Friday, August 20, 2010

Pop Quiz

Tell me, dear internets, what is this:

Plus this:

Minus this?:

That's right. Last night I surpassed 1000 miles on my bike for the summer. I'm pretty excited about it, and even more excited that it happened so far ahead of schedule. I was allowing myself until October to complete this goal. Woo to the Hoo!!

I mean, the OCD in me is still sort of twitchy because it's captured on two odometers instead of one, but that doesn't diminish the 1000 miles that I've ridden. In fact, last night I started toying with the idea of getting my new odometer (second picture) up to 1000 miles all by itself.

I know. I'm certifiable. But that's not a real goal yet, so don't hold me to it.

What I enjoy almost more than completing this goal is seeing how far I've come. Conquering Riley was a huge day, but since then I've found an even more hilly and difficult route and pretty much confirmed that I can complete it every time - with a faster pace each time. And surprisingly, in the midst of all this riding, a new goal of completing a ride of 100km (62 miles) in the rolling hills of my hometown has emerged. I'm not sure why - maybe because of the date of this ride, and maybe because of the difficulty of it - but I sort of feel like that ride will be both the peak of my bike riding season, and the last ride I do before winter. Right now I'm not only focused on completing that ride, but doing it in a reasonable amount of time. (My parents? They think I'm insane. I'm pretty sure they're going to have an ambulance on standby during that entire ride.)

It's terrifying, honestly. The hilliest ride I've found in Indy was difficult enough - I couldn't even complete it the first time. My hometown in southern Indiana has many more menacing hills. Eeeek!

Still, all I can do is try. And bolstered by my past successes, I would say "Outlook good." Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why I'm Going to Church on Sunday

I was sitting at my desk at work around 2:00pm today, wasting time on Facebook. My boss was in a meeting in the back with my coworker. It was a typically calm afternoon with nothing much to do. I was trying to figure out how to make the afternoon go by faster when the neighbor who lives next door to my office came to the front door.

"You've got a fire back there."

I blinked. "What?"

"The fence caught fire back there. It's right next to the garage."

Being the employee with the most seniority, I park my car in the garage.

I was already running.

I streaked back to the meeting room where I'm shocked that my boss understood anything I said. "Donthere'safirehurryyouhavetomoveyourbike!"

He jumped up like, he was on fire. I streaked back to my desk and grabbed my keys. By the time I got my keys and ran back to where the garage was, my boss had already pressed the button to lift the garage door.

The garage was indeed on fire.

The garage door actually ended up getting stuck about halfway up when the power failed. My boss ducked under the door and went to open the door manually. Unfortunately, with all the adrenaline, he ended up breaking the cord that controls the manual mechanism.

The door started to fall closed.

I wish I could say I was of some help here. But I wasn't. I stood and watched like I was made of wood.

From inside the garage, my boss slid under the door, caught it, and heaved it upwards.

The fire was eating through the wall to my right, and there was a thick layer of smoke along the ceiling.

My boss's Harley was closest to the flames. I motioned for him to go first. We could hear the fire truck sirens at this point. He walked his bike out and parked in the parking lot next to the garage.

Oh HELL no! Has he SEEN any movies? When I got my car out, trying to ignore the fire eating through the wall of the garage, I parked three doors down just to be safe. By the time I got back, the garage was engulfed in smoke and flames, and the firemen were hosing it down. I had been gone maybe 90 seconds.

The scene that I returned to looked like this:


All I can think about is that I never would have known until it was too late. My car is okay because of our neighbor. Our rock star neighbor. I shook his hand and thanked him profusely. He shrugged it off like he was just driving by and anyone would do it. Dude! You saved my car! I've already been through trauma with my car. I know how it feels. You're awesome! I feel like I should buy him a horse. Or a kingdom. With a castle. And THEN a horse.

I took more pictures as the fire died down. The Indianapolis Fire Department did an awesome job and showed up super quickly. More pictures below, the last one of what the garage ended up looking like in the end. We're not yet sure how the fire started. Just that no one was hurt, and everyone's vehicles were safe.

The wall that's missing? That's my boss's side of the garage. The side that today housed his beloved Harley. We were both so lucky. I have to go to church on Sunday because, well, I believe in thanking the people responsible when you're lucky. Either that or buying them a kingdom with a castle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Key Privileges = Revoked

I've been cooking more lately. And honestly, I don't think the cooking can be categorized as either successes or failures. Sometimes everything tastes great, but I have TONS of leftover ingredients that will be left to languish in my refrigerator until they sprout legs of their own and walk themselves to the garbage can. Sometimes all ingredients are used and something is just barely undercooked. Or overcooked. Or basically inedible. I don't think I'm meant to be a homemaker.

I am, however, an expert at ordering take-out. I know THAT'S sexy.

You know what else I have trouble with when cooking? Trips to the grocery store. I mean seriously, if I ever remember to get everything that I need in one trip it will be the type of miracle only equaled by the creation of DOTS. And yes, I make lists. Unfortunately, my lists are faulty. If I manage to get everything needed for one meal, I forget the day-to-day items that I need. If I remember the day-to-day items, I inevitably forget an (important) ingredient. Or two.

Like now? I'm out of Liquid Plumr. Seriously. How does THAT happen? I can clog a shower drain faster than you can say erm...Drano. And toilet paper. I realized I was on my last roll on Saturday. Do you think I remembered to put it on my list when I went to the grocery store on Monday? Of course not. As of last night, I'm officially out. I thought I was going to be stuck going to the store for just toilet paper. A wasted trip. I guess I should be glad I ran out of Liquid Plumr this morning. Now the trip is a bit more justifiable. Does this happen to anyone else?

