21 November, 2005

Triathlon, Debt, Pay

Category: Biking,Habits,Pests,Sleep,Triathlon — Moose @ 4:59 pm

Made arrangements to take next Friday off from work (the 2nd) and go get fitted for and hopefully take home a Specialized Transition Elite triathlon bike. That’s the next piece of major equipment for the race in June. I think the only other big things I need after that are an indoor trainer and a wetsuit, then I’m good to go.

Also started the process to remove the last bits of my credit card debt. I’m taking a small loan out against my federal retirement account, which will then get paid back through payroll deductions over the next three years. It accomplishes a couple of major things: 1) Reduces the balances on all my credit cards, and my debt consolidation loan through the credit union, to zero; 2) Lowers the interest rates, even on the debt loan, by over half, and in one case to about a quarter of what it is now; and 3) Gives me a time certain when these things will be paid off. I was leery of borrowing against my retirement savings, but you know, getting rid of this debt faster and cheaper is worth it.

Da Boss also came in to talk about bonuses, so it seems those are happening this year. I was given a new choice this fall; in addition to the time-off-versus-cash options I got last year (cash, cash, cash!), I was offered a Quality Step Increase (QSI). The QSI would have been a better deal in the long run, as it was worth more than the cash over the long haul, but for the fact that Da Boss also mentioned that there will be talks this time next year with Da Really Big Boss (aka the political appointee head of my office, who happens to like me a lot) about a grade increase. If the grade increase happens, which it is likely to do, the QSI becomes not as valuable over the long run. So I chose the cash. When it’ll come in is anybody’s guess, but that’s money that can be used for moving, whenever that happens.

A tad sleepy today. The building is spraying for the bed bugs again today, so was out on the futon last night. The usual Sunday night jitters were running through my head, including thoughts about the loan I just discussed. I’m also caffeine-less today as I’m going through with the plans to kick the habit again. Done it before, can do it now. I’m sure that isn’t helping the sleepies, but damn it, I’m tired of being chemically dependent to stay awake during the day, or to get up in the morning.

All in all a busy day thus far. Weight workout planned after work, then home to figure out foodstuffs with Richard.

18 November, 2005


Category: Diet,Habits,Pests,Relationships — Moose @ 10:14 am

So, when last we left our hero, he had possibly discovered that the loverly little bed bugs were back.

So, of course, he went out and got drunk last night with Brian and Jhim (and Josh, whose URL I don’t know).

Ouch. Halo’s 2-for-1 drink dealie is not my friend.

Thankfully there is a lovely coffee place here in the BGA building, and so a nice little donut and full-strength coffee were enjoyed/are being enjoyed here at my desk. Otherwise I’m working through a little memo that’s been bugging me for a couple weeks now and I am determined to kill it, kill it dead, today. I want it off my desk and in someone else’s hair.

Distressingly, my iPod speakers here at work are broken – the right speaker isn’t playing any more. Wouldn’t have noticed, but California Dreaming came on, and since that has to play from both speakers, it was a little unbalanced with only the women’s voices coming through. Ah well.

Todd, whom I have I not mentioned here before, but who is someone I’ve started seeing recently, came and took care of me after teh drunk was gotten on, which was very sweet of him.

Anyway, back to the memo from hell, and the last bits of coffee here.

17 November, 2005

Moving Up?

Category: Pests,Sleep,Swimming — Moose @ 12:52 pm

Richard and I may be considering moving sooner rather than later. In the shower this morning I discovered a what appears to be another bed bug bite on my ankle.

Needless to say, I am not pleased.

The acid test is, of course, if I have more bites tomorrow morning, which always makes for a wonderful night’s sleep (not), waiting to see if I get bitten. In the mean time, I’m making phone calls about housing down in SW today.

In other news™, I had a wonderful swim this morning, 41 minutes, a couple 300s & 200s thrown in there, at a nice, aerobic pace. I’m getting better and judging how fast I need to be going to keep myself from overdoing it, which is good. Plus there’s the added bonus of smelling like chlorine all day. Was a good workout. Hopefully the treadmill run will go as well this evening.

16 November, 2005


Category: Diet,Habits,Health,Law,Sleep,Triathlon — Moose @ 3:23 pm

Even though the folks at work seem to universally have a pretty good opinion of me and my work product, I always dread performance reviews. It’s an irrational fear, but it’s there. Did the latest one today, and it was fine, as usual.

We’re experiencing the calm before the storm here in DC, literally. There’s a cold front moving through that’ll drop our temps a good 20 degrees or so this afternoon, but in the meantime it’s hot & humid here inside the Big Government Agency and that’s got a lot of people on edge. Me, I’m staying holed up in my office for as long as I can and avoiding eye contact with stressed out gubmint workers (which is pretty much everyone here).

I think I’ve decided Wednesdays will be my rest days on the tri training plan. I need at least one (other) work day evening with nothing after work, so Wednesdays it is. I’ve been trying out the schedule I want to follow and so far it’s pretty good, aside from needing more sleep time. I expect that to get a tad better as I shake things out and get into more of a routine here soon, but in the meantime I’m coasting through. Made all the more fun because I’m reducing my caffeine use with an eye to kicking it again. I’ve said I wanted to do that, and I think it’s time now. Have gotten myself down to a small decaf in the mornings and that’s it, so I think this is doable. And this is the time of year I did it last time – the normal disruptions of the holiday period were, strangely enough, conducive to dumping the stuff from my diet, so I’m trying what’s worked before. Keep your fingers crossed.

Bought Madonna’s latest but haven’t had much time to listen to it yet. So far so good, much better than the last one (may Mirwais rot in hell for that drivel – one album of it was okay, two was death).

In an odd place, as is probably normal, with Richard. We’re slowly making the transition down to roomies & friends, and I think it’ll be fine, but in the meantime it’s still a touch raw and awkward. I’m helping him with some work stuff, and we’re still chatting (still no thrown dishes or ugly words), so it’s just day by day there.

Looked at some places to rent online. I’m definitely leaning toward one particular building, with an efficiency, 600 square feet with a balcony. Still looking in SW, that’s still the best looking locale for now.

12 November, 2005

In Autumn, the Light is Wrong

Category: Habits,Motivation,Running,Triathlon — Moose @ 7:03 pm

I used to like fall. The comfortable temps, the holiday prep, etc. Since I’ve started running and the like, though, it’s more of a pain in the ass than anything else.

The light is wrong, clear, yet “off” from the norm. Leaves everywhere make the paths treacherous to my klutzy self – either they’re wet and slippery or dry and treacherous. Plus they hide rocks, sticks and other things that can make one, oh, say, break one’s ankle.

Give me summer any day of the week.

In other news™, I made the plunge on Thursday and signed up for the Mooseman 1/2 Ironman for next June 4th. Yup, I’m insane, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Right after I clicked the “submit” button, I think it hit fully that I was actually going to be doing this. I’ve been wanting to do a 1/2 Ironman distance race this next year, and how could I resist a race named the Mooseman? But yeah, life is going to be a lot different with the training and what not. 2006 promises to be a busy year.

I want to do a fall marathon as well, and I’m undecied as to whether to try to get into the Marine Corps Marathon or to just go for another local-ish fall marathon. Since my eventual timeline is to try for an Ironman race in 2007, I’d kinda like to have done a full marathon first (I did a 1/2 marathon back in 2003 after the bike accident and before the broken ankle – 2003 was a particularly bad year for accidents), before attempting one at the end of a triathlon.

I’ll probably also end up doing Diamond in the Rough to help with the club championship series for my tri club as well. Past that, I’ll have to dig for other races for next season yet. But Mooseman and Diamond will be the two that I’m going to focus on for now, with Mooseman taking priority.

I think I may be fighting off a head cold at the moment. Sudafed has been drafted once more, and I’m hopeful it’ll be a short thing. Been spending a lot of time out of the house lately, and some late nights have probably caught up with me. I’m trying to get stuff out of my system before I become a triathlon hermit. Once I start the training, I don’t anticipate that I’ll have much energy for much else outside work, training and the other minutiae of life. And honestly, I’m okay with that. Triathlon, specifically building toward an Ironman, is something I’ve wanted for a good many years, and now I’m pursuing it, and that’s what’s going to be the priority for me.

8 November, 2005

Cancer Care

Category: Diet,Health,Motivation — Moose @ 3:09 pm

Cancer Survivors May Not Get Needed Care. The short version is that the Institute of Medicine found that cancer survivors aren’t getting the long-term follow up care they need after their initial treatments. Scary quote:

Half of all men and one-third of women in the United States will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Thanks to advances in early detection and treatment, the number who survive has more than tripled over the past three decades.

