Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Things I Dislike About Florida

It is no secret I don't like Florida. It is not too bad right now as I am avoiding "wintery mix" and 40 degrees back home, but in general - not my favorite place. 

(Time to suck up to Florida residents: it's not you, it's me. I have issues with climate, stereotypes and bad experiences. There are many nice people who reside in Florida, I just won't be one of them and I am begrudgingly a tourist. Please don't take this personally. Thanks.) 

I have been compiling a list of things about Florida that cause me to feel the way I do. Following is a sampling.

Gator Heads - They sell 'gator heads in the Walgreens as souvenirs. The large one is $99.99. If you can't afford that one, small ones are $19.99. If you can't afford a 'gator head, you can git yourself a 'gator paw back scratcher. How red-neck is that? When I get home I am going to start marketing squirrel heads and squirrel paw back scratchers - we gots a lot o' them critters runnin' around, too.

Boring - at least where I am. Lots of retirees (aka: Blue Hairs and Gummers) that all eat early, drive erratically and talk too much about their gout and bad hips. I know I should respect my elders, but it is all too elderly for me. I like a mix of ages, I guess.

Strip Malls - everywhere. I have developed an intense dislike of malls lately (even though I met my wife at the largest mall in the US. And "No" we did not get married at the mall. We aren't that "trailer") but I have especially come to dislike strip malls. It is all just so much parking lot and so very little shopping and then the stores are usually junky. Ick!

Humidity. I do not like humidity. I makes me tired.

Sun. I do not like sun. I makes me hot. 

I am just not a sit on the beach or lie by the pool kind of person. I will unwillingly drag myself into the pool to play with the kids (nice dad, huh?), but the pool kind of bugs, especially when my kids hang on me like I'm a life raft. I like to toss them in the air and stuff like that - you know, "dad-feats-of-strength", but these kids are perfectly capable of swimming on their own. I find it hard to believe they need to be draped all over me like some "kid suit". I need to do stuff, usually by myself, when I am on vacation. My favorite vacation activities usually involve being unable to talk to people - scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming in the ocean, running, napping - you know, vacation stuff. 

Bad food. I don't know if it's all of Florida, but everywhere we have been, not just our current location, but other cities in Florida as well, the food is terrible. Now, I am no gourmand to be sure, but I can tell a good meal from a bad one. Breakfast this morning was fine, but it wasn't some magical feast as described to me. Dinner, again, nothing to write home about. I think the restaurants figure that everyone is so old they can't taste a damn thing anyway so give them inferior food. Ugh.

Leathery people. Don't these people understand that skin cancer is a killer. I just don't get the logic behind getting tan until you look like an old Gucci loafer. Oh, and then get your teeth whitened for that added unnatural effect. Put some fricking sunscreen on, you dopes. (I am talking strictly to the WASPs in the crowd here and the other Caucasians of various religious leanings. And the white atheists and agnostics. Satanists? I am kind of on the fence. Are there nice Satanists out there? I don't know, just to be safe I am talking to them as well. Other ethnicity's with darker skin are encouraged to wear sunscreen as well, but you don't look nearly as bad as those tan white-folks out there. Have I offended everyone? No? Well, if you feel left out, I meant to inadvertently offend you as well.)

Clowns. There aren't more clowns in Florida or anything. I just don't like clowns. (No, kids, I am not afraid of clowns. I just don't like them.)

I still have a few more days here. If I think of other things I dislike about Florida, I will be sure to let you all know. 

I'm Wilting

I got up for my run this morning. Very excited. I decided to make it out the door by 6:30 AM instead of my regular 5:30 AM because, hey, I'm on va-ca, right? I was so excited to be running in a single t-shirt, shorts and a baseball cap, I actually got out ahead of schedule. OK - 10 mile tempo run. I am reviewing my route in my head - I have never run this route before (thank you Google maps) - as I cross the building lobby and the automatic doors slide apart - WHAM! Hit by humidity. It was thick out there. Coming from MN where it has been 40 degrees and dry this was unfamiliar, but it's only ten quick miles, off I go. 

I had planned to warm up the first couple of miles, kick it to tempo pace and then give myself about a mile warm-down. I followed that plan for all of - um - about three-quarters of a mile. By this time I was warm. I mean sweating. It felt good and I felt good - nice and loose with not niggling aches or pains. I am cruising through town, but I am starting to get the feeling this might not be the best run. My mind was all over the place. I was double checking my route, checking my pace, checking my time, checking my distance, thinking about how much I was sweating, how I hadn't had anything to eat, how I hadn't had much to drink, how my feet were landing kind of loudly, how my chin was rising and causing my shoulders to bunch and on and on. I couldn't find my happy place. 

About five miles in I had had enough. I stopped and walked half a block. I needed to regroup and revaluate the mission. I really didn't feel like I could maintain an even tempo pace without killing myself, so I decided to finish out the remainder at a whatever pace I could hold comfortably. The humidity  was just a killer. 

After training for the Twin Cities Marathon last summer, I know I can run in the heat and humidity, but I definitely need to build into it. This was too much, too soon and I was mentally and physically unprepared. Needless to say, I did finish the full distance. I gave myself a really easy last mile to warm down. 

When I got home - dripping wet - I checked the weather. Temperature = 70 degrees. Dewpoint = 68 degrees. That is like 93+% humidity. I might as well have been running in a jungle. I didn't feel so bad about my "performance." It would be tough for most people. Tomorrow is another open water swim. It is supposed to be breezy, but hopefully it will be calmer in the morning and I can get it in early. I really have no idea how the ocean works. I am used to lakes at home that are always fairly calm except in a storm you wouldn't want to swim in anyway. At any rate - Spring Break Training, so far, so good.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Break Has Arrived

I am sitting in Florida right now. If you have read my blog for awhile, you will know that I am not a fan of Florida (more on that later) however, I am actually enjoying it right now (it doesn't hurt that parts of my home state are getting snow and I am on a lanai wearing shorts.) The trip did not start out on a particularly stellar note. We flew from the cold sun of Minneapolis to Atlanta where we had a two hour layover. This was just enough time for Delta to lose our checked luggage. It was also where I found out that WiFi is not free in all airports - who charges for WiFi anymore? Apparently Atlanta's Airport Commission - I didn't buy. The kids were getting squirrely, I was getting crabby and A was getting annoyed - mostly at me being crabby with the squirrels.

