Friday, May 30, 2008

Meet The Crew Parts 1 & 2

Sorry, I’m still not up to snuff, so no biking stories or extraordinary tales of extreme weight loss to impress you with today. Instead I thought I’d introduce you to some of the characters in my life.

AKA: The Wife, My First Wife, The Warden, The Ball and Chain, Honey Bunny Sweety Pie Can I….*

You’ve already met Chas before, but what can I say, she’s got me so wrapped I can’t stop talking about her. I’ve been hanging with Chas since she moved next door to me when she was 15 and I was 17. She likes to tell this story of first meeting me on the way to school and being all impressed because I had picked a flower for my girl friend at the time and how sweet that was. Whatever. I was a 17 year adolescent boy and she was a girl with a pulse that lived down the street from me. Hello, what was she thinking? It was all part of my elaborate plan to bag the hottie next door, my very elaborate plan. It involved a long string of hook ups and break ups**, a couple of highschool dances, 3 or 4 motorcycles, 2 colleges, and a stint on a submarine. Yeah, it may seem convoluted to the uninitiated, but I did get the girl.

Who am I kidding, I just got lucky. This fact has been reinforced on more than one occasion. One time when we were pulling in from a 3 month patrol I happened to be in the control room messing around with one of the periscopes. The Officer of the deck was looking through the other scope when he suddenly blurted out, “Check out the chick at the smoking deck, quick!” Well, we had been out to sea for three months, so I promptly turned to and looked, and then pointed out that it was my wife. I was thinking he was probably embarrassed and might try to offer a polite apology. Instead I got, “Holy Crap, how in-thee-hell did you score that!?!?!?!”

Years later, I am still a little shocked myself.

I could go on and on about her, but I’m kind of biased, if you want to get to know her a little better, go check out her blog.

*Oh yes, I will pay for this.

**These were with other boyfriends and girlfriends, we never actually dated. In fact, due to logistics, and the physical limitations of the human body, we kissed for the first time less than 48 hours before our wedding.

AKA: Uhhhhh…Errrrrrr…I’ve always just called him Steve

This is my best bud Steve. I met him in 1996 or so, back when I was in the Navy. I wasn’t too sure about him when he first transferred into my department, but when he started pissing off the entire chain of command within about 15 minutes of his arrival I knew we’d get along great.

Up until I met him I always thought I was the smartest ass within a hundred mile radius of wherever I happened to be standing. No longer. When it comes to pissing people off and riling folks up, I bow to you Steve. Don’t let the ignorant country bumpkin act he likes to pull fool you, he is one of the sharpest people you will ever meet. He can sum you up and cut you down so fast it violates laws of physics, but don’t worry, you’ll be laughing too hard to notice. If he didn’t have that Adult Attention Deficit thing kick’n, he’d rule the world. He’s downright dangerous enough as it is.

A day with Steve usually revolves around an internal combustion engine of some sort. He is about as crazy and fun to hang around as that picture makes him look. I’ve seen him get air in everything from a 2000 Hyundai Accent to 5 ton stake bed truck. I’ve heard tell of him sinking a jet ski, and he used to race a vintage top fuel dragster. Up until recently he mainly stuck to dirt bikes and quads, but lately his new thing is RC helicopters. Whatever, if it has a throttle or a clutch, Steve could make it do things the guy who designed would freak out over.

The end of the day with Steve usually revolves around pork steaks and beer, and cracking jokes until I have to go in my car and dig for my inhaler I’m wheezing so bad. We have been known to wrap things up by climbing trees and discussing the Prime Mover theory, or raiding abandoned houses for garden sculptures resembling my dog Kepler. Actually though, he's kind of turned things around too, we've been swapping health food recipes and work out strategies a lot lately. His liver isn't fat like mine though.

I once heard a friend will bail you out of jail, a real friend will be sitting there next to you, saying “Man, that sure was fun!” That real friend is Steve.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Down, but not out!

