What can you not live without?

Its a popular cliché. “I can’t live without it” or “how did we ever live without [insert object, usually cell phone]?” Amidst the cacophony of electronic devices that we’ve become more attached to than an infant to a pacifier, I’ve found there are other everyday items that can be challenging at times to live without. Like a microwave. Or a toilet. Or even a shower.

I started thinking about this because last night T asked me what I’m giving up for Lent. Since she’s Catholic and observes the 40 days of Lent I think I may be required to do the same. Well, not required but wisdom tells me it may be the good husbandly thing to do. If Jesus did then I can do it, too! I already have a head start thought. Last summer, when Tera and I ripped out our old microwave and stove we found that newer model microwaves that hang over the range are standard at 16 inches tall. Our old one was only 14 inches and its bottom was flush with the bottom of the cabinets. A new one would hang so low that seeing the top of the stove would have been difficult. So we just don’t have a microwave in our kitchen. It’s been almost eight months and we haven’t really noticed its absence.

There's no way I'm giving up my iPhone Scrabble App!

In 2011, the first date we were able to take a shower in our own home was Feb. 7. That’s the day our new bathroom was fully functional after the remodel that took two different contracting companies with an ice storm in the middle that shut down our city for four days. Yes, we lived without a toilet for the majority of that period. Unlike the microwave we immediately noticed this void. It was a long, icy walk down to the association’s clubhouse. I realized that if T and I can get along well in 800 sq. ft. with no toilet, microwave or shower then we can get along anywhere. Just as long as she doesn’t make me give up my [4] bicycles .

So, dear reader, what do you think you can’t live without? What would you give up? Not just for the 40 days of Lent, but at any time.

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January 17-31, 2011

Atlanta-Salt Lake City-Boise-Nampa-Reno-Los Angeles-LaVerne-Azusa-Anaheim-Gardena-Inglewood-Signal Hill-Long Beach-Santa Monica-Beverly Hills-Atlanta-Marietta-Denver-Aspen-Denver-Durango-Dolores-Cortez-Durango-Denver-Atlanta.

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The Jake (finally) rides

I took my laundry rack for a ride last week. He hates it when I call him that but that’s been his unfortunate life for the past two months. His real name is “Jake” a.k.a. “The Beech Circle Special,” a.k.a. “The Bike Dave Gave Me.”

In my 29 years of two-wheeled experience I have ridden dirt bikes, BMX bikes, mountain bikes, banana seat bikes, Harley Davidsons, trials bikes, single speeds, “29ers” and unicycles (not good at math) but I have never once thrown a leg over a road bicycle. You know, the ones with skinny tires piloted by people with spandex painted thighs. Until Jake showed up in September. He was immediately put back together after his trip in a box from Potsdam to Atlanta but was denied feet (pedals) and cast to the bedroom where he rested up against our “his” and “hers” clothes hampers. Poor guy. My aversion to bright colors, aero-dynamics and shaved legs stood firm and Jake’s step-brother, an unnamed GT iDrive mountain bike, took all the fun.

But now a triathlon looms and Jake’s services are needed. He took his first tour of Atlanta last Friday, a 16 mile out and back down the Atlanta-to-Stone Mountain Path. Stunned! I can’t believe how much energy I have been wasting all these years by riding a mountain bike on the road when bombing around town. It’s like swimming laps wearing a poncho and rain pants vs. a speedo. The Jake, which doesn’t (yet) even have the true skinny “roadie” tires was so nimble, fast and light. And he’s especially excited because not only is he getting action, he’s about to get a little sister, name TBD.

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Even Smokey the Bear is Laughing…

My first word was “hot”. The burners on the stove were “hot”. The parents must have thought they were raising a pyromaniac because I remember them trying hard to make sure I didn’t play with matches, lighters or fire. And they still don’t know how that baby was able to climb on the counters and crawl across the stove…

Whatever they told me as a baby and child stuck. Not only was I never curious about fire, I developed an unfounded fear of lighting matches. When my friends were blowing up bullfrogs, toilets and lighting fireworks in the backyard, I was hiding behind the closest stable barrier.

I still don’t like lighting matches and Tera got to see it last weekend when we cooked our first meal with our new backpacking stove. On the porch of our downtown Atlanta condominium. Yes, we’re rugged. We wanted to practice before heading into the woods especially since we purchased a petroleum stove (MSR WhisperLite). We’re still not sure why we bought such a complicated stove but we think it has something to do with the clerk at REI who kept telling us we’d go to jail with a $25,000 fine if we were caught trying to fly with fuel from a canister stove (He knows, he works for Delta). And, since we want to travel to backpack, we went with the other option. We’re hasty buyers and didn’t do our research. Here is a list of cons for the type of stove we bought on ZenStoves

Don’t choose this stove if:
– The sound of a jet engine isn’t appealing
– You are considering light weight backpacking
– You don’t like performing maintenance or field repairs on a regular basis
– The smell of fuel on your fingers or gear makes you nauseous
– The possibility of severe burns or loss of facial hair is undesirable


So, I’m out. Good thing my wife is tougher than me. Tera attacked it like a pro. She set up the stove legs, hooked up the gas line, primed the pump and then handed me the matches to light it. Here is what the manual says about lighting the stove:

2. Light the fuel in the Priming Cup
A brief soccer-ball size flame is normal.


I lit a match (Thanks Mike and Karen! Congrats!) and slowly brought the tiny flame at the end of the short stick toward the base of the stove where a teaspoon of white gas was waiting for ignition. When my hand was about eight inches away I flicked the match toward the Priming Cup. It ricocheted off a stove leg and hit the concrete where it smoldered pathetically. I looked up, ashamed.

“Give me the matches,” Tera said. I was happy to oblige. We ate freeze dried lasagna.


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Ireland 2010 – Part 2

Took some time to post some new photos from Ireland

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Ireland 2010

T and I just returned from the land of Leprechauns and rainbows. Didn’t see any lucky green men but we did see rainbows…

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Between Two Pillows…

We have pillows on the floor. I pick them up and place them on the couch. Next day, we have pillows on the floor. This has been going on since we moved here in March. And it’s strange because they’re always in the same spot on floor, to the side of the white ottoman, stacked neatly on top of one another, design patterns facing the ceiling. Obviously, hearing isn’t the only sense that can be selective because I don’t see the pattern here until T catches me putting the pillows on the couch where I think they belong. Apparently we have pillows designated for the floor. I like how it took seven months to solve this.

I have very little home decor skill and it became very evident when we were discussing this topic with friends who were recently over for dinner. “We love what you’ve done with the place” was the dialogue. We were asked how we we divided up our belongings and that’s the moment I realized that the only things left in this place from my bachelordom is a wooden cabinet that houses some electronics and five books stacked with the spines parallel to the floor. T thought they were interesting looking enough to keep around. The rest of my library of unread books has been shoved into plastic Rubbermaid bins and moved into a storage unit to grow musty.

So, it was bliss news when T said she was considering giving the bedroom a library theme and some of my books could come out of storage. Then I was informed that those books selected would each receive their own designer cover. Soon I’ll be able to pull a faceless book off the shelf and head to the porch where I will curl up with a nice pillow, or two. Because we have pillows there now, too. Or, so I’ve been told.

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