Rolling Spectacles And Other Embarrassments That Make Up My Life

So I’m a circus. It’s probably due to the big curly clown hair, but it seems regardless of where I go, it’s a performance. Three months ago, we acquired one of these.

nihola_Family_cargo_bikes_-_oblique

Jealous? I know I was when I first saw a mom riding her two little kids in a cargo trike. Photo Credit : Nihola.com

Since that fabulous day three months ago, when a truck dropped our new bike on our doorstep,  we’ve put 800 kilometers on it. About 500 miles for my US friends. This bike is amazing, we take it grocery shopping, for short haul trips, transport Mini-Tex in it everywhere. He loves it, we love it, and based on the amount of people screaming out their car windows “Neat bike!”, our fellow townspeople love it too.

Children especially love our bike, because, and I say this from experience, at times it’s kind of like riding on a tiny trackless roller coaster. I’m not ashamed to say I beg my husband to bike me to our date night locations. It’s tremendous fun and I feel like the queen waving at my public as we ride by while everyone stares.

Knowing all of this, when we packed up to visit Aunty Betty, Carter, his mom and his little sister at the beach. I pleaded with Tex to load our trike into the van. And because Tex is a nice guy, he did, even though it’s totally a pain because while sturdy, useful and a perfect vehicle for us, our Nihola Family trike is neither light nor easy to maneuver into a van. It’s only through a combination of Tex’s farm boy know-how and his engineering smarts that it manages to fit.

Flash forward to us arriving at my Aunt’s cottage at the beach. The kids immediately high tailed it to meet us and shrieked with joy and excitement, seeing the bike. I should add a disclaimer here. While we easily transport our son and two weeks of groceries home in our Nihola trike, it’s only meant to carry 220 lbs or 100 kgs in the front. And while a person can absolutely put that amount of weight in the front, oh boy is the rider ever going to feel it the next day. Plan to take the elevator if you’re ferrying around the maximum weight because in addition to the cargo, the bike itself weighs 70 lbs. On top of the mass of the actual rider because I’m assuming the seat is too high for most woodland fairies and forest eleves. Also those magical, weightless creatures are notorious for clinging to union rules and taking extended coffee breaks so they don’t make good cyclists to begin with.

So we strap in Mini-Tex, then we strap in Carter’s sister CiCi, and finally eight year old Carter crouches in the front. A combined weight of 300 ish pounds all told. Did I mention that this is a road bike? Meaning it’s meant for paved flat surfaces. Being an engineer, Tex already tricked out the gearing system so it’s easier to pedal on grass but gravel and large hills still pose a challenge.

With this in mind, I steered the bike and the children down a hill first. This would have gone better if I’d understood the braking system but things like common sense and asking Tex for explanations aren’t my forte. As it was, I yelled for CiCi and Carter to “Lean right!” as we careened around a corner at top speed. While trikes are tremendously stable for road biking, if a person takes a corner at a high enough speed, it is possible to flip the Nihola trike. Which is why it’s helpful if the riders and passengers shift their weight while turning. I swung my weight over the side as the kids leaned right and the wheels miraculously stayed on the ground.

We went over rocks, Carter went bump, bump, bump in the hold of the trike. CiCi and Mini-Tex had the best seats in the house with a cushion under their tiny bums. I spotted a pot hole a second too late, the front wheels avoided it, but the back wheel hit it smack in the middle. I clung to the handlebars as my butt bounced a foot in the air. As my tailbone came crashing down on the seat, I silently thankedmy huasband for choosing the most padded of bikes seats.

We pedalled  over grass and rocks. We enraged a neighbour’s dog who had never seen anything like our bike. The local cottage owners stared slack jawed as we whizzed by while their children looked on enviously. I rode and rode, searching for a relatively flat route back to my Aunt’s cottage. It seemed like every road was a mountain. My thighs burned from the exertion of transporting three children.

