Saturday, August 23, 2014

Routine

Phew.  It has been a while since I have had time to sit down and let my fingers unleash some creativity (or garbage:) upon my dell.  The reason I have been long to post is that I have been busy establishing a routine since summer has ended and school has resumed. 

Here is an example of what my life currently looks like

5:15: Wake up/Read
5:30: Work out
7:00: Shower and get ready to work
7:20: Work day begins
3:30: Work day ends
4:00: Get home and prep dinner
5:00: Eat dinner
6:00: Clean up/Other chores, usually outside work
7:00: Watch an hour of t.v. or so (depends on what shows are on)
8:30: Shower and off to bed/Read
9:30: Finish reading/Lights out/Sleep

Looking at my routine after having typed it out is kind of weird.  I know that I do all of these things on a daily basis and it is kind of what makes me who I am.  I am slightly OCD so having a routine is very important because I feel more successful when I stick to a routine.  I also believe a routine helps with discipline and I love having discipline in my life.

Although many do not see discipline as pleasant, I take comfort in knowing that a little pain now makes for a better tomorrow.  I also feel that discipline makes the sweetness in life that much sweeter.

For Example: If I ate steak everyday I would tire of it and chowing down on a nice T-Bone would lose the excitement it normally brings.  If I hold off and only eat steak once in a while not only do I get the dietary benefits, and the "new/special" taste benefit, but I also receive the anticipation/reward.  It is almost like I allow myself a trophy for being good and waiting.  I know this sounds childish, but trust me it works.  Try it.  The next time you want to buy or eat something you know you shouldn't, throw in a stipulation.  ie... If I make an extra $500 next month I can buy myself that $100 dollar weather tech jacket I have been eying.

So I guess that is today's post.  Not real deep or mind blowing.  Simple to read, simple to apply, see you next time, bye.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Love v.s. Logic

February:

I sat on the edge of the bed wringing my hands.  It was cold out but my body felt as if it had run 10 miles.  My heart was pounding and I was trying my best to look stoic.  My wife was weeping in the bathroom.  We had just received her test results back from the doctor.  She was going to lose another child.  ANOTHER.

I wasn't mad at her.  I wasn't mad at myself.  I wasn't even mad.  I was in disbelief.  In that moment I came to the terrible realization that we would probably never have kids.

March:

My birthday is in march.  So is spring break.  We took a nice weekend trip to St. Louis and had a wonderful time.  My wife was still struggling with health issues which worried me.  We didn't know what was going on.  She was supposed to be o.k.  I didn't really understand what was going on.  All I knew is that she looked fine and felt fine, but one day I could wake up and she could be dead beside me.  I internalized these feelings and attempted to put on a strong front.  A strong front is another word for "withdraw."

June:

"APS" she repeated.  I just stared blankly back at her.  How the heck was I supposed to know what Anti Phospholipid Syndrome was?  She had spent minutes, hours, days, reading and researching to find what the medical community could not.  She sought out the help of forums and a few doctors who were the best in the field of immunology.  Finally she had the answer, but it still left many questions unanswered.  I still sat on the sidelines unwilling to participate, believing foolishly that maybe this APS would go away.  I was not a good husband and it pains me to admit that.  I failed.

Today:

Where are we at today?  I know more about APS then I did in June.  I've decided to become a very active and supportive husband.  APS is a disease that only about 5% of the population struggle with.  In basic (very basic) terms your immune system is so strong that any foreign object introduced into your system is found and terminated very quickly.  Sometimes this means that the embryo during pregnancy is terminated.  This is what we believe to be happening in our case.  My wife has also found out some specifics about her case of APS although I do not wish to share them at this time.

What I would like to share is that my wife is not currently terminally ill which is a huge relief.  She still has to be careful because of a high propensity to develop blood clots.  Poor circulation is no stranger and she constantly is dealing with cold hands and feet.  Her allergies are also intensified because of her bodies reaction to various items (certain grasses/trees/foods).

Lately we have been attempting to eat very healthy (gluten/sugar free) and cook a lot from scratch.  The local farmers market is also a great help to us.  Eating this way tends to curb although not eliminate her symptoms.

This is all very interesting you might think, but where does the love vs logic play out?  Well...

There is a way (possibly) for my wife and I to have children.  She would have to undergo 12-24 weeks of IVIG.  IVIG can be used as a treatment for those with auto-immune diseases such as APS.  It works!  My wife has been on IVIG in the past for a few weeks and the results were nothing short of a miracle.

