Debbie’s First Real Week of Retirement
Even though Debbie’s last day of work was on Monday, 3 April, our trip to New Orleans on 6 – 8 April occupied 2 of the three days that she would have been off on vacation instead of being at work. So, technically, this past week was her first real taste of what it was like to set her own schedule without having to be at work or vacationing. So, what did she do with that time? Well, part of it was spent decompressing and taking in the entire concept of being retired: I’m guessing it’s a pretty big change. She was able to get our taxes done without having to take off from work, she spent a day visiting with her mother, she logged over 100 miles on her bicycle doing rides from the house and was able to be at home and relaxed instead of stressing over the day’s events at work when I arrived home: nice to have only one of us doing all the stressing over work. Now, it’s not like there aren’t other things that introduce stress into our lives and this past week gave us a vivid reminder of just how unpredictable life can be. So, you take the good with the bad and give thanks that we have a family network that always rises to the occasion when need be.
Finally a Friday
I’d thought about leaving out of work a bit early on Friday as the calendar seemed light; however, that never came to pass: it’s always something. But, at least it wasn’t one of those days when 5:00pm came and went and suddenly it was 6:30pm or 7:00pm. Those are rare on Friday’s, but I’m guessing that we may have more of those on the horizon as we’ll be doing a lot of all hands on deck here in the not too distant future as the work tempo ratchets up.
But, at least this past Friday I was able to get home at a reasonable hour and then it was off to Loco’s for our Finally a Friday Celebration. I was pretty tired for some reason so while we had a good night at Loco’s with our friends, it wasn’t really an epic night. And maybe that’s a good thing: it’s been a busy month thus far and there’s really no end in sight. In terms of what’s been planned, but what is also subject to change if we need to go and lend some assistance to my folks up in Pennsylvania:
- Next Saturday, 22 April, we’ll celebrate Debbie’s 60th a few days early with friends at Loco Willy’s. Sunday, the 23rd, we’ll be celebrating a host of April birthdays in her family up in Canton, including her mother’s .
- On Tuesday the 25th of April we’ll most likely celebrate Debbie’s actual birthday with the kids and grandkids back at Henry’s similar to her actual retirement back on 3 April.
- The following Friday and Saturday, 28 & 29 April, we’ll be headed away for a couple nights to put a bow on Debbie Fest.
- A few days later on Wednesday, 3 May, we’ll be riding our Harley-Davidson Road King “Blue II” down to Panama City Beach where we’ll meet up with a large group of friends for the four-day long spring bike week.
- The following weekend Mother’s Day and my 57th birthday fall on Sunday, 14 May, so we may go and celebrate with a night away on Saturday as I’m guessing the kids will be by on Sunday afternoon.
- The follow Thursday, 18 May, we’re currently scheduled to drive down to Valdosta, Georgia, for 3-days of tandem cycling at the Georgia Tandem Rally.
- The following Friday & Saturday, 26 & 27 May, we’ve tentatively planned to head up to the Clemson, South Carolina, area for a one-day cycling event where we’ll team up with our friend Lisa on the triplet for the ride.
- The following weekend we’ve got granddaughter Charlotte’s ballet recital on 3 June and then we’ll be heading out of town on Sunday-Friday, 4 -9 June for a little R&R that doesn’t involve motorcycles or bicycles.
Yeah, it’s a pretty busy schedule but I think things calm down a bit in June. However, they’ll pick up again in July as we’ll spend at least one week in Pennsylvania visiting with my folks on 10-13 July (assuming we don’t head there earlier) and then make the 45 minute drive down to Manheim, Pennsylvania for the Tandems East Tandem Weekend on 14-16 July before heading back home.
Oh yes, and 16 July is our 24th wedding anniversary so spending 11 hours driving home and arriving close to midnight may not be the ideal way to celebrate. Perhaps I’ll just need to figure out how to sneak in a trip down to Key West around the first weekend in July as we’ve done for a couple years, but I don’t think we’ll have time to do it on the motorcycle: probably a fly-down and back trip. Geez-o-Pete, so little time and so much to do.
