Monday, January 17, 2011

Big trains keep on rolling...

I cannot tell a lie. This week pretty much sucked balls. big balls. It was sort of one of those weeks that if something could go wrong, it most certainly did. Somehow though I have managed to keep my mood and mentality on the upswing and I'm kind of in the "bring it on" mode. 

We'll start out with the beginning of the week. Actually we have to go back to last year and then we'll come back to this week. I currently own a 20+ year old snowblower. This snowblower and I, we butt heads..a lot. The thing is a beast, I can remember watching it pull my grandfather around the yard when I was a kid and now it gets just as much enjoyment out of doing it to me. I can't lie. The thing has been a stellar machine. With minimal work and my family putting it to the test year after year it's held on like a trooper. Last year, towards the end of the season I lost a couple of gears in the transmission (reverse and one of the lower gears) it's to be expected. The poor thing is only a few years younger than me and I've lost a couple of gears already too so I feel its pain. Losing reverse was the biggest issue. I live on a hill and sometimes walking all the way to the bottom or trying to turn around on the hill isn't always an option. I debated on putting the money into fixing it or just going and getting something new. Low and behold my godparents had a plow for their four wheeler that they weren't using anymore and they graciously gave it to me. So I spent my fall prepping the wheeler to get it ready for plowing (changing fluids, putting on new tires and fabricating a new mount plate for the plow itself).  

So now we fast forward to this week. We got hit by some snow..nothing to major, just 4-6". So I bundle up, go jump on the wheeler and vroooooom out the door at an exhilirating 3 mph pushing a plow width of snow down the length of the driveway. Now since I have a full plow width of snow to get rid of I have to push it further into the bank...So I drive her and push her and swear at her and just as I am happy, the winch quits on the plow and I'm stuck. So after a little swearing, kicking and name calling I manage to get the wheeler out and back in the garage. It appears the switch has gone to now that I have less than a quarter of the driveway done my means of clearing said driveway has gone kaput. I sit there idly pondering what forces really hate me when I spy the old snowblower sitting in the corner, beckoning me. "come and get me, come and get me, I dare ya, ya big chicken" it called out to me. Fine. So after a little more swearing, kicking and name calling I managed to free the blower from the confines of crap that I buried on top of it during the summer. She starts on the first pull, good. We make our first path down the driveway and once in the road out of curiousity I try the reverse. It works. W..T..F. I spent a month last season trying to get this stupid gear to work and all I got for my efforts was a lot of grinding. Now? it works seamlessly I finished up the whole driveway for that storm and one since with the old girl and it hasn't given me a lick of trouble...I think it's just trying to lull me into a false since of security. 

So now we get to this second storm on this week that came in on Wednesday. I think we managed to get about 8 inches overall. Thursday morning my wife leaves for work and I saunter online to do my morning ritual while enjoying my coffee. The phone rings. As soon as I hear my phone go off I instantly know what has happened. I answer it to find a hysterical wife on the other end. She has had an accident. Because of some jack ass coming towards her in her lane the car has gone down over a 12 ft bank and come to rest in some trees. Thankfully she is fine. The guy in the truck that caused her to crash never even stopped to check on her. She is sore and a little banged up but otherwise fine.I call a buddy of mine who is our mechanic and also the local tow truck driver. After he, a friend of ours who lives up the street, and two cops show up, we shut down the whole road for the process of getting the car up the embankment. It was a little hairy there for a few minutes but overall he did an excellent job.  The car has some damage but in my opinion nothing to consider it totaled. I am going today to try and get a couple of estimates and wait for the insurance adjuster to show up tomorrow. I'm just thankful Heather is ok. She was scared I was going to be mad or blame her. I'm an ass but not that much of an ass...however, if I do ever find out who it was that caused her to go off the road, we might just find out how much of an asshole I can be. I've yet to go to jail...I've heard its a nice place. 

