Sunday, October 26, 2008


In the Mood.

I often have days like this. (And I'm not sure it is either a good thing, or particularly 'normal'.) Usually a weekend day following a busy time. A long awaited 'catch up' day at home that I look forward to so much when we are racing around. There is so much I want to do (and should do) , but when I get here, I am just not in the mood to do any of it.

I huff and sigh and loll around the place, all day, and achieve precisely ... nothing. Well, today I did eventually get a couple of small loads of washing on the line (then I left them out there overnight because I got them out so late they didn't dry! )

I finished reading one of Zoe's books with a bit of a lie-in ... and gave myself a headache from reading without my glasses. (Reading books - even kids' ones - is ok isn't it?)

I read a bit of the paper. (Acceptable too?)

I thought maybe I could blog but the sparkling blog repartee was not forthcoming. Finally tonight I have succumbed to blogging anything rather than nothing because at least I might feel I have done something. (And maybe I'll get comments coming in on the email, which will make me feel just slightly loved... or perhaps just "needy"?...)

Perhaps it is just the trough after the roller coaster ride of busy-ness of our past few weekends. Thursday at TAFE I was feeling as if perhaps my coffee (which I was drinking to try to wake myself up) had been laced with sleeping pills. That overwhelming 'why am I so tired?' feeling that gets compounded when you're in a classroom situation staring at a computer screen.

Getting to bed earlier that night alleviated that feeling a bit (though I can't say I achieved much on Friday)...

The smart move would have been to have a big sleep in on Saturday, but I opted to do the early morning community bike ride - knowing full well that if I didn't commit to it (Marc and I took Cait in with her new road bike and did about 35km on our singles) I wouldn't do any exercise all weekend. At least I know myself well in that department. But what I also know about myself is that a 5am start to the weekend will leave me a bit lethargic and directionless unless I have something that I am already committed to doing and keeping my mind off being 'blah'.

Zoe had two friends sleep the night as a belated birthday treat (she turned 10 last Monday - while still in Sydney and being spoilt rotten by Grandma.) This was a big first for her - we are not too big on the whole sleepover thing. I kept it fairly low key and casual, and with one of her friends pronouncing at 9.30 that she was soooo tired because she is usually in bed at around 7.00!!, all three were in bed and apparently asleep by 10.30 when I went up to bed. No giggling, or silliness, or keeping me awake half the night, so I can hardly blame that for my lethargy.

Well, anyway.. tomorrow's another day... and another week begins (in which I have the opportunity to pull myself together and work out how to be more productive.)

My scar.. by the way.. is healing well. ("My scar".. she says... well, I don't really have any other 'battle scars' so I am quite taken with this one.)... It is amazing how the body heals in the space of two weeks.

This was how it looked a couple of days after getting the stitches. (The yellow being betadine, rather than outrageous bruising as I suspect people might have thought given the reactions I got at the time.) I am kind of disappointed now that I didn't get a photo of it pre-stitching. Being on the end of my elbow, I only have the reactions of my kids (and the first aider) to go by with how it looked at the time. Somehow photography wasn't high on the agenda at the time!)

And this is how it looks tonight.

(Aren't elbows funny things to look at?)



Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Ticked THAT box.

Around The Bay in a Day. A 210km bike ride around Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne to Melbourne.

There and back from home in five days.

On Friday we drove to Sydney with the kids (around 600km).. left them with the grand-parentals, dismantled the tandem and packed it up into an extended cardboard bike box (ok, so my beloved Bike Mechanic did most of that tricky stuff)... got up early Saturday morning, drove to the airport, kissed the bike goodbye into the oversize baggage section, picked it up in Melbourne, caught a Maxi Taxi to the motel, put it all back together again, did a 12km return test ride in 30+ degrees through the centre of Melbourne.....

..... got up at some very ungodly hour (ie. 4.30am), rode back through the city centre to the start...

did the ride....

.... and pretty much did it all again in reverse (from the dismantling of the bike bit) to get home again last night.

Fortunately the weather gods sort of smiled on us... instead of heat (it was 30 degrees on the Saturday - and 38 degrees for the same ride last year!) we got a cold southerly - so the temperature didn't get above 18 degrees! (talking Celsius here...).... The downside was that riding along the edge of the bay wasn't as picturesque or pleasant as it might have been on a mild and sunny spring day.

