Well, it looks as if I will have to make a trip to the east coast this summer. I have driven and flown to Virginia a few times when our son was in college out there, but we stayed close to DC in the more rural areas and didn’t wander too far into any areas of the real city other than to the National Mall. This time it will be to scout out Philadelphia. I have driven all over the Los Angeles area, but somehow that seems less scary than back east. Maybe it is because I grew up out west and have driven all those freeways hundreds of times, or maybe it is because the cities back east seem older and not as organized. These cities built up over a long time and planning changed over the decades, and nothing appears to flow in a logical way. I am sure once I walk around a bit I will get the lay of the land, but I know that the only they can build new roads in towns like Philadelphia they have to build them in tunnels underground. That to me means, you have areas of 300 year old roads and building mixed in with new stuff. That is the part that seems confusing. Maybe I have just been living in the country for too long.
My wife and I decided to start a diet together. We are doing a low carb thing which many of you have heard of or tried yourself. In an attempt to create substitutes for some of our favorite things, like bread my wife looked up recipes online. I have to say that I no longer trust the people on these low carb sites, the fact that they say that this recipe or another are good means, either they have no taste buds or the own the company which makes some of these substitute ingredients. We made bread using whey protein powder, and it does not taste like bread, it tastes like sadness. For Easter morning we made egg gravy, this is bacon grease, bacon bits, hard boiled eggs sliced with onions in white gravy. We used xanthan gum instead of flour to thicken the gravy, it was heinous! The other problem was that normally we put the gravy on biscuits. Instead, we used the bread as mentioned above which added insult to injury. It was the consistency of jello or old balloons. Instead of enjoying an Easter tradition, I was left with a giant hole in my heart where the gravy and biscuit coma should have been. I don’t mind dieting, but I think I just have to say I will skip any carb replacement options until I am desperate enough to try another one of those liars recipes.
I am getting to the age where every doctor that I have visited over the last 30 years now thinks I should come in yearly! When I was young, there was a point where I didn’t see a doctor or a Dentist for over ten years. I am not saying that was right but I didn’t need any of them at that time. I do go to the dentist now every six months, and I get my man over 40 test every five. If I listened to the experts, I should have head to toe exams by every specialist there is! I am in good health. My doctor noted that I don’t visit very often last time I was in, and that was just to get allergy meds. My work is even in the act, I can get points toward cash rewards if I have a physical and get some sort of biometrical screening. At least my work will reward me for it. The rest just try and scare me into getting checked out. I swear most mornings that guy on NBC who shows you the hidden dangers of everything, including paper, talks about someone who didn’t die because they regularly had check ups. I am to fear the sun, the water I drink, the food I eat, and most of all “High Fructose Corn Syrup.” When I was a kid my favorite thing to put on my pancakes was peanut butter with Karo Syrup, clear corn syrup gold! Now I am to stay away from it. Getting older stinks, all the things you used to like to do are slowly replaced with things you have to do. I understand that there will be a point where I will cross over again into the “I lived long enough to not care” stage, but I have a little longer to go before I get there. For now, I will try and do the things that will get me there, and do a little moaning about it!
I am an IT guy, so sometimes people ask me for help with various technology related things. I do like helping people, so I do somethings for free, and some people will give me a little money for helping them out. When I earned my living as a contract IT guy, it was more of a problem not to get paid. Now it is no big deal. The times I question why I help others is when something goes wrong. I was helping someone who’s computer was dead. They had their whole life on this machine. When they brought it to me, they had the look of a pet owner handing over a beloved friend who had been hit by a car. I tried seven ways to recover anything off that computer. I got nothing. I explained that there are places which can do a professional recovery and get stuff, but they cost over a thousand dollars. The person just looked at me with an open mouth and sad puppy dog eyes. As a public service message, I will insert the usual response of, do an automated backup if you don’t want to lose your stuff. In these moments I realize why I was poor at being my own boss. I feel so sorry for the person I do things like not charge them or spend way more hours than I could charge for to try and help. Even when I do it as a favor, I still feel sorry if I can’t fix it. Maybe I should tell people I am in Waste Management, that way all they will ask is if I can dump something for them. I could do that without feeling guilty!
I am not the most organized person. My apps are kind of all over the place. I have put critical apps in places so that I can find them quickly, but a lot of them are random across the eight pages of screens. A co-worker showed me his iPhone, and he had all his apps in folders labeled for the type they were, financial or games and such all on the home screen. He could just tap the right folder and the app was there. Every time I try and find an app it is a flip and find disaster. I swear the app was on the bottom row about three or four screens in instead after much searching it is about the fifth page and third row up. What is worse is the app has been updated, so the icon is different, so I passed it over a few times looking for it. I tried getting organized I put them is some order, then I come back, and they are reorganized again! Either Apple gets some kick out of messing with me, or my apps are like ants which migrate around the screens looking for food. I am going to try and put them in folders, but I can tell you I will come back tomorrow and find my banking app in the fitness app folder. Siri will be snickering at me under her digital breath!
