Category: Daily Life

I Got Scammed

As a registered Contrarian, I tend to be suspicious of everything until I verify it myself. I don’t click on links in emails. I have yet to supply my banking information to a Nigerian prince to share the sum of $3,001,287 dollars US. I don’t believe anything politicians tell me. I don’t use public Wi-Fi. In short, I’m not a very trusting person. And yet, I managed to fall for a scam. The worst part? I went in knowing they were trying to sell me something.

Let me explain. We own a timeshare in Mexico. We bought it thirteen years ago. It’s a long story as to how we ended up with a timeshare, but all-in-all we’ve enjoyed it. Every single time we go, we get the hardcore push to attend a “members update”. There is no update. It’s a play to upsell more points or status level to you. We went a few times to get the free drink tickets they bribe you with, but generally I refuse to attend.

I don’t remember how I got talked into going this time, but somehow I found myself in the hotel lobby with Mrs. Troutdog and the couple who came to Mexico with us. Things did not go well straight out of the gate. The “coordinator” insisted we had to listen to the presentation separately from the other couple. We said no. She insisted. We said no. Off the coordinator went to discuss with someone in another room. She came back and said they’d make a special exception this time. Next, they wanted a credit card from each of us to “verify ID”. We all said no. She insisted. We all said no. She insisted. We all said no. Finally, she reluctantly agreed and took us to meet our sales guys.

It’s at this point a smarter man would have walked out. I am clearly not a smart man. But at the time I was convinced I was far too smart to believe any of the nonsense they were about to dish out. Off we went to get a tour of the penthouse unit. Our sales guys were straight out of used car sales finishing school. One of them was convinced he was Don Johnson from Miami Vice – he wore a silver suit with ridiculous black Vans sneakers and had his hair slicked back. The other guy spent his time telling us he was a very successful real estate developer and builder and was just here as a favor to his friend the VP of sales. Mmmm, right.

We listened to these two goons babble about real estate prices, the shortage of hotel rooms, and room rates for quite a while. At the time I wasn’t clear on why they were telling us this. Then the heavy came in. He had copies of our original contracts along with a few other documents. I’ll spare you the details, but he basically said due to a loophole in the contract he was obligated to offer us the option to purchase a huge number of points at an unheard-of price. The company would be taking a huge hit, but legally he had to give us the option.

This is a one-time deal. Walk out of the room and it won’t be offered again.

The way he presented the contract loophole was so well done… I thought it was real. It was an opportunity to rent out multiple weeks of rooms and make passive income with virtually no effort on our part. After hearing and seeing the going room rates, this really seemed like a way to make some money. I mean, they had contracts and legal looking documents. It had to be legit.

He left us alone in the room to talk amongst ourselves. We went back and forth, unable to decide if it was real or not. It was a lot of money to buy in and none of us wanted to make a snap decision. He came back and said something that was so off-putting, we got up and walked out. His words were, “I’m leaving in twenty minutes because I have to go buy seven Rolex watches for my team. When I leave, the offer is off the table.” Really? Who says something like that?

We spent the remaining vacation days enjoying fruity drinks at the pool and eating too much excellent food. While I was happy we walked away, I was still 60-ish percent convinced it had been a legitimate offer.

Once home, Mrs. Troutdog found an owners group on Facebook. There it was in black and white. A total scam. Multiple other people had received some variation of the same pitch. I was shocked that a large and fairly reputable company would stoop to something so slimy and blatantly deceitful. Because I honestly didn’t believe a corporation would go to those lengths to scam people out of money, I mostly believed the pitch. Sure, I expected some hard sales attempts to get us to upgrade to a bigger unit or something, but not outright deception.

Shame on me. I’ve lost some Contrarian points over this one. I’m shocked I got pulled in by the story. And sadly, I’m now even more distrustful of other humans. How do people like that look at themselves in the mirror? I guess all you can do is hope the karma bus is waiting around the corner for them.

Meanwhile, it turns out a week of drinking, nachos, and extravagant dinners is not good for your diet. Who knew? I guess I better hit the gym. I may go for run on the treadmill for an hour. Or twenty.

Bro, Do You Even Bidet?

I’ve been out of the country for a week and missed all the election fun. I’m sure you’ve been waiting breathlessly for my brilliant analysis of the shenanigans. This is not that. Instead, we’re going to talk about an extremely important topic – Bidet vs. Toilet.

As I said, while it’s been snowing back at home, I’ve been on a beach for the last week consuming far too many watered-down drinks and eating large volumes of chips and guacamole. Upon arriving and checking into our room I was delighted to discover that the toilet was a fancy electronic bidet. I’ve never had the pleasure of using one and was excited to discover a whole new world. I’ve read several condescending articles from Europeans on what Neanderthals us Americas are for still using dry paper to clean up after doing our business. Actually I think it was just the French, but the point remains. How do you expect to get clean just using dry paper?

Needless to say, I was looking forward to this new experience. The next morning arrived, and I was ready. This contraption was very high end. All electronic with a wall-mounted control pad. Upon lifting the lid, a helpful light illumined the bowl. I sat down and began the process. First observation – the seat was heated! That’s luxury. Except pretty soon my butt was sweating. The seat kept getting hotter and the perspiration was… well, you get the picture. I was a little worried I was going to slide off the seat. I couldn’t find any controls to turn down the heat. No matter, I soldiered on.

After completing the, ehh, uhm, err, deposit shall we say, it was time for the waterworks. Examining the control panel there were helpful pictographs describing what each button did. I pushed the one that seemed rearward facing. The water was warm and not the worst sensation in the world. I sat there enjoying rinse mode. And sat there. And waited. I couldn’t tell if it was going to shut off by itself or if I had to do it, so I just started hitting buttons. Front wash, power wash, pulsating, rain shower, jet stream… I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do, but I had a regular carwash going on down there.

Finally, I figured it was as good as it was going to get and managed to shut it down. I found a button that looked like wind. Basically, it’s hairdryer mode. So I sat. And sat. And waited. Maybe I’d spent too long in carwash mode, because hairdryer mode just wasn’t really drying out the parts. I gave up and had to do some additional manual drying.

Perhaps I did this wrong. I think maybe you’re supposed to flush before commencing with carwash mode? When I stood up the helpful light came on and highlighted the general mess in the bowl that I didn’t really need to see. I had a little trouble walking because it turns out I’d been sitting there trying to figure out the process for so long that my legs had fallen asleep. And my butt was still sweating. It took a bit to recover and return to normal.

So in the end, what did I think? Perhaps I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out, but I’ll stick to the regular toilet from now on. It seemed like a lot of effort, buttons, and steps to assist with something I’ve been doing all my life. I’m not sure I want a coach or need to watch a YouTube video on how to properly use the toilet. You can’t always teach an old dog new tricks. I’ll stick with what I know.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re disappointed. I’m a modern-day renaissance man. A man of many talents and skills, with superior intellect. You wanted the glowing review of the bidet so you could justify running out and getting one for yourself. I hate to crush your dreams, but I just can’t sign on to camp bidet. I’m sure the sophisticated folks see me as one step above still using a corncob, but it is what it is.

The final irony is that because I had to look up how to spell bidet… I will now have to endure non-stop bidet ads on Facebook and Instagram for the next month.

It’s All About The Training

At the end of the day, we do what we’re trained to do. This applies to everything. When the moment matters, the amygdala portion of the brain takes over and initiates the fight or flight response. The body will fall back to rote muscle memory. If you didn’t train for that scenario, you’ll freeze or do something illogical. Training means exactly that – physically repeating and practicing something. Just reading about a subject and assuming you’ll know what to do is NOT the same thing. This was vividly demonstrated to me last night.

Without opening up a can of worms on a controversial subject, let’s just say that I believe in one’s right to arm themselves to protect hearth and home. I own a number of guns and regularly practice with them (well, before ammo prices skyrocketed). I feel like I am at least minimally proficient and able to handle firearms safely. I am ready to defend myself, my family, and my home should the need arise. All is good, right?

That belief was tested last night. At 2:30 in the morning, Mrs. Troutdog woke me from a sound sleep with the words nobody wants to hear in the middle of the night – “There’s someone standing at the door!”

It was time for my training and preparedness to kick in. So, what did I do? I grabbed a t-shirt and ran to the front door in my underwear. Did I get the gun first? No. Did I even think about the gun? No. Did I grab my phone? No. I looked out the window and had a moment of confusion thinking it was my nephew, who lives in another state, standing on my porch. And then I just yelled, “what do you want?” And then I remember the thought that went through my head… I’d put my t-shirt on backwards. Seriously, that’s what I was thinking about.

