Wednesday, March 12, 2014


The BG has always been time sensitive. She got a watch in second grade, and never forgot to put it on before school every morning. I have not-so-fond memories of the following exchange, which happenend almost every evening in 2009-10:

BG: "When's dinner?"
BigD: "6:00."
BG: "So, 37 minutes?"
BigD "Yes."
BG: "Ready?"
BigD "5 minutes." 
BG "So 6:05?"

That's a lot of pressure, especially when the menu needs to include options friendly to both vegetarians and discriminating diners.

At some point, the $ 10 Timex stopped working or disappeared, and the BG moved on to the Iphone. Over the holidays, she confessed that she had been coveting a watch again, and was disappointed that there was not one in her stocking.

As luck would have it, I had been having similar thoughts. I had been thinking about starting to wear a watch again - I had grown tired of having to fish my phone out of my pocket to check the time, and I like being able, in meetings, to glance at my wrist to see how much time we have spent up to the moment.

Fitbit had just come out with a fitness tracker (it has now been recalled due to allergic reactions in some users, but we do not seem to be affected) that included a display--you did not have to sync it with your phone or PC to see data--and the display  included  the current time. Revolutionary, I know. Anyway, it seemed like just the thing, with the added bonus of a little father/daughter sharing/bonding activity: we could go shopping together, and track our activity levels from afar.

The bands were hot items over the holidays, and the retailers carrying them had all sold out. checked Amazon each day, and was able to find, after a few mornings, first the smaller version, and then one for me. They arrived the same day. We set them up and started tracking.

The most interesting thing the unit tracks is the number of steps per day, setting a default goal of 10,000 steps. When you hit the target, the wristband vibrates to let you know, a warm embrace that provides far more pleasure than one would expect from A 10 second tingle. soon I learned that my Saturday walk to and from the Y, sandwiched around 30 minutes of cardio, would allow me to hit 10,000 on the walk home, and that my weekday ritual--drop  BG  at bus, walk dog, drive OG to school, work out, spend day at home working and doing chores, dog walk after dinner - would result in a day that consisted of 11 to 12,000 steps. Perfect.

I forgot my charger when I returned to the bathroom, and it is just this week that I got to set up my wristband on Serbian time (GMT +1). I chose my new apartment for two main reasons, beyond it being nice: one, it has a small gym, and two, it is a longer walk (about 10 minutes) to the office. I figured that there would be no problem putting up numbers.

I have been pretty good about working out every morning in 2014, but yesterday--my first full day back home after a week covering for Worldwide (Papua New Guinea this time)--I could not bring myself to get out of bed in a timely fashion, and I decided to skip it. I checked the data as I left, and when I stepped off the last stair in front of our 5th floor office, learned that it was a measly 1,400 steps from my apartment, less, even than the dog walk . Actually I made ​​the walk twice yesterday morning (I forgot my phone), and after work, I stopped off at the supermarket, which is about ten minutes walk from the office in the opposite direction from my apartment. Even with the extra commute and the supermarket detour, I only logged 9,500 steps yesterday. No hug for you, slacker.

I was back in the gym this morning. I knew my 20 minutes on the treadmill was not going to provide the 7,000 steps necessary to make up the deficit, but I harbored hope that it would at least get me to the point, where a supermarket detour or a lunchtime errand might get me to the "promised land. But it's just over 2,000 steps, meaning there's still a huge gap between my goal and reality. I may have to change my leadership style to the awful" management by wandering around." If I take a lap around the office once an hour just to make sure everybody's beavering away, I might be able to hit my target. Did I mention how much I enjoy the tingling satisfaction of hitting my target?

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