Saturday, March 29, 2008

Little Lessard - Week 13 Update

It continues. They say it aint over until its over. Well, the fat boy aint singing yet.

Michele had a monster week losing 5 lbs (2.3%) bringer her total loss to 26.0 (11.1%). That's an excellent week pretty much cementing her second place finish.

Marc had another good week losing 3.0 lbs (0.9%) for an amazing total loss of 74.2 pounds (18.5%). He's almost home with another 6.0 pounds to go.

I stayed the same, neither gaining nor losing for a total loss of 22.0 (7.1%). This places me in pathetic third place. I'm pleased with my week however, since I had TWO meals at Robert Redford's Sundance Resort in Utah.

Will Marc finish it out next week? Will Michele cut off an arm and steal a victory? Will I ever lose another pound? Stay tuned for what will certainly be an exciting and anticlimatic finish to the Little Lessard!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Making a (Back)Splash

One of the way Angie responds is that she appreciates service. This means that she very much likes when I put myself out for her. Whether I take the kids to school one morning so she doesn't have to, or I do something else for her, this is how she connects with me - or more properly, this is how I connect with her. I know this about her, but unfortunately, my laziness keeps me from always acting on it.

This weekend I had the opportunity to act on it. The painter finished up this week, and frankly, the house looks AWESOME. The green in the front room, living room and kitchen are great. The texture and staining treatment in the kitchen is phenomenal. Our bedroom looks really fine. Now that it is all done (minus the game room), things are going back to their places (new or old).

However, Angie has a plan in mind for many of the rooms. Our bedroom is getting redone with a new arrangement, new colors, and curtains. The living room as been rearranged. The kitchen was to get a backsplash. Angie bought some of the materials to show me what she wanted. I ferried back and forth to Lowes to get the remainder of the project materials. I'm not handy in that I don't know HOW to do many of these things, but I am willing to try - and I often have the patience to see them through. The first major project I did was the flower beds and retaining wall. This was the second.

As each subsequent panel went up, we became more and more about the work. Clearly, she had chosen very well and it was going to work out if I maintained my patience. I did and it went well and came out better than either of us expected. It really does look good, even if it took about twice as long as I had expected (about 8 hours).

Angie is real pleased with the kitchen, and I am real pleased with our connection through my service.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Week 12 Update

You know that scene in Rocky 4, where Rocky is in Apollo's corner and he's about to throw in the towel, but doesn't. That's me! With Marc only having 9.0 lbs to lose, and my needed 40.0 lbs, I think that the results are in the bag. Particularly since I can't seem to get dieting. I might have 5 ounces to go, but unless I find some discipline and quick, it won't much matter.

Marc had an another OUTSTANDING week losing 6.2 (1.8%). He claims that his Weight Watchers leader suggested staying out of the gym for the week to mix it up a little. He did, and it worked. Nice job! I'm still waiting for him to screw up one week, but he doesn't. There's always this week.

Michele turned in a very RESPECTABLE week losing 3.5 (1.6%). She claims steady success in using the treadmill in the morning as her secret. If she gets motivated to start her day right, she has a good day. If not, she doesn't. Here's to hoping she sleeps in a lot. There's always this week.
My slide continues, and had another LOUSY week. I gained another 2.0 (-0.7%). My claim for success, chocolate chip cookies. I can't stay away and Angie (and Cassie) can't stop making them. At least I worked out a bunch. I'm just looking to end strong. There's always this week.

I hope I don't end up holding that towel too long like Rocky did...if memory serves, Apollo dies! And I won't have any more weeks.
Stay tuned for next week's results. Marc says he's gonna close it out!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Digital Upgrade

The e-mail begins...

"Congratulations! Your home is about to be upgraded to the power of Verizon FiOS."

Yes, the Lessard household has moved the last holdout of our home to the 21st century. We have succumbed to the allure of the "Triple Play", having one provider for our phone, Internet and cable TV.

Many of you have gone down this route. Even AMA, who isn't the most technical person, has been using digital phone through Time Warner/Comcast (they seem to switch customers every so often, so as far as I'm concerned, they are the same company). In fact, if it wasn't for the crappy customer service that Time Warner displayed, we'd probably still be in the stone ages.

