Friday, November 30, 2012

Walking in preparation.

It's 7:21pm. I'm walking home from work, and I walked here earlier. It's about a 7-mile round trip, and I make it with quick springy steps. I do this sometimes. It's a new thing.

I've been walking to work to beat up my feet a little bit. I'm planning to hike along the Appalachian Trail for a month starting in March, and I don't want to show up to a hike with bicycle feet.

The walk today is great. My feet will be tired when I get home, but better to feel that now rather than on the trail. I could take the walk again tomorrow. Three weeks ago, my dogs were screaming by the time I turned the corner to West Philly.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pop a bullet through my foot.

I have more "project bicycles" than bicycles which can be ridden - by a factor of holyshit. In fact, I have just one bicycle which you can hop on pedal. It's the Hoopty, and it's always open for business. I have at least ten bicycles that are in various states of completion. I work on all of them slightly and slowly. I build wheels and the bicycles and the wheels just stare at each other in a mechanical stalemate.

It's 7:21pm. I'm at the bicycle shop. We're closed. The register is counted, the floor is swept and the LED sign reads "closed." I'm holding two rims and a tire. I'm looking for something. A scrap of tube? Some zip ties? I'm looking for a good way to attach these items to the Hoopty so I can bring them home for more projects. The rims had messed up hubs, which I cut out. The tire has plenty of miles left in it. These items would go in the trash if nobody took them home. I'm one of several scavengers at the shop, and these are coming home with me. But about that... how am I going to get these home?

I end up using zip ties to hold the three items together, and I leave them at the shop until I drive a van or ride in on the trike. This is one example of how I leave a trail of clutter everywhere I go. I don't want to change my ways - not completely - but sometimes I think it would be less painful to pop an actual bullet through my foot instead of conceding to the arduous and prolonged figurative method.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fish and dogs.

I got up and went to breakfast. I've been having salmon and cream cheese on a sesame bagel. I switched it up a few months ago, and it stuck. I had a coffee. Yesterday, Shelly asked if I wanted to have breakfast, and that's what I'm up to. Kristin is here, and Evan showed up a little later.

I hopped on the Hoopty and went to work. I was loaded with boxes of parts sold on eBay.

After work, Sara came over. Smoking as a social thing ensued, and dogs surrounded. Sara has an elderly rottweiler who can't make it up the stairs. Sara got the front and I got the back. Crash is the dog who lives here - Jim's dog. He isn't impressed when people lift giant old dogs into the house, but he was a good enough sport. Daisy was less of a good sport, but there's not much she can do about it. Seven-pound dogs love an idle threat. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winter hours.

I have another day off. As the air gets colder, and fewer people are riding bicycles, I am changing to Winter hours. It needed to happen, and I requested it now. I have many projects to work on, my savings plan is ahead of schedule, and now I can schedule a day off with Kristin every week. A day off together is a luxury we haven't had in the past year, and three days off in a row gives me enough free time to feel like a human again.

I spent the day in a very relaxed state. I watched a movie and sat with a small dog named Daisy. I smoked some reefer and ate a hoagie. I stayed inside out of the rain, and took the opportunity to build a couple wheels on my truing stand.

Sturmey Archer 3-Speed wheels aren't going to lace themselves. I have at least nine hubs in the queue, and I am reimagining every bicycle as a three speed.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I plan to build a workbench.

My room is a mess. There are four bicycles, and that doesn't count the frame that's spilling out into the hallway. That stack also has nothing to do with the 5 bicycles in my van. My room also houses rims and tires. A lot. Thingamabobs? I've got plenty.

This requires action. I want to be able to work on minor bicycle projects in my home. I won't be sanding or grinding or using excessively messy chemicals in a bedroom, but it would be nice to build wheels and run some cables without doing backflips and tap dancing on a tightrope. I'm building a workbench. I'm over-building it using instructions from a 7-minute YouTube video. It's going in the corner. I'll add shelving for parts organization, and I'll have a place to put my tools.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Today? It didn't cross my mind.

I'm 30 now. I turned 30 about a month ago. Life is great.

My 30th birthday was also the one-year mark for quitting alcohol. Less than a month later was my one-year mark with Kristin. Yes, it's serious.

I don't know what my 30's will be like, but they're starting off a lot calmer than my roaring 20's. I'm better now. I wouldn't trade this for anything.

I'm glad I started writing about my progress when I was doing interesting things. I was a sexually confused 20-something with an alcohol problem, and I had a lot to scream about. I'm no longer confused, and I'm no longer drinking. My girlfriend is the best. We share a room in an apartment. I'm trying to fuck up our room with a herd of bicycles, and she's using various plants to fill in the remaining space.

I have a great job, and Philadelphia - for now - is my home. I've started up an eBay business on the side. I buy bicycle parts and I re-sell them for more money. All of the income is extra, and it all goes into savings. I'm saving money to buy a little chunk of land in the area, and on that land will go a house. The house might be a tiny woodframe one, or it might be a big shuttle bus. Or both. One promise that I do have is that I will be building it - at least mostly. The house will be a physical representation of my essence. It will be a nutty structure, and it will be one of my greatest projects. There will be comfort and charm and there will be no unwieldy opulence. I will not be caught red-handed weeping into my gold-plated Corn Flakes. Above all else, I will seek to retain maximum control over every aspect of my existence. I will not exchange my ideals for appliances and a ticket to fit in.

I might keep writing here. I don't want to officially quit yet. I like to write. The issue with keeping this up is twofold: First of all, I'm way behind. My last post was months ago, and I just don't want to update with a bunch of information that I don't care about. It feels forced. The other issue is that I think the value of this blog was in telling the slowly unfolding story of a fucked up kid taking hip-shots at life while trying to figure out a proper way to live.

I'm growing up. In a way, I'm settling down. I know what it's like to live in a van, and I know what it's like to travel around on a bicycle. I know what it's like to be afraid to slow down. I know frustration, and I know loneliness. Discontent is tucked in my back pocket.

I'm not much smarter, but I have some experience. There is nothing left but peace in my heart. I have no fundamental needs requiring desperate attention. I want to take what I know and build upon it. I am at home and I am warm, in the most figurative and literal sense.

I bought a new watch today. It's the same style; different color. It looks just like the one I was wearing years ago. It looks just like the one that I accidentally set to go off at 7:21pm, but I haven't set the alarm yet. Today? It didn't cross my mind.