Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bike Lane ?

We call it a Bike Lane.  Now that there is light for my morning and evening bike commutes, I would like to offer some alternative options:

Debris Lane
Possum Lane
Flat Cat Lane
Trash Lane
Broken Glass Lane
Unpatched pothole zone
Vanishing Bike Lane
Jettisoned Car Part Storage
Stray Garment Lane
Non Recycled Bottle and Can Zone
Trash Can Overflow Parking Zone
Illegal Parking Lane
Cigarette Butt Ashtray Lane

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I heard a great term on our ride today. Kevin commented that he was a little sleep deprived and that after our ride he would have a big nappatite.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Home via another flying germ tube

Evo Davo license plate !!

I was on a business trip when I read the above description of airplane travel in BSNYC's irreverent blog. So appropriate was the phrase I felt compelled to adopt it.

Montreal was painless, except for the alarm going off at three thirty in the morning for the second time in three days. With solider-like instinct I reached for my travel alarm (which is my alarm at home as well) picked it up and slid the alarm switch to the off position with my thumb and closed the alarm as if shutting a switchblade after dispatching an adversary. It then was placed in the outside zippered pocket of my travel roller where it lives whilst Evo is in transit.

After looking at my face in the mirror and struggling to recognize the old man with puffy eyes looking back at me, I stepped into the shower. The warm water soothed my stiff muscles, but the shuttle to the airport was departing in fifteen minutes leaving little time to pause. I expected little company at three fifty in the morning, but I was sorely wrong. An extended family with more luggage than I could fathom was grouped like a pile of dirty laundry near the front door of the hotel. A knot of children whose energy at this wicked hour was contrasted by the grandparents who looked as if their path to feeling better included imminent death. Another business traveller met my gaze with a look of condemnation for the family that would share our brief ride to the airport.

I recalled the first rule of travel, "Be flexible." I rolled with it.

Soon I was in line to clear American immigration (yes, in Canada... Don't ask my why, that is just how they do it in America's attic). After exiting the Violation in the name of security zone and passing through immigration and customs I was spilled out into the duty free store. The olfactory attack of international perfumes assailed my nostrils and briefly woke me up. Finding my gate I crashed and waited for the ranking.

Can you see the germs ?
Platinum members, gold members, sapphire and emerald members, priority members, elite members, on and on it went until they began calling the bottom tiers and then finally, group one, group two and then group three. When the common thieves and criminals of group four were called I squared my shoulders and claimed my rightful spot next to the window. It was still as dark as midnight outside and I put on my earphones and closed my eyes and tried to pretend to sleep. Before long we were on approach and I writhed in my torture seat seeking to minimize my discomfort.

I changed planes in Chicago. I have passed through the Chicago airport so many times this year it is depressing. Though they call it O'Hare, there is nothing Irish about the place. I bought a bagel and cream cheese and buried it deep in my messenger bag for consumption during my pending flight.

I have used my bright orange and gold Timbuk2 bag for five years and to the casual observer it still looks new. A keen eye would spot the pilling on the straps where the Velcro has irritated it. There are a couple of stitches that are missing, but the fabric remains bright. I have commuted with this and used it a my work briefcase every day since getting it from Hottie as a valentine's day gift years ago. When I see messenger bags that are worn and frayed, I wonder what the heck it takes to make them look so bettered. As I drag it around the globe on business trips I know it puzzles those I interface with. I am sure it reveals a playful side beneath my button down exterior. We are all more complex than our appearance might otherwise indicate, and I take a selfish pleasure in making people's minds work when they see the bag.

The sky is a brilliant blue here above the clouds. It is raining in Seattle. Seattle is home. I will take it.

Hottie, Tux and Star (whom Hottie wants to rename Noodle) await my arrival. I am ready to be home. I have almost two weeks before I again return to Montreal for an afternoon meeting. I shall savor my time at home.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NOT Kansas

The day started at whoa, dark:thirty. A quick shower and off to the airport. You can get a great spot when you are parking before five am. Spot A7. Since I have a special affinity for the number seven, I took that as a good omen.

Empty seat next to me, all looking good. Great sandwich thing at O'Hare airport, which Rik turned me on to.

As I came to the hotel I spotted this sign:

They love their sprinters here in Americas Attic.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Free at last free at last

Wichita is so bad there were long lines of people wanting to leave well before six am this morning. Need I say more ?
I made it out !!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The outer limits of Wichita

This trip to Wichita has been hectic. Several oddities stand out that are worth noting. Before I go into detail, the duration of this trip is forcing me to miss the Ronde van Palouse road race which really pisses me off. My frustration will be clear as you detect the tone of this post.

First oddity. Wichita is a ghost town. As you drive down the street there is nobody walking around. The parking lots are huge and empty. When you pass homes at eight at night they are dark. Apartment buildings have lights on in one window and eight other units are dark. I checked Wikipedia and the population in 2010 was greater than 2000, so I don't have an easy answer. I feel like the protagonist in The Truman Show, and everyone is pretending this is a real town.

Second oddity there is nothing to do in Wichita
Q: Why do people work late in Wichita ?
A: Because when they get off work they are in Wichita and there is nothing to do.

Third (and most significant) oddity. People here hate it here. When we ask people what to do for fun they sound like convicts without a choice. "Yeah, there is nothing to do here.... I hate it here." Really ! I didn't see a fence so I don't know what is keeping them here but they seem to be serving some kind of sentence. "I used to live in ______, it was wonderful. Wichita is terrible." I have heard that a lot this miserable week. You know it is real when you can see the longing in their eyes as they ask where we are from. "Seattle; oh that must be nice..."

I had occasion to have coffee and a scone at a coffee shop. The coffee was COLD, the scone soft like a doughnut. I looked around and it reminded me of the Emperors clothing. All these people trying to look cool and pretending the coffee and food were good. They weren't.

Lots of famous people were born and raised in Wichita. NONE of them are here now. Nobody famous has decided to settle here. Like a lot of places, Wichita is a great place to be FROM.

On the bright side, they have good steaks and I am leaving soon.
Star is so afraid, she uses mirrors so she doesn't have to look directly at you.
Star your foster pop is on his way !!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wichita ..there's no place like home..

Here I am in Wichita. The weather is front page news. In my honor they are welcoming rain to the area.

On page A2 was the above breaking news.

I am enjoying my stay at the Hotel Clearance

Check out this sweet orange house... Maybe I should paint ours this color...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This is Star

Hottie volunteered at the Greyhound halfway house in Woodinville and had an interesting experience. She helped with a bunch of Greyhounds in transition from track to homes. Some pups had been returned for various reasons such as owners illness, owners relocation and some dogs didn't fit into their new surroundings.

As she told me of her eventful day, she kept mentioning a scared female named Star. Star wasn't doing well and was terrified of everything. Since Tux the wonder dog is perfect in every way (except for his crooked face which just makes him more lovable) I felt emboldened to ask Hottie if we should foster Star to try and socialize her. When we first got Tux he was scared of cars and bikes and almost everything so maybe we could help this little female..

After some emails we loaded Tux in the wagon and went to see if they might get along. Nobody bit anybody, so we decided to give it a try. We brought home Star and she was scared to death of everything. She cowered in a corner with her tail between her legs.

Evo trying to share a treat.

She is making progress, but it isn't all happening at once. Hottie is doing nearly all of the hard work, and there is hope. We realized that if we can't get her to socialize, she may never get a home. Stay tuned..


Sunday, April 8, 2012

April Highs and Lows

After what seems like, and has been, months of this:
We had a day that was closer to this:
We weren't in short sleeves or anything, but we got to wear sunglasses with dark lenses. Sixty-five miles and five thousand feet of climbing with an assortment of teammates. We had sunshine and blue sky. Despite riding parts of this route dozens of times, for the first time we had views of the snowy Olympic mountains and chamber of commerce views of the tall buildings of Seattle.

In the afternoon I donned shorts and sandals (and a long sleeved shirt) and pretended it was summer.

I'm getting fit. I feel really good after yesterday's epic. Thank you sir, may I have another? I just need to keep pouring on the miles (with climbing mixed in). I saddle up and do it again. It wouldn't be as fast, but I could do it.

On the downside, I have to travel again. My work has taken me to some pretty cool places. I've been to Paris, London, Montreal, Munich, Rio, New York, and South Beach.
This time, I don't even get to go to beautiful and desirable Dubuque:
Not this time. I'm off to freakin Wichita. The highlight of Wichita is the Hotel Old Town:

A sharp eye will recognize the Stevie Nicks shower curtain.

I shall employ my duel talents of optimism and denial and have a good time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I LIKE April !!

Kyson offering a Fish Kiss

I got up in the dark and prepped for another wet ride. Under cloudy skies I drove to the appointed start of the mornings suffering. It was dry. We rode and I peeled off my jacket and stuffed it in a back pocket. We had a smattering of rain that was little more than a sneeze. It was a surprise treat. A WELCOMED treat. I wouldn't call it warm, but it did give us hope.

Then my daughter and her family came over. Kyson couldn't help but be the star.