Bike ride home

So I rode my bike home yesterday. Savvy TPMTHDM readers may have noticed the exercise widget over to the side of the blog finally being updated (for the first time since early May). After just being very exhausted from working non-stop on 2 houses for weeks / months, I gradually just got lazy with the exercising (as has happened before).

But I’m back with a new batch (and a hatchet that I borrowed from scratch – a hatchet – a hatchet!). I have brought out the bike and yesterday was my first bike ride home from work since the move to the new house.

With the new location, I am not so conveniently placed near the Little Miami bike trail, so I had to plan a new route that was entirely on road. After hemming and hawing over various options, trying to balance route shortness with good bike riding / low-traffic roads, I came up with the following route

It grades out at 16.0 miles, though my ride yesterday actually ended up at 16.4 miles on my odometer, probably mostly due to the fact that I made two wrong turns. Actually I made one wrong turn and one wrong not-turn (where I should have turned but didn’t). That compares to 16.78 miles to my old house (world record of 1:05:15).

Started out pretty well. I got a ride in to work and brought my bike (still trying to score a place to shower at work). I was trying to decide the optimal time to leave to best avoid traffic, but various meetings and such got me stuck there till about 5:15 p.m. The first part of the route was familiar – actually the first mile or so is exactly the same as my old route. Upon reading Socialville-Foster road, instead of turning left (and dealing with the huge backup of cars waiting at the light on Columbia), I turned right onto some open roads. Traffic was light and I made my way up on to Irwin Simpson. When I got up to Mason-Montgomery, I slowed due to an impending red light. And what did I see upon looking down at the road? 2 NICKELS!!!. I slammed on the brakes to try and get them, but they looked to be kind of stuck in the asphalt and just then the light turned green. But they will be mine – oh yes, they will be mine.

I pulled an audible shortly after crossing. When I had pre-driven this route the other day, I noticed that SB traffic on Wilkens road backed up at the 4-way stop at Irwin Simpson. So I cut through the Regal Cinema there on to what I guess is called Deerfield Road, so I could continue straight and continue on Irwin Simpson. Make sense?

After staying on Irwin Simpson I made my first wrong turn. I was looking to turn left into a development and loop around the back of Cottell Park at the corner of Irwin Simpson and Snider. But I had it in my mind that there was a street before the one I wanted to turn on so when I saw it, I kept going straight. Then I saw the park and realized I had missed my turn. I ended up cutting through the park multi-purpose trail to miss the stoplight. NB traffic on Snider was pretty heavy but I cut through the stopped cars and waited for an opening and continued SB.

Traffic was pretty heavy on Snider and the road isn’t that wide. I could cut through a neighborhood here for an extra 0.5 miles – I may do that next time. Turned right on to Fields Ertel and then left onto School and then left onto Solzman before turning right on Kemper. Kemper was a very big road but luckily not a whole of traffic. The only problem is that I have to stay right for optimal safety while biking, but after 1/2 mile or so, then cut across 2 lanes of traffic and into the left turn lane to turn left onto Baen Rd. Wasn’t really an issue for me yesterday but might be more challenging with more traffic. I may decide to turn onto (a different) Deerfield Rd instead of Baen next time to avoid having to stop at the intersection of Deerfield and Baen.

Deerfield Rd. was fine but at Cornell I made my 2nd wrong move (this time a wrong not-turn). I was supposed to continue straight, going on to Creek Road to Kenwood but instead I turned right. Cornell had some traffic and I almost missed Kenwood Road. I knew it was coming up soon but the signs were hidden and I had to brake at a red light and then cross in the crosswalk. I continued for a bit on the sidewalk till I could get back on the road, but not before a lady coming out of a shopping center completely did not see me and just pulled out right in front of me. I gave her a friendly wave.

Then came the long stretch on Kenwood Road. One thing I noticed here was the differing in behaviors approaching a red light. I would see a red light ahead and I would think I should slow down to approach the red light (being used to approaching in a car). But then I would realize that wait a minute – if anything I need to speed up! because the light is likely to be green and then red AGAIN by the time I get to it at bike speeds.

Kenwood had some traffic but it wasn’t bad because for the most part it was at least a 3 lane road if not 4 or 5 lanes. So I can ride in the right lane and cars have plenty of room to get around me. From the YMCA to Shawnee Run there were a couple of really good hills though – best one was from Galbraith to Montgomery right by the mall. So you know at mile 14 or so – it’s time for a grueling incline!! I am at least grateful that the final grade towards my house is no longer a steep uphill, but instead a gradual decline.

Final time was 1:11:49. Whaddaya know – it’s a new world record!!!!

Change Race

The other day I was reading a blog about finding change on the ground and such. Turns out that there were two blogs – two friends that were competing against each other to see who could find $100 in change first.

They’ve both since past the mark – at time of posting, one of them was at $269 found and one at $668, since Feb. 2005. Another guy has found $705 since Jan. 1998.

So after reading those blogs I started “keeping my head down” as they say in the change finding world. Okay, so just those 3 guys say. Basic ground rules is that it has to be coins (found bills don’t count) and it can’t be anything like the change that you get back from the store.

I started with 22 cents (2 dimes and 2 pennies) that I found at home. Might be considered in the gray area since I’m sure it was from something I did. But I couldn’t remember where it came from and I wanted to start things off on a good note.

Then I started earnestly on my search. I started out with a big trip around the parking lot at work. I had read on these blogs that parking lots are some of the best places to find change – people have it in their pockets and it falls out as they get in and out of their cars. Plus, not only was it for change spotting, but it helped me rack up the steps. I went up and down nearly all of our giant parking lot, but found zip. That was discouraging.

I also started touring the various break rooms at work to see if any change had fallen next to the vending machines but nothing in any of them.

A few days later, I remembered that I should also be checking the coin returns of the vending machines. So the next time I walked by one of the breakrooms I checked it out and BOOM – a nickel on my very first time! I took that as a sign, even though I have yet to find any more coins any of the other times I’ve looked. But hey at least I haven’t had any HIV-infected needles.

Then on Friday I found a penny on top of the urinal here at work. Don’t worry it wasn’t IN the urinal.

And at church yesterday I found a quarter in the aisle of the chapel as we were leaving sacrament meeting.

So my total is up to 53 cents. I will continue updating periodically, as long as I don’t completely lose interest in this, not like that ever happens

Kids say the darnedest things

So I wanted to comment on some of the things that I’ve heard various kids say over the past month.

First off – the other day when my friend Brook was over trying to fix our van, he had 3 of his kids with him. After awhile of them sitting in the back of his truck, they made their way into our house to play with our kids. The addition of 3 kids to our 4 (at around bedtime) made the house a bit hectic, not even considering the broken-footedness of it all.

So as Carolyn was getting our kids off to bed, she was going to put in a movie for the other kids. So as she’s trying to get S. off to bed, he’s not wanting to go, and one of the little girls (age 5 or so) says something like “You need to go to bed, and then we’re going to watch Scooby Doo”. She wasn’t even being malicious or anything just kind of being the little mom that many girls that age are. This naturally set him off and he cried and screamed for like 20 minutes….

Non-related, but several days later, I wake up in the middle of the night and he is screaming his head off. So I amble up there and after I get him to calm down (a little bit) he says “ is waking me up”. I look over and his brother is in his bed fast asleep. I don’t know how he was asleep due to the massive screaming going on but okay…

Then last week he was out there with me helping me while I was working on the deck. And of course by helping me I mean that he was standing around while I worked. So he’s out there for awhile (maybe 10 minutes) and then announces “This is hard work – I’m going inside”

GOOD. TIMES!

Blessings

So, one of the things that I would like to do on this blog is chronicle times in my life when I feel like I have felt the hand / influence of God in my life. I seem to recall hearing someone talking about this in church – for some reason I keep thinking it was Heber J. Grant – he would read his father’s journal and see the various blessings in the day to day life of his father. I may be completely making that up but it seems to have some nugget of truth.

Anyway I would be remiss (and other weird phrases Mormons like to repeat over and over again even though nobody really talks like this – kind of like I would like to bear my testimony or inthenameofjesuschristamen all one word or “nourish and strengthen us” etc.) if I did not share what happened yesterday.

As I mentioned the other day our van limped into the driveway on Saturday evening. We were able to take a look at it and determined that it was the van’s drive belt that had come off. The belt itself looked to be in good shape, but my car-savvy friend and I (well, mostly just him) were not able to get it back on all the assorted pulleys and such.

We were able to jump it and get it running enough to take it to Midas. I also took in my new tires so that they could put them on. And early Monday morning I called in and spoke to my main man Don who is now the manager over there (last time he was the assistant mgr. I think). I told him what was up and he said that he would take a look at it and let me know. Don and I have worked together several times in the past. And of course by work together I mean that I take him my car and he works on it. We first kind of connected a few years ago when I had brought one of the cars in for something and we got to talking about Madeira – he grew up there so he said that he’d give me a break. He has continued to take good care of us and has been very reasonable price-wise.

So he called me around noon and said that he looked at the belt and there was nothing wrong with it, and he also inspected the pulleys and said they were fine. He had put the belt back on, put the new tires on and rotated them, and also changed the oil. I had been meaning to start changing my oil myself but just hadn’t gotten around to it and so while it was there I decided to pay a few extra bucks to have them do it.

I asked him how much he had charged for putting the belt back on and he was like “Oh I didn’t charge anything for that”.

Okay – so hold that thought as I move on to some separate stories from the day. I will tie them in at the end.

Today was the drop off day for one of Carolyn’s diaper studies at P&G. Basically they pay you to evaluate new diaper ideas. These ones were pull-up kinds and so we were supposed to evaluate them and check for leaks or red marks and such. We also had to weigh each diaper (on a provided scale) and log that. For that we get 3-4 weeks of free diapers plus a $55 gift card. It can be a hassle but not too bad. So today was the drop off day so we picked up a $55 Meijer gift card.

But that is not all, oh no that is not all. Randomly we got 2 checks in the mail from TriHealth, one for $30 and one for $20. We still do not know what they were for. They were addressed to two different of my kids, too. Does that last sentence look weird? I was just trying to use all three variations of to/too/two correctly in the same sentence. Anyway… :-) . The best we can come up with was some sort of visit where we paid a co-pay where we didn’t have to so they refunded it.

So the net of it was that after worrying for a day and a half that something was seriously wrong with the van, to the tune of us having to figure out a way to come up with at least several hundred dollars, we ended up being able to pay Midas with the money that we had already budgeted in auto maintenance (the total ended up being like $58 something, after $5 printable coupon, natch). And maybe you can write off the $55 gift card since we knew we were getting that. But to also randomly get $50 in the mail for no explicable reason?!??! Call it a coincidence if you want, but to me, it’s the hand of God taking care of us. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands