Walls and weight

This is Miguel Jr. He’s 13 years old. Yep, child labor.

A crack developed in an upstairs wall recently, stemming from an array of glass bricks we had installed about 16 years ago in a space that originally had wooden windows like the one you see to the left in this photo. There was a serious problem with rain because the windows are badly made, so we removed the most vulnerable window and installed glass bricks.

No problem until a crack in the wall appeared recently. This is not rare in this type of construction. It happened in the stairwell many years ago, and I just spackled it over and painted. No sweat. But since this was happening in an exterior wall and jutting out from the glass bricks, I called my main man, Miguel. That’s his son in the photo, Miguel Jr.

While Papa Miguel was downstairs working on something else, some talavera tile that had worked loose, he assigned the preliminary toil to his son who is 13, and he did a fine job. Dad did the finish work, and all was completed in half a day.

They left the work unpainted because I wanted them gone as soon as possible, and I told Miguel I would do the painting, and I will. Lord knows when.


The fat boy

In the late 1970s, I weighed 225 pounds. I was 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and maybe I still am (doubtful), but the poundage was evenly distributed, so I really did not look fat, just very large and imposing. A black beard added to the menacing effect.

Around 1980, I knocked off about 55 pounds simply by eating better and doing regular, relatively light exercise, and I’ve been around 170 pounds ever since, 40 years. It wasn’t that difficult. Tip: Diets do not work.

Something odd happened recently. I put on some weight around the waist. I attribute it to age. My body is settling a bit. I admit, however, that I’ve become a bit careless with what I eat. No major deal except for one thing. I went from 34-waist jeans to 35-waist. Well, there is a second thing. For some irrational reason, finding 35-waist pants is almost impossible. The sizes leap from 34 to 36, and 36 is too loose.

I bought two pair of new jeans — I only wear jeans — with 36 waistlines, but they tend to slip south. The belt saves me. I recall that I once wore Dockers khakis in Houston, and Dockers were available with 35-inch waists. Don’t see those available now, however, but I prefer jeans anyway.

On Amazon Mexico, I found Wranglers jeans with 35-inch waists. A pair is winging its way to the mountaintop as I write this. If that works, I’ll order a couple more. Three pair should be enough.

Plus I have the two droopy 36s.

Meanwhile, my child bride made apple pie this week for the first time ever. Yesterday, I bought vanilla ice cream at the supermarket. After lunch today, we heated two slices, put vanilla ice cream on top. It was the first time I’d eaten apple pie with vanilla ice cream in about three decades.

It was lovely.

And around 5 p.m., I was downtown, sitting at a sidewalk table with an agua de fresa, which translates to strawberry water, but that fails to convey how good it is. I included a photo. Yes, the expanded waistline is due to age, nothing else.

I curse the years.

The Ironman

weightsI AM TRIM and, to all appearances, quite healthy for an old fart.

I attribute this to years of steady, light exercise, salads and a child bride. Don’t discount the latter.

In 1980, I weighed 60 pounds more than I weigh today. Oddly, I was not so much fat as formidable.

It was in that distant year in New Orleans — where I often would eat French fry po’ boys — that I decided to get trim and svelte.

Being fat is not an issue of hunger. It’s about habits and emotions. Services like Weight Watchers can address your bad habits, but they do little with your emotions, which is why 99 percent of overweight people get fat again soon after ending a weight-loss program.*

Of the two — habits and emotions — it’s emotions that play the primary role. They form the habits, after all.

Here’s how I took and kept off 60 pounds, and you can do it too. Well, except for those sneaky emotions.

I quit eating crap, and you know what the crap is: cakes, pies, burgers, Snickers, deep-fried anything, etc. You don’t need to buy a book that spells it out. It’s common sense.

And I started exercising. Twenty minutes of brisk walking five days weekly does it.  Thirty-five years later, I’m still at it.

Most folks start brutal exercise routines, weary of it within two weeks, and that’s the end of that. Don’t overreach.

In addition to walking, I do what my wife considers a laughable series of weight-lifting. That’s my weight machine in the photo. Three times a week, and it takes about 10 minutes.

I weigh what I weighed at age 21, half a century ago.

Before buying the weight apparatus, I visited a gym here three mornings a week, but the gym went out of business about five years back, so I purchased my setup at Liverpool in the capital city for the peso equivalent of about $600.

So there you have Felipe’s Foolproof Weight Loss System. Don’t eat crap, do light exercise five days a week (forever!) and marry a child bride, preferably Mexican.

You womenfolk can adjust that last element to your liking, but know that folks will gossip behind your back.

* * * *

*Don’t ever start a “diet” because they never work. The concept of a diet implies a beginning and — when you reach your “goal weight” — an end. When you end your diet, you start eating like you did before. And you get fat again. Never go on a diet. Instead, change your habits permanently.