It pays to be well qualified

On February 6th, I was summarily fired from my teaching job with no warning and no reason given, other than “We are going in a different direction, and you are no longer a good fit for us.” Rumor had it that a student who has a wealthy and well connected father was angry that she got a C on one of my Chemistry exams, and had had her father come in and demand that I be fired.

I got an informal job offer today and will start very soon, pending background check and salary negotiation, meaning that I was out of work for exactly 20 days. I will be teaching Chemistry and Physics to 11th and 12th grade honors students. The new school is 30 minutes away from my house, but that is fine with me.

It seems that teachers who are certified to teach STEM classes are hard to come by. I am certified to teach Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Health, and a number of other sciences.  Teachers with those certifications are not easy to find.

Other than putting my resume out there, I spent the last three weeks getting caught up on household chores like yard work and getting some maintenance done on the cars. The old school had to pay me some money under the terms of my contract (which came to two months’ pay), I got two weeks’ unemployment, and now I am back to work. As it turns out, I actually made money on the deal.

As for my old school, the morning before I was fired they hired a guy to take over my classes who isn’t even certified to teach those subjects. He is a teacher who is only certified to teach Middle School physical education and has never taught before. The school has to send a letter to the parents of all of his students, informing them that the classes are being taught by an uncertified teacher. I am guessing that he won’t last long.

2015 in review

Here is the obligatory year in review post. I don’t mention a lot o personal stuff on here, but this post will be an exception.

This has been a pretty good year.

I began the year working as a part time science teacher. While doing my taxes, I was able to get an exemption from the Obamacare penalty, but it was obvious that I would not be able to do so forever. The penalty is going to be quite a bit more expensive for 2015, and buying insurance is also too expensive. I needed to get a job that offers health care benefits.For reasons that I am not yet at liberty to discuss, I could not return to my old career as a paramedic, so my only other option was to go full time as a teacher. So I now teach Biology and Chemistry at the High School level.

In November, I became engaged to my girlfriend of the past two years. We are getting married next fall.

There is a post to follow in this, but the bank finally managed to foreclose on the house from my bankruptcy six years ago. I am glad to finally be rid of that albatross.

This was a good year for travel.

This year, I took road trip to New Orleans in March, and one to Canada, Maine, and many places in between in July. In June, we  flew to Puerto Rico and took a seven day cruise to Aruba, St Martin, St Kitts, and St Thomas.
In November, we took two cruises: the first being a two day trip to the Bahamas, and the second was a seven day cruise to St Thomas, St Martin, and the Bahamas. We were on the French Side of St Martin when the Paris attacks occurred.
For Christmas, we decided to take a trip to Hawaii. We left on December 18th right after work. We arrived in Oahu the next day. We flew home on the 29th, and arrived home on the 30th. There are a few posts on that coming up.

All in all, this was a pretty good year. I look forward to what 2016 brings.

How I did it

In my last post, I talked about how I lost 70 pounds in just 5 months. It was pretty simple in concept. I went on the theory that type 2 diabetics (which I was becoming) are insulin resistant. This means that a low fat diet is not a good idea, because carbs are difficult for insulin resistant people to process in a healthy way, and tax a system that is already in disorder.

The problem:

The signs that diabetes was coming were there: over 40 years old, 50 inch waist, BMI of 42, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, and the sudden appearance (within the past year) of skin tags around the neck and shoulders. (Skin tags are sometimes a sign of insulin resistance.) This was confirmed by an A1C of 6.6. A reading of 6.6 is a little high, and is technically on the low end of being diabetic.
If I wanted to not be a diabetic, I needed to lose weight and keep it off, and then I must learn to control my diet in a healthy and maintainable way. I decided that I needed to lose at least 100 pounds.

