January’s been a toss. We rode the Centennial Trail for a hangover cure back at the beginning of the month, then spent the majority of the rest hunkered inside, peering fearfully out at the acid rain from slightly drawn curtains. When not doing that, we had carpet installed in the back half of the house, pulling out the old stuff in the not sweet master suite which had likely been there since 1998. The carpet and the not sweet master suite. Having carpet installed in half your house means you have to move half of your crap into the un-to-be-carpeted half. It’s a pain and a half.
Good news is, we were inspired recently by sites like that 57 Things joker that Bike Snob loves to pick on, sites where young people just out of college “discover” minimalism… and package it like it’s a multi level marketing pyramid… which they organically “discover” like it’s a totally new thing… it’s so cute, I have to say. Maybe one of them one day will spend a summer in a cottage near Walden Pond and then find, to their delight, while surfing on their iPad, that some old dude had done something similar way back in the paleolithic somethin somethin, some chap named Thoreau, and they’ll “discover” him and tweet all about it.
Where was I? Oh yeah, well in my day we had to walk 20 miles, uphill, in the SNOW, before we were allowed to be sarcastic.
Inspired as we were by this neu-minimalism (gosh, really they are so cute… maybe they’ll discover meditation, or, like, using coupons?… oh right, Groupon) and while packaging up all the crap in half of the house to store in the other half, we decided to streamline and get ourselves down to 5700 things. And I can with confidence admit the house is much, much better for the pruning. You just don’t need all that stuff. No, you don’t need the WWII magazines. No, you don’t need all those Martha Stewarts from the early oughts. No, you don’t need the paper invoice from your subscriptions to WWII Magazine and Martha Stewart Living, circa 2001.
But in slimming things down to 5700 items, and consequently re-arranging the entire house (that’s the new bedroom, this is the new cat crap box room and SurlyLad’s closet combo, that is SurlyLad’s new music room, this is the new dining room, this is the new TV room and office, that is my head exploding) and slimming down at yoga, spin and kickboxing classes, we just haven’t had much time lately to do anything outside. I do worry this bodes ill for the big bike riding plans this spring. We need base miles, not home-base trials.
And other commitments: every Saturday morning our two pups look at us like they have some kind of biological clock that tells them ‘Ah, hell’s yes it’s Saturday and you owe us a trip to Marymoor Park, you BEEPING BEEPS’. Then when that doesn’t work they bring the slippers and The Economist. When that doesn’t work they make us coffee. When that doesn’t work they go to the sad eyes, and so we spend hours driving to-and-from from Redmond… and not a single software programmer in the car. It’s sad.
But today, in between errands and errant errand intentions, I was damned and determined we were going to get on our bikes… at least for a little ride. Baby steps, baby. So there I was tooling along in the Toyota truck (that’s one of the 5700 items; does that count as one, or do I have to include the engine and the radio etc?) with the windows down, the KZOK blasting, and the cool springtime breeze blowing around with sun breaks and happiness. Then there I was walking with the SurlyLady and the two pups all the way up to the dog park here in Mountlake Terrace, with sun shining down, and barely needing that jacket, yo. And then there I was as it started lightly rain snowing and the sun went away and our noses turned red and runny and suddenly it wasn’t funny or sunny. And yet! After drinking some warm tea and looking at pictures of randonneurs (rando porn) I shrugged off the January blues and declared that, what we really needed, what the world really needed, was some of SurlyLady’s amazing mini lemon cupcakes!
So we got out the old bikes, didn’t even bother to check the tires or anything else for that matter, stumbled unfamiliarly through the bike tog routine (Where’s my other glove? What’s this stupid metal thingie on the bottom of this shoe? And where’s the other shoe with the stupid metal thingie on the bottom of it?) and hit the freezing road, pushing off into a stiff breeze in 39 degrees, on a quest to go to the QFC for some lemons, buttermilk and powdered sugar. Brrr.
But the good news is we made it home from the epic ride. It wasn’t even long enough to warm up the old bones. Poor SurlyLady looked so cold. For my part, it felt great to get out on a bike, even for a 5 mile ride. Then it was back to re-arranging the house, cooking up some beets, parsnips, salmon and bread, and then of course, these for the kicker: