5 things I learned using a standing desk

Desk

I mean standing at work as in a standing desk, no chairs allowed.

One truism in my world of commercial insurance sales is that I don’t make any money sitting in my office at my desk; I need to be out and about among the masses to make it happen. Once, we had a sales manager who threatened to remove the chairs from our office so his troops would feel compelled to get out of the office.

Of course, when you are not in the office then they wonder where you are.
Sheesh……

Ha; if he could only see me now.

For over a year now I have been imitating a preacher and working from a platform that allows me to stand at my desk and not sit. It has been an interesting transition and there were some adjustments to make, but it appears it is no longer an experiment and I am in it for the long haul.

The primary reason I made the change was from a wellness standpoint; allegedly, sitting is the new smoking in terms of lifestyle choices that adversely affect your health. And I actually found this on the internet so therefore, it has to be true.

So what have your results been?

5 things I have learned being a walker preacher stander

1. At the end of the day, damn I’m tired; it feels like I have been on my feet all day. I say that facetiously, but sometimes it’s tru dat and I’m just tired.

2. You have to adjust your writing style. I went on the cheap and made my own platform (because I’m handy like that) but unfortunately, it’s one size fits all. If I’m writing something down or signing a letter it can be a little awkward in a subtle kind of way. If I need to sit I have to remove the box to still access my laptop. But, if this insurance gig doesn’t work out for some reason I suppose I can always try my hand at stand-up desk box building, right?

3. Be prepared to buy new clothes because you will lose massive amounts of weight. Ok, that’s pretty much a lie; I have lost 10 lbs but that’s from the sauna heat in Florida and my new hobby of mountain bike riding. If anything, it seemed to make me want to eat more, but it doesn’t take much for me to want to do that anyway so thank goodness I lead an active lifestyle or I would be buying new clothes.

4. Your co-workers will think you are a little off. Of course they already thought this, but if there was any doubt before, this was confirmation. My wife was concerned I would get fired over it. You become a zoo animal and people want to stop by to observe you working at your desk. Since I went out on a limb and started this trend, we have had one other convert in the office and probably 3-4 more ready to go if the corporation would set it up for them.

5. It helps your focus. For me at least, since I have to be somewhat organized to work from a platform it seems to have helped me stay on task when I am working on a particular project. It seems there is less time to get lost in the time-suck rabbit hole of the online world.

Has it been worth it?

For the most part, yes. I can’t say I have seen any measurable differences in my health, flexibility or fitness level since I started standing.

So maybe it’s not so much whether you sit or stand, it’s more about the activity.

My guess is, intense exercise can be good for your health, but I am of the opinion you can exercise in non-traditional ways too as long as you’re active. I also think if you have a network of people you can lean on this helps your mental/emotional well being which can be just as important.

Do I want to live to 100? Depends as I don’t have any set number in mind; my grandmother made it to 102 and she was relatively active up until the very end. I think your health is the key component and whatever age that might be when yo time is up, the healthier and more self-sufficient you can be the more you can enjoy the ride.

So who’s on board; we’re going streaking, who’s with me? 

 

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Older yes, but bolder than dirt

Technically, dirt is 3.9 billion years old. However, the dirt that is in your backyard has only been around for about 2 million years; a mere babe in the grand scheme of things, huh?

August 10th is my birthday and even though it’s not a milestone birthday it’s knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door…:). I only mention this, because now it’s to the point the remaining milestone birthdays are not as cool to bring attention to anymore.

No need to divulge which milestone, but I definitely know what a rotary dial phone is.

The reason I use this analogy as the topic of my post is because my nephew just turned 15 and we were sitting around the table at his party talking about the upcoming birthdays in the family, and of course the inevitable how old are you going to be was directed at me. When I mentioned my age the inevitable dirt reference was made. Therefore, I Googled how old dirt was just to make sure I can speak from authority.

Because if it’s on the internet it has to be true; right?

Birthday’s are cool

I like birthdays. Out of all my milestone birthdays with the exception of the 20th, they all have been memorable. I was in the Army on my two-O and whatever I did to celebrate it, I don’t recall it being special. In fact, if I recall anything it was being deeply entrenched in the woods on a 28 day training exercise. The highlight of the entire trip was being able to clean up by jumping in a river on our next to last night out there. Other than my fatigues, I threw all my other clothes in the trash when we returned to base.

As an aside, whereas it might look like camping, in the military there are no camp fires, no booze, and no fun because you are playing pretend war the whole time. Serving was probably the best thing for me at that point in my life, but it also strongly enforced considering other career choices might be a good thing for me.

