Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Things

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

For Juls first and foremost who tagged me with this a long time ago, then for Danni, Brooke, and Taryn.

1. I was born and raised in Mobile, AL (L.A.)
2. I went to catholic schools through high school.
3. I graduated from The University of South Alabama with a degree in business.
4. Computers and I understand each other on a byte level.
5. I have a love/hate relationship with chess.
6. It's OK for me to be competitive with myself, not so much others. (I'm a sore loser ;-)
7. I love to snorkel.
8. Kauai was my favoritist eva vacation (because of the snorkeling)
9. I loved Key West too, especially The Dry Tortugas.
10. Dee Dee and I knew each other in second grade.
11. We met again in a bar when I was nineteen (Army, home on leave).
12. I have three children: Jessica, Jimmy, and Matthew.
13. I have four dogs: Mufasa, Sierra, Kyra, and Tia.
14. I am the original owner of my 2000 Ford Mustang.
15. I love to read, and I've missed it.
16. I love to cook, and I'm starting to get dangerous :-)
17. I am a very, very good pool player. Nine ball anyone?
18. I love the beach.
19. I hate the mountains.
20. I will have been married twenty years in March! Which one is that? Paper? :-)
21. Dee Dee is my life partner. Marriage is just ink and paper.
22. I have officially drawn a blank! (How random is that :-)
23. I got my first computer when I was nine, wrote my first programs shortly there after.
24. My grammy is 91 years old and just blasted through open heart surgery. She rocks...
25. I don't do this very often, nor do I tag... Consider yourself blessed!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mr. Brightside

I am sitting at my kitchen table at 2:48 AM in the morning.  I was hoping that my sleep pattern would return to normalcy soon, but I had a bad, bad case of reflux last night.  Don't feel sorry for me.  It was self inflicted.  Dee Dee brought home the last two six packs of beer from the defunct store, and I drank a few after work.  Normally, this isn't a big deal.  I guess the combination of Mexican for lunch (spicy) and beer just caused my nose to cut loose.  *le sigh*  One of these days I will learn, probably about the same time the bottom of my stomach falls out.  I am not all that excited anymore to drink to excess, but evidently three was enough.

Often when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning, my mind decides to get busy, and I can't fall back asleep.  The bright side of this restaurant debacle has been bouncing off the walls of my brain.  I would  like to release it into the wild.

The sheer number of friends that came to the closing party was very humbling.  If there is one thing Dee Dee and I will take away from this, it has to be good memories and the friendship of good people.

I would say bringing home the last of the beer and 15 bottles of wine or so is a good thing, but I think I am going to re-evaluate this one.

Having Dee Dee home is a good thing.  We've actually fallen asleep together more nights in a row now than we have in a while, since vacation.  Notice I didn't say sleep together, because we haven't actually slept through the night together for obvious reasons.  I'm not sure how I'm gonna handle the T.V. situation when I'm working from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I'm sure one of you nice bloggie peeps will come rescue Dee Dee if I put out the call to come save her from being throttled :-)

Definitely a lot less stress, although Dee Dee and I find a few mundane things to argue about.  You know.  To keep our teeth sharp and all.

I have more time.  Already, I've read a magazine and a good portion of a book I've been meaning to get to.  Dee Dee and I are going to a friends wedding in a couple of weeks too.  Going to an out of town wedding would have been out of the question.

Then, of course, there's you guys...  nuff said...

K.  It's past 3 AM and I'm getting sleepy again.  Hopefully, this water has helped clear my throat and I'll be able to fall asleep again.

Nite y'all,

Wes


Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Day The Music Died

When Dee Dee and I moved to Atlanta in 1989, we couldn't afford a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.  We had been married for over a year, and I was newly graduated from college.  We left Jessica in Mobile with her grandmother and papa.  This was extremely hard on Dee Dee, but Jessica was "officially" too young to be in first grade.  We needed her to get past the point of no return before joining us in Atlanta.

Together, we settled in.  Jessica joined us, and the happy little family began their new life in Atlanta.  I didn't stay very long at my first job.  They were programming in a language called MUMPS, and C++ was the rage.  I left there after my first year and joined a very small consulting company.  It ended up being a fortuitious move.  That little company merged, and grew, and merged, and grew, and unmerged and finally was bought out.  I was there for the entire deal, in on the ground floor, and a key employee.  I could afford my pot now.

We paid off the house, and the cars.  There was no budgeting.  No bills worth worrying about.  We always saved more than we needed.  A couple of years after that, Dee Dee and I began looking for our "thing".  We wanted to take a shot at being our own boss, have our own company.  For two years, we couldn't find anything we liked.  We took the family to a little neighborhood pub that opened up down the street.  It was called "Beef'O'Brady's".  We loved it.   We loved the food, the concept, and family oriented environment.  We had found our thing.