So now we get to Friday. Heather has gone to work, I'm sitting online waiting for my father in law to show up when my god sister sends me a message on face book. Dad is in the hospital, they think he has had a set of mini strokes and they think a couple of his arteries are blocked. This sent me a little over the edge. My god parents are basically the only family I have left. My real dad died when I was 9. Darrell has raised me. He's been the only father figure I have ever known because even when my dad was alive, he wasn't around much. There has been the joke for decades that Darrell is  my real dad and if you looked at us, you might actually believe it. Hell if I didn't look just like my birth father in the eyes, I'D believe it.

The problem with both of my fathers is they didn't/don't take good care of themselves. They didn't/don't go to the doctors when they should and even when they do go to the docs, they didn't get the help they should have. This is kind of like re-living everything from 17 years ago. On Wednesday he is having heart surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center which is closer to me then where he lives. I already know I'll be at that hospital all day. I know my god mother can handle it but my sister is going to be a wreck, even if she says shes won't be. Please guys, keep your fingers crossed for him and as selfish as this sounds, for me.  

Now we get to the weight stuff, seeing is that is my goal of blogging about the weight once a week. Last week wasn't very good. Between everything going on and both my knees being kind of sore, I didn't count my calories the way I should have and didn't exercise the amount I needed too. On Thursday I was back up to 321. A lot of this was fluid weight because I had managed to drink a couple beers, a soda or two and a lot of coffee. I flushed my system with a few glasses of water and made a couple dozen trips to the bathroom and I was back where I was supposed to be on Saturday. I managed to get in some much needed exercise this weekend and I am happy to report that I am down to 317.8. Now, if you want to get really technical I missed my goal of 2.5 lbs a week because the starting weight of the week was 319.2. However, where I have only been dieting for two weeks and my original weight at the dr's office was 325.6...I have lost 7.8 lbs and therefore TECHNICALLY I am ahead of schedule....So I'm safe....That's my reasoning and I'm sticking to it. 

I love my dog. As much frustration as he brings me on a daily basis for getting into things he shouldn't be and barking at every noise, I love him. I forget some days he's still a puppy at heart and there are a lot of things in this big wide world he hasn't seen. The other day while we went for our walk. Our walk takes across a set of railroad tracks. Jax has never seen a train, until Saturday. The dog went ballistic, his tail damned near beat me to death, he was bouncing all over the road, and enjoyed a rousing game of, bark at that strange man standing on the giant metal box. All he wanted to do was play with that giant motorized toy and the guy riding on it. He wouldn't move until it was around the bend and out of site,  fussing and whining as it chugged out of site. I love my dog 

Monday, January 10, 2011

This weeks numbers are....

So I have come up with a goal, not necessarily a resolution, but a goal to try and blog at least once a week. If it is for nothing else it will be to record my weight loss goals, practices and results. I'm hoping by doing this much it will encourage me to continue on writing about what is going on in my life. I've always have something to say, but every time I try to sit down to write it out I lock up and my fingers won't move. This is frustrating beyond belief. All my life I have used written words to express myself.

In person I am pretty much a quiet guy, much to the dismay of my wife. I like to sit back and observe what is going on in life and in  the world. It has been said that if you were to walk into a bar I'd be the biggest guy you'd never see. I have a way of fading into the back and dissolving into the landscape. I'm quite fine with that. I've always had my avenues of speaking out. The last couple of years those avenues have seemed to shut off. I have a hard time writing blogs. I haven't written a poem in I don't know how long. Enough is enough. Time to get the lead, er, keys out...

So the numbers for this week are...6.6 lbs. I am ecstatic about this! I know a lot of this is just soda weight coming off. When you have such an affection for Mt. Dew like I do, it tends to become a part of you..literally......I quit cold turkey on Jan 2nd and have done quite well all things considering. I did make the amendment that if I were to go out to dinner I would be allowed a soda. I admit I took full advantage of that Thursday night when we went out to dinner with my father in law.

So, Axing the soda was the first step. That saved me anywhere (depending on how bored I was sitting at home) from 180 to 800 calories a day (Sometimes those 2 liter bottles just seem to disappear). I will say that most days I drank one to two cans (180-360 cal.) so over the course of a week, even on the low end I just saved myself 1260 calories. whoooo baby. 

