Close enough to end of the month wrap-up

04.30.2014

Ah, the end of April. What has this month brought?

The last 2 days have been fraught with tornado warnings, watchings, and whatever else should be associated with spinning, twisting destruction. Luckily, I was unaffected by this bout of weather. I never even lost power - I had that flashlight by the bed for no reason. I had plenty of text messages and phone calls to check on me and warn me to be weather aware, so it's nice to know people out there are helping to take care of me.

I'm still slowly working my way through painting my miniatures for Dust Tactics/Warfare. I went a little crazy and put together some flags to use as objective markers/scenery, all from scratch!

I've been wanting to make some flags for a while. I lack the skills to properly make them out of modelling clay/putty (I tried, it did not go well). Instead I used my mad skillz with manipulating 3D files and textures and whipped up my own flags and printed them out. Thanks to using a 3D program that could render the flag as if being blown by a light breeze, the printed flags have a little bit of a 3D look to them - actually more than I thought they would.

The flag poles are small wooden dowels from Hobby Lobby that I cut to a length that seemed to work. Yes, that is meticulous measuring on my part. They're topped off by little wooden balls that were hanging near the dowels in the store. I have no idea what they would normally be used for, but they work. Top it all of with some chrome spray paint that somehow manages not to be all shiny and sparkly, which is good in my case, and I end up with a teeny-intsy flagpole.

I've been trying to figure out a good way to attach the flags to the poles for weeks. Gluing the flag to the pole would be easiest, but I wanted something that would look a little nicer. While wandering through Hobby Lobby I came across Hemp String in the Beading/Jewelry section (I will wander all over that store). It looked the right thickness that would work as rope for the scale of the minis, so I picked some up. While playing around, I decided to try drilling some holes in the wooden dowels with my "precision modelling drill" (screwdriver with a drill bit). The hole was big enough for the Hemp String to go through, so I had the bright idea of gluing the flag to the string and looping the string all the way through the flagpole. The bonus result - I can raise and lower the flags!

Although there's no picture to prove it, I've managed to drop another 5 lbs since the beginning of the month and weighed in at 306 lbs this morning.

Thanks to motivation from Gina, we surpassed last month's walking total:

Right when I thought 61 miles in March was a long way to go, this month we got in 71 miles of walking. I remember when the pedometer app on the phone rolled over 100 miles total in early March. We've more than doubled that in less than half the time. Now that we're walking ~5 days/week our monthly average should be right around 70 miles. In a month. That just boggles my mind.

I have a post-walk routine now. After we walk, I take a much needed shower, then lay on the bed with ice packs on my knees for at least 45 minutes while I watch tv or read. The ice helps (mainly on the following day) - I'm not sure if I'm walking harder or if the bone spurs that showed on knee x-rays back 20 years ago are starting to make their presence more pronounced now that I'm not just sitting around all of the time. Either way, the ice appears to take care of most of it, so I'm going to keep doing it.


That's all that's on my mind for now. I think I'll go ice my knees while painting flag poles and watching out for tornadoes.


diet gaming miniatures gastric sleeve rambling

Joy of package delivery in the Boonies

04.27.2014

This past week my normal Amazon order contained a programming book. It's not something I was in a rush to get, but my timing of the order allowed that it would be delivered seperate from the rest of the order and should arrive on Saturday. Saturday deliveries are rare, and I'm curious about deliveries and the logistics of Amazon so I looked up who would be delivering the book. It was marked as "FedEx Smartpost", so that FedEx hands it off to the post office at some point. This should work in my favor, as FedEx packages seldom find their way to my house without ending up at someone else's house first.

The USPS mail runs late on Saturday. I honestly think they skip Saturday most of the time. Saturday evening around 7:00 I thought to check the shipping status of my order.

Incorrect Address? My address hasn't changed in 15 years. I get almost-weekly orders from Amazon. How could my address suddenly be wrong? I went on to "See Complete Tracking History".

Carrier could not locate the delivery address. Ok, that makes a little more sense. My house is hard to find (just ask the FedEx guy). Although I can normally get packages delivered to my front porch by the USPS carrier, maybe the Saturday person doesn't normally follow the route and doesn't know that the gravel drive 10 feet to the right of the 4 mailboxes leads to 3 houses. I can allow for that. I wouldn't try too hard to find a missing house after making stop-and-go trips to mailboxes all day on a Saturday. Just because I was curious, I went on to the USPS tracking webpage to see what they had to say about the details of my parcel's route.

Notice Left (No Secure Location Available). Since they couldn't find a house to leave the package at, they left a note in the mailbox to come to the post office and pick it up. That sounds different than unable to locate delivery address. How would I pick up a note telling me they couldn't find my address if they leave a note at my address? The logic of it all doesn't make sense. I went on to see if there was more information about this last step.

Ah, it's not the Amazon definition of not finding an address, it's that they couldn't find anywhere besides the mailbox to leave the package. That makes more sense. I think.

At some point I'll venture to the post office and pick up the book. Maybe not, as I've found there's a more recent edition and this may be a way to wait 15 days for the post office to return the package to Amazon without me forking over the shipping fee to return the book. Since it would be my choice to return an item with no defects it would fall upon me to pay shipping fees for an item even though shipping to me is free - I know how Amazon works!


Amazon

6-Month Post Op

04.19.2014

Thursday I went to the doctor for my 6-month post surgery check in. Time to see how the doctor thinks I'm doing.

The good news:

The bad news:

Unfortunately, there was no fix offered along with the bad news.

I've been putting off writing anything about this for a few days while everything sank in. My weight pretty much plateaued for a month which would slow down any observed loss. Since my 3-month check-up, I've lost about 20 pounds. Between surgery day and the 3-month point I had lost roughly 70 lbs. I feel a lot better, and feel better every day. Why would my weight loss slow down so much? I went back and looked at the recipet the scales of doom print out.


 

  01.31.2013 09.24.2013 01.17.2014 04.17.2014
Weight 439.2 410.8 380.4 315.4
Fat Mass 258.6 249.8 218.0 119.0
Fat Free Mass 180.6 161.0 162.4 196.4
Total Body Water 132.2 117.8 118.8 143.8

Fat Mass = How much fat I'm lugging around.
Fat Free Mass = Bones, Muscle, & Water. Me without the fat.
Total Body Water = How much water is in my body, at least that's how I understand it.

Taking in not just the past 6 months, but the past year+, a couple of things jumped out at me.

1. I lost 39 pounds before surgery (Jan 2013 - Sept 2013). In that time, my Fat Mass went from 258.6 to 249.8 (9 lbs) while my Fat Free Mass went from 180.6 to 161 (19 lbs). Most of what I loss was muscle.

2. Since Sept, my Fat Mass went from 249.8 to 119 (130 lbs). My Fat Free Mass increased from 161 to 196.4. I've gained 35 lbs of muscle. Muscle! Muscle and water, but muscle is the way I'm looking at it.

3. Everyone else I've talked to after they go in for their 6-month check-up is told to increase their vitamins or their protein intake. Evidently 3 Calcium, 2 Multi-vitamins, 2 Iron, 1 B-12, and 110gm of protein per day is what I need to be in the normal range.

4. I've yet to have any negative side effect from surgery. I haven't thrown up. No nausea when eating (or after). No hair loss, which was the one thing I was really worried about (and the big reason I down 2 Iron vitamins per day along with all of that protein). I don't have folds of flappy skin from rapid weight loss, although I do have a jiggly belly no one sees when I bend over.

5. The biggest side effect the doctor seems to worry about is gallstones developing from rapid weight loss, as he tells me what to look for as symptoms each time I go. I think I'm not losing weight fast enough to worry about this, and in my mind that's a plus.

6. Although not a measurement on his scales, I now wear jeans that have a 12" smaller waist than I did when that first weight was taken. My waist is a foot smaller. Another 8" and I'll have the same size waist as I did in high school.

7. Gina and I now walk 5 times per week. Our walks are usually a little over an hour, and we walk roughly 3� miles. My knees still can't handle the pounding of a jog, and the limiting factor on our speed is not me trying to catch my breath, but the burn in my leg muscles (see those 35 pounds of muscle I've gained?) or general soreness in my knees. By the end of our walk I'm a little tired but breathing normally. I still remember being out of breath trying to cross the parking lot at work a year ago.

With all of this, I've decided that if I'm not losing weight fast enough that it's ok. I'm still losing. My quality of life has shot through the roof. Everybody is still supportive and proud of what I'm doing, which has made more of a difference than I originally thought.

I have another check-up in 3 more months. No blood work is required this time, so I won't get an update on my vitamins and protein. We'll see if my progress speeds up any by then. If not, and I'm still feeling like I do now, everything will still be good.

In the words of Matthew McConaughey, I'm feeling "Awright Awright Awright!"


diet gastric sleeve

More Painting

04.12.2014

After a couple of months, or at least it's felt like a couple of months, I can now say I've finished painting my latest batch of Dust Tactics/Warfare minis.


Axis Battle Grenadiers


My first painting project was the basic starter set, which has 3 Allies squads + a walker along with 4 Axis squads + a walker. Point-wise they're even although there's an extra Axis squad. The only drawback is that thanks to the requirements of how to make platoons, there's not much variety in how to mix up those squads when playing.


Axis Recon Grenadiers


That made my first follow-up project to paint some extra Allies squads, after making sure what I picked would fit into some legal platoon(s). This led to doing the same with extra Axis squads.


Axis Panzer Killers


Now I've got enough troops to mix it up a little. I still haven't played this game. I only hope I have as much fun eventually playing as I have getting ready to play.


gaming miniatures

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