I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining about our winter weather here in Atlanta in that as nasty as our weather sometimes seems, it pales in comparison to what our family and friends in the Mid-Atlanta States and a few other select areas experienced this past weekend. My parents up near Reading, Pennsylvania, had ~30 inches of snow and lost power for eight hours, friends down in Florida saw tornados and severe wave action tearing up homes, docks and infrastructure and the list goes on.
Unlike the past few winters, we were spared the slushy, wet snow falling during a mid-week rush hour that turned to ice as it hit the roads and shut down all major secondary and tertiary roads for 2-3 days as frigid temps settled-in. Instead, we had a very nice transition from several days of rain to a very windy wintry mix and then a dusting of snow during the late hours of Friday evening. By mid-morning on Saturday the roads were blown clear of that snow as the sun began to peek through the clouds on what was just a cold winter day with only remnants of snow on the shaded parts of yards and other green spaces.
In fact, even though government offices were shutting down throughout the day on Friday and schools that didn’t close “in anticipation” of bad weather were sending kids home at 2:00pm in the afternoon, weather radar and the trusty thermometer allowed us to carefully manage our travels throughout the day and evening on Friday.
As it so happens, I’d taken Friday off from work to burn some vacation time before it vaporized. That allowed me to take Miss Debbie to work, run errands and then pick her up and take her to lunch at The Red Eye’d Mule. After dropping her back off at the office after lunch I headed home to do a few more errands and sit in on a work-related telephone conference before heading back to pick Debbie up at the end of her work day. As it turned out, her office decided to shut down an hour earlier than normal due to the weather, but with only 10 minutes advanced notice. It took me about 20 minutes to get to Debbie’s office after receiving her call and while we’d planned to go directly from her office to Loco Willy’s, we just didn’t plan on doing so before 5:00pm. Since there was no point in heading home only to turn around and head off to Loco Willy’s, we just went on ahead and decided to start our ‘Finally a Friday’ celebration a bit earlier than usual.
Interestingly enough, the bar and restaurant were already packed when we walked in the front door at 4:30pm; I’m left to assume most were folks who also found themselves headed out of work earlier than normal. A couple of guests made room for us at the corner of the bar and we steadily moved away from the front door to the far side of the bar as other guests departed. On the bright side, cold and wintry days like these always give me an excuse to put on my brightly colored, 3D Coogi sweaters such as the lovely Coogi Blue’s number I was wearing in Friday’s selfie: I think they get a bad rap as ‘ugly sweaters’.
We thought about heading off to a local sports bar after dinner at Loco’s to hear some friends in a band play a 9:00 – midnight gig but figured we’d do better to head for home, light a fire and put in a movie (Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey & Jude Law) as the snow began to fall. It made for a lovely evening and really allowed us to unwind from the week while the winter scene developed outside..
We woke up to a winterized world on Saturday but not one that suggested we’d be housebound for several days. Instead of the aforementioned, iced-over roads there was just a wispy cover of snow on the roads that was quickly blown clean by the 10-15mph winds. We could see neighbors coming and going as the morning wore on and knew that if we really needed to go out for any reason we’d be able to travel without too much concern.
I used the morning to take care of some cycling-related plans for 2016 and other home office ‘stuff’ while Debbie ended up using her ‘at home’ time to head into the exercise room and put in a good 45 minutes of stationary cycling on a resistance trainer. I believe I spent most of the afternoon working on some bicycles out in the garage. As some readers have noted from photos I’ve posted that were taken in our garage we have a fairly robust fleet of bicycles as that truly is my primary outlet for fitness, a catalyst for social friendships and a hobby.
