Groundhog Day

We are coming up on Groundhog Day. Other than the tradition of it, I have always found it a bit preposterous.  On February 2, in central Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil “determines” whether there will be six more weeks of winter.  Whether he sees his shadow or not, in reality, most of us have at least 8 weeks of winter left. I’ve always found it to be simply annoying.  Besides, I have my own Groundhog Days. They don’t happen just on February 2. I sometimes feel like Bill Murray.  And it can be on so many fronts.

Let’s start with weight. I’ve lost at least 300 pounds. Oh, fear not, those of you who know me.  You didn’t miss my morbidly obese phase. Well, at least, not yet.  I have just lost the same ten or twenty, even thirty pounds once, again and again.  Somehow, unlike a slew of individual socks in the laundry room right now, I always seem to find them again.  They’re never really “lost” for long. 

Right now, I’m up. By up, I also mean I’m down. You see, I’m down because I am up. It feels like a never-ending battle.  Some of it is because food is not just nourishment in my world. It’s comfort. Some people, and by “some people” I mean – not Italians or Jews or Puerto Ricans or Chinese or people from any Mediterranean country (I think that covers most – sorry if I left anyone out) – but some people treat food as something you do to stay alive. It’s a part of the day. But it’s not the day.  I, along with tact sometimes, lack that understanding. Many of us in the aforementioned categories were soothed by food as a child.  We had grandmothers who were offended, almost hurt, if we didn’t eat. It not only upset their sensibilities, it nearly wounded them. If we felt badly about something, the answer was almost certainly “eat something.” This, while well intentioned, and certainly done out of love has lead scores of us to look to food for comfort.  Had a bad day? Ice cream. Squabbled with the hubby? Cookies. Miserable because it’s cold? Pizza. Anxious about anything? Try fries or chocolate or you name it. Even being reasonable, it still all adds up.

Joe aka Barbapapa© 

I started the OrangeTheory Transformation Challenge on Monday. Over the course of these next eight weeks, I’m hoping to be like a Barbapapa, both in appearance and skill and “change my shape and size” albeit not very easily from where I am today to a salt and pepper daddy.  (Might as well embrace my age. I missed out on being hot in my youth. I shouldn’t waste middle age. LOL)  For my younger readers who don’t know what a Barbapapa is and missed those glorious cartoon days, YouTube it.

My mood is another area of Groundhog Day. I’m not shocked that winter in Chicago has me a case of the doldrums. We’re heading into the negative numbers for the next week. It’s still dark a good chunk of the day. Ice makes outdoor running generally impossible, unless you’re one of the uber dedicated people (see: my husband). So it all adds up to another ticket for a pity party. Chicago is amazing in the spring, summer and fall. Even in the not miserable winter months, it’s a pretty fantastic city.  But in the height of winter? Not so much. Snow freezes. Alleys become hard to navigate. The city doesn’t plow them and 90% of people are too GD lazy to take the ten minutes it would take to shovel their share. So trash and recycle bins start to topple. Glaciers develop in the middle of the alley. The entire scene looks like when Elsa freezes Arendelle, except grey and shitty and without singing gay snowmen. Just cranky cold people trying to get from point a to point b without dying.

And then there’s fitness. While I was going through a round of “Tidying Up” a la Marie Kondo, I came across notes I had with my coach from almost exactly this same time last year, give or take a few weeks. The bizarre thing is that they were almost a mirror of the conversation I had with him this year. Once again, who needs Punxsutawney Phil? You got Joe here!  Groundhog Day is apparently my specialty.  

So where do we go from here? I’d like to say I’d be damned if I knew. But I sort of do know. It’s the three P’s. I know, I know, you’re saying there are lots of “three p’s.” And you’re right, there are.  However these are my Three P’s. The Three P’s of Life According to CattyDaddy…  Be Persistent, Be Patient and Be Provocative.  Let’s break them down…

  1. Persistent – In order to do anything well, or at least for a long period of time, one must be persistent.
  2. Patient – Doing things for a long period of time and waiting for the desired results requires patience.
  3. Provocative – A guy has got to have fun. Persistence and patience are both kind of drab. That’s where provocative comes in. She’s the sassy sister.

Patience and persistence are sort of like conjoined twins, they stick together. Those of you who share my wit and sass will notice that I managed to be provocative getting my third p into one neat sentence.  It’s a gift really. Not one that I can monetize, or one that comes in a blue box with a white ribbon, but nonetheless a gift. Which makes me wonder. Can one still say “conjoined twins”? Or am I not being woke enough. I’m sure someone will get their panties in a jumbled bunch so I will apologize in advance for that one. 

Now let’s get back to the first of the 3 P’s. It so happens that it has to do with one of my favorite topics. Persistence basically basically defines endurance running. When it sucks, you have to keep going. You. must. persist.  It’s also necessary on the road to the event. Very few people can just lace up their shoes and decide to run 26.2 miles. If you can, I sort of hate you in the most admiring yet envious of ways. For most of us mortals, one must also be persistent with training to get there.  Persistence is also true for heathy eating. I am trying to avoid calling it “dieting” because a. that implies a start and finish and b. no lasting change happens without, you got it, persistence. I have to say no to more pain au chocolat and oui to more clementines. (I say this as the smell of the freshly baked pain au chocolate wafts through my kitchen, taunting me to be eaten.)

Patience is that nagging reminder that is often with persistence. She is the Bette to the Dot (the conjoined twins in American Horror Story: Freak Show). She’s always reminding you that you will get there, but it won’t happen immediately. I didn’t gain these 15-20 pounds overnight. I won’t lose them that way either. One also doesn’t shave time off their running speed in one run. It takes persistence and patience.  

So where does that leave provocative? Well, persistence and patience aren’t the most fun of the trio.  Provocative is like the silk Hermes scarf one throws on a solid black outfit.  It tells people in a loud and obvious way, “I’m here!” While patience and persistence like playing it safe, provocative is the reminder that while the journey may be long and require dedication and resoluteness, one can still have fun. Provocative is self-deprecation as a way to be funny. It’s knowing that sometimes one has to throw political correctness out the window, not because it’s unnecessary but because as humans, we need to laugh.  So here’s to being that splash of color on the drab landscape.  I may not be skinny or fast for a while, but I’ll be damned if I don’t look good while getting there. 

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At-home dad, husband, gay man, marathon runner, sarcastic to the core, off-center


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