Right to the edge…

In fitness, we must stress muscles and our cardiovascular system in order to improve them. This is a well researched and easily demonstrable scientific fact.

It’s VASTLY misunderstood nonetheless.

“Stress” doesn’t mean approaching the edge of our comfort zone. It doesn’t even mean approaching the edge of our ability.

It means pushing past them.

There is danger here. If we push too far past the edge of our ability we risk injury or damage or other setbacks.

But there’s even more danger in holding back.

If we don’t get TO that edge we are training and teaching ourselves that our current status is ideal. If we are shy of that edge, we are training and teaching ourselves that we can back down, degrade, or atrophy. Stagnation and mediocrity are the BEST that can be achieved there.

We only grow, we only progress, we only change, when we push ourselves right to the edge, and a little bit past it.

This is true in FAR more than fitness. It applies to every aspect of life. Fitness. Career. Skills. Relationships. Passion. Everything.

Life and love.

We either push, and push hard, risking setback, failure, or injury, or we at best, stagnate.

It can be wearying and painful…but we cannot stop.

The edge though…is not clearly defined and doesn’t stay in the same place. Constant testing, pushing, work, and seeking are required.

Where is the edge? How far past it can we push? How long can we keep this up? What is the cost of failure? What is the cost of failing to try? Where is the edge between the edge? How much do we push? When can we rest?

Tough questions these. Finding the answers is a lifetime’s work…one way or another.

That’s a hard lesson to learn.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

Posted in Weight Management | Leave a comment

Rewards…

Since they’re still actually serious about me coming to work, and I work in downtown for some reason, my company leases me a parking space (I pay a subsidized rate) in a nearby residential building. It’s an old corporate headquarters that’s been converted to high-end lofts and apartments. Still a work in progress, it’s not fully leased and so they’ve leased folks like us a few spaces on a lightly used floor.

I’m permitted to park on 5 or 7…which is really 6 or 8, since there’s a “1.5” floor in the parking garage to get it to line up to the actual main residential building.

There are elevators in the buildings that we have access to, but I generally take the stairs. Yes, I’m a masochist. Six or more TALL floors of stairs makes a good way to get the kinks out after or before the commute. It’s also just a bit of “fitness” work I can get in…in my long day of flying a desk.

So, yesterday after work, I trudged through the rain and entered the parking garage. Feeling a bit blue, tired, and chilly due to the cold rain, the dank concrete colors and harsh HID lighting did nothing for my mood. I *almost* entered the main building to take the elevator up. I do occasionally do this. Unpainted closed in cold concrete stairway or warm and well lit elevator ride? I actually stood there for a moment deciding.

Finally, I turned to the dingy concrete stairwell in the parking garage and started trodging (technical term) my way up. Masochism confirmed.

Usually, along about the third floor, I’ve entered “cardio” mode…head down, just grinding it out. There’s very little entertainment or tactile reward to be found climbing the stairs.

Except this time.

Approaching the fourth floor landing, head down, still rapidly trodging, on my last step up to the landing I ran smack into a cute little dynamo of the distinctly female persuasion. She was maybe 4′-6″ tops, outstandingly proportioned, toned, lean, and lithe. Well, except for her big tits…ur…assets…ur, eyes. Yep. BIG eyes.

She was just standing there on the landing, in a little black and very short slash cut dress…”slash” as in shoulder-less, angled from a partial sleeve over the left arm, with a diagonal cut down to low under her right arm. The very short hem-line matched the angle from high on her left hip. It accented all of her curves to effect and was defying several laws of physics just staying put on that figure. For an instant I wondered if spray glue was involved.

LOTS of cleavage, which I would have noticed anyway (yeah, I’m a guy, get over it), but got a particularly personal preview as when I say, “ran smack into” what I mean is due our respective heights, my rapid ‘head down and up the stairs’ action, and her facing down the stairs…when I stepped up to the last step before the landing I basically stuck my face right in the previously described…ur…assets.

