Category Archives: Crazy Random

When I post something I haven’t a clue where to put it.

Homemade Pancakes to the Rescue

On the trip home from a long day of walking around Downtown Disney, my Mother, Father, Wife and I were struck with a sudden craving for waffles. As luck would have it, the Waffle House we tried to patron was closed. While this situation validated my strongly held belief on how Corporate America is screwing themselves trying to maximize profits by cutting staff to the bare necessity, thus leaving the store no option but to close when an employee came down sick; my stomach growling for waffles couldn’t have cared less. We wanted waffles!

Staring at the haphazardly misspelled sign, I quickly calculated I had the ingredients at home to make homemade pancakes. A quick run to the store for syrup, 20 minutes to prepare, and we’d be digging in to some yummy goodness that would make us all forget about waffles.

Excited I announced my plan to the group.

“Do you have pancake mix at home?” queried my Mother.

“Nope! Don’t need it.” I replied with confidence.

She had never heard of pancakes made without pancake mix and refused to believe I could do it. My wife thought it would take too long. Only my Father shared in my new excitement for pancakes. Mom was being stubborn wanting to eat out somewhere, I was becoming stubborn to prove that pancakes could be made without a store mix. Which I found surprising given her history making pies and brownies from scratch.

Grudgingly she agreed and I knew if these weren’t terrific I would be hearing about it. Accepting the challenge we arrived home and I pulled up my favorite homemade pancake recipe on my tablet and began to work.

Tip #1: Sift the dry ingredients together.

I think this does a nice job of getting air into the mixture. The baking powder can also clump and sifting keeps them out allowing the baking powder to work properly.

Tip #2: A lumpy batter is a happy batter.

PancakeBatter

I mix with a spoon until batter is even in color with small lumps left.

Tip #3: Watch the bubbles!

PancakeSkillet

When the bubbles pop and start leaving little holes, that’s when it is time to flip.

As with anything, this may take a few tries to perfect. The recipe says medium-high, but I find my stove likes the dial between medium and medium high for best results.

Pancake1Pancake2

Three bites in my Mother declare, “These are the best pancakes I’ve ever had!” Another example of how we’ve been suckered into believing a box mix is required to make something when all you need are some basic ingredients, a little patience, and a will to try. Mom will never use box pancake mix again and neither should you.

Happy eating!

Advertisements

13 weeks later

That’s right. I’m still working out twice a week and progress is being made. In spite of my birthday, my wife’s birthday and Easter all working against me to satisfy my sweet tooth, (which I would call a controlled failure), I’m still here fighting the good fight.

Looking in the mirror I can see my face shrinking. I’m looking more like the person I think I am and not the fat guy I actually was. My shirts are no longer tight around my belly and instead are tight in the sleeves. My arms aren’t slabs of flab anymore and are hard as rocks. I can’t stop touching and squeezing them. OMG I have a man crush on my own arms.

My man boobs are disappearing and being replaced with actual muscles. My legs are solid and my flexibility and balance are coming back to me. Allowing me to practice my Tae Kwon Do kicks. I’m teaching my workout partner these kicks and we are having a blast kicking the crap out of his “Wave Master” bag.

Best of all, I’m now on the first belt hole. In 13 weeks I’ve gone from hole 5 to hole 1. Soon I’ll be able to fit into my size 36 pants that I’ve been keeping for 4 years in the hopes of fitting into them again. My mid section has shrunk from a full sized spare tire to a hatchback donut spare tire.  (Mmmmmm donuts!)

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’ve made good progress so far. I need to rid my life of the liars that make me feel bad about myself, and the biggest liar in my life right now is that damn bathroom scale! It’s saying I’m still 230 pounds. I guess when the fat is gone and the scale is still saying 230 I’ll just have to accept it.

Lucky for me there aren’t any special events in the near future to temp me. My goal is to gain control of my late night hunger and hopefully the scale will start being nicer to me.

Oh look, they put another cake in the cube next to me.

Damn it!

Balls!

Alright I’ll admit it. There is more to my new found drive to lose weight than simply wanting to be healthy and feel better about myself. I keep reading over and over about a possible link between obesity and male infertility. While I don’t buy for one second my weight is the root cause for my infertility…it may well be a secondary factor in making my condition much worse than it needs to be.

The whole purpose of the testicles residing in the scrotum is to regulate their temperature for optimum production.  I look at my situation below and my balls are basically incubating between too large thighs all day long.  A perfect condition for roasting nuts, and not at all an ideal situation for sperm production.

