I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.

This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Its a ....

Well today was the big day -- 20 week ultrasound for the baby due in May. 
It went well, everything looks good and we saw all 4 chambers of the heart.
We are very excited!!
Now I just have to convince the wife that "Buck Delaney" is a cool name -- based on her response to it so far, I'm guessing that's not going to happen.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Does This Giant Gut Make Me Look Fat?

Oh boy is my wife going to be proud of this one -- NOT!

In true Bendoeslife fashion, I was all fired up and got up the courage to take a "before" pic in my boxers, but after I started thinking about it, I had this vision of seeing my picture pop up on all of my co-workers computer screens, so I'll admit, I'm using the one with the flash that makes it difficult to make out my face in case I need to deny that its me. But make no mistake about it -- there it is, in all its glory, my giant Belly. What kind of 300+ lb idiot posts a picture of himself in his boxers for the world to see? One that obviously needs to change his ways and get his act together -- everybody has been so forgiving when I haven't followed through in the past -- Maybe a little public embarrasment will help!

Dear Gut -
My friend, it's been a great run and man, it was a lot of work and a lot of fun watching you grow -- you've grown far beyond my wildest dreams. I'm afraid that its time for me to say good bye -- don't worry, it won't happen overnight, but I intend on spending a lot of time chipping away at you until a good portion of you has gone away -- If I can put the dedication into getting rid of you that I did helping you grow, I will not be keeping you (or at least all of you) around for long -- no hard feelings!
The rest of Rich

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dick Hoyt

Last week before I left CHB (Children’s Hospital of Boston), I saw this on a corkboard near the elevators:

I was pretty bummed because I knew I would be flying home a week early and would have loved to go see Dick Hoyt Speak.

For those that may not have heard of Team Hoyt: Dick Hoyt has a son named Rick. Rick, (taken from their site) due to oxygen deprivation at birth was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy… When he was around 15 years old, Rick told his dad that he wanted to run a local 5 mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player that had been paralyzed. Although coming in almost last place, Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair the whole 5 mile race --- (again from their sight)That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running it feels like I’m not handicapped” – This started what has been decades of and thousands of races including several Ironman’s. Their story moved me before, but now that I have become the father of Gracie, I can’t even tell you how much their story means to me – I’m honestly tearing up right now trying to type this………OK – I got myself back together – if you haven’t watched this youtube link below, I urge you to – I am at a loss for words on how to explain it

All that said, my amazing pregnant wife, after the doctors took Gracie away this morning to remove her broviac tubes and do a sedated echo, sprinted across town to the building where he was speaking – walked in with only about 5 minutes left into a room full of people wearing suits and ties, stood in line and told him about how we, too, are parents of a child with a disability and how much an inspiration he is to me and that I wish I could’ve been there to see him speak. He told her to wish me the best of luck in my efforts and they took a picture together. It means so much that she did that for me. I’m a lucky man!!!

There is Power in Restraint

I've been talking a lot lately to a friend of mine about his relationship with booze – Always over-analyzing everything these days, the conversations that we've had have really made me think about where I'm at in my life.  I've got similar problems and I think it's in my best interest to accept it and approach the same way – I'm not saying that I need to stop drinking (Although maybe not as much sometimes)  -- but there are just too many great beers out there that I haven't tried yet – of course, I do need to understand that they do contain calories and will need to drink them cautiously if I want to achieve my goals of becoming healthy.  What I am saying is that my weight issues are similar in a lot of ways – it's about control and restraint – it's about having that ridiculous need for instant gratification.  I don't know where it comes from, but something happens when I get around food – if 1 bite is good, then I better shove as much as I can in my mouth before its either gone or taken away. 


I don't even realize that I think that way most of the time.  We were in Boston in the cafeteria at the hospital while Gracie was napping upstairs – My wife asked if I wanted to share a pudding.  She has the ability to enjoy small portions of desserts, etc – a few pieces or bites of something are enough for her.  That is why she, despite having a treat of some kind every day, remains at a healthy weight.  For some reason, I'm not wired that way – She told me she was almost done and told me to eat some  – so I took a huge heaping bite – she shook her head and said – "You see?  That's the problem – you are incapable of understanding that if you would have split that giant bite up into 3 or 4 human sized bites – you would have enjoyed your pudding that much more."  Don't tell her I said this, but I think she might be onto something.


Back to the conversations with my friend – There is power in restraint – I think the key is to take pride in it.  To remember when your screwed up insides say "Damn, that small piece was good – I better shove a whole bunch of that in my face and in a hurry, because when I do it fast, it doesn't count"  -- instead say to yourself – "You know what?  Even though I really want to indulge (or over-indulge in my case) – I am strong enough to stop"  and then I need to learn to take pride in the fact that I did it – I know I won't regret it. 


But just like with booze for my friend, when I stop, I need to realize that this is what I need to do for me – others may not need to stop, but I do because that's where I am on my journey.  When I'm eating really clean, etc – I'll find cookies in the car or hidden in a far away cabinet because my wife often comments how she feels guilty eating her treats in front of me, etc (probably also because she knows I've been incapable of allowing said treats to last long if I know they're there) – but I need to realize that I've made my bed – Let's compare it to Halloween candy – I'd be the kid that eats everything right away and especially the good things first – so when I wake up on November 1st, I feel like crap and am full of regret and left with a number 2 pencil, a couple quarters and an apple in my plastic pumpkin and if I'm lucky maybe one of those nougatty orange wax paper wrapped peanut butter things.  On the other hand, Carrie is eating Milky Way's and Reece's peanut butter cups for months and enjoys every one of them – There is no reason that she should feel bad for that.  We both had the same amount of candy – she just chose to eat them in a much smarter way than I did. 


I think what I need to work on in everything I do is to make decisions based on how I'll feel when the act is done, not based on what I want at that very moment.   I would guess if I could learn to think "how will I feel about this in an hour,  12 hours, or even a day from now?" before I do something, I would make a lot better decisions in every aspect of my life.  Most of the time when I eat something that I shouldn't or way too much of something, it only takes a few minutes until I regret the decision – usually the moment I swallow my last bite  (now that I think of it, often during my first bite, but at that point I think to myself, Oh well, it's too late – I better eat the hell out this now, because I won't eat it again for a long time – Yeah Right! – that's worked). 


Taking that extra moment to think about how I'll feel when it's over will help me in most aspects of my life – I know my wife would appreciate it.   So many times I get into arguments and then later find myself confessing to her that I was not really even mad at her at all, but caught up in the moment, angry at myself, and redirecting at the most important person to me.   If I could take a second before I blow something out of proportion to think about how I'll feel about what I'm about to say after things settle down, I'm sure her life would be a lot better.  Same goes for drinking too much or eating too much. 


That said -- it's not all about ignoring my insane need for instant gratification when it comes to consumption either – How many times do you not go for a run or do that workout because you don't feel like it at that moment?  I guess the word in this case wouldn't be showing restraint – Maybe strength is the word I'd use – Whatever word describes what I'm lacking at that moment when I make the wrong choice.  But really how many times have you ever said to yourself once it's over that you wish you didn't go for that run? 


So out of all of that rambling – here are a couple things I am going to work on:


1.        I will try to make decisions based on how I will feel after I complete what I'm about to do instead of only concentrating on how bad I want to do it at that moment


2.        I am going to take pride in restraint when restraint is the right thing to do and maybe someday I'll get to a point where I can sit with my wife at night and enjoy a small treat and get more enjoyment out of a small portion of something instead of how it is today when what's in front of me is never enough – instead of subconsciously thinking maybe the next bite will make me satisfied and never finding that point, I hope to be some day satisfied when I give myself the well earned permission to enjoy the first bite - And I know that will come with learning to take pride in restraint.        

Monday, January 2, 2012

Polar Dash

To the self righteous family sitting one seat in front of me on the school bus back to the parking lot following the Polar Dash 5k/10k/ half-marathon – When I first saw you, a mother and father in your 50's with what I assume was your fresh from college son, all together wearing your 10k finisher medals, I thought to myself that I hope this is something that I can do with my family when I am your age - But then I heard you speak – "I come up over this hill and there I see all of these large people walking the 5k – why even bother?  What are they getting out of it?  What a waste of money – they should just go for a walk somewhere" says the dad.  The mother replies with "they got a fleece out of the deal" – they all three smugly laughed.  The shots about the walkers started in the line waiting for the bus and went on throughout the whole ride -  They never even had the decency to look around at who may be overhearing their conversation - I wasn't eavesdropping -- they were sitting in seperate seats and it wasn't quiet.  I was on the edge of my seat directly behind them biting my lip as hard as I could.   Let me tell you something folks – you are very lucky that I have also decided to be a better person this year because it took all that I had not to interrupt with my 2 cents. 

Yep – I walked the Polar Dash 5K on new year's day.  Did I want to walk it?  Nope – I did because I made a promise to my family that starting that day, I was going to turn my life around – I had a very bad cold and was wheezing without doing anything.  Add to that that I am 300 lbs and far from where I want to be - but I got out of bed around 6 am scraped the ice off my car and warmed it up – packed a bag for my three year old – woke her up and carried her to the car, tried to give her a little breakfast and brought her to my brother's place so he could watch her.  From there my sister-in-law joined me.  She easily could have run the race, but vowed to be there to walk it with me. I completely admit that I'm in the position I am today because for many years, because of all of the effort it took just to get there that day, I would have said forget it, but did I mention that on that same morning, my wife and other daughter were in the Children's hospital of Boston where my 1 year old is recovering from her 4th major open heart surgery in her very short life?  She was born with a completely messed up heart and I made a promise to her that now that her "unfixable" heart was in fact now fixed, I will do my best to make sure I don't take the perfectly good heart I was given for granted.  So yes, I walked it – the whole damn thing – went through about a half a pack of cough drops along the way and coughed plenty.  I did my best to stay out of the runners' way and cheered others on the best I could – I saw many people at different points in their journey – many in a similar place to me, others at the top of their game, and everywhere in between, but I was inspired that day and will not let your self-righteous attitude take that away from me. 

To the family on the bus – I'm pretty sure I got more out of that 5k than the three of you did put  together – by the way, you got a fleece too and for the record mine doesn't fit so it wasn't for the fleece, and the last I checked, I don't think your  9 - 10 minute per mile pace for a 10k race is going to win you many awards either (that said, I would kill to be able to run that pace at this point, but I will someday again soon) -  so I guess the same could be said for you – what really did you get out of it that I didn't?  But you see the difference is, I'm not judging you, or I guess at this point I am a little – but I was actually admiring you until I saw/heard the diarrhea spew from your mouths.  I plan to keep my eyes open for you at events in the future and the next time, I vow to not bite my tongue – we are all at different points in our journey – its people like you that make those of us trying to turn things around feel awkward and scared to try.  But there is a movement out there of people like me that are, despite people like you, taking their lives back (some of us go by Do-lifers) --  I wasn't going to say anything, but it has been eating at me since I got off that bus that I didn't put you in your place and after reading something  John Larson of Team Ortho wrote congratulating all of the runners/walkers,  I had to say something because the fact that he said walkers reassured me that we, too, were in fact welcomed at the event.   I urge others like this family that see people like me at these events as a burden to instead be inspired that we are not giving up.  We need all of the help we can get.    

Despite the family on the bus, I thought it was a wonderful event and I'll see you at the 7k in March!!