March In Review, April Check-In

March was a very difficult month, y’all. 

Katie was down with some health issues for the entire month. And while it was hard to keep up my job, keep up the house, keep up the animals and keep up with her needs while trying to maintain my workout routine (and sanity), the hardest part was seeing my babe not being able to do what she wanted. Granted, what she wanted to do was work, work more and clean – I swear, that woman takes a break from work by zoning out with a Swiffer. She’s sick, I tell ya.

This major bump in the road has changed our lives in many ways. On the downside, she had to deal with the mental stress of being down every day, she missed a couple weeks of work, it’s been my week to cook every week, we’ve seen first-hand just what a joke the American healthcare system is, we’ve missed out on our usual date nights and plans with friends and spring has officially sprung in East Tennessee, leaving my poor, bed-ridden wife to stew in her agony while it’s basically paradise outside.

Outside of that, we saw our home state sign a pointless bill into law that is intentionally vague so that it doesn’t say “drag performers and trans people are criminals” while saying exactly that. And we watched in horror as yet another school shooting rocked the nation, this time in nearby Nashville, killing six with three being nine-year-old children. 

Katie and I talk often about the kind of values we want to create for our Little Wolf when we bring them into the world – values that encourage strength and empathy that do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or hatred of any other kind. Yet here I am, my heart rattled by the fact that the state I love so much is so openly hateful to the LGBTQIA+ community for either celebrating their culture or simply living as themselves. Here I am, on the verge of tears as I watch countless lawmakers denying that school shootings are a problem, denying that assault weapons are easily accessible and claiming the only solution to murdered school children is to make more people carry instruments of death while the rest of the country “prays about it.” 

It crushes me to think that if our child is anything but cisgendered that they’ll face bullying, harassment and threats unlike anything we ever had to deal with because of this culture of hatred we’ve nurtured in the state of Tennessee. It makes me sick to think of how they’ll have to walk through drills for how they’re going to handle an active shooter situation in their school simply because our lawmakers are more concerned about the money the NRA is pumping into their campaigns and the campaigns of their like-minded colleagues — too concerned about losing the votes of a public that’s been convinced tHe LiBs ArE cOmInG fOr OuR gUnS — to do anything about a problem that’s unique to the United States.

I hate it all so bad that it’s made it impossible to celebrate the indictment of disgraced former president 45, though I absolutely cannot wait to see those mugshots! 

The icing on the cake was when I found out our lawn care crew is no longer in the business. They didn’t bother telling us that. Our yard looks atrocious and apparently nobody else services Lenoir City. Related: I sold my lawn mower a couple of months ago.

To reiterate, March has been an incredibly hard month. It’s not been without some great stuff, though, and that’s what we’re striving to focus on every day. Let’s talk about them:

Goals I’ve Kept Up With:

15-17% Body Fat

Like I said last month, my weight loss goal is outta here, mister. I’ve shifted to focus more on overall body composition change and I’m doing a great job so far. As of April 1, I am down 2% body fat (18.5% down from 20.5% in January!). More on how that’s happened in the next goal.

Clean Eating, Treat Meals and Dad Bod 2.0

I am currently in love with my training program and nutrition. Currently I’m lifting five days a week (with a lower-body day on Monday and Thursday, upper-body day on Tuesday and Friday and an arms day on Saturday). I’m trying to get in the “recommended” 10,000 steps per day, whether it be from working out, morning walks or otherwise and trying to get in more mobility sessions. 

Nutrition has been easier than it should be. Due to the aforementioned health issues Katie is experiencing and the caretaker responsibilities I hadn’t planned for, getting a weekly meal plan together is the last thing I’ve been in the mood for. Fed + Fit to the rescue! I have been using her weekly newsletter as my blueprint for meal plans because her meals are always made from whole foods, are designed with weeknight cooking in mind, are hearty in a way that makes you not long for hardcore comfort food AND she organizes a grocery list for you? It’s too easy, really. 

