Monday, Part V

Well, I just missed my train to work.

Hardly surprising, given my morning…but it all started out so promising this morning.

I.

Had.

A.

Plan.

It’s my Friday, you see.  Typically, I’ve been working later shifts on my Fridays to have more cross over time to support and develop the junior managers.  Well, on my Thursdays and Fridays, but now I have a spin class I go to on my Thursday night, so…screw ’em.

I joke.

But I’m still giving them one more night a week than they had been getting, so there is that.

Anyway, the added benefit here is that this gives my body a practice day for sleeping in on my weekend, so I’m not waking up at 5 am with my body patting itself on the back for the extra sleep.  Normally, I’ll wake up anywhere between 3:30 and 4:45 to be at work by 5 or 6.  On my late day, I’ll set an optimistic alarm for 8:30, but I’m usually awake by 7, at the latest.

Today, I was up and at ’em at 6:00.  I had my laundry going and had showered, dressed and answered work emails by 7:30.  I was then on my way to do my recycling…my goal being as few errands and chores left over on my weekend as possible to maximize my screwing around time.

The bottle drop opens at 8 and I was seething about being fourth in line behind three of the founding members of the Portland Millionaire’s Club.

90 minutes later, caught up on all my Facebook and Instagram goings-on and Words With Friends plays, I was still waiting.  

Next.

In.

Line.

The guy in front of me was by far the slowest – and judging by his relatively meager cart load of recycling – and poorest of the three people ahead of me.  I moved to leave so that I could go home, drop off my recycling and make it to the 9:24 train to PDX when the guy turns to me and says, “I’ll take those for ya, if you’re not gonna stay!”

Like he’s being helpful.

I’m already pissy because my recycling will have to intrude on my weekend.  Also, its reached the point where it’s about more than I can comfortably carry on foot.  If much more accumulates, I’ll have to make two trips or impose on a friend with a car.

<Looking at you, Silver Fox>

But I also realize his slow and challenged behavior was part of an act.  He wanted me to just drop my recycling and leave them for him to claim.

Nice try, my street bound Rockefeller.

You’ve got to get up pretty early to catch me before the tidal wave of grumpiness overwhelms my day.  I only recycle now – mostly – because of my grumpiness.  Most of which – in this situation – I actually blame equally on homeless people and apartment/condo dwellers, since we are largely to blame for triggering the bottle redemption deposit to go from $.05 to $.10.  

The other reason I recycle is cuz I’m cheap and a dime is a lot of money to just throw down a recycling chute.

So, no.  But, thanks…I’ll bring my recycling back tomorrow.

What iced my Monday cake for me was walking the last block of my foot commute to the train at 9:22 and seeing my Redline train to the airport pulling away.

Calmly, I walked the last block while screaming, “Fuuuuuuuuck!!!” inside, pulled out my phone, texted the boss I’d be a few minutes late and started this blog post.

Also thinking, “You’ve got to sign up for the Bottle Drop recycling program, you cheap, old bastard.”  Seriously, the only reason I have resisted is because I have to buy the drop bags and I estimate that they cost about 10% of my overall redemption.  But I’m thinking the frustration it would relieve and the amount of time I would save standing in the aroma of despair would probably be worth $.01 per bottle…there’s my bright side of this fifth Monday of my work week.

Also, I was just reminded that I made plans for tonight.  They are about three hours before I get off work, so I get to share my shit iced crap cake of a day with someone else, now.  

I could really use a mental health day.

Monday, Part V

Bittersweet Sixteen

I think most of us remember where we were that morning.

Regardless of where we were when it happened, collectively, I think it’s appropriate to assume that five minutes later we were all super glued in horror to our televisions as we watched what became the slow collapse of the symbols of our international presence in the global community.

Those towers may also have been a big part of our sense of security and imperviousness to some degree, too.

Our Big Sticks, if you will.

Well, this morning at work, we will – of course – honor the memory of this day.  At 5:46, the entire airport will observe a moment of silence.  A fairly humbling moment in my airport work environment, given the co-opted weapons of that day.

As always, on this anniversary, I will be a bit dis-eased with the notion of air travel…more so than normal.  I’m glad that I won’t be getting on a plane this morning.

But, while it makes me simultaneously humble and proud to acknowledge this day in our nation’s history, last night at work something happened that made me even more proud.