The flights were actually rather uneventful. Of course, A might have a different opinion as I got to sit by myself in an empty row for the first leg while she sat with the kids and then I was in the row directly behind them on the second leg. (I sat next to my favorite fellow passengers. The TB sufferer with the wet hacking cough and the obvious germaphobe who kept sighing and pulling her shirt up over her nose with each hack - I just held my breath as I looked out the window.) 

I will have to admit that the folks at Delta are much nicer than the ogres at North-worst and the planes are nicer. The only complaint I have about Delta's planes are the seats - the upholstery is a super slick, leather-like, vinyly kind of covering that reminds me of the stuff they cover the exam tables in a doctor's office with and at the same time, a tinkle sheet. It was very disconcerting and I kept waiting for a doctor to stop by and ask me to bend over and breath easy.

This first day was pretty good. The weather was nice and I am starting to calm down from the travel, but I do get extremely antsy just sitting around at the pool or on the beach. I am not much of a sit still kind of guy, especially on vacation. At least I have a few things to do and I can always add a couple more runs or swims to kill the time. It kind of sounds like I am stuck in a penal colony rather than on vacation. Tomorrow is another day breakin' rock and tryin' not to get shivved by my bunkmate. Wish me luck.

According to Plan as Planned

My Spring Break Training Plan is going according to plan (how lame of an opening sentence is that?) I did the open ocean swim just as I had planned. (I have now used my limit of the word "plan" and will not use it again in this post, even though I already went over the limit by just writing this sentence - Damn it!) It wasn't as long as I would have liked but the ocean is a bitch. First, there is the salt - it tastes terrible. Then, the waves - they never stop and I even got beyond the break and c) it's kind of chilly. But I did it. It was only about 3/4 of a mile and I was only out for about 15 minutes but, hey, somethings better than nothing, right? I wore my Garmin to keep track of time and distance. The map it generated is really funny - I am all over the damn place - see, waves. Overall, I actually swam pretty straight and parallel to the shore, but I have to say it is a little freaky swimming out there alone, even more so than in a lake. I will try again on Wednesday. Hopefully, it will be a little calmer and I will go longer and farther.

Tomorrow is a ten mile tempo run. I am anticipating quickness as I will be half dressed compared to running in MN and the route is flat as Kiera Knightly. Then we are going out to breakfast so the cleaners can come in. With three cups of coffee it could be the perfect morning.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Six for Seven

I am calling this one a little early, but I see no reason why I won't run tomorrow morning. What am I talking about? Six workouts in seven days. It started with swimming on Monday, run on Tuesday, missed a swim on Wednesday, but biked for an hour on the trainer instead, Thursday - run, Friday (today) - another hour on the bike (I warmed up for five minutes then did a high resistance, low cadence strength type thing for five minutes alternating with five minutes high cadence slightly lower resistance spinning. It must have been good for me - my legs are tired,) then tomorrow is a 16 mile run. Six workouts - seven days. Hopefully I can keep up the schedule. Go me!

Spring Break Training Plan

I am formulating my training plan for Spring Break. We leave on Sunday and I come back on Thursday, so I won't have to do any long Saturday runs on my own like last year. That was brutal. I had to do my first 18 miler on my own, on an island, in temps I hadn't experienced in about eight months. This year is much better. 

Tuesday I have an 8 - 10 mile tempo run. Thursday I have 8 - 10 miles with hills, but as I will be on the flattest island in FL, I should probably figure out some intervals or strides. The Garmin is going to come in very handy. 

I would also like to swim. I could do a couple of ocean swims along the beach. It is two miles down, but I could just do a one mile down and back. Or I could swim the full two miles down and run back - kind of ridiculous, screwed-up brick. I have no idea what the water temp is and I don't want to bring my wet suit, so swimming is tentative until I get down there. 

I will not have a bike, so I am off the hook on that one. 

I hope the weather holds down there. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Brushing his teeth this morning. I am in the shower.

F: "Dad, I thought only girls shaved their legs."
Me: "And boys who ride their bikes competitively."

(That is my story and I am sticking to it. Now, which pair of high heels to wear.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

4 AM Workout

This post is a "two-fer." Or more accurately it is a "one-and-a-half-fer." Part of it will end up on the dog's blog.

Apollo is officially "my" dog now. This is probably not news to anyone considering how much time I spend with him, but the events of early this morning leave no doubt in my mind. 

Four AM and Apollo is up nosing at A since her side of the bed is closest to his bed. I reach over and push him off. A didn't even realize what was happening since she has taken to wearing ear plugs because the dog and I apparently snore too loudly. (She also felt the pea I placed under her side of the mattress.) He wouldn't lay back down and was nosing at the door, which A is now hearing and she rolls over and asks me if he needs to go out. Most nights he will just go back to sleep, but not last night. A asks if I let him out before bed. Now, A stayed up reading a new cookbook until about 11:30 so it would seem that it might be her responsibility to let the dog out before she went to bed, but it is obviously my responsibility, so he is my dog. That, and I walk him, clean up his poop, wrestle with him and he follows me everywhere, so, again, my dog. I also spoil the hell out of him. 

4:15 AM and he's too restless so I take him downstairs to let him out. Not entirely awake I fail to check to see if the gate is closed. (A came in after me and put the car in the garage but didn't shut the gate because it was too rainy.) I went to check the weather, heard a bark, looked out the window and saw no dog. THE GATE! I looked out the door, saw the gate was open, saw the guy delivering the paper driving slowly up the block and saw my dog running along side. 

I ran out onto the driveway in my underpants to call the damn dog home. I quickly learned that I was wearing two different slippers when I almost broke my ankle. I also learned that a cold front had moved in making it about 35 degrees and it was drizzling. 

I saw the dog behind a tree illuminated by a street light and I called his name in that ridiculously ineffective "loud whisper." His head popped around the tree and looked at me. I took one step to go after him, he reared up on his back legs and gave me the "dog finger." That was a lie - he didn't rear up or give me the "dog finger," but he did turn and run in the opposite direction. DAMN IT! What to do? Run after him as is? No. Now I have to get in the car and find this little jerk on our dimly lit street. 

I throw on a pair of pants and what I think was a shirt and some matching shoes, grab the keys and get in the car. Wait. What's missing here? Oh yeah, any comments from or about my wife. Why? Because she had her ear plugs in and was sleeping soundly while I am pounding up and down the stairs to our bedroom and then peeling out of the driveway.

