This time of year, sleeping in seems like a woeful waste of a morning. The only time of day when it’s both light and cool outside is from about 6:00am to 9:30am. This is, without a doubt, the best time of day to get out on a ride.
So, at 6:30 on a recent morning, the Core Team(tm) gathered at my house.
But we didn’t go on a ride.
Instead, they were there to build a ramp in the garage so Susan’s new scooter (which we’d be getting later in the day, thanks to a surprisingly streamlined health insurance process and cooperative professionals in the doctor’s office, the medical supplies store, and the insurance company) would be able to easily get in and out of the house.
We started with my garage looking like this:
Bry, on the right, builds houses for a living, and is also an incredibly strong cyclist. His only real failing is that he’s also a triathlete. Nobody’s perfect. Anyway, Bry brought the wood, the tools, and the expertise. Without him, we’d all still be arguing about where and how to make the first cut.
I would like to point out here that the fact that my garage was this tidy and ready for us to build the ramp is one of my crowning lifetime achievements. I so regret not having gotten a "before" picture of the garage. Moving everything was no small feat, especially when you take into account that my right arm is currently no good for lifting anything heavier than 15 pounds.
Bob also showed up, which is not a minor thing when you consider he lives in Seattle.
Or rather, I should say that Bob lives in his Seattle, while Bob’s hair lives in both Seattle and two adjacent suburbs.
I have a question: Brad clearly doesn’t eat any better than I do. He eats more than I do, and he eats heavier food than I do. So how come he looks like a pro cyclist, and I look like…well…a fat cyclist?
Kenny came too, and got to work immediately.
Oh, now that’s just not fair. Here’s a different picture of Kenny:
I know, it looks like he’s just standing around, but he’s actually measuring something there. Don’t you love the way the camera flash lights up the sawdust in the air? Looks like it’s snowing in that photo.
And, last but not least, Dug came too.
In this photo, Dug’s supervising while Kenny shows Brad how to cut off his thumb with a mitre saw. Turns out it’s surprisingly easy!
Bry was the contractor who finished our basement at this house, and he did it incredibly fast — and well. Every time I see him work, I wish I were a more manly man. Bry rushed around, measuring, cutting, and giving orders, multitasking like a madman. Except for the "mad" part of "madman," because Bry was neither mad-as-in-angry nor mad-as-in-insane. He was just really fast and in charge.
And the ramp went up fast. Really fast.
Check it out. Even I’m doing some work. I guarantee that if this ramp fails, it will be right at the point where I was working.
Kenny with a nail gun scares me.
To keep the grade of the ramp as gradual as possible, We made it go along the back wall of the entire three bays of the garage. Susan should be able to go down it without feeling like she’s dropping into a halfpipe.
We figured if the ramp could take the combined weight of Bob and his hair, it could take anything.
By 11:00am, we were done.
Before I move on to the next part of the story, I want to say thanks to everyone who offered help and guidance on picking out a scooter. Especially Rusty Church — a Fat Cyclist reader who owns a medical supply store in Arizona. Last year, when Susan was having her hip replaced, Rusty gave us a brand new wheelchair. He offered to help us with a good deal on a scooter now, too, but in the end it turns out that if I want to get insurance to pay 80% of the cost of the scooter (and believe me, I do), I needed to buy one of a specific set of scooters from one of a specific set of local vendors.
So, with the ramp in place, Susan and I picked up the scooter that afternoon. Here she is, rolling it down for the first time:
And then, back up:
For those of you who are curious, once she gets to the bottom of the ramp she makes a left and then rolls down an aisle I made between shelves in the third garage bay:
Sure, it looks a mess, but it’s plenty wide.
So Who’s Going to Pay for This Thing?
As I increasingly often do, I need to give a big "Thanks" to you Fat Cyclist readers. The donations you made paid for the wood, and covered my 20% of the scooter. My out-of-pocket on this was $0.00.
Susan and I have done some practice cruises around the neighborhood. It’s easy for her to use, the scooter goes as fast as she likes, and it gets up and down sidewalk ridges, driveways, and around our neighborhood’s hilly streets with no problem.
In other words, Susan’s got a big chunk of her independence back, and she loves it.
So, once again: thank you.
PS: Anyone need a small air conditioner? As I was organizing the garage last weekend, I ran across the portable air conditioner (stands alone, has a hose that empties heat out the window) we bought for our house back when we lived in Washington. It (the AC, not the house or the state) should still work fine, but we don’t use it anymore. With this summer being as hot as it is, I imagine there’s someone local who could make use of it. Email me if you need it, then come pick it up. No charge — when the world is being as generous to us as it is lately, I’d feel like a turd if I charged for this. UPDATE: The portable AC unit is now spoken for.