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Monday, February 06, 2017

Healthy 2017 - January

January has come and gone and as some of you are aware I made myself a goal to hit 10,000 steps at a minimum every single day for 2017 in an effort to get more healthy.

Now that January is Over I can say that I have achieved this goal every single day for the first month and I know I will continue to achieve it every day for the second month.

There were a few days that were hard to get through and I had to push myself at the end but the important part is that I actually did push myself to get those in.

Also, I informed friends that I was going to be doing this and two of them have decided to join me.

One of them started about a 3rd of the way through the month and the other started right at the beginning of the year.

So, January.

I had a total of 432,473 steps in January which breaks down to an average of 13,950 steps per day.
I had 6 days under 11k steps but none of those days were under 10k steps which was my ultimate goal.
I had 8 days over 16k steps.
My best day was 19,583 on January 28th and my worst day was 10,072 on January 8th.
January 2016 I had 297,812
January 2015 I had 289,282
January 2015 I had 327,296

So, as you can see this January was by far my best start to the year.

My buddy Matt did 301,919 steps in January and started using his Fitbit on January 12th.
For his 20 days he averaged 15,095 steps per day and is leaving me play catch up.

Shawn started on January 1st with the goal of having Zero days under 10k steps as well and did 431,091 steps averaging 13,906 steps per day - almost the same exact step count I had with just 44 steps less per day.

For February my goals are to not have any days below 10,500 steps and to have 2 days over 20k steps.  I want to raise my average steps above 14k, ultimately I would like to reach 15k average but February might be too early in the year to accomplish that (because then I want to maintain it and get better every month).

February 2014 - 331,817
February 2015 - 260,749
February 2016 - 312,897

2 out of the 3 years that I have had a Fitbit I have done more steps in February (with less days in the month) than I have done in January.
My ultimate goal would be to do 420,000 steps in Feb which puts me at 15k steps per day.
However, looking at 14k per day I would be at 392,000.
I will be happy as long as I fall somewhere in between the two.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Work Scoop

So, as promised, a few more details.

First I want to say that when rumors started spreading I panicked.  I got pretty worried pretty quickly because now that I have a family I have to be a reasonably responsible adult instead of not having a care in the world.

The reason for the panic was two fold:
1 - Rumors were around about changes happening but none of the higher ups were willing or (as I found out eventually) able to speak about it.
2 - Incomplete information.

To start out, somewhere around 1 - 1.5 years back my company started doing some pilot programs in certain markets to see how new staffing structures would work out.
The main one that they did was in Chicago where they ran a program that got rid of every person in my position (which is usually 11-15 people per store) and replaced them with 5 newly created positions.  So you have 15 people being condensed into 5 people and everyone else who did not get one of the new positions was fired on the spot with a severance package to help until they found something new.

So, when rumors started spreading that something was about to go down everyone immediately jumped to the company rolling out this test program nation wide.
If you all remember I just changed stores to a new location about 6 months ago which means that I am one of the newest people in my position and there are others who have been around a good long while who have already built up a great repor with the senior staff in the store.

Not knowing where I stand in the grand scheme of things is scary when you are looking at potentially not having a job and not being able to provide for your family within a matter of weeks.

So, I figuratively shit myself and started asking friends if there workplace was hiring.  I was making plans and trying to figure out how to not lose income so my family did not suffer in this time of transition.

So, secret Store Manager Meetings were held.  Emergency Conference Calls were held.  Rumors spread and then people started finding out the truth.
Through the companies Social Media and shared among forums on the net where you can post anonymously information began to leak out and all of that information was not only more positive but it slowly became verified through other annon sources.

Yesterday, in meetings across the company that were all coordinated to run at the exact same time no matter what time zone you were in, the information was officially released to us and it happened to be almost exactly what we all had been reading for the previous week down to the names of the new positions and what happens to those that don't get them.

So, here it is.  Much like what rolled out in the test market the position I am currently in will no longer exist come January 27th.
Starting today  everyone in my position has the option to be considered for one of the new positions or they have the option to step down.

If you want to be considered you get an interview and on the 27th our Store Manager will announce who got which of the new positions.

Everyone who does not want to be considered and everyone who did not get one of the new positions will be stepped down to another new position.  This position was created just for this situation and is temporary.

