Regular readers may have noticed there wasn’t a weekend update last week. Well, that’s not entirely true; there was an update but I posted it to out other blog, RidingTwoUp.
While the number of regular readers at RidingTwoUp is somewhat small compared to The TandemGeek’s blog, I felt I owed those who follow a little insight into why they weren’t seeing all that many blog entries of late. However, now that I’ve filled them in and seeing how tandem cycling dominated this past weekend’s free time, we’re back…
It’s probably worthwhile to reach back a little bit to bridge a few gaps. Last weekend I started a project that involves replacing the 23-year old wall-to-wall carpeting installed in our dining, living and family rooms with engineered hardwood. By Sunday night I had the carpet removed from the dining room and was prepping for the glue-down-on-slab engineered wood flooring installation.
I knocked off on Monday & Tuesday nights so I could let the new work flooring acclimate to the house. On Monday I went out and bought the adhesive I’d need for the installation (OMG, its expensive!!) and a few other odd and ends, e.g., trowels, floor scraper, floor patch and trim. After that it was back home for some home-banking, etc. as the weather wasn’t all that great so no hope for an after work bicycle ride.
Tuesday turned into a really lovely day and while I originally planned to make a stop on the way home and then do a little more prep on the dining room slab, I decided what I really needed to do was to get out and hit the trail on my mountain bike. Now, I will confess I intentionally failed to check to see if the trails were officially open, given it had recently rained. I figured if I hit the trail and they looked muddy, I’d turn around. When I arrived at the trail I could see there were a few folks out riding – telltale cars in the lot with rear hitch racks and roof racks that had been left open — so if nothing else I wasn’t the only one who would seek forgiveness if permission to ride the trails hadn’t been given. After getting my bike out a gentleman in the lot called over to see if I could give his battery a boost which slightly delayed my ride, but I was happy to help so no big deal. The trails were actually in very good shape, with minimal “give” and just a smattering of mud puddles, i.e., I’d been on the trail when it was open after rain and was in much worse shape! I felt really good after doing the 6 mile or so loop and even stopped to snap another nature picture for Tracey & Cathy. I need to get more of those….
Back at home it was on to the floor project, which was mostly scrapping the slab clear of old drywall mud, paint and other “stuff” that had been carpeted over 23 years ago. It was another hour or so on my hands and knees, followed up by undercutting the wood trim in a few places and ripping a straight edge along the existing hardwood flooring that I was going to leave in place, at least for a while. In regard to the latter, it’s a bit of a cheap-screw approach to replacing the flooring. While I “should” have cleared the house of all furnishings, pulled up all of the flooring and then laid a new floor as a single installation I struggle with putting that kind of time and money into the house. It’s already over-improved for the neighborhood so a more cost-effective approach seemed to be the way to go. So, I’ll install the new flooring in the three rooms are adjacent to the older flooring and then do a test patch to see if I can sand down, repair/re-glue lifted sections and refinish the 500 sq ft of flooring vs. replacing it. If it has to come out, it will be a much easier project with the adjacent areas already done and I’ve got some pretty good ideas on how to do a better job of delineating the room breaks vs. standard moldings. Hey, it will still be ½ the cost of having a new floor installed! Money I can then put towards getting the house repainted… ugg.
I decided to take Wednesday afternoon off from work so (a) I could burn-down my nearly maxed-out vacation time and (b) have enough time to get the flooring down before it got too late to be running saws outside. I was home and started to put down the first 2’ wide glue patch for the starter section of flooring. It turns out it was taking me about an hour per 30 square feet to put down a section of flooring as I had the 150 square feet down by a little after 6:30pm. Of course, there was another hour or so consumed just cleaning off partially cured adhesive so I’ll need to do better job of wiping down the boards as I go to eliminate most of that glue cleaning time. Regardless, it was good to have the flooring all down as I wrapped up for the evening. Now to let it cure a few days before putting the furniture back and moving on to the living room.
When I got up Thursday – I couldn’t! Seriously, my thighs were so filled with lactic acid from all of the squatting and standing on Wednesday you’d have thought I needed hip replacements. That soreness lasted well into Friday night! So, not having anything planned for Thursday night other than letting glue cure was a good plan.
The only thing special about Friday was making up for the previous week’s off-Friday lunch date that never came to pass: Debbie had a work-related luncheon so I was feeling the need and she was able to join me for a very rare, out-of-the-office lunch at The Mule. Being regulars, we were saved from a potential mis-communication with the new gal taking orders our order went is as “Medium Rare” instead of “Medium Rare” and one of the other folks working prep and running food noticed and corrected it; whew! Not sure what I’d do with a well-done piece of meat!!!
