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Archived Entries from August 2011


Weight

So when I started this whole not-drinking-during-the-week thing (which is still going fantasmagorically, thank you very much) it was some about money and a lot about, well, not drinking all the damn time.

It really was never about weight loss, although that happened, and in a big way. I'm still down 20 pounds from about 3 weeks ago.

And now I have tasted blood, and want to go lower.

I'm never going to get back down to 150 pounds--I don't want to get down to 150 pounds. I have too much upper body muscle to get back down that low, and have no desire to become a 150-pound weakling (again).

I don't think 175 is an unreasonable number, however.

Three weeks ago (and for the past few years) I was at 210 pounds.

This past week I've been holding steady at 192.

So I'm right about halfway to 175. If I just give it another 3 weeks do we think that will happen? I don't know that I want to lose it that fast because I like the diet that I'm on now (that was done for money reasons, not really weight reasons) and I don't want to keep dropping weight past 175 and start losing muscle and look all skinny and stuff.

Part of the reason I'm looking at this stuff is because one of my bad vices, other than liking beer a lot, is hot breakfast sandwiches. Homemade, of course. We have a lot of plain ground sausage in the freezer and I love to make myself a good breakfast sandwich on a bagel with a fried egg and piece of cheese.

But I've always thought those were absolutely terrible for me.

Maybe not so much. Bagel: 260 cal., cheese: 60 cal., and egg: 75 cal. That's about 400 calories.

The kicker is figuring out how much the sausage patty is.

McDonald's says their breakfast sausage patties are 170 calories. I think I make mine bigger in diameter, but slightly thinner, so I'm going to say that mine are at the very most 200 calories. That gets me to a total of 600 calories for the whole thing (a sausage mcmuffin with egg, on the other hand, is 450 calories).

And my sausage is fresh, my eggs are fresh, so there's no preservatives in either.

600 calories? Is that it? I burn about 120 calories a mile when walking, so I need to walk 5 miles to burn off that sandwich. Wake up, Linus! (Just kidding--go back to sleep, puppy...)

I did a bunch of those calculators on-line to see how many calories I should eat. 2,600 per day to maintain my weight with no exercise at all. 2,100 to lose a pound per week.

2,100? Okay, so hot breakfast sandwich is 600. That leaves me 1,500.

Slice of bread: 60
Six pieces of deli ham: 45
One piece salami: 40 (or so)
Mustard: none
Lettuce: none
Cup of Ramen: 290

That's my lunch lately.

If my math is right that's 435 calories. (I drink water...)

So I have about 1,100 calories left for dinner. And here's where we can see the original problem. A beer like like 90 calories. So ten beers is 900 calories. And I wasn't only eating 200 calories for dinner.

But 1,100 calories for dinner? I think I can swing that.

Plus I've been walking 4-5 miles per day, which increases that total number up there too.

So I need to not go crazy, just stay the course, keep walking, keep eating (within reason) what I want, and I should get down to my 175 pounds.

How the hell did I get poison ivy on the inside of my elbow? Seriously? (I think I might have it on my right eyelid as well...).

Sheesh.

Posted: Monday, August 29, 2011, 10:44 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Frustrated with eBay

Really? Never used "annoyed" as a mood before? Huh.

So I sold my first two things on eBay, and have been paid for neither of them. One was a plate that I only put up as a test item and never intended to sell, but was bid on (six times--the same amount each time by the same person) and eventually won by the lone bidder. Their username is a number. Their e-mail address is a girl's first and presumably last name, although the last name of the e-mail address doesn't match the last name listed as the sender. And of course the person sending the messages is a dude.

Sigh. As soon as the auction was over he e-mailed me right away and wanted to know what else I had for sale so he could presumably buy it all and save on shipping. Not sure if he meant for me to try to sell it to him outside of eBay and essentially break their terms of use.

Now "he" claims he has had a death in the family and wants me to re-list the item. While I of course don't believe "him" I told "him" that I'd be happy to wait a few days while he got his situation sorted out if he was still interested in the plate.

The second thing I sold was a water pump for that Aurora that, well, met its demise. One guy bid on it right away and then was outbid at the last minute by someone else. And that someone else has also not paid. Nor contacted me. Nor replied to any of my attempts to contact him.

So the first guy is still willing to buy it as a "second chance" deal, but I have to go through negotiation with eBay first so that I don't get charged the fee for the first person not paying.

Seriously? I thought this was supposed to be easy. Dealing with people who never call back on Craigslist is annoying, but it certainly isn't this big of a pain in the ass.

I will keep at it, however.

I was going to stay up and watch the Sox and Angels, but with the mood I'm in I think I'll just go to bed instead. Sigh.

Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 1:50 am
Mood: Annoyed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


My Left Foot

So over the weekend we did a lot of yard work--cutting down the weed trees that sprout up everywhere, pulling weeds, picking up sticks--all the stuff that we would have been doing all summer if it hadn't been 110 degrees out every day.

I took three full loads of brush and trees and branches to the farm to put on the burn pile. It felt good to get all of that cleared out of the back yard.

Except on Sunday night, my left foot started to hurt. At first it felt like I stubbed my toe really hard. Then I thought I might have broken it. By Monday morning it felt more like it was in my foot. Being a man, I shrugged it off and went to work. By Tuesday it hurt a little more, so I figured I'd quit my daily walks with the dog, or at least shorten them. Tuesday night I could barely make it around the block. On Wednesday morning it really hurt, but I had to take part in a presentation in front of a departmental advisory committee so I didn't have much choice but go to work. Right after our presentation (if you can call it that) was over, I ran to Christie convenient care to get an x-ray for my "broken foot."

The long and short of it is that I apparently have gout. Seriously?

Causes of gout: alcohol. Now wait just a cotton-pickin' minute. I've had beer and wine for just about every day for the last twenty years, and two weeks ago I decided to quit wasting the money and stop drinking during the week (and for what it's worth, I'm still doing great--I didn't drink SuMTuWTh this week!), and NOW I get gout?

Another cause: too much red meat. Well, most of my cooking at home is chicken-based. We have steak occasionally but we're not crazy about it.

Then there's a long list of other things you can't eat--and interestingly enough, other than broccoli (that I don't eat often) few if any are part of my diet.

I drink gallons of water a day. I have a quart-sized Bamba cup that I fill up and empty at least twice if not three times in the morning, and three or four times in the afternoon. I don't drink a lot of pop (maybe if we go out to lunch--never really at home), I drink water with dinner, I drink water after dinner.

Final cause: rapid weight loss. I stepped on the scale before coming downstairs this morning (yes, I'm up early, but I also went to bed at 9:00....) and was down to 192 or so. Twelve days ago I was 210 pounds.

I didn't try to lose that much weight in less than two weeks. I just stopped drinking so much beer. This was never about weight. It was never about worrying about "drinking too much." It was very little about stopping drinking "all the time" because the rest of the U.S. doesn't drink every day, and very MUCH about not pissing away the money every day. It was never about losing weight.

But there it goes, and it is probably going to continue that way for a while.

So I stop drinking (for the most part), which should lower my risk of gout, but then I lose almost 20 pounds in less than two weeks, and now I have gout. Sigh.

A friend suggested eating cherries, so I went to the store yesterday and got two bags of cherries (note--be a good reader--the sign said $2.88 per pound, NOT per package. The total at the register was like $15 and I said "whoa!" and the cashier reassured me by saying "but they are really good grapes..."). Ate a bunch of cherries yesterday. I've been (sort of) wearing the boot thing they gave me at the doctor's office, and I've been taking the pills they prescribed--which I have to watch out for because they are NSAIDs and my stomach doesn't always get along with those sorts of things (but one at a time, when I'm eating, probably should be okay).

I was off Thursday but need to go to work Friday because I have to meet with the department head in the afternoon.

It seems both my eBay sales are going to default on payment, even though one of the sellers contacted me right after the auction ended and wanted to know what else I was selling (which I thought was sort of fishy, especially since his eBay username is a number, his e-mail address was a girl's first and last name, and he signed his e-mail with a man's name... Oh, and wrote in ALL CAPS).

But I did order a whole bunch of shipping materials (for free!) from the post office that should show up in a few days.

I'll hopefully list some more things this weekend. Still shooting for my goal to get under 30 by the end of October.

I feel like I should eat some breakfast but I'm not hungry. A side effect of not drinking every night is that my appetite hasn't been as voracious as it had been. Hmm. And I've lost 18 pounds. Coincidence?

I suppose I ought to limp back upstairs and try to sleep for another hour. Well, what's the point of that. I'd just get to sleep right before I'd have to get up anyway. Maybe I'll have some cherries...

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2011, 10:35 am
Mood: Awake | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Progress

I sold my first two items on eBay last night. I watched all week--checking multiple time throughout the day--with no activity. Then on the last day, boom. Sold the plate and had two different people bid multiple times on the water pump. How cool is that?

Not tons of money, but that's $25 that I didn't have yesterday, and it will go straight to paying off debt. Assuming I have the paypal thing set up correctly and get quickly paid for these two items, the floodgates will open and I'll put everything in the garage up on eBay. My goal? $1,000 total. And that's what I'm counting on to help me get under $30,000 by the end of October.

So a funny thing happened over the past week. I sorta quit drinking beer. Not permanently, not going on the wagon, I just stopped drinking during the week.

It was the same old routine for my wife and me. Come home, open a beer, sit on the deck and lament about work a bit, make dinner, have a bottle of wine, have a few more beers, go to bed.

Last Monday I made a decision--no more beer and wine during the week for me.

Why? Am I concerned about being an alcoholic? Never have been. I've always been one of those "I can quit when I want to" people.

It's never been about the effects of alcohol that had me "hooked." It's just a habit. Sure, a bad one at that, but I ran a bar for long enough that I just got used to drinking all the time. And when I was an adult I sort of thought that I can drink every day if I want just like I can eat cereal for every meal if I want (which is funny because I don't eat cereal, but you get my point).

And yeah, the kids are 14 and 15 and soon to be 15 and 16 and it is probably sort of silly that dad sits around and drinks beer "all the time" when he's home. And I'm overweight. And sick of taking blood pressure medication.

But mostly.... I'm tired of pissing away (literally) all that money on beer and wine.

So last Monday I decided--this is it. No more beer and wine during the week.

To put this in perspective, I can honestly say that in the last 15 years I've probably gone no longer than two days without some form of alcoholic drink. Sounds scary, right? Never has to me. "I can control it." Ooh, signs of an alcoholic.

But any time I did "skip" a few days, I never had the shakes, never had a problem, was never "dying" for a beer. It was just a habit. That's what I did.

Until last Monday morning. I had nothing to drink Monday. Nothing to drink Tuesday. Nothing Wednesday. Nothing Thursday. To reward myself Friday I actually got a twelve back of GOOD beer (well, decent beer--not Busch Light--we got a Leinie sampler pack) and six bottles of decent (<$10) wine (get a 10% discount at the store for buying six bottles). We had half the beer and a bottle or two of wine on Friday, and did the same Saturday. Nothing overboard. No staying up until 2:00 a.m. No drinking 30 beers.

So almost like normal people.

Sunday rolled around again, and Sunday is a weekday, so no beer or wine Sunday night, no matter how much I used to tell myself that Sunday is still part of the weekend.

No beer or wine Sunday night. None last night.

Did you see that? I drank two nights out of the past eight.

I feel great. I've walked over 15 miles since then--replacing my after-dinner beers with a neighborhood walk with the dog, along with walking for a bit on campus during lunch.

I've already tightened a belt loop--easily.

And I just weighed myself. I'm down ten pounds. TEN POUNDS.

Most importantly though? That's probably $50-$75 that hasn't been pissed away (literally) in the past week.

Alex and I have been throwing the football around when I get home from work, or shooting baskets on the driveway. I just replaced the one habit with another set of better ones.

No shakes. No cravings. No need for me to be on celebrity rehab with Dr. Drew. Am I quitting altogether? No--I said that already.

This isn't about "quitting." It's not about "going on the wagon." It's about pissing away money for no reason. Fridays and Saturdays are for having people over, having a few drinks, and relaxing. Like "normal" adults.

Tomorrow is payday, which means yet another payment to consumer credit, some more money in savings, and my weekly budget of cash that I get that I won't need to blow on beer and wine. How cool is that? I would love in two weeks to have almost all of my allotted cash left to be able to put in savings.

Which then gets me that much closer to my goal for the end of October.

And I sort of knew the first ten pounds would be easy (going from 210, which was ridiculous for me, to 200, which is still significantly overweight).

We'll talk about this again when I can get below 190, and then below 180. It would be cool if I could settle somewhere in the 170s, but we'll see. I'm not doing this to lose weight, or because I'm scared that I'm a drunk. It's all about the Benjamins.

Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 8:10 am
Mood: Thrilled | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Pickle Recipe 3

I sort of misplaced recipes 1 and 2, but neither of them were that great--I had used McCormick pickling spice in them and the pickles came out really sweet (there was ginger and cinnamon in the pickling spice--yuck).

So here's attempt number 3....

