Saturday, November 15, 2008


Davan and I headed out today on foot toward her gym for open gym. We were only about five minutes from home when she decided that she didn't want to go after all. You see, I'd explained to her that she had two options for what I'd do at open gym to prevent open gym meltdowns. She could choose spectator or coach.

The spectator option meant that I'd just watch while she did her thing - whatever it was that she wanted to do. The coach option meant that I'd direct her open gym time. "Okay, warm up on the tumble tramp. Let's go do rings," and so on. What we've been doing is me trailing after her with her saying kind of whiny (it's the tone) things like, "My kip isn't good today" and "I don't know what to do now."

She decided that neither option was good and opted to come back home, instead. Now, I'd told her of this plan last night and she seemed alright with it, but, apparently, she'd forgotten and when I asked her as we walked, "So, spectator or coach today?" that was that for going to open gym.

After we returned back home and she had a good cry, she asked if it was too late to go. I said that we could still go if we rode the bike and she was up for that. So, we hopped on the tandem and rode over. I'd really been in the mood for walking, but, at least we didn't hop in the car.

I found this great local (well, Portland) bike shop that is also helping people not hop in their cars. It's called Clever Cycles and, if you like bikes, I'd check it out. They have a blog (which is political at the moment) and several of their offered bikes on line. I've seen this one once and ones with conversions like this one several times around town.

Meanwhile, we're finally trying to get rid of our second vehicle. When we first bought the Toyota Sienna minivan, we were planning on selling the Mazda. However, it was really nice to have two cars when we had two kids. We were often going in different directions at the same time and, while we maybe could have made some alternatives work, it would have been quite difficult. We do live in suburbia.

Once Max moved out, we started talking about selling the minivan. There are only three of us and the Mazda gets better gas mileage. However, even before Max, we had trouble fitting all of our camping gear into the Mazda. So, we then thought about selling both vehicles and buying a station wagon. We were going to start with the minivan.

My mom, though, asked what sort of gas mileage we'd expect with a station wagon. After doing some research, we realized that it was not enough better than the van to justify changing vehicles. Besides, we really like the van and it is very nice to have for hauling both people and stuff. So, we are now selling the Mazda and keeping the van. If you want a reasonably priced, reliable car, feel free to check out the listing.

Now, though, we will have one vehicle to our name and it doesn't get the best ever gas mileage. Well, we actually also have a motorcycle and a project car - a Porsche 914 - that doesn't even have an engine to our names, as well. Both Anthony and I have motorcycle licenses and, while we have taken Davan on the motorcycle (each individually, not all three together), it is 1) large for me and, thus not overly safe for me to ride with Davan and 2) not a comfortable passenger cycle.

We have discussed the possibility of buying a smaller motorcycle or a scooter for me and Davan to use regularly. That could happen. I'm not seeing it in the immediate future, though.

In keeping with our budget, environmental feelings and health, we will be making an effort to leave the van at home when possible. We won't make ourselves miserable, but when possible, I'll be riding Davan to gymnastics. We'll be walking or riding to the library and for other errands. We will try to keep to a minimum those activities that require driving.

These have all been our goals in the past and, for good stretches of time, we're able to meet them. However, it's so easy to just hop in the car and so we often do that. It was easy to sign Davan up for two different classes that are not in feasible biking distance. It was so, so easy to not walk or bike when Max was here, as he really dug his heals in about it. It is not the path of least resistance to walk or bike. That's okay, but it makes it difficult to stay on track sometimes.

I won't be buying a bike from Clever Cycle, although I do so like them. We have our tandem and it works fine. Maybe the longtail makeover on the tandem...that'd be convenient for running errands...I could put it on my wish list, at least. But, it's not a planned expense because we have what we need to make using the bike workable.

And, if you're wondering, open gym turned out to work well. I was a spectator and Davan did her thing and we left without me feeling like I'd been through the wringer. In fact, I enjoyed watching. For a change, Davan helped me peddle up the hill back home, too. Usually, I've dropped her off and when I go back to get her, I take the car because it's late and dark when she's done. That might change when the weather is nicer and it's light later. We'll see. For now, I'm happy if I've done one of the trips on the bike.

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