Hot-Lanta...Weekly Weight Update
The week was full of ups and downs when it comes to managing weight and exercise. Sunday was the first full day spent in Atlanta after a very long day of traveling. We started the day by finding a local spot for breakfast so we made our way to the Atlanta Breakfast Club which was just a few steps away from our hotel and located directly across the street from the Coca-Cola experience in downtown Atlanta. The food was absolutely amazing. After seeing everyone sitting around us dining on the chicken and waffles I really wanted to get that southern delicacy but I also knew that I would be getting multiple chances and fried chicken during the few days I’d be in Atlanta. Instead I got a basic breakfast of eggs, bacon, and cheese grits. It was out of this world good and if you are looking for a place to get some breakfast in Atlanta make sure to look this place up.
As some of you may know but many of you may not, Rizzo’s family on her mom’s side is from Atlanta. Rizzo lost her mom to cancer in 2005 and her mom is interred at a church just outside of downtown Atlanta. We wanted to take Cece to the church so she could see her Grandma Rizzo and to get some pictures. Cece gets her middle name, Kathryn; from her Grandma Rizzo (it also happens to be Rizzo’s middle name and my grandmother’s name, although my grandmother’s name has a different spelling). We made sure to get a picture of all the Kathryns for posterity and then headed back to the hotel
Cece was in need of a nap and I was in need of a run so I got ready to hit the streets and Cece got ready to hit the sheets. It was hotter than hell in downtown Atlanta so I wasn’t exactly running at the speed of light but I made up for it by sweating out several gallons of liquid. The Georgia Statehouse was just under a mile and a half from the hotel so that was my destination. I was able to snap a picture of my glistening face with the golden dome in the background.
After the run and some family coordination we met up at a local Atlanta eatery called The Colonnade Restaurant. I snapped a picture of the sign outside of the restaurant but what I didn’t snap was a picture of the fried chicken that I was served. That is because it was so delicious that I didn’t have time to take a picture. The chicken was gone before I even realized it was served.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation. One thing we have learned about traveling with a young kid is to make sure and spend the extra money to get a hotel suite. Cece usually goes down for the night around 7:30pm so if we were all in one room that would mean all of us would be going to before the sun goes down. I know that Rizzo and I go to bed early but not that early.
It is a blessing and a curse to have the two-room suite setup. The good thing is that Cece can be sleeping soundly in one room while Rizzo and I are still awake. The bad thing is that usually we are completely locked in the hotel room so there is nothing to do but to read, surf the web, and watch Family Feud. We did lots of TV watching while Cece was asleep. Here are just a couple of my favorite answers from our Feud watching.
On Monday morning we met up with Rizzo’s cousin, Michelle, to spend some time in the Atlanta Aquarium. It is an amazing place with tons to see. It is very impressive to see four whale sharks swimming around in a giant tank, not to mention a few beluga whales. They even have a penguin walk where some of the little penguins strut on down a ramp in the middle of the aquarium. Cece absolutely loved the aquarium and all the fish. She loved the fish so much that every time we walked into the lobby of our hotel she would have to stop and say hi to the fish in the tank.
After the aquarium and Cece’s nap we made our way to 5 Seasons Brewing for a flight of beers and some lunch/dinner. I’ll provide a full write-up of the 5 Seasons Brewing as soon as I can but let’s just say it was a tasty flight well worth the time. The place also has a very local-based menu with some interesting items to try. I had the antelope “patty melt” which was absolutely delicious. The flavor was very close to venison but not quite as “gamey”.
After dinner it was, of course, time for some ice cream and Rizzo found a delicious ice cream shop called Jeni’s Ice Creams. While not local to Atlanta, Jeni’s is a high quality ice cream that is endorsed by the nonprofit B Lab as a company that meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Not only that, the ice cream is really good. I got a cup consisting of one scoop of darkest chocolate and one scoop of salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks and it was heavenly.
My plan was to leave Atlanta on Tuesday evening after spending the day with the family so I could be back on the office on Wednesday to get some much needed work done. We started the day off by a visit to another Atlanta breakfast location, the Thumbs Up Diner. We were informed that the specialty of the house were the various breakfast scrambles so I went with the overabundant Skillet Heap. This meal consists of a skillet full of potatoes topped with cheddar jack cheese, two eggs, and a biscuit. It was massive to the extent that I couldn’t eat the whole thing. It was pretty tasty but a bit too greasy for my taste. If you were going to choose between the Atlanta Breakfast Club or the Thumbs Up Diner I would recommend going over to the Atlanta Breakfast Club.
After breakfast we spent the morning at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This is an amazingly beautiful place with lots to see and do for adults and kids alike. If you are sans kid you can spend all day looking at the various spectacles of flowers, art, and trees that is in every direction. If Cece wasn’t starting to get grumpy for a nap I could have spent all morning just poking around the edible garden or sitting and reading in the cascades garden.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a wonderful children’s garden that includes building blocks, rope bridges, snake walks, and wall painting that can keep kids entertained and educated for hours. Not only that, they are in the process of building even more exhibits at the children’s garden. If you are a parent in the Atlanta area you should take your kid to the botanical garden. It is a great place to visit.
In the afternoon we went over to Max Lagers Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery for some dinner and beer. The brewery specializes in wood-fired grilled food (as one would imagine from the name) and also brews its own beer. Rizzo and I split a flight during dinner. We also had some of the most salty and garlic infused food you could possibly imagine. I’m not a food critic or a chef but it seems that if you want to cover up the fact that you have mediocre quality ingredients simply make it as salty and garlicy as possible. The mediocre food combined with the mediocre beers makes this a mediocre place to visit.