I was in our C concourse store and a newer associate asked what all the hubbub was around the gate right outside our store.  He’d cocked his head toward the sea of people basically blocking off the entire concourse and I responded, “It’s probably just a bunch of Southwest Airlines customers demonstrating that they’ve forgotten what they learned in second grade.”  I was referring, of course, to Southwest’s unassigned seating, which – try as they might to instill organization into carnival seating – regularly produces similar results throughout the day.

“Oh.  I was just wondering, since there’s a bunch of uniforms and security…and bagpipes…”, he said in an explanation that just kinda ended in silence versus a period.

My first thought was, “Bagpipes!”

But then I explained to him the airport Color Guard, which I thought only Alaska Airlines did and had been discontinued.  Maybe Southwest picked up the practice.

Then I went and joined the perimeter of the crowd, because in my near-year working here, I hadn’t yet seen the entire process unfold and thought I’d missed my chance.  Oftentimes, there’s a state senator on hand, if they happen to be in town…and congress is in recess.

No such luck, as far as I could see.  And I would have loved to tell Merkley that I appreciate his service.  But this moment was about other people’s service to our country.

The military, airport police and TSA reps were all assembled with the Color Guard around the exit from the jetway onto the concourse.

There was the bagpiper.

A swelling crowd of people.

Of course, a passerby choosing me to inquire as to the goings on.  As if she doesn’t understand OEG.  Or, that I have a pleasant countenance and demeanor.

As if.

But, I tell her and she says, “Oh, that’s wonderful!  My husband fought in Vietnam.”  I replied that we all knew the welcome home that had been received by him at the time and that it was a shame.

She wandered off and started taking pictures as the bagpipes played and the Color Guard came to attention.

And the applause began.

And continued.

And built, with no crescendo in sight.

It was a little like the applause between the “last song” and the encore at a concert.

Finally, the vets started to appear.  In full wheelchair regalia.

You gotta remember that these old guys are being honored for a war that ended anywhere from 50-75 years ago, depending on the vet.  These guys definitely looked like WWII vets.  There were women being wheeled off, too.  I was not entirely sure whether maybe they were WACs or military spouses, but either way, they also served and sacrificed.

I was super impressed by one old dog who was high diving people as he was wheeled by.  I was still smiling at his spirit when an octogenarian gal came – literally – sashaying off the jetway and onto the concourse.  All smiles and short dance bursts and arms waving.

People were still clapping.

And filming,

And tearing up.

Even me.

And I was proud to be an American.

I was so engrossed in watching the procession that I didn’t get any great pix, but here’s a few I snapped as the event ended.

That guy in the Duck gear was the husband of the woman I spoke to before the vets deplaned.  I went over to him, shook his hand and thanked him for his service.

Before congratulating him on his team’s sound thrashing of Nebraska, of course.

Bittersweet Sixteen

And Then…?

I’ve been working on my first post in about a month.  It’s going crazy, so I thought I’d try a lil MAX Blog Challenge post on my way to work today.

Also, it’s 4:05 in the morning.

But, looking for inspiration on my way in to work today, two things came to mind:

First, I’m thinking about trying to leave at noon today.  Normally, Mondays are my “short” days…usually 6:00-3:00, since I have acupuncture after work.  Knowing myself, if I try to leave at noon, I’ll be outta there at 12:30, and that’s still eight hours.  So, there’s that.

Second, I remembered seeing Jeo at the airport the other day and that made me smile.  We didn’t speak, he was walking toward his flight at my normal pace and talking to another flight attendant.  I became aware of them as our paths coalesced, it’s just unusual for people to move at or maintain my pace. 

Still, I didn’t realize it was him until after we passed the Pet Relief Area after someone’s pet had died – only possibility, given the odor – and I heard Jeo say, “Yes.  That is a smell!” as he passed through the area.  I half-turned my head and chuckled.

But still didn’t realize it was Jeo.

I was pushing s rolling rack of souvenir tees to each of our stores to fill in and they hopped on the moving sidewalk.  That added momentum carried them ahead of me and that’s when I realized it was Jeo.  

He either didn’t notice me or didn’t say anything.  Given his pace, I let him keep going instead of interrupting to say hi.  I figured he was in a rush to get to his flight.

