Un-fucking Myself – 2nd Quarter Update

A very busy summer is underway.  There’s no grass growing under my feet, or any other part of my body, for that matter…

Time for the second quarterly report regarding my on-going quest to un-fuck myself (my battle cry from January). In April, i reported my progress after the first quarter of the year, and am dutifully reporting the latest update as the second quarter comes to a close.

The good news?  i’ve stayed with the fitness quest.  As of today, i’ve lost a total of 25 pounds since January.  Had hoped to see 30 pounds vaporized, but i’m good with what i’ve done so far.  Would like to double that for the year-end report…  Many happy miles on the bicycle, regular gym habits, and an accountability buddy have been critical.

Not such a good report on the ‘de-cluttering’.  Wanted to see another three or four trips to the thrift store, and a few more full-dumpsters during the quarter, but that was not to be….  Many hours on the bicycle, when i should have been excavating, perhaps….

During the month of June, the mechanical shit in my world was breaking as fast as i could fix it — and i was fixing it like a motherfucking ninja!  Mostly, the category of “things with wheels” was vexing — having an abundance of ‘wheeled’ things, it goes with the turf, but damned if it wasn’t aggravating.

Jeep was stonecolddead, and i couldn’t get it to hold charge, so it went sailing away on a flatbed at the beginning of the month.  The day it returned?  The Jag overheated when i got to work the next day.  i poked around and identified that problem as a slow leak in the coolant resovoir, and topped it off during my lunch hour.

Glorious weather on the next day got me on the motorcycle – which led me to the next headache:  Weirdness and overheating as i got the bike home that night.

Decided that rather than put myself at the mercy of the Motorcycle Repair Mafia, i was going to dig in myself — and i did.  Drained, flushed and filled coolant, replaced a thermostat, and did an oil change.  The service manual and a bunch of crazy old coots who post repair videos on youtube were my best friends for a few days.  For extra support, i joined an online forum – and promptly realized that i had, in fact, repaired something that wasn’t broken*.  But it did it myself, damn it… and the bike is operational.

Not so much the Jeep…  Two weeks of joy, and then the transmission took a massive, and noisy shit, the following Friday night.  Executed a nationwide search, and within two days i was able to buy a rebuilt transmission, have it shipped to my repair shop, and have them perform the transplant.  As of today, it is back in my stable.

kardashian headaches

To be sure, i know that these are truly first world problems.  Problems i bring upon myself through the choice to operate a fleet of aging vehicles.  i could be rational and functional, and sell the entire lot, buy myself a nice, dependable new sedan, and avoid the headaches.

Not gonna happen.

The upside?  My mechanical confidence is strong.  i’m ready for what lies ahead.  Rolling into the third quarter of the year, i will press on with the fitness goals – always easier to keep moving in the summer.  The de-cluttering will get an assist, as The Girl will be coming to visit, and i’m going to put her to work going through her abandoned belongings!  She’s been living abroad for 3 years.  If she doesn’t want it, she is going to give it away.

Plenty of other adventures ahead… and a project or two that shall be revisited.  Life is good.  It can all turn in a heartbeat, so i’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.  Onward!  Speed ball to the finish line!

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*Suzuki VX800 is a weird beast.  Combination of air and water cooling, there is an on-board fan that kicks on in slow traffic, or long idle.  i did not know that.  When the fan kicked on for the first time, i assumed overheating.  The coolant needed a flush anyway…

 

 

 

 

Odometer Reading

18,994 days.

My heart has beaten approximately 1,899,540,442 times in total.

i have taken approximately 417,523,886 breaths in total.

The moon has orbited the earth 695 times since i was born.

30,592,757,589 miles – the distance i have traveled as the Earth revolves around the Sun.

My finger hovered over the ‘submit’ button, but i’d already missed the deadline to apply for early retirement, at least for the current offering.  “Once you submit your retirement application, it is irrevocable.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing i missed the deadline this time.  Perhaps i’m not quite ready yet.

The job i have is amazing.  i’ve returned to my wheelhouse – science and technology program management.  Getting ideas from “proof of concept” into the realm of “prototype”. Serving as translator between scientists and customers . A necessary function, and i’m good at it.

