Hell Week Almost Over, Appraisal Tomorrow

Right now is the start of day 7 without cigarettes and “Hell Week” will be over when we wake up tomorrow. Most of the time, quitting has not been that hard, but it sure has its moments! The mornings are the toughest for me, I always want that first smoke when I wake up. Missy brought home Chipotle burritos for dinner last night, and that really triggered a craving. But we did not give in. I am feeling a WHOLE LOT better than I used to!

The home appraisal will happen tomorrow, so we are really sweating that now and hoping all goes well. We are showing our rented duplex tonight to the next possible tenant, and really need an answer on the house tomorrow. I sure hope we do not have to wait until Monday!

I completed the drawings last night for the office addition in the basement and put an estimate together for all the materials I will need to build it, less than $1,000 including hardwood floors. It looks like it will be a fun project, I sure hope I get the chance to actually build it!

5 Days Down, Appraisal Coming

I have now made it through 5 days without smoking, pretty close to a new record for me. Missy has too, other than one small slip today that doesn’t really bother me. She said it was terrible, almost made her sick, so I don’t think it will be a problem. My cravings are manageable and I have not had any real strong desire to smoke. I have had dreams about smoking for the last 2 nights, which is strange, especially since I am not smoking in the dreams, but trying to not smoke.

Delaney, Halle and I also visited the new house today. This was mostly for me to get measurements so that I can start planning the basement remodeling that will need to be done, but also because neither of the girls had seen the house. Haley went with us when we looked at it. Fortunately, both girls approved 🙂

My mortgage lender did tell me that the appraisal has been scheduled for Friday of this week. We are hoping to know that day what the dollar amount is, but fear we won’t know until Monday. This is making getting an inspection done in time quite difficult, but the biggest hurdle to get over right now is the appraisal. We are only 3 weeks from closing and are showing our duplex to a potential renter Thursday night, so we are flirting with the possibility of not having a place to live at all if we do not close on this house. Stress is building daily.

On a wonderful note: Make-A-Wish granted our nephew Devin his wish and we had a great party at their house this evening. He wanted a Nintendo entertainment center, and they delivered in a big way. They delivered a 40″ Sony Bravia LCD TV, Sony Surround Sound System, a Nintendo Wii with TONS of games, Nintendo DS Lite, 2 X Rocker video gaming chairs, and a bunch of other gifts and video game items. They also brought him clothes and Culvers catered the event with tons of chicken planks and all the side dishes, including a yummy ice cream cake!

Super-special thanks go out to Make-A-Wish Foundation, Best Buy, Circuit City, Nintendo and Culvers. Devin had a wonderful evening and will be enjoying his “rig” with the rest of his family for many years to come. If you are interested in learning more about their family, my sister-in-law Kris maintains a blog located at mama4jesus.blogspot.com.

3 Days Down, A Lifetime To Go

We made it through our 3rd full day of not smoking and are now beating up on day 4. “Hell Week” will be over soon and we are hanging tough. Today is the first day back at work for us, and also the first day where the “oxygen high” really kicks in. Apparently when you quit, your carbon monoxide level falls to a normal level, and oxygen molecules replace them in your bloodstream. You feel normal, well, normal for a non-smoking person, as a former smoker you feel stoned. This is a nice side-effect 🙂 We are both light-headed and feeling a bit clumsy, but I am feeling very good. It is sort of nice actually.

I cannot really concentrate today, so I am doing other things I need to do for work that don’t require much brain power, like planning my upcoming flight and reservations to Cleveland, downloading a bunch of software from the office that I will need later this week, organizing my inbox, and coming up with a way to nicely secure a web site. I am hoping this will pass by tomorrow, since I have a very busy week planned and need to get a lot done.

A somewhat funny (and money-saving) side-effect of quitting is that Missy no longer likes Mountain Dew. She has been drinking it everyday for years, sort of like her coffee, but she cannot stand it now. That is funny. I noticed at Denny’s that I no longer like hashbrowns. Strange…

Still hoping to hear about the appraisal any day now…

2 Days and Counting…

We have now officially crossed into day 3, with more than 48 hours free of cigarettes. Yesterday got a bit interesting, but we made it. Missy and I were both short-tempered. We went to Harbor Freight Tools (one of my favorite stores) to do some window shopping and then stopped by West Town Mall so Missy could see the new Sephora store. It was amazing, a brand new store full of nothing but cosmetics, and yet they were sold out of the only thing Missy was looking for! Halle also got a Water Massage.

We had lunch at Denny’s, I noticed the hash browns did not taste right. Missy doesn’t like Mountain Dew anymore (yes, hell froze over). I hope this is not our taste buds waking up after years of smoking related paralysis. When we got home I took a short nap and then cleaned and vacuumed the inside of the Explorer, I will do my truck tomorrow.

