Weekly Weigh In: Week Six

Another week gone, and another pound lighter. That’s right: 179 as of this morning. Interestingly (to me, at any rate), that 1 pound came all in one day. Last Saturday I dropped from 180 to 179, and I’ve been around 179 since. Weight loss is strange, what can I say?

I know I don’t have that much more of this left in me. I’ve already begun looking at ways to game the system so that I can meet my goal and just be done with this earlier rather than later. My father’s going to be here in two weeks, so I’ve set that as my “be done by the diet by then” date. That means I’d have to lose 4 pounds in 2 weeks, which is definitely not going to happen the way I’m currently going. (It would likely take me 4 more weeks. 3 at the outside.) But I’m not above fasting for the last day just to cross the finish line. I think I can use a trick like that at the last minute, though it’ll be important that I try to toe the line and not eat like a pig too much.

Although who knows? I just got my second shot of the Moderna vaccine, and I know that gives some people some sever reactions. Maybe mine will be of the “lose 4 pounds in two weeks” variety. What are the odds? 🙂

For now, I’m just happy that the diet has continued to work. I’m down 9.8 pounds in 6 weeks, which doesn’t feel too incredibly fast to me. (Which is good. I didn’t want to just plummet down the weight, only to have it all come back the next week. That’s for the end of the diet, right?)

Onward and downward!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Tortoise and the Hare: COVID Style

Back in the days after Thanksgiving last year, I remember feeling a general tension among my friends and associates here in Maine. COVID numbers were rising higher than we’d seen them before, and there was a real sense that we might have a serious problem on our hands. After all, we’d had our biggest surge back in May 2020, when there were case rates in the high double digits each day. (78 was the peak on May 20th.) December 9th. about 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, we were up to 405 cases in a day.

It definitely felt (to me, at least) like people were taking this seriously. That said, it didn’t stop the trend. By January 13th, we had our most cases recorded in a single day: 824. Thankfully. people seemed to get the message by then (or perhaps they just stopped getting together for family holidays, since there were no more family holidays to get together for?). Since then, the case rates dropped into February, when we bottomed out in the low 200s. That seems low in comparison to January 13th, but it felt high right around Thanksgiving.

Case numbers have only gone up since then. We’ve now had our third day in a row of more than 500 cases a day, and we’re running 30% fewer tests each day than we were in January. The case trend is more troubling now than it was back then, so why is there not more of the tension in the area around the spread?

There’s a couple of obvious reasons I can identify. People are just tired of following restrictions, for one thing. Even when the restrictions are relatively easy (like wearing a mask), it feels like a lot of people just don’t want to do them anymore. There’s also the fact that we have yet to see the corresponding spike in hospitalizations and deaths, almost certainly due to more than 80% of our population older than 70 being vaccinated now.

Then there’s the fact that many people are already vaccinated to one degree or another. The end is in sight, after all. I will be getting my second shot tomorrow and two weeks after that, I’ll be good to go. Denisa’s on the same schedule as me. Tomas will get his second shot by the end of the month. The odds of COVID having a drastic impact on my immediate family will be drastically lower. So at this point, my general approach has been to shake my head at people who seem unable to follow some basic guidelines for the last few weeks, but to not really stress about it other than that.

It doesn’t mean those case rates don’t concern me, however, especially since there’s nothing to point at to show why they’re going up so much. No Thanksgiving or Christmas, though perhaps some of it is from Easter? It seems very probable right now that we might have our worst surge of cases now, just before we ought to be at the point where our cases are dwindling. Also troubling: the spread is happening in more rural areas instead of cities.

Perhaps it won’t end up mattering. Perhaps the hospitalization rates will stay down (even if they might be higher than they would have been by following guidelines better). Same for deaths. But I’m concerned more right now that some of the shut downs across the state might have to be put into place again. I want this to all be done as much as the next guy, but I realize from a public planning standpoint, the dramatic rise in cases might well slow that down.

But who really knows? Not me, that’s for sure. I’m just focusing on the things I can control. Once I’m vaccinated, I’m definitely going to be going out more and doing more. There’s a trip to Puerto Rico in my future already, and I think I’ll start going back to restaurants and maybe even a movie theater if there’s something worth seeing. That is to say, I completely understand wanting to be done with all of this, I just don’t understand the insistence on doing so prematurely, and the lack of general concern I’m feeling around me about the direction my state is currently heading. The numbers we have now were grounds for “very concerned” back in November/December. I wonder what they’ll have to get to for the same response now.

Here’s hoping I’m worrying over nothing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Don’t Skip Leg Day

It’s a pretty well-documented fact that I’ve spent the last five or more years trying to do get myself into better shape, bit by bit. Reducing my sugar intake. Lowering my weight. Standing up straighter. Exercising more regularly. I added weight lifting to the mix for a while, though I stepped away from that when I hurt my shoulder. I’ve recently come back to it again, though. (Yay for a shoulder that’s feeling much better.)

One area I’ve never really paid any attention to is my legs, however. They move me around from place to place, and that’s about all the thought I’ve given them. A year and a half ago, however, I went to an exercise class with my sister, and after that one class, my legs stopped working. My muscles pretty much resigned and said they were taking a three day vacation in protest to what I’d put them through. Mind you, I hadn’t put them through anything that strenuous. Just some basic strength exercises. It was not a fun few days after that.

That experience inspired me to begin paying more attention to building up some leg muscle. As has been typical for me, however, it takes a while between having the first thought of doing something that will get me into better shape and then actually doing that thing to get into better shape. Now that I’m coming into the home stretch on my dieting goal, I’ve been focusing on building muscle again. (Mainly because muscle burns fat, and I thought if I were to add some more muscle, it would be easier to keep off the pounds.)

I’m not going to the gym. I’m still just too lazy to do anything that elaborate. Instead, I try to do basic things that I can do wherever I am. In this case, it’s just squats. 20 of them in a row, which you’d think would be something anyone in reasonable health could do. Let’s just say that my legs clearly aren’t in “reasonable health” I guess. I did 20 yesterday, and I’ve been walling wobbly since then. Which, of course, just highlights the need for me to keep this up.

The plan isn’t to turn myself into some supermensch. The plan is just to get myself to the point that I can do 20 or 40 squats at a time without feeling like my legs have turned to jello the next day. It’s a low bar. Wish me luck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Driver’s Ed at Last

Tomas is coming up on his seventeenth birthday, but COVID derailed his driving plans until just last night. He had been planning on signing up for driver’s ed right about when COVID struck, and then . . . 2020 happened. He got on the waiting list for the program, and they just barely caught up with him.

It’s interesting to see how Maine approaches driver’s ed differently than Pennsylvania, where I got my license. He has to get ready for a written exam at the beginning of May. Once he’s passed that and taken the driving course as well as had some online instruction, he’ll have 6 months to get 70 hours of driving practice in with his parents. (10 hours of that has to be at night.) Then he’ll be eligible to take the road test. So the earliest he’ll be able to have his license at this point is the beginning of November.

It’s been so long ago that I got my license that I’ve forgotten a lot of what I had to do. I remember going to a driver’s ed course at the middle school, but as I recall, that was mainly because if you did that, then you qualified for reduced insurance rates? Something like that. I remember practicing driving with my mom and about giving her a heart attack multiple times, but I’m almost sure I didn’t do anywhere near 70 hours of practice before I went in for my road test. (I passed that my first time. The trickiest part was parallel parking, but I somehow fumbled my way through it.)