There is also that small varicocele my Urologist found. All these questions on what to do next. Do I go ahead with a surgery with another uncertain outcome? Shall I walk around with ice packs shoved down the front of my pants all day long? Should I invest in Snowballs, underwear designed to keep the family jewels cool? Or do I commit myself to losing the weight?

With the bank account begging for mercy, I weighed my options. Although surgery could see an improvement, and insurance would cover part of the costs, that’s another $1000 or more out of my pocket.  A debt I’d be happy to take on if there was a good chance of the surgery leading to an improved sperm count.  Even if the improvement was only enough raise my chances for the next IVF round to work, surgery would be worth it. Right now with too many unknowns, this is another shot in the dark just like those HCG injections that work for some men, but not for me. So I’m holding off on the surgery.

Forcibly cooling the area with ice packs or specially designed underwear sounds promising on the surface. But this is just another one of those crazy infertile ideas like when I tried using a depilatory cream on the sack under the same reasoning. That crazy idea lead to several days of agony. Ice packs in the pants will definitely be uncomfortable and would need to be worn continuously for 3 months before finding out if this treatment is even working. I’m not walking around with my junk on ice for another long shot.

That left me with weight loss. It’s something I need to do and the hope of increasing my fertility is certainly additional motivation to keep me focused. I already had the weight set just sitting in the spare room, so there is little in additional cost required. I’ve found a work out buddy who is at the same level of strength as myself. This option just seemed to fall into place.

For me, the biggest reason I’m going with weight loss is that if in the end my fertility doesn’t increase, I’ll still feel good about accomplishing something. I can put my energy into a task where the results will be good, or could be great. Right now I need this, because few paths on the infertility journey have a lesser outcome that is still a benefit. I need a vacation from the heartbreak or euphoria result set.  And if weight loss does result in some form of an increased sperm count, I’ll feel much better about going under the knife to improve my fertility further.

I’m 3 weeks into my weight loss plan. Although the flaky home scale says I either lost 2 more pounds or stayed the same this week depending on its mood, I’m down another belt notch and see a big difference all over my body that my plan is in fact working. I’m also feeling a lot better and seeing a noticeable increase in my energy level.

Finally a journey that only looks up. The only question that remains is, how high?

© copyright 2011-2013

Vet Woes

There is one thing Bandit and I both agree on and that is going to the vet sucks.

Eleven days ago I took Bandit to the vet to be neutered for various reasons. I’m renting the condo we live in and don’t want him marking everywhere. He will be our dog and we have no interest in breeding him. The last thing I want if he ever did escape is for him to start fighting over females, or end up getting another dog pregnant then be expected to help take care of the puppy vet bills and find homes for them.

Still I felt guilty of robbing him of his fertility. And the sad look he gave me as they dragged him back, whining and straining to leave with me instead of them, nearly broke my heart. Several hours later he was delighted to see me. Microchip in place. A fixed hernia where his birth mother chewed the umbilical cord too close causing the hernia to form. And 2 testicles removed that finally dropped only the week before. He came out wearing the cone of shame to keep him from biting his sutures. Considering all this he was still one happy puppy to see me.

What did you bastards do to me?

What did you bastards do to me?

We received instructions and some pain medication hoping this would be the last we saw of the vet for a while.

Houston we have a problem. The crate we were directed to buy several months ago is just big enough for Bandit to stand up and turn around. This is to simulate the comfort of a den. Bandit loves his crate. He sleeps peacefully all night long in it. But the cone won’t fit through the crate door. And even if he did get in the door, there is no way he would be able to turn around. For some reason, Bandit thinks our bed is an acceptable place to relieve his bladder, so letting him sleep with us is out of the question.  Gating him in the bathroom makes him feel abandoned and he just whines and barks all night long.

Finally we figured out how to back Bandit into the crate. I’m surprised how quickly he picked this up. Now he starts backing up before I even have a chance to line his butt up with the door.

Two days later the after effects of the surgery hit and Bandit walked out of the crate that morning with his entire hind end brown. While I carefully tried to clean Bandit (since he wasn’t supposed to have a bath until two weeks after the surgery, but I figured leaving the area covered in feces would be worse than a bath), the wife cleaned the crate and then rushed Bandit to the Vet since the instructions said to bring him back if this occurred.  They returned with more pills for Bandit to take. The pills worked and we went about keeping him as happy as a dog could be with a cone on his head.

Throw the ball again!

Throw the ball again!

Lately he’s been begging for our help scratching his head. He’ll walk up to me then start whining and bumping his cone against me until I start scratching. (Who’s training who here?) Yesterday we figured it was time to take the cone off hoping he wouldn’t start licking his wounds. That way he could scratch his own head. It started out fine. Only a few times did we need to correct him from licking his sutures.

