Monday, October 12, 2009

Eating the Nuts, Saving the Raisins for Sunday

Winter's coming and don't we know it in the Upper Midwest. We got our first snow Saturday morning. That was followed last night and this morning with a steady blanket of wet, slushy pellets that accumulated a couple of inches on the grass and in the trees. The pavement was mostly wet melt. It would have been just like riding in the rain except for tree branches lining the path regularly dumping their heavy loads on unsuspecting riders passing beneath. Oh, and the wind-driven ice projectiles pelting my face incessantly. Don't get me wrong -- the experience, as early season snow usually is, was quite beautiful. But it's only mid-October. I'm not ready for this stuff yet.

If someone had walked up to me in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, while I was sweating my way through the oven-dry heat of midday in the desert, and told me I'd be commuting through snow in exactly two weeks I'd have thought they were loony. But, then again, I never would have believed I'd walk off and leave my digital camera on a bench either. (It's a shame, because I missed a lot of great photo ops this morning.)

Softness and whining aside, I have begun to tap into my favorite thing about off-season commuting in MN -- the solitude. All of a sudden I have the bike trails to myself and I kinda like that. I no longer have to play nice with blissed out wanderers, chatty path-hogging walkers, overzealous and impatient skiers on wheels, tight-dudded weekend warriors or canines guiding their retractable human yo-yos. The few cyclists I do pass seem to have the same idea. We mutter a short 'Hey', or perhaps nod silently and roll on.

Of course, the seasonal change affects other areas of life. "Shop season" is over. I say this because my tools and workspace are housed within an unheated garage. That's probably best since I tend to hurl myself toward projects like a brakeless train, working into the wee hours of the morning and beginning my "real" work week more tired than I went into the weekend of supposed time off.

I was able to complete my last project -- a set of sawhorses. I did the old hem and haw for months before settling on a design and getting down to work. I could have knocked out a set in a day with simply a Skilsaw and some drywall screws. But of course I didn't go that route. Instead, I resawed and handplaned the hell out of some 2X6's from Home Depot in order to create a slightly more elegant set of horses that are held together with pegged mortise and tenon joints.

Given a plunge into the freezing temps, I decided to haul the project into the house for the glue to cure overnight. As you can see, the kids enjoyed that. They seem to have no problem making light of Dad's hard work.

Perhaps I could learn a thing or two. After all, there's no stopping winter from coming.

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