I’ve done so much that hasn’t been covered here so this post is sort of a brain dump.
A couple of weeks ago I shared that I was looking for a mandolin. Well, I found one on eBay for a good price. It was listed as “mint condition”. What I received wasn’t exactly mint. There were several scratches and dings, two of which were unsightly on the front, and several non-professional fixes. The instrument was missing two strings, and the remaining strings were corroded and dull-sounding. But the worst part was the fingerboard, which resembled nothing less than an old wooden roller coaster.
Still, I didn’t pay much for it so I took it down to the luthier in Cary Town to see what he could do with it. He tightened the truss rod as far as it would go without breaking, which made the fingerboard, if not flat, then immensely improved and certainly playable. He restrung it, and polished it up. In the end, the cost of the set-up and new strings, along with shipping and purchase cost, netted me a beautiful Eastman 504 A-style mandolin with a delightfully clear, bell-like voice.
I also started running again. Sadly, with this last long break I have lost the strength and flexibility in my hip flexors. It makes it rather painful to sit, stand, or even lie down on my side. Several friends have recommended biking in the past as a good cross-training exercise. I’ve wanted to try it, but my big-box $89 Huffy broke within a few months of purchase – 13 years ago. When looking into the costs to fix it, I discovered that bikes have come a long way from when I was a kid. They have all kinds on the market now. I also discovered that the cost to fix the cheap bike were at least twice what it initially cost.
With that in mind, I visited a nearby bike shop with a familiar name from my childhood and learned everything I could about what I might need. I did some internet-warrior style research for a bit and made the decision to purchase a low-end (not cheap!) hybrid bicycle. It’s heavy, and has very few of the upgrades I might want down the road, but it was in my price-range and will suit the purpose admirably, with the added benefits of not falling apart immediately, and a relationship with a repair person not too far away.
Oddly enough, I have already had to take the bike back to the shop. On our maiden voyage, I blew the front tire. The repairman was kind enough to give me a whole new front wheel and tire, and installed a water bottle holder free of charge to make up for the inconvenience. He said it was his fault for not making sure the tire was seated properly before we left.
I went back out on the bike after dinner tonight and did maiden voyage part deux, going a different route entirely. Now I know why people wear those padded bike shorts. My lady parts are a bit bruised. Looks like I know what my next bike-related purchase will be. In other news, the temperature is still in the 90’s out there. If sweat is any indicator of effort, than I am a big damn athlete.
Interesting side-note: I love running uphill and hate running downhill. On a bicycle, it is completely the opposite. There are a lot of steep hills in this neighborhood. Just saying….
Being unemployed, I have lots of time on my hands. I had all kinds of plans for that time. There was going to be house cleaning, and calls to handymen and plumbers, tons of time spent on the violin and mandolin, and there’s even a brand-new puzzle just waiting for me to put it together.
Instead of all that, I have embarked on a knitting project. I’m making the Elianette Shawl by Wendy Neal: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elianette using Dream in Color Smooshy. So far I have had to frog it and start over twice. Oh well, I have no idea who I will give it to so there’s no rush.
At least I’m knitting again, and running, and apparently fostering a real shopping problem.