Friday, May 26, 2006

Appointment with Myself (37)

I've made an appointment with myself for next Thursday, May 25, 2006, A. D. (after daylight). I'll see myself at 2:30 PM, as about that time I get sleepy.

When I get home, the first order of business—the main purpose of my appointment-- will be to head to the bedroom and keel over. I will not, for example, ask embarrassing questions of myself.

I will also resist jumping on the scales to learn that I am, pound for pound, a candidate for Most Improved Couch Potato.

I will refrain from asking my age, which medical people are always so curious about. I think the question is a test to see if I'm still with it. They seem to suspect that I'm already wandering around, lost in space.

If I forget my age, I can still compute it, though the answer is too absurd. (Someone who was born in 1945 and will be eligible for Social Security next year should be a dignified human being, not someone who trips over his shoes).

I will not display any curiosity about various orifices of my body; I will not at any time bend over to check my prostate. (It's fine, though invisible to the naked eye).

I will not draw blood to check any of my levels. I'll take a pass on voiding into a Dixie cup and sliding it into a slot to be snapped up by an impatiently waiting lab tech.

I will not read the Six Steps detailing how to clean up before depositing your sample. (I always ignore this; I throw away the little wet-nap that is issued with the Dixie cup, and wash up afterwards, like a normal person).

The subject of my bowels will not come up. I will not press for a home kit to take samples to be tested at a later time, perhaps by the same person who has shown such an inordinate interest in bodily fluids.

I will not suddenly decide I need additional appointments for still more tests at later dates and other locations. No tests will be ordered; and, nothing, I repeat, nothing, will be said about my colon.

I will not quiz myself about family history (they all came from Hidalgo, IL, and were once stranded on the National Trail in 1836). I will not try to remember the ages of my siblings or what childhood diseases they may have had. (Will pass over the chicken pox epidemic of 1919).

After a nice nap I will wake up, look at the clock, and roll back over. My appointment with myself will end only when I'm ready for it to end.

I will not, while awake, brood over life's mysteries, or while asleep, dream about crazy things. I will keep my brain in neutral; I will not bother myself with routine chores, which are after all, routine. I will make a detailed "to-do list", suitably highlighted, numbered, dated, and ready for immediate shredding.

If I have any other, less important appointments coming up, I will not brood about them. I’ll mark them as play dates, or party days. I’ll wear my cowboy outfit complete with cap guns just to indicate what I think of them. When someone calls me Mr. Dunne, I’ll enjoy the questioning note in their voices when they realize I'm sixty going on six.

If, at a later time, I decide I'm not having any fun, I’ll make another appointment with myself.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Watch TV, Lose Weight, Be Happy! (36)

I prefer to watch TV lying down; it’s part of my exercise plan. Not that I watch a lot of TV, particularly since Dawson’s Creek is no longer on. For those of you who missed my first column (a show of hands please) I explained that Dawson’s Creek was the greatest show in the history of television.

Recently we moved our exercise equipment to the bedroom. “Our equipment” is the wonderful Air Glider, which can be ordered from QVC for practically nothing, particularly if you use the easy-pay plan (minimum payments only until your 2025 tax refund).

The idea was that I would exercise more if I could watch TV during my “workout”. This is in quotes, as after two minutes of warm-up exercises, which consisted of flapping my arms like a large bird, I would collapse on the carpet without ever actually using the Air Glider. So this was another fine notion shot down. The main exercise I got was tripping over the thing on the way to the kitchen.

But thanks to cable, I still manage to exercise while I watch TV. For some reason, I can’t read the screen information on the guide and menu pages. I have to jump off the bed fifty times an evening and stand in front of the TV to see what’s on. My extensive research indicates that I burn up 750 calories hopping off the bed and staggering over to the TV to read the program guide.

I don’t recommend lying down while watching TV without consulting a doctor first. My research shows that 9 out of 10 doctors surveyed agreed that you shouldn’t try this at home if you are taking any medicine including baby aspirin, or if you are of childbearing age (six to ninety, according to the Enquirer), or if you think you may be pregnant within your lifetime, or if you are under the least bit of stress, i. e., you are still alive.

