Shotgun update: Weekend of Serious Awesomeness

I’m in the (happy) predicament of having waaay too much going on to be able to come up with anything but a train-wreck of a blog post. Also, I’m going to brag a lot, I should warn you in advance. Okay, here goes:

SIDECAR FINALLY MOUNTED BY COMBAT-BOOT STEALTH-BIKE ELVES
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My brother Sam and his friend Luke arrived at my dad’s house across the street last week. They drove a white Ford F350 diesel truck with a black “RIP Democracy” ribbon on the back, and unloaded a couple of sport bikes with all the engine badging masked (this kind of “stealth bike” treatment is a dangerous sign that the rider does not ride to be seen, but Means Business. If the monks of the Shaolin temple rode motorcycles, they would likely ride stealthed Ducatis, or Yamahas with panniers made from ammo cans.)

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I mentioned that I was having some trouble mounting my sidecar, and how I was contemplating the construction of a rig to align the toe-in, lean-out, and axle lead. I said this as bait, I admit it. Sam works as a fabricator and a welder; Luke operates a CNC plasma cutter operator, which basically means he uses computers to cut metal with lasers. For fun, they fabricate mountain bikes from scratch. They got in my garage, and my sidecar raised the white flag immediately. Faced with this intimidating array of expertise, recalcitrant clevis bolts meekly submitted to their fate, and castle nuts that I’d forced on in a failed first attempt with blood-slicked fingers and copious profanity spun on as if they’d been freshly cast in a clean room. I wish they’d made it look a little harder, but I’m not going to complain, as I’m suddenly the proud owner of a 1977 BMW R100/7 with a 2000 Velorex 562E sidecar outfit.

MY WIFE: KICKS ASS, TAKES NAMES, LOOKS ELEGANT
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There’s plenty to say about driving a sidecar, which turns out to be a deeply… different experience, but I will skip to the important thing: I am married to a woman who can — gracefully — enter and exit a sidecar while wearing a dress and high heels. I have total confidence that if I were ever fighting with some kind of mustachioed barbarian warlord, and the warlord started to get the better of me, Kate would pop up behind him and bong him on his fur-trimmed cap with a heavy Ming vase. So all in all, I’m continually amazed at how lucky I am(!)

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We drove the outfit to a high-school friend’s wedding, which was beautiful — solemn and joyful in all the right proportions. The bride arrived sitting side-saddle on a chestnut horse with roses braided into its mane, and you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that she totally got away with it. And the finger-food was really good, and we met local friends at the reception, and then we got back to pick up our girly, who had been having a great time at her grandparents’ playing in the sprinkler — Kate beat me to posting the best pictures, so here they are.

LIKE DRIVING A JUNGLE GYM
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On Sunday, Bob rode his Triumph and I drove my sidecar outfit to the Father’s Day Fest at the American Helicopter Museum just a few miles away from us. The father fest is a ridiculously awesome conglomeration of all kinds of macho hardware: check out, for instance this 1927 Bugatti (driven daily!) parked next to a Boeing Bell Osprey. The last time I went in 2003, I was surprised to be waved onto the runway past the big Navy workhorse helicopters to exhibit my bike, but this time I felt like I belonged in the exhibitor line: I crossed out the “don’t” in the “don’t touch” sign they gave me, and a stream of kids climbed in and out of the hack all afternoon. “Look, a sidecar! (Climb.)” Kate and Lydia met us there, and we had a great time wandering around looking at all the helicopters. (“Look, a helicopter! Climb.)

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Lydia took to the sidecar like a fish to water, though it’ll be years before I feel ready to actually drive safely with her in it (and before there’s a helmet made to fit her,) so for right now it’s just an interestingly-shaped playpen.

Whoo, damn! Blog backlog pressure back down below 100psi again, now.

Update: I did not brag about the cat, who pooped on the carpet this morning. The cat does not get filed under “seriously awesome” this week. I suspect that this is because my litter-cleaning skills are not “seriously awesome” either, so I am on my way home right now to get some fresh litter and awesome up the cat.

Update 2: Also, the compost workshop we went to on Saturday morning was not “seriously awesome” either. Though we do have a black compost container out back, now, subsidized by the State of Pennsylvania, and I’m looking forward to going out there and putting the first bucket of Seriously Awesome lettuce or whatever in it.

Shotgun update: Weekend of Serious Awesomeness

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