The picture to the left is the amount of money we have spent SO FAR this year alone on cigarettes at Kwik Trip. It was taken out of Quicken today, $1,474.18 year-to-date. It says Groceries for Category, and sometimes this includes Coke or Mountain Dew, but the vast majority of that money is cigarettes. And we don’t only buy smokes at Kwik Trip, we buy them at other places as well. $1,474.18 is likely LESS than we have actually spent on them. It’s hard to read, but every 2-3 days we spend about $20-$25 on cigarettes at Kwik Trip.

Everyone in the US knows that tomorrow is the 4th of July, Independence Day. Tomorrow is also Independence Day for Missy and me. We are quitting smoking, for good, no more. I smoke much more than Missy, between 1 and 2 packs per day, she smokes about a 1/2 pack. I have been smoking since I was 15 years old and am pushing 40 pretty hard now, so I know that I NEED to quit.

I am writing this blog entry for me to read tomorrow, this weekend, next week, and next month. Even 6 months or more down the road, to remind myself why I am quitting and what it is like to be a smoker. My reasons are quitting are many, here are just a few…

  1. Delaney, Haley, and Halle. My daughters need me to be around for a good long time. They need my financial and parental support for many years to come. And I need them. I want to be around to walk each of them down the aisle at their wedding, and want to have many good years of playing with my grandchildren.
  2. Missy needs me too. I’m not sure why ๐Ÿ™‚ I know I need her in my life, things are much more in balance since I have known and loved her.
  3. Everything I enjoy doing for fun is so anti-smoking it’s not even funny. I love to SCUBA dive, but go through air so fast that I can only stay underwater about 1/2 as long as my non-smoking friends. I have recently taken up flying aerobatics, which is physically as well as mentally challenging. To perform aerobatics well you have to be in good physical shape.
  4. Flying in general. Aviation is my passion, and part of being able to fly is passing an FAA required medical examination every 1-2 years. A heart attack can, and likely will, ground a pilot for the rest of his life. I would like to become a flight instructor some day, but will have to have at least a 2nd class FAA medical, something that would be almost impossible to get should I suffer from any of the smoking related health issues.
  5. I enjoy boxing. Not competitive boxing so much, though I have tried that, but getting a good cardio workout punching a heavy bag. I hate exercise in general, but do enjoy boxing. Right now I get winded walking up the stairs in my house, and the heavy bag has not even been mounted in over 2 years.
  6. I am tired of coughing. I cough a lot, smokers cough. The mornings are the worse, when all the crap in your lungs has a chance to settle overnight. It is sometimes so bad that I get into a coughing fit in the morning for several minutes and have a hard time catching my breath. Remember that Todd, how your chest feels right now. Gooey, for lack of a better word, like your lungs are full of snot. Not a pretty picture is it? Remember that next week, as your lungs start to clear out, and the nicotine cravings are real bad. I’ve done this before, I know I feel MUCH better just a few days after I quit. My lungs clear very quickly and I notice the difference. There is near immediate payment for my struggles, don’t give up!
  7. I’ve heard that quitting smoking increases your sex drive. Hell, that should be reason enough!
  8. Thanks to our Communist governor Jim Doyle, and equally Communist Madison Mayor Dave, a pack of smokes cost $4.50. So that’s about $9 a day for me and $2.25 for Missy. $11.25 per day to kills ourselves real slow. Over $330 per month so we can shave 10-15 years off our lives? There are a lot of things we could spend $330 per month on. Or to look at it another way, $3,960 a year, that is a real nice vacation for Missy and me, as well as all of our kids! $3,960 would probably pay for ALL of the home improvements we would like to do to the home we are hoping to purchase later this month. We might even be able to fill up the Explorer and my F-150! ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. Just feeling better in general. Sure the first week will be tough, but that week will pass.

I have tried to quit many times in the past and failed, but that was due to me not “really” wanting to quit. Other people wanted me to quit, I thought it “would be nice to quit”, but was never committed to it. I am now, and I know we NEED to quit. This blog entry is part of my plan, writing down the reasons that I want to quit, so that I can review them later. Another part of the plan is rewards for good behavior. I will let Missy create her own rewards, and whatever she comes up with will be fine with me. But here are my cookies:

  1. At 1 week, next Friday, I am going to rent a Cessna 152 and fly the hell out of it for 1 hour, solo, just flying around Madison doing whatever I feel like. Even money vs. smoking.
  2. At 1 month I am going to order the Acro Sport 2 airplane plans. I have wanted a set for some time and they cost $125. Smoking would have cost me $189 in this time frame, so I will already be $64 ahead.
  3. At 2 months, I am going to buy a bandsaw. The one I want costs $190, so I will then be $144 ahead.
  4. At 3 months I am going to order some Sitka Spruce to build the wings of the Acro Sport. I will spend about $250 on this, $20 less than smoking that month, and $164 more in my pocket than if I had smoked.
  5. At 6 months I am going to buy my own parachute. A used one runs about $600, and over the previous 3 months I will have saved $810 by not smoking. I will still be $374 in the black.
  6. At 1 year I am going to go skydiving. That only costs about $150, and it’s not worth keeping track of the money saved anymore by not smoking, that is just my reward for 1 year of not smoking. Do something that I have always wanted to do.

So there, I have listed some of the reasons I want to quit, and the rewards I will give to myself when I reach milestones along the way. I am going to quit Cold Turkey, which I know will make for 2-7 days of hell, but will also get the nicotine out of my system completely and quickly. I don’t want to do this slowly. I don’t want to use a patch, gum, inhaler, or anything else. To me those just prolong the misery, cost money, and I have tried them in the past. Just quit. Like Haley says “Just stop doing it”. She’s right, there is a lot of wisdom in a 7 year old.