Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

You're Never Really Ready

My dad, Bobby Grinder (The Reverend Bobby G, to some of us), passed away on Wednesday, July 14.  I was rolling my bike into my cubicle when my cellphone rang.  It was my sister, giving me the news.  Somewhat stunned, I finished up a couple things that couldn't be left sitting, got online and bought a plane ticket to Nashville, then informed my office that I was leaving and that I didn't know when I would return.

Twenty four hours later, I was on the ground in the Music City, getting in the car with my sister and her family.  They were en route from their home in Pennsylvania, and managed to hit town at the same time as I.  When we finally arrived in Savannah (Tennessee, not Georgia), and my mom's house, we went to the funeral home to arrange the visitation and the service.

Saturday afternoon, it was all over.  The visitation had been a bit stunning.  Tons of people came through, in a never-ending line, as we stood and greeted them.  I think every surviving member of Daddy's high-school class came by.

Daddy was 73 years old, and had Parkinson's Disease, but had been doing pretty well until just recently, when the Parkinson's appeared to be advancing a bit.  Unfortunately, he and my mom were involved in a traffic accident which left him with a broken collar bone and a shoulder injury, neither of which was diagnosed at the emergency room, about a week before he died.  The specific cause of death was not apparent, but Daddy's doctor was of the opinion that the car crash was the root cause.

When you have elderly parents, especially if they are in bad health, you live with the knowledge that their time is limited.  You think that you are prepared for the inevitable.  At least, I thought that.

I found that I was wrong.

I am home, now, and I'll be going back to work, tomorrow.  I wasn't ready to leave family behind, but I really didn't have a choice.  Work is piling up, and I have responsibilities  that I have to fulfill.

My sister and her family are still with my mom.  We were worried about Momma being alone, too soon after Daddy's passing, so she agreed to go stay with Joy for a couple of months as sort of a decompression time before deciding what to do about the house, where to live, etc.  As I left, I was glad that she wasn't going to be alone.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and realized...  I was alone for the first time since Daddy died.  Carol came over and kept me company for a good bit of the day, and that helped immensely. 

I have not yet had the "big cry".  At first, I was trying to be a support for the rest of the family, and now I am feeling a bit numb.  I hope to, eventually, have that big cathartic emotional release and get it over with.  In the meantime, I'll get back to the job, work on some bikes, take some rides and play the guitar;  I'll live my life and remember the good times with Daddy (I figure I might as well forget any bad times). 

That's the best memorial I can think of for him.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Cherries and Almonds

 Having a little snack, out in the front yard shade cave.  Fresh cherries, raw almonds and Cranberry/Pomegranate  juice mixed with tonic water.  I figure I deserve a little treat.

Since 7:00, this morning, I have repaired a severely bent derailleur hanger on a LeMond Zurich (it was on a trunk rack when the car was backed into a concrete retaining wall), did laundry at the laundromat (and bought an old Takara mtb at the thrift store, which is in the same strip mall), chopped down a tree which was growing too close to the neighbor's fence, trimmed the shrubs next to the sidewalk, mowed the front and back yards and varnished the wine crate mounted to the old 3-speed conversion cruiser I built, last year.

I had loaned this bike to the gal who was renting the house to the south of me, last Spring, and just got it back a couple of weeks ago, since she was moving to Boston.  It has sat outside for a year, but fared pretty well with just some rust on the chain to show for it.  It needs a tune-up, and the wooden wine crate was beginning to dry out.  I figured I could tune it up, any time, but a nice 80-degree day with no rain would be a good time to get the wood sealed.  So, out came the can of Spar Varnish and the brush.

Looking over the gate, into the back yard, you can see how sunny it is.  It's hot back there, too.

 I prefer to hang out in the shady front yard, this time of day.

This is the Takara I picked up, this morning.  Another of the guys at work is looking for an "around town bike", and I hope that he goes for this one.  I can see it with BMX bars, a single chainring and the six-speed rear wheel, rocking some big fat slicks.

This style stem allows use of a BMX bar, without having to buy another stem.

This bike has a lot of what I consider to be cool features, notably the lugged frame, cast fork crown and metal head-tube badge.

If you have a Power Thumb, this is the shifter for you!

There can be only one!

I've not ridden a bike, today, other than an approximately 100-yard test ride on the LeMond.  I'm thinking I might get out for a night ride, tonight, and get some evening coffee.  Or, I might take a nap.  It all depends on how I feel by the time the sun goes down, I guess.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

When Tuesday = Monday

Even though today is actually Tuesday, it sure seemed more like Monday.  Of course, it was the first day of the work week, due to the holiday yesterday.  But, it was Monday on a deeper level, as well.

I make my coffee, at work, in a French press, every day.  I heat the water up in an electric kettle, as I get my machines powered up and get ready to start my testing.  Today, I let the water get to a full boil, by accident.  (I usually unplug the kettle as the water just begins to boil, since that is the temperature which is supposed to brew the best java.)

I picked the kettle up and unplugged it, planning to let the boiling calm down a bit before pouring.  As I turned, with the kettle in my hand, the plug caught on something, and ended up pouring about a pint and a half of boiling water over my left hand.

I dropped the kettle onto my lab cart (no samples on it), and ran to my sink, where I ran cold water over my hand in an attempt to not only kill the pain, but to avoid blistering.  It worked, thankfully.  I ended up with a fairly painful scald (which still hurts a bit, 14 hours later), but no blistering. 

I applied some burn cream and wrapped the hand in gauze (from the first-aid box in the office), and wore a rubber glove over that as I worked.  That probably helped prevent more damage, as well.

Monday, Tuesday...whenever:  It was no way to start the week.


Monday, July 05, 2010


This guy was on my front window, this afternoon.

I saw him after I finished up Mike's new bike:

It's a late-80s Shogun, which I converted to 7-speed (from 6), installed wider bars and the semi-slick tires I was using on my commuter, until last week.  the carbon bar gives it a little touch of the modern, but it retains plenty of vintage vibe.  It should serve Mike well, around town and on the occasional trail.  Pretty cool ride.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Bikes, Girls Y Coffee

As I was pulling out some socks this morning, getting ready to go to the coffee shop, I came up with two pairs which put Meligrosa's site in mind.  On her header, it says, "Bikes, Boys Y Coffee".  I wore them, like this, all day and no one I know even thought to question it.

Here's to you, Meli:  I hope you're having a great weekend!  Je jee!