Departure day minus one: this morning in church I said I had trouble falling asleep last night. The thought crossed my mind that it might be my second-to-last night in a bed for thirty-five days. Somehow, knowing I’ll be gone (six weeks total) changes priorities. My house is cleaner than it’s been for oh, a year or two. Dave thinks it’s weird that right now it’s important to me to get rid of an extra chair, donate a box to the Et Cetera shop, take a box of books to the library, etc. These kind of deadlines are actually quite an inspiration to me. I finish things. Being gone for a significant period of time is motivation to get my house, and life, in order.
Having someone else live in our house is also a motivating force. Thanks to Linda S, a very nice Bethel College 2007 grad will be living here while we’re gone. We’re fortunate to have found someone willing to mow the 1/2 acre yard, feed the cats and live in a house without air-conditioning (with a whole-house fan) in summer in Kansas.
I had already decided not to substitute teach more than two days a week after mid-May, and even then, only if I knew ahead of time. Two weeks ago my 85-year old dad broke his hip and spent six days in the hospital.
Between us, we three kids all spent significant time at the hospital. For these last two weeks, substituting has not been an option at all. With one week left to get ready, my life has been totally list-driven. Last night we were up till 12:30 am, I was packing while Dave was working on the website. Tonight will probably be more of the same. I don’t expect to be well-rested when we leave.
It will actually be a relief, mentally, to get on the bike and just pedal. It may not be quite as pleasant physically. Unlike two years ago when we rode to Charlotte, NC for the 2005 MCUSA biennial convention, we are not in great shape. Before that ride, we had ridden seven consecutive centuries before we got on a fully-loaded bike and rode over 100 miles our first day. This time, we’re two years older (Dave 51, Cookie 53), several pounds heavier (Dave 210, Cookie 145), carrying at least 10 pounds more gear (about 75 lbs), and our longest ride so far is 5o miles a couple of weeks ago. It could be a tough first week. We can’t afford to get too far behind our goal of 65 miles per day this first week since we are committed to being in Emmanuel Mennonite Church in La Junta, CO next Sunday morning.
We’re carrying a children’s book, My Rows and Piles of Coins for a children’s feature, a meditation, Riding Tandem Through Life , and business cards with our photo and a logo to pass out. We printed 750 brochures and they are almost all gone. We printed 500 business cards this week to pass out in churches, on the ride, and at the conference. As a former children’s librarian and a lover of books, I hate to admit what we did to this children’s book… A brand new copy on amazon.com cost us 33 cents plus shipping. It was hard to make himself do it, but Dave ripped off the cover and I re-sewed the pages together. The cover weighed more than the rest of the book. Not only that, we’re highlighting the lines to read for a shorter version to use in church. Not the recommend care of a good book!
Dave finished his year as a high school math teacher Friday. He will need to go back and clean his room, etc. after we get back. A math teaching position opened up here in Newton, Dave applied, and was offered a position. He has accepted – conditional upon Canton-Galva finding someone to replace him. Kansas teaching contracts automatically renew on May 15th and they don’t have to let him go! He likes teaching there, but would prefer to be able ride bike or walk to work. As a believer in building social capital, it would be nice to teach students he knows from church or the neighborhood and be able to more easily attend school events.
We’ll miss our three kittens when we return, they’ve been a riot to watch, sometimes we just stop and watch these little guys play. Today, during lunch, they had knocked over a wicker wastebasket and turned it into an amusement park ride, tumbling around inside as it rolled from side to side.
Laurie and Al are picking them up Tuesday, we should warn them they’ll be distracting. One of them just went upstairs for the first time! We’ve used the kitties as an exercise in learning to use our new Fujifilm Finepix f31fd camera. The results are online at http://picasaweb.google.com/cookie.dave/Kitties
Tonight, I’ll go visit my folks at the nursing home. A wonderful friend has promised to visit them once a week. Thanks Cindy! Dave is trying to hack the charger for the camera so that it can charge a palm pilot and cell phone as well. Chargers for the cell phone and my palm alone weigh a pound. He’s also hoping (or to be more honest, I’m also hoping…) he’ll be able to mow the lawn one more time.
Tomorrow morning our Sunday School class is bringing breakfast and will “pray us off”. Channel three made noises a week ago about coming, but we’ve heard no more from them. The forecast is for a good day, no rain. Hopefully, we won’t run into any flooded roads between here and Sterling. Dave is posting maps of our routes by day and I’ll probably be doing most of the posting to our web blog.
Hope to see you here often!