You’ll never get rich digging a ditch, you’re in the Army now…

Anyway, being the self aware guy that I am, my wife has totally surprised me on every milestone birthday since then. I mean every single one caught me totally by surprise. She has a year to work on the next one, but I will be ok if if it doesn’t garner any undo attention.

But age is only a number

Physically, I was a late bloomer but have always been somewhat athletic. To me, it seemed I was always about 2-3 years behind my age group where I needed to be physically to compete on real teams. So hence the frustrated athlete still trying to show I’ve got what it takes.

Of course, the older I get the better I was, huh? Maybe if I wanted it bad enough I would have put more time into it.

Anyway, I mention this because to this day most of my activities involve play. For about 15 years you could catch me at the YMCA playing basketball during lunch; after two knee surgeries I moved on to running to stay closer to the ground. Also during this entire time I was playing adult softball, tennis and golf.

The point being, fitness and fun have always been a part of my life and for being older than dirt, I feel like I am still in pretty good shape.

My new girlfriend

My Scott mountain bike of course.

Even though it was love at first site I can share she hasn’t been the best of girlfriends. I try to treat her like a queen and with respect, but sometimes she just gets ornery and becomes difficult at times. This certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with the operator, it’s strictly her temperament.

I have actually become a pretty decent rider (in my own humble opinion) but the last two weekends she has been a bucking bronco and thrown me to the ground twice; hard. I’ve got more scabs, dings and nicks than a goofy 8-yr old riding a bad bike with a loose chain on a bumpy gravel road being chased by an angry dog.

Whereas it used to be cool to share my biking adventures on Facebook I am now reluctant to do so. My wife sees everything I share and she is quick to point out how dangerous my hobby is and somebody of my age doesn’t need to be doing foolish things on a silly bicycle.

Personally, I think she’s jealous and wants me to break up w/ my girlfriend.

Can you be too old to mountain bike? I think I’m still athletic and coordinated enough to be a skillful rider but given the terrain there is always bound to be some bumps and bruises, right? I might not be a pretty site on the beach with band-aids and scabs, but I’m long past the days those kind of looks really matter. I have lost 10 lbs since I have been riding though.

What do you think? Is there a point where your participation in an inherently hazardous sport preclude you from participating solely because or your age?

I don’t know if you have seen the #8Fact app, but one fact says research concludes doing things that scare you will make you happier. Yes, some of the trail riding scares the beejesus out of me but also comforted I have the skill set to accept the challenge. And I have even been given the moniker of Mr Happy, so maybe it’s true.

My biggest fear?

If I grow up, then I really will grow old…and that’s the truth.

How about you; are you out there doing things at your age your parents would have never done?

Life is short, don’t be afraid to live it large.

99 things I love about myself…

Lk Region 2

Wha? It’s not supposed to be about me, but only the things I love? Well that certainly changes everything then….it’s a much smaller list now….

Of course, with a 10 minute timer that might really put the pressure on but maybe it will get me thinking deeper about the things I really do appreciate, but sometimes don’t take the time to stop and smell the roses.

The real impetus (word of the day, just for you Josh) is that I have had 185 posts published from this site, and it would be pretty sorry of me not to at least get it to 200, huh?  I could tell you what I have been doing in lieu of being Mr Online Social but trust me, it’s pretty boring.

Ok, here we go; set the timer:

The 99 things I love or like a lot:

  1. My wife Allyson – even though I think I’m a piece of cake to live with, she has to put up with a lot.
  2. My kids, Will & Justin. I had sisters growing up and never got the brother I wanted until much later; they have been a blessing.
  3. My family, all of them. There is definitely some wackiness in there, but I love them all.
  4. My job – not everyday, but many more days than not. It’s the bomb…
  5. My hair – you didn’t think I was going to leave that out, did you?
  6. My IRL friends – I have different sets of friends depending on the occasion, but know some pretty good peeps.
  7. My social friends – Here too I have different sets of friends, but have met some really super peeps online.
  8. Networking – free food and drink; I love this kind of stuff.
  9. My health – I take no medication, eat and drink what I want and still play to my heart’s content.
  10. The smell of coffee in the morning.
  11. The smell of bacon anytime.
  12. The smell of fresh cut grass.
  13. Baby’s breath.
  14. Puppy’s breath.
  15. A perfect golf shot.
  16. Physical activity that makes you sweat.
  17. Being a handyman around the house.
  18. A soft kiss.
  19. A good hug.
  20. The smell of leather from a baseball mitt.
  21. Helping others.
  22. My FSU Seminoles.
  23. My Tampa Bay Rays.
  24. Reading a good book.
  25. Making someone smile or laugh.
  26. Quirkiness.
  27. Originality.
  28. A perfect sunset.
  29. A perfect sunrise.
  30. Running in the morning before the sun (and heat) rises when it’s nice and quiet.
  31. Surprise birthday parties.
  32. Drinking – no, I’m not an alcoholic nor do I drink every day, but I do like an ice cold beer, glass of wine, or Goose & Cranberry.
  33. Cold water – to drink; agua, nectar of the gods.
  34. Hamburgers – remember Wimpy from Popeye?
  35. Tomatoes – just about any way.
  36. Smell of popcorn.
  37. Boiled eggs – in salad or in turkey dressing.
  38. Fried eggs – sunny side up.
  39. Tabasco sauce – on just about anything.
  40. Smell (and taste) of baked bread.
  41. Cabbage – yep, that too.
  42. Outdoors.
  43. My iPod.
  44. The beach.
  45. Genealogy.
  46. Closing the deal – bringing value to a relationship.
  47. Honest people.
  48. The power of music – songs that bring back good memories.
  49. College football.
  50. Pro baseball.
  51. People who do what they say they are going to do.
  52. Leading by example.
  53. No hidden agendas.
  54. Blue eyes.
  55. Women.
  56. Rumps – you know, buttocks….on women of course…:).
  57. Art/pictures that are captivating.
  58. Onion rings.
  59. Grits.
  60. Driving fast – don’t tell my insurance agent….or wife….
  61. A bird’s nest.
  62. A dog’s unconditional love.
  63. Comedy.
  64. Spring.
  65. Fall.
  66. A shooting star.
  67. Fireworks.
  68. Shooting a gun – but not at people or critters.
  69. College campuses.
  70. My fraternity brothers.
  71. Rice and tomatoes.
  72. Ribs on the grill.
  73. Chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks.
  74. The still of the night.
  75. Making a difference.
  76. Accomplishing something you worked very hard at – marathon, 26.2 miles, 3:42 time.
  77. Airboat ride.
  78. Clean sheets.
  79. Having someone wash my hair.
  80. A massage.
  81. Time travel – wha?
  82. A fresh haircut.
  83. Chips & salsa.
  84. Mexican food.
  85. Onions.
  86. St Andrews.
  87. Monaco.
  88. Belly laughs.
  89. Loyalty.
  90. Teamwork.
  91. Being the man.
  92. Writing a blog post that someone would actually read.
  93. Mail.
  94. Finding money in a coat you haven’t worn in a while.
  95. Pen pals.
  96. Tampa Bay Bucs.
  97. Frank Robinson – look him up; he was my sports hero.
  98. Johnny Unitas – look him up; he too was my sports hero.
  99. Sincerity.

There you go; obviously somebody likes to eat, huh? And, I’m pretty sure it took more than 10 minutes to put this together so I probably defeated the purpose. And and, there is no rhyme or reason or particular order, but all things I can dig on.

For what it’s worth; here it is.

Cuttin’ grass, my link to the past

I cut my grass, seriously; and the picture above is the exact replica of the rig I’m currently sporting in the ‘hood right now.

Hey you po’ ass, you think we are supposed to be impresssed?

Ok, there is somewhat of a convoluted story behind this post and since this is my house and it’s all about me, here it goes.

Where I stay

I actually live in a gated ‘hood with only 20 lots so it’s probably a pretty safe bet then that I’m the only one old-school enough to still cut their own grass. And of course, my neighbors are probably laughing at me not with me especially on the dog days of summer when it’s freakin’ 95 degrees Fahrenheit w/ nare a breeze in the air and my St Augustine grass should have been cut about every 4th day instead of 7.

Are you stoopid?

Well, let’s just say if a brainiac apocalypse broke out, I might be safe.

Good thing it’s a small yard then, huh?

Hmmm….my yard’s dimensions are 160X170 which equals 27,200 sq feet and if there are 43,560 sq feet in an acre, that means I am push mowing just about 1/2 an acre.

Didn’t you say your mower was self-propelled?

Yes I did, but I also mentioned I have St Augustine and this time of the year I have the mower on its highest setting and it will still choke it out if I just try to buzz through it.

I could have bought a riding mower, but if I’m going to do that I might as well pay for a yard service.

What’s the point then?

Good question.

When I was growing up my dad not only cut our grass every week, but he also went over to cut my grandmother’s grass as well. Do you want to take a wild guess how many times I offered to help? If your guess was less than two, you are probably pretty close.

