Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh, The Pain!

That first day on the treadmill really got me thinking: "The pain...oh, the pain!" Dr. Zachary Smith couldn't have said it any better.

As the one who coined that phrase as a dysfunctional character in the 1960’s series “Lost in Space,” Dr. Smith was the complete personification of self-centeredness. His schemes lead him from one problem to another, causing himself the pain of having to get out of his situation. Most of the time, he had the Robot and Will Robinson to help him get out of his predicament, and it usually worked out for him. Of course, his situations usually presented him with option of life or death, and the solutions always required action to be taken in order to succeed.

To some degree, I'm facing the same issue: I'm not worried about space creatures nor am I worried about assuming room temperature anytime soon. The life and death issues facing me are quality of life issues. Do I want to live a quality life, or do I want to practicing playing dead? I think there is a reason a couch is about the same size as a coffin. Most Americans practice playing dead on a nightly basis. I'm no different. Except I roll off the couch because I'm too wide. It's a funny sight, though. I'm just glad no one has a video of it.

Pain was my motivation for doing nothing, and now, pain is my motivation for doing something. Exercise pain was not something I looked forward to, but I was getting tired of the chronic pain that I was experiencing on a daily basis. It was to the point where it didn't make a difference whether I worked out or not. I was in constant pain just from scratching myself in a different area the day before. I'd say, "Why am I sore today? Oh yeah, I had an itch yesterday." So, when I started working out, I knew there were going to pain issues.

But as I worked out, I started thinking, "Seriously...this much pain, already? I had no idea that it was going to be equivalent to torture.

Idea: If the CIA wanted to interrogate terrorists, they wouldn’t need waterboards, just treadmills. Air-drop donuts over Al-Queda camps for two years, get them fat, catch them (they'll be too fat to run) and then put them on treadmills at Guantanamo, in July. I guarantee it...they'll talk.

When I started on the treadmill that first day, I knew deep down that I would feel some pain within the next couple of days, but I never thought that I would be feeling it the next minute. That first day I was beginning to hurt as I walked from the treadmill, and by the time I got to the door a hundred feet away, I was walking like Frankenstein. I also looked like I had been dropped upside down in a dunk tank. As I approached the exit, I'm pretty sure I saw a couple walk up to the door, see me, and turn around yelling “forget this” when they saw me.

The girls at the counter waved goodbye to me as I slowly exited the building. The counter guy (see prior blog posts) wasn’t there anymore; I think he passed out finally, although I didn’t see a body. I looked back at them, smiled/grimaced, and said “Ang yoo...ow-wee woo ayer,” which was my pre-stroke version of, “Thank you, I’ll see you later.” I think this was the result of neurological shutdown of the lobe of my brain that controls my fine motor skills, in order to keep the pain receptors at bay from the rest of my body. I was just thankful I didn’t have to go to the restroom. That would have required utilizing the part of my brain that controls involuntary muscles, and my neurons were shorting-ciruiting themselves because of the pain.

I shuffled across the parking lot (Death Valley) and got to my truck. I then spent the next ten minutes kicking up my right leg, trying to get it into the truck. I looked like a reject from a Rockettes audition. I finally settled into the driver’s seat, started the truck, and drove off. I didn’t even try to drive fast for fear of having to lift my foot to use the brake.

I thank God for friends who encourage me right now, because I know the people behind me on Palm Avenue were not cheering me on, and I know they weren’t telling me I’m #1 in their lives, but #1 elsewhere.

I made it home, stumbled out of my truck, slithered inside, and crashed on my bed thinking, “Oh, the pain, the pain.” Actually, I was thinking something that I can't publish here, but you get my drift. Deep down, I knew it had to get better. The question was: When? Not today. I lay on my back for about 20 minutes and decided to get up and shower to make myself more presentable, although there was no one at home but me and the dog, and she was hiding because of my loud groaning.

I got up. The pain was worse.

Everything was cramping up. I couldn’t sit up. I slid off my bed at the speed of a glacier and with the movement of a lava flow. Finally my foot touched the ground. Once I had both feet on the ground, I attempted to roll and push myself up off the bed. I felt like Cosmo Kramer in the Seinfeld episode where his jeans were too tight. In my case, my legs were too tight.

I took the first step and lunged for the doorway of my bathroom. I propped myself up with both sides of the doorway, and then took two more steps and made it to the sink. I looked at the mirror. I looked horrible. My eyes were red, they had eye boogers, I was still sweating, and I think half of my face was paralyzed. To top it off, I now a big zit on my chin. I began to second-guess submitting my modeling application for Muscle and Fitness Magazine.

Miraculously, I showered and made it to the living room. I spent the rest of the day recuperating, and fortunately I had recorded plenty of “Deadliest Catch” episodes for my enjoyment. It made me feel better that there were crab fishermen out there who hurt just as much, although they do get paid pretty good for their pain. Watching all that crab, though, really made me hungry.

By the way, pain is a good weight-loss plan, because it prevents you from walking to the kitchen, and even when you make it into the kitchen, you’re too sore to make anything to eat.

I was saved; Kathy did come home before long and was able to feed her pitiful husband.

Three weeks into this, I’ve been increasing my exercise time, but with lots of pain. It’s a chore to move after a workout, but it subsides with rest and ibuprofen (love that stuff), and I have faith that this will calm down after a while. No pain, no gain? No kidding. I hate that axiom.

So what is pain good for? The pain is a message to me because it is the result of doing activity that I’m not used to doing. It's telling me that my body is starting to live again. It's just stiff from the long sleep. I was used to an abnormally low activity level, sedentary, similar to that of a penned-up livestock animal. Moo. For years, I made a subconscious decision not to do anything about my situation. Conscious change will require pain. Not just physical, but mental as well. There are so many things taking place when you commit to making your life better. For me, it's not about just working out. It's about going through physical and mental rehabilitation, as changes take place in those arenas of my life now.

Like Dr. Smith, I’m paying the price for self-centeredness, for bad/no decisions leading to an unfavorable situation, which requires action to solve what could mean the difference between life and death. Even if I were to do nothing and stay alive, would I be really living? Not at all. I'd be playing dead, waiting for my day to catch up. I’m working my solution now, although it would be kind of fun to have Robot and Will Robinson to help me work it out; well, maybe just Robot. But, since I don’t have a robot and my kids aren’t nerds like Will, I’m going to have to rely on myself, with God’s power and the encouragement of others, and that's more than enough for me.

Bring it...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gap Filler: TV Weight Loss

A word or two about TV weight loss shows: Appropriately enough, they were showing "Extreme Makeover - Weight Loss Edition" on the club television the other night as I tortured myself with my treadmill workout. It focused on a 445-pound woman whose goal was to lose 300 pounds in one year. To top it off, they made her wear stretchy pants. Ow.

She had a lot of issues: Her weight, a sick child, unable to fit in a car, and she cried a lot. To be fair, I suffer from similar things: Weight, not fitting in cars, crying a lot (especially when Big Macs are at a two-for-one price). I don't have a sick child, but sometimes they can drive me to mental illness.

So the star of the show (I can't remember his name) tells her that she would get a car if she lost a hundred pounds in three months. She hit the goal, got the car, and then was on her own for the next couple of months. Hooray.

Note: I hereby proclaim that I am more than willing to receive a car when I lose 100 pounds (in case anyone is listening and feels inspired to give). I'll take a million dollars too, since I'm on the subject.

Let's get back on point here. Did I say she that after hitting her goal, she was on her own for a couple of months? I did, didn't I? Okay, now get this:

She gained 30 pounds!

She even had exercise equipment installed in her own home! What does one need to be motivated?

Obviously she slacked off during that time, allowing life to get in the way and influence her decisions. To be fair, she has a daughter who had a severe seizure episode during that period of time. But her daughter recovered, and for the remainder of time it should have been rather routine. It's more than likely she gained 40-50 pounds before she kicked it in gear the last couple of weeks, in order to have a result that wouldn't be as discouraging.

Maybe it's me, but if I was on television and the whole nation was watching me, I'd be eating lettuce only for the next year. Being accountable to 783 people (my number of Facebook friends as of today) is motivation enough.

I don't have enough space to list the challenges going on in my life right now. But I'll tell you what, I could wipe them all out with a magic wand today and there will be more challenges tomorrow.

