|I assure you, these guys have nothing to do with this post.|
Now, I wouldn't define my dad as an optimist. But he had a way of looking at winter that helped him get through the miserable slog that it was in Connecticut. On one January day he told me his strategy: January is half-way over, then it's February, the shortest month. Barely two more months before the worst of winter is over, and it's March.
I've adapted his strategy in the decades since he passed on this sage advice. And I'm looking forward to spring. I have to say it indeed is my favorite season. Now I appreciate all the seasons in turn. But why do I like spring so much? Well, the days get longer, the temperatures get warmer, things grow. That's all fine and dandy, but I think what really makes it my favorite is the promise of the days to come. The weather is on its way to awesomeness,** and summer's adventures are on the way.
Now this is probably where you ask yourself, "Why doesn't Shawn consider summer to be his favorite season, then?" And I'll tell you why: summertime is burdened with too much expectation. You feel guilty if you're not doing something awesome every goddamned moment. You feel depressed if your great plans and hopes for summer were never realized. And even when you do make stuff happen, there's always the thought in the back of your head as the nights grow shorter that summer will be over soon, better get on it.
So spring is the time to make plans. For me, making plans is fun. And spring is when stuff starts to happen again where bicycles are concerned.
This brings me to March. Already there are so many bike things I want to do in March. There's the Three Speed Ride on the 3rd, of course. But there's also the Dalles Mountain 60, a ride I wanted to do last year but never did. The ride will happen Saturday March 9th, Then there are two randonneuring events, a 100 kilometre "populaire" on Saturday March 16th, and then a 200 km brevet on Saturday March 30th. Yeah, I know I expressed ambivalence to randonneuring after November's Verboort Populaire, but I don't quit that easily, and no better way to get into the swing of things with a 100km followed by a 200km.***
Now you must be wondering: "That's pretty awesome Shawn! A full schedule of fun for the beginning of spring." But there is a big problem: all of these events, save the Three Speed Ride, fall on Saturdays. Again you may ask: "Well, what's the problem?"
The problem is I usually work Saturdays.
During my working life (1990 to present) I have rarely worked a traditional 9-5, Monday through Friday job. Most of my jobs tended to have more random schedules scattered through the week. And I've worked my share of nights. My current job at the hostel has a random, flexible schedule. There are two shifts, a morning one (8am to 3pm) and an evening one (3 to 10pm). I can be working any of these shifts, any day of the week, any day of the year.
There are benefits to having a schedule like this. It's really awesome sometimes to have days off on weekdays, as running errands are easy and places that are busy and full on weekends are not so much during the week. But there are drawbacks to not automatically getting weekends off, the biggest one being that's when the fun stuff is scheduled.
I tend to work a lot of weekends by default. It's not impossible to get a day or two off during the weekend, but this means requesting time off. Requesting days off needs to be done pretty far in advance, as our work schedule goes up 2-4 weeks in advance. And when I request too much time off, I get grief because it's like I'm asking too much. Asking for three Saturdays off in March**** to do all I want to do is a tall order, but I might be able to pull it off. But that doesn't hide the fact that there will eventually be more weekend stuff that I'll want to do in the months after that. Already there's a Cycle Wild campout to happen on an undetermined weekend in April, plus the Tweed Ride will most likely be a Sunday in April as well.
|Yep, coming up soon.|
You can see where this all goes.
Part of me missed the foot-loose and fancy-free "lightly employed" days before I got my job at the hostel back. I didn't have to worry about scheduling things much. But then again, I was always broke and then never was able to do any of these things I wanted to do...
*If you are one of my loyal antipodean readers, try to imagine that it's winter right now.
**Yes, please remind me how iffy spring weather is here in the West-of-Cascades NW, with its schizophrenic weather patterns and crappy cold rain in early June. Because I know you will.
***And the Dalles Mtn 60 is also 100km, so lots of practice in March!
****My Sunday off for the Three Speed Ride is already approved. And to make the Dalles Mountain 60 work, I might have to take off either Friday or Sunday or both.