Friday, September 28, 2007

money money money money

So I got in the car this morning to drive to work (yes, I decided today was a driving day--no bike), and Christian's talk radio show was on. Since I'm just plain too lazy to change the station, I listened to it all the way to work. To share the wealth, here are the two most interesting things I heard today:

The hosts were reading some of the stories that people shared (actually, some other program collected the stories, but I wasn't paying attention that well) about frugal people they know or have met in their lives. The most interesting story was from a bank teller regarding an old homeless woman.
Let's pretend the homeless lady looked like this.

So this old homeless lady walked in, handed the teller a small bag and asked the teller to deposit it in her account. The teller counted up about $23 in crumpled ones and coins. She then deposited it into the lady's account.... which had a balance of about $1.2 million. Is this a true story? I have no idea. But I don't doubt that it's possible. The most interesting part of the story was the discussion that followed about psychiatric disorders that can lead people to become so incredibly frugal that they ruin their quality of living just because they can't convince themselves to spend any money. It kind of makes you wonder how many people this affects. I wouldn't doubt that there are some homeless people out there in this situation. I'll bet it's incredibly rare, but I don't doubt the possibility. The mind is an amazing thing and people do amazing things when the mind takes a wrong turn.

Second story. Also not sure if it's true, but I don't doubt it has happened. A guy called in to the radio station and told the following story. He was working as a taxi driver on a night shift.
Let's pretend the taxi looked like this.

Sitting at the airport, hoping to take someone into the city-center (fetching a nice $35 fare), he was quite disappointed when a very very drunk business man got in the taxi and said he needed to go to a certain hotel... only a couple miles away. The taxi driver was pretty disappointed, but couldn't say no. So when they got to the hotel, the drunk guy asked how much he owed. Annoyed, the taxi driver said, "It's on the meter. $7." So the drunk guy counts out seven bills and hands them to the driver. As the guy was getting out of the cab, the driver looked down and noticed the drunk business man had handed him seven $100 bills. So what did the taxi driver do? He said, "What? No tip?" Not realizing they weren't one-dollar bills, the drunk guy proceeded to pull out two more "ones" for a grand total of $900. The taxi driver, figuring the guy wouldn't even remember how he got home when he woke up the next morning, took the cash, went home, and went to bed. Granted, that was pretty dishonest of the taxi driver, but on the other hand, that's what you get for getting completely drunk while carrying that much cash, right?

Like I said, not sure if either of these stories is true, but I'm going to pretend they are. It's more amusing that way. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

oh tivo, how i need you so

Kaylynn's comments on TiVo got me thinking, or should I say, revived my thoughts from this past week. I'm never home. No--literally--I'm never home. I leave the house between 7:15 and 8:15 every morning. Mondays I get home at 9:30pm. Tuesdays at 7:30pm. Wednesdays at 9:45pm. Thursdays at 7:30pm. Fridays I usually plan something for after work, so I get home anytime between 5:30 and 9:00pm. Most Tuesdays and Thursdays I have something else to do after I get home, too.

This is not to elicit "poor Molly" comments. I do it to myself. I like having a lot to do. But my point is that sometimes I would like to just sit at home. But I rarely want to watch TV.

I am constantly coming home to Richard, Dianna, and/or Christian staring at the TV. Truth be told, it drives me insane. It makes it look like they've all been sitting there staring at the TV mindlessly all day. Granted, I know this isn't true. Dianna works and goes to ballet and babysits at night. She stays pretty busy. Richard hangs out at the Derby's, does his homework, makes himself dinner, and goes to the skate park. He, too, keeps himself pretty busy. And Christian goes to work, goes to school, makes dinner, does laundry, etc. etc. etc. So he's very busy, too. But somehow every time I walk in the door -- it's TV time. It just makes people look lazy. And that's stems from the fact that even when I come home at 7:30pm, there is still plenty for me to do without sitting in front of the TV. So I automatically think, "Isn't there something else you guys could be doing??"

I know. I'm pretty alone on this one. Most people I know love spending hours in front of the TV. It's their way of relaxing.

So to pull a complete 180 on you guys -- here's why I'm a hypocrite. I'm not a big fan of spending a lot of time in front of the TV, but I do have my guilty pleasures. There are only a few shows I love. And if one of my shows is on, don't call me. Don't stop by. In fact, don't even try to have a side conversation with me. I need to hear the TV and unlike most people in the civilized world, I can't just push pause. (Disclaimer--I'm still usually multitasking while watching my shows.) I know. It's funny and completely hypocritical. And I'm not denying it.

That's where TiVo comes into the picture. As life gets busier, TV gets better. Why is that? For example. Tonight.

8:00-9:00pm on CBS: Survivor China

9:00-10:00pm on NBC: The Office season premiere

9:00-10:00pm on ABC: Grey's Anatomy season premiere

Tell me. What exactly am I supposed to do? And why don't I have TiVo yet? Oh wait. I know why. It costs money. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

good idea / bad idea #6: first aid kits

Good idea: Keeping a first-aid kit for emergencies.