In 2004, we signed the lease on our space, built our restaurant, and began cooking in earnest.  We poured our heart and soul into 2800 square feet of space.  It didn't take long to realize that the we had not opened a gold mine.  The sales just weren't there.  We worked hard, struggled to build our sales, and coped the best we could.  Like a lot of new business owners, we bit off more than we could chew when we opened a second restaurant.  Why we would open another store when the first one wasn't doing so well escapes me.  That little dream collapsed in 9 months and scared the hell out of us.  Fortunately for us, we were already back to being "shit house" poor by then, and the leasing company went after our business partner instead of us.  We managed to escape non-the-worse for wear.

By this time, the other store was self sufficient.  I had been pouring money into the store every three months or so to keep it running.  Now, it had to survive on its own.  There was no more money.  I had committed my entire savings to the store and my two son's private school education.  The store was coasting along, but it still wasn't doing well enough for Dee Dee to draw a pay check.  We made a little money here and there, but regular pay was not forth coming.  I fully realized it wouldn't take much to tip it over.  I hoped and prayed for the best.

The economy took a turn for the worse, and that proved to be the "tipper".  We got behind in the rent.  The shopping center was already mad at us because we were disputing common area maintenance charges, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.  We got our ten day notice in October.  January 12th, we got the letter telling us to get out immediately.

Dee Dee and I put our heads together and tried to work out what was best for everybody.  We could have stayed in the space until they forced us out with a court order, but that could've gotten ugly, and besides, it's just not our way of doing things.  We thought it best to give our employees some notice so that they could take care of their jobs and their families.  Plus, it gave us time to sell off our remaining stuff to pay our taxes, employees, and vendors.  Saturday night, our last day in business, we would have a private party for our employees and friends to say good bye.

Friday night, we were extremely busy.  Almost all of our regular customers were at the bar.  So busy, as a matter of fact, that Dee Dee decided not to open for business on Saturday at all.  I stopped by the store after Matthew's indoor soccer game and made the rounds.  I wanted to personally invite each and every one of my regular customers to the going out of business party.

Dee Dee got up early Saturday and went to the store to meet a few of our employees and clean the place up.  I stayed home, nursing a hang over from the previous night's stress reduction ceremonies.  After getting a hair cut and buying Matthew a video game,  I went back to the house to meet Dee Dee.  She got cleaned up and purtied up for the party.  She looked smashing.  We went back to the store around 6PM to get the place ready.  A neighboring franchisee came by and picked up all the stuff in our cooler and freezer.  Dee Dee finally got another pay check.  I went down to Publix and picked up party trays and beer.  We had a good amount of fancy smancy beer still in the cooler, but very little regular beer like Bud and Bud Lite.

Everything started off pretty low key.  It was just Dee Dee and I and a couple of our friends.  The employees began to arrive, followed by more and more key customers.  It didn't take long for things to heat up.  My girls are a crazy bunch.  Almost all of them had been with us for years.  Some, since the store opened.  There was dancing on the bar, body shots, including a few off of yours truly, and some display of boobies.  I kept things reigned in a bit, but the leash was long.  The kids needed to let it all hang out, and I was NOT going to spoil that for them.

Around 10:30, quarter till 11, Dee Dee decided that she had had enough.  She'd been crying pretty much all week.  It was time to say good bye.  One of our friends put the theme song from Cheers on the overhead, followed by "Closing Time" and the tears started to flow.  There were heartfelt speeches, more tears, and quite frankly, a few of them came from people that surprised me.  You just don't realize, sometimes, how you touch people's lives until something like this happens.

We finally managed to shoo everybody out the door.  It was just Dee Dee and I.  We were ending just like we started.  We turned off the radio, shut out the lights, and locked the door one last time.

There will be no more tears.  We have work to do.  For us, on this day, the dream has died...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Gotz Issues

Not those kinds of issues.

I've been listening to my body and taking care of my left knee.  It has been fine while P90Xing, but not so fine while running.  Yesterday, after Plyometrics, I had that same loving feeling in my right knee.  Good news is, at least they match now.

Then, this morning, I was doing Biceps and Back.  I've been switching between weights and bands when I felt it was appropriate.  At the end, we do this set of curls, 4x8-12 reps, where you start out heavy and get lighter.  I started out with the fifteen pound weights, switched to the Gold's Gym bands (with all three bands on at once), then switched to the medium Nike band I bought at Sports Authority.  I felt a very tiny muscle in my back, beneath and outside the left shoulder blade twing like a rubber band.  Ouchee!  I'm wondering if this is part of the building process or am I in trouble.  Good thing next week is a recovery week!  If I can make it through Legs and Back on Friday, I might just have time to recover :-)

Yup, nothing like falling apart just when the end is in sight, and the beginning of triathlon training...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not Excited

I am not excited today.  I still find it hard to believe that millions of Americans are gullible for that well worn campain slogan:  Hope and Change.  I'm more of a show me the money kind of guy.  Don't try and tell me Obama will change the face of government in Washington (and the world).  Nobody can predict the future.  I sincerely want him to succeed, but only time will tell.

Dee Dee and I went out on a date night Friday night.  I'm not sure what sexual connotations "loosening" her up brings to your mind, but it got a few comments on Facebook :-)   In truth, when one is stressed, a little drinking and dancing goes a long ways towards relief.  We went to this little dive in our neighborhood.  Woodstock is about 15 miles due north of the perimeter of Atlanta.  It is almost entirely self sufficient.  I rarely go to Atlanta for anything.  In any case, this dive/dance club for divorcees and yuppees is right up the street from the house.  I knew our little hole in the wall had arrived when much to my surprise, there was a bathroom attendant.  Put us on the map!

After our night of debauchery, Dee Dee promptly got sick.  Total bummer.  She's been working so hard and now has to fight off a nasty cold.  Boo!!

My last couple of workouts have been with P90X with weights.  I worked hard too.  So hard, as a matter of fact, that I am still feeling sore from Friday's workout.  Due to being extremely busy at work, I didn't get to my Monday workout until 8 PM last night.  I could barely do any of the ab exercises, even though I worked real hard on arms and chest.

Five more weeks until triathlon training begins a new.  You guys are dying for my after pics, right?  ;-)

Wes

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Extracurricular

Since my upper body strength is still unsatisfactory (although progressing), I have decided to throw in some extra push ups.  I want to do three sets of max reps on nights I do not have workouts on arms and shoulder.

My first set, till failure, was pre-empted by this:


Our Persian Princess hanging out in front of the heater!

Evidently, she thought what I was doing was fun and decided to hang out underneath me. Yea, not so good. I did seven.

The second set.  Yea, not so good.  I did seven.

The last set?  I dug deep and actually did ten.

OK.  Granted, I am feeling a little sore from my workout yesterday, but 7, 7, and 10?  Oh my word!  I've got such work to do!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Switcharoo

I've been wanting to try some of these P90X workouts with weights instead of the bands.  I just feel guilty about spending any more money on my "fitness".  Even the gentle urging of Dee Dee has not been enough to get me to pull the trigger.

Last night I decided to stop by the local Superstore and see what kinds of hand weights they had.  They had some sliding adjustable weights for like $27.00, but I wasn't going to spend fifty more dollars on weights.  The single hand held weights were sparse.  They basically had fifteen and thirty pound weights left.  That just wasn't going to do.  I was just about to leave when I saw a boxed set of hand weights for twenty bucks, and it went up to forty pounds.  Score!!

This morning, I got to use them, and there is a big difference between hand weights and the bands.  I got a much better workout.  My only complaint is the small amount of time I have to invest switching the weights on and off.  For the price  I paid, I will just have to live with it.

Now, off to research cleaning bathrooms!  I am working on my senior pin for Domestic Goddess badge!  (That thudding noise was Dee Dee hitting the floor :-)

Wes

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Little Things

With life on an even keel at the moment, I find myself reveling in the little things:

Saturday, I ran.  I set the alarm for 7  AM.  I was thinking about meeting the running club.  The leader of the club recently shattered his left arm, and I think most of the peeps have completed their winter race schedule.  I procrastinated and procrastinated and final got my butt out of bed.  Not being hung over was a BIG motivator.  I had so much energy, and I really had nothing better to do.  It was about forty degrees out and I nailed the cold weather gear.  When I got to Boling Park, there were just a few other runners there, and not one from the club.  I went ahead and did my five miles, being careful not to aggravate my left knee, which started to ache around mile 3.

Saturday night, after Dee Dee left for work, I took a basic recipe and made it my own.  I've been dying to try a cajun/creole alfredo recipe.  I took this basic recipe off of Betty Crocker, spiced it up with Cajun seasoning (2 table spoons), some andouille sausage, shrimp, and chicken, and voila!  It was very good.  I continue to amaze myself, primarily that I didn't ruin it :-)  True, I accidently picked up linguine noodles instead of fettucine, but it was awesome!

After dinner, I washed all the clothes in the house so Dee Dee could enjoy her Sunday off without having to do any house work.  I teased her about earning my Domestic Goddess badge that weekend and quickly added it to my smock.

I took two rest days last week and ran one day, thus taking three days off from P90X.  I am now officially back on a Monday to Sunday schedule.  My weight continues to come down.   I am at 185, up 6 pounds from pre-Ironman taper, down 4 from my month off.  I am pretty happy with that.  If I can get back down to 180 or so by the end of February, I will be primed to kick it up a notch for our next tri season.

P90X continues to kick my ass, but only when I bring it :-)

Wes

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Whatcha think?

It is oh so imminently satisfying when a dream comes to fruition...  Plus, I suck so bad at graphics :-)  That makes the new bloggie header extra special ;-)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Out with the Old

I've had this site for a little more than two years now.  I've been pretty happy with it.  The blog header was something that I threw together in a few minutes.  It has served its purpose.  It has been simple, elegant, and functional.

Now, I want something new.  I'm thinking maybe a color change, a layout change, and a new header.  I don't want the screen to be all busy with graphics.  It needs to load fast, and the code behind it needs to either be free (without ads), or my own work.

If any of you kind stalkers have an opinion on what, where, and how, please feel free to give me some comment love :-)

In other news...

The P90X saga continues.  This is the first week of the second month.  I got to do a new routine, Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps.  This one left out the chin ups and pull ups, which was nice, but lots of other arm wrenching goodness.  I continue to make progress.  From a strength standpoint, I feel stronger than ever, even at the end of Ironman training.  From a cardiovascular standpoint, I'm probaly at 60-70% of where I ended Ironman Florida.

I do like my flattening belly though!

Wes

Friday, January 02, 2009

Don't Be a Jerk

I've noticed, since blogging attracted my fancy, that my bloggie friends go through cycles, pretty much in tune with the seasons.  We get fired up when spring comes.  We kick butt and take names through the April and May.  During the summer months, we melt, and moan and complain about the heat.  With the first soothing winds of fall and the slightest hint of color change, we get excited about our year end "A" races.  Winter brings the off season.  The cold winds blow.  Many of our friends experience Antarctic like conditions and have to either train indoors or take many months off.  Mojo is a precious commodity.

One would think that a multi-Ironman finisher like Paul would have a LOT of experience dealing with the off season.  Yet, Paul has been struggling to find direction and purpose this winter, just like so many others of us.  Of course, his surviving the off season is a little bit more active than my own, but I think that is DEFINITELY expected.  It's the thought processes that he is going through and shares so freely with us that I find helpful and refreshing.  Paul posts just about every day, and there is always something to take away.

I, on the other hand, am surviving the off season by staying entirely indoors!  I am happily shredding my body with almost daily P90X workouts (I am taking two days rest a week, 8 day cycle, until I get back onto a Monday to Sunday schedule).  It was another friend, Blaine, who convinced me that I should start the New Year off with a run. It just so happend my first "off" day this week was on New Years.

About half the day had passed before I set procrastination aside and suited up for my run.  It was 42 degrees.  I'm a little bit out of practice.  I wore my Mizuno long sleeve winter overshirt/jacket, and a short sleeve technical shirt, tights, Ironman hat, and sun glasses.  I opted to run in my New Balances, since my foot pod is already attached.

The run itself went very well.  My legs felt strong.  Strong enough, as a matter of fact, to turn it into a cardiovascular exercise only.  I really wanted to enjoy it.  Therefore, I set my watch to a R3/W1 cycle.  I quickly found myself pushing, forgetting that the purpose of the run was to have fun.  The numbers on the Garmin  Forerunner 50 became more important than they should have.  My sense of purpose was fleeting.

When I reached the half way point, I could feel new yet familiar aches and pains.  Yes!  My legs were strong, but their running endurance was suspect at best.  I was in clear danger of hurting myself.  My thoughts drifted back to one of Paul's post, the one about training the right way every day.  Train with a purpose.  Race with passion.

"Don't be a jerk, Wes!!", I told myself.

Stick to the plan.  Run for fun.  Remember that feeling of joy.  The wind.  The cool air.  The endorphins.

I made my way back up Mt. Doom, then Ass-Kicker, the twin hills I affectionately refer to as "The Test".  I enjoyed the long gentle downhill back to my house, taking my walk breaks as scheduled, keeping my heart rate in an enjoyable range.  I was sweating a bit too much as I came to a screeching halt at the stop sign outside my house.  A little too warm is preferable to me, then a little too cold.  I walked in the front door and threw my Garmin on the computer desk.  While I went to get something to drink, the the ANT downloaded my data to the computer.  Training Center was on the screen when I returned, proudly displaying my run.

"Huh!", I said.  "The distance was only off 0.0145 miles.  11:15 minute average pace."

Yea...  THAT was fun...

Have a great weekend, everybody!!

Wes