Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sweat Fest

It was a good day to sweat. I hit the taco ride again last night in hopes that I might shock my legs into at least being a little more understanding of the suffering I plan to put them through on Sunday in Boone. Everyone keeps talking of the horrors of all the climbing at Boone. Having never ridden there (yet), I'm pretty stoked to see all the suffering. Supposedly the beginner course is in some of the flatter sections so it won't be so bad.

I did pick up a nice compliment last night as 4 of us hearty souls enjoyed our tacos and Old Style. Something was mentioned about Boone not being for beginners or some such along those lines and I mentioned that I just started mountain biking last fall. The reply was the equivalent of you've got some natural talent then. Considering we'd just spent most of an hour touring hillside up and down several times, I felt pretty good about the comment. Of course my heart rate said a little differently considering I don't think I saw under 180 BPM while running around the loops. Chasing Andy was a lot of fun as well even though he just showed us his ass while cruising along on his single speed.

Flooding was striking again with all the rain we received earlier this week. The creek had backed up flooding out the connector trail so we had to ride the tracks. Before we even got there we ran through some pretty deep water and splashed through the mud. It definitely reminded me that I need to check out a different set of treads on my bike. The Michelin dry series that came on it are decent enough when it's dry, but I have to lower the pressure to about 20 pounds just to feel like I've got any traction. At that pressue they're squirrely in the corners and I keep thinking they're flat when I have to put any power down.

Hopefully I see a few of you in Boone on Sunday. Look for the fat boy in the Rassy's kit riding the beginner loop!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Lack of motivation sucks. I rolled home around 9:30 last night due to my motorcycle class I'm taking at DMACC. As I put the scoot away, I thought how nice it would be to ride my bike in this morning. I even told my wife I was planning on riding in. Fucking snooze button. I couldn't drag my sorry ass out of bed to do anything more than punch the button on top of the clock and shoot straight back to the sweet sheets. The snoozaholic wins again.

On the plus side, I have my choice of rides tonight. Tacos or Ritual? I'll probably hit tacos tonight as I need some time on the mountain bike. For some reason I decided to commit to my lunacy and will be riding the IMBCS race up in Boone this weekend. Granted, I'm whipping out my wuss card and only running the beginner race, but it should still be a good time.

Today is new computer day at work! I'm pretty stoked. I all ready installed my new 22" widescreen monitor on Monday. I'm thinking I need one of those rollin on 22's set of numbers you see on all the pimped out rides. Dude, I'm getting a Dell. Considering my current tower is roughly 5 years old, I can't wait to see how quick the new machine is. On top of that, it might actually have a functioning drive and a fan that doesn't sound like it's about to saw my case in half... But I digress, it's new computer day and I'm almost as stoked as new bike day.

Enjoy the day and maybe I'll see a few of you out riding tonight.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It could've sucked more

The weekend wasn't total junk. For sure working both days and realizing I'll have roughly 12 days in a row without a complete day off definitely sucks. However, it was definitely tempered by some good times Saturday evening and Sunday.

We broke out the tandem and used it just like we'd always intended. We loaded up everyone and everything at the house and put the road train on the road. The plan was to hit Waterworks park and do a nice little picnic dinner and feed some old ass bread to the geese.

I know, I know, there are signs all over the park not to feed the geese, but how could you possibly deny such a sweet little 2 year old?!

We even took a picture of our goofy selves. Heh, the pain wasn't there yet as it's pretty much all downhill to the park...

The suffering began on the way home as we rode back through McRea park which is home to a nice 7-11% grade hill that rises about 100' total. We had 1 gear left as we grunted to the top. Not too shabby for hauling a loaded trailer and having a stoker with under 100 miles this year.

Sunday I was back for more at work. At least this time i only put in about 4 hours, but the office was completely void of life so I got even more work done. I think I can see a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel so I'm hoping it keeps growing. I've got a pretty buried week trying to start this job moving forward with less lurching and stopping than has been going on. I headed out at noon so I could get time to mow before Corley went down for a nap. The poor yard had been neglected for just about 3 weeks and was in major need of a haircut. I ended up raising the deck all the way up just to get it mowed. Of course it doesn't help when the mower isn't running quite right either...

Sunday afternoon was me and the little one once she woke up. We spent a good half hour snuggling with her sleeping on my chest. Man, I miss that! We hauled a huge load of cans and bottles down to turn in using the Bianchi and her trailer. The sky was turning pretty ugly as we left home so we beat feet down there and back. A couple blocks from home the sprinkling started, but we managed to stay mostly dry. Much to my dismay and Corley's anguish, the parks were now out of the afternoon plans. We made the best of it playing inside and watching the rain come down in sheets.

On to the start of another busy week. I start my motorcycle class this week so I can hopefully get my actual motorcycle license and be legal to ride the scooter. Shhh, don't tell anyone! We've got balloons on Wednesday, friends all weekend, and possibly a mountain bike race on Sunday. Jam packed I tell ya.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Plop Plop fizz fizz

Man what a week. The bad news is things will probably increase in intensity for at least another month before the bottom starts to drop out. I sit here at work on a Saturday knowing full well I'll not be able to complete as much as I need to today, so I'll be in tomorrow as well. I'd much rather not be here, but such is life.

Tuesday was a trip to the casino project. A 6 hour round trip and 9 hours of work makes for a long day out. I got some good things done and avoided being on site during the owner's review happening the following day. Of course I still didn't totally avoid it as I was called a number of times on Wednesday and Thursday to review questions or comments from the owner on our work. At least now things are a bit lined out and I can hopefully make some headway in lieu of feeling like I'm just spinning my wheels.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. During my road trip, as often is the case, nature called. A combination of my typical morning routine being altered and a coffee from QT had the peristaltic action working it's mojo on my lower half. I veered off to the last rest stop before my turn off the main interstate to lighten the load so to speak. Now I have no real issues with using public facilities. I know there are a number of people out there that would rather die than have to use a truck stop or random public toilet to do their business, but I'm not one of those. As long as I can wipe the seat off first, I'm good to go. However, I may be changing that decision soon enough.

After popping into the restroom, I discovered the handicap stall to still be open as the other stall was in use. I had just sat down and for some reason was pondering how people can possibly even think about sexual rendezvous in such a place when I heard something. My brain refused to register it the first time or two, but slowly, the noise sank in. The stall next to me was grunting and groaning ever so slightly. OK, well, maybe he was working hard. Wait just a damn minute, now those grunts started having the sexual edge to them. OK, just what in the bloody hell is happening in the stall next to me. Am I about to be propositioned ala the foot tapping incident of Larry Craig or is the guy next door simply enjoying himself too damn much?! The noises now began increasing in volume with a few bits of dialogue including an "oh god" in there and finally hit crescendo with what I can only describe as the noise you hear on the alka selzer commercial. After the kids had been dropped off at the pool, I shit you not, the next words I hear were, "oh, that was good." Check please! I'm flailing about getting out of there as quick as I can and luckily make it before the next stall opened up.

OK, that's a chapter I can now check off in my life. Hope you enjoyed it too. Fucking weird! Wednesday was an early day just to ensure I could get a bike ride in. I headed down for the Ritual Ride. It was definitely a light showing with a vast number of people hitting Ragbrai this week. I think we had about 8-10 people total which is vastly short of the usual 25-50. We rolled out and kept the pace pretty chill until we passed 63rd and it was time to go. I tried rolling off the front, but was still flanked pretty well until I made a crossing that the other riders were just far enough behind on that they waited for the traffic to clear. Eventually, Nathan caught up to me being the racer that he is and did it on his fixie to boot. We rolled together for a couple miles until we hit that last big hill on the loop and he dropped back to find his girlfriend. I kept on the gas and ran another loop to see how hard I could push. I did ok, but not great which is pretty consistent with my lack of training. I headed home and broke out the mower to start attacking the jungle that has become my yard. 2+ weeks of not mowing tends to do that to a yard, ya know?

Thursday night we headed out to look at some commercial property that Miranda has been looking at. A couple guys representing the realty agency met us to show the properties. Nothing very special, but it was good for us to see what the market and cost is like so we can put those numbers into our business plan. Did I mention that we're seriously thinking of opening a local shop? We're starting to get some product out with a few local businesses and have had a good response thus far so we're thinking seriously of putting together an actual storefront. Just another stress at this point, but Miranda is doing a good job of taking the lead and bulldogging things. After the spaces, it was time for dinner. We headed to A-Dong's for some good cuisine and I tried a Vietnamese import beer.

Very light without a ton of flavor, but as it warmed up, it actually had some hints of wine taste to it. Very interesting. In an ice cold state, you could probably slam a 6'er of these and barely notice it until the alcohol set in.

I finally took the scooter out for a longer ride last night just to clear my head. I toured through Water Works park until I came back to the couple sections that were still closed. After that I putted through some neighborhoods that I'd never been in in the adjacent streets to the park. Mostly commercial/industrial, but a few housing areas sprinkled in. We took the night really easy and ended with a quick soak in the hot tub. Not a bad way to start a weekend, but then again, this isn't the weekend I want either.

There you go, all caught up on the lack of excitement in my life. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My scooter hauls

Literally and figuratively now that I have my new saddlebags on. My cycle shop ordered a set of bags from Prima for me and last I'd heard it was a 4-6 week back order. I was a bit disappointed, but that was soon shelved when I got a call back less than a week later saying the bags had come in. I scooted over there Friday on lunch to pick them up. Pretty sweet bags overall.

It didn't take me long to get tired of lugging drawings and misc work back and forth in a back pack. Granted, I never hauled half as much as what I did this morning, but it still wasn't my favorite thing to do. Since I'd driven the truck the past 3 days for various reasons, I was determined to ride in this morning. The only problem was I had a jobsite visit yesterday so I had a plethora of drawings with me. I guess it's time to see how much stuff these bags can handle.

