Tag Archives: Pastime

Bicycle and Marriage Built for Two

“It won’t be a stylish marriage; I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.”

According to writer Harry Dacre, his heroine, Daisy Bell, and her sweetheart seemed destined for marital bliss.

My husband and I? Not always.

Whatever a stylish marriage is, I don’t think ours qualifies. I don’t look sweet, either, red face sweating as Hubby and I climb hills on our tandem bike.

We’ve come a long way since our first tandem ride 19 years ago, when we bought the bike as both celebration and consolation for our empty nest.

Hubby explained this “togetherness” hobby would work for us. “It’s the perfect solution for riders of — er — unequal athletic levels.”

Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay.

Let Hubby do most of the work? Sounded like a plan to me.

After 30 years, we didn’t expect our first ride would send us back to Marriage 101. That we would nearly take out our neighbor’s trash cans. Starting and stopping required the precision of our operating like bicycle gears. Hubby hadn’t realized navigating turns would be like driving a semi. Dragging an extra person up a hill would resemble hauling an oversize load.

I, taking the back seat, hadn’t realized I’d see nothing in front but Hubby’s back. Nor did I understand that without exception, I had to communicate my intention to procure my water bottle. Once, my shift in balance sent us careening toward a pickup.

Image by Simon Gatdula from Pixabay.

Hubby and I still disagree on how to deal with 4,371 dogs that guard roads throughout our county.

Canines always lunge for riders on the back seat. Ergo, my approach: “Pedal for your — I mean, my — life!”

Hubby’s: “We’ll never outrace them. Yell at the dogs to alert the owner.”

What if the owner commutes to Chicago?

Image by S Hermann and F. Richter from Pixabay.

Despite our differences, we enjoy aspects of the Indiana countryside many people miss — rustling cornfields, forested hills and flower-covered meadows. Cows and horses can’t make heads nor tails of this odd, two-headed creature passing their fields.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay.

Daisy and her man probably discovered that riding a tandem and achieving wedded bliss are work! Both are acquired tastes — especially puffing up those hills.

Though on that first ride, we hit speed bumps, Hubby and I have kept both tandem and marriage moving. They’re our favorite pastimes.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever ridden a tandem bicycle?

Kayaker vs. Landlubber

My husband zeroes in on kayaks the way my radar finds ice cream parlors.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he drools. “Long, slim — probably has great moves.”

I suppose I should be grateful that he’s not observing a Jennifer Aniston look-alike. For years, though, I resisted his enthusiasm in favor of practical considerations, such as bills, college savings and investments in ice cream.

Unfortunately, I asked what he wanted for Christmas.

Armed and dangerous with Internet facts and figures, he proclaimed an inflatable kayak as the bargain gift. “Costs less, yet withstands white-water conditions.”

White water?

He nearly lost his case.

Even writing about big waves shifts my stomach into N for nausea. Yet, this boat represented the boy’s special Christmas wish. …

We bought the kayak.

Hubby pumped it up in the living room to “test inflation pressures.” Later, in his office to “calculate seat placement.” Then to “practice paddling.”

“You’ve paddled canoes all your life,” I said.

“Entirely different technique,” he retorted.

Having braved his office carpet, he foamed at the mouth, waiting for spring. However, tornadoes sabotaged every plan for the kayak’s maiden voyage.

Then, days before a promising campout date, I fell, bruising every muscle I owned. Some landlubbers will do anything to avoid paddling a kayak.

My husband never once insinuated that I’d ruined our kayaking adventure. Because he said he’d paddle solo.

Hubby salivated as he hand-pumped the kayak.

Me? Not salivating. Donning a life jacket (Ouch!) seemed a sufficient challenge. As did entering this inflatable kayak. It threatened to drown me before we left shore.

Somehow, we managed, and Hubby expertly steered us through glass-like water reflecting blue sky draped with tulle clouds. Wild rose thickets wafted exquisite scents across the water.

We spotted ducks, geese leading mini-parades of fuzzy goslings, sunbathing turtles, and minnows playing in the shallows. Orange and black orioles, the first I’d seen in Indiana, darted past. A heron eyed us, unperturbed.

Meanwhile, my husband paddled and paddled. And paddled.

I could handle that. Why hadn’t he told me kayaking was so wonderful?

However, the troublemaker wind kicked up bigger waves.

This might prove a little more challenging than your office carpet.

Waves morphed into whitecaps. Whitecaps on a central Indiana lake?

My stomach plummeted. Waves slapped us ever closer to an island’s rough shoreline.

Hubby dug in, and we edged toward our bay, where the wind couldn’t bully our boat. Finally, we reached it.

Will I ever kayak on the sea?

Only if anesthetized.

More kayak trips on Indiana lakes and rivers? My stomach votes no.

But this landlubber votes yes … even when she’ll have to paddle.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever changed your mind about your husband’s favorite pastime?

The Microwave Numbers Game

The past few decades, we Americans have discovered a new pastime, though many consider it a solemn responsibility: supervising microwave numbers.

Each day, millions of men, women and children monitor microwave countdowns like space launches.

I do like microwaves. They have saved more marriages than Dr. Phil.

The first year of my husband’s medical practice, he spent our last penny to buy one for me. I didn’t know whether to kiss or kill him. As we navigated his 16-hour days and my baby bottles and strained peas, I leaned toward the kiss.

I found myself eyeing each and every microwave number. Friends conducted similar surveillance when heating their babies’ rice cereal. Years later, we all continue the staring drill with every bag of popcorn and frozen lump of hamburger we forgot to defrost. Blinking is allowed. Apparently, though, transferring one’s gaze to a family member or a house fire is asking for trouble.

Why do we watch microwave numbers? If we don’t, will the food disappear into an alternative universe?

As free Americans, we should cease this self-imposed tyranny.

Math addicts claim to experience withdrawal without their daily allotment of numbers. Fine. Calculate how many nickels you’d use to pay taxes this year. Or count dishtowels you own whose color you can actually identify.

I prefer theological ponderings: If God had made me a jellyfish, wouldn’t I be living someplace warmer?

Perhaps you spend microwave time in practical pursuits, such as scrubbing grape Popsicle® stains your toddler grandson rubbed into white kitchen cabinets. (He’s 16 now? It’s probably time.)

Some innovators learn new skills. Consider teaching yourself to tie your shoes left-handed or balance a celery stalk on your nose.

Other number watchers focus on civic responsibilities, brushing up on the Pledge of Allegiance. They practice state capitals they learned in fifth grade, shouting ’em out, impressing the world — at least, coworkers in their lunchroom.

We all could practice speeches we’d make if the President gave us two minutes of his time.

We could practice what we’d say if God gave us two minutes of His time.

Actually, He’s eager to hear us. He’d also applaud if, instead of spending 9.731 years of our lives overseeing microwave numbers, we’d build relationships.

Build relationships? In minutes? Seconds? Certainly. Social media can connect us in microseconds.

There’s also the old-fashioned phone call (“Hi. I was heating up kumquats and thought of you.”)

We might even share a “Good morning” with spouse, family and coworkers.

If you insist, watch every number as you heat your morning mug of tea. But I guarantee a 30-second kiss with your spouse will warm you even more.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite microwave-timer pastime?