I’m guessing we must have over-achieved on our July 4th vacation week in terms of “shutting off” nearly all ties to work at the office or at home for all seven days as our weekends since returning have “felt” more like schedule-driven workdays. You know, the kind of days where your time is managed against a to-do list filled with tasks and meetings instead of having just one or two things you’d like to do or a specific place to go.
This weekend was no different, particularly since my work-from-home / semi-off Friday became a true work day through noon. I really shouldn’t complain as we’ve got folks at the plant working a lot more than the 48 – 58 hour weeks that I typically work. But, having that extra day to get things done so that Saturday and Sunday have a few less “tasks” and a little more free-time becomes pretty important for us.
As for “biking” the only two-wheel ride time we were able to fit in was a tandem bicycle ride on Saturday morning. The motorcycles weren’t touched except for the replacement of a fork seal on the BMW and a few moments in the wash rack for the BMW and Blue II. Yeah, just that kind of a weekend.
Like any working Friday, I was in the office at 6:00am ahead of a ½ day meeting that would go from 8:00 a.m. until noon. Right on the heels of my meeting I had a dental appointment at 12:30 p.m., giving me just enough time to get from the plant to the dental office. Sadly, that meant I wouldn’t be able to meet Miss Debbie for our every other Friday lunch date at The Red Eyed Mule. Missing our lunch date had me out-of-sorts as I truly look forward to having one day every two weeks when I get to see Debbie in the middle of a workday.
My dental appointment turned into something of a marathon as I was in the chair for at least 90 minutes, much of it wait and queue time. Now, some of the in-chair time was longer than usual as I was told I needed a “deep cleaning” to head-off some potential issues. Interestingly enough, I think Debbie was give this deep cleaning treatment during her last visit as well. My suspicious nature wonders if the dental industry hasn’t figured out how to extract some additional revenue per patient visit with “new methods” of detecting potential dental issues. If I recall correctly, it added about $500 to the dental visit of which I had to cover $135 while my insurer carried the other $365: that’s the first time I’ve ever had to go out of pocket for a dental visit and yes, I do care about the total cost: trust me, we’re paying for it one way or another.
I had to stop and pick up a few things at the grocery store on the way home from the dentist but found by the time I had arrived back at the house I was pretty tired. I suspect it was a combination of the ½ day meeting, the dental deep cleaning and the heat… oh the heat. We’ve been enjoying mid-90’s on most days with high humidity and several pop-up thunder showers or sun showers at all times of the day: early morning, noon, afternoon, early evening, and during the night. It’s not the kind of weather that lifts your spirits by a long shot.
Debbie arrived home around 5:30 p.m. and we headed off to Loco Willy’s around 6:00 p.m. We ended sitting at a table for dinner as there were only a couple empty seats at the bar: it’s been a recurring issue on Friday nights and something that we’re not thrilled about. The food, drinks and even the service in most cases is outstanding at the tables – the Loco gals always do a great job of taking care of us – but we prefer to sit at the bar: it’s how we roll!
I think it must have been around 7:30 p.m. when Debbie and I headed home without really much of a plan other than relaxing for a bit and watching a few more episodes of Archer (we were almost through Season 5 of 7). As we walked in the door Debbie received a text from our friend Carrie Ann asking if we were at Loco’s. You may recall from last weeks’ blog entry that Carrie Ann and her hubby Bobby had been in Jamaica since the previous Friday along with Ryan & Jeanette, Jeff & Sharon, Patti and some other friends. Well, they apparently returned to Atlanta around 6:00pm and God love ‘em, they were hoping to join us at Loco’s for dinner! So, after I received a call from Ryan wherein he confirmed they were on their way to Loco’s, we got back in the truck and made the 8-mile drive back to Loco’s to join them. We had a grand time – as we ALWAYS do – visiting with Carrie Ann, Bobby, Ryan & Jeanette, and Patti and getting to hear about their week-long vacation, etc. Lots of good etcetera! Everyone was too tired to get wild and crazy so I think we were headed home by 10:00 p.m. or thereabouts.
I guess it was on Thursday night when I learned our 16-year old grandson Jacob was going to visit with us from mid-day Saturday through mid-day Sunday. That gave us just enough time for a tandem ride on Saturday morning before Debbie would need to head off to pick up Jacob at her mother’s home in Canton.
Debbie slept in a little while I made myself busy downstairs. She was up a bit later and we were out of the house for our road tandem ride by 10:10 a.m., which would just give us enough time for a 25-mile ride while still getting Debbie home in time to collect Jacob. I think we were both a little out-of-sorts in the morning before we started the ride – probably a combination of things – but the ride as usual made everything right with the world. The weather was well, weird. We had some mostly cloudy skies when we rolled out of the driveway, some dark enough to cause Debbie to wonder if we weren’t going to get rained on right from the start. About 10 minutes later blue skies opened up and we had a mostly sunny ride for the next 30 minutes or so. However, about 14 miles into the ride the skies began to get ugly again as we made the push back towards the house. It looked like we had a 50/50 chance of getting home dry and with the exception of a few rain drops just a mile short of the house we beat the odds.
As soon as we arrived back at the house Debbie took a quick shower and headed off to collect Jacob. I headed off to run some errands and the general plan was to meet at The Red Eyed Mule for lunch around 1:30 p.m. Everything worked out pretty well in terms of timing and I’m pretty sure Jacob enjoyed his first burger at The Mule. I know that Debbie and I certainly enjoyed our ‘make-up date’ from Friday!
After lunch Debbie and Jacob rode along with me down to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta where I hoped to be able to pick up the parts I needed to service a leaky fork seal on my R1100S. Debbie had not been in their new-to-them building and was pretty amazed and the sheer size of the place. To be honest, I’m still amazed every time I walk in: there’s easily over $1M worth of inventory sitting on the showroom floor, most of it motorcycles from BMW & Ducati with a few Husqvarna dirt bikes in the mix. I’m like a kid in a candy store there, far more so than at the Harley dealership where only one or two bikes will trip my fancy. Thankfully, they had all the parts that I needed – a seal, bushing and washer – so I’d be able to knock that little project out at some point over the weekend.
After getting my parts we offered to take Jacob out shopping for some clothes but he said he’d just gotten new shoes, jeans and had enough shirts for “back to school” and didn’t seem interested in doing much. So, it was pretty much a straight shot back to The Mule where Debbie and Jacob jumped back in her little red Honda and headed for home. I had to make a side trip over to the home improvement store to pick up a new shower head for our master bath, as the 23-year old one’s mounting bracket finally failed. I also had to pick up an oil seal removal tool, a seal/bearing press kit and a bushing removal tool from the auto parts store: I scored three out of four, having no luck finding a bushing removal tool.
Back at the house I made quick work of replacing the shower head, noting to Debbie that it was merely a temporary replacement. Once I refinished the wood floors downstairs my next project is tearing out the shower in our bathroom so I can reconfigure it to resolve some of the issues we’ve always had with the original, i.e., shower head / door placement, size, etc.
We went to Loco Willy’s for dinner and introduced Jacob to our friends David & Deb as well as several other Loco’s regulars. As we did on Friday night, we ended up sitting at a table instead of the bar. We had good time and were able to get Jacob engaged in a couple of the conversations for a short while. I’m sure it was a different kind of a dining experience for him as I’m fairly confident that sports bars are not where his folks go when they dine out: Longhorn’s is more the norm. Sadly, Jacob seemed a bit distant and disengaged despite our best efforts to keep him actively engaged in our conversations and the goings-on at Loco’s.
After dinner we went back to the house and watched Pirates of the Caribbean, a movie Jacob somehow missed. It had been a while since we’d seen it and in retrospect it really was the best of the bunch. The sequels just jumped the shark by introducing too many sci-fi / sorcery themes and the Capt. Jack Sparrow character bordered on being a buffoon instead of just a bit stir crazy as he was in the original. Anyway, that pretty much wrapped up our evening at home.
Once again I was up before Debbie on Sunday morning and after doing my morning reading via the internet set about to get my batter made and griddle warmed-up so, if and when Debbie and Jacob emerged from upstairs, I could fix some pancakes. I should note I tend to make my pancakes so they turn out very thin instead of thick and fluffy: ½ way between a pancake and a crepe. I’ve always liked them that way and so has Debbie. Apparently Jacob did too as he started out with just two but easily polished off several more.
