(NOTE: I wrote this before our recent, astonishing trip to ride bicycles in Death Valley.)
At the end of our second complete calendar year since starting the Bike Touring News blog and store I can say; “I think this might work!” Enough people appreciate the value of what we do here that we have been able to pay all of our bills. That might not seem like much to you. In the past week different customers in the store have said “….what a great hobby” and “…I assume you are semi-retired?” to which I replied; “Sure”. The fact is, we still need to work and I am grateful to each and every customer for helping to support us by buying from our online store or by appearing at the physical shop with their wallets. If you are one of these people, then thank you.
At first, I was a little unsure about how the blog and online store should relate to each other, in fact the blog came first and hence the store actually is a sub-domain URL of the blog. But going forward (I hate it when people say “going forward”) I think it makes sense to think of the blog as the marketing department of our company. Our tagline is “Empowering The Bicycle Traveler” and we want to do that with information as well as physical goods. Your feedback is important to that effort. We can sit here and look at Google Analytics all day and read forums to try to figure out what people want and/or have questions about. Or we can blather on about stuff that is interesting to us. But please let us know in the comments if there is anything you want to learn about or see or if you have any suggestions for either site.
Now for some holiday cheer:
My wife’s father passed away Sunday last. He was 88 years old and he died, officially, of congestive heart failure …really he died of old age and apathy. She had cared for him for the past seven years- ever since his wife, her mother, my mother in law, died from cancer. My wife had taken care of her mother in the final years too, since her husband had already given up and since her other daughter couldn’t be bothered, and since her sons lived out of state. None of this is surprising. I could have written the story 20 years ago when they moved here to be closer to us.
How do I feel about all this? (It is about me, after all.) I feel relief that it’s over. His care was an ever increasing drain on her time. I feel resentment towards him. I think he took advantage of her generous spirit. I feel resentment towards her. She sacrificed a lot of time taking care of her parents. How do I rather she had spent her time? I don’t know.
I married my wife because I loved her and wanted to be with her. I still do. I didn’t marry her because of her parents but I definitely inherited that, which is OK- part of the package. I was never close to my parents and I rarely miss them, but my wife loved her parents deeply and I respect that. It’s only been a few days since her father died and I’m impatient to see what not having him around means for her. I observe her even more closely and interpret her actions and moods even more inaccurately than I normally do. Do I really care about her though, or am I more concerned about what his death means for me. I feel as though I’ve been supporting and understanding, but it’s been over ten years for Christ’s sake. If I don’t really care about him and my concern for her goes only so far as what it all means for me, then why was I crying today? I have to admit that his death has affected me. There is more of a sense of finality because he was the last of our parents…..as she said moments after he died; “we are orphans now”. The existential angst has been a little overwhelming today. Will I end up in diapers, unable to speak or move, vaguely aware (or acutely aware…who knows?) of familiar voices around and have no way to communicate my desire for a beer, a little water, or oblivion? Seems nightmarish to me, though some might say; “he went peacefully, surrounded by loved ones”. I will die…. violently, peacefully, suddenly, unexpectedly, accidentally or by my own hand…. I will die. But right now I want to go ride my bicycle in the desert.