The story is long, and gruesome. If you want the details of our customer service (or, lack thereof) experience, ask Angie. I think she enjoys telling it. As for me, it was enough to finally make the change. We all know that I am a victim of my own inertia, and I don't care of change. Therefore, in order to give the go ahead, I needed a concession. Mine? 15MB downstream on Verizon Fiber Optic service. Since they buried fiber optic cable in the neighborhood a couple of years ago, I dreamed of the blazing fast speeds. The outcome, an Internet experience that will be about 15x (yes, you've read that right - 15 times faster). How cool is that for someone who works out of his home office.

They install on Monday. I'll let you know how fast it is on Tuesday. Oh, and our e-mail addresses will be changing. As soon as I have my new address, I'll let you know.

I'll be online a lot!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Marc Anti-tears Update

I think if I don't post now, he'll cry. So, although it is past my bedtime and I have to get up early tomorrow to start my long 4000 mile trek home, I will post our Littlest Lessard weeks 10 and 11 updates.

It's been nothing but a roller coaster for me and Michele, but cry baby just keeps dripping weight off. In fact, he's all but wrapped up this competition, but who knows. Maybe an ice cream truck will overturn in front of his house creating a temptation that he'll not endure. He hasn't faltered in 11 weeks, but hope springs eternal.

He's lost 5 and 2.4 lbs respectively over the last two weeks. That's a total weight loss of an amazing 65 pounds for a commanding 16.2% lost. He thinks he's gonna wrap it up in two weeks max. I think he's wrong.

Michele lost a half pound last week and gained three this week. That puts her back in last place with a total loss of 17.5 pounds (7.4% total)

I'm BACK! And, although I'm not really dieting, I am working out. Last week I gained 12 in a scale mishap and this week I lost 4. In fact, I weighed in at 130 - KILOGRAMS that is. I hadn't seen that number on a scale in around 25 years! That puts me at a total of 24.0 pounds lost (7.7%) to recapture second place.

Ok - update done. Marc's tears avoided. Good night, and I'll see you back in North America.


I'm a Millionaire

With my flight over to Amsterdam, I've reached one million program miles on American Airlines Aadvantage (frequent flyer) program. I would normally say something like, "my million miles and a token will get me on the subway", meaning that it really doesn't mean anything - and there is some truth to that. At the end of the day it just means I spend a lot of time on planes.

However, those miles mean a lot to me, as I use them for other travel that we would not otherwise be able to afford. Of those 1,000,000+ miles, I have about 330,000 remaining. That means that I have used over 600,000 of them on flights. One family vacation to New York for everyone, 125K miles. Weekend get aways with the kids this summer, 100K miles. Occasional trips for Angie to meet me at various destinations, more miles. Tickets for family to come visit, more miles. All well spent, very well spent.
In fact, on business travel, particularly problem travel where weather, cancellations, delays, security, etc. are dragging me down, I can usually pick myself up thinking about how I can use those miles.
In addition to the above, I'm thinking about Angie and I getting away to Montreal later this year, or perhaps our European second honeymoon next Spring...or our invasion of all things Mickey in the imminent future.
What I am NOT looking forward to is spending miles on two tickets for my fellow Littlest competitors. Not that I don't want to see them, it would just mean I lost.
Good thing it isn't over yet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Little Kid In Me

One of my most favorite movies is Apollo 13, the story of Lim Lovell and his ill-fated mission to the moon. I don't know why I love that movie so much, but it probably is due to a combination of the space exploration, technology, and human perserverence. The era is very compelling to me, as well, as it must have been such an incredible thing to see our country conquer space and land on the moon.

One of the scenes in the movie strikes me as very telling. It is the scene where the crew is broadcasting from space, and the families are watching but none of the television networks are broadcasting. Clearly, Apollo 13 didn't become noteworthy until the ship was in trouble and the crew in danger. Isn't it a little like that today. Space exploration has become so routine that we don't even notice when a new ship is launched or lands. I remember the day when I would feign illness so I could stay home and watch a shuttle launch. I remember being in shock as I watched the Challenger explode after takeoff. Now, I don't even know when it's happening. That's sad.

That being said, I was getting ready for work today and had CNN on...we were launching a shuttle at 2:38am EST this morning. It just happened to be 2:32am EST when I found it (I am in Amsterdam, so it is 7:32am CET). One of the cool things NASA has is NASA TV, so I logged on real quick to watch the launch. They have uninterrupted audio between Mission Control and the crew, so I prefer that to TV.

Isn't technology awesome, where we can put men and women in space AND watch it over the Internet. Too bad we are so used to it, we take it for granted.

I'd rather feel like an awestuck kid again.

(NB: I saw Jim Lovell and Gene Krantz speak at a company event several years ago. They spoke about the mission, and the incredible teamwork that occured, and how it was necessary to overcome the damage to the ship. It was very motivating).


Friday, March 07, 2008

Perfect Timing

I've often blogged about how much I enjoy the business travel I do, and how blessed I am to have done so much of it to so many wonderful places. The fact of the matter is that business travel is FUN. I often get hosted well. I often eat at nice restaurants and have stayed at wonderful hotels in exotic cities. I am lucky enough to either travel in first class or get a nice exit row seat. All of the air miles, hotel points, rental car points, and parking points I earn I am allowed to keep and use for personal travel. I've been to so many places that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to get to on my own.

That's a summary of the good. As I type this, however, I am stuck in Orlando International Airport and have been here for several hours and will likely be here for several more, if not all night. In and of itself, that isn't the really bad thing. What makes it worse, is that I am scheduled to fly out to Amsterdam tomorrow morning. If I don't get home in time, not only will I miss that flight, but I won't have any time to spend with Angie and the kids before I go.

That is what is so crappy about delays and cancellations. I was running around crazy today and ultimately left the office later than I planned. As I got close to the airport, construction kept me from exiting, so I had to go about 20 minutes out of my way to get to the rental car return. Thank God for TeleNav, or I would have been so lost. I was running late, so I didn't fill the gas up. That cost me $53, as they charge $7 a gallon to do it for you. As I pull into Hertz, my phone rings, flight delayed. I had time after all. Perfect timing. As I was waiting to check into the airport, my phone rang again, my flight was cancelled (happened when I was NEXT on line to the ticketing counter - perfect timing).

I got put on another flight (the last one going to Dallas) in the LAST available seat - perfect timing. Since then, the flight has been delayed three times. What was supposed to be a 3:35 departure is now 7:50. If it goes off tonight, it will be perfect timing.

I'll take any time with my family. Perfect.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Electoral Process

Yesterday was an interesting day in Texas. Anyone tracking the presidential primaries knows that Texas held both the Republican Primary and the wacky Democratic "Texas Two-Step" - a primary AND a caucus.

Angie and I voted in the Republican Primary for precinct 2501 in Dallas County. My vote was a bit of a protest vote. I voted for Mike Huckabee, even though we all knew that he was mathematically out of the race. The kids think that is a wasted vote. I disagree and here's why...

My vote for Huckabee was a message to John McCain that I disagree with his more liberal past voting record and any position that he holds that is to the left of Conservative. Now don't get me wrong. I LIKE the fact that McCain isn't just some Bush Jr. Jr. - no matter how much the Dems try to convince us that a vote for McCain is a vote for the continuation of Bush's failed policies. I don't believe that any more than I believe that a vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill.

The fact of the matter is that McCain's leftist leanings may be exactly what the country needs right now, and more importantly - he may be the ONLY KIND OF REPUBLICAN THAT CAN WIN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THIS YEAR. A more conservative candidate (like Huckabee) might be more to my liking, but also less electable because of the perception that a conservative Republican is like Bush.

Either way, this is going to be a very interesting summer. Not only will either of the Democratic candidates make history (first African-American or the first woman), but there are obviously very important issues to be debated.

All of which should help motivate people to vote and get involved in the electoral process. I know I'm gearing up. No matter what you do - go out and vote!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How To Make Your Lady Happy

Don't fear - this is strictly a G-rated post!!! That being said, I'm a hero. At least in Angie's eyes and at least for the short term. Why? Because I'm stoned.

I know that the above makes no sense, so let me explain. We have painters here today. They are painting like crazy. What started as the finishing of my office has turned into the painting of the rest of the house. I can't do the stair wells or the front room (because of my severe fear of heights), so we needed a painter to come in and do it. While he was here, Angie inquired about some special texture work. Not a problem. Oh, and the stairs going up to second floor. Ok, done. And while you are up there, can you do the game room? Sure, anything you want. In that case, go ahead and do Dylan's room since he's got a high ceiling.

Whew...I'm tired thinking about all the work that I'm not doing. And, my head is spinning from the fumes.

I don't mind painting, I just can't get everywhere I need to be to do it. The painters gave my work in the office a thumbs up. Where I taped off for the ceiling, they free handed. Theirs is nicer, but mine's fine, and way cheaper, too. That being said, I can't do the neat texture/tea staining that she's doing in the shadowboxes in the front room and in the kitchen. She is so excited about that...and that's why I'm a hero.

I hope she keeps that view of me...but there's going to be nothing left to paint.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Back in the Saddle

Marc's comment to my last entry asks where did the update go from last week. I was all prepared to answer that I've just been very busy. Truth is, I have been exceedingly busy. I am in a season of exams for school and I have been traveling a lot - weekly, in fact. We have many things going on with the house right now, and there just isn't enough time in the day.

The problem with the answer above's not true. The truth is that right now, I am so not into the competition that it's sad. I've been hard pressed to get into the gym and my diet has gone to hell. Although Angie tells me I still look like I've lost a lot the reality is that I fear I've already put it all back on. And the problem with that is that it gets me depressed.

Unfortunately, like many others - when depressed I eat. It's been a really bad couple of weeks and I can't put my finger on why. If it wasn't for Angie putting her arms around my neck and kissing me, and telling me that I should just pick up and continue from where I am right now, I think I wouldn't be typing this...I think she said something about getting back on my horse.

So - here are the results from last week. I was on the road, and when I weighed in on a new scale, it told me that I had gained 12 pounds. At the time I didn't believe the scale, but now I'm not so sure. So, until I weigh in again, I am going with that gain. Since I haven't been dieting too well or working out, my guess that even if the scale was wrong, I've since put that weight on.

Marc and Michele continue to do great, as the chart below shows. I haven't conceded yet, but I think Marc and Michele will enjoy coming down here for dinner. I know the kids will enjoy having them. If Marc wants to bring his family, they are all welcome. He'll just have to foot that bill - although I will take everyone out to dinner.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More Proud New Yorker

You just can't take the New York out of a New Yorker. Even though I am in Texas for 7+ years, I still relate to all of this. Even though I want to retire on 100's of acres of pasture with livestock and horses, I will never completely lose those things that make me a proud New Yorker. I may lose the accent, but I'll never lose the attitude (or the ability to tell the difference between all of the Ray's Pizzas).


There is no NORTH or SOUTH -- It's 'UPTOWN' or 'DOWNTOWN'. If you're really from New York, you have absolutely no concept of where NORTH and SOUTH are...and EAST & WEST are 'CROSS-TOWN'.

It's NOT Manhattan..... it's 'THE CITY'.

You're 35 years old... and you don't have a driver's license!

You ride in a subway car with no air-conditioning just because there are seats available.

You take the train home and you know exactly where, on the platform, the doors will open that will leave you right in front of the exit stairway.

You cross the street anywhere but on the corner, and you yell at cars for not respecting your right to do it.

You move 3,000 miles away, spend 10 years learning the local language, and people still know you're from Brooklyn, Long Island or The Bronx the minute you open your mouth.

You return, after 10 years, and the first foods you want are a 'REAL' pizza and a 'REAL' bagel.

You know the difference between all the different 'RAY'S PIZZAS'.

Your wouldn't bother ordering pizza in any other city.

You know what 'REGLAR COFFEE' is.

You know what a BODEGA is.

You get ready to order dinner every night and must choose from the major food groups, which are: CHINESE, ITALIAN, MEXICAN or INDIAN.

A 500-sq-ft apartment is LARGE.

You are not under the mistaken impression that any human being would be able to actually understand a P.A. announcement on the subway.

You can nap on the subway and never miss stop.

You're not the least bit interested in going to Time Square on New Year's Eve.

Someone bumps into you and you check for your wallet.

Your internal clock is permanently set to know when ALTERNATE-SIDE-OF-THE-STREET parking regulations are in effect.

You pay ONLY $230 a month to park your car.

You cringe at hearing people pronounce Houston Street like the city in Texas.

You don't even notice the lady walking down the road having a perfectly normal conversation with herself.

Presidential visits are a major traffic jam, NOT an honor.

The Deli guy gives you a straw with any beverage you buy, even if it's a beer.