June 26, 2008

Moving Forward-ish

I feel like I've reached a milestone as of late. I am finally moving one step forward and only one step back, instead of the normal two steps back.

This, dear friends, is a good thing.

Other than some dry spots in the yard caused by the sudden INSANE temperature increase the last two weeks the lawn looks great. The garden is coming along and within a couple of weeks I'll be moving door to door begging neighbors to take vegetables and trying to convince children that if they shove a stick into a banana squash and put it into the freezer that it will, in fact taste like a banana popsicle. Even the marigolds and sunflowers are finally going to bloom. However, the Chinese lanterns and English daisys are MIA. They may have started and been pulled by Wifey or myself during a weeding frenzy.

Smarty Pant's bedroom is nearly completed after 3 coats and 2 colors of paint. Only chair rail remains and for that I have my trusty miter saw that makes an incompetent assclown like me look like I know what I'm doing. That said, I should have used it the other night when I put the ceiling fan in Smarty's room.

Naturally, the light outlet in the ceiling was not reinforced for a fan which left me with 2 options: buy an expandable support that installs through the hole in the ceiling; or go into the attic and install a 2x4 between the ceiling joists. Now, I've gone both routes and much prefer climbing into the 150-degree hell of the blown insulation of the attic then try and put in one of those godforsaken supports. So I put on a mask (safety first!) and into the attic I go. And it. Is. Frigging. HOT! I dig through the insulation and find the spot, measure 22" between the joists and head down to cut the 2x4. Measure twice, cut once, and back into the attic.

And the board that I just cut and measured at 22" will not fit. The board is 1/4" too long. Yet both the board and the space measure 22".

?

Back down the ladder and out to the garage, cut the board to 21-7/8". Back into the attic, drop the board in and it is now 1/8" too narrow.

?

These are how my attempts at carpentry go.

Anyhoo, I tow the board in with three screws and the fourth hangs up and bends. I fight to get it back out and head back to get another. And let me tell you, it is hot and I am sweating and just frigging miserable at this point. I start carefully lowering myself down through the attic entry and I touch my knee on the edge. The part of my knee where I have a large scab from last week's low side on the bike. And off comes the scab. And out comes the blood. And the expletives.

That, my friends, hurt and bled more than the original injury.

But I got a ceiling fan put up. And Smarty's room is much cooler now, and one step closer to being finished so I can move to the next project.

But I'm one step back again. I need to let the scab heal a little before heading to the pool. But not to go for a ride tonight in near 100-degree heat. I hope I don't dry up like the lawn.

June 22, 2008

Whew...

Ever have one of those weekends that make you excited to get back to work just so you can take a break? That's what this weekend has been and as I'm staring down the monitor all I have energy left to do is type.

I helped get my sister-in-law moved into her new place. For two days. Up and down stairs. And painting Smary Pant's bedroom, two colors, three coats. Fortunately I have run out of time this weekend and will be back at my desk tomorrow. Doing more of this but not lifting bookshelves. A few days to recharge before another weekend of projects. Like chair rail installation. Straightening out the garage. Mopping the goats. Tweezing the carpet.

The only thing I didn't do this weekend is get a ride in. But I had a solid ride over Trapper's Loop and around Pineview Thursday which I am still feeling a little. I think my knee is healed enough to make it to the pool tomorrow morning without fear of aspirating the pepperoni-scabs on my return lap. But as I sit here wasted, I am not making any promises.

Oh, and there may be a puppy on the horizon. I am an admitted greyhound nut, I love the breed. But something a little more compact may be in order. Stay tuned.

June 18, 2008

Kung Fu Da Da

Last night I did something I didn't think I'd do for several more years, I took Smarty Pants to a movie. Aside from the staggering cost for two tickets to Kung Fu Panda, I didn't take a beating until the last 30 minutes of the film. That's when Smartie's attention span went out back for a smoke. She sat in my lap and proceeded to Kung Fu my patience for the rest of the movie. But it was fun and something we'll do again in about 1-2 years.

I felt almost like a cyclist again last week, which is why I haven't had a post. I rode Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Of course, that was last week and I'm back to wishing. I haven't been in the pool for a week because of a little crash Friday.

My friend Tie-Phil put on an Alley Cat Race Friday night. If you don't know, an Alley Cat is a point to point, scavenger hunt race through the city. Our city being Ogden. While I would love to regale you with lurid tales of out sprinting fellow racers, I won't because I can't. Though I finished 6th, I took yet another DNF as I forgot my Burger King crown.

I don't even know where a Burger King is. I haven't eaten at a Burger King in possibly years.

I could have followed some other guys, but after downing a surprise bloody mary at stop three, playing skeeball, and airing down my front tire only to get a whopping 25 psi back in, I forgot about the King.

Speaking of the tire, it made me crash. Well, the homeless guy who parked his goddamn bike across the river parkway didn't help either. I'm flying along and see the dude with his four teeth and instead of going across the path, he stops. Right. In. The. Center. Of the path.