We did it all without too much trouble .. (unless you count my body sabotaging me - I ask you, is it fair for a woman's body to betray her by giving her 'that time' just in time for the next marathon bike ride only three weeks after the last time (and last marathon cycling effort...)???)

Total riding time, about 8 hours. First hour was painfully slow, riding in a big bunch of people from the start - I think we only managed to get about 5km in the first 3/4 of an hour. And we got a puncture about 20km into it! After that we didn't stop too many times, though loo stops were a priority, and by the end my bum had pretty much had enough.

Generally there weren't as many slow and erratic riders as on the Brisbane-Gold Coast ride, so we didn't feel quite as paranoid as we.. I.. might have after the previous weekend! Mind you, we had one near miss when some bystanders with a dog on an extendable leash let the dog rush the curb, only pulling it up at the gutter. There were more than a few 'whoas' in the group we were riding in.

We only heard later about the deliberate injury of bike riders on their way to the ride by some drunk b******s in a car. And the other accident.

Otherwise, we felt that Melbourne drivers were far more courteous than Sydney (or Coffs/Pacific Highway) drivers - I guess they are, in general, far more used to bikes; we were amazed by all the bike lanes, even right through the centre of the city!

I think I'm looking pretty happy to have finished it, although I knew (after a well-earned beer!) I had to climb back on and ride the 6 km back to the motel!

Strangely today I am still feeling a bit weary. Can't imagine why.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008



We had a stack.

All 5 of us, both bikes (and a handful of jellybeans) splattered all over the road.

All had been going well with the Brissy to Gold Coast ride. We were about half way - I had been just about to announce the 50km mark to the girls. We'd had a great ride along the dedicated bus lanes out of the city - which had been closed off to buses for the bikes. Lovely smooooth road surface, and the only ups didn't even require the granny ring.

As we got further along, we then detoured onto the service roads that run alongside the motorway, and then some loops on back roads.

After stuffing around with loos, and refilling water at the previous rest stop, we found ourselves riding among slower (and less experienced) riders. You can tell them by the more erratic way they ride along the road. Should have known better. We came up behind a group, Marc was chatting to some guy beside him about the 29 inch wheels on his bike, and I was riding behind him. (We'd lost him in the mêlée of the start, so hadn't managed to actually do much drafting up till then.) We were humming along this flat country road at around 28kph... and I could tell Marc would shortly endeavour to find a way around this group of slower riders spread out across the road.

Suddenly it all went to hell. In a split second, the triple wobbled, then went down, because the girl in front of them - and we're talking right in the middle of the road here - hit the brakes HARD . Because her PEDAL FELL OFF! (We're talking el cheapo K-mart type bike here - probably never been serviced....) (What about coasting, calling out, "stopping"... that sort of thing? )

Marc had nowhere to go - she seemed to go left, so he tried to go right, but then she angled back in front of him. He clipped her wheel, and down they went.

And because I was riding his wheel I had nowhere to go. I could see it happening in front of me, but there was nothing I could do about it. I had barely enough time to register the shock of seeing them fall in front of me (because Marc is pretty competent at handling a bike.)

Then the awful realisation that I couldn't avoid them.

*Crash*....we went down. Bikes and bodies all over the road. Zoe sandwiched between the two bikes, as the tandem had landed on top of her... and crying that 'ow! owwww! owwwwwwwwwww!' cry that sends a mother's heart into panic.

Dazed, we scrambled up, hauled the bike off her, and limped with bikes to the edge of the road. I was concerned about Zoe, but vaguely noticed blood dripping down my left forearm from my elbow.

Marc was relatively unscathed, so he assumed first aider role - thankfully we were carrying our own first aid kit. Mothers patently make shocking patients when their kids are involved, because I kept telling him to look after each of the kids, when it turned out that I had the worst injury - a nasty gash on my elbow - which to him looked a bit drastic, though he decided not to enlighten me too much at the time. He got a wound dressing out, and bound it up. Cait had corked her hip/thigh, and struggled to walk, but didn't feel she'd broken anything. Zoe couldn't quite decide which of her legs hurt, but settled on a twisted ankle on one. All of us had various grazes and bruises already coming up. On my left leg, blood from gravel rash mixed with grease - and I'd also grazed a mole there. Errgh....

Plus a little bit of shock all round.

