A new addition…

•June 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Last year at this time, I was still relatively in shape and just back from a trip to Hawaii. I was in the midst of a foot injury and working with a podiatrist to try and solve the issue. I was going into my last year in my MBA program, and the household consisted of just the two of us…

How times have changed. Some of the changes have been good; some of them not so much.

The best of these changes will be coming later this summer, when our family of two becomes a family of three.

Our families are both very excited, as are L and I, and are starting to get things ready for our addition’s Mid-August arrival. This is the first grandchild for both sets of parents, though on my side our baby will soon be joined by a cousin, as my brother and sister in law are expecting as well.

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A turn for the worse…

•November 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When last I spoke of work, we had just received word that there were going to be some management changes becoming effective after the new year. Since then here has been a development that affects me directly.

Within the first few days after the announcement, where we were told that no staffing would be affected and everything would remain the same in terms of daily operations, I was pulled into a conference room by my boss’ boss. He provided some mostly unexpected (though not totally shocking) news that changed my perspective on the pending change.

He told me that he wasn’t sure how the staffing would play out after the change in management in terms of engineers, and that since I have the least amount of experience at the facility I was likely to be the first cut. Now nowhere in this conversation were there any definitive answers, but things aren’t looking good for my future there.

At the same time he was telling me this, he was telling me about a position available through the staffing portion of our company as an engineer at another local Ford facility. It’s a bit outside my realm of expertise, but a) Is something that I could mostly likely pick up without too much trouble, and b) Is pretty much the only relevant opportunity within the company, at least locally. He suggested I meet with the staffing folks immediately to start the process of getting me in front of the right Ford manager to discuss the position, and said that if anything came of it, he strongly recommended taking it.

So I met with our representative to discuss the position, and came to the conclusion that it was something I’d be interested in giving a shot, and that they’d try to set me up with a meeting with the Ford manager.

Since then, it’s been about a week, and no such meeting has taken place. I’ve talked to a friend of mine, who is in the relevant industry and happens to know the Ford manager, about how to ‘study’ for the meeting.

The last word I got was that the hiring manager was off most of last week for the holiday break, and that I should be seeing him sometime early this upcoming week.

If this doesn’t work out, I’ll be joining the ranks of jobseeker in a hurry!

A surprising announcement

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Every other week at work, we have ‘All hands meetings,’ where the entire staff gets together in the conference room to discuss any relevant happenings in the building or in the company as a whole, to discuss any incidents that happened or special events coming up. This is by no means out of the ordinary, and provides a good basis in ‘reality’ in terms of the company. These meetings are always first thing in the morning at 7:00, though nobody’s ever really rounding up stragglers to get into the conference room on time.

This week’s meeting, though, was a little different from the rest. I could tell that something was up because between the time I walked through the door until the time I got to my desk, two people asked if I was going to the meeting. I indicated I was, set down my things and walked into the conference room.

When I walked in, our Safety officer was in front talking about radon, and how the company had bought us all tester kits for home… again, nothing unusual. But as he finished, it wasn’t the facility manager that stepped up to speak next, it was his boss; in itself this isn’t unusual I suppose, he’s a frequent visitor to our building.  But this time the mood seemed different. And as it turned out, it was for good reason.

Currently the building where I work is a Ford owned building, managed and operated by my company. We provide the staffing for the test cells, the engineering support, and the maintenance staff to keep the facility operational. But what my boss’ boss was there to tell us on this morning was that the arrangement we had all become accustomed to is about to change come January 4th.

On January 4th, Ford will be taking back over the management of our building. They will provide a new facility manager, and a new engineering manager. The official word is that at an operational level, the change will be transparent and things will continue to operate just like they have. The company has been through this before; one of the other facilities that was in a similar management arrangement went through this same transition a few years back, only to be reversed after about a year because it just wasn’t working out.

So at this point, all we can do is just wait and see what happens. They say that everybody’s jobs are safe, with the unfortunate exception of my boss, the facility manager. However, I have a particularly uneasy feeling about this transition. With a particular reason behind that uneasy feeling; a reason that I’m not going to share here. And I’m going to take some hopefully proactive steps to try and alleviate that uneasy feeling.

And just when I thought things were going well…

Starting over… again

•November 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

It seems like it’s been forever since I wrote a post in general, much less one with any content related to why I started writing in the first place. In fact, I’ve only made 3 posts this calendar year. Yikes, how time flies!

So here goes… let’s see if I remember how this thing works.

I’ve been down this road before. The road where I’ve made great progress toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then some event happened, which led me to throw it all away out of laziness. The first time through, as I’ve mentioned before, I was down under 200 lbs and then lost all motivation when my trainer left the gym he was working at. I gained close to 70 lbs, become sedentary and very unhealthy.