*splut*

Not the usual sort of thing I encounter in a dingy concrete stairwell, and totally unexpected. Yet, I’d have known what I ran into even with my eyes closed.

Startled would be an understatement. I stepped back about 4 stairs frantically grabbing the railing while looking up and said, “Holy shit!”

She just stood there, one hand on her hip, the other clutching a red leather bag, which to my credit I actually noticed, matched the belt on the dress. She had a grin on her face.

She was stunning, and now I was looking up her very short dress. The thong matched the belt.

I’m certain my brain short-circuited.

*pop* *zork*

I may have actually blushed.

*reboot*

“Damn…”

*systems coming back online*

Shortly I said, “Uh, sorry. That was probably inappropriate.”

She just grinned even larger. “Not at all. *THAT’S* the exact reaction I was going for!” Then she started down the stairs and stepped around me. “I have a date with my boyfriend and want to surprise him.”

I took a breath as she stepped by. The first since our encounter I expect. I was starting to get dizzy. You really should breathe when hard-climbing stairs. The body’s funny that way.

“Well, if you don’t at least get a, “Holy shit!” outta him, you’d best call him an ambulance.”

That got a laugh. I love it when women are women. Many never figure out 90% of beauty is in the attitude. The other 10% is just showing up. This gal was running at about 300%.

I shook my head, took a couple deep breaths to get the blood flowing back to where it was actually needed at the moment, and finished my climb. Normally the only reward for doing so is knowing I can. Today there was something more.

I’m highly in favor of that.

For some reason, my blue mood had completely evaporated. Despite the cold rain I was wishing for my Valk, but hopped in the cage and cranked up the radio, and promptly had another good laugh. Pop station was poppin’.

“It’s going down, I’m yelling timber
You better move, you better dance
Let’s make a night, you won’t remember
I’ll be the one, you won’t forget…”

Scenery is important. Got bless those Texas girls. Some really lucky dude had him a date last night. Hope he knows what he’s got.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Blog, Ramblings | Leave a comment

Firm stuff.

Five AM on a Saturday…and I’m sitting in the massive “big-box” health club, on one of about TEN lat pull-down machines, desperately trying not to puke.

It’s a moment, and all I can think of is that I unraveled myself from my warm, willing, naked woman, rolled out of bed, and ventured out into a cold rain just to do this.

At this moment, I can’t imagine why.

Fortunately I tend to work out in a fasted state…blood sugar management, insulin levels, fat burning…it’s supposed to benefit all those things, depending on which school of nutrition/exercise you are paying attention to on that particular day. Today it helps with…well…NOT “tossing my cookies” all over the rubber coated floor and gleaming machines.

No, you shouldn’t work out when sick. Thing is…I’m not sick. I’m broken, and working on the repairs.

It’s a lot tougher than it looks.

***

I started the morning with 30 minutes of endurance cardio. High incline treadmill, at whatever pace required to get my heart-rate into the desired range. Today I’m shooting for a sustained 80% of my max. Maximum heart rate is an age-related definition of what’s advisable…basically 220 minus your age, and then the 80% of that…and maybe a little fudge “bump up” factor since…yanno…I’m not *cough* old or anything…so around 140 beats per minute or so is a good endurance workout for me. Hit the treadmill, crank it up…and once I hit the heart rate range, go for 30 minutes. Warm up and cool down don’t count for the time.

Fun, right?

I hate cardio actually…I find it boring, mundane, and the like…it’s a grind…but on the treadmill I can stick in the headphones, crank up the tunes, turn off my brain, and just rock it out. It’s a necessary evil…or required good…depending on how long I want to keep kicking up dirt in this world.

So far so good. Cardio done. 300+ calories burned. So much for a light warm up….

Now it’s time to get to work.

Usually this is when I’d go pick up heavy things and set them down again…over and over. More cardio…of a sort.