I usually skip her Breakfast, Lunch and Dessert recipes. Some highlights from dinner include: Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala, Turkey Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Chili-Lime Seared Ahi Tuna, Pesto Chicken & Potatoes and the Easy Shrimp Boil.

My breakfast has primarily been a modified version of this Breakfast Cobbler recipe from FitMenCook, daily sweet treats are these Almond Flour Cookies that I’ve modified by adding Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips and lunch has just been leftovers from the night before. 

Saturday is my treat day and it always starts with me hitting up Richy Kreme Donuts in Rocky Hill (basically next door to my gym) and ends with me either ordering a big ass cheeseburger from Aubrey’s, pizza from Marco’s or tacos from the Party House (Casa Fiesta). This month I also cooked for one of those nights – one of my favorite treat meals of all time – Country-Fried Steak & Gravy.

Randomly: I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since our Nashville trip. I would love a beer.

3-Month Goal – Read 3 New Books (12 Books, 12 Month Goal)

Since I had already hit this goal last month, it wasn’t hard to maintain progress. I’ll admit, though, the book I started in February Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis was an ass-pounding 415 pages so I spent the entire month of March finishing it. I wrapped it up April 1, bringing my book count for the year to six – halfway to my yearly goal and only three months in! I’m now about to start The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings by Jan Harold Brunvand.

Daily Music

I play guitar every day. Sometimes drums and sometimes bass as well, but I play guitar every. Single. Day. During the second week of March, I wrapped up my project of learning every song on Green Day’s Insomniac record. After finishing up Walking Contradiction, I slowly banged out the opening for Nice Guys Finish Last, the opener on Nimrod, the album that followed up Insomniac, and in doing so I started my next project.

Goals that Need Revision:

75% Debt Free

I haven’t done poorly here but progress has been a bit slower than I had anticipated. My three-month goal for this had me sitting at 18% of my debt erased but the reality is I was only able to knock out 9%. Good news is I just paid off my lowest debt so the snowball effect is about to pick up the pace! Seeing that I’m knocking out roughly 3% per month, my new goal is to have 36% of my debt gone by the end of the year. Slow and steady, baby. Slow. And. Steady.

New Goals:

Green Day: Nimrod and Then Some

As previously stated, I started working on Green Day’s record Nimrod on guitar. At the time of this writing, I’ve learned Nice Guys Finish Last, Hitchin’ a Ride, The Grouch and Redundant. I also already knew how to play Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). This week I add Scattered and All the Time.

I realize that Nimrod is my fourth project of this type – starting with Green Day’s Dookie two years ago, Blink 182’s Enema of the State (on bass) last year and Insomniac this year. I guess it doesn’t really matter that at the end of Nimrod I will be able to play three entire Green Day records but I feel like I should probably branch out some. I’m still only going to play stuff I like, so I’ll probably take on more pop-punk / punk projects but I’m entertaining learning some more blues – maybe even taking classes. Rumor has it I’m getting a keyboard soon so I may switch gears altogether and learn piano next.

Goals I’m Letting Go:

None this month!

Rad Things from March:

Like I said, it’s not been all bad or hard. In March my parents got a new dog named Jax, I learned how to make high-protein naan (made from flour and Greek yogurt), I made that banging country-fried steak, I found a photo of Hacksaw Jim Duggan carrying groceries (though it may be AI-generated), I scored tickets to both Guns N’ Roses and KISS and I’m down 2% body fat. Katie and I have also made the best of our situation this month and haven’t missed an opportunity to laugh. I’ve brought her breakfast in bed every day, have surprised her with flowers a couple of times and even designed some bed-rest date nights. She’s still the supermodel I married back in November and we’re still the ultimate Power Couple. Knoxville isn’t ready for our first date night back on the scene!

And that, Mister Tuttle, is how you principal. See y’all next month.




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