After lunch we had some time before my flight so we walked over to the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. During the walk I learned that my flight had been cancelled (more on that a bit later) so I spent most of the time in the museum figuring out alternative transportation while Rizzo and Cece explored and played. The museum is an amazing place for kids of all ages. There is a play supermarket, a fishing hole, and jungle gym, sand pits, a reading room, and tons of other stuff to do. Rizzo and I were both amazed at how great a place this was for kids and disappointed that something like this doesn’t exist near us in Washington, D.C.
You have to pay for the museum but to try and make it accessible to anyone and everyone, Target sponsors free admission to the museum on the second Tuesday of every month. It may not seem like much but after you get inside its easy to see that this would be an expensive place to run and having this offer is an outstanding service to the community. We happened to be going during the free admission time which was great but I would have gladly paid for admission to the museum. Well done, Target.
Let me sidetrack a bit and give you some information about my cancelled flight. My plan was to spend a few days down in Atlanta with the family before coming back on Tuesday night to get back to work. Rizzo and Cece planned to stay until Thursday. We all flew Delta Airlines and on Monday night there was a major crash in the IT systems of Delta causing huge worldwide delays (you can read more just about anywhere online but if you don’t want to search too hard, just click here). The result was my flight being cancelled on Tuesday night and I was stuck having to find alternative options. I was lucky that I needed to be back in the office and my firm agreed to pay for me to take an alternative airline so I got a flight out on Wednesday afternoon. Not everyone was as lucky as I was and spent days and lots of money stuck in limbo.
I won’t spend too much time on this but my experience was with Delta was nothing but positive. I can’t say what caused the system failure but I know it wasn’t the people at the counter at the airport or those answering phones at customer service. When I called the customer service line about my flight I was informed right up front that the wait time was 3-5 hours just to speak to a representative. That isn’t surprising considering the number of customers they were trying to help. Instead of waiting I took to Twitter and send them a tweet. Within 10 seconds I got a reply to my Tweet from Delta. They were clearly busy and it still took a few hours to get a response to my question but I got acknowledgement immediately and the staff covering Twitter did a great job. It was less than 24-hours after my flight was cancelled that I received an email from Delta apologizing for the delay and providing me with a $200 credit for my missed flight. It may not be much but I appreciated the hard work and the prompt work.
I’m sure there are tons of people that have horror stories about the delayed and cancelled flights. I know it was a massive inconvenience but you know what, shit happens and all you can hope for is that the company will work hard to get things back on track. I can tell you that after thousands and thousands of delays and cancellations by Thursday things were running on time. Rizzo and Cece didn’t have any issues with their Delta flight home. It took off and landed on time. In my opinion, Delta did a great job with a terrible situation and I will certainly use Delta on future trips.
Back to Atlanta, where after the Children’s Museum we headed over to Jake’s Ice Cream for some local treats. There are a few locations in the Atlanta area but we headed to what looked like an old house that had been converted into an ice cream shop. They also have lots of other homemade goodies like chocolate peanut butter bars (which we bought for eating while Cece was in bed). I got a scoop of “Kiss of the Leprechaun”, which is crème de menthe ice cream with chocolate chips. It was so good that it should be illegal in 42 states.
Since I was still in Atlanta on Wednesday morning but had lots of things to get done I spent the morning in the hotel room working while Rizzo and Cece met up with family for breakfast and some shopping. It was a comfortable hotel room with good WiFi so I was able to get a lot accomplished. My flight was at 2:40pm so I headed over to the airport, grabbed lunch, and did some more work while waiting for my flight.
Time at the airport is miserable when you are hoping to get in some steps and exercise. I have spent the better part of the last two weeks traveling which can really put a damper on movement, especially on the travel days. Whenever I look at my FitBit I can easily tell the days that I was in airports and on airplanes because the numbers of steps fall so dramatically you would think I broke my ankles.
Luckily, I’m blessed with a family that lives close by, is willing and able to help, and will often throw in some assistance out of the goodness of their hearts. You see, when I finally arrived home around 5:30pm on Wednesday I found that my lawn was mowed and edged thanks to my dad. It seems one day while we were away my mom was busy making salsa in the kitchen so dad thought he’d come over and mow the lawn. It was so outstanding because it freed me up to go for a run upon my return home. It was hot as hell but I was glad to be able get out running.
The rest of the week was, I’m happy to report, routine. I cobbled together some lunches for work from food we had in the fridge and the pantry. I made sure to get in my Orange Theory workout on Thursday evening. I even went running in the unbearable heat on Saturday. It felt good to get back in a normal routine.
I suppose with this last trip out of town to Atlanta the summer is officially over. We don’t have any more plans for travel which is sad because it has been fun but also good because it will allow me to let the regular diet and exercise routine work its “magic” and let me drop these additional pounds the summer has given me.
Speaking of additional pounds, I climbed up on the scale for the first time in a few weeks to see the damage that the traveling did to my hard earned weight loss. I knew it was going to be bad and I wasn’t surprised to see that I had gained 1.8 pounds. That puts the current weight at 209.6 pounds and the total weight loss at 57.6 pounds. I’m not worried because I never gave up on my exercise routine which means the weight should come off pretty easily and get me back to where I was before summer started.
Technical glitches and travel made this week a close call in the Bring It On! challenge. My FitBit died (I didn’t charge it properly) on Tuesday so all the walking I did on that day in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens didn’t count in my miles. Rizzo had a full travel day with a toddler on Thursday so it evened out. I barely squeaked out a victory with 32.3 miles to Rizzo’s 27.9 miles. This still gives Rizzo the lead for August 58.1 miles to 57.0 miles. So far this month has been hampered by travel and overbearing heat. We will both have to do better.
P.S. Just some bonus pictures from the week