When survival mode was needed, I pretty much blanked out on everything. I’ve watched and read a bunch of survival, shooting, and self-defense stuff. In my head I thought I knew exactly how to respond. But because I’d never actually physically practiced or gone through the motions, I had no actual muscle memory to fall back on. I stood there in my underwear contemplating my backwards t-shirt.

Fortunately, it ended up being just a really drunk guy who was at the wrong house. He was so drunk he could barely stand and kept dropping his cell phone. He mumbled sorry and stumbled off into the night. And then I remembered all the things I probably should have done.

The point of this is not some lecture on home defense. It’s training – for any subject. Unless you physically practice something, the odds of you performing well when needed are slim. Driving in the snow. Reading a map when you think you’re lost. CPR. Deadlifts. Cleans. Heavy club swings. Public speaking. Fighting. Self-defense. You cannot simply watch a YouTube video on any of these things and think you’ll be able to do them when needed.

It was a good lesson for me. As an RN, I’ve spent more time than I can count in stressful scenarios. Traumas, bleeding, codes, CPR. Been there, done that. We practice and have to be re-certified every year on those skills. As a result, in those scenarios I’m pretty calm. It doesn’t mean I’ll aways do the right thing, but I have a better than average chance of keeping the thinking part of the brain going and making better decisions. Because of that, I assumed that I’d behave the same in all emergency situations. Clearly, I was wrong.

So now I have to think about my training. I need to create an actual plan for when something goes bump in the night and practice that plan. And then practice some more. You should do the same for whatever things in life you THINK you know what to do. Until you create that muscle memory, you have no idea what your brain will fall back to. It might be worrying about your t-shirt being backwards as your house burns down around you.

P.S. My dog is fired. I have an 80-pound dog who spends his days barking fiercely at anything that moves. The mailman is his mortal enemy. What did this fierce protector do through this whole scenario? Nothing. He slept. Never got out of bed. He will not be getting any treats today.

A Thirty-Year Story

Thirty years. Three decades. Staring at those words, it’s hard to believe I wrote them. That’s a long time. These days, that’s not a number you hear very often. In reality, this story starts before that. A chance encounter, arranged by a mutual friend. I certainly never would have thought that first meeting would change my life forever.

But clearly the hands of fate directed our paths to cross. And once they did, our separate paths quickly became one. We both knew almost right away that there was only one path for us. Sure, it took a little bit to fully commit to the path. School to finish and careers to get started. It took me a while… I think I was a bit insecure. I found it hard to believe sometimes that you picked me. A dorky ski and surf bum who didn’t have a clear vision of the future. But you did pick me, and always encouraged me to be more.

So, thirty years ago today, we officially started down this journey. We stood before God, family, and friends and said I do. A whirlwind, magical night, and then we jumped on a plane and headed for the Caribbean. I think we slept for 24 hours straight, exhausted from the festivities. And then we woke to a beautiful blue ocean, and wondered, now what?

I don’t think we’ve ever had a clear roadmap for what this journey is supposed to look like. Oh sure, we had vague thoughts about things like we should probably try to buy a house, saving for retirement, and general career ideas. But I don’t think we ever had a concrete plan for many things. We’ve very much gone with whatever way the wind was blowing. I love that about us. We were never afraid to try things. Being the first to leave family behind and move to a different state. Buying houses sight unseen. Adventures. Ski trips. Whitewater rafting. Dogs. Career changes. RV’s and motorcycles, and UTV’s. We’ve always done what feels right in the moment – and it’s always worked out for us.

But behind all that spontaneity – you have been the rock that holds us together. You are the glue that makes everything work. Sure, we talk, plan, and laugh together about crazy ideas of buying a house in the mountains, but you’re the one who actually says – let’s do it. You’re the planner and organizer. You keep the trains running on time. We would not be where we are today if you weren’t always there telling me that you believe in us and we can make whatever crazy idea it is, work.

But it hasn’t just been about buying things and having adventures. Your love and support have made me a far better person than I ever thought I could be. Your constant encouragement to think more of myself, to have confidence, and to attempt things I wouldn’t have done on my own means more than you’ll ever know. You’re exactly the partner in life that I needed, and I pray that I’ve been able to return the same to you.

Who knows where our path leads? I honestly don’t care. Wherever it goes, I’m confident we’ll make the most of whatever fate has in store for us. What I do know is that we are on this path together, always. Our path is a forever path. I don’t think many people are lucky enough to have that. I certainly don’t take it for granted. I am thankful every day that we had that chance encounter thirty-plus years ago. Let’s see where the next thirty years takes us.

I love you more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for being on this journey with me.

I Fixed It

Remember that scene in Cast Away when Tom Hanks’ character manages to create fire? The absolute joy and dancing around as he proudly looks at what he created? Well, I did that yesterday. I created fire – both literally and figuratively. I fixed my barbeque.

Backstory. 20+ years ago we bought a multi-thousand-dollar grill. I loved that grill. It’s safe to say that we cooked 90% of our meals on the grill. But over time parts started failing. The outside of the grill still looked brand-new, but the interior not so much. Now to my shame, I should have been keeping up with maintenance on it. I’m really bad at that. Regular tear-downs and deep cleaning, replacing burners, etc… But I didn’t. So one by one the burners started failing and eventually it stopped working altogether.

I really didn’t want to go out and spend gobs of money on an equivalent grill. Besides, as I said previously, it really does look brand-new from the outside. So, I announced to the world that I was going to fix it. And a month went by. And then another. And another. Then winter came and who wants to fix things in the snow? Mrs Troutdog finally got annoyed and went out and bought a small little grill so we could at least continue grilling. But I never really “clicked” with that grill. I constantly burned stuff and it was too small to cook multiple things at a time. Much to Mrs Troutdog’s annoyance, I complained constantly about it.

Every time I walked into the backyard, the big grill sat there mocking me. A constant reminder of a project on my to-do list that never went away. Every night I cooked on the small grill, the unfinished project gnawed away at me.

I don’t know what finally sparked it, but I finally got fed up enough to start the project. It took the better part of a day to get the thing completely torn apart and cleaned. I made an inventory of every new part that had to be ordered. Then came the challenge. The main bracket that held up the burners and gas tubes had completely burned and rusted away. Unfortunately, the grill is old enough that nobody sells that replacement part. Now what?

I managed to find someone who could manufacture that part for me. I sent dimensions and drawings. What I got back was close, but not exactly what I needed. So, I dredged up my ancient high school machine shop knowledge and set to work making the parts I needed. It took about a day of drilling, bending, cutting, and pounding, but I finally had a working part.

It was another day of assembly, multiple trips the hardware store, cursing over missing (or extra) bolts and fasteners, but finally it was back together. I turned the knobs, pushed the ignitor and… voila! FIRE! I MADE FIRE!! It worked. Back to nearly new condition. I grilled a steak that night and it’s hard to describe how pleased I was with myself. I redeemed my manhood. Alpha male.

My point of this long rambling story is not that you need to learn how to fix things. What is important is that you accomplish things. It doesn’t matter if it’s figuring out how to create a complicated Excell macro, or paint a room, or run your first half marathon. The point is figuring out something you haven’t done before, going through the pain of learning, and then finally accomplishing your goal. It’s an amazing positive jolt to your self-confidence. If you can do that thing, what else can you accomplish? Those endorphins to the brain fuel the drive to continue moving forward.

So, this weekend resolve to learn something new, find a project that’s just a bit outside your comfort zone, or go do something you’ve never done before. When you’re done, I guarantee you’ll thank me.

Do You Have Rhythm?

Rhythm noun
a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound
a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes

I’ve lost my rhythm. And no, I don’t mean the shake your booty and get funky on the dance floor kind of rhythm. Although to Mrs. Troutdog’s great disappointment, I’ve never had that kind of rhythm. What I’m talking about is a flow, a sense of order, a comfortable pattern to your days. Rhythm is different than a routine. A routine is simply repeated behavior. Waking up at the same time every day, eating oatmeal, and drinking exactly one cup of coffee is a routine. That’s a micro-view of your day. Rhythm is a macro-view of your time.

Rhythm is planning out workouts for the week. Rhythm is looking forward to and participating in an activity you enjoy on weekends. It’s a sense of order to your time. It doesn’t have to mean you eat pasta every Tuesday and meatloaf on Thursday. Instead, it’s a feeling of being intentional about your meal planning. It’s sense of enjoyment from exploring a new restaurant every Friday night. Rhythm is the collective whole of your day-to-day time. It’s having a sense of purpose to your weeks and months.

Up until this last year I feel like I had a comfortable rhythm. Work was a known entity. I made a point to get a run or a bike ride in most days. Mrs Troutdog and I had our individual activities, and we were good about making time for shared activities. Winter was a busy time full of skiing, wood chopping, and evenings by the fire. It was a good rhythm.

And then some pretty big disruptions happened. Nothing horrible, just life throwing a few curveballs. The end result was that we’ve been in random mode for quite some time. We went months without a kitchen, eating pizza and burger patties off paper plates in our laps while sitting in the backyard. Constantly changing plans to wait for contractors that never show up. Strange weather that went from rain and mud to 100 degrees seemingly overnight, straining my motivation to do outside activities. I missed much of the ski season due to construction woes. I had an odd back injury that slowed me down for a while.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s all first world problems so I can’t really complain. We’ve just about sorted through most of the things going on and life is slowly getting back to something more normal. But as we were going through this, I found myself more and more out of sorts. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why my mood was so off, so often. I finally realized it was that loss of rhythm. I’d lost that comfortable pattern to my days.

Everyone experiences randomness from time to time. Random can be exciting. Vacations and travel are random, that’s part of the fun. But it’s also exhausting after a while. Thats why you have that deep sigh of contentment when you get home. It’s that comfortable sliding back into your rhythm.

I now find myself in an interesting position. I get to create a brand-new rhythm. Sure, some of the old familiar patterns will return. But it’s time to move on to a new flow, a different set of patterns. All of us do it from time to time. Moving to a different city. Kids going off to college. Retiring. It’s part of life.

I need my rhythm back. But it doesn’t need to be the old rhythm. Finding a new rhythm is a good thing. It’s growth. It’s preventing stagnation. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like yet. There will be more exercise. More cooking. More music. More reading. More creativity. And nachos. Definitely more nachos.

Are you happy with your rhythm? Maybe it’s time for a change?

A Life Altering Change

There are a few big moments in everyone’s life that are remembered. Graduation. First “real” job. Getting married. First kid. Events that will always stay in your mind. I had one of those events happen this week. You’re never really ready for the impact these life changes will have. I will remember this first week of September for many years to come. It was the week I switched to flat pedals and added a dropper post to the mountain bike.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Dude, the change to flat pedals has been around for years now – you’re just now switching? I know, I know. I’m a little slow to adapt the latest and greatest in tech. I’m old fashioned and, honestly, don’t like spending money. My clip-in pedals from the 90’s have been working just fine. Why spend money on new pedals and shoes just because it’s what all the kids are doing now? Besides, the duct tape holding my shoe together is working just fine.

So what was the catalyst that spawned this momentous change? I went for a ride on a trail I hadn’t ridden since last summer that’s pretty technical, rocky, and had a rather steep drop-off on one side. I was riding and had a wobble over a loose rock, couldn’t get my foot out of the clip-in pedal and nearly tumbled down the steep edge. That’s really never happened to me before. This summer, for the first time, I can tell my balance isn’t what it used to be. Age is starting to kick in and my reflexes are just not as cat-like as they once were. I accept it and I’m actively working on improving it. But the reality is that I’m a long way from twenty and I can no longer just assume balance and coordination will save my bacon every time.

So I bit the bullet and took my bike into the shop. New pedals, shoes, and a seat post I can drop when going downhill at ludicrous speed. I immediately went back to that same rocky trail to see if the changes made a difference. It was night and day. Like riding a completely different bike. Why I didn’t do this five years ago is beyond me. I had more confidence in the technical stuff and was able to finally get my butt back and over the rear wheel properly. Wow.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson when I finally upgraded to modern skis several years ago and realized that there was no comparison between old school and modern technology. Apparently being an old-school traditionalist (i.e. cheap) doesn’t ever go away.

So the lesson is, if your stuff is more than five years old – do yourself a favor and investigate what the latest and greatest is. Technology is moving at a rapid rate. If something makes life easier, you’ll be more likely to go out and do the thing. And that’s good. Oh, and work on your balance. Today. Everyday. It’s a perishable commodity. Use it or lose it as they say.

Responsibility And Lawn Darts

Reportedly the Alzheimer’s patient occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave will come out of hiding today and return to the White House to announce an executive action canceling student loan debt. What’s being reported is that $10,000 of debt will be evaporated for anyone who earns less than $120,000. It’s hard to describe how angry this makes me.

I feel like a chump. It’s that feeling when you pay full retail and then find out you could have had that same thing 30% off if you’d gone down the street and negotiated. Why-oh-why did I work and self-pay for school? All those folks who went into the military so they could go to college? Suckers. It’s the ultimate Fuck You to anyone who tried to be responsible and minimize the debt they took on.

It was a loan. You saw the terms. You saw the interest rate. You understood it was a legal contract you were signing. Of your own free will you acted like an adult and penned your John Hancock on the dotted line. My sympathy level for anyone who has massive student debt is exactly, ZERO. You made choices. I sincerely hope those choices resulted in a well-paying job. If so, then you made a wise decision. It also means you can afford to pay those loans back. If you have a low paying job and massive student loans… then you made a poor decision. That sucks. It’s also the way life works. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. You’re going to have to take on a second job and work your ass off to get ahead. That was the way this was supposed to work. So sorry, you may have to cut back on your soy lattes and make do with an older smartphone.

Clearly, I grew up in a different era. We were sent out to play after school on our own. The only requirement was to be home in time for dinner. Parents had zero idea where we were. We had to invent our own games and fun. There were no structured play dates or facilitated games with ten helicopter parents hovering over us at all times. I’d highly recommend reading this essay on how important it was (is) to foster the level of independence and learning we had as kids. And how much harm we’ve done to our kids today. We’ve created an entire generation of child-adults who expect to be protected from everything and for mom and dad (government) to bail them out of any situation or poor decisions.

So now we’ve decided to take a break from shipping billions of dollars to Ukraine, so we can print another 300 billion for kids who made poor financial choices. Because it’s not like increasing the money supply has anything to do with inflation. I’m sure there’s no possibility my taxes will go up to pay for the increased debt. Yeah, right.

With an unlimited money supply in the form of federal student loans, university tuition will only continue to skyrocket. Why not? They have no skin in the game. I’ll have to pay for that in the form of higher taxes, increased inflation, and responsible kids who don’t want to take on debt being priced out of higher education.

Can someone, anyone, please explain to me – in simple terms I’ll understand – why I need to pay for your financial obligation? And why I can’t get a refund for the same amount that I stupidly chose to self-pay? Anyone? How is that right or fair? I thought this generation was all about fairness?

While I wait for an answer, I’m going to head out for a solo motorcycle ride in the mountains. Because I wasn’t coddled as a kid on padded playgrounds and forced play dates. I had lawn darts. I am comfortable assessing risk and living with the decisions (good or bad) that I make.

Injury Update And Big Boy Pants

It’s been just about a month since I injured my back. Today, I deadlifted at the gym. Not much weight, but a full deadlift. Zero pain. I can’t tell you how happy that made me. I’ve been super lucky through life and have had very few injuries. This was the first time I had to make a conscious effort to figure out pain management, and what to do to fix the problem. I honestly think this could have been one of those things that at my age, had I not been aggressive about PT/rehab, could have drifted into a chronic issue that limited my activities for a very long time.

But it didn’t. Because I put my big boy pants on and refused to give in. I continued to work hard with a good strength and conditioning trainer. I did mobility work on my own. I aggressively used heat and a TENS unit to stimulate the muscles. I think most importantly – I just kept moving. Hiking, walking, riding the motorcycle. With lots of warm-up, I did some mountain biking. Last week I was able to do some (slow) trail running again. I massively upped my protein intake. Continued movement, targeted strength work, and holistic pain management techniques and we’re back in the game. Four weeks of work and I think I’m at least back to where I was pre-injury.

I left the gym today with a pretty good endorphin high. I was just super pumped to be able to do a deadlift pain-free. It gave me all kinds of motivation. I came home and pulled out and dusted off the daily vitamin regime. Drank a crapload of water. What I realized driving home from the gym is that in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take very long to make a change. Four weeks and I was able to rehab an injury and probably come out the other side stronger than I was before. That wasn’t much time.

