Friday, June 6, 2014

Jon Danger is Good Looking and (Mostly) Available. Give him money.

Last weekend, my ex got married.
I had a ton going on, and managed to stay distracted enough on so many levels that it didn't really register.
But in the quiet moments, I admit... it found its way in, bringing on a certain melancholy.
Not because of any sense of loss I felt regarding her, or us, or even the bizarrely distant life we had made together. Time heals, and I think we're both in much better places these days.

I struggled because it seems a very odd milemarker to be ticking off in my life. One I never really predicted or strove for.
It's really kind of a loaded moment; chock full of all the permanence, transience, pain, happiness, absurdity, hilarity, sadness and total fuckupery that is this existence. And as a relatively pensive fellow, these things tend to weigh heavy on me. Whether it's the first love, first marriage, first broken bone, the first taste of urine, the first exchange of fisticuffs.... these mileposts define us and hence mean everything (and nothing.) Which is pretty intense.

(The first....did he say....urine?)

Yeah. Honestly, it's not as good a story as you hope. But Milo likes it. Enough so that he's been known to share it, unsolicited, with pretty much anyone: family, friends, strangers, pretty waitresses.
I'll tell you another time.

Aw, whatever, I'll just tell you now.
When I was but a child, I could pee tremendous distances. Most little boys can. I'm not sure how it is for you girls, but as a lad, with all the power of a five year old bladder and a boy's wee hose, pee didn't flow out of us so much as blast forcefully. Whereas these days I seemingly struggle to muster the flow necessary to clear my shoes, back then you struggled to contain it. Hitting a target double my height in distance was commonplace.
Well, one day I distinctly remember thinking, "I wonder what would happen if I just don't hold on."
Hands on my bony little hips, I let loose. And instantly, knew I had royally messed up. Like an errant fire hose, my wee unit was no match for the force of the flow, and pee went everywhere, chaotically soaking the wall behind the toilet, the curtains next to me, the hand towels over the sink, the floor, my feet. And then....(I distinctly remember the next part happening in slow motion)... bending my head forward to gain a better perspective on what I'd unleashed, mouth agape with a horrified "oohhhhh nnnoooooooooo," the hose suddenly arced upward...
....and my sense of smell correlated with my sense of taste, the unqualifiable yet unmistakeable being of urine.
Like a brave little firefighter, I remember floundering about, struggling to pin down and control the flow as urine spattered my face and the whole of existence.

And then, once the debacle had ended, I had to go outside and pick a switch for making such a mess in the bathroom.

But there you have it. The taste of pee. And it's a taste that I will never forget.
Once, in England, I ordered whothefuckknowswhat. It was a sampler of various English foods. There were some sauteed mushrooms. A blob of something blackish later identified as blood pudding. A sausagey thing. Some more mushrooms. And a small mound of potatoes. Eating some of the secondary mushrooms, I thought, "these taste like that time I accidentally peed in my own mouth." Not long after, the waiter identified them not as mushrooms, but as kidneys. Which explained everything.
We are so damn weird.

But... turning briefly away from urine, and touching on the reflective melancholy of this past weekend, I admit that much of that revolves around that little boyo of mine who took such delight in my pee story.
With regards to illuminating all of your failures and successes, triumphs and nadirs as a human being, having a child is pretty much a 4000 lumen mag-light in the face.
Have I made the right choices for him? Have I totally screwed him up with my own screw ups? Are genuinely happy parents apart more important than unhappy ones together? Do I need to hover more or back off? Am I giving him what he needs? Am I a good dad?

And THAT, my friends, is definitely a post for another time.
Suffice to say, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thanks be to Steve.

I've been a bit absentee lately. Apologies for that. It's been especially difficult to find time and justification to sit down and write lately. I mean... I could sit on the couch and engage ten people via the one long, overplayed fart joke that is my writing.... Or I could organize the shop, hang out with a girl, rock out with my son, and maybe, just maybe, squeeze out for a ride. Not doing those things during the extremely minimal free-time I've had for the past month seemed ridiculous. 16 hour days, everyday, kind of suck. Bad.

But things are normalizing now, so let's get back to it, huh? I like writing. It helps me process this world. It's cathartic. Whether it does anything for anyone else is totally beside the point. So thanks to the various nutters who've encouraged me to keep pooping it out.

In case you're tuning in late or in case I just never really broadcast it, or you really just had much better things to pay attention to, for the past two months, I've been fully mired in moving the bike shop.