You have 12 months to find another, permanent, position within the company (or outside of the company if that is the route you choose to take).  If, after one year, you have not found something then you will be let go.

So, the gist is that I will either receive a new position with more responsibility and a slight boost in pay or I will be given a year (at my current pay rate) to find another job within the company.  While it is not ideal it is very fair and it has set my mind at ease as I have applied for (and received) many positions over the years.
So, while those positions might be lower than I currently exist and pay a little less it still allows me to continue the career that I have chosen and go back to working my way up the company ladder again.
I have been here a long time and I do not want that to change.

And there you have it.
A story about what is going down in my retail life.

Healthy 2017 - Week 2

This is coming a little later than I wanted, as my plan is to update my previous week every weekend.
However, it is that time of the season where it is Playoff Football and when my options are sit at a computer and type or watch some awesome football games, the computer will lose out every time.

As of the end of week 2 I am still getting in my minimum of 10k steps every single day and I have started a vlog to help keep me motivated.
My last one was walking around with my son and talking about the playoff games that just happened because: 1 - I am a huge Steelers fan and 2 - He is a huge Cowboys fan.

In fact, it was the Cowboys vs the Packers that finally solidified to me that he indeed does like football and the Cowboys because after the game he was crying with disappointment.  It hurt my heart to watch that because as die hard fans we have all been there at one point or another, especially when we were young and it was harder to keep our emotions in check.

So, because I have been walking and talking to help keep myself motivated he really wanted to join me because he dreams of becoming a famous Youtuber some day and he just thinks it is really awesome to take videos and put them on Youtube.
So, this is something he and I will continue doing in some capacity - most likely after the next set of playoff games and then after the SuperBowl.  Once football is done our conversations will become Video Game related because that is our common interest and it could be a lot of fun for the two of us.

Here is a link to my channel for anyone who wants to follow along and play the home game.
More specifically here is a link to the first video I made with my 11 year old and if he could get a comment or two (even if it is just about the game, especially from Cowboy fans - Looking at you Nick) he would be tickled pink (is that still a phrase?).

Ok, back to the task at hand.
I'd already reported week one results here, so on to week two.

Week two I finished with 97,656 steps which was less than the previous week but it also didn't have a 30k step day like the previous week did so I feel like this is a good solid win.
While my current goal is 10k every day and January 2016 was my lowest month of last year I do know that as this goes on I will have to step it up a notch if I want to beat each and every single month this year.

Come February I will still have a goal of 10k every day but I will also make a secondary goal of hitting 100k every single week.  This will force me to either walk a longer path on my days off from work to up my step count that way or to take a walk after work one or two days a week to hit my goals.  Either way this will up my activity level and that is a win for me.

Best day of the year so far is Friday, January 13th with 17,779 and worst day of the year is Saturday January 7th at 10,072 where I had to force myself just to get that number.

So, here is hoping I report 100k next week!

Hope you all are having a happy and healthy 2017

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Retro Rewind - Super Mario Bros 2

On my drives to and from work and while doing my walks I have been listening to a lot of gaming podcasts and one of the ones that I really enjoy is NintendoDads.

As the name dictates they pretty much only talk about Nintendo and their games and every month they do a "Retro Rewind" where they all play an Old School Game and then record a podcast about it after the month is over.   In December the Retro Rewind game was Super Mario Bros 2 and I decided to join them in this journey.

I will start by stating that when I was young I really didn't like Super Mario Bros. 2 very much, but I think it was more because of circumstance and not because of the actual game itself.

My first experience with SMB2 was a friend letting me borrow it over the weekend during the school year.  That weekend I was sick and couldn't get out and do much and so I spent the entire weekend doing nothing but playing the game.  As a result, in a 2 day period I beat the game and found it ridiculous that I could beat it in such a short period of time and thus formed a negative opinion about it.  I gave the game back and didn't return to it until a few years later.

So, when the NintendoDads declared this as the game of the month I jumped all over it and downloaded it on my 3ds.

Replaying games from my youth lead me to the realization that I am not the gamer I once was.  As such I ended up abusing the awesome save state feature that the Virtual Console offers me so that I could play through the entire game and beat it.