1 quart water
1 quart vinegar
3 tablespoons pickling salt

Simmer that in a pan

1 teaspoon alum
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon dill seed
½ teaspoon mustard seed
¼ teaspoon chopped dehydrated onion
¼ teaspoon black pepper

I made three quarts and put all of the spices above in each quart jar. I put tape on the counter for a ruler of how long to cut the cucumbers (which were all just about the perfect length for using quart jars) and cut off ends, halved, quartered, and then cut each piece one more time lengthwise (eighthed?).

Filled each jar with the spears, slowly filled with vinegar/water mixture, canned in a hot water bath, and sealed with lids and bands.

I'm guessing we'll try these two weeks from now and see how they are.

Posted: Tuesday, August 09, 2011, 10:13 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Some Goals...

I try this all the time and I always seem to fail, but once again I'm going to try to stop spending so much money, stop drinking so much beer and wine (during the week) and start losing some damn weight.

And purge more of our stuff.

And speed up this debt process.

If we stay on our current path, we should cross the $30,000 mark by the end of November.

Now, while this isn't a huge goal, I'm going to set it for us anyway. Small goals first--start making those--then bigger goals as we go along.

Our debt management payment happens when I get paid, so even though I look at everything at the end of each month, the payment is actually made in the middle of the month.

My first small goal is to cross the $30,000 line by the end of October, instead of the end (well, middle) of November. I'll need to come up with a thousand bucks of extra pay-off-debt money between now and then.

I don't care if it comes from eBay. Or Craigslist. Or just not spending so much stupid money on stupid stuff (like beer--wait, beer isn't stupid, but spending as much money on it as I do is probably kind of stupid).

I looked at myself in the mirror without a shirt on the other day (accidentally) and my stupid stomach looks distended. This is ridiculous. Huffing up the stairs. Paying for stupid blood pressure pills.

It's time to stick with it this time. I may even get the kids to hold me to it--no beer or wine during the week. Eat dinner, walk the dog, watch some television, grab a book, and go to bed. Let's fatten the savings account and make me skinnier at the same time.

So the goal is under $30,000 by the end of October. I've got about two and a half months. I'll print out a new Excel graph at that time.

Posted: Tuesday, August 09, 2011, 9:03 pm
Mood: Optimistic | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Golf! (And I'm Going to Like It)

Tomorrow is the 2nd annual impromptu golf outing for the guys that were in my fraternity right around the same time as I was.

Totally looking forward to it.

I don't think I've actually played golf since the last time we did this last year, but it'll be okay.

I do remember that I lost a significant number of golf balls last year, and while I meant to go buy a case of balls today (I think I have one or two 3-packs of new balls in my bag) it occurred to me that I have the bucket 'o' balls from when we last were members down the street and when searching for an errant shot one would inevitably find three or four other errants shots that weren't theirs, from rounds, days, weeks, or months before.

I went through the bucket and nabbed 18 halfway-decent golf balls and cleaned them off and got out the sharpie. What brand am I playing? No idea. But it will have three blue dots in a triangle on it. ;) And if I lose them, no big deal--no money lost.

And I can't see that what ball I play is going to affect "my game."

Jeff and I were going to take Alex's car, but even though my car is close to bald as far as tires go (yes, I'm being cheap and I'll replace them at the last possible moment) we'll get such better gas mileage in the Honda, and Betsy will be safer taking the Pontiac to work. We're going to go up Route 47 instead of messing with the interstate, and just take our time, and leave nice and early, so it will be fine.

Hey! Paid off one of our credit cards the other day. I budgeted somewhat tightly and when Betsy got paid I went to the credit union and got a cashier's check for the final amount on our only store card and sent it to the credit consolidation place. Woo hoo! One down, four to go.

I also increased our monthly payment since it looks like we're both getting raises, which will speed the process up even further. I want to take that straight line and turn it into a downward curve. We can do this. Living frugally has really been sort of easy once we've gotten more used to it.

We're not as good about that as we could or should be, but we've made a lot of small and big steps, and are spending money more wisely, saving more, buying less, and paying this damn mess off. Can't wait to be done with it. Paying off the one card has me in a frenzy now--I'm ready to tackle the rest of it with a vengeance.

(And especially since the economy is going south again I need to see about refinancing the house in the Spring after I finish with the bathrooms, etc.).

Looking forward to golf tomorrow! I've budgeted myself a fixed amount of money I can spend. And my plan is to only spend half of it. Then I can spend part of what I didn't spend on a cheapo video card for our new computer (until we can save for a really good one) and put the rest in savings.

Posted: Friday, August 05, 2011, 3:52 am
Mood: Excited | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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