And this just in after a quick vacation…
My wife and I headed down to Florida for a few days to see our nephew marry his soulmate over the weekend. It was an amazing LOOOOOONG weekend. The wedding was beautiful and it brought up a lot of emotion for my wife and I… he was just three-years-old at our wedding.
While we were more than a thousand miles south of our hometown and while said hometown was having ten inches of snow dumped on it (heh, it was 89° where we were), we were having a wonderful time at an Airbnb, enjoying a lovely swimming pool.
While down there, a friend visited the local bike shop for one of the last times the other day and snapped this photo:
Our new tandem is in…
We haven’t gotten the official call yet, so I’m guessing it’s still being put together, but it looks like a good bet, we’ll be wheels down when the season starts.
We both can’t wait!
I Don’t Know How Many Times A Fella Can Watch Top Gun Maverick…
…But I’m fittin’ to find out.
I love that movie.
What I Dislike About Bad Quotes… Stinking Thinking, God and Being Saved
My sponsor turned me on to Richard Rohr and I’ve been receiving the daily reading for a couple of weeks now. Generally, it’s quite good, but every once in a while there’s a gem like this:
Until the mind is freed from the multitudes of thoughts, and has achieved the single simplicity of purity, it cannot experience spiritual knowledge.
—Isaac of Syria
Sometimes a person like Isaac of Syria (?) reaches for that quote that just knocks it out of the park… and ends up saying something so dumb, it’s a wonder he was ever quoted in the first place.
This is akin to saying, “you can’t achieve true recovery unless you perfectly work all twelve steps for a period of 20-years or more without relapse”. To even utter such gobbledygook should require wearing a bumper sticker on the back of one’s jeans that says, “Don’t Listen To A Word I Say… I’m An Idiot” until the person recants.
Should one be required to be freed from the multitudes of thoughts and achieve simplicity of purity to be able to experience spiritual knowledge, every alcoholic and addict who has ever recovered would have been doomed before we started.
It’s not as saucy, but a better version of what Isaac of Syria said is, “Achieving clarity of spiritual knowledge is increasingly glorious as one learns to free one’s mind from the multitudes of thoughts that cloud that spirituality”.
If you’re a bit lost, watch the Olympics, specifically figure skating or gymnastics coverage. All of that platitudinous bullshit is what I’m referring to. We call that diarrhea of the mouth.
We will intuitively know how to handle things that once baffled us…
In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the authors claim that once we hit a certain point in our recovery, we’ll begin to see that we can, seemingly instinctively, handle situations that would have had us off on a bender in the past.
This has come to pass in recovery, to an extent I never imagined possible.
One day at a time, doing the next right thing in any given situation, we make it through. Thank God for recovery.
Life In Recovery; On Being Set Free From My Old Job.
I won’t lie, when I heard the words, “we could talk about the minor points for hours, but at the end of this, your position with Midwest will be terminated”, I panicked. Twenty-five years, I’ve never had to worry about finding a job.
Three hours later, I had an offer from one of our bigger customers. I would be going to work in a supervisory role over the company that had just let me go. That was it, three hours. I hadn’t even had time to process being let go and I’d already landed.
Three weeks later, it’s more like I was set free. The new company is treating me better than the one that I left. It’s not perfect, of course. The new job is more difficult – let’s say it requires more focus, but I’m doing the part of my last career that I loved the most.
How many times have I labeled something “bad”, only to find out later that it’s exactly what I needed? How often have I thought something was “good”, only to come to realize it was really holding me back? I could riff about the different scenarios for hours.
If a life in recovery from addiction has taught me anything, I like to think it’s that I’m a little like that Chinese farmer, though not a farmer and more Irish, Polish and Italian than Chinese. Who am I to say if something is good or bad? It simply is. We call this living life on life’s terms… and it’s not all bad. Or good.
Getting into the swing of things at the new job…
I’m starting to get into the swing of things at my new job. The office politics are beyond interesting – we’re a team trying to accomplish something in this role while I used to be used to working alone most of the time, with the exception of a meeting or two throughout the week. Within this job, I’m attending at least three meetings a day. And the team leans on my experience much more than I expected. It’s not all dandelions and sunshine, of course. I have to be very careful I don’t authorize any of the subs to do anything that isn’t on the blueprint (technically, they’re white nowadays, and digital).
That said, I love what I do. It’s long days and I haven’t been able to ride as much as I’d have liked, but I’m walking seven hours a day, at least. In fact, my wife bought me a pair of Irish Setters last night, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to wear those! For the Unironedman and anyone not in the know, Irish Setters are a work boot made by Redwings, one of the last brands of anything that are 100% made in the USA. Irish Setters are said to be among the most comfortable of all work boots manufactured today. I’m currently wearing 9″ Condors… and they’re nice enough, but they’re heavy and clunky. I like to run the stairwells, but that is ill-advised in my current boots.
Anyway, after that, it’s dealing with a bunch of email… and trying to leave work at work. Something I’m not very good at currently, because I’m in that “I want to show the new company that I’m dedicated” phase.
And after showing up for work after the ice storm Wednesday night, that should do. It was so bad I had to take back roads to get to work. The expressway was shut down to clean up a crash.
It’s that last part, trying to show my dedication to work, that’s become a bit of a problem in my wife and my marriage. I’d gone for the better part of a year reforming myself into a better man and husband. The later hours (I start an hour later) have meant that our evenings are rather short. I’ve also had to re-learn how to leave work at work. I tended, for the last two weeks to bring work home and worry about every email that came across, the minute it did. This led to me dropping out of conversations with my wife out of nowhere. I started to put an end to yesterday evening.
As things are now, I very much enjoy my new job and feel like I’m contributing to the team. Next thing is to get back to that work/life balance and restore that.
Cycling with Friends… with A “Birthday” Party
I haven’t written about this on this page at all, but Trek Bicycles is buying the local bike shop. I’ll simply say this; as well as Trek has treated my friend and everyone who works there, I’ll never buy another brand of bicycle. It makes me proud to own my 5200 and have it in the shape it is. I’ll have more on this after the sale is final and the shop is “Trek Bicycles Flint”. It won’t be long.
Anyway, our friend wouldn’t let us call it a retirement party, because he says he’s not retiring in the traditional sense, he’s just moving on to a new phase.
So we picked up two birthday cakes for the party, that was Saturday evening at the shop. It was, as I expected, packed. Old employees, friends, riding buddies… hell, they even brought in a band featuring Greg Jenkinson on the guitar, one of our own A guys from Tuesday night. There was food and drink and deserts galore. There were laughs, back slaps, hugs and so much talking you could hardly hear the speakers when they were up. If you remember, Greg is the guy we coined the term for giving a person a 20-40 watt boost to the back, “Jenkinsoning” someone up a hill. I wrote about it (here) and (here – with a photo).
My wife and I stayed until only a handful remained, and for once, we didn’t stick around to help with the cleanup. In fact, I think that really might have been a first.
Driving home, and all through the weekend, it hit my wife and I in waves… we talked a lot about being thankful for all of our cycling friends, and for Trek Bicycles as well. We’ll have a lot more time to ride with our friend now that the shop is being passed on to a great company. Most people call it “exercise”. While that’s certainly part of it, we prefer calling it “hanging out with our friends”.
It really is a wonderful life on two wheels.
It’s A Bit Like Drinking From A Fire Hose…
My new job is absolutely intense. From the time I walk in the door in the morning, till the time I walk to my car, usually a half-hour beyond the time I should have, I’m on the go. I’m attending four or five meetings a day, addressing massive issues that could have disastrous scheduling problems if they’re not addressed two days ago, and trying to develop a plan of attack for pushing the job forward… which could also have massive ramifications on the opening date if I don’t get it right.
It’s not full-on panic mode, I’m nowhere near that, but this job is a lot more intense than my old position. Of course, to be fair to myself (which I rarely am), I’ve only been through three days.
I feel that once I get the flow of things, I should be able to thrive.
In the meantime, there are a few things that have taken a backseat. My wife isn’t getting near the time she used to with me and it’s been a rough on the both of us (the ebb and flow of these things is amazing). My recovery program has been on cruise control for three days after some intense work. I’m going to figure out how to balance that in. I haven’t clipped into my trainer since I started my job. Thankfully, half of my job is on my feet, so I’m getting plenty of exercise, but I miss my bike.
And finally, the blog. Sadly, I have had zero time to write until this. I may have to cut my writing back till I find that aforementioned rhythm. My recovery program will come first, followed immediately by my wife, then finding time on the bike… as the order should be.
Accepting Life On Life’s Terms, One Day At A Time. That’s How It’s Done.
I am very much going to miss my old, cushy, comfortable job. It was anything but easy, but it was comfortable and I knew what to expect. I had a boatload of vacation time and had a future that was workable. Another 15-years of work and I was out. A few years on my own cash, then social security would kick in and it was coasting for 30-odd years till my wife and I were worm food.
That’s not how that ball is going to bounce, though.
My first day at my new job was quite awesome. The new company made every effort to make me comfortable in my new role and it was awesome. I felt like I contributed quite a bit on my first day and I’m working with a great team.
One thing is certain; if not for recovery, this tale would be very different.
Things have a funny way of spinning sideways from time to time, and my career is a great example. I didn’t think my old company was crazy enough to try to get along without me, but here we are. That said, after the initial shock, I didn’t label this a bad thing. It was the story of the farmer whose son went off to war; the whole village came out and said how horrible it was. The farmer said he didn’t know if it was a good thing or bad, he just knew it was. That’s where I’m at. I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad, but it definitely is a thing. I am going to walk through this one day at a time and give my recovery, my wife and my life the best I have.
I can, and will, accept life on life’s terms. The alternate is more misery than I would want to tolerate.
A Sunday Two-a-Day… And Time To Make The Donuts. For Someone Else.
Well, I start my new job today. The new company is pulling out all of the stops to make me welcome, too. I was told the owner of the company is flying in today to welcome me to the team. I’m more than a little shocked, in a humble way, that they’re making the fuss. I’m also thankful beyond words that they are. I should have about four months of solid work before looking into the next part of the adventure after the comfort of having (mostly) the same job for the last 25-years. More on the next phase later.
Yesterday, with the last of my time off flashing before my eyes, the weather was unseasonably glorious. Sunshine, a decent breeze and fairly warm temperatures in the mid 40s (4 C) – and with my wife picking out dresses with our daughters for a wedding we’ll be attending in Florida next month, I had some free time to enjoy the outdoors on the Trek. I almost took the Venge but wanted to see if the Trek was still not creaking after most of a winter on the trainer. I also invited my sponsee along so we could talk some program things out. He’s midway into his ninth step and he’s getting to some of the tricky amends. He’s new into triathlons and he’s got a decent Felt alloy bike with Claris components on loan from a friend.
We had a wonderful afternoon jaunt around our Swartz Creek loop. The weather was nice enough that neck gaiters or balaclavas were entirely unnecessary.
Starting out, I could see he was in a terrible position on the bike. The handlebars were tilted up too much and the hoods were way too high. He was sitting too upright for his young age and flexibility. You’d expect that position out of someone in their late 70s or early 80s. We talked twelve step stuff till we’d gotten through everything he needed to, then we turned to cycling stuff. Not surprising, he was having some comfort issues after just ten miles or so. His feet were hurting – hot spots under the cleats, and his back was tightening up. No doubt, the back issue was from loading too much on his backside and feet because his hands were so high up… he wasn’t sitting in a neutral position at all.
We completed the 19-ish mile loop at a winter pace that was throroughly enjoyable and talked about a bunch.
On arriving back at my house, we took his bike in and set to checking a few things out. We took the dork disk off from behind the cassette and check the derailleur positioning to make sure it wouldn’t shift into the spokes. Then I went to work on the handlebars. I rotated them down, considerably, into a more normal position. I checked that the hoods were the proper 10-ish° rise, then put a couple of the spacers above the stem to lower the bar. We’ll give that a go and see how he feels the next time.
After that, it was a special dinner with my wife, daughter and her boyfriend before watching “the big game”. It turned out to be a fairly great night.\
As for today, here we go.