February 20, 2013

Do You Wait Until Things Break to Pay Attention?


So I am writing this on a laptop that appeared to have totally crashed this morning.  I kept getting an error message that gave me only one option: turn off the computer.

Have I backed up my important documents in the last several months? No! But I've sure as hell been meaning too, especially as I've been noticing all kinds of suspicious computer behavior of late.

After the first 3 tries rebooting, I figured it was hopeless.  But I so WANTED to deny reality that I tried 3 more times.  Nothing.  And then once more... and voila, suddenly after the 7th try it's back from the dead!  Sure, it still freezes up every so often for no reason, but it looks like I can at least crank out a quick blog post.

Of course I am sorely tempted to go on my merry way and forget any of these warning signs of impending computer disaster because hell, it's working again now.  I really don't want to go without my precious pc for who knows how long, leaving it in the clutches of some brightly lit and hideously overpriced National Chain, or at the workshop of some cheaper yet possibly creepier random geek from Craigslist.



And as I contemplate my course of action, it occurs to me that this issue comes up a lot for busy people: when to ignore signs of trouble and when to take the time to fix them.

It seems an especially common dilemma for those looking to get fit and strong in the most efficient way possible, yet who may be dealing with body parts that are sending out subtle or not-so-subtle signals that they may need a break and/or some maintenance or repair work.

So how much attention do you pay now to stuff that is not actually "broken" yet?
Constant Vigilance Isn't All that Efficient

Unless you have all the time in the world, it generally makes sense not to panic at every twinge your body may send out.  The older you get, the more of these you experience, and if you don't eventually cultivate a little "wait and see" attitude you would spend your life in the doctors waiting rooms leafing through HighLights for children and magazines aimed at pregnant women and folks with HIV, because at least at my health clinic they are too cheap to spring for anything else.

You guys have probably seen this already, but if you haven't yet turned 40 and want to know what you're in for, this is pretty damn funny.



Yet Waiting Too Long Has Downsides As Well

I don't need to belabor this, because no doubt you've figured this out yourselves.  There is an optimal point of intervention BEFORE it's too freakin' late that may save you frustration, time, pain, and possible humiliation.



Which Leads to A Weird Segue...

[And am I the only one who fears that we may one day be forced to spell "segue" Segway because of the silly contraption now seen careering around many downtown tourist areas menacing innocent pedestrians?]

An Advance Warning of the next Giveaway!

Normally I don't alert people about giveaways, but next week's giveaway is totally in the spirit of "Take Care of Stuff Now BEFORE You're Screwed Later."

But it's not as sexy as an electronic gadget or a new pair of running shoes.  It's a book on how to modify your eating habits to give yourself an excellent chance of avoiding Alzheimers.  I've got an interview with the authors and we'll be giving away several copies.

The problem?  I'm afraid we may not get enough comments because of the subject matter, as worthy as it is.  So I'm hoping kind Cranky Fitness readers will stop by for that and help make these guys feel welcome, even if you may end up handing off your copy, should you win one, to someone else who may appreciate it even more.

And Another Advance Warning

I'm thinking it might be wise of me to get the damn computer fixed, so my internet access may be compromised for a while.  I may be able to borrow the Lobster's when she's not use it, or try to use my smart phone, but anyone who has ever received a text from me knows how hopeless that particular means of communication is.

So, what about you guys, do you tend to take care of things before they break?


Dog photo: Jodene
Computer photo: English Invader

62 comments:

  1. I am looking forward to your interview and learning about this book. Having worked with a section of Alzheimer's/dementia world I find it an extremely frustrating and scary illness, and while I am sure healthy lifestyle plays a role, like many terrible illnesses out there, it doesn't always play by those rules. It just goes to show how complex the relationship between illnesses, the environment and the human body really is.

    One of my female clients was probably in her mid-later 70s. I have never seen muscle tone like that on a female in her 70s. She was healthy and active her entire life. I had another female, healthy weight, 70s, and was somewhat revolutionary in her younger years in pushing healthy diet and activity in her students. I could go on and on, most of my older clients were unbelievably physically healthy, with a long history of health.

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    1. So great of you to help such a needy group of folks who don't get nearly enough attention QD!