I make one loop of the neighborhood with no luck and then circle back around. Approaching the paper guy, I see the dog. He is accompanying the delivery guy. You fickle jerk! Apollo hears me call and sees the car and is all excited because, hey, car trips are fun. NOT THIS ONE! I hoisted him by the scruff and put him in back and we drove home.

He climbed into his bed and I climbed back into mine. I was too tired to try to make it to swimming anymore. 

7:05 E shows up in our room ready for breakfast. A looks at me, "I thought you went swimming." She was completely clueless about EVERYTHING! MY DOG!

My plan to get a couple of swims in before Spring Break was now totally shot. Fine. I am going to ride that damn bike then. So I did. I rode for an hour. Going for heart rate and grinding the big chain ring the entire time. Ten minutes warm-up then, three minutes hard, seven minutes moderate, three minutes hard, seven moderate, etc. It sure made the hour go by quicker. As the Japanese say in Chinese - "nana korobi ya oki" - Fall down seven times, get up eight. Bike rides - one for one.

Iron Lance

I don't think Lance Armstrong actually is getting surgery to fix a broken collarbone. Here is what I think is going on. He is getting the top secret military-grade advanced battery that is powering his heart turbocharger and bionic third lung replaced before he goes out of warranty. That cancer thing - yeah that was a scam. The battery was originally designed to last seven Tour de France wins and then keep him alive for another 65 years or so. When he decided to make his comeback they wanted to see how the current battery would react to the increased activity and they decided to crash him out now so they could replace it in time for the Tour. He'll come back faster, you can just bet on it. Broken collarbone, what a lame excuse.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Re-thinking "The Plan"

Bike: Ready to go outside. Weather is not cooperating (read: I still don't want to ride outside.)
Legs: Lower legs well shaved, upper legs still a little patchy. Now that the majority of the hair is gone, I kind of want it back. With no hair my legs look very pale and kind of spindly. They are also really dry - time to break out the lotion. I guess to some extent I am starting to get "running legs" and I am not used to it. Hopefully, a few days of Florida sun will get some color on them and I will get used to seeing them. Then, when I get home the weather should be nice and I can start running and biking in shorts (wishful thinking.) Baby steps.

Monday, March 23, 2009


"Me-ism" = something funny, but more than likely stupid, that I said or typed or thought.

MS:  "I made a typo on your comment page. Sorry."
Me:  "You have been permanently blocked from commenting due to your inability to spell check. Really, MS! I am so disappointed."
MS: "Give me a break, I'm retarded."
Me: "The R-word is now persona not grata."
Me: "Now who's retarded?"

Working "The Plan"

I have made progress on "the plan" from my previous post. I got the bike off the trainer, put the outside tire on. Filled it with a CO2 cartridge, because I had never done that and wanted to see what to expect when I need to do it in a race or a ride. (Those things fill a tire quick and are seriously only a one shot deal.) This morning I started to shave my legs. The first time takes for-ever. I decided to stage it instead of one marathon session (hey, I have other things to do, too.) Today has been pouring rain all day, so no outside bike for me, but I could always pop my bike back on the trainer. 

I did get a good swim workout in. We had a set of 200s that left my arms feeling like little noodles (you know, the super thin Chinese rice noodles, not the fatter, but equally delicious, udon noodles), but it was good to really put them to work. Mmmm, noodles. Oh, look! Lunchtime.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Think I Have A Plan

And here it is. Sunday: Get bike off trainer. Put on "outside" tire, but leave trainer skewer in (just in case.) Shave legs.
Monday: Ride outside if I can stay between the raindrops. The weather folks haven't been real accurate lately, so let's hope they get this wrong, too. If rainy, ride inside. 
Rest of the week: Ride as much as possible, preferably outside. The following week is no good - in Florida for Spring Break. 

It's not much of a plan and I talk a good game. Let's see if that leg shaving thing provides any motivation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

La Dolce Vita

A few posts back I hinted at a possible upcoming trip. Well, I am prepared to provide the details as I know them now, because I just booked my flight - to Milan! To recap for those of you with short memories or who have misplaced your log of everything that is, has or will happen to me - While I was walking the dog about a week ago, I ran into a furniture rep who lives in my neighborhood. We got to talking and I asked about his travel schedule and he said he was just finishing booking flights to Milan for iSolani and a bunch of other furniture and lighting fairs that take place there at the end of April. "Hey, do you want to come with?" he asks. Well who wouldn't? So I propose this to my wife. And, if you can believe it, she gives me the OK! I am shocked. I continue to pursue it and A keeps asking if things are finalized, have I booked the flight yet, what are the dates again? I almost get the feeling that she is going to move the family to an unknown destination while I am gone. 

You may be asking yourself, is this just some sort of boondoggle? No, it really is a great opportunity on several levels. I get to see a different side of the interior design industry. I have considered repping if I found the right company or lines. This will give me a chance to see what is happening at ground level rather than looking through the pinhole I currently have as a frame of reference. I am also pursuing freelance writing and this trip will give me a lot of good stuff to write about - interior design stuff, travel stuff, running stuff, etc. (Know any magazine editors? Send me an email address and I will send them a proposal.) 

We are still nailing down accommodations. We might be staying about four blocks from the Duomo (which I love.) Or we may have to stay by the train station and fight off hookers to get to our room (which I also love.) Oh, the stories I will have to tell.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I really don't know what to say

I have a dilemma. I need something to motivate me to bike outside. I am considering shaving my legs. My reasoning? What fool (me) would shave his legs without a good reason? If I shaved them I would have to ride outside or I would just seem like some strange (or stranger) guy who likes smooth smooth legs. (I shave every year when I bike, but not usually until I am on the road consistently.) Why now? A week from this Sunday we will be in Florida for spring break where I will run at least a couple times in shorts and a t-shirt and it would be the perfect time to get a little color on these alabaster twigs and it's easier to put sunscreen on smooth legs than hairy ones, right? (I can rationalize an-ny-thing.)

A is in Chicago for the weekend visiting some college girlfriends, so in an effort to not cook dinner for the entire weekend I took the kids out to one of the less marginal restaurants within walking distance of our house. They got the usual kids' fare when out at a restaurant - pancakes and chocolate waffles. I opted for something else which I will not describe here because the mere thought of it sends waves of nausea coursing through my body. I ate the whole plate of food and immediately regretted every bite. I really need to figure out how to put down the fork. Now, in an effort to make up for a really horrible-for-me meal I am in the process of flushing all the toxins I ingested by shoveling fist-fulls of jelly beans and Cadbury Mini-eggs down my gullet with the hope that all the sugar, pectin, binders and artificial colors and flavors will bond with the other nasty things already in my stomach and create the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants I need. (As you can probably tell, I have no idea how digestion or nutrition works. It all seems like a bit of black magic that allows me to put a delicious morsel, or ten, in my mouth and then later I produce an amazing amount of... physical activity.) 


F: "The food is here! Where's my cocktail!?"


F at the restaurant ordering a Kiddie Cocktail.

F: "Can I get a sword with cherries on it?"
Waitress: "We don't have swords, they are more like javelins."
Me: "That's fine. Just something for him to poke his eye out."
F: "I'm not going to poke my eye out." [To the waitress, now.] "He really knows nothing about my life."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I try to keep this blog light. Sometimes it's cynical, sarcastic, biting, boring, random, self-indulgent or just plain dumb. But something happened today that I can't seem to let go of and I feel like I need to share it. I recently started reading the Fat Cyclist blog. It is a good read - funny, well written, timely, but also tinged with a little sadness as his wife, Susan has been battling breast cancer. Today's post had a link to a video on Lance Armstrong's LivestrongChallenge.org site - "If you could challenge cancer, what would you say?" I didn't watch the video and I could only read part of Fatty's post. I sat in a coffee shop with tears in my eyes, swallowing hard, looking out the window.

Here is what I would say to cancer:

Cancer, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a god-damned dirty thief! Breast cancer took my friend's mom. You stole her beauty and humor. You stole her love for her family and friends. You stole my friend's happiness and his father's best friend and soul mate. 

Right now you are stealing from another friend of mine. Her dad is fighting prostate cancer for the second time. He is a grandfather and you are stealing his time with his grandkids, his wife and his kids. You have stolen his optimism, his positive outlook, his energy and vitality. "So what?", you say, "You barely know those people." That may be true, but I know what they feel because you stole from me, you bastard! 

You took my father! Ten years ago he died from prostate cancer. You stole his love from me, my mom, my sister and my wife. You stole his Ole & Lena jokes, his pride in being left-handed and his insistence on making everyone smile. You stole the advice he never had a chance to give me. And you never even let him meet my kids or my niece. They will never know the special, quirky, deeply loving grandfather he was destined to be. 

You stole his potential. After working for years at an unfulfilling job, he had found his passion and had found some success and you took it from him. You took a friend and a son and a brother. You stole, from me, the chance to make him proud and share with him the excitement of marathon and triathlon finishes. 

You stole an innocence - they kind that comes from thinking you will live forever or at least until you are very old and death will come peacefully in your sleep. I now know that I have to be vigilant and be tested regularly. I now know that death and dying can be a messy, painful, unattractive, protracted affair. You stole that innocence from everyone who knew and cared about my dad. 

To this day you keep taking from me and other people I know and love. If you took an equivalent amount of money from banks, every police department, the FBI and the military would be looking for a way to stop you. And they would. 

What you steal affects so many people, but apparently not enough people for there to be outrage. The media reports your thefts as an afterthought. A war is waged to find one guy with a beard and some radical followers, but what about all your followers? It's not right and it's not fair. 

You should be ashamed, but you aren't because, cancer, you are a soulless thief and there is no amount of time that could pay back what you have taken from me and my friends alone, not to mention everyone else affected. There will never be enough time to pay us all back.


Nope. I didn't make it to Masters this morning. A wanted to walk with her girlfriends. She hadn't walked with them for weeks, so I couldn't argue. It just means that I have to get on the bike, but it's difficult when she is around (Wednesday is her day off.) Which brings me to my current issue - bike training. I just can't seem to get a good handle on it. Motivation is an issue because I am riding the trainer for now. Ignorance is another issue. Swimming I have nailed - I know how to get the most out of any workout, I have been doing it for so long. Running - I have a "coach" with enough experience to give us a good schedule of workouts and I have been able to figure out the pattern and make adjustments as needed after two marathon cycles. The GPS helps too, as I can tailor my pace and distance without guessing. The bike thing befuddles me. 

Let's see if I can break down my hang-ups. (At this point I would like to solicit any advice.) I am the king of excuses for not riding. I could list them here, but I would only be reminding myself of how stupid they make me sound. Let's just say there are many. (Upon further reflection, I realize that all the following "hang-ups" are actually "excuses" - let's call these "The Bigguns.") 

No one to keep me honest. I have a Masters team to meet at a set time and set days. I have a running group to meet at a set time and set days. I don't have that for the bike. 

I have coaches for swimming and running. I am a sheep. Tell me what to do and I will do it. I do a pretty good job of pushing it past the limit, especially if I fool myself into thinking someone is keeping track. I do much better if someone gives me a workout to do - all that thinking makes my little brain hurt.

I don't know where to go. Living in a metro area makes it difficult to find good open roads that stretch for miles and miles. When I was living with the 'rents in Wisconsin in college the rural roads went forever. I just need to find some good routes that allow me to ride for a couple of hours at a stretch. Some with hills. Some for TTs. (See - totally lame excuse. How about I get a map or look at Google Maps or talk to my buddy at the LBS? I am just lazy.)

The conditions aren't any good. I will run in damn near any weather - and have. I have swum in rough oceans, ice cold lakes, weedy lakes, pools, rivers, and would probably swim in a septic tank if I had to. I want perfect conditions to bike. No sandy, pothole strewn roads (like we have right now). Not too cold. Not rainy. Not too dark. Blah, blah, blah. I have so much gear that cold or rain or sun or wind really shouldn't be an issue. Sandy roads - really? Potholes - they are so big you can see them half a mile away and avoid them. Too dark - maybe, but I have all day to ride. 

It's lonely out there. This might be the only issue. I don't have someone to ride with. I could ask about joining in with a bike group, but those guys scare me (Not really. Again, just lazy.)

Why so worried about the bike? Because I could shed a lot of time off the bike leg this year and I want to kick ass! 

So there it is - my bike anxiety. Any help is appreciated. Maybe keeping my little blogosphere updated will help to keep me honest - doubtful, but there is always hope, right?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two for Two

This week is starting out on the right note - training-wise anyway. Swam yesterday, ran today. Both felt good. On pace to swim again tomorrow as A is out of town with girlfriends in Chicago this weekend so no swim on Friday. My mom is in town for the kids' birthdays this weekend, so I can get my long run in on Saturday. At least that is the plan for now. 