He’d scratch one side then the other, play some ball, lay in the corner…typical Bandit behavior. His next flea treatment is due in a couple of days, so I figured maybe he collected a couple from somewhere and a bath along with the treatment would take care of those pesky critters.

Then he kept scratching, and scratching. Soon chunks of black hair were all over the carpet. I called him over for his last outside break before bed and noticed the skin on the left side of his head was red, and there was a deep scratch over his left eyebrow that was a little swollen. Normally I can’t even see through his fur to the skin except during his bath. I checked the right side and although not nearly as bad as the left, the fur was thinner and showing some damage. To stop the guy from ripping his face off, I put the cone back on and put him to bed for the night.

This morning, his left eye was swollen halfway shut and we could both tell he was miserable. I took the morning off work and rushed him to the vet. As always Bandit steals the show. Everyone can’t get enough of Bandit’s cuteness, despite looking like he’d just woken up the morning after a bar fight.

You should see the other guy!

You should see the other guy!

You're blocking my reception.

You’re blocking my reception.

The vet walked in sporting a nice round baby bump. I’ll admit to having a fleeting “Are you fucking kidding me!” moment, but this quickly passed and I found myself feeling indifferent. My main concern was getting Bandit better. I hate seeing him suffer like this.

Turns out he has a yeast infection in both ears causing the itching discomfort. Most likely due to the cone holding his ears against his head locking in the moisture for the yeast to grow. Plus his sutures are showing signs of an infection starting. We left the vet with ear drops, eye drops, and an antibiotic and two more appointments. They want to check his eyes again in a couple days and it will be a couple weeks before they can check if the medication helped his ears.

I sure hope my little buddy gets better soon so I can take him to the beach again!

© copyright 2011-2013

Please cut my arms off!

Last week began the start of my new weightlifting routine. Having lifted weights in high school I’m not a novice, however I probably would have been better off if I were.

I remembered much of what I learned in my class years ago. Starting with weights that weren’t too heavy. Focusing on my form and breathing during the exercise routines. Surprised myself by finding that my abs are still in good shape. Worked my right and left obliques, crunches and crunch leg raise combos, all together about 120 reps total and still wasn’t pushing very hard to avoid injury. (A gift from my gymnastics and tae kwon do instructors, the evil bastards.) Anyway, if I can eliminate this spare tire I know there is a nice set of abs underneath just waiting to be shown off.

The next day I felt pretty good. A little sore as I expected, but nothing too uncomfortable and the slight soreness reminded me the muscles were busy repairing themselves. I could feel my body burning energy instead of storing it as fat.

When I woke up the 2nd morning, that’s when the DOMS hit. What are DOMS? It stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. OW! No, that’s not good enough…

OWWWWWWW!

I couldn’t hold my arms straight. Reaching for a coffee cup was near impossible. I had no choice but to walk around for two days holding my arms at an angle like a gorilla. It was painful driving to work, putting on my shoes…anything that required extending my arm was torture!

I searched for the heating pad only to find and remember Bandit had chewed the cord as a puppy. Finally I found an almost empty tube of IcyHot that brought some relief. Coupled with ibuprofen I was finally able to go to sleep that night.

I don’t recall going through this much pain when I started lifting weights in high school. Maybe the instructor had started us on a lower weight than I remembered to avoid this situation. Luckily I’m reading that once you’ve broken the muscle in again, the likelihood of dealing with DOMS after future workouts is far less.

Now I’m feeling pretty good. Surprisingly I’m excited about exercising and for once I don’t dread doing it. Having a workout partner is a big help.

So far I’ve lost 3.5 pounds between diet and exercise. I’m not expecting those results every week, but I am encouraged by it. More exciting is I’m down a belt loop and I’m no longer teetering on the brink of requiring a bigger belt.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but I’m confident I can get where I’d like to be.

Healthy.

© copyright 2011-2013

Reviewing “Untold History of the United States”

This weekend brought the conclusion of the Showtime series, “Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.” A series I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to watch. I would also encourage anyone who does watch the series to maintain a healthy skepticism while viewing.

The series focuses on the darker side of presidential politics starting at the end of FDR’s term in office as the U.S. was avoiding involvement in WWII up to the modern day policies of Barack Obama. While touching on some domestic issues, the majority of the time is spent focused on U.S. foreign policy. Each episodes title confirms this fact.