Left side looks a bit full:

Right side does too:

Just how much did I have in there?:

All told it's about 40 pounds of drawings including a bunch of 11x17 paper and a couple half scale blueprints. Surprisingly, I didn't notice any ill effects on the handling or oomph, but did notice it actually rode a bitter more smoothly over the bumps with the added weight. The bags were a bit tricky to mount as there were no instructions and a pretty generalized picture on the box to go by. I'll probably play around a bit more with the mounting overall, but I'm pretty happy with them. The bags came with shoulder straps, rain covers, and some extra mounting bungees and straps. Retail list was $139.99, but I got a discount from the shop since I'd just bought my scooter. I picked up the helmet in the picture as well. I still like the open face better, but this will be nice in the wet or cold since I'm not planning to add a windshield.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Leg breaker weekend

Ahh, the weekend. The time for rest, relaxation, and breaking legs? That was the recipe for Saturday morning. Only an endurance pace ride for Pete, Lou, Pig, and a couple other boys in black but that meant I was in for some hurt. I haven't had nearly enough time on the bike lately, but signed on anyway. Damn boys, I know you like to go early, but a 5:45 start time from the west side means a 4:30 wake up call for me. I rolled my bleary eyed ass out of bed and got everything ready to roll. I was greeted by a foggy and humid morning rolling in.

The original call was for 80 miles on the Winterset loop, but I was only planning to hang as long as I could and then limp it back home on empty. We actually rolled out a bit of a different route heading the reverse of how I typically ride it. We rolled through Orilla, down to Norwalk, and then through Martensdale. I hung pretty well into Martensdale and then it was discussed to shorten the ride to St Mary's and back. Somewhere around this point Lou made the comment that at the front of the pace line we should be drilling it since we were able to recover in the draft. I laughed out loud at that one considering my heart rate was averaging 170-175 in the draft and 180+ up front. We hit the first big roller south of Martensdale and I popped half way up running the heart rate to 190. I'd been pushing hard enough long enough that I didn't push on through and fell off the back quickly. I hit one more roller headed south and turned for home figuring they'd catch me somewhere around the edge of town.

As I turned I checked my average speed and made a mental note to try to stay on the gas and keep my pace up. I rolled in through town and headed back to the parking lot. It was a zoo with everyone loading up for the spectacle that is Ragbrai. Luckily I had enough forethought to park at the far end of the lot so I was out of the way enough to get out easily. Micah showed back up about 10 minutes after I got there and let me know the others stopped for coffee downtown. I headed out to go meet them. As we headed out from coffee, Lou offered up the second half of his cup since he was still on 2 wheels and I was headed home. Not one to let a good cup go to waste, I took it home. Damn! I'm not sure what his order was, but I was like a squirrel on crack when I got home!!

The rest of the weekend was pretty nice as well. We got a little family time in along with some house cleaning for the afternoon and then dropped little one off at Grandma's. We hit a nice dinner at Latin King before we headed out in search of some commercial property. We're seriously thinking of opening a storefront for our lingerie business. Things are starting to move for us locally with our product getting put out in a few locations, so it's time to think about doing some of our own sales.

We headed down to the science center after that to catch Dark Night in IMAX. The movie kicked some serious ass, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend seeing it in IMAX. There's just too much sensory input and while it can be processed, it isn't the same as being able to catch it all on a regular screen. Definitely check out the movie either way.

I actually slept in a bit this morning since Corley spent the night with grandma. I hit work for a few hours and tried to get some stuff done. I wasn't alone in my Sunday slave labor. I picked up Corley after her nap and decided we'd go do some playing this afternoon. Squirrel apparently still has his text ring tone shut off and I didn't hear back from them so we headed out on our own. I hooked the trailer up to the Bianchi for the first time. We rolled to the grocery store to pick up a few frosty adult refreshments and some treats for later as well. After dinner, we took another short ride up to the park.

Corley LOVES to swing. She'll tell you that's what she wants to do if you ever give her an option to go do something. We swung and did the slides for a while and headed back to the house. I took a little bit of a detour to get some hills in dragging the trailer. Talk about a leg breaker! Nothing like dragging an extra 40 pounds up a hill with you.

It was a good thing I took that long way home. My first real freegan find while riding. There was a nice shiny Craftsman wrench with a ratchet box end. Sweet! Another block to home and it was time to wind the weekend down. Hopefully this week will bring some sanity back to work. I'm headed to the job site on Tuesday and while things don't seem too over the top right this second, I'll be holding my breath until I head home on Tuesday night. I might try to sneak in a ride up there with one of the owner's reps who happens to be a triathlete.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tacos and beer

Some may say titties and beer are the best things on earth and while I may not necessarily disagree, I submit humbly that tacos and beer when enjoyed in the company of buddies is a pretty damn good alternative. Enjoy a little Frank Zappa on your Friday.