If I put my mind to it, what else can I accomplish in the next four weeks? Last night I was listing to a Navy Seal talking about the initial six months of training. He laughed and said all that crap you seen on TV – BUDS, Hell Week, etc… are actually the easiest part of the overall training. He said that really all they’re looking for are people who can shut everything else out and just focus on the immediate task. The next ten feet. The next 5 minutes. People who can’t stop thinking about how much further or longer they have to go, fail. That’s it. It’s that simple.

It’s true. We step on the scale obsessively. The idea of going for a run every day seems impossible. I have so much else to do today, there’s no time to get a workout in. I have so much weight to lose, I don’t see myself every reaching my goal. I can’t run 3 miles without walking, how am I ever going to get back to what I used to be able to do? Too much focus on the macro picture, and you’ll fail.

So, what’s the lesson? I’m going to stop thinking about the weight loss number or running mileage. Instead, I’m just going to try to win every hour. Today I went to the gym early. I organized and took my daily supplements. I ate well. Now what? I’m just going to focus on what’s in front of me each hour. Water instead of soda. Intentional calories instead of snacking. Find 20 minutes this afternoon to do some mobility work. I don’t need a beer (or two) tonight. Water instead. Go to bed early. Rinse, repeat. My only goal for the next month is to keep focus on the task at hand. Hour by hour. We’ll see where that gets us in the next four weeks.

I put on my big boy pants, stepped up and paid the man this last month. Now, let’s pay him again tomorrow.

An Unexpected Lesson From Tragedy

The other day I was surfing through YouTube before I went to bed. It was getting late and I was looking for just one more video to watch before retiring. A thumbnail came up that I’d seen several times the past few days but had ignored because it was almost two hours in length, and I just wasn’t terribly interested in it. It was an analysis of what went wrong at the Uvalde school shooting by a guy named Mike Glover.

If you’re not familiar with him or his YouTube channels, Mike Glover is a former Green Baret with 18 combat deployments. He’s clearly been there, done that. He now provides tactical training to law enforcement. The failure of law enforcement in this scenario was horrific. Here’s a link to that analysis if you’re interested. I ended up watching the entire thing and going to bed way too late.

Out of everything he said, one thing towards the end really struck me. He was commenting on all the sexy “kit” the officers had on. We’ve dumped truckloads of money on police departments so they can outfit themselves as quasi-military units. They’ve got the ballistic helmets, plate carriers, ballistic shields, even wearing military style fatigues and boots. But in this case, none of them did anything with their fancy equipment while kids were being shot and left to die. They stood around, checking phones, getting hand sanitizer, and waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Mike’s comment was:

“Everyone wants to be an operator until it comes time to do operator shit”

That lesson is so true and can be applied to almost everything. Everyone wants to lose weight and look better (myself included), but very few want to put in the time in the weight room and or do serious cardio. You want to be a writer? Are you getting up and cranking out 1000 words every day? You want to be a YouTube star? How many hours a day do you spend learning and perfecting the filming, editing, and storytelling? You want to climb the corporate ladder? What are you doing to improve your skills and value daily?

We all want to be or do something. Only a small percentage of our society actually wants to do the work to achieve those things. I get it. I’m in that same boat. I kinda half-ass things. Sometimes I’m motivated, sometimes I’m not. Shockingly, it’s when I’m motivated that I get/achieve what I want. Crazy how that works.

Buying fancy gear, joining the latest fitness or diet fad, or subscribing to the killer new app is all great… but it doesn’t do diddly-squat if you don’t do the work. Another great example comes from David Goggins, who’s a crazy over the top, type-A overachiever. But he didn’t start out that way. He was a fat, lazy pest exterminator working nights and eating doughnuts. He had an epiphany one night, quit his job, went to a navy recruiter and said, “I want to be a navy seal”. The recruiter laughed and said you’re 100 pounds overweight. He’d have a very short few months to lose it if he wanted to actually attempt to qualify.

Spoiler alert – he did and went on to a successful career as a navy seal. When asked what program he used and what diet he followed to lose all the weight, he said “I stopped eating so fucking much and ran every day until I collapsed”. Simplicity. But the real reason was that he was willing to put in the work.

We all want something. How many of us are actually willing to do what it takes to get it? Very few. It’s a metaphor that struck home for me. Hopefully it’ll light a spark under my butt to get after it. Even at my advanced age, there are still things I want to achieve. But how bad do I really want them?

Everyone wants to be an operator until it comes time to do operator shit.