My youngest son (he's almost 4 months old) has learned to share already! I couldn't be more proud. Well, yeah I could actually, like if he shared his binky, or rattle or something, anything except his first virus. So the Wife and I have have both been stricken, but I think it hit me a little harder, either that, or I am a big wuss when it comes to colds. Actually, it probably is the wuss thing, I swear I'd rather break a bone than have a cold. At least with a cast you can make up a cool story about what happened. When you're old and fat with a cold you just look like an old fat dude with a cold, or maybe a drinking problem I suppose, but either way, the coolness factor just isn't there. On top of that, my oldest son decided to share the stomach virus he had a week ago. He learned to share a long time ago though, so no bragging on that. THEN, on top of all that, my laptop crashed. Pretty crappy holiday weekend eh?

I managed to cobble the laptop back together, and my boss and a coworker helped me salvage what was left of the hard drive, I got my pictures and iTunes library off of the defunct drive, so it was not a total loss.

I'm feeling a little better, but I'm going to be taking it slow for a little while longer. Walking over 50 feet leaves me pretty winded and a little dizzy. A walk up 2 flights of stairs left my legs feeling more thrashed than an interval work out with Joel, and that is not an exaggeration. In fact I had to bail on Saturdays ride. I made it up to the shop (about 1 mile from my house) and that about did me in. No way was I keeping up with those guys for 40 miles. Anyway, I might even cave and go to the doctor tomorrow. I am just so sick of doctors. It seems like since we found out my wife was pregnant last June it has been nothing but doctor appointments and blood tests and ultrasounds. My obese liver is in a delicate state at this point. Formerly a recluse, it wilts under all this scrutiny.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It takes a bigger man than me...

I have a lightning fast metabolism. For those of you who have seen me in my biking shorts and jersey lately, quit laughing, I really do. Yeah, I may have only recently made the transition from “Severely Obese” to “Moderately Obese” but I have a really fast metabolism. It does have its disadvantages though, like when your double dose of Novocain wears off before your dentist is one quarter of the way done drilling out your tooth for a crown. You don’t even want to hear what happened with my vasectomy.

Of course there are perks. I can drink a lot, and sober up rather quickly, sometimes too quickly, and I rarely if ever have a hangover. And then there is the fact that I should weigh about 450 lbs. I was talking with my buddy the other day and somehow we got on the topic of diets, namely how much we’ve both been eating better lately. This eventually led to how I used to eat. Steve was so amazed he felt the need to share this with his coworkers, which led to a lot of “Ooooooohs”and “Ahhhhhhhhs” at his office and the demand that I post it here in my blog.

The foundation of any day is a good breakfast. Mine was a two stage affair. First of all, I was never awake for more than 3 minutes before I had my first cigarette and Coke. I hate coffee, but I needed to get my caffeine somewhere. On my drive in to the office I would smoke between 4 and 5 cigarettes and finish that 20 oz bottle of Coke I opened. I would always stop at the gas station just before work to stock up on cigarettes and buy breakfast proper:

1 King sized Snickers or Payday Bar
1 Red Bull
1 Starcrunch Patty
2 Mt Dew Code Reds

This would hold me off till about mid morning and then I would hit the vending machine for a Coke and some Skittles or something.

Lunch consisted of either a foot long deli sub sandwhich and a large Cherry Coke or a huge slice of pizza and an order of Mozerella sticks. More often than not to I would go get a large fruit smoothie shake deal at the Dunkin Donuts located conveniently between the deli and the pizza joint. Then maybe another Coke or two to round out the work day, and at least one on the drive home.

Dinner was usually fast food, Chicago style. We have this place down the street from us that caters to the university, so they deliver till like 3 am every night. I would get a gyro or Italian beef, fries, coke, split an order of cheese sticks with my wife, and a chocolate shake.

All that, on top a pack and half to two packs of cigarettes, was a typical day for me. At cookouts or the weekends it wasn’t unusual for me to eat 2 cheese burgers and at least one brat or 2 or 3 hot dogs in a sitting, this on top of grazing on chips and whatever else was offered. People twice my size would stare in amazement at the amount of food I could put down. My friends used to joke that if I ever ate a vegetable, my body would go into shock and reject it like a bad kidney.