I have been cutting back on my portions as much as I feel I can for now.  I might try squeaking out a bit more later on. The dietitian I saw a couple months ago said that my portions and calories are quite average to a normal person. She said on average I eat about 2300 calories a day. From what I was told, for a person doing the type of physical labor that I do is quite low and is honestly acceptable. She did say that it would be much easier to lose weight if I did get to 2000 or under.

So that is the intake side of things, but what about the output. I have been trying to ride our recumbent bike every day (You can hear other horror stories of this bike on my wife's blog). I ride it for as much as I dare to push it with my knee. Usually this is around 300 calories. I've also been trying to walk the dog more often. Again, the length of the walk is based on my knee. Well, that and how cold it is considering IT IS winter in Maine. Friday we managed to go for a walk that was about 1.75 miles round trip. I'm really pleased that we are making it that far. It really does bode well for me as well as the dog. He's burning off some extra energy and weight as well. It's a good thing the whole way around.  I am going to just keep on keeping on and hoping that this trend will continue. 

I am still at home, not working. The doctor has told me I can go back on light duty but everything has to be cleared from the worker's comp insurance. I am under the restrictions of minimal standing, walking, and definitely climbing. If the mill reports to the insurance company that they don't have anything that I can do, I am stuck at home until god knows when. The boss did say he was looking for work for me but he was concerned by the restrictions as well as the fact that business is pretty slow right now. Keep your fingers crossed folks.  I'm about to pull a "Heeeeeereee's Johnny" if I don't get out of this house before long. 

I've got a couple things to finish this post up with and then we'll call it quits. First, I again have to say thank you to my wife for letting me steal her phone upgrade. I am hard on phones. Between working hard and playing hard a phone does quite well to last me a year. The phone I just currently had was dying a slow and pitiful death. It had been a trooper but it's lights were fading, literally. The hiccup was I was not eligible for a new phone until May, so my wife let me steal her upgrade and got me a brand spankin' new Samsung that is pretty much a twin to a blackberry. I love it. So far, in the house, it has the best cell service we've ever had. I'm impressed, and that my friends, takes a lot.

Secondly, don't hate me for the cliche line that is about to come out of my fingers. It's the small things in life that counts. Well folks, it's true. I have traveled all over this contintent, met a million people, done things most people will never do and I've got to say, it really is the small things that count. So at the end of all my posts from now on, I'm going to try and share a little tid bit of my life. It might be from twenty years ago or from yesterday. For today though, I want to share this.... 

Every thought, feeling, or memory is but a rain drop in a pond or a leaf in a forest. Each time we swim in it or walk its paths, it draws forth an emotion. Happiness, sadness, humor, tranquility. Every towering trunk that we pass is a story, a tale of our yesterdays, covered with little slivers of our inner self laying bare for all the world to see. We must use these sentinels as our landmarks, our maps of past journeys. Learn them well because to walk forward you must first look backwards. The past cannot hurt your future. It is to be learned from so that when we do move on, we do so with a deeper knowledge and a better since of direction. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

So I know the last few posts I have been some what of a downer. I'm sorry. I really need to start writing some more fun and uplifting posts. I know I have it in me I've just got to dig out the Bear side of me and put away the starkingly realistic side. Unfortunately there will be a little bit more of that in this post, but I promise I will try to make most of this a little more upbeat. 

