Winter Vacation

Alas, I am almost at the end of my January vacation. If you haven’t noticed, I have used a little of this time to switch the blog back to a self-hosted format. That means the URL will now exclusively be ericksodyssey.com. If you have been accessing the blog through WordPress at ericksodyssey.wordpress.com, that will now redirect to this address. I am still using WordPress, and will still be connected to the WordPress Universe via their Jetpack addon. I’ve changed the aesthetics around here a little also. Hope you like it.

I always take the last week of January off because Denice’s birthday is on the 31st. We have a had a really good week together. We went out to a little place called ‘The Island‘ on her birthday to celebrate. The Island is a neat little place next to the Great Smokey Mountains national park. There are several nice restaurants there. We ate at the Timberwood Grill. Before dinner, we took a quick ride on the Great Smokey Mountain Wheel; a two hundred foot ferris wheel.

I have kind of fallen off the wagon as far as my health and fitness this week. I’ve done almost no running and have been eating terribly. I tend to do this when my daily routine gets disrupted.  I’m not going to dwell on what is done, just try and learn from it, and hopefully do better next time.

I have discovered a new person out there on the Interwebs, her name is Katy Bowman. She is a “biomechanist,” and author of several books in the realm of movement and health. I like a lot of her ideas, the ones I’ve seen so far anyway. Check out her stuff here: https://nutritiousmovement.com/

That’s all I’ve got for now friends.

Almost flooded the laundry room

Every winter, when the temperatures drop into the teens (Fahrenheit), we run into the same problem. The drain pipe for our washing machine freezes. We found this out the hard way years ago. I remember it vividly. It was our first or second winter in the new house, and it was a cold one. I think the temperature was around sixteen degrees that night. I threw in a load of laundry like many times before. A few minutes later I was sitting on the couch and began to hear a strange noise. It was a loud hissing sound. I quickly ran to the laundry room to find water spraying out of the pipe that the washer drains into. I stopped the washer, but not before the floor was flooded. It was a horrendous mess that took most of the day to clean up.

We learned from this very unpleasant experience. Every time the temperature plummets below twenty F. we check the drain before using the washer. It’s a simple test. We use a funnel to pour two or three pictures of hot water down the drain. If it flows through without resistance then we are good to go. If not then we have to wait for the water to melt the ice.

This is all due to a lack of insulation on the pipe, something that we should have fixed a long time ago. This is yet another example of how you always pay more in the end for procrastination.

Anyway, yesterday it was cold, very cold. I believe the temperature got down into the single digits overnight. When I woke up I decided that I would do some laundry. I tested the drain, and to my surprise, it had not frozen over. So, I tossed in a load of laundry and hit the couch. I had an hour or so before Denice was going to wake up and I decided to use the time to watch an episode of Black Mirror. (Holy shit… the new season of Black Mirror is awesome!) A few minutes into the show I hear that same dreaded sound. I quickly tossed the laptop to the side, leaped off of the couch, and ran to the laundry room. Water was rushing across the floor. I slapped the stop button on the washer and stood there in amazement. That’s when I noticed that I had forgotten to put the drain hose back in the pipe! I felt like such a moron.

I’m really glad I didn’t decide to start a load and leave the house. We would have had a real disaster to deal with. I was able to stop the washer before the flooding went biblical. Even still, the mess was huge, and it took so long to clean up that it made us late for a funeral.

The moral of this story is don’t be a lazy turd. If something around the house needs fixing, fix it!

2018 Rising

Hi friends. Well, it’s 2018. We made it. I’m not usually the resolution setting type, but I do resolve, no, will try to blog on a more regular basis. If you’ve frequented this blog then you are probably aware of my issues with following through on things. I can’t make any promises, but I will try.

I am very happy and grateful that Denice is back from Phoenix and doing well. I feel like the road has opened up before us. It’s a new year, and we are both becoming new people. We have some big dreams that we intend on pursuing this new year, but for now, we are working on building a strong foundation.

For me, there are a few things that I was able to maintain some consistency with in 2017. I am going to try really hard to build on these and turn them into habits. The one big thing that has taken root in my life is barefoot running. I have fallen in love with it. I have been struggling as of late due to the winter cold, but I am hanging on. Every time the temperate peaks above 50F/10C, I am out there. I am still running in my minimalist shoes when it’s colder than that, but it is nothing close to the same experience. It’s dull and awkward. Even so, I don’t want to lose what conditioning I’ve obtained, so barefoot or no barefoot, I am going to run.

I have also been pretty consistant with intermittent fasting. I almost don’t think that term is appropriate anymore. Eating once a day is just my normal eating schedule now. I don’t really get hungry during the day. What I would like to improve on however is the quality of what I eat throughout the week. I don’t want to make it any more complicated than it should be, so I am going to try to follow these simple rules: One meal a day, Monday through Friday. Whole foods only, nothing processed. And, absolutely no refined sugar at all.

The other persistent thing in my life has been the Wim Hof Method. I haven’t been as consistent with it as with the others, but it is a regular practice of mine. I got a good three cycles in this morning. The focused breathing exercises of the WHM also double as a meditative practice for me. I feel better when I do it, and I am certainly going to try to make it part of my daily routine.

I think that’s enough for now. Let’s go get this new year going.

Maggie, the Ancient One

Hello friends. We made it to another Saturday. Last week was a rough week. Our oldest dog, Maggie, has been having some issues. She is seventeen years old, which is pretty old for a dog. The past few nights she has been very restless, whining almost all night. Yesterday, about 3’oclock AM, we had to take her to the emergency vet. She had not slept at all and was behaving like she was in pain. The vet looked her over and gave her a relatively clean bill of health. She did say that it is possible that Maggie has dementia. This really sucks, for her and us.

Right now she is calm and sleeping on the couch next to me. She goes through these episodes a few times a week. Sometimes we will find her standing up and staring off into space. There isn’t really much we can do for her. It’s terrible watching a beloved companion deteriorate in old age.

One of the big side effects of Maggie’s up-all-night episodes is that we don’t get a high quality and sufficient quantity of sleep. If you haven’t read the book by Arianna Huffington, entitled, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time,” get it and read it! It explains the immense importance of sleep. Low quality and/or not enough sleep can drastically impact our performance in all areas, and potentially sets us up for horrifying diseases like Alzheimer’s.

I’m not really sure how to handle the sleep situation. Maggie sleeps in the same room with us, and I don’t think we can change this. She needs to be close to us. So, I may look into getting her a sleep aid, like doggie melatonin, or something.

On another front, I am down three pounds this week. My eating was better last week, and I was able to get in a couple of runs. I expect to be in the low 230’s by next month’s 5K. As long as I can stay on my plan, there shouldn’t be any problems.

We have a lot to do today. I’ve neglected some of my manly duties, like lawn maintenance and cleaning the exterior of the house. Our place is starting to look like a haunted house, just in time for Halloween. Denice is not pleased.

That’s all for now. Until next time.

Our Journey into the Desert

Hi friends. Denice and I recently returned from a week in Phoenix Arizona. We went there in the hopes of finding help for Denice at the World renowned, Mayo Clinic. Denice sufferers from severe chronic pain from complications from a previous back surgery. We have exhausted the capabilities of the medical institutions here in Tennessee, so we had hoped that Mayo may be able to do something more.

First of all, the area where Mayo is located is beautiful. Their campus is amazing. It is the desert, full of giant cacti, dusty plains, jagged mountains, searing heat, and all sorts of strange plants and animals. We had a little bit of free time in the evenings to go and explore, and what we saw was spectacular.

The Mayo Clinic is a very impressive place. Denice had a team of doctors who all worked together to help find a solution to her chronic pain. We discovered that her back is structurally perfect. All the fusions and hardware look great. That is a relief because we were worried that more discs may have degenerated since the surgery. Of course, that still leaves her in severe pain that exists in the damaged nerves themselves, something that is very difficult to treat.

We returned home at the end of the week. The clinic gave us a couple of good treatment options, one of which Denice is unable to do right now. Basically, the only way forward is through a treatment plan that Mayo offers at their Pain Rehabilitation Clinic. It is a three-week program that teaches pain management techniques, that according to them, should help Denice control her pain without (or at least with less) pain medication. They are confident that the program will greatly improve her quality of life. She has already enrolled and will be starting in November.

The last couple of months of this year are going to be rough for us. I will have to stay home and work during the weeks, so I will only see her for a few days through this whole process. Lucky for us, Denice has a strong support system in her family, in particular, her mother and stepdad, who will be traveling from Colorado to stay with her through this. With their help and the help of her brother, I think we are going to be able to make this happen. Yes, it is going to happen, and we are enthusiastic that it will make a positive difference in her life.