Monday, June 24, 2013

Whirlwind Weekend

One of the things you discover as you settle into a carfree life is that the pace changes.  You know your commute time will be different on a bike or bus than with a car and so you learn to plan accordingly.  This summer my son has been playing soccer about 6 miles from home.  I picked the Foster Park location because it is an easy one-bus ride from our house.  It is also on the greenway, but I didn't think in March we would be regularly bike-commuting.  Never underestimate Pete. I should know that by now.  We only took the bus the first day.  Since then we've been biking to soccer twice a week.  We will be going there later today.

This weekend we were the drivers of a Mazda 2 hatchboack, through our renting from Enterprise.   I have to say I was really impressed with how much room it had for as small as it was.  Mike and Pete picked me up from work on Friday and for the next two days we had a car-paced schedule.  I had 10 bags worth of newspapers for the PaperGator.  We picked up two pieces of wallboard at Lowes, went to the farmers market and picked up a pizza.  In the space of 2 hours.  You don't do that on a bike.  After dinner we packed up the car with our camping gear and on Saturday morning headed out for Pokagon State Park, about 50 miles north of Fort Wayne.   The day was humid (we are in the Midwest and it is officially summer, of course it was humid!) but generally pleasant.  We set up our tent, hiked, went to a naturalist program (Scatology anyone?) went to the beach, soaked up the sand and water and sun, made dinner and when the sun went down, so did we.  Sunday morning we had breakfast and packed up the tent and meandered our way home through some of Northern Indiana's really beautiful lake country and did a quick clean out of the car, picked up Mike's mom and headed out to northwest Indiana for a niece's graduation party.   We came home that evening and had dinner.  It was a very full weekend.  I felt like I'd been away on vacation with all of the traveling!  But I also realized I've gotten used to a different pace of life as my "normal" and I don't miss trying to pack in every last activity possible. 

As a  family we've gotten more deliberate about choosing what we want to do.  That isn't necessarily distance or transportation related either.  It's just about slowing down and having an opportunity to savor the things we ARE doing.   It's not how I've lived much of my adult life and probably even less of my parenting life.  I really enjoyed the things we were able to do this weekend because we had the right tool available to do them - in this case, an automobile.  But I also don't find myself feeling like I need that tool permanently in my toolbox to live a life I fully enjoy.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The not so little yellow wagon  

Several years ago we bought  this wagon at Lowes.  Our  son had reached the awkward age of too big for the stroller (in his mind at least) but not really big enough to walk to a downtown festival and home again. The wagon was perfect. He could stretch out and fall asleep in it.  Over the years we have hauled groceries home in it, multiple preschoolers at a time, mulch, used it as a built in bench at picnics, and for fireworks, and hauled lots of yummy produce home from the farmers market.

Today the wagon got a double work out.  It made the trip to the Barr Street market this morning. We came home with a wagonful.  This evening  Pete and I ventured out to a car-free drive in movie at Cinema Center. The plan was that the food trucks and the people would all be out doors,in their own lawn chairs.  The threatened rain (which never did materialize) had the powers that be at Cinema Center deciding to show the movie indoors in the theater instead.  Which left us with a dilemma.  We had used the wagon to haul a camp chair and an exercise ball downtown.  Pete voted for sitting on an exercise ball instead of a camp chair.  A CC employee  kindly invited us to bring the wagon inside so it would be safe during the movie.  I folded down the sides and slid it under a table in the lobby and set the ball next to a sofa. We watched the movie and ate our popcorn.  Pete said he had a good time, but thought it would be even better under the stars.  Hopefully this will be a repeat event!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Silent but not gone...

It's been almost a month since I've posted.  Not for lack of things to write about, but it has just seemed like there hasn't been time to write!   This morning on NPR I heard two stories that kind of cracked me up, and also made me glad I can live car-light. 

First was this one:  Half a million dollars for parking spaces!
 And then this one about tire rental

I say car-light, because while we still don't own a car, we do rent one from time to time for out of town trips.  Next weekend we'll be going to a graduation open house for a niece.  We plan to toss in a weekend camping trip while we are at it.

Two separate people I read on facebook have posted this week about driving less and bike riding more and how enjoyable they've come to find it.

Since posting last, my son has acquired a new-to-him mountain bike.  We really gave it a breaking in on Wednesday.  We rode downtown to a meeting I had at church.  Then we picked up sandwiches and rode to McMillen park so he could golf with the Lifetime Sports Academy.  From there we went to Southgate Plaza Kroger and picked up some munchable/dinnerish food to take to Foster Park West where Pete had soccer.  From there we rode home and beat the thunderstorm that rolled through a little later that evening.  Google maps puts it at about 20 miles.  Not bad at all!