Two Days of Baby Steps

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The Return to Work

I barely slept, maybe two or three hours Monday night, highly stressed about my son’s living situation at college. I must have also been stressed about returning to work even though I was not thinking about it much, knowing that I had a large report due almost immediately on the 3rd.

I would have normally been working on said report much of the day on Monday, then wrapping it up on Tuesday morning, but instead was enjoying my last (non-weekend) day off for a while with my family, including a lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings while watching the Badgers defeat Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl.

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I had a shrimp Po Boy for lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday.

That lunch cost this Middle Class Guy seventy smackers, but that’s for a future post.

I also returned my son to his crummy dormitory that would have trouble passing for public housing on Monday night for a class that commenced early Tuesday morning.  For our son to live in a veritable Hell Hole, we pay about a grand per month on top of tuition.

I returned to work, getting there around 8 a.m. and a whopping 508 emails, which I cleared by about 8:45 or so.

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I then cranked on my report, barely looking up from the screen, until my allotted lunch hour at 12:30, with the exception of a few trips to the washroom to dispose of my three cups of coffee.  I completed a six page staff report summarizing the contents of eleven reports totaling 300+ pages in a way that anybody, even those that will read and review it, could understand.

I will not say that I completed the entire assignment by my lunch hour, but I got close while ignoring several voice mail messages, emails from clients who wrote things like “I know you are out until Tuesday, but when you return…” and several messages via the company Facebook page that I initiated and administer.  It felt good ignoring the messages while focusing on the task at hand, as many of the improve yourself/become wealthy and successful/change your way of thinking books recommend.

Baby Steps to Filter Out Part of the Book Hoard

During my lunch hour on Tuesday, I donated two books – one to the local Library and the other to a nearly Little Free Library.  I donated four more today, making it six in two days, Baby Steps and already 12% of my Resolution to “get rid of” or “move along” fifty out of my book hoard in 2017.  My wife would probably prefer 500, but I am taking Baby Steps.

I donated these four books to a local library today.

Baby Steps to Stay Under 200 Lbs.

There was an abundance of goodies at my office, sent to us by appreciative customers or vendors, as well as some that I suspected were brought in by other Staff.  There were things like Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts, chocolate covered nuts, tins of flavored popcorn and a wide assortment of candy.

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I walked past Munchkins and other goodies at work for the last two days without eating a one.

I typically indulge a little when this kind of stuff is laying around, but not the last two days.  Not a one.  I cannot resolve now that I will not consume any goodies at work or at home in 2017, but I took the Baby Step of walking right past the goodies the last two days.

I want to be able to continue wearing my size 36-inch waist shorts from Menard’s.

Baby Steps Around the Neighborhood

I walked about a mile yesterday, even though it was drizzling a bit.  It wasn’t bad, at about 40 degrees.  Today was another story, it was too freakin’ cold in the Chicago area to go for a walk during my lunch hour or to walk my dog when I got home.

As we speak, it is 11 degrees outside and “feels like” minus five per  When I stepped outside for lunch today, it felt quite a bit colder than minus five with the wind blowing in my face.

I have lived in this area (and a colder one during college) for four-and-a-half decades and when my fingers begin to go numb within a minute, I know that it is at least ten below.

Middle Class Guy’s Town, IL

as of 7:02 pm CST

11°  MOSTLY CLOUDY  feels like-5°

H L 7°

Baby Step in Friendliness
I took another Baby Step on Tuesday and did another thing that I would not normally do, which was to seek out somebody in another department to congratulate him on his upcoming retirement.

Instead of just figuring, like I normally would, that I had a huge amount of work to catch up with and that I would probably never see or hear from this guy again, I walked over, knocked on his door and interrupted a more heart-felt goodbye meeting that he was having with a close associate.

He thanked me so heartily and called me a great and irreplaceable team player for the few times that we collaborated and gave me his new business card for his soon-to-be launched consulting firm.  Now I feel like I have made a connection and might even hire his firm at some point or consult for him if my specialty is required.

Another Baby Step in Laying Off the Sweets

On the way home yesterday, I stopped by one of my favorite places, the aforementioned Menard’s, to pick up more bird seed.  Although the squirrels in our area consume the majority of the bird seed that I buy, the birds get enough of it that I keep buying it.

Plus, when it is ten below outside, I even feel bad for the squirrels.

Although I am definitely an impulse shopper, never having claimed to be a Master Middle Class Guy shopper, I bypassed the massive displays of cheap candy and discounted chocolate that I have purchased many times in the past, and went straight to the bird seed.  Another Baby Step towards a Resolution of consuming less sweets.

I had my “Save 15% on anything that you can fit in this bag” bag with me, so I also picked up some instant coffee from Hills Brothers for those days when I need more coffee at work and do not want to venture out or drink the swill in our break room, some more V8 tomato juice, which I will be drinking soon while watching the Bulls suck, some trail mix and some higher-end dog food than we typically feed our baby.

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During the past two days, I only checked LinkedIn once yesterday and twice today, and did not even read any of the increasingly political and personal posts that my 600 or so connections and the other 200 or so companies and organizations that I follow posted.  I continued ignoring a few Facebook page messages and made one post today that my boss’s boss requested.

Baby Step in Clearing Out The Binders

Another small but important Baby Step that I took was placing about fifteen three-ring binders in our department’s storage area, rather than cluttering up some space on one of my office shelves, with the others sitting in my car for the past few months.

Baby Step Right Now

Instead of sipping on one of my favorite beers, Blue Moon, Shock Top or Sam Adam’s watching the Bulls play Cleveland, which is one of my small pleasures in life, I am half watching/half blogging and sipping Spicy V8 instead, which gets back to one of my much earlier posts about the benefits of tomato juice (although that post also extols the virtues of drinking beer and coffee).  Nonetheless, even though I only average about one to two drinks per week, I am not having one right now as I have many, many times while watching the Bulls play, pretty much since MJ was winning championships and some of the current players were not yet born.

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I’m drinking spicy V8 instead of beer while watching the Bulls and blogging.

I am not claiming to be a new Middle Class Guy in 2017, a guy who can consistently lay off the sweets, not compulsively check e-mail, LinkedIn and Facebook, a guy who can go out of his way to be more sociable at work, a guy who can work on a report for four straight hours with only a few pee-pee breaks, or a guy who will filter out fifty books from my hoard by the end of January and drink tomato juice instead of beer while watching Chicago sports teams.

I just want to keep taking Baby Steps to help accomplish some of the scaled down Resolutions for this year that I mentioned in my previous post.

Thanks again for reading this.

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