Tuesday, February 9, 2016

We are all in this together. Helping Ruckus Scooter Love.

Recently the very lovely Deb at Ruckus Scooter Love had a medical issue.   Her longtime partner suffered a stroke and they require some help to obtain a piece of medical equipment that would allow her partner greater mobility in and around the house.

My hope in sharing this is that someone somewhere will have this piece of medical equipment and would be willing to give it to Deb and her partner if at all possible.

Here is the link with the specifics:  http://49ccscooterlife.blogspot.com/2016/02/can-anyone-help.html

Thanks guys.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

This day and age

It was a rather slow day at work yesterday and I watched the clock more than actually work.  It also gave me a chance to catch up on some blogs I generally like to read and a few of them had accepted Toadmama's Brave Bold Blogger Challenge.

In a nutshell she was challenging bloggers to write about something everyday.  The topics varied from "words you hate" to "places you want to go" to things like today's topic.   I'm still not sure if I want to participate.  While I enjoy writing and know that "writers write" this seems more like a task to me than something truly enjoyable.   I write because writing interests me, because I get some sort of weird perverse joy of my fingers clicking on the keys of my ancient desktop computer.  Writing makes me happy, even if I don't do it every day.

Plus, I know when I write everyday I start to circle back to the same old themes of money issues, girl problems and why I'm so depressed all the time.   Not exactly Nobel Prize worthy material.

But today's topic touched a nerve with me.  "Age."

I'm turning 50 in April.

I'm beginning to realize that my mother and father may not be around much longer, and that I should spend more time with them.

That my days are dwindling down as well.  That this may be as good as it gets.

Some dreams will not come true.

That Susan will not be getting any better than she is right now.

I have to accept these things.

A mulled cider
Yesterday I left work a bit early, they don't want us to work overtime and I had managed to put in a 42 hour work week without realizing it.  So I decided to grab a drink at my favorite watering hole in Ybor City; a wonderful little bar called Cigar City Cider and Mead.  It's a great diverse crowd there and my favorite bartender, Bea, was working and yes; that is actually her real name.  I was into craft brewing well before it became popular and with ciders and meads you can do so much more with flavor than you can beer.  Plus if I see one more crappy ass "craft IPA" I'm going to scream but that's just me.

"Rob," she said, "you are going to love this....it's peach mixed with scorpion peppers!" and without even asking she placed a small glass in front of me.   At first I was not sure about it as the peppers overwhelmed my nose but then as I drank it the cooling peach taste filled my mouth.   A slight tingling sensation on my tongue came next.  The heat from the pepper was muted and soft and left more of a warming sensation than a nasty bite those peppers are famous for..

"Damn it! Bea that's good."  A friend of mine called and offered to join me.   It had the makings of a very good night.  One drink would lead to three and then I be off like some mad dharma bum.  The night always holds such promise for me when I'm in a city.

I went home instead.  I had to be responsible, I had to get up in the morning and do one of my routes I do for extra cash.  Plus I didn't want to leave Susan all alone.

I was going to act my age.

This weekend I plan to go for a ride on Kimmie and spend time with my Mom and Dad.  My father is in his 80's and has outlived one of his two sisters already.  We don't talk much, more to him and I being cut from the same introverted mold.  I see a lot of my father in me as I grow older, both physically and mentally.  My father made decisions that would help his family and as I look back on my life I don't see us wanting anything as children.

My brother and I somewhere in the 70's
My father does not remember some things that I do growing up, perhaps the stories I tell are embellished some.   Perhaps he simply does not remember or feels that he has no need to relive certain moments.  I remember him telling me that he would always pick me up if I was drunk in high school.

I got drunk in High School at a party and he came and picked me up.  No questions, nothing was said.  Just a feeling of disappointment from him because I did something wrong.  I never got drunk in high school again.  Nor have I ever drove my car "a bit toasty."

Mom was always the driving force, the motivator it seemed to me.  She was the one that always seemed to be striving for something better, something more....something other than what we have today.   I see a lot of her in me at times.

