As I’ve mentioned in the past, my work schedule is set up such that we work nine 10-hour days, and then have every other Friday as an off-day. In theory, this is a pretty slick schedule. However, in reality 11 to 13 hour days are still the norm, and since the rest of the world is still working on those off-Fridays — including other parts of our Corporation and all of our customers — taking full advantage of them isn’t always possible. I’ve learned to compromise by doing as much of my work from my home office via a secure network connection and that’s how this Friday began.
After knocking out a few projects and then taking care of some home finance things — logging last week’s receipts & paycheck into Quicken, analyzing the 401k portfolio performance and paying a few bills — I was able to show my BMW R1100s motorcycle a little love by giving it a way-overdue washing. It was incredibly filthy, more so than I realized. In fact, now that it’s clean I probably need to give it a good compounding, polish and wax to protect the finish noting it sits out in the sun all day while I’m at work on some 40 weeks out of the year… the Harley only sees a couple of weeks and the truck a couple of days.
Sidebar on Me & Motorcycles: A co-worker actually made me realize I was probably being a little negligent in the cosmetic care of my BMW. In short, he suggested it was actually too nice of a bike to use for commuting on cold and rainy days, questioned my sanity and wondered aloud if I even owned a car. I said yes, but I simply preferred to ride a motorcycle when possible & practical. My definition of possible & practical just happens to be a bit different from most non-motorcyclists… and even most motorcyclists in these here parts! Case in point, the usual collection of about 10 – 16 motorcycles I’ll see in the winter around the plant was reduced to 2 this past week when heavy rain was falling early each morning: my R1100s and the other bike was a Goldwing. I don’t believe it’s a macho thing as I’m clearly not a macho kind of guy. It’s more of a selfish indulgence as I derive a lot of enjoyment from riding a motorcycle that I just can’t get driving a four-wheeled steel cage, fully isolated from the outside world.
After getting the BMW washed, it was about time to get ready to leave and meet my Sweetie for our every other Friday lunch at The Red Eyed Mule, about a 15-minute ride from the house. The temps had finally creeped up to 40°F by 11:30 a.m. so I was able to take the Harley without having to dress like an Eskimo: boots, jeans, a flannel shirt, my barn jacket and a tuque under my polo helmet. The ride over to “The Mule” was a little brisk since 1/2 of it was under the canopy of trees around Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, but it was so great to be out with my knees-in-the-breeze again instead of sheltered behind the BMW’s bodywork and windscreen.
Debbie pulled-in to the lot in her little red Honda S2000 at the same time I did and when we went inside the 900 sq foot building was packed! Moreover, one of the other regulars told us that they’d just finished packing-up a To-Go order for 64 burgers that had the kitchen crew and grilled slammed for the last 20 minutes. I gotta tell you, it’s just uncool to hit a small cafe with that kind of massive order at 11:30 a.m. on one of their busiest days of the week. To make matters worse, we learned from Sabra that her hubby Joe fell on the ice and fractured his leg last night so she really had her hands full without Joe being on hand. Anyway, despite the crowd, the massive To-Go order and Joe being MIA our Jake’s Sloppy Slaw burger was delicious as always and I love sharing meals with my sweetie, so what could be better?
After lunch, Debbie headed back to work while I motored over to Firing Line for my monthly range time. Last time I visited their long-gun selection had been picked clean of all but a few older bolt-action rifles and 3 pump-action shotguns for sale on consignment. On Friday, excluding four .223 rifles that had come in at noon for consignment sales in advance of today’s “Support Your Local Gun Shop Day”, the long-gun section was still nearly bare, but so was the handgun section! Talking with the folks who work the counters, they basically did over a year’s worth of business during the past four weeks in response to all of the political rhetoric and fear mongering from both sides of the gun control debate: utterly amazing and somewhat disconcerting. I’ll leave it alone at that and hold my tongue/fingers.
From the Firing Line, it was back home for a long-awaited bicycle ride from the house, albeit without my sweetie. Nonetheless, it felt great to get back out on my single bicycle for an enjoyable tune-up ride. I stuck to the same loop that we typically ride on our tandem and was somewhat surprised to rediscover how similar the ride qualities of my Calfee single bike are to the ride qualities of our Calfee tandem. It’s definitely a double-edged sword as I’m an equipment junkie at heart who always looked forward to the next bicycle or tandem acquisition, but I have yet to grow tired of or be intrigued enough by anything new to even consider changing horses. Great bikes are timeless and we REALLY like our Calfee’s; his, hers and ours! I’d say we ‘love’ our Calfee’s, but I have a rule about not loving things that can’t love me back.
I also got around to getting our registration for his year’s Georgia Tandem Rally posted so that we could secure our hotel room as well as our place on what I’m sure will be another sold-out event. I still need to make reservations and RSVP for the Alabama Tandem Weekend in Sylacauga, Alabama so maybe I’ll get around to that tomorrow. We’re actually pretty excited as we look forward to another year of tandem rallies and hope to get our butts out a lot more often this year than we did last. We’re also need to start lining up our tail gunners for the upcoming rallies as we REALLY like riding the triplet at these events, more so than just the tandem.
Being a Friday, dinner at On The Border was a given. Sadly, our usual dining companions Deb & David were otherwise occupied but we still had a great time chatting with our friends behind the bar, Jeff & Matt, several other folks who work at OTB and our friends Seth & Carol. In fact, it was quite fortuitous that we were able to spend a good deal of time talking with Seth & Carol, as it seemed like Carol needed to have a great and sincere empathetic listener like Debbie to talk with last night. At least for us, we tend to out to enjoy the company of friends or just each other at places where we know we’ll have a great dining experience, noting that Debbie and I both have relatively simple tastes: give me a great burger and a Bud Light or a fish taco and a shot of tequila and I’m good-to-go. Moreover, because we frequent a very limited number of places on a nearly weekly basis, we have the pleasure of knowing most of the people who own and/or work at these places and many of them we know well enough to consider them acquaintances or, in some cases, even good friends. So, what our evenings out lack in culinary excitement and adventure, they more than make up for with time spent visiting with friends. Just something to keep in mind if you detect what appears to be a pattern to our dining habits.
We ended our evening watching the 2nd half of the Lance Armstrong interview on the OWN network. It’s somewhat a shame that they split that interview into two nights, as it was a dialog that really needed to be listened to in a single session instead of two parts. Much of the angst that was caused by the first night was answered in the second. It’s still an incredible mess, but what we heard on Friday night explained a lot of what we thought we heard on Thursday night. The road to redemption is long, and at least it would appear that Mr. Armstrong understands he has only started that journey and has many amends to make along the way. I truly wish CNN’s Anderson Cooper & Betsy Andreu could have held-off on doing their analysis until after the Friday show instead of trying to jump on the media express train and reap the financial benefit of riding the hype. Cest la vie. I don’t race, so I don’t care. I just like to ride my bike.