Thursday, August 16, 2007


All of life's problems at the moment:

Dog sheds too much
/dev/urandom only readable by root
Kid growing up too fast
Six month weight loss plan over, still have six month muscle-building plan to go
Four node webMethods cluster inefficient
Pension doesn't vest for another year
Bathtub needs to be caulked
Can't be in two places at once
Need to design new dinners kid and I can both eat

Not too bad, if these are all the problems I can think of. I've got my family, health, job, and sanity. Most of the problems will be familiar to everyone. The geek problems are just what's going on at work at the moment, transitory, to be replaced in a week or two with new problems. The unvested pension means I can't even consider rethinking my career for another year, else waste the free money that is 4/5ths waiting for me. The last one though, that's going to have me scratching my head for a little while.

Stacey is a growing girl, naturally active and healthy, burning through Calories as fast as I can throw them at her. In fact, when she is in the middle of a growth spurt, she eats more in a day than I do. I am currently eating 1600 Calories a day, and after I drop my final 2.2 pounds to hit 185, I plan on going back to around 2400 Calories with a lean, high-protein diet, and changing my workout to focus on aggressive muscle-building. Needless to say, my diet won't mesh well with the needs of an 11 year old girl.

The solution I'm considering now is to build meals that I can piece together at the table, and give myself smaller portions of the carb-heavy and fatty foods, and letting Stacey plate up on a balance of everything. For example, I'll take the roast chicken but no gravy, a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, and keep cheese off of the salad, where Stacey can pile on the gravy, salad dressing, and add lots of butter to the potatoes.

Next week is the last week before school starts, and she'll be with mom, so I'll take an evening or two and run around the grocery store and search for recipes online. I've been doing packaged meals and meal-substitute bars for so long now, that this will be a welcome change.

Here's a little anecdote I wrote up after Memorial Day but never published, when I attended a church picnic with some friends:

"Is it OK for Christians to beat up little girls?" This was the question my roommate asked me after I recounted the story of a volleyball game Stacey and I played in. She and I were on the same team, she having been picked dead last, and still a little peaved about it. It was game point, and we were losing. The ball is served to us, we return it, it comes back again to Stacey, and an aggressive, competitive man on our team runs up to hit the ball, knocking Stacey flat in the process. The ball came back to where I was, but I had lost interest and let it land beside me, thereby causing my team to lose the game. All the while I was staring at my kid picking herself back up and the man, my friend, who had knocked her down, thinking to myself "don't cock your fists, don't cock your fists." The aggressor in question was contrite afterwards, and Stacey was not as upset at the experience as I thought she would be. I was fuming, and struggling to keep my head. Later, after I had chilled, we played another game, and karma came to the rescue.

The final game we played that day, Stacey and another little girl were the team captains. Stacey picked no adults except for me, just teenagers and other kids. When the game started, another man who showed up late joined our side. Among the others on the opposing team was the man who knocked her down, and his son, who had been baiting Stacey and carrying on like the wild beast he is for most of the day. Our team did well, thanks to some lucky and overconfident plays by the teenagers, and as the game wound down, we were winning, and two points from game point, and it was Stacey's turn to serve. The son/wild animal was acting foolish and yelling taunts, trying to distract Stacey so she would flub her serve. She served well, and we won that point. Game point, the son turned up the asinine factor on his antics, and Stacey calmly looked at him, expressionless, and served the ball to him.


Stacey redeemed herself in her own eyes, and the silent ace to win the game was as poignant a response to being picked last and knocked down as I could imagine. Victory was sweet, and despite not generally being competitive, I couldn't help but feel smug. My little angel saves the day again. Next up, Stacey saves Christmas.

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