I was so excited to run this morning because it was 40 degrees. Very minimal ice, a few puddles, but less than there has been and no need for jackets, stocking caps, thermal tights or mittens. It felt freeing to run unencumbered. The weather is bound to cool off here in the next week or so, but the worst of the weather should be behind us. (I say "should be" because last April was cold, rainy, snowy and miserable after a fairly decent March - Minnesota weather is a total crapshoot.) 

Still not nice enough to get the nice bike out on the wet, sandy, pot-holed roads, but I really should be riding the mountain bike more. (I can think up an excuse for anything, can't I?)

(Oh yeah, Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy Birthday, E!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where'm I At?

I need something to judge my fitness level right now. Running is feeling pretty good. Swimming is coming along and I have a lot of time until I have to put it to race use. I am also in the pool WAY earlier than last year and feeling faster and stronger. The bike is a HUGE question mark. I have no idea how to judge my bike fitness right now. I am ahead of last season for sure, but I have no idea how the time on the trainer is going to translate to road action. I have goals here! I need some kind of guidance. 

Poor Marketing Decisions

I got a pair of gloves for E in a sales bin at REI awhile ago. She broke them out this morning and trimmed the tags off and, of course, left the tags strewn all over the counter. (She is really not very neat.) As I was picking up the tags I noticed the great marketing strategy they had decided to employ. Actually, the marketing really sucked - see.

Really, Swany? You wanted to have everyone know that your glove technology SUX. Acronym or not it doesn't seem to make good sense to call anything you make sucks or sux. Now I know why they were on sale and there were a lot of them left. Hey, they sux. 

(Anyone remember the 6000 SUX car from Robocop?)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Inertia

Sunday's are my training off days. I should just call it that and not fool myself into thinking I am actually going to do ANY training. I stand in the shower and tell myself, "OK, today I will do my lower body weight work and core work." Then the days starts, and although I remind myself continuously, I never get around to doing anything. Unfortunately, this Sunday Inertia sometimes (too often) spills into Monday. I am hoping to avoid that tomorrow as I have already received agreement that I can go to Masters in the morning. (A will workout when I get back.)

This Sunday has been especially difficult. We went to a cocktail party Saturday night and got home probably about midnight, so I was in bed about 12:30 AM. I don't drink, but I felt hungover in the morning. It didn't help at all that the kids get up at 6:30 AM every Saturday and Sunday - drives me crazy. I got up with the kids and got them settled in front of the TV with cartoons, told them no fighting and then went back to bed. (Observant parents will, at this point, realize I didn't mention food or drink, because it was too damn early. They can wait. They won't starve - I am a terrible dad.) 

At some point, A got up and left me to sleep. The dog jumped up on the bed and slept next to me (which he is not allowed to do, but I let him sometimes and I was too tired to push him off.) I was out for another couple of hours - which has not happened in a LONG time. (Thanks, Honey!) The dog and I have this thing though - when we hear A coming down the hall I say, "Apollo, A's coming. Off! Off!" and give him a little push off the bed and he jumps down and quickly settles onto his bed so when A comes in he is getting out of his bed to greet her - we are soooo sneaky.

We ended up having dinner very late, for us. So I had time to take the dog for a little later walk. I took the route that takes me over a couple of blocks and ran into a textile rep I know. She had heard all about the dog from her daughter because she rides the same bus as my kids and is picked up earlier. I was catching up with her - the company she works for closed their showroom and five or so others across the country. She is still employed, just working from home - I didn't realize this. It's just another illustration of how bad it is right now. As we were talking, her husband, a furniture rep, came out and we were all catching up in their driveway. I asked him how his business was and if he was cutting back on travel at all. He said that actually, he was just looking at booking some upcoming travel and asked if I wanted to join him. This guy reps great lines and is a lot of fun, I said, "Hell, yeah!" When I got home, I told A and she was very receptive. I will provide more details once it gets nailed down - you know how these things can evaporate pretty quickly. It could be a very good opportunity on many levels.

Well, since I am committed to swimming tomorrow, I better wrap up the day. I don't want this sloth-like Sunday to hold me down at 5:30 tomorrow morning. Again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What do 20 Third-Grade Girls, Conjunctivitis and 16.7 Miles Have in Common?

Nothing really. 

E had her birthday party yesterday after school. It turned out to be the perfect day. It was clear and sunny and warm (37 degrees - I know SD and HI, not warm - but it is for us.) The girls had a great time and there were no injuries or bickering, just screeching third-grade girls all in their matching uniform shirts, bombing down the tubing hill.

Giant chocolate chip cookies instead of cake around the gas bonfire. That is a big crowd. Thank goodness they are outside and no where near my house.

F riding up the tow-rope. (That is my big dumb foot, there.)

Bombing down the hill.

A couple of friends. 37 Degrees is too hot to wear a jacket.

During our run this morning MS was talking about what she was doing today and she said she was taking her kids to Circus Juventas. It's supposed to be pretty neat. I kept calling it Circus Conjunctivitis.

We did our long run this morning. It was a decent day. 29 at the start, but that just meant that all the snow that melted yesterday froze into slick, treacherous rinks this morning. It was a challenging run. MS was finishing her first week of tri training and LF was still feeling her Achille's. I had sore lower legs from the running I did earlier in the week. But we sucked it up and made it. 16.7 miles total. Our average pace was dead on, but if you look at our splits we had to work for it. Being the pacer, I kept the pace about 30 seconds fast in the middle because we had started the first couple of miles very slow. We had a surprisingly slow mile right at the end, too. 

A good Saturday so far. We have a cocktail party later. I need to catch a nap or I won't make it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"The Finn-ger" Revisited

F can't let "the finger" go. This morning he was reviewing acceptable use of the middle finger.
F: "Now, if I use this finger [pointing to his middle finger] with one or two other fingers, that is OK, right?"
Me: "Yes, that is alright."
F: "But if I use just this finger alone, that isn't alright?"
Me: "Right."
F: "If I use this finger pointing up or down, is that alright?"
Me: "If you use the middle finger to point at something, like I sometimes do, then it is OK. If you are angry and use it - up or down - then that is swearing. If you point at something with your middle finger and say, 'Look at what finger I am pointing with, hee, hee,' that is also considered swearing. If you...you know what - just don't use your middle finger on either hand without one or more of the other fingers to keep it company. You will stay out of trouble that way."
F: "Like this? Or this?" [Showing me a peace sign and three fingers.]
Me: "Yes. And if I hear that you are showing the middle finger again, I will take if from you. I will cut it off because it will show you are not responsible enough to have a middle finger. It's what my dad did to me."
F: [Concerned look on his face] "Really, dad?"
Me: "No, F. Not really."
(I will tape that middle finger to the others if I get another email from his teacher though, F***ing kid!)

