26 September 2020

300 miles done.

$2800 raised.

Major, major thanks to y'all for your support.


I did 30 miles yesterday; 25 in the morning (5 miles, stop, 5 miles stop, 5 miles...I stopped 5 miles to early LOL) and yesterday afternoon picked up this pretty little bike, and did the last 5 on it.

It's a single speed with a flip flop hub, so I can give riding a fixed gear bike a try later. Now, I didn't get the itch for something new again (well, I always have that itch) but I'm about to put a few hundred miles on it in order to review it. Hence, the brand name is obscured, and if you can figure it out, please don't comment on it.

Heading out for the last 5 miles...
 Those 5 miles were fun. This is the first time riding a single speed since I was 12 or so, and the first time I've ridden with bullhorn bars. I think I'm going to really like both. Well, until I encounter a hill, whereupon I might be walking that sucker up since I don't really have the legs to climb.

Next up...150 miles to benefit the American Cancer Society in their Breaking Away for Breast Cancer ride. 

After doing 300 in September, I am far less concerned with getting these miles in, so I might do them on the new single speed for a bit more of a challenge. 

At some point I'll get back to work...but after getting Max's last 2 books out, I kinda want a break. And I might as well take that break on a bike.

The only downer right now is that the smoke has returned and I can't ride outside today. And tomorrow is supposed to be stupid hot. So, hopefully, Monday.


24 September 2020

Oddz n Endz #8,109,268^62 x 99.410^3 + 42

As of right now, I’ve ridden 270 of the 300 miles I set as a goal for the Great Cycle Challenge. With nearly a week to go, I’ll probably hit 330 or more, but I gotta tell you…I am not going to make a habit of this, at least not the way I’ve done it. In the last week I’ve chewed up a bunch of miles by doing 25 mile rides, and while I enjoy the actual riding, I’m not enjoying how much time it takes.

I’m on the slow side and I have to stop more often than most (I presume)—and I’m generally fine with that—just to make sure I’m as all right as I think I am. Am I overheating? Do I feel like my blood sugar is about to tank? A I hydrating enough? And mostly…holy fork, my asterisk is on fire. I still have not found the holy grail of bike seats, and I accept that because of my delicate self, I may never. That’s okay.

But yeah, I stop a lot. Passing out on a bike will instill that fear in you. It's not a thing I wish to repeat.


Max is doing well. Well enough, in any case. He eats, he drinks, he uses the litterbox, he sleeps. What he’s not doing is spending much time outside of his bedroom, which is fine. If we go in there he’s happy to see us (especially if we have food) and he accepts being petted, but he’s not getting into my lap the way he used to. It’s fine. He’s fragile and has little muscle mass on his back end so I imagine it’s not terribly comfortable for him.

Main thing…he’s happy. Buddah leaves him alone for the most part now, respecting the territory of Max’s room, and Max does move around in the room and can still get to the back of the sofa, his favorite place to lounge. He also wanders out a few times a day to glare at me, and he still sings at night after dinner.

A month ago if you’d asked me, I wouldn’t have thought he’d be here toward the end of this month. Now…who knows. As long as he doesn’t lose any more weight, he could be here a while.


A while back I tossed my name into consideration to do an article on a specific line of bikes, mostly because the gig came with a free bike. They were looking for 10-12 writers with some riding experience but not hard-core roadies, and a friend who’s friends with the guy looking for writing riders gave him my contact info, along with a few others we mutually know.

Most of us got the gig. And the bike.

The bike arrived in a box, needing assembly, which takes all of half an hour. BUT…since we get to keep these bikes, we were warned that if we wanted the warranty on it, we had to take it to a bike shop and have it professionally assembled, and then submit proof.

This is where I got a bit annoyed. I’m no bike mechanic but I could do this easily. Local bike guy quoted $80-120 to do it, depending on the bike. Nope. Bike shop I usually go to quote $60. I still wanted to nope out of it, but…basically for $60 I’m getting a brand new bike with a warranty. So fine. I wanted the warranty.

But now I have to wait for it, because there’s a line of people ahead of me.

Deep down I am 8 years old, and I want to play with that bike.


Max’s newest book, Interview With a Pest, came out a couple of weeks ago, and I finally got to see a print copy. This might be my favorite cover of all the books we’ve done, especially in print.

You know how sometimes you pick up a book and it just feels good in your hands? This is one of those. It’s got a matte cover instead of glossy, the size is right for its length, and it just has that awesome-book feel.

One thing…if you have the digital version, somehow an extra blank page was inserted at the end of the interview, which makes it look like it’s over. There’s an afterword by Buddah, written the night before the book went to print. It puts a nice ribbon around their relationship; if you missed it, go back and read it.


I have been asked multiple times if Max will have another book. The answer…we hope so. Another volume of poetry has been in the works for a while, but the material so far is a bit, well, deep, and what we wanted was something lighter and funnier. He’s done deep, it’s time for light and fluffy and happy. Maybe for once…not making people cry. That would be a first.


Typical conversational topic these days: So, how ya doing with the whole quarantine, stay at home thing?

