Nice Thing For Myself #9.

I have a week off from work coming up – and I have booked a pedicure.

If my fuzzy memory is correct, I had a pedicure when I was about 12 years old – my cousin was studying to become an esthetician and she spent a while doing various things to family members. I recall someone getting blackheads removed, someone else getting her ears pierced, someone else getting her legs waxed..

And, since then, I haven’t had anyone touch my feet for any reason – other than Coffee grinding his knuckles into my soles (which is an absolutely wonderful thing). My feet right now are somewhere between “holy crap” and “terrible”, so I pity the person assigned to fix them up – and will be sure to put aside a truly generous tip.

I’m looking forward to some pretty toes!

Nice Thing For Myself #8.

I bought myself a new water bottle for my bike so that I can move my water bottle cage back to the down tube (the cage is currently on my handlebars because my water bottles were too big to keep on the tube).

Ride Like The Wind.

Now that the weather has improved, the sun is shining, and it’s not quite a zillion degrees yet, Coffee got all our bikes in working order. He’s even looking at a new bike for himself, with the plan to hand down his current bike to Maymo, who is growing like a weed.

Historically, riding my bike has always been really enjoyable to me. I’ve had to make shifts in my thinking over the years, though, and adapt from racing (road bikes) to simply riding them. Then adjusting to a mountain bike (much slower and heavier). For a few years I couldn’t ride – my should and neck were too messed up and every ride was painful (during and after).

Last year I picked up a hybrid-y commuter bike (so I could sit upright more) and handed my mountain bike down to Middle One. I also went through a whole lot of physio on my neck and shoulder. Ta-da!

So here I am – bike tuned up, tires inflated, helmet dusted off. Ready to roll.

The funny thing about not riding for a while is that everything feels completely out of control. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am anxious while riding, but I am definitely not comfortable yet.

I am hypervigilant about the cars around me.

I feel like I’m going at warp speed when I hit 10km/h and it takes all my self-control not to scream at the top of my lungs.

I’m practicing shifting gears because I freak out when I realize I’m pedalling to fast/slow.

I’m definitely testing out my brakes far more than necessary.

But the biggest problem? I am in awful shape. Holy crap. I apparently have the lung capacity of a small cat and the endurance of a loaf of bread.

There’s a contributing problem. For the many of you who haven’t been to my home, or who weren’t paying particular attention when you visited, I live at the top of a hill. There is literally no way to get to my house, from any side or direction, without going up a hill. For real. Every road, every sidewalk, every pathway – – all of them are up a hill.

This means that the start of my bike ride is kind of awesome – wheeeeeeeeee! I AM GOING SO FAST!

It means that the end of my ride, however, is the worst – no matter which way I go. OHGOD I AM GOING TO DIE.

It really sucks.

In addition to getting comfortable on my bike again, there’s a little voice in my head saying, “Don’t go too far! Remember that you have the world’s biggest hill to climb on the way home!” That little voice talks me out of riding very far because, really, the idea of having to lie on the side of the road for an hour before dragging my carcass up the hill does not appeal to me. That little voice is a total buzzkill. I get riding and I am just delighted! I want to go and go and go and go – – but then I remember the hill.

I’ve tried to brainstorm my way out of this.

I considered putting my bike in the car, driving to a flatter area, and then riding around until I was finished and then driving home. The difficulty is that I’m short, and my arms are short, and loading my bike into my car is difficult (Well, no, that’s not fully true. Loading my bike in without chipping the paint off and scraping the crap out of the interior is difficult.) I looked into exterior bike racks, but since I drive a hatch-back-y sort of car, I can’t seem to find one that’s easy to use – ideally there’d be one that was easy to attach and remove to the car, easy to load my bike on (remember, short arms), AND not cost a million dollars AND hold my bike secure.

That seems like a lot of work. It also sort of ruins the spontaneity.

Then I considered the idea that okay, fine, I’ll be like a dog that got loose from a fenced yard – I’ll get too far away from home and I’ll be exhausted and probably lost. But I can call a cab or take a bus home – we live on a bus route! But I know that, realistically, that’ll never happen. I will just end up living out the rest of my life in whatever ditch is closest. I’m not going to figure out how to put my bike on the front of the bus. I’m not going to be able to cram my bike into a taxi. (Also, I’m a bit stubborn.)

I could call Coffee to come and get me, because he loves me and he doesn’t want me to live in a ditch, but he’s not always home when I want to ride. It goes without saying, I think, that he probably wouldn’t be excited about having to take time off from work to go get his sad, sad wife and her bike from the ditch where she’s collapsed. Especially not repeatedly. (Although I think the conversation he’d have with his boss would be hilarious.)

Soooooooooooo… guess who has to just suck it up? Yeah. Me.

Since I’m working from home today, I figured I’d go for a quick bike ride to test out a different route. The gradual incline on the way home was THE WORST but I made it. I didn’t have to walk my bike at all, unlike the other route, but I am pretty sure I won’t be able to use my legs for the rest of the day – making it even better that I’m working from home. Much like Coffee doesn’t want to come and get me every day after a bike ride, my coworkers aren’t really interested in dragging me up the steep, narrow staircase to my office several times a day.

And I went a little bit fast.

And I didn’t scream at all.

And I remembered that the objects (CARS! ALL CARS!) in my mirror are closer than they appear.

And I didn’t have to lie down in a ditch.

Not bad.

Nice Thing For Myself #7.

I charged up the battery for my camera – not my cellphone, but my REAL camera – and have been taking some very simple pictures. I forgot how much fun it is to lie on the ground and focus in on the petals of a dandelion, quite frankly.

(This “nice thing” can also be partially credited to Olya – since she very kindly challenged me to take one nature photo per day for a week.)

Ready for action!

Ready for action!

Kitchen. Please.

After 4 years of living here, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around our kitchen renovation. Or the desire, at least, to renovate. We want (and need) to keep costs low – but we also want to have a kitchen that we like, and that stands up to our use, for as long as possible.

If money were no object, we’d renovate right now – the entire thing, perfectly – and never need to worry about this again.

However..

The options seem to be:

  1. Gut the entire kitchen and dining room down to the studs and subfloor, knock out at least one wall, install entirely new kitchen, and spend the next few years paying off the loan (literally). Dream kitchen!
  2. Same as above, but without knocking down the wall.
  3. Rip out some cabinets, repair/paint other cabinets, rip out floor, replace floor. New counter top and sink + dishwasher.
  4. Do not rip out any cabinets, just repair/repaint everything, rip out floor, replace floor. New counter top and sink + dishwasher.
  5. Just replace the counter top and sink, for now, along with the new counter top + sink and dishwasher.
  6. Do absolutely nothing for at least another year.

I think it’s safe to say that we are completely unable to make up our minds about the right action to take. We’d love to do this bit-by-bit on our own and just do each step as we had cash in hand. The problem, of course, is my limited patience for living in chaos – and the fact that we have several pets and children and school and work. We have some DIY skills, but often lack the focus.

If we only renovate parts of the kitchen, how long until we’re dissatisfied and needing to do the rest?

Hiring someone to do the entire thing for us is REALLY appealing on a lot of levels – but neither of us is enthused with the cost involved. It would, however, get us a lovely kitchen very quickly, comparatively, and would certainly save on a lot of immediate stress.. so maybe that’s worth it?

But then I see quotes for $25,000 and.. no. That is not feasible. I can’t handle that.

We literally have a brand new, in the box, dishwasher – – sitting in our dining room, waiting to be installed. It’s been there for 4 years. This needs to happen soon. We gotta’ figure something out here!

We need help. We need someone to make the decision for us. If I post photos, will you give me your feedback??