Post-Op Check In - Month 4


As it's been about a month sine there was a diet/weight-loss/post-surgery update, it seems about due.

Jan. 6 I weighed in at 330.8 lbs. A month later I have 323.0 lbs. Just under 2 lbs/week average, so my weight loss is falling off. I'm still ok with that, as I feel a whole lot better at 323 than I did a year ago at 441. I went in for my 3-month post op check-in and the surgeon is happy with my progress and how I'm handling everything. He also said I was on track to meet my weight loss goal (which I think keeps getting bigger every time I see him). With that, I'll see him in another 3 months and will get blood work done.

I'm starting to widen my variety of food. I've been sticking with protein shakes, chicken, fish, and the occasional steamed broccoli and asparagus. Now it's safe for me to take in raw vegetable, testing one at a time to see how my system handles it. So far, my system is handling it just fine and I can once again delve into the world of salads!

The post-op salad is maybe 1/3 the size of the salad I used to eat, and has a lot less meat in it. Fat-free cheese, Ranch yogurt dressing, and some melba toast along with chicken, eggs, mushrooms, and whatever bag of salad lettuce is on sale at publix. One of those bags is now good for at least 3 salads as opposed to how it used to only be good for 1.

I haven't really noticed the physical part of my weight loss past all my clothes being loose. A lot of that comes from seeing myself in the mirror every day and all of those changes being gradual. I had to renew my drivers license and saw the picture of 2010 400 lb me vs 2014 330 lb me.

When I see myself, I still see the me on the left. Now, I've almost got a jaw line. And a visible chin (above the other chin).

I also had to get a new CAC card at work. The picture on my old card was 6 months old, so it was pre-surgery and I was in the 400+ lb range. After the lady took my new picture she stopped and said "Wow, you've lost a lot of weight." Yes, yes I have. And I thanked her for noticing.

Now I have a hankering for a salad.

diet gastric sleeve

A New Mom Dream


It's been a while, a long while, since I had a Mom dream. The last dream or two I remember she was pretty much just in the background. Last night, I had a proper Mom dream - granted, it doesn't make much sense.

The dream started out with me and Gina watching TV/a movie at her house. The furniture was laid out a little different, but it was her house and it was daytime because the sun was shining through the living room window. Gina would look out of the window occasionally and she would say "Awww, solicitors!" at which point one or both of us (it kept happening) would run back into the bedroom and hide until they knocked or went away.

Finally this repeated and she told me to go hide in the bedroom (evidently I wasn't presentable) and she would find out what they wanted. I scurried back into the bedroom with a nondescript Yorkie on my trail. The dog wasn't any of the dogs that Gina usually keeps, but he was cute. I went back and hopped into the bed, then lifted the covers to let the dog get under them. He did, and as the covers floated back down he scurried up to the head of the bed where we cuddled. I know, this sounds nothing like me, but it had too much detail in my dream.

Laying in bed with the dog I heard murmurs at the front door between Gina and whoever was on the other side. Through the closed bedroom door I heard Gina tell me "Honey, you're going to like this" and the bedroom door opened. In walked 40 year-old Mom. Behind her were 6-10 nondescript people with notepads and various pieces of recording equipment (small cameras, tape recorders, I think a Dr. McCoy scanner might have been in there), and Gina standing in the doorway smiling.

I was sitting up in the bed open-mouthed trying to figure out what was going on, as none of this made sense. Mom walked around the foot up the bed up to where I was, saying "I'm so sorry, I heard this was hard on you. I never thought it would be." She ended up sitting on the bed next to me. I wanted to ask her what was going on, what happened, all that stuff that would make sense to someone you see after they're supposed to be dead. I guessed, looking at all of these people that came with her scuttling about the room with their recording devices, that there was some reason she originally had to go. Mom held my hands and told me "I've arranged it where they'll let me see you once a month."

I still wanted to ask questions, but part of dream-me knew that (1) I shouldn't, and (2) it didn't matter. Still sitting in the bed, I put my arms out and hugged mom, and held her as tight as I could trying not to cry. I'm pretty sure I did (I am now, but not bawling). One of the recorder-people was asking me a question, and I must have been ignoring her until I heard her yelling. I looked away from Mom and asked "What?" and saw a short Asian woman with a notepad loudly asking "THE CAT, WHAT NUMBER IS THE CAT?". I didn't know there was a cat in the room, but I should my head and looked her and said "I don't know. Make up your own number. Two?".

I turned my attention back to Mom. Even though I had questions running through my head about what was going on, I didn't want to ask. 40 year-old Mom was looking good. I asked her if she was ok. "Yes, I'm doing ok." she said. "I've got a girl now, and might be having another one. We've just got to get the parts approved." This made sense in my dream and didn't sound weird at all. Since waking up, this is the part that makes me say "what the hell?".

The milling people with recorders started to make a louder background murmur and some of them started to file out. Mom had the look that told me her time was up and she had to go. She sat on the bed and we held each others hand. I still had questions but I didn't want to ask. She looked sad that she had to go but knew she didn't have a choice. You could tell both of us wanted some more time together but didn't want to take the chance that doing so might prevent us from doing this again (evidently in a month). And with that I woke up.

Waking up from a dream like this is weird. There's a few seconds of "ahh, what a nice sleep I had" followed by a rush of the high points from the dream playing at quadruple speed. Finally, there's a little shock at what was in the dream along with a "what the hell?". After that, usually, comes "where did that come from?".

I'm still working on "where did that come from".

None of that explains why Mom was 25 years younger with an entourage. Secret agent? Witness protection? She had a girl and might have another if the parts were approved...?

Dream-me wouldn't ask any of those questions. It was like I knew asking, or the answers, might make everything fall apart. Kind of like finding the penny in Somewhere In Time.

Now I'm curious to see if anything happens in my dreams in a month.


Fun with the heater.


At 3:30 yesterday morning I awoke to the smell of something burning. Not an inferno that was burning everything out to get me, but a smell more akin to when the heating unit comes on that first time in the winter and singes whatever has been sitting there for 9 months. I got up and investigated the house but found no fire. I turned off the heater (it was 70° inside) and investigatedonce more, even checking the attic. Nothing.

As I got ready for work 4 hours later I turned the heater back on and everything seemed normal. I went off to work and came back home a little early to try and get my walk for the day in while the weather was cooperating. As I walked into the kitchen from the garage I was greeted by that same singed smell again. I turned off the heater (which was running) and double checked for fiery death. Fiery death was avoided.

The only thing I could think to do before calling a professional was to change out the air filter. I've been meaning to do this for months so I had the spare filter sitting in the closet. I took out the old, well clogged filter and put in a new one. Then I went for my walk.

When I got back 2 hours later I turned the heating unit back on. After half an hour I noticed no evil smell, so maybe the heater was over heating due to the old, clogged filter? I could hope it would be that easy. Around 8:00 I took a nap, since being up since 3:30 in the morning was catching up to me. After 2 hours I awoke to that damned, singed smell again. I went to turn the heat off but paid more attention to the thermostat this time. It was again 70°. When the heater came on after I changed the filter the AUX light was on (and there was no smell). Now the AUX light was off (and there was a smell). That's the only lead I've got.

From there I left the heat off and stayed of at Gina's. When I returned home this morning it was 61° inside so I turned the heat back on just to see what would happen. After 45 minutes, the heat hasn't come on at all. Maybe the heating unit is broke? Maybe it's dead?

Gina & family have switched to a new heating/air-conditioning guy, so I'll give him a call later today and see if he'll come out and tell me what's going on. Luckily, I fare cold weather a lot better than hot weather, so I'm not too worried in the interim. I just don't like having broken parts of the house that are potentially super expensive to fix. That part makes me nervous.

Afternoon Update

The new heating/air-conditioning guy found the house on his first try (he's one of the few, or maybe my directions are getting better). He crawled up into the attic and waved his magic wand, and 15 minutes later I had non-burnt scented air moving through the ductwork.

It seems the motor in the unit was getting stuck and not able to move the air, thus circulating the heat. The heat was building up and technically overheating, so that's where my burnt smell was coming from. He had to replace a capacitor and after that everything checked out all right.

I do have a candle burning to get rid of the left-over burnt smell. It's a sugar cookie scented candle. Now that I've been assured the heater's not going to burn down the house, I feel safe covering up the old burnt smell. With sugar cookie scent.


Carcassonne & Qwirkle


The first game of the 2014 Widgey Season was a double header of Carcassonne and Qwirkle, both of which have been featured on Wil Wheaton's TableTop YouTube show (or is it a channel?). While Carcassonne has been sitting in the gaming closet for a year or two, Qwirkle was a purchase due solely to how much fun is looked when Wil Wheaton played, along with how simple it looked to learn and speed of playing a game. As such, I picked up a copy before Christmas and have played it a couple of times.


Carcassonne has been popular for the majority of the last 10 years and is one of those "games every board gamer should play", so it was only fitting that if nothing else we should play it so as to mark it off the gaming bucket list. There's a lot of strategy involved for what seems like a simlpe game on the surface - lots of ways to score, play offensively and defensivley. Not as fast a game to play (or learn) as Qwirkle, but variety is part of what makes gaming fun.



3D Printed Fun


One of my Christmas presents to myself was a batch of 3D printed models which I could (hopefully) use for gaming. My goal has long been to integrate some type of GI Joe Comic Book/Cartoon inspired element into a game, and someone made a few of the Gi Joe & Cobra vehicles in 28mm scale on Shapeways. Last year Jerry ordered a couple of space ships from Shapeways, mainly to test out the quality ofwhat they are able to print. The ships he ordered had a nice amount of detail for how small they were. Thanks to a Black Friday sale, I finally placed my order for a helicopter, tank, and trio of jeeps.

The jeeps were based on the VAMP jeep. One was a basic jeep, the second had a machine gun to mount, and the third a missile rack. I probably should have just ordered one to see if these vehicles would work for what I wanted to use them, but they were on sale and buying them had been on my mind since I discovered them almost a year ago.

It took almost a month for my order to ship. 3D printing is a slow process, and Jerry pointed out I might have been the first person to ever order these models so there was a good chance some quality assurance checking was going on with a better than average chance included that something wasn't going right. That's fine, I wasn't in a hurry. I told myself this a couple of times each day.

After my order arrived I looked through everything. Helicopter, tank, jeeps. While looking at the jeeps something wasn't right. 1 of the jeeps had a part missing - the back 1/5 was missing. I looked in the back in which it was packed - there wasn't a trunk to glue on. Nothing had broken off. The open back end of the jeep was just... open. Normally I would think something has cleanly sliced the back end off, but in this case it was like the 3D printer had just run out of plastic when it was printing the jeep.

I sent exchanged emails with Gary at Shapeways Customer Service, including the above pictures. I like Gary, he has a good sense of humor and could tell I wasn't an irate customer wanting an immediate solution. Basically they'll look into it and let me know what to do next. That's the answer I was looking for.

I can figure out how to use 4/5 of a jeep. I can work up something to close the big hole in the back - the rear axle is there so I can still make a 4-wheeled vehicle. More fun would to make a wrecked vehicle objective marker out of it. I bet that's what will eventually happen. Now my mind gets to wander around all the different ways to make it less than 4/5 of a vehicle. And on fire.

gaming miniatures

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