Defeating The Wall

A few weeks back, Lor and I discovered indoor rock climbing as an aspiration. We asked questions, grabbed flyers, and made plans for our eventual return. We even started specific training programs, so that we would be ready for the challenge when the time came.

So, of course, when the opportunity came to tackle rock climbing without training or preparation, we threw ourselves right in.

There Stands The Wall

Hinkle Family Fun Center, here in Albuquerque, is a family-themed activities parks. Miniature golf? Yup, they’ve got it. Ticket-dispensing video arcade? Yeah, that too. Bumper cars? Laser Tag? Paintball? Yup, all of the above.

So, how about a 32-foot climbing wall?

Turns out they have one of those as well. While purchasing our tickets for our visit yesterday, our nephew was completely focused on the possibilities of Laser Tag. Lor and I, however, could not take our eyes off The Wall.

“We totally have to climb that,” I whispered to her as we went off to drive the go-karts.

“Oh, absolutely.” she agreed.

All day long, we kept orbiting around The Wall as we ran ourselves ragged trying all the other activities. Finally, mid-afternoon, when the excitement of the park had begun to pale for even our nephew, the time had come. The three of us walked up the hill and placed ourselves in line for The Wall.

Looking Up

Have you ever had the opportunity to look straight up 32 feet?

If not, go find your nearest 3-story building. Stand right up next to it, then envision yourself climbing it. That is exactly what we were about to do.

I appointed myself as the official photographer for the adventure and sent Lor and our nephew to head up first. Lor, normally fearless, was subdued.

“I don’t think I can do this.” she whispered to me as we moved to the front of the line.

I patted her on the back and told her she would be fine. She steeled herself and walked through the gate to meet her destiny.

The attendant who helped her get in the harness made a joke that the cable “had only broken twice.” This was probably not helpful to Lor’s state of mind.

But, she did it anyway:

See what I mean about 32 feet being a lot taller up close?

To Dream The Impossible Dream

At last, the intrepid pair had returned to the ground, and it was my turn to tackle The Wall. Our nephew graciously agreed to ascend it with me so that some stranger wouldn’t have to listen to me whimpering.

The initial ascent wasn’t bad, as these things go. It was an interesting exercise in trying to figure out where to place the feet in order to get the maximum lift to the next set of hand holds.

After repeating this process a few times, with my nose stuck about 6 inches away from the surface in front of me, I made the mistake of looking down. I gulped in terror and looked off to the side instead. My nephew had climbed 3/4 of the way up while I was barely halfway.

However, if there is one thing I possess, it is stubbornness. I flattened myself against the wall and resolved to never look down again. Then I resumed my ascent.

A few minutes later, I had arrived:

I just noticed my nephew and I are dressed like “twinsies”.

Winded, but triumphant, I reached a trembling hand forward and slapped the button at the top of the wall.

Nothing happened.

After my descent, I was informed that the buzzer is broken. Talk about a letdown.

The After-Action Report

So, having tackled this wall, what does this mean for our eventual visit to the 45+ foot walls at Stone Age?

Our plans have not changed. Though we were both winded and terrified, it was a good fear – kind of like a roller coaster. I can also report that today I am sore in all the places I have been emphasizing with my new workout routine. Hands, forearms, lats and quads are all feeling like I climbed a wall yesterday. I am apparently on the right track at the gym.

A year ago I still weighed 285 pounds, and would not have been allowed near The Wall.

Just sayin’.

Sore But Triumphant,


100 Pounds and Counting

100 Pounds Down!

Quick, what are some things that weigh 100 pounds?

  • A fully grown Labrador Retriever
  • 2 60-inch LED Televisions
  • A baby hippopotamus at birth
  • The amount of weight I have lost since last February

Yesterday I climbed on the scale for my weekly weigh-in. This is what I saw:

202 Pounds on January 15, 2017

I’ll be honest, I’ve been trying to make sense of this number since yesterday morning. It still has a sense of unreality to it. I keep asking myself: “How can I weigh this little?”

I can only contrast this to that day in February last year when I hopped on a scale at my doctor’s office and saw “302” staring back at me.  How on earth could I weigh so much?

To lose 100 pounds – a third of my body weight – is almost beyond words. I feel like my body was previously a prison, and I have finally been released.

And my key was bariatric surgery.

Unlocking The New Me

There are still going to be those that do not understand it, that think that I have “cheated” somehow. I am no longer very concerned about those opinions. After all, the fact remains that, after years of failed “diets”, bariatric surgery worked. I did not use it in place of lifestyle changes. Instead, it allowed me to make lifestyle changes and stick to them. The switch in my brain that was constantly set to “Eat Now” has been turned off. Maybe someone who has never suffered through obesity won’t understand it. But those of us who are obese know exactly what I am talking about.

Losing 100 pounds has meant so many things. My high blood pressure is gone, along with the drugs I needed to control it. My joints work. I am willing to go out in public. More photos have been taken of me in the last 12 months than I had allowed in the previous 10 years. My days of watching wistfully as other people live their lives are over. I feel like, for the first time in a long time, I have a life of my own.

Today, I am going to be able to go to the gym, to lift weights and perform cardio for a couple of hours, not a few minutes. Today, I will be able to eat 3 small meals without being hungry. Today, I will be constantly thinking about writing, about life, and about future plans. I will not be constantly thinking about food.

Today I will weigh 100 pounds less than I used to.

How about that.

Next Stop 199,





Christmas Week!

River of Lights Display at the ABQ BioPark (Courtesy of


Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, and Merry Christmas week to all my Misdirected friends! (Happy Feast of Winter’s Veil for all my WoW buddies, too.)

The schedule here is going to be weird this week. We’ll be spending the second half of the week up north, which will most likely mean that I will not be posting from Wednesday through Friday. Don’t panic! I will back to my normal posting schedule on Monday the 26th, and have no additional travel plans for the foreseeable future. Also, big changes are coming to the blog on or around January 1, 2017, so you can rest assured that I will be hard at work getting those ready to rock.

I must have been good this year, because I’ve already received two early Christmas presents. First, on Saturday night, I was able to get in and comfortably wear a pair of 38-inch waistline jeans for the first time since, like, ever. Back in 2004, my “ultimate fitness achievement” goal was to be able to do just that. It has only taken me 12 years and bariatric surgery to accomplish it, but I have finally arrived.

On the same note, this week’s weight check-in revealed that I have finally broken the 210-pound mark. As of this week’s weigh-in, I am at 205 pounds – a tantalizing 3 pounds away from a total loss of 100 pounds from my heaviest point, and only 6 pounds from being below 200 for the first time in 20+ years.

I had originally hoped to hit this goal by Christmas Day, and will be coming up a little short. But I think there is a better-than-average chance that I will be entering 2017 at 199 pounds or less.

Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.

Enjoy your event planning and last minute shopping!


Almost Half The Man I Used To Be,


– Hawkwind