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Archive for July, 2009

In the little parking lot of the little office building where I work, there is a car parked in a corner that always takes up two spots. This woman parks diagonally in a straight lot, so one tire is in the next spot. It doesn’t really matter; the lot has plenty of parking spots available at any given time. And I’m sure that if there were a shortage of spots, she wouldn’t park so haphazardly.

But it occurred to me today to wonder what this woman’s reaction would be if she arrived in the morning to find another vehicle in one of these spots. And the next day, if the vehicle was in the other spot? If it continued?

Just curious.

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Van’s good again!

Ok, hopefully this will be the last post about the van for a while. Bessie* wasn’t firing on all cylinders, and I mean that quite literally — one of the spark plug wires had been bent and/or frayed, and the plug wasn’t firing. Tatman’s fixed her up the same day C dropped her off, and they didn’t charge us. They also washed the bird shit off (it was back the next morning since our parking spot is under a tree — god I can’t wait to move) but before they sent her under the power washer, somebody pointed out that because of her new paint, she can’t go under the power washer for two months and the time isn’t up yet. So that means they washed her by hand.

I need to make a yelp post about Tatman’s; they’ve done a great job. State Farm has also been great through this: it’s been relatively painless to deal with them and even though the total repairs cost only a little under their appraisal of the van’s value, they still went ahead and paid for everything.

In other news, we finally started going back to the gym. I was disappointed that I can’t do 110 on the lateral pulldowns anymore, but I haven’t lost much — I can still do 100. (And I’m suspicious of the machines — some of the cable machines at the gym have more resistance than just the weight; maybe the cables or pulleys aren’t lubricated or maybe they’re tightened too much.) I did 65 on the barbell bench press, which is ok but I think I did 85 once before (that was pretty close to my maximum though). We’ve gone back to dumbbell chest press because I want to work the stabilizers more. Legs yesterday didn’t leave me terribly stiff, but it hasn’t been 24 hours yet so we’ll see.

*I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the van acquired the name “Bessie” toward the end of the honeymoon. It seems to fit the white minivan pretty well. It’s not a complicated or very poetic story…C mentioned that he’d been trying to think of a name but all he could think of was “Bessie”, and I agreed that seemed a good name.

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The van’s idle was set too low and it shudders a bit when idling, but we figured it could probably be easily reset when we take it in for a long-overdue (by mileage, anyway) oil change and alignment, as it pulls a little to the left now. But this morning the check engine light went on and stayed on, and when I took it on the highway for a couple of miles, it shuddered when I tried to maintain 60 mph. And I smell antifreeze when it gets up to normal operating temperature, but I wouldn’t expect them to have hosed off the engine after the radiator broke and spilled coolant all over the engine anyway, so that doesn’t really concern me.

So I guess we’re calling the body shop again on Monday morning…

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Would have just been a normal day if not for the rain that started as I got on my bike to go home. Halfway home I was drenched, and when it’s raining that hard, your bike’s brakes don’t work that well. Of course this is the day a driver pulls out in front of me, but I was able to slow down enough that there was no collision. I admit, I gave them the finger.

But I was screaming curses at the rain (“NO! I said fuck YOU!”) on the last northward stretch, because it was nothing but headwind and the rain was stinging my bare arms and getting in my eyes (by the way, that hurts) so I could barely see.

So much for taking the long way home. I’ll have to take a ride in the country tomorrow if we still don’t have our van back (we don’t have time to go to the gym after I get off work when we have to ride; also, it’s hard to ride a road bike after you’ve used up all the muscles in your arms — not impossible, but hard).

My Chrome bag is as waterproof as advertised: my knitting, handbag, portable hard drive, and lock/cable are quite dry, and an hour later most of the outside of the bag is dry also. My clothes are still hanging wetly in the bathroom; even my helmet is wetter than the outer fabric of my bag.

Good deal. Maybe $140 wasn’t completely ridiculous after all.

Note to self: put a baseball cap in the bag.

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Night ride

At night
the streets are mine
empty but for my wheels
all but silent on black pavement.

legs pumping
lungs straining
heart pounding
lights flashing

My town.

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I can’t wait to move.

It’s near the fourth of July…last year on the morning of the 2nd, I think, some asshole set off a firecracker right below our bedroom window, in the corridor between the several buildings where there’s concrete on all sides, so it’s extremely loud, at 2 in the morning. I had just recovered from the adrenaline rush and was starting to fall back to sleep when they set off another one. After a few more, I called the police and they said they’d send somebody over…but an hour later when they were still setting off firecrackers every 10 minutes or so, and I called again, the response was “you know it’s near the fourth of July…”

I made the mistake of losing my temper and yelling out the window for them to “stop it, people are trying to sleep.” Of course, because they were assholes, this sparked a firecracker every minute…until one of those other people who were trying to sleep started yelling, with a nearly hysterical edge to his voice: “If y’all don’t quit that shit, I’mma get my gang, and come down there, and beat the shit out of ALL Y’ALL! I got work tomorrow! Shit!” I don’t remember what else he said, but he continued on a rant about people making noise at night for a good two minutes, and when he stopped yelling, there was absolute blessed silence.

I gotta work on my ghetto accent.

This year we haven’t had firecrackers between the buildings yet, but this morning at around 2 am there were — surprise! — drunk college students outside our window, their gleeful yelling echoing through the concrete corridor. Now, there’s hardly any of this since the kids left for summer, and it doesn’t really even bother me anymore, but I’m still glad to be moving….Especially because of the construction of new crappy apartment buildings. 7:15 this morning, THUNK…THUNK…THUNK…THUNK… from the construction across the street, echoing into our bedroom window. Thanks guys. I guess if you have to be up early, then everybody else does too, right?

We’re moving into a quiet neighborhood on the other side of town, far, FAR away from campus. It’s the first floor of a pretty house, with a huge kitchen, hardwood floors, and a fireplace. And there aren’t any apartment buildings going up over there, either.

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