I do have to interject a bit of rant here. On the way home from work I stopped to run an errand and, as always, ran into the Public next door where I pay into my redneck retirement plan at the Customer Service Counter vis-a-via buying a lottery ticket. Yes, I know the odds are insane but as Miss Debbie says, somebody’s gotta to win. What infuriates me is when I get stuck behind people who use the one (1) Customer Service Counter / Representative as their personal check-out line when there are seven (7) Check-Out lanes open a mere 15 steps away. There are several things you can’t do anywhere else in the grocery store that you do at the Customer Service Counter and five to ten dedicated check-out lines that may be one or two deep at the most and for inexplicable reasons there are people who have gotten it in their heads they need to tie up the Customer Service Desk by using it as a check-out line. Give me a friggin’ break. These are probably the same chuckle-heads who don’t understand or care the left-lane in a multilane road is called the passing-lane, not the ‘special lane for special people’ who pace the cars next to them. I swear, I’m so tired of the “I’m special” crowd. End of rant.
Finally a Friday was celebrated at Loco Willy’s per usual. We were able to find some seats at the far end of the bar on a night when David & Deb had to pass. It gave us a chance to visit around the bar and one of the two Pauls came over and joined us for bit. The other Paul had his kids with him and also had his 1970 Ford F-100 project truck in the parking lot with its freshly installed 347 Stroker engine. I felt compelled to join him for a few moments to take a listen and check out some of his other, more recent work on the truck. All-in-all, a pretty good night and not much special afterwards: back home to chill.
For some reason I woke up at 3:00am on Saturday morning and after attempting to go back to sleep for 45 minutes I gave up and headed downstairs so I would disturb Debbie. The plan for the day included Debbie heading off to the Post Office’s passport window so she could apply for her first-ever U.S. passport. They require you do that in person nowadays and with the added requirement to have a passport for things like travel to Canada, Mexico, cruises will have international ports of call, etc., the passport offices all tend to be slammed and appointments are booked up for months ahead. This would be Debbie’s second attempt at getting through the line. She arrived an hour before the Post Office opened at 8:30am and was the 17th person waiting in line. She was finally at the window around 10:00am, had to redo her form but was allowed to step-out and step-back in line and finished up at 11:00am; whew. What an ordeal. Here’s hoping the processing goes without a hitch and that she receives her passport in late May / early June. We may or may not need it this summer, but it’s been on the “to-do list” for a couple of years so good that she’ll finally have it in the event short-notice travel opportunities present themselves. I should note, neither one of us are all that intrigued by international travel; we’re definitely homebodies and are more interested in exploring the U.S. at this point.
As for my morning, I spent it cleaning the blue painter’s tape marks off the dining room floor, polishing the floors with the factory floor produce from Bruce and then moving all of the furniture back into the room: thank goodness for furniture dollies. I’ve got two and it pretty much allows me to move all of our furniture around by myself and without dragging it across floors, which will be especially important now that the carpet will be gone! I also listed some of the furniture in our dining room on Craigslist, as it’s way past time to move away from the antiques that came with me from my 1889 cottage in California.
We’ve made due with them because we don’t use our dining room all that much, but that’s probably because it’s not all that inviting of a space. We’re looking for a pub height square table that can seat eight and can expand to seat ten or twelve as it would be a better fit for the room and it eliminates the “head of the table” which I’ve never liked. While we’ve found a few tables that will seat eight, they’re just not quite what we’re looking for. So, we may see about having one made and then find some pub height chairs and a mission style sideboard to make it all work. So, if anyone knows of someone who’s in the market for a nice Duncan Pfyfe table and federal style chairs, a really heavy, walnut sideboard from the 1800’s or an old Victrola in need of restoration, we’ve got a clearance sale in progress!
Having gotten the dining room furniture out of the living room and hallway I was able to move the overstuffed leather chairs out of the living room, pull-up carpet and begin to prep the slab for the second part of our Phase I downstairs flooring project. The big trick with the living room will be working around our 9’ parlor grand piano. The carpet removal part went well so, fingers crossed, I’ll be equally as successful when I jack each of the piano legs up a couple of inches to sneak the flooring in underneath: yeah, definitely a non-OSHA approved process.
With Debbie’s passport submittal mission completed and the carpet removed from the living room, we carved out a couple of hours so we could take a 25-mile tandem ride from the house in the afternoon. It was a beautiful but windy day that made for an interesting mix of spirited tail wind segments offset by the drudgery of headwinds on the way back home. Regardless, it was good to get out, get some sun and spin our legs.
The tandem had a little issue where the right hand STI lever began to move around on the handlebar. I should have stopped and tightened the compression clamp at the first sign of side-to-side movement but didn’t and son of a gun if it didn’t begin to move vertically which is a bhing since the derailleur (and brake) cable housings that run under the handlebar tape are fixed in position. Therefore, as the STI lever head moved the precision of the rear derailleur’s shifting quickly degraded. Once back at home it’s a simple matter of fixing the STI lever back in place and fine-tuning the shifting again. Well, I say that… I still need to put it on the work stand and get all of the in-line adjusters back to a more neutral position and then do the fine tuning to include adding in 16th of a turn of slack for how the rear derailleur will shift once there are two people on the bike riding it: tandems rarely seem to shift as well on the work stand as they do on the road. I also need to check the torque on the rear bottom bracket, chain ring bolts and crank arms as there has been an annoying clicking coming from the back-end of the tandem in sync with the pedal strokes. It may well end up being a saddle clamp or Debbie’s handlebar stem, so I’ll check those as well before we head over to Alabama for the Tandem Weekend on Saturday morning.
After our tandem ride it was laundry, a little more prep work on the living room flooring project and then it was time to get ready for dinner at Loco’s. We had a pretty good time at Loco’s and ventured into uncharted territory by ordering something we almost never eat: nachos. Debbie had a hankering and since I’ll always defer to her desires unless I’m really craving something, I was right there with her. Although, I will say her side had the ground beef and my side had the chicken! They were yummy; no wonder folks rave about them! You just have to smother them with the “garden plate” of lettuce, salsa, onion, sour cream and guacamole to make it all work. Since we’d be doing 42-mile tandem ride on Sunday with a group of tandems I decided to forego my usual poison (tequila) and did some carbo loading (beer). I don’t drink beer all that often, but Debbie swears I always seem to ride stronger when I’ve had beer vs. my shots of tequila the night before so who am I to argue t hat point.
We called it quits at Loco’s a bit before 8:00pm and after getting home and firing up the on-line streaming my 3:00am wake-up had finally caught up to me as I was out for the night. Debbie wasn’t all that far behind me, as I think our allergy season has really been hard on everyone this year, i.e., increased fatigue and lower energy levels + sneezing, wheezing and sinus infections.
We had an “out the door” target time of 8:15am so we could make the 45-mile drive over to the other side of Atlanta for the 9:30am Tandem Club of Georgia’s April ride start. We hit our departure target and were pleasantly surprised to find zero traffic or construction delays which put us in Tucker, Georgia, 30 minutes ahead of the ride start. That allowed us enough time to run an errand before meeting up with the other six couples who participated in the ride. The official ride report and photos are posted at the club’s WordPress site.
At the ride were the ride leaders Mitzi & John as well as Eric & Linda, Roger & Eve, Peter & Margaret, Steve & Eva, and Cheryl & Chris. Everyone opted to do the 42-mile route on what was a beautiful, sunny day with moderate temps and winds. Traffic along the route was fairly light and well-behaved and we were given world-class treatment in Lithonia when one of their peace officers was kind enough to block traffic with his patrol car at a fairly busy interchange in the middle of town; I love stuff like that! Other than a mid-ride store stop, it was a nice steady pace with a few moderate climbs and both of us were feeling pretty good given this was our first group tandem outing for the year.
We actually stayed for the group lunch after the ride at Los Hermanos, a Mexican restaurant located in the same shopping center where we started our ride. There was a surprise birthday celebration for Margaret during our lunch which was kind of fun. It was probably around 2:30pm when we all headed our separate ways until the next club ride on May 15th at a place to be named later.
Back at home, I headed out to cut the lawn and do other yard work while Debbie worked away at indoor weekend chores. Given the late after lunch, I didn’t start making our wings until nearly 7:30pm so we were definitely dining at the elegant hour. After that it was a little home banking and then chilling out a bit before heading back to work on Monday.
However, looking ahead at the coming weeks there’s a lot to be excited about:
- The weather’s warming up, making cycling, motorcycling and even chores much more enjoyable.
- I’ll likely take off Tuesday afternoon and knock out the hardwood flooring installation in our living room, putting us over the ½ way done mark!
- We’re still in the midst of ‘Debbie Fest’, the annual celebration of my sweet and lovely soul mate’s birth and with that will come flowers, a Friday night celebration at SuBourbon’s and then a special dinner out the week of the 25th.
- We’ll head to a two-day tandem cycling rally at Huntsville, Alabama, on Saturday the 23rd.
- The aforementioned week of the 25th will be a short work week for both of us as we hop on Blue and ride down to Spring Bike Week at Panama City Beach, Florida, on Thursday the 28th.