Starting off, I immediately recognized the narrator as Jim Gaffigan himself, an added bonus. In this book Jim offers short chapters about various portions of being a new dad, figuring out the new additions as they come, managing as a dad, and juggling life’s responsibilities after becoming a dad for the fifth time. While I can’t relate to that level of mastery he has seemingly acquired with five kids, I recognized many of his struggles and oddities as those that I’ve faced with just two kids.
The whole books comes across, intentionally or not, as an extended ode to his super-hero wife Jeannie. Jim, like many of us dads, assumes that the more attractive partners in our relationships have had special instruction in child rearing, but throughout the chapters in this book you see a story of a dad who figures it out, and makes it work, documenting all the idiosyncrasies of fatherhood along the way.
Any parent who has balanced work / life responsibilities while raising their little ones will likely find this audio book an entertaining reminder of the joys that we have been through, and the joys that our kids bring us. For any expecting parents, this is the book of things they don’t tell you in official parenting books, give it a read to know what you’re REALLY about to get into.
Parenting and Family
May 7, 2013
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’sFatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.
Ohh how I ache this morning.. Currently I am recovering from last night’s workout of: three rounds of 24 Switch Lunges, 110 lb Farmer Walk @ 200 feet and a 264 yard backwards run, but that’s not the story, lets talk about my garage gym that helped me feel these ‘growing pains’
About 18 months ago, I joined TNL CrossFit Tampa. I lost my cookies on the first visit and I was hooked. It was a bit pricey compared to a regular gym and the only time I could fit in the schedule was butt-crack early in the morning. Anna was only a few months old, Natalie was just starting back to work, and right in the midst of it all, I changed to a job that required constant travel, so I stopped.
Last year I was running late at night, making quite the habit of it for some time. I would help put the kids to bed, and go for a run. It was good, I was feeling great, continually increasing my pace and endurance, then life happened and that habit died as well.
Earlier this year I hit a number on the scale that is OK for most guys my age and height, but for me, it was a high point I’ve never seen, and I wasn’t particularly comfortable with. My clothes were tight, carrying the kids got me winded, and then I realized, this is not how you age gracefully.
A few months ago I started watching what I ate which helped me get back to a more reasonable weight, but still not to ‘sexy beast’ level that I was aiming for. Since I am the worst person in the world to keep to my diet, I knew I had to find something to compensate the occasional doughnut or the late night cereal cravings, I had to get active again.
After evaluating the gym options, pricing, and location I decided that I should just build my own gym in my empty garage. Since CrossFit style workouts work well for me, that was the type of equipment I would need.
After coercing my brother-in-law, Wes, to join in my adventure, I started to procure equipment. I found some on Craigslist, built a few items, and picked up a few items from a local gym supplier. For me, the accountability of having someone show up at your house makes it hard to allow myself to skip a day, and working out with friends/family is a good enough motivator not to slack during the workout. It is a good setup for me.
So far I have built 2 PlyoBoxes, Pair of Parallettes, and a Pull up Bar. I bought a set of weights, bars, and heavy kettle bells from a guy on Craigslist (pictured here) and we
stole got a really good deal on a squat rack from Craigslist, and to round out the initial collection, I picked up some odds and ends from a local retailer called Valor Fitness (their prices are MUCH more reasonable when you go to their warehouse than those listed on their website)
So far, we’ve been going at it for three nights a week, for about a month or so. There are a few other piece of equipment I want to pickup, but none are essential at this point. We have a friend who does power lifting who joins us on Sunday morning workouts, as well as a friend who is a CrossFit coach who is scheduled to start joining us soon as well. I get to squeeze in some people time during our workouts in great, as occasionally forget to do with our busy schedules. Life its good.
As an added bonus to being in better shape, I have met a few neighbors who also workout in their garages; building the community bonds through sweaty garages is awesome.
Arsenal football coach Arsene Wenger shared these simple, yet clear words about motivation. This simple statement describes what I’m doing wrong in my search for greatness, consistency. I often have
great ideas that I should pursue, or an angle to attract new opportunities, yet the follow through, or consistency in my motivation is what lacks.
As I’ve been mulling over the ebbs and flows of my motivation, I recalled wavy lines of a biorhythm chart; you put in your date of birth and today’s date, and it magically knows where your emotional, physical, and intellectual highs and lows are. I’m not sure how this magic works, or even how scientific the 1990′s website used to generate the below biorhythm actually is, but it’s fun. I’m not sure which one of those lines my motivation is tied to, but if I had to guess, its must be the physical one, as I’m definitely not on the top of my game these last few days, and I don’t have the motivation to figure it out right now, maybe in a few weeks when it comes back to me.
To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often. Winston Churchill
I’ve had change in the past few years, mostly of my own accord, mostly for the better, but not always comfortable. I am currently at a comfortably idle position in my career which my trusted advisors say is not always a bad thing; something I should take advantage of to do things for me, like blog more. For me, it is a change that puts me out of my comfort zone, makes me antsy and I don’t like it, but all my advisors say I need to stick with it, as too much change is no so good for the resume.
Lets see where it takes us.
After work one day, I picked up the kids as usual. Knowing that my wife was running late leaving work, I figured the kids and I had enough time to stop in to the library before dinner. Although standing in line quietly is not their forte’, I managed to leave the front desk with a library card, which we promptly took to the children section and grabbed six books that would sustain us for a week or so. Getting a library card was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and now we have a new adventure we can go on together.
Later that evening I got around to reading the information packet the library provided about the various summer programs and services they offer, and I ran across a section about Overdrive.com, their online lending platform. With overdrive you could borrow eBooks and audio books, my preferred format, all from the comfort of your own home. Nice!
How do I?
After downloading the Overdrive app on my Android, I searched and found my local library which I added to my account. After the account was setup, I was able to search, filter, and borrow books up to my limit of fifteen, which the library had set. Since my brain isn’t complex enough to listen to more than one audio book in parallel, I keep my borrowing down to one or two audio books at a time.
Once you find the book you want to borrow, the process is pretty straight forward, enter your library card number, and click ‘Borrow’. If the book is unavailable you will be presented with a ‘Place Hold’ button which, just like a traditional library, put your name on the list to receive the book once it is returned. Since all audio books are automatically checked back in at their due date, the longest you should have to wait is 21 days, if you are first in the hold queue. Twenty-one days is my library’s max checkout time for digital media, your’s may vary.
One thing to watch for is when placing a hold, you are provided with an option to ‘Check out immediately once available’ which is nice, unless you already have a few checked out, then you’re just wasting time with it in your account, which could be used by someone else actually ready for the book. This is more of a ‘be kind to other readers’ tip, rather than ‘do not do this it is evil’ type tip.
I really like the fact that I can cancel my $14.95 a month Audible.com membership and get
the same similar benefits for free from my local library. Edit: I actually downgraded to the $9.95 a year plan rather than a full cancellation ,which allows me to share books with other Audible.com members. This plan is not present on their membership page, but was presented during cancellation. This plan allows for continued discounts on purchases as well as for continued borrowing of books among members, which is nice for books the library doesn’t have.
If you aren’t a member of your local library, by all means, get down there and say hi. While you’re there, ask if they have Overdrive for online lending, your commute will thank you.