      And I may be overstating the "excellent chance" of avoiding this condition with proper diet, but I guess knowledge is power and every little bit helps. I hate that even the healthiest, most conscientious folks can be hit by it. So unfair!

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  2. I like to live in my fantasy land most of the time - so I usually put things view everything as fine and good until it is too late!
    I'm looking forward to your give-away. I watched an uncle suffer through about 5 years of Alzheimer's and I have always been fascinated about what causes it.

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    1. So sorry about your uncle! And hey, living in fantasy land probably saves you a lot of useless worry Kim!

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  3. As befits my oftimes schizo nature - I USED to go in to have things checked out way too early. (What was THAT!? Do I have a tumor or something awful??)

    Now, I wait sometimes maybe a little TOO long (nothing is bleeding or visibly cracked, so why bother with the inconveniece of scheduling & keeping an appointment when you know the likely outcome - ala video you have in this post?). Which PROBABLY means given my formerly hypochondiacal nature, I'm maybe closer to normal :).

    I like this give-away! And I think the idea of using nutrition part to try to stave off, delay, avoid is worth pursuing. Not a guaranteee. While I have to agree with The QD's comment above that sometimes things are very complex or it just ends up being a matter of bad luck and this approach may still not completely work - I'd rather try to tip the scale in the optimal direction (v. risk doing things to make it more likely that I succumb to something dreadful). Plus, it can't hurt to keep other parts of the organism functional!

    And - oh, that sweet little pooch!... Don't you just want to give her/him some comforting strokes, a nice little treat and make it all better???


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    1. Yeah, not much one can do about bad luck Anon, but I'm glad to see that there are others who at least want to do what we can to stave off physical and mental health problems.

      And as a former hypochondriac and admirer of adorable animals with medical complaints, I can relate!

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  4. I think my eyeballz are broken. They've been extra fuzzy lately. I'd rather complain about it than look for my glasses. It takes less effort.

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  5. Hold it... Correction: fuzzy eyeballz would be an extra-seriously matter. It's my eyesight that's fuzzy. Not my eyeballz. Sheesh

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    1. Fuzzy Eyeballz is a great name for a cocktail Yum Yucky! I'm thinking schnapps, oj and carrot juice... good for the vision and the, um, positive outlook!

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  6. This is my first time reading your blog, but I love your insight. It's true, too often we wait until it's too late (or at least very difficult) to fix/change things. Call it procrastination, denial...whatever, the fact remains that we ignore many warning signs. A great example is water intake. Why do we wait until we dying of thirst before we take sip (but then it's too late). Why do wait until we're starving to eat, only to eat twice as much as we would have if we had eaten before we got so hungry.

    I have a personal motto that I started sharing with my Fit and Firm clients: Drink often so that you never get thirsty. Eat often so that you never get hungry.

    Thanks for the post and I look forward to reading more.

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    1. Thanks Dr. Haley, and "drink often" is advice I will certainly keep in mind!

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  7. Oh Yeah!! I'll hand Mom a book on Alzheimers. After that she will definitely forget to pick me up on some lonely road!!

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    1. Too funny Cindy!

      Hmm... maybe best to keep the book for yourself and sneak memory boosting superfoods into her diet, Cindy.

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    2. Memory Boosting Superfoods? If you had told me the book was about that I would buy a copy for me! I'm always looking to add to my super powers!

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  8. Crabby, can I recommend using Dropbox (or something similar) to keep an automatic continuously-synched backup of all your really important stuff? (Disclosure - if you use my Dropbox link, you get a bit of extra free space ... and so do I). It really is an awesome service for absolutely nothing, and I'd hate for that next book to disappear into the ether!

    Sadly, my Mum suffers from Alzheimers ... and frankly, anything that has a chance of keeping me from going down the same road has my full attention. #8-/

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    1. Great suggestion!

      Signed up, but wasn't on my own computer so not sure if it took. May ask you a few more questions when I get my laptop back Shadowduck, thanks so much!

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    2. It's pretty straightforward, when you get your laptop back just install the download and a Dropbox folder will appear on your computer. Anything you put in there will be automatically kept synchronised to "the cloud", and any other computers you install it on.

