September 21st, 2008


Trouble With Sheets

I will tell you a story: last week, when I got home from my business trip, I went to Meijers. Along with needing groceries, I was in the mood to wander around and look at lots of things, and maybe even buy stuff.

I found myself in the bedding section, and it occurred to me that I only owned one set of sheets for my bed. A few months ago I upgraded my mattress from a very old full-size to a shiny new queen-sized one. At the time I bought myself just one set of new sheets, and a blanket, figuring that would get me by for awhile.

I've gotten by just fine of course, but it's been kind of a pain -- whenever I want clean sheets, I have to strip the sheets, wash them right away, dry them, then remake the bed. I can't just toss the sheets in a hamper for later and put on another fresh set.

So I decided to pick up a new set of sheets. Nothing fancy, but they looked like they'd go nicely with my new blanket, so I tossed them into my cart. When I got home, I opened up the package and loaded the sheets right into the washer. I wanted them to be freshly washed and soft when I used them!

M came over that saturday evening a week ago, and before we went out I put the sheets into the dryer. And started it up. And went out. And forgot all about them.

Now we fast-forward to this weekend, and I have finally remembered my new sheets. I look in the dryer, and I decide that I will be happiest if I just run everything through another wash/dry cycle. I did just that this morning, and shortly after lunch I was finally ready to put my new sheets on the bed!

Except that they didn't fit. I got one corner of the fitted sheet on, then two, then as I put the third on the first flipped off. Was it that I hadn't gotten sheets that were tall enough, I wondered? I do have an extra-thick mattress. I wrestled with them some more, finally putting the corners just over the pillow-top part of the mattress, not the whole thing. I still was barely able to get the fourth corner on....

Filled with a dreadful premonition, I looked over my room to where the trash can sits. Next to it was an empty sheet wrapper that hadn't yet been tossed. I picked it up... and yes, I had bought yet another set of full-sized mattress sheets. Then washed them - twice! No possibility of exchanging them now, and I already have plenty of full-sized sheet sets that I no longer need. (My guest bed uses that size, but it is rarely occupied.) Doggone it!

However, after all of that work, I am sleeping on these sheets tonight anyway. Even though they don't really fit, and the bottom sheet will probably pop off as soon as I lie down on it. I need to enjoy the fruit of my labors somehow. Then tomorrow I'll once again wash my only set of queen-sized sheets and put them back on. sigh...

Team Alpaca Tours Detroit

Saturday started bright and early with the Tour De Troit! After some internal debate, I decided to use my hybrid bike "Red" instead of my road bike. I also decided to put it into the back seat of my car, rather than strapping my bike rack to the back of my car. This decision is not unprecedented, as I've managed to do so in the past.

My Ion quad coupe has a spacious back seat, and the opposite-direction back doors make it easy to get large items into the back. It is incredibly easy to slide my road bike in there (minus front tire). With my hybrid, also minus its front tire, it's a bit strange -- 50% of the time it slides in like it was born to be back there. The other 50% it is a huge battle, and the darn thing just won't line up, won't fit properly, and it looks like it's completely impossible. I have yet to figure out what the difference between the two experiences is, other than luck.

Unfortunately yesterday morning was the second kind. The darn bike fought me tooth and nail. We both did damage to one another -- I came away with a huge scratch on my inner thigh, and it got its handlebars completely swung around in reverse. Finally, somehow, with much wiggling and arguing, I got the door closed.

Evidence of the battle. Note that the scratch (just under the elastic mark from my cycling shorts) is as long as my finger! Also I am giving the peace sign, in an effort at reconciliation....

Finally I made it to the site of the event. First I parked my car and picked up my registration packet. Not seeing any of my teammates there, I went back to my car. Warily Red and I stared one another down. He seemed peaceable though, so I opened the back door and let him out.

The bicycle is hard to manipulate with its handlebars on backwards! After pulling it out of the car, I worked on turning the handlebars right again. It took some maneuvering, but finally I got the fork straightened out, then adjusted the handlebars. Then I put the front wheel back on. Then I discovered that the brake cable wouldn't connect. Frustrated, I decided that maybe I didn't really need the front brake.... really all I needed though was somebody to lend a hand. Two hands weren't enough.

I walked the bike over to the main square, and there I spotted Jer! We exchanged hugs and hellos, then I told him of my woes. Between four hands and two pairs of eyes, we got Red all straightened out and put back together. Whew! Then the rest of our team started to trickle in, and it was time for a beautiful day of riding.

First, we grouped together for a team photo. Jer's phone did much better with this than mine did.

There were close to 1000 people riding through downtown Detroit yesterday! We all crowded down a street, waiting for our police escort to start blocking off roads for us. There was a lot of waiting, so I asked a fellow in front of us to take the pic that I posted from the road yesterday. That's the (sadly) abandoned Detroit train station in the background.

Finally, it was time to get started! It was a rather slow and wobbly start, as all those masses of people spread themselves out enough to be able to ride properly. Then we were moving, and the Tour De Troit officially began.

Directly ahead is Kathy cruising along on her recumbant, and Jer is on the right. I'm riding while photographing, of course.

The ride was about 40 miles, with a stop for snacks and water halfway through. I was glad, because I had forgotten to refill my waterbottle before the start of the ride. I only had about 1/3 of a bottle, and it did not last long enough. Oh well... given the bike-battle before I began, I was lucky to remember my water at all -- I went back for it last minute.

We didn't all ride together, although that had been the plan. There were so many people on the road, it was easy to get separated. Once separation occurred, everybody's pace tended to change and it was hard to find people again in the crowd (team shirts (and Jer has a flag idea) will help that in future rides I hope). I managed to spend at least a little bit of time riding and chatting with each of my friends though, so that was cool.

By the end of the ride, I was down to just one riding companion. We all managed to hook up again back at the train station though, and everybody had made it! Hooray, Team Alpaca! We split up shortly after that, although in retrospect it's a shame we didn't pause for a final victorious photo. Preferably with the alpaca, who I finally spotted just after everybody else had left.