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While You’re Dealing with the Narcissist You’re Married To, You Might Want To…

One of the more shocking discoveries in my recovery occurred when I began listening to Richard Grannon talk about covert narcissists and how to tell if you’re living with one…

And I found out, the hard way, I was a covert narcissist.

If you’re looking at your spouse as a possible narcissist, do yourself a favor and look in the mirror first. Or don’t, and watch your spouse point it out when you lay it down for them.

If you have a shred of decency and honesty, you’ll need a spatula to get your jaw off the floor. I did.

Please Have a Look at a Friend’s Post: Just a little leak — unironedman

Hawthorn blossom in the park It didn’t all start with the failed fostering of Ernie the wonder hound. But he certainly was the actual nail in the proverbial. Ernie is a 40 kg greyhound, and we took him on a few months back with a view to fostering and possibly adopting. He didn’t so much […]

Just a little leak — unironedman

https://royalnationallifeboatinstitution.enthuse.com/pf/declan-kenny

Please have a look at my friend from Ireland’s post… The link above is the important part as he’s raising money for life savers… so they can have proper kit and training to save lives. Good stuff. Donate if you can, even if it’s a small amount.

Why I Asked My Wife to Marry Me Again…

I was out on a bike ride with my friend, Chucker last evening trying to come up with something to do for my wife for our 25th wedding anniversary.

We’ve gone through a complete transformation of our marriage in the last two months. We went from being committed and together to something truly special. We, almost simultaneously, went from battling each other to “win”, to doing the least amount of damage possible in a disagreement and negotiating for peace. We went from both of us losing to working things out to a level of satisfaction that was previously rare at best. From there, we were able to love each other more deeply than I thought was possible. It’s scary, I won’t lie, but it’s good.

My biggest regret is that I didn’t start this sooner. But it takes what it takes to get us where we need to be, so I’ll have to find a way to make my peace with it.

That line of thought led me to an idea. While Chucker and I were heading around our normal loop, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for my wife for our 25th anniversary. Now, she’s exceedingly particular about jewelry, so another ring is out. Her wrists are taken up with bracelets she likes, and she’s got quite a few necklaces. That got me to thinking; the events that have unfolded over the last couple of months are a small miracle. Going forward, things are going to be very different. The changes we’ve made are built on an entirely new, solid, foundation that began with our Higher Power (we call that HP God to keep it simple).

I made a lot of mistakes in the first 25 years. I built up protective walls that seemed like a good idea at the time but got in the way of loving my wife fully. They needed to be torn down. Once they were gone I realized just how much better I could have been to my wife and kids. “Should have” might be better. That realization changed me to my core and our marriage changed for the infinitely better almost immediately.

We have come to a place where I know for a fact, the next 25 years are going to be much better than the first 25. And so the next thought brought a smile to my face that lasted the rest of the night.

I could ask my wife to marry me again to start the next 25 years so I can give her the marriage she deserves. Not just good or passable, but great.

And so I asked my wife to marry me again in front of her dad and our daughters. Down on one knee, just like it should be done. I promised her the next 25 years would be much better than the first.

She said yes with happy tears in her eyes.

Happy Mother’s Day to Mom’s Everywhere.

I love celebrating Mother’s Day for my wife. This year’s will be better than usual as we’ll have a couple of generations of moms for this one. We’re having a big cookout in the backyard and the weather will be perfect. Sunny, light breeze and decently warm but not hot.

We’re starting it off with a bike ride, as we do all Mother’s Days. Then, it’s party time for the rest of the day.

Moms, enjoy your day. I hope it’s a special one.

On Being Thankful for My Dad Passing His Athletic Genes to Me…

My wife pointed out last night that, when it comes to sports, I am truly a blessed man. My father passed on every athletic gene he had to my brothers and I. I’m likely the more well-rounded among us, being better than proficient at hockey, in-line skating, baseball, softball, tennis, running, golf, bowling and cycling. When it comes to golf and cycling, I’m in the upper 1 – 3% – or, I should say, when it came to golf. My brother, Chris has been in the US armed forces since 2002, so you know he’s fit. He’s also proficient at baseball, softball and golf. My brother, Joe is a teaching pro in tennis. He is, without question, excellent and can also play some mean baseball.