It isn’t that I don’t like to run, it is that I have a limit. Yes, I did a crazy marathon, but it was nothing compared to what some people do. Ultra marathons do not seem sane. 100 miles or 130 miles does not sound even remotely like something I want to do, yet people go out and run these crazy things. One person says that their organs start shutting down on during one of these races. What kind of damage is that doing to your body? I was just watching a documentary about an insane one in which only fifteen people have ever finished. All I can ask is, why? Why put yourself through that? There has to be some screw loose in your head that makes you think it is something you want to attempt. I can see how some want to test the very boundaries of what can be humanly done. I can also see how it would be a thrill to challenge one’s self to meet such a challenge. I just think I will pass on that. I did my big thing, it was big for me, and that is quite enough. I am ok watching from my couch while others push the limits. After all, this cookie dough ice cream isn’t going to finish its self!
I was speaking at a church this last Sunday. It was a treat to share what I am passionate about, that is special needs. After my portion of the service was finished, I sat down to listen to the pastor. One of the things he brought up was that he didn’t like potlucks. I thought that was weird in that some churches including this one are known for potlucks. Some believe the service isn’t over until the potluck is done. I have never been a member of one of that kind of churches but, being a reformed fat guy, food is always a welcome thing and potlucks to me are the best form. Everyone tries to bring something to show up all the others who brought stuff and mayonnaise is usually one of the main ingredients in at least one casserole. What I am saying is, I like them. But this pastor did not. After lunch, while we were driving home my son told me that the pastor had explained to him why he was not a fan of potlucks. It seems at one a long time ago an older lady in the church offered the pastor one of the brownies she had made. When the pastor took a look at the brownie, it was covered in cat hair. I did not get much more information than that, but in my mind, I picture a little old lady handing him a small paper plate with a hairball mixed with brownie and this poor guy trying to figure out some way to ditch the brownie and yet not offend the person who was giving it to him. The thought of this moment still gives me a smile. This is a lot like life, isn’t it? We are always thinking the things coming our way are good things, but many of them are full of surprises, and not always the good kind!
A friend lent me a book we had talked about a while back. The book is “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. This book is about a guy who loves to run but can’t figure out why his foot hurts. He seeks out some Indians in the mountains of Mexico who run barefoot, and he learns how to run like them, and everything is now wonderful, and he can run like the wind. I am happy for the guy, and this book has influenced a whole generation of runners, however, that is not me. When my friend handed me the book my comment was, I was not born to run; I was born to pull a cart. I am more like a mule. I would say a Clydesdale, but honestly, they are still too graceful to compare them to me. My running is more like mulish. I fear for any bug that falls under my shoes, it is definitely crushed. I compared my old running shoes to the new ones, and the heal looks like one of those toys you squeeze to watch their eyes bug out. I know it is a lot better than when I started, but I will never be a barefoot or fast runner. I am ok with that because I am not a “born to run” kind of guy. I am a born to eat kind of guy, so I will keep running.
Ever feel like someday they are going to replace you with a robot? Well, today feels like the day for me. I get an email from Amazon which tells me about things that are new and exciting. So today’s had a few things I was interested in learning more about one in particular. It is a Wireless Button Pusher. Yes, you or your boss can now complete the task of clicking OK, by remote. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer finds out he can work from home if he gets obese. He eventually becomes too tired even to push the button on the computer he is supposed to be monitoring, so he puts one of those glass birds filled with liquid to tip over and hit the button for him. Now the bird isn’t even necessary, just hit a button from somewhere over the internet and the job is done. Maybe this could be used to click one of those one click Amazon order buttons to have cookies or soap show up at my door. I think the only thing holding up my replacement is shipping, or perhaps they need a button that can smile or have a good attitude. That button’s invention might be a little farther away. So maybe I am safe for now!
If you go to the doctor and they get whatever you have wrong, and you have to go back again I think that visit should be free! I know I only pay my co-pay, but it annoys me when I have to do negotiations to get medicine. I get it, some people are in there every week looking for antibiotics and drugs. I have not been to my doctor in over three years. The last time I went in for something similar was six years ago. I am not a pill-seeking kind of guy, but when I have had a sinus problem for over two weeks, and I can’t breathe, you can give me something to help. Instead, they gave me a steroid which kept me up all night and some Flonase and sent me home. Now it has been three weeks, and I have moved on to home remedies, a nose blasting squeeze pot and all the over the counter decongestants I can take in a day. I would like to think it is getting better but I can’t tell over the salt burning that is now happening in my head! Note to self, make sure the salt packet is dissolved and well mixed in before you blast your brains out! With all the amazing cures and scientific breakthroughs I see in the news you would think that getting your nose not to run would have been cured a long time ago. Maybe it is more complicated than I think it is, or maybe it just isn’t that high on the “find a cure” waiting list.