Follow Ups

So my last three blog posts (that were more than “Sorry. Busy.”) were on:
1) Bicycles
2) Not having pockets and the smartphone problems therein
3) Camping on Memorial Day

You all had amazing advice, particularly on the phone thing. I have updates to all of these topics (and the one blog post I have an idea about writing requires insane things like “research” and “work” and “advanced planning” and this is my to do list for this weekend):

Not listed: birthday party, soccer party, dinner with friends, church, Thane haircut, watching that tear-jerker new Pixar movie.
Not listed: birthday party, soccer party, dinner with friends, church, Thane haircut, watching that tear-jerker new Pixar movie.

You will note “pictures for blog post” remains suspiciously unchecked. So updates it is.

1) Bicycles
When last updated you, I was on the verge of taking Grey (and myself, for that matter) on our very first actual bike trail. We were graduating from parking lots.

It was awesome!!!

Breakheart has a two mile paved loop trail, with no vehicles. Perfect, I thought. And it was perfect. Grey and I got on our bikes and got going! He did his first downhill, his first uphill. He discovered why we have gears. But Breakheart was wicked hilly and neither one of us could make it up most of them without walking the bikes – which we did. The downhills scared the pants off me, because I have crashed. (I wasn’t 100% convinced that he really understood that he could get hurt doing this.) But we did the loop TWICE and he LOVED it!

The whole week he kept asking to go bikeriding again, and talked non-stop about it. Thane, who had become rather skeptical of this whole bi-cyclical method of transportation, was given a motivation to improve. And improve he did. He really got it! So the next step was clearly to do a whole family bike ride.

Two problems:
1) Adam didn’t have a bike
2) There was no way Thane could do Breakheart Reservation

So…. it was just about Father’s Day. And every dad wants a bike for his celebration, right? Right? That Saturday we kitted out Adam to get ready to riiiiide. And then I went looking for a really nice safe offroad trail and found the Independence Greenway (which is very similar to what our Greenway will be, with a 50″ clearance and 10″ paved section). We figured out how to (kind of) load our bikes into a vehicle and went for a Father’s Day ride.

The family that rides together learns first aid together.

It was super perfect. The trail was exactly the right level of difficulty for beginning riders. (eg. none) We had an amazingly awesome hour together. As we were coming back, Grey was getting fancier with his moves and finally found the limit of the turning radius of the bike. He came down hard. I got to him fast (we’d had the forethought to bring an extensive first aid kit). His elbow looked pretty bad – a fun color of purple, bleeding significantly from three separate scrapes. I figured out it wasn’t broken, but I knew it would still hurt. I bandaged him up, heart in my throat. Once he’d gotten his breath back, I leveled with him.

“Grey, I’m so sorry you got hurt. I know that has to feel badly. The truth of the matter is that sometimes when you ride your bike, you fall off and it hurts a lot. It’s kind of part of being a bike rider.”

“Mom,” he turned his teary face to me, “I have no regrets about being a bike rider. I’m going to get back up and keep riding, even if I get injured.”

My son has not always been an exemplar of resilience in the face of pain or challenge. It might be the thing in life he’ll need to work hardest on. But this day he got back on his bike, arm sticking out awkwardly wrapped in layers of tape, and rode to the end of the trail. He told his father later, “Dad, every time my arm hurts, I feel proud of myself.” Me too, kiddo. Me too.

So bike riding. It seems like it might be a thing for us now.

2) First World Problems
I wrote a really whiny post about how I don’t have pooooooockets in my dresssssses and how am I supposed to carry my phooooooone?!!? You guys gave me very excellent advice. (This might also be the #1 post in several years for having people stop me personally to talk it through with me.)

I ordered about 6 different solutions, and finally settled on an adequate two part strategy:

Case solved
Case solved

The easiest and most efficacious was a simple case with a lanyard. (Lanyard sold separately.) I’ve never used a case before because they’ve been bulky, but this one is very slim and attractive and allows me to carry the phone on my wrist. Problem largely solved.

For no pocket days...
For no pocket days…

I went to Etsy to help me solve the problem with no pocket days and returned almost exactly what I was looking for. Phone holder with clear pocket for ID and lanyard connections. (Lanyard – again – sold separately.) This is more or less what I was trying to articulate. I had thought I could hook it up to the zippy thingy that clips to your clothes, but the phone is too heavy and pulls it out. Other than that, it works fine.

Problem solved.