When I finally made the realization that something needed to be changed, which is what has to happen for any such change to take place, I went at it full force. Through running and working out, with a little help from diet, I managed to get back to just under the 200 lb plateau once more. That was around April of this year.

Then something happened. This time, though, it was something within myself, rather than an external influence, that derailed my hard work. This time it was an injury of sorts. Not the ‘I fell on the trail and busted my ankle’ kind of injury, but more along the lines of ‘boy your feet sure are designed funny’ kind of injury.

As I was training for my second run at the Martian Half Marathon, when I was running my 12 mile preparation run about two weeks before the race, I noticed a twinge in my left knee. It was really only soreness, but it persisted for a few days after the run. I went through the rest of my training, and ran the race without much of a second thought. My trainer Ryan ran it with me this time, and I was quite impressed with both of our finish times. For me, it was my first sub 2-hour half in 3 attempts, coming in at 1:56:49, and Ryan coming in around 2:03:00.

For a few days afterwards, as my body recovered from the race, my knee became a non-issue. But during my first couple of runs following the race, as I attempted a 6 mile run, about halfway through I was forced to stop, and had to walk most of the way home because of the pain in my knee. I ended up making a call to a podiatrist that L had used previously.

In addition to the pain that had stopped me in my tracks, radiating from my left knee, a pain had also developed in my right foot. The preliminary examination from the podiatrist revealed that my body wasn’t exactly designed for running. The bones in my foot weren’t aligned properly to absorb the shock from running, and the doctor was surprised that it had taken a year and a half of running for the problems to develop. There was hope for me, however, and the podiatrist was committed to work with me until I was able to run again.

It took two or three visits, trying different things with very little in terms of results, before I was finally fitted with some orthotic inserts. These inserts, according to the doctor, were the next best thing to a magic pill to make the pain go away. When I got them, and had some time to let them correct nature’s design flaw, they did help. Eventually, after a couple of follow up visits, the doctor gave me the ok to start running again.

The problem was, by that time pretty much the whole summer had passed. I had let my injury sideline me probably more than I should have, and my weight had crept up a bit. I had gained back about 20 lbs of the 70 I had lost.

I made one half-assed attempt at getting back into it late into the summer, starting to work out with Ryan again, taking a mountain bike trip into one of the local parks, and playing softball, but I wasn’t really committed. As L finished her degree program and started working 12 hour shifts in the real world, eating healthy became a non-priority, so the weak attempts at working out had no effect on my weight.

So here we are today, starting to get into the winter months in Michigan. I haven’t checked my weight in weeks now; I’m a little bit afraid to see how far I’ve fallen from my peak. I also haven’t run consistently in weeks now. I think I had a 10 mile week once in September or October, but that’s been about it.

So here I am, starting over again. There’s good news though; soccer season is underway, and I’m back playing two nights a week.

I went for a run today. A 5k route in the neighborhood. I went with my friend Michelle; I’ve mentioned her before in various capacities throughout the course of my ramblings. No watch, no heart rate monitor, no Garmin. And no pressure. I felt good out there, considering. I think I may learn to like this running thing yet.

Anybody can tell you, it’s not easy to get in shape. If it were, I wouldn’t be living in the fattest state in the country, in a fast food nation where more people eat dinner in their cars than at their dining room tables. So here I go again, making one step at a time in the right direction. Hopefully it sticks this time.

What I thought I knew…

•July 20, 2009 • 3 Comments

There’s something that’s been bothering me lately, and I just don’t know how to let it out. I don’t want to get into specifics, but things that I thought I knew lately have become a bit unfamiliar, almost foreign to me. I feel so removed from certain things, almost left out of a very important event.

I know that there are some things that have changed, slowly over the course of the last few months, but I had thought that the relationships I’m referring to were strong, and that the core would be there for the long term. But a couple of things have happened (or not happened as the case may be) that have made me question what I thought to be the truth.

I don’t know why these things have changed like they have, or how my perspective has been skewed; I just know that it has, and that I’ve been hurt by it.

Of course there’s a chance that I’m jumping to conclusions, and that I’m way off base with what I’m perceiving to be the truth. I guess only time will tell. Nobody knows what the future will bring, but in the long run I know it’s all for the best.

Ya Say Ya Want A Resolution…

•January 4, 2009 • 5 Comments

Now I’ve never been the type to do resolutions, because like most people I never seem to stick to them. But this year is different. For the last few months, I’ve been detailing through the typed word my journey… as I’ve moved along this journey, I’ve come to make some fairly major realizations.  With the turning of the calendar to 2009, there’s no better time to start making those realizations known, to give myself a sense of accountability. So without further babble, here they are:

1. I resolve to put ‘our’ priorities above ‘my’ priorities. One of the things that L has mentioned numerous times in our conversations prior to starting counseling, I have a tendency to pay more attention to the things that benefit ‘me’ rather than the things that benefit ‘us’. Now that I’ve realized my tendency to do that, I need to make a change.

2. I resolve to do my share to be the best husband I can. I’ve silently made this resolution to myself over the last year or so. As L has gone through the first 2 semesters in her nursing program, it’s become more and more apparent to me just how much she’s able to do to be productive while maintaining her grades. While at the same time she’s driving herself crazy trying to maintain her school and the house, I’m cruising along, doing what I want to do when I want to do it. This isn’t fair. I’m putting it down ‘on paper’ that I’m committing to making our marriage the best it can be. Whether it’s cleaning the house or doing the dishes BEFORE I do my workout, or doing my share of the cooking, which will require a graduation from mac n cheese to something a bit more substantial, rather than waiting for L to have an idea of what’s for dinner.

3. I resolve to let L in to all aspects of my life. This is related to #2 of course, but a big part of my focus for the upcoming year is going to be on the two of us. There have been aspects of my life (for example as I’m writing this, I’m fairly certain she doesn’t even know this site exists) that I’ve kept from her; not because I don’t want her to be involved, but more because I’m afraid that she may not react positively to them. I believe this may be part of what has caused some damage to our marriage. Part of the increase in communication for which we’re going to the counselor shall be to let her in.

4. I resolve to end 2009 under 200 lbs. Part of my renewed commitment to myself in 2008, and one of the big reasons I started this blog, was my journey to lose weight. I’m proud to have lost the 50+ lbs that I have since June, and don’t want all that work to go to waste for a second time. When I was working out with Ryan the first time, I ended that stint just under 200 lbs. At the time of this writing I’m about 18 or so lbs away from that magic number, and now that the holidays are over I am committing myself to getting back on track and get my weight moving back in the right direction. Hopefully as things begin to settle down for L at least a little bit, I’ll be able to get her to join me, as the stress of her program has had a negative impact on her physically as well. I think the better I do at taking responsibility for my half of the home responsibilities, the easier it will be for L to join me on my journey.

Of course, there are other things of less significance to which I resolve, like cutting down my ‘dependence’ on caffeine, reducing my junk food intake in favor of healthier options, and trading tv time for more productive things, but I don’t think those deserve specific mention here. 2009 is destined to be a turnaround year for me, a year when I can finally show L how truly special is to me, and a year in which I can clear out some of the things and people that have a negative influence on me in favor of those which affect me positively.

Out of the Darkness

•December 26, 2008 • 4 Comments

So, it feels like forever since I last posted. 38 days to be exact. And it’s not because I don’t want to; it’s not because there’s nothing going on that wouldn’t be worth writing about. It’s a matter of life getting in the way, and priorities apparently just not being as they should be to allow more frequent updates.

Since I have a tendency to ramble on (thank my dad for that one), I’m going to split this update into a couple of posts. I’m off work until January 5th now, so I should have no problem finding the time over the next few days.

I’ve thought about the phrase “Journey to a Better Me” and its relationship to my blog. When I started, as is the case when I started running, I was in a place where I didn’t want to be, mentally as well as physically. As is the case with my physical shape, there must come a time and place where one is able to look in the mirror and decide “I’ve had enough” and make the change. Although I didn’t plan to have this sort of ‘attitude change’ when I started writing I was informed that the blogging process would be cathartic, and that has been true more than I realized initially.

To that end, the first update I’m going to provide is on the counseling sessions that had yet to begin as of the time of my last post. At that time, I had called a counselor and had left a message, awaiting a callback. Fast forward 38 days; L and I have each had an initial meeting with the counselor individually, and we have gone to three sessions as a couple. In these sessions we’ve discussed a few topics which I believe will ultimately lead to improvements in our communication on a daily basis. As I expected, the sessions have developed into a depiction of ‘What can I do differently to improve our relationship and communication’ rather than ‘what can we do to improve our communication as a couple.’ I suppose I expected that, as I’ve been the one to acknowledge all along that I had a problem communicating with my wife. I just didn’t exactly expect ownership of the issue to be placed solely on me. I’m learning, however, that some of my knee-jerk reactions and sarcastic comments (of which I am a professional) need to be curbed and I need to stop and think before I react with my mouth.

Overall I think the counseling process has been a good one, and one that will ultimately improve our relationship and our marriage. Granted, since we’ve started the sessions L has been away from the biggest stressor in her life, as she’s been on break from school since early December. As we carry into the New Year we’ll have a new set of sessions, and we’ll be able to see how things go in a more ‘real life’ situation.