At least it’s not the ‘rona

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We went motorcycling last weekend. We each have these pretty great motorcycles and they’ve hardly been ridden in ages because of my dumb leg and then our work schedules and summer heat and life and kids and stuff.

Then too (speaking only for myself here) I wasn’t that comfortable riding because my gear wasn’t fitting well and I just felt awful.

A friend of ours posted about wanting to go for a jaunt on Saturday so we decided to go, despite The Lovely Rhonda having constant misgivings about our right to do anything fun during These Trying Times while we are expanding the practice etc. So, we plugged in the battery tenders and mentally prepared ourselves for the work of riding. It really is work if you’re out of practice and deconditioned.

It turned out to be cool and cloudy, so over-pants were necessary. I hadn’t worn mine for a couple of years and they barely fit then.

Sixty pounds (almost) later, they fit GREAT. I could easily bend my knees, they were roomy, all that jazz. It was a big deal.

Sadly, I chose to wear a mesh jacket with a thick flannel shirt under it, plus my t-shirt, thinking it’d warm up. This was unwise as I got a chill and had difficulty warming up, despite my delightful heated handgrips.

We peeled off the ride when it got close to our neck of the woods and went directly to the hot tub, but even an extended soak did me little good. I thought it was just being cold and tired, but (cue ominous music) it turned out to be something else entirely.

Well, maybe not entirely. Probably being cold and tired did contribute.

I spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday with a crappy headache, chills, and fever, feeling horrifically terrible. Monday wasn’t much better, and with the added fun of Digestive Problems. Like, “stay close to a flush toilet” kind of problems.

Today I went and had a Covid test because all of these symptoms can be associated with a minor Covid infection, but it turns out I’m just garden variety sick. Things are starting to settle down — as an example, I can now trust a cautious fart — but I still have a headache and feel lousy.

Who even am I anymore

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So tonight the children are “independently” (using our money of course) taking their babysitter out to an escape room and sushi.

Well technically they are footing some of the bill themselves. So there’s that.

The Lovely Rhonda and I decided to go out for something to eat, because the food at home didn’t appeal to us. You know how that goes. We ended up at McGraths, which is where you take your grandma on her birthday, but it’s close and we like seafood.

Past us: ALL THE THINGS with a diet soda (me) and a beer or two (TLR). Fried shramps! Baked potato! Bread! Clam strips! Stuffed mushrooms! Rawr!

Present us: Uh, we’ll each have a lemonade and split an appetizer sampler.

Waiter: Great! I’ll be right back with your bread!

Us, in unison: NO BREAD!!

Rhonda: eats one fourth of a crab cake, three tablespoons of chowder, and a single tiny piece of mini garlic toast with crab and artichoke dip.

Me: PEELS THE BREADING OFF the two coconut shrimp and eats only the meat, also one fourth of a crab cake, and a darling piece of mini garlic toast with dip.

Both of us: OH GOD I’M STUFFED

The good news is that we brought the rest home and finished nearly all of it over the next couple of days.

But really? I peeled off the breading?

Who even AM I anymore?

In other news we took photos at about our seven week surgiversary. Here’s a couple of mine:

Fifty five pounds gone.
Also I got a haircut.

Trudging

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So we have these two really goofy dumb dogs and they are young and also dumb.

We both work full time and the children have entered that stage where they are slugs with electronic gadgetry. If we are lucky, we can get them to exit their rooms once daily to grunt sullenly at us before racing back up the stairs to clasp their precious Nintendo Switches to their bosoms once again. So the dogs don’t get the exercise they should be getting, except that we do send them to doggy daycare twice weekly and I take them to the off leash park sometimes.

The dog park has a half-mile gravel track going around it and the dogs can roam as they please while the humans walk the track. There are a variety of types of people who come to the park: the snooty fast walkers who don’t make eye contact and are wearing earbuds, the older folk who have old dogs that shamble along slowly, the talkative sort, the awkward middle aged guys who don’t know how to make small talk, the super into-it Dog People festooned in all the gear with the Chuck-It and the belt pouch of treats, etc.

I just try to show up with a) the dogs and b) my shoes on the right feet.

I myself have a love/hate relationship with the track. After the Accidental Splits Debacle at Winco about three and a half years ago, in which my left semimembranosis muscle slipped its surly bonds and became one with the rest of my leg muscles (detached and retracted, scarring into the back of my leg) I have been somewhat more hobbled than I was already, and I was already hobbled pretty comprehensively. The muscle I lost is the one that draws your foot backward, as in the movement you make when wiping your feet on a doormat. This movement is also used when walking; you just don’t really notice it because you’re focused on moving the one leg forward and not so much on what the other leg is doing — but walking is really a pushme-pullyou action. Often when walking my hip muscles spasm painfully after the equivalent of a couple of blocks because of the alteration in my gait.