Episode 1: World War II
Episode 2: Roosevelt, Truman & Wallace
Episode 3: The Bomb
Episode 4: The Cold War: 1945-1950
Episode 5: The 50’s Eisenhower, the Bomb & the Third World
Episode 6: JFK: To the Brink
Episode 7: Johnson, Nixon & Vietnam: Reversal of Fortune
Episode 8: Reagan, Gorbachev & Third World: Revival of Fortune
Episode 9: Bush & Clinton: Squandered Peace – New World Order
Episode 10: Bush & Obama: Age of Terror

Oliver Stone succeeds in telling an alternative view of American history that challenges the conventional view Americans perceive as our history. Where the series fails is by showing clear biases towards a progressive agenda, while implying it’s exposing the whole truth. Also disturbing is Stone’s need to portray Heroes and Villains while the show is criticizing presidents and the media of doing the very same thing. Far too often I felt when contrary evidence was presented, it was whitewashed and incomplete. However, there is a fairness in that party affiliation doesn’t protect anyone against Stone’s microscope. Despite his obvious dislike for President Reagan and President G.W. Bush, there is a balanced contempt for President Truman and President Johnson.

The first area I felt this bias conflict was in painting Henry Wallace as a progressive visionary who’s ideas were ahead of his time. A man who’s integrity didn’t allow himself to waver from his ideals. And Wallace was a forward thinking individual in the areas of agriculture and civil rights. But repeatedly Stone refers to Wallace’s stance on trusting and peacefully coexisting with the Soviet Union, communism and Joseph Stalin. Implying that if Wallace hadn’t been replaced by Truman as Vice President on Roosevelt’s final election, the Truman Doctrine to stop communism before it spreads further would have been avoided. Thus erasing Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War from our history. Stone hides behind narration claiming we can’t know what the world would look like today had Wallace took over the Presidency when Roosevelt died, but the message is clear that he feels the alternative couldn’t have been any worse.

Stone completely glosses over the fact that Wallace published a book in 1952 titled “Where I Was Wrong” in which Wallace recants this very position regarding the Soviet Union. Claiming his previous position was made from inadequate information regarding Stalin and the threat he represented. Maybe the series writers feel Wallace only published this book as a means to protect himself from the McCarthy witch hunt taking place at the time against those sympathetic to communism. The fact is Truman shoulders little responsibility for spreading the fear of communism. For that fear was already spreading throughout all levels of government. Wallace may have had a softer approach than Truman, but if Wallace had pursued what Stone feels would have been the “correct” course of action, Wallace likely would have been facing impeachment charges.

Repeatedly I felt Stone was cherry picking facts, which he claims are true and vetted by several groups, to point out what presidents did know and in hindsight made the wrong decision. It’s easy to look back and pick out the intelligence that happened to be correct. Not so easy when you’re faced with several conflicting reports being forced to make a decision.

Stone also offers little room for presidential politics, unfairly criticizing presidents over them. Pulling presidential soundbites to support Stone’s position. What would Mr. Stone expect President Obama to say to troops returning from the Iraq conflict? “Sorry you went over there under false pretenses and watched several of your friends killed for nothing?” Also entirely unfair was the soundbite of President G.W. Bush saying “you’ve covered your ass” claiming the context was about Arabs training to fly planes into buildings prior to 9-11. Was supplying the actual context to which Bush was responding to too difficult for us to hear for ourselves Mr. Stone?

Despite these and many other flaws in logic and hypocrisy, the series does a good job of presenting evidence on how much of what we felt was aggression from the USSR was often simply a response to an action we already took, for they feared we would strike first. How often from the rest of the world, it is the United States that’s viewed as the aggressor. That we now know many of the numbers on USSR arms during the cold war turned out to be far fewer in reality.  Once again I was left disappointed in Mr. Stone for not following up with why our numbers on USSR armaments were so far off.

Whether intentional or not, the series masterfully shows how often candidates running for the presidency end up involved in the very activities they ran against. That it is impossible to make a clear choice on who one should vote for. The promises spoken on the campaign trail doesn’t correspond to the actions taken in office. How even the best of intentions are warped and corrupted by outside influences once seated in the oval office. Then the series trips over itself implying the likes of Wallace or Gore would have been better presidents, based on their campaign platform. As if somehow they would have been immune from these pressures.

“Untold History of the United States” made me think and reexamine what I thought I knew about our history. For that reason alone I think the series was worthwhile and applaud Mr. Stone’s effort. However, in hindsight, the series would have had a much more powerful message highlighting what is wrong with America had Mr. Stone restrained his progressive bias, stopped trying to flip the tables claiming America is the evil empire, and just presented the facts fairly highlighting the sympathies and faults on all sides. Then let the viewer decide for themselves.