My Saturday began with a pre-arranged early morning trip to the grocery store to pick up the things Debbie needed for her Easter Sunday dinner for the kids and grandkids. It was my way of making sure she’d have enough time to do a few other things in between a morning tandem bike ride and an afternoon motorcycle ride. Once I was back at the house I finally gave the truck an overdue wash as it had endured heavy pollen, several rain storms, the trip to New Orleans and back. I probably need to give it another deep cleaning and the Zaino treatment since it’s also been sitting outside in the weather 24/7 since we brought Debbie’s Honda Accord home in late November: there’s just not enough room and a few vehicles still need to go. On the bright side, we’re pretty sure a friend is going to buy our 2011 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide in the next week or two so they can ride it down to Panama City Beach on 7 May. Sadly, the person at Debbie’s office never followed up on his expressed interest in buying the Honda S2000 as that would have been a nice and easy transaction; however, our son Wesley mentioned he has a friend who owns a used car dealership that will take consignments for a very reasonable fee vs. a percentage of the sales price. So, the Honda S2000 may be headed out of the garage and onto the dealer’s lot where hopefully — given it’s spring and folks are getting their refund checks — someone will buy it through an intermediary so we don’t have to personally mess around with the selling process. But as usual I digress…
It was around 10:00am when we headed out for a much-needed ride on our tandem. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather… although a little less pollen would have been appreciated. Speaking of which, I’m just about over the crud. I’ve still got a bit of sinus congestion and drainage from time-to-time, but the more serious sore throat and cough are now behind me… thank goodness. It was a very good ride for us given how few miles we’ve logged over the winter and thus far this spring. We pushed a healthy pace, but opted not to make it too ambitious since we had a few more things to do on Saturday and Sunday would also be another demanding day.
Once we were back at the house the next item on our agenda was getting some two-up time on the big bike, Blue. The same foul winter coupled with our bouts of Flu A & B in February & March that kept us off the tandem bicycle has also kept us from racking up mileage on the Harley-Davidson Road King. With a 6-hour, 325 mile ahead of us in less than three full weeks, we really needed to get in a few hours of saddle time on Blue. So, to make the most of our Saturday I suggested to Debbie during dinner on Friday night that we head up to the Dahlonega area for a leisurely lunch stop. That would give us about 150 miles and 3 hours of saddle time, but still get us back at home in time for dinner at Loco Willy’s on Saturday night.
Like the tandem ride, the weather was perfect for a nice ride on the big bike. We headed north through Canton towards Dahlonega, Georgia, and had a fairly uneventful ride, including a pretty enjoyable trip up the freeway. We had a light lunch and then spent a few hours just relaxing and enjoying the warm sun before heading back towards home around 3:30pm. We had to take a slight detour near Tate, Georgia, when we found ourselves at a dead stop on the narrow and winding two-lane mountain road after two cars got together and blocked both lanes. It was a short detour that added another 10 minutes to our ride so we were still home by 5:30pm with plenty of time to get cleaned up before heading to Loco’s.
We had a nice time visiting with David & Deb again at Loco’s as well as most of the other regulars but I was just out of it for some reason. Perhaps I just had too much fun in the sun between the tandem, motorcycle and sitting out in the sun earlier in the day. Of course, I think I knew that before we even left the house as earlier in the day I’d thought seeing if Debbie wanted to go and see our friend Jody’s band at a local club after dinner. However, I put that idea right out of my head before we even left the house given how I was feeling. So, we had a fairly quiet evening back at the house and watched the 1st episode of Archer’s 8th season: a good end to a good day.
The plan for the day on Sunday was yard work for me as Debbie prepared for a visit by the kids around 11:00am. The latter included making what always ends up being a meal for 3 times as many people as we’ll have on hand, putting together Easter baskets for the girls, stuffing plastic eggs with goodies for the egg hunt and what-not. Somewhere in the back of our minds we thought we might get in a second tandem ride but that never came to pass.