Strength training = moving iron.
Cardio = moving iron…faster. *That’s* the cardio I like.

But not today.

Today I’m going to stretch and bend and twirl my arm around in little circles and do other very “non-grunt-worthy” twiddly bits that would no doubt seem silly to any of the serious “on a mission” folks that show up at the gym at “O-stupid-thirty”…if they were worried about it. But that’s the cool thing about serious folks at the gym. They’re serious…and they expect whatever you’re doing…is serious to you too.

They don’t need to know why.

The faithful reader may remember I had surgery on my right shoulder in January for catastrophic injury to my rotator cuff muscles. Multiple full tears, retraction, atrophy, abrasions and the like. A four hour surgery and six months of PT got it to a usable state, so in August, we repaired the other one…which turned out to be in even worse condition. Five hours of surgery on that one.

I started PT on the left one last week…and of course, am continuing the exercises on the right one as well. On TOP of the scheduled therapy sessions, I spend at least an hour a day working the shoulders. I’ll be doing this for months…as in “double digits” of months.

It is painful. There’s a line…I have to continually explore to find…between “stressing it so it will grow stronger” pain and “tear something up” pain. It’s an edge…and though it moves around, I’ve become quite familiar with what it feels like.

I have a lot of endurance, and a high tolerance for pain…but the deliberate infliction of it upon myself makes me queasy, and eventually nauseous. There’s a hard limit to how far I can push that.

I touched that limit today.

***

First up, a rather long bout of mild stretching. I have to be quite careful with the left shoulder. Tendons were reattached to the bone in LOTS of places and I’m endeavoring to keep them there. I can be a little rougher on the right (which has had 8 months more to heal). Then several exercises on the right to stress specific muscles. I was perhaps 40 minutes in when I hit the lat pull-down machine.

Light weight, but high reps…it’s perfect for stretching the shoulders, particularly the newly surgified one) to their range of motion. The better arm can control the motion, and the lesser can “ride along” in the areas it doesn’t have any strength.

Thing is…all of it…every last exercise on the shoulders…is pushed right to the edge of the “good” pain. Every motion. Every rep.

It’s NOT intense…not in the way pulling hard weight is…so I tend to skip much rest between sets. The “light” work feels like I’m wasting my time in the gym, and in retrospect, I find that funny…since I’m far beyond caring what, if anything, any other gym goers at this unlikely hour would care about the weird stretching and odd use I’m making of the equipment.

But I still feel the lack of intensity. It’s required…if I tear these shoulders up now it’s unlikely a good repair will be possible, so I MUST do this AND “take it easy” for a while. I know this.

Still tastes like failure.

The final set of lats did it. Pushed me over the edge on the “queasy” threshold. I sat there, breathing hard, occasionally retching, white as a sheet, and recovered my composure. Those of you that have experienced this state probably know that my fondest wish at that moment was that something would just kill me and get it over with.

It would be another 5 minutes before the desire to live returned.

Yeah, it was a moment. And I’d left my woman’s arms to put myself through it.

This is when you figure out what you’re really made of…and you understand despite your doubts and failings, it’s pretty solid stuff.

Or stupid stuff. I mean, I did leave my warm and willing woman to be here…now.

So, you may have to pardon me the sudden and intense inclination to take the next person that lets me know how weak my character is…and break him or her in half.

I won’t, of course. I’m made of firmer stuff than that.

Or stupider…

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

Posted in Weight Management | Leave a comment

Cut short

One lane slowly rolls by…and I have time to burn the image indelibly into my memory.

Black blood and brain material. Splattered. The body not even covered by a blanket yet. The cops just trying to do traffic and not look. The paramedics on the phones waiting on instructions from the coroner or the investigators. Should we cover the body? Wait just a bit more. Don’t want to disturb any evidence.

There will be an investigation. Tire tracks through the blood. The path is clear. The car/truck that mowed him down is nowhere to be seen. They’ll take pictures and mark the road and scoop up the remains and file everything away. Even if they somehow bother to find the other driver, well, it was just a rider. The other driver will say something like, “I didn’t see him.” The authorities will nod and explain that the rider chose to be out here so it’s really his responsibility. You should have stayed. You should have called. But no biggie. Nothing would have helped him. Brains can’t be put back. Just be more careful. Have a good life.

One firefighter putting oil soak down. Building a barrier to keep the blood from running into the remaining traffic lane. Cars splashing through the blood would seem…irreverent somehow.

The motorcycle, as prone as the rider…but showing more life. The lights still glowing. It’s a plea really. *Please get up. Let’s go.*

There will be no answer. The machine is as doomed as the rider. It’ll get dragged onto a wrecker, dumped in the corner of an impound yard, and never see the road again. Perhaps bike and rider will meet again on another plain.

You’d think it would make the news. It doesn’t. The news is too full of the most shameful display of dog and pony and posturing assassination politics yet…the grandstanding and carnage there would be almost as distressing as the carnage here…if their show wasn’t so laughable. I’d trade every one of them for five extra seconds for this man to react to the conflict that killed him. Even one second may have granted him a lifetime.

You’d think I’d be immune…to the death and brains and blood. I’ve seen it before. Too many times. Several times I’ve known their names. Immune…or at least jaded.

I’m not immune. I’m not jaded. I don’t…cannot…see the body there as one drop in a sea of humanity…irrelevant. Superfluous. Invisible. Replaceable.

Rather I see the family that’s waiting for him…that will instead get a call. The wife or girlfriend that was his warm and willing woman…and will sleep alone tonight. The dreams and hopes and goals in front of him. The people he’s impacted behind him. The things and projects and stuff he worked on and nurtured…that now will languish and die.

The rest of his life was in front of him when he got on this ride. I can guarantee he didn’t know that it was to be so short.

I can’t help but know how I’d feel if this happened to my lover. I can’t help but wonder what would happen to HER life if this happened to mine.

But that’s all I can do…wonder. The scene here is over. Played out. Static. Printed. End credits. No thoughts, no actions, will change the outcome. No explanations will matter. There is only death and carnage…and the pain that dispatches to others.

My turn comes to squeeze by the constricted lanes. The car behind me honks. I resist the urge to just stop and pay my respects. They wouldn’t matter to him anyway.

I take a breath and wipe my eyes and slide on by. On into the rest of my life.

I expect I’ll revisit this in my dreams…

Y’all be safe out there.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Slipped….

Haven’t been on a scale in a while. Changed that this morning. I was disappointed at what I saw.

Yep, I gained. Ten pounds. Ugh.

There’s reasons…some could just be water. Then there’s the enforced, mandatory convalescence due to the shoulder surgeries. I’ve not been in a gym for nearly 6 weeks. Other than the stairs at work I get very little structured exercise.

Frustrating, but not fatal. I know how to fix it…and I’ve got this.

It’s a rather simple combination. Lack of exercise, and I must be eating too much.

I’ve not let my nutrition slip *that* far…but it has slipped.

With my calorie goal set at my calculated Basal Metabolic Rate, I could just be a couple hundred calories a day over and get this result without the exercise to burn the extra.

A couple hundred calories is only 10% of my daily consumption…the equivalent of a cookie or two…could simply be my calculated rate is off, or it could be my occasional “slips” on nutrition. It’s likely a combination of both.

So why am I sharing this…temporary failure among my successes? Simply because it’s a part of the journey…and it is what it is.

And on reflection…there’s a bit of psychology going on too…that “head game” that frequently comes into play.

Simply put…doctors orders prohibit the gym…or anything else that might result in a fall, or even an involuntary reach with the bound arm. Even squats and sit-ups are out of the picture (I tried), as you flex various muscles for balance and coordination…and turns out the shoulder muscles are actively involved in that.

*squat*
“OW!”