Plus, it was around 3:00 and I looked like hell toward the end of a long day.

Jeo has only recently come back into my life.  We stopped talking two years ago this coming Fall.

About a month ago, I was on a MAX home in a car filled with fucking hot men.

Not just hot.

Fucking hot.

For instance, the fireplug of a construction worker sitting right in front of me.  He had me plenty distracted, even before he struck what I call the Beauty Pose.

The Beauty Pose is when people turn sideways in their seat and put a leg up on the seat, resting their chin on a fist that is propped on their knee.  It’s the classic “look at me/don’t look at me” posturing.

So, The Fireplug got off at my stop, which amused me.  I further amused myself with the notion of stopping at The Fox & Hounds for a beer on the off chance he stopped in, too.  He’d gone left, heading up Davis and I’d gone right up Everett, so anything was possible.

But I didn’t.  I was being good.

At 4th St, I realized he hadn’t gone into F&H.  Gotta love catching a flash of safety yellow out of the corner of your eye at a crosswalk!

That brief glimpse kept me amused for several more blocks until he was no longer with me at Broadway.

Whatever.  That was my longest relationship of 2017.

A couple of blocks later, someone touched my back.

Ooooh!

I turned to see a rather attractive man that wasn’t The Fireplug.

It was Jeo, but I didn’t realize that until he said, “I thought that was you!”

He went on to say he’d been thinking about me recently and was happy to run into me.

When I asked why, he told me that he regretted leaving things the way he had after I’d served him some “realness” – his word – that he hadn’t wanted to hear.

He felt bad about it and had been looking for a way to apologize since he realized I’d been within my rights.

Hey, I’ve seen enough sitcoms to know that when a friend kisses you unexpectedly after a couple seasons…things are off track.

I appreciated his gesture and then wondered aloud at his presence in my hood, since he lived in St Johns.

Turns out he had moved into NW and was on his way home.  That was also when I learned he had become a flight attendant.

This was also when he remembered that I was heading home and said, “Don’t you live around here, still?”

“Yeah, a couple blocks back” I replied.

“You walked extra blocks for me?!?” he said, genuinely touched by my nothing effort.

Shucks.  “Well, yeah, it was nice to catch up” I said, gesturing that I should head home to feed the Mistress Myrtle.

He gave me a hug and said it was nice to catch up.  I suggested a coffee or drink at the airport one day and he agreed.

We were still hugging.

I’d attempted an end between sentences, but he deepened his hug, like a cuddly constrictor.

I’d forgotten what a hugger he was and re-engaged, appreciating his quirk.

And that was it.  No “And Then”.

We’ve traded a few texts, but nothing has happened except that random sighting.

And a guy restoring my faith in men, to some degree.

That’s enough.

And Then…?

The Red Shirt Diaries #12

This will be the twelfth entry of TRSD.

The first that’s actually non-fiction.

Potentially non-fiction, at any rate.

Mostly non-fiction.

And it’s not a funny-way-that-I-meet-my-demise entry like the other TRSD, which are really just the nonsense synaptic equivalent of watching someone fall down while ice skating .

I’ve been watching the last part of the second season of The West Wing today.  I’m sure the statute of limitations on spoilers is up, so I can say without fear of retribution that Mrs. Landingham dying, watching President Bartlet deal with coming out about his MS and then the cliffhanger question of “Will you be seeking a second term?” ending of this season wrecks me every damned time I watch it.  As a matter of fact, knowing what’s going to happen makes it emotionally more devastating to me because you start watching the things that go on beforehand and they just make it more intense.

So, I’ve been ugly crying on my couch a lot today.

At a TV program.

Like some dumb jerk with misplaced emotional attachments.

And then I read on the Facebook an update from a casual friend of mine that he was shaving off his Pride-inspired rainbow flag hairdo to commemorate the end of Pride month.  His update was beautiful.  It inspired me.  It was thought provoking.

He talked about how cognizant he had been of his own trepidations in becoming a visibly representative member of the LGBTQ community.  How it impacted his behaviors while he wore his rainbow ‘do.

I skipped this Pride.

I skip a lot of them, actually.  It’s just not my scene.  Not because it’s too anything specific.  I don’t go to the Rose Festival Parade, either.  I guess I don’t like large crowds is the best way to describe it.

