Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Mental Break

I seem to have overtaxed myself mentally over the last few weeks. Physically, I feel fine. Not overtired or anything, but mentally? Yeah. I need a break.

Since the damn job allows me zero vacation days until they have squeezed 52 40-hour weeks out of me, a low-key weekend is all I can hope for.

So on Friday, I picked up the Hubster at CMU and it took us 90 minutes to cross the Allegheny river. Traffic was 405-on-a-holiday worthy, which is quite shocking in this town and had both of our heads spinning a bit.

Once we finally got moving northbound, it started to RAIN like nobody’s business. So we stopped in Mars for a dinner at Max & Erma’s, then completed what turned out to be a nearly six-hour 180-mile trip to the Lake. (dinner included)

We knew the weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t particularly good. Lots of rain, etc. But I also knew that the forecast got worse as Saturday moved along, so when it dawned overcast but “dry,” I started psyching up for what I figured would probably be my lone bike ride of the weekend.

It started raining very lightly almost as soon as I got out of our community, so I un-sunglassed (yes, I was wearing them in absence of sunlight to ward off wind and bugs) and kept going. The legs were feeling OK, so I kept going past the State Park (my easy bail-out for an under-30 minute ride when I feel like something is better than nothing or when the legs just aren’t there).

Less than a mile after the State Park, I decided that the legs weren’t really there and that it was going to start to really rain soon, so I turned around. About halfway back to the Park, I crossed a side road and immediately started hearing a mysterious “fwip fwip fwip fwip.” Couldn’t figure out what it was, so I pulled over into a handy parking lot, spun both tires to see if I could replicate the noise (I couldn’t), drank some water and decided to continue home.

Suddenly, the ride was no longer fun. It was like pedaling through jell-o, and it felt like the back end of my bike was sliding off the berm … like I was fishtailing. I looked down and … shit. A rear-tire flat.

This is a brand new bike (i LOVE it!), and I’ve been lazy about making sure I have the necessary supplies on hand, but fortunately I remembered to take my cell phone on this adventure. A quick call back to the house, and the baby brother was in the sag wagon ready to pick up me and the bike. It was a straight puncture, I have the offending tire here in Pittsburgh and will head over to my favorite bike shop tomorrow to get some spare tubes and everything else I need to fix a flat “in the field” in the future.

And yeah, pretty much as soon as I got back to the cottage it started to rain, and it just kept getting heavier for the rest of the day. How wet was it?


We’re growing mushrooms in the side yard. There are at least a half-dozen outcroppings, all about the size of a basketball. I like eating mushrooms, but these … smell … and I must admit that they creep me out a little bit. ::shudder::

It was also humid as hell today. 80 degrees with about 90% humidity, which was just awful unless you were on the beach in the stiff breeze.

I hope to get back up there this week. And I’m hoping the Lake will look less like it did today


And more like it did on Labor Day. I consider this my absolutely ideal Lake day. Multiple consecutive days of dead calm let all the seaweed in the lake settle down and it turns into a giant warm perfect swimming pool. It just about killed me to leave on Labor Day. All I wanted to do was take a swim then get the kayak out into the water. Here’s hoping I get a few more days like this won in September.
1SepWaves.jpg
"Waves" ... i'd say they were about 1-2" high. Yes, inches.

1SepB.jpg
I was probably standing 20 yards into the water. I love how shallow Erie is, that's why it warms up so nicely and is very swim-able in the summer!

1SepRocks.jpg

1SepC.jpg

1SepLeg.jpg
Please don't be scared by my scary-looking leg and big toe. I was standing in water above my knee while wearing shorts. Just wanted to show you how crystal-clear the water was.

Happy Monday, and have a great week!

4 comments:

turtlegirl76 said...

Absolutely beautiful. Looks like a great way to spend a weekend.

SJ said...

Such pretty lake shots!

Yeah, this weekend's weather pretty much sucked. At least it's looking like next weekend is going to be better.

Yvonne said...

I love Lake Erie but I've always hated how rocky it is!!! I don't care how much they dredged our area, it was always full o'rocks.

Oh, weird verification today: ickitdp

Jen said...

What a bummer weekend. Here's hoping that you have better weekends/days soon to recharge your batteries!