Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Impromptu Update

Yesterday’s post was scheduled, so I didn’t need to crank out a weekend update.  But I had a decent weekend to update about, so I decided to plug it in today.
Saturday we slept in.  I rarely let myself sleep in, but the weather looked pissy, so I decided to let my body get more rest than usual.  After we got up and got going with some breakfast in our tummies I headed east toward Flat Holler for some trail work and flagging a new potential reroute for the CC land manager to look at.  If he okays it this reroute will be one of the most notorious mountain bike trails in Eastern Kentucky.  I promise!
So I hacked with a machete, tied flags, did some geotech, and cleared a bit of storm debris off the existing trail.  When I got back home we worked at cleaning up the house and yard for the rest of the day.  It’s needed it for a long time.  The basement recently flooded and I just had to drag some wet and damp stuff out for a future dump run.  We’ve still got a lot to do, but we also cleaned up outside the house and made some more specific interior and exterior home improvement plans.  We stopped just shy of heading off to the home improvement store.
Sunday morning we were on the Mountain Parkway headed to church in Lexington when Mandy said: “Oh no!” and began pulling onto the shoulder.  White smoke was rolling out from behind the car.  I checked the oil—it was full—when I saw oil on the road and the frame of the car.  My dad came and picked us up and offered to loan us his car.  But it was stressful and demoralizing to be down two cars and in two loaners.  Gump is out of commission right now as well, and may not be coming back any time soon.
We’re two months out from the influx of Magic Money from Mandy’s new job.  We’ve already spent it all five times over, but new things keep coming up that we can spend it on.  Like car repairs.  Or, as we’ve acknowledged, maybe now it’s finally time to invest in a car that doesn’t cost $2,000. 
When we got home, still unable to get ahold of a towing company, I said: “well, at least now I have time to get the yard mowed before the rains hit.” I began moving my mind in that direction.  I needed to change and go to the hardware store.  I had decided it was time to get a new blade for the mower.  I also needed to keep trying to get ahold of someone to go get the car off the side of the Parkway and figure out who we were going to get to look at the car.
“Y’know what…” Mandy said, looking up from her phone.  She had been googling various phrases intended to ease our suffering.  Towing.  New hybrid car.  Etc, etc. “…let’s get changed and head out to the woods and go hiking or something and forget about car repairs, student loans, this house, mowing the yard…we can deal with it all when we come back.”
And so we did.  I took her and the kids up to Flat Holler for the first time and they saw the mountain bike trail.  We hiked over to Flat Hollow Arch and they got to see it for the first time.  We ate sandwiches and snacks while the mosquitoes snacked on us, and then we headed back.  It was a good time with the family, and because the weather was so pleasant on Sunday we just kept commenting on what a fine time we were all having.
Boone: "It's a boom mike."
On the way home we swung by Ace and I got a mower blade.  We looked at a patio set with chairs and a small glass table, and because the chairs were so darn comfortable and the price was right we got two of the chairs and the table.
When we got home I mowed and Mandy cleaned up the carport and put the table together.  That afternoon we ate dinner sitting out in the cool air on our refreshingly uncluttered porch.  It was relaxing to know that a lot of work was behind us and that we had a few hours still to relax and enjoy the beautiful evening.  She and I agreed that despite the rough start to the day it had ended up being a rare one and memorable at that.
Despite having dad’s car I decided to ride my bike to work on Monday.  I got the Dogrunner all ready on Sunday night and went to bed with the mental preparation for a 45 mile commute. 
The magic of Sunday didn’t extend on into Monday.  I woke up half an hour before my alarm with stomach issues.  Thinking maybe I would be able to sort it out and get going a little early I was at first hopeful, but when I was ten minutes late getting out the door and still not feeling it I knew I should abort.  But I was determined to make the commute work.
Before I was even off of the creek more issues arose.  Remember two years ago how I had shifting issues on the Old Kentucky Home Tour?  No, well, that was on the old blog.  Two years.  It comes and goes, so it’s never been too pressing, but it seems like when the shifting issue does come back it really knocks me off my game.  When it’s damp or humid my rear derailer won’t shift up.  It shifts down just fine, but I can’t get it to go into higher gears.  I end up working the chain onto the middle rear cog and shifting between my chainrings which essentially turns my whippy sport-sport bike into a three speed.  And that’s no good on the rolling roads of the Bluegrass and the Cumberland Plateau.
Pilot View sunrise
So today I am going to get a set of cables and housings to replace the gummed up and corroded ones I’ve been ignoring for too long.  Low cost solution to a problem I apparently enjoyed suffering from…
I was slow going all the way to Winchester.  I felt sluggish.  My bad knee hurt.  My good knee protested.  It took two hours to go half way.  I absolutely did not want to get to work a half hour late when I left with enough time to get there a half hour early.  And when I turned onto Colby Road in Winchester I realized I was too late into the morning commute.  Colby and Todds Roads would be insane with Clark Countians speeding into LexVegas for the day.  I had missed my low volume window…
I called in sick for the day.  I sure felt beaten down at that point.  Then I commenced to crawling back home.  In the end I rode 60 miles.  I was exhausted and never really felt like I recovered by last evening.  Obviously I drove in to work today.
I really did enjoy riding the bike.  I just wish I had not been so stupidly stubborn in my maintenance schedule or lack thereof.
I want to write a post in the near future about what’s been up in the past two years with my apathy and lack of motivation in general. 
Last night we were under a tornado watch when a nasty thunderstorm blew up.  The house went dead and threw us into the dark as hail beat on our poor roof and winds tore leaves and branches from the trees in the yard.  Mandy herded the crew into the basement for five minutes of anxious waiting.  When the deluge subsided a bit I ran out and climbed up on the roof to replace the tarp that had blown off from its protective placement over a hole we need to have fixed. 
Then we took stock.  We lost the top of one of our trees and a bunch of branches came down.  Same with neighbors.  Creeks were all rockin' and rollin' and we decided when Tomahawk gets back from vacation we're either bribing him to help us to take the two gum trees down before they fall square on the house or we're hiring a stranger to do it.  While we have homeowners insurance I really don't want to deal with deadfall in the kitchen.
In the still and quiet after the storm I thought to myself that we truly are blessed, that no matter how bad things are we have it pretty good, and the things that get me down are really minor in the scheme of things.

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