Bad idea: Keeping your only first-aid kit in your car and finding yourself half naked in your bedroom at 7 in the morning with a 2-inch-long cut on your hand that is starting to bleed and your husband is on a work trip in Las Vegas and you live with your husband's little brother and sister so you can't just go running around half-naked so you struggle to put your clothes on with a bleeding hand just so you can run out and get something to put on your hand until you can find your shoes and get out to the car to get the first-aid kit!

At least I knew where my keys were for once...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

customer service

Side note to readers: I just had this thought that I blog about the same topics over and over and that I might bore my readers. And then I thought, "Wait! This is my blog! I can write whatever I want! No one is being forced to read it." So on that note, I will continue to write about whatever I want, even if it's the same thing over and over and over and over...

Great customer service makes a world of difference.

I went to my favorite bike shop over the weekend. Olympic Bike Shop in Tahoe City. If you are ever in Tahoe City, stop by. And talk to Peter. If he's there, you'll know who he is.
My favorite bike shop.

Peter immediately greets you, finds out what you are looking for, and is more than happy to have a 20-minute conversation with you about anything you could possibly want to know. I'm not sure, but I think he's the owner of the shop. Regardless, all the employees are incredibly helpful. I have no desire to go anywhere else for my biking needs. I will wait until I go to Tahoe to get things for my bike.

The first time I went to this shop, one of the other employees showed me a used bike for sale. I was really excited about it. He had me sit on it and adjusted it to me. After a few minutes, he told me the bike was just a tiny bit too big for me and that it was in my best interest to keep looking and find the perfect fit. Keep in mind I was ready to buy it. He gave up a sale on purpose because he knew it would be in my best interest. Amazing.

Last time we were there, Peter had me sit on a gel pad for 5 minutes in order to measure my sit bones (which, by the way, are average--just in case you were wondering) to fit me to the right size saddle.

This drawing is hilarious. But, yes, this is what it looks like. Only with a lot more fat on my butt.

While I was sitting there, he was marking, stretching out, and perfectly fitting some lady's mountain biking clipless shoes. Can't wait to take my future clipless shoes to him some day.

This last time he told me all about the various types of gloves and all about the best kinds of lights to put on your bike. I was going to get regular battery-powered lights, but he recommended that I get this rechargeable, very powerful, night commuting light. Here's what I got:

Sigma Bicycle Headlight.

Specialized Full-finger Gloves.

He also had me sit on one of their bikes and walked me through the most important points for good posture on a road bike.

The best part about it is that he always recognizes Christian and me. I'm sure Christian and I could have gotten the best lights or saddles or gloves at this shop, but these employees helped us find the best stuff for our budget.

I went into another bike shop in Tahoe and asked if they had a selection of saddles. The guy pointed to the other wall and said, "They're over there." Christian and I immediately walked out. We had been spoiled by great customer service and weren't about to settle for less.

It's all about getting your customers to keep coming back, right?

Monday, September 17, 2007

gravel and sand and rocks--oh my!

On the way up to Tahoe this weekend, I was bragging to Christian about my cycling abilities. Relative bragging. That is, in comparison to someone my age, weight, athletic ability, etc. I don't compare myself to real cyclers. That would just be stupid. But I was telling him how I feel like I can bike pretty fast and climb hills without getting too tired, and how I'm doing just fine without a "granny ring," and blah blah blah blah. Hubris always results in a fatal tragedy, right?

Ok, I wouldn't go to quite that extreme. But I did find it quite ironic that right after I bragged about how I'm not too bad on a bike, Christian and I decide to go mountain biking.

Keep in mind, I have NEVER been mountain biking. I've always wanted to, but it scared me to death. Trail running is way more interesting than road running, so why wouldn't trail riding be way more interesting than road riding? Trust me. It is. And it's a lot scarier, too.

Perhaps I should have started out at home at sea level. But no. I figured if I have no problem running at 6796 feet, why would I have any trouble biking at that altitude? I could not have been more wrong.

To get to the trail behind the Tahoma residential streets, we had to go up one hill. One measly little hill. Right as we got to the hill, I said to Christian, "We have to go up that." What? "And you're going to want to keep going after that, right?" Uh, maybe. "Yes. We're going biking on the trails after this hill." Mmmhmm. I then proceeded to bike up the hill. I felt so proud of myself when I made it to the top and turned around to see Christian walking his bike up the last half of the hill. When he passed me and turned the corner toward the trail, I wanted to say, "I feel like we're climbing Mount Everest," but all I could do was stand there and wheeze in his direction. I couldn't breath! My lungs were on fire. My heart was ready to pop. And Christian was just fine and on his way to the trail. What was I thinking?? Maybe I should have walked.

After my breathing calmed down, we got on the trail and started riding. Scary! Rock here, soft dirt there, bush reaching out to scratch me there, and a log in the trail! "Just bunny hop over it" was Christian's advice. Yeah right. I stopped my bike and carefully maneuvered over the log. And the next. And the next. And the next. Then we had some nice flat single-track trail riding. Very pleasant. Until we started to go down hill. You want me to do what? You want me to bounce around down this single-track trail over rocks and roots and eroded ground? So I did. And all I could think was "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I'm going to bail. Oh my gosh."

After another half hour of this and some tips from Christian, my lungs were back to normal, and I was going up hills, down hills, and bouncing over gravel, sand, rocks, and whatever else decided to get in my way. I loved it. Our hour-and-a-half ride was WAY too short.

I can't wait to go back. It was beautiful. It was challenging. And it's really hard to keep your teeth from getting all dusty when you're smiling on the way down a dirt trail.

Who knows. Maybe in a year I'll be bragging about my mountain biking abilities. Doubtful. But maybe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

clean clothes

It's impossible. I simply cannot keep my clothes clean.

Two weeks ago I was riding with my sweatshirt draped over my shoulder bag. Little did I know that the arm of the sweatshirt reached my wheel. It very quickly caught in the wheel and breaks, slowing my bike down and leaving a very nice black smudge all over the cuff of my sweatshirt sleeve. So annoying.

Last week I was walking down my steps in the morning and got a nice grease smudge from my bike gears (in that tell-tale bike gear shape) on my new khaki shorts. Of course, the reason it happened in the first place is because I was rushing off to catch the train. I didn't have time to go back in and change my shorts. So I wore dirty shorts to work. I honestly think I was the only one who noticed.

Later that week I did the exact same thing to a pair of my jeans while getting off the train. Luckily my jeans are dark, and it's harder to notice. And since I don't wash my jeans every time I wear them, I forgot and hung them up in my closet. So yesterday I got to work, looked down, and "Dang it!" I wore the dirty jeans.

So this morning on the way to work my chain came off the gears. Blasted bike! So I got off my bike (which, by the way, is very amusing now that I have a high bar again... I practically fall over ever time I try to get off my bike) and proceeded to fix my chain. Holy grease! I guess Mark did a good job greasing the chain. I ended up with grease all over my fingers and even on my arm (in that tell-tale bike gear shape once again). Of course, I didn't have anything to wipe the grease on, so I did what any normal human being would do--I rubbed dirt all over the grease. So I managed to ride to work without getting the dirty, greasy mess on any of my clothes.

I walked into the bathroom, thoroughly scrubbed all the grease and dirt off my hands and arm, walked into my meeting, sat down, started taking notes, and looked down to see...

bright yellow smudge marks all over the front of my clean white shirt. What the heck??

Thursday, September 6, 2007

wants and needs

Wants versus needs. I rarely need anything, but I always want everything. I have what I need. I have no reason to complain about anything in my life. But that doesn't mean I can't dream, right?

A while back, Ashley mentioned in one of her posts that when she posts something she wants, her mom sometimes ends up getting it for her as a surprise. Maybe I'll give it a try. Maybe her mom will buy all these things for me!

Panniers for my bike. Small panniers, though. Just so I can hang them over my rack when I'm riding, and throw them over my shoulder when I'm walking. My shoulder bag gets quite full and heavy with running stuff, school books, food, work clothes, or whatever I happen to be lugging around that day.

Waterproof jacket and pants for riding on those rainy days. Of course, the goal would be to have non-bulky jacket and pants that I could roll up and leave in the bottom of the panniers for those days when Mother Nature feels like throwing a rain storm at me while I sit unsuspecting in my windowless cubicle.

A nice, bright, powerful headlight for my bike. This may actually qualify as a need since I'm often riding in the dark. The lights I have make me visible, but they're still not bright enough to light up the road in front of me, which would be a nice thing when there's a branch or pothole waiting to jump out at me in the dark.

A cyclometer for my bike. With cadence. Now that I have a road bike again, I am just dying to ride it everwhere. And dying to ride it fast. There's just something amazing about flying down a hill on a road bike. Granted, my "flying" is incredibly slow compared to most cyclers, but it's still fast for me. When I rode with Ashley (sister Ashley, not to be confused with sister-in-law Ashley), I kept asking her, "How fast are we going?" This way I would know.

A GPS for running. Wouldn't that be fun? I could just go run and not have to map out a route. And I could make sure I'm keeping the right pace when I'm trying to increase my speed. That would be nice.

In fact, while I'm at it, why not add a GPS for my bike?

Scuba diving trip in Monterey Bay. The thought of it scares me to death and sounds SO amazing at the same time. Cold, but amazing. Kelp forests, anyone?

An underwater scuba camera with flash. Did you know that as light is filtered out through the water, everything starts to look one color? When you get down deep, everything looks kind of grayish-brownish. The color is there. We just can't see it. But if you take pictures with flash, you'll see the color. Or I could just get a big headlamp. But I don't think our scuba guide would go for that.

A trip to Thailand. Today it's Thailand. Tomorrow I'll want to go to Ecuador. The day after that I'll want to go to Fiji. And then probably Alaska. But today I want to go to Thailand.

Looks like I might need a third job.