November 29, 2023

The Holiday Push

I hope that everyone enjoyed their recent Thanksgiving break, and you were able to step away from work and indulge in a little downtime. I cannot believe that Thanksgiving has already come and gone. It seems that every year the kids start school in September, I blink, and then it's January. I am going to be wrapping up my current remodel next week, then I have some odds and ends to do, and after that I intend on taking a little bit of time off. This project has gone way over schedule, and I have put off many things that need my attention. With the rest of the holidays rapidly approaching, it will serve as a perfect opportunity to sign off for a bit. Thanksgiving was a nice respite from work, but I had too much on my mind to fully unplug. 

I have been working long days in order to maintain my schedule and get my customers moved back in next week. I worked through Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving in order to keep things moving forward. My floor sub ended up working Thursday morning and Friday so that we could get back to business on Monday. We spent Thursday at our house with the kids and my wife’s parents. Her dad is terminally ill, and he had chemo on Tuesday, so we figured it was best to just lay low and not do too much. I spent Thursday morning unloading my truck and then doing some dirt bike maintenance. I had to install some new tires and bibs in one of my bikes, so I did that as well as some oil changes, and air filter maintenance. 

Selby had asked me earlier in the week if I could take her out for a ride over the break, so I also threw some new tires on her bike, changed the oil, installed a new spark plug, and a fresh air filter. We got her a new KX 65 this past Summer. This bike requires a little more maintenance than her last trail bike, but it is absolutely worth it. The brakes, engine, and suspension on the bike out perform her last bike by leaps and bounds. It has been so amazing to watch her progress as a rider these last six months. She went from putting around casually on a fully automatic trail bike, to moving at a much faster clip on her new bike, which is a 6-speed manual transmission with a cable clutch. We recently installed an intercom system in our helmets which makes it really nice to ride with as well. This way I can warn her of upcoming intersections, trail trash, or obstacles that might bite her.

Once we completed some errands on Friday morning, and I did a bit of year end yard work in the early afternoon, we loaded up the bikes and went out for a beautiful fall woods ride. It was just the two of us, and we rode for a couple of hours. We ended up doing about 15 miles of tight trail. She only fell once, and it was on a blown out sandy corner. Selby has a tendency to sing while riding, so I had to lower the volume in my headset to avoid hearing her sing for two hours straight. She has many talents, and I love her to death, but she is not the greatest singer! After we got done riding we ran a few more errands for work, and then called it a night. I really enjoy these afternoons with her. The older she gets, the more relatable she is, and the more I cherish these times. Maybe it is because I have a better sense of just how fleeting time can be, or maybe it is our relationship maturing, but we both seem to be fully immersed in eachothers’ company without outside distractions. 

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Saturday, I participated in a memorial ride for my enduro club in honor of some members who passed away. We do this ride every year, and most of the trail is cut by just a handful of members, one doing the bulk of the work. It ended up being almost 50 miles of trail with a few dozen guys. We split into two groups, one older and a bit slower, and one younger and a bit faster. Even though I am older than most of the guys (all of the guys) in the faster group, that is where I choose to ride. It was a fun time, and by the end I was spent. I had one decent fall where I hit a log that was under the leaves. I was moving at a pretty good pace about to click into third gear when it felt as if I hit a stump and was immediately ejected from the bike. My buddy behind me said that my bike was upside down and sideways. I was upside down and sideways as well. I lucked out and did not get too banged up. After the ride we hung out for a bit as a group before going our separate ways. I washed the bike up when I got home, and then we decorated our Christmas tree. Rachel and the girls picked it up during the day when I was riding. 

Generally speaking, decorating for me consists of sitting on the couch and helping when there are lighting issues, ornament malfunctions, and when the star needs to be adorned atop the tree. The girls and Rachel really enjoy it. They play Christmas music, laugh, break ornaments, and this year knock they managed to knock the entire tree over. I went into the kitchen and heard a crash. When I walked back into the room, the entire tree, all of the lights, and all of the ornaments were on the floor. Whoops! The tree was too big for the stand and it couldn’t support the weight. We were able to get it back up and only had two casualties as far as ornaments go. Tillie was a bit traumatized, but it will certainly be a Christmas they will never forget.

On Sunday, we spent the day at my younger brother’s house. He and his wife recently moved and had their second daughter, so we visited the cousins and saw the new digs. Our girls love their younger girl cousins, and it was nice to spend some time with my brother and his wife. We ordered wayyyy too much Mexican food, played with the kids, discussed some future remodeling projects that they want to do, and then called it a day. At this point it was a long and busy weekend, and I was ready to hang it up before the work week was here again.

All in all I really enjoyed our time off during the holiday. I could not completely unwind due to obligations and not being fully mentally detached from my current project, but I had some moments of rest and relaxation. I really enjoyed spending time with my kids and my wife after working so many long days the past few weeks. Not being physically present while working so much creates a lot of stress and guilt for me, so it was really nice to be able to silence some of those feelings. Unfortunately, it was back to the grind Monday, but the finish line is finally in sight. I cannot wait to close this one out and then take care of the things that have been needing my attention. This has been a long project, and I will be relieved once it is over!


- Tyler Grace

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