I got out for my only ride in a week on Wednesday night. A perfect excuse to bail on work early once this week found me rolling out around 3:30 in the afternoon. After a little tweaking at the chiropractor I headed home to load up the truck and bike for the taco ride at Rassy's. An interesting roll out led to a pretty heated exchange between Hanser and a pissed off idiot motorist. While the rest of us cut through some parking lots to head over to the levee, Hanser played the good guy and road perfectly legally through the streets. Sadly enough, he damn near got ran over by some idiot.

We rolled down the levee trail to the dirty connector.

Once on the dirty connector, it was pretty easy to see all the damage that the water had caused. Amazing how the holes can be dug by seemingly gentle water. Sections of the connector are pretty rough right now, but it is at least rideable. We headed over to Hillside for some laps. I rolled one lap and headed back for part of another since everyone else was still up there when I rolled in the parking lot. I need someone to lead me through there sometime to figure out the supposed flow since all the trails criss cross around and I typically take a wrong turn or two.

After hillside it was time for a lap of roller coaster. I was a bit nervous since there were supposedly even more roots and washes exposed now. There were plenty before, but luckily I really didn't notice the new stuff to be any more technical. A group of us rolled through, but had to stop for a man down.

The guy on the far left was riding the trails for the first time and got thrown off line going across one of the bridges on roller coaster. He looked pretty good for going headlong into a 6 foot deep ditch... Only a few scrapes and cuts, but he finished the ride out with us. Good going man! We met the group back down at the parking lot where everyone was pretty much ready to head down for grub. Sammy and I took off for one more lap of roller coaster and I had my fall for the day. There's one log to cross up top and I thought I had it until I stuck my damn chain ring into the side of it. I didn't think it was quite that tall. No big deal, but I tweaked my should when I put both hands down to break my fall.

It was Old Style time now. We headed for the bar. I'm not sure what's up with the look in this pic, but I think I was flirting with Squirrel's camera... Damn, that was only after 1 beer.

Tacos were good as always, but I paid for it after searing the top of my mouth on the first bite. Damn, burned the shit out of the roof of my mouth to the point I had skin peeling off by the time we left the bar. A couple more days and I'll be good to go. Here's to hoping I'll make it out to do something on the bike this weekend. Work still sucks so I'll be there at least part of the weekend. Saturday night the little one is staying with grandma so we're hitting The Dark Night in IMAX. I'm pretty stoked about that! Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm a raging snoozaholic

I don't claim to be a morning person, but as life would dictate, I'm typically out of bed and moving before 7 bells. Actually, I'm typically doing whatever I've got planned for the day by 7 AM. Funny thing about this is while my morning ritual only takes 40-50 minutes including drive time, my alarm is set for 5 AM.

The clock used to be next to my head and that was just easy prey. When my snoozing time finally reached close to 2 hours I decided it was time to take drastic measures. I moved the damn clock to the far corner of the room on top of my dresser. I also turned it from sweet sounds of classic rock to the beep of death. I ensured that I'd have to drag my ass off the bed every ten minutes if I wanted to snooze. I figured this would be a surefire way to get me rolling in the mornings. I didn't realize how devilish the demons of snooze could be. I managed to just prolong the agony for the most part. Now was I not only having to hit snooze, but I was having to traipse my sometimes clothed, sometimes not (just had to get the visual in there for you) ass back and forth across a hardwood floor that is cool in the summer and downright cold in the winter.

So there you have it, confessions of a snoozaholic. Anyone else out there suffer from this malady? Anyone have a cure?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Labor history

Anyone have fond memories of child labor? Sitting here at a desk job, I definitely have fond regards for the labors I performed growing up. Sure there were some truly crappy jobs like walking beans in mid July with the only drinking water having been contaminated by stupid ass other kids working with you, but I digress. There were a number of bright spots in there.

One of my favorit activities as a progeny of child labor laws was mowing lawns. It probably also explains why I almost have to be forced at gunpoint to mow my current lawn. I made a small business out of it with actual clients that were outside of my home neighborhood and everything. Bless my mom as she actually carted me around in the period of time before I could drive on my own. I was one of the few kids that actually had money to buy things I wanted. I was still pretty frugal about it, but I know there were numerous dollars spent on video games and junk foods. Mowing lawns definitely was a good place to start.

After the floods of 93 came through I had a pretty interesting job doing cleanup for the rest of the summer. The conditions sucked as I was running a pressure washer and hauling sharp bits of sheet metal from 7-3:30 for weeks on end, but the pay was good and the actual plant workers were pretty cool. I experienced my first major work related embarassment at this job. I bent over to pick something up and blew the ass straight out of my pants. A cool misty breeze confirmed what I'd heard before I could even reach around to feel the gaping hole. Alas, the closest person you could call my supervisor was a cute gal that I'm sure I had a bit of a crush on at some point in time. I had to ask her to use the phone in order to call my mom to run me some new pants down. She was definitely amused, but at least didn't prolong my embarassment.