But i keep thinking about those heartbeats…  Those breaths…  Those miles….

Not a milestone birthday, but today i start my 53rd year on Earth.  At best i have 25-30 years left.  During a good portion of those years, i will run into more physical limitations. Within the next ten years the motorcycle will certainly have to go, horseback riding will cease, and adventure travel may start to include the occasional comfy cruise…

My chances to hike into Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate decrease with each passing year.

i spent the evening doing motorcycle maintenance.  Changing out a dead thermostat on the ’91 Suzuki.  Coolant flush.  Oil change.  And thinking through the future.. Not so much “What’s next?”, but “When?”

Zen and The Art of...

And wondering… “How many heartbeats do i have left?”

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*Calculations extracted from this page.    Highly recommend running your own numbers…

62 Miles

That’s roughly what i’ve ridden on the old Honda motorcycle i brought home last week.  At the moment, i remember every single one of those 62 miles.

Adrenaline.  That’s why.  A good dose of being absolutely scared shitless does wonders for heightened awareness. 

The ride from the shop?  About 18 miles from there to my garage.  Even with a friend following in a “chase vehicle”* to keep people off my ass, the pucker-factor was at “eleven” for the entire ride.  i can remember my first left turn (hop-launched when the light changed), can remember almost nailing a curb in the construction zone while stumbling with my left foot to find the next gear, and remember almost losing it completely for no apparent reason in a curve…

Yesterday, he wouldn’t start.  After beating on the battery for far too long, trying to get him to turn over, i hopped on the kick-start!  Big fun when it turned over – but disappointment as he promptly stalled out. 

After a few more hops on the kicker, i managed to lose my balance and drop the bike the driveway.  Jumped wide to keep it from landing on my leg, and managed to crunch the left turn signal lens on the driveway… and as a result, have now ordered my first replacement parts, as well as the Clymer manuel, which i am certainly going to need if i’m going to keep this bastard on the road.

i could continue to bore you with more details of every subsequent mile i’ve put on the ol’ fella**, but it means nothing to anyone but me.

i’m not going to be adding too many more miles this season.  Winter in these parts means short, cold days.  i’m a recreational motorcyclist, and will not be suffering frostbite just to feel the wind on my face… i’m focused on skills development and building “muscle memory” – there’s a great deal of multi-tasking required to ride a motorbike, and most of it should be instinctive so you can deal with the unexpected***. 

There are 15,159 miles on the odometer.  The bike was built in 1974, which makes him 36 years old****.  Parked in a garage for at least the last three years, that means he was averaging about 400-500 miles a year.   i have to wonder about what the other 15,097 miles were like.  Who rode them?  What about the first 100 miles?  Did anyone ever get laid as a direct result of owning this bike?  How many people have straddled that torn leather seat? 

Although it’s only been 62 miles, i’ve changed a bit as a result.  It’s long been on my “to do” list.  That box is now checked.  That’s part of it, but not all of it….

Hanging on at 50 miles an hour, feeling like the wind is going to blow my ass off the bike.  Watching the pavement blur under my feet.  Knowing that i’m exposed.  Knowing enough physics to know that i’m going to lose every battle – solo or entangled with other objects. 

It just feels right…

image found here.  and i’m pretty sure i’d be willing to have my tubes untied in order to have this gentleman’s baby…

* Studly McRocklegs only had to turn on his emergency flashers a few times, as i slowed well below the posted speed limits.  Mostly while fumbling to up-shift…

**  This one is a “male”.  The default gender for most vehicles seems to be female for some reason.  Never understood that.  My jeep?  Female.  The bike?  Not sure what it is, but i’m quite certain that the growling, cranky beast that i now ‘straddle’ is male…

*** Gravel, possum or blue-haired granny pulling out in front of you in her Oldsmobuick, seatbelt sparking on the pavement, turn signal perpetually on, as she ventures out on a quest to purchase hearing aid batteries…

**** i’m 48.  having a 36 year old between my legs does NOT qualify me as a cougar, thankyouverymuch.