Always tweaking something!

NOT smoking


Day 4756

That’s one duration – 4,756 days or 13 years and 1 week – how long its been since I quit smoking.  For real.

Here’s another one: 21,440 or 58 years, 8 months and 12 days – how long I’ve been hanging around in this life time.  Significant only in that it is also the same amount of time my dad had before he passed away.  Massive heart attack that was really a complication of diabetes.

There’s another duration, length as yet unknown.  That is how much longer I’m going to put up with a certain persons poor choices when it comes to drinking.  I need to get my butt back to some Al Anon meetings.  The ones I frequented before were all on the west side of our county.  I live there, worked there, found meetings close to work & home.  It helped.

Now, I still live in the western side of the county, but work has been re-located to the far eastern side.  On a good day it’s a 30 minute commute, not the 5 – 10 minute jaunt I had become used to (or the 25 minute bike ride that was such good exercise!)  The first meeting I ever found started at 5pm, took me 15 minutes to get to and was easy to pass off as “working late”.  Now?  Not so lucky.

Maybe I should just say the heck with it and go back to the group where I spent the most time.  Meets at 8pm.  I’ll just have to tell that certain person I’m off to a meeting.  That cold hard slap in the face might actually help her.

To publish or not to publish?  Eh, she doesn’t even know this places exists.  Publish.


Tis the season!

Day 3519

For the uninitiated, that Day #### is how many days since I gave up the evil cigarettes, cold turkey but with a plan. It’s one of the main reasons I started this blogging nonsense in the first place – 9 years, 8 months and 19 days ago. But who’s counting?

The real reason for this post is to finally welcome spring to the snow belt. Even the largest piles of snow in the parking lots are almost gone, the creeks are all way over their banks in typical spring flood mode, you can’t look outside without seeing a robin, and as some others have noted, you can’t look anywhere inside and not find a wad of cat hair sticking to something.

Plus, it was in the low 70’s when I left work yesterday. I just happened to have my golf clubs in the truck, so I swung by the driving range to test drive my spankin’ new driver & three wood (3 fairway metal? There’s no wood in these things anymore). Boy, have I been depriving myself hitting a 20 year old driver and 45 year old 3 wood (actual wood – persimmon).

The new driver got a name. Hank.

Why Hank? Because he hammers the CRAP outta the ball. So he’s going to be known forever more as Hammerin’ Hank. Well, at least until I get older and can’t swing like I’m trying to jump out of my shoes anymore. Thought that was going to happen when I hit 50. But last year I was still out driving the younger guys in my league with my 20 year old driver and 54 year old back. Now with the new gear? Hah. Yesterday I was aiming at the 250 yard flag and getting the ball there on the fly. Used to be doing well to carry 230 and rolling out to 260 or 270. Those 20 extra yards are going to help. There’s the added benefit of having a larger sweet spot on the club face too. That just makes the club more forgiving of less than perfect hits (of which I have plenty!), so even bad shots won’t be as bad. All this will hopefully add up to a better, more competitive year of golf.

Of course, then there’s this:

You see that?  79 Monday and 39 Tuesday?  For daily highs?

You see that? 79 Monday and 39 Tuesday? For daily highs?


Monday evening looks like it’s going to be a doozy!


Day 3000

Quitnet site stats on my first 3000 days of non-smoking

I have to add – the “Money Saved” is probably closer to $36,000. When I quit back in 2004, a pack of butts cost about $4.  Today that same pack is more like $10.

Finally got my ass back to spin class too. What with the new job and trying to get up to speed, then messing up my arm – it’s been too easy to manufacture excuses to not go. Not liking where my pants size is going, I am knuckling down and getting the legs moving again.