My first true job came towards the end of high school. A friend of my dad's hooked me up with a job at the local hardware store. This type of store is a rare breed anymore having been overrun by the Home Depots, Lowes, and Menards of the world. There are a few in Des Moines, but mostly you'll only find them in small towns anymore. I learned a ton of things that I still use on a regular basis at this job. I learned screen repair, how to reglaze a wood window, paint mixing, and a host of other things. Looking back, my boss was a bit of a jerk as I think he assumed I was the same as all other high school slacker kids. I admit, I was to a certain extent, but I was serious about doing a good job, so I think some of the ire I drew was a bit unfounded. I really enjoyed my co-workers who were pretty much all old retired guys that had good stories and were good friends. I regularaly returned to the store for years until it closed down just to talk to a few of them.

I moved from that job to work with a friend of the family at a rental and repair store. This was my first taste of learning that you can't necessarily work with your buddies. I learned small engine repair and also did a ton of general maintenance plus labor here. I spent almost 2 years here before I finally said fuck off to my buddy (who was my boss) and quit. We did remain friends after that, but something about having him as my boss just didn't work for us as it seemed to make him think I was his complete lackey.

From the rental store, I bounced into the world of construction. Through another family connection (thankfully not working for family) I hooked up with a home builder that needed a jack of all trades. Mostly my job was clean up, but I also did a fair amount of skid loader work and some actual carpentry. I more or less was issued a pick-up with a dump box and a tandem axle trailer with bobcat to use as necessary to do my job. I worked my ass off through the rain, heat, cold, and mud. I wore myself out, but I enjoyed that job and my boss was awesome. I hated mud more than anything else and if it weren't for mud, I might well still be at that job. Actually, I wouldn't be as it was a transition position at best, but made for good money with overtime available and tons of hours to work in the summers. I held this job halfway through college and I picked up tons of info about building houses and running heavy equipment.

After running through that job in a couple years, I was offered the chance to put my college learning and head to use. A shirttail family relation had a small commercial general construction company and was looking for an office person. Little did I realize that the person they wanted needed to be a slave. I learned a ton of things in two years, but the biggest was that you can't work for relatives. They will eat you alive since they think that as a relative, they're doing you a favor by keeping you employed. I was office manager, accountant, project manager, estimator, payroll clerk, apartment maintenance guy, lawn mower, general labor, and field superintendant. Most of this was all at the same time. I think I worked somewhere in the 60 hour a week range for the better part of two years and also finished college in that span. I was "salaried" which basically meant slave to them as I enver got any overtime and the only way to earn extra was to work at their house on the weekends doing lawn care and general labor work. It was probably lucky for me that we parted ways when we did. Though I liked the husband part of the owners, I could easily live the rest of my life never seeing the wife portion again. If there was ever a person that revelled in being a heinous bith, she was the one.

Unexpectedly parting company with the construction company left me unemployed for a short time where I picked up some odd labor gigs for my parents. Fortunately, I'd made a few contacts by now and roped back into a job working for an independant landscaper running his bobcat and doing various projects. The work was hard, but man was it cool. We made some sweet landscapes and I had a ball being back outside and working in the sun for the summer. Unfortunately, I knew it wasn't a long term position so I kept sending out applications and resumes. I had a few interviews and finally an interesting call.

One of the subs I had worked with at the construction company received my application (unsolicited) and called to tell me they'd keep it on file. Not a week went by and they were calling me to come in for an interview. I put in two weeks to the landscaper and went back to the office side of life. The first couple years were a whirlwind of constantly getting my butt kicked as I learned how this particular field worked. As I found my footing, I quickly shot up the ranks and now I'm hitting the proverbial glass ceiling. I think that's a pretty key point in why I'm somewhat tired of what I do. Once you get to the top, there's nothing really new to keep things interesting. It's the climb up there that offers the reward along with the kicks in the ass to make things interesting. I finally have my review rescheduled for this Thursday and I'm hoping to make a transition to the next level. The funny part is, there is no next level. I'm actually trying to create a bridge between the level I'm at and the ownership level. Hopefully I can make it stick. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good times

The weekend is a bit hazy, but overall was pretty decent. Saturday morning we were up relatively early and headed off to the zoo to catch one more show with the elephants before they left town. We picked up a friend's daughter and took her as well. The girls had an awesome time watching the elephants put on their show. We had a few sprinkles that threatened to get us wet, but luckily they were just a threat only. We buzzed through a few more exhibits and then it was time to head out for lunches and such.

I headed off to work after swining by the house for quick bite of lunch. I'm still pegging out miles on the new scooter. As of this morning I'm around 200 in just a shade over a week. I spent a 5 hour chunk prepping a single question set for the job I'm working on. Apparently the designer and architect don't ever talk to each other and I'm about the only one checking to see if items all work together which definitely isn't part of my job. So, after that was done, I couldn't really make any headway and it was time to head home.

