Howling Banshees

One of the peculiar things about this house is that the breezeway and soffits produce a deep and resonant howl during high winds. Here that means just about every day. I love how it has a kind of language, alerting me to weather changes. With the winds this weekend it made sleep difficult. A near constant 30 mph wind with higher gusts had the house sighing, anything not tied down flying, and made our travel yesterday a rather tricky one with the truck getting tail winds and then slammed on the sides, forcing it to stray in the lane. It looked for all the world like a highway full of drunks as we all careened in the gusts.

There was, of course, the other howling taking place in the nadir of the nation. How any single man trusts any woman he meets is beyond me. You have my deepest sympathies. I was deleting and unfollowing those who were throwing their lot in with the vagina-tonsured assembly. I am generally a laissez faire kind of person but if you are so damned stupid that you can actually declare you either have different or lesser rights as a woman or that you are oppressed in this nation – well, I will not tolerate that sort of utter and deliberate foolishness around me. Not a single one of those signs declared a concern for FGM, for Arab slaves burned in cages, for trafficked y0uth. Nope. Just a mutual support for their right to bitch about whatever had their vag’s in an uproar this month. Or would that be vagi?

Meanwhile, while in the nether regions, allow me to note that if one has not mounted a bicycle in – mmm – decades that one will find that the seat is no longer as generous as it seemed in ones youth. See, Sarge has missed bike riding since his terrible accident so when we saw the Peloton commercial we looked at each other and nodded.


Yes, this might be just what the doctor ordered. Indeed, he recently had a big cardiac workup done and was borderline diabetic so he was adamant that the weight was coming off now. We went to the shop at the Domain (Lori rocked the demo, BTW), looked at it in person and agreed to the admittedly steep investment.

I will freely admit that it is essentially an indoor bike with large tablet mounted on the handlebars. However, it really does offer a large variety of classes – live and recorded – as well as many levels of exercise from newb to hardcore pro. I admit I far prefer the scenic rides they offer – high rez rides around places I will never see. I have no competitive nature at all so their diagnostics and placements in groups means little to me. I ride what works for me. But Sarge is loving every aspect of it, rising quite early to get a ride in before work. And sometimes another in the evening. I like that one is in constant comfort – AC blowing instead of a hot wind, bathroom handy for those untimely needs, and the ability to cast the screen to your large and fancy smart tv if you prefer. I also like that it can be customized on the fly to fit each user – I think it allows up to 4 users per subscription. Yes, that is where they keep their funding. It isn’t cheap, that annual video subscription. But they are so well executed and of such variety that I think it rather fair, really. Note, too, that it is the PERFECT option for introverts. You can play with others in live classes if you wish but you can also avoid all other human contact and still feel as though you are getting a class experience.

All this said…my word, that damned saddle hurts. Sarge goes on about how one has to position themselves on the proper part of the saddle, etc. There is no softness there. Even my investment in bike shorts has barely improved the situation. I know that with time comes a tough taint and one doesn’t even notice it anymore. Do I think I will get there? Not sure. But I do know that when one is riding in a dripping sweat and sees that the caloric output nowhere matches that delicious Andy’s Custard Ice Cream dessert…well…it can put one off, really. So for that delicious cup of hot fudge I have to crush my nethers for 4 hours? No. Seriously, no. My ice cream habit has been edited to a hunk of dark chocolate with almond butter daubed on the end. Bastards.

If you have a need for fitness and the funds to support it I have to say the bike is really an intriguing option. For anyone who lives in the frigid north where biking months are few this might be precisely what you need. Now, I have to talk myself into mounting up today. The pain will be guaranteed but then so will the fitness.

Down and Out

It’s a bad time when both of us are sick and so it has been for about 4 days, now. He started it, as they say on the playground, and I got it due to poor isolation and sterilization protocols. I know better and yet here I am, full of snot. It is a reminder, of course, of just how fast a really dread disease could spread in a household or community. I will be keeping this in mind in the future – more gloves, masks, etc. needed. Soap and water would not have hurt but when you are stepping and fetching for the sick and scratch your nose…well, there you are, joining in the hawking and spitting. His turned into a terrible sinus infection so he got the kindly dose of antibiotics that helped a great deal.

Looks like Zed has put up a number of nice winter weather vehicle tips lately and I highly recommend all of his ideas. The army sleep system items can be gotten at your local military shop, get a Homer bucket and gamma seal lid, toss some properly sealed items inside and your kit is done. I admit to being a fan (after his recommendation) of the Streamlight lantern – offers all the illumination and rescue modes you might want. Yes, those D size batteries might be a pain but it works when you need it to.

During the VERY cold weather of late I was ever more grateful that I bought one of these down skirts at an REI clearance sale a few years ago. I keep it put up until absolutely needed and let me tell you – nothing made the brief excursions outside tolerable while sick like that skirt. I can imagine it seems like overkill for the south to some of the northern types but let me tell you – put that over your jeans or sweatpants and you’ve a layer the wind cannot get through. I am tempted to get a shorter version for chilly spring mornings. One might wonder, “Does this down make my butt look big?” but it doesn’t matter. Is my butt warm? Yes. When it comes to me and being comfy in rough weather I DO NOT CARE what I look like. In the end, few things work as well in concert as wool and down. My Woolrich sweater over my silk long john top (thin and warm) and a down vest over all that with strong wind breaking coat was fine for the brisk 20’s. Layers are so vital – you have to be able to release the heat to avoid sweating in your clothes during exertion so that you don’t get chilled when you stop.

Seriously, though, you need only to review his site to find all you need to know about being ready for any event – his recommendations have stocked my bins for a few years, now. I need to dump my backpack out, toss the ancient crumbles of energy bars, and stock it afresh. My truck was down for a month (yes, I was right – U joint again) so I haven’t had it out for my annual winter do-over. But I need to check it all, re-seal the bags, etc. I also received a label maker which will aid in making clear what is in those handy small inserts – nice to segregate your food from medicine from clothes but if you aren’t getting in the bag often you will not remember during an emergency. Just because your med bag is red doesn’t mean you can find the good bandages fast. And, yes, those supplies get nasty over time, too. Rubber and adhesive fail with time and temperature so plan to refresh that red bag, also. Imagine the frustration of trying to bandage up a wound one-handed only to find that your tape has sealed to itself. Permanently.

Nothing like a cold winter to make you consider your preparations, eh? Don’t find out the hard way that what you thought was Just Fine is really Just Barely Enough.