I don’t care about gas prices

The more the news mentions gas prices, the more I realize I’m weird because I don’t. Why?

I used to commute about 15 miles a day to the office. My minivan is modified with a ramp and space for my mobility scooter, but it’s also a plug-in hybrid. On a full charge I get 33 miles (if the trip isn’t all uphill and I use HVAC sparingly). Once I’ve drained that battery, it’s still a hybrid minivan, so I still get 40mpg. In mild weather I could go straight to work and back all-electric.

You know how long a tank of gas can last when you don’t use the gas engine? Months.

Meanwhile the man of the house as an EV. Zero gas. Zero fumes. We have a level 2 charger installed in our garage, using a 220 outlet we had installed. The EV was being charged twice a week because of commuting. Now in the work from home times, it’s rarer. My minivan, having a much smaller battery, gets plugged in after each trip.

Now, of course, I’m often just spending my days at home. Not quite the usual retirement dream, but neither was the global pandemic. Going out as a family the question is usually “Do I need my scooter”? If so, we use the minivan, if not, the EV. I do restaurants with my cane; IKEA trips or Sounders games, though, I want my scooter.

Are you still mostly at home for the pandemic, or back to commuting? How’s that working?

Bonus picture of a Sounders Scarf. Major League Soccer (Football to the rest of the world) has scarves. It’s a Football thing.

It came from the search terms

In the tradition of Captain Awkward I’m going to treat the search terms people used to find the site as questions.

im 400lbs is it too late for me to get healthy? 

This is completely up to you and to how you view health. If you are sedentary, you can probably be more active, and ideally have fun with it.  Depending on how you eat, you may want to add more veggies or whatever makes your body feel better – The Fat Nutritionist may be able to help with that as well. Research has found that focusing on eating healthy foods and being active can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol as well as psychological benefits. This is called a “Health At Every Size” approach, and focuses on improving health. 

If you mean thinner, then that’s a different question. Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer (PDF) by UCLA reviews 31 studies on diets and recommended that Medicare not cover diet programs because they are not effective enough to be worth Medicare coverage.

350lb flying cross country?

OK. That sounds like a lot of time to sit still. It’s probably going to be uncomfortable. 

if i weigh 450 pounds do i need an extra airline seat? 

Very likely. Airlines have some choice on how many seats they squeeze into a plane. Seat Guru has information on seat sizes by plane and airline so you can check. One method is to check the size of the seat, then measure chairs to see what the airline seats will be like.  Note the “pitch” is the distance between seats, and affects how much legroom there is. 

If you do need an additional seat, you will probably have to call the airline to make the reservation, and the airline will probably warn you the seats may not be together. Yes, this is a problem.  

More on this: 

what can a fat person spray on body to prevent yeast?

I have mostly rely on baby powder (cornstarch) to prevent chafing and yeast infections under my belly. Anti-jock itch spray like Lotramin can work as well.  Lately I’ve been experimenting with Fresh Breasts lotion, which dries as a powder.  This can be easier to apply than a powder.  




It Came From The Search Terms

Seat belt extender, attached

Seat belt extender, attached

Once again, a post inspired by search terms used to reach my site.

how much does a woman who wears a 5x weigh

This probably depends on the woman’s height, amount of muscle, and how many limbs have been replaced with cybernetics.  Really, some of those are heavy.

what are the rules about having to buy an extra airline seat?

Depends on the airline – and you’ll probably want to call to book 2 seats.  Related posts are Day in the Life: Buying Plane Tickets and Flying While 400lbs.

alaska airlines seat size

Check out http://www.seatguru.com/

“do all overweight people”

I doubt it.

seat belt extenders walmart

No idea. I got mine from the dealer and Amazon.com.

im a 400 pound man is there a tool to help wipe bottom

If you’re reading this, I hope you look at the options at Amplestuff, Oversize Solutions, or Amazon.com. Amazon also has an option that works with toilet paper or a wet wipe, with a button release for sanitary disposal. There are also portable bidets available at Amplestuff and, again, Amazon.com. (This is FYI only, I don’t have actual experience with any of these devices.)

will i be too fat for the rides at disney world

I generally wasn’t, but it depends on your size & the ride. :)

TSA Travels

I don’t fly very often. This is likely why it I didn’t go through a full-body security scanner until Friday and, again, today.  I don’t have strong opinions about the type of scanning used, although I do consider much of the airport security approach to be security theater. So I did the scanner instead of other measures.