I've made some decisions regarding the knee surgery. The decision right now is to put it off for approx. 4 months. When I left the Spidey's office the other day he scheduled me in for March 1st but told me if I wanted to I could make an appointment earlier to get things started sooner. I think for now we are going to stick with the March 1st appointment and here is why. 1) I'm fat. I'm not being self degrading or anything of the such, it's just pure fact. I am obese. I've always been big, ever since I was about 3 I've been a little bit above average. When I was in high school going through everything I was going through, I learned beer and whiskey were my friends. That and for whatever other reasons my weight went to a whopping 450 lbs. As of this morning I weigh 320 lbs.  Before I went in for my surgery this spring I was down to 278, but after sitting at home for a total of 6 months this year not being able to get around and do much because of my knee, my weight has skyrocketed. Spidey is willing to do the surgery at this weight but he has expressed concern not only in the recovery aspects but as well as the anaesthesia. He told me once I gave him the go ahead to book the surgery it would probably take at least 1.5 months - 2 months to book the O.R. so therefore I get the 4 months I need to shed as much weight as possible. Because of this my weight has become my No. 1 resolution this year. My goal is to lose a minimum of 2.5 lbs a week. If I can do this it will put me near the weight I was of the first surgery. Obviously if I can manage to lose more, that would be spectacular. I am trying to keep my goals realistic, however.  

The other determining factor in the delaying of the surgery is financial. After crunching the numbers so much that I became temporarily dyslexic I've determined right now it's just not do-able. I know 4 months isn't a lot of time to make a big financial impact on anything but I do believe we have come up with a plan that will make enough of an impact to make it an easier pill to swallow. Here's to keeping our fingers crossed that we stick to our guns.

The surgery has to happen. As Heather said in her blog, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. I need the surgery. I've come to terms with that part of it. I'm slowly..very slowly coming to terms with the idea of putting the plate in my leg and how it will affect my life. 

One thing that I'm finding a little heart breaking is having to bail on my birthday goal. In early November I had decided to set a goal to get to 240 lbs by my birthday on August 29th so that I could go skydiving in September. Skydiving is something I've wanted to do for as long as I could remember. I finally had made the resolve to do it. Amazingly I had 4 friends offer their moral support and agree to jump with me if I could lose the weight. That was really slap in the face of reality. It made me realize just how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I mean, really, do you have friends that would agree to jump out of plane for you without even giving it a literal minute of thought? I still want to do the jump but I think we're going to have to postpone it for a year.

So that is that about the knee. Things may change but for right now that is the tentative plan. 

How were your holidays? Mine were great. The one upside of being home with an injury is that I get to spend a little more time with friends, family and my wife. I was able to make some rounds the few days before Christmas and catch up. Something I haven't been able to do the last few years. We went to my Aunt and Uncle's Christmas eve afternoon and enjoyed a couple hours over there. I think the best time was the hour long nerf gun war we got into with my nephew. It's been quite a while since I've had that much fun.  I'm not a big one for receiving gifts but I've got to admit, Heather knocked it out of the park this year. We have a long standing tradition of opening a gift on Christmas Eve and this year she gave me Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii. It's awesome. My brother came over that night and the three of us stayed up til about midnight playing it. It was about the best Christmas eve you could ask for. 

She also got me the entire Harry Potter book series, I love the movies but I have never found the chance to read the books so it was an excellent gift. She got me the new Trans-Siberian Orchestra cd which kicks ass, as well as a new work light for the garage. Finally she surprised me with a photographers gift pass to the Maine Wildlife Park. The Maine Wildlife Park is basically what it sounds like, you can check it out here The photographers pass is a special permit where a guide takes you around before or after hours and actually takes you in the enclosures with the animals so you can get unimpeded photos. My brother has graciously agreed to let me borrow his digital SLR camera for the shoot. I am super psyched about this gift.  My in laws also bought me a gorgeous New England Patriots hoody and my brother in law and sister in law bought me Cabelas' Dangerous Hunts 2011 for the wii. I made out like a bandit this year!

New Year's eve went pretty similarly to Christmas Eve. Lot's of Wii. It was quiet with a couple beers. Even though Heather suffered a migraine later in the night overall it was a good time. 

So, now that the subject of New Year's has been brought up, I guess it's time for some resolutions. 

My resolutions this year really aren't all that creative. I'm stealing most of them from the list I posted earlier last year. I'm definitely willing to add things as I go through the year but here's what I have so far. 

1) the weight thing. it's kind of a needed thing obviously

2) Take my nephew out for another day. I took him out to McDonald's and to see Iron Man 2 this summer. It wasn't much but he said it was awesome. Maybe this year we can do something a little more

3) Go to the Penobscot Observatory. My sister and I almost went this past fall. If it hadn't been for an hour long wait to get in we would have. This year it's a must. Get ready, sis.

4) Get lost. I'm going to be home for 6 months. I think, just maybe I can find some time to go for a ride and try to get lost. If I can somehow just lose my uncanny sense of direction I'll be all set

5) Go camping at least 3 times. Again, I'm going to have some time recovering. I should be able to devote some of it to sitting around a campfire getting eaten alive by mosquitos. 

6) Read. Read. Read. I have 17 books on the waiting list to be read. That's not including some of the classic lit that I want to delve into.  I don't think I will get all 17 read this year so my goal is going to be 14. 

7) Write the third chapter of Heather's story. It's been a few years since I wrote 'There Be Beasties' and I think she deserves the next step. 

For now that is it I guess. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to leave me comments. I'm always up for ideas for resolutions or opinions. If you have anything, Spit it out!

See ya folks

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year.

I want and have to start this post off by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. I hope this year we'll meet you with good graces and that the next 365 days will bring you good health and good fortunes. May we keep our resolutions and say good bye to the year of 2010 that has haunted many of us. 

That being said. Lets get down to business shall we. Between facebook, e-mail, my wife's blog and my own you know that I fell at the beginning of December at work and injured my already bad knee. It has also been said in the past that the idea of surgery had been thrown around quite abit prior to this newest injury. Well, I met with the surgeon. 

On Thursday afternoon I met with the new ortho specialist. For now and future reference we are going to call him Spidey. In my research of him I have learned that he is one of if not the best ortho surgeon in Maine. From what I've heard and seen of his credentials and clientele, my estimation is that I'm in good hands. So I meet with Spidey and I like him, he seems to me like the right mix of business and personal. I want a doctor who makes me feel comfortable but at the same time makes me feel like he knows what the hell he is talking about. As he is going over my chart he sends me in for a set of xrays in his office. So when I finally get back we spend the next 45 minutes going over everything he has in my folder along with the new set of scans. To put it bluntly he's worried. He's never seen someone my age with a knee that is as messed up as mine is. So we go over the options. I don't like what I hear.

He is proposing what he even calls a "very serious surgery". The procedure is going to take 4 hours in the O.R. followed by a minimum 6 month recovery. In his words, "You're going to go through hell". The procedure is basically this, he wants to lay open my leg. Spidey wants to go in, completely disconnect my knee cap, take a good size chunk out of my tibia (shin bone) an inch or so below the knee join and then try to reattach my knee cap so that it will set where it is supposed to and STAY there. But that's not all folks, oh no, that's not even the fun part. He then wants to go a couple inches Above the knee join on my femur and break it. He wants to break my thigh bone, spread it open so that my leg is straight. He then wants to attach a metal plate and screw it in a few times so hopefully it will take to the bone. That is just what he has planned so far. He said he can already see some arthritus building up again so I don't know if he wants to try to clean that out or not. I know for a fact I have a new tear in the miniscus and I imagine he will try  to repair that since he will be in there anyway.

Most of this was done on my own though. Spidey said the new miniscus tear was from the fall at work and the fall definitely did not help the prior problems. So as much as I didn't want to screw my company anyways, most of this financial burden will fall on us. To me, right now, that is the major problem. The thought of this surgery turns my stomach. The idea of putting a plate in my leg doesn't set will with me. I understand though, that if I want to get better this is what needs to be done. The problem is I don't know if it can be. As everyone in the world knows the economy sucks. Money is tight for everyone. At this point I don't even know if this kind of surgery and recovery is financially possible for us. I can get short term disability through my work but I lose almost $125 dollars a week compared to my normal paycheck. I just don't know...

So that is where I am at right now. I already have some New Year's resolutions but right now I just can't get them on here. Maybe later today I'll see what I can do but for right now I need to walk away.