SMART Weight Loss Goal

Nicole’s recent post “Dec. 1. Almost 2020” over at Prosperity and Calamities inspired me to start my weight loss journey sooner than 1/1/20.  Those darn New Year’s resolutions!  They never work so why not just set a goal now and get started.

Kiddo #2 was home when I read the post and we had an interesting discussion about personal goals.  In the work place SMART goals drive me crazy because they always mean I need to do more.  I hadn’t really thought of them for personal use.

As part of our discussion, weight loss came up.  It was so easy to use the SMART goal method for this!  Why didn’t I think of this sooner??

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S – Specific – Weight loss didn’t seem specific enough.  I decided on an average of 0.5 pounds per week.  To help with this,  I went online and joined WW (officially not called Weight Watchers any longer).

M – Measurable – I’m pretty sure the scale (which I dread) will help with this.  Something like “pants aren’t tight” didn’t seem as measurable.   By the end of the year, the goal is to lose 26 pounds.

– Attainable – I think if I stay on track and record my food and exercise, this goal is attainable in 1 year.

R – Relevant – How could losing weight not be relevant to my life and health.  We went to the scale and I realized I was 2x my previous WW goal set 30ish years ago.  Between the 2 kiddos, I was able to reach lifetime member status.  The weight has been gradually creeping up since then.  I only have data for the last 20 years and it has averaged about 4 pounds per year.  It was very eye-opening to realize this.  A little bit per year has done significant damage to my body.  She also had me do a fasting blood sugar test (using John’s blood tester) and it was 110.  Not diabetes but not good.  Losing weight will help with this too.

T – Timely – A year seems like a reasonable time goal.  If I’ve gained 4-10 pounds a year, I can lose that amount (and more likely more) in the same time frame.

Tomorrow marks one week following the WW blue plan.  I’ll occasionally be posting about this journey.

 

 

Surviving Fire Season

This has been an interesting fire season for us.  Our town had 2 wildfires while the Santa Ana winds were blowing last week.

Day 1 had an evacuation area that surrounded the school I work at.  Literally our side of the street wasn’t evacuated but directly across and to the west of us was under mandatory evacuation.  It sure did make releasing students interesting!

Day 2 had an evacuation warning at the house.  We got the cell phone alert at 3:30 am.  Thankfully it wasn’t mandatory.  I think they do that in case the wind shifts, which it didn’t.

Hopefully that is the end of it for us for a while.  Our last mandatory evacuation was about 25 years ago.  Flames got within 100 feet of the house that time.

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Picture from the hillside looking down at the fire.  Not sure of source – from CNN.com

Canceling Protection One/ADT

ARGH!  We decided to cancel our home security monitoring through Protection One.  How difficult is this, you ask?  VERY!!!!!

We recently had our cable-based internet router die – just straight up quit working one day.  We spent the evening returning/exchanging it at the local office.  They also gave us an updated wireless modem.  After setting it all up, we realized our landline wasn’t working (service provided by our “cable” provider.)  After another hour on the phone with them, they claim all is perfect.

3 days later – count that – not 1, not 2, but 3 days later we can’t set the alarm when we are ready to leave the house.  Evidently our backup battery for the cellular backup option died because the system was unable to use the landline.

A technician came to the house a few days later after being told we needed to have a software update.  John took the afternoon off the deal with this.  The technician arrives, does the update, yet still can’t get the landline option to send a signal for the alarm system.  The “only option” is to upgrade to cellular for “ONLY” $5 MORE PER MONTH.

So now our monthly bill is up to $67.  We have a discussion after the technician leaves and decide that is just too much.  We can probably get a different alarm system cheaper and technologically more advanced.

I call to cancel and they remind me that we have been “loyal” customers for over 10 years.  Yep, we know how long we’ve had the alarm system and still want to cancel.  Now starts the drama!  I forgot about the 30 days notice requirement.  I assumed they would cut us off at the end of the pre-paid month.  NOPE!

Website says you can’t cancel online – you must call and have them convince you that you are putting your family at risk by cancelling.  Then, get this, you have to send an email to cancel.  Cancel date is based on when they receive your email/written request (which they don’t tell you).  Thankfully we emailed as they told us we needed to email.

Can you believe we “missed” the cut-off for canceling at the end of the billing cycle by 2 days??  (According to our contract, we need to give a 30 day notice.)  They then claim that our contract states that we need to give notice prior to the next billing cycle and that our cancel date won’t be in 30 days (Nov. 7) but Dec. 5th because of the billing cycle requirement.  They also have someone call multiple times trying to offer us a 36 month contract for $50 without updating any of the technology.  They did eventually offer no monthly payments until 2020 but with no upgraded equipment.  They finally agree after a week of emails and phone calls to cancel at the 30 day mark (Nov. 7).