After Corley's bed time we kicked back and watched part of a horror flick called "The Eye". I only watched part of it as I was due to get up early for a nice long ride with some friends. I rousted myself out of bed and was just a minute or two past our designated 7 AM start time when I reached their house. Hmm, that's odd, usually they're ready and waiting for me. So, I knocked and knocked again. Finally, I tapped on the glass in the door. Finally a bleary eyed buddy opens the door and regrets to inform me that an email was fired off after midnight last night that they weren't rolling with me this morning. Damn! I headed back out on the road and as the sun was warming my back I stopped to ponder.

Yup, I bailed on the ride. I really wanted to go, but something was nagging me to stay back and do other things. I'm not sure if I just thought going out on the ride by myself was being too selfish or if I just didn't want to be out on my own. In any case, I headed home, peeled out of the spandex, and made arrangements to help some friends out with a new swingset they were building. I spent the morning and a couple hours in the afternoon on that project helping with the heavyweight portions of the work. I had to head out early so Miranda could go to work.

Coley got up from her nap and had been begging to go swing all day. How could I resist? We loaded up and hit Ewing park for some good dirty fun. We swung, we slid, we shuffled our feet in the gravel, and had a great time.

We rounded out the night playing in the cool AC before hitting bed. Couldn't have asked for a much better Sunday.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Apparently I don't get it

Just fucking shoot me all ready. I'm working my butt off to try and get this project at work off the ground. We have materials being blasted through the shop to make it to site in time for an owner's review. I had to swear on my mother (sorry mom) that we'd have all the samples on site today. I ran my ass off for the past week and a half to make certain that all the strings were pulled and the show went off without a hitch. Our truck left at 8 this morning peacefully loaded with all the materials.

I got an email a little bit ago with a brand new detail of an area that we just sent up material for. Apparently the designer has been holding out on getting a new design approved by the owner and decided now was the time to unleash his grand plan. This is after we spent a good amount of time reviewing the drawings including a conference call to make sure we were all on the same page about what was needed and the urgency.

I know it's the owner's perogative to have things the way they want them. Hell, they're paying for it. But when you throw another voice in the mix that doesn't seem to understand the correlation between time and money and how it can really piss people off when you blatantly waste their time, it adds a whole new level of crazy to wrap your head around. I just don't get it.

Doubling up

Disclaimer: if you don't want to read about my sex life stop here.

OK, that's out of the way so on to the good stuff. I never thought I'd be tired of or too tired to really enjoy sex. It's an amazing thing when your body basically just says fuck it and you're only going through the motions to get done in a timely fashion so you can get back to sleep.

We've been trying something new lately. The idea was spawned over a topic that made it's way onto one of the morning news shows, Today, Good Morning America, or something. In any case, it was about a couple that made up their mind to go something like 100 days in a row with being intimate with each other. The topic popped up on one of the forums we're on and they were discussing the merits. Much to my aplomb and whole hearted agreement, my beautiful wife suggested that maybe we try to make sure we have some intimacy every day as a trial run. Damn, you could've scraped my jaw off the floor. How often do you get a gorgeous gal to tell you she wants to F you every day for a 2 week period just to see what it's like?!

Damn, it's tough work. Life most definitely will conspire to kick your ass when you think you're going to pull one over on it. Of course you've all read my bitching about work sucking lately and so on and so forth. Well, couple that up with the mandatory early morning rising, wanting to ride my bike, the need to have some family time, and it's tough finding time for nooky. Let alone finding time for it on a daily basis. So, ya, we've skipped a couple days in there, but last night was the first actual attempt that fizzled out. The idea sounded great, but the action definitely wasn't the hot, sweaty, bang my head against the wall shit that fuels you up for the next time. Hell, it wasn't even the let me look soulfully into your eyes and feel our bodies intertwine sex. Nope, this was the ok lets put tab A into slot B, push it in, pull it out, rinse and repeat. Yup, we pulled the plug on that shit once we both fully accepted it wasn't going to get any better. Surprisingly enough, I really didn't care that we stopped in the middle.

Overall though, with the exception of making my sleeping hours even shorter, it's been a damn fun ride. I'm hoping we make the effort to keep it up even after our 2 weeks are up. We've had some fun and I think we're shooting to put some variation into our routine as well which would be a huge shot in the arm in my humble opinion.

A recall of epic proportions

Memory is a funny thing. So is experience. Considering I just started truly riding at the beginning of May last year, the term "epic" has gone through a number of iterations on what it meant to me. At first, much of anything over 30 miles was a pretty epic ride. As time wore on, that mileage increased higher and higher until even a century wasn't necessarily an epic ride. In fact I hadn't done anything recently that I would really even classify as being close to epic. Sure I've suffered through a crit now and done my first 100 mile gravel road race, but even those were more about suffering and sucking it up than anything else. Then I rode home yesterday.

Holy crap in a bucket. I'm not sure what the difference was, but yesterday's ride home did nothing short of sucking it big time. Whether it was the head wind out of the south, the heat index being in the 90's, a 15 lb back pack that I would've sworn on a stack of bibles weighed at least 25, or the fact I was tired but still in a hurry to get home. Add any of those elements together or in my case all of them and I had a commute that really sucked for me. Every time I put any effort into the pedals my heart rate felt like it was going to shoot through the roof. My legs were a bit tired, but weren't really the issue. I damn near swung the front derailleur into the little sprocket. Damn, that would have sucked!

All in all, I made it home a big sweaty, ugly mess and hopped in a cool shower. I hate it when you get out of a shower and you're still sweating which is exactly what happened yesterday. We boogied out the door again and headed down to catch the Valley Junction farmer's market. It's typically a great time with some good music and good food. Last night was no exception. Corley got out to dance for a bit, we had our usual BBQ joint and the night didn't suck. An easy to bed baby girl even made it better.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ever get lost?

I don't mean in the literal where the fuck am I sense, I mean more of a lost in the moment, can't stop doing something, where did I lose several hours of time sense. It happened to me yesterday. We had lunch served to the company and after spending 30 minutes eating, I had another 30 to kill by doing some surfing. I ran over to check on one of my new favorite blogsDad gone mad and since he's out of town this week, he has a bunch of guest bloggers doing his leg work.

One of his guests is this gal. With a name like boobs, injuries, and dr. pepper, I couldn't resist running over there to check it out. There was also mention that she had recently starting writing about a suicide attempt which piqued a morbid curiosity. If you scroll down and click her link to the "crazy chronicles" you can read them from the start. This is where I lost myself. I'm a sucker for an intriguing story line and this was definitely a gut wrencher.

A couple hours later I raised my head up after making it through about 2/3's of her posts. I had a few things to finish up at work and then it was right back to where I left off. I'm not sure why I was so sucked in, but the story she weaves is amazing, frightening, sad, and inspirational all at once. The worst thing is, I don't think it's probably too unique of a story as you cross this great country of ours. I'm sure there are numerous people with slightly different versions of the same story.

I let my emotions drain out as I read what had transpired through her life. It was like someone just sucked all the fire, wind, and life right out of me. I felt drained. Luckily, by that time it was time to head off home and put those words into the back of my head. After things quieted down for the night I pulled the site back up to finish what I'd started. I'm still not quite certain why I couldn't pull back, but wow. I don't know if it inspired me or made me thankful for the things I have going for me, but it definitely made me question what kind of crappy people inhabit this world with us.

There you have it. A twofer, but probably not what you were wanting.

Ritual or Tacos?

Man, it was a tough decision last night. With the weather being great for a change, both the Ritual ride and Taco ride were in full swing last night. The Taco ride is still suffering a bit from the flooding shutting down a number of trails, but there are still some ridable pieces out there. Considering it has been a couple weeks since I've put in anything close to resembling a hard effort, I figured I probably wasn't in shape to stick with the A group for the Ritual Ride, but it would at least offer the opportunity to bloew the cobwebs out.

I shucked out of work a shade after 4 and scooted home (literally). A few more indecisive moments were spent when Miranda informed me her plans for the evening had fallen through. I offered up to go out to dinner and do something with her, but she opted to lock herself in the office and work on updating some new products for the store. I decided to head to down Ritual ride and took off on the road bike.

I got a nice warm up on the way down and then pretty much cooled off by the time we took off from the cafe. We did a pretty slow roll out as a group down Fleur and worked our way over to Brown's Woods Drive. Donny had told us that once we crossed 63rd, we could stretch our legs out so I followed that advice and hit the gas a little harder. I looked back and for some reason I was off the front by a pretty good margin. I figured the pack would reel me in shortly so I just stayed on it and got the heart rate pumping. Donny finally pulled me pack as we made the turn down past Orilla and had me jump on his wheel as a few other riders pulled up as well. I'm sure they were taking it easy, but it still felt good to go out strong for a little while.

I chased them through the first lap and fell off at the soccer hill. By the end of the second lap I was pretty well spent and rolled up around 5th to the starting point of the loop where everyone was sitting. I'd bounced my heart rate up to the 194 range a few times and was feeling it so the break was great. On top of that as soon as we rolled out it felt like the AC was turned on. I split off from the group and headed down 63rd where I was met by the only asshole of the night. He laid on the horn and gave me the universal signal for WTF as he drove by even though he never had to slow down to get around me. Apparently changing lanes is too much of a hassle for some people to have to go through without getting upset.

All in all it was a good ride and I managed to turn myself inside out a few times as well. I rode (an actual bike) in this morning as well. My legs were feeling it for sure as I started out, but I cruised at a pretty steady pace all the way in. That makes 3 days since I've driven my truck. I love it!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rattler ride in

I rode the Rattler in both Sunday and today. It was a bit wet out still at 6 in the morning, but no real problem getting in. I was definitely a bit more cautious on the wet pavement, but never had any issues. I think it's mostly in my head as I do the same thing when I'm on my bike. I even managed to work in my first errand on the Rattler on Sunday. As tacos seemed to be the order of the day for lunch, I called it quits at work around noon and headed towards home. A jog through downtown and across to 9th street took me by Taco Johns for a 6 pack and a pound. The bag neatly tucked in the under seat storage area and stayed pretty toasty for the 10 minute ride home.

Traffic was just slightly heavier this morning and moving along at 5-10 over the speed limit as is usual. I put the speedo at 5 over and try to hold it there. For the most part only a few cars passed me and I had no problems keeping up or even passing a few as well. I definitely would be a bit worried taking the scooter out on any major highway transits right now as it seems 55 is probably pushing the limits for top end while it's still breaking in. I haven't had it over 50 yet, but at 50 it's starting to wind out. I'm still waiting on the call back for a pair of saddlebags I want to increase the utility value. Right now a large backpack is sufficing, but lugging home a set of drawings Sunday wasn't much fun.

The final jury is still out, but I'm pretty sure I'll be enjoying this scooting deal for a while to come.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Week in review

Uggh, I suppose it's time to post an update since it seems readership drops greatly when there's nothing new on the blog. Hmm, I wonder if there's a direct correlation?! I finally made it back on the bike. Tuesday I finally had more than I could stand, found myself off at a relatively sane hour and decided it was now or never. I phoned up Brian and we decided to hit a small mountain bike loop over by his place. This actually worked out really well for me since his place just happens to be about 3 miles from my place! Bonus. I jumped on the mountain bike and headed his way. A couple hours later I was worked into a sweaty and only slightly tired heap as I wound my way back home. Sorry, no pictures as the trails we were on are top secret! Actually, they're more unknown than secret. Shoot, I've lived on the south side all my life and only knew about a couple of the pieces we hit.

Work still sucked most of the week and made sure I didn't get out to play again. After putting in somewhere north of 40 hours before the 4th, it was time to play again. I was originally planning to hit my first road century with some friends early on the 4th, but got a last minute invite to grab some gravel goodness with Brian at a later start time and more relaxed pace/distance. We rolled from his place through the top secret trails and headed towards Summerset park in Indianola just to see what kind of shape it was in.
Getting ready to leave:

Sweet level B on the way down

Bridge washed out on the singletrack trail

Shallow water crossing in Summerset Park

Rollin some gravel

The park wasn't in too bad of shape. We hit two spots where water was still across the road. I let Brian take the lead on both just to see how deep they were (my momma didn't raise no fool!) The singletrack lower portion was in relatively good shape with some muddy spots and a few trees across the trail. It looked like a single work day would pretty much get it back in ridable shape beyond the large bridge being washed out which is going to take some heavy equipment to probably put back in place. All in all a great morning for a great ride and ended with a couple brews before noon (shh don't tell the beer police). We ended the day visiting some other friends and taking in the Adventureland fireworks show.

Saturday was pretty much a wash in the morning. Corley wasn't working things out very well so we cancelled out our planned tandem and trailer ride. We also spent a solid hour attempting to clean green juice from an area roughly the size of Rhode Island out of the cream color carpet in our living room. Score: Green juice 1 Carpet 0. We got most of the staining out, but the carpet gave up it's last ghost so it's now slated for replacement in the next year or so.

Around noon we finally went out for a stroll and headed to the motorcycle shop down the street. I had been putting off looking at scooters again until I could take Miranda with me for an opinion and have her also set on one with me for the few times we might both go out on it. I ended up picking the Rattler 110 based on how it fit and felt under me. I actually didn't get to ride it until I'd all ready purchased it, but after riding it a few times, including into work this morning, it's definitely a ton of fun. I'll post more about it later, but here's a pic from it's first day in a new home.

After that we finally made it out for an evening ride. With our tandem mileage severely lacking this year, I picked out the flattest and shortest route available. We loaded up and hit the Summerset bike trail and rode to the park. Even though the park is closed, we still had a good time letting Corley run and play.

Our road train

You can't really tell from the pictures, but the tandem with a trailer added on makes for quite the road train. It's a comfort style tandem (Trek T900), but it's still a lot of fun and makes for a nice relaxing cruiser. Trying to get much of any speed out of it is next to impossible especially with the trailer on, but cruising in the low to mid teens is about perfect. I still need to put a different saddle on though as I'm in such an upright position that I put a ton more weight on my ass. I'm planning on trying out a leather saddle as soon as I can order it.

That took us right up to bedtime and we finished off the night with some relaxation in the hot tub. Corley and I have some bonding time this afternoon with mom working. Too bad we can't get back together with our other friends Squirrel and Kent due to Corley still being on the contagious side so we'll have to go play on our own. I'm thinking another trailer ride with her hooked to the cross bike might be in order. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I'm stuck at work for another hour or so.