The Crotchety Old Man

Jun 29, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Road Trips

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 4 Gaining weight two weeks in a row had me concerned. Exercising only on weekends wasn’t offsetting the damage. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t get back to my normal routine. I had to go to district meetings in each quadrant of the state. The coordinators in each district put me on the program right before or after the noon hour. I go along for lunch to network and catch up on all the real news. I drove 200 miles (one way) to Tifton and, two days later, over to nearby Watkinsville. Driving makes me hungry. In both towns I ate chips and salsa like I’d never seen food before. In Watkinsville, a plate of …

Jun 22, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Working It

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 3 A six-mile run and a generous reward system caused me to gain a few pounds. No reason for concern. Nine times out of ten, I lose weight the week after a bad weigh in. Persistence is the key to success. Getting back on track became my top priority. The universe, however, conspired against me. Back-to-back buffets at the office got my week off to a bad start. There’s always too much food. I do what I can to make sure nothing goes to waste. A caterer prepared trays of sandwiches, chips, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies for our faculty retreat. The hummusy-tasting pimiento cheese sandwiches were a tad dry. The chips were easier to resist …

Jun 15, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Just Rewards

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 2 Last week, I confessed to gaining ten pounds. Mom suggested the extra weight was muscle from working out so much. Isn’t she sweet? Exercise did play a role. Working out explains maybe one or two pounds – and that’s being generous. Running is to blame for the remaining eight or nine extra pounds. Ironic, I know. Running three miles several times a week has kept the forty pounds I lost a couple of years ago from coming back. Eventually, to get the same result takes more effort. So I stepped up my game and ran six miles. Running twice my usual distance made me feel invincible. For the next week, I ate like I was seventeen …

Jun 08, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Weighing In

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 1 I weigh myself throughout the day and record my weight once a week. Vigilance works. Checking the scales enables me to act before an extra pound or two turns into ten. Since 2010, I’ve paid twenty bucks a month to track my weekly weight online. Yeah, I could do the same thing for free with a spreadsheet. Paying keeps me honest. Mostly. Every week, I record my best morning weight from Sunday or Monday — whichever is lowest. Since losing forty pounds more than two years ago, my weight has stayed about the same, plus or minus no more than five pounds. At least I’m consistent. Lately, things have gotten out of hand. Despite my watchfulness and …

Jun 01, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Feeble Eyes

In 2010, the retina specialist discovered macular degeneration in my left eye. The macula is the central portion of the retina. It focuses central vision for reading, identifying colors, recognizing faces, and seeing fine details. Only about ten percent of cases — including mine — reach the advanced stage. With advanced macular degeneration, also known as wet macular degeneration, abnormal vessels leak blood or fluid into the macula. There is no cure. Every four to eight weeks, I get an injection to slow the pace of deterioration. Eye shots aren’t as bad as they sound. The worst part is the metal clamp used to hold my eye open for the shot. You may have seen the device in Clockwork Orange. In 2010, I could see three …

May 25, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Where There’s a Will…

Do you have a will? A lot of people avoid estate planning — as if not talking about death will somehow keep it from happening. Wrong! Moreover, the worst thing you can do to your heirs is die without an estate plan. In recent posts I’ve mentioned my plans to retire in the next five to seven years. I’ll get a small pension from a previous employer plus Social Security. The bulk of my retirement income, however, will come from the money I’ve saved (including the match from my employer). At this stage of the game, the balance in my retirement accounts is significant.   God willing, my life force and my account balance will zero out at the same time. If I die before the …

May 18, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Taste of Retirement

Submission deadlines make me nervous. Working without an outline and only vague ideas about where the story might go means I could hit a wall at any time. Prompted by a May 1 deadline for Whippersnapper, I took a week off from the day job in mid-April for a taste of what life will be like after I retire. I finished the first draft Tuesday evening. Wednesday and Thursday I worked on revisions. Friday and Saturday I wrote the dreaded synopsis the publisher requests with every submission. Vision issues keep me from writing for more than a few hours in one sitting, so I had time to do other things. The weather sucked. Aside from a few sunny hours on a couple of days, rain made doing much of anything outside difficult. …

May 11, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Best Friend

According to wikipedia, a friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. That casts a pretty wide net. I’m fond of a whole lot of people. Lucky for me, some of them feel the same way about me. By definition, that makes us friends. I’m grateful for each and every one of them. Many date back to grade school. Just knowing someone that long is special. In a world where everyone comes and goes so much, more than forty years of shared history carries a lot of weight. Like a mother with many children, I love my friends equally. Naming a best friend is risky business. I’m taking the risk this year and doubt any runners up will take offense The 2015 recipient of …

