Archive for May, 2005

Offically Speaking

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

About a month ago I received a challenge from the Beau Hunk. He challenged me to ride to the top of Mt. Diablo with him. This is no small feat. Mt. Diablo is the highest point in our county with a summit height of 3,849 feet. The climb by bicycle is about 3,500, done in approximately 11 miles – all climbing on the way up, all downhill on the way down. And just when you think you’ve made it, the mountain smacks you with the final injurious insult – a 100 yard stretch of road that climbs at an 18% grade. Ow.

Since my winter of wallowing turned into my spring of sloth, the Beau Hunk’s challenge was designed as a blatant attempt to incent me back on to the bike. It worked. I went into training. I got back on my diet (ok, only sort of) and started riding when the weather allowed, and riding the trainer when it didn’t. I even joined my pal Ms. New York a couple of times for an after-work jaunt halfway up the mountain to the Ranger’s Station just above the 2,000 feet marker.

We set the date for our little challenge/adventure for May 1st. There was some trepidation over the weather since the weatherheads were calling for rain Sunday morning. We decided we were making our ride, rain or shine. This was a challenge, afterall. The Beau Hunk invited Ms. New York and Ms. Monday to join us on our adventure. Sunday dawned to beautiful clear weather. We were on, no excuses.

We all met at the appointed time and place, nerves ringing. This was the day. The challenge was upon us. Beau Hunk made a few laps around the parking lot saying “if I never stop, this doesn’t happen”. No honey, we have to go. Breathe breathe breathe.

Bikes were mounted, pedals started turning and we were off.

At one point along the way we caught up to a man on a mountain bike puffing his way up the mountain. We had seem him go by when we were taking a scenery break earlier. I whispered to Beau Hunk “Catch up to him. I want to pass him. I’ve never done that before!” It’s true, I’m an asshole. I’ve been passed by a cast of thousands when climbing, but rarely ever get the chance to pass anyone else. Especially on this mountain. So I settled in behind Beau Hunk and drafted him past the man on the mountain bike. When we were sufficiently clear, I whispered to Ms. New York “I wanted to pass someone. I never get to do that.” She replied “Never mind that he’s 90 and on a mountain bike.” Ok, she’s got me there. But what the fuck. I take my victories where I can. Sometimes I feel good just passing road kill. If I don’t make shit up, I never have any fun.

Along the way we were passed by what felt like an unusually large number of cars. Cars heading up the mountain are to be expected, especially on clear and spectatular days like Sunday was, but it really felt like we were being passed a lot. They all left us plenty of room when they went by, but we noticed that too many of them had no qualms about going into the opposite lane on a blind corner. Folks, I appreciate the fact that you are crossing a double yellow to not squeeze me, but could you perhaps try to to it when you can see that you’re not going to hit a car or cyclist coming the other way? Thanks.

We also noticed that a large percentage of these cars were being driven by what appeared to be 12-year olds. I swear, those kids looked like they belonged on a Huggies box, not behind the wheel of a car. It is at times like this when I realize that I have turned into that old woman down the street who is always yelling at the kids to get off her lawn. But I digress…

The car situation got so obvious and happened so often that the Beau Hunk started re-thinking the challenge. Did we really need to go to the top? I was ready, I was willing. But I hate the piece of road that provides the sole ascention to the summit. It’s narrower, rougher, and more traveled than the North Road we were on. Missing it wouldn’t hurt my feelings, not one bit. The decision was made, the ride would be cut short to reduce the potential exposure to idiots, especially those of the “loose nut behind the wheel” variety.

We settled on riding to the Stagecoach group campground instead of the summit. We reached the campground well rested and all feeling great. We parked the bikes, the Beau Hunk took my hand and we walked towards a secluded spot. It was time for my reward.

Yep, that’s what you think it is. (Click here for the whole pic.) The Beau Hunk and I are officially betrothed. Or something like that. We’re gonna do that whole “married” thing. Eventually.

Now if you go back and read the entry again, you may realize that this was not a surprise to anyone involved. We picked out my ring (it’s actually a wedding set) and his wedding ring a while back. But since I am involved with what is basically an evil genius, he decided to use this opportunity to get my ass off the couch and back on the bike. Bastard!!

Not only were we joined by an exuberant Ms. New York, but Ms. Monday (previously of Monday night ride fame) joined us as well. However, Ms. Monday had knee surgery about six weeks ago, so while she is back on the bike, she isn’t allowed to climb yet. Especially the likes of Diablo. So we invited her to join us via car. She played SAG wagon for us and schlepped our excess clothes and our food.

And oh, the food! After Beau Hunk and I had our private moment, we had an absolute feast. Ms. New York and Ms. Monday had gone shopping and had the whole spread laid out in no time flat. We even had “engagement goblets” – little plastic cups with a diamond pattern made to resemble cut glass. We raised a toast of Martinelli’s Apple-Cranberry cider for me and Hornsby’s Hard Cider for the Beau Hunk. There was champagne on hand, but we never opened it. (Too many people riding/driving for any amount of alcohol.)

