Monday, April 28, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Congratulations, Marc.

I am not the Littlest Lessard. Michele is not the Littlest Lessard. Marc Lessard is the Littlest Lessard. Actually, he may be the biggest Lessard, but that doesn't mean he didn't kick complete ass in the Littlest Lessard Competition. In fact, he never had a bad week. In the entire competition, he never gained once. That kind of discipline and hard work is amazing to me, and frankly, I didn't think he had it in him. Funny enough, I thought I did, and truth is...I was wrong, way wrong. Below are his statistics and his before and after transformation. If he wants, I continue to post his picture every so often because he's gonna keep at it.
As this part of our "little" competition closes, I am at the same weight as when I started. If you've tracked our progress, you know I melted down and basically dropped out many weeks ago. First I stopped dieting, and a couple of weeks later the exercising stopped too. Although I fully know that I need to get into shape (for my health, for the kids, for longevity with Angie, for energy to be there for my family, my employer, my God). The problem is, that I just don't have the discipline to do it now - with how busy my life is...I can't do it. I just don't have it in me.

I don't want to forget about Michele, too. She lost about 20 pounds during this competition (Michele, please comment with your final stats). She had some ups and downs, but basically stayed with it and should be proud of that accomplishment.

So, because of Marc's winning, they both get dinner and a movie, make that dinner and a round trip flight to Texas. We'll be dining at the best TexMex around (Pappasitos), and we'll do some Barbecue and either the Ft. Worth or Mesquite Rodeo. It'll be a quick weekend with lots of food (how ironic is that) and celebration...

...and probably some good natured teasing, as well. Looking back on the last three months of Littlest Lessard, teasing is what it's all about.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birthday Competition

We celebrated Marissa's birthday today with a party at a local park for her and ten of her closest friends. Angie took care of all the details, and booked a local community park that had a covered pavilion, volleyball courts, and small soccer field. She made cupcakes (yummy chocolate ones and nasty lemon ones). She bought the snacks and drinks and took care of all of the other details.

Then of all the cools things, Angie planned all the activities. We planned six "events" for the girls to do that we would time (putting a golf ball, soccer kick, volleyball shot, dress up, wheelbarrow race, and some wacky race involving a spray bottle and water. The girls were split up into two teams and did all of the events as quickly as they could. Then, the team in the lead got a head start toward a scavenger hunt. They had to find trash, green things and stuff around the park. Lastly, they had to make up a poem for Marissa.

The winning team won "I won" license plate necklaces and the team won a toilet seat...yes, a toilet seat - which is proudly displayed around Marissa's neck. The backup plan (it looked like rain most of the day) was a scavenger hunt at Target. Either I missed where that became popular or we live a low rent neighborhood, but it seems that scavenger hunts at large department stores are the fun, cheap way to party with the kids now.

Marissa opened presents, then the girls dances some weird circle dance. Not sure what that was all about, but it looked fun, so I joined in. That made the girls laugh, so it was worth it. I like being the goofy one and I know the kids like it. Dylan and his friends helped with the activities. They were bored out of their skulls even with all of those girls around. I guess macking on your sister's friends isn't cool at 13. A couple of more years, I bet that'll change in a big way.

Other than the fact that we had a cold front come through and made it very cold and windy, everyone had a great time. I don't know how we'll top it. Oh, wait, yes I do. Marissa and I leave for a weekend in NY in less than two weeks.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Two Promises - One Old, One New

I'll get the new promise out of the way first. I PROMISE to post the winning notification for Littlest Lessard as soon as possible. I'm not the winner, and I have a before and after pic to post with it. I would have used this post for that purpose, but given that today is a special day, it'll have to wait one more day (or perhaps two).

The old promise is seven years old today. It is the day that I promised several things to my wife. Seven years ago today we were married at the Little Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas. On that day, we promised many things to each other...the typical things; honor and obey, cherish and love. However, the one that I remember the most wasn't one of the standards that you see in movie was this:

"love means that I can't win if you lose."

When the minister said this, I figured he was speaking specifically about conflict. However, seven years later I've come to realize that he meant much more. He meant that I can't win when I'm only looking out for myself...or more bluntly - when I'm only worried about my wants I will end up losing. The bible says the same exact thing. Ephesians 5 tells us to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Ultimately, that means to put our spouse first in all things.

When I made that promise, I didn't know squat. I still don't know much, but at least I know that I don't know much. I didn't know what that promise really entailed, or even meant. The good thing is that Angie and I have had seven years to learn those lessons together. We continue to learn them. We make mistakes, we get selfish, and we get over it and move on.

If we grow as much in the next seven as we did in the last seven - we'll be in great shape.

Happy Anniversary, sweetie. I love you and I'm sorry for those many times I forget that I can't win if it means you lose.


Friday, April 25, 2008

In Demand

It's been one of those periods where there hasn't been a lot of free time...I hate those times. I understand the need to get things done, and I can rationalize that sometimes the things that need to get done all coincide, but man - it's been a tough month, or so.

First is work. For the last 4 weeks, I've been traveling back and forth to our Support Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. In fact, of the last 4 weeks, I've spent 16 nights in a hotel in Raleigh. However, no one at the hotel actually knows me because I am typically out early and in late, with 12-hour days not being uncommon. In fact, on Monday of this week I worked from 7am to about 11pm in preparation for an audit (which was the reason I was spending so much time out there).

Unfortunately, even when I've been home, I haven't really been home because if school. During this period of travel - which usually consisted of flying into Raleigh on Sunday afternoon and home on Wednesday afternoon - I was finishing up a semester in which I went to school full time. That means that I would fly home on Wednesday afternoon and instead of going home, I'd go to class. Then, I'd have class Thursday night, Friday night, eight hours on Saturday and then four more hours on Sunday afternoon, after which I'd go to the airport to start the cycle all over.

That being said - this period has abruptly come to an end. The audit for work successfully completed on Wednesday evening. We passed, and as it was my project, I am receiving the accolades of a job well done. Additionally, school ended last night with what I believe to be a successful final. That means, a successful quarter at work and a successful semester at school.

Now - with some time at home, I can reconnect with Angie and the kids. Unfortunately, life doesn't stop because I need a break. Volleyball games, performances, group, and birthday parties are all demanding my time this weekend. I just can't wait until I get a Saturday to myself, where no one is making any demands of me. I can catch up on a movie or two, and some seriously needed downtime.

Angie calls is unplugging. I call it recharging, and I'm in serious need of some. Maybe next weekend, after yet another trip to Raleigh.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Is Today the Day?

It's too early to tell and I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I may actually be getting home today.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably seen in the news the problems going on at American Airlines this week. They've been cancelling scores of flights while they redo maintenance and inspections to their McDonnell-Douglas (MD80) fleet. Unfortunately, three of those cancellations were for flights on which I was scheduled. I was supposed to be flying home from Raleigh, NC on Wednesday afternoon, but received a call late Tuesday letting me know that my flight was cancelled. After scrambling to get through to an agent (American's customer service lines were overwhelmed and I kept getting "all circuits are busy" messages), I was scheduled for the next afternoon. However, on Thursday morning, I was awoken by American Airlines letting me know that my flight had been cancelled. However, at this time, they had me booked on yet another flight, for Friday morning. That didn't last long, however, and I was again notified of a cancellation. Again, I was rescheduled on another flight for Friday afternoon.

I've felt bad for each of the Customer Service agents that I've worked with on this. They are clearly overwhelmed and dealing with this the best they can. It isn't their fault that the management of their company is inept. Remember, American had 18 months to complete these modifications, but did so in a manner that didn't pass inspection. American blames the FAA for "stepping up their standards" around these inspections in reaction to recent Congressional pressure stemming from two separate whistle blower incidents in the last several weeks. Can you believe that??? American blaming the FAA for being more stringent in their inspections?!?!

That makes me a little concerned that these financially strapped airlines are cutting corners with safety to save a little here and save a little there. Clearly, they've reduced their employee numbers by too much (it comes across in the crappy service that is more often the norm), but are they now cutting too deep in maintenance? I hope not.

You may ask why I haven't demanded to be placed on another airline. The fact is that I was probably going to have to extend my time here next week, so instead, I used this as my opportunity to get more work done. At the end of the day, these cancellations have not been too inconvenient. Just don't tell American that because I already put in for my $500 voucher as compensation for my trouble.

And, assuming I get home today, I have to turn right back and return on Sunday. At least I get a change of clothes while I'm home.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Show Me The Money

Sometimes things just work out. Sometimes they don't.

I was home for a first occurrence late last week, and that makes me happy. Cassie lost her first tooth this weekend I was there to witness it. A couple of days earlier or a couple of days later and I would have missed it as I would have been on the road for work. That's the good and I've pondered it since it happened. Imagine if I was on the road and would have gotten a phone call. I would have enjoyed that with her, but I wouldn't have been able to see her face, to hug her, to see her scared excitement that her tooth finally came out.

Or, not there to be a part of the Tooth Fairy. Since she HAD to bring her tooth to school to show her classmates, she didn't want to give it up to the tooth fairy. In fact, she had me lock it up in my safe (next to my gun, some cash and our passports) so the tooth fairy couldn't get at it. But, that means on Monday night/Tuesday morning, I wasn't there to see her wake to the surprise.
That's ok - there will be another and I will be there for it, and I'll be able to see her excitement as she wakes up to some money. In fact, it seems as though that's all she was worried about. Apparently, her friends at school have been placing some doubt in her head about the reality of the tooth fairy, and she asked mom about it. Angie, who seems to think that the truth is the best policy in these matters (which is opposite of what I think), didn't ruin it for me and instead asked Cassie if it mattered what the truth was...

Cassie's response. "Nope, as long as I get money!"


Monday, April 07, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Week 14 Update

Or, my "better late than never update".

I never posted the update from last week, so if your wondering this competition continues (albeit with the winner definitely having already been decided).

Marc couldn't put the last nail in the coffin and list 1.2 ( 0.4%) bringing his total to lbs ( 75.4%). He should close it out this week, or by next week for sure.

Michele lost, and at this point that's all that counts. She lost a pound ( 0.5%) for a total loss of 27 lbs ( 11.5%).

I didn't weigh in last week, so that means I didn't gain (at least as far as I know). This leaves me at 22.0 lbs lost ( 7.1%).

The next step will be deciding in when Marc and Michele can make it down! At this point, I'm really looking forward to Pappasitos.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Lord, OK if I pause?"

I wish I could pause. I wish I could pause the busyness of life that seems to get me in trouble; in trouble with those around me and in trouble with myself.

Someone once told me that I had no margin in my life. In fact, he's told me this regularly over the last several years. What he means is that there is no room in my life for the busyness that can occur, and because of this I am not well suited to handle it in the proper way. For example, if I don't build some down time for Angie and I to just talk, than our relationship will suffer because everyday life will encroach on us. Another good example is with finances. If we live hand to mouth and don't save a little (build margin) then even a small setback and have serious negative consequences.

The title of this blog was uttered by Cassie when I interrupted her nightly prayers with a call to her to say goodnight (I'm on the road), but it serves as a reminder to me. I need to "pause" every so often and allow God to build margin in my life. To allow me to weather the storms of life that are always threatening to get in the way with my relationships (by building margin with Angie or my family and friends by spending time with them and loving them), with my job (by spending time cultivating relationships or taking the time to pat someone on the back), with my health (by taking the time to eat right, exercise and rest), with my sanity (by taking the time to do something I enjoy), or with my relationship to God (by slowing down and spending some quality time alone with Him).

So, I'll be asking the Lord if it is OK to pause every now and again. In fact, just stopping to ask the question is probably a good way to start.