Monthly Archives: April 2009

30 by 30: Week 3

Unfortunately, not much progress on the weight loss front this week. Here are the numbers:

STARTING WEIGHT: 237 lbs

CURRENT WEIGHT: 232 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS TO DATE: -5 lbs

CHEST: 43 inches (-.5 inch)

WAIST: 46.5 inches (-.5 inch)

HIPS: 47 inches (-1 inch)

I started off the week really well and went running three times. I totaled 8 miles and I’m up to running 3 miles at a time without stopping. It takes me a shade over 31 minutes to do, but I’m getting there. Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it to the gym. Running and going to the gym just got VERY difficult because MJ is back at work and I’m in charge of Will everyday. But I just have to find some time.

The biggest challenge this week was eating right. I had a lost of restaurant food and I even caved in to some dessert this week. Ice cream cake and a sundae at Cold Stone Creamery. What can I say? I’m a weak man. I managed to lose a couple of pounds and my measurements are slowly going in the right direction, but I’m pissed because I know if I want to get to 30 lbs I’m going to have to do more.

I also had some dental work done this week and it hurt like a bitch. Basically they cut some of my gums out to get to my impacted wisdom tooth to fill a small cavity. The pain was not conducive to running and exercise.

Sorry this post is so lame, but make sure you come back tomorrow for Fatherhood Friday because I’ve got a doozy planned!

Here’s this week’s humiliation.

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Big Changes

For five months I’ve been worrying about MJ not having a job. All I could think about was the money, making ends meet, possibly losing the house, having to borrow from generous relatives, etc. So when she got a great job (thank you Citizens Bank!!!) I was elated. I was on cloud 9. I was ecstatic.

And then, I became very aware of what her new job means.

You see, her new job is close to an hour away. That means she’ll be getting up before me. I’ll be taking care of Will in the morning which is fine, I do that anyways. But I’ll have to drop Will off at daycare three times a week. And since she won’t be home in time, I have to pick him up from daycare too. And feed him dinner. Four nights a week, MJ will be leaving the house before Will is awake and getting home an hour before he goes to bed.

I’m not complaining, it’s just that I wasn’t fully aware how accustomed I’ve become to having MJ stay at home with Will. I wasn’t shirking my responsibilities as a dad by any means, but now I’m responsible for EVERYTHING! Every day except for Tuesday (because my saintly mom volunteered to watch him for a day) he’s my responsibility and mine alone.

If you know anything about journalism, you know it’s not exactly a 9 to 5 job. Something explodes, I go. There’s a murder or a bad accident, I get called. The news doesn’t wait and it certainly doesn’t care that I have a little boy to pick up from daycare. But I have no choice anymore, Will has to be picked up and it has to be me who does it. I’ll admit, that pisses me off a little since MJ isn’t giving up any of her work time, but then again she makes much more money than I do.

It’s tough going back to the whole daycare thing. And a little sad too because it was nice having her at home with Will everyday. I really like our daycare provider and I think he’ll have a great time, but there’s no substitute for mom and dad.

It’s gonna be a shock to the system as I get used to this routine again, but it’s absolutely necessary and, like most parents, I just have to try and walk the tightrope balancing everything as I go.

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Hello, My Name Is No

Will is going to start talking any day now. And when he does, and someone asks him what his name is, I fully expect him to chirp the word “NO!”

Because lately, that’s all we say to him. Honest to God, I feel like all I do is follow him around, wait until he gets into something he’s not supposed to, and then gently reprimand him with a “No!” And let me tell you, he’s into EVERYTHING! Especially remote controls and cell phones. And the bitch of it is, we gave him his own remote control and cell phone. Real ones, not toys. But somehow, the kid can tell that they’re non-functioning because he wants nothing to do with them. He only wants the ones that work. And whenever he enters a room, he finds them right off the bat. It’s uncanny.

Hell, I’m sitting at my computer right now and I’ve already had to stop him from going through my wallet, grabbing the remote, pushing the power button on the TV and touching the Nintendo Wii. He’s like a trouble tornado.

And I’m not mad at him, he’s doing his job. Right now, at his age, kids test their boundaries and see what they can get away with. So I never got too mad at him, just frustrated and tired. But even though I understand why Will is acting like this, I know for a fact he knows what he’s doing is wrong and he’s messing with me.

Case in point, the power button on the TV. He goes over, touches it, and turns the TV off. I tell him no, and move his hand away from the button. Then I go back and sit down. He looks at me, looks at the TV and looks back at me. He gets a thoughtful look on his face as he continues to glance between me and the TV. Then, very deliberately, he creeps toward the TV and he slowly extends one finger toward the power button, looking at me the whole time for my reaction. It’s actually really hilarious, but I’ve discovered laughing is the worst thing you can do because it just encourages him.

I think this is just the way it is at this age and I”m sure there’s nothing I can really do about it, but I’m starting to feel badly about being so negative all the time. But if I don’t walk around acting like a human NO machine then he’ll never have any boundaries established.

Can you imagine a world with no boundaries. I think they call that “Grandma and Grandpa’s house!”

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Worst Parents Ever

We noticed Will was walking funny the last few days.

When we got him all dressed he’d wander the house as usual, but something was different. He’s pretty sturdy and sure on his feet nowadays, so we were wondering why he was traipsing around like a drunk midget. He had gone from being very steady to seemingly walking on his tip-toes and looking like a stiff breeze could blow him over in an instant.

Hell, we even made fun of him a little bit. But it turns out, it was our fault.

You see, apparently babies grow. A lot. And although we’ve been adjusting to that growth by buying him plenty of 18-24 month clothing, it seems we totally forgot about his feet. It took both of our mothers to point out what should’ve been plainly obvious: the kid had outgrown his shoes.

Here we are making fun of his walking and it turns out we’re unknowingly torturing him by practicing Chinese foot binding. The poor little guy was wearing a size 5-wide and when MJ went to the shoe store, we learned he was a size 6. Yup, we were stuffing Will’s poor feet into shoes that were a full size too small. It’s too early to determine if we’ve caused any long-lasting deformities, but preliminary results indicate he’ll be OK.

So all you parents of youngsters out there take note of this breaking news: All parts of your child grows, including his feet. Knowing is half the battle.

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Ed Zine, Overcoming OCD & Being a Dad

Ed Zine suffered from one of the worst cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder one Harvard psychiatrist had ever seen. He believed that if he lived his life in reverse — rewinding all of his actions during the day in even multiples up to 16,384 — that he could stop time and protect his loved ones from aging, and thus dying. But his OCD became so overwhelming that he eventually locked himself in his dad’s basement for nearly three years, where he was kept prisoner by his own mind.

I wrote about Ed Zine in last Sunday’s paper, and you can read the article here if you’d like. And if Ed’s name is ringing a bell, it’s probably because you saw him on Inside Edition, 48 Hours and here’s a video of Ed on Good Morning America last week doing interviews plugging a new book about his life, called Life in Rewind by Terry Weible Murphy.

I had a chance to sit down with Ed in his Cape Cod home a couple of weeks ago, along with Michael Jenike, the world renowned psychiatrist who helped Ed lead a life outside of the basement.

Now you have to understand, all I knew of Ed prior to meeting him was the story about his OCD. The three years he spent alone in his dad’s basement in isolation. He repeated his actions over and over again, tens of thousands of times until it felt right. He defecated in Ziploc bags because a trip across the room to the bathroom could take all day. He walked, read, and spoke backwards. Honestly, I was intrigued to meet him but I was also a little freaked out.

That all ended the moment I walked in.

First of all, Ed Zine is big. Linebacker big. Professional wrestler big. Could tear your head off with his pinky finger big. Yet it took about 60 seconds to realize I was talking to one of the gentlest, kindest, sweetest guys on the planet. Philosophical pearls of wisdom tumbling from the mouth of a man who looked like he could kick the crap out of Mike Tyson.

And Michael, his psychiatrist/big brother from another mother, has a biting sense of humor that suited me perfectly. With a sense of humor as dry as the Sahara, I was cracking up listening to him talk about his “Brokeback moment” with Ed years ago in the basement. Ed hadn’t showered in years and Michael nicknamed him “gruesome” and told him to go “wash his ass.” But because it was so difficult for Ed to change up his routine, he asked Michael to be in the bathroom with him.

It’s safe to say these guys blurred the line of the traditional doctor-patient relationship. But that’s what’s so inspiring about them. They forged a friendship and helped each other get better. I don’t know about you guys, but most doctors I know won’t travel 2 hours for a house call, spend years treating a housebound patient and never charge a cent.

But that’s all background for what I really want to talk about today.

You see, Ed got married four months after he bravely fought his way up from the basement. And not too long after that, he and his wife Mayada were expecting. Now I’m a dad and I can clearly remember when MJ told me she was pregnant. So many emotions rip through your body: joy, fear, apprehension, confusion…a little bit of everything. I don’t suffer from any debilitating diseases (that I know of anyways) and I certainly didn’t lose years of my life to OCD. I’ve never been held hostage by my own thoughts like Ed. And yet I was still freaking out about being a father. Hell, I’m STILL freaking out.

But for Ed, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to reconcile his OCD with becoming a dad.

When he explained his disease to adults, they could cooperate with him and adjust to his needs. Maybe they would have to say something to Ed an even number of times or not move something that’s supposed to stay fixated. But kids? Kids are nuts! They’re little tornadoes and they leave a wake of destruction in their path. They can’t comprehend the depths of Ed’s OCD. They can’t just stop what they’re doing because Ed is having a tough time with his thoughts. Kids go a million miles an hour and they’re messy. For someone with OCD — for someone who needs to have everything in it’s place at all times — having kids is nothing short of daunting.

Yet Ed is a great father to two girls now. He admits there were some trouble spots, but all it took was looking in his kids’ eyes to get him to buckle down and work harder. And he did. Now he has a house he built himself, he’s part of a successful book and he’s lowered his OCD repetitions to a manageable level. It’s not gone, but he’s dealing with it.

So whenever I start to get a big head and pat myself on the back for being Superdad, I now think of Ed Zine. A man who couldn’t even take care of himself at first, who now takes care of his family on an everyday basis.

When I left Ed gave me a hug. I have to say, normally i don’t hug the people I interview. In fact, sometimes they’re threatening me with bodily harm and ordering me off their property. But I had no problem giving Ed an embrace because I really connected with him. Sure he’s got interviews with national media outlets where millions of people see and hear him, but for 90 minutes on the Cape it was just two dads talking: one who happened to be a journalist and the other a miraculous survivor of a terrible disease.

Good luck Ed, and thank you. It’s nice to be reminded that inspiration can hit when least expected.

Remember, check out Fatherhood Friday over at Dad Blogs for some great writing and cool dads!

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