Friday, April 25, 2014
I am at the end of my rope with my Specialized Sirrus Sport. It seems that just about every month I am down at the bike shop for something or other. Just since the beginning of the year, I have had to replace the back tire, the cassette, the shifters, a failed inner tube (the valve exploded while I was out riding; I thought someone was shooting at me), and when I went to get geared up for a charity ride tomorrow, I found a fault in the front tire. There is this little bubble that is distending the tire. This happened a few months ago with my back tire. I am SO OVER THIS BIKE!!!
Yeah. You could say I am a bit frustrated.
I have a Giant mountain bike on layaway at the local shop. I am starting to have second thoughts. Am I going to have just as much trouble with a more expensive bike? I sure hope not. I mean, it has a carbon frame, just like my Specialized, but I'm hoping that the components will last longer. I realize that I am a good 30 pounds over maximum weight, and I know that has to be taken into account, but I mean really. What the actual bloody heck is going on with my Specialized???
It vexes me endlessly.
Any suggestions you real cyclists may have would be most helpful, because I am about to chuck the dumb thing.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Greetings, Sparkpeeps, and welcome to the continuing series of indignities that is my life. You ought to get a kick out of this.
So there I was last night, stepping out of the shower and drying off, trying to get ready for bed. It had been a LOOOOONNNNG day, and Mrs. Karlsson was VERY tired. HOW tired became quite evident in the minutes to follow.
See, I'm one of those lucky people who manage to contract "bike rash" due to chafing and perspiration and so forth. Let's just say that the nether regions are a very uncomfortably itchy area after a ride. To combat this, I have invested in some anti-itch cream, the name of which escapes me right now.
As I was saying, I was going through my nightly ritual of treating the affected areas and reached for the tube sitting on the vanity. Everything was fine, but then there was the unmistakable odor of wintergreen. 'That's funny,' I thought. 'Why does it smell like Icy-Hot?' I got my answer soon after.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me say that I would not wish such an excruciating burning sensation in the nether regions upon ANYONE. Well... almost anyone. After trying to keep quiet and not alert my husband to my agony, I hobbled into the bedroom and tried to pretend that nothing was going on. My lethal expression gave me away. "What happened to you?" he asked. "I mixed up the Icy-Hot with the Cortisone," I whispered. He rarely laughs out loud, but he did this time. "Go get in the shower, quick! Before there's any permanent damage!" he said, trying not to wet on himself from laughing so hard. I dashed to the shower, and, about a half an hour later, the burning subsided.
I stood under the freezing stream of water, cursing the indignity of human existence, and then I thought that it was actually a pretty hilarious thing to do to oneself. I mean, really. It's hard to take yourself seriously when you do something that dumb.
Moral of the story: keep your muscle relievers close, but your cortisone closer, especially if the tubes are the same size and color.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I know it's been a while, but I crawled under a rock in the weeks leading up to my birthday and just decided to stay there. This seems to happen every year. I think I must be one of the few people in the world who actually dreads their birthday because they will be forced to celebrate it. It stresses me out, and the expectations always lead to disappointment. I actually feel the same way about most holidays, but there we are.
To get myself out of my funk, I began mulling over doing another bike rally. I stopped doing them two years ago because I felt I was always the ONE PERSON who had nobody waiting at the finish line. It is discouraging, so I quit doing them. I got tired of feeling like a social outcast. Okay, I also got tired of being buzzed by the Tour de France trainees and then trying to climb a hill behind a person who hadn't figured out what all their gears are for. Bottom line: I'm a lone cyclist, and I guess I always will be.
But lo! I was on the local website for all things Texas bike related, and saw there was a charity rally for a local hospital. I have an acquaintance who works for that hospital, and who recently took up cycling. So I dropped a hint, and he said he'd "look into it." As you all probably know, this is code for "in your dreams." Usually, that's what it means. I just let it slide and got on with being overworked and underpaid.
Then I got a note from him saying that we were signed up for a fund raising team. And I have to wear a tutu.
I thought he was kidding.
