The Cones of Spring

I’m still here.

Why is it, almost every time I post something here, I start off by announcing that “I’m still here“?  I guess a better question is, “Why aren’t I writing something – anything – on a more regular basis?”

Good question.  I only wish I knew the answer.

So . . . what’s been going on?  Well . . .

Spring break has come and gone.  Not much was accomplished on said break, except that I quickly became reacquainted with the love affair I once had with my bed.  During the regular semester, I wake some four hours before I have to be in class.  Bear in mind, it takes me about an hour to get to work, so there’s little reason for me to be in motion that early in the day.

Except there is a reason – several of them, in fact.  I like parking in the same ZIP code as my office, for one.  That’s no joke – once I got to school late (for me), and the nearest parking space was over a quarter-mile away.  Walking that distance in slacks and business shoes was no joke, and certainly not something I want to repeat anytime soon.  I don’t think my heart ever forgave me for that.

Then there’s the idea of being prepared.  Don’t know about your part of the world, but here in the Upper Midwest, we don’t listen for the first robin’s song to announce the start of spring; we look for the first orange-and-white- hazard cone to tell us that the Interstate will be busted up yet again.  This year, the Powers-that-Be let it be known that nearly fifty miles of roadway – almost all of it on my way too and from work – would be rendered semi-serviceable for the next FIVE YEARS.

In Perpetual Construction We Trust

Think on that.  Three lanes of highway traffic forced into two.  No shoulder, either, so if you blow a tire, get hit by another vehicle, or need to pee badly, you’re stuck until you hit that next exit.  Oh . . . yeah.  About half of the exits are now closed, so you’d best break out the Depends, and hope your Firestones are in great shape.  My alternate route means I have to tag on another 20 minutes to an hour-long ride, and when you consider delays from the occasional accident, snowfall, excessive rain, or other “surprise event,” that means I have to plan accordingly.  I will forever be convinced that this is all one huge racket for the sole purpose of keeping construction workers employed.  Why else must the Interstate be completely overhauled every six years?  Nothing against construction workers; I might have to look into that line of work.  I mean, they literally just finished the last round of construction before announcing, “Hey, we need to all of this crap again, y’all.”

The one good thing I can say about winter is that it makes it easier for me to shop – another reason to leave for work as early as I do.  With temps often below freezing, I can stop at the Wall-o-Marts before work and load up on perishable foods – things I could never purchase that early in the day under warmer circumstances.  If I can get to work during a snowfall, I can stop to buy that evening’s dinner at dawn – thus avoiding the mad dash that everyone else will make at 5 pm for theirs.  Food, free refrigeration, less hassle – what else could I ask for?  Aside from praying that I don’t accidentally hit the Open Trunk button on my key fob, and feeding the campus community, that is?

So the idea of being able to sleep in late for a week was a very attractive one, indeed.

Still no clue on the causes of my various pains, but I’m persevering, and that’s about all I’m going to say on that.  Have you ever gotten tired of complaining?  Well, that’s where I am right now with this health stuff.  I’m tired of giving it so much of my time and attention.  Not to say that I won’t pay my body any mind, but I’ve decided to focus on the things I can actually address.

Like my general health.  I’m never going to be the guy I was in high school; I’m often amazed that I was that size at all.  Because of my service time, I hate working out with a passion – thanks Uncle Sam! – but I walk about two miles or so every other day.  I can work on the way I eat and what I choose to eat.  I have, for example, been forcing myself to eat breakfast, despite being a long-time non-breakfast person.  It’s a small step, but it’s an important one, as eating breakfast literally sets the tone for your day.

I’ve been slowly cutting out salt and sodium.  Never a big salt fan, but I didn’t realize how much sodium I was taking in on a daily basis.  Now, I pay attention to those numbers.  It means cutting out (or drastically reducing) things like tomato sauce, sausages (I prefer beef sausages, but those things are like 50% sodium!), and certain frozen foods.  I’ve been trying (with little success) to deep-six sugar, too.  I’m a sugar addict; I am not joking when I say that I single-handedly put several M&M Mars’ employee’s kids through college.  I was in deep.  But I’ve been trying to switch over to sugar-free candies, although Easter totally derailed that train (damn you, Cadbury Mini Eggs).  I’ve got a quarter-bag left; when it’s gone, I’ll start again.  I dropped coffee for tea, then regular tea for decaffeinated herbal teas.  I’m trying to de-stress and relax.

Apparently, I’ve developed a thing for biting my tongue.  I mean actually biting it.  I can’t explain why after all of these years, I seem so willing to inflict that kind of pain on my mouth.  Yesterday, I nearly sheared off the tip because I chewed a tad too fast.  I didn’t even know that was possible, to be honest with you.  So for every step forward . . .

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I’m a work in progress.  These changes haven’t affected the headaches or backaches, but they’re a start.

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