You know, if you’d asked me that a week or two ago, I think I would have said it hasn’t been an issue. And it hasn’t felt like one. Our lives have not been overwhelmingly impacted, because we’re introverts who don’t really socialize. Other than not seeing the kids--and right now my biggest wish is for normalcy to return so we can see them, have dinner out or something--it doesn’t feel all that different. We both miss going places just to go, dinner with a drink or two would be nice, and I don’t like taking the cats to the vet and having to wait in the parking lot, but for the most part, life has seemed normal.


Looking around the house, the state of it says something different. I’ve never been a great housekeeper because cleaning is my least favorite thing to do, but now it’s slid past the point of lazy housekeeping to what the fuck is wrong with you? It’s like I didn’t even see all this stuff building up around me. You show up at my house now, I’m not even opening the door, even if your plan was to stand on the porch.

Nope, you show up, you better stay on the driveway and text me.

So, that’s my weekend. Make a list, and take it room by room.

At least, that’s the plan. I’m pretty good at screwing up plans. Like, really good. Maybe I’ll write a book instead.

3 September 2020

 My life today...

Max: I'm hungry. Feed me.
Me: I fed you an hour ago.
Max: Feed me.
Me: There's still food on your plate. Go eat that.
Max: It's empty. Feed me.
Me: Half was left when I was in the kitchen. Eat that.
Max: Get off your asterisk and feed me.
Me, checks his plate, it is indeed licked clean. Feeds him.

Lather, rinse, repeat... Today is a Very Hungry Day, which makes me happy even if it does kinda tie me to the house. He's also not hiding in the closet (so far...I imagine naps will occur there) and he's demanded lap time.

He's only had one not-so-hot day in the last 8-10 days, but even then, he ate well enough. Not great, but well enough. Before all of this started, I wouldn't have blinked twice at a day like that. He's just acting like a normal old man, looks a bit raggedy, but we're no longer half holding our breath.

We kept as close an eye on him as possible over the last, what, 6-7 weeks, and have paid attention to as many of the little details as we could. I think we were spot on with medication issues making him nauseated, but as time has grown, we're also pretty sure his main problem was an injury.

I thought at the time he was in pain; just a day and a half before the worst day he's ever had, he tried to jump onto the footrest of my chair, missed, and landed hard. At the time, he walked it off, but by the next day he favored his back left leg and could barely walk in a straight line. By the time we got him to the vet--3 days after finding him passed out with his face in his food dish--he was improved enough that it was just another symptom in a line of symptoms, but he still had trouble walking straight and continued to favor that leg.

Because of some head tremors, the vet thought he might have had a series of small strokes, which certainly would have explained it. And with her, he was a royal pain in the asterisk, which is Perfectly Normal Max. And because he was "feisty" as she put it, getting labs and images would have required sedating him...something neither of us wanted to do to him because of the risks. And nothing would have changed regardless of what those images and labs could have shown. He's reached the point where less stress is the best course of action, and she recognized that putting him through anything might have broken him. Because of his kidneys, there wasn't really anything to give him for pain. And I know how that goes...I miss being able to take Ibuprofen and the like for the same reason. They clear through the kidneys...he's at stage 2 kidney disease, I'm at stage 3. I empathize. If it hurts, we kinda have to just suck it up.

We did get her to change from an oral med to topical, and we lowered his dose. That did wonders for his appetite and nausea, but something was still off. He was hiding, grumpy, only moving when necessary. And then the light bulb went off...yes, I'd suspected an injury but not an INJURY. I started thinking he'd possibly broken that leg when he fell.

I've broken enough bones to know how it can feel. Hurts when you do it, but the pain doesn't really come roaring at you for a day or so. And then you settle with it, but it's exhausting and hurts more when you move, so you move as little as possible. You don't want to be bothered; you just want to stay still, snooze, and if you're lucky, someone brings food to you.

And right at the 4 week mark, when a bone would have healed well enough, he began moving a lot more. He gets onto the sofas in his bedroom more and doesn't just sleep on the floor. He doesn't wait for food to be brought to him, but comes out and asks for it. He's not lying exclusively on his right side, but curling up. He's grooming again.

I may be way off the mark. But I don't think so.

He's still an old man with kidney and thyroid disease. He's going to have off days for the rest of his life. But I think we can ease up on OMG MAX because he's all right. I will still stand in the doorway and watch for the gentle rise and fall that tells me he's breathing, and the Spouse Thingy will still annoy him by listening to his heart several times a week because that tells us a lot of his thyroid and how the meds are working, level of stress has greatly improved.

I get that he could still suddenly die; he's old. But I'm not consumed by the worry of it, and until last week, I was. 

There are now a lot of boxes around the house he can use as steps, and dedicated pet-steps that he ignores but has available, so he doesn't have to jump anymore unless he wants to. He quickly figured out the wood boxes the Spouse Thingy made and doesn't even try to jump up to the sofa now. We took a bunch of extra padding out of his living room cubby to make getting into it easier and have a appropriately sized box he can use as a step to get into it if it looks like he'll need it. 

By the time we put boxes of varying heights all over the house to accommodate him, this place is going to look even worse than it usually does, but...that's fine. It's not like y'all were coming over anyway. ;)