The world we live in is gray Mr. Stone. If you want others to recognize past mistakes to avoid making them in the future, it doesn’t help if you are still painting the past in black and white.

© copyright 2011-2013

Beach Bandit

Can we go play in the Tennis courts?

Can we go play ball in the tennis courts?

Sorry Bandit. Tennis courts are now off limits.

WHY?

GRRRR WHY?

Some control freak who likes to suck the joy out of life would rather see the tennis courts remain empty and unused than allow pets inside to play.

How about we go to the beach?

What can we do at the beach?

What can we do at the beach?

Let’s go and find out.

We're here...now what?

We’re here…now what?

You can play in the sand.

How do I get this crap off my nose?

How do I get this crap off my nose?

You can dig holes until your heart is content.

How about I dig a hole so Mom can fall in it?

How about I dig a hole so Mom can fall in it?

You can chase after people.

I'm coming to get you!

I’m coming after you!

You can enjoy the ocean view.

That's nice.

That’s nice.

You can play in the water.

I don't think so!

I don’t think so!

You can collect seashells.

People actually collect these?

People actually collect these?

You can scout the babes.

The only babe I see is Mom.

The only babe I see is Mom.

You can stalk the birds.

If you unhook this leash I might be able to catch one.

If you unhook this leash I might be able to catch one.

So what do you think?

Alright. I'll admit the beach is pretty fun.

Alright. I’ll admit the beach is pretty fun.

Let’s go home.

Beachbandit13

That was fun, when can we go again?

We’ll go again soon, but now we must clean you up.

SON OF A...

SON OF A…

Don’t worry, all the sand in your fur will soon be gone.

Must you photograph me in the tub?

Must you photograph me in the tub?

All done buddy. Let’s get you dried off.

About time!

About time!

Glad Mom has this old hair dryer.

Are you seriously going to leave my hair looking like this?

Are you seriously going to leave my hair looking like this?

Sorry, Mom’s the hairdresser, not I.

© copyright 2011-2013

240 Oh No!

Back when I went to the urgent care clinic over the holidays, I received some bad news having nothing to do with why I was at the clinic. I stepped on the scale to be weighed, fully expecting to have gained back all the weight I had lost. I’d lost control of my eating habits and I just didn’t care anymore. I still ate whole grain, used lean beef, avoided potatoes, so I hadn’t completely lost control. By my willpower to say no like I could before was gone.

Sure I made goodies once in a while, but it wasn’t like I was baking a pan a brownies every other day. Maybe once a month I would make a homemade treat. The problem was portions and snacking. I was eating like an alcoholic drinks beer to forget.

Then there were the goodies other people would bring into work. Since the cube opposite me is empty, guess where they like to put all the cookies, cupcakes, brownies and donuts? All day I watch people enter the cube across from me and walk out with something delicious in their hands. With my willpower gone, knowing what was going to happen if I fell for the temptation, I’d try one. Just like an alcoholic, I couldn’t eat just one. It’s not like anyone would notice me sneaking another treat 5 minutes later; since the only person who could notice sits across the hall and just happens to be me.

While everyone else may have only had 1 or 2 treats, I would end up having 4 or 5 before I started kicking myself for eating one in the first place.

So I stood on the scale and heard the nurse announce “Weight 240”.

What? Crap! That is 5 pounds heavier than I’ve ever been. Son of a BITCH! That’s 100 pounds heavier than I was 15 years ago before starting a desk job.

I avoided making weight loss a New Years resolution. Not only would that be completely cliche, but just giving it that label seems like I’m expecting to fail. My goal for now is to get under 200. I hardly ever eat fast food. My diet is healthier than most of the people I know. (Except my father who is a health nut.) I already eat a lot of chicken breast and veggies. Other than cutting back on sweets, which I will be doing, there isn’t much more I can do besides counting calories. I like math, but trying to figure out how many points my homemade meal costs me just adds to my frustration. So to accomplish this goal I’m focusing on exercise, which I hate.

Whenever I exercise on my own, I just end up watching the clock waiting for it to be over. If I can establish a routine, I’m better at sticking with exercise…until the day comes along forcing me to break my routine. There always seems to be some need to travel out of town, or I come down sick which means I can’t exercise. Getting back on the horse for some reason is always hard after being forced off.

To help combat my laziness and make exercise more than something I dread doing. I’m teaming up with a friend to lift weights. Hopefully this buddy system will keep me committed to exercising. This way I’m talking to someone rather than just watching the clock. We can push each other to finish just one more rep. And since he has a pretty nice set up at his house, I’m not going to a gym feeling like everyone is looking at the big guy huffing it on the treadmill.