How hard is it to just stop monitoring the system?  They claim it is very difficult.  My guess is all that happens is they “flip” a switch and we are off.  Anyone know anything about this side of it?

The icing on the cake is today we got a bill for $15 for the cellular upgrade.

Now what do we do with the ancient equipment?  What will happen when we try to disconnect everything?  Will the alarm still sound?  Can they remotely wipe out our system?  Will that mess with the landline?  Not looking forward to Nov. 7th.

When to Declutter Work Obligations

This is something many of us struggle with professionally.  When do you draw the line and declutter an obligation?  Are you willing to risk it professionally?

John and I are teachers – he is at high school and I am at middle school.  So far this school year, I have missed 9 school days because of professional obligations.  Keep in mind, we have only been in school with students 41 school days.  Those who have taught understand the time obligation required to miss class – substitute teacher plans have to be prepared and then the “cleanup” after a sub has been in your class.

So back to my initial questions:

Am I willing to risk decluttering the obligations?  Sort of – the closer I get to retirement, the easier it has been to eliminate voluntary obligations.  I’m not resume building anymore.  Odds are nothing is going to affect my professional reputation if I “quit” the voluntary stuff.  But what about those obligations we are volunTOLD to do?  This is harder to do when every one on your department (grade level) team is voluntold to do something.

Mine right now is finding ways to make a “meaningful impact” on student achievement.  Without going into details, this is taking HOURS every week without much evidence we are making progress.  It is also affecting the amount of content that gets covered because we are obligated to “try” something new all the time.  This doesn’t occur just in education – many are voluntold and our professional reputation could be on the line.

When do you draw the line to declutter a professional obligation?   Anytime it starts interfering with my health is an obvious answer.  When is that exactly and how do you get rid of a professional obligation that is part of your job description?

Stress has a weird way of acting on our body.   What are the symptoms that make you decide enough is enough?  I’m a union representative for our school.  Nothing major has happened but I’m feeling it’s time to let this go – union rep, district curriculum writer, “impact” department.  Time is starting to feel crunched (guess this is my symptom) and something has to go.  It is a voluntary obligation and I’m sure the other 4 reps at our site can handle things.

Guess the conclusion I have reached after actually “verbalizing” all of the above is we need to take care of ourselves!  If we don’t, it will start affecting our health (physical and psychological), relationships, etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts for these questions.  When do you draw the line and declutter a professional obligation?  When are you willing to risk it?

 

Summer 2019 Part 1b – OK to WV

The next leg of our journey was travelling from Oklahoma to West Virginia. These were long driving days (500+ miles each).  We did experience a few things along the way.

Our night in Oklahoma was at the Elk City KOA.  After a weird driving day from Amarillo via Lubbock, this was a nice stop!  Upon entering the office to check in, we see that they have a mini diner and bar!  John looks at the menu and is convinced that we deserve a drink (Margarita) and their Frito Chili Pie for dinner.  After dinner, John purchased the t-shirt.  They were not cheap with their alcohol!  We both had a great night sleep.

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When we returned to our site, this was parked next to us.  That is what we need when the Zombie Apocalypse occurs!  Too bad they start at $490,000.  Manufactured by EarthRoamer.

 

Here is a view of the playground.

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Welcome to Missouri and Illinois.  So many of the rivers had high water levels.  The area north of St. Louis was flooded when we passed through.

 

Another long driving day.  View of Louisville and some horse stable/farm.  You can’t really see the horses but they are there!

 

And now into West Virginia.

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Summer 2019 Part 1a – to Oklahoma

This post will focus on a few of the things we saw/experienced along the way to Massachusetts.

Other posts in this “series” include Summer 2019 Travel Part 1 with the map getting to Massachusetts,  Wall-E’s Travel Map UpdateTow Dolly – not loving it, Tow Dolly – not loving it Part 2, Tow Dolly – not loving it Part 3, Not the Tow Dolly this time.

After leaving San Bernardino, CA Camping World, we traveled the 215/15 Interstates to I40 in Barstow, CA.  This is the beginning of the Interstate in California.  We have actually traveled the entire route of I40 before to Wilmington, NC.

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Into Arizona!  I probably have 100 pictures of this sign!

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Into New Mexico – please ignore the dirty windshield!  I love looking at the bluffs!IMG_5270

Leaving New Mexico for Texas.  One of the few states proclaiming “You are now leaving…”

Our campsite in Amarillo, TX.  We stayed at the Amarillo KOA.

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The Leaning Tower of Britten, TX.  Every time we drive by, we expect to see it gone.  I don’t know how much longer it will last.

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If only every rest area, especially those in California, we this amazing and empty!

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And finally into Oklahoma after a trying day fixing the trailer.

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