My husband did not want to go on a bike ride with me.
How could he not want to go on a bike ride?
It was a gorgeous day. We had our bikes, which we’d only recently gotten (we ordered them as part of a Kickstarter campaign, and waited for months to get them) specifically so he could ride to work and so we could go on weekend rides together