In total I spent 3 hours and 52 minutes playing through most of the levels and beating the final boss.
There were a few areas where I died a ton and there were some areas I went though without problem.  I was never able to get the hang of the end level mini game to earn extra lives as I remember getting tons of extra lives when I was young.  I don't know if it is just harder in it's emulated state or if I am just bad at the timing, either way it was not that big of a deal.

Overall I had a great time with the game and enjoyed getting back to some old school platforming.  Much like when I was young I only used Peach as my character because her floating ability makes her overpowered. I remembered where a bunch of the hidden things were including one of the warps.

I still feel that this was a good Mario game with a new take on the characters (I know I know, it originally wasn't a Mario game, Mario was just skinned on it) and I feel like it was a great transition to what would eventually be released in Super Mario Bros. 3 which took the series to amazing heights.

This is not a game that I will continue to put any type of time into, SMB3 still has my heart and I am determined one day to beat SMB: Lost Levels.   However, since I am a family man and a parent I generally don't go back to old games that I have beaten a lot of times and instead I focus on games that I have never played before for whatever reason.

For instance, I am currently running through Castlevania: Circle of the Moon on the GBA and am absolutely loving it.

January's Retro Rewind is Zelda: A Link to the Past which I will most likely download on my WiiU so that I can put a few hours into.  However, I have never been a big Zelda gamer and only have beat one of the games over the course of my life (and can't remember which one it was, but I think it was on SNES).

I hopefully plan on doing a monthly blog to follow along with the Retro Rewind to help keep me motivated to play (or replay) some old games and just keep gaming in general.

Until then, much thanks to the NintendoDads for having one of my favorite podcasts.

Healthy 2017 - Week 1

I know that millions every single year talk about how they are going to get healthier for the new year and most of them give up after a few weeks, that will not be me.

I have gone through this journey before and I am committed to doing it again.  So, for 2017 I have decided to get more exercise in through walking (I am dedicated to 10k steps every single day) and I will eat healthier.  I am also cutting out nearly all drinks that are not water (well, not cutting out beer, I love beer) in order to help with this.

Now that the first week is in the books I am proud to say it was successful.

My total steps for the week was 111,940, though this does count my 30k step count for New Years Eve since that was the first day of the week.

During this week I had two soda's and both of those were while I was at my parents and on the same day.  I have gone out to dinner with my wife and had just water and I am drinking a lot of water at work and at home in order to get more healthier.

I also started a vlog that I will use to keep me motivated to take walks and I've only recorded 2 but one was deleted before it ever made it to posting.

The first one can be found here.

And of course I plan on documenting it weekly here.

January 1st I weighed 264.6 and on the 6th (last day of the week) I weighed 263.2 - so while I only lost a little over a pound I'll take it for my first week.  As I get in better shape I expect that I should have no issue getting down to my initial goal of 220.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Goodbye 2016 Hello 2017

I am typing this on my phone after having a few beers in me. If I miss some errors feel free to point them out in the comments.

I will be saying goodbye of 2016 the same exact way I said hello to it, on the Las Vegas Strip with the love of my life in my arms and slightly under the influence of alcohol.

A lot of you, my friends, are happy to see 2016 fade away like a bad fart.   A lot of you think that 2016 was one of the shittiest years on record.

I had an amazing 2016 personally.
I celebrated my 2nd anniversary with my soul mate.
I got to watch my baby go from barely mobile to running amok and developing into the amazing person that he will be.
I have hung out with friends visiting my tourist destination home and I visited friends back home and watched both the Penguins and Steelers live, at the stadium.
I caught up with a friend who I had not seen in probably 15 years and it felt like almost no time had passed.
The wife and I paid off all of our debt (except the house I own where my parents live).
We then saved up a 6 months emergency fund just in case we need it.

2016 was amazing in the grrouch house and 2017 will be even better.

In 2017 we will be saving up a down payment on the house we will buy to raise our children.
We will save money up so that I can upgrade my old car into something more family friendly and economically viable.
And because we have proved to ourselves (and will hit our other goals without worry) we have decided that 2017 we will focus on our health as well because we want to be there to watch our children grow up and raise their own families.

