Our Mini-Van is Air Conditionered!
When my husband and I were first living together, we considered ourselves to be outdoor enthusiasts.
Not long before meeting Mike, I had moved to the city after spending nine months working housekeeping at a mountain resort. I did play outside while I was there, for sure. I did some stellar hikes, rode my bike (a little), made some lifelong friends. AND I learned that it is entirely possible to pop one's staff-accomodation screen window in order to keep half of one's body warm while smoking a pack of cigarettes on a -40ºC night. Additional education included the perils of vodka shots, the even greater perils of sambuca shots, the danger of the scientific examination of either of those perils during "industry night" at any mountain resort bar, how much pot one's roommate can stuff into a camera film container and tape inside her toilet tank, why exactly it's a bad idea to dye one's pubic hair.... And that engaging in the aforementioned educational activities results in a precipitous drop in one's GPA.
Outdoorsy, people. That would be me.
Anyway, Mike got a kick-ass Rocky Mountain Soul as his college graduation present. A few months later, I bought myself an electric orange Brodie steel-framed, made-in-Canada, thing of bank-account-draining beauty. I had exactly 28¢ left to my name after paying for that bike. I loved that bike. Mike and I did trail rides, together. Did the mountain bike path in the river valley. Argued the finer points of suspension forks versus good ol' steel. I rode mine to work most days.
Or, I did until it was stolen from the "secure" bike lock-up area in the loading area of my office tower. I sobbed during all of the four block walk to Mike's work. I miss that bike.
Our insurance company ponied up for my beloved purple Kona Lava Dome. It has a tighter triangle, more aggressive seat tube angle, and better components. Made of steel in Vancouver, Canada. Before Kona moved across the border to Seattle and started shipping their frames in from overseas. This bike got me to the Heritage Days festival, the day after I found out I was pregnant with Danica and she was still our secret inside me. It got me back and forth to the pool last winter, at 6am in the soul-freezing morning, when I needed to learn how to swim distances if I was going to compete in triathlon. It got me to sessions with my ESL students, to library activities with my number-one girl, under the wind at my first ever triathlon, and to playgrounds far from home during Disneyland summers. It sat on the stationary trainer so I could watch Frontline while building cardio endurance. It has rust under its Lizard Skins and shifters that need a knowing hand to guide them through gear changes. And some days, it decides it's just too cold to go.
It reminds me of my Mum's Dodge Omni, back in the day. That car went farther and did more than it was ever meant to do. It went off-road before there were SUV's, and got Mum through the car-accident that indirectly taught me how to read. When Mum was maybe 24 and I was about 7, it was time to sell it. We both had a good cry, that day.
When Danica was a toddler and Shelton was an idea, we bought a two-seater trailer for my bike. I don't like to be in the car, much, and still don't have a driver's license. It meant a bit more freedom for she and me, when I was nuts with work and needed fresh air like Xanax.
Two summers ago, I bought the bike bucket so one of my kids could ride behind my seat. The conversation's a bit better, that way, and they love the feel of it. They tell me everything I'm missing, because I'm a grownup and not much looks new to me, anymore. More outdoor education for me, I guess.
Today, picking up my Monday morning crew from playschool, I loaded my two girls in the back, and my son in the bucket. As I was backing carefully out of our parking spot, another parent complimented Shelton on his "bike seat".
Shelton, offended: "This isn't a bike seat! This is OUR CAR!" And then, more thoughtfully: "Actually, this is our MINI VAN."
I smiled. Shelton the Stickbug is 3, that golden age when you can say (almost) whatever the hell you want, and it's still adorable.
As we were riding away, the Stickbug hollered, "And our mini-van is air conditionered!"
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