Monday, March 26, 2012

Past Deadline: Heck on Wheels

Wheels have been a major theme around our place over the last week or so.

I blame my Stupid Foot. (I promise this is not all about my Stupid Foot, but I do have to give a bit of background.)

About a kazillion years ago – okay, almost 16 – Groom-boy and I got married. At the time we both worked at the Perth Courier, and we managed to share one car quite nicely.

I left there to start a business and work from home 12 years ago (jeepers!) and only required sporadic use of a vehicle, so the single-car thing still worked. We could also borrow from either set of parents when necessary.

This worked well until about a year and a half ago, when Groom-boy got a job in Ottawa. He uses our car to commute. Nevertheless, we opted to keep on with our single-car commitment, taking cost and environmental factors into account.

At the start, most of my work was still home-based and the rest was usually within walking distance. We live near stores and the kids’ school, and their extra-curricular activities are within blocks of home.

For those occasions when a car is necessary, my in-laws have been very generous and their car is almost always at my disposal.

During the first year this worked really well. I even lost weight with all the walking (and running) I was doing, and we weren’t finding any tremendous hardships.

Then two things happened.

First, my foot collapsed this past summer. It is an ongoing tale of woe that I will spare you at this time, but suffice it to say it was difficult to walk across the room, let alone across town, and although it is better there is still trouble on that front.

Secondly, I have found myself with more and more work projects that take me outside of walking range – even cycling range.

This has left me with two problems to solve.

First is finding a way to get decent aerobic exercise that doesn’t involve using one’s Stupid Foot. With a commuting husband, a business that involves occasionally weird hours and two children who are not quite old enough to leave at home alone together, finding a way to get to the pool or a gym was causing scheduling angst.

“Take up cycling!” everyone said, but I have to tell you, as lame as this is, I have not felt comfortable on my bicycle since 1988 when I flipped over the handlebars and landed in the hospital with a concussion for a couple of days.

I would like to feel happiness, not Irrational Mortal Peril™, when I exercise. I’m picky that way.

So I opted for a compromise. I now have an exercise bike. Scheduling is easy, it’s not hard on my foot and it gets the heart pumping. It’s not as nice as getting outside and I do miss running, but it’s working.

That’s the first set of wheels. Or wheel, to be more accurate.

The second dilemma was the work-related one. The new projects translate into a lot of car borrowing and begging for rides – almost on a daily basis. Even though my in-laws have been super generous and I am really grateful for their help, it is a lot of scheduling and I have found myself putting off or cancelling car-related things more often.

(I have to admit that as much fun as it is to feel as if one is 17 again, constantly asking parental-types about borrowing the car is not exactly the way I would choose to do it.)

So we took the plunge. We are now, after 16 years, a two-car family. As much as I wish we could have made it work and as much as I admire people who manage with one – or no – car, I have to tell you I am feeling a wild sense of freedom.

I am heck on wheels – in my den and on the road!

I’ll just push the shackles of payments, insurance and gas costs out of mind.

Now I will do my one-footed dance of joy. This is, after all, partly Stupid Foot’s doing.
Published in The Perth Courier, March 15/12

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