After about my third lap of the entire community, I spotted it; the only gentle hill which led to my Aunt’s cottage. The only problem was, it wasn’t paved. “Lean forward” I called to my young passengers as I approached the incline, pedalling at top speed. Carter and CiCi obediently hunched forward. I pedalled hard. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. The bike slowed to a crawl. A snail and two caterpillars passed us. I kept pedalling. My breath was a wheeze. “We might go backwards” I warned just as the tire slipped on the gravel. “Ahhh!” I yelled in frustration. “EEEEEE” CiCi and Carter yelled in fear. Mini-Tex was still trying to figure out why he was having to share his ride, so he was unperturbed. A man came out to his porch to see the commotion.

Once again, I tried to pedal. “Lean forward!” I commanded the children. Carter and CiCi were all but hanging over the front end of the trike but the tries were still spinning out on the gravel. Exhausted from the effort, I stopped pedalling and the bike lurched backwards again. CiCi’s little hands white knuckled the side of the frame. The man who was watching started to sprint towards us, “I’ll give you a push” he cried.

Just then, I spotted it. Although it was gravel now, at one point, the road had been paved, and just to the left of my back wheel, I spotted a two inch strip of pavement. I let go of the pedals and the bike rolled backwards again, then I gathered every ounce of energy left in my exhausted quads and pedalled furiously. The tires caught purchase of the pavement and the bike moved forward. Slowly, we made our way up the hill again just as the friendly passerby arrived panting at our side. In the distance, I saw the snail heckling us to the two caterpillars.

The helpful man waved to us as we made our way past. A group at the top of the hill clapped. When I looked sideways, I realized the there were people standing in the windows of the nearby cottages staring. I’m not sure whether this is better or worse than eating fire. Definitely an improvement on lion taming though- I’m a dog person. I’ve  accepted my perpetual spectacle status.

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I’m twenty-five weeks pregnant which means at the best of times I feel like a sausage blimp; some sort of gas filled entity stuffed into too little skin.

Picture a zeppelin with a skirt and you have me. Photo Credit : theatlantic.com

Picture this zeppelin with a skirt and you have me. Photo Credit : theatlantic.com

And at the worst of times I’m a vomit fountain.

Which for the record is the opposite of this kind of fountain which can brings scads of people sugar coated joy. Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

For the record, is the opposite of this kind of fountain which can bring scads of people sugar coated joy. Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

And at all times I am tired.

Today the role of Unwashed shall be played by this character. Photo Credit : affordablehousinginstitute.org

Today the role of Unwashed shall be played by this character. Photo Credit : affordablehousinginstitute.org

However despite this, I agreed to go out to dinner with Tex and his friend. The restaurant was only a third of a kilometer from the apartment so Tex decided that we should walk. Tragically, a half an hour beforehand, my body decided that I should sleep. This was how Tex and I found ourselves shuffling along while I kept my eyes closed.

One hundred meters from the apartment I stopped and refused to go any further. “I want a piggyback ride!” I demanded. Sensing that he was a second away from dragging his pregnant wife’s supine body down the sidewalk towards the restaurant, Tex agreed.

 It would have looked exactly like this if Joy was wearing a cowboy hat and wrangler jeans; Tex is just as chipper and I was just as motionless. Photo Credit : infinity.wordpress.com

It would have looked exactly like this if Joy was wearing a cowboy hat and wrangler jeans; Tex is just as chipper and I was just as motionless. Photo Credit : infinity.wordpress.com

I’m not sure whether it was my bulky jacket that made me forget about the giant basketball that is now my midsection or whether I was that drunk from exhaustion, regardless Tex knelt down and I jumped as high as my heavy body and intense acid reflux would allow which wasn’t high at all. I made it halfway onto his back before my belly caused me to slide off and I remembered that I was five and a half months pregnant.

It was at then that I started laughing the maniacal hysterical laughter of the exhausted and was so loud that passersby turned to take in the commotion. Happily, I ended up giggling myself the rest of the way to the restaurant.

I Might Be Drunk, Or Just Tired. One of the Two

Moving is dying. Or rather moving is killing me and I am perishing from it. If the act of physically lifting all of my worldly possessions hadn’t fatigued me, then the exhaustion from my day becoming a long game of Hide and Go Seek where invariably my water bottle, glass lunch containers and bed sheets always seem to win, definitely resulted in my  near death by tiredness.

I had debated pushing the “Publish” button on a pre-written post from way back in November during NaNoWriMo but instead am choosing to wave my white flag a prone position on the floor. Please send help. I am thirsty, hungry and the mattress I am sleeping on is covered in strange stains. It’s possible the monster from Ghostbusters used it while I was on vacation this summer.

Definitely while I was on vacation. I think I would have noticed him under my sheets. (Photo Credit: thedukeofpeckhams,tumblr.com)

Definitely while I was away. One would hope I would have noticed him under my sheets. (Photo Credit: thedukeofpeckhams,tumblr.com)

We Have Come to the Painful, Unmoving, Beaverless End

My Beloved Unwashed Public,

I’m writing to you from my probable death bed. This past weekend, I made the decision to try cross country skiing despite the fact that it was rumored to be the only activity more vigorous than running.

The day started off reasonably well; I questioned the girl renting Natalie* and myself the skis about her experiences.

The Great Unwashed “Has anyone ever laid down in front of your desk and perished from exhaustion after cross country skiing?”

Underpaid Youth Renting Me Equipment “Umm no?”

Strapping on our skis Natalie and I began the trail. We were quickly passed by a gentleman four decades our senior. We had only just begun the trail and already a part of me (my ego) was sore.

Then a little later on I saw this.DSC01372

“Look!” I cried “A beaver!

I paused and added more quietly “Was here.”

This led to a full minute of Natalie turning this way and that shouting “Where?! Where’s the beaver? I don’t see it.”

After that Natalie suggested that we rest for a moment. Although I no longer run marathons there’s a part of me which thinks “I can still move so I should”. When we stopped, I realized how sore my muscles were becoming and how badly I had needed the break. So I was really happy we had listened to Natalie rather than my marathon running voice. Multiple times along the trail Natalie suggested we stop for a breather. These breaks are likely the reason why I’m still with you and able to pen my last words at this moment.

After resting for a handful of minutes that first time, we soldiered on. It was around then when I noticed that even my knees were sweating. Uphill, then uphill again, perplexingly we continued uphill with no downhill in sight for many miles. Possibly eighteen. Two of my layers were soaked through with perspiration and a wet patch was becoming visible on the back of my jacket. Then we went downhill but only briefly.

At last, the end of the trail and the chalet came into view. Though Natalie and I were both exhausted beyond comprehension, we raced towards it. At the end of the trail, without speaking to one another, both of us removed our equipment and lay down face up in the snow. I felt my pulse in my face while my heart thudded almost violently in my chest, as I waited for the oft spoken of bright light to flood my vision. Once I realized I wasn’t imminently going to expire, I sat up, keenly aware of the squishing sounds that my wet clothing was making and my desire for water.

Then the horrible endurance athlete part of me spoke “Shall we do the trail again?” I asked Natalie. “I don’t want to at this moment” she replied. “Never under estimate the restorative powers of lunch” the marathon running, work horse voice in me added. Having decided that she too was not going to move towards the white light, Natalie sat up “Let’s go have lunch”.

The light reflecting off the snow filled our vision to begin with. Really it would have been only a short hop to blinding white light.

The light reflecting off the snow filled our vision to begin with. Really it would have been only a short hop to blinding white light.

For whatever reason, the evil marathon running voice that which had repeated “You aren’t dead yet – Keep moving!” all morning prevailed and Natalie and I skied the trail once more after lunch.

We spent the car ride home taking turns shaking each other out of unconsciousness. That evening I managed to stay up to the late hour of six o’clock, at which point I collapsed face down on the dining room carpet while en route to brush my teeth. Upon opening my eyes the next morning I thought “I don’t know if I can walk to the library” after sitting up I thought “I don’t know if I’m going to the library.”