Well, mostly. I’m due for a new phone upgrade. I really wanted the Galaxy S5 mini for reasons of size and battery life. But Verizon (curse you!) doesn’t carry it. So now I don’t know what I want.

3) Camping on Memorial Day
You’ll be pleased to hear that my update on this is not novella length. Instead I offer you pictures of the occasion! We’re headed out again soon for more adventures!

The Problems that Plague Us

My friends, I am tormented by a problem that plagues my days and haunts my nights! My mincing steps resound through hallowed halls in terror. I turn to Amazon for aid, but it turns its face against me – leaving me cold and solutionless in the dark night of the soul.

Stop reading now, if you be easily frightened, or squeamish.

It’s annoying to carry my phone around at work when I wear a dress/skirt

THE HORRORS!

OK, so this is actually the world’s most plebian problem. But I’ve been surprised that no enterprising entrepreneur has arisen in the vast realms of Amazon (or even Etsy!) to help me solve it. Let me explain to you, and then you can go start a vastly successful business to solve my problem, or point me in the direction of a person who has already done so.

Scene 1: Brenda’s office
(Yes, I have an actual office with an actual door now. Rumor has it we’re moving soon, so I’m not getting too attached.)
Office mate: Whither goest thou, Brenda? Dost the zephyrous breeze beckon thee to a meeting wherein thou may be’est a shadow on the wall, gleaning learnings from the sages of our new industry?
Brenda: Verily, I go first to that blessed information experience. From thence I shall proceed to the land of milk and honey, which is our cafeteria. Let me only gather those things to me which are needed! Fist, I shall take my badge, both sides of which must show at all times, which is clipped hereon to my skirt/dress. For lo, I must use my badge no fewer than four times to get from this, our workful repose, to thence where succor can be found. In all those places, this copy of my visage must be clearly visible to those around me. Then also I shall take this, my cell phone. Forsooth, I must carry it lest my steps not be tracked and I fail to meet my goal. Also, I would be foresworn if I left it in my office and it kept sounding and annoyed you and the school principal might fail to reach me to inform me of minor behavioral issues regarding my sons which in my own day wouldn’t even have made it to the principal’s office.
Office mate: Indeed, I am glad that you bring your phone of slightly annoying ringtones with you. But hark! How can you carry it! For your dress has no pockets! And it is well known that the cafeteria requires both hands for the full loading of your plate!
Brenda: Alas, alack and welladay! You speak truth! Thus are the skirts of women most annoying, in their pocketlessness. Whatever shall I do?! Woe to me, the pocketless. Watch the burden I must carry in my hands wherever I may go!

(/end scene)

The solution, of course, would be to have a little pouch that is clear so you can see my ID (and I can use it on the door) but has a little extra space for my phone. I carry the Galaxy S4 mini*, so it’s both light and small. The clip which performs so admirably for my badge would carry the extra load no problem.

I swear I’ve read every possible listing in Amazon with every key word combination. I went to Staples. I went to the Paper Store with that line of incredibly garish cloth bags of all sizes. I combed Etsy. I’ve considered alternatives. For example, a phone case that has a clear sleeve for putting my ID in (all the sleeves are opaque and colored). A case that connects to a lanyard at the top would be pretty great (maybe that you could snap in and out. I’ve ordered a bunch of stuff that isn’t quite right. My current plan is to buy a new back to the phone, attach velcro to it and the back of a badge lanyard and see if that will do the trick. (Prediction: disaster.) You can get a waterproof bag that has all the features… and comes in bright orange and screams “I’m going white water river rafting but can’t live without my cell phone.”

I have to think this is not an uncommon problem. Many women wear skirts**. Many women own phones. Surely I’m not the only one in the world who would like to be able to carry things with TWO HANDS while wearing a skirt?

So advise me, sages of the internet. How may my days of torment be ceased? Am I doomed to don trousers until the end of my days, solely for the pocketage? Is there a product out there that is ideal for my needs? How do you solve this problem, if you’ve encountered it? (Do you carry a purse with you ALL THE TIME?)

*I am able to get a new phone but just discovered to my horror that Verizon doesn’t carry the Galaxy S5 mini, which was absolutely my plan. Now I have no idea whether they’ll eventually come out with it, or if I need to get a phablet-size phone which just compounds my problem because when womens’ clothes have pockets, they’re often small.
**I would say men too, but kilts have sporans and utilikilts have pockets. Because men are smart that way.