Riding motorcycles has never really been a hobby since I’ve used them off and on for daily transportation since the late 70’s, but they have definitely shaped our social & recreational life since 2011. Fitness, not so much and thankfully ‘tinkering’ with the motorcycles is no longer something I do unless there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
Bicycles, on the other hand, are still something I enjoy tinkering with as a hobby that doesn’t break the bank. I say that knowing full well that I could have bought a nice vacation condo in Florida for what I have sunk into cycling between 1992 and our last major acquisition – the three-seat tandem – back in 2012. Although my discretionary funds have never allowed for high-end cars, they have afforded me access to some really nice bicycles. Thankfully, most folks have no idea what high-end bicycles cost, but it suffices to say the numbers can get pretty insane and fly in the face of logic… right up there with the cost of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Around 1:30 in the afternoon we were invited to join some friends at a local watering hole, as they were feeling the need to get out of the house now that the roads were all in good shape. We finished up our various projects, relaxed for a few moments, got cleaned-up and headed out around 4:00 to join Bobby, Carrie Ann, Jeff & Sharon at The Beer Barrel. It was the first time we’d all gotten together since mid-December and while Facebook lets us keep up with all of our friends, it’s no substitute for true social networking… the kind that can only take place in person. We had a good time at The Barrel, but as dinner time came around Debbie and I had a pending date with some smoked ribs at Loco Willy’s to attend to and began to say our goodbyes.
Turns out everyone else thought a nice meal at Loco’s sounded pretty good so we moved our little party about 12 miles to a table at Loco’s and continued to enjoy the company of our friends for a few more hours. It was a great day, to be sure. We did a repeat of Friday and headed back home to sit by the fire and watch the sequel to Sherlock Holmes before drifting off to a mid-winters’ sleep.
Sunday ended up being our true day to “cocoon’ at the house as the cold air and strong winds put a damper on our hopes of getting out to enjoy a tandem or motorcycle ride. By special request, I whipped up some pancakes from scratch for breakfast – a real treat for both of us as we rarely have anything that sweet and fattening at home anymore. After cleaning up from breakfast I headed out to pick up a few things for several small projects: repairing a faulty back-up spotlight / burned-out light bulb on the truck, replacing the motion-activated spotlight in our backyard and installing a plant shelf for a lovely miniature Hawaiian umbrella tree that we received anonymously from a friend.
It was a little after noon when I finished those three projects and instead of heading off to Loco Willy’s for our weekly hot wing fix I dusted off my own hot wing sauce recipe, my deep fryer and the wings and fries I’d picked up on Friday ahead of the winter storm.
I must say, it was really quite satisfying being back in the kitchen and our home-made hot wings & fries were as tasty as ever. They won’t ever replace Loco’s wings and fries but it was nice enjoying them fresh out of the deep fryer at home.
I finished up my bicycle project after lunch with the Patriots / Denver game playing in the background: it took all of about 2.5 hours to strip all of the parts off of one bicycle frame and move those over to a different frame, put air in the tires and take it for a very cold ride down to the end of the cul-de-sac to make sure the shifting was dialed-in, etc.
We ended our day at home with my third stint in the kitchen, this time making pizza atop a Boboli crust with a home-made pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni (meh), chicken sausage (meh), Ortega chili peppers (yum) and cashew halves (yum). I’m still looking for a thinner crust and may just go to jumbo-size tortillas, similar to the Wild Pies at Olde Towne Tavern & Grille. In my efforts to cut down on fats, I think I over-reached with the turkey pepperoni and chicken-based sausage as well: there’s no substitute for the real thing. So, I’m thinking I’ll use less of the better meats to reach a happy median. All that said, while the pizza lacked the punch of the three I’ve made before, it was still a really good pizza and there were no left-overs! Great way to take in the playoff games and close-out our weekend.
Again, the only gaping hole in our weekend was yet another week having gone by without getting out on Blue with Debbie for a ride. Me, I get to ride the BMW every day even when the weather is cold or wet but that’s no substitute for getting in some quality time with my sweetie on the big Harley. Here’s looking ahead to next weekend as the forecast still looks promising: 60’s and sunny to partly cloudy on Saturday & Sunday.