Party Weekend and Bike Crash Aftermath

31 Jul 2006

Saturday saw Isaac’s 12th birthday party. A number of friends came. We polished off a mini-keg of Virgil’s cream soda. Too much pop and not enough kids to drink it, so I had to pitch in. Yes, grow-ups can get tummy-aches from eating too much sugar, too! Isaac made a very fine cheesecake. I think I need to fast for a few days to recover.

We had one classic gross-out baby moment: Vera was climbing all over an inflatable globe, bouncing on it, when I noticed that she seemed to have gotten bean dip all over the globe and her hands. Then the smell hit me, and I realized that wasn’t bean dip! She had blown out her diaper. Ewww… after that, I was not hungry for any more of the bean dip for a while. Well, for a few minutes at least.

Sunday was mostly a day of rest and recovery and more cleanup. It seemed to me like I spent most of the weekend cleaning up the kitchen, dealing with round after round of dishes. It was quite warm yesterday, and we barely got out of the house. Veronica has been a challenge — she is very resistant recently to going to bed, instead climbing all over us, or running around the room insisting that it is still time to play. Grace sometimes sleeps right through her “midnight madness,” but I’m a light sleeper.

Vera is 21 months old, or just a quarter shy of 2 years old, but she is getting started on her terrible twos early — she occasionally throws kicking, screaming tantrums, usually when we won’t let her play more. Mostly I am trying to extinguish that behavior by ignoring it, and just giving her a supportive hug when her rage has burned itself out.

My hope is that the training we’ve given her in baby sign language will help out here, and she won’t have quite so much reason for frustration. The theory is that babies at this age aren’t quite verbal yet, and tend to fall into frustration when they can’t communicate what they want. She knows some signs that can help her out: signs for “more,” “nurse,” “water,” and “help.” She’s got a few words and short phrases too. So maybe some meltdowns can be averted, although it isn’t going to help in those cases where we know exactly what she wants (for example, to play at 2 o’clock in the morning), but just aren’t going to give it to her.

It’s very warm today — Weather Underground says “record highs between 94 and 98.” It isn’t Washington, DC in August, but it is warm and unpleasantly humid. Grace is in month 7 of this pregnancy, moving slowly, and is very uncomfortable in this kind of heat, so she is staying inside near one of our creaky old air conditioners. The upstairs unit damaged a number of my books last week by dripping water all over a bookcase underneath it, while I slept. Maintenance came and unclogged it, but last night it started dripping again. Fortunately I did not believe it was really fixed and had not put the bookshelf back. So, the carpet is wet again, but no more books were ruined.

My big fear is that the power will go out, since post-deregulation, no one seems interested in putting money into infrastructure, only extracting money out of it. “Record highs” means record energy demand. If that happens we’ll lose the contents of our fridge and our freezer, and be unable to cook besides, and Grace will have to try keeping cool in the bathtub. I have a nasty feeling that an outage is imminent.

I have the car today, since a series of unfortunate events have left me without working transportation. The van needs major brake work before it is safe to drive again. I was biking to work, but my bike was damaged (like I was) in the crash three weeks ago. I’m still healing — there was some hidden damage in my left shin. I remember hitting it in the crash and it hurt briefly, but it didn’t visibly bruise at all on the outside. Just recently I became aware that there was more damage there when I felt a hard lump on the bone and realized it was very painful when pressed on. So, it probably not a fracture of any significance, or I most likely wouldn’t be walking around on it, but there seems to be some damage like a shin splint. Ugh.

This morning I took my bike in to Two-Wheel Tango — my favorite bike shop. First, I had to remove some of the decaying skin from my calf which was stuck to the chain-ring… eeewww. The bike was attracting flies!

My Marin aluminum “Bobcat Trail” model is about ten years old now. I customized it a number of years ago with a front shock, upright handlebars and bar ends. It has been a great bike, and I would only consider replacing it wholesale if the frame was damaged. That doesn’t seem to be the case, but a number of parts were damaged. I’m having the bar ends removed — one is seriously bent, and not repairable, after the crash. It’s getting a new seat — the old one is bent and chewed up. I hope that the seat-post is not bent as well, but I don’t think it is… that would take a pretty heavy impact). The rear wheel was bent slightly in the crash, so they will true it.

One of my co-workers asked “how fast were you going?” Well, let me tell you. I must have been going at least seven or eight miles an hour… in other words, “not very fast.” Seriously, it isn’t so much how fast I was going, but how fast I came to a halt, which was rather abruptly, and what I crashed onto. In this case, sharp limestone gravel, and the bike itself.

They’re replacing the brake pads and chain. I think everything else is still in pretty good shape. I’m getting a new pump that mounts on the water-bottle cage mount and a new lock so I can try taking it to the gym. So I will have my own transportation again! If I can bring myself to bike even the short distance to work when it is over 90 degrees out!

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