We will be eating healthier and work on losing weight.
My wife will mainly focus on the eating healthier part as she does the grocery shopping and cooking.  I will eat what she makes.
I am working hard on cutting out energy drinks and sodas to an occasional, social, thing instead of an everyday habit.

I am dedicating myself to walking a minimum of 10000 steps every single day.

I am working my way towards drinking a gallon of water a day and cutting out any junk food except on social occasions as well.

I am going to keep track of it and want to write about my progress in a weekly blog update, since I miss writing so much.

I've got other personal entertainment goals that I would like to do as well but saving those for another post.

And while it might seem that I am ripping Mr Subliminal off I have had this longstanding idea about a running commentary about a homeless Poker player trying to work his way up in the food chain that is solely based on my current bankroll and what can be afforded off of that.
However, I feel that my poker playing will be once or twice a month, at best, until after we hit a couple of our other financial goals.

Looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016 but only because 2017 looks to be greater from where I am standing.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


I miss playing poker.
I miss having the extra money available when I want it and I miss meeting up with people as they come into town to visit and play.

So, since all of my real money has places for it to be I decided to give this whole Online Poker thing a shot again.  One of the reasons I quit years ago was because it got really really boring, especially after Black Monday or whatever it was called.

So, I downloaded WSOP and loaded it up with pocket change and am going to work on building my bankroll up from nothing, well close to nothing.

My hope is that by the time we have enough saved up to buy a house that I'll have some sort of starter fund so that I can start playing regularly at the casino's again.

I have not made any rules for myself yet.  I realize that I have to survive through variance from my starting point just to build up enough that I won't have to worry about going broke or risk looking like the idiot at my tables who keeps buying in for 40 cents every few minutes and going broke again.

So, what did I do?
I put $10 into my account and got a sweet $1 bonus - so my starting point is $11.
I am only going to be playing the 1 cent 2 cent No Limit games for now and as I am buying in for the max of $2 currently I am starting with a whopping 5 and a half buy-ins.

First goal, get myself to 10 buy-ins and minor breathing room.
Let the....uh.... fun? .... begin.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Just a bunch of Random

I decided to fire up my computer mainly because my phone is running out of usable space.
So, my main intent was to just plug the phone in and transfer a bunch of files to hard drive and go back on my merry way.

That led me to you.

Earlier today we took the baby to the Farmers Market at Downtown Summerlin.  Downtown Summerlin is becoming one of my favorite places to go.  It has a bunch of fun little shops that we like to look at.  It's a nice and easy walk and has a lot of good eateries.   We recently discovered a place that has Frozen Custard which we have been enjoying.  Not to mention that they have a Dave and Buster's coming soon plus a Maggiano's and more.  
And, lets not forget, lots of Pokestops! Kind of important there.

So after we did that we met up with Linda Lou and her husband for lunch and had an hour of good food and great conversation before heading home.

I decided to take a nap when we got home because starting tomorrow night I have to work an entire week of Overnight shifts before Inventory.  It is going to suck but after two weeks of hell (the overnights plus the week of inventory) I'll be able to get back into a normalized routine and soon after it will all be a distant memory.
I just deleted nearly 14 gigs of pics and videos from my phone's camera alone.  Not too shabby.

So, tonight my goal is to stay up late so that I can sleep in so that the overnight's don't kill me.  Doing one is no problem, it's by the time you get to the 3rd or 4th and you haven't slept well that I am worrying about.

I've also started a new diet and after the first week I am down 4 pounds.  I've lost the weight before but keeping it off is the big issue.  I'm going to just self diagnose as having food addiction and admit that I have horrible impulse control when it comes to eating.
I can eat great for a week but then I'll have one slip up where I grab a piece of cake or some chips and next thing you know I've inhaled a pizza and drank a gallon of BBQ sauce.  I've got issues.
But, I'm working on it and working on getting back down to my wedding weight.
So 1 week in and 4 pounds later I will accept this week as a win even though it could have been more and I could have done better.  Baby steps.

I feel like I have asked this before, but does anyone know how to sync your phone pictures with your blogger account?

On Writing -
I've been trying to write.  I have a few random ideas in my head but I really feel as though my skills as a write suck.  I can type up a few pages but when I go back and read what I wrote I feel like it is lacking or needs lots of improvement.
It is possible that I'll still finally do it and churn something out just for the sake of doing it but I hate being overly critical of myself in that regard and thus never progressing.