Busy Friday

I am looking at a busy Friday. I just got home from Master's Swimming. Not many people in the pool today. It was "Sprint Friday" - as it is every Friday - but we had a substitute coach. To make things interesting he threw in eight 50 yard sprints off the blocks. I can not remember the last time I started off blocks. The skills - or lack there of - came back no problem. I didn't lose my goggles or "hurt myself" (some guys might know what I mean) and I did alright. 2,800 mostly sprint yards done. 

Now, I have typical morning stuff to do - shower, pick up the house, walk the dog, return emails, etc. This afternoon is atypical. 

E's birthday is next week - St. Patty's Day - but we are celebrating it today. F's birthday is eight days later, as soon as they were old enough to understand we established a policy of alternating big birthday parties. This year is E's - she chose snow tubing. When she first suggested this, I groaned. The last thing I want to do is freeze my butt off in the middle of March. It is actually turning out to be a good day for it. It will be sunny and "warm" (37 degrees) and outside and not in my house. The snow tubing is at a local ski hill and they have sculpted lanes, big inner tubes with nylon sleeves over them and a tow rope that drags you up the hill. We have been before - it really is a lot of fun. Only problem for me is that it involves 20 third grade girls. Ever been around ten third grade girls? Well, past that number each additional girl is a factor of ten, so we might as well have like 1,000 third grade girls attending. (Somebody can correct my math there. Remember - Interior Designer NOT Architect.) They are all so screechy and loud. 

We are probably the worst birthday party throwers ever. This year - NO GIFTS - the girls are told to bring a new book to donate to the school library. We DO NOT need more crap in our house. We also do not do gift bags. This is just a personal preference and not meant as a knock on other families, but why do I have to give your kid a bunch of crap for attending my kid's birthday party? Your kid just got to have all sorts of fun, eat cake, drink juice and be out of your hair for a couple hours - I think that is enough of a payment. (Really, the reason is because I am lazy and I don't like to do that crafty kind of crap.)

Before we get to the hill I have to pick up the cake (which is actually three GIANT chocolate chip cookies) and all the treats and drinks and beer for A. (It's how she copes - not really, that makes her sound like she has a drinking problem. And let me tell you, she has NO problem drinking.) So the afternoon has me running around. I am hoping for an early night - I have 16 - 18 miles to run tomorrow morning. Ready, set, Go!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"The Finn-ger"

At parent/teacher conferences the other day, F's teacher asked if we had heard about "the finger incident." Why, no. We had not heard about "the finger incident." Apparently, a couple weeks before F was goofing around with his teacher and gave her the finger saying, "I'm swearing. I'm swearing." His rather strict teacher set him straight on using that gesture, even in jest. We all thought the message had gotten through. 

A couple of days ago we got an email from F's teacher informing us that she had caught him teaching "the finger" to another boy. "Finn pulled up another boy's middle finger" to show him how it works. Every time we tried to bring it up he would run away crying and screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. EVER. AGAIN!" Apparently that teacher really messed with his little mind ("You know, Jesus is watching. All the time. And JUDGING!") We agreed he had been punished enough. 

What I can't figure out is where the f**k that little s**t learned how to communicate that way. He sure as h**l didn't learn that s**t from me or his mother. I mean J***s C****t, the kid goes to a G*d D**n Catholic School. He claims he learned it from his sister. Well, that is just F**king Great! She goes to the same school. Son of a B***h!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Productive Morning

After a killer run on Monday and nothing on Tuesday I needed to get back on schedule. A had the mother/son mass and breakfast this morning with F so I couldn't swim. The weather was terrible yesterday and we are dealing with cold temps and ice and snow - AGAIN! So no running today. Tomorrow is a scheduled run anyway. Core work, upper body weights and an hour on the bike. Done! I decided to do my bike work a little differently and concentrate on heart rate instead of speed or mileage. After a 10 minute warmup, I did a solid 40 minutes with my heart rate at 140 - pretty good and comfortable for me on the bike. Then a 10 minute cool down. I do really need to get the biking legs going along with the aero back. The core work is helping with the back. As always, I just need more time in the saddle.

It really helped to have sun streaming in the windows while I rode. Why not bike or run outside, you ask? Because it's 3 degrees with a -16 degree windchill. Sun doesn't always equal nice weather in the frozen north. Saturday it is supposed to reach the mid-40s (yes, still cold for many of you) and that means snow and ice melt. Yeah! Small victories.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sometimes It Just Works Out

Mondays can be difficult for me. I could swim, but A likes to run or walk on Monday mornings, so I don't count on it. I could bike, but it's on the trainer and although I was doing well for a while there, I am back to avoidance. I could lift, lower body, since I did upper body yesterday, but that would make my legs tired (more avoidance.) I could just sit on the couch and call walking the dog my workout for today - I'll take that.

Then I reviewed my calendar for the week and Tuesday is jam packed (shocking for an unemployed guy, but true.) 7:30 I have the father/daughter mass and breakfast with E - running tomorrow morning is OUT. Then I have meetings in the morning and prep in the afternoon for meetings at night (Cub Scouts - helping set up the Pinewood Derby) and Twin Cities Marathon (first time on a committee should be fun.) Then I check the weather and it is supposed to be miserable tomorrow, so a run tomorrow should be avoided anyway. What to do? What to do? Sit on the couch some more. Take a 20 minute snooze (I am still catching up from the whole "spring forward" thing after all.) Wake up and it is still the cloudy day it was 20 minutes ago. It is above freezing and it isn't raining or snowing. I really should run. No, I bet I could fit it in tomorrow. Nope. Can't fit it in and wouldn't want to anyway. THAT'S IT! GET OFF THE FRICKING COUCH AND RUN! Alright already.

Tomorrow's scheduled run is a 10 miler at marathon pace. I am pacing a couple of women for a spring marathon to qualify for Boston so if I was running tomorrow, I would run that pace. Today I decided to try to run the pace for my goal time (Boston qualifying) since I was running alone. I thought it would be tough. Turns out it wasn't that tough.