Also the wife and I are planning more morning walks with Bandit.

I’M DOING THIS.

I have to. I’m tired of being the big guy. I’m tired of having a closet full of perfectly good clothes that I can’t fit into, hoping I would lose the weight one day.

This weight is going bye-bye.

I promise to have a Bandit post soon. Time just hasn’t been on my side this week. 🙂

© copyright 2011-2013

A *Cough, Cough* Christmas

The plan was simple: my wife, Bandit and I would travel to Mobile Alabama on Dec. 24th to spend Christmas day with our families then return home the evening of the 26th…what could possibly go wrong? The stomach problems from last week were now a thing of the past. The youngest niece is in her teens, so no little ones or pregnancies to rile the infertility demon.

The drive from our home to Mobile is about a 7 hour trip and I was a little concerned how Bandit would handle the long car ride. The wife had to work until 5 pm to close the store, but luckily my company was letting us off early. I headed home, finished packing and prepared the wrapped gifts and luggage to be loaded into the car the moment my wife arrived. Fed Bandit and then took him to the tennis courts to play, hoping to tire the little guy out for the trip.

Apparently some people delay getting a hair cut until the very last  minute on Christmas Eve. Thus causing the wife to stay at work later than she expected. By the time she arrived home she was understandably agitated threatening to cancel the whole trip. I figured she was talking out of frustration and ignored her tempting offer. With the car packed, we were on our way…that’s when I noticed I couldn’t take a deep breath without coughing. My sinuses were clear, no sneezing or sore throat to speak of. Just a cough and a small discomfort when taking a deep breath.

My fear was pneumonia. I’ve known several people since moving to Florida come down with pneumonia and know how dangerous it can be. But it’s Christmas Eve, we have a dog with us in a car, and an arrival time on the GPS that already says 2 am.  I did what most men do, ignored the signs and pressed on.

Bandit was about as good as you can expect a 5 month old puppy to be on a long car ride. Playful and curious, but surprisingly controllable. He spent most of the trip in his crate or sleeping on my wife’s lap. Until the 5 hour mark when exiting the crate he suddenly got very angry. I heard him make a noise I’d never heard before and scared both the wife and I. I think he smelled his food from the backseat floor and realized he was hungry again. But I wasn’t ready to feed him yet.  Giving Bandit food and water means he must poop and pee a half hour later. Not smells I wanted accidentally in the car after what I went through the week before. I pulled over to secure Bandit back in his crate, gave him a treat for his cooperation on entering the crate and assured him he would be fed and watered in about an hour.

I can’t thank enough the people working the gas stations and rest areas late on Christmas Eve. As I was feeding Bandit at one of them, an employee came by to pet him. Out of guilt for him having to work so late on Christmas Eve, making it possible for me to even take this trip…I spent 20 minutes listening to a man talk about how his Lab just had puppies and he is struggling to find them homes and can’t afford the puppies shots. There was a time I would question why he didn’t get his dog fixed and avoid the puppy issue. How strange we see fertility as a problem in our pets…nope not going there. Sorry Bandit, you’re getting them snipped!

Anyway, we arrived at 2:30 am by my watch. Thankfully with the time difference, we gain an extra hour to sleep. Unlucky for Bandit this meant another 5 hours in the crate until morning. Between my coughing and Bandit’s fidgeting, sleep wasn’t easy.

Bandit woke up Christmas morning in the land of Chihuahua’s. My parents have 3 females, who are all in their golden years and have no interest in a 5 month old playful puppy. It was a surprisingly peaceful introduction and I opened the door letting all 4 dogs outside to go potty while I continued visiting with my parents. Bandit sat outside the door whining. Poor guy thinks he only has permission to go to the bathroom when my wife or I are standing next to him. Not wanting to cause any unnecessary confusion at this point in his training, I went outside and walked around the backyard next to him while he did his business.

When we went back inside, my mother bombarded me with tales and pictures of all of my cousins’ children! I’m happy my cousins aren’t struggling with infertility. Every once in a while I will find my courage and stalk Facebook for the latest photos and tales in their lives, but on my terms when I can compartmentalize the negative emotions. Someday I need to have “the talk” with my mother about discussing another’s children to me. She doesn’t understand the emotional pain I must manage during these conversations. If I ask a question about the kids, I’ve prepared myself to manage the dark emotions so it’s safe to talk about them. If someone else asks my mother about the kids in front of me, I can mentally check out of the conversation and come back when it’s safe again. But to surprise me out of the blue with this in a direct conversation with me; I don’t care how cute, smart and adorable they are, they’re demon spawn from the fires of Mount Doom! But it’s Christmas and not the time to lash out. I take a deep breath…cue coughing fit.