For the most part, I tend to stay seated. I don’t dare do any of the ‘jumps’ or ‘jogging’ or ‘squats’ because I can’t trust that I’ll keep my balance. All I need is one slip where I reach out with my right arm to catch myself and I could be screwed. Plus, some of the out of the saddle positions put a strain on your arms too. Last night I tried getting up to a squat like I was digging hard to get up a hill and I noticed that my right arm got really, really tired after only a minute or so. The fact that my lungs & legs were screaming was of no concern – they’ll get over it (maybe – my calves are still tight!). But that tired right arm was a sign that my butt needed to be in the saddle.

Now I just ought to talk to the instructors so they don’t think I’m a rebel or something and intentionally defying their instructions.

Work is challenging. I am SO behind. I need to start coming in evenings or maybe Sunday mornings – or at least carve out 4 – 8 hours a week at home where I can work. I need an office. Hmmm – basement re-model coming up, maybe I’ll slip something in there. If I can include a work area for the sewing machine, I can include a little office space. Might have to scale back the size of the long awaited pool table.

Speaking of behind at work, lunch is over, and so am I.  See y’all later.


Day 2923
Meant to post this yesterday. Oops – hate it when life gets in the way.
It’s more or less official. Stats from Quitnet

My Stats:
Your Quit Date is: 8/22/2004 7:00:00 PM
Time Smoke-Free: 2921 days, 16 hours, 50 minutes and 1 second
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 58434
Lifetime Saved: 14 months, 26 days, 8 hours
Money Saved: $11,921.76

So at 7pm Wednesday night (just as I’m finished up my round of golf) I will have gone 8 years without a smoke. I cannot describe how much better I feel. I am also very surprised at how not difficult it’s been. I’m even more surprised that the entire time Cindy has maintained her own habit. Maybe a failed quit or two here & there, but she’s still puffing away.

One thing to note – that money saved bit is based on the price of a pack of smokes when I quit. At the time, it was a whopping $4.08 a pack. IN the 8 years since, the price has ratcheted up to $10.60 (I think) so the money saved if likely double what is shown. Call it a $7.50 average over the years – it comes out to about $22K. And I got shit about buying myself a $400 set of golf clubs last year (Irons only – but still!)

In real news, looks like I’m off to beautiful downtown Lansing, Michigan for work next week. Have to inspect some behemoth machine being built by a local outfits operation out there. I plan to fly to Detroit Monday morning, get a car & drive to Lansing, should arrive by 11am. Spend the afternoon on-site & start the inspection that afternoon. Hopefully finish up the inspection the next day and get started on the report. Drive back to Detroit Wednesday morning & fly home in time for my 4:32 tee time that afternoon.

The insanity of it all is that it’s easier & faster to fly to Detroit & drive than it is to fly directly into Lansing. Since the customer is paying and says time is critical – I’m booking non-stop from Rochester to Detroit. Anything else take better than half a day and is routed through Chicago or Philly – neither of which is actually between Rochester & Detroit. Weird.

Well, I gotta go get stuff done ahead of this trip. Have a product in testing right now and I hope to gather all data before I leave, then finish the report on the trip. Maybe.

Anyone want to do dinner in Lansing Monday or Tuesday night? I have a nice per diem to burn!

Sunday Stolen

Day 2829

1. Have you ever peed your pants as an adult?

Nope. Always been able to find a tree to pee on.

2. Who do you have a celebrity crush on now?

Completely inappropriate, but Sarah Shahi just turns my crank.

3. Would you date someone you met online?

Would and did. Go back & read about Ms. CL

4. Do you wear underwear always?

No. Sometimes I go without, but never at work.

5. Do you hate yourself at times?

Hate? No. I can admit that I’ve done some dumb things (#3 for example), but I couldn’t hate me.

7. Do you like dirty movies?

Sure. Can’t say I’ve watched one end to end in a couple of decades though.

8. Could you believe Josha Ledet was voted off Idol?

Sure I could believe it. Of course, I never watch, so I don’t really care either.

9. When was the last time that you bought a car?

August 2009

10. Have you ever been camping?

As a kid, with the Army and dozens of times with my own family.

