It's Official: I Am the Biggest Loser

Or at least the joint biggest loser. Yes, the weight loss contest at work has come to an end. For my final tally, I have lost 5% body fat in 10 weeks, which is good enough for a first place tie with the girl that organized the contest, who also lost 5%. Our office manager explored a variety of tiebreakers, including total pounds lost (we both lost 13), who lost a greater percentage of fat in relation to their starting percentage (I did), and who lost a greater percentage of pounds in relation to their starting weight (she did). There was really no way to call it one way or another, so we are going to split the winnings 50/50.

Now that the contest is over, I am certainly going to relax my diet a bit, but I feel like I have turned over a new leaf. I am planning to continue exercising regularly and watching what I eat. But for now, by way of celebration, I am overdue for my semi-annual Muddy Buddy binge.



We Heart Sandwiches

Kristen and I love a good sandwich, and are always on the lookout for new places to frequent. We had spotted Cafe Zupas recently and thought we should give it a try, but just hadn't gotten around to stopping in. Well, we got a takeout menu in the mail last week (how do they do that?). While perusing the menu, even as we were dilly-dallying over what we should cook for dinner, we decided the time was now.

Well, words cannot express the disappointment when we got our food. My turkey bacon avocado panini was little more than a glorified grilled cheese sandwich. Kristen's Chipotle Chicken Salad was beyond generic. As we were picking through the meh-riffic remains, Kristen accidentally tipped my water straight into my lap. With that icy surprise, the time had come to make a hasty exit.

On the other end of the spectrum, while out and about acquiring Eddie's Halloween costume this past Saturday, we tried yet another new place—Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. Even though their employees were trained to maintain that obnoxious "we're here to serve you with a goofy, happy-go-lucky attitude" customer service persona (you know the kind), we couldn't argue with the tastiness of the food. My "Italian Night Club" had just the right amount of zing to go along with the delicious pun.

These recent experiences got us to thinking about some of our favorite sandwich places, past and present, and our obligation to share them with you, our fellow bloggers. We frequent the big chains (Subway, Quiznos, Gandolfo's) as much as the next sandwich addict, but this list is comprised of those select establishments that aren't every third block, and are well worth the extra effort.

Kneaders Bakery & Cafe
South Jordan, Riverton, Midvale, Orem, Provo

A sandwich is only as good as its bread, and Kneaders doesn't disappoint with several artisan breads to choose from as your foundation. And while I am usually a roast beef and pastrami kind of guy, I find myself going for Kneaders' delicious pulled turkey sandwiches more often than not. Their Turkey Bacon Avocado on Focaccia could definitely beat up the one from Cafe Zupas.

Park City, Downtown Salt Lake

Leger's makes the kind of sandwich that has a certain homemade quality, only it always tastes so much better than what I make myself. A regular in my lunch rotation when I worked for the corporation that shall not be named, I'd grab a half pastrami on sourdough, then make a quick stop at the 7-Eleven for a 32 oz. Mountain Dew Code Red (no wonder I was packing on the pounds). I made sure to take Kristen there on the way to the family cabin earlier this summer.

Logan's Heroes

Shockingly enough, for all the time we lived in Logan, and as many times as we drove past this little hole-in-the-wall on Main Street, we didn't get around to trying it until just before we moved down to Salt Lake. I don't remember a whole lot about it other than their sandwiches were indeed heroic. We have still only been there that once, but we definitely need to make time for a return visit next time we are in Cache Valley.

New York NY Fresh Deli
Formerly South Jordan, Downtown Salt Lake

Not long after moving to South Jordan, we spotted this little deli and quickly became faithful patrons. After a few visits, we noticed we were typically the only ones in the place, save the stocky Italian man making the sandwiches, so we kind of figured its days were numbered. However, that didn't lessen the blow any when earlier this year I stopped by to grab some take-out and was met with a handwritten note explaining they had closed. Apparently there is another location downtown, but suburbanites like us are scared of the big city.

The Robin's Nest
Formerly Sugar House, Downtown Salt Lake

Once we discovered The Robin's Nest, we'd stop in all the time to grab a few sandwiches (on "squeak & bubble" ciabatta bread as they called it), and head over to Sugar House Park for many an impromptu picnic. That is until they moved their location downtown and we moved to South Jordan. Apparently we need to plan a weekend getaway to the city and dine on nothing but sandwiches from our old favorites (plus, I've heard good things about Tony Caputo's).

Sandy, Downtown Salt Lake

I was first introduced to the serious sandwich with the funny name when my dad was doing the Money Mailer thing, and we met him there for lunch one day. I have been a believer ever since. We aren't over in Sandy all that much, but when we are, we know where we are going to eat. The soon to be former location in the ZCMI food court was also a favorite dinner stop when going to do sessions at the Salt Lake Temple.

Village Baker
West Jordan

Village Baker is a takeout staple of the Salt City Candle office, offering generous portions at very reasonable prices. Along with New York NY Fresh Deli, it was also a hot spot where Kristen could get her chicken salad sandwich fix when she was pregnant and deli meat was off limits (have I mentioned I'm grateful to be a man?).

Now it becomes your obligation to notify us of any other good sandwich places we may be missing out on. But wouldn't you know it, Kristen has made a stop at Village Baker in her travels today so she can meet me at the park for lunch. If you will excuse me, all this blogging has made me hungry.


Photo Tag

I was tagged by Melissa. I'm not sure if there are rules, so I might have cheated since they're not all photos. They are all images found on a Google search, though.

My age next year

My favorite food

My favorite color

My first job

My nickname

My favorite place to visit

My goal for the year

The city I live in

My favorite place to be

I tag Caitlin, Heather, and Amanda.


Eddie's Halloween Costume

Now that all of this gallbladder unpleasantness is out of the way, we can get on with more important issues, specifically, what should Eddie be for Halloween? We have narrowed it down to the following choices. Let your voice be heard.

Disclaimer: All costumes subject to availability and may differ from photos. Dave & Kristen reserve right to override final poll results and choose any costume they want.


Ten Things...

...That are Awesome About Gall Bladder Surgery/Hospitalization

This is to encourage all of you out there who haven't yet had your superfluous organs removed to take the plunge! It's really quite the pleasant experience.

10. Body odor and greasy hair being socially acceptable.

9. That stuff they put on your skin that turns it orange (because orange skin is in).

8. Tape that removes all your arm hair when you try to pull it off (free waxing services).

7. Having to call someone in to unhook all the machines every time you need to use the bathroom (which is a lot because they'll be pumping you full of fluid).

6. Having a machine help you breathe (since breathing is a waste of energy).

5. Not needing to chew your food (also a waste of energy).

4. Running out of veins for new IVs.

3. Having portions of your life completely gone from your memory (thanks to the anesthesia).

2. All the extra room your pancreas gets to float around in.

1. Dee, the obese southern nurse with no teeth calling you "honey child."


Only Mostly Dead

Thank you all for all your support during our little adventure. Don't worry, I've spent so much time lying around the past 5 days that I have a couple of great blog posts in the works... so they are coming soon. I did want to mention one tidbit that Dave failed to. Apparently by the time I was admitted to the hospital, my level of something in my gall bladder (not sure if they're enzymes or if they just measure the level of bile) was "record breaking," according to my nurse. All the doctors and nurses kept telling me I looked worse on paper than in person, so on Tuesday, I asked my nurse about it. He said, "When I reviewed your chart before coming in to see you, I expected you to be mostly dead." Apparently nobody there has ever seen levels so high as mine. That made me a little disappointed that they made me sign a release saying they could dispose of my gallbladder and stones. I was hoping I could keep it in a jar as a trophy.

But, rest assured, I was just mostly dead, and I did survive. Now I am home and seem to be recovering quite quickly now that I can eat real food and don't have to sleep on a plastic bed (I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my entire life). So thanks again for all your support and feel free to come visit sometime (though you might want to call first so I'm decent). And I must give a shout-out to my mom who has taken the week off work and lived at our house and become Ed's surrogate mother. We couldn't have done it without her and it was so reassuring having her here!

And coming soon... The Top Ten Best Things About Having Your Gallbladder Removed!


Redeemed From the Gall of Bitterness

The surgery to remove Kristen's gallbladder went ahead as planned on Sunday afternoon. I thought about suggesting that they take out her appendix and any other superfluous organs while she was under, but apparently that's not how it works. Everything went just fine, although the surgeon determined that another procedure was needed on Monday to fish out any loose gallstones still floating around in her bowels. Once she was officially "de-stoned," Kristen got to enjoy a delicious diet of beef broth, jello, and apple juice on the road to recovery.

The doctor was only slightly more punctual than he was on Friday as we anxiously awaited word on Kristen's possible release today. After the nurse called him several times during the day to see when he was coming, he finally strolled in around 4:30. When he briefly inquired, "your vitals look good, you wanna go home?" Kristen responded with a firm "YES."

After what has seemed like a lifetime, we all got home a little while ago. Kristen just enjoyed a very refreshing shower, and now we are going to dine on some chicken noodle soup, courtesy of the Relief Society. Our gratitude goes out to all of you for your continuing thoughts and prayers.


Gall Darn It

Kristen had been experiencing some back pain and abdominal pain off and on since last Saturday. Yesterday morning at about 4 am, she woke me up to rub her back, since it was hurting pretty bad (talk about a pregnant wife flashback). She also had to throw up a few times, but eventually fell asleep. When I got up to go to work she seemed to be doing better, but I told her if she was having trouble taking care of Eddie, I would come home to help out.

About 10 am, she let me know that she needed me, because she couldn't hold Eddie at all without losing her cookies. When I got home, she looked completely dazed, and had been throwing up consistently. Kristen thought she just had the stomach flu, but with our friends Ben and Becky's recent story of appendicitis on my mind, I decided it was for the best if we took her to the Emergency Room. After various tests, the doctors determined that she didn't have the stomach flu, or appendicitis, but gallstones.

Kristen was admitted into the hospital late yesterday afternoon, and the mysterious surgeon we had been hearing about all day finally showed up around 8:30 pm to give his consultation. He informed us that Kristen was going to need to have her gallbladder removed in order to avoid similar such problems in the future. However, her white blood cell count was high, and her pancreas was overworked, so surgery would have to wait until things looked better. Since her pancreas needs to simmer down, she hasn't been allowed to eat or drink anything through the mouth. She has been getting all her nutrients through an IV, and to wet her whistle, she can only wipe her mouth with a moist swab. How refreshing!

The surgeon came in again this afternoon, and let us know that all her blood tests were looking a lot better, and if things continue to improve, she will bid adieu to her gallbladder sometime tomorrow. Eddie has been a real trooper through it all, continuing to smile, squeal, and blow spit bubbles, even as he has been subjected to a crash course in eating baby formula. Kristen's parents rushed up from Cedar City yesterday afternoon when they heard the news, so that has been a great help. We will be sure to keep everyone updated as to how the surgery goes.


Scenic Scipio

The drive to Cedar City is a little bit too long for Eddie to handle all in one trip. On our way down last Friday night, we stopped in Fillmore so he could enjoy a quick snack and get his wiggles out. On our way home Monday afternoon, Ed was breaking down about the time we were coming up on Scipio, so we decided to stop there. Most people have probably never been past the Scipio gas stations, and we were no exception.

After a quick stop at Dairy Queen, we proceeded to cruise through town in search of a park. Luckily we found one just before civilization dropped completely away. As it turns out, the Scipio Dairy Queen is in serious need of some quality control. My twist cone was actually more of a chocolate cone with a thin vanilla racing stripe, and Kristen ended up giving up on her cookie dough blizzard halfway through. Shocking, I know, but it had consistency of cookie dough soup. Anyway, once our mediocre dairy treats were out of the way, we ventured over to the playground.

Eddie's first ride on a slide. His mommy was much more scared than he was.

Once it was time for Eddie to eat, I hit the street with camera in hand to continue my photographic series of old timey Utah. Previous installments can be found here and here.


A World Without a Voice

Don LaFontaine has died.

I know what you are thinking, who the heck is that? To unravel this mystery, you must journey to a world where one man's voice has defined movies for an entire generation. That's right, he was the instantly recognizable voice-over king of the modern movie trailer.

In recent years, the clichés of movie trailers have been parodied so much that it has become a cliché to parody movie trailer clichés. But in honor of Mr. LaFontaine's legendary career, here is one of the original and best of such parodies, a short film which features five of our most famous voice-over artists sharing a limo ride. LaFontaine is the first to appear.


Come to Zion

Over the long weekend, we took a jaunt to Cedar City to play my parents' Wii... um, I mean to visit my parents. On Saturday, we went to Zion National Park to do a little hiking. It was wicked hot (especially for someone like me who has not ventured outside our 74 degree house all summer). We rode the shuttle to the end of the line and hiked the Temple of Sinawava trail.

Eddie wasn't a fan of his baby carrier, and since my face was beet red after about a quarter-mile (due to the 75 degree+ climate and my general wimpiness), my mom willingly offered to carry him most of the way. All I can say is it's amazing what grandmas will do when they're suffering grandchild withdrawals.

"Why are you sitting down, Grandma? I feel great!"

By the way some of our fellow hikers were gawking at and snapping photos of the local squirrels, you would have thought they'd seen Sasquatch. Personally, I try to avoid squirrels as much as possible, since they all seem to have some sort of vendetta against me—I don't think they ever forgave me for running over one of their second cousins with my bike.

This photo was taken at the end of the day, which is why Eddie is passed out with no pants on. Oh, how I envied him.