For those readers who will consult their doctors and take proper precautions, meaning having a team of EMT’s at your side during your workout, watching TV is downright healthful.

I myself get exercise trotting back and forth to the kitchen for those essential snacks that TV seems to call for, stuff that has to be opened. Usually the snacks come in plastic wrap that has to be wrestled to the ground before you can start nibbling.

For example to break into a bag of chips and re-close it with a handy bag-clip will take me, on average, 1.5 minutes, which equals 34.9 calories burned. I give myself extra points if the chips, pretzels, popcorn, or Frosted Flakes, fly all over the kitchen and I have to chase them to their new landing sites on the moon.

Another guaranteed calorie reducer is to watch something with commercials and time your snack breaks so you have to rush around to get back before the show resumes.

Have you ever noticed when you’re waiting for the commercials to end, it takes forever as in a entire Presidential administration, but when you’re in the kitchen fixing a little something to nibble on, the commercials stop just as you are opening the refrigerator door?

So you grab whatever is closest, maybe a tub of margarine--you can pry it open while watching, then hang on to it until the next commercial--and sprint back to the bedroom, taking care not to bang your head into any walls. This is good for 69.7-calorie loss in itself.

Oh, well it’s not like I’m missing Dawson’s Creek.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sleep Eating (35)

Sleep Eating

How do I know I’m eating in my sleep? The evidence is usually there the next morning. I sometimes wake up with a loaf of bread in my arms.

I often don’t know that I’m on a late night eating binge. Sometimes in mid snack I will wake myself up by crashing into a corner wall. I may then realize that I’m getting ready to chow down on something not edible, doggie treats for example.

One night I discovered that I was fiddling with a box of Equal packets to see if they might be snack worthy. Turned out they weren’t. But it took me a while to figure that out.

I must have concluded (sorrowfully) that they weren’t edible, but only after much experimentation, including pouring water on them. (I assume I did this for they were wet the next morning).

My next treat appeared to be Miracle –Gro Plant Food, but that didn’t seem to hit the spot, so I moved on in my search for vittles that would get me through the night, or, in the words of that fine country song, “Help Me Make Through the Night When the Kitchen is Closed”.

Our kitchen is generally well supplied with snack foods, but they’re usually gone by 3:00 AM, which leaves the rest of the night. Hence my experiments with food substitutes or sometimes even with non-snack food, say frozen biscuits, which I’ve discovered are better heated up.

I sometimes go back to bed only to get up an hour later to check the kitchen again on the off chance I didn’t eat everything already in my previous seven food foraging expeditions (I wear my “Raiders of the Lost Ark” hat).

One night I noticed my bare feet seemed to be sticking to the floor. Strange. What could it be? I checked the freezer—no ice cream left—must have lost a little of it, a quart or so judging from how big an area of the floor is yucky, while trying to spoon it out of the box. I usually eat over the kitchen sink, but’s it hard to be neat when you’re asleep.

I have a willing helper in my pre-dawn forays: our little dog, Precious, a nine- pound Pomapoo. On the way back from the kitchen I will take a little something to chew on in bed, a handful of crackers to go with the six I just popped into my mouth. Precious is ever alert to these late night snack attacks. Sometimes I realize she’s staring at me, waiting for a bite. I always give her a sample.

In the morning I can tell if it’s been a busy night, as there will be a few foreign objects in bed, say the usual crackers plus a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats, which my sleeping self finds quite tasty straight from the box.

I consult (silently) with Precious about these discoveries; I pretend to be using a whiskbroom and dustpan, my standard tidy-up equipment. Precious and I always converse in pantomime, as we don’t want to disturb anyone who might be trying to sleep (a cub scout troop, for example).

Precious will look alarmed that I’m suggesting that we trash the leftovers. I understand perfectly. She would rather do it herself. (She’s a woman). She begins following the cracker crumb trail and eats every bite.

Some mornings I wake up, and check the sheets. Nothing there—must have been a quiet night.

Except for the loaf of bread on the night stand.