The Problem:

My wife's insurance will not cover IVIG.  They claim (like almost all insurance providers) that IVIG is experimental...pardon me but in my opinion that is b.s.  I can however, see that from their point of view as long as my wife's disease is not life threatening why should they pay for it?

This leaves us in a sticky situation.  We don't have a ton of cash built up yet (due to medical bills and wild goose chases around the medical community), and we only have a few limited windows during the winter to use.  We must conceive in the winter due to the fact that my wife's body is on high alert during the summer because of allergies.  Moving to Canada isn't exactly an option for us either:)

So that leaves me with the tough choice of do I resign our family to medical debt?  $15,000 - $20,000 approximately when all is said and done withThat is a tough number to swallow.  Especially since she will have to take time off work, could have a very complicated pregnancy, and could lose the child (although unlikely if she makes it past week 24).  I don't really know what to do.

Option 1: Wait a year and build up some cash/incur less debt/have a bigger emergency fund.  The only con is that my wife feels as if her time is closing although she would only be 28 by next year.  Also a lot of our friends already have kid(s) or are having kids.  I know this hurts to watch.  Heck it sucks for me too, but mostly because I hate watching her feeling miserable.

Option 2: Go into debt.  Suck it up.  Pay it back.  I don't like this option too much as it adds more risk to our family, especially right when we are having a child.

Option 3: Borrow the money from family and pay them back.  I really hate this option b/c my pride gets in the way.  Not only that, but I HATE owing money to anyone, and family loans are the WORST!

Option 4: Adopt.  Also expensive, doesn't always work out, and my wife is really wanting to have at least one child and then adopt.

I guess the whole reason I wrote this is to get it off my chest.  It doesn't matter if 1 person reads it (me) or 1000 people read it.  I just needed to write it.  Maybe I'm writing it as sort of an apology to my wife.  My way of letting her know I will always be here and I will never leave her side.  I will always support her from now until death, no matter who doesn't believe her she will always have the reassurance that I do. 

If you did read this then please comment and tell me what you would do?  It doesn't even have to be an option above if you think of a better solution.  Thanks for reading and remember to always stay positive and keep fighting.  No one can ever take away your desire to succeed.        

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tough Mudder Review

Today I am reviewing an event that I have done multiple times.  The event is known as a tough mudder and if you haven't done one yet then I strongly recommend participating in one.

What is a tough mudder you may ask?  It is a 10-12 mile obstacle course that involves mud, electricity, and beer.  Trust me when I say that it is a blast.  Mohawks, mullets, and mayhem ensue at these events and the more crazy you act the more you will fit in.  It is a chance to truly let your freak flag fly as costumes are welcomed.

If you would like specific information on TOUGH MUDDER then just click the link and head on over to their website to find out more.  In this post I will give you my opinion on what you need to do to prepare for your first tough mudder.

Training: Be able to run 5-6 miles.  Whoa...hold the phone.  That sounds like a long ways.  It is.  In fact depending on your race that is half the distance you will be going on race day.  It makes sense to be able to run at least half the distance continuously before you try to the day of.  I'm not saying you have to be able to do this, but it will improve your enjoyment level on race day.  Instead of struggling through the course you will be dominating it.

Pushups, Pullups, and Core:  Make sure you are mixing in a healthy dose of pushups, pullups, and core work.  Being able to complete 5 pullups (in a row!), 25 pushups, and the P90x ab ripper workout.  BTW that is not me in the ab ripper video but thanks to whoever posted it.

What should I bring: Common sense.  I've seen a few mudders get hurt because they decided to act foolish during the wrong places on the course.  Remember that it is a time to have fun.  Taking unnecessary risks and getting hurt will limit the amount of fun you and others around you have.

Bring a bag to check.  In that bag you can pack a towel, extra clothes/shoes, and all of your waivers.  PRINT OUT YOUR WAIVERS before hand.  This keeps you moving through the lines the quickest.  Also don't forget your i.d. and to read all pre-race instructions sent by tough mudder.  They know what they are doing and they want to provide a nice seamless event for all involved.

You can wear other gear if you want.  I've seen camel backs, gloves, knee pads, etc... whatever you want. 

