Since then I have developed a tiny routine. My balance is back, so I get on the bike with more confidence. I go around the corner to a street called Sycamore Knolls and bike the straightaway, then turn onto a small downhill and reverse before the hill gets too steep. It hurts my out-of-shape quads, but I make it without getting off (or falling off).
This evening I took a slightly more hilly route around a loop called Silverwood Terrace. I had been gone most of the day, having a nice lunch and in Northampton with Nancy, a friend from work, and then wandering around town.
By the time I got home, I needed to walk Maddie; we took our usual mile-long spin around the lake. It was a beautiful late summer day. She took her swim, dashed through the woods and then came back when called and got on the leash.
It was getting dark, and I still needed to take the garbage down to the street (that's where I could REALLY use the kids), but I wanted to experience the feeling of the breeze going against my face when I ride the bike.
So off I went. The hill on the new loop is really nothing, but it felt like something. I went into the easiest gear and it was still difficult on my stamina and my legs. I knew it wasn't bad enough to do any harm, so I pushed ahead...and made it!
I'm not sure who I was talking to, but I gave thanks for the bike and for the strength that got me up the mini-hill. It gets dark so quickly now. By the time I approached my house I couldn't see that well. The voice of reason helped me out. Go very slowly. This is where you could fall. Now stop slowly. Get off the bike and walk it across the street.
Jim (my ex-husband) came by yesterday and asked if I wanted him to bring the trash down (it's a pretty long driveway). I thanked him but said there wasn't that much, and anyway, it was a day early.
He had brought his chain saw.
"Are you going to chop me and the dog up into little pieces?" I asked.
Naturally this was not his plan. I forgot that we had talked about a little problem I have with two old trash barrels that have holes on the bottom. How do you throw out a trash barrel? I figured I could put a sign on it saying, "Take me." Jim had said he could just saw them in half, so that is what he did yesterday, bringing them down to the street even though it was a day early.
He closed some windows that I couldn't budge, lowered the storm windows and asked if I needed anything else done. Then we walked Maddie around the lake. I talked about how much I missed the kids, and he sympathized.
So thanks too for someone who, despite a difficult past, comes through in times of need.