I had hedges trimmed, leaves blown and the front & back lawns trimmed, edged and cut by 9:30am and headed off to get some air filters for the HVAC system since I was expecting the kids and grandkids to be over around 11:00am. Imagine my surprise when I found the kids SUV in the driveway when I pulled at 10:45am. Oh well, with Debbie distracted out in the back yard taking photos with the kids I was able to bring in her bouquet of Easter flowers, card, etc. without her seeing it and that made for a nice surprise a bit later when she finally noticed her colorful, artificial center piece on the kitchen table had been replaced by cut flowers.
We had a very nice visit with the kids and had lunch eaten and the end hunt wrapped up before 1:00pm, noting the kids had to get home and cleaned up so they could go to Julie’s brother’s home for the Kohler family’s Easter gathering. Unfortunately, this means our oldest — Charlie & girlfriend Kristy – who were running about 2 hours late had about 10 minutes to visit with the entire family. But, that wasn’t all bad as it gave Charlie, Kristy and Debbie time to sit and talk about a myriad of subjects for the next couple hours, which was good. They don’t often get that kind of time to just sit and chat without the little kids running around, etc.
While Debbie was visiting with Charlie and Kristy I kept up with the laundry and also met with our friends Arne & Monica who came by to pick up the 2011 Harley Wide Glide, aka. Betty. They’d been at a conference on Thursday night through the morning, but wanted to borrow Betty one last time so Monica could get in some saddle time before fully committing to the purchase as well as making the same 325 mile down to Panama City Beach in a few weeks on Betty. So, assuming all things go well with the final test rides, we’ll have found Betty a new home by the end of April.
I also spent some time noodling over how to “fix” the landscaping in our backyard. Long time readers may recall, we created a landscaping plan where the center piece was our huge, 200 year old Oak tree that we surrounded with a pine straw island and, around that there was a pine bar path. It made for a love, shade-covered portion of the back yard and everything we planted in that part of the yard was shade-loving. Well, the tree died (or, more likely was done-in by the folks who did the grading and sprinkler installation) 4 years after the landscaping was completed leaving us with a bunch of shade-loving plants in full sun all day. So, after attempting to fill the void with a Weeping Willow that also died, I’m thinking the best thing to do is to expand the lawn into that space. If my measurements are correct, it will take about 750 square feet of Zoysia sod (about 1.5 pallets) to fill in all but a 10′ x 10′ circle in the middle of the yard for a Japanese maple tree. Although, I’m still debating the tree vs. all sod. So, more to follow.
With pretty much everything else done that I’d had on my list, I started to work off the targets of opportunity. The first was to re-arrange the “bike bay” now that Betty had a new home such that it would be easier to walk around the other two bikes and to get them in and out of the garage without having to shuffle cars around. After getting the motorcycles situated I also decided to give the BMW R1100S an oil change, as I was pretty sure that with 28,000 miles on the odometer it was about due. Well, that and I’d grown tired of moving around the 5 quart containers of Mobil 1 oil I bought for our 2004 BMW R1150RT and decided the best way to get that out of the garage was to put it in the other BMW! Not sure why I’ve not done that before, but I suspect I must have had a good reason. Shortly after having the oil change finished up Charlie and Kristy headed on out. Sadly, it was nearly 4:30 and a bit too late for a tandem ride, if only because Debbie was exhausted from her long day and I was feeling a bit tired as well.
We stayed in for dinner and had… you guess it: left overs! Debbie had sent a lot of the excess food home with the kids, but there was still more than enough around for us as well. Like I said, no one can complain about not getting enough to eat when Debbie makes a meal. After paying some bills and doing a few other home office things we settled in and watched the second episode of Archer: just too darn funny! On the bright side, I also figured out how to solve a problem I was having with our streaming so the rest of Season 8’s episodes should be a lot easier to enjoy!
That’s about it. I had a sleepless night as I often do on Mondays of late: not sure what’s up with that. Debbie’s also struggling a bit with her sleep, so clearly we both must have a lot on our minds, that or we’re both drinking too much caffeine! But, all-in-all a pretty good weekend! And to think, this will be one of the more relaxing ones we’ll have for a few weeks: yikes!!!