      The free account "only" gives you a couple of gigabytes, but there are various ways (like recommending friends!) to expand it up to a maximum of 16Gb without paying anything. For me, it's enough space to keep an automatic real-time backup of all the really irreplacable stuff like documents and photos, with the bonus I can access them from anywhere via the web interface.

      For anyone wondering, I don't have any connection with the company - I just think they offer an awesome service. #8-)

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    3. Thanks Shadowduck! You are a truly awesome resource.

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  9. I thought I'd lost my laptop and all the data once, but Jody's husband Steve AKA Hubby, taught me how to bring it back from the mostly dead!

    If only Steve could teach me that in my day job!

    But back to the topic, we don't want Hypochondriacs filling up the ER's but waiting too long with a real problem is not a good plan, as you addressed.

    I'm sure there is information online as to when to wait and when to see the doctor, or Steve, whichever is easier.

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    1. Thanks Dr. J, great to know Jody's hubby is a Supergeek, they are the most awesome creatures on earth!

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  10. I read an article a while back about perfectionists versus "satisficers". Satisficers are those who aim for "good enough" on the whole, and that described me aaaaaaall over. Life is short, and I am not going to spend any more time than necessary on stuff that doesn't make me happy. It means that I'll have to cope with a few disasters -- things I could have prevented if I'd been more proactive. On the other hand, I won't have wasted a lot of time preventing disasters that probably weren't going to happen anyway.

    An example is the dentist. My husband takes them at their word and goes three times a year and uses the electric toothbrush for a full two minutes and the extra brush for the gumline and the floss and the weekly fluoride treatment, etc. I fight everything above the basics. "How much better is it to brush for two minutes than for a minute and a half?" "Is getting my teeth checked three times a year versus once a year going to guarantee I never lose a tooth?" Maybe I'm saving a lot of time and money or maybe I'm setting myself up for a full set of dentures. The suspense is half the fun!

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    1. "The suspense is half the fun!" <--- cracked me up

      Plus, sometimes what you DO makes no difference! My husband is like yours with the electric toothbrush and whatnot, and while I do brush and floss regularly, he's STILL got worse teeth than I have!

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    2. Love this! I'm a former perfectionist turned satisficer, and I only visit the dentist once every year (or two!) and I have to say I'm still wandering around with all my teeth in my mouth and healthy gums, so, so far so good!

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  11. Oh, Crabby, you are so not alone! !! I spend a fair amount of time arguing with myself about when it's ok to go get something fixed, and about the same amount rationalizing leaving something else alone a bit longer. I really don't know when the computer was last backed up, and I really hope ignoring that darned knee again won't mess up the Death Ride.

    Did you ever read "Three Men and a Boat"? (A bit off subject, but I was reminded of this as I read your post.) There's a very funny bit where the narrator goes through a medical dictionary and recognizes almost every illness as one he undoubtedly has. It was written over 100 years ago, but I don't think much besides the names of the diseases has changed.

    I think we all know what we need to do - and we all figure we'll get around to it one of these days, then go on with whatever we planned to do in the first place.

    Looking forward to learning more about Alzheimers. There has been too much of it in my family.

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    1. Thanks Death Rid Grandma, so glad to know I'm in such good company!

      Have not read Three Men and a Boat but it totally sounds wonderful. Having self-diagnosed myself with a host of unlikely illnesses I'm thinking I'd find it pretty amusing!

      And hey DRG, if you ever want to write up a guest post about your biking exploits, send me an email! You are such an inspiration.

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  12. Let's see can I fix it before it breaks? Can I enter for the drawing for next week's prize, right now? Or do I try to win something after the deadline? Do I back up stuff on my computer. Never. Have I be caught with a broken computer and lost things? Three times. So um, ya, I procrastinate and wait for things to break before deciding if it is worth it to fix it ahead of time.

    One exception...I really try to keep things up to date on my vehicle. I loath being stranded.

    Oh and Crabby, thanks for stopping by my blog too. I know you have VAST amounts of spare time to do such things. ;) I also left a comment on Amazon for your eBook. I am Ellen the Artist. :D Toodles!

