of my angstacular teenage life. I certainly felt like a Refugee in 1980 as a sophomore in high school, before finding my place as a band geek. After my parents sold their house in Spokane, Don’t Come Around Here No More played in my head whenever I smelled lilacs or burning aluminum (we lived near Kaiser Aluminum’s Trentwood facility). Free Falling perfectly described how I felt in 1989, between jobs and trying to make it in Seattle. And in 1990. And 1991.

Today, Tom Petty is once again keeping me company at a critical time in my life. As I wait, I’m reminded of how many people have helped and encouraged me, and kicked my butt when I’ve needed it. I’m positive that I’ll have good news to share, soon. To my bloggy friends, RL friends, and family, thank you.

The waiting is the hardest part.