I say I’m lucky I don’t weigh 400 lbs, and that it’s only my liver that’s fat, you would think it would have spread to my lungs or colon or something. Steve thinks I’m lucky I’m not dead. We’re both right. At the very least I was knocking on diabetes's door.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Even Better Than a New Kidney

Per Steve’s suggestion I was going to post about my old eating habbits, but something came up that warranted a change in plans. I’ve been married now for 14 years, and if I were a betting man, I would guess she’s gonna put up with me for at least 2 or 3 more years. I’d even bump that up to five if I won the Lotto or started making a lot more money or something. Anyway, I feel I’ve come to the point where I can wax philosophically about relationships and true love and destiny and all that stuff. How do you know it’s true love? How do you know she’s the one? Well, when she lets you swap parts off of her bike so you can fix yours, get up early on a Saturday morning abandon her with two kids and go riding with your buddies, well that there is a pretty good indication. How cool is that? I don’t think I could be more smitten if she offered me her liver to replace my fat one. Not only do I get to go riding, but now I don’t have to listen to Joel claim I bent my ring on purpose to avoid the pain and humiliation I am sure to be served Saturday morning. All that, and she is kind of cute too.
Thanks, I owe you one babe, which, when you do the math, really means now you only owe me two!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Silver Bullet

OK, so it’s really more of a polished aluminum bullet, with some decals, but either way it’s a bullet. It’s not the lightest or fastest bike in the pack, but the truth is I am nowhere near putting it through its paces. It’s stiff as all hell, and everything you put into the pedals comes straight out the rear tire. Hell, it even looks fast hanging on the wall, and it feels fast, unless I’m riding with Joel and Aaron. Then it feels pissed off, like one of us ain’t holding up our side of the bargain. That one would be me. That’s OK though, I absolutely love this bike. I tried to stray once with another bike, but it took action and won me back. When I'm by myself I can geek out and pretend it's an airplane. On curves and corners, it's a Pitts Speacial, on a long straight dowhill, it's an SR-71. It has the seat of honor on the sun porch, its perch over looks my favorite pile in the house.

I have to take it to the doctor tomorrow. I am more beast than man, and it turns out modern engineering and metallurgical science are no match for the insane amounts of torque and pure power my quads and hammies are spitting out. I took it out for its first ride of the season tonight and bent the outer chain ring. OK, so really it probably had more to do with the fact that I weigh 233 burritos and had no business trying to shift when I did. I just plain old wasn’t thinking. My bad.

Things "They" should do #1

They should put a scale in every stall of every public bathroom. It’s not like I got some morbid fascination with the mass of my turds or anything like that, it would just be for the scientific collection of metabolic data, seriously.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So far, it’s been a judgment call. Do I blog, or do I actually go out and do something worth blogging about? My legs are so scorched after tonight’s ride I don’t think I could stand at this point if I wanted to, so I might as well sit at the keyboard and see what comes out.

Joel said I need to start intervals to get back into shape fast, so intervals it was. Judging from the fact I threw up in my mouth a few times, I think I’m doing the intervals right. Going off the fact that I almost had to chew some of it to get it back down, I need to rethink my hydration/nutrition strategy.

It’s hopefully going to be like this the rest of the summer, and well into fall, maybe even winter if I can help it. Two summers ago I lost about 70 lbs trying to keep up with Joel and a whole bunch of other riders who were either younger and more fit than me, or older and more fit than me. Pretty much everybody in the area that owned a bike was more fit than me. It was great. Towards the fall I think I got a little burnt out. I got off the bike and didn’t get back on till a few weeks ago. After I got off the bike it got a little easier to let the diet slide. Then my wife got pregnant. The hormones went straight to her head. She tied me up in the basement and force fed me Bon-Bons. She water boarded me with Hershey’s chocolate syrup and liquid margarine for 9 Months. I put on a pound or two. A day.

I’d love to be lean and fast again. OK, I mean I’d love to be lean again, I was never fast, but it could happen. But, the universe seeks balance, and so do I. I know I can lose the weight, and I know if I trained right, I could actually hold my own in a year or two on the bike. I’m just looking for a way to balance it this time, and make it permanent.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to get all deep and inner child-y on you. I initially had a entry comparing my biking gloves to an old truck stop hooker, you know the shifted broken down padding, lose and worn where it should be tight, the smell of stale sweaty mildewy leather, oil based lubricants, and all that road grit, but my wife thought that might be a little too distasteful.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

FOUND IT!!!!!!

Those gotta be my two favorite words. I have a tendency to lose things. Sometimes things I put down only seconds ago, sometimes things that I haven’t even put down yet at all. My wife (and probably anybody who has been in my presence for over two minutes) thinks I am a scatter brain. She is wrong. I have the focus of a laser, and that is part of my problem. All I see is the one thing I am thinking about and pretty much nothing else, so anything that happens in the periphery gets lost.

My buddy Steve thinks I am forgetful. He says he wouldn’t have a hard time believing that I did bong hits for breakfast and lunch daily since I was about three years old and ate funky brownies for dinner. He’d come down to visit me when we lived in Carbondale, and we would be getting into the car to go hiking or something, and he would buckle up and proceed to smoke three cigarettes while I went back to the house three or four times for various items. These delays were compounded by the fact that I often times had to look for the item I went back into the house to retrieve. My memory isn’t bad though, it’s just selective. I can tell you the speed of sound. It’s about 760 mph at sea level. It’s about 660 mph at 40,000 feet AGL, depending on temperature and a few other variables. Not only can I tell you this, but I can tell you when I learned it. I got it out of a book I checked out from the school library in the fifth grade. It was about an air force fighter pilot who got 44 kills over Korea in an F-86. The aceleration of gravity on Earth? 32 feet per second per second, or 9.8 meters per second per second- I got that juicy tidbit from Mr. Sutter, sophomore year’s space science class. The speed of light? 186,000 mps, Mr. Klien’s physics class senior year.

None of this gets me on my bike and out on the street any faster though. Sometimes the simple act of getting the bike from the sun porch to the curb can be an hour long project. There are things to gather, cell phones, helmets, patch kits. There are water bottles to fill, seat bags to stock, headlights to put batteries in, tires to pump blah blah blah. I need gloves, socks, shorts, shoes… What? No, not those gloves, what the hell would I do with two left Pearl Izumi gloves? What? How the hell would I know where the two right ones are, maybe over there somewhere? If I am lucky, most of the stuff can be found in the general vicinity of this:
That is my favorite pile in a house full of piles. In case the wife is reading this, I cropped out about two thirds of the pile. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want pictures of the whole thing being broadcast over the internet. In fact, I’m pretty sure I might pay a little bit for revealing just that much. It has most of my bike stuff, sometimes, if I’ve been a good boy. If I haven’t, some of it may be in the kitchen on the table, under the bakers rack, or on the desk, or next to that place where I keep my car keys and cell phone, sometimes. Some of it is more than likely on the computer desk in the room, or maybe even on the tool bench down in the basement.

Every once in a while, something disappears for a few months, then turns up again, in the minivan, or at my mom’s of all places. That is so Christmas! This morning’s gem- my heart rate monitor strap. It’s been AWOL since last August. My wife found it on the floor in front of her dresser. This is a bit of a double edged sword though. Now that I have it, I’m gonna have to start taking my training a little more seriously and quit tooling around town like some fat knob. Oh well, it was a fun week.

My Liver

My liver is fat. I got so lazy I have an obese internal organ. There are pictures of it in a file somewhere at the clinic down the street, only discernible as a human liver to the local radiologist. It is an ultrasound, like the one the pregnant lady at work brings in and points to stuff- “This is babies hand, this is his foot…This is his you know, thing that makes him a him.” Except mine is of my liver- “This is one lobe, this is another, that’s the real fat one, see the rolls, watch it jiggle when we poke it.”

So anyway, it is well past time to get moving again. I’ve been back on my feet since Early April, and now that the weather is clearing up, I’m back on a bike. It is about the only form of exercise I honestly really enjoy. I occasionally get bogged down in all the technical crap. I let Joel muddle my mind with heart rates and pyramids and stuff, and get pissed off when the pack drops me, on mile 6 of a 30 mile ride, but all in all I have fun on my bike.

It’s been over 24 hours since my last ride. My bike was geared a little low for the group I was with, so my legs are fried. I still can’t walk down stairs. Just sitting here it feels like my femurs are glowing red hot. Tomorrow my quads will be so stiff I can’t walk, and every time I yawn my hamstrings and calf muscles will cramp up so bad I can’t stand on them. Life is getting good again.