BIKINIS, BIKES AND BRUISES….
Well it’s that time of year again. Yup, it’s time to haul out the lawn mower, super strength sunscreen, insect repellant, garden hose, and the toenail clippers.
Summer is one of my favorite days. It makes me want to don a bikini, go romping or frolicking in the sand and laze around on the beach while George Clooney slowly applies sunscreen aaaall over my body. However, in reality it’s more likely I’ll be donning a t-shirt and tummy control mid length shorts (after applying makeup to hide the varicose veins), walking in the dirt at the Pick N Pull self serve auto parts salvage yard with Brian, and lying on the couch facing the fan that’s on it’s highest setting, rattling louder than a bad muffler (the fan, not me) as I form a puddle of sweat from yet another power surge (hot flash) while sipping a gin and tonic lemonade. I’d like to stress that I’m all for frolicking and romping, and I can hold my own. Why just recently, I frolicked at the local garden centre while a swarm of bugs attempted to have me for lunch, and I romped through the parking lot at Superstore while chasing down runaway shopping carts, only to find out the change was missing.
I also like that there’s no snow…MOST of the time. If you’re from Alberta you understand, and if you’re from Texas….. Y’all don’t. We’ve been known to experience all four seasons in a 24 hour period. We have a law here that requires all vehicles to be equipped with (year round) a toque, an umbrella, hot packs, cold packs, a pair of snowshoes, and a pair of flip flops. There’s a well known saying here that goes “If you don’t like the weather, go home” or something like that. Anyway, after what feels like 15 months of snow, I don’t mind a LITTLE rain. I stress “LITTLE” because it’s less than a LOT. Last week it rained…and rained. And then it rained some more. I wasn’t really concerned until I was walking out to my car and saw my neighbour with his hands raised in the air and mumbling something about cubits and inches, cedar vs pine, pairs of animals, low flush toilets and whether or not a Super Jumbo Dual pack of Cheetos would last 370 days.
There as a brief half hour of sunshine at one point and Brian asked me if we should go for a bike ride…
“Sure, I’d love to. Where do you want to go?”
“Around the neighborhood” he said.
“Huh? You want to take the motorcycle around the neighborhood?”
“Nooooooooo. The bikes. You know….A thing with two wheels, handle bars, gears, and peddles you push with your feet so it moves.
“Ooooh…Ya….Well…Um…Sure” I hesitated because I haven’t been on a bike since long before we met. If I recall, Atari video games were popular, gas was 18 cents a litre, and Smokey and The Bandit was a hit (Those of you too young to remember these things, Google is your friend). Anyway he assured me he had done an inspection and the bikes were ready to go. I had absolutely no doubt that the bikes were roadworthy. I just wasn’t sure I was.
So he takes the bikes out into the pothole alley and gives me my helmet. Now in my defence I would like to point out that I was not familiar with either of these bikes. Really, I’d only met them for a moment when he dug them out of his shed at the farm. As I looked over the bike he wanted me to ride (the bigger one)) I suspected that it was somewhat high for me and might be hard to mount and dismount from. Asking to try the one with smaller tires, he said no as that was HIS favorite bike, and he thought I’d do just fine on the other. I cautiously stood the bike up and began to whisper sweetly.. Hi big fella. It’s you and me, right? You help me stay upright, and I’ll see to it your tires never go flat.. I take a deep breath, grasp the handle bars and try to balance while lifting my foot over the seat to the other side at which time it promptly tilted the other way with me along with it, LOSING my balance and barely managing to stay standing, although the bike didn’t. So much for sweet words and deals. I glance over and Brian is merely watching this with sadistic glee…hmph. On the second attempt I managed to stay on and wobbled, joggled, wiggled and swayed up the alley, trying to avoid potholes the size of kiddie pools, but I only made it about half a block at which point I non-voluntarily dismounted and landed rather ungraciously on my butt. The words that followed were anything but sweet (sorry mom) and I just laid there on my back for a minute thinking my dear man would come and assist me… I thought wrong. He was once again simply looking on and shaking his head. All I can say is I know where he sleeps. SO, you know that old saying.. It’s like riding a bicycle, you never forget how ..? Well all I have to say to that is #@%! (sorry mom).
I walked the bike back and reiterated my concern about the size of it and he finally gave me his. I tried it and actually kept it upright so we headed off. I felt like I was 5 years old again as I shimmied, swaggled and swayed my way through the neighborhood, just missing running into a tree, 3 parked cars, a pair of unicorns, a mailbox and Brian, by THIS much. We managed to make it home safely and before the clouds burst open once again.
“There, that wasn’t so bad now was it?” Brian chirps cheerfully
“Well dear, I’m not so sure the owner of that flower bed up the street would agree” I reply as I hand him over the bike and helmet. “If you’ll excuse me, all I want now is to sit my bruised butt on an ice pack, with a bottle of Tylenol in one hand and a glass of lemonade in the other”.
“OH, and I almost forgot. The guy next door wants to know if you can help him unload some wood. He also said to make sure to bring a hammer, nails and a jumbo bag of Cheetos”.