I took this picture through the window of a city bus today. (The yellow arc is some reflection on the glass.) This car looked noticeably better than most I’ve ever owned until the right front wheel changed directions on its own. The people were just getting to Wendy’s when this happened and surely had no idea the car would break down. I’m a little sad for them and also glad I’m not one of them. Also, here’s a lesson in car ownership. If I can’t afford to deal with something like this, I’m not ready to own a motor vehicle.
Here’s a picture from the park on Yule, December 21. For once, the season in Ohio matched the calendar. I had a nice, contemplative holiday. For us, this is the beginning of the year and a time of re-birth. That’s what I need about now.
On the way home, the bus had to re-route around a big fire caused by a gas leak and explosion. The driver couldn’t handle the re-route and it got long and strange. We were near that fire much longer than is good for me. I finally got home, which is a mile from where the fire was still burning. My asthma/sinus/whatever is still reacting to either that, a weather change, or both. Many of my friends are sick with one thing or another.
This past Friday, I finally got a new prescription for the hypersomnia after a two-week snafu. (There’s nothing else like the combination of poverty and the medical industry.) The new medicine does seem to keep me awake. My sense of time has changed, and I think I had been having “micro-sleep” before, where I check out for a few seconds without realizing it. Also, in a very odd development, my typing skill has returned to its previous professional level after gradually dropping off for several years. Weird. However, I have been having some odd sensations and what not that might be side effects, the asthma/COPD/whatever lung issues or just the tail end of a rough year.
Wednesday or Thursday, I managed to lose my new neck warmer. This is not good. We are in a warm spell at the moment, but I need to cover my mouth even now. So yesterday, money came in the mail, a gift from an old friend. (Thanks D!) I decided to rush out and replace the neck warmer with whatever I could find. I walked into Walmart just before 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I wish I had video of that. It would give me a way to re-define the word “chaos.” Thanks to loving Greater Powers and time in recovery, I was able to find a balaclava (ski mask) and a couple of other items. I even had a nice conversation with the gentleman ahead of me in line. Then I got on the bus and went straight to my meeting and had a really good meeting there.
Today, I went to my usual Sunday morning meeting and another this evening. This is not a Hallmark Christmas, but the gifts are the best.
I have been accomplishing things this weekend, and I like that far better than the exciting/chaotic times I once had. It beats sleeping or sitting here in a daze, too.
Friday evening was boring but will serve my needs. I finally got filing supplies and set up a new filing system. I found the file box a month or more ago at the VOA Thrift in Galloway, but hadn’t used it until now. This may be the dullest picture I ever post, but for people dealing with SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, “Part D,” SNAP, and all the rest; keeping track of all the paper really counts.
I’m not done with my filing yet. There’s a mini-mountain of paper waiting, but I can work it down now that I have the basic setup.
The weather has chilled. Saturday (yesterday) tested my winter gear setup, and I enjoyed the results. The neck warmer/face mask (prior posting) not only lets me breathe well, but it neither fogs my glasses nor collects condensation. The condensation improvement makes it the best face mask I’ve ever used.
Yesterday I took a trip to the VOA Thrift (again). The most important objective was to try to find a chair at the thrift shop. I use one chair at my computer and most of the time. The one I’ve been using was a $1 deal back in July or August from a nearby thrift, but I’ve worn out the legs. It looked like this:
Notice how the front legs slant a little wrong? So did I. I figured in somewhere between a day and a month it would fall apart and dump me on the floor. So yesterday, I took the time to find a different chair. Neither I nor the clerk could read the price marked on it. She sold it to me for my favorite price, $1.91. I had to carry it to the bus stop and from the bus stop back here. The bus driver was friendly and helpful, and I’m glad for that. It’s a little big to take onto the bus.
This is way better. Besides giving me a safer seat, I also get much more comfort. It’s even short-legged enough that I can rest my feet on the floor.
While I was looking around yesterday, I noticed a clothes drying rack. I have wanted one of those since I moved, and there it was. I could not carry both that and my chair yesterday, so I had to take my chances and go back today. Got it! This fits neatly inside my bathtub for the dripping part of drying clothes, then I can easily move it close to my wall heater. Here it is with a few cleaning cloths for a test use.
You can’t really see my new jacket in the background, but I got that today too.
I like this kind of weekend. It’s not exciting, but it improves my life.
Bus Bike and “Proof of Concept”
So here’s the bus bike again. The picture on the right shows it after I changed the seat post. I took the seat post from a bike I brought with me that I found in someone’s trash in Mount Vernon. It took me several tries to get it out of the frame, but it’s exactly what I needed.
This bike is a Huffy Rock It. I have seen those in red and neon green, but only this one in blue. Therefore, it has an identity, the blue Rock It. To lessen confusion, I’ll call it Blue Rocket.
I got the seat post on, changed the seat, and so on yesterday. This morning, the weather warmed quickly and the forecast looked good. So today, I rode the Blue Rocket on her maiden (for me) voyage. We went down the Camp Chase Trail, came back far enough to take some streets, and took a bus to Walmart on Georgesville Road, then home via a different route with two more bus rides. She passed all phases of the test. I can ride her a couple of miles easily, and putting her on the bus rack or getting her off is much easier than past bikes. Neither she nor I was perfect, but I certainly have what engineers call “proof of concept.” That is, I’ve shown myself this was a really sound idea.
Another Adventure via Bike ‘n’ Bus
After a break, I found myself still with some energy. The wind had picked up, but I wanted to ride more. For lack of a better idea, I decided to see if the bus drivers would let me put the Diamondback (big bike) on the bus and how that would work out. I only wound up putting it on two buses, the #10 and a #4 that would put me in the area of my favorite park. Neither driver gave me any trouble about the height of my bike, but this thing weighs 45 pounds (20 kg) and takes up every inch of its space on the rack. I put about three times the effort into loading the Diamondback as I had the Blue Rocket.
While I was Downtown, I noticed that the weather had cooled and that the wind was coming through my hoodie. I wished I had brought another layer, but stubbornness prevailed over good sense and I went on. I got off the bus on Indianola Avenue and coasted down the hill to High Street. By this time, I felt so cold that I stopped at a McDonald’s and had coffee to warm up. Then I coasted on down the hill to the park and decided to take some time in the woods there that I enjoy. I noticed that the most of the under-story plants beneath the autumn-leaved trees looked green and alive, although some had turned golden. We’re expecting below-freezing temperatures tonight, so that may change.
I took a phone call in that beautiful setting, during which I realized that I did not want to climb back up the hill I had coasted down. If I rode the nearby trail back toward home, I would not only have a “net” downhill ride, I’d also put the wind behind me. I needed that. By this time, the wind speed had increased over the 16 mph (25 kph) that Accuweather told me it was blowing when I left home.
That’s what I did. Tired or not, I liked riding downhill with a tail wind. Eventually, I left the trail (and the tail wind) for McKinley Avenue, then back to a trail at Eureka Avenue. By that time, I just kept downshifting and wishing I was already home, but I made it okay. I think the only lasting effect will be a day or two of sore knees. However, after all of that, I could barely stay awake for about four hours. I refuse to take a nap after 6 p.m., but I could not tell you much about that time because I was incredibly drowsy. Now that it’s past my bedtime, I’m waking up. Oh, well.
All in all, I had a very good day. I learned how the “system” of bikes and buses will work, visited a place I love, and had a nice ride for several miles.
Ain’t She Pretty?
Well, maybe not. In fact, I’d rather my bike isn’t too pretty. Pretty bikes have a higher theft rate, I think. They sell for more. This is my “bus bike,” meant for riding to and from bus stops that would be a little far to walk. My first destination will be a park that I enjoy. It’s about 7/10 of a mile from the #2 bus line.
I realized yesterday that I had enough cash to buy one of the things I need. Maybe two, depending. Not wanting to ride the big bike that far, I took the bus to the Volunteers of America thrift shop out in Galloway. They had a microwave, but it cost $20 and was pretty heavy to carry back to the bus. No TV that I wanted.
I’ve been wanting a bike I could handle easily on the bus racks and count on the drivers not turning it (and me) away. The big bike is great to ride but might not be allowed on a bus because the handlebars stick up so far. Then I saw this bike. It’s the same model as one a grand-kid has, but a different color. It needed a rear tire and tube, but I had those stashed from trash finds back in Mount Vernon about a year ago. I finally found the price. It was a good deal at $10.10. The only other item I found was a little thing like a bedside stand for $8.08. Good deal, but hard to carry. I bought the bike and I will go back when I can to look for that stand or something like it when I have my trailer to haul it.
I got the bike back to the bus stop okay and loaded it onto the rack as easily as I’d hoped. Once I got home, I went to work. Then I did maybe the dumbest bicycle fixing mistake I ever made. I had a really good tube and absent-mindedly kept pumping it up with my hand pump until it blew up. Ruined the tire, too. I still had the funny-looking white tire shown in the picture. It was pretty late for me to go out, but the longer I sat, the more I beat myself up mentally for doing that dumb thing. I headed out to Walmart for another tube.
That went well. I caught a bus Downtown. At the High Street and State stop, an old friend got on, clearly tired and stressed. She lit up at the sight of me. I didn’t need to do anything but say “hi” to help her out. I guess a Greater Power wanted me there. I’m glad I could help.
Today, I put the bike together and rode it a little. I’ll still need a longer seat post (22.2 mm or 7/8″), at least 15″ long to give me enough height to pedal correctly. I’ll go to the co-op Saturday. They should have one cheap.
Here I am tonight. As you can see, the clean-shaven look didn’t last. I kept cutting myself shaving where the goatee grows, and I just like the way I look better with facial hair.
I need to get a picture or two to put with my next post, so I’m not ready yet. The good news is that it’s not about the election or anything political. It’s a bicycle thing with a little inspirational note. The bad news is that the “adventure” continues until I get everything put together. (The bike you’re used to seeing here is just fine. The post is about a “bus bike” I’m putting together.)
I have my bicycle handlebars in the strangest-looking setup I’ve ever used. I pulled them back and down with the idea of making them acceptable to bus drivers for their bike racks. I still don’t know if that will work, but I discovered that they’re very comfortable for riding. I expected them to hit me in the side on turns, but that has yet to happen. The only issue I have is mounting the bike, and that’s a good trade-off for comfortable riding.
So I followed that up by heading to Walmart without the bike, only wanting a tire and tube for my trailer. It would have been a better idea to ride the bike to the nearest Walmart. The exercise factor riding the bus to Walmart is walking to the nearest stop, changing buses Downtown and then walking from the East Main stop to the actual store. As with most Walmarts, this one has a gigantic parking lot.
You can sort of see the front of the Walmart by looking at the post on AutoZone and seeing the roof line behind it. It’s a long walk, at least a quarter mile and maybe more. Of course, Walmart doesn’t put sidewalks anywhere for pedestrians. They’re built around automobiles. The whole walking distance is at least 6/10 mile each way, 1 2/10 round trip. For the same amount of energy, I could ride one way to the nearby Walmart and part of the way back, without putting up with the crowded bus or taking well over an hour each way.
At least I had good weather for yesterday and today. We have had near-record highs yesterday and today. For some reason, the local CBS station’s weather forecaster mentioned his opinion that this is not an effect of climate change. We have month after month each of which is the warmest of that month in history. I guess he thinks we’re dumb enough to buy that “fluke” idea.
The rest of the time, I have been sleepy. On top of the usual hypersomnia, I slept poorly last night, so today has been mostly lost. I’m going to stop here and try to follow Game 7 of the World Series.