So…out of the gym…and no excuses required. An external force.

It’s easy to lose your focus…your habit…your drive in this case. The gym work had to slip due to the doc’s orders. It’s not my fault. Right?

Occasionally the nutrition could slip too. No big deal right? We’ll get back to it shortly, right?

Your brain is not your friend. I’d whack it with a margarita but that’s counter productive and frankly, I think it enjoys it.

So…this coming Friday is the follow up with my surgeon. If all is well, I’ll be out of the sling. PT will start the next week, and I’ll be able to get back to cardio and “non lifting” stuff the following week. So…yes, I’ll get back to it. I’ll fix it.

But do I have to wait the two weeks? It’s easy to say yes. Doc’s orders. Nothing I can do, right?

Nope. There’s something I can do.

I can refocus on my nutrition in the mean time. Cut my calorie goal by 5% and make sure I’m accurately tracking what I do eat…and make double sure I’m eating the right things (macros). Revisit in that two weeks and I should see improvement. If not, adjust the calorie goal again.

Ten pounds. Not even 5% of my weight. But it sucks. And I’m annoyed with myself.

The head game. It’s win or lose just on that. I know this…and it still sneaks up on me

Damn the thing anyway.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

Posted in Weight Management | Leave a comment

A lack of will?

It occurs to me today that never…in any interaction with any doctor…has my weight and/pr physical fitness been treated as anything other than a moral failure and lack of will…same with the diabetes. This is also true of my interactions with most “non-doctor” folks as well.

So imagine you worked too hard in your life and tore off, say, your leg.

Even if I accept this is a lack of character or a moral failure, imagine if your doctor said of your injury and disability, “Well, you can’t quit working or you’ll die…but you could work a little less and that would take care of it.” No other guidance OR TREATMENT will be offered.

…and then imagine if you went to your doctor later, say, with the flu…and he declined to provide any treatment since it’s your overwork and injury that are the “real” problem anyway, and you haven’t corrected your character enough to address that.

This doesn’t work with a “real” injury…and it doesn’t work with obesity either.

This has been my experience. I’ve learned more in the last two years by, on my own, researching the net (while attempting to filter out the bullshit), and also from my friends Blaine Callaway and Travis Merritt in the fitness industry, then I learned in the 50 years prior.

I’m STILL struggling to apply it to effect, and, I expect, will be for the rest of my life.

Obesity can’t be prevented OR cured by pointing at people and calling everything they are or do…a failure and a result of lack of will or weak character.

Not only is it not that simple, that’s complete bunk! There are physiological issues, psychological issues, hormonal issues, nutrition deficiencies, lifestyle circumstances, childhood education, neighborhood locations, income impacts, advertising, USDA standards (that are influenced by the food companies), profits of the food and medical industries, work shifts, and elements of addiction all in play. And that’s just scratching the surface.

There is real science behind this. We need to apply it…not just hope somebody like me can dig out the real information from the piles of snake oil and con games that proliferate in the current environment.

It’s bad out there for the obese or diabetic patient. There’s hundreds of folks selling snake-oil to the desperate, and the “real” information is hard to find or verify, especially if your doctor won’t discuss it except as a serious character flaw on your part.

This is why the numbers are DISMAL. SEVENTY percent of the US population is overweight or obese. Somewhere upwards of 50% are diabetic or pre-diabetic. The VAST majority of obese people that lose more than 10% of their body weight rebound in very short order. It’s a vicious cycle, and there’s little institutional “real” help for it.

They’ll toss plenty of blame your way though.

My is doctor was pleased with what I’ve done…but he is not really supporting it by helping me apply the medical science he applies to other aspects of my health, to my actual, yanno, physical condition and the problems with achieving my goals.

When I understood that, I decided I’d find me a middle aged, PHYSICALLY FIT doctor to go to, as he would understand my struggles, issues, and treatment needs.

I’ve been searching for two years…and haven’t found one yet. There’s some skinny ones…but that doesn’t mean fit.

I even called my insurance company’s line to help me find an in network doctor just the other day.

“I want a physically fit, middle aged male that is up on how exercise impacts all the other numbers, hormone balancing, and can discuss nutrition and supplements in a meaningful manner.”

“NONE of those are criteria we can EVEN search on.”

Think about that.

’nuff said I’m sure, but I’ll touch on this in later blogs I’m sure.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

Posted in Weight Management | Leave a comment

Not an Alien…

It happens a lot lately…somebody that’s not seen me in a while will inevitably say, “Wow! You look great! How’d you do it?”

It’s an awkward question. I’m not sure I look great…and I’ve got a ways to go yet. I STILL see the fat guy in the mirror…mainly because there’s still a fat guy standing there.

I’ve got work to do yet.

But I DO recognize I’ve made progress, and of course, know first hand how difficult it is and what has to be done to achieve it, so I usually treat the question as something that they actually want an answer to.

I’ll begin to explain the very basics of my exercise regimen and the changes I’ve made to my lifestyle, but seldom get very far before I’m interrupted with an explanation of WHY that won’t work for them.

MmmHmmm. Yes. People are all different. We have different allergies. Different sensitivities to certain foods. Different wear and tear or injuries.

Of course.

BUT…we are all much more alike than we are different. YOU are NOT an alien, with radically different bio-chemistry. Neither am I. The basics that work for me, with overall very minor differences tailored to your particular situation…WILL work for you.

Don’t over-complicate it. That is, in it’s way, nothing more than an excuse. I KNOW this. I did it for years. Decades even.

If you’re telling me it won’t work for you…well, you are correct to a point. What you’re telling me is you’re not ready to do it.

…and if you’re not ready, it ain’t gonna work.

It’s tough. You have to get your mind right. That’s the challenge. Own it.

Then just get after it.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

Posted in Weight Management | 1 Comment

Hiding…

A life full of experiences has costs. Achievements are balanced by failures and pain, much of which hangs with us to surface at inconvenient times. I’ve written often of “The Darkside of the Man“…and these artifacts make up a substantial portion of that.

They can’t be excised though. It’s part of what makes us what we are.

From a recent dream:

His tone was simultaneously condescending, accusatory, and insulting, “Those are some pretty serious monsters under your bed. It’s an indictment of your character that you have them at all. Don’t you think you need to get rid of them? There’s a service.”

“A service?”

“Drugs. Counseling. Re-education.”

“For them or for me?” His smile was ugly and I watched him carefully. We both knew the answer to that already. I’d already decided not all the monsters were hiding.

“Well? You want ’em gone?” He licked his lips in anticipation.

“No. Leave them be.”

“Why?” He was incredulous and took a step toward me. “They’re hiding, waiting to pounce when you least expect it.”

“No. Actually. They’re not.” I carefully rolled up my sleeves.

“Then why are they there? It’s YOU they’re stalking.”

“No.” I stepped toward him, a dangerous smile on my face, “It’s ME they’re hiding from.”

***

A couple tunes that are apropos:

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re tryin’ to save me, stop holdin’ your breath
And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy
Well, that’s nothin’

I see your monsters
I see your pain
Tell me your problems
I’ll chase them away
I’ll be your lighthouse
I’ll make it okay
When I see your monsters
I’ll stand there so brave
And chase them all away

I’ll see you on the road.
CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Keep the faith…

Have you seen Bagdad Cafe? The 1987 film stars an unknown Marianne Sägebrecht along with Jack Palance (and others) in what is ultimately a cute and heartwarming tale. It’s also known as Out of Rosenheim in the foreign market.

If y’all haven’t seen it, I do recommend it. It won quite a few awards and yet is vastly underrated.

But the movie is not, actually, what this post is about.

The start of it though…is.