Finally my sister arrives with her boyfriend and her Chihuahua. A middle aged male who saw Bandit as a threat. A lot of barking and growling, but no playing. With my mother handing out candy cane chew sticks for the dogs, peace was restored and Christmas continued.

Bandit loves chewing paper. Toilet paper, paper towels, candy wrapper, magazine and now wrapping paper are some of the items Bandit finds irresistible. Knowing his obsession with paper, I’m surprised how well behaved he was that morning. Between the excitement of a new place and new animals and all the additional attention, only a couple times did we catch him trying to sneak away with a mouthful of paper.

Then we headed over to my wife’s family to spend some time with them.  My mother-in-law also owns a Chihuahua. This one a middle aged female, who was interested in Bandit. He quickly realized he wasn’t liking this kind of attention. He just wanted to play, she wanted something else. As I sat conversing with relatives, petting Bandit on the head, this female decided to try and mount Bandit. He freaked and is now probably scarred for life.

He spent the rest of the afternoon on guard and played with the squeaky toy chicken my MIL bought for him (his new favorite) and getting the attention from the nieces.

That evening the storms outside started. Tornado warnings popped up in Mobile. My parents moved to Mobile after I moved out, so I know little about the landmarks of the area. I did recognize one the news mentioned that I heard my father talk about before, but not sure if it was 5 miles or 10, or on the other side of town. Figuring my parents would be making sure the dogs were safe I waited until the threat passed before making the call. Of course the anxiety was causing me to take deep breaths in turn causing more coughing fits to deal with.

Finally I told my wife about the trouble breathing I was having. She was concerned but agreed there wasn’t a immediate need considering it was Christmas Day and storms producing tornadoes outside. While waiting for a break in the storm to head back to my parents, the family conversation turned to who inherited who’s nose. My nose being one feature I had no desire to pass on to my children, I found this conversation rather amusing, but I noticed myself having more and more difficulty breathing.

On the way back to my parents I called them to make sure everything was okay. They were fine and had no idea a tornado touched down a few miles away from them a couple hours earlier.

That night the coughing deteriorated to the point I couldn’t hardly sleep again. I woke up feeling even worse and agreed to go to an urgent care clinic. As I stood in the kitchen, bent over resting my head on the counter, my mother approached from behind to feel my head for a fever. Bandit, having survived a molestation attempt the day before, didn’t like the angle she used and I guess he thought I was in need of protection. I had to stand up and face her before Bandit would back down.

Two hours, a flu test, chest x-ray and a clear indication I need to get serious about my diet again, I walked out of the clinic with nothing more than just a cold. I felt silly for making such a big deal for just a common cold. That was until I heard about Norman Schwarzkopf dying from pneumonia. I’m so glad I did get checked out for a simple cold, because pneumonia isn’t worth messing around with.

When we arrived back home I was so proud of Bandit. He didn’t have one accident the entire trip. He chewed only on items he was supposed to chew on. He even protected me.  As he laid at the foot of the bed, I considered giving him another chance to sleep with us. I walked into the kitchen to take my cold medication and heard, “BANDIT NO!”

© copyright 2011-2012

The Chicken Noodle Soup Theorem

I apologize up front for the nature of this post. Those with a weak constitution may want to stop reading. I have come to a realization that may one day change the world. Probably not.  But who’s to say Pythagoras or John Nash knew what they had stumbled upon when documenting ideas about triangles or equilibriums. They probably weren’t even the first to realize the concepts they are credited with. They were, however, the first to record the idea. So here I am, recording my earth shattering epiphany for future generations to use in ways I couldn’t even imagine, to help shape the future of mankind. (If we survive past 12/21/12 of course.)

IVFmale’s Chicken Noodle Soup Theorem.
Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger Ale causes really stinky farts.

How did I come to this ground breaking realization you may ask? Good question. For the past 2 days I’ve been sicker than a dog who was binge eating at an all-you-can-eat trash heap.

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling a little nauseous. After concluding I couldn’t be pregnant, since I’m infertile and a male, I knew something was wrong. I’ll take a stuffy runny nose and coughing my head off any day over nausea and vomiting. I sat up in bed holding my cramping belly as I broke out in a 5 alarm fever sweat all over my body.

Still I deluded myself into thinking I would be fine. “It’s just gas,” I tricked myself into believing as I sat down to the bowl of cereal the wife fixed for me. Two bites later, I had to stop. If I was going to maintain control over my bodily functions, eating more food was out of the question.

I sat at the table in meditation, trying to keep my stomach from rejecting the food it had just been offered. I informed the wife I would take the day off as a precaution, but reassured her it was probably nothing serious. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

While maintaining a calm composure, focusing on keeping my stomach soothed; I felt a pressure in my lower digestive system that made getting to the restroom an immediate priority. I now understand how someone could label the effect as “exploding”, because that’s what happened the moment I sat down.  If it hadn’t been for the extra weight I carry around with me, I probably would have achieved liftoff.

When the episode was over, I clean myself up and sprayed the room heavily with Lysol; while the wife directed me through the closed door were I could find the medication needed to fix my “problem.” Scanning the closet shelf I found the bottle holding the magic pills I prayed would bring me relief. I popped two pills in my mouth with a handful of water before remembering my lower digestive system wasn’t the only problem I was having that morning.

Too late! Burying my head in the toilet bowl, my stomach rejected the medication, along with what little I had eaten for breakfast, and much of what remained from the previous night’s dinner. In this position I found myself thankful. Thankful that I had already flushed the toilet before attempting to find the medication.

When I finally emerged from the bathroom after both the upper and lower parts of my digestive system had taken a couple of turns being ill, I was greeted with a caring pity look from the wife and an uncaring “I wan’t to play” look from the puppy. I sat on the couch feigning ignorance about my prior prediction about “being alright” and found myself thankful once again. We had cold bottles of regular Sprite in the refrigerator. Food was out of the question, but with both ends threatening to cause me dehydration, I needed something with calories that might calm my stomach.

Slowly I started sipping the soda knowing the likely result. Sure enough, I found myself bowing to the porcelain god once again. Only this time the lower end decided it wasn’t willing to take turns anymore. Leaving me to make some snap decisions on how to handle the situation. Seated on the bowl with my face directed towards the sink, I was mostly successful at avoiding a complete disaster. During a brief lull, I begged my saint of a wife to bring me the large soup pot, the Clorox cleaning wipes, and a change of clothes.

Now armed with a defensive strategy to handle both issues at once, I somehow managed to clean up the mess between attacks. The wife went out and picked up some more nausea medication and a bottle of ginger ale, for I needed to fix that problem before addressing the other one. That’s how I spent the rest of Tuesday…shivering on the couch in a cold sweat feeling like I was just ran over by a bus, or sitting on the toilet with my head buried in a large soup pot while cursing my own existence.

I knew I had to keep drinking fluids, but little was working. I attempted orange juice, but there was no hope in keeping that down, so I stuck with sipping on ginger ale trying to get the upper half of my digestive system back under control. At the end of Tuesday, my entire digestive track was clean as a whistle, which I never understood that phrase since blowing on a whistle after someone else isn’t very hygienic, but I digress. Let’s just say I had visual evidence there was nothing left in my digestive system and leave it at that.

After a night of successfully maintaining control over my upper half, I attempted to eat a few bites of chicken noodle soup Wednesday morning. My stomach waited a whole 20 minutes before rejecting the latest offering. I viewed this delay as progress and made another attempt a couple hours later. When an hour passed after my second attempt with the soup, I braved another assault on the problem with my lower digestive system. Two more magic pills with a sip of ginger ale.

Ah…sweet success. A little more chicken soup and sips of ginger ale,  soon my digestive issues were under control. Albeit only barely thanks to meditation and nausea medication allowing the Imodium pills a chance to keep working. When the lower digestive pressure alarm triggered, I assumed my now customary seated position holding a large soup bowl in my lap. Thinking how thankful I was we only have two ends of our digestive track to worry about, because I couldn’t have handled a third. Just gas! Hurrah, hallelujah thank the…cough, gasp, choke, oh my god where is that can of Lysol?

I bowed my head in prayer to the heavily used large soup pot before me, trying to keep down what little I had eaten over the last few hours. Where once I was thankful for not having a sinus problem at the same time as a stomach problem, I now wished otherwise. My ability to still smell was about to foil everything and cause my body to betray me once again. (Keeping in mind I hadn’t showered in two days and only accomplished properly brushing half my teeth the morning prior before suffering another attack. Thank goodness for mouthwash!)

My free hand found the can of Lysol providing not only some aromatic relief, but also gifting my arm with extended reach to turn on the exhaust fan without risking any further stomach jostling. Victory had been preserved!

I survived the ordeal to spread the word about the dangers of eating chicken noodle soup and drinking ginger ale with fully functional olfactories.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

© copyright 2011-2012