The Coyote's Ramblings - 2010A
January-March
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1/5/10
Brrrrr!  The low at the house was 25.1 this morning and I sure as hell wasn't reading the paper on my porch, with my coffee and cigar.  The past few nights, I've covered plants, wrapped pipes and done all the regular kinda stuff we have to do for these Canadian winter incursions.  What I didn't remember until a bit ago (up to a sweltering 29 degrees, now) were the bottles of water I routinely carry in my saddlebags and in the drink holder on the handlebar.  Visualizing cracked bottles and wet sweatshirt, among other things I carry in the bags, I bundled up to go out and survey the damage.
 
Now, my bike barn is a metal-roofed lean-to attached to one wood wall, one brick wall, one metal Wall and a chain-link fence with tarp for the entrance.  Hardly a well-insulated building with any heat source other than my battery tender (which was plugged in since I'd surmised I wasn't going to be riding for a few days), but when my frozen fingers finally unlocked the Master lock and I got inside, all three water bottles were happily sloshable.  I dunno, since both my front and back yard bird baths are still frozen solid.
 
I've done a few short rides since the last entry but the cold and wind have kept that to a minimum, and the weather forecast doesn't look too good for the next week, either.  If that makes me a motorcycle enthusiast, rather than a biker, so be it.  I guess for a while, I'll be a pickup-trucker.  If y'all do decide to ride in this weather, be sure and bundle up well; hypothermia can jump up and bite you in the ass (as well as other nether regions) before you know it.  Take care, ride safe, and look out for one another; we've got another year to make it through.
 
 
1/11/10
It's 4:30 in the morning and the temperature outside is 53 degrees lower than it is in the house.  I'd just like to see it 53 above ZERO again!  I got a few miles on the road last Thursday, before the rain, but the scoot's been hooked up to the battery tender since then.  I've seen a few brave souls on two wheels since then and I have to acknowledge they are REAL MEN....even though I think a couple of them might have been women.  It was really hard to tell with all the layers they had on.  Anyway, more power to 'em; I vaguely remember doing that when I was much younger, but I sure as hell can't (or won't) anymore.  We're supposed to start warming on Tuesday...to what we formerly referred to as cold...but also increase the chances for rain.  As long as it doesn't pile up beside the road or go "ting" when it hits the tank, I'll be happy.  Al Gore; your Global Warming is killing me!
 
My annual meeting conflict is coming up this Sunday, the 17th.  I'll be at American Legion Post 240, on Gulf Beach Hwy, for the annual planning meeting instead of the ABATE meeting, but I think it's worth it in the long run.  Jimmy Lee will e-mail me the completed schedule for the year soon thereafter and I'll spend probably a week getting it input for the "What's Happening" web page before you get to see it.  It's really important that, if you belong to an organization or group putting on a biker event this year, you have a representative there to iron out any conflicts of dates and time so everyone's events can have a chance of being successful (barring the inevitable rain or cold).  There should be participants from Mobile to Panama City, so it's something of a social event, as well.
 
Well, hell; it's still dark out and I need another cuppa coffee.  I'm waiting for my dentist's office to open to see if I can get squeezed in for a few minutes.  The two extractions have about healed but there's apparently a chip she missed and it feels like a little spear point trying to emerge from my gum.  I've tried, but I can't get a grip to pull it out and it really doesn't agree with my denture.  Needless to say, I'm planning on taking the truck, and not the bike.  Y'all stay warm and be safe on the road, and I'll catch you later.
 
 
1/21/10
Finished!  Yeah, I've been doing some riding...in between cold air and rain... but for the past few days, I've just been pounding this keyboard to try to get all the events for the year ready for the "What's Happening" page.  I guess I should be happy that I'm WAY ahead of the week I'd originally estimated to get it all input.  Some of it, I guess, is that I didn't put addresses for each of the events; just the place name and city.  Since everyone reading this would be on the web, anyway, just use Mapquest to get a map if you don't already know where it is.
 
The temp's a balmy (for January) 66 degrees but my trusty rain guage says we've just gotten 1.95" of rain and it's still a tad yucky to hit the road.  I'm hoping it's good and dry for tonight's Meet 'n Greet at PMS...and the warmer temp should help, too.  The longest I've had to go without riding has been 4 days, but Sunday's forecast of more rain should give us a few good'ns in a row.
 
The dentist visit I mentioned last time was successful but one wouldn't think a bone chip only a quarter inch long and about a 16th wide should hurt so much, but it felt almost like pulling a whole tooth.  I had my lab work at the VA clinic this morning for next week's regular six month follow-up on the Graves Disease.  Everything seems to be okay (to me) except for this damned 25 extra pounds I can't seem to lose.  I guess I'll just have to learn to live with it.
 