The solution, phase one:

I immediately gave up all starches and sugars, and the only carbs I am eating are vegetable fiber. So, I eat vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber (and pickles), olives, string beans, and other low carb vegetables. I stay away from nuts, peas, carrots, corn, potatoes, rice, wheat and grains of all kinds, all oils except olive oil, and no fruit.
I limit my eating of tomatoes, onions, and dairy products. I can eat meats, except I stay away from organ meats in order to avoid gout.
I can eat one dessert each day that uses alcohol sugars, and one Adkins bar in place of lunch. You also have to learn to only eat when you are hungry, not when you have an appetite. There is a difference.
I eat less than 30 carbs a day, most days less than 20.When counting carbs, do not count dietary fiber or alcohol sugars like splenda, because they do not affect insulin resistance and do not cause spikes in blood sugar. No alcoholic beverages.

A typical day for me goes like this:

6 a.m. Breakfast: Two sausage patties, two scrambled eggs with a tablespoon of salsa or chopped onion for flavor, and a large cup of coffee with two Splenda. Total carb count: 4
noon: An Adkins bar to hold off hunger pains. 3 carbs. Sometimes, I will instead have a salad of spinach, arugula, a small slice of onion, olives, cucumber slice, low carb ranch dressing. 4 carbs.
6 p.m. Dinner NY strip with steamed broccoli and cheese. Total carbs: 4
9 p.m. Snack: Jello no sugar added pudding cup. (They are sweetened with alcohol sugar. Banana fudge is my favorite.) 4 carbs
I drink 2-3 liters of water per day. Other than that one cup of coffee in the morning, that is all I drink.
Total carbs for the day: 15.

The results:
They kind of speak for themselves. I have lost 70 pounds since September, my waist is now 10 inches smaller, and my A1C is now normal. My BMI is now 34.

My ultimate goal is to weigh about 180 pounds, which I hope to see this summer.

In defending myself:
 I am trying to avoid the fate of this guy, so: I am not a dietician. I am in school to be a licensed practitioner, but I am as of yet simply a paramedic. Although based in scientific fact, this site contains my opinions, and should not be taken as being medical advice. Nothing on this site is intended to be medical advice, and does not imply a provider-patient relationship. I am not your doctor. Do your own due diligence, and consult a professional if you have any health or diet related questions. This site is intended to chronicle my own success, and is not intended to assist you in diagnosing, treating, or managing any disorder or disease. The reader assumes all risk if attempting anything mentioned on this page.
Sucks that I have to put all of that, but that is our world now.


Two weeks into Physician Assistant school, and things are going well. We had a quiz today that was an essay form and had only one question: List everything that you know about neutrophils.

I think that I did well, and I recalled a lot more than I thought that I would. I am really happy that I decided to hang up being a medic. It is a chapter of my life that I don’t regret, but as with all things, the time for that came to an end.

For now, I am studying on weeknights until 8 or 9, and several hours on Sunday. Friday nights and Saturdays are mine, at least for now. A year of this, a year of clinical internship, and my Master’s will be complete.

45 days

I am retiring in 45 days, and I will be moving 1100 miles away to become a full time student. In a way, I look forward to what is to come, but I am also a little apprehensive. What will happen? Will I succeed? How difficult will school be? Even though I have budgeted, did I make an error? Will I be broke?

D day minus 82 days

Packing, and not the fun kind. I am busy trying to pare down all of my stuff for the upcoming move. Trying to pare down the contents of a three bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment is a chore. I have rented a storage facility for the things that I am not taking, and the remainder of my things are going into the trash, or are being sold.

One of the things that I cannot take is my suppressor, as it is illegal in the state where I am going. I am trying to find a buyer. Meanwhile, storing over 20,000 rounds of ammo, 8 cases of MREs, 30 cans of freeze dried Mountain House food, about 2,200 books, and all of the other assorted items is giving me a backache.

It is a busy time. I need to complete all of the paperwork for admission to the school, rent an apartment, get the services hooked up, rent a U Haul trailer, ensure my shots are up to date, pack, finish my classes, work my two jobs (I am leaving one at the end of November, the other two weeks later), and do the move.

To make things worse, I noticed today that the windshield of  my truck has a foot long crack in it. I have to get that fixed, as well as all of the other chores. Busy, busy. There are 82 days until I go.