All in all, she lost about 180 pounds over one year, which is fantastic. She hit 60 percent of her goal. She had some motivation, but it appeared to me that she lacked the true inner strength to reach 100 percent.

I've got One that's far better than a television show and I don't have to wait for a producer to call me. He'll answer me Himself every time I call.

I've learned where my Strength lies. He is the One who moved me in this direction, and for me, it's not a matter of "if," but "when."

I may not win a car, and I may not win a million dollars, but when this is done, the victory will be worth a million to me.

But, I'm still open...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

So This Is Healthy?

Now that I declared my independence, there was the matter at hand of taking that first step. I began at a conservative pace: One mile an hour. It wasn't very impressive by any stretch of the imagination. My goal was to make it to 20 minutes without coding. I slowly turned my head to look around. I hadn't mastered the walk-and-look-around technique yet and I didn't want to trip and winding up kissing the console as I fell. I looked at the nearby treadmill masters demonstrating their skills: speed walking, running, juggling; running with their machines inclined to match the slope of Mount Everest, all wearing headphones. And no one breaking a sweat. While they all skipped along, I was already experiencing burning in my legs, stabbing knee pain, labored breathing, drenching sweats, blurry vision, and severe depression. I knew I had to be close to my 20 minute goal. It would be worth the pain.

With the prospect of a Rocky Balboa moment awaiting me at the end of my torment, I looked down to see how far I had come. I wiped my eyes with my towel, and as my corneas cleared, the numbers came in to focus:

Time: 01:00

One minute. That was it. Good Lord, help me here. I felt like the Hebrews in the wilderness, when they asked Moses, "Have you let us out here to die?" I asked myself how I got myself into this mess. It had to get better. My weeping was not helping.

And it did get better.

I had water, so I knew I wouldn't die. I slowly reached for my water bottle carefully, trying not to trip or lose the cap (an OCD thing for me), and balanced the walking and cap-turning motions (step, turn, step, turn) to open the bottle. Finally the bottle was opened and I was able to enjoy the feeling that a model on a bottled water commercial is supposed to make us imagine it feels, and I took a big drink. After recovering from my choking episode, I was able to regain my balance and continue at my one-mile-per-hour rhythm. Finding that experience so enjoyable, I decided to have a second experience, and reached for my towel, wondering what would happen by doing this. Surprisingly, I accomplished my goal without trauma, and wiped my face and regained focus. I began to speak positively to myself, that I was going to make it, that it would be worth it, that I needed counseling.

Time: 02:00

Things were starting to smoothen out a little bit; I think I was a little overwhelmed from the excitement of starting something new. I was beginning to develop a cadence in my step and starting to feel confident. I was still crying, but no one could tell.

Time: 03:00

I sped up the machine and I was now up to the blistering pace of 1.2 miles-per-hour. I felt like I was really flying now. I looked down at my shirt, which was now starting to accumulate a parabola of sweat on my shirt. For the first time in a long time, I was actually sweating on purpose. I was starting to feel better; I was on my way, even though I smelled funny.

Time: 05:00

I was starting to move more gracefully. I was starting to feel pretty confident now. I even nodded my head and managed to smile (or grimace) at a gentleman as he walked by.

Time: 10:00

I was beginning to feel like one of the regulars now. My coordination was to where I could actually drink water, wipe my face, and smile without stumbling. At this point I could actualy lift my head and look up and start to enjoy one of the amenities of the club - television monitors - a multiple number of television numbers suspended from the ceiling within eyeshot of any glance that I make, and headphone ports located on the treadmill console, but there was no way I was going to attempt the headphone thing, so I chose to utilize my reading skills, following the closed-captioned text on the screens. Since it was mid-afternoon, I had the pleasure of watching Oprah on the television monitor in front of me and was able to educate myself on the risks and benefits of living life as a polygamist with four wives. Actually, it was rather interesting. I just wonder if this polygamy guy can remembers his anniversary dates.

Time: 15:00

I was pretty amazed that I was still actually in control of my involuntary muscles. But I was tearing it up now. I was actually feeling pretty good and thought I'd see if I can bump it up to 2.5 miles per hour.

