May 2008


Chuck at behind bars is not a very social creature. Broke my heart today to hear a tale of how he lost business again because he sometimes appears to be a little gruff with his customers. We love him, gruffness and all. Today we were on our way (late) to Boom Island to meet up with the Urban Unschoolers. Cool group of folks. We stopped to see Chuck at Behind Bars and to buy a kick stand. Tears, tears, tear from both kids, and we ended up with 2 pairs of biking gloves to go with the kick stand. Biking is an expensive sport. To have a bike shop in our neighborhood is divine. Stop there. Don’t let Chuck scare you away. It is at 208 13th Ave NE in Minneapolis.  My kids love the shop more than any other in the neighborhood.

Anyway, as we were leaving, I told him the tale of my brother’s van, fence and house getting in the way of a high speed chase. My brother was asleep in his recliner like an old man. Glad he is okay. This is my local brother, the real estate agent. Be sure to buy a nice strong house from him. Check out these photos:

This was where the drunk hit the house. Bet the city attorney drops the charges so the County Charges will stick. That’s what happened with our felon.

This is where the fence used to be, but the drunk ran right through it, missing two huge boulevard trees. This guy was being chased by the police. Wanted for a hit and run. Lovely. Glad there will be some felony charges.

So, Chuck quotes me some figures from the CDC that I didn’t know. Less than 1,000 bikers died last year, but hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle fatalities. Cars are coffins. Or at least that’s what the t-shirt says. Yet another reason not to own one.

I thought about those figures all the way home, even though I don’t remember them, and I’m too worn out to find them on the CDC website. That hill seemed bigger today. Instead of having The Big One heft the Devil Baby up the hill, I pulled him on the Kona. Biker Mama, one of the Urban Unschoolers says I need to toughen up. I made a face at her when she mentioned that we should meet in Southwest Minneapolis. Toughen up? She is right.

On the way home, devil baby dropped the $20 gloves out of the burley, “just for fun”, and I had to leave the kids and backtrack to find them. The Big One needed the restroom so we stopped at the Hotdish King’s house. Luckily Mama Hotdish was home with her 2 little tator tots. I love Northeast.

There is a sort of belief that people have about car-free people. That we are all bike loving biker folks.

When I was at the Hub bike shop this weekend, it was packed.

It is where I purchased my Suede two years ago. This trip I needed couple of flags for the burley trailer and the trail a bike.

They have a class for women in how to fix a flat that I’m really interested in taking. First though, they ride for an hour, together. It was a moment of revelation for me. People actually like to ride bikes. Really. They buy bikes they like to ride. They ride for sport. They ride because it is fun. It never really occured to me to get on my bike and go somewhere because I wanted to ride. I ride for transportation. And I think that is okay. Wind in my hair? No. Cruising down the hill? No, it reminds me of the time that I fell head first over the bars when I was 8 years old, and knocked unconscious. I’m always a little shaky when I bike too fast. Exercise? I’d rather go to a yoga class or swim. Really.

What do you suppose I could do to get people to keep commenting on my blog? I’m going to try this post, and see what happens.

I called my brother yesterday with some good news. Really good news for me. I’m always afraid that I’ll interrupt something corporate with John. I never imagine that he is shuffling for his phone inside his pocketbook and spilling his Kombucha all over his stuff like I do. I do worry that he will see the infrequent “little eco-friendly sister” on his caller I.D. and think there might be an environmental crisis on the horizon just when he is advising some big hot-shot about some financial something-or-other.

It keeps ringing. No answer. And then, when I’m leaving this good news on his vm, he beeps in.

“I wasn’t interrupting some big corporate thing was I?” I said.

“No. I’m in Hawaii!” he said.

I’m thinking he must be researching solar power in Hawaii.

Must be. He is in the energy business. He is in oil.

In Texas. Now, I know what you liberals are thinking and I can assure you that he isn’t one of those greasy Bush lovin’ oil guys. He might be a republican. Okay. He is. But he isn’t a Bush-lover, and I like him, and I’m not afraid to admit it. He thinks we should be exploring for oil in Alaska because “we can do it and not harm the environment”.

He claims that things have gotten so much better and I believe him. I wouldn’t believe anybody else, but him, I believe.

How can a self-respecting eco-friendly, kombucha lovin’, car-free, green funeral supporting mother think that drilling for oil in Alaska might be okay?

I trust him. We still need to live our lives differently, but we shouldn’t we only be using what we can produce ourselves?

On more than one occasion he has said, “Be careful, next you will be voting Republican.”

Only if Arne Carlson runs. It is the only time I’ve ever voted Republican. No regrets.

Remember last fall when I mentioned that Lucy said that a day like this would be balmy in the spring? It isn’t. It was freezing when we got on our bikes to have a bad, overpriced dinner at the St. Anthony Village Pub.

I was mad at everybody and the Big One whined through dinner.

But we rode our bikes. Hated each other, but we rode our bikes.

Head Cold. Rushing on the bus to get the Big One to an audition. He didn’t get the job. He is a talented actor, yet he has no skills in auditioning. But still, I picked my snot-filled head off the pillow, got dressed and hopped the #4 to downtown. As I’m getting off the bus I see the face of Denny Hecker, greasy car-salesman extraordinaire. The bus sign actually said, “Nobody Walks.” Where the heck does he live? What planet?

I’m hoping that the fever and the head cold actually caused a delusion. A bus sign. Advertising a big SUV. Ridership up 15%. That can’t be right.

Later, when the head cold got better, I was able to gain some perspective.  Denny, if you are listening, let’s get this straight.  When we are out of fuel, and we can’t fabricate another war to get any, we will all be walking.  Make a bus sign out of that.

Well, we drove it to Martin Lake for our Mother’s Day celebration. We fit right in. The funniest part of the day was Papa looking around at all the traffic and the big cars speeding along the highway. “If you ever need a reminder about why we need a war in Iraq, drive 35W North. That ought to do it!”

There is even a billboard that says, “Too dependent on Gas? Burn E85.” Oh yeah, that will help. Let’s start burning our food sources. How about this for a new I-35 billboard: “Trade Food for Gas!”

Gluttons. And this weekend, we belong right with them.

Enterprise Car Rental has always been super reliable for us.  When we need a car for more than just quick trips around town, we turn to them.

Today, however, our local place in Lauderdale was closed, so we ended up at the Roseville branch.  I confirm the reservation with one of the sales reps, very clearly stating that I wanted an upgrade to an intermediate size car, I wanted my husband to purchase liability insurance only, and she calculated the rate, which was all-inclusive.

At the counter he was sold a bigger car (more carbon footprint), personal liability insurance and was given a higher daily rate.  Did I mention that I confirmed everything in the reservation and that it was all set to go?

Yep.  I thought so.  I was so angry at Enterprise when he pulled up with this big-ass car.  Slick, they are.  All in all, it will cost us at least $50 more for the weekend, which would cover the hourcar and gas.  Live and learn.  We will not be renting from the Roseville branch of the Enterprise Rental Car Business.  Nope.

And, did they pick us up?  Nope.  Too busy.  So, as a car-free mom, I make a reservation for a rental car, I trust that they will actually give us that car, and be clear so that my husband can understand them (instead of pulling the slight of hand trick), and I expect them to be true to their slogan, “We’ll pick you up!”  If we feel like it.

Got errands to run.  Pick up an oak tree, some plants, some more plants, a rain slicker for the Little One, and have to drop the big one off at his concert.  The Minnesota Boychoir with Alison Scott.  I’ve got a car.  I might as well go!

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