In any event, I ended up quitting golf when I couldn’t take my dad anymore. It broke my heart, quite literally. And, truth be told, it was easy to set my clubs aside after that. I had young kids and a wife, and we didn’t have the money for me to keep playing as I had been. I actually worked with a teaching pro for a couple of years. He ran a driving range and had a pro shop just a mile from my office, so every day at lunch I’d head over and hit a bucket of balls. Herb built my clubs with frequency-matched Rifle shafts, adding 1-1/2″ to each, then dialed in the loft and lie to match my upright stance (think Jim Furyk without the crazy loop at the top of the backswing). Then he taught me the proper way to use those clubs. I devoted quite a bit of time, money and effort into golf, and I got good. Shooting par at my favorite courses became fairly regular. I was deadly with my short irons, decent with my mid- and long irons, and could stripe a drive down the center of the fairway 310 yards out (my longest, with a tailwind, was 340-ish). My first eagle was on a 540 yard par five. Driver 310, 5-wood to the back of the green, and I drained a 40′ putt.

Well, I expected all of that would end when I hung up the clubs. I figured my natural draw that I’d worked so hard to develop, would go away, and I knew I’d lose a lot of distance should I ever pick the sport up again.

I tried a few years ago, but that was short-lived as the pain of not being able to go with my dad was still too great. I figured that was about it for me and golf.

Our COO and VP of Operations recently asked me to start taking part in industry golf outings for the company. I’d also been pressured by a bowling buddy to hit a links or two with him… so golfing, all of a sudden, was back in the picture and I had to figure out how to make peace with not being able to golf with my dad anymore.

That’s when I started looking into customizing his set of clubs to fit me… and they turned out wonderfully. I started swinging the day after I got them back (it’s always good to let the glue set up an extra day on new grips)… and have been astonished to find I didn’t lose much at all. I’m eight years older and have only swung the clubs three times in the last eight years… and golf is absolutely a perishable skill. I should be horrible but I’m absolutely striping the ball. Sure, I have to work on my aim a little bit (that’s clearly a bit off), but I’ve got a nice little draw on the ball and it’s going far.

So, when I saw my wife was going to get home late for work and the rain had cleared up, I decided to head over to the range to hit a bucket last evening. I did my normal progression through the clubs – short irons first, SW or PW, then odd numbered irons up to the 5, then a 7-wood, 5-wood and finally, the driver. I’m carrying about 225 to 235 with range balls (about 240 to 255 with a decent ball) on the driver, and my fairway metals are looking fair (I need some work there). The big deal, though, is my irons. I mishit one pitching wedge yesterday and thinned two 5-irons. Other than that, while my aim needs improvement, the rest of my iron shots were solid.

In fact, I can’t remember ever hitting my old irons that well. Which means those Big Bertha irons you see up there are almost as forgiving as Jesus.

Whatever the case, the important thing is I’ve made my peace with my dad’s passing by getting his old clubs fitted and using them. I can’t help but feel he’s up there looking down with a smile on his face.

And that’s as good as it gets.

My Break From Back Pain Ending is Directly Related to a Lack of Cycling

I haven’t bothered riding much lately. The weather sucks and I’ve been into other things that have kept me happy and busy. First, I’ve been doing a lot of mental work that needed to be done – something to better myself. I’ve started this new thing called “centering prayer” at the suggestion of a buddy of mine who happens to be one of the best abuse counselors in the area. First, if you’ve never sat alone with your thoughts and just let them happen, Jesus is it interesting, but a little spooky. The first week was downright disconcerting. A lot of the things I legitimately blamed on my wife started with flaws of my own (a passage in the Big Book of AA comes to mind – something about “we invariably found that at some point in the past we made decisions based on self that later placed us in a position to be hurt”). F***. It’s been emotionally draining but in a really good way. I’ve learned more about myself in the last month than I had in the last ten years. The important aspect here is not what is “good” or “bad” about what I’ve learned, but what I can change. It’s good work, too, though mentally difficult. Opening my eyes to where I’ve been falling short has been a massive exercise of a different sort.

