When You Come To A Fork In The Road, Eat In Moderation.

I realize that the subject of my obesity is nothing new to anyone who reads my writing. If you have read any of my previous essays, you are likely painfully aware that I am quite overweight, I have invested in a bike, and I struggle with moderation as it pertains to eating. All of these facts were pretty much a normal day in the life for me. That was, until recently, when things got a bit more serious for me. Suddenly, or rather it seems sudden, things began to change somewhat abruptly as the result of an annual blood test.
As per the annual routine, my doctor requested some blood tests that I get done annually. I held onto the lab request form for a good couple of months. The reason for this is that I would get too caught up in my daily routine. Frankly, in spite of my weight issues, I was somewhat apathetic about the blood tests. I finally stopped in a lab and got the blood tests done. The following week, my doctor called and spoke to my wife. She told my wife she needed me to make an appointment to discuss my blood test results. I felt like one of my middle school teachers had called my parents to come in for a conference. Just like middle school, the following week was spent with me dreading this forthcoming appointment. I tried to remind myself that I was no longer in middle school and my wife was going to ground me.
My wife and I sat in the patient room the following week. I talked about my work day and basically was trying to pass the time. My doctor stepped in and greeted us both. She started the conversation by stating: “I wasn’t very happy with your test results.” Once again, the middle school analogies returned to the forefront of my mind. She reminded me that I was obese and I had (well controlled) high blood pressure. However, there was now an additional concern. There is a blood level that is called HgbA1c (glycosolated hemoglobin). HgbA1c measures how well you body carries sugar over the 2-3 months prior to the test. People with diabetes have significantly high readings of HgbA1c. My doctor told me that I was “inching closer toward diabetes.” I phrased my follow up question in my own usual way: How inches are we talking?
My doctor explained that that while my HgbA1c was not in the diabetic range, it was slowly climbing each year over the past several years. This was quite a jolt for me. The rubber was meeting the road. My life was coming to a screeching halt. In the stock car race that is my life, I am apparently not fit to drive the pace car. I listened to my doctor as she discussed some new medication changes with my wife and me. My doctor also recommended a diet plan for me to follow.
My doctor told me that the medicine would take some adjustment. That would prove to be a tremendous understatement. Over the week that followed, portion control was getting somewhat easier. That is because the new medicine made me as queasy as a greenhorn fisherman with a liverwurst sandwich. I would even try to get some snacks I had routinely eaten in the recent past with similar gastronomic results. As a result, I have even been forced to end a long standing relationship with a certain female in my life. That’s right folks, you read it here first. My relationship with Little Debbie is coming to an end. My wife has been very tolerant of this illicit relationship. She even overlooked the fact that the smell of chocolate, peanut butter, and wafers would sometimes have the same effect as the perfume on her wrists )to which I am likely allergic). Still, if a relationship is proving to be unhealthy for you, it must be purged from your life. So long, Little Debbie. We had some good times, Babe.
I can assure you that you will hear (or rather read) more from me. I hope I wasn’t too harsh with Little Debbie. I just wish it wouldn’t feel so weird when we see one another in the store.