I don’t want to jinx our quit, but it does not seem that hard this time around. I’m not sure why, but my cravings are not that bad and I can easily deal with them. The lozenges help some, and I like to chew on straws. This makes me look like a tard but I don’t care, it’s working.

Missy and Halle just left to go see a princess movie, I had to pass. I am working on some AutoCAD drawings for the basement of the new house. I wonder if the home appraisers know their life may be in jeopardy this week? 🙂

One Day Down

Well we made it through our first full day of not smoking, 24 hours. I did revise my plan just a little and allowed myself to buy a box of nicotine lozenges that I can use when the cravings are real bad and won’t go away. They are mint flavored and I went through 4 yesterday. I also bought myself a large Ice Tea container, a new cup and straw to drink from, and cut up some straws for something to chew on. Seems that little things like that may make a difference.

We also took it pretty easy yesterday. Missy and Halle went horseback riding and I did a little shopping in the early afternoon. We both took a nap in the late afternoon and I finished the evening playing Grand Theft Auto 4 and then watched the movie Vantage Point. It was a nice day, and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I’m not sure yet what we will do today. It is a very nice day for flying, so maybe that will happen later. I am only sure of what will NOT happen today, we will not smoke.

Not having the appraisal back yet on the house adds stress, so we are hoping that is done by mid-week. I hope we are worrying about something that is not an issue. 26 days to closing right now if all goes well!

Independence Day

The picture to the left is the amount of money we have spent SO FAR this year alone on cigarettes at Kwik Trip. It was taken out of Quicken today, $1,474.18 year-to-date. It says Groceries for Category, and sometimes this includes Coke or Mountain Dew, but the vast majority of that money is cigarettes. And we don’t only buy smokes at Kwik Trip, we buy them at other places as well. $1,474.18 is likely LESS than we have actually spent on them. It’s hard to read, but every 2-3 days we spend about $20-$25 on cigarettes at Kwik Trip.

Everyone in the US knows that tomorrow is the 4th of July, Independence Day. Tomorrow is also Independence Day for Missy and me. We are quitting smoking, for good, no more. I smoke much more than Missy, between 1 and 2 packs per day, she smokes about a 1/2 pack. I have been smoking since I was 15 years old and am pushing 40 pretty hard now, so I know that I NEED to quit.

I am writing this blog entry for me to read tomorrow, this weekend, next week, and next month. Even 6 months or more down the road, to remind myself why I am quitting and what it is like to be a smoker. My reasons are quitting are many, here are just a few…

  1. Delaney, Haley, and Halle. My daughters need me to be around for a good long time. They need my financial and parental support for many years to come. And I need them. I want to be around to walk each of them down the aisle at their wedding, and want to have many good years of playing with my grandchildren.
  2. Missy needs me too. I’m not sure why 🙂 I know I need her in my life, things are much more in balance since I have known and loved her.
  3. Everything I enjoy doing for fun is so anti-smoking it’s not even funny. I love to SCUBA dive, but go through air so fast that I can only stay underwater about 1/2 as long as my non-smoking friends. I have recently taken up flying aerobatics, which is physically as well as mentally challenging. To perform aerobatics well you have to be in good physical shape.
  4. Flying in general. Aviation is my passion, and part of being able to fly is passing an FAA required medical examination every 1-2 years. A heart attack can, and likely will, ground a pilot for the rest of his life. I would like to become a flight instructor some day, but will have to have at least a 2nd class FAA medical, something that would be almost impossible to get should I suffer from any of the smoking related health issues.
  5. I enjoy boxing. Not competitive boxing so much, though I have tried that, but getting a good cardio workout punching a heavy bag. I hate exercise in general, but do enjoy boxing. Right now I get winded walking up the stairs in my house, and the heavy bag has not even been mounted in over 2 years.
  6. I am tired of coughing. I cough a lot, smokers cough. The mornings are the worse, when all the crap in your lungs has a chance to settle overnight. It is sometimes so bad that I get into a coughing fit in the morning for several minutes and have a hard time catching my breath. Remember that Todd, how your chest feels right now. Gooey, for lack of a better word, like your lungs are full of snot. Not a pretty picture is it? Remember that next week, as your lungs start to clear out, and the nicotine cravings are real bad. I’ve done this before, I know I feel MUCH better just a few days after I quit. My lungs clear very quickly and I notice the difference. There is near immediate payment for my struggles, don’t give up!
  7. I’ve heard that quitting smoking increases your sex drive. Hell, that should be reason enough!
  8. Thanks to our Communist governor Jim Doyle, and equally Communist Madison Mayor Dave, a pack of smokes cost $4.50. So that’s about $9 a day for me and $2.25 for Missy. $11.25 per day to kills ourselves real slow. Over $330 per month so we can shave 10-15 years off our lives? There are a lot of things we could spend $330 per month on. Or to look at it another way, $3,960 a year, that is a real nice vacation for Missy and me, as well as all of our kids! $3,960 would probably pay for ALL of the home improvements we would like to do to the home we are hoping to purchase later this month. We might even be able to fill up the Explorer and my F-150! 🙂
  9. Just feeling better in general. Sure the first week will be tough, but that week will pass.