I’ve begun my return to golfing but that’s relied a lot on the weather as well. Also, my mother-in-law is staying with us while her husband, my wife’s stepdad, is recovering at a local senior home from back surgery. This has meant the trainer bikes are out in the garage (there’s only room for my wife’s Alias and my Venge in the house)… so we would have to traipse all the way out to the garage to get our bikes to hook them up to the trainer, then ride, then shower, then take the bikes back outside… let’s just say that’s a little more than my motivation and discipline can handle at the moment.

On the other hand, the weather is finally making a turn for the better starting today. And now we won’t have to battle the cold… but the rain. Sheesh. We’ll be dodging raindrops tomorrow and Friday.

Anyway, getting back to the issue at hand. As I’ve been taking time away from cycling my back has slowly degraded to the point I actually had to take an AdviNol for the pain last night. It’s been a long time since I had to go there – and I knew immediately what the problem was; I need to get my butt back on that bike to loosen stuff up!

And so I shall.

Yet another lesson in fitness; if you think being fit hurts, try the couch for a while. Now that’s pain!

Cycling, Soreness and the Key to Loosening Up Those Hips; A Humorous Look at YouTube Yoga.

So, every now and again I have a yoga instructional video pop up on my YouTube feed. Now, how instructional it is would certainly be up to interpretation. Generally speaking it’ll be a scantily clad woman, usually in some form of a thong, spreading her legs or putting one or both legs behind her head or sticking her butt out at the camera… It seems to me, the main idea is for the woman to generate clicks by flashing her barely covered vulva at the camera whilst, and at the same time, performing some form of yoga or stretching activity. We’ve all heard of “hot yoga” and “goat yoga”, right?

I’ve taken to calling this “Cooter Yoga”.

So here’s where this really gets funny (even more funny than “Cooter Yoga”). I rode my bike every day last week but one, after being stuck indoors on the trainer all winter long. I was sore. My legs, hips, knees, ankles… anything from my belly button down was giving me a hard time. So, after I showered up one afternoon, I laid on the bed in pain, just hoping for a little relief by laying there… and the thought hit me, “Wait a second, Cooter Yoga.”

Right there on the bed, I flared my legs wide like one of the Cooter Yoga girls on YouTube – or at least my approximation of what goes on there – let’s face it, it’d take a year of Cooter Yoga for me to be loose enough to emulate what’s on the video channel.

But… son of a bitch if it didn’t work. I couldn’t freaking believe how much better I felt, all of an instant. I did it again. Both legs, then one at a time, then knee bent over the other knee… it was better than two AdviNol (or TyleVil if you prefer).

And so it was, Cooter Yoga saved the day after a heady week of cycling fun!

If your hips, legs knees, etc. are sore after a lot of riding, it’s worth a try. I’m hooked. And laughing. Hysterically!

Now, in fairness to my wife and the PG nature of my blog, I’m not going to post a link here… but you hopefully got a funny enough idea to search to your heart’s content. Or content.

You say tomato…

What Every New Cyclist Needs to Know About Cycling as a Lifestyle and Losing Weight, Gaining Weight and Maintaining Weight

I was watching a video on YouTube about weight training the other day – it just popped up on my feed so I figured I’d give it a look. In it, the kid was doing what’s called the “dirty bulk” was trying to gain weight as he lifted to build muscle. He ate a lot… and put on a ton of muscle quickly that he attributed to his body not being used to that level of exercise.

And that’s exactly what I’m going after in this post. When we start out on a bike, we lose weight almost effortlessly, plausibly because our body isn’t used to the activity. At least, that’s how it worked for me. I dropped weight fast, and a lot of it. I went from 170 pounds to 150 in a summer. That was ten years ago.