Official help was all but useless other than the moral support of the highway patrol motorbike cop. We figured we probably wouldn't need an ambulance, but were a bit nonplussed when one came along, and informed the cop that they only stop if they need to take anyone to hospital. Noone bothered to check us out themselves. (Even the cop was nonplussed about that...) Some riders, and a woman in a car, did stop, and she gave us some old towels, and pulled jackets out of our panniers to keep us a bit warm. Other than that, noone else had first aid stuff, and no gloves, so were unwilling to touch us because of the blood! All in all, we were pretty lucky Marc was ok to tend us all.

A bike mechanic guy also stopped, but Marc had all the gear we needed for that. The sag wagon was notified, and we knew it was on its way. While we hated the thought of not being able to finish the ride, none of us girls were in a fit condition to finish (Perhaps I would have been stupid enough to had I not had the girls to consider ... although my elbow was hurting enough to make me realise that steering a bike would be a bit difficult.) Our tandem would fit in the trailer on the sag wagon, but the triple would be pushing it - plus Marc is always antsy about it being scratched, not that it didn't now have a couple of dings in it. The pannier rack was skewed where we hit it...and he's yet to do a proper check on what else might be damaged on it. He had to tinker with the brakes to get it working ok when he decided to ride it on by himself to the next checkpoint and meet us there - at least another 20km or so.

The girls and I were finally deposited at the checkpoint by the sag wagon, and we headed for the first aiders. I asked them to look at the girls first - though Cait kept saying "Mum, you go first, you're worse!" 'I'm right, you girls first" , I said, but she pushed me into the seat before her. Then the girl took off the wound dressing Marc had put on my elbow, and said immediately "That'll need stitches" - while the girls gasped in horror at the sight of it. Kind of glad I couldn't see it myself.

Marc arrived, and we decided that the logical thing to do was for him to get a cab the nearest train station and head back to Southbank to collect the car. It was a long and tedious wait there at Coomera State School - just behind Dreamworld - and the girls were taunted with the sounds of the rides there (Their boring parents have been too tight and too obsessed with bloody bike riding to take them to the theme parks!)

During our wait, Alison and Zoe finally wandered off to the playground, which allayed many of my concerns about how injured they might have been. Cait was sore but stoic.

Marc got back and we got the bikes onto the car, and headed for the Gold Coast by car, still a bit shell shocked and basically spewing that we'd come all this way, invested money in petrol, accommodation, etc, and we weren't finishing the damn ride. Brought undone by an inexperienced rider on a crap bike, basically. We've tried to rationalise it as the risk you take participating in these mass rides... Mind you, it really did rub salt into the wounds to have to drive past the Finish point on the way to the hospital.

A lesson learned regarding riding amongst so many people. It made me wonder whether the mass rides are a good idea, but you do them to take advantage of road closures (and thus a certain degree of separation and protection from vehicles!)

I'd steeled myself for a potentially long wait at Emergency, but good fortune had a 24 hour medical centre just across the road from the hospital. I was seen there pretty much immediately. "Now I have to warn you that you will have a scar", said the doctor. "Not worried." I said. (My husband knows me well. When I told him the doc said that, he said 'You'd be cheesed off if you didn't get a scar out of this! At least you'll have something to show from the day. Battle scars. The rest of them won't.

So we are all healing, and the vivid replaying of the accident over and over in my head is abating. Marc, to his delight, discovered that he did get a couple of grazes after all. On his butt (and in his bum crack! - so he's a bit limited in the sympathy stakes..)

Today I can finally bend up my arm enough so as to be able to do my bra up by myself, so things are looking up. And of course my main worry was being able to ride this weekend in Melbourne, what with the air fares and accommodation booked for that. Heel of my left hand is a bit bruised, but I'll be ok on the back of the tandem. (I'll have to be!) Stitches supposed to come out on Sunday will have to be removed on Monday. Chiro appointment for Cait (and me) tomorrow. The younger two have already been back at netball and swimming, so they have come up ok.

Back on the bike, for me and Marc at least. I'm not too sure how the girls are going to feel about doing so - but as I've just ordered $450 worth of matching cycling jerseys for us all, they may not have a choice! We breed and raise 'em tough around here.


Labels: ,

Friday, October 10, 2008



We are heading off tomorrow for Sunday's 100km ride - Brisbane to the Gold Coast, "Southbank to Southport". Cross your fingers for us that the weather holds - mind you, it'd be typical for it to rain. It seems to do so every time I venture into Queensland. Some goblin somewhere obviously just likes to hear me do a rant along the lines of 'So much for "Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next" (Ok, so that link is from the Sunshine Coast, a bit further north of where we are headed.. but it has to be one of the most overused slogans there ever was!)