My mother was always there and we talk for hours as I was growing up.  She had a rough childhood and lived under abusive parents.  She made the decision to break that cycle with my father and with my brother and I.  I admire that strength it took her to do so.

My parents used to go out a bit when I was young.  I realize now that they were in their 30's.  When I was in college they were in their early 40's. They were young and so very full of life.

I remember my youth and it was not that long ago.  I traveled to places like Chicago, Los Vegas, New York.   I toured with the Grateful Dead for a few weeks one summer, I ended up traveling overseas for a bit and visited exotic lands.  I've been wanting to get back to Asia ever since.

The lovely Sue
As for me....I'm turning 50.  Buying Kimmie may have been a mid life crisis.  I don't have a mortgage on my home.  I have two car payments, growing medical bills and a sense that the system is rigged against me and the knowledge that Susan is not going to get better.

Her medical issues are varied and scary.  The biggest scare, her possible multiple myeloma cancer, has faded into the background but we are faced with multiple issues that may end up taking her from me sooner than later.  Or worse, leaving her a shell of the strong independent woman I fell in love with all those years ago.

I frankly don't know if I have that strength to face what is to come.

Then I think how that woman stuck with me through the worse things that have happened in my life, how I was encased in ice unable to move emotionally and she saw me out of that darkness.  That love she has for me can not be denied.

I've been married twice now.  One I regret, the other I do not.  Terri is a good woman and if things would have been different I would still be living with her.  Still married to her and possibly with a kid or two.  Dogs running about in the yard.

My parents on their 50th.
I have no children and when I was a younger man I didn't think I wanted any.   Now that I'm older I regret that.   I also regret that I don't have more friends, part of being an introvert I suppose.  I've also lost friends to time, fights that were/are over stupid things, and disease and accidents.

Love changes over time.   My parents have been married for over 50 years and they have both told me at times they have not loved each other.   You find a way to fall back into love.  I don't know if Sue and I will make it that far.   One can only hope we do.

  Turning 50 I suppose makes me officially "over the hill."  This one hurts, much more that it probably should.  I suppose it's all just part of growing up and growing older.  You have to accept the limitations that age brings, and acknowledge that time marches on.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It's time to ride update

So far this year I've been out on Kimmie maybe three times.

Sunset - ignore the date it's a mistake
Over the last couple of days she would not start, a coughing spattering sound was heard as she tried to turn over.

Then yesterday....she started.

Susan elegantly stated "I guess the bitch doesn't like the cold."  I grumbled at both of them and started off down the road towards work, stopping to fill the tank with some high test gas and thinking that it probably would not hurt to either get a battery tender or other such device.  Being the geek I am I go internet diving for an answer but don't find anything that was truly helpful to me.

The ride was thankfully, uneventful.

Although I started to cramp up and my bike started to bother me on the way in.  Not so much on the way home.   I cursed myself, I've been off the bike to long.  I also wondered when the last time was I gave Kimmie a bath.

Bok Tower
I have plans for this year.  I hope to visit the Keys and Conchscooter.  I'm planning on possibly meeting Bill and Rocket sometime later in February.  I understand that David of  the infamous Life on two wheels blog  might be making a trip down my way as well.  I needed to be in top riding shape to keep up with these legends of the blogging world.

Rides are planned to Bok Tower, St. Petersburg and other places I've been to and visited but not by bike.  Other places I hope to revisit by bike again, or go for the first time.   Places like the Manatee viewing center and the Sunken Gardens.

Florida has a lot to offer if you know where to look, and little surprises when you look beyond the the corporate facades of Disney and Universal.

I promised myself I was going to get out more this year, and come hell or high water I was going to do it.  Now comes the hard part....actually doing it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

It's time to ride

I knew going into the month of January that riding would be an uphill battle.   Just the way the calendar fell with meetings, my job, routes that I had to run and other things would make getting out on Kimmie tough.  The cold snap and subsequent bout of winter flu I had did not make the situation any easier.

So here I am pouring over the forecast at weather.com like it's a proverbial treasure map, trying to determine if and when I can do any riding over the next three days.  The temperature was perfect today although there was a high chance of me getting wet going in.  Over the weekend the temperature would be falling but it appeared to be dry.

It was not so much the cold that scares me as the chance of rain.  Sure, I've ridden in rain before and this being Florida, I would again.  With a bit of a hacking cough and memories of my last accident still in my mind riding is less than ideal conditions concerns me.

It's funny how something that happened just over two years ago still plays in my head.  The accident exposed some other problems that I'm not going to go into.  It was nothing life threatening or overall that serious...but it did remind me that I am, in fact, mortal.  That little accident kept me off the bike till May.  Susan's ongoing medical issues have played into that as well.

In 2015 it was a combination of bad timing, bad weather, bad decisions that kept me off of Kinnie.  I was not going to let the new year start off the same come hell or high water.  Plus I wanted to build up to some longer rides planned for later in the year.  I needed to ride.

It's time to ride.

**EDIT**  I didn't get out Friday or Saturday due to previous commitments.  Now the bike is not turning over.   I'm hoping it's related to the current cold snap.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bundling up because it's Antarctica outside (winter in Florida)

I knew that I would not be able to ride for a week or two at the beginning of the year.  We had routes to run and meetings to attend.

December and January have been thin months for me paywise due to the holidays and me missing some work.  So when the beginning of the week rolled around I was looking forward to jumping on Kimmie and doing my commute.  Only the temperature fell by 23 degrees overnight.  When I left for work it was only 47 F (8 C) and when I left work it was only 42 F (5.5 C).

I know I should not bitch.  After all my hometown was looking at a high of 12 F (-11 C).  I should be used to "fall like" conditions right?  After being in the south for six odd years my blood thinned out.  Days like this are a shock to my system.

So here I am, prepping like it's sub zero outside...freeze out jacket, freeze out gloves and I'm considering putting on my new neon yellow windproof and waterproof Bilt gloves.  I'm also thinking to myself how ridiculous I'm being.

"It's cool outside," I tell myself, " it's not Antarctica freezing."  Yet my soon to be 50 year old bones want me to bundle up.  I think about my fellow Rounders and how they must be having a good laugh about this.  However if I'm going to ride more this year, I'm just going to have to buck up and do it.

So I make it to work and back, the only part of me that got cold was my neck which a balaclava would fix and I have to curse myself for riding in anyway because I can feel a tickle in the back of my throat and it is that time of year.  We do have a Free Country jacket at the house that would protect the neck if I pulled the zipper all the way up, I've not worn it on the bike because it does not have any protective armor in it.  

I've ridden in colder weather than this and I remember pulling over sometimes at two in the morning to pull on a pair of sweat pants to protect my legs.  I didn't have to do that on Monday but it was still a brisk ride in and out of work.

The good news is that for the rest of the week it's supposedly going to warm up and make riding all that more comfortable.  Expect for Thursday where we are expecting (depending on which TV station you trust) a 70 to 100% chance of rain.

So hate mail can be sent to me at:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First ride of the new year

I had a couple of options Saturday, I had the chance to do a group ride.  A chance to meet up with an old friend for lunch.

Instead I decided to spend Saturday working on the house first, taking care of some business second and "taking a ride" was actually fifth on my to-do list.   One nice thing about waking up really freaking early on a Saturday is getting 1 - 4 done pretty early.

I left about 11:00 AM.  It's finally starting to feel like fall/winter in Florida as the sky's were overcast with a 15% chance of rain.  The temperature was about 62 degrees F (16.7 C) when I took off.  I did have a destination in mind...but was not really concerned about getting there.

Every Saturday Ybor City has a farmers market.  It's small and really not that interesting but would serve as a good excuse to point Kimmie's tires in that direction.  I have recently acquired a taste for hard cider from Cigar City Cider and Mead as well as being turned on to a little coffee shop called Joffrey's.  You can thank one of my work mates for that newest addiction.

I was also thinking about riding along Bayshore Boulevard, which would provide some wonderful views of both the waterfront and the city of Tampa itself.  I had my camera with me, and one of the goals I have for this year is to take more pictures when I am out and about.  There are just to many interesting pole barns and lonesome cows out there that need a little photographic love.

However I love Ybor.  I found myself wondering about on foot and finding some interesting little stores.  I ran into a friend from work and chatted with him for a bit.  A phone call from my brother meant that I soaked up the new warm winter sun for a half hour or so as we talked about my mother and his daughter.  I meandered over to the Ride Factory which I've been told has the best mechanics in the city.  Like nearly all dealerships they had mostly low milage Harleys in stock, but their bay was as big, or bigger, than their showroom floor.   There was a early 70's Honda on one of the racks looking like it was off the showroom floor.  Another bike, which the mechanic guessed was an early 1940's BSA, was being lovingly restored.  Frankly I could not take my eyes off it.

Sadly I had let time slip away.  I had to turn back, so I pointed Kimmie's wheel back north towards home.

That's okay though, it was a warm day now, the sun was at my back and I started back taking the long way.  I've been thinking about Ybor a lot lately because I've been kicking around a business venture in the area.  It's an up and coming area and their are parts of the city that can be had for a song.  If I and my partners do this right that is.  That however is another project, another song.

I pointed my wheels north and thought about how the New Year was full of promise...and what I would have to do to make those promises become fulfilled.

Riding Kimmie today was a good start, sadly starting Monday there was a damn good chance I would be off her for two weeks.   Ah, business..

Thursday, December 31, 2015

End of the year milage post - Looking back on 2015

Later on today I'll fire Kimmy up, her "change oil" light will come on (it came on earlier this week), and I'll take her for a bit of a ride.  The last of 2015.

A friend of mine shared an animated GIF to his Facebook page (which for some reason I can not make work on Blogger - I tried) that shows his how his year went.  It started well, and as he progressed down the slide it got rockier, till at the very end (now shown as December) he rockets off the slide and face plants into the dirt.

Funny...but very accurate.

It's been another year of health concerns (not so much mine but Susan's), incidents, accidents and me complaining about the heat.  A gasket that literally had to come on a slow boat from Asia didn't help matter either. Nor did various battery/electrical issues.  All these things it seemed conspired to keep me off the bike.  Or at least made me feel like I didn't ride the way I have in the past.

Even though it's the last day of December the weather outside is gorgeous.  We're predicted to have a high of 84 degrees today (29 C) with only a 20% of rain, weather I know many of my fellow bloggers would die for.  I really don't feel like riding  We have had weather like that since the start of December, yet my Kimmie has sat, lonesome in her spot in my driveway.  This has had more to do with me not wanting to ride or being willing to ride than anything.

Earlier in the year I considered trading her in, thinking that starting a new relationship with a new bike would break me out of my malaise.  Or selling her altogether.  In the end though, I've formed a special little relationship with my Kimmie and letting her go would be like losing a part of who I am.

As I look back over the last year I know that I did a bit more than I thought I did.   I drove up to Brooksville and wanted to explore there a little more (another trip soon I think, this time on Kimmie).  I went exploring in Ybor, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Tampa.  I got to ride through the very heart of central Florida.  I even got to see a tiny house.  I even visited a legendary store in the Daytona area too.

Sadly however, not all these adventures were in the saddle.  Still though, they were adventures.

I'm looking forward to the arrival of Bobscoot and plan on showing him the sites, places that I've not made it to on my bike yet have visited in the past.  Places that I want to go but haven't yet.  So yes, I guess I'm looking forward to 2016.

Kimmie and I are not done yet, we still have roads to ride and sights to see, but I need to stop being the "whiny little bitch" that I've become over the last year.  There is great potential in the coming year...and I have to take advantage of that potential.

In a bit I'll ride for an hour, maybe two.   Another fifty miles or so will be added to her speedometer.  I don't see me putting any milage on that to her.  I'll come back in and duly edit to post, so I can have a record for the coming year.

Last year I started with 21736 miles (or 34,981 KM).  For the end of the year milage...it ended up being 26900.  Or only 5,164 miles for 2016.  About 1000 less than the year before.   Not good, not good at all.

Happy New Year then to all my friends and family.   Be safe, be well and be happy.