Time: 15:10

Bad decision. Decided not to do that again. I looked like George Jetson. I went back to my Oprah-watching pace.

Time: 18:00

I wasn't dying, had no chest pain, and was still maintaining continence, so I so I made a decision to up my goal from 20 to 30 minutes.

Time: 20:00

Original goal was met. I was stoked! I bumped it up to 1.5 miles per hour. I looked around, knowing that the people around me were cheering me on! Well, that wasn't happening, but I was still pretty excited.

Time: 25:00

I could see the end in sight! There were five more minutes to go, the polygamist's wife wanted a divorce, and I began to slow down the pace, thankful to have only one wife. As I was bringing the machine to a stop, I glanced one last time at the television and saw a Burger King commercial advertising one-dollar chicken sandwiches only through the 4th of July weekend. I picked a bad day to start a diet.

Time: 30:00

After creeping it down to 0.7 miles an hour on my cool-down for the last five minutes, I was done. Victory for me. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Where's the ibuprofen?

Time: 32:00

Still trying to figure out how to lift my legs so I can get off the machine.

Time: 33:00

I took the first step off the treadmill. The floor felt like mush. I took a second step. I was walking like I was in a "Thriller" video. But I now had both feet planted. I wasn't going to fall. So I staggered to the locker room, panting and sweating like Homer Simpson in a donut shop.

I walked to the back of the club and into the locker room and sat on a bench for about 15 minutes and recuperated. My knees and back hurt, but I knew I was going to be all right. I was no longer crying.

First days of anything are memorable, so it's always good to write about those experiences. After that, it's pretty routine.

UPDATE: Two weeks have passed since that day, and since then I've made slow progress; however, by the end of the first week, I was able to make it to 60 minutes and walk 1.6 miles; the next week I was up to 65 minutes and 1.75 miles...

It hurts right now, but it'll be so worth it.....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gap Filler: "Balance, Not Perfection"

I decided to write a "Gap Filler" post, just to bridge the gap between postings. Some people would like to hear from me more than once a week, and I guess that's a good thing. Since I look forward to reading other blogger's posts, I'm always eager to read them as soon as I can, and I hope mine can elicit the same response. It'll be a lot shorter in the future, and will be based on subjects that comes to mind at the time; nothing too detailed. I love this picture of this hamburger-lover, by the way. He really looks happy. That's kind of what I look like when I'm eating a big burger.

The "Gap Filler" theme comes from Ezekiel 22:30, which says "I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one." My hope is to successfully stand in the gap for God in my own personal life as I make this journey.

The verse points to God’s warnings of judgment to Judah and Jerusalem, resulting in their being taken into captivity by their enemies, should they fail to change their hearts toward God. They didn't believe that God has their best interest at heart; and for that matter, neither did I. The people went into captivity, by not allowing God to guide them, similar to how I've gone into physical captivity, by not allowing God to guide me in the direction he wanted me to go for my benefit. As a result, I've been eating Babylonian burgers for years...with cheese.

Not to be preachy, but I'm discovering that sharing my progress does require some accountability on my part and I need to be as open as I can.

Openness can be a challenge, as our First Lady Michelle Obama can attest. Recently, the press has had our First Lady in their cross-hairs, especially when she's hitting the restaurant scene. A few days ago they got their wish; they busted her chowing down on a 1700 calorie meal with a burger, fries, and chocolate shake at a new burger joint in town. For anyone else, this would be okay, but her official platform is that of promoting healthy eating habits.


I can't say I blame her though; I'd rather have a burger than a carrot.

I'm not trying to join the crowd on pointing the finger at her; the only reason I'm bringing this up is because of an interesting quote that stood out in one article regarding this. She was quoted as saying:

"Healthy eating is about balance and not perfection." Amen to that. Shouldn't our lives be like that as well?

Shows like The Biggest Loser illustrate the massive weight loss that large people can go through in a rather short time. It's common to see a large man lose 20 pounds in one week. We're conditioned to watch these shows and assume that they have the perfect weight loss plan. They don't. Their plans are effective, but they take a considerable amount of time commitment, qualified trainers, a suitable venue, certified dietitians, training intensity, and other things that few of us have on a daily basis. I'm definitely not criticizing the show. The show proves time and time again that their plan works, but that choreographed and edited version of life doesn't exist in my world. Even if I were to put in an application to get on the show, I can't spend my time waiting for their producers to pick me from the thousands that would be doing the same. It's a lottery pick at best. I have to also mention that Jillian Michaels scares me.

I lost 7 pounds in two weeks, which is something anyone can do. It's not impressive-sounding by comparison to a top-rated show, and it's not a perfect plan, but it does work. And, it's still at a pace for me to lose close to 200 pounds in one year.

Not a bad deal.

Balance, not perfection. I can live with that.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Independence Day

Monday, July 4, was a holiday. I signed up on June 30. It was really exciting for me to finally start an exercise program; I was so excited that I waited four days before actually going to the gym. I had a time management problem, obviously. Gym hours only run from 4:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night and I only have a 19-hour window to work with. But this day was Independence Day, and I made a decision to declare my independence from this wonderful lifestyle that I had been living, which included modeling a physique similar to that of Jabba the Hut. I wasn't working that day, I had no barbecues to attend, my dog didn't have diarrhea, so I was out of excuses not to go. I left my house and drove north to the gym.

Arrival at the gym parking lot was the first victory for me. I drove the two-mile distance from my home, and then cruised the 500+ space parking lot (which had only about 30 cars parked in it) for another half-hour trying to find a good parking spot. Yeah, you can tell I was motivated to get out of my truck. I eventually chose a good spot, which was timely, because I was begining to exhibit the signs of a creepy parking lot predator. I parked, stepped out of my truck, and began my walk toward the main entrance. My heart started racing...not from excitement, but because of this weather phenomenon we experience from June to August called "summer." This results in us having to park our vehicles on the surface of the sun. The temperature that day was "furnace" (official temperature that day was 107 degrees; parking lot temperatures tend to be 5-10 degrees higher); thus, my workout started at the beginning of my walk across the parking lot. I felt like I was walking through Death Valley; the only thing that was missing was a cactus and cow skull on the ground. As I approached the doors with the glistening and glorified appearance of a sweating, heavy-breather ready to code at any time, I crossed paths with people exiting the gym, bouncing out with their fancy gym bags and exercise clothes, with those beep-beep things around their biceps, and I staggered in with my stained, red canvas bag that I normaly use to carry lunch, which today contained a towel, two bottles of water, my will, and my yellow receipt from the signup sheet, which I needed to have available to present to the counterperson.

As I entered, I quickly glanced back and forth to make sure no one was staring at this creepy sweaty guy that was entering the building. I sidled up to the counter, where two young women and a young man were seated. I was greeted by the two women. The man was too busy ogling the women and having his own episode of uncontrollable panting (different than mine), and was too involved in his own little world to say anything to anyone. So much for customer service. I eventually dug out my receipt that was lodged in the lowest point possible inside my bag, and handed it to one of the young women at the counter. Since my biggest fear at that moment was becoming the star of a YouTube video entitled "Treadmill Fail," I immediately asked her if I could get some assistance on how to start such an intimidating machine. As she folded my receipt and handed it back to me, she said, "Sure, no problem! She asked the young man, "Uh, Biff (or whatever it was), could you help this gentleman?" Biff was still too busy ogling and didn't hear her, but by now he was turning blue from breathing too hard. Rather than try to break his concentration, which would have resulted in a post traumatic stress disorder later in his life, she decided to take it upon herself and said, "C'mon, I'll get you started!"

We walked over to the long bank of treadmills, which were situated around a hundred feet or so from the entrance. There must have been 50 or 60 of them, in three rows. Naturally, she led me to the first available treadmill, which in my mind appeared to have a hundred flashing neon arrows pointing to it, but I resolved within myself that I was going to have to get over this phobia of being stared upon, and that this was going to be the machine upon which I would begin my fantastic and inspirational journey. At this point, I expected her to turn into a Starfleet officer and start pushing the treadmill console buttons as if it were the pilot control panel of a Federation Starship. I awaited the long set of instructions that were going to be coming my way. She began her oration: "Just push this RED BUTTON and it resets the treadmill; push this GREEN BUTTON to start the treadmill; push the right GREEN ARROW to speed up or slow down the treadmill; push the left GREEN ARROW to raise or lower the angle of incline, and the RED BUTTON stops the machine."


Red, green, up, down. Four buttons. I thought that "EASY" buttons only existed in commercials and were just red.

Having dodged a potentially harrowing situation, I put my pen and notepad away since I wasn't going to be needing them to write down instructions. I stepped on the treadmill and pushed the (duh) BIG GREEN BUTTON. As it clicked, the machine began counting down from "3" and a couple of seconds later the belt began to move. I straddled the belt with my feet on their respectable edges of the machine and looked down and watched it move, while fearing my potential YouTube performance. After a couple of minutes, it occurred to me that I probably looked pretty strange staring down at a conveyor belt for such a long time, so I made the move. I slowed down the belt speed for safety, and stepped onto it without issue. So much for YouTube.

In Galations 5:1, it says: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. " God is teaching me that anything that draws me away from Him subjects me to slavery; the consequences of bad decisions (or no decision) leads me to living as a slave to my physical condition.

So, I'm standing firm...well, except when the machine is moving...

And while this 4th of July pales in comparison to the day when 56 brave men gathered in Philadelphia 235 years ago to sign their names onto a piece of vellum parchment with iron gall ink, in order that they could declare their freedom from an oppressive force, it was on this day that I celebrated my Independence Day...

I began to walk the first step of a journey of a thousand steps...even though it's on a treadmill.

Well, in my case, it's a journey of approximately 22,176,657 steps, but who's counting?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hello...I Joined A Gym

Well, I did it….I signed up for a gym membership. I gave in. It was time. I had been huffing and puffing for too long and looking like I needed a crash cart available when I walked from the couch to the refrigerator.

But I signed up to do something else: I’m going to blog about my experience in this arena, among other things.

I asked the opinions of some of my friends on whether to do this, and I received a good number of positive responses in person, on the phone and on Facebook, and I received positive comments from people, along with a few "Likes" and some positive posts on my Facebook wall when I asked if I should start a blog. Comments such as "Go for it!" "Yes, I definitely would read it!" "Yeah! What are you waiting for?" were encouraging, and just about all were excited for me to begin this. I did get one person who said 'no." In capital letters: NO. Nothing else written - just NO. Not a problem though, as I just accepted it as a lesson on how nothing is unanimous in this world. I am glad I got that NO, because it'll give me something to write about in the future. Maybe that person will read about it.

Based on the positive response - and mostly because I really want to do this - I’m taking the first steps in blogging and my first step is to call this blog "PLAIN BROWN RAPPER" because, I always thought that would be my name if I ever became a rap artist (they're called artists?), and it just sounded better than just "BLOG" (I named a cat "Cat" once) or some cutesy name like "JOHN'S PLACE" (which sounds like a bar), and definitely better than "SWEATY GUY." The title fits me pretty well because I'm rather plain/average, I'm brown (Hispanic), and I like to talk/write. So I qualify for the moniker. As well, I really can't think of anything else that's clever right now, other then "THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD," but I'm pretty sure that one's taken.

As you can see, this is a rather primitive-appearing blog, mostly because I didn’t go all out on my layout, font, widgets, gidgets, midgets, or stuff like that. I just wanted to get started and see where it goes. I don’t have a working computer either, so I’m using my daughter Lindsey’s laptop for now (whom you’ll read about below) or any other keyboard I can get my hands on.

One thing about writing is that I really have fun doing it. I've always enjoyed it. It's therapeutic for me. I've never really had much time to do it to get really good at it. I have no formal training; I hated English in high school and I didn't enjoy it in college either. I still can't tell you what a dangling participle is or what a gerund is good for. Plus, I just ended the previous sentence with a preposition. I can type pretty fast, though, and I do know how to spell correctly. As a matter of fact, while in 8th grade I finished second in my junior high spelling bee; that's another story that I may share at a later time (BTW - the word I spelled incorrectly was “catastrophe”).

As I mentioned above, this blog will be about my journey to better health, but it'll be more than that. It'll be also be about God and what He is doing in my life through this time, as all future victories will be to glorify Him, and to acknowledge Him because He is the one who makes my path straight (Psalm 3:6). I also want to make people laugh and inspire them at the same time, because if this bonehead can do it, they can as well. I’ll make notes along the journey and update this blog as often as I can, at least weekly, and perhaps sooner if I can get my desktop working or just replace it all together. The thought of my own laptop sounds good, though. I always wanted to be like those wild-eyed coffeehouse zombies, sitting at their laptops for hours in a catatonic state.

Future posts will definitely be shorter, so don't despair. Wish me well...and prayers are appreciated. And now my first entry (from 06/30/2011, posted on Facebook):


Earlier this month, my daughter Lindsey had been talking to me about this great deal that the GB3 Club had for HER and that it would only cost ME $25 a month…for HER. Needless to say I didn’t see the benefit in that. She did say, however, that there were family memberships available for us if I thought it would be a good idea. I thought, “that’s a good idea.” Actually I said it out aloud. Now I was stuck, or so I thought. Anxious about the prospect of sweating on purpose, I figured out that maybe I could stall the momentum by telling her that it may be worth it to check on a family membership for all of us and maybe, just maybe, I’d be interested in taking a stab at it. I sweated just thinking about it. I sweat just from thinking, period. But, with my brilliant scheme in motion, I figured it would take a couple of weeks for Lindsey to get around to it. She finally got around to it… within 10 minutes. It’s amazing what your kids will do when they’re motivated. So, I told her that I need to check the budget and see where we were at before committing to this type of expenditure. She agreed and began prodding me every day, and I gave her the same lame excuses – “budget, checkbook…TV…arg” – but I then noticed her persistence began to wane, to the point that she wasn’t asking me about it any more. Sometimes that’s the best motivation for me. Just disappoint your kids. Ugh. Finally, with the end of the promotion looming, combined with the fact that I really did want to do something, but frankly was kind of hesitant to try (change does that to you), and hearing nothing from my daughter, I told Lindsey this week that we would get around to it by the last day of the month.

I called Lindsey today and we took a drive on my lunch break to head over to GB3. During the drive, anxiety was setting in. I told Lindsey that I was kind of apprehensive about going. When she asked why, I told her that it was because I was fat. With a knee-jerk reaction she said, “you’re not fat!” and I looked at her like, “Are you crazy?” She started laughing and said, “Sorry, that just came out! That’s what you say to someone when they call themselves fat!” We started laughing. That eased the anxiety. Now, I don’t know why, but as we were laughing I noticed that we were driving past a pancake place. Timing is so important sometimes, because if I wasn’t laughing at that moment I’d be crying about the upcoming pancake drought.

We arrived and entered the hallowed halls of GB3. The girls at the reception counter were nice. They asked us if we would like to take a quick tour of the place. I agreed and a nice girl showed us around. It’s a pretty big place. Nice too. Lots of machines. I have no clue how they work. But I did see the dumbbells. They were working out with the free weights and grunting to each other. Unfortunately while taking the tour, I really couldn’t understand a word of what the girl was saying to me. She really didn’t use her lips while talking, and my discriminatory hearing is not quite what it used to be. In addition, the gym was loud, and I was too focused on how, for the life of me, I was going to be able to get on those funny-looking contraptions (treadmills and ellipticals), without hurting myself. However, I did manage to hear that the club has towels for a dollar if I forget my own. And there is also a soda machine by the locker room. That fired me up. That pretty much was the tour. For me, it was an actual workout. I began sweating.

We then sat down with the manager (I needed to sit) and we FINALLY signed up…today…the last day of the month. Of course, it’s always more money than you’re anticipating. Pay the initiation fee, and your in right? Great! Uh….dang, I always forget about the first and last month. Still, it’s a good deal. He gave us a little more information, and I still couldn’t hear anything. I just signed where he pointed for me to sign and I said “THANK YOU!!!” as if he were deaf.

It was getting kind of late and I had to get back to work. As I was leaving the gym, I stopped and gave the place a once-over and thought “this is going to change my life.” It was one of those Michael Scott moments…which was interruped with Lindsey asking me, “what are you doing?” I said, “uh, nothing, just looking. Let’s go eat.”

Here’s to good health….