Gradually over the course of the day my muscles have tightened and it’s becoming clear that this is the end. As you all are my faithful followers, I thought it best to leave you a note. My dear Unwashed public, let my demise be a lesson to you; when faced with the societal pressure to combat obesity and try a new activity, stay right where you are. Don’t move a muscle or you may end up like me, slowly stiffening into nothingness.

I leave you all my love but only half my dirt and grime (I’m taking the rest with me)

Sincerely,

The Great Unwashed

*Names have been changed even though the unnamed are likely near the end as well.

My Bedtime Ritual

 I go to bed at the same time as most third graders, this is not so much an active choice as it is a response to my body shutting down. Prior to the magical hour of nine pm I am a normal (relatively) functioning adult. I do chores, have conversations with Roscoe about things which need to be done around the house and what not. However after nine pm all bets are off and I am transformed by exhaustion. I decided to record what happens on a typical evening.

8:58 PM

Roscoe and I are in the office. Roscoe is doing work. I am reviewing my day with him.

The Great Unwashed – “So the mechanics have an opening at 9 AM Saturday which would work around the family function at one and leave me enough time to cook dinner for our friends at five.”

Roscoe – “That sounds good, you look tired. Why don’t you go to bed?”

The Great Unwashed exits the room to go sit on the sofa.

The Great Unwashed – “I’m not tired.”

9:00 PM

It’s at this point when the magical hour begins and I transform from a perfectly functional adult into a nonsense spewing, sloth.

9:01 PM

The Great Unwashed calls to Roscoe in the next room.

The Great Unwashed – “Why don’t we own a llama?”

9:03 PM

The Great Unwashed – “We should eat more capers.”

9:04 PM

The Great Unwashed – “I want to learn skeleton.”

9:05 PM

The Great Unwashed – “Wait is skeleton the one where you’re face down or is that luge?”

Roscoe sensing that there is a question that actually requires an answer pipes up “Skeleton is facedown”

The Great Unwashed – “Oh. Then I want to learn to luge.”

It’s around this point generally that Roscoe hauls himself out of the pilot chair in the office and comes to tell me to go to bed.

9:06 PM

Roscoe “Go to bed”

The Great Unwashed sprawled across the couch lacking any sort of muscle tone, squints and says defiantly -“No”

Weary but not beaten Roscoe returns to the office.

9:11 PM

The sound of the Great Unwashed voice is tinged with exhaustion now.

The Great Unwashed – “Where’s your lumbago?”

Roscoe is now approaching fed up and once again leaves the office to face The Great Unwashed who actually appears to be liquefying before his eyes from lack of muscle tone.

Roscoe – “Go. To. Bed.”

The Great Unwashed – “No, I’m not tired and I don’t want to have to brush my teeth.”

9:12 PM

The Great Unwashed – “Would you still go out in public with me if I wore stick on mutton chops?”

9:13 PM

The Great Unwashed – “The bathroom is too far away. Carry me!”

Roscoe will be unmoved by this plea. Mostly because previously when he has acquiesced to my demands to be carried I have gone limp and turned into what he calls “a 300 lb blob”. This of course causes me to take offense that he thinks I’m 300 lbs and annoys Roscoe because I’m still no closer to brushing my teeth.

9:15 PM

It’s at this point generally that I start to sing fragments of songs over and over. I may have migrated to the floor in a half hearted attempt to go to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

9:17 PM

Roscoe once more extracts himself from the pilot chair and stalks to the living room to face me.

Roscoe – “GO TO BED”

The Great Unwashed in a thoroughly defeated and utterly exhausted tone “No.”

Roscoe stomps back to the office.

9:23 PM

The disembodied and miserable voice of the Great Unwashed floats into the office.

The Great Unwashed – “I’m so tired I don’t want to exist!”

And with that I promptly brush my teeth and go to bed. And then I wake up at five am, perky and raring to go in a way that would cause people around me to become homicidal, luckily most of the world isn’t up at that time. Thus far no bodily harm has come to me for awaking at this early hour.