But beneath that, well…is what I think is a Red Shirt worthy fear.

I went to last year’s Pride because I felt like I owed it to my community to be a part of the strength of our numbers in the long shadow cast over 2016’s Pride month by the Pulse Nightclub shooting last year.

This year, I returned to my curmudgeonly avoidance.  Once a decade is enough for me.  Not only because of my normal preference to avoid big crowds.  Also in part because of that Red Shirt worthy fear I mentioned earlier.  For the last six weeks or so, I’ve been on a sharper than normal edge.  I feared – realistically feared – that Pride was under a more than usual target.  It wasn’t something I felt compelled to be involved with.  I worried as I worked the day away that checking my phone was going to present me with unwanted terrible news.  Actually, I had been feeling that simmering trepidation for each of the weekends preceding PDX Pride on the 18th while Pride was celebrated in cities around the country and around the world and once again on the following Sunday for my friends and chosen family celebrating in Seattle.

The text I got from my sister asking me if I was home that Sunday left me with a vague fear…worried that she was worried that I had been somewhere something bad had happened.  Turns out, she and her family were in front of my house, assembling to march with the Portland Police Bureau in the parade.

That’s a whole different kind of fear, right there.  One I thought maybe I dodged, not becoming a parent:  fear of powerlessness for your loved ones’ safety.  But, my brother in law has a leadership role with the police force, so march, they did.

And as Pride month comes to a close <knocks wood> I find myself relieved that we made it through the month without any major bullshit hate crimes or massacres against the LGBTQ community.

Relieved and surprised, truth be told.

I’ve kind of lost my faith that Americans can comport themselves in a manner that still respects people’s differences.  It’s way heightened since November of last year, that’s for sure.  That stupid, hate mongering cheeto has enabled a lot of small minded people through both his direct words and actions as well as by his visible inactions and silence…he didn’t even make an official Pride proclamation.

But today’s cathartic binge-watching has kind of helped me out of another funk I have been experiencing lately, too.

It seems I’ve been fighting this battle of dis-ease on multiple fronts this month.

First, a vague, random danger like with the MAX stabbings.

Then, the more general fear or danger of participating in a potentially targeted event like Pride or an Ariana Grande concert.

But lastly, a quite specific fear for my personal well-being after a surprise random verbal attack on my on my person at work.

It’s like a trifecta of potentially PTSD inducing bullshit.

Nearly four weeks ago, a fairly generic conversation about whether it was unrealistic of me to expect employees to check their work schedules weekly – it’s my responsibility to create the weekly schedule – ended abruptly and unbelievably when my peer at work got up, yelled, “Just do your fucking job!” at me and essentially stormed out of the office.

I can’t believe how close to home random violence and hatred hits sometimes.

I was flat out godsmacked (not in the heroin overdose-y way) at such a surprisingly violent and random outburst at work.

And my dis-ease at this final scenario has simmered and percolated over the course of the month simply because…nothing happened afterward.

No apology.

No admission of wrongdoing.

No perfectly within reason – in my opinion – termination of my peer.

Nothing.

In the worst possible ending, he’s begun to just behave as if nothing happened.

Raise your hand if you know me.

<surveys crowd of raised hands>

“OK…you!”

“Um, I would guess that you, Homey, are not playing that?”

Yeah.

Homey ain’t playing.

Man, there’s some stuff from my upbringing.  I was raised with morals.  Standards of acceptable behavior.  There were fucking nuns, ok?  I learned some shit.

And, boy…did it stick with me.

Over the course of the two days that followed the…oh, let’s call it The Incident, shall we?  Yeah, over the course of the next 48 hours, I tried to make it semi-safe, between silently seething on the inside, for my apparently festering wang of a co-worker to apologize or admit his error so that we could begin to get past it.

I tried a little levity and was rewarded with an eye roll.

I tried resetting my own attitude to neutral by walking in on day two with a chipper, “Good morning!  How is everyone?” and was ignored.

Well, buddy, if you got a problem you need to make amends for…I’m not gonna work harder to resolve it than you are.  Stick your hand in your pants.  Anything?  No?  Maybe that’s the problem…he doesn’t have the balls to admit his wrong-doing.

But, that’s not my problem.

