Monday, June 22, 2009

A Rite of Passage

Okay, I'll break from my Navy musings for a bit to ramble about some current life stuff.

I'm in the middle of a vacation from the salt mine but I've got no plans whatsoever to go anywhere and more importantly, no place to be. I've got a to-do list of stuff I'm chipping away at though and I'm feeling a bit nagged by it but it's my own doing. Replacing several dozen feet of landscape edging and sheet-rocking the garage are both going to take more effort than I have motivation for. I often find myself imagining life once I'm retired and no longer under the gun to hurry and get things done before going back to work. That'll be nice.

I've been getting out on my bike but not nearly as much as in years past. I've been filling in the gaps with my Rollerblades, our elliptical trainer and occasionally our rower (trying not to aggravate my tendinitis) and enjoying the diversity of my workouts. My typical in-line skating workout is 15-17 miles. I'd go longer but until I've toughened up a few tender spots on my ankles I'm limited. My goal is to work up to a distance of 30 miles. Once I get conditioned I figure I can knock out that distance in 2.5 hours. In-line skating brings a whole other set of muscles into play that cycling doesn't although I think both workouts compliment each other.

I headed out this morning with the temp in the upper 70s. I was feeling good through the first hour and for a few miles toyed with the idea of a century ride to Le Sueur and back. Somewhere west of Jordan I conceded that the heat would win out and I'd turn for home when I got to Belle Plaine. It was 93 degrees when I finished. This was the first hot weather riding I've done all year and I was glad to have packed it in when I did after 66.5 miles.

I suppose having our yard/trees T-P'd is a rite of passage since we have a teenage daughter still at home. I woke up to some beautiful streamers coming off the trees in our front yard one morning this past week. My only real concern was that we get it cleaned up before the rain moved in and made more of a mess out of it. I left that job for Rachel although I helped her with some of the more out of reach stuff.

She said it was an amateur job as they only used 10 rolls. "To do it right they'd need to use at least 50" she said. "And how do you know that" I asked. She said she did it once in 9th grade but felt guilty afterward and hasn't done it since but she knows a good job when she see it. I said that it can get expensive to do it right and she replied "not if everyone brings a few rolls".

I can honestly say that I never TP'd anyone's house although I did a yard trick once but it was totally justified. I was 16 and as luck would have it I was looking out my bedroom window before climbing into bed late one night. I saw a car come up Johnson Ave from the south, turn off its lights and pull up onto the boulevard. He paused and then spun out his tires on our lawn turning back onto the road just before our driveway. I recognized the yellow Duster as a car driven by a guy I worked with, Pete, at Penny's Grocery. I was stunned having just witnessed what happened.

My dad was quite upset about it the next morning as it tore up the lawn quite a lot but I didn't tell him that I saw it happen. I figured I'd take care of the payback part in my own way. I remember he cut some 2 x 4 sections into 2-3 foot lengths, painted them black and drove nails through them then set them out on the boulevard (pointy ends up) for a few nights thinking the yard trick guy would be back. He's pretty fortunate some neighbor kid didn't step on one of them running through the yard at night.

I waited a few nights then took our Ford Country Squire, 390 station wagon and drove to Pete's house. It was sometime after midnight when I backed it up onto his front lawn right in front of a large picture window. I stepped on the brake then gave it gas and got the tires spinning nicely before releasing the brake and squealing onto the pavement laughing all the way.

I never said a word to Pete about what I saw him do and he never questioned me. I'm not sure if he ever figured out what happened and that's just as well. I'm sure I must've told my dad about the other half of the story years later but I don't remember. He'd have no doubt given me an 'atta boy' before smiling and tipping his glass of Budweiser.

No comments: