That is, like we did only months ago, as we walked through A.C. Steere park.
Or when we dressed the kids that day.
Doesn’t seem possible.
Being married to a bike geek, she knew exactly what would come shortly after the description. Yet, instead of shutting me down immediately and decisively, she listened to the whole story – even the stuff about internally routed cables and an integrated computer – and then told me, and I quote, “You’re not getting a new bike until we get a new television.”
That’s right she didn’t say “You already own five bikes and there’s no way in hell you’re getting another one.” Nor did she say “thirty five hundred dollars? Are you crazy?” She didn’t even make the condition something like a new washer and drier, or a new oven. Nope, in order to enjoy a sweet new lightweight carbon ride, all I have to do is go buy a new 42 inch LCD television. Good thing I throw around nickels like manhole covers, or Ian (owner of my local shop) and Best Buy would love me today.
It’s that time of year again: For the next few weeks we’ll be driving all over the country. I probably won’t post much until we return, around August first.
I don’t love America. I don’t even know what America is. I do love the ideals on which this country is based. I think everyone should be free to do as they want so long as they cause no harm to anyone else. I enjoy being able to say and write whatever I want. People in this country succeed and fail on their own merits, rather than status or beliefs.
We’re not perfect, of course. Ask any gay person whether merit alone wins equality. The atheists among us can testify to how well we treat all people equally, regardless of creed. The drug war is evidence against any presumption of liberty in this country. Speech is constantly attacked from politicians and busybodies of all types, even potential Supreme Court justices.
Still, we’re a hell of a lot more free and equal than anywhere else in the world. And I also believe that despite the best efforts of the worst among us, we’re moving in the right direction. And the more we establish those ideals of liberty and equality, the more I love my country.
Oh, and we also have the best national anthem.
I warned you that this would be a recurring theme, and with the ultimate back yard holiday this weekend, I figured today was a good time to highlight mine.
Why does it make me happy? Well, partly because it’s the right size. The kids have room to play, I have room for plants, we all have a spot to sit, and yet, trimmer, mower, and blower total less than twenty minutes. I also like it because it extends the house. Our house isn’t small, but it seems like all our friends have twins, or worse. So when we have people over, things can get crazy. Yet it never feels crowded, because we can toss all the kids into the yard the main living areas flow right into the back yard, giving us tons of easily used space. A third reason: It looks nice. Not Southern Living nice, and it’s obvious we have kids, but everything remains orderly.
The biggest reason my yard makes me happy is that it’s mine. When we moved into our house, the entire yard was an overgrown patch of weeds. I’ve fixed the grass, I’ve laid all the flower beds, I paid for the deck, I built the patio, I built the kids’ sand box, I added all the decor. Still, even with all of this, I haven’t spent a lot of money. The big reason? Nearly everything in the yard is something I’ve reclaimed, or repurposed, or recycled, or whatever word you want to use.
For example: The kid’s swingset. Before tossing it, my neighbor asked if we wanted it. One leg was bent, but we said sure. I went to Lowes, bought a metal fence post about half an inch less in diameter than the leg of the swing set, slid that into the leg, used it as leverage to straighten it, and then banged it all the way in to prevent another bend. Now? Perfect:
Here’s another example. These are ceiling tiles I found in an antique shop. Some primer and paint, and . . .
I didn’t re-do the next one; a friend found it at a garage sale, though without seats. He added them, giving our kids one of their group’s coolest toys:
Those chairs in the background are another example. You can view their evolution, here.
Anyway, you get the point. Here’s a few more shots of my back yard.
The azaleas provide color in the spring. The hibiscus and cannas make the yard nice all summer.
The lounging and eating area:
My garage, with gutters I added yesterday. Really, the inside of this is what truly makes me happy. All my bikes, sporting goods, tools, lawn equipment, and kid junk are perfectly organized.
And finally, I said everyone had a seat, and I meant it. Even the cats have a perch.