Culture: the cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients.
Revolution: the act of turning around in circles 

This will be my third move in seven years (I'm calling it an even 6.66).
On the personal side, that's not much. For a business? Probably a little unusual.
One day I'll write about the moves, as there's some pertinent info there.
Suffice to say that this go round, the time was right. Our lease was up, and we'd totally outgrown that spot, which I'd never been happy with. You make due and roll with your decisions, but I really second guess that one. I know why it happened that way, and it made sense at the time, but things could have gone a lot differently early on.
Outside of the ending lease and outgrown space, I felt in a bit of a rut. I was frustrated with some of the infrastructure of the shop. Not only the layout and set up, but the operations. And I was frustrated with the industry, which seems to operate in a total vacuum. I'd even thought about closing or selling the shop and going back to grad school. Not because things weren't going well though. Despite the industry and operational frustrations, things have gotten much better. But seven year itch... all that.
I sat down, assessed directions and options, looked at the modest mound of poker chips I've accrued in this totally effed game over the years and said, "I'm in." Never forgetting that poker chips are worth nothing in the real world.

After looking all over; at various spaces downtown, a few up north, some near some other shops, and an old abandoned gas station right across from trails, I ultimately decided to stay nearby. They all had their merits, but more often than not, all too many issues.

I'm pretty pleased with the new digs. And not in a smug way, because there's so much wrong with it all that I don't even know where to begin. But without a doubt, it's a million steps closer to what I envisioned from the beginning. Although admittedly, we probably overdid it a bit, like a five year old peeing. But then, if you know me, then "overdoing it a bit" is pretty fitting.
The building we're in now is about as unassuming as it gets. Previously a florist for close to twenty years,  it kind of resembles a country church, with a very plain brickwork, a boxy structure and small steepleish spire on top. At some point I'm sure we'll do something cool with that, but hellifiknow what.

It needed a good bit of work. Which was part of the fun. Previously, we'd moved into vanilla boxes. We painted the walls, hung posters, put up some lights and modified it, but you could always tell that we'd made an office space into a bike shop. Since we kind of needed to gut this place, it gave us a lot of options. We could go as simple or all out as we wanted. The biggest constraint was time and money. There's a reason I've always done the upfit myself. This time I worked with a dude named Wes, who could handle some of the things I had no experience with or interest in tackling; specifically some of the demolition, electrical, plumbing and the floor. Telling him what we envisioned, he got pretty excited and asked if he could be more involved. I told him my budget for all of this was approximately nothing, and after some negotiating, we came up with a plan. I wanted to salvage as much wood and materials as possible and be involved in the work. Kicking ideas back and forth with him, the end result was pretty amazing. All done for less than most people spend in a month. Hellz yeh.

I'll give you a rundown of the upfit process next time. It was a TON of work, but so wild to see it come together.

The counter and backdrop are made from doors and windows salvaged from the old Wilkes Countly courthouse. 

Old pallets, rough cut lumber from a sawmill and any salvaged wood we could find made up most of the extensive wood work on the counter/bar.

Intially we'd intended to pull some old copper and use it as the backdrop to counter. We went with galvanized steel that's been aged out like copper. It's pretty wild. Maybe a little much for a bike shop, but damn, it's cool.

We now have a whole separate room devoted to the service side, but with room for inventory.

The vast walk-in cooler serves as storage for repair bikes and service parts.

And we're still working on some things. Navigating the city with regards to the not-so-super-secret other plan we have for our front counter has been an adventure. But we're sooo close. Patience.
I mean... if I can be patient about it, after over four years of scheming and planning, then so can you.
That said, pouring or not pouring, we're usually drinking, so come join us for a beer.

I have to say, I love the evolution of it all, from the extremely humble beginnings of buying the shop I'd worked at, to (barely) weathering a flood that wiped out many a shop seemingly more grounded than me, to taking a chance and branding it the way I wanted to, to the slow but sure budding and blossoming of what we have now. Damn, what a ride this has been.

Or... not so friendly.

The hollow shell of the OLD new space.

The Revolting whats?

Fidel Reitzel and some hot girl. I luck out sometimes.

The O-Men, featuring Shannon St. Clair of Brushy Mountain Cycles.

Local friends, dads, cyclists and punkers, Totally Slow playing our punk rock party.

We've had some good times in those spaces, and I think we're going to have a ton more in the new spot. There's so much potential it's ridiculous. 

Sure, things didn't go the way I expected. The move was rushed, and in all too many ways, harkened back to our FIRST move.

But we're getting it more and more dialed every day. 

We'll have our opening 6.66 years of Revolution shindig soon. 
In the meantime, let's just party. Kiss your girl. Smooch your boy. Ride a bike with your kid. 
And strut a little.

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