Monday, May 17, 2010

Bike Commute, Day 1: A Bust

        I've taken on a challenge to greenify my daily commute and cut down on my overall emissions.  To aid me in giving my car a break my hand-me-down bike has become my new best friend.  A few other reasons I've decided to take on this new mode of transportation includes a strange, expensive sounding noise coming from my car, that not driving it for a while could only aid in not worsening the problem.  My physical health is another large factor.  I'm out of shape.  I didn't make it up to the mountain to snowboard even once this winter and I'm no longer doing the stair stepper workout that had become routine at Harvest.  In addition to the trek back and forth to work, I've also been diligently practicing yoga.  Just ask my shoulders, ribs and back!  
        My new workout/commute started today and the ride there, aside from burning quads and wearing too many layers, went relatively smoothly.  I took the bike path like a friend had suggested and it took me about 35 minutes.  I'll try the road I usually drive tomorrow to compare time.  I felt great when I got to work!  I was energized and ready to get moving on my daily projects.  

You can join me in this week of eco-commuting by signing up at
           or find an organization hosting such an event in your state!

        I really looked forward to the ride home.  As I was getting ready to leave, I ditched the shoes I brought with  me and my top layer shirt with the hope that a loaf of bread would fit in my pint sized Camelback when I stopped at the store.  Otherwise I'd have to go home then ride back out with a larger pack.  I really need bread.  I've been craving fresh croutons on my salads for a week now.  It fit, by the way, barely.  So I locked up shop, threw my pack on, adjusted and fastened my helmet and was ready to be on my way.  I jump on, start to pedal out of the driveway and POP! Eff!  I'm still in front of the building!  Nate's out of town and I have no tools (actual tools or brain tools) to fix whatever just broke.  It's my back tire/tube.  Again.  Today was my first time riding since Nate replaced the tube on Friday.  After a brief unqualified inspection, I find a crack in the tire.  Blast.  That's not a simple tube replacement.  I'm really surprised Nate didn't notice the crack before.  Hmmm.  What to do seven plus miles from home with a flattened tire.  I'm certainly not carrying the bike, as mentioned earlier, my arms are just short of useless since this weeks intense yoga sessions. It'll have to tough it out and just roll with me.  OK.  I'll walk it the four (plus or minus) miles down into town and with my fresh pay, fix myself up with a fancy new hybrid tire.  Not what I had in mind when I tucked it into my wallet before leaving (3 minutes ago) but what else can I do?  Walk I suppose.
        I make my way down the road and about a quarter mile down, as I'm crossing a driveway, a jeep cuts right in front of me.  WTF?  He gets out, pops his trunk and insists on taking me to where I need to go.  Oh.  Really though?  Get in some strangers car when I wasn't even looking for a ride?  Again, hmmm.  Making a mental note of his license plate I accept.  Turns out he's neighbors with my bikes previous owners and he's got his own bike shoes in the front seat.  
        It was an uneventful, very much appreciated act of generosity and I hopefully would be home within an hour or so than if I had just ridden straight there.  I thanked him a third (maybe fourth) time as he pulled my bike out of his car and told him next time I saw him around, I owed him a jar of PB.  
        I walked into the shop and was instantly asked what could be done to help me.  Fifteen minutes and thirty bucks later I was pulling out into the street good as new.  Though thirty bucks more determined to make my new tire worth the trouble and every penny it's predecessor cost me.  This will not be a week long novelty project.  
        So I made my way home and got there half an hour later than planned and my patience tested.  That bread that barely fit into my bag?  It tasted mighty fine with some peanut butter and a green apple (and fluff...shhh).  A well deserved snack.  Let's hope tomorrow proves to be less eventful.  I do have to say that the experience of slowing down and actually living the ride is miles from riding sealed off from the world with the radio blaring.  Biking allows one to smell the blossoms of spring, the dirt and sweat on the skin of the horses I pass everyday.  To see the other bikers as they wave an initiation to me, welcoming me into their club of slow travelers who get to feel the roads we travel.  
        I may just be hooked.  Tune in tomorrow for day 2. 

Pic of my new tire and Stella wanting some of my pb and fluff sandwich.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Project Garage Sale

As spring is finally showing it's face to the northern world, the itch is back.  No it's nothing contagious, I mean the spring clean and purge itch.  It's just the two of us and we have enough stuff to fill a two bedroom house and a quarter of my mom's basement {which she would like me to take back home with me after a cleaning session there this weekend!!}.  Sure if we had our own place (by that I mean own) that wouldn't require us to move all of said shit from one place to the next until we "settle down" it wouldn't be such an agent of stress, but until that time, I feel the need to 'simplify'.  I'm also very tempted to sell all our belongs to pay for the wedding....might regret that in the end.  On second thought, maybe not.  With this growing disgust of our cluttered lives and the appeal of a little extra cash, I've decided to undertake the venture of going through ALL our belongings and sort it into two piles; keep and sell.  Whatever continues to hinder us with it's presence after several attempts in the sell category, will be donated.  This venture has lovingly been labeled Project Garage Sale.     

        The tasks will range from sorting through ALL our clothing, books, dishes, and we can't forget the dreaded 'storage closet' and the very garage itself.  Everything we didn't immediately need went into the garage or the 'storage closet'.  Once in a while we'll have to go dig through one of these spaces to find a lost object but for the most part, aside from the usual garage contents (lawn and gardening tools, sports equipment, camping gear), we don't need any of the crap that is currently getting eaten, lived in and shit on by the small rodents that the dog would love to get her teeth on.  So I keep telling myself, Simplify, Simplify, SIMPLIFY!!  And that's what I intend to do.  Wish me luck!

And Happy Cinco De Mayo!  I'm celebrating with a tasty cranberry margarita and some Kale and Potato Enchilada's!  Oh and of course, homemade tortillas and chips!  MMMM!

Ps.  Was going to post a pic of the closet or the garage but you people don't want to see that, especially this close to dinner time.  Really, it's pretty gross, and a little overwhelming.