This is my penance I suppose. I will tell you this, I’ll bet it rivals any cross fit workout that someone would pay $20-$30 to do. If you don’t believe me, I welcome you to come take the Dorman challenge and see what you think. Actually, I’m just trying to get someone else to cut my grass and disguise it as exercise so maybe they will pay me to do it too…:).

Bottom line? I like being outside, even if it’s August in Florida and I like to exercise (even if my fat pasty ass doesn’t look like it), so I can chalk it up as a win. Kind of like doing squats in the gym, hard as hell but still a great exercise nobody wants to do, so another one of those things you develop a love-hate relationship with.

Point two – my wife thinks golf is just too damn expensive. Therefore, if we are not paying a yard guy and she sees me busting my ass out in the yard, I’m hoping it garners some brownie points for at least a couple of rounds a month. Actually, giving her a foot rub while we watch a movie gets much more cred; and being one step ahead of the dog-house is always a good thing, right?

Point three – my dad taught me to be self-sufficient; I know how to fix things around the house. Yes, I could pay someone to do a lot of this stuff, but I like the challenge of doing as much of it myself as I can. And I know most of you think I’m Mr Excitement and just have absolutely no free time whatsoever on my hands; the reality is, I probably have too much and you know what they say about idle hands…..:).

So, do you want a medal, or the chest to pin it on?

Both?

Did you know summers can be damn hot in the F L A? If you try to cut the grass early, it’s still wet from the morning dew and that can make it difficult. If you wait until the end of the day when it might possibly be a few degrees cooler and you can actually catch a breeze, you are probably going to be dodging lightning and rain, and homey respects mother nature.

Ok, then what’s the moral of the story?

I work harder than you?

I’m not the sharpest tack in the box?

There’s really no moral to this story at all?

I used to play little league baseball and fondly recall the smell of fresh cut grass on a Saturday afternoon as we were getting ready to play. It’s not quite up there with bacon, but the smell of fresh cut grass is a good memory for me. It reminds me of play.

Both of my parents are gone, so maybe it’s my thread to the past; the one thing I want to hold onto as long as I’m physically able to.

Or maybe not; I swear to God I think cutting that damn grass will be the death of me, but you know what they say, right? If it don’t kill you it will only make you stronger (I know it was supposed to be doesn’t, but I’m trying to talk Cracker Floridian).

Love-hate; what are you gonna do?

Do you have a thread that holds you to the past?

Do you think grass will ever be legal in Florida?

If it were just that simple…

Most who have spent any time here know I am a volunteer Guardian ad Litem. The State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is a network of professional staff and community advocates, partnering to provide a strong voice in court and positive systemic change on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children. There are 21 local Guardian ad Litem programs in 20 judicial circuits in Florida.

Why would you want do do something like that? Have you seen some of those people?

People, just like you and me and for some, just because of the luck of the draw, they ended up with a shit sandwich instead of filet mignon.

Were you abused or neglected?

Both my parents loved me very much, but that doesn’t mean I had it easy. My parents divorced in my early teens, my mother was an alcoholic, and my dad and I moved away from the town I grew up in when I was 15. My dad was deeply enmeshed in his mid-life crisis and I was pretty much left to fend for myself during my formative teen years. I was so ill prepared for the next step after high school, I joined the Army; which ended up being a godsend, but I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time.

Somehow, someway I was able to use not only the bad experiences in my life, but the good ones as well to shape who I have ultimately become. I am nowhere near perfect, but do know I have been blessed in many ways to the point I feel an obligation to give back. Through the GAL program, I felt this was where I could really roll up my sleeves and hopefully make a difference on a one on one basis.

How is that working out?

Well, I was told whatever victories you have will be small ones at best. Without going into too much detail all I will say it is very sad to see how broken down some of these kids are and the realization in all likelihood, they can only survive within the system; our tax dollars at work.

It definitely gives me a reality check and makes me extra thankful for what I do have and not to be too judgmental unless you’ve had the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

How’s is working out? The jury is still out but I’d like to think I’m doing some good for somebody.

It can’t be that bad, can it?

Oh yeah, on so many levels.

Then just walk away

That would certainly be the easy thing to do, wouldn’t it?

I still have work to do

I have a current case where the children have been removed from the home and placed in foster care. The case is over one year old and I would like to say we are close to resolution, but I now have my doubts.

The parents say they want the children back and have somewhat complied with the case plan, but one of the spouses keeps going off the rails and it’s getting to the point where I am not sure if reunification will ever happen for them. And the state is not asking the parents to jump through hoops, all we want to see is the absolute bare minimum of compliance.

You make the call.

There are many people involved in this case including the case manager and therapist so I am not the hammer that goes in front of the judge with sole discretion on the outcome. But here are the choices we are faced with:

  • The kids (there are five of them) are reunified with their parents and it rapidly goes back to the same situation that got the kids removed from the house in the first place. Personally, I have serious doubts if these parents can afford to properly feed or clothe these children, but like I said just the absolute bare minimum of care will get these kids back home.

That sucks.

No kidding, and that is probably the best of the two other choices.

  • Choice two: foster care. Because of the behavioral issues these kids have I think it will be almost impossible to keep these kids together as a family unit. The low hanging fruit good kids will go first and the problem children are likely to get bounced from house to house.

Don’t let that happen.

I hear ya, I wish the parents would start parenting.

  • Good ol’ choice three: Group foster care. If any of the kids become too rowdy and can’t exist in the traditional foster home setting, they will be transferred to a group home, and to be institutionalized at such a young age is a recipe for disaster. You have other problem children in the home that have been cast out too and not enough supervision in the home so the chances of a good outcome are slim indeed.

Can’t you fix it?

Yeah, let me wave my magic wand and make everybody behave the way they are supposed to.

What I can do is keep trying. If I was able to even reach one kid so he could use this experience to better himself, I would certainly consider that a win.

Other than run for the hills, if you were faced with this dilemma, what would your choice be?

Didn’t you used to be somebody?

Why yes, yes I did until I became somebody else.

The older I get, the better I was

Athletic exploits, past romances, certain people; does time have a tendency to soften reality and give the impression that things seemed better than they really were?

I know someone who married his wife twice. Guess what? It didn’t work out the second time either. There must have been a reason they broke up in the first place, and apparently it didn’t get any better the second time around either.

It’s ok to fondly recall the past, but I truly believe we are better served to let the past be the past and start each day fresh, moving forward. People have a tendency to wallow in what was or labels that were attached to them even as far back as high school, and instead of growing, allowing this to limit their potential.

That’s letting others control your outcomes; playing to what others think.

I don’t know much, but I do know this

With age comes wisdom…sometimes; if it doesn’t kill you then it makes your stronger and wiser, right?

Do as I say, not as I do. Oh, I am still prone to do some pretty bone-headed things, especially when I hang with some of my male friends, but it’s never malicious; I should get points for that.

In my weekly (sometimes daily) redefining of my social strategy, I think I have come to the conclusion I like playing in social media way much more than I like working in it. Of course, that has probably defined me all of my life; I play much, much better than I work, I was just lucky enough to find a job that incorporates a lot of play into it.

I just wish you would grow up.

Yes, dear.

I tried, I really did but it was just not a good fit for me.

I’m afraid once you grow up, you grow old.

Don’t live life looking in the rear view mirror

It’s hard not to. There are certain moments you wish you could capture and just squeeze the living bejesus out of them and never let them go. Maybe if we can clear our minds and quit thinking about what’s next and fully live for the moment we can get close to maximum appreciation.

Do you ever go through a week and don’t recall one memorable moment; feel like you are sleepwalking through life?

Maybe it’s because I’m simple minded and easily amused, but I really look forward to each day because I know somewhere, somehow there will be some adventure or fun out there. Sometimes it occurs online and a lot of times it’s happening out in the real world. But if you look hard enough there is plenty of fodder to keep it humorous.

If you always think someone is out to get you and it’s never good enough, that’s just draining; no wonder you are worn out at the end of the day.

Want to know my secret of likability? I don’t bitch and moan much; if you are hanging with me I’m probably not going to have an ax to grind.

Maybe because I’m not not too controversial or a big fan of drama, I have a tendency to blend in instead of stand out. Kind of like watching grass grow or paint dry but at least I’m consistent. What you see is what you get…

Zzzzzzz…..

Age is just a number

Yes, I know it’s only us old coots who say stuff like that, but I can tell you I don’t feel 87. I didn’t get the nickname Mr Happy for no reason and I’m certainly more apt to give you a smile. And it is very rare if you smile at someone, they won’t smile back.

My lesson for today? Attitude; it makes all the difference in the world and if you have the right attitude, you will always be somebody.

And guess what? Attitude is the one thing within your power to control; you might not be able to control much else around you, but how you react to these events are totally within your control.

Pretty prophetic, huh?

Why do you think it’s easier for some to have the right attitude and others never will? Can people really change?