It's about two miles to Lake Harriet from my house and a little under three around the lake. We have a little "extra-credit loop" that adds enough to make it over three miles. So the plan was to warm up with the two miles to the lake, run the lake twice plus two extra credits at my marathon pace and then easy home. Well, the "warm up" was quicker than expected, so I thought the two loops at marathon pace would be a stretch. I got into it right away and was clipping right along feeling good, if not a bit overdressed (typical for me - I like to feel like I am in Tahiti at all times.) I was watching my pace on my watch and it was a little faster than I wanted but I kept holding it and holding it and holding it. For the whole six plus miles. I was shocked. I walked a block and then started my warm down run home. This was also quicker than anticipated.

For some reason I dropped off a little at mile six, probably because of the hilly extra credit loop, but got back at it for the last two miles around the lake. (If I could get the Garmin Connect Player to work I could figure out were I dropped off.) Got it figured out - pace slowed after the second extra-credit loop. Here is the chart:

After all that waffling and excuse making and paralysis by analysis it worked out pretty well. I certainly am feeling stronger and faster than last year at this time. Like I said, sometimes it just works out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sometimes It Just Doesn't Matter

Last week I attended a coffee for unemployed interior design professionals set up by three local sales reps. It kind of surprises me that this hasn't been done sooner or by other reps, but it was a great event. I knew only a couple of people there, but I was familiar with all the firms represented and surprised by some. I was probably the person laid off the longest ago, but then I have been exploring other avenues and not looking exclusively for design jobs. Lately, I have avoided architecture and design firms all together, because no one is hiring, they are only downsizing and my time has been better spent pursuing other interests and opportunities. 

The people I met and talked to had a wide variety of experience and expertise. A few had been in the industry for over 20 years and had been with their previous firm for 15 or more years. There were partners, vice presidents, senior designers, junior designers, new grads. There were people with project management experience, advanced degrees, advanced certifications, specialization in healthcare design, casino design, commercial and residential design. 

One woman I talked to - actually she talked to me, or more precisely at me - illustrates just where the job market is right now. She told me she was working on a big casino project (that I was familiar with) and described her responsibilities (all of this unsolicited by me, which was kind of annoying, but whatever.) She was young and, for the most part, project managing the interiors portion of the job. She had gotten her certification, become LEED accredited (sustainable/"green" design,) trained on and become very good with the most advanced architectural CAD program out there (which the industry is rapidly adopting as the standard,) was involved in company initiatives and committees. Basically, she was doing exactly what so many job search "gurus" are recommending - make yourself invaluable. Be seen. Be involved. Be improving your skills. And she got canned anyway. 

When you are doing what you should be doing and can't stay employed it is difficult to understand the reasoning for getting laid off. Sometimes it just doesn't matter. Sometimes it becomes so much about protecting the bottom line and just staying in business that good people are let go even while less qualified or less talented people are retained - for the time being. This has all been seen before. None of this is new. It has been a long time since we have seen it to this extent, but the country survived then as it will now. It ain't easy. It sucks! But it will get better. Eventually, someday, soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Shopping Update

This is such a ridiculous post. I know that everyone really wants to hear about shopping, especially after my rant yesterday. I will keep it short - I went to the Gap and got two pairs of jeans. I fear for the future of all retailers - there was virtually no one in the mall and very few customers in the Gap. Anyway, my jean misadventure is now behind me. On to bigger and better things.

A Good Long Run

We had a good run this morning - 15.5 miles - our longest so far for this training cycle. We were talking about how quickly we got to this milestone compared to last year. The spring marathon we are entered in is about a month earlier than Grandma's Marathon so our training schedule is a month ahead. The weather wasn't too bad - 27 degrees, but cloudy and a little breezy. I still think we are more fit at this time than we were last year. This upcoming week is pretty serious stuff with longer runs that tack on speed and hills. We should be feeling it for our long run next Saturday.

Friday, March 6, 2009

First, A Rant

I need to rant. I have started to really hate to shop. Even at my favorite stores. I used to get excited to go poke around at REI (easily my favorite brick-and-mortar store), but even that starts to cause anxiety and irritation. I used to like to shop for clothes - or at least it didn't bother me much and I used to shop fairly often for clothes. Now, I would almost rather run a marathon wearing a cotton t-shirt with no Body Glide on the nips. What precipitated all this you ask? 

Yesterday, I decided I needed to get a couple pairs of jeans. My old ones are ripping and fraying and stained and generally looking like hell. I had a gift card from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket and some time on my hands. Edina (a suburb of Minneapolis and my actual address) is home to the first bane of America's existence - er, I mean the first enclosed shopping mall - Southdale Center. For years this mall had good stores and was relatively un-irritating to shop at. In recent years it has become less un-irritating - OK, I will come out and say it - it's irritating to go there. The situation became damn near unbearable when several years ago a certain unnamed department store headquartered in New York City and known for holiday parades bought the local department store chain from Target (a locally headquartered retail powerhouse). This new store moved right in and lowered standards across the board. I have not liked them since day one and my experiences the last two days have made me determined to avoid shopping there at all costs.

Back to yesterday - I bit the bullet and took my gift card to this store because, well frankly, everything there is on sale. I walked around and selected about a dozen pairs of jeans and not once did a sales associate ask me if I needed help or even acknowledge me. I tried on the jeans after finding the fitting rooms myself and hated every pair. I put them in the bin near the fitting rooms for restocking and went back to select round number two. Again, I poured over racks looking for my size and again no one bothered to ask if I needed help. I am pretty self sufficient so it wasn't like I was struggling, but an offer of assistance might have been nice. With a dozen more jeans hung over my arm I start walking back to the fitting rooms - at this time a sales associate asks, "Would you like to try those on?" as I am walking into the fitting rooms - great powers of observation. There was no follow-up and I never saw that associate again. I found a couple pairs of jeans that worked and bought them - the only part of my visit that went without a hitch. 

Problem is, when I got home and tried them on for my wife and slipped into a pair of shoes, I realized they would be too short. DAMN IT! I have to go back to the store. I thought it would be an easy-in-easy-out, just get the same size longer length, exchange and go. I walk into the store with the store's bag in my hand - no acknowledgment. I walk to the jeans area, pull the jeans I am going to exchange out of the bag (wanted to make sure I had the right color) and again no acknowledgment. They don't have the longer length, or at least I can't find it. I am bouncing from rack to rack searching and again, no one asks if I need any help - actually there was no one there to ask. Finally, I got fed up! I stuffed the jeans back into my bag, stormed over to a cash-wrap and before I said anything, was told they couldn't help me right now, they needed to look for something for someone on the phone. Totally and obviously ticked I ask if there is another cash-wrap nearby and then stormed down the main aisle - right by two managers - until I found someone by a cash register. I dropped my package down and said, "I want to return these." He looked at the receipt and said, "Oh, I see you paid for part with a gift card. I will have to give it back to you on a gift card." I said, "Is there any way you can just put it all back on my credit card, because I would prefer to never have to shop here again." Unfazed, he did just that. His only reply was, "Sorry you didn't have a pleasant experience." Then I stormed back down the main aisle, stormed by the two managers still standing there, and got the hell out of there.

