Category Archives: Simple Living

Shifting Priorities

If you’ve been paying any attention whatsoever, it’s apparent that I’m in a relationship again.  Things are going well with Diane.  I bought her a new cell phone yesterday, and put her on my plan.

Diane is not living with me, but that will probably change in the near future.  I will remain car-free, but she will keep her car.  It’s paid off, but needs a little work.

My lifestyle will be going through some pretty big changes.  I have a variety of things I need to spend money on.  The plans for swapping handlebars on my bikes (or any other major expense) are on hold.  This seems to be working well as my neck issue has abated a bit, and I can ride any of my bikes again.  I rode the rSogn to work today.

Diane wants to fly to San Francisco with me this summer.  That will mean we need some extra money for spending and her flight.  I hope we can book her flight in the next few weeks.

Diane remains a good influence in my life.  She (nicely) reminds me not to overeat or drink too much.  She still enjoys an occasional drink with me.

Not everything is perfect.  As we’ve spent a lot of time together recently, we’ve discovered some of each other’s insecurities and personality flaws.  I don’t believe any of it’s a real problem, just a challenge to overcome.

I read something years ago about “being the perfect partner” rather than “looking for the perfect partner”.  That’s what I’m working on.  In the short-term, that means keeping my life in order from housework to eating habits.

Life continues to be a strange adventure.

Home Sweet Home

My house has been a shambles.  Sometimes it’s clean, other times it’s dirty, but it’s been disorganized and not pleasant to live in.  I haven’t had a kitchen table since Kristy moved out.  I didn’t like the one we had before she moved out.

I never used my livingroom.  I mostly just slept at home.  Too much space was taken up by bike parts and tools.  Every flat surface was covered in junk.

Robin had brought a TV and DVD player over so we could watch movies together on the couch.

Since then, I’ve wanted to spend more time at home, but I needed a few things to make it nicer to be here.

Over the last few weeks, Robin and stopped at a lot of yardsales.  I bought two table lamps for the bedroom.  I bought a floor lamp for the livingroom.  Yesterday we found an old, but sturdy and nice, kitchen table with four chairs.  It was priced well, as it was missing it’s middle leaf.  This makes the table football-shaped, but that doesn’t bother me. The smaller size fits my kitchen better.

My bedroom had water damage from the leaking roof.  The roof has been repaired, but the bedroom needs painting and new carpet.  I moved my bedroom to the front of the house (former livingroom), which is bigger.  My livingroom moved back one room to the former “bike room”.

The old bedroom is bike storage for now, but I’ll have to move them out for remodeling.

I did some bike work that I’ve been meaning to for a while.  This allowed me to get rid of some stuff, and put other stuff away.  I no longer have bike parts or tools anywhere, except put up where they belong.

My house is de-cluttered and clean.  It feels like a nice place to live again.  I still have paperwork to sort in the computer room, but it won’t take long to do that.

I’m still recovering from being sick, so a long bike ride was out of the question for the weekend.  Using the extra time to clean and organize was a better idea.

This is reducing my stress level and helps me feel in control of my life again.  Sometimes, little things can really help.

January Miles and (Lack of) Progress

Between my car-rental drive to Bowling Green and driving Robin’s car for us to do stuff together, I drove 356 miles for the month.  It would normally not be difficult to ride my bike more than that in a month, but I’ve had a really off month.

I only rode my bike 160.6 miles.  My neck and shoulder have conspired to keep me off the bike much of the time.  I made good use of carpooling, the bus, and the occasional cab ride to get to work.  I’ve even walked the 3.5 miles home from downtown once.

I quit weighing myself recently, but I’ll be doing that again now.  I had quit posting my weight a while before that, but I’ll get that caught up soon.

Now that I have an iPhone I downloaded the  MyFitnessPal app to track what I eat.  I’ve also downloaded the EEBA app to help me budget my money using virtual envelopes.  We’ll see how that works out.

The last two days have been much less painful than before.  I feel like I can function normally.  I didn’t ride my bike yesterday, because I had to return the rental car and walk to work from there.  I took the bus home.  Today, I rode the single-speed and it felt wonderful.  I’ll be on it again tomorrow.

I still have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Monday.  I’d like to avoid surgery, so I’ll get a second opinion if he immediately suggests it.  If two doctors suggest it, I’ll go through with it.

Things are going well between Robin and I.  I like the fact that we’re both comfortable living where we do… two blocks apart.  Seriously, I just know I need to avoid pushing things faster (or further) than they need to go.  We are seeing each other exclusively, but I really don’t feel comfortable discussing much more here.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is also the Car-Free Happy Hour.  This is technically January’s event as it was delayed a week.  Will you join us at 5:30pm at Four Pegs at 1053 Goss Ave 40217.  I may ride my bike there, or just walk.  It’s very close to my house.

Weight?  Weight!  Wait?  No, don’t wait.  I still need to lose about 55lbs to make it to my goal weight.  A reasonable goal is one pound per week, giving me about a year to do this.  So 175lbs by 2013.  Could the iPhone be the tool I need to do this?

With my new phone comes a new phone number.  I used to publish my old one pretty openly, but I’m not doing that any more.  That’s why I didn’t port the number to the new phone.  If you need my number, send me an email, and I’ll get back to you.

New Toy

I want a simpler life, but I also like gadgets. Yesterday the gadgets won. I now have an iPhone 4S. I’m writing this post from it.

In addition to browsing and writing from this thing I’ll play with some food tracking apps. What are your favorite ones?

Like I’m Waiting…

I’m waiting to get back on track.
I’m waiting to eat healthy.
I’m waiting to be in control of my life.

What am I waiting for?

I have a lot of changes coming.  My daughter is moving out of the house tomorrow.  My wife moves out in a few weeks.  There are plans in place to get ride of the house in Charlestown.  I’ll be selling my truck before the end of the year.

What’s that got to do with it?

Nothing, but mentally I seem incapable of handling too much at once.  So I’m waiting.  Not a great reason, but it’ll have to do.

What now?

My neck problem improved dramatically for a while, then started to get a little worse.  I’m going to start commuting on the recumbent again for a while, and save riding upright bikes for group rides, or gravel stuff, or whatever.

Miles!

My June mileage was horrible.  Due to my neck issues I rode only 110 miles.  July was better, but still a bit off, at 363 miles.  Back in March I rode 647 miles.

I met up with Tim this morning for a short-ish ride.  I ended up with 35 miles for the day.  I was happy with that.  I brought my camera with me, but never took a picture.

Where am I heading?

I’ll be car-free by the end of the year.  I will hopefully be back on track for weight loss.  I should be weighing myself again soon.

I will hopefully pull myself together enough mentally to be happy with what I have, rather than obsess with what I want.  I’ll still want things, I just don’t want to obsess over them.

My Normal Isn’t Healthy

I’m back to normal.  What is normal for me these days?

  • I ride a bike almost everywhere
  • I go out to eat often and overeat when I do
  • I drink beer several times a week
  • I gain weight
  • I suffer from depression

Maybe it’s time to not be normal.  I want to lose more weight and be healthier and happier.

I do have one change coming that I’m not quite sure of my feelings about.  Kristy and I are splitting up.  I’m not going to go into details except to say that we still love each other, but we rushed into marriage.  I’ll miss her, but I’m glad she’ll still be around town.

The question is, will that help me to focus on my goals, or push me toward beer, food, and self-loathing even more?

She won’t be moving out for another six weeks (give or take).  Once she does, I’ll work toward some of my simple living goals, which should help me determine what is important in my life.

Relationships are hard.  This failure has taught me things and will hopefully give me focus for the future.

Too Many Bikes

I have four bikes.  I ride two of them frequently.  Sadly the recumbent and the folding bike are the two I don’t ride.  I’ve been considering selling them to pay for upgrades on the LHT and single-speed, which I will keep.  This would also allow me to stick with my simple-living idea.

The problem is, I can’t bring myself to sell them.  I love the ‘bent, even if I don’t ride it much anymore.  The folding bike has a two minor purposes in my home.

I guess simple is going out the window.  I’m not selling.  Here’s the plan:

Folding Bike: I’ll clean this bike up and shove it in a closet for when visitors come over.  It’s adjustable enough for nearly anyone to ride.  It’ll be a guest bike.  It’ll also work in the rare instance that I need a folding bike.  I won’t upgrade any parts on it.

Recumbent: I’ll start tearing this bike down for a rebuild.  It may someday sport a dynohub and Rohloff rear hub.  I’ll get it repainted a different color, upgrade the brakes, and do something different with the handlebars/cockpit.  This will end up being quite expensive, but I’ll stretch it out over several years.  I may eventually need a recumbent for touring when my body can’t handle an upright anymore.

