Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Five Months and 18,000 Miles Later

The previous blog was posted five months ago on March 26, 2013. Ten days earlier, we tried starting a new diet (two days after Cathy's birthday). I don't like diets. I don't believe in diets. I do like eating.

Since then…

We planted the garden in May, hoping it wasn't too early.

On June 5, following Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible study, Cathy and I started driving to Oklahoma. We stopped in Grand Rapids, SD, going to Mt Rushmore Thursday night, crashing in a comfortable motel, going back to Mt Rushmore on Friday morning to see it in the daytime, and then continuing on our journey, arriving in Enid at 4:22am on Saturday. Cathy's sister, Diane, and her retired husband, Tom, were going on a mission trip to Mexico and we were staying with her mom for part of the time they would be gone. We were also able to spend a short amount of time with Cathy's siblings and their spouses before heading to Branson for a couple of relaxing days, taking in a concert by the Sons of the Pioneers, watching The Shepherd of the Hills play, visiting Silver Dollar City (a favorite spot), and enjoying a dinner show on the paddle wheeler Branson Belle while it cruised around Table Rock Lake. On Sunday afternoon, the 16th, we began the trek homeward, driving through the night again (and an intense lightening and rain storm), seeing some of Yellowstone National Park as we quickly drove through it, and stopping to spend the night at a comfortable motel in Bozeman, MT on Monday night. On Tuesday, we hit the road again, stopping at Spirit Lake, ID to spend a couple of nights with new friends, Paul and Darla Calhoun (more will be revealed about that connection later), allowing Jim to go fishing with Paul on the lake. We arrived home on Thursday night in time to get a good night's sleep before having my folks, my sister, my niece, my nephew-in-law, three of their daughters, my nephew, my niece-in-law, and their three daughters over for a late BBQ lunch before all fifteen of us headed for the Mariners game. Then we rested and tended the growing garden.

July was very busy at work, at church, and with an exciting upcoming event that explains the connection with our new friends, Paul and Darla Calhoun. It was also a pretty expensive month as the upcoming event further drained our financial resources.

On August 3, Cathy left me…but only for five nights. She flew down to be with Alison who was grateful for Mom's help. You might think that driving through the night three times on our trip to Oklahoma would have permanently cured this 60 year old of such foolishness. That's why no one pays you to think. We had a church prayer meeting on August 7 specifically for our Vacation Bible School beginning the next Monday. After that prayer meeting, I drove south, stopping in Winston, OR around 1:20a.m. to pick up Aaron and Denise. Together, we enjoyed the spacious confines of our Prius for the next 15-16 hours until we arrived in Ontario, CA where I was soon reunited with Cathy and her best friend, Cathy Herron, who had also flown to help Alison out. After Cathy and I had a wonderful meal with dear friends from my 7th-9th grade years at Heritage High School, Aaron, Denise, and I collapsed for the night. On Friday, the 9th, Aaron and I remained in a "do not disturb" mode until that evening when we all went over to see Alison and go out to dinner.

Why did Alison need so much help? Besides just being Alison, she had a very legitimate reason and it was related to our new friends, the Calhouns, and when I say "related", I'm speaking literally. As it turns out, Paul Calhoun has a son, Shane. You can call him Dr. Calhoun. We now call him "son" just as the Calhouns call Alison "daughter". Yes, on August 11 our baby girl and Shane became husband and wife! On Tuesday, the newlyweds started their honeymoon in Panama (almost over now), Cathy flew home, and Aaron, Denise, and I began the long drive north. I finally got home during the wee hours of Wednesday morning, in time to rest up and attend the final two days of Vacation Bible School.

Do you remember that part, way back in the beginning of this long post, about starting another diet? When we went to see Alison and Shane and go out to dinner on the Friday before the wedding, I was the last one out of the car and the last one Alison saw. Her reaction was priceless and caught on film. Like her brothers, she had never seen her dad this size. I had lost around 70 lbs at that point. Cathy had surprised Alison earlier when she flew down and was able to surprise Aaron and Denise when we arrived on Thursday evening by car. David had seen us just a few weeks earlier when he flew home for his high school graduation 10-year anniversary.

As of this date, I have lost a total of about 81 lbs and am below 220. It seems very strange to go from wearing "XXXL" shirts to being able to wear just plain old "L". I don't know how much more I will lose but I hope I can get to a satisfactory weight and go into maintenance mode soon…

because I AM HUNGRY!!! (And I'm tired of buying new belts.)
Isn't she beautiful?!!!