We had wheat crackers, rykrisp crackers, bread, smoked cheese, Laughing Cow cheese, wine-soaked Brie cheese, Feta cheese, hummus, strawberries, a vegetable platter (with ranch dip), milk chocolate, dark chocolate and chocolate covered biscuits. Did I mention it was a feast? Yeah, no joke. It beat the hell out of the Clif bars I usually eat.

After we ate, we packed up the whole lot into Ms. Monday’s van and headed down the mountain. Oddly enough, we didn’t encounter a single car going our direction on the way down. That’s always a treat.

So we didn’t make it all the way to the summit, but the objective was obtained. We made our way up the mountain and made our future official. For me, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I have occasional moments of clarity when it hits me that I’m engaged. I’m going to get married. Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck!!!! And then the moment goes away, and I’m back to my same old self, but with this sparkly thing on my finger.

I called my Mom & Dad Sunday night. Mom was pleased, and when she mentioned “engaged” over the phone, my father overheard and asked if it was my niece on the phone. In explaining his reaction he said “I didn’t think you’d do that. I mean, I didn’t think you would let that happen. I mean, I didn’t think it would ever happen.” At that point I said “Dad? Please, just stop talking. It’s not getting any better.” He was a little affronted by this, but I thought it was funny.

You must remember that this is the man who once walked into his house to find me crying in a fit of frustration, took one look at me and declared that he was going to take a piss. Atta boy dad! My father is a very kind, warm, loving, wondeful man. But he is totally clueless when it comes to mushy girlie stuff. You have to love him anyway. At least I do.

So Mom & Dad are happy, the rest of the family is happy. But most of all, the Beau Hunk and I are happy. A little freaked out, but happy anyway.

Engagement FAQ

Friday, May 13th, 2005

So as the word of our pending hitch spreads, I’m seeing a pattern to the questions being asked. I thought I might save some time by taking a shot an an FAQ.

Have you picked a date?
No, we don’t have a date. We don’t have a specific month. We have picked a season though. For now, that’s close enough.

What kind of ceremony are you going to have?
We haven’t decided on specifics yet. (You’ll see this as a recurring theme.) We haven’t decided if we want to do something that is just the two of us. If we do have a party / gathering / ceremony, it will be casual, it will be fun, and it will be low key. And it will be inexpensive.

You will not find me planning an extraaavaaagaaannnzaaa that involves a tiara, a dress that costs more than my car, 14 bridesmaids or 600 invited guests. Which also means I will not be purchasing a bus ticket to Las Vegas anytime soon.

Frankly, I couldn’t invite 600 people if I tried. I swear, if I got down the the level of my dog’s vet’s sister’s pool boy, I couldn’t find 600 people to invite. And 14 bridesmaids? Fuck off. Someone thinks awfully highly of themself, now don’t they?

Are you going to get married on a bike?
We haven’t made any plans yet, so anything is possible. I wouldn’t rule out bikes being involved some way or another. Afterall, we met on a bike ride, our first date was a bike ride, and we got engaged on a bike ride. Anything could happen.

Did you pick the ring, or was it a surprise?
We went together and picked out the ring. Beau Hunk’s theory was that it would be on my finger, so I should get something I like. Works for me!

The pictures on the engagement entry sucked. What does the ring really look like?
You try taking pictures of your own hand when you’re all excited and giddy and totally fucking freaked out by what’s about to happen. Yes, the pictures sucked.

The ring is a princess cut center stone set “on the diagonal”. The side stones are (moving from the center outward) two channel-set round stones. The outer set of stones are channel set baguettes.

I’ve never seen a center stone set like that. How did you find that?
It found us. I like princess cut stones, so that’s what we were looking at. Traditionally, the stone is set in a square, not on it’s point. (Here’s a pic of the whole set from the jewelry store website with the traditionally set stone.) The salesperson had several stones out for us to look at, and was in the process of putting a candidate into the mounting prongs on the ring so we could see what it looked like. She sort of flubbed the placement and it landed sideways – on the diagonal. Beau Hunk and I both commented that we thought that was a cool setting, too bad we couldn’t do that. The saleslady said we could absolutely do that. Cool! Make it so, Mr. Jeweler! I think it adds a special little pizzazz and a uniqueness that makes it “mine”.

Are you used to wearing a ring yet?
I’m having issues getting used to the way the stone sticks up. I’ve already dipped it in a bowl of chili when I mis-calculated where the back of my finger was when crunching up the crackers. Oops. Shoving my hands into my pants pockets doesn’t work so well anymore, and I almost poked the cat in the eye a few times when she got lovey and started rubbing her head on my hand. No injuries yet though.

And so there ya go. Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.