Image from Wikipedia

These were the millimeter wave scanners. The opening is narrower than the machine. I turned sideways to get in. Otherwise I fit fine. Each time the machine flagged me for pat downs afterward on my thighs, just above my knees.  The second time also included pat downs of my tummy, back and bottom. I was always patted down by a woman – no waiting.

Other posts on flying:

Flying While Fat
Buying Plane Tickets (more seats than passengers)
A mid-flight conversation on flying while fat

Weight Talk, Business Travel Edition

I’ve been working with people in the UK and German offices of the company I work at since I started.  Now that I’m a manager, my boss mentioned that a trip to Germany for training may be in the works.

Fat woman with cellphone

Image courtesy of Rudd Image Gallery

…which would mean flying while 400lbs.

In the interest of being diplomatic, I expressed interest and pleasure that I would have an opportunity to meet the folks I correspond with and share my expertise. Then — in the interest of full disclosure — I brought up the possibility that an airline might require me to purchase a second seat if flying coach.  My primary concern was that this may happen while boarding, and could lead to delays if another seat isn’t available.  My boss said she understood that was the whim of airlines, not me, and that she would make sure the company paid for any such additional seat charges.  (She’s also thinking that it would be reasonable for to fly business or first class since the flight time would probably be over 12 hours.)

I am pleased that I did not get emotional. I stayed matter-of-fact and somewhat detached.  I was prepared to be told that this would be dealt with if it happened, or that this meant I would not be able to travel for business.

One side effect of being fat, for me, is that I don’t apply for jobs that I’m qualified for that require travel.  (Usually in the corporate training field, teaching programming or software usage.)  I don’t exactly feel this is a loss given the TSA and how airport air tends to affect my asthma, but I usually have lots of other jobs to apply for.  If I was in marketing, for example, business travel would be a much bigger deal for me.

Convenient Seat Belt Extenders for Cars

IMG_20130302_135115I’ve mentioned before that I have a seat belt extender for my car (provided by Toyota). In other cars I often use a shoulder/lap belt as a lap belt only, which is less safe, but the only way I can buckle the seat belt.   The friend I carpool with recently got a new car, and once again, the seat belt is too small — it was tight even with the shoulder belt behind me.

So I started googling and discovered there’s more available out there than the last time I checked.. In particular, there’s more alternatives to the “permanently install item in the car” items.   An important question for “click-in” extenders is the size and type of the metal tongue.  Type A  has a 7/8″ wide metal tongue.  Another is type B, with a 1″ wide metal tongue. Between the two they will fit most cars.

There are a few other types, including the tongue type used by Hondas and the tongue type for GM cars made 1968-1999.   They also come in a few different styles.

I ended up ordering a 2-Pack of Car Seat Belt Extenders, 1 type A and another type B.  Thanks to the 7/8″ extender I was able to wear the 3-point seat belt properly in my carpool yesterday.  I also intend to take them with me if I’m renting a car.

Update: Turns out my carpool buddy asked about extenders while buying the car at the dealership and picked some up today gratis.  :) I’m still glad I have some for travel but was definitely a nice move on the Ford dealership’s part.

Some Good Things

Riot Nrrd explains why  judging other people’s health can be inaccurate.

Despite turning my ankle a couple times Monday (and working too much and walking too little these past weeks) I didn’t have problems walking over a mile at the Sounders game Tuesday night :)

Manufacturer's pic of my preferred CPAP mask

My new CPAP mask arrived! Somehow I’d broken the widget that connects the nose piece to the headgear.  I’ve got another mask which is smaller and has fewer breakable parts and drives me NUTS because it vents “down” from my nose, thus sending a steady stream of air ONTO MY BODY to KEEP ME AWAKE.  So once again I got a replacement of my preferred mask.  (Among other features, it vents “up” from my nose.)

Searching this blog tells me this last happened in May 2009.

I find it interesting that I didn’t even try to sleep without my CPAP.  I used the backup mask a few nights and the broken taped-together mask a few nights, but no non-CPAP nights.

Last weekend the man of the house and I spent a night at the Seattle Westin Hotel. We did one of the “romance” packages, with sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, and a late checkout.   I enjoyed it immensely, and I’m really glad we got to do it.

Oh, and the view wasn’t bad either.  The only camera I had was my cell, which wasn’t the best, but it’s a nice memento of the weekend.

Elliott Bay and some of West Seattle

Elliott Bay and some of West Seattle

Seat Belt Extenders: Not just for airplanes

You know how you get used to your life and forget things other people take for granted?


Listening to Lesley & Marianne’s Fatcast I started thinking about how life is different for superfat folks than it is for those size 24 and below.  I shop in different catalogs, I have a seat belt extender for my car … wait, did I ever blog about my car’s seat belt extender?

Seat belt extender, detached.

I didn’t.  Oh.  Okay.  Well then.  I have a seat belt extender for my car – two, in fact.  I’m not sure everyone my weight would NEED one.  In my case, with my body shape, I need it.  I got them with the car, which was purchased new from Toyota* at the end of 2001.  Toyota provided them free of charge, but did insist on measuring me and the man of the house to make sure we a) needed them and b) got the “correct” size.

This extender is rather like the extenders on airplanes**, in that it buckles right onto the “normal” buckle.  As a result it’s removable (and in fact it’s recommended that we remove it for people who don’t need it.)  It ends up not just extending the reach of my seat belt, it also moves the “pivot point” for the shoulder belt over about 10″, which makes it fit better across my torso.

Seat belt extender, attached

Manufacturers vary in terms of how they handle seat belts that don’t fit their customers. Some will provide or sell extenders, others install longer seat belts.***  There are also aftermarket solutions, such as extra-long seat belts and the “universal seat belt extender“.

What I do without an extender?  It partly depends on the car.  In most cars I can just use the belt as a lap belt only, and put the shoulder portion behind me.  Yes, this is less safe.  It also is often the only way to make it fit, and I’m not willing to ride in a car without a seat belt fastened.

I have demanded larger rental cars when the first one’s seat belt didn’t fit at all.

Update:Amazon sells seatbelt extenders too.


*Yes, a Toyota Prius.  No, I’ve had no problems with the gas pedal.

** Living XL and Amplestuff both sell multiple types of airline seat belt extenders.  Different airlines standardize on different types.

***The site www.ifisher.com maintains information on getting extenders or longer seat belts for many types of cars.  Honda is the most notable manufacturer that doesn’t provide extenders.  The soc.support.fat-acceptance group FAQ includes some information about this and also on cars in general, but it is possibly out of date at this point.

Flying While 400lbs

I wasn’t going to write about Kevin Smith being bumped for fatness because I felt like I’d written enough already on airline stuff.  But I’ve been contributing to the Kevin Smith thread at Shapely Prose.  Then tonight I wrote up a huge long comment on my airline experiences at We Are The Real Deal and … it’s a post in itself.   So.