Between the loss of this muscle, the extreme flatness of my feet, and the arthritis in pretty much every joint from the knees down, I’m not much for walking. My portliness didn’t help, as evidenced by the fact that now that I’ve lost fifty pounds I can walk the track much more easily.

In the past I could barely make it once around the track. If I had someone with me to talk to, was talking on the phone or (rarely) listening to a podcast or audiobook, I could sometimes make two laps around, but it was uncommon. (Distraction is a proven pain management tool)

Today I took the dogs to the park and walked two laps around without any drama. Some spasming, but not too bad. I didn’t have anyone with me and I wasn’t listening to anything. I just walked.

Life is pretty good and gets better by the day.

Car stuff

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So I spent some time today cleaning the back seat of my car. Well, it wasn’t so much cleaning as it was recoiling in horror as I ran the carpet cleaner hand attachment over the upholstery. I am going to operate under the assumption that something was spilled in the back seat, like a dark brown coffee drink of some kind. This will enable me to sleep at night.

There. Now you can have nightmares too.

As I have previously mentioned, this car was mine for about 14 years, from new, and then I sold it to a friend’s son, who is super awesome but young and works in construction. This means the entire interior was coated in a sometimes heavy layer of grime. I have spent a fair amount of time scrubbing this grime from every surface imaginable.

Still to do: scrub part of roof rack area with toothbrush to remove crusty stuff in crevices. Polish the passenger doors and clean the inside door jamb area. De-hair the rear cargo area floor mat thing and the cargo area cover thing. Install floor mats. Clean interior windows.

Also: take car by mechanic to have them listen to the weird noise it makes at idle.

Baggy shorts

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So I have a favorite pair of knee length jeans shorts that I’ve worn for years. Then I couldn’t wear them anymore because they were too small. I didn’t get rid of them because of reasons having to do with how much I loved them and how much I wanted to wear them again someday.

I’m wearing them today and they’re baggy. Not crazy big baggy but there’s room in them.

We went though our t-shirts and divided them into four piles: now, try again in a month, make into a quilt, Goodwill. Then I tackled all the very many pants (mostly capris) that I had to try on every time we went somewhere warm on vacation because most of them didn’t fit.

They all fit and most of them are pretty loose.

Also I’ve started getting wedgies. I haven’t had this problem for years. You don’t get wedgies if your underpants are snug. Apparently my underpants are no longer snug. I think this is called a non scale victory, but I’m not sure how victorious I’m feeling?

I’m less than one pound shy of fifty pounds lost. I have plenty more to go, but I’m happy with my progress so far.

Busy day

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So almost four weeks ago we had surgery and I’ve lost 45 pounds so far.

I can now put shoes on and lace them up and tie them while still sitting, rather than having to get up and do it from a standing position. I couldn’t do that before. If I drop something at my feet while sitting I can bend down and pick it up without getting up. I couldn’t do that either.

I have these shitty flat feet, which led to arthritis in my ankles and knees, and I detached (permanently) a significant portion of my left hamstring a few years ago, so I’m hobbled on a good day. Typically I avoid walking when possible because I have only a limited amount of time on my feet.

Today I took the dogs to the dog park and walked twice around, then trudged slowly around the tulip festival, then spent some time cleaning the Mazda. I’ve done more today than I used to do in a week.

My feet are seriously killing me and I will spend tomorrow doing things that don’t require much walking. But still.

In the ongoing saga of the Mazda, I have now cleaned both front seats using the carpet cleaner. They are marginally cleaner, judging from the filthy brown water that came out. I have wiped down the entire dash and applied Armor-All to it. I spent some time cleaning the parts of the inside of the hatch that you only see when it’s open, all around the edges, where filth accumulates and if you live in a damp climate, moss will also grow. It’s less dirty. Every time I clean it another layer of filth comes off.

The truth of the matter is that the car will always be worn out and old, but at least it will be cleaner and smell better? I am so looking forward to washing the windows on the inside.

Oh and the little aluminum cap on the gear shift came off. I intend to decorate it and glue it back on. It used to have the shift pattern on it but has been worn completely smooth with twenty years and nearly 250k miles of driving!

Week Three update

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So it’s been a little over three weeks out. Where am I at here?

Today I’m wearing a shirt that previously fit over my ever expanding girth pretty well prior to surgery. Now it looks like I’m a kid wearing their dad’s shirt.

I’m wearing jeans that I stopped wearing a while back because they were uncomfortable. They are slightly loose around my knees and fit just fine.

I’ve lost 44 pounds.

I am branching out, trying little dabs of regular foods and so far it’s worked out fine. I am not great at drinking enough but I’m working on it. I usually get at least 60g of protein in per day which is the recommendation. Calorie wise I’m usually in the 600 per day range, which is creeping up to the recommended 800-1000 daily intake as I am able to eat more foods.

There’s a plateau that’s pretty common at about three weeks and sure enough, I’ve reached it. I get on the scale every day just out of curiosity — the weight loss is often very rapid and I’m interested in seeing how the numbers move, but I’m not worried if they don’t move — and the past three days there has been zero change.

I’m still glad we did this and have no regrets.

Like Frosting On A Turd

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Got the jalopy back from the shop today. She got a new battery and cables. So now she’s a) 1/5 clean on the inside, b) got reasonably clean wheels, and c) somewhat more likely to start reliably.

I got home and had juuuust enough time to do one tiny thing to it this evening before it got dark, so I got out my handy headlight restoration kit and painstakingly followed the instructions on the box. Well, except for the part where I didn’t use a cotton cloth because what I had handy was a microfiber shop rag. But other than that I did. I even got some blue painter’s tape so I didn’t slop any of the patented petroleum product onto the pristine paint.

Anyway I know both of you are interested in seeing the before and the after so here you go:

Hazy
Shiny!

I mean, sure the paint is flaking off the hood and the interior still smells like Mildewy Eau de Construction Worker Dude, but check out those headlights, amirite??

The Mazda

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So twenty years ago this August I bought my first brand-new car, a 2002 Mazda Protege5. They only made this model for two years and I have no idea why because it is a kick-ass car. Cute, sporty, good mileage, handles well, pretty much everything you could want right here.

I drove it around for 14 years and then we sold it to a friend’s son who was 19 or so at the time. We bought a Subaru Impreza and then traded it in three years later for another Impreza. The second Impreza hugely disappointed us when it required new rotors at a mere 34k miles, so we decided to offload it. Apparently the calipers are wider in certain models and that lets gravel get into the brakes and if you can’t hear it to knock it out of the brakes, it will destroy your rotors. Subaru did a one-time goodwill gesture and replaced them for free, but I’m not especially interested in a 800 dollar repair on a regular basis, hence the decision to get rid of it.

We ended up buying a big ass SUV to pull our camping trailer with and I’ll be putting some time/money into my 1965 Chevy BelAir, but in the meantime I need a car. We mentioned this to our friend in passing and she said, “Well, Lucas got a truck so he’s selling the Mazda. Do you want to buy it back?”

So a few days ago we took a small pile of cash over and came back with my old friend.

Friends, this car has seen some USE. Lucas works in construction and between a) thrashing around in crawlspaces and b) being a teen/young adult, he introduced a metric shit-ton (this is a real thing, the internet says so) of filth into the car and rarely (never?) cleaned it out.

Oh plus it developed a leak into the spare tire well in the way-back. So it was moist. And damp. I used the wet/dry vac to suck about a gallon of water out of it and the driver’s side taillight. So that’ll be fun to track down.

So, I rounded up some basic car-cleaning supplies and started The Big Swill-Out. I started with the passenger front seat and environs.

Using my trusty carpet cleaner, I tackled the seat and footwell. The water came out dark brown. Ew.

I wiped down the inside of the door and the dash area. I cleaned around the shift lever console area and cupholders. With a toothbrush and toothpicks. Ew ew ew.

At that point I was out of time/energy so I closed up shop.

Today I assembled my brand-new Blastmaster-9000 pressure sprayer (ok, it’s the cheapest one from Harbor Freight, but my needs are modest) and sprayed the beast down. Then I tackled the extra-filthy wheels.

Originally this car had beautiful shiny wheels that were super pretty, but then one of them actually broke in half and we couldn’t replace it. Well, maybe we could have, but it would have cost as much for one as we could spend on getting all four replaced, and if we’d only replaced one, it would have been all shiny and new and the others would have looked funny compared to it. So we replaced all four with a relatively inoffensive (and not too hard to clean because I have been down that road) set from whatever tire place we went to that day.

Friends, I am doing an unpaid endorsement here. We bought some Dawn Powerwash spray at Costco a while back and that stuff will wash the butt right off of the cat. I tried to wash the wheels using your typical car wash liquid, to no avail. Then I just sprayed them with this Powerwash stuff and let them sit for a while, and it was as though a MIRACLE OCCURRED.

Before!
After! And I even got it cleaner than this on the second pass!

The car looks totally different with clean wheels.

Of course, they are chewed up from a teenage boy developing his parallel parking skills for six years, but at least they’re clean?

I also spent some time scrubbing gunk out of the various exterior nooks and crannies with a toothbrush. Because I’m anal-retentive.

Next up: Washing and waxing the exterior. The paint may be oxidizing/peeling, but it can be shiny and water-repellant once more.

Oh and several more episodes of cleaning the interior spaces, and finding the trunk leak and repairing it.

Tuesday it gets a new battery and cables, because the battery that’s in it is from 2013 and has started sending acid down the cables and corroding them. At least that’s the theory. Anyway sometimes it doesn’t want to start until you get out and jam the cables up into the housings on the battery so off to the shop it goes.

I’m excited to have my little car back.