As part of the meme going around the bloggosphere, Wade ‘tagged’ me to identify five weird things about myself. Narrowing down the list was hard – e.g. do the giant one-eyed white cat (now deceased), and the constant presence of Lithuanians in my life count? Where is Lithuania, anyway? (Don’t worry, I know exactly where it is!) But here goes:
1. I can’t swim. Yes, I know Canada is cold at least one month of the year, but it does have a lot of lakes, ocean shoreline, swimming pools, etc., plus the colony of Florida, so the opportunity is there. Despite repeated attempts to learn, I cannot master the breathing technique involved. I love the water, I love to canoe (and am quite fast), I’ve done more than a little portaging and whitewater, and can finally make my way across the length of a small backyard pool. But that is my limit. Fortunately, Momma Bear has every lifeguard designation imaginable. The Bear loves the water, so we’ll see who’s genes she has inherited.
2. I like to travel on my own. While I also enjoy vacations with others, and have gone away with family, large groups, small groups, girlfriends, and now Momma Bear (not yet with the Bear, but soon), I’m quite comfortable going on my own. I went to Israel by myself and worked on a kibbutz for four months (not a southern kibbutz where one hangs out with other non-Israelis, but a smaller northern kibbutz where I was at times the only volunteer). I’ve also backpacked and EurRailed around Europe by myself, from Norway and Finland to Greece and Italy, including through what was once East Germany and Yugoslavia. I also studied abroad with a girlfriend, and when we broke up I again went off traveling by myself for a bit. Whenever I wanted company it was never an issue to meet people and temporarily travel with them, but when it was time to move on, so be it. I would feel quite comfortable doing the same today, but confess that I would much rather go with the Bear and Momma Bear.
3. I love cartoons. I’ll date myself by mentioning The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny (for which I will drop almost anything), Tweety & Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, the Roadrunner & Wile E Coyote, etc. I’m not so big on the more up-to-date stuff, but I will confess to having to be dragged out of Entertainment departments in stores when 'Ice Age' or 'Monsters, Inc' have been playing.
4. I designed our house. I don’t mean rough sketches, but a proper blueprint-ready design. When we were ready to trade up, my wife and I hunted on weekends for a house that we liked. She also went looking during the week. For two years she scoured our region (we had the gas bills and mileage to prove it). When we couldn’t find anything, she switched to looking for land so that we could build to our own design. Once we found land, we went looking for a design, but again couldn’t find anything that was ‘just right’, so I got a couple of good books on design, figured out how to do it (including sizing – e.g. size rooms to match construction material sizing to keep costs in line), and drew up my own design (obviously with input and approval from Momma Bear). When done, we found a contractor to build it, and he turned it into final blueprints first. He didn’t have to change a thing.
My only regret is that the master bedroom is downstairs, while the rest of the bedrooms are upstairs. The theory was that the kids would be five and under for five years and teenagers for seven. I’m paying for that now.
5. I won a weight loss contest, losing 46 lbs in 77 days. We had a contest at work to see who could lose the largest percentage of their starting body weight. The contest ran from early January to end of March. Everyone put in $100 each, and the person who won took the pot, with second and third place getting their money back. There were twelve of us. I weighed in at 197 lbs (I’m 6 feet tall). It was during the time that we were building the house, and I wanted to use the money to pay for a Jaccuzi. I’m also way too cheap to give away $100. So I dieted (proper nutrition in small quantities and vitamins), exercised (at one point I was walking up 100 floors per day – yes, 100 floors), and the weight melted away. I had no idea how the others were doing except during the two early weigh-ins (in which a couple of others were close), so I just kept going. By the end of the contest I was down to 151 lbs, which in perspective is four pounds less than I weighed in undergrad. No one else was even close. Yes, I can be a bit competitive.
I used the money to buy a two person Jaccuzi (well, the contest paid for most of it). We’ve used the Jacuzzi three times in five years (all in the first two months). Today it holds the Bear’s bath tub, where my wife baths her. I now weigh around 180 lbs, having put most of the weight back on within three months.
So, now it’s my turn to tag three people. I tag:
María Luján (I’ll guest host if you want, but I see no reason that you should escape this)
And Wade, starting a new meme tradition, in retaliation I just signed you up for the Lithuanian Wine of the Month club. ;-)