May 04, 2015
By Michael Rupured

The Elliptical and Me

I don’t perspire — I sweat like Niagara Falls. Consequently, I prefer to run without a shirt — a preference that rules out running for most of the winter. Last year, I forced myself to run on a treadmill at the gym. I tried to focus on the silver lining, but time on the awful machine passed slower than ice-cold molasses. Hated it. An exercise program I followed last fall included cardio suggestions. Since I was running two or three times a week, I skipped the extra cardio. When the weather turned cold, I decided to try the recommended twenty minutes on an elliptical. Couldn’t be worse than the treadmill. Loved it. Sensors on the elliptical monitor my heart rate, which is shown on …

Apr 27, 2015
By Michael Rupured

On Bruce Jenner

Watching Bruce Jenner win the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics stands out in my memory. I’m not a decathlon fan, but something about Bruce caught my attention. Becoming “the greatest athlete in the world” was special. After the Olympics, his star faded. Like most celebrity athletes, he turned up now and then for cameo appearances on television and in movies. I didn’t pay much attention to him. The next time I noticed him was on the Kardashian’s reality show. I’m not a fan of the Kardashian clan, and have always wondered what they did to warrant so much attention. His connection to them came as a surprise. I did catch a few episodes of the show. The shocker for me was …

Apr 20, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Dual-Career Household

University faculty positions are very demanding. Many of my colleagues work all the time. I don’t. Balancing work and my personal life has always been a priority, and in my opinion, the reason I’ve managed to stay productive. My writing career is also very demanding. Penning a novel takes time. The publishing process adds additional time demands. Promoting books, maintaining my web site, and engaging on social networks adds still more to an already very full plate. Since becoming an author, striking a balance between work and my personal life is no longer possible. After getting home from the day job, I spend several hours on my writing career. I try to make exercising a priority, but otherwise, I work all the time. Fortunately, my faculty position …

Apr 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Busted Routines

I’m very much a creature of habit. Toodles and I move through our days like well-oiled machines. Routines drive our actions from the time our feet/paws hit the floor in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night. Doing things in a particular order helps me get more done and keeps me from having to think about what’s next. Disruptions push my needle into the crotchety zone, and sometimes, flat out piss me off. Shocking, I know, but true. Routines have always worked for me. I could be wrong — wouldn’t be the first time — but that’s how I remember things. Lately, instead of helping me get everything done, my well-established routines too often get in the way of what I want to do. My …

Apr 06, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Big News

Attending the Dreamspinner Press conference for authors in Orlando a month ago was an awesome experience. The highlight was talking with the owner and the editor in chief about my writing career. In fact, I’d call those conversations life-changing. Regular visitors to my blog know I’ve been disappointed by abysmal sales for my last two novels. It’s not the money. I write to be read. Knowing nobody would read another historical novel took the wind out of my sails. Dreamspinner Press (and MLR) cater to romance readers. As any fan of romance whose read my books will tell you, I don’t write romance. I’m grateful to both publishers for taking a chance on my stories, but have often felt like a fish out …

Mar 30, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Dream Vacation

Travel holds little appeal for me these days. Flying is unpleasant. I’m too damn big (6’2″ and 200 pounds), and over the last ten years or so, have become increasingly claustrophobic. Were teleporting an option, I’d be more interested in visiting far away places. Until then, unless driving is possible, I don’t go. The publisher I’ve been with since August, 2012 (Dreamspinner Press) holds a conference every year for authors. I joined the gang too late to attend  in 2012. Attending in 2013 or 2014 required flying or more driving than I cared to do. When they announced the 2015 conference would be in Orlando, I jumped at the change to go. I confess, the big draw was the opportunity to connect with …

Mar 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Birthday Presents

For my 57th birthday earlier this month, I gave myself a new car and a trip to Orlando. The new car was somewhat of a requirement. The PT Cruiser I bought in 2005 had enough miles on it to make me nervous about driving to Florida. I’ve known for months what kind of car I wanted to get. My PT Cruiser was the first convertible I’ve had the pleasure of owning. Driving with the top down is possible at least a few days every month here in Georgia. Wishing I’d bought another convertible seemed more likely than wishing I hadn’t. Refusing to pay more for a car than I paid for my first house ruled out a lot of options. A car is a means …

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