The beginning of this film is one of the most poignantly sad things story-tellers could dream up. One dismisses it as a necessary piece of fiction required to set the rest of the story in motion.

It’s easy to dismiss. Surely it wasn’t reality. It simply couldn’t be.

Or so I used to believe. Then I saw it for myself.

Humans can really suck.

***

Day before surgery. What I SHOULD be doing is hanging out at home, trying to mentally prepare myself for the physical ordeal I’m about to face…or at the least, trying to get a few things done while I actually have the use of my left arm.

What I’m actually doing is banging around east Texas, miles from home, dealing with somebody else’s problems. It’s a habit I’ve gotten into.

Errands ur…erranded, I’ve headed for the interstate to make some time towards home. With any luck, I can salvage a leisurely evening with my wife.

Approaching the I-state I already knew that plan was out. The westbound traffic was at a standstill. Hundreds of trucks, thousands of cars. Not a good thing when you’re 50 miles from the nearest normal traffic jam.

“The way is shut…” Crud.

I hit the intersection anyway. A combo McDonald’s and Pilot Truck Stop stood there, and knowing east Texas and my likely detours around I-20 to get back to the metro-mess, I figured it was time to fuel the car, drain the bladder, and add some much needed caffeine to the mix.

As I crossed the bridge I noted my initial impression was correct. I-20 was a no-go. Cars and trucks on the westbound side. Dead stop. Horizon to horizon.

I hit the pumps, fueled the car, and pulled up to a parking space.

The lady exiting the McDonald’s caught my attention. Heavy-set. Chubby even. Middle aged, maybe a little older. Cheerful face. Big purse over her shoulder, and carrying a cardboard drink holder with two drinks and two ice-cream cones. She stepped out as I pulled in. She was looking around with a cheery smile on her face.

Her face registered momentary confusion as she looked around the lot carefully. Her smile dimmed but still there, she looked again, and then her face fell. A story was told in that instant. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then this was ten thousand.

…and I read every damn one of them.

Hopes dashed. Deep down she was expecting it. But whether she had reason or not, she’d held some hope. Women are often like that. It is the best part of them. It’s the part that keeps the world sane. It’s often to their detriment though.

She knew what happened.

And in that moment, so did I. At least the important bits. My grip tightened on the wheel.

Damn…

I got out of the car, a question on my lips, already knowing the answer. Already knowing the story that was coming. Already knowing the rest of my day was changing.

I asked it anyway. I didn’t have any choice. “Are you okay?”

***

The short of it is this: Her husband left her there. They were having problems and took a trip to work them out. He was going to drop her at her relatives in Dallas for a week while they pondered the details of the inevitable but so far amiable coming separation.

When they encountered the traffic jam, they eventually inched their way to the truck-stop for a much needed break. He suggested she go get some drinks and such while he finished gassing the car, and he’d meet her, basically, in the space I had just occupied. She’d added the ice-cream cones as a special treat, just to make the day better.

He left her there. Dumped her 90 miles from her destination, with the contents of her purse and nothing more. Twelve dollars cash and no credit cards. Not even a phone.

He had one. She knew the number. Scarcely believing what I’m sure she already knew, I called it. He had words for me. They were done. The westbound traffic was too much trouble. Eastbound was clear. He was going home. She could make her own way.

She saw it in my eyes as I hung up the phone. Read the disappointment I was feeling in humanity in general. The disbelief, depression, and cold anger that were crashing down on me even then.

Her tears streaming, she still smiled at me and touched my cheek. “It’s okay,” she tried to laugh, “you want an ice-cream? It’s melting…”

It’s a simple matter after that. I know my way around east Texas. Easy detour was US 80…some twenty-ish miles north of the I-state. I’m headed for Dallas. She has a destination there and she has an extra ice-cream.

Seems like an even trade to me.

It’s depressing though…that there’s a male out there that would do this. Male. Not man. Decades of marriage, and he dumps her at a fricken truck stop. I mean…he had to have loved her once…at least a little. Right?