Shorter term changes would be new rear rack, adding midship rack, and upgrading the brakes.

Long Haul Trucker: This is a great touring bike.  I used it on my 5-day tour, and I’ll use it again.  At some point I want new brakes and a dynohub, but the bike rides well as-is.  It’ll also be my gravel ride, hilly ride, and winter bike.

Single Speed: This bike has recently become my primary commuting bike.  The intended use was as a stripped-down, light-weight, pretty bike, but it’s now sporting a rack and fenders.  It’s still pretty, and I’ll be careful when choosing new components to not ruin the (admittedly weird) aesthetic it’s got going on.

I do want to add a dynohub to it also.  See a pattern here?  At some point it’ll get some tougher tires, as the rough roads here mean I get the occasional flat on my commute – not fun.

The issue with four bikes

Everything I just outlined is part of the problem of having four bikes.  I have four bikes I need to maintain and upgrade.  Not only does this cost money, but it takes time.  It makes life more complicated, not simpler.

If I could keep only one bike, it would be the LHT.  Luckily, that’s not the case.  I could do everything I need on it, but although I use a bike for transportation, I also enjoy the cycling experience.  I enjoy variety.  I’d be fairly happy with two bikes, and four just gives me more to worry about, but with the possibility of more in the future.

In addition to my four bikes, I’m also maintaining my wife’s bike and my daughters.  Neither is seeing much use right now, so it’s not an issue.  I hope that changes this year.

Doing, Being, or Having

It’s better to spend your time, effort, and money working on Doing or Being rather than Having.

Doing and Being are closely related and can lead to a fulfilling life.  Having can make you a slave to fashion/posessions/marketing/consumption.

The lines aren’t always clear-cut.  You need to Have certain things to Do certain things.  The difference is in your primary focus.

Quandaries

Settling In
Kristy and I are settled into our new home.  I’m enjoying the “almost car-free” lifestyle, except when I have to drive back to Charlestown to get things from the old house, or go somewhere with Kristy, or drive to another city for work (Saint Louis next week).

Bike Mileage
My bike mileage has taken a nosedive.  I’ve been busy enough on the weekends that I haven’t had any long rides.  My new commute can be less than seven miles round-trip.  I can go a longer route, but I seldom do.

Simple Living
I’ve wanted a simpler life for a while.  What does that mean?  For me, I want to eliminate clutter.  Get rid of items I don’t use.  That’s easier said than done.  I have a truck and a house that I owe money on, and really don’t need either, although Kristy would hurt me if I got rid of the truck.  :)

I have eliminated a lot of old bike parts.  I sold two wheelsets and my unicycle on craigslist.  Other stuff went into the trash.

I’ve eliminated unused computer equipment.  There are still five laptops for two individuals (although one is work-owned).  Each of them has a purpose.

Both Kristy and I own things that are either sentimental, valuable, or were valuable, but are no longer used.  These are the hardest to get rid of.  I have old but expensive software packages.  I haven’t been able to let go of them yet.  Kristy has a lot of clothing that she paid good money for, and rarely (if ever) wore.  Most of it fits, she just didn’t like it as much as she thought she would.

Going Backward?
I still have things that I want to buy.  I’m in the process of having bike #4 built.  Although each bike is completely different and serves a different purpose, it does seem a bit much.  If I insist on having a bike for each type of riding, I can easily see myself with 6+ bikes.  I still like gadgets.  I want an MP3 player.  I want an ebook reader.  I really don’t need these things though.

Bikes
These are the bikes I have, or could have:

  • Commuting/Touring/Hauling: My Surly LHT
  • Comfort/”be different”: My Bacchetta Agio recumbent
  • Folding/Travel: my Dahon Speed D7
  • Single Speed/Lugged Steel: My project bike at Vic’s Classic Bikes (unfinished)
  • Off-Road: Don’t have one, no plans to buy right now
  • Fast Road Bike: Don’t have one, had intended to buy a fast recumbent, those plans are on hold
  • Cargo: Don’t have one, have considered a long-tail cargo bike, or a trailer

That’s too many bikes.  I need to stop at four, and reconsider what I need.

Now What?
It’s hard to convince my wife to live simpler when I have my bike and gadget lust.  I need to quit visiting bike websites and ogling things to buy.  I need to think over all purchases for a few days before buying.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not really about money, it’s about the mental and time cost of each item owned.