On finances.
As of this past Friday the wife and I are officially 2/3rds of our way through saving up our Fully Funded Emergency fund of 6 months living expenses.  Our original goal was to have the money in Savings by October 31st pay check but we are actually on pace to hit our goal slightly before that.

However, there are some big spending coming up like my trip to PA with our 11 year old.  That one is going to cost me and set me back a bit.  I've been putting it off but I really need to mail my buddy a check for the tickets and I have to buy the plane tickets as well.

Since I'll be up late maybe I'll look into those plane tickets tonight.

And, that is enough random for the rest of the night.
Hope y'all had a great night.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Late Night update

For those of you who follow me on the Book of Face you will know that within the last couple of months I have, once again, changed positions and stores within the company that I work for.  This makes my 6th store (5 in Vegas) and like 30th position change....

Hold on....I know this....

Cashier (1), Head Cashier (2), Cash Office (3), Flooring CSA (4), Appliance/Cabinet Team Leader (5), Appliance CSA - Transfer to Vegas (6), Flooring CSA (7), Flooring Specialist (8), Plumbing/Electrical DM (9), Appliance/Cabinet DM (10), Appliance/Cabinet/Flooring DM (11), Cabinet CSA (12), Paint CSA (13), Cashier (14), Flooring CSA (15), Flooring Specialist (16), Millwork Specialist (17), Flooring Specialist (18), Installed Sales (19), Millwork Specialist (20), Installed Sales (21), Plumbing/Electrical DM (22), Electrical DM (23), Admin DM (24), Appliance/Cabinet DM(25)....

Ok, so only 25.... My guess was pretty close for being off the top of my head....

Where Was I?

Oh yeah, so I have changed stores and positions again and I can say that so far I am really enjoying things again.  Much like everywhere there are always issues, it is the nature of the best.  However, where I am now does't make me want to quit and change companies like my previous position did.
Life is improving, work is improving.

One of the negatives is that when I close I work later than I am used to and because I am further from home I get home a lot later than I am used to.   This basically puts me at home nearing midnight or later every time I close and everyone in the house is already sleeping.

Except the dog.  He thinks I am a mass murderer coming into the house to steal his toys and food and because of that he decides that he should wake the entire neighborhood up.

Tonight I'm not overly tired so I decided to have a beer and find something to do.
Problem is I have not found anything to do and so here I sit typing away but not really saying anything.

In a couple of weeks our 10 year old leaves to Mexico for 3 weeks - FREEDOM!!!!
We will be taking a 3 or 4 day vacation to San Diego to hit up some beaches and probably that place where they keep all the live stock that weird people like to visit (weird like my wife).  She says the baby will enjoy it and who I am to argue with her?
I am mainly looking forward to the beaches, to not being in the Vegas 105 degree heat, to not having to take anyone to soccer games or practice.  To waves and chill.
After that it is back to work and to 2 weeks of overnights preparing for inventory then a week of inventory and then..... well.... then back to the routine.

When the 10 year old gets back school will be upon us and then we will start to get a little bit of freedom during our weeks and I am really looking forward to that.

In terms of life, we are half way to having our Emergency Fund fully funded which is nice.  We should be able to hit it by our original deadline even though we have had a couple of minor setbacks in the form of my car deciding it didn't like to run.

I had the Alternator replaced since it decided to die while we were out and about one night.
Then when I was on lunch at work the battery decided it wanted to be replaced.
Shortly after that I started getting error codes because my gas-cap decided it was no longer going to seal properly and ......damn did the dealership rape me for such a simple little piece that needed replaced.

So, currently I am running my car for a few more days to see if any other problems will arise because all of this fun and excitement keeps delaying my registration renewal which was due at the end of last month before all this started happening and pushing it back.

So, fingers crossed that the wrong cop isn't all pissed off and decides to pull me over because my tags say June and we are not in June.  Lets just make it until I am off on Monday and I'll go try one more time to see if I can pass my emissions test.....
Did I just jinx myself?

My Blue Moon is now empty and I have to make an important decision.
Go to bed and get some sleep or open another bottle and find something else to distract myself with...