Git R Done

I’ve been feeling very stir crazy but with a neutered git r done. My brain has been feeling like it’s frozen, locked up, like I’ve been rebooting. Nothing has been going on upstairs now for a few weeks. Just nothing. It’s the oddest feeling, kind of creepy. I even tried to make a list of things that sound fun and failed miserably. Me, the king of creative and random fun things to do came up with nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. My list of fun things consisted of three whole things. Top of my list was “Learn Quickbooks.” How ridiculous is that? The others aren’t particularly boast-worthy either. This mental meltdown has been driving me nuts. I feel like I’ve been just stuck in neutral. Well, at least until last Thursday morning.

Thursday morning I crawled out of bed with a mission. It wasn’t grand or impressive but it was a mission, none the less and it was MY mission: try to get the ol’ Harley running again. I hadn’t started it maybe once in the last, I dunno, year. It’s been sitting, patiently, waiting for me to come and give it some love. Rain, cold, heat. Just sitting.

So, out I went with the keys in my hands to determine the extent of my task. The pretty yellow Sporster was dirty… shamefully dirty. It’s rusty in many places. The old license plate was still on it despite my having received the new plate in the mail who knows when last year. The tires were cracked and flat. The inspection was out. The click-ity-clack of the starter motor told me that the battery was pretty much dead. My work was cut out for me.

First things first – fix the battery problem. After some work to extract it from the bike, the nice folks at Batteries Plus told me the battery is, surprisingly, in fine shape but just in need of a good charging. So, back at the house, I hooked up the battery to the charger and was quite pleased with my progress for the day. Truth be told, I felt a thrill! Ah, and it felt good, like a long stretch after sitting down way too long. Like I said, it wasn’t much, but it was something and I was pleased.

Friday, invigorated with the anticipation of the completion of my task, I bopped out of bed with – what’s this? A smile on my face? Where’d this smile come from? We’ll deal with that issue later. No time for it right now because I had a mission.

I hooked up the newly charged battery, gave the ol’ girl a modest wipe down so at least she wasn’t shamefully dirty anymore. And, as my heart pounded in my chest (should I dare even try?), hit the switch. The battery kicked the starter and the starter turned the big motor over. And over. And over. And… blam! Hey, it fired! Blam, blam, blam! Oh my gosh! Is it going to start? No way. I turned the switch off and cranked the throttle up and down twice (that’s one of my bike’s personality traits – she likes her gas fondled a little before waking up.) I hit the switch again and she roared to life. I nearly fell over backward. I couldn’t believe it. A great big ol’ silly smile just attached itself to my face.

I sat there in the grass for probably a good ten minutes watching the bike blast out big Harley growls while the motor heated up. Surely, I thought, as soon as I give it some throttle it’ll choke and die. But as I opened up the throttle, instead of choking and puking, the Harley growl crescendod in sync. Amazing. I was just shocked.

Ok, on to the next task on the list. I changed the license plate out and aired up the tires. Tires that sit tend to have a nasty habit of exploding soon after they are re-pressurized so I gave them a little extra air to stretch them out and went inside to shower. When I came back, there she was, just waiting to get rolling. And who was I to keep that beast from sitting still any longer. I put the tires, which hadn’t exploded, back to the proper pressure, verified my motorcycle insurance was still valid, put on my helmet and, nervously, headed for lunch on two wheels. Ah, how nice it was to ride again.

After I arrived at my lunch place I realized I was more than a little nervous about the condition of the tires. Sitting for a long time, cracked, and flat just minutes ago – yikes! And, on a bike, it’s not like you have a spare. Each tire tends to be really important. So, while waiting for my lunch date I called around to find some new tires. The guy on the phone said: Yup, in stock right down the road. Nope, won’t install them. Yup, know someone who might. Done deal.

Sure enough, they had both tires just like I needed. I paid for them and got the name of a place that would put them on for $25 each, cash. Great! Oh wait. I’m on the motorcycle, the one with the bad tires, and the new tires are sitting on the counter. The place that puts the tires on the bike is several miles further north. Hmmm. Now here’s an interesting puzzle for a freshly rebooted brain. (And this is the part in the story that Mom should stop reading. No kidding, Mom. Just close down the browser now.)

How the heck was I going to get the new tires (and the bike) to the tire put-er-on-er person? It was obvious. Tires are round and hollow in the middle, like donuts. I’m skinny, like a donut holder. I’ll just wear them like a big, black, rubber tube top! Brilliant! I could just throw them over me and drive them on over to the shop. Yup. Brilliant.

The really cute girl customer at the bike shop was laughing at me while I struggled to get the tires over my helmeted head while seated on the bike. After some work, I got them resting right about my mid-section with the front part on my thighs and the back part on my seat. They stuck out a good foot on both sides of me and were a little squirrely to keep stacked. With my heart pounding, I turned on the beast, backed out and took off down the way.

Picture the hilarity. Skinny little me on my bright, yellow, awesome sounding Harley Sportster wearing two motorcycle tires around my midriff driving down 183 (a major highway here in Austin) at a blazing 45 miles per hour (because I was scared to go any faster.) Cars were stacking up behind me. I’m sure people were laughing, too, but I was too engrossed in keeping the shiny side of the bike facing up to notice. I wish I had a picture of it. I’m pretty sure someone does and it’s already on some website poking fun at me. I was having a grand ol’ time, laughing almost the whole way there. At least until the Williamson County police car pulled out in front of me. “Oh shit!” is right!

Now, here’s where the story could get ugly. Williamson County police officers are known for their javelina hog-like personalities and overinflated egos. They are very “(Bang!) Stop or I’ll shoot!” kind of folks and proud of it. The whole “we don’t like yer kind in our town” started in Williamson County. I actually think that’s carved on their shield. Seriously. So, here I am, riding down the road on a motorcycle with an expired inspection, cracked tires, two new tires hugging my mid-section – a juicy target. But, hey, at least I had insurance.

I’m not sure what the police officer was doing but he apparently wasn’t looking at me. He drove on by and never even glanced up. Not once. Apparently, he didn’t look in the rear view mirror either because I was a hard sight to miss! I waved buh-bye all the way down the road. And then I exhaled.

After some back and forth, I finally found the shop that promised to install the tires (man, I gotta get GPS for my bike if I do this again.) It was a dive of a dive motorcycle repair shop in a back alley run by Jerry, a shaved-smooth bald guy who clearly works with his hands for a living. He was swimming in a sea of half assembled motorcycles, jet skis, and four wheelers. He was super friendly with a rough working-man demeanor and ready to help me out. His dog was friendly, too. Over the next several hours, we chit chatted about nothing while he changed out my tires. $60 later I was riding much, much safer (I rounded up $10 as a thank you for his willingness to do it right then.)

From there I headed to a garage that Jerry told me would perform a bike inspection. Nearly an hour later, I left there with a sunburn and new, shiny inspection sticker on the bike. I smiled almost all the way back home. Mission accomplished.

My smiles have become more and more common. Genuine smiles, not the fake-it-till-you-make-it smiles. No, I don’t miss Maggie any less. If anything, it’s hurting more and more. Part of me is still waiting for her to call or come home. There’s a moment every single morning when I catch myself asking “Now, when is she coming home again?” That hurts. But I’m becoming accustomed to it, so to speak.

Yesterday I had to go buy some workout clothes at Target. I was remarkably unhappy about the whole trip because Maggie was my store navigator, fashion coach, appropriate-size finder, and fun-to-shop-with gal (yes, my everything.) How the heck was I going to do this myself? Fortunately for me, Martha agreed to hold my hand for that first trip and it went ok. But there’re a bazillion other “firsts” I have to go through, too. One at a time, I suppose.

Otherwise, I’ve been staying busy. Since Friday, I have:

  • Built a washer-tossing pit
  • Helped roast a 50 pound pig over a fire (by “helped” I mean “watched” and “ate some”)
  • Picked poison ivy shoots
  • Won a chess game
  • Moved a fridge down two flights of stairs
  • Moved a couch, a love seat and a dryer up a flight of stairs
  • Oogled girls at Hula Hut
  • Explored the menu of a newly-opened restaurant at Oyster Landing
  • Hung out at Mean Eyed Cat, Austin’s local Johnny Cash joint
  • Listened to a band at Barton Springs under moonlight
  • Hula-hooped seven hula-hoops at the same time

I’ll keep my feet moving. Finally, I think my brain is waking up. I have hope. And now, a new smile, too.

30 thoughts on “Git R Done

  1. I laughed out loud. I wish I did have a picture of you with tires around your torso. It’s good you’re getting out and that your brain is activating its ‘laugh wires.’

  2. I live in Vegas and I have been keeping up with how you are holding up by reading this everyday. I was forwarded Maggies story by one of her friends Tina. I have never met such a devoted and loving husband like yourself. YOU inspire me to keep going in life. I have not lost my husband to death but I have lost him to someone else and it hurts just as bad. You are an awesome person and may God continue to give you the strength that you need and please keep smiling. I just have a this funny vision of you with tires around you riding your harley. It should be made into a cartoon strip!!! I’ll keep reading.

  3. LMAO! I had no idea or forgot you even had a bike. I thought you were looking quite tan. I’m glad you’re doing so many things. Count me in seeing as I have a lot of free time right now. You’ve done more in the last week than I’ve done in years!

  4. Git R Done! WOOOOOO!!

    I’m sure you put a smile on a lot of people’s faces by sharing this! I know I was grinning ear to ear! I’m so happy you are getting back into the swing of things!

  5. This was hilarious to read! I was reading it just now here at work and just giggling and my boss asked me “Kimberly, you okay in there?” I said “Yes sir, just in here enjoying reading about my friend and his exciting and eventful day!”

    By the way, his wife is a retired Williamson County Deputy Sheriff….he got a kick out of the story about the cop, said you hit it right on the head!!!!

    Here is to many, many more laughs, keep them coming Chris!!!

  6. Thank God you added the last few paragraphs!

    My heart almost stopped while reading about you riding down 183 on your Harley with tires around your middle! I was definitely regretting that I had ignored your warning to stop reading. However, it didn’t take long until I had tears of laughter in my eyes.

    Since we haven’t talked in several days now and you didn’t answer my text yesterday, I was beginning to get pretty anxious. I’m okay now, though, because I see that you’ve been so busy you haven’t really had time for old mom. That makes me very, very, very relieved and very, very, very happy! Love you, son!

  7. This was a hilarious post and good to see that you are out doing things as hard as it might be to get going. Keep it up. This is what Maggie would want.

    Keep riding!

  8. If it makes you feel any better Chris, I was already thinking that you should put the tires around your waste before I read it…must have been a brilliant idea, or perhaps the only real option. Wish we had a picture, but you described it perfectly!

    Wishing you many, many, many more smiles and occasions to smile about.


  9. OMG…I can not believe how you made me laugh. My husband got scared and maybe thought I am losing my mind.

    Too bad someone did not take a picture. This is priceless, and it feels so good to know that you have a smile on your face.

    You deserve it dear Chris.

    They should make a skit on SNL about you and the tires..; ).

  10. That is hilarious! I started giggling uncontrolably (?sp) as I pictured you riding down the road.

    I’m so glad you have a new smile and are feeling hope! :O)

  11. Well done with the tires Chris. Sounds like something I’d try… unsuccessfully. I’m thinking the WilCo po po was so entertained by your method that he just let you go.

    I’m happy to hear you’ve had some real smiles. You’ve definitely given me one.

  12. My vision for your future, Chris. After your Maggie and me book becomes a best-seller, it will be made into a movie, starring Brad and Angelina as Chris and Maggie. Last scene in movie: Chris riding down the highway on his Harley with two tires around his middle and a smile on his face. Keep on movin!

  13. OMG, I almost pissed myself laughing. Back in the days when two-wheels was only transportation, I had to do some crazy things to carry my stuff but I NEVER had to wear bike tires like a girdle. HA, AWESOME!

    1. Chris, come ride with us in the parade tomorrow! I’ll be the one sporting her new pink helmet! That year Scott and I rode with you and Maggie is one of my favorite “motorcycle memories.” Emily

  14. Hi Chris, i just want to say that i admire your strength very much. The first i visited the site was after Maggie’s passing, i cried here @ work. You know when i started working here, and i found out about her cancer, i was so afraid to get attached to her. I went home that afternoon and cried because i was scared. She was such a fun, sweet person to be around. She was always so nice to me and helped me alot when i first started working here. There is not much anyone can say to help you with your pain, we all feel and handle situations like this differently. If there is anything you need, i am here to help.

  15. Chris,
    I’m so glad you’re smiles are coming more often. You deserve them, and may many more come your way. 🙂

  16. Sitting here laughing my a$$ off! And our network admin is looking at me funny.
    Keep it up! You are a hero!

  17. Juicy target alright! Tires – The New Tube Tops? Or how about trying them out as hula hoops?! I’m sure Maggie would have A LOT to say about this fashion statement of yours! You got cojones dude!

  18. Had the complete visual in my head. VERY funny!

    Were you wearing a harley attire under the tires? =OD

    Is it wrong that I was looking forward to hearing how the police adventure would have gone? =oD
    Maybe tires around the middrift happens way more often than you think!

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