Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cingularly Unhelpful

My sweet husband bought me a new phone a few weeks ago. It rocked. So much fun. Unfortunately, we don't get AT&T/Cingular service in our house. This is not unusual because of our elevation. We were already concerned when we considered switching from our old carrier. I found another provider and phone that do work in the house and attempted to return the old phone on Friday.


After thirty minutes of waiting at the Cingular store with my rambunctious children, the saleslady explained that they were a vendor and not a "company store," so they couldn't help me. OK, the customer service folks on the phone did say I had to return at a company store, so I chalked it up to a communications error.

Saturday morning (the day I was to fly out of town on business), I loaded up the phone and the kids and drove to the company store. I explained that the phone was wonderful but their network didn't work in my house, blah, blah, blah. The sales woman asked for the credit card that was used on the transaction. I explained that my husband made the purchase and I don't have his card. "Well," she said, "you will have to bring it back another time." I asked for help from a manager because surely they could use their transaction information to reverse the charge on the card. No. No helping. No manager. No talking to my credit card company on the phone.

After driving back home to see if Doug had left his wallet there (no), we went to the UPS store and shipped it instead because, apparently, the warehouse had the credit card information that the company store didn't. It was $13.64 well spent, including the copies of all of the stuff I sent. I love that UPS store guy. Every time I get the shaft from someone else (Stapes, Cingular, etc), he helps me out with a smile.

Here is a photo of the place we went on my work trip. It was a really cool place and I learned a lot from all of the other lawyers. Of course, I promptly lost my new phone on the way home, and then lost my marbles at the airport. Two very nice Delta employees helped me, but there was no phone to be found. I'm trying to get a new one now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hips Don't Lie

So, we drove to Doug's parents' house for dinner last night while Annika sang in the back seat. "Oh Baby when you talk like that" "you make a woman go mad" . . . blah blah, la, la, la "Oh Baby when you talk like that - you make a woman go mad."

"What is that?" asked Doug. Shakira. I'm sure Shakira is lovely and I'm glad that she is so cool with her body - but I don't want Annika singing about her hips.

Where does my kid hear Shakira? I've been VERY diligent in not playing any music with bad words or sexual content. We learned from our friend's "My Humps" incident. My Gwen Stefani and Prince CDs have been banished and we've been listening to the Veggie Tales and Cow Songs for years now. Dammit. I don't even play my i-pod list or listen to my Audible books when Annika is in the car because of the cursing and scary content. We even sanitized the dinner mix. And Shakira still snuck into the vocabulary.

I guess it is a really good hook. But why not any of the great They Might be Giants tunes? Too erudite is my guess. SIGH.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Firsts

This week, Doug to Annika to her first movie. We bought our first triathlon clothes. Doug and I ran our first race with both girls (in strollers). Doug had his first Gu (and so did I). And, I did my first brick - thanks only to the sweetness of my husband to take care of the girls for two hours on Father's Day so that I had time to go.

The movie was "Surf's Up" which starred penguins very similar to those in "Happy Feet," only they weren't the same penguins. Annika enjoyed the pageantry of the movies, the snacks and the alone time with Dad. Doug said the movie was OK if you have to go to a kid movie. We also watched "Shrek 2," which was pretty hilarious - very funny movie trivia and popular culture jokes.

The clothes were found at REI. I got some cool shorts and Doug has already exchanged his purchases for alternatives which will hopefully fit better. Both times, Dagny melted down in the store - big fun. It's been a while since I've been down to the REI. It's so cool - there are so many neat things, I could spend the day there. It's almost like the knitting store -all of the aisles feel like they are bursting with products shouting the cool things you could do with them if you only had the time and cash.

Yesterday, Doug and I ran the Possum Trot race in Roswell at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. We both finished in about 54 minutes. Pretty good for a stroller race, especially when you factor in the slow start because we passed the whole world. In case you didn't know, no one wants to start behind a stroller. I think we were the second and third or third and fourth strollers to finish. At the end, this cool guy in a red Honda shirt was cheering on his buddy (Paul - also in a red Honda shirt). But the cheering guy was encouraging everyone, me included. His "go get 'em" attitude really pumped me up and I finished strong just under 55 minutes on the race clock. Doug tested out the Cytomax and orange Gu on this run. He said they were both fine and the couple sips of Cytomax tasted OK to me. The race advertised photos on the internet after 2pm yesterday, but I can't find them.

Today I rode/ran my first run/bike brick. At the river (flat), I did around 10 miles on the bike at 11/12 mph (48 mins) and then 5K run at 7:52 pace. Whew! Doug was right. Biking first really tires you out for the run. My legs were OK, but that was due in part to the Hammer Gel I ate while riding the bike and the potty break that I took during transition. At the end, I tried to turn it up to finish faster than 24 minutes, but my legs just wouldn't cooperate. I could have probably worked harder on the bike but I think it was a good first try. Here is what I learned: (1) I need to work on shifting, (2) gloves and sunglasses are good, (3) I need to open the Gu before I get on the bike, (4) running shorts + bike = not so fun. Next ride I'll test out the cool new shorts.

And, at the race on Saturday we saw a friend of mine from college and law school. It turns out that she and her husband are doing triathlons too and she is doing the same one as Nat and me! Now I have someone to try to beat! Whooo!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Learn to Fly

After a good ride on Tuesday, I went out for my 13 mile ride today. I was hesitant, because of the ribs and beer we had for dinner last night and because I didn't feel like I had enough energy to do anything until I'd eaten some cereal and breakfast usually causes tummy problems for me.

Regardless, I ate my cereal (with soy milk, today) and went to see if I could do that loop faster than last week. However, as I finished the first big climb, I got to the Mayor's Ride route. "Why not?", I thought. So, I went off-course and did a little part of the mayor's ride through some neighborhoods - all of the turns are marked with a "BR" and an arrow. FUN! It was just enough adventure for me. So, I figured out how to keep my big sprocket (thanks, Nat) active for most of the ride, which helped me keep my bottom on the seat more. I think I was more efficient despite not going faster than Tuesday's ride. Apparently, Sunday is the day to exercise because I saw a zillion people running, biking, walking - a cop clocked me at 12 mph.

Then, after Doug and Dagny took off for their ride, I went up the neighbors' cul-de-sac four (4) times with Annika on her bike. I walked or jogged alongside. That is 1.2 miles, in case you were counting. Wow, we wore her ass out! There is a lot to teach someone about how to ride a bike (even with the training wheels): (1) you can't fall over with training wheels, (2) no feet on the ground, (3) stay to the right , (4) watch where you are going, (5) save your downhill speed for the uphill, (6) stay in control, (7) look both ways, (8) that red sign means stop, (9) must go faster to make Mommy run. I was yelling a lot - hopefully most of it was positive and Annika retains the important stuff. So, we are both testing our wings on the bikes this week.

Then, after Doug and Dagny returned and we had some lunch, we loaded up the bikes and rode up to the pool. Doug towed BOTH GIRLS in the trailer while I carried our gear in a backpack. Doug kicks ass. That one mile to the pool will kick anyone's ass, even without 100 lbs behind you.

Here is the weekly report:

Sun: 5.5 miles running in 50 minutes with my friend Michele
Mon: 1650 yard swim in 35 minutes
Tues: 8 mile bike in 40 minutes (that is 13 mph, folks!)
Wed: 8.05 mile run at 9:30 min/mile pace
Thurs: rest
Fri: 1800 yard swim in 40 mins (400 yd time trial - 8 mins not trying too hard)
Sat: 4.76 mile run at 8:30 min/mile pace (this run was at 2:30pm and it sucked - I hated every minute)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hello Bike, My Old Friend

So the point of posting the photo of my bike was to do a post about it but I forgot that post because I was all caught up in the "Doug was right" dancing.

I love that bike. It is how I lured Doug. When Doug went back up to school early in the fall of 1992, I was still there since I had just moved into the new apartment with Melanie (she wasn't there yet, but I was moved in with my cats). I had been loving the idea of a bike and I got a job at a gas station to earn the money to pay for it after crashing my beautiful blue Honda and inheriting the Oldsmobile that didn't run most of the time and would soon cease to go in reverse. I didn't get the job I really wanted at the BBQ place, so this was it. They didn't let girls work the overnight shift, but I was frequently the 2-10 or 3-11 shift at the Amoco on the Atlanta Highway.

Anyway, I knew through the grapevine that Doug was in town and that he worked at the printshop at the Tate Center so I went down there to ask his bike advice and flirt. See, I had had my eye on him since the spring. In fact, I was hoping to meet up with him the evening that I crashed that Honda. It was fate, though, because he was dating Tanis (the world's coolest girl - seriously, I had one class with her and she was a people magnet) at the time and wouldn't have noticed me. Anyway, he thought my scar from the wreck was cool and we talked about it a lot that spring during and after the Tanis months.

Back to the point, I sashayed (for me, that means bouncy marching) to the Tate Center and threw myself on his mercy. "Sure," he said, "I'll help you look at bikes, but can I use your shower?" Someone else was assigned the water bill for his house and it hadn't been connected yet, so he couldn't shower at home. I went back to the apartment and fell asleep on the couch because the bug man had come and the place was full of toxic fumes. Doug showed up for his shower. A double-entendre and some hotdogs turned into big romance and who knew that this bike guy was THE ONE?

Anyway, the bike. We test-drove many bikes and I ended up liking the Treks. They did not have a Trek in my size at the store in Athens, so we drove all the way to Duluth (which was far, back then, because Hwy 316 was not yet constructed beyond Winder) where I bought the little red from the hottie from my high school who actually flirted with me (HA! - who would have thought!). Doug insisted that I needed toe cages and made me buy a lock and taught me to ride. I always thought he was so cool when he took off on his bike from campus, so now I could do it! Not. Bike riding is hard. We have had many good times together, me and that bike (and Doug - he was good at teaching me the tricks and secret no-traffic routes). We bought groceries at the Kroger and rode home with them in the backpack, learned to ride up the big hill by the baseball field without stopping, we fell over in the toecages while talking to the neighbors in my cul-de-sac, we rode with Doug in the Gambler. Eventually, however, the need to not stink at school or work pushed my bike aside. She collected dust in our apartments/houses until Doug suggested that Emily could use her at school. So, I got her tuned up and took her to Athens (in my suit, while pregnant) as a surprise. Emily has loved her well and may take her to Denver in the fall, but I'm glad to be riding her again (the bike, not Emily).

So, we rode today - 8 miles around my neighborhood. It took me 41 minutes. "Wow," you say - "that is pretty slow." Yes, but it was at an average of 13 mph, which is 2 mph faster than my ride on Saturday so that is PROGRESS, baby.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Dance






At my house, we have a dance that must be done when the spouse was right about something (preferably something stupid). Please pause for a moment now and wait while I do the "Doug was right" dance. And, the "Colin was right" dance because he said the same thing.
You can see the photo of my trusty steed, with the new seat and toe-cages. The brakes and gears also work now. The seat had been recovered with some very durable and stylish duct tape.

Anyway, I was excited to get my bike training started yesterday. Doug said that I was a fool to use this bike for my training and/or race. We lowered the seat on his bike, but I'm still too short for it even though it is a much better road machine. So, with the "I am woman, hear me roar" and "I'm not going out like some kind of punk bitch" attitude, I rode this bike 13 miles yesterday - to see if I could do it. I did it, but there was not a lot of fun going on. Run speed and swim ease do not translate into bike power. I suck at biking and the cars are very scary. Top speed: 32.1 mph.

Here is a summary of my week's training:

Sun: 3.58 miles at 9:46 pace
Mon: 6.14 miles at 8:19 pace
Tues: 4.5 miles at 8:49 pace
Wed: rest
Thurs: 5.42 miles at 8.28 pace
Fri: 1 mile swim in approx 40 mins
Sat: 13 mile bike in 1 hr, 12 mins
I have mostly abandoned the triathlon training book in favor of Doug's plan (6 days per week of activity - 2x per sport or sport/combo).

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Putting it Out There

I registered for a triathlon this week. It is a sprint length race, which means 400 yd swim, 13 mile bike, and 5K run. Any women who would like to join me, follow the link to sign up. Nothing against you men - it's just a women's race. I think it would be fine to race with men - this race is just convenient to my house and fits in my schedule.

I swam my first actual laps since 2002 (when I last had a gym membership) yesterday. 1600/1650 yards - it took me about 40 minutes, including cap/google application, adjustment to water temperature and getting into the fence. Next time I'll take a watch so I can get some baseline times. Since this was my first effort, I didn't worry about the time. Wow, I'm sore today. It is hard to tell if the soreness is from the swimming or the climbing (I have permission), though.

When Nat and I went to the seminar about triathlons, this woman was the last (and best) speaker. She is a professional triathlete and was all kinds of fun. If you ever get a chance to hear her talk about her sport, do it. Go to her blog archive and read about the Florida ironman race. Holy cow, this woman rocks!