September 24, 2007


I was able to break out of the declining skid I’ve been in for a couple of weeks and get back on track.  But, man!  I had to really work at it!  I mean 5 days of Stepmania and mowing the lawn on Saturday.  Lawn mowing is still a staple of my exercise routine but that’s going to suffer when the grass stops growing.  Things will get tough over the holidays!

I finally found the ultimate in music, which is the Maximum Workout CD.  Every song/mix is 130-140 BPM which is just exactly where I like it.  I had it going while mowing and finished in almost 1/2 the time it normally takes me!  I think I lose weight just listening to it!  So I spent the day (and all night) laying down step tracks to it.  I’m using a special program to do it that pretty much takes all the CPU it can get and still takes an hour for each song to compile.  But the charts are going to be challenging and awesome.

I started this on the cheap by downloading all the free stuff (program and songs) from the Stepmania site.  I bought a couple of cheap mats, from ebay and I was totally on my way.  However, as my skill level has increased, I’ve gotten more into it and there have been some increased costs.  The biggest, by far, is the new music.  Once I learned how to create my own simfiles, I started looking for music I really liked.  I liked many of the songs downloaded from the Stemania site, but there were a bunch I didn’t like at all.  It’s been a blast rediscovering some of the techno stuff from the 80’s and also looking at some groups in a similar genre as DAF that I hadn’t heard of.

The result has been ordering a number of CD’s from Amazon.  Your tip-of-the-day is to always order from the used section if possible, as those folks rely on ratings just like ebay, whereas Amazon has gotten lackadaisical in their service.  Their delivery time, frankly, sucks.  “Super saver” shipping = “Super Slow.”  You’ll be waiting weeks and maybe months.  The used stuff comes pronto and usually for less.

I also bid on some new mats.  The cheap ones were good to start off in but as I get to high levels with faster foot work, they tend to slide all over the place and curl up.  I bid on a pair of Red Octane mats  and actually won that auction for less than $50!  So theoretically, I could sell one back and recover my costs since they retail at 2x that for just one.  But you see that while it’s inexpensive compared to other exercise/recreation routines, it can start to become moreso.  Just check out the prices on metal dance pads and you’ll see.

I’m feeling pretty good about the weight loss business as it’s been maybe 20 years since I’ve been this low.  Getting below 200 is my main goal and then I’ll see about maintaining while building a bit of muscle mass.  Right now I’m in a race to see how low I can go before the holidays, weight wise.  At the same time, I’m looking at increasing my speed and skill with Stepmania so it helps to have these goals working in tandem.  Less bulk = more speed and endurance and higher scores = more muscle tone = more weight loss = less bulk.  In behavioral terms, it’s an elegant cycle of reinforcement and consequences that sets up an antecedent for more exercising behavior.  I’ve got a video game, some techno music, a bit of computer wizardry… In short, this program really hits my geek buttons!

I’m probably boring you non-geeks to tears, along with a bunch of fellow nerds because I’m not writing anything about sex.   Truth is, I’m pretty much diverting myself from the whole sexual arena through this other diversion.  Avoiding in the classic style of the word.  But I feel like I’m being productive and not pressuring anyone while working off my own edge/urges.  The cage play was basically ramping me up which is okay when frustration is the goal.  But now I’m working it off, and lately feel less uptight about whether sex is on the menu or not.  Since it’s clearly not, I’m becoming less stressed over it.  I have other things to occupy my energy and time that involve a lot less stress.

I’ve given some thought to that rhetorical question XH had in in his “Disfunction” post which was “Why are you so HL, anyway?”  Other than the fact of being a healthy, normal male, I really don’t have a good answer to that.  Why would I want to make it with someone who acts like an advance or invitation from me looks like rape?  No thanks. Perhaps this will be one of those issues that we, as a couple, just sort of outlast, outplay or outwit.  Or maybe not.  We’ll just have to see.



September 18, 2007

That’s what the scale read this morning, which wasn’t terribly surprising but after being so swift out of the starting blocks, I’m not liking the slowing trend.  But a loss is a loss, right?  Still, I can’t help but wonder how Finished Last was able to lose his weight so quickly.  I’m not sure he was even exercising at all!

Speaking of exercise, I finally cleared a song on Stepmania at the “Heavy” level today.  People who do the dance games a lot usually are at standard/heavy while lightweights like me tend to remain on “light” mode for awhile.  But in order to really get a decent workout, a body has to move a little more and a little quicker and the higher levels definitely provide that sort of action.  However my dance mat is the cheap variety and slides all over creation when I’m at the higher levels.  So I’m bidding on a pair of Red Octane Ignition mats on Ebay.  I’m hoping I can get two for less than the price of one, if that makes any sense.

I alsoordered some more CDs in order to add to my dancing music collection.  I do better at beat rates that are way up there so that’s where I went.  I once again went back to my old techno roots.  Thanks to Amazon, I was able to order a CD from a group that I have not heard in about 25 years.  Anyone else heard of DAF?  Didn’t think so.  When I was in Germany, my host brothers were seriously into the Neue Deutsche Welle (New Wave German) sound and DAF was way out in front back in 1982-83.  Here’s a little Youtube I managed to endure via dial-up.  I totally get it if it’s not your cup of tea.  It brings back some awesome memories for me, though.  Dancing crazily at the discos just like Gabi, back when I was skinny.  Now I can do it again!–the dancing crazily not so much the skinny.  I also ordered a couple of other CD’s I might review once I get them.

As you can see, this hobby/program, once very inexpensive and cheap is rapidly costing more.  But it’s FUN!

For those of you wondering what I’m talking about with all this Stepmania stuff, here’s another Youtube of me in action.

Aren’t I cute?

Ha!  I wish I had his talent!  He never missed even once.  Seriously the little guy had 301 combos and I’m still thrilled at 100.  And he didn’t even bother waiting for his score before going to play with some other toy!

I usually go for 45 minutes to an hour but have gone longer if I have the time and if I’m really feeling it.  3500 calories = 1 pound of blubber and I can burn 5-600 per hour working out, at least if the DDR sites are half-way accurate.  So given that I work out 4-5x a week, my weight loss would be right on if I wasn’t also adjusting my diet.

I guess I’ll be at this for awhile, at this rate, so it’s a good thing I actually like this little program I’m on, at least the exercise/dance part of it.  Being able to do my own music and steps has made a huge difference in sustaining the effort.  Otherwise it would be easy to get bored.


Weighing In

September 11, 2007


Well, let’s get to the weigh-in since that is here the progress is being made…sort of.  Last week I was at 211.6 pounds according to my new digital scale.  On Monday morning, my new weight was 209.0 pounds.  Not a huge loss which is more a symptom of my eating larger and larger portions of stuff thus violating the whole 1000 calorie/day thing.  Plus my exercise regime has suffered mostly because work has been so busy.  This is also why my blogging has been less than regular.  FWIW, I would rather exercise than blog at the moment.  I’m kind of hankering to get below 200 pounds.

Now to move on to the discussion below…

It sort of started spinning out of the orbit of reality which is entertaining but not very productive.  I do think the resident feminists, Mu Ling and Emily, had some valid points at least from an oblique angle.  I wouldn’t consider myself a feminist by any stretch but my present period of introspection lends itself to me re-evaluating some things I might otherwise believe.  I’m in the middle of a paradigm shift.

 One question seems to be whether or not I’m treating Arwyn like a child or whether she’s acting like a child.  Neither of these is completely true, but there are elements of both.  Arwyn’s secrecy and her propensity for getting in over her head is somewhat childlike.  But her and I see debt in a different light, just like all of you disagree with me on certain points.  To me, debt is an awesomely heavy burden that steals energy and resources.  That wasn’t always the case, obviously otherwise I would not have had to fight so hard to get out.  My new view on debt is part of this new paradigm shift.  However, I view her debt in a worse light than my own because she has such a small income.  It’s also not exactly my debt, meaning I didn’t have anything to do with incurring it.  Is that a fair view?  No. 

I do only give one side of the story and it is often lopsided.  Arwyn does take care of the boys pretty much all the time when they are not at school.  I can get perfect attendance at my workplace because she takes them when they are sick and runs them to doctor’s appointments.  She does do all the laundry, all the cleaning and most of the dishes.  While she doesn’t exactly cook, she will heat stuff up which enables her to feed the boys while I stay late for work or to work out.  When she does go to her bible studies or other church events she pretty much has them all ready for bed.  And no, we don’t have a maid.  I think Desperate Husband or some other blogger might have had housekeeper or someone to help out, but not me.  But having a 22 year-old Filipino gal hanging around wouldn’t be a bad idea!;-)

So what is fair compensation for all of these things?  Rent, food and clothing?  To be fair, she’s entitled to a lot better than that.  During our latest talk she did acknowledge that I was better about not being so stingy which goes hand-in-hand with not being so overburdened with debt.  But it hasn’t been proportional. 

She’s working on finding another part-time job, but I’m feeling of ambiguous about this.  Fact is, there is no part-time job she could get that would pay anything that would not negatively effect me and the boys.  Mostly me.  At the same time, she obviously needs some oversight in the financial department.  I’m thinking about some sort of match-type assistance where I match whatever contributions she makes towards paying down her debt so that it can be paid down quicker with the stipulation that we go over those bills together so that I know what is going on.  The hiding of this stuff has got to stop immediately.  I think part of the trust issue is my history of being very tight fisted with the lion’s share of the money.  So yes, I have a history of being controlling in that respect.  I’ve been working on loosening up and letting her get things that she thinks she needs even if I’m not totally convinced of the same.  I’m sure she doesn’t think I need a lot of stuff I buy.  So there is a legitimate history behind some of her behaviors, although they have historically gotten out of control.


The Discussion and Weigh in

September 3, 2007

I think I’ll start with the weigh-in first.  This is really the first “official” weigh-in, as last week’s loss was figured on two different scales under different conditions.  Today, it was the same scale at about the same time.


Last week I was at 218.x, which was down from the previous week’s unofficial 228.  This week, the scale tipped in at 211.6.  Not as impressive, but still a loss, which I’m okay with.  My workouts have been sporadic, and the not eating like a pig has been a struggle.  But I’m sticking to it.


I now weigh less than I did when I got married 11 years ago, which was around 220.  I’m not sure how much I weighed when Arwyn and I first met, but I must be right around that point.  It’s pretty safe to say she didn’t marry me for my body.


So now to update you on the latest drama.  Occasionally there is a case of divine intervention in the form of an autistic son with sleep disturbances.  Which basically means that the Friday Night Fight didn’t happen.


When Arwyn got home, she discovered the bill on the counter and quickly (yet quietly) took it to her secret location.  You and I know the damage was already done.  She was less than certain.


Rosie said she should devote every cent of her paycheck towards the debt.  That’s the problem: she doesn’t make that much.  She will not make $5000 this year working 3 days a week 9 to 1:00.  So this is why I blew my top.  Many of the charges stem from this stupid preschool teaching job where she has to buy her own supplies.  She bought her own laminating machine, cutting board, buys her own construction paper and constantly feeds ink to her printer.  This is a loser job mostly subsidized by me. 


So the evening was spent seething with anger.  I tried checking the blogroll, looking for train wrecks worse than mine.  Even Desperate Husband was looking quiet.  2Amsomewhere  usually has something cooking, but lately his has been all on the job front. Joe Flirt was about the only guy who was rendering up enough angst to compete this week.


So to answer CHs query, no I’m definitely not shedding the avoider mentality, but I am going to have to be less of one.  I really had to steel myself and I was determined to have the conversation that needed to be had.  Saturday was spent on yard work and garden work for the fall garden.  I was thinking rain this weekend, but I may have to wait a week.  Collards, elephant garlic, brussel sprouts, broccoli, romaine lettuce and cabbage all went in.   My cherry tomatoes are the only thing still producing so that bed will be kept going for the moment.


I was tired at the end of the day.  Arwyn was getting ready for bed as I took my shower and we actually laid down at the same time.  The boys were both finally asleep, so I decided to go for it.  I was much more mellow than I would have the previous night which turned out to be a good thing.


My opening gambit was asking her exactly what it was that she was 12 stepping on in her recovery group.  I thought she might be working through codependency or other adult child issues.  But the fact is, is that really has not been working through anything specific.  She just goes to these groups 2x a week, and works through whatever there is.  I was annoyed and frustrated by this, since I couldn’t find any real traction here.  So I just came out and said I saw the Visa bill.  And the Sam’s bill.  I asked her when she was planning on telling me about it; perhaps when she was $10,000 in again?


She admitted that she had a problem but said she now had learned her lesson.  Denial, denial.  I wasn’t buying it.  As we talked through this, she admitted she had a problem but continued to claim she was over it and had learned from it.  We finally agreed that she was going to have to get another part-time job to pay down this debt on nights or weekends.  I was ready to sign her up at a local fast food place on the spot.  She is not keen on that, of course, and is looking for something more like a weekend receptionist job.  I’m looking for something more painful in order to help drive the message home and teach her to reform her ways.  But actually, I’m fine with however she does it.  It will involve some extra work on me, too, but not all that much.  I can already cook, clean and take care of the boys pretty much.


The discussion did continue on from there.  One thing Arwyn continues to do is accuse me of being controlling.  Over the years she has repeated that over and over.  I finally challenged her on it, and she couldn’t really come up with a concrete example.  I told her that I did want to have some say in raising the boys, preparing for the future and things about my own life.  I then flipped it and said she was actually the controlling one.  In her view, I’m controlling by not always giving in to her agenda.  I did admit to being manipulative at times, but added that this was pretty much a failed strategy.   If it doesn’t work, it’s hardly much of an issue.


We discussed our relationship and I told her I was tapped out of ideas.  She saw most of my attempts to improve our relationship as being controlling, so I’ve quit.  I told her I was waiting for her to show up to the marriage.  She asked for examples, and I brought up Dr. Phil’s book/program (which she actually bought) that I did 6 years ago and the recent ENQ, which she refused to do.   There are many others, of course.  Date night, the cage, prayer time together and other book programs.  I invited her to show up by bringing something to the table.  Anything.


She made it a point, here, to say that it just wasn’t about sex.  I made it a point to say I was looking for something more long-term, but at the same time the whole celibacy thing wasn’t working for me.  She said that she never intended celibacy to be a way of life bought really offered nothing to resolve or address that issue.  It’s actually in the sexual arena where Arwyn is at her most massively controlling.  She controls everything about sex from the environment and frequency to the method and duration.  My input is pretty much confined to the obvious act of inputting.  But that was not brought up as I didn’t want the discussion to deteriorate into crying and monkey fits.


As it was, Arwyn was very calm during this discussion.  I commented that this was a welcome relief from some past discussions we’ve attempted.


She finally suggested that we try to go out more, just the two of us.  Initially, she thought having my mom come down and watch the boys for us while we went somewhere was the answer.  Not exactly what I was looking for, but it was something.  And something beats nothing. 


Getting away is a good idea, but when you have a child with special needs, it becomes a major challenge.  My mom lives 1000 miles away and does not like to travel, which is a problem.   So not having family close by makes things more difficult.  We have had babysitters in the past, but not real often and never overnight.  We are a bit particular that way.


We covered other stuff, too, but those are the high points that I remember.  Counseling did come up as a possibility, so I said she could look into that as her church actually is offering it.  She said she might want to go on her own a bit first, which I agree with. 


The skeptic in me says don’t count on too many changes as a result of this one conversation.  I’ll have to see some action to back up all the talk. 


There was no sex after this as it was so late and I really wasn’t in the mood, still.  Being HL for someone who delivers or demands so little respect says more about my stupidity and shallowness than her desire.  On that score, XH was right.  I want sex, but I really want it wrapped within a package of love, caring, respect and passion.   Since I’m not feeling any of those things from her, I really need to salvage whatever thread of integrity I have left and stop trying to get in her pants.