Now, I don't want companies to go out of business and I certainly do not want people to lose their jobs, however, this company deserves every loss it has taken in the past few years and if they were to go away, I would say "Good Riddance." It would seem to me that in this economy a store would want to maximize the positive experience for the few customers they are getting in the doors. I honestly don't know what they are thinking. The associates are frustrating enough, but I can kind of give them the benefit of the doubt. I can only imagine their training was not stellar. What is absolutely inexcusable is the behavior of the managers. If you are short staffed then the managers need to get on the floor and sell and help customers. I would immediately fire the two chuckleheads that I walked by for being stupid, lazy and certainly not customer oriented. 

Now, I am without new jeans and I have to go out shopping again. Perhaps I will go for a run first and get those endorphins pumping. I will probably have to go for another run afterwards to work of the fury. Shopping might actually be good for my training.

Now, For Something Completely Different

There is so much I need to write about. Let's start with terrible photographs. Awhile back I mentioned our family portrait for the parish directory. If you recall from that post, I was anticipating bad things from that photo shoot. Well, the picture came. Here it is:

My wife, A, "Glass-Half-Full Girl", seems to think it's OK. I cannot agree less. It is a terrible picture of me certainly, but really of everyone. Except for A - she always looks wonderful. Where to start. F's hair looks greasy, dirty and awful and his smile looks painted on. I have easily the worst excuse for a smile on my face (looks like someone could you a little Dulcolax) and if anyone wants to buy advertising space on my giant forehead I can cut you a good deal. Granted, I have a little bit of a Neanderthal protruding forehead thing, but the lighting makes me look a little too much like one of the Geico cavemen (minus the uni-brow, thank you very much.) Please, go through my previous posts and tell me my family and I are much better looking than this photo conveys. Ugh, I can't stand to look at it - I need to go away.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Payment Deferred

I am totally a glass half empty guy, I guess. This morning wasn't so bad. I was still a little sore, but not to the extent that I was anticipating. (I was afraid I wouldn't be able to walk down stairs.) Swimming really helped. Another IM day (every Wednesday) so that helps get all the muscle groups working. We are in taper mode. Not really, but kind of. The high school state meet is this weekend and we share the pool with one of the teams, but not workouts. Still, coach seems to lengthen intervals and shorten yardage for us as well. It worked for me today.

We are getting a little reprieve from winter. It is sunny and clear and supposed to be 40 degrees today so I broke out the mountain bike instead of driving to the coffee shop. Felt good to bike outside even for a short ride. 

Oh yeah - the GI issues resolved themselves in time for dinner last night - BLTs - I ate two - super delicious.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Am So Going to Pay

Actually, I am already paying. I have identified March as a tear down month (or a build up month for all you glass-half-full types out there.) What does this entail, you may ask? It is basically getting back on track with the training. We are three days into tear down/build up month and it has been a little hit and miss. 

Sunday - nothing. Home with the kids and my wife out of town makes it difficult for me to train. Hey, it's the sabbath, day of rest and all that. So start March with a rest day. I also ended February with a rest day so it all has a nice symmetry. Whoops, I forgot, I did do my core work on Sunday - baby steps. 

Monday - No swimming because my wife was out of town. Then I was too lazy/distracted/lazy to get on the bike trainer. I did my lower body weight work that I had neglected for at least a couple of weeks. I thought I went pretty easy. I ended the evening with my core work. 

Today - Didn't make it to the 5:30 AM run due to my wife getting home very late. Turned out to be a good decision as my kids got up way earlier than usual so I had to wrangle them so A could sleep in a little bit. The "easy" weights I did - yeah, apparently not as easy as I thought. I felt them in my quads, calves and glutes. I went for my run at noon - just under 10 miles with seven strides before heading home. My legs weren't hurting necessarily, but I could tell they had been a little over worked. (Look at my crazy chart below.)

Now I am paying. The tab came pretty quickly as my GI tract went into massive distress when I got home. That is what I get for running after that extra cup of coffee. The Immodium seems to be kicking in and hopefully I will have an appetite in time for dinner - I really hate that. Thank goodness it is a rare occurrence and directly attributed to too much java. Now, I just know I am going to be sore as hell tomorrow morning. Good thing it's a swimming day and possibly biking. Upper body weights this afternoon or tonight and core work and then dead arms tomorrow morning. Now, do you get the "tear down" part? I guess I can see where it could be considered "building up," too. Tomato, potato. Speaking of which - BLT's for dinner tonight - bacon makes everything better.

I Have Issues!

To anyone who has read this blog even once, this will come as no surprise. I have issues. Years of therapy and chemistry have helped with the real ones, but there are some that I just can't conquer.

Issue #1 - I do not understand my wife's fascination with The Bachelor. It is the fakest (most fakey? Whatever, you know what I mean) "reality" show on TV. Yes, even faker than "wrassling." The finale was on last night and she was flying back from Florida so she missed it. (She did call to check in and wanted me to turn it on and tell her what was happening - she was kidding, I think.) This morning, after the kids got on the bus and before she even got out of her robe she was on the computer watching the show and "oohing" and "aahing" at all the "drama." I couldn't stand it. While she was watching she decided to take care of an important task that has been neglected for far too long around our house, as I am sure it has been neglected at houses across the country. She decided to sharpen all the pencils.

Issue #2 - I can't work out when my wife or kids are around. It's not really a matter of wanting more to be with them then doing my workout for the day, (imagine what a great husband and father I would be if that were the case) I have anxiety about the potential interruption. I think this partially accounts for my inability to do any training after about 3:30. (What else accounts for my inability to train after 3:30, you ask? I have no idea.)

Issue #3 - I can't think of another issue. Why is this an issue? Because I know I have more issues than just these two (or three depending on how you read this.) Maybe I will throw it out to my friends and family. On second thought - let's just call it good for now.