  1. Per the airline definition of “fit” (armrests down with seat belt on) I can “fit” in a single coach seat. This is partly because I have an “apple” body shape. It’s not comfortable — compression occurs — but it’s doable.
  2. My shoulders are pretty wide, though. When I last flew in a single coach seat (2 and 3-hour flights, same clothing size as now) I’d get a window seat and lean on the bulkhead to keep my shoulders and elbows out of my neighbor’s  way.
  3. It’s very possible that I could end up next to someone (a gent with very long legs who’s “straddling” the seat ahead to keep from crunching his knees?) who has to touch my fat thigh and risk fat cooties.  Or who also has wide shoulders and keeps brushing mine.  Or I might get reassigned to a middle seat between people who don’t want to brush my shoulders.  If they complain about me, what do you think is going to happen?  I buy a second seat or get bumped.
  4. The man of the house is slimmer in the hips and fits into a coach seat much easier than I…but his shoulders are wider than mine, and has much more difficulty not brushing his neighbors’ shoulders…
  5. Which makes me wonder why hips that don’t fit into 17″ are a huge problem, but broader than 17″ shoulders are fine. This couldn’t possibly have anything do with broad shoulders being a desirable trait among men, could it?
  6. I have been known to book 2 coach seats for a cross-country flight, primarily for my own comfort. Once was with United, in 1996, before United had its “passengers of size” policy. The more recent times were with Alaska, last fall and in 2004.
  7. I’ve never had a travel or airline website allow me to book 2 seats for 1 passenger.  I’ve always had to call the airline directly. Each time I’ve ended up on hold while the agent looks up how to book 2 seats for 1 person.
  8. Each time I’ve bought multiple seats, I’ve been cautioned that they might not be together when I fly. (??) Yes, even when purchasing as a “passenger of size” policy — the policy which says big people must buy two seats? after telling the agent I weigh 400 freaking pounds? — I’ve been told this.
  9. Cassi commented on an earlier post that she had purchased two seats in advance and was told “Oh, we’re overbooked, so we’re bumping your empty seat” at the gate.
  10. There are reports of people flying to one location in a single coach seat with no problems, but being told they have to buy a second seat to get home. Or to take their connecting flight. In other words, the policies are applied inconsistently.
  11. I also sometimes fly first class. The seats are still tight, but they are more comfortable, especially for my legs and shoulders. (I wear a 30″ inseam.)
  12. I don’t fly often. Yes, I can afford to buy an extra ticket or even fly first class (first class on Alaska is often not much more than 2 coach seats – unlike many other carriers).  But it is an optional expense, and I usually opt not.  I’ve gone years between flights.
  13. My current job doesn’t require travel. I’ve traveled for business before (wearing the same clothing size as now) and it’s not bad, but that was before the “passengers of size” policies. I’d hate to be stuck in an airport explaining to my boss I’d been bumped from a plane as “too fat” and that I’d need an extra ticket to get home.


Airlines really want the problem of people who don’t fit to a) go away or b) get monetized. If there’s a complaint, the fat person is kicked out and made to pay a penalty. If there’s no complaint, then they ignore it. This capricious and inconsistent application of the policies is one of the biggest problems I have with such policies.

If you haven’t flown lately, how do you know in advance whether you’ll fit?  Sure, you can take a tape measure and start measuring seats, but unless you have a 17″ (or 17.5″) wide seat with armrests at home or work or otherwise readily available (movie theater?) you may not know.

At the same time, airlines don’t see any reason to make it easier for people to book two seats. And remember, just because you paid for two seats doesn’t mean you’ll actually get them. (Again: capricious and inconsistent. It’s like a theme or something.)

“Passenger of size” policies do make it possible to get a refund.  I did receive my refund from Alaska for my most recent trip.  But finding the form to let me request it wasn’t easy, and the people answering the customer service lines didn’t seem to know how it works either.

Some airlines are also advertising “premium coach” or “business” seats that have extra legroom. They get more money and “Hey, we have an option for tall people!”

Finally: If you haven’t read Kate’s Broadsheet piece on flying while fat, I suggest you do.  (And as always, sanity watchers warning on the comments.)

Disney World

As hinted yesterday, my November vacation was Disney World! For a week! Yes, it was fantastic.  We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter, visited in-laws, did Mission: Space, Soarin’, ate Moroccan food, laughed at Ellen & Bill Nye, geeked out at Spaceship Earth, loved Big Thunder Mountain and Test Track, enjoyed lunch with an Imagineer, and so on.  The man of the house got to ride the remade Space Mountain — unfortunately a warning light blipped and they closed it down right as I got to the head of the line.

I didn’t encounter any overt weight restrictions. The only ride I considered that I couldn’t ride was a Raytheon item in Innoventions where you could plan your own thrill ride and then ride it in a simulator.  I was not able to fit in the simulator seats.  (The man of the house could and setup a ride based on a plane flight, complete with a loop.)