The boy, who never goes to the grocery store himself unless it's to visit the frozen meals section, thinks this is hilarious. He also has no problems reminding me "gently" when I'm out of something. "Sweetie, you need paper towels," and then "Why don't you have paper towels yet? It's been like a week since I mentioned it to you." Right, and I noticed that I was out a week before that. Thanks though. Hardy har har har. Wait, remember that time you had to "borrow" dog food from me because you didn't have any? Right.

I do like the way Karma works, though. Because today? I got a phone call. My fourth phone call of the day from the boy, actually. Which is rare. So I answered, "To what do I owe this pleasure?"

Apparently the boy had stopped by my house between jobs today because he had to use the restroom. And it wasn't to go number one.

My first thought was "EW!" combined with a feeling of complete violation. He had stopped by my house to take a dump?! What the hell? He's got his OWN place for that. Or he could wait until he got to work. I'm pretty sure that pooping at your girlfriend's place when she's not there is unacceptable, no matter how long you've been dating. (over six years, btw. eeeeek!) If you don't live there, I'm pretty sure unsupervised visits are only acceptable if you're leaving pretty flowers or doing the dishes or something of that nature. Unsupervised stops involving fecal matter are strictly prohibited.

Fortunately, the angry tirade was thwarted by my second thought which was, "I'm out of toilet paper."

So I didn't get to say anything in response. I was laughing too hard.

I think the lesson we all need to take away from this is that you should poop in your own home. Or at least in the home of someone more responsible.

When I was done laughing, I called the boy back. I told him that this would be a blog because, seriously, it's too funny not to be. He resignedly agreed. And by "resignedly" I mean I refused to bring him a roll of toilet paper until I got my way.

I can't make this stuff up, folks.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Life Lessons

Here's the thing. I'm a bit competitive. I think I may have blogged about it a time or two. In fact, this is the main motivator in my life. No joke. You see me dragging my feet over something I don't want to do? Make it into a competition. Done. It's just that simple.

Well, not really. Because I'm on to you. So it has to be made into a competition in a way that doesn't feel like you're manipulating me. The best way to get around this is to make it a competition with someone I dislike. Then, even if I feel you're manipulating me, I can't resist. I'm dead serious here. It's very sad. I can hear my cousin and z snickering about it right now.

But last year, my dear friend Candy taught me an important lesson about competition.

As part of her wellness team at work, Candy put together a team to walk in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk. I had run this 5K before and thought it was great fun, so I agreed to participate on her team.

The morning of the 5K dawned sunny, but cold. I was wearing at least three layers under my team shirt and a sock hat in an effort to stay warm. Still, the mood was festive as we looked at the colorful costumes around us. There were running reindeer, Christmas trees, and even a family that was dressed as a string of lights, each a different color and connected by a cord. They were pulling a wagon in which sat a child with a radio blaring Christmas music.

The trouble began when I found out that one of the teammates was planning on running the 5K. No big deal, right? Except that ANOTHER teammate wanted to be at the starting line to take his picture. And then wanted to come back and join the rest of the team to walk. The solution to this? He would wait at the start/finish line until the runners began, and then come back to where our team was huddled. We would wait for him to return before beginning the walk.

I was uneasy with this from the start. First, we were already huddled near the rear of the crowd of people participating. Second, once the starting bell rang, the entire mass of people surged forward... around us as we stayed frozen waiting for our teammate.

I tried to inch forward with the crowd, certain that our lost teammate would eventually find us, but Candy was oblivious to my pain, and insistent on staying right where we were. I took deep breaths as more and more people passed us on their way to the starting line.

"It's okay Emily. This is not a race. You are not in this to win. You don't have to be competitive all the time."

Finally, our teammate showed up. We were free to walk. WHEEE!

I'll admit, Candy was not happy with the pace that I set. We were already far enough back that I was uncomfortable, so I wanted to make up some ground. Our team stretched out as we each settled into our pace. When we came to a portion of the route that doubled back on ourselves, I was at once both dismayed at how far back we were, and relieved at the "safe" number of people behind us. At least we wouldn't be last.

As we finished the double back, Candy mentioned that she wanted to stop and get a picture of the rest of the team coming up behind us.

STOP?! I won't lie. I had to bite my tongue. Hard. Eeek!! Still, it wasn't my event, so stop we did. To take pictures. To POSE FOR PICTURES. It was the worst form of torture because Candy didn't even know what was happening.

More and more people passed us. The string of lights family? Yep. Passed us. Pulling a wagon. The end of the line drew near.

Oh HELL no. This was not going to happen. I set a quicker pace after the picture stop. Eventually Candy mentioned that we were walking a bit faster than she preferred and I was forced to confess what I was going through. She laughed at me. Thinking she was not competitive, she thought I was being ridiculous and slowed down. She had conversations with teammates and others around us. She was outgoing and friendly as is her nature. She was also completely unconcerned with the people passing us.

Meanwhile, I watched in despair as the radio playing Christmas music got further and further ahead. "This is not a race. It's okay to not be competitive." I chanted this internally as I walked.

In the end, we finished with only two people behind us. Third and fourth from LAST. OMG. It hurts to even type that now, almost eight months later. One lady behind us was telling us how much it meant to her to be able to walk in the arthritis walk since arthritis had been such a crippling disease in her life.

I felt for her. I really really did. But that was outweighed by the fear that she was going to pass us, so I avoided eye contact and kept walking.

When the results came in (that I'm not going to link to) and Candy sent them to me, I was relieved by two things. 1) I wasn't last, and 2) I came in ahead of Candy.

That's right. I said it. I was glad I beat my friend. The "non competitive one" who later recanted and expressed a desire to never finish that far down in the standings again. Uh huh. Who's competitive now??

Being last sucks. Being competitive is better. Lesson learned.