But maybe that’s not the actual problem.  Maybe he’s convinced he hasn’t done anything wrong.  And that obliviousness is a big red flag to me.  On that flag is printed something like “Beware!” molly you in danger girl

If someone in my personal life fucks up that badly and compounds it with being too ignorant or self-entitled or childish to apologize to me then I’m gonna get out my social scissors and cut a bitch out of my life.  End of story.

Not so at work.  I gotta work with this jag, so I put on my big boy pants and go to work, tolerating his existence.  It’s the best I can do.  The best he could have done – apologize – is now off the table because, in my book…when you mess up, you gotta own it…quick.  Ironically, I feel the same about counseling someone for poor performance at work, it needs to be immediate.  Well, once we crossed over that 48 hour window, I couldn’t accept an apology as sincere.  Actions speak louder than words, right?  His actions weren’t anywhere near saying that he was sorry for his behavior.

But, wait!  I’m not completely unreasonable.

Sure, you can’t sell me an apology, but you can at least acknowledge fault with me and I can muster up some forgiveness.  Hell, in a professional environment, I may even let someone off the hook without subjecting them to a lecture on how they failed to meet my expectations or grilling them on how they are going to re-earn my trust so that I can feel secure in their assurance that it will not happen again.

I can be graceful.

Ish.

I might trot out a “Well, that’s certainly not my fucking job” in the future to provide him with a good-natured poke, if our relationship happened to heal to that degree.

But in the ensuing near-month that has passed since The Incident all I’ve gotten was a couple weeks of silence and then some half assed attempts at getting me to tacitly agree with his apparent plan of pretending nothing happened.

Let’s just say that our office at Portland International Airport has been pretty well chilled during Portland’s recent minor heatwave.

Except – and this is what really reinforces that this whole thing is an epic shituation – for the dreams that have come in the wake of The Incident.

I was awakened when my dream turned into a scenario where my counterpart was storming toward me, yelling at me about an unresolved loose end that was his own responsibility.  It was a crappy way to wake up. But it was also pretty demonstrative of the environment that I walked into with this job.  There’s not a lot of accountability – internal or externally generated – with this fella.  My boss’s early words to me were “He doesn’t work a lot of hours, but he always gets his work done”.  Well, no…he doesn’t, he just gets away with not getting it done.  The scenario in the dream he was yelling at me for is an actual situation that exists at work, and has for a few months.  I went to work that day with a feeling of dread hanging over me because I had basically woken up with the certainty that this particular tiger wasn’t going to be changing his stripes.

That’s left my previous chill factor around the shituation behind and what I have now is an active feeling of dread…like I’m just waiting for the next unforeseeable occurrence.  Unless something happens to guarantee there is a reason to not expect another incident, I think it’s not an entirely unreasonable fear.

At this point, though…his absence is the only thing that would provide that assurance for me.

With that notion kicking around my subconscious self, my next work dream was even worse.

The shituation had been resolved.  My counterpart removed from the equation.

Fired.

Duly.

Did I mention he’s a hunter?  No?  Then I probably should.  He just returned from a hunting trip to Africa where he went trophy hunting.  Yeah, he’s one of those types.  I guess I could have told him he needn’t apply extra effort into losing my respect for him outside of simply pursuing his “hobbies”.

So, my more recent work dream ends with me standing on the MAX platform at PDX feeling relief in the knowledge that my sense of personal security at work would once again be made whole.

Yeah, he shot me in the chest from the parking structure.

Y’know, all things being equal, I have to say given the scenarios that have made me feel so uncertain of my safety this past six weeks or so…I think I’d prefer to go out heroically, like the men who demonstrated what Portlanders are truly like.  Sacrificing myself for the greater good, defending the defenseless.

Being blown up in a bar or sniped at a Pride Parade wouldn’t be that terrible…considering the legitimately decent buzz I would probably have I would presume I would be semi-oblivious to my being blown to oblivion.

But being taken out by a co-worker with an axe to grind?  Man, do I need a job like that in my life?  I acknowledged earlier that I know exactly what to do in my personal life with people like that…the money ain’t near good enough to make me compromise those values in my professional life.  If I wanted that type of work environment, I could get a job as a prison guard in Les Nessman’s jail.les nessman office

But, I have to say, between West Wing and a great Facebook status update…this afternoon has been pretty cathartic.  I’m inspired to be better.  A better example of a life well lived.  Instead of hiding on my couch with my values, I will challenge myself to participate in an actual life and let the trepidation I feel about my countrymen be a mental exercise versus a physical manifestation of the fear and discomfort our American culture engenders in me.  If I do nothing, well…I’ve heard that is all a good man has to do to assure evil a triumph over good.

So, I gotta be present.

But I’m still starting season three of The West Wing tonight.

The Red Shirt Diaries #12

Fitfy: 49.18

Well, there’s a break in my weekly fitness accountability updates.

Perhaps I should just call this one Fatfy.

Six weeks off between posts.  I blame The Silver Fox, but only recreationally.  Overall, I’m in charge of me, but here’s the story…you may enjoy it.

It all started with The Fox taking one of his ever more present weekend trips away.  While also having cataloged the rest of his upcoming weekend getaways.

It might have been our Friday coffee before his family vacation in Bend, OR where he, his ex-wife and son from south of Portland and his Seattle son and his family all rendezvoused in this Oregon high desert brewer’s delight of a town.

Perhaps it was the weekend after, where he went north to Seattle to dog sit while his Seattle son’s family went to the in-laws for a visit.

Or the weekend when he popped down to the coast to work on the beach house renovation his ex-wife – the perfectly lovely Sallory – and he were embarking on.

Definitely not this past holiday weekend when he went down to yurt erection party at the beach house.

At one point during his laundry list of upcoming weekends away with his family and/or Sallory, I exclaimed, “You guys are retired! Why can’t you go away in the middle of the week?!?”  A thought that caught him a little off guard, I could tell he was briefly considering the worker bee ritual of maximizing one’s weekends that no longer strictly applied to him.  Ultimately, he set that aside to declare that he couldn’t do that for the yurt building party because the other folks helping still worked.

But he left me an 18 pack of Mac and Cheese from his pre-Bend provisioning Costco trip, so there’s that.  It’s great when your best friend knows you so well that a box of Kraft soothes all manner of sins.

Also, I’m quite simple.  Not basic, since my tastes tend to run either rather high brow or – as in this case, obvs – low brow in the extreme versus basic…which is just common.

I’m gonna have to think about the amount of justifying that my admission of love for the comfort of Kraft Mac and Cheese just required.  But, Myrtle likes it too!  Or the box, at any rate.

So why is my absence from blogging about – or even actually participating in – my fitness journey as I approach my 50th somehow The Fox’s fault…even if only for my amusement?  He’s one of those…motivated people.  It’s so disturbing to my natural state of procrastination.  On my Fridays off, he likes to get our coffee and chat about the week and then make for the gym, which is basically kitty corner from the coffee shop we hang out in.  Well, he hangs out there.  I am a squatter, since my caffeine tastes run to Nossa Familia down the block, but his coffee shop has better seating.  Still, the gym is right in the middle of the two, so he’s right on that we should go to the gym while we are in the area.

However, it’s not my style.  I’ve always been a post-work gym goer.  As I’ve gotten older, my energy level has…leveled off.  The result is that after ten or more hours at work, I’m just as likely to fall asleep on MAX as I am to have the energy to break out of my couch’s orbit once I get home.

Ergo, gym-going has been relegated to my days off.

While this yearlong journey is intended partially to help me find new habits that I can adopt to move forward with into the back third of my life, I have not fully explored too many things that felt like a sustainable routine.

For one of these weeks away of his, I decided that I would have coffee with The Fox and then go home, do some chores and then go to the gym afterward instead of the somewhat established routine of wake up, coffee, gym…it’s such a breakneck pace for what is essentially my Saturday morning.

Looking back, that was the last time I even planned to go to the gym over this six week hiatus.

I was busy.

Eighteen is a lot of boxes of Mac and Cheese.

Plus, I was working.

A lot.

A couple of six day weeks.

Averaging about 7.5 miles of speed-walking around PDX during those hectic workdays…it’s not like I wasn’t getting some exercise in.

So, I forgave myself my weakness and indulged my inclination to potato myself on my couch.

After a few weeks of seriously sedentary days off, I started thinking that it was getting to be bike riding weather in Portland.  Another week of not pulling that trigger and I began experiencing lower back pain.

A side effect of my sofa slouch.

Good news for the Needle Man.

Bad news for my future fit fifty year old self.

But!

You’ll be glad to know that as of last weekend, I have returned to my reluctant cyclist self.  My first ride was a shorty.  A ride that I hear others talk about as an achievement and roll my eyes – a simple 10 miler.

Uphill.

See?  That right there was an error in judgement on my part.

I was looking for a scenic ride on a sunny Portland day.  Thinking, “Hey, it’s just five miles away…” and completely forgetting that it was five miles uphill.  Crazy, windy, two-lane roads through a part of Portland’s semi-exclusive west-side hills.  It took me an hour to make the ride up.  the view I had on my beautiful city once I got there was worth it.

You can’t see the floaters in my field of vision in the pictures, but you can still see Mount St Helens and – what I think is – Mount Adams in the distance.

The ride home was – obviously – much easier.  But harrowing as I rode my brakes most of the way downhill into town.

In rush hour traffic on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

Yeah, this was a super well thought out excursion.

On the decidedly plus side:  endorphins.

On the decidedly not-plus side:  my ass feels like hamburger from my saddle rash.

But, I’m not going to let that stop me.

I.

Am.

Back.

 

Fitfy: 49.18

The Red Shirt Diaries #10

Wow.  Ten entries on weird ways I might legitimately meet my end!  Well, or amusing examples of how my psyche leaps to the worst case scenario.

What can I say?  My mind is a psychedelic trip without the messy drug habit.

Case in point:

I was walking across the tarmac today at work – yes, my subconscious tried to kill me at work again – when I noticed an ambulance adjacent to one of the Southwest gates.  This was the second time in a week I’ve seen an ambulance – no, third!  I just thought of another – parked outside a Southwest jet.

Hey, at least it wasn’t United.  

Too soon?

So, there I am, pushing a rolling rack of long sleeved Portland tees across the tarmac as fast as I can – we sold 118 in two days – so our stores were looking a little naked today.  In the back of my mind, the theme to 30Rock is playing at an insane pace.  

Duh-duh da-da-da-da dum-dum da-da-da-da-dum on incessant repeat.

The faster I walk, the faster the music plays.

I’m approaching this unlikely and probably unwelcome (to at least one person) airplane/ambulance pairing and a thought leaps unbidden to the front of my mind, “Ugh.  Some poor bastard Carrie Fishered”.

Speaking of too soon.

I acknowledge some appropriate empathy elbowing its way past my other snarky thoughts about the same time I register something flit across my peripheral field of vision as I continue walking.

Duh-duh da-da-da-da dum-dum…

“Great.  Zombies.” my mind involuntarily concludes.  Because:  of course.

And, scene!

Zombies.

Really?

WTH, brain?

Out of all the myriad ways to die on a tarmac, you’ve managed to come up with loose tigers and zombies.  Not getting sucked into a jet engine or run over by a runaway luggage cart.

Tigers and zombies.

Man.  I gotta stop drinking Chablis at lunch!

Joking.

Like I’d drink Chablis.

But, on the overthinking this hand, it’s not hard to see the corollary between tigers, zombies and reality.

What?  It’s not.

Tigers are obviously the meanest cat on the planet, who I have the thankless job of feeding on the daily.

Wow.  Zombie eyes.  Go figure.

Then there’s the zombies.  Obviously airline passengers.  AKA: the reason I’m on the tarmac in the first place.  It’s way easier to maneuver my way around airplanes and luggage carts than it is to push my rolling racks through a crowded concourse filled with people who have managed to slightly overcome their default speed of idle.  If I want to get shit done, I take them out of the equation by hitting the tarmac.  God help me if it rains.

Or if there’s zombies.

The Red Shirt Diaries #10

Fitfy: 49.8

It’s time for a dry week.

A)  I don’t think I have had one this quarter/year, or at any rate, actually completed one in quite some time.

B)  Fitfy, I realized this morning as I was taking my weekly recycling progress pic to monitor my alcohol consumption, that this blog could also be called “What I’m Drinking” since it seems to be composed of equal parts sweat and booze.

Obviously, sweat and booze would be diametric opposites as far as how they contribute to the physical goal of this blog theme, and I have had a week where I pretty much skipped the gym…so this only seems fair.  Also, beneficial.

That said, here’s the recycling pic from week 49.7.

Not pictured: a growler of beer.  No, wait..two.  But they were shared.  Although, I admit to being the better lubricated of my growler companion (The Silver Fox) and I.

Now, witness the results from this past week – excluding the Monday Night Supper Club wine from last night, since my week seems to be running Sat-Fri.  I know!  It used to be a Friday-Thursday thing.  I’m a procrastinator.  Now, look…I’m publishing Sunday.  Where will it all end?  Also, yes…I know that last night was Saturday, not Monday, but Monday Night Supper Club has moved and I don’t have a set acronym-slash-name for the new night.  Diezel and I are working on it.  

I’ll take two bottles of wine and not quite a six pack as a week over week improvement.  Also, I was too busy/tired to excel at drinking last week.

Ok, enough of the negative – see also:  therapeutic – from last week.  Let’s get on to the exercise portion of this accountability blog.

My work-week was chaotic, to be sure.  But, in all that work mayhem, I still managed to clock 32.7 miles of schlep-walking while at the airport.  I call it schlep-walking since I’m generally pushing a cart or rack of something as I make my frenzied way around PDX between my five locations there.

BTW, for all of you curious about my sleep walking, I can report no further incidents.  But four nights in a row was plenty for this bout.  My sleep walking PR, as best I can attest.

Anyway, schlep-walking gets me a pretty good sweat and heart rate, especially since PDX has got to be the best heated airport ever.  But it’s nothing compared to what I accomplished at the gym this week with my cardio.  I made friends again with my favorite machine, I’ve been steering clear of it while my knee healed – and I’m still a little wary, but I just couldn’t resist.  It’s as close to the ballistic feeling I got from my running workouts, and I need that.  Not just physically, but mentally, too.  That pounding rhythm I experience in running just clears my mind.  Mental shit just bounces off of me when I run, and well, this machine closely emulates that same effect.

There’s barely any time to ogle cute guys working out near me when I use this machine, it focuses me on the goals so much more than the other cardio machines.

But don’t take my word for it.img_1887

800 calories in just under an hour?  Yes, please.  That knocks a bottle-plus out of my recycling bin!

Don’t judge that 2-setting.  I prefer the longer stride – obviously, with these ostrich legs I’ve been given – to the stair stepping motion of the higher 5-setting, but I do mix it up during my workout.  I was so motivated and proud of that 800 calorie burn that I went back the next day for an “or die trying” repeat.

Took a few seconds longer to accomplish, but I pulled it off.  I admit, I was a little distracted by a guy on to my right in the row ahead of me.  But it wasn’t just that he was a HGN (Hot Gay Nerd) but his workout was a bit odd and I was trying to figure out his rhythm.

Outside of those two Festivus-unworthy visits, my week at the gym was pretty lackluster.  I told ya, I was busy at work!  Sheesh.  Let it go.

I did feel the physical and mental changes missing the gym created in me over the course of the week.  To keep them slightly at bay, I did a couple of dumbbell mini workouts at home, just for the little endorphin push.  They even included some ab work, which I desperately need.  I’ve been avoiding my abs as my back pain hasn’t completely subsided and I know I cheat with my back when my abs fatigue.

But, I think my back pain has crossed a line.  Now, instead of my back pain being exacerbated by the cheating I do when working out, I think the pain is equally – if not wholly – due to the overall weakness of my core.  It’s a phys ed catch-22.  My Needle Man has been encouraging strengthening my core, so this week I caved.

Back still hurts.

The last accountability factor from last week is food.  It’s so good!  Why, why must it be so good?  While being busy and drinking less might make one suspect that I ate more emotionally, I have to say…that wasn’t the case.  Sure, I failed to take lunch to work with me last week, but what I ate was slightly better than basic burgers and ‘za.  There’s that, I suppose.  But also, I just ate…less.  Eating more is essentially where that emotional eating takes place.  It’s never more salad.  Maybe salad dressing shots, but not more veggies.  It’s always – and I hate using emotionally charged words like that – but it is always chips and popcorn and crap like that.  Last week, on my one emotional eating evening, I managed to pair my wine with hummus and carrots instead of chips.

So.

There’s.

That.

Less booze, better exercise, less and better food.  I’ll call 49.8 a win.  Now, it’s time to lather, rinse and repeat that bitch.

Off to the gym before dinner at #DanweiCanting with the parentals.

Fitfy: 49.8