That's enough for now.  The sun's coming out and it just might hit 70 today.  The little household jobs are just going to have to wait a while longer.  Y'all take care out there on the road!
 
 
2/1/10
Tired...physically, but mostly emotionally!  I woke up at 5AM...which is still better than the 4, the other morning, and this is only the latest of several attempts over the past few days to update you. To back up a tad for those of you who don't already know, I had Mom transported to the ER last Friday morning.  She couldn't lift her arms or legs and was having trouble breathing and I was a nervous wreck, myself, by the time 911 responded.  Despite running every test known to medical science, including a CT scan and MRI, the only thing they could find wrong with her was she is 91!  After spending the night in Baptist Hospital being monitored, she was discharged home on Saturday afternoon.  She can still only manage the one step to the portable bedside commode, but she's doing much better at sitting up and, at least, I'm not having to do bedpan duty.
 
In fact, she's (and I have) been comfortable enough for me to make a grocery run and a trip to PMS for a beer.  As long as she has the Life Alert button it's okay (as long as it's not more than an hour or so).  The tough part is when she said she'd be a lot more comfortable if I took the truck rather than riding.  She was nice enough about it but I realize that there's a lot of uncertainty going on in that head of her's, as to her abilities.  I put the bike on the trickle charger and I guess I won't be seeing you on the road on the scoot, at least for a while.  Maybe that's a piece of my exhaustion: knowing I don't have that stress release to fall back on.  I have no idea how long I won't be riding, but I don't want add to her current anxiety.
(later)
Well, laundry's done, tile floors vaccumed and mopped, and Mom's breakfast served.  I got her a bicycle horn to honk when she needs me and it kinda reminds me Clarabelle(sp?) from my early TV days.  I'll close this up for now and be back when I have something more to say.  Thanks for all the prayers, folks.  Be safe, be good to one another, and I'll seeya when I seeya.
 
 
2/7/10
Almost a week later, but things are looking up.  I awoke at 4:55 and stared at the dark until 5 and got up to start the coffee.  It's taken me a couple of mornings, but I've finally mastered the right combination so it tastes like when Mom would set up the pot at night.  She's still pretty much bed-ridden but IS getting stronger, so I don't have to clean the bed-side commode as often (that's as delicate as I can put it).  At least she now trusts my cooking skills enough that I don't have to listen to her blow-by-blow descriptions of how to cook.  She even liked my kapuska(sp?), which I haven't cooked for almost 20 years.  In a way, it's almost nice to have her out of the kitchen for a while. I do have a feeling this arrangement, though, is going to be permanent.
 
With her improvement, I have been able to get out and ride some, albeit for much shorter runs than I've been used to making in the past.  I suppose this is the norm for my foreseeable future, but I'm still blessed to still have her with me.  She lets me know when she's feeling comfortable for me to be gone for a while but I haven't been able to make more than a couple of hours before I start getting antsy about her and head home to check.  She shoo'ed me out of the house yesterday afternoon and I thought I'd take a run out Perdido Key but, by the time I got as far as Innerarity, that wind was so gusty, I decided it wouldn't be any fun on the Theo Baars Bridge, OR being sand-blasted on the beach.  When I rode to the end of Innerarity Point Road, there were whitecaps on Perdido Bay and spray hitting the causeway.  Brrr, I had enough and headed back.  I enjoyed the ride but, enough is enough.  C'mon, Spring!
 
I'm gonna shut this down for this episode; she's ordered a scrambled egg, bacon, and a boiled potato fried up in the bacon grease.  I don't think I'm going to mention cholestoral to a 91-year-old lady.  What more can it do to her, at this stage?  Y'all ride safe and warm, and look out for one another.  Chances are getting better I'll seeya on the road.
 
 
2/18/10
It's sometimes funny how you measure progress, but I haven't had to clean the bedside potty in quite a while.  Mom is almost back to her pre-episode condition, for which I'm extremely grateful, but I think this is probably as good as it's going to get.  Again, she's almost 91, so this is good.  As I've said before, the machine is just worn out.  I have gained another skill out of all this, though; when I went to Halsey's Index to get her some more of her "romance novels", she told me I got her just what she wanted.  Reading the blurbs on the backs made me have to supress my gag reflex, but apparently I done good!
 
I've been able to get out on the scoot a little more since she's been improving but, now, the temperature's been the limiting factor.  As I mentioned last year, one result of treating my Grave's Disease was to lower my cold tolerance while increasing my heat tolerance but I sure could use a little of it, now.  I've ridden a couple of days this week, but only in the middle of the day.  When that sun gets lower in the afternoon, it's just plain "no fun"!  I'd love to ride to Bike Night at PMS tonight but I think my night-time riding is gonna have to wait for a while.
 
Okay, that's it for now.  That god-foresaken horn I got Mom just bleeped me, and I feel like bleeping it back.  I shouldn't complain; it's doing what I wanted it to do...getting my attention..but I wish she didn't use it so gleefully.  Ride safe (and warm), and be good to one another.  Catcha later.
 
 
2/24/10
Almost a week now, and I think Mom is about as good as she's going to get.  Her spirits are good and she gets around the house but primarily uses the walker now, instead of her cane.  She's getting better about letting me do the daily stuff but still tries to cook dinner now and then.  The main difference is that she's tires even more easily than before and I would really prefer to do everything myself than try to take over something half-done.   Still, she has to feel useful or it'll make her feel even worse.  This morning, I washed a load of light laundry and, after I'd taken out my stuff, I brought her the basket to her bedroom so she could sort and fold from there.  I've only had to listen to that horn infrequently, though (thank Goodness!).  This morning, it was to ask me what I used for stock in a pot roast I'd started in the slow cooker.  I passed though: I used a couple of cups of beef buillon...
 
Oh yeah...riding!  I think it was Saturday (but they all kind of run together, sometimes), Mom was having a good day and I got in over a hundred miles in one nice loop.  Riding out Pine Forest, I stopped in at Pine Forest Cycles to harass the working class, and then continued up to 297.  From there, I took 97 up to Muscogee Road into Alabama, and then, south on Baldwin 87.  It was a delicious riding day, but I hardly saw any other scoots on the road.  Crossing US 90, I was intending to cut down to 98 and back home but when I came to (I think) Baldwin 28, I realized I had never been down that one before and verified that when I came to OLF Summerdale.  Just zig-zagging around Baldwin County, I found that 73 runs into the Beach Expressway north of Foley.  Aha, I was hungry and remembered seeing a TV commercial that CiCi's was celebrating an anniversary and reverted their price to $3.99 until the 28th of this month.  Yahoo, I pigged out on pizza and salad (good bleu cheese dressing!) and finally wound my way back to PMS.  All told, 113.4 miles and I really couldn't tell you where I was half the time while I was back-roading.  Sure felt good.
 
Okay, it's yucky cold and damp out, so I'm glad I washed the scoot yesterday instead of waiting for today.  When the weather's rideable again, maybe I'll see you out there.  Until then, stay warm, dry and safe.   Be good to one another, and I'll keep an eye out for you.
 
 
3/13/10
I'm happy to report that the delay in updating has not been due to any more crises!  It's just been that once I get through the regular household/Mom chores, I've tried to hit the road more for wind therapy.  As she's improved, I've managed to squeeze in more road time but I still start to get a tad nervous after a couple of hours.  I've tried calling in from the road to check on her, but she either just doesn't hear the telephone, or she ignores it; I strongly suspect the former. Despite that, as long as she's improving I'm going to squeeze in as much riding as I can since she could go downhill again.  Hey, I'm running out of time, myself...so ride while I can.
 
I wish I had more adventures to relate to you but, as Mom and I talked about last night, I'm now getting home at night about the same time I used to venture out for the evening.  It might be less fun getting older, but it does still beat the hell out of the alternative!  Y'all ride safe in this warming weather and don't forget to set the clocks ahead tonight.  Damn, at my age, I can't afford to lose that hour's sleep ...unless I take a nap.
 
 
3/22/10
I've been looking back over the Ramblings archives and realized I haven't related any misadventures in quite some time.  Part of that might be explained away as just getting wiser as I get older but, unfortunately, I'm afraid it is primarily because I just don't have the energy I used to have.  Staying out of trouble is just so much easier than it used to be!  Of course, it isn't as much fun, but I've had a good run over the years.  Either that, or my fun is just more low-key now.
 
Although not a destination per se, one of my favorite stopping-off points is a quiet boat launch area in Baldwin County where I can sit by a river, smoke a cigar, and just listen to the breeze in the trees and the ripple of the water.  Another is a model airplane park where I can watch another sort of Brotherhood enjoying their expensive hobby.  Funny, is seems any day that it's nice enough to ride, at least one or two of them will be out there flying their RC aircraft.  Sometimes, I'll pull off on a wide shoulder just to watch a hawk hovering, looking for lunch.  I won't say I used to waste my time looking for enjoyment, but just maybe it has taken me this long to realize I find my enjoyment without looking for it.  Fun, anyone?