Archive for May, 2013

May 29, 2013

Hipsterriffic!

by Decemberbaby

My hubby has a new bike.

Actually, it’s a new-to-him bike. The bike itself is very, very old, having been a bar mitzvah gift to my father-in-law (he’s now 68 years old – you do the math.) It’s been hiding in my in-laws’ garage for a long time – twenty years at the very least – but its potential was easy to spot even through decades’ worth of dust and grease. As soon as I saw it I knew it had to be Mr. December’s next bike.

Now, I’m not a bike mechanic. I didn’t know the second thing about bikes (I did know the first thing – that sometimes tires need to be pumped up and chains need to be oiled.) Fortunately for me, there’s a collective called Bike Pirates that offers a DIY bike repair space, tools and parts, and volunteers to help guide you – on a pay-what-you-can basis. Even better? Sundays are reserved for women and transfolk, with the aim of removing at least some of the barriers that exist for women and transfolk to learn to fix their bikes. In practical terms this means that when I arrived with a curious toddler, a volunteer was happy to entertain her with random bicycle parts while I worked on the bike. And worked. And worked.

I installed a new rear brake and new brake pads in front and in rear. I de-greased. I scrubbed the chain and oiled it anew. I removed the tires, checked the inner tubes, and installed new tires. I trued up the rear wheel. I replaced the gearshift cable and learned how to oil a Sturmey-Archer internal hub. I fixed the lopsidedness of the handlebars. I installed a (previously loved) kickstand.

Then I came home and installed a rear carrier rack… with zip ties, since I was missing some of the hardware. And finally, the piece de resistance… a milk crate.

Isn’t it a hipster’s dream?

Hipsterriffic bikeIMG_4210IMG_4206Now here’s the question: Initially we decided not to re-paint the rusty parts, and to put on a milk crate instead of a fancy cargo-carrier, on the theory that it would look less shiny-new and less worth stealing. Seeing as it’s extremely retro-cool, do you think the bike is more likely or less likely to get stolen than if we had given it a new paint job?

 

May 1, 2013

Coping

by Decemberbaby

I’m typing this outdoors on a beautiful, warm, sunny day. The sky is perfectly blue. There’s a breeze. My children are affectionate and adorable. And I’m numb to it all.

Oh, sure, I appreciate it intellectually. I’m impressed that spring is here. But all I can summon in response to anything right now is “meh.” And isn’t that just the best description of depression? Everything is just “meh.”

I don’t know what exactly has exacerbated my depression, but something has, and it’s cast a vague dullness over everything. At the same time, the smallest annoyances overwhelm me. I’m fully aware of my symptoms, and equally aware of how out of proportion my responses are, but trying to stop it is rather like trying to plug a leaking dike with your finger.

And so here I am, engaging all of my coping mechanisms. I forced myself to bike the children to school this morning because I know that the fresh air and exercise does me good. I didn’t feel up to being alone with R (I’m not sure what I feared more – that I might fall asleep, or that I might stare off into space and hurt her feelings with my indifference,) so we went for some visits: first with my Mum, and then with my elderly great-aunt and great-uncle. It wasn’t the magic cure that people seem to think; visiting and helping someone who is in worse shape than you doesn’t necessarily make depression go away. But it used up some time, and it forced me to interact with people, and R had some interaction with someone other than me, so I suppose it was a good thing.

Back at home, I decided to do a project that seemed simple enough – laminate some pictures onto hardboard using some Mod Podge. For whatever reason it didn’t work as expected, and I just gave up and… wandered away, really. It’s a common problem when my depression is bad. How common, you ask? Well, I washed my paintbrush, left the hardboard and pictures where they were, and went to the bathroom… where the floor was littered with the remnants of yesterday’s decluttering project. At times like this I’m tempted to call myself names and decry my lack of focus and productivity. Happily, I’m self-aware enough now to remind myself that it’s a symptom of a disease, not evidence that I’m a worthless layabout.

And so entered the next coping mechanism. I sat down, determined to write out a plan for a simple DIY project and email it to Mr. December. The whole thing should have taken me 20 minutes. An hour later, I finally finished and sent it off. At least I accomplished something today.

What else have I done to cope? Hmm. I overcompensated for today’s indifferent parenting by pulling over behind an ice cream truck and treating K to an ice cream. I’m not sure if that’s a healthy coping mechanism or not, but at least now she’ll remember today as “the day mummy bought me ice cream from the ice cream truck” instead of “the day mummy yelled at me to get myself dressed because she couldn’t cope with my shenanigans.”

And I’ve forced myself to sit down and write this blog post even though I’d rather just not. At least I can get to the end of the day and list a couple of things that I’ve done from beginning to end.

I’ll wrap up the night (after the kids’ bedtime, which is truly painful when I’m like this) with a cup of decaf tea and a crossword, take an ativan and hope that a long night’s sleep will lead to a better day tomorrow. In the meantime, meh.