Category Archives: Silly Things

Hey Google, Can You Break Your Spine With A Burpee?

Seriously. My DadShirt game is strong…

I’m 43. I have to think really hard every time someone asks, because after car insurance getting cheaper at 25, there really aren’t any milestones to look forward to in life. Oh, you thought a blog post about burpees would be motivational? Yeah, no refunds, sorry. (Not sorry)

I’m 43, I’m about 5’11”, and I weigh about 220lbs. I’m officially obese, but don’t worry, I, “carry my weight well.” I’m pretty sure that just means I’m so unattractive, no one notices I’m *also* fat. But here’s the deal, I really want to wear the Reptar shirt my friend Josh gave me, but it’s too tight.

Oh, you were hoping for an inspiring weight loss journey involving health and self-discovery? Yeah, no. I like wearing absurd DadShirts, and a couple of my best ones are too tight. I’ve come to the realization that no amount of exercise will bring back my hair, and my bald option looks far more like Uncle Fester than The Rock. I want to wear my pink button up shirt with cartoon dinosaurs on it. That’s my main motivation. Again, no refunds, you’ve read this far, you should realize there’s little hope for a talk about lifestyle choices.

Huh. Not giving a crap. I guess that’s another milestone worth looking forward to. I have no idea at what age that gem is attained, but it’s sub-43. Maybe that’s the question to Life, the Universe, and Everything, and last year I stopped giving a crap. Cool.

But back to burpees. Back, heh, get it? Yeah, my back hurts. I don’t know for sure, but I think when you find yourself googling “spine pain burpee”, you’ve achieved peak fitness shame. Why would I choose to attempt burpees? Because I’m lazy. No really.

I wanted to find the best way to get serious exercise while doing the least possible exercise. Burpees are reported to engage like, every muscle in your body, count as cardio and strength, and can be done anywhere. (I don’t actually recommend parking lots, especially if you have a mouse-clicking job like me, my baby-soft finger sausages get bruises on carpet…) Plus, a co-worker (Michael Aliotti) recently set the world record for most burpees in 12 hours. He did 7,295. I kid you not. So I figured if I did burpees, I’d have the same chiseled, eternally-25 body he has. Lol, actually no, I never thought that. But I thought if I did enough burpees, I might be able to button my men’s size large Reptar shirt.

Why does a pink Reptar shirt come in men’s size large? Shut up, when you’re 42 you’ll understand what things are cool.

ANYWAY, I knew that starting with 7,295 burpees would probably go poorly for me. So I decided to do 100 burpees. That seems like a nice, round number. It’s also a fairly common number of burpees for super-fit people who could totally wear Reptar shirts can do. BUT. I’m not an idiot, so I searched for an online “plan” for getting to 100 burpees. Eventually. I found a 30-day schedule somewhere online, and decided I could ramp up to 100 burpees in a month and not die. (Yes yes, you see where this is going. I’d never done a burpee, and well, let’s just say they’re not as satisfying as their assumed namesake, burping.)

Day 1 on the schedule calls for 8 burpees. 8. The OCD part of my brain (ie, the part inside my skull, the whole stupid thing) was really annoyed by it being 8 and not 10. But whatever. Day 2 is 11, and that’s somehow worse, so I’ll just do 8 and shut up. If you’re expecting me to say I tried the first burpee, and questioned life or something, well no. 8 burpees were surprisingly easy.

Don’t get me wrong. When I do a burpee, it looks like I’ve dropped my keys, fallen over trying to pick them up, and then eventually stand up and celebrate the retrieval of my keys with a sad 2″ hop. Nevertheless, I did 8 burpees in a row, forgetting to breathe until about burpee 4, and apart from a small twinge in my spine, everything went well. I actually thought perhaps I should do more burpees. Possibly 100 on the first day, because really, my heart was pumping, but I wasn’t out of breath or anything. Oddly, the same OCD that was annoyed by “8” burpees on day 1 wouldn’t let me change the schedule. So I stopped.

That was before work on Wednesday. By lunch on Wednesday, I was pretty sure I’d severed my spine and secretly replaced all my cervical discs with shark teeth. It literally felt like if I went into a plank position, I might break directly in half. I considered going to the doctor, but thankfully I’m over 42, so I don’t give a crap anymore. Also, the doctor would assuredly tell me that I needed to rest. I figure since I’ve been resting for the past 20 years or so, I have a bit of rest built up, and I should be fine.

