Two kids on a bike

Weather-wise it’s been a tumultuous week. It definitely feels like autumn now, with all the rain and leaves beginning to fall, but today was summer time temperatures, and definitely a good day to ride.

The morning started with Leo getting up and leaving the bed. I’ve been sharing a bed with him, partially because I often put myself to sleep after story time, but also Hitomi stays up later than I like and wakes me up, and baby Luca wakes me up as well. Leo also has a habit of waking up in the middle of the night and storming into the bedroom scared of ghosts or something. Anyway, once Leo gets up, I have to get up too, because immediately he heads toward the kitchen, which isn’t the safest spot for a 3 year old.

From bed, I can hear the dragging of a chair, and crinkle of plastic wrappers and I knew he just was helping himself to some bread. Yes, some day he might help himself to the knife block and start cutting fruit (or his body) and I’ll have to answer to somebody. But he’s been good. And eventually Hitomi had woken up, after Luca started crying. I heard her head down the stairs, and then I need not worry.

It was Saturday, but Hitomi needed to work. Hitomi left and I ended up with two kids. Timing being what it is, I was left with Leo who had (again) dumped a couple boxes of toys out around. Dumping out toys is okay by me, but then he refused to pick anything up, which got me angry and I yelled at him. After scaring him a bit and cleaning up, I knew we ought to leave as well.

I wanted a bike ride. With two kids on one bike, I headed to Magnuson Park. There’s a bouncy castle area and if anything Leo could use some wearing out.

The park is directly east of my house, on NE 75th street, a street definitely hilly on a regular bicycle but I had an extra 70, maybe 80 pounds of kids and seats on a bicycle weighing 50 pounds. (As an aside: I ought to have put in more air in my tire, but I misplaced my pump value. And I ought to have wore lighter clothing: It was quite warm. But once you have the kids on the bike it’s hard to make yet another trip back to the house.)

NE 75th is quite busy with cars. They have recently painted bike lanes on both sides but given the steepness, I can’t see them encourage much use. Really, there’s no need for bike lanes on the downhill, as they are actually pretty dangerous as drivers don’t always “see” the sides of the roads. On the uphill side, bike lanes are quite useful as anybody but the most fit are crawling up on the lowest gear and speed. With Luca in his car seat strapped to the front of my tandem, drivers, but especially passengers were fairly curious. The expressions I saw from both were a mixture of amusement, surprise, and perhaps concern. For who in their right mind would endanger a baby like this?

I certainly share the sentiment. But baby or not, nobody on a bicycle stands a chance against a 5000 pound SUV.

At least in Seattle, the drivers that do notice you usually do give you plenty of room and pass at a reasonable speed; although there are sometimes cases of not so pleasant encounters. With a baby—who would dare honk at a baby—drivers are friendly. I believe the danger comes from drivers not paying attention. Which, thanks to modern technology, are compelled to pay more attention the virtual world than traffic around them.

We arrive at Arena Sports, mostly indoor soccer, but we’re hear for bouncy castle-land. At around 10:45AM, the bike rack’s mostly empty, but the parking lot is very full. I think it’d be nice if there were more bicyclists around, right? Bouncy castle time is only until 11:30AM, and I’m asked if I would I still like to get in? Of course.

It’s carpeted inside, so Luca gets to crawl around a bit, I surreptitiously check my iPhone and (coincidentally) read yet another article about how cyclists and cycle facilities make car drivers miserable. I try to rest but Leo can’t leave me alone and wants me to play with him. So then I carry around Luca and climb up places I shouldn’t one handed with the baby—and slide down steep slides carrying Luca which is probably not a good idea either. In any case, I want to rest not bounce.

Around closing time, Leo pees himself. This I discover after he asks me to take him to the bathroom. When removing Leo’s pants they’re quite wet. Of course, I find plenty of Luca’s clothes, no change of pants that will fit Leo. I put Leo into a diaper sans pants, and he looks fairly ridiculous as he’s half naked wearing rubber boots. And sadly, Leo looks tired and miserable, especially after giving him a hard time about not going to the toilet. I give up further discussion, and we head to the U District Farmer’s Market for food.

Again with the hills! Ravenna Boulevard’s quite a nice ascent, but fairly excruciating with the weight. I’m hungry but Leo’s now fast asleep, so how are we going to eat? On the flip side, Luca now has an opportunity to eat before we do. I place Leo still in his seat down on the sidewalk, lean him on a building so his head is leaning back, and feed Luca some soup and cantaloupe.

I do my grocery shopping carrying Luca in one hand, trying to pick out veggies with the other. And then the rest of the market is a bit of similar one-armed juggling. I forgot the carrier for Luca, sadly, so I’m stuck lugging Luca’s baby car seat.

Once Leo’s awake we can shop and eat. Leo’s a good follower, fortunately, so I managed a sweep of the stands I like. There’s no wood fired pizza today, which was promised to Leo, but Salvadoran food is good if not better. Luca can eat the cooked plantains, and Leo likes rice and beans.

I find a spot on some grass so we can all sit, but what little grass there is is in the vicinity of some ripe smelling dog shit. Leo and I are shouting kusai! 臭いよ!(it stinks!) to the heavens. I get clever and try to kick the shit into the street, but my kicks are not far enough and the sun has its way with ripening it more on the pavement. Well, I’m hungry so I do what I can to not smell it. And I feed both kids at once. Luca after eating his plaintain is in search of more food crawls up my leg and gets himself fed some part of our pupusas.

Fed, I’m hot. I load the bicycle, take off my long sleeved shirt—now I’m half naked!—and do what I can with two kids and a ton of groceries going home.

About eliasross

Blogging before the word "blog" was invented.
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