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I spent the last 4 days cleaning out my garage. This was not a small project, and to be honest, I still need to spend some time sorting out tools and getting it organized. I was lucky that my parents decided to spend their weekend helping and holding a mega yard sale.

To be honest, I think my garage (that resembled my friend Monica’s stuffed closet) was a huge issue for my dad. His garage/shop is in perfect order. Every tool is in its place, and the shop is swept out every time he completes a project. He stops short of marking tool outlines on his walls the way bored old men do, but he is just about there. I think this is important to him because he made his living out of working in his shop. A clean shop made his life easier, and to be honest, I know my way around shop work but I don’t really like it. I am a white-collar kind of guy…in a redneck small-town country boy sort of way.

To be fair, after I completed my house remodel a year and a half ago, I didn’t move the majority of my personal belongings back into the house. I left them out there, because I was so burned out on the entire process. It also turns out that I didn’t really need all that stuff anyway. I ended up with a pathway through my garage like the crazies on that show Hoarders.

My garage mess was a source of embarrassment for me. I didn’t want people to go out there and see just how lazy I really am. It’s not that I didn’t have reasons for the mess, such as a full time job, a busy schedule, and barely enough time to get my normal errands done. The embarrassment comes from the fact that I had a problem that I wasn’t dealing with. That was the embarrassing part.

Growing up, I had more than my share of embarrassment. I think every kid had that issue, but as a fat kid, it is 10 times worse. You don’t have the option of hiding the fact you are fat. If you have a birthmark or a nervous tick, you can hide it. When you weigh over 300 pounds as a sophomore in high school, it’s kind of hard to hide. Throw in the fact you are on the wrestling team, and it’s impossible to hide, especially when you have to get dressed for a match in a wrestling singlet. For those who don’t know, a singlet is shorts that have a type of attached suspenders, ala Borat on the beach. This uniform doesn’t look good on any guy, let alone a 14 year old with a beer gut and no muscle definition. It’s a wonder I didn’t snap, climb on top of the gym, pitch a screaming fit and jump.

But, I digress. The great garage cleanout of 2010 really got me thinking about losing weight. I was totally embarrassed about my size over the last 30 years, because I was leaving it unchecked. Once I made my mind up to start losing weight and started to see it pay off, I was no longer embarrassed. I felt like I didn’t need to hide from people any more, even though at the time I was still over 500 pounds. I have to say that was a good feeling. Over the last four years, that hasn’t changed.

The lesson I learned was that it wasn’t the problem I had, it was the fact I was letting it go and not taking the bull by the horns and wrestling it (singlet optional).

Paulie

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