As it is, the forecast is for 'a shower or two'. Wonderful!

The kids will miss the first day back at school on Monday - and then it's back into the madness. I've not overdone it this week at all (feeling quite guilty that I haven't done much in the way of exercise. I am blaming the big overdose from the first weekend, and the anticipation of this Sunday's effort. (Not to mention the intended 210km the following weekend!)

The kids have had the 'dagging around' holiday they were all so wistful about when we dragged them off cross country skiing in July.. a fairly reasonable mix of slothing about home, and hanging with friends.

Caitlin got all artistic:

Tonight Alison found her mp3 player. She mentioned last week that she 'didn't know where it was' ... and, callous mother that I am, I did the 'lalalalalalalala' thing, because I really, really didn't want to know that she had been careless/taken it to school and lost it/left it somewhere to be stolen.... The kid has a bit of a track record with 'careless' - and 'vagueness'. I also didn't want her father to hear, because then things get very NOISY, to no avail, because when she gets upset, she is even less likely to remember what the hell she might have done with it. With her, I prefer to go with the 'it'll turn up' M.O. to save myself unnecessary stress.

So .... tonight when they were packing for the car trip, things got a bit tense because, obviously, she was going to wish she had her mp3 player. A suggestion was made to look in the pouch behind the passenger seat in the car.


When was it left there? Oh, only back when we did the 100 mile ride. Like, August.


And these holidays will be remembered forever after as the time Zoe finally decided she does like riding her own bike after all. Getting her to ride around by herself (like most normal kids her age) has been a bit like pulling teeth. - and we've not made much progress in that department in
two years! I pushed things along a bit yesterday by organising for a friend of hers to bring her bike when she came to play yesterday. It took till after lunch for Zoe to agree to give it a go... but somewhere, sometime during the afternoon, something changed. Today she asked "Can I ride my bike?" I tried not to sound too excited when I said "YES!". And she spent most of the day on it.

It had to happen one day.

Well, guess I'd better go pack a few things, and get to bed.


Thursday, October 09, 2008


Next purchase?

My husband wants to get us one of these:

Hah... only kidding. (Well, over my dead body, anyway... I may be crazy, but I am not that crazy.)

What he really wants is one of these:

(Image nicked from here)

It is a Rans Screamer Recumbent Tandem. Apparently it goes fast. (Figure that out from the name, much?) And is comfortable.

It gets reviews like this: (A sign a convert has considered putting up on the back of the captain's seat for 'guest' stokers:)

"Warning: Persons unused to riding recumbents are hereby warned that riding on this bicycle may lead to a compulsion to go out and buy your own recumbent. Management assumes no responsibility for dents to your budget that arise from riding on this bicycle. "

and this:

"If you don't want to buy this bike, do NOT let your stoker take a ride on one."

I've never ridden a recumbent - Marc has had a quick go on a couple. (Mind you, he failed spectacularly to even get moving on one he had a quick try of the other day - the kids were in hysterics - "My god, Dad can't do something!!!!" ) But those who do are absolute converts.

So I told him, OK, I'd have a go on one. Given it'd be a bit of a challenge to find one to test ride in Australia, I'm pretty safe, but with this husband, you just never know.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008



Sheesh, I am so easily distracted. I find it hard to focus on the list of things I need to do - and totally crap at prioritising what to do when. So the usual result is not to achieve much at all.

These school holidays I have resented time out of the house, because I can't get done what I need to get done. Yet when I'm home, I'm struggling to achieve what I need to do.

I've been complaining (silently- up there in my head) for days that my grand scheme of putting aside all these things to do 'in the holidays' was a dumb one, because the kids, basically, distract me. (How dare they?!! Rattling around, just BEING there!)

I can't get to the computer when I want to, because one of them will inevitably be on it. I might ask them to move - after all, it is MY computer - but then I am distracted by their grumblings, and fighting over whose turn it is on the kids' computer, yadda, yadda, yadda. I am distracted, in fact, by their mere presence. The other computer is right next to this one, and most of the time there will be one of them tapping away furiously at the keyboard. *taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap* slouched so far down in the chair, I've begun asking if they'd prefer a bed to the ergonomically sound office chair they'd been bought. The fact that they will be, to me, wasting their time on some site like Habbo (which seems to chew up the RAM and make the computer go sloooooooow forever after until a reboot is necessary) or Barbie, or Myspace, along with sixty squillion Messenger chat screens on the go at once, tends to make me irritated.

