COVID Chronicles Part Two: The Weight and The Wait

Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland was a ghost town the morning of the park’s public opening on July 11th

A few weekends ago, Crystal and I went out to one of our neighborhoods nicest restaurants, a steakhouse, for a spur of the moment night out. We had been “out” to dinner a few times in the time since the State of Florida began to lift some restrictions, but this was the first “fancy” night out since, probably, my 30th birthday last November. When I went to get dressed – opting for a pair of pants I had worn on my last day in the office in March – a problem presented itself: they didn’t fit! In March, the navy blue chinos were almost too large, now they were the opposite: too tight. I quickly shifted to a pair of fashion forward jeans that were far more forgiving and still plenty acceptable for the steak house in question. A great, delicious evening was had by all.

My quarantine weight served as yet another example of all the impacts that isolation has had, on me and plenty more. Crystal and I intentionally ate poorly at the onset of all this, which I admitted in my last post, but even as I reigned in my habits I still wasn’t seeing the scale follow suit. I spent a few days brooding over this, especially considering I had committed several weeks of effort into a rough draft of a book about weight loss and now couldn’t fit into my own pants. For years I’ve been a champion of not being too hard on one’s self, now more than ever. The episode with the pants, though, served to challenge my own narrative. A new wave of anxiety ensued.

My renewed anxiety was furthered by a revolving door of “hurry up and wait” narratives, both in my own mind and in the public consciousness. We learned this week that our honeymoon cruise, scheduled for late September, is now cancelled. This capped a months long personal saga spent trolling internet news sites for headlines about the cruise industry and whether or not our ship would sail. Elsewhere, I’ve labored over whether or not my loved Tampa Bay Lightning will get another shot at the Cup this year or whether the Buccaneers signing of Tom Brady will even ever matter. As a sort of barometer of progress against the virus, I’ve followed the ups and downs of the release date for Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”; nearly every day there has been news that the release date was going to be moved back, it’s been moved 2-3 times, two weeks a pop. I’ve asked, endless times, will this be the week that we see a turn towards normalcy? What about this one? How about now? It’s been a season of hurrying to wait further still.

Finally I resolved to put all that aside. Saying nothing of making the best of a bad situation, I opted to focus on the little things. The things that, when this is all said and done, I’ll sit back and say I miss about this era. Here are a few:


I’ve written extensively on this blog about my love of reading. With nowhere to go, no lengthy commutes, no new movies, and the heat of summer, my rate of consumption has exploded. I hadn’t thought of keeping track early enough, but I’ve probably read 15 books since leaving the office in March, the majority of them in the last month and a half. Both out of a desire to keep my budget in check and a lack of any more shelf space, the majority of these books have come from the library, a resource I’ve been neglecting for years. I imagine my reading will continue at elevated levels when this is all over, but the pace I’m on will be unsustainable once we’re back to normal.


Traffic is something nobody complains about anymore. Even those among us that leave for jobs in essential fields don’t experience much of it. Meanwhile, we never have to wait for a table at our local breakfast spot anymore. We had a similar experience at Walt Disney World: wearing a mask in that heat was a real bitch, but waiting no time at all for attractions that normally garner two hours lines was a rare treat. These and other businesses, of course, cannot survive like this for long. But being able to come and go so easily has had for me, a consumer, a relaxing effect.


I never could have guesses that we’d be beginning our lives as homeowners and a married couple like this. That said, spending so much time waiting for something else has left plenty of time to be…together. We’ve burned through all seven seasons of New Girl (a show that predicts COVID-19 in it’s final season, it’s true!). There’s been plenty of time in the morning for coffee together. More than ever there have been opportunities for after-dinner walks, lunch by the pool, and sunsets on the back patio. 

What could be better than that?

Stay safe everyone.

Thirty Years And The Five Books That Defined Them

They See Me Reading’, They Hatin…

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For all 30 years of my life I’ve been a pretty avid reader, a calling card in my social circles. I get asked for book recommendations fairly regularly, especially this time of year as the weather gets cooler and folks start taking a little time for R and R. 

Are these THE books that changed my life? As in, the only ones? Not really. Charting every single work that had an impact on my life seems like a pretty futile exercise, plus the time it would take to read an article that long is time better spent reading…well…a book. Anyway… in no particular order, here are the books that made the biggest impact on the first 30 years of my life… 

1) Why We Get Fat (And What To Do About It), Gary Taubes 

The majority of Americans, especially those my age, are prepared to accept the idea that government influence warps what we believe to be the “truth.” In this abbreviated version of “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” Taubes shines light on 50+ years of Federal influence in dietary theory and policy. This influence, he argues, has lead to a focus on fat and calories as the harbinger of obesity and heart disease…despite the evidence that these may not be the culprit at all. There’s lots of great detail in here and the book reads like a piece of long form, investigative journalism. If I had to pick a single book that changed my life, I couldn’t. I could pick two though, this one is the first. 

2) 1984, George Orwell

The second book to change my life is this Orwellian classic. I read it first in 2007…the themes were true then and truer now: government surveillance, federal attempts to modify “the narrative,” endless wars of flip-flopping alliances. The book has received renewed interest during the Trump administration but its staying power is proof that all administrations are guilty of similar sins against the truth, in some form or another. 

3) The Obesity Code, Dr. Jason Fung

While the yarn that Fung weaves is similar to that of Taubes in “Why We Get Fat,” this is still must-see reading for those interested in weight loss. This book lead me to intermittent fasting, a life changing shift that, though I was less than optimistic, was surprisingly easy to adopt. Fung argues that we’ve spent decades asking “what” we should eat forgoing the question of “when” we should eat. Fung, a doctor specializing in diabetes, packs this tome full of detail, but it’s a fairly easy read…for the better.

4) A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James

I stumbled upon this title in a Rolling Stone Magazine review and it’s just so…unique. Clocking in just south of 700 pages that flip and flop between characters, (some that speak traditional Jamaican Patois, some that are ghosts) locations, and years, “Seven Killings” is a marathon in the truest sense of the word. The book, which has a backdrop of a failed assassination attempt on Bob Marley, could very easily mean different things to different people. A challenging, long read, the narrative speaks to anyone familiar with trying to make something of themselves.

5) The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright

I came of age in the shadow of 9/11 and the, now, nearly two decade war on terror. “Tower” was an education, for me, in a myriad of history and issues I was too young to be well read on when the towers fell as a 6th grader. This book serves as an education, for everyone, on the straight line relationships between the origins of “muslim extremism” in the 1940’s all the way through to 9/11. Wright outlines, painfully, the steps…intentional and accidental alike…taken by the CIA and FBI that blundered attempts to prevent the attack. This isn’t conspiracy laden, “Loose Change” type stuff, “Tower” is the result of years of fact driven research. A Hulu Original miniseries by the same name covers about the last third of the book…it’s a good adaptation…but an adaptation all the same. This book is a must read.