I have to say, cancer is the one health risk that just gives me the willies. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, her father and two brothers have had prostate cancer. Both of her grandmothers died of cancer, one from breast and one from ovarian cancer. My father’s mother had a cancerous tumor in her brain that killed her, and her sister, his aunt, has had melanomas removed from her face. If there’s a genetic component, I certainly have a high risk, then, given that family history. I’ve already had a talk with my doctor about it, after the latest diagnosis of an uncle. I’m going to start screenings for prostate and colon cancer about 5-10 years before the normal recommended time to start those, just in case. And otherwise I try to do the right things with diet, exercise, etc. But just the fact that it could pop up at any time scares the living daylights out of me. With other health risks (i.e., HIV, colds, broken bones, etc.) I can weigh the risks that they’ll happen or not and manage those to a point where I’m comfortable with my actions. Not so much with cancer. Scary, scary stuff.

Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

Category: Exercise,Law,Pests,Sleep — Moose @ 12:06 pm

I need to find an excuse to wear these brown slacks more often – they show off my ass nicely.

This was the morning to watch people do stupid things on mass transit, like refuse to move either out of the way or to the back of the bus to let more people get on, or to stand right in the way at the entrance to the Metrorail car. Rule #2 in full force.

Not enough sleep the last two nights, so no swim this morning. Grrr. Despite that, it was good to go grab food with the Imp last night and catch up on how his Body Electric experience went this past weekend.

No new bed bug bites, so we seem to have killed them off for good. Knock wood and all that.

There are times when I’m doing my job where I feel slightly overwhelmed at the magnitude of the stuff I work on at the Big Government Agency (stuff that I do not and will not mention here, as most readers know).

The new futon mattress sort of folds over the frame, but not quite as well as the original (mainly because it’s a better mattress). I did get it on there, and it was comfortable to curl up on, but it still looks a tad out of place yet. Not sure if I want it to settle or not, but at least it’s comfortable, which is ultimately more important than how it looks (stop looking at me that way, and no, you can’t have my queer card for saying it, either).

6 November, 2005

Pleasant Walks

Category: Habits,Triathlon — Moose @ 11:50 pm

Spent a most pleasant weekend just hanging out, doing not much of anything. I stayed out of the house (which is odd for me – I’m normally Mr. Homebody). Wandered some in town, did dinner in Georgetown (which is very odd – I hate wandering around G’town more than once a quarter or so – the sidewalks are too narrow and the other f*cking suburbanite shoppers are too f*cking clueless to know to do things like, oh, walk on the right, or get the hell out of the way rather than stop right in front of someone who’d like to mow them down keep walking down the sidewalk), found some triathlon books I had been looking for, and generally had a pleasant time. One forgets how nice this city can be to live and play in.

5 November, 2005

Shuffling Toward… Something

Category: Exercise,Stuff — Moose @ 12:09 am

Earlier I asked for some advice about an iPod Shuffle versus an iPod Nano for using in the gym. Don’t want to drag the full iPod in there and risk breaking it, so wanted to get something smaller/less valuable for the place. Decided on the Shuffle, and picked one up last night at the Apple Store over at Pentagay City. Using it tonight, after getting some time to play with the settings and such on the iBook and I have to say, I like it, and I’m glad I chose that over the Nano. Smaller form factor, and honestly, I don’t usually look at the screen anyway, so that aspect isn’t an issue. The screen issues the Nano’s having was a factor, too. I can actually see using it more for wandering around on weekends, too, as it’ll fit in a pocket pretty easily. Fun.

Culled the book collection this evening, dumping about four grocery bags worth into said bags and getting them ready to donate. Richard and I are doing a Goodwill/library run to get rid of a ton of stuff tomorrow, so that much less junk lying around to deal with. Will feel good to get rid of more, too.

I still have to find a charity to take my stuffed animal moose. I don’t think I’ll be able to give them to an AIDS or a cancer charity because they’re not new (infection risk), but perhaps a shelter will take them. I’d rather they get used/given to kids for free than have them get sold. Have time to search, but should get on that before the end of the year (taxes, donchaknow?).

Took long lunches out of the office from Wednesday on – just couldn’t take sitting at my desk over the lunch hour for some reason. Was nice out, and so was great to get out for the meal. Did have a beer for lunch Thursday, and, much to the delight of my soon-to-retire coworker, I got carded. Always a nice thing, that.

Anyway, off to bed, then up for a long day of getting rid of stuff!

1 November, 2005

Change in the Air

Category: Relationships — Moose @ 11:53 pm

Richard and I had a long conversation about our relationship this evening, and how it’s changed. We were both calm, and both treated each other well in the talking. Currently it looks like we’ll move separately in the Spring. Now is not a very good time to move, and we get along and live with each other fine, so that can be postponed. It gives both of us time to look for new places, consider options on what’s going on career-wise, etc.

It’s never an unemotional moment when these things happen, so forgive me if I’m not as post-y as I normally am.