If I kick them off the computer, they'll turn the TV on.. which distracts me some more. Or (in the case of the youngest only) they will sprawl around reading - a worthy pastime of course, but what about the obesity epidemic, and the fact that there is something inherently wrong with kids who don't just get outside and, I don't know... move around?! They live 150 m from a beach for heaven's sakes!

So today, some fairy godmother or other must have noticed my plight, and, like magic, all three had a call inviting them, spontaneously, to hang with friends. One by one they've vanished. Just like that. *poof*

Woo hoo!

And here I am alone at last! And prowling restlessly, not sure of which project or chore to sink my teeth into. Because whichever one I do, I will be thinking that another really would have been a better choice, a higher priority.

Netball website stuff. BUG website stuff. Teach myself more about website stuff. Science experiment and report for TAFE. Writing pieces for TAFE Language portfolio. Some crazy 'observation' for TAFE "Communication Skills" - "Observe an interaction you have observed between two or more people. Analyse the interaction by explaining what you observed; what interpersonal communication cues you identified and how appropriate they were for he situation." Sheesh, what interaction am I going to 'observe' that I am not involved in?

But the floor is overdue for a vacuum, bathroom needs cleaning BADLY, the freezer needs a defrost (how is that so, I thought it was a frost free frigging fridge?!) the freezer in the fridge in the shed needs defrosting...

... and so on, and so on....

[And noting that none of the above will earn me any money!]

I've booked the maxi taxi for our Melbourne weekend. Does that count?


Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Domestic bliss.. or not

Or: How to get what you want with a tantrum.

On Saturday morning we were back to the family tandem riding. (Nothing like last minute training for the kids for the 100km ride next weekend!) With the Triple, and the Cannondale tandem, we have this eternal dilemma as far as the older two kids are concerned. Riding on the triple with Dad rates much more highly than riding on the other tandem with Mum. Yes, Dad is a better rider.. goes faster... etc. etc. (Nothing like feeling like the loser prize in a 'drawing the short straw' contest - my lot in life, I'm afraid.. *sigh*)

We've tried to make it so the girls can take turns, but the reality is that Ms 15 is (and has been for more than the two year age difference) a better stoker than her younger sister. Put Ms 13 on the back of the bike with me, and we go as slow as a wet week, and I get... frustrated. We can't keep up with the triple.

But it's not just her... she just seems to compound an issue I've had with this bike ever since we got it. I've never liked it.

Hoo-boy... You have to be game to say that about a $2000 bike. (Bought because I was a wee bit envious about how he got to ride the sleek and beautiful CoMotion Triple. Needless to say, Himself has, thus far, pretty much dismissed my grumblings as the ravings of a lunatic. (Or a spoilt brat.) Never mind that Ms 15, who has so far been my partner on all the long rides we have done on it, has always agreed with me.

From the beginning we knew that I was going to have trouble with the frame size at the front. We thought we'd solved it by putting a shorter stem on the headset - to bring the handlebars in closer. The problem with that was it always seemed to make the bike more twitchy to steer, and I've never felt truly comfortable with it.

We had problems with the gears - (the chain falling off and snapping at one point...) He put new derailleurs on it. And a new chain. And new other stuff that I can't even remember. Like new shifters.... Sheesh, how much stuff have we changed on this $2000 bike?

Still, Cait and I always reckoned that it felt slow and cumbersome.

That's impossible! he would cry. It's so light! Just because the tubes in the frame are bigger - they have to be because they are aluminium. But that's what makes it lighter! And you actually do get it moving along. You've just forgotten what the old tandem was like.

It doesn't feel better.. we'd mutter. But what would we know?!

In June he put the old stem back on the headset, and rode it himself on dirt with Other Women (*mutter mutter*) in that crazy adventure race he did, and thought it was great. As did they. They raved about The Cannondale. More proof that Cait and I were just stupid. (Never mind the fact that Cannondale are actually not considered, among serious tandem owners, as being 'up there' with the leading tandem manufacturers.)

Back to this weekend, and the first time I'd ridden it since then. Stokers were swapped - Cait's turn for the triple, in the interests of fairness - and we set out on the early morning community ride.