Then dinnertime came. I don’t think I ate dinner, but not because I thought fasting would improve my health or anything. No, I didn’t eat dinner, because I couldn’t lean forward enough to point my face at the table. My stomach muscles DID apparently decide to rest, and refused to do simple things like help me lean forward. They made this refusal clear by stabbing themselves with extra shark teeth they found laying around my spine area. It’s not really a big deal though, because my arms wouldn’t have been able to lift the plastic fork all the way to my mouth anyway. So I fasted. Slowly.

If you’re thinking I gave up, well, you’re right. On life. On ever being able to move again. I gave up my belief that Michael Aliotti is human. But I did *not* give up on the 100 burpee schedule, because again, OCD. The next morning, I did 11 burpees. Sort of. See, Wednesday evening after not-dinner, I googled ways to adjust burpees for people with jellyfish spines. It turns out you can “walk back” to a plank position instead of jumping (or thrusting, or whatever crazy crossfit term is correct for jumping into a push-up position). And then you can either walk back to a squatting position, or “explode” back from the plank position. The term “explode” seemed to indicate what my back would do, but nevertheless, I did jump back after walking into the plank position. And I did it 11 times.

This time, I WAS out of breath. I’m not sure how it happened, because while carefully walking back into plank position, I paid very close attention to not snapping in two, and I didn’t realize I was huffing and puffing. But I did all 11 SadBurpees, and I called it good.

Look, day 2 hurt. I won’t give you details. If you want an object lesson, just like, drop bricks on yourself in your various tender parts. It kinda felt like that.

Today is day 3. Oh, again, you were looking for a motivational blog post about how the destination was worth the journey and crap like that? I just want to wear a Reptar shirt. I don’t care about existential bliss. Also, this morning I did 14 burpees. I didn’t walk them back, because my spine felt strong. (LOL LOL, no it didn’t, nothing on me feels strong, except my cynicism muscle.) I did regular burpees because I’m lazy, and the walk-back thing took longer than normal. It’s been about 20 minutes, and I won’t lie, my back hurts. Today it just regular-hurts though, not “I think I’ve severed my spinal cord” hurts. We’ll see what lunchtime brings. But tomorrow is a “rest day”, so I figured if I had to schedule a rest day, I should expect it to be a day of hospitalization and regret. But that’s tomorrow.

So what’s the point of this post? I have no idea. I’m in my recliner, questioning my life choices, and my laptop was within reach. I probably won’t blog about my 100 burpee schedule again, because I suspect tomorrow’s day of rest might be a biblical rest metaphor, and I’m going to die sometime this evening around dinner. Nevertheless, if you see me around town in a super awesome Reptar shirt, you’ll know the burpees worked. Or that I gave up and found an XL somewhere online.

Dropping Chocolate

This evening, Donna and I were driving home from dinner out with friends. It was snowing pretty hard, and we were at the intersection of a wide, busy road. Donna warned me of car coming from her side, and then after it passed I gunned the gas pedal to get out on the road quickly. (My new truck is the first 4 wheel drive vehicle I’ve ever owned, so I was admittedly playing a bit)

As I’m turning left across the 4 lanes very quickly, Donna says in a frustrated tone, “Oh man, you made me drop chocolate!”

There was an awkward silence.

I responded, “You mean, like, you pooped?”

I assumed my rapid turn scared her, and she was creatively claiming I scared the crap out of her. I didn’t really think she pooped herself, but I’d never heard someone say they “dropped chocolate” before. It turns out I was very wrong.

“What?!?! No. I was eating a piece of delicious dark chocolate, and you took off so fast I dropped it!”

If you listen close, you can probably still hear me laughing. 🙂

In Which I Make a Fool of Myself for a Good Cause

Tomorrow is it. With all my crazy health problems of late, I haven’t done anywhere close to the fundraising I hoped to do, but regardless — tomorrow I’ll be golfing 50 holes. Again due to the health stuff, I haven’t been to a driving range, so my first golf swing attempt will be on the course tomorrow. Yikes. 🙂

What am I golfing for exactly? I’m glad you asked, even if you really didn’t. Hehehhe.