I personally wear shorts, compression shorts, socks, and shoes (plus my GOPRO!).  If you don't want to get scraped up I recommend a shirt.  Your knees are going to get tore up because you will be crawling.  If you want to wear some swimming trunks that is fine too.  Basically wear some clothing that will dry quick and that you don't mind throwing away.  You may ruin whatever you have on or you may not.  Best not to take the chance in those brand new $120 pair of trainers you bought.

Bring some friends too, because these adventure courses are always more a blast with the more people you have.  Have fun and good luck.  Hope to see you wearing orange someday.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Unexpected Surprise

Hmmm you may be thinking as you read the title.  I wonder if the surprise is anything good.  Maybe a birthday cake.  Maybe some found money.  Maybe the surprise is "everyone gets a car!!!!"  Sorry Oprah.  Just had to.

Nope.  The surprise is not actually a good thing.  I received in the mail an unexpected bill for $565.  Ouch.  That hurt.  That actually really hurt because we had to take part of the money out of our emergency fund.  I admit, I kind of freaked out over it.  The worst part is the bill really wasn't that unexpected.  It was for car insurance that is due every six months.  I had gotten slazish (lazy/slacker) and forgotten to calculate the amount of money needed to be put away every month so that the car(s) insurance could be paid.  Dave Ramsey would say that I just paid some stupid tax. 

Some of you may be saying it is ONLY five hundred bucks.  Some of you may tell me it isn't that big of a deal because we have an emergency fund and can pay for it.  Some of you may say that it isn't worth the stress I put upon myself by freaking out.

All of you are right in relation to the money issue.  If the problem were only the money then it wouldn't be that big of a deal.  After all we owed the money, we payed the money, end of story.  The issue is not however the money.  The real issue that I freaked out over was my lack of involvement with the budget so I didn't even see it coming.  Just like when Lloyd got robbed in dumb and dumber by the old lady on the motorized scooter.  He didn't see it coming either.

What is the point of this small, poorly written article?  Stay on top of it!  Don't let yourself slip into thinking you are doing o.k.  You can celebrate successes, but you have to remain hungry.  Always make sure you are paying attention or otherwise life is going to kick you in the gonads. 

So to make it short and sweet (parody Dos Equis) Stay thirsty my friends, thirsty for success.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DIY: Is it worth it?

Do it yourself or DIY is pretty popular among the finance bloggers these days.  It is no wonder people who want to save money are doing more and more projects themselves.  Need a roof shingled?  No problem.  Toilet repaired?  Easy peasy.  Wire a switch or two?  Nothing to it.  Except getting shocked.  Getting shocked sucks.

The modern era of you tube and forums have allowed easy access to information that you used to have to go to the library to get.  Even if you could get a book on the whatever you were doing pre-internet you still couldn't watch a tutorial on how to do something.

I myself am into wiring and minor projects around the house and I don't consider myself a "handyman."  All of this is great but I ask the question when is DIY not worth it?

DIY is obviously not worth it if you don't know what you are doing, have no skills, and have no desire to learn those skills.  Some may consider those people lazy.  I don't.  They just are choosing a different path to acquire what they desire.

I digress.  Is DIY worth it when you possess the skills, but not the time?  I would say in my own personal experience no depending on the situation.  For example...

I decided that I needed a workbench in my garage for working on things (kind of an ironic example). The problem is that I don't believe it would be worth it for me to do it myself.  First I would have to buy the lumber.  If I wanted a good deal I would have to craigslist the purchase and then I would have to go buy the screws from my local hard ware store.  Gas and time wasted.  Then I would have to saw the wood to specifications.  I am by no means an engineer.  More time wasted.  After assembly I would probably be left with a frankenbench that would not suit my needs well and I would probably use it very little making the whole project useless.

INSTEAD... I decided to drive to my local menards, picked up a cheap, sturdy, reliable work bench kit (which my father-in-law generously paid for after I put up some light fixtures and fans for him) and proceeded to assemble it very quickly.  I did not waste gas because I was already out when I picked up the kit, and I did not waste time.  The kit came with everything I needed (except for the tools I already had) and the bench looks great.

The whole point of the story is to get you to examine your life and see what projects will be worth taking on and which ones won't.  Sure you could take on that next plumping job, but do you really want to?  Do you trust your skills are enough to route waste out of your house so that it won't overflow or back up?  Save yourself some stress, be honest about your skill level, and remember that no matter how easy the pro makes it seem on youtube that there is some skill involved.