From the outset I got cranky. When I tried to use the top few gears on the middle chain ring, it would rattle like crazy. Unusable. (So I couldn't use the very gears I most prefer to ride in!) Changing to the big ring all the time made my thumb hurt on the shifter, and we were sloooow. I felt like throwing it into a ditch.

The triple got well ahead of us, and as we passed them going the other way on a loop, I yelled out to him "This is a piece of sh*t". Not the first time I have called it that, I confess. I am classy like that at times.

We took a bit of a short cut on the loop to try and catch up with the group we were riding with... it was a few kilometres later that Marc and the triple caught up with us. (They'd doubled back, but missed us when we took the short cut.)

Why don't you answer your bloody phone? I felt my back pockets for my phone. No phone. Must have left it in the car. One way to put him in a good mood. Not.

He was cranky. I was cranky. He accused me of exaggerating. OK, I did exaggerate.. a little bit. I said I couldn't use the whole middle ring. OK, then half. (Reality... top 3 out of 8). I accused him of not understanding. 'Domestic' time, out there on the streets.

Finally I pouted, I've never bloody liked it.. and I don't want to ride it this weekend. Cait and I will ride our singles.

May as well sell it then. Says He.


(Oops, he didn't expect that. Stalemate. )

The "conversation" continued once we got home, in a slightly less aggressive tone. We did agree that unfortunately, Alison just wasn't as good a stoker as her sister. She lacks the intuition that Cait and I have as stokers.. she rides to her own beat, and so you never feel in harmony when you ride with her. And I just don't have the power to 'carry' her. We would always be slower, and the triple would always be impatiently waiting for us to catch up.

He agreed to "fix" the gears, but Cait and I told him we'd still rather ride our single road bikes. He couldn't fathom this at all, never mind the concern that this would spell the end of our family tandem riding. But you'll be slower! and I may as well just sell the triple as well then.

I suggested that he was jumping the gun a bit - he could still ride the triple with Alison and Zoe, till Alison was capable of riding a single for some distance, and then he could ride the Cannondale with Zoe. (Seeing he thought there was nothing wrong with it.) Stalemate.

We discussed buying a different tandem, a less 'mountain-bike' one -a 'small' road tandem. But you couldn't guarantee not having the same problem, plus there was the question of my strength in captaining a road tandem.

Stalemate again.

OK. Can you PLEASE explain it to me. I need something concrete to work on here.

How to explain the ethereal to Mr Practical? We needed a thesaurus to find words for the indescribable. (Think Dr Who with his 'wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff')

It's like riding an elephant. But it's light as! OK, an inflatable elephant! It's like paddling an inflatable canoe. Sure it's light, but it just doesn't...go. It's wallowy. It's ponderous. (Caitlin looks at me with a raised eyebrow: "ponderous?") You feel like you are wallowing along.. your pedalling effort just doesn't translate. You feel all... blobby wobby.. or something... You feel like you are boinging along in a jalopy.

Never mind the issue with the steering.. and my reach. I couldn't see how that was fixable. Let's face it, I just don't fit the bike.

I don't care if you sell it, I said. Riding a tandem is meant to be fun, and the truth is we just do NOT have fun riding this. We would have more fun on our singles. We might be slower at first, but we have room for improvement. With this? We just don't feel like we can get anywhere.

I left him to ponder this.

My husband, once he gets over his initial frustrations (and he can be a bit on the impatient side at times - where I feel like killing him, and he, no doubt, feels like killing me) - is a genius.

He decides it has to be 'in the wheels'. They are the only thing on the bike in contact with the ground. And then , just *like that*, he produces another stronger, wheel - one which would flex less - from out of the shed. Replaces the back wheel. It was one he had bought for the previous tandem, but not got around to using. As you do.

He also finds a different seat tube which doesn't right angle back. It will bring me closer to the handlebars without the twitchy issue.

I change the actual saddle for good measure.

Cait and I ride around the block, and we cannot BELIEVE the difference. It grips the road. When we pedal we feel as if you are making headway. No more jalopy-style. It DOES make a difference.

And so we went for a 50km ride yesterday. Cait is resigned to riding with Mum... (she will milk it, I am sure.. for having to put up with the warped consequence of being the better stoker..).. but we proved to ourselves that we can get that baby moving. Definitely faster than the two of us on singles. Which is what a tandem is meant to be.

Family crisis averted.

The moral to the story?

Tantrums CAN get you what you want. Just make sure you have back up - especially when you are dealing with an impatient but clever man.

And.. what a difference a wheel can make.




