Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why I hate flats

It all started over a year ago. I walked out of my townhouse and was on my way to somethin' or rather and BAM... the front driver side tire was blown out. I had never changed a tired by myself and that was quite somethin' to see (that would be me standing on the "wrench" while hopping up and down trying to loosen the lug nuts). The last time I changed a tire was probably 15 years prior when my Dad helped me rotate the tires. I was in charge of taking off the rear tire and he got phone call. So, I was left to my own devices.... which meant.. Dad why can't I get the tire off? I have all the lug nuts off? I keep pulling and it's not budging (hint... you may want to jack up the tire).

My second flat occurred a couple months later on the rear passenger side wheel. One would think that in an office full of men, one of them would have helped. Instead, they were all inside, laughing at me. Blasted people! Eventually, I did have a few folks out helping because it was quite obvious this tire wasn't about to budge for me. It was almost as if it were welded on.

Not only did I have problems with my car, but my bicycle too. Both times the tire went flat as I was cruising down a hill at 30 mph. Now that is just downright disappointing. Who wants to stop going downhill.. the easiest part of a ride? So, I whipped out my pump, took the tire off and tried to find the hole. Turns out I thought I had ruined the presta valve and out of the six patches I was supposed to have, I had none. How could that not be in there when I hadn't ever had a flat before? Needless to say, I looked like a damsel in distress as one gal told me when she stopped to see if I needed help.

A week later, I got another flat. I was about two miles from the office and going downhill, bummer. So, I thought, yes, I have all the stuff I need, it's the front tire, and I was quickly on my way to fix the tire. Before I left my house I did think to myself, I should have a spare CO2 cartridge and should have figured out how to use the blasted thing. I then thought, oh, I'll be fine... wasn't fine. I couldn't get the CO2 cartridge to work. A nice young man stopped to make sure I was o.k. I asked if he could help. He couldn't get the thing to work either. So, he lent me his CO2. I told him I felt like such a fool for not knowing how to use it. He happened to work at bike shop and he couldn't' figure out the cartridge either. He gave me some pointers about what I should do before I leave my house (like figure out how to use the CO2 cartridge, hmm good point). I thanked him for stopping to help. He said he thought maybe I was hurt since I was so far off the road. I told him it was a ploy to get him to stop. Hmm... this could be a way to pick up cute men!

Well, this last week, my front passenger side tire went flat on my car. This time, one of the guys in the office offered to help change it, just as I put everything back in my car and was done. Nice timing. Turns out, it wasn't just flat, it was embarrassingly raw... down to the wires. So, those tires were replaced (even though all four were replaced a year earlier). Went back to the shop... only to find out the rear wheels were badly bent. So, I not only left with two new tires, but now have some pretty snazzy looking wheels to.

The moral of the story is that about four years ago, when I ran over a really bad pothole and the guy tells me that the wheels are little bent, but drivable, maybe I should have listened to him then..... I probably would have saved enough money to buy a ticket to Thailand again with all the savings in tires.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Banana Pancakes

Ah, the memories of Banana Pancakes.

A few years back I traveled to Thailand and spent an entire week in Ao Nang. Every day, I hunted down my Banana Pancake lady. She made the best pancakes I've ever had. Well.. I never had them before that and haven't had them since. Not only did I enjoy eating the pancakes, but the gal that made them for me was so sweet and always had a smile.

My next memory is that of singing to Jack Johnson's song Banana Pancakes. Not only did I sing my heart out to the song, but I would dance and twirl too. I loved the song because it is the epitome of what carefree looks like.... "It's meant to keep you from doin' what you're supposed to, like wakin' up too early, maybe we could sleep in, I'll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it's the weekend now" ~ Jack Johnson.

I haven't sung or danced to the Banana Pancake song in a very long time. I think it's about time I get back into that swirling and dancing while singing my heart out. It'll do the soul some good! Now.. if only I could figure out how to MAKE Banana Pancakes, I'd feel like I were in heaven. :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Why I like my new hometown, Longmont

1. Longs Peak: Longmont has a street named "Longs Peak Avenue" and rightfully so. This town has some great views of Longs Peak from just about anywhere in the city. I have found some great running trails that direct me towards the peak, with nothing but fields and ponds to distract the view.

2. McIntosh Lake: This lake is about 1 1/2 miles from my home. I can get to via a bicycle trail practically the whole way that follows a creek too. It has spectacular views of the fields, Longs Peak, and the country side.

3. St. Vrain Greenway: Now, this is an awesome bicycle trail. Fortunately, I'll have the opportunity to design one or two of the extensions that will take it from Golden Ponds to Sandstone Ranch. It follows the St. Vrain River the whole way and even has a crushed gravel for me to run on. I ran it this morning and it was so great to see all sorts of folks, including entire families, getting out to enjoy it.

4. Hot Air Balloons: On any given morning, I get to see one to six hot air balloons. It is so neat to drive into work and see all the balloons with the rocky mountains in the back ground. I love it.

5. Small Town Feel: I like being in a small town again. It just feels so much more personal that living in Denver. Denver can make you feel like you're lost in the crowd. I like being someplace where people are starting to recognize me.

6. Horse Ranches and Farms: Longmont is in Boulder County, which is home to several farmers and ranchers. When I drive to work, I drive through the country side. Two weeks ago, I opened my windows to the great smell of fresh cut hay. It made me feel like I was back in Wisconsin again. I feel so much more "at home" up here than I could have ever imagined.

7. Bicycling Community: There is a very strong presence of bicyclists in Boulder County. This is a good thing because motorists are more considerate when you're biking on the road. I never felt comfortable biking in Denver because of the horrible drivers. I like that I can actually bike eight blocks and be in the country... no city!! Wow!! I have been trying to bike in twice a week, but it's only been about once a week.

8. Running: Since I live so closely to Boulder, there are also several opportunities for running trails and probably more diverse running groups. I hope to find some new pals soon to help me train for the Fort Collins Half Marathon.

9. Longs Peak United Methodist Church: I found a new church home that is filled with some very wonderful people. This church makes me feel like I'm really part of a community. It also feels like my home churches I grew up with. I can't wait to do more with them.

10. Great Neighbors: I have some really friendly and exceptionally nice neighbors. They are all excited to have someone cleaning up the house and yard. I've been asked go fishing, play pool, spend a day at the lake on the 4th, etc. It's crazy!!