11. How many times a day do you go on facebook?

Once or twice.

12. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?

Ummmmm – I’m not really sure. Alice in Wonderland?

13. Have you ever worried that you’d cut off a limb? At least do severe damage?

Sure. I have a chainsaw and I’m not afraid to use it. Matter of fact I have 29 Douglas Firs to cut down this summer. Need wood?

14. Where did you get your last email from?

Work colleague. Boring (to you) technical stuff.

15. Favorite website?

Oh, there are so many to choose from . . .

16. Are you down with ghetto?

Probably not. What’s the implication?

17. Will the world end in fire or ice?

Think it through – ultimately ice, although that brief period of the sun going nova will be pretty warm.

18. Do you believe in the afterlife?

Not especially. I think much of that life after death stuff is invented by/believed in people who are afraid to accept their mortality. Not saying I’ve fully come to grips with it, but where is the evidence that there is anything there? I take very, very, very little on faith.

19. Would you be upset if facebook stopped working?

Not really.

20. How did you start your blog?

Started as a way to track the crazies when I quit smoking in 2004. Then it morphed into a way to track the crazies while my spouse tried to lose herself in a bottle (or a hundred) of Canadian Club. Now? I just can’t stop.

As I was pasting this here, it occurred to me there was no #6.  Anyone want to ask a question for #6?  You can ask anything, I reserve the right to not answer.



What a Difference 10 Days Makes

Day 2801

Oh cool!  Now I’m glad I looked.  Yesterday, 4/22/2012 marked 7 years 8 months since I quit smoking – and it happened to be day 2800.  Apropos of nothing really, but it is a nice round number.

Nice and round, like the big, fat, heavy snowflakes that are falling right now.  I’d seen the “Winter Weather Advisory” in the forecast for a few days now, but we’ve been threatened with snow all winter and only got a paltry 60 inches for the season.  So it stands to reason that after several (3) days in the 80’s in March and a sultry 88 degree day ONLY LAST MONDAY that we’d be getting our heaviest snowfall of the “winter” a full month into spring.

Wanna see?  (Of course you do)

The view, Friday the 13th - house completed.

The view, Monday, April 23rd. "Winter Weather Advisory"


Poor Plum!!

Yes, those are the new house colors.  Gutters were put up last Thursday and the garage doors are going on today.  Picture it with flat black shutters – the same shutters I have in the garage so I could paint them.  The same paint job that made it necessary for me to park outside.  (but really, black shutters, black truck – whoda seen any overspray, hmmm?)  And that poor flowering plum tree!  I hope it warms up enough for the snow to fall off before too much more accumulates.

It was kind of a weird snowfall too.  I got up around 4:30am for a bathroom break.  I looked outside and saw that it was drizzling a bit, but no snow.  Two hours later my truck was covered in nearly 3 inches of wet, soggy snow.  Who knows how much melted before it finally started sticking?  A work colleague has to drive down to Pittsburgh today too – the route is right on the snow/rain changeover line (I-90 west to Erie, hang a left and follow I-79).  He could catch a break and get just wet roads – lets hope.  On weather radar it looked like hugging the lakeshore would help to avoid the snow.

Got to spend some quality time with the little grandkidlet over the weekend.  She is such a good natured little peanut.  She and I are starting to develop some of those silly little games we play with each other.  The same silly games I played with our boys when they were that age.  All those years, nothing and everything have changed.  (If you figure that one out, lemme know, mmkay?)

I gotta go run back to work.  We are fabulously busy, the work is interesting, and I’m starting to develop a feel for the rhythm of the process.  The databases are still the bottle necks (Lotus Domino interfacing with SAP on at least 6 different servers in 4 time zones – yeesh!)  And I have 2 reports to upload and one huge pain in the neck one to write.  Starts at 168 pages and grows form there.  And the table formatting is a nightmare.  I STILL have to fix the dang template.  In my abundant spare time.



Missed It!

Day 2557

Yeah, Monday was my big 7th anniversary. Quit smoking and entered into the blogging world. About half of what I’ve posted is on Diaryland someplace, don’t even know if I can get to it anymore. Anyhow, since I quit smoking, here’s the numbers I’ve racked up:

Quit Date: 8/22/2004 7:00:00 PM
Time Smoke-Free: 2556 days, 20 hours, 41 minutes and 18 seconds
(Hence the Day # in the title of each post)
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 51137
Lifetime Saved: 13 months, 14 hours
Money Saved: $10,432.56

I’d like to amend that money saved line. That $10K is based on smokes being $4.08 a pack – the price of what I smoked when I quit. Since 2004, New York has hiked up the taxes on a pack of butts at least 3 times. It’s at the point now where what I used to get for $4 now costs $9.50!! Estimating when these tax increases took place and doing a little googling on cigarette prices here in the great state of New Taxes, I mean New York, I can safely say I’ve saved closer to $16,700.

Cindy still smokes and she’s giving me shit about buying a set of golf clubs? WTF was I thinking? In the last month she’s spent more on smokes than I spent on those silly clubs (that I LOVE) (Except for the 3 & 4 hybrids. Weird.) Anyhow, that’s old news. She’s in an indefensible position and has already wasted her martyr card. Ended up cutting off her nose to spite her face.

The interview I did last Thursday at TUV was, in a word, weird. In person, I interviewed with two guys I already know and have worked with in the past. We called their manager in Boston and had him on speaker phone during the interview session. Pete, the lead engineer locally did the bulk of the questioning while his boss, the guy in Boston, really didn’t say a whole lot. At times none of us were sure if he was still on the line, so I’d ask a question that he needed to answer just to see if he was paying attention. Felt more like I was interviewing him at times.

I think my being local is a plus for this one, and I think the guys already knowing me is a plus. My weakest area is that I can’t cite the safety regulations chapter & verse, yet. I know the major points of the two that we’ll be testing to, but there are other sections of regs that I’m not familiar with. Those deal more with consumer type products (hair dryers, dvd players, toasters) not medical laser printers, imaging arrays and x-ray generators. The local office is bombed with work, they need another engineer NOW, but if they bump into someone with more experience than I have, the learning curve may kill me.

Went to another family reunion over the weekend. I showed up all the young ‘uns and won the family golf tournament AND got named most athletic individual for the weekend. I think it was the basketball & volleyball in the gym Friday night, the golf and MORE volleyball Saturday that shocked people. Heh. They got to learn why the other half of the family nick named me “wheels” on a volleyball court. It has less to do with running and more with watching the opponent’s eyes and getting to the gaps they are aiming for. I have to admit, it is really fun getting to shots the other team thought were heading to open space. Their frustration is its own reward. Can be a little rough on the elbows & knees, but I really love the all-out style of play.


My attitude at work sucks. I’m skipping a core team meeting at the moment. They’re planning for the future. I’m planning to be elsewhere. I don’t know exactly where, but certainly not here. One thing I think I absolutely must to is take advantage of the time and get my ass and what ever else follows back to the gym. Long bike rides, weights, cross train with running. It’s time to start fit day again and get very particular about what I eat. I’ll have time to prepare decent meals, I’ll have time to work out, I’ll have time to pound the job search. Might even finish that damned bathroom.

Speaking of bathroom – it got primed last night. Tonight I’m going to clear out everything but the essentials and get the underlayment put down. Then I can think about dropping the shower pan in place, getting the Durock up and getting the waterproof membrane installed. Ceiling paint, wall paint, cabinets, couple of little plumbing details – all that stuff might get crossed off the “to do” list by the end of the weekend. Gonna be busy, but it’ll keep me out of trouble.

Speaking of trouble, I need more primer. Later folks . . .