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    1. Sherri! Ellen the Artist! I didn't put the two together but I was SO PSYCHED to see the review!

      And consider yourself double-entered for this and the next three giveaways! I'll add you in and double-count you.

      Oh, and to be fair, any Cranketeer who reads this far into the comments and who wants the same deal, just leave an amazon review for my ebook and email me.

      (Somehow I'm not worried about hordes of people taking me up on this...) :)

      Thanks so much, and GOOD THINKING about the car. That's not to be messed with!

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    2. You're too kind and now I sound like such a suck-up!!! (so what do I do for triple/quadruple entry in ever contest you ever have?) ((just kidding))

      Ya, I've been stranded one too many times and try to do preventative maintenance as the pocketbook allows. It is about the only time I can agree that I might have "good thinking". But then if I was perfect, no one would want to be around me.

      Oh my I am rambling way too much! I really mostly just wanted to say thank you for the entries. I so often forget or get too busy or ???(insert lame excuse here) SO THANK YOU! :D

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  13. I feel like you wrote this post to me, personally, especially since the Louis CK video is about a "broken" ankle. So, since I'm actually living this one I can say with certainty that I am an ignorer of such things and will wait until it absolutely has to be dealt with. The doc told me they could do surgery, but it just seems like half the people I know who have had surgery for injured parts just end up with a different kind of problem. But my ankle is definitely talking to me on a regular basis now. Ugh. :(.
    Gaye

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    1. Dear Gaye - ouch! :(.... my sister took the wait & see approach with her ankle - finally calling me and asking "is it supposed to be purple?". She was serious and so was that broken ankle! How about getting a second opinion? Maybe you'll find out whether it's "could" v. "should" do surgery? Whatever the case - good luck to you and better, healing days ahead :)

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    2. Oh, so sorry Gaye, and hope you have not reached the Purple Stage! Thanks anon for the input, and hope everyone's ankles get better!!!

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  14. Oh, and I am going to steal your video and post it on my fb page. :) Thanks.
    Gaye

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did Gaye!

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  15. It can depend on what, exactly, is breaking, and how much money we have handy at the time.

    Since i have a great doctor, who is also a good friend of the family, i don't hesitate too long if it's something concerning me health-wise.

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    1. If I could stay married to the Lobster and also marry a doctor, I'd be a very happy bigamist! But a good friend doctor would rock as well; glad to hear you have that resource messymimi!

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  16. I have automatic full computer backups about once an hour, and I swap (less complete) backups out of the safe deposit every month, so I have something off-site at least, and I'm a regular check up type for dental and medical, but in other areas I spend a lot of time thinking "Maybe it'll go away" or "Maybe it won't get any worse," or "Maybe I can sell the house before it needs a new roof."

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Interesting that you are like a "normal" person regarding your physical health and domestic stuff but such a superstar when it comes to your computer Mary Anne!

      If you ever do figure out how to clone yourself, please send a copy to to me so I learn to back things up.

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  17. OH NO!!!! Crap that laptop!!!! Money is tight here so.. I kinda wait but other times I try not to..

    As for the books, that disease is in the family so I a interested!

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    1. Thanks Jody, and so sorry it's in your family as well!

      Seems sadly common as people are living longer, dang it.

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  18. It varies, depending on what it is.

    I am so looking forward to the Alzheimers post.

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  19. I hope you've backed up by now.. the computer, that is.

    It depends on what it is. I tend to neglect the smaller things and attend to the ones that are really demanding my attention.

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    1. Computer is backed up and sent off to the shop.

      Um, Hilary, got any tips how to back MYSELF up? That could be handy! And wish I'd done it 20 years ago...

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    2. Very carefully... depending on who might be behind you. ;)

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    3. I've been waiting for them to perfect mind backups for, oh, forty years or so. Sigh.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  20. Like you, I INTEND to but it generally takes a major breakdown to really get my attention. I have been a procrastinator as long as I can remember. I do not recommend it however, just sayin'

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    1. Well, I think we procrastinators do a least sometimes save a little time over the super conscientious folks MK.