I hit the brakes on the new Trek XO cross bike, the front tire slams through what little air I was able to get back into it from the shitty pump I used and hits the pavement. The bike gets all squirrelly and I have to lock up the back to keep from knocking out homeless dude.

I pick myself back up and he says something to the effect of "Good thing I wasn't a car." Yep, good thing, because a car would have just driven the hell by, not requiring any sort of attempted stoppage on my part.

My race, and my knee, were done after that. Except for the double barrel whiskey shots at the next stop anyway. Amazingly, no major damage to the bike, just some grindage on the shifter and brake lever, and I need to rewrap the bars. The knee however, had some road rash which is just starting to heal. But has kept me out of the pool.

I don't want my scabs sloughing off onto the guy in the next lane. Ewwww.

I started another two wheel project. Not a motorcycle this time, but a '55 Schwinn Corvette. It looks like hell, well, heck. I'm not sure where to go with it though. I can't afford to spend $500 on a $250 bike, so I'm debating powder coating it, having a cheap paint job applied, or borrowing a gun and trying to paint it myself. Should I buy reproduction decals or have it custom pinstriped? I go back and forth. I just want a fun bike to kick around on with Wifey and Smarty Pants. Got suggestions? Leave 'em in the comments.

June 12, 2008

Fortunate Cookie

Last Saturday night Wifey, Smarty Pants and I went to one of the local Chinese restaurants to eat food no Chinese person actually from China would recognize as Chinese food. Which is fine because Wifey's visit to China a few years back all but convinced her that food is best served cooked when it comes to your table, not purchased live and, well, you know...

Anyhoodles. We ate, it was yummy and Smarty Pants not only didn't manage to completely destroy the place, but actually got more food in her instead of on her. Bon-us! With the bill came the obligatory fortune cookies. My fortune read something like this (paraphrase):

"You will soon have something you have long desired."

Now it was a fortune cookie. Who takes stock in any of that stuff? Still, I mulled over what could be the thing I have wanted for a long time...

Aside from having more time to do everything life demands or enough money to wipe my butt with after pooping in a golden toilet I. Drew. A. Blank. Which if you know me, doesn't happen very damn often. Almost never.

Yet, I could think of nothing I would say "I have long desired" that I don't already have. I kept thinking it could be this or that little thing and so much of it was trivial in the Big Picture sort of way. It again confirmed just how lucky I am to have a great wife, ultra-cute and smart kid, supportive family, good friends, decent job, health, happiness, food, bikes, motorcycles, an old but good truck and my health. And as my Grannie told me once, "You are truly blessed if you have your health." Can't argue with that. Well, you might, but I wouldn't listen.

June 5, 2008

duh, duh, duh duh duh...

I FINALLY made it to the pool this morning. And it was sad.

I've maybe been in the pool 5-6 times since September with the move and my sheer lack of motivation, and after the first length I knew I'd lost any and all swimming form and skill I've ever had. Well, not exactly as I've really only been able to swim for the past year of my life and was able to get across the pool okay. I ended up doing 50m in about 1:10 with a 30 second rest, hoping to remember some skills in the water.

It was one of those days that made me glad I was in the water. Because it hides my tears. I have a long way to go.

My knees are still bothering me after the marathon a little. Maybe a few more long runs will be in order before the next one to get my body used to the distance. Yes, I said next one. There might be another marathon in my future, oh yes. And it might be part of an Ironman.

While not an official declaration of insanity, I'll just say that I really want to do an iron-distance event in the next couple of years. That was part of the reason for running the marathon, to see what it was going to take to get 26.2 miles done. The 112 miles on the bike, well, I've done that and more lots of times in either distance or time.

Of course, there's that little 2.4 mile swim at the start of the race. Which is where my Ironman dreams have a burlap sack thrown over them and get beaten with a rubber hose. Think splashing and flailing but not really going anywhere fast and that's me, Mr. No Skills.

And I'm afraid of drowning. And deep water, like over my waist deep. And I get claustrophobic.

I've started two triathlons and not finished a swim. The anxiety kills me and I end up doing a half-assed backstroke. Or, in the case of the second tri, I made it halfway to the first buoy and turned around.

Maybe I watched Jaws too many times as a kid. And I remember nearly drowning a couple of times in pools. I really shouldn't let something as trivial as death get in the way of doing something I've always wanted to do. But the mind is jacked up. Even with a wetsuit on, basically a frigging life jacket suit, I lose my cool and can't keep my face in the water. Which is made worse because I'm not cool at all really and hate to lose the little bit I have.

After taking last week off from running to give my knees a break, I think I'll start up again today. It's a good excuse to take a long lunch.

Spinervals in June?

Yep, you read it right. Spinervals in June.

The weather in the Land of Zion has again taken a turn for the worst, unless you are one of my radishes and flourishing like a drag queen, in the cool wet weather we've had this spring.

Now if I were truly hardcore I'd be out running and riding anyway. But I had enough freezing runs over the winter to last me the year. Granted, I also had enough indoor trainer sessions, which amounted to about six in total.

While I was cleaning up last night I came across a Spinervals DVD. I hadn't done Spinervals for literally years, not simply because riding indoors is akin to pulling wisdom teeth, but I generally focus more on low intensity training during the early months of the year. And Spinervals are anything but low intensity. So with rain and darkness closing in I put the bike on the trainer and climbed aboard. I spent the next 45 minutes kicking myself in the ass for not using the Spinervals program sooner. The time still passed slowly, but when broken into the short training segments of the DVD, the time passed much quicker. Similarly, I cannot even look at a treadmill without getting bored, yet run an interval program and it is actually possible to get through a workout.

Still, I've never had to do Spinervals in June to get a ride in.

June 3, 2008

Ooops, I Did it Again.

I'm still trying to get to know some of the neighbors, and last night I met the owner of the one of the last two houses I share a property line with. Nice guy, but really needs mow his lawn. Smarty Pants and Wifey love his two dogs: a bull mastiff and a min pin/chihuahua mix. I digress. I notice he is standing there in a pair of Shimano cycling shoes. So I bring up riding and yada yada and say we should go ride sometime. Great says he. Then he asks where I like to go and what kind of bike I have. And then I see we will never ride written all over his mug. Just like the guy next door and the guy down the street. And the guy that stopped by the house a couple of years ago.

No one wants to ride with me.

As soon as they hear words like titanium or carbon fiber or climbing, they shut right the hell off. Suddenly they think "Whoa, this dude must be fast. I can't ride with him." Here's a tidbit, my days of being fast were over before they began. Let's make a few things clear shall we:

- I'm not a natural athlete.
- I don't have great genes.
- My metabolism has metabolized.
- It's called a ride because it's a ride. A race is something separate. Though a ride can become a race but it's all good fun, right?

A few years ago I was washing my bike at the old house and this guy pulls in the driveway. He lives down the street and saw the bikes in the garage. Turns out he rides and finally saw me out front. Now his original plan was to see if I wanted to go and ride, until he got a good look at "the bike." Then all I heard Captain Twoofy yammer was "Wow, uh yeah it would be fun to go and ride but that's a really nice bike and you are probably way faster than me. Yeah, yeah I'll uh give you a call." Never heard from him.

We had the couple down the street bring us some cookies as a welcome to the 'hood thing a few weeks ago. Same thing. Hubby rides and does some triathlons for fun. "Hey, lets' go ride sometime!" he says. Then the brakes come on. "Is that your bike. Gee, uh, that's an awful lot of carbon fiber there."

And those are just some of the examples. Having nice stuff doesn't make you fast, but apparently it makes people think you might just rip their legs off faster than a combine on a tractor. While this feeling is great for the ego, it's always fun to ride with new people, especially when they are right there, literally next door.

So, when trying to meet new people to ride with, here are a few things not to mention:
- the word "interval"
- your bike, especially if it's nice (even though you really feel like a poseur riding it)
- singlespeed
- XTERRA
- 4-5 hour ride
- detailed knowledge of trails (soil types, rock locations, best places to pee, etc. it shows you go there often)
- long climb
- number of bikes
- XTR

Well, there's always the normal crew I ride with. Here's to y'all. I also have one new riding partner, I promised some video of Smarty Pants and here it be. Not bad for being only two and a half years old I'd say. I'm a proud Daddy, I'll admit it. Sorry for the marginal quality, a new camera is in the werks.


video

June 2, 2008

Or Not...

Perhaps I spoke too soon about spring. This is going to be another difficult training week along the Wasatch Front as high temps are supposed to dip back into the 50s this week. 50s in June, wow.

SO! The weekend was excellent. Great weather and good times. We had a birthday party for my father-in-law which had me manning the grill and feeding revelers for a couple of hours. During which I discovered that my toes are still bruised a little from the marathon and flops weren't the best footwear choice. But since the brats take a beer bath before they see the grill I kept my senses nice and lubricated. And when the beer ran out a smooth transition was made to Coke and whatever. Anyhoo, the party was great and the bands rocked. It turned out to be a total surprise for him.

Sunday had me on the mountain bike for about 2 hours. It would have been less but it was freaking busy on the Ogden Bench. Lots of hikers and bikers. And smarmy hikers at that. I'm very polite when meeting fellow trail users so any attitude I get is unjustified. Especially when it can be avoided if their dog(s) were leashed. No kidding, one couple had 6 dogs running around up there, off leash. I saw no poop sacks either. Thanks. Reason #297 why I HATE PEOPLE. But I love dogs.

Off the bike and on to a 30 minute run. First brick of the year. I may not do any racing this year, but my friends will and if a brick will help them have a better time at Vikingman this weekend, I'll do what it takes.

I did nothing around the house. My weekend was pretty much decided for me. I guess I didn't NEED to ride yesterday, but I'll guarantee my house is happier because I did.