Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

31 March 2011

Just say "one minute", and I'll be there.

I see that those clowns are at it again.

Rumor has it that this year will be both more and less organized than years past. A dirt course? What are they smoking?

Where do I sign?

29 March 2011

...wait. Why am I in charge, again?

I am reminded of the sage advice offered up by Mysterious Bill S_____ as he lay, laughing from the diaphragm, upon the cold asphalt of a dirty parking lot:

"It's how you learn."

And while my son J had not been drunkenly attempting to literally stop on a dime with less than perfect success aboard a borrowed bicycle, he had been brazenly attempting to master the art of braking.

J is fine. His fork took a lot of impact...

Long time readers may recall the beginning of the riding to school on a regular basis.

This was proceeding well. Though J had shown some hesitation in coming completely to grips with the new to him 20" wheel (witness the crash into the sapling in Fort Ord months back as he cut the S-turn into an I-turn), he seemed to have a handle on things. Day 1 passed without incident. We talked about how important it is to NEVER crash into traffic, and how the only place to bail (barring a cliff) is over the side. We talked about looking where you want to go, and not at where you do not want to go- on account of you aim for your focus. Day 2, I did need to remind him to keep his feet in a level position to achieve max results from the coaster brake, but he managed just fine.

Day 3 was a different story.

Right away, at the top of the incline, he began picking up more speed than he could handle. Twice, I rolled up next to him and grasped the handle strap of his pack to slow him down. Twice, I reminded him to keep his speed under control.

The third time he began to pick up speed, he was already veering to the right. He was looking for the cut through we take at the bottom of the incline so as to avoid the well trafficked T-intersection. He veered too soon, and entered the drive way, not the cut through. When he saw the tree, he was going to fast to do anything other than crash. He looked at the tree and he rode right into it.

I was right next to him one minute, and the next he was peeling off into a tree.

He hit that tree square with his front wheel. He flew forward, impacted his thigh into the stem and pivoted thereupon to smack into the bark with his helmet. He had no time to get his hands up. Hit so hard it knocked his shoe off. It was like in the old cartoons, when a character busts through a wall and leaves a self-shaped hole with arms and legs akimbo. That was hard to see.

As I dropped my bike and stepped to him, my concern was for potential spinal injury. Though when I reached him, he was already moving to turn over, so I held his upper body still and brought him to my lap. I saw immediately that his helmet had taken the hit and there was no mark on him, but as I registered this, there was a gush of blood from under the brim which flowed pretty steady. Like a head wound will.

I told his brother D(who handled the situation with calm collectedness) to "call Mama and tell her to pick us up". Several passing cars stopped to ask if we needed help. L had only just left for work and took only 3-4 minutes to reach us, else I would have jumped right in that first Samaritan's car.

We had him at the ER within 15 minutes of crashing.

Then it was 4 hours to get him stitched. 16 total (4 sub-dermal, in the muscle belly, and 12 on the surface). It took longer because we insisted a plastic surgeon be called in for the sew-up. The cut is from the skin bursting as the helmet was forced against it, so there was very little that needed to be cleaned out of the wound. Imagine if it had been the tree...

As we wait for a crash replacement fork for his beater, I ride J to school on the back of the Big Dummy. He was hesitant about even this at first. He has been on several off-road rides since then (this happened over a month ago), and is getting back into the swing but his enthusiasm is greatly diminished. I hope he gets it back.

No parent wants to have their child hurt.

I think about what I did wrong: I should have taken more time with him getting comfortable on the bike before heading to school- it seemed like he attached a different and weightier significance to riding to school than to just riding along... I should have maintained a grip on his bag and slowed him completely rather than letting go when he was (to my mind) "under control"- unbeknownst to me at the time, he wasn't applying his brakes at all, he was letting me slow him... I should have let him decide when he was ready to ride to school- it's unfair to push my choices on him, and walking is a perfectly viable option even if it is dullsville.

I think about what I did right: with the help of my fantastic wife, I raised a little badass-that was a hell of a wallop...I stabilised his head-spinal injuries are no joke...I made him wear his helmet, and positioned it correctly-anyone who wants to haggle over helmets' usefulness can suck it while they go look at those helmet pictures again...I made him get back on the bike-though it may not end up his joy in life (as it is mine), allowing him to drop it because he had a set back would be the worst lesson I think he could be taught. Even if all he learns is that his old man is a hardass, he won't learn to be a quitter.

We all fall down. That's Life. The only thing to be done then is to get back up.

Once upon a time called "Right Now"

Apologies for the cover, but there's no versions of Blaze Foley performing this one up on the Youtubes currently, and it's been my soundtrack of late. Skip to 41 seconds to avoid the talky talk:

...ride a bicycle but my ass gets sore. I used to be stupid, but I ain't no more. Might just be stupid to you...

Rain's been falling down relentlessly around here. Happily, this has not been a hindrance to my time atop the bicycle. I been riding till my ass gets sore. Lots of nighttime riding these days, now that I received some hand-me-down lights. Beat old Ni-Cad yellow tint Night Rider, works! For what more could I ask? And, plus, Full Moon action keeps extending for days on either side of the waxing and the waning. It's been primarily fixed, since that's a good beater and who cares if it gets wrecked by weather/conditions? It just keeps quietly running.

Stay off the trails! Please. They are waterlogged but good. I know that mysterious yellow orb in the sky makes you wanna go get some, but really-let the trails drain first. I checked, and the wetlands in the Ord are lakes right now. We'll have water well into summer.

The boys and I been doing some maintenance (ask D about his bee stung ear and neck) for what that's worth (since the Monterey Pines keep dropping) and we believe we have found the new alternative to the demolished but lovingly remembered Stairs. Ask me where if you see me on the trails. You know, after they're dry...