      At least that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

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  21. Really, procrastination most times keep us from doing the most important things till its too late to fix. Looking at your freezing computer as an example, it had given warning signs before the day of the 7th try. What ought to have been done 5 weeks before and in 30 minutes end up taking hours to fix and sometimes we shell out money to do this. Point noted

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  22. IM SO LIKE YOU.
    with the MAC and these days methinks my marriage!!!

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    1. Dang Miz, well let's hope with a bit of maintenance BOTH are soon humming happily along again!

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  23. I'm listening to the Louis C.K. clip and DYING over here - he's SO RIGHT on the doctor visit, from "yeah, it's done" to "take a ton of OTC pain relievers" - it's funny, but it's frustrating because yeah - you get to an age where the medical profession does seem to give up on you!

    I nurse things along for quite a while ::pets old computer lovingly:: - while I love to get new, improved things (my gosh, my ceiling fan with a remote control? amazing!), I hate the outlay of moolah that goes with it.

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    1. Wasn't that video hilariously true? And it seems almost like a weird U shape curve, because my 87 year old mother in law gets every medical treatment in the book. She just had a shoulder replaced last year and gets $10,000 shots to boost her energy levels. While we middle-agers get Alleve. Sigh.

      Hope that old computer hangs in there Shelley!

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  24. No, I don't either. Even now, I need to get my Mac "fixed", but did I jump on it. Hell no. I emailed my friend who is an Apple Genius. He said get an external drive. After at least a week, I did. Still having issues. Emailed again. He told me to make an appointment with Apple. I haven't done so yet. Everyday on the way home, I tell myself I'll take care of it today. But then I forget. Maybe I already have Alzheimers!

    Thanx for your timely blog. Ciao, Bob Ben

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    1. Good luck Bob Ben!

      So, did ya make the appointment yet? I'm getting my laptop back today, as I felt that the 7th Reboot Resurrection was something of a miracle from the universe and would be stupid to ignore, so I backed everything up and took it in. Fingers crossed.

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  25. I can't tell you how many times I do this. I notice things not happening like they used to with my car and also my computers, and just ignore them. Then it always comes back to bite me by really breaking down.

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    1. Well Jessica, you're in good company! On the other hand, you're probably saving lots of time along the way.

      My challenge is to figure out which are the BIG BITE potentials and which, at worse, would just be little nips. Cars & computers & and children left unattended... probably big bites!

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  26. I recall a great idea someone else came up with for us procrastinators regarding troubling car noises:

    Turn the radio up!

    Ok, sure - it can result in a predicament of gargantuan proportions should the noise be your engine preparing to seize up. But - hey - at least you'll be in a better mood from the music once the awful thing happens :)

    Plus, you KNOW that when you try to describe or imitate the mystery noise to automotive professionals, they are secretly taping you for the entertainment feature of their next company party AND they probably won't be able to figure out exactly what's wrong rigth away anyway!

    I believe that AAA was invented for us of the "please just make it go away" persuasion. And - unlike screening nurses for doctor's offices - they won't tell you to just take 2 aspirin (or a thousand Aleve) :).

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    1. Too funny about the noise you can never replicate! And yes, we would NOT survive long without AAA.

      We have a haunted car on the east coast that does things like spontaneously turn on the fan when we're not in the car; the windows sometimes won't open or close until we turn off the engine and take out the key. Meanwhile, mechanics run diagnostics and tell us there's nothing wrong with it. Sigh.

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  27. I can relate to the laptop being crushed and have not backed up. It happened to me all the time. Sometimes, my husband do the task of back upping my files, but more often, I always end up having to do things all over again.

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    1. You think we'd learn, wouldn't you Sarah?! Sigh...

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  28. I loved that video! I'm not long into my forties (ok near mid forties!) and found it hilarious! Going to have to showcase it on my blog too.

    I never back up my blog as it's internet based, (not sure how to back -up the world wide web!) But I always keep a copy of my articles on a seperate hard drive.

    My PC did break last year and I got a local (not too creepy) guy in to fix it. Have a notebook now just in case.

    Your articles always put a smile on my face..keep em coming! :)

    Peter

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    1. Hey thanks so much Peter! And great blog you've got there at Mad for Fit!

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