Cool Is Measured In Reverse Proportion To Age

I would like to bring up a subject for us all to ponder upon. I know pretty much everyone reading this has thought about this at least once. You may not admit it publicly. You probably wouldn’t even necessarily bring it up as a topic of conversation. Nevertheless, the subject is out there and we shall therefore ponder.
I should back up a little bit first. One of my daughter’s friends bought an Easter suit for my 6 month old grandson. The outfit included a nice turquoise pullover shirt with a button up collar. Completing the ensemble was a nice looking pair of pants and a fedora hat. Let’s just say that my grandson was dripping with cool.
I will admit some bias here. I believe that anybody who gazes upon my grandson is probably witnessing the greatest thing since popcorn. I have even directed downcast co-workers to gaze at a picture of my grandson for a minimum of 15 seconds. I do this because they will spontaneously smile or say “AWWWWW!” within this 15 second time span. Still, seeing my grandson in his new outfit and wearing a fedora had me wanting to hear him croon some Frank Sinatra.
Several days later, my wife and daughter were doing some shopping together. My wife spied some sunglasses that would fit my grandson. The next thing you know, I am getting an email with my grandson donning his new shades. Once again, the fedora completed the look. At this point, any paradigm involving the factor of cool was completely devoured and never to be seen again. This sultan of suave, at only six months old, was having people wanting to be just like him when they grow up. This would lead to an epiphany of frustration as it would require such liberties with the concept of time travel that Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Douglas Adams would all rise from their graves in protest. They would then return to their graves when they realized that they ALSO really just wanted to look as cool as my grandson.
Now, we are getting to the point of the aforementioned pondering. What is it about seeing a baby in sunglasses that looks so irresistibly cool? . Let’s even expand upon that to include the Easter suit my grandson was wearing. What is the undying appeal of seeing a baby in clothes that are typically designated to be worn by adults? See?!! You are thinking about it now. Now, while thinking about that, here is another thing to think about – the reverse of this factor gives the diametrically opposite result. Let me rephrase that slightly. If a baby wears adult clothes, it makes the heart soar. If an adult wears baby clothes, it makes the stomach turn. I can assure you that you will never run across this conversation among two grown, red-blooded men: “Hey, Jake, I’m here for our play date.” “Cool, man. I’ll be right downstairs”  (Jake comes down the stairs) “Check out my new outfit, Don”. “JAKE! NO WAY! YOU GOT THE NEW ONESIES?” “Yeah, man. Thanks for noticing. By the way, I dig the new crawler with the feet at the bottom.” “Thanks! I save a lot of money on shoes that way. Well, Jake, we have worked hard all week. Let’s get to the monkey bars before it gets dark.” “You bet, Don. My kids get real ticked off when I am late for supper.”
Now you have the topic, background, and a wild image in your head. Ponder away. My job is done.

Reunited (But I Don’t Feel So Hot)

The past couple of months have been a bit crazy for my family. Almost one month to the day, we moved into a new home. The new home has brought some very nice new changes for the family which now includes a 6 month old grandson. As a result, there was a lot of packing, preparation, and logistics that went into getting ready for the move.
The change of address process alone was a nightmare. Allow me to explain this way. An oxymoron is a pair of words that, when used together, contradict one another. My favorite oxymoron is postal service. Those words just do not go together. They are like verbal fractions. They cancel each other out. Someday, a meteorologist will find an anomalous cloud floating above a dead letter office. Everyone’s lost mail will come alive in this giant mass that will take out an entire postal district. The irony will be that the storm will hit exactly where the meteorologist predicted and on time. 
Another casualty of the moving process was time spent with my bicycle. I have bonded with my bike a great deal since getting it for Father’s Day last year. I named my bike the X-1 in deference to the great cyclist, P.W. Herman. As the weather turned colder, I invested in an indoor trainer. I love my time on my bike. Sadly, within a week prior to the move to the new house, the X-1 was taken off the trainer. The trainer was packed away along with the riser blocks (which simulate inclines). 
Once we got to the new place, the trainer, riser blocks, and the X-1 found a new home inside our new garage. The next 3 1/2 weeks were spent unpacking boxes and assimilating to our new home. I would daily pass by the X-1 and wait for the weather to turn warmer. As the month of April neared, I was beginning to lose hope. Easter came and went so bitterly cold that it was rumored that Peter Cottontail had sent death threats to Punxsutawney Phil. 
Finally, this past Saturday, I decided not to care about the fact that it was 37° outside and I hadn’t been feeling well all week. I figured that if I got out and moved around on my bike, it would increase my circulation and I would feel a little better. I also figured this same circulation would make the cold air more bearable. I figured incorrectly. It became clear the moment I hit the first incline that I had suffered during my time apart from the X-1. I felt like a parking lot circus clown wrestling with a tricycle. At one point I even briefly stopped to take a drink. My ego took further bruising as four cyclists whizzed past me. Even worse, the brutal breeze made my face feel like I was driving into a wall of needles. 
Given all of these factors, it was a short ride. I only did 5 miles. I am sure that, in time, I will be riding beyond the 17 mile max I hit last season. The X-1 sits dutifully in the garage waiting for another ride like an enthusiastic puppy dog that one simply cannot resist. I, on the other hand, begin a slow recuperating process from this bittersweet reunion. I get myself some orange juice and some pain reliever. Before I resign myself to conk on the couch, I take a last look at the X-1 and promise that we will reunite soon. I could swear I saw a wagging tail on my bike out of the corner of my eye as I walked away.