I also didn’t get to try the Space Mountain capsules, though the man of the house thinks (based on how well he fit) I would have been fine.

Ah, you may be wondering – how did I handle the walking?  Um.  I didn’t.  I had planned to build up my walking ability before the trip but ran into problems.  By the time I was getting on the plane, I was using a cane.

Getting around

Disney World, if you’ve never been, is very much A Land of Much Walking.   Especially spread-out is Epcot, my favorite part of Disney World.   Just walking from my room to the resort’s bus stop was a quarter mile; at the parks it would routinely be a quarter- to half-mile walk from the bus to the actual park entrance.  Now, I could do a quarter or half-mile with my cane, but then I’d be done walking for a while.  What to do?

Well – I was fortunate:  I was able to throw money at the problem.   Continue reading

Airflight Update

As it happens, I could get the armrest down on a standard coach seat.  There was definitely hip compression going on, it wouldn’t be comfortable long-term…but it was down.


The man of the house has broad shoulders.  I mean, I have broad shoulders, and his are broader, and the two of us sitting together in 2 standard coach seats?  Did Not Fit. To our minds, the (empty) second seat was worth it.

I also had an interesting conversation with two of the flight attendants on Saturday when I asked if there were unbooked seats on the flight.   One was quite versed in Alaska’s “second seat” policy and recommended I check with customer service as soon as possible about my refund.   The other, a gray-haired gentleman who’d been joking throughout the flight, seemed appalled.   He pointed out that there’s no universal way to know who will fit in the seats before boarding, and that even if the armrest does go down, things like shoulder width can be just as troublesome.   The other flight attendant was nodding in agreement, which felt nice.

He also said that he hoped that no one had made me feel bad or uncomfortable about my size while booking my tickets.  I told him no, quite truthfully, and that getting a second seat on my own let me feel in control.   He also offered a complimentary cocktail, which I would’ve taken him up on if I hadn’t had ibuprofen.  :)


Day in the Life: Buying Plane Tickets

Vacation planning can include flying, and this year we’re flying about 6 hours each way.   Coach seats tend to be 17″ across.  First class can be up to 23″ wide, but  I have 68″ hips.  Now, I am an apple, so a lot of that 68″ is depth not width.  Still, even first class is a tight fit for me.  On a 6-hr flight.

The man of the house has other issues.  He’s not as fat as I am, but has broader shoulders and is taller, and is very aware that coach rows are 4 or 5 inches closer together than first class.

Solution: We purchased 3 coach round-trip plane tickets for November, seats DEF in a row with moveable armrests.  Officially the extra seat is mine, but in practice we’ll share the extra space.  Making the actual reservations involved a call to Alaska Airlines, because the website balked at letting me put the same name on 2 seats.  I also learned a few things that may be of interest:

  • Because I am a person of size buying an extra seat due to my size,  about $26 in taxes were waived for the extra seat.
  • Because I am a person of size buying an extra seat due to my size, if there is at least one unused seat on my flights, I can get the cost of the extra seat refunded.

For me, this is a good solution.  It’s a solution I’d consider if the coach seats were 24″ wide, actually, as long as the armrests go up.   6 hours is LONG time.

  • We’ll have more room to move around.
  • I’ll have two seats to put bags underneath.  (Not all cities have stores that stock clothing in my size, which adds an extra horror to lost luggage. The man of the house wears a readily available size.)
  • I can maneuver between the narrow coach rows, so if he needs the aisle to get in/out that’s okay.
  • Fewer surprises at the gate.  We bought the extra seat already; if they try to split my seats I can bring quite the moral outrage of how we paid extra to have the space required.  If it does come to that, the fact that I’m superfat is in my favor.  I’ve overheard gate attendents discussing  “This person has 2 seats, do they really need them?”  before I check in — and then suddenly it’s “No, those 2 seats must stay together….”

This does require the money to buy an extra plane ticket.  Not everyone has the money.  It requires some research.  This might not work as well if I had children to sit with or more serious mobility issues; if we both needed aisle seats, for example.

As always, SeatGuru is very helpful in looking up seat sizes.