We’d talked about taking Jacob out mountain biking on Sunday morning but between him being very tired or otherwise lacking energy and motivation, some equipment issues like not having a helmet that was large enough or proper shoes for him, it was really a non-starter and something we’d need to plan ahead for if he makes return visits… which would be fine by me. I suspect with a little forewarning I’d be able to line up both some recreational activities as well as some projects around the house that would give him an outlet for getting a little exercise and/or practicing some home / vehicle maintenance skills. We’ll see what happens with that. While I truly to cherish our alone time, we just don’t get enough time with Jacob for a variety of reasons.
Anyway, after getting everyone started on breakfast I headed out to the garage to start work on replacing the BMW’s fork seal. There’s blog entry on that so you can use this LINK to read all of the details if you’re so inclined. The short version is, it was actually a pretty easy repair once I had all of the tools and parts needed. My biggest challenge was finding a bushing removal tool and after striking out at several auto parts stores I finally made one from some large washers, nuts and bolts.
After getting the leaky seal replaced and the BMW mostly back together I decided to give it a much-needed wash. But, as I pulled it into the middle bay of the garage over the floor drain I decided Debbie’s little car was also in dire need of a washing before she took Jacob back up home so it became my first priority. I had it dried off and ready to go and had started washing the BMW about the time she and Jacob emerged from the house around 2:00 p.m.
Curiously, Jacob had spent the better part of the late morning and early afternoon sleeping which we attributed to some of his meds plus the warm weather. We later learned he’d injured his hand on Thursday night and it was apparently more serious than he or his parents realized. In retrospect that would certainly explain in part why he seemed to be a pre-occupied, not all that enthusiastic about doing much and in need of a lot of quiet rest during his visit.
After giving the BMW a good deep cleaning and a fresh coat of Zaino ZF sealer/polish I put Blue II up on the lift in the wash bay to remove the road grime she’d collected during our last two rides, as we ran into rain on both. While part of me rationalized washing the vehicles was truly a waste of time and energy as they were just going to get rained on in the next day or so, all three of them really needed it: you can only allow so much gunk to collect on vehicles before that grime begins to do bad things! In fact, based on what I saw with the BMW fork’s oil seal, it may have been road grime migrating past the dust seal that finally worked its way into the oil seal to cause the leaks.
With the motorcycles washed and put away I got changed and headed out to do some yardwork while waiting for Debbie to return. If she’d gotten back early enough I was going to either suggest we get some sun or head over to visit with our friends Jeff & Sharon: they’d invited us along with several other friends to hang out on their dock and have a pot-luck dinner. It must have been around 3:30 when Debbie called to let me know she was on her way back towards the house, but I was out cutting the lawn at the time. It was probably 4:15 p.m. when I finally saw she’d called and my guess was she’d be stopping to get groceries on her way home, as that was definitely still on the to-do list.
She arrived home about 30 minutes later, just moments before the skies let loose with another fairly heavy rainfall. That definitely but the kaabash on any outdoor afternoon activities. So, our attention turned to marinating and grilling steaks (for my breakfast muffins) and then making my pizza sauce and prepping the other fixings – Cajun sausage, chicken, onion, green peppers and cashews – to go on a Boboli pizza crust for our dinner. It had been easily two months since we’d had our last pizza as we’d been having chicken wings for dinner on most Sundays when we were at home. The pizza was a nice change and it was one of the better pies that’s come out of our oven: 500F and 12 minutes worked really well!
We spent the evening finishing up laundry and other chores before sitting down to watch a few more episodes of Archer: good grief that show is addicting! Glad we’ve been able to stream it off the web!!
Looking forward, this week I’ll need to get the wood floors ready for sanding on Friday and then figure out when I can stain and varnish: might need to just do that on a Saturday morning and then head off somewhere for an overnight trip just to ensure the varnish is fully cured before we start walking on it. If I’m hanging around the house I know I’ll bugger it up by getting on it too soon.