Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 1.5 of Being Car-Lite

So I suppose I cheated a little bit. I know I told you that I was taking my van off the road on the 20th, today, but it turned out I ended up taking it off the road yesterday.

I took the kids to see Toy Story 3 as planned and my Mom came along with us. She enjoys coming out to the movies with us and really gets into the 3D part of it so I put out an invite to her and she happily accepted. It ended up costing me quite a bit more than I had initially expected. Turns out they didn't accept the half off admission pass I had on weekends, nor do they accept it on opening weekends for a new movie. Bummer. So whatever, I said okay to the cashier and said we want to see the 3D one as they offer both the regular and 3D versions at the theater, and 3D kicks butt. "Okay", says the cashier, "that will be 3 dollars extra for each person". Ouch. So my ticket cost $14.99, Vaeh's ticket cost $11.99, Gabe was free and my Mom paid for her ticket (thank goodness!). I have a bad habit of needing to buy junk food while at the movie. I can't enjoy a movie at all unless I'm munching on popcorn and chocolate. I get mad at myself every time because I know I shouldn't  be buying food at the theater. It costs a small fortune for just a snack. I never learn though. I HAVE, mind you, changed the way I purchase said snacks. Instead of individual drinks for me and the kids, I get a large iced tea and we share. I also get a large popcorn for us to share, and one (sometimes 2) bag of chocolatey goodness. While this still costs quite a bit (almost $20 for those items, with a 10% discount using a Scene card) it is cheaper than if we went crazy and each got what we wanted. A kids pack, which consists of a small popcorn, drink, chocolate Kinder egg and toy, is $7.99. This is why we don't go very often. Here's a tip though: if going to a movie, go after eating. Pick a movie time that is after lunch or dinner, or even after you've had a large snack. You won't be as tempted to indulge yourself while at the theater. Another tip is to bring your own, much cheaper snacks you bought at the store. Technically it's not allowed (no outside food or drink in the theater) but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

After the movie (which was AWESOME!!! Definitely go see this movie if you are a Disney/Pixar fan!!) we headed home. I figured since my Mom was with us, it would make sense to have her watch Vaeh and Gabe while I whipped down to the insurance agency on my bike. So I did just that. As lovely and flat as my neighborhood is, it was a lot of work to ride. I haven't been on a bike in so long (17 years!) and I really didn't realize it would be that difficult. While I was riding it wasn't so bad, but when I got back home I was completely wiped out. Granted I did have to try 3 different insurance agencies because they all closed at 4pm on Saturdays so I did quite a bit of riding my first day. I should have taken it a bit easier and gone on some short trips beforehand, just to get back into the swing of things. If you are at all considering doing more bike riding in your near future, please take my advice and work your way into it.

I really should take my own advice too. That would be wise. After yesterday I guess I figured I would do better today and pushed myself a bit further. Okay, what I thought was a bit further ended up being way too much. I had to make a trip to the bank this afternoon, and because Vaeh isn't good on her bike yet, I didn't want to have her ride that far (about 3km's round trip) so her and Gabe hopped into our new bike trailer (which I bought yesterday). Let me say that I am almost always excellent with putting together and installing things, but for some reason getting the trailer attached to my bike was a pain in my bottom! I finally got it, but somehow managed to pull a muscle in the base of my neck and upper back. Oooh man it hurts. Anyway. The kids got in the trailer, I got on my bike and off we went to the bank. It was really easy to pull them and I really didn't feel them until I had to pedal even slightly uphill. I took a spin around the neighborhood to make sure I could handle it, and had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. I'm so out of shape it's quite sad. I actually thought I was in okay shape, but after today I feel like Homer Simpson. Since I absolutely had to go to the bank I knew I couldn't just turn back and go home so off we went. I went right for it and rode on the road, even though I was very unsure about doing this and it made me very nervous thinking about it. Once I had seen the size of the bike trailer after it was put together, it looked like a Smart Car in my living room.

That's a picture of me getting ready to hook the trailer on to my bike. Okay it's not. But that's how it felt. I knew there was no way I was managing this thing on a sidewalk. I'd be pitching kids and seniors 15 feet in each direction as I rode.
I stuck to roads that were minimal in traffic and steered clear of busy areas, except for the complex my bank is in. Things went very, very well. Cars kept their distance and weren't screaming profanities at me as I had pictured them doing. The kids were squealing with joy in the trailer and having the best time. I had to stop about a million times because I got winded, even on the lowest gear on my bike, but I managed to stop whenever I needed to without any problems. Going into the bank complex was a bit scary because I had to use arm-turn-signals and all that foreign-to-me stuff. I know all the gestures, it was just weird doing them. In the bank complex I had to tend with speed bumps and a lot of traffic but we made it. I even went through the drive-through atm at the bank. It was fun. After I (finally) got home I almost collapsed. I'm not even kidding. As soon as I got off my bike my legs stiffened up and I could hardly bend them. I opened the front door to my house and instantly I wanted to throw up. I've never felt like that before. I needed to lay down so badly, but I had to get the kids out of the trailer, unhook it from my bike and collapse it so I could bring it in the house (it's too wide for my front door, and too big for my teeny foyer) and then I had to bring my bike in. After all of that, I flopped down on the couch and didn't want to move. I was moaning and whimpering and acting like a big ol' baby. It was pathetic. I asked Vaeh to bring me a cold, wet cloth for my forehead and Gabe came and laid down on top of me trying to comfort me. I felt better really quickly, but the kids felt so bad for me that they decided to step up and take charge. Gabe got off of me and tidied up the living room. He put all the toys away without me asking or even suggesting. Vaeh insisted on rubbing my feet and sat down at the end of the couch and did just that. She even massaged my calves. When Gabe was done tidying up he came back to me and showered me in kisses. I was all better. My kids are phenomenal. They know how to melt me :)

Now I feel fine, just my neck is killing me. I can't believe I pulled a muscle installing a bike trailer. So lame.
So folks, please learn from my mistakes and take it easy when starting something new. Never in my life have I pushed myself to the point of wanting to throw up. After all of that though, I don't miss using my van. I was worried that at first I would miss the convenience of jumping in and going wherever I needed to, but so far that's not the case. I've made it through my first day (and a half) and so far so good.

This message has been brought to you today by the letter OUCH.

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