Friday, June 13, 2014


Earlier this week, inspection work took me on a three day trip to South Dakota. Normally I stay in hotels so that I can work in the evenings, but I decided to turn it into a camping trip. Knowing that camping meant a bit of isolation, I thought I would treat it as an opportunity to do something I've never done before: fast for three days.

Today is Friday. From 8 p.m. on Sunday until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, I didn't eat anything. I had a cup of black coffee (without sugar) each morning, but otherwise it was nothing but water for 72 hours. To me, this was a big deal. I can't remember ever going even 24 hours without eating, even on those days during Lent when I'm supposed to at least act like I'm doing so.

My motivation wasn't spiritual or physical, although I do believe I saw and will continue to see benefits in those areas as a result. Seeing 148 on the bathroom scale was fun, and denying your body of something it is used to receiving does encourage you to focus on things you don't usually dwell on. But for me, it was more of a mental issue.

It wasn't a matter of seeing if I could do it; the challenge was to see that I could do it. It sounds like an almost stupid distinction even to me, but it was almost like looking back on something that was still in the future. I knew that I was physically capable, so that removed the "if" part of the challenge. But as I hadn't done it yet, I knew that the key to success was entirely in my head. And knowing myself, that's not the most sure-fire place to be looking for keys.


The driving day started at 6:30 a.m., heading west out of Norfolk. Other than skipping breakfast, it seemed like a normal morning of inspections. The long drives between stops helped to spread out the work, which made for a pretty easy first day. And with the route going through almost exclusively small towns, there wasn't much of a temptation to stop and eat half of a familiar restaurant's menu.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


If it had hailed in Norfolk just a few weeks ago, Dolly would have been parked out back. And the Fiero would have been in the middle of a very open outdoor parking lot.

Dolly wouldn't sell for much with dents and a broken windshield.

And the Fiero would probably need some new t-top glass and a few t-top trim items that yours truly would have to fabricate. Although that wouldn't be a problem, since my problems are usually smaller than everyone else's.

Thankfully, it didn't hail just a few weeks ago. The hail came down two days ago. Dolly is with her new owners in South Dakota, and the Fiero was safely tucked away in the body shop awaiting a few more parts.

None of this excuses the fact that Maxwell wasn't in the garage, or the fact that I was too lazy to change that in time to avoid dents and a broken windshield. Timing doesn't fix lazy. It does, however, present an opportunity to view a troubling event from a different perspective--and it also provides an opportunity to learn from it.

We won in 2/3 of these situations. Maxwell will be an expensive fix, even if more in time than money. But if it helps motivate me to be the best version of myself, then perhaps Norfolk's baseball hail will be the start of a more motivated set of analog schemes.