Today, I can’t lose weight like that. First, I’ve gotten used to eating for the activity. Second, well, see first, and I truly believe that my body got used to the level of cycling I’ve been doing for the last decade and I just don’t lose weight like I used to.

And that’s really the problem at this point. I was a much younger 41 when I started riding. I’m going on 52. While I can still lose weight on the bike, I do every spring, I’ve come to find I have to be a lot more careful of what I eat than I did when I first got into cycling. And that’s been an uncomfortable and difficult lesson to learn.

If there’s a main bit of advice to this post, it’s this: Take advantage of that initial weight loss phase but use caution when it comes to gaining some of that weight back. That easy loss phase doesn’t last forever.

Don’t I wish it did!

The Great Pillow Proviso; How I Went From Wracked with Pain to Feeling Half My Age… with Nothing More than a Different Pillow

Now, you might be wondering how this has anything to do with fitness or cycling, but if you’re too much pain to want to ride, guess what?!

I wrote about this before but the difference in how I wake up in the morning is so stark and astonishing, I felt I had to give it one more post. The reason for the surprise was that I went from fine to hurting so badly when I woke up in the morning that I had to head straight to the medicine cabinet for a couple of AdviNol (Advil & acetaminophen) just so I could get moving in only three days.

I was hurting after the first night on the new mattress. I put that to bowling. On the second morning, I was worried that maybe I’d been mistaken about the new mattress. I couldn’t figure out why my lower back and hips were in so much pain all day long.

I woke up in the middle of the night on night three on that brand new mattress that should have been perfect for me thinking, “What in the f*** is going on here?!” I put the pillow I’d been using on the floor and laid back with my head on the mattress with no pillow and I could literally feel the pain begin to melt away. After a few minutes I grabbed the second pillow that had been between the mattress and the wall at the head of the bead and slept the rest of the night on that. This pillow is nothing special, I’ve had it for years, but it fits my head and neck just right. The other pillow, the one that caused all of that pain and now resides permanently betwixt the mattress and wall, is one of those new-fangled memory foam pillows that cost an arm and a leg and is all the rage. It should have been spectacular for what my wife paid for it.

I woke up two-and-a-half hours later feeling much better. The next morning I felt even better and by the third morning I felt like I’d gotten a perfect night’s sleep and felt like I should. No pain meds, up and at ’em long before the alarm. On the fourth, I felt younger than my 51 years… like I expected I would sleeping on a brand new, perfectly fantastic mattress. Here we are two weeks later and I actually look forward to going to bed at night – I’d rather sleep in our bed than on the couch.

The only difference being a pillow that works and one that doesn’t. I have no advice on how to pick a pillow, because I have no idea why my cheap pillow works and the expensive one makes me feel like I’m 90. I just know my experience. I do know this, I’m going to pay a lot more attention to my pillows in the future. I can’t believe the difference!

An Attitude of Gratitude; The Gifts Of A Life Lived In Recovery

I woke up this morning with a spring in my step. It took a minute to get rolling, but my heart felt happy. Usually that’s a fair sign I’m doing something right (and thankfully I stopped worrying about “the other shoe dropping decades ago). There’s a lot of good going on in my life right now. My wife and I are riding a fun streak. My daughters and I couldn’t possibly be better, happier. Work is difficult, but they pay me a lot of money to deal with difficult. My fitness is good and I fell healthy. And, between cycling and bowling, I have a more friends than I ever have at any point in my life.

My sponsor’s sponsor told me three decades ago (literally 30 years), “If you keep coming back and working the steps, you’ll get to a point you’ll think life can’t get any better. If you keep coming back, six months later you’ll realize it did get better. All on its own.”

I’ve been there so many times I’ve lost count. And here I am again.

I love it when this happens. Better still, I know why it happens – and the keys to allowing it to continue. Rocket science this isn’t. And for that I am grateful.

Without recovery, a life this good simply isn’t possible for me. Good orderly direction is the key to my peace, happiness and contentment. And I’ll keep coming back, just to see how good this can get.