Are You Sleeping on the Floor Tonight?

Good morning, and happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your day is starting off well.

Today, all over America, women are waking up to a romantic greeting card and a box of chocolates. According to Packaged Facts, a leading market research firm, we will buy 58 million pounds of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. In fact, there are only two days out of the year when more chocolate will be sold. Easter (all those chocolate eggs and bunnies) comes in second. And first place goes to … are you ready? Halloween! Sorry ladies. I guess you know where our priorities are.

I was one who never quite got the fascination with the day. I mean, when we were kids, we’d exchange those cheesy little cards that you shoved anonymously into a decorated shoe box, and I always did like the little multi-colored candy hearts. But that pretty much stopped in fourth grade.

When my wife and I were dating, I remember my mother-in-law asking, “So, what did you get her for Valentine’s Day?” I was speechless. You mean people really celebrate this day? Adults? Sane adults? I just always figured it faded away when we were old enough to dress ourselves. I guess that partially explains why I went through most of my school years without a girlfriend.

But you know, sometimes we need a reminder to show the people we love how much they mean to us. And Hallmark is right there to lead the way. I shudder to think what would happen to that company’s annual sales if Valentine’s Day were suddenly cancelled. But that’s okay, they have a backup plan. Apparently, there’s a Saturday in October called “Sweetest Day.” Ugh!!!

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. I think it is important to show affection, and I don’t mind if we all get together and do it on the same day. Makes it really hard to get dinner reservations, but we don’t share our feelings often enough. Except on Facebook. Some people share every emotion that crosses their mind. But I digress.

The important thing is that we don’t just limit it to one day. Much like Christmas, where we all tend to agree we should keep that feeling alive all through the year, we shouldn’t need a heart on the calendar to remind us that somebody in our life would sure love to know how much they mean to us. It’s important. It’s our way of saying, “I’m happy you’re here.”

Relationships are never easy. People always talk in their old age about how they woke up every morning, more in love than the day before. Right. I have two words for that, and they begin with the letters B and S. There is nobody on this planet that’s never rolled over and thought, “Are you STILL here???” And I think it’s you ladies who experience that sentiment the most.

But somehow, we work through those days and find better ones. We adapt to sharing a home with somebody who thinks the glasses belong in THAT cabinet and the thermostat needs to be set to 60. We set aside our dreams for the ones we love and try to find enjoyment in the things they love. We’re not just sharing a home together – we’re sharing a life. And that takes work.

But the work is easier when we can share it with somebody who shares our values and goals. On the job, they team us up with people whose skills complement our own so we can do a better job and get it done faster. We may want to choke them sometimes, but the job gets done. And it’s that same teamwork that builds a home. We don’t marry a “spouse” – we choose a partner.

And for those who either don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day or don’t have anybody special to celebrate it with, take some of that money you saved and treat yourself to a special day. It’s estimated that 15% of women will buy themselves flowers today. I guess that’s a sad statistic in one regard, but positive in another. It means these women value themselves, with or without a partner.

If you forgot to buy a card and some goodies, it’s not too late. But you know, those are just material expressions of what we should be saying to that special person, today and every day. Whether it’s your mother, your wife, one of your children, or the person sitting next to you at work, let people know you appreciate having them in your life. It’ll make you feel better, and just think what it’ll do for them.

Affection is one of those things where you can never have too much (well, you know) and you can never run out. So, share a little … today and every day. Let’s not wait until October to do this again.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome (and hopefully romance-filled) day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Checked Your Belt Lately?

I had to buy a new belt yesterday. Normally, that wouldn’t be worthy of mention, but in this case, it wasn’t to make a fashion statement or even because the old one was just worn out. It broke. As I was putting it on, tugging against one side to embed the waistband of my pants deep into my belly, the largest metal piece of the buckle broke. Guess it had enough.

It was only a matter of time. When you take something that’s only meant to hold your pants up and put enough force on it to lift a railroad car, sooner or later it’ll snap. And that’s about what it takes to keep these pants up. I think maybe the gods are trying to tell me something.

You see, I carry all of my weight in my belly. According to health experts, that’s not a good thing. And because of that, I have two choices – I can wear my pants lower than a teenage boy on date night or wear my belt so tight it cuts off my spleen. Because, once my pants slip down past the middle of my belly, the laws of gravity take over. It’s really embarrassing in church.

So, I combined my trip to Belts R Us and stopped by the gym on the way home. Between lower back issues and that pesky brain surgery, it’s been a few months. And it shows. But I was a good boy and waited till the doc gave me the okay. He said to start easy, which isn’t a problem for me. Truly, I think he’s afraid of all that pressure from my midsection pushing against my brain.

Weight loss is never an easy thing, especially when you get to this age and you’ve been carrying it around for thirty years. I read an article a few years ago that said, once your body builds fat cells, they never go away. You can empty them out, but like politicians and the IRS, they’re always holding their hand out for more.

It doesn’t help that we’ve seen these reality shows where people lose up to 100 pounds in a few months. And it sets a very unrealistic expectation that, if you do things right, rapid weight loss is the natural result. Also, for the duration of the contest, these people spend their lives under the constant supervision of doctors and nutritionists, exercising several hours a day.

Even then, according to a study reported in the New York times, within a couple of years the overwhelming majority of contestants gained back most, if not all, the weight they had lost. In fact, some weighed even more. Care to guess why the show is off the air? Maybe it’s because they didn’t want to face a ten-year reunion show.

I feel for anybody who’s trying to lose weight. It’s hard, and we live in a world that is increasingly detrimental to those of us with the fat gene. First of all, finding a healthy meal, even at home, is getting harder by the day. Go out, and all bets are off. More often than not, one plate of restaurant food contains a whole day’s worth of fat and calories, with little or no nutritional value.

And, to reward us for our weakness, we have clothing stores and the airline industry. Even if you can find a pair of pants big enough, there’s no way you can squeeze them into the coach seat on an airliner. And they won’t upgrade you to first class just because you’re fat. The best they’ll do is hand you a seat belt extension in full view of all the other passengers to humiliate you even more.

Okay, we’ve had some fun here, but the reality is, obesity is a huge (no pun intended) problem in this country. Beyond broken belts and embarrassing moments, it’s slowly becoming a leading cause of premature death. And we can’t count on corporate America to make it any better. After all, the fatter we are, the more belts they can sell.

We’ve talked before about diets and weight loss, and there are no easy answers. But I believe if you talk to your doctor, get some exercise, and follow a sensible diet that consists of healthy alternatives, it’s not that hard. It’s all about taking in fewer calories, getting optimal value from those calories, and increasing our metabolism through both nutrition and activity.

Many of us will struggle with weight the rest of our lives. But, like any struggle, it’s possible to maintain the upper hand. We just have to be sensible, set realistic goals, and find something we can live with for the long haul. Slow and steady wins the race. Seems I’ve heard that somewhere before.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!