Tara, Jeremy and the kids, came over for dinner and the Alabama game on Saturday. At dinner time I heard Brodie say, “I don’t like orange juice, I want grape juice”. Nana had offered that as a choice but it turned out we didn’t have any. Just a little, normal everyday exchange with the grand-kids we love.
Tonight I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d get a jump on Monday’s work. On the way to my desk I stopped at the fridge to grab a glass of OJ. There on the top shelf is a brand new jug of grape juice. Wendy hates nothing more than to disappoint her grandchildren, so she’s already restocked just for Brodie. I smiled, knowing that grape juice represents her love. When I closed the fridge, I smiled again, as the pictures, drawings, and papers from the kids all seemed more prominent.
I’m a lucky man.
I drove past Brittwood Apartments today – the second place Wendy and I lived. In 1981 when we moved there, it was a nice place, but over the years it looks like they’ve improved it. As I drove by, I remembered something; something I always looked back on with a little anger and disappointment.
I’ve always loved motorcycles. By the time I was married I was on my fourth bike, with more to come. I can’t recall exact details, but sometime in 1979-80 I accepted one of those monthly book offers from Columbia House. They would send a book out every 4-6 weeks, and if I liked it, I could keep it and pay only $19.99 plus shipping and handling, or send it back and pay nothing. In those years, I was always broke, but somehow I found a way to get the whole set by paying up front. I rationalized it by the ‘savings’ I made by paying up front instead of monthly, which was probably 10% or less. The books were “The World of Motorcycles”. I had several motorcycle books, and I subscribed to all the rags, but this – it was special. An encyclopedia of motorcycles!
I read these books cover to cover and read them again, and lusted after the full color spreads of motorcycles like they were Playboys. I really learned a lot about the history of motorcycling as well as what motorcycling was like around the world. At the time, I only knew the brands I’d seen – who knew the world was full of other wonderful machines of every size and shape. Needless to say, I loved this set of books.
So what does this have to do with Brittwood Apartments? One of our neighbors worked with Wendy, or knew her somehow. That neighbor’s husband had a Harley. He was also a policeman, a chaplain on the police force. Wendy must have mentioned to her about the books, because he asked if he could borrow the “H” book so he could read up on Harley. Long story short (too late) I never saw that book again. Not only did he steal Harley-Davidson, he stole Honda, Henderson, Husqvarna, to name a few! A Police CHAPLAIN no less!
Years went by, I’d look here and there as we visited used bookstores, but never found a replacement. There were some later editions, but they wouldn’t match my first edition set. More years go by and it’s just a dusty thought in the back of my head. Then one day I realized – I could look on eBay! Why didn’t I think of that before? Sure enough, the eBay delivered. So a few weeks ago, my set became complete once again. (And I lived happily ever after.)
It was 88° and a classic September afternoon in mid-west Georgia. Wendy’s niece had her wedding at a beautiful outdoor location and it was simply beautiful.
My Grandmother Katherine is third from the right, and my granddaughter below looks just like her. Reese even makes that same squinty face Katherine is making sometimes. In Katherine’s photo it’s pretty plain that those kids were not happy posing for the camera. This was probably not a quick affair at the turn of the 19th-to-20th century.
On May 28th 2013 I officially logged my weight into the NutriSystem web site at 360 pounds. That was the day I received my first months supply of food, and began my new diet. Yesterday marked the 80th day of my diet and I logged my latest weight at 329 pounds. Total pounds lost in 80 days is 31. Slowly but surely the pounds are dropping. 31 pounds off of 360 is hardly a success story, but it’s chapter one of that story! I think I’ve finally found a system that works for me. The food is as good as good brand name microwave meals, and better than some. It’s not home cooking, but that really didn’t matter to me. What works for me is the portion control, variety, and convenience. No special preparations, no measuring, not eating the same thing day in day out. On weekends, I allow more variety with non-plan foods, eating out, etc… but I am finding my cravings and desire to binge is fading pretty well. I have committed to continue on NutriSystem for at least the rest of 2013. If the success continues that long I see no reason to change.
Wendy started a few weeks ago on the same plan, and she’s lost 7 or 8 pounds, I’m not sure. But with her already small size, it shows nicely.
My goal is 200 pounds (160 pounds weight loss overall) which seems so far away, maybe even impossible. But I’m inspired by the results so far. As a bonus, I get little bears to encourage me along my journey. A different color every milestone. So far I have Red and Purple (Pound and Commitment) and the light blue one is on the way (Community).
If When I reach my goal I will have collected all the bears up through the lime green colored one, plus the yellow GOAL Bear. If that’s not incentive then I don’t know what is.