Sunday, October 05, 2008


The Gambler

"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run."

I don't gamble with money. I gamble with wine.

I gamble with how many glasses I can afford to .. um.. "imbibe"... during dinner preparations, and the meal as well.

I'm making myself sound like a bit of an alco here. Hah. The stakes are laughably low. I'm talking here about.. oh... three glasses!

Three?! Oh please... Throw in a dash of melancholy, and by the time I've drained the second glass, I'm apparently less capable of ensuring I match each glass with a glass or two of water, of counting, probably, of caring about the potential consequences, and thus, knowing when it would be wise to stop.

Consequences? Oh yes.

Going to bed with the beginnings of a headache. Waking up with a worse headache. Taking headache tablets (with food)... but feeling as bad if not worse. Nauseous as well.

Throwing up. (You're welcome.) .. at least that helped.

Feeling fragile the rest of the day, so writing off yet another family weekend day.

Husband thinks the headache tablets are what take me over the edge. I don't know...

What I do know it that it's time I knew to walk away. Full stop. No more wine.
It's just not worth the gamble.

(Or can I get away with just one glass?... )


Friday, October 03, 2008


Domestic Blitz.. or not

Do you ever have days when you start chipping away at the various chores that await you, and feel that you'll never make an impact? That's how I'm feeling right now (as I glance at the clock and wonder if pouring a wine at 3.40pm would make me an alcoholic...) Although at least the mowed yard will look mown a tad longer than anything I manage to clean up inside the house.

Even though I've had some time at home this week (the first of two week's school holidays) this is the first day I feel up to getting stuck in to The Mess with any semblance of gusto.

To be fair on myself, I've had a few days where my services were required elsewhere. [Please to include a day to recover from the cycle madness in that; even if Marc had to go to work, I was going to sloth for a day, thank you very much.]

There was a day where I took Ms 13 plus two friends into the hospital to do a birthday surprise for the friend whose Mum is in hospital on a permanent basis. [And while they went off MacDonalds-ing and bowling, I stayed at the hospital.] Scratch that day for housework.

And then another day doing some 'shopping' with the girls, which, in my book, vies with 20 hour marathon bike rides for the way it leaves you tired and lethargic and incapable of caring about the state the house is in when you get home.

(Are we detecting a theme here? If I do anything else in a day, then I can't seem to find the energy for dealing with the house!)

All week I've had a sore right shoulder/upper arm - probably fallout from the bike ride. I got to the chiro this morning and he concurred .. neck jam leads to shoulder retaliation, and ouchies time. It is much improved after clicks and crunches, and so I've turned my attention to the house.

The much neglected house.

Poor house. Poor unvacuumed, undusted, dishevelled, and unkempt house. It needs TLC. More than that. It needs a makeover - I struggle with the TLC when it's so.. pathetic... It needs Renovation Rescue, Backyard Blitz, and any other domestic/home improvement reality show you can think of.. all rolled into one.

Unfortunately it ain't gonna happen till we deal with it ourselves.. and I need some kind of mental makeover myself to make any headway. It's something I am working on, I suppose. The course I'm doing hasn't yet led me to an epiphany in terms of career choice or direction, but it's teaching me how to be mentally tougher and more self confident. I think.

(More organised? The jury is still out on that one too...)

So I've mowed OK! And tried not to think about all the 'shrubbery' gone mad (no, you couldn't call any of it 'garden') and the fact that we need a few solid days of full-on pruning to make a dent in it.

I am putting off the 'schoolwork' reallocated to the holiday zone. There is all of next week for that.

I can now see the kitchen benches. And everything is finally unpacked from the weekend! (I even found a missing knife!)

Progress, folks, Tracey style.

And, we're back on bikes tomorrow (not sure my crotch is ready for it, but what can I do...) While Marc and I aren't short of cycle mileage, the girls are, and the NEXT weekend we are off on another family/tandem bike ride - the Brisbane to Gold Coast ride.... a mere 100km! Training time! Time on bikes! Meaning 'I don't know the hell when we'll get stuff done around the house' time.. but.. whatever...

Poor house. But it's not as if it's going anywhere...


Thursday, October 02, 2008


Still wondering why...

[Cartoon from local paper, Coffs Coast Advocate, Monday 29th Sep, 2008]

Resuming transmission sometime soon. School holidays proving to have distractions as well - who'd have thought... For some reason I find the cartoon funny.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?