  • Harbor Light Christian Schools is an independent, non-denominational school. It shares a name and building with a church, but is not actually a church ministry. It’s completely separate.
  • I’ve seen HLCS transform my kids. In a good way. Yes, it provides a Christian education as one would expect, but it does so much more that I honestly never expected:
    • It’s given my kids a safe place to learn who they are. No bullying. No ostracizing for being “weird”. No judgement based on background.
    • Even with a district size of under 100 students (K-12!), my girls have all played multiple sports, competing successfully with schools 10 times their size. Heck, Lizzie (a 7th grader) made a double play the other day on the varsity softball team against a school at LEAST 10 times their size.
    • The student/teacher ratio is such that teachers form a personal, sincere, and direct relationship with the kids. This means students can’t get away with fluffing off, because the teacher will follow through with contacting parents and arranging extra help if needed.
    • It’s also shocking for me to see families of drastically different Christian denominations not only exist together, but excel in making each other better Christians, and better people. In fact, the differences at Harbor Light are one of the biggest strengths. When we learn to get along and agree on commonalities, it helps everyone relate to the rest of the world better. Getting rid of the “us/them” mindset is so healthy, and it happens every day.

 

But tuition is so, so expensive for a private school. Even in our economically depressed area of northern Michigan, it’s not uncommon for tuition prices for Christian schools to hover around the $10,000 per year range. While in other parts of the country that is a paltry amount to pay for tuition at a private school, up here, it makes it unreachable for the majority of families.

And so, golf.

Harbor Light does an incredible amount of fundraising. So much so, that for a top notch, parochial education, the base tuition is reduced to around $5,600 per student. PLUS, there are incentives (half off for the first year, things like that), scholarships, and tuition forgiveness that takes place every year. No one gets rich educating students at Harbor Light Christian School, but student’s lives are enriched beyond measure.

I could go on and on about the specific things HLCS does to benefit the community and world, but I’ll save that for another day. Giving families the ability to provide their children with a top notch academic education, while at the same time teaching them to exist peacefully and productively around others of differing world views is priceless. So, I agreed to participate in this golf marathon. My goal is/was to raise $1,500 to offset tuition prices next year. Again, due to my recent health concerns, I haven’t been able to beat the bushes for support, which is very unfortunate. If you’d like to contribute, even a small amount, I would be grateful. If you’re unable to contribute financially, please either pray for HLCS, or at the very least ponder how amazing it is to raise a generation of young Christians who understand how to get along with people of varying faith systems.

Here’s a link to my contribution page if you’re interested in donating. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Advances in BirdTopia

I warned you I’d be posting about birds. 🙂

One of the problems with having BirdTopia so close to my office window, is that when I move, it scares the birds away. My solution for this was to buy one-way mirror film to put on my window. After installing it (a real pain, btw), I of course danced like an idiot to see if I could scare the birds. I could not.

But.

The film makes it really hard to see, especially on a day like today, where it’s overcast and rainy. So I compromised:

Now you see me...

The bottom of the window is mirrored, so the window ledge birds can’t see inside. (The birds in the yard also can’t see Zoey stare longingly at them, since her head is window-sill high) Now it’s possible to sneak, but it’s also still possible to see the birdies clearly. Win/win? We’ll see. 🙂

Just Call Me Chronic

Today is a brand new day. Well, ok, it’s not really brand new, it’s been around for a while as it’s after 2PM. Still, it’s the newest day we have. For me, that means moving past the last 3 months of horrible pain.

Mid June, I was a typical guy, and didn’t wait for any help when it came to loading our moving truck. I was the first to arrive at our rental, and so loaded the entire trailer by myself. Including furniture. This was stupid, and so the following week when I started having really bad pain in my, um, well, down there, I was fairly certain I’d given myself a hernia. Because apparently I’m not a spring chicken anymore.

The short version of the following 3 months is that I saw a doctor, a surgeon, a specialist, and basically no one knows what’s wrong with me. Two of the doctors insist I don’t have a hernia. One thinks I do. None of them can explain why I feel like I just got kicked between the legs by a mule pretty much all day, every day. If you’ve never been kicked between the legs by a mule, let me assure you, it’s something you’d like to move past rather quickly. Three months is not quickly.

So the specialist I saw yesterday told me to just wait and see. He thinks I’ll eventually heal, but doesn’t find anything he can treat. This is a good thing, because it means he didn’t find any cancer, tumors, baby aliens gestating in my groin, or other medically fixable stuff. The bad thing is that he can’t find anything to fix. Double edged sword. BUT, he told me I have no restrictions, and that I should just get on with my life. One doctor talked about pain management drugs, but I don’t want to be that guy if I can avoid it. So, brand new day. As of today, life should be treated as normal. If a decade and a half of migraines have done nothing else, it’s given me a fairly decent pain tolerance, so I’m just going to deal.

So if you ask how I’m doing? I’m fine. No, it doesn’t mean I’m healed, but it means I’m tired of being out of commission. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go for a walk. It’s been 3 months, and I’m overdue. 🙂