I have tried to quit many times in the past and failed, but that was due to me not “really” wanting to quit. Other people wanted me to quit, I thought it “would be nice to quit”, but was never committed to it. I am now, and I know we NEED to quit. This blog entry is part of my plan, writing down the reasons that I want to quit, so that I can review them later. Another part of the plan is rewards for good behavior. I will let Missy create her own rewards, and whatever she comes up with will be fine with me. But here are my cookies:

  1. At 1 week, next Friday, I am going to rent a Cessna 152 and fly the hell out of it for 1 hour, solo, just flying around Madison doing whatever I feel like. Even money vs. smoking.
  2. At 1 month I am going to order the Acro Sport 2 airplane plans. I have wanted a set for some time and they cost $125. Smoking would have cost me $189 in this time frame, so I will already be $64 ahead.
  3. At 2 months, I am going to buy a bandsaw. The one I want costs $190, so I will then be $144 ahead.
  4. At 3 months I am going to order some Sitka Spruce to build the wings of the Acro Sport. I will spend about $250 on this, $20 less than smoking that month, and $164 more in my pocket than if I had smoked.
  5. At 6 months I am going to buy my own parachute. A used one runs about $600, and over the previous 3 months I will have saved $810 by not smoking. I will still be $374 in the black.
  6. At 1 year I am going to go skydiving. That only costs about $150, and it’s not worth keeping track of the money saved anymore by not smoking, that is just my reward for 1 year of not smoking. Do something that I have always wanted to do.

So there, I have listed some of the reasons I want to quit, and the rewards I will give to myself when I reach milestones along the way. I am going to quit Cold Turkey, which I know will make for 2-7 days of hell, but will also get the nicotine out of my system completely and quickly. I don’t want to do this slowly. I don’t want to use a patch, gum, inhaler, or anything else. To me those just prolong the misery, cost money, and I have tried them in the past. Just quit. Like Haley says “Just stop doing it”. She’s right, there is a lot of wisdom in a 7 year old.

Haley's Birthday and Immelman Turns

Happy Birthday Bug! It’s hard to believe you are 7 years old already! We all love you very much!

Today I flew my 5th aerobatic lesson with Mike Love. We started out with the normal aileron rolls on our way out to the practice area. We actually went a little farther north, just beyond the Wisconsin River near Sauk City because other students were practicing to the south. Once we got there, I did several loops, pretty nice ones too. So now aileron rolls and loops are old hat, not really a challenge to me anymore, and they don’t make me sick. Time to move on!

When you are learning aerobatics you start of with rolls and loops because they are the building blocks of more complex maneuvers. I was hoping for some Cuban 8’s today, but those will have to wait, the Immelman Turn is the obvious next step. It is named for the World War 1 German ace that invented it. The object of the Immelman is to reverse direction by 180 degrees while gaining altitude and losing airspeed. It is the nearly opposite of a Split-S. If the animation below does not work, just click it.

To perform the Immelman in a Cessna Aerobat you start by diving to get your speed up to 130 knots, about 10 knots faster than when doing a loop. You then pull up to about 3.5-4 G’s and hold that until you are near the top of the loop. At the top, you provide a little gentle forward pressure, just enough to hang there for a short second. This is real easy so far, now on to the part I had trouble with.

To roll the wings level you can roll either left or right, but have to initially provide opposite rudder. So if you roll left, you need some right rudder, and vice-versa. But you only use opposite rudder for a second, then switch to the other foot. It is similar to doing a crosswind landing, but upside down. I had a problem with this. I just could not seem to roll left and use right rudder, or roll right and use left. It actually became quite humorous, I just could not convince my feet to do what I wanted them to. The result was dubbed “The Osborne Turn” by my instructor, it is like an Immelman, but instead of turning 180 degrees, you turn either 90 or 270. Quite interesting 🙂

The first one I did actually resulted in me being pinned to the ceiling of the plane. I did not have my seatbelts tight enough, and the hang-time at the top of the loop made my head hit the ceiling. It was not comfortable, but it was funny. I tightened the seatbelts 🙂

Mike also warned me about the possiblity of spinning out of the top of an Immelman, that it is sometimes called the Immelman Spin because of the good likelihood of this happening. I guess I just had to prove it to myself. I did spin out of one unintentionally, but even that was fun.

I never really got the hang of the Immelman, at least not yet, so I will be back to face these again next week. The rest of the flight was real nice, a beautiful morning to fly.