I also found out yesterday about these miraculous apps you can have installed on your kids’ phones. They’ll track how fast they’re actually going when they’re driving. That might strike some people as a bit too Orwellian, but I remember driving at 16, and I remember some of the idiotic things I did. Driving too fast was definitely one of them. Fast enough that I remember thinking, “This is way too fast. I shouldn’t do this again.” If a sixteen year old brain can recognize that, you can only imagine how fast I was going. At night. On narrow Pennsylvania roads.

Ugh.

So we’ll almost definitely be getting that app for Tomas’s phone once he can drive.

In any case, it’s exciting to see him get to this point. Having another driver in the house will make a lot of things much, much easier, even if we’re not planning on getting a third car. (Because expensive, and also because by the time he’s actually driving, he’ll have less than a year before he’s off. Any other parents out there have any tips on what to do to prepare for a new driver?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

You’re Not the COVID Police

I get it. We’ve all been dealing with COVID (in one way or another) for well over a year now. We’re all getting very tired of this whole ordeal. (At least, I assume I speak for everyone with that statement. Maybe there’s someone out there who thinks this is all a blast?) But one thing that’s definitely not helping is to have people start sniping at other people over the things those people are doing when it comes to COVID.

This goes both ways. You’ve got people who are yelling at other people for not wearing masks and others who are yelling at them because they’re wearing masks. You’ve got people upset that others are going on vacations, and others who are upset because more people aren’t going out and living their lives.

I have plenty of friends on Facebook. My feed is filled right now with pictures of them out and about, having fun in different places. Some of the places they’re having fun seem like situations I personally wouldn’t go to at the moment. Anything in-doors, unmasked, basically. Most of the places are out of doors, and I wouldn’t blink at doing that, especially if you can stay somewhat distant from other people.

But what I’m not doing is wasting time worrying about what they’re doing. My friends are grown adults, capable of making their own decisions, and they certainly don’t need to clear their activities with me before they go out and have fun. So instead, I’m trying to assume the best. Assume they’re all vaccinated. Assume they’ve already had COVID and so are immune for at least 6 months. Assume the people they’re with are in their personal bubbles. Assume they’re making the best decisions they can with the information they have available to them.

Right now, there are a million different approaches to “what’s right” when it comes to COVID. I went out to play tennis with a friend Saturday. We were at the local high school in the morning. Sunny. Breezy. Gorgeous. Neither of us was wearing a mask, because everything I know about this disease says that outside playing tennis is not the way I’m going to catch it. We never got within six feet of each other. It felt very safe to me. But then someone from the high school came to inform us that we all had to be wearing masks to use the court.

I went and put my mask on. I didn’t complain. I didn’t protest about my rights or about this being America or whatever. I was grateful I could use the public courts, and I’m willing to do whatever I’m asked to do, even if I may feel it’s overkill. (I’ve been on the other side of that interaction, having to tell people they can’t eat or drink in the library, and that they need to put their mask on. When it comes to my building, I am the COVID police, because I need to ensure people are following the rules for using our space.)

I’m sure if I had posted a picture of my friend and I playing tennis, some would have seen it and been disappointed we weren’t masked. I in turn would be disappointed in them for thinking so little of me as to assume I wasn’t being careful. Right now, it feels like following COVID guidelines is a lot like being a good driver. Everyone sees the choices they’re making as being justified and necessary and right, and it’s too easy to see the things other people are doing as reckless or too concerned.

This is coming from a person who very much believes this pandemic is real, and who’s very much concerned that people are treating it too lightly, on the whole. That said, I don’t believe people are going to be guilt tripped into following “the rules,” regardless of what you may believe those rules to be. (And that’s the thing, isn’t it? We all have different opinions of what you should and shouldn’t be doing, and it’s pretty much impossible to “prove” your opinion is right.) And so since pointing fingers isn’t going to do any good at all, what use is it to waste all that time, energy, and goodwill on something that does nothing to actually help the situation other than (debatably) make you feel better for having “done something”?

It’s easier to assume the best, remind ourselves we’re all in this together, and just keep plugging away as best we can.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

%d bloggers like this: