How sad is this: we finally have a Valentine’s Day that falls on a weekend and we weren’t able to get in a tandem ride to celebrate. We went into the weekend thinking we’d be able to get in a road ride on Saturday with temps predicted to be in the mid-50’s by the afternoon and much to my shock and surprise, Miss Debbie even hinted that she’d be willing to hit the trails on Sunday so long as the temps got into the 40’s. Yeah, well… best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, don’t you know.
On the bright side, the weekend was still pretty awesome. It was a work-from-home Friday which had me up bright and early for a 3 hour conference call. I love conference calls from home since I can participate in my sweats before shaving. Once the call was over I had just enough time to drop off dry-cleaning, pick up some new water lines for two new faucets I’d be installing, get my truck washed and then make my way over to The Mule for lunch with my sweetie. Yup, ever other Friday we still meet for a quick-lunch at The Red Eyed Mule where we split a Jakes Big Daddy: so long as you specify medium rare, it’s one of the best darn burgers you’ll ever taste. Friday was no exception. Not sure if it’s the fried egg, the dollop of sloppy Jake , the Texas Toast, the meat or the way they grill up the fixin’s, but it always hits the spot.
After lunch, my plan was to drop by the shooting range for a quick 25 round tune-up, then get the faucets installed and hopefully have that done in time to get a short off-road bike ride in at the Allatoona Creek Park near the house. I only was able to get one of the three boxes checked. The range was actually quite busy for a Friday afternoon and I didn’t have time to wait for a lane to open up so it was on to the plumbing project and that ended up consuming the afternoon, doing in the bike ride.
Like most home projects, the way you should estimate the time to complete is to double your estimate and then one more unit of measure. So, my expectation that I’d be able to knock out the faucets in about an hour and a half or so ended up being closer to three and a half hours when all was said and done. Between wrestling with multiple connections in tight places and a second trip to Home Depot for new P-traps to replace those nasty, 23-year-old original ones, it took the better part of the afternoon to replace the faucets, feed lines and P-traps on both of the master bath sinks. However, it was well worth the time and effort as the original ones were well beyond the point where they needed to be replaced. Don’t think I’ll ever have to repair those again.. knock on wood.
I really needed that bike ride to make my week complete and to test my endurance. Over the past year or two I allowed my weight to sneak-up about 5% and was bound and determined to take it back off before March 1st. I’ve just about reached that goal, but find that the reduced calories, fat and carbs have made me tire much easier and a 10-mile trail ride would certainly be enough to let me know if my cycling endurance had suffered from the diet. Oh well, the 5% weight loss still feels good and we’ll be riding on Saturday and Sunday, right???
After a nice dinner out for Fajita Friday at Loco Willy’s and the latest installment of our James Bond film festival back at home, I had a short nap before I was woken up by a flying squirrel who had stumbled into one of my traps in the attic. Yup, with the colder weather we suddenly had the pitter patter of little paws running around over our heads at 4:30am in the morning, signaling the arrival of some form of rodent in our attic. I’d expected it to be a grey squirrel and was surprised to see that it was actually a Southern Grey Flying Squirrel in my live catch trap. After taking care of the little visitor I finally made it back to sleep around 3:30am.
Saturday started off below freezing so I knew the morning would be best spent working on inside projects. Before putting hardwoods down in our walk-in closet I needed to re-organize some of the closet contents which included moving all of our western boots off the floor and on to some shelving that I’d need to add. I also needed to re-do our cycling gear storage to make things easier to see / reach while also opening up some room in that small part of our closet. Debbie joined me for the trip to Home Depot for shelving and we also picked up a new leather ottoman at Kirkland’s that would replace a 28-year old white wicker chair in the closet. Like Friday, my “hope” was to have the project wrapped for the day by 2:30 so we could enjoy a tandem bike ride during the warmest part of the day. It seemed achievable.
While replacing and upgrading the ClosetMaid shelving units I was also multi-tasking on another project that involved stripping a hideous burnt orange tanning job from an ostrich belt that was supposed to be cognac by immersing the belt in a bleach bath a section at a time. It turned out to be a lot more work than I expected, i.e., double it and add one!
I had the shelving units replaced by 2:30pm but by then Miss Debbie had lost her enthusiasm for heading out in the mid-50 degree weather given that there was about a 20 mph wind blowing. Can’t say that I blame her; she’s easily chilled and after all, it was Valentine’s Day so coaxing her out into the weather probably wasn’t in my best interest. So, I continued with my closet project while stripping and bleaching my ostrich & leather belt right up and until it was time to head off for our Valentine’s night dinner. After a lovely steak with grilled asparagus and loaded baked potato we stopped by a local club to listen to a new band to us, but one that had been playing gigs around Atlanta for nearly 20 years. They were really good; we’ll have to try to catch them on a more exciting night: the bars and clubs were empty given the Valentine’s Day holiday.
Sunday started off frigid which did not bode well for a tandem ride. Therefore, I spent the better part of the day cleaning out seldom worn clothing from the closet and other storage places that I’d haul off to Goodwill later in the day while running a few errands. I ended up purging the house of what must have been about 35 articles of clothing, from sweat pants to dress slacks and polo shirts to button downs that hadn’t been worn since I don’t know when… never mind a pair of sleeping bags that hadn’t been used since 1989!
With all of that “stuff” out of the house, I turned my attention to sorting through all of our cycling gear — all 65 jerseys, 12 pair of shorts, four pair of tights, etc. — and figuring out how to get it all consolidated on one storage unit. It took a lot more time than I’d expected, but that was partially due to my ostrich belt project running in parallel and a lunch break where I got Miss Debbie out of the house for a much-needed distraction: she just doesn’t do well in the winter and has had the blahs something awful of late. We had some wonderful hot wings, dropped off three 50 gal bags of clothing at Goodwill, picked up some storage bins and new hangars and while we were out and I confirmed a tandem ride would not be in the cards today. Once we were back at the house I decided to extend my break and get in a short solo ride, then finished re-organizing the closet and began to apply the first of several coats of cognac polish and brown edge dressing to the now bleached naked ostrich belt.
The belt refinishing project exceeded my wildest expectations; the burnt orange ostrich belt went from being of little use since it was 50 shades darker than my cognac ostrich boots to being a near perfect match.
The closet also tuned out great; can’t wait to replace the wall-to-wall carpet with hardwoods here in a couple of weeks! Everything is now visible and with few exceptions off-the-floor, which will help to make the flooring project a bit easier. But, most of all, there’s just a lot less clutter.
The photo below shows the new two-shelf arrangement over the cycling jerseys and shorts. An extra set of shelf support brackets — 12″ in length — is what I used as the “rods” for hanging the jerseys and tights/shorts perpendicular to the overhead shelves. It’s definitely much more tidy and things are a lot easier to find; double goodness.
The photo below is just a little more detailed / closer so you can see how the 12′ support brackets now incorporate a nylon “stop” to keep the hangers from sliding past the ends while also making the ends of the brackets less of a poking hazard. Storage bins contain socks, gloves, bandanas and cold weather gear. It’s about as organized as I can make it and, well, that’s good enough! Yes, the labels on each box and the small / large / small / large ordering of the boxes definitely give away my OCD tendencies.
Boots, boots, boots. Heck, there are even two pair of dress boots missing from the photo as I keep them at work and change into them from my motorcycle boots after my daily commute. Did I mention that I really like boots? In fact, that’s pretty much all I wear with jeans, slacks and suits. Debbie’s about half-way committed, but that’s OK too!
And just to complete the 360* view, noting that we can finally see the back wall behind the top shelf now that the sleeping bags and a few other pieces of luggage are gone / elsewhere. There’s also nothing hiding under the lower row of clothing on the floor, which is a good thing! Did I mention that I don’t like clutter?
Next up, about 150 square feet of hardwood’s need to go down. Oh the joy. I’m sure that will disrupt another weekend’s cycling activity but better to get these projects knocked out when the weather is less than ideal vs. those warmer days just around the corner that will beckon us to go out and play without reservation!