At first, I was outraged. ME?! In a TUTU?! Then I thought "YEAHHHHH!!!!! I CAN GET AWAY WITH ACTING LIKE A COMPLETE NUT, AND IT'S FOR A GOOD CAUSE!" So I'm down with it. Now I just have to find a tutu. My friend is going to wear a tutu as well. In fact, the whole schtick of this team is wearing a tutu. Brilliant.
I want to find the ugliest tutu known to humankind. It will be epic.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Today was a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG day.
I got a call from my husband at 8:30 this morning. I was about to go out and scrape the inch of SNOW off the car before heading to a client visit in a neighboring city. It seems that black ice had accumulated in a frighteningly short amount of time, and his wheels locked up when he took a turn off the freeway. He plowed into the curb and it bent the passenger side front wheel into the wheel well and the car was no longer drivable. It was 16 degrees outside, with a windchill factor of 4, and the snow was getting worse. I told him to find shelter immediately, and to hell with the car. He told me that there was a hotel about a half mile away, and he said to meet him there and he would make for that.
Lord have mercy what a drive. He managed to drive the car to the hotel (nearly running off the road in the process) while I was throwing on sweaters and socks and forgetting to eat breakfast in my haste, and I headed out into the snow to start the car. In the process, I broke the knob that controls the heater, so all that would work was the air conditioning. So off I went, slipping and sliding. It took a half hour to get to the freeway (normally it takes maybe eight minutes), then another half hour to get to the exit where the hotel was. The snow was so bad that I couldn't see to get over into the proper lane, and since the very polite and courteous drivers of Dallas would not let me over anyway, I had to turn around and try to find a back way. All the back roads were frozen. The intersections were iced over. And I was lost. Another half hour later, I eventually found the hotel, and my husband.
Who hadn't called a tow truck.
I think this is the moment when I bit my tongue off. He was pretty shook up, and cold, and bewildered. So, I gave him the number of roadside assistance through our insurance company (that he had on his keychain and didn't have the presence of mind to look for, poor guy) and let him handle it. I was reminded of similar incidents in childhood, where some crisis would occur, and my mom would have to go bail my dad out, or vice versa, and that's when the fireworks would start. They would start screaming at each other and calling names, which would terrify my sister and me (and passersby), and make the situation a thousand times worse than it had to be. Fortunately, I have learned from their mistakes, and from other old married ladies. It is disrespectful and unhelpful to berate a man when he's shook up, especially when he's your husband. So instead, I gave him a big hug and a kiss and let him take care of business. Meanwhile, I sat watching early morning trashy television and drinking bad hotel coffee and thinking "look on the bright side, kiddo: at least you didn't have to go visit that plague-ridden middle school this morning! And nobody got hurt. And our car has full coverage."
About fifteen minutes later, another man came in. He had the exact same thing happen to him at the exact same spot where my husband had his accident. He called AAA. We had called All-State. Forty-five minutes later, his tow truck arrived, and he left. Meanwhile, our truck was not scheduled to arrive until three hours later. So we waited. I was not pleased, but I didn't want to exacerbate the situation or upset my husband (whose hands finally stopped shaking by about 11:00). We watched some daytime talk show and marveled at how mean and catty women can be. We watched Divorce Court and marveled at a great many things. We watched TMZ Live and were convinced as to why the rest of the world hates America. And our pickup time came and went.
I was ready to go home. I had tons of work to do, but my dear husband wanted to be patient. So I bit my tongue (again), and sweetly asked him to call the insurance company and see what the deal was. So he eventually got through, and they said they'd text him back when they got the truck rescheduled. So we watched Judge Judy and an hour of local news, and another round of Divorce Court and no text.
Mrs. Karlsson decided that enough was enough. I could feel my blood starting to boil. I could also feel my blood sugar hit rock bottom. Let me tell you, the world does NOT want to deal with me after four cups of coffee and no food. I make Ivan the Terrible look like a saint. No joke. So I excused myself to the ladies' room to give myself a moment to come up with a logical argument as to why my dear sweet husband should stand up for his rights as a paying customer and call to demand an answer. This, I concluded, would be much more constructive than what I had witnessed in my youth when my parents would deal with a crisis by insulting each other and raising their voices so they could be heard three counties over (it always amazes me that nobody ever called the cops on them). So saying, I emerged from the ladies' room, smiled, and gave my husband a well-reasoned and calmly delivered argument as to why he should call again. So he did. "Oh! We forgot to reschedule!" said the agent. 'I'm going to need stitches,' I thought. I was very tempted to take the phone away from my husband and give the agent what-for, but I didn't. So my husband patiently explained that we had been waiting for several hours and no truck had arrived. They said they'd get back to him.
By this time, it was getting late, and I hadn't brought my husband's evening dose of anti-rejection medication for his transplanted liver, foolishly assuming that our insurance company was competent and we wouldn't have to wait ALL EFFING DAY FOR AN EFFING TOW TRUCK. *ahem* Excuse me. It was two hours before he was scheduled for his next dose when the insurance company finally got back to him and told him it would be another two hours before the tow truck would arrive. My dear, sweet husband agreed to wait.
At this point, Mrs. Karlsson had had Quite Enough. She quietly informed her husband through gritted teeth that we would leave the vehicle and deal with it in the morning, and that his medicine schedule was more important. He protested, but eventually conceded the point when I pointed out the likelihood of the truck actually arriving on time, the fact that the roads were getting worse, it was getting dark outside, and rush hour was about to start. I told him we'd be lucky if we made it home in time to take his medicine (it's really not a good idea to skip or be late with doses of anti-rejection medication: you could lose the transplanted organ and wind up dead). He argued that the hotel wouldn't let us park overnight. I said "ask and ye shall receive." So he went to ask. And they graciously agreed to let us leave the car (especially since two different shifts of employees had watched us wait in the lobby all day). That being done, we left for home.
After six hours of waiting for a truck that never came, we finally made it home, tired and hungry enough to douse the cats in pizza sauce and have at it. I decided that I would schedule a tow truck on my own for the morning and my husband could handle it on his way to work. And viola, it was done, easy-peasey. Ironically, an hour later, the tow truck that our insurance company provided called from the hotel parking lot to say they were ready to pick us up. My husband told them they were too late, that we had gone home after waiting for six hours and had hired someone else. Then he hung up.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I put it to you that even though me being patient with my husband and letting him handle things was a respectful and empowering thing to do, it was not productive and I feel we were taken advantage of by our lousy insurance company. I also lost a full day of work, which I can't afford since I've already been out sick for two weeks. When you're self-employed, if you don't work, you don't get paid. Also, I don't think there's enough thread in the world to stitch up all these bite marks on my tongue. I think I need skin grafts.
My patience sorely tried (albeit with a relieved hubby, which makes it worth it somehow), I bid you all good night. And I pity the fool who tries to cross me tomorrow.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I stared at the scale for a long time this morning. I weighed myself five times just to make sure I wasn't tripping on antibiotics. But sure enough, it said what it said in spite of any logical explanation I could come up with, and it puzzled me, because I feel heavy, like lead. It wears me out to walk across the house. I went to the grocery store to pick up some milk, and it was all I could do to get out of the store without sitting down on the bench outside to take a nap in the sunshine.
What did the scale say, I hear you ask.
It said I was down a total of 20 pounds from May 1. I have apparently lost 20 pounds. I have absolutely no idea what to think about this, other than to just keep going. I am fully expecting to bounce back up into the 280s with a vengeance, but it hasn't happened, even though I'm doing my best to stay hydrated and eat something healthy.
I mean, I haven't had junk food in weeks. I haven't eaten over 2000 calories in two weeks. I also haven't moved in two weeks. None of this math is adding up very well, and it's kind of freaking me out. I mean, twenty pounds? Where did they go? Are they lying in wait somewhere in a closet or in the attic, ready to attack when I least expect it? Should I claim victory? Is this even real? I haven't seen the 270s since 2010. I'd forgotton what they looked like. Should I reward myself? It seems so odd, since what triggered this sudden drop in weight is illness.
I just don't know. I DO know, however, that I'm about to go stir crazy being cooped up in the house and not able to move for more than five minutes at a time. I'm going to make an attempt to work a little in the shop. Surely beating a clarinet into submission doesn't take TOO much energy.
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