Her last words to me as I dropped her at her relatives’ house, despite her situation, were for me. To help me. To make me feel better.

That smile. “It’s okay Dan. Keep the faith.”

***

Guys, let me be clear…short term or long term. Relationship woes or not. Insurmountable problems or just drifting apart. You may need to be apart. You may be done. Finished. Kaput. It might be your fault. It might be hers. All that happens. Life is messy. People are complex.

But dumping her at a truck stop?

No. That gets really simple, really fast.

The circumstances don’t matter. A man…Owes. Her. Better.

Be better.

…and keep the faith.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Blog, Road Stories | Leave a comment

Two years of leg day?

Some of y’all may recall that a lifetime of hard work, neglect of my body and health, combined with more recent efforts to recover the same, and culminating in an awkward fall, resulted in some significant shoulder injuries.

The word “catastrophic” was used by at least two surgeons I consulted (who couldn’t do anything positive for me).

Mostly by luck I found a passionate, talented, and determined artist/surgeon to attempt to tackle these difficult repairs.

In mid-January I had the surgery on my right shoulder (the worst one) to correct a couple of massive, complete tendon tears (with retraction and muscle atrophy), as well as smaller tears as well. Before the surgery I couldn’t even lift my arm. The surgeon was successful beyond expectations and got everything reattached as it should be.

I’ve spent the last 7 months applying a precision amount of pain (rehabbing) to that shoulder. It’s not, by any means done, but it IS functional. Realistically I’ve got another year of DAILY work before it will be back to where it should be.

Scary words. I’m pretty sure they charge by the syllable.

Meanwhile, the LEFT shoulder, in which “massive tearing”, “full width and full thickness tearing”, and lots of other scary terms apply, has been reminding me what unhealthy pain feels like and severely cramping my style.

Surgery is scheduled on that one quite soon.

The aftermath of that will be 6-8 weeks in a sling. NO working out or physical labor during that time, as it risks jarring the tendons or a fall/etc and they need that time to begin the healing process.

Then there’s 6-ish months of rehab, and another YEAR past that of work, and curtailed upper body work all the while.

My injuries rate high on the severe scale, and as I understand it, tendons are slow to heal, graft, or strengthen due to the very restricted blood supply.

If I re-tear them there’s not much left to work with. There’s a 30% re-injury rate in the 1st year with this sort of thing. If I make it the year, I should be fine for life (yanno, if I don’t abuse myself again).

Taking the time to do it right is as frustrating as it is mandatory.

Given the magnitude of my overall fitness problem I am working to correct and the rare juxtaposition of events/circumstances that afforded me the opportunity and means to tackle the issue (at the time the motivation to do so manifested), this frustration combines with a very strong feeling that I’m running out of time.

The curtailed activity hinders more than just my fitness plans. Some of y’all may recall my Old Victorian project…80% of that house is “over my head”…that’s a real problem when ya can’t work overhead…

Intellectually, I know I’ve got this…I’ve maintained my weight despite the severely curtailed exercise regimen this year (much of the time I DO spend exercising is spent on shoulder rehab, which while critically important, does not overly tax much of the rest of my body). I’ve even managed to improve my endurance cardio performance and other things…but I’m impatient to “get back to it” as a main focus.

I’m SO close to my overall goal…and this feels like a failure.

…and I’ve got another year+ of it ahead.

Lot’s of “leg day” at the gym I guess 🙂

Intellectually, yeah, I’ve got this.

Emotionally, I’m not so sure. It’s hard NOT to be discouraged.

Ah well…pre-surgery jitters for the most part…the degree of success of the procedure is not certain, there’s a lot of damage to correct, but I’ve aligned all the factors I can to get the best result possible.

…and sometimes that just has to do.

Left: 427 pounds, struggleing to fit in 60″ jeans. Right: 239 pounds.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

Posted in Weight Management | Leave a comment