Thursday, September 24, 2009

day fifty five

This has nothing to do with my riding, but I'm sad and must speak of this horrid event...the passing of my beautiful red car. Yes, it's true, my lovely red car is going away. My car has been hissing and howling and causing my husband much stress lately. I think she is a perfect representation of me. Anyway, Greg decided to get me another car, but don't worry, he's Buffalo born and bred and so his standards for everything are real low, thank God, and he made sure to keep the budget for my "new" car in the hundreds, which means I'm getting another piece of crap. But this new car is not nearly as interesting as my old car. I mean yes, it's ugly and all but it's nondescript in it's ugliness. It's grey. That's the only thing I can think to say about it. I'm not even sure there is a single thing about it that is appealing or noteworthy.

I think my bike is worth more than my old car. We are selling her for the low, low price of 450.00, so yes, my bike is definitely worth more than the car. The car has no redeeming qualities. It makes various noises and produces all kinds of leaky spots in the drive-way. The c.d. player broke awhile ago and there is a film covering the windows that makes driving at night give new meaning to the term "white knuckling." It's truly death defying driving that car in the dark - or the rain - or any kind of weather that requires clear windows. It shakes when you drive over 60, and it's so loud inside the car when you are driving that fast that it's not worth even trying to speak. Kate actually believes the car is going to disintegrate at some point and she really wanted to keep it so she could see it happen. Every time we are in it she says, "doesn't it seem like the tires and doors are going to fall off whenever we hit a bump?" Having said all this, I'm now wondering why I'm sad that we are getting rid of her.

I think this is the reason - I was on my way somewhere today and a car pulled out in front of me. The driver of that car ended up pulling into the same place as I did. She got out and I realized I knew her and she smiled and yelled over to me, "I saw the car and knew it was you, so I knew I could pull out in front." See, this car has an identity. People know this car by sight. There is never any second guessing about whether or not it's my car. People just know.

Well, I guess I'm left with no choice - I must bang up the new car. I'm up for the task. I'm good at leaving identify marks on cars. We had a nice car once. It was the car I drove when I was a paper carrier back in Albany. It was a popular make of car with nothing to separate it from the thousands of others just like it on the road. But I made sure to swipe plenty of mailboxes while I was delivering my papers and darn if you couldn't start to spot that car in all the parking lots. I'll make my peace with all of this soon, but really I am going to miss annoying my neighbors with the hissing noise.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

day thirty nine

I usually don't ride through downtown on my bike ride, but this morning I thought, hey Ann Marie, live on the edge, go through a different part of town! And all I can say is DE-PRESS-ING! I go downtown quite a bit but there are usually people there barricading me from reality. This morning no one was out because of the early hour. It seems that every other storefront in town is closed for business, permanently. Maggie's Attic, Hart's Store, The Irish Corner, all gone. And there are several others too and it made me question why I told the Gallop person who called with a list of endless questions last week that this town was doing better now than when I moved here three years ago. I mean for obvious reasons it is doing better in one sense - I'm here. I'm important and vital and exciting and wherever I go things truly are better but in other ways it most definitely is not better.

I feel sort of bad for telling the Gallop guy what I told him about my town. Maybe I can call him back. It was a fun phone call. They ask you all sorts of things about your health and your kids and your access to things like parks and medicine. And do you work, have you worked for pay in the past day, week, month or year. Finally, after saying no, no, no and no I started laughing and said, "I take care of my kids, please tell me there is a question that justifies me saying I haven't worked for pay in the last day, week, month or year because I have to be honest, I'm sounding pathetic." And there was a question about that. They even ask your weight and height and my husband heard me say 5' 4" and yelled out "okay, okay, who the hell are you on the phone with, hang up the phone, who the hell wants to know your height and weight." And so I mouth the words "Gallup poll" but I think he thinks I'm saying "@#$hole" and he keeps yelling to hang up the phone and finally I just say "IT'S A GALLOP POLL PERSON!" I mean this really was the most exciting thing to happen to me in a long time and there was no way I was going to hang up the phone.

There must have been a hundred questions and I answered them all, except for the one about my weight because seriously, how does that relate to anything? All of the questions are leading up to what they ultimately want to know which is, do you think as a country we are set for better days. To which I say yes, of course we are, because I honestly believe that to be the case. I still love my town, maybe even a little more than I did three years ago when we moved here and there wasn't a closed down store to be found, but I'll probably just skip riding through town tomorrow. Oh, and when you see the results of those polls keep in mind that people like me have answered them, clueless people willing to answer many inane questions all in an attempt to avoid having to deal with screaming kids who don't stop screaming for the entire ten minutes the poll takes place.

Monday, August 31, 2009

day thirty one

I have nothing to say, but it's day 31 and the first month of my massive weight loss attempt is over so I thought I would give a brief overview of my exciting progress. I can report now that I did not lose eight pounds this month. I lost four pounds which, after doing some counting on my fingers, I realized is four less than I hoped for, but as my daughter pointed out, at least I didn't gain four pounds.

I did manage to ride every single day this month with the exception of Sundays, so that was twenty eight days of riding at ninety minutes per day which equals a total of many minutes, probably close to 30,000 minutes or something like that. Wait...okay, I just did the math and actually it is 2520 minutes of riding. I was close though. 2520 minutes or 42 hours. Any way you slice it, it was a lot of work with very little results, which makes getting up at 5:30 everyday more enticing than ever.

Seeing as I am not a quitter, except when I am bad at things and then it's okay to quit, I will continue on in my quest to lose my weight. I figure four pounds over the course of the next six months will put me at 132 pounds, a weight which I can handle. I'm okay with that. And six months is nothing. It takes me right up to my daughter's third birthday, which means that by the time she turns three I will have lost most of the weight I gained when I got pregnant with her.

Here's are some highlights of my riding this month.....

I can't think of anything. I just know that I love riding and I'm glad I live in a place that has nice enough weather that allows me to ride every single day of the year. Also, my town is finally putting in a bike path. I know all the details because I am a concerned citizen and when I found out there was going to be a meeting on this topic I did what we all should do...I sent my husband and my kids to that meeting and had them report back to me. So if you live where I live know that some exciting happenings will be coming your way soon, unless the two cantankerous men from Tangerine get their wish, in which case you will never see a bike path here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day twenty four

Today was Anthony's first day back after summer break, on top of which the girls and I were set to start up with our homeschooling again so I was slightly nervous about getting out on my daily ride. I knew that if I didn't plan things down to the minute everything would be ruined and my exceedingly precise morning schedule would combust, leaving me in my drive-way sobbing and screaming over the fact that that's all I want to do is take a freaking bike ride and why, oh why don't things ever work out for me, I mean really now is it too much to ask that I get to take a simple bike ride, is it, and do you all want me to be fat for the rest of my life, is that what you want family of mine?

I have no idea if people know how dramatic I am. I try to keep it under raps. It takes a huge amount of effort though and it can be exhausting. The fact that I have four inconsistently disciplined children, a poorly behaved dog who escapes almost daily, and a husband who has an uncanny knack for tuning me out provides me with constant opportunity to try and resist losing my cool. It's good for the soul to live in such a state.

Anyway, the most upsetting thing about this morning was that my bike was waiting to be taken into the shop for some minor fixes and so I had to take Jane's Trek out for my ride. I'm not a fan of any bike but my own. On top of being dramatic I'm quiet inflexible and resistant to change. I think I'm turning into a crotchety old fart. The seat on my bike is adjusted perfectly, the handle bars are exactly as I like them, the gears slide in and out smoothly and quickly, the lights are in proper places, the chain never, ever falls off. Everything just feels right and good when I'm on my bike. Riding Jane's bike is like playing some sort of bicycle Russian Roulette. You don't know when the chain will fall off, but you can bet it will and probably when you are in darkest section of town, farthest from home and most likely when you are going up or down a steep hill. So I was just a bundle of nerves when I left my house this morning.

Of course because I anticipated the worst I ended up having a great ride. I'm programmed to expect the worst. If things go mildly crappy it's like winning the lottery. Several years ago I was stupid enough to doubt this way of thinking but I must say, it's not a half bad way to go about life. Well, it might be a little bad but today it worked out well for me and I was thrilled with my ride.

Oh and I actually learned something interesting on my bike today. I learned that bike riders must follow the same traffic rules as car drivers in regards to stop signs. I won't tell you how I came to this information. I'll just say that I now know if you are on a bike and you come to a four way stop sign, or any stop sign for that matter, you're supposed to stop and if you don't and an officer sees you,the officer can give you a ticket. If you act stupid, smile nervously and claim ignorance, the officer will be nice and let it go, but he'll tell you if he sees you doing it again he'll be well within his rights to write you up a ticket. And if you are like me you'll wonder where that officer was last week when your tire popped in the same exact location, forcing you to walk over an hour to get back home. Anyway, the learning never stops around here, not for the kids and not for me so I am grateful to him for that.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

slippery - and day 6 of 2 pounds a week!

I had something stuck on my sneaker this morning, something sort of slippery, and so my foot kept slipping off my pedal and it was annoying me. By the way, this is the sort of scintillating information I'll be writing about now. It simply doesn't get any better than that. Instead of reading some fine piece of literature, or doing something productive, I am wasting my time writing about the bottom of my shoe.

I did a lot of reading today though and it put me in the mood to write, as reading always does, so yeah, what else can I say? My sneakers were slippery. And then I had some water to drink. And then I noticed my ass was asleep and I still had several more minutes left to ride and I started to wonder right then and there what I would do if I ever got hemorrhoids. How would I ride my bike then? It would be brutally painful and it would screw up my routine and I like my routine, I get obsessed with my routine. Oh there has just got to be something better to write about.

I guess I could write about the fact that I am ashamed of myself for looking so unlike a real bike rider. I don't wear those unflattering bikes shorts and bright neon shirts and I only just recently started wearing a helmet. I thought it interfered with the cool image I try to portray and then I remembered who I was and I realized a bike helmet wasn't the only thing keeping me from being cool so I relented and started wearing one.

Not only is my apparel giving me shame, I just found out I don't even ride a road bike, I ride a mountain bike. I didn't know what a road bike was until the guy who walks his dogs everyday stopped me to ask me about my riding. He wanted to know how many miles I did and I thought to myself, wouldn't that require me to get some sort of device to figure that out? So I said, "I don't know, I go for 90 minutes, how many ever miles that is." And then he told me that he goes riding every day, but he has a road bike and I said "ooooh" like I knew what he meant. For the rest of my ride I wondered what a road bike was, and what kind of bike I was riding, and then my extremely knowledgeable husband told me the difference between a mountain bike and a road bike. A road bike is the kind of bike Lance Armstrong rides.

So I said to Greg, "well, do I look like some sort of fool riding this mountain bike thing all over town, should I be on a mountain somewhere instead?" Again, I was very worried about my image. He said no, but the bleach marks all over my cut off sweat shorts and the stains on my old tank top made me look like I was leaving a crime scene and he wanted to know if maybe I wanted to go buy some nicer things to wear while riding my bike, which I did not because ever since I told him about the enormous credit card debt I got us into, which we are now totally out of thanks to my amazingly nice husband, I have been living frugally and so spending money, especially on things that are going to get sweaty and stinky anyway, has lost all appeal.

But see, I knew I was going somewhere with the sneaker thing. Most riders who are serious and fit and committed to riding use these little straps on their pedals and they wear special riding sneakers, and so their foot would never slip off their pedal for half of their bike ride, driving them crazy and putting them in a bad mood. But like I said, I don't have all that fancy equipment so I ride on in all my shame with the whole world laughing at me. Maybe not the whole world, maybe just the rabid animals who are up at 5:30 everyday rummaging through the garbage before the rest of the world wakes.

At any rate, I persevered and finished my ride with my slippery sneaker and I feel terrific now and am trying with all of my might to stay away from the scale. I have two more days before I will allow myself to weigh in and I am busting because I just know I've had a good week so far and if I get on that scale on Saturday and it hasn't budged my family is not going to have a fun weekend and I really want them to have a fun weekend.