Some of you may have read part of this on my family blog last week, but it was too good to not share here. Plus apparently Karma is not done with me.
A while ago I read this post and I laughed. A lot. So be careful who you laugh at. Karma will come back to get you.
I decided to take the kids out in the bike trailer. After a lot of whining and demanding of snacks and packing of drinks we got everyone loaded and we were on our way. Let me take this moment to say that I was riding Joe's 12-year-old, mountain bike because mine is lost in a shed at his parent's house, probably being devoured by root-cellar-dwelling hobgoblins. His bike is of the Used To Be Nice variety, which means that while it was once top of the line, it has since developed problems. Namely the chain falls off whenever you cycle through the gears and the bike has acquired a mysterious, unfixable and everlastingly annoying creak. Can bikes get arthritis?
With enough Goldfish crackers to supply an invading army, we set off around our neighborhood. We live in the foothills where walking the inclines is not so much "casually challenging" as it is "cause for cardiac arrest", so choosing your bike route takes careful consideration. I chose the route with only a few little up-and-down hills and not the giant killer ones. While I'm not in the best shape, I did manage to creak my way confidently along the road and the kids seemed to be having a good time. Almost to the canyon park, I make the mistake of cycling all the way to the bottom gear which, as you will recall, makes the chain fall off.
After rattling things around in a semi-informed way, I managed to get the chain back on and the pedals working. At this point I felt like I was pressing my luck, and we were just about as far away from the house as I wanted to get, so we turned around. I noticed that it seemed to be fairly difficult to pedal the bike. For a while I attributed this to my own physical fitness (or lack thereof). At the top of the next hill though I noticed that I was not gathering any momentum (which I need to cruise up yet another hill!) I stopped, got off the bike and noticed that the brake had clamped itself down on the rear tire and refused to let go. For those of you who may not be seasoned hardbody cyclists, this makes it hard to pedal the bike.
I called Joe, who was 10 miles away getting his hair cut (and on the scooter anyway) so not so much help in the Manly Man Rescue department. Also none of his advice was particularly helpful, especially when he told me to hit the bike with a rock. I figured that, while tempting, this would probably encourage my son to hit the Pathfinder with rocks whenever he was frustrated. I also mastered the urge to shout PG-13 swear words at the bike and settled instead for yelling them in my head.
So the creaking of Arthritis Bike may have seemed lame on the ride to the canyon, but that was warp speed compared to the return trip. Basically I had to steer with the front of the bike, in my left hand and pick the back part of the bike up off the ground. Trudging along awkwardly, getting hit in the shins with the pedals every few steps and towing 80+ pounds of trailer, children and Goldfish made me long for the lurchy, creaking rides of the past. The easiest part was over the bit of dirt road where I could just push the bike, pioneer-handcart style, and let the frozen tire just skid along the gravel.
Once home, the kids made me feel better by fighting with each other, painting each other, Indian-warrior style with chocolate pudding, tearing a hole in our new garden fence and pulling up a baby watermelon seedling and dancing on its lifeless body. It was an awesome day. Did I mention this was Friday the 13th? Last year's was a doozy as well... but that's another post altogether. I'm not even superstitious!
Karma, apparently, is not through with me. A few months ago I took my kids to WalMart and had to stop at the jewelry counter for something. I turn around to discover that my 2-year-old son has opened the egg carton and, in preparation for his future career as a vandal, started throwing eggs at the jewelry displays. Apparently Karma (or WalMart) is going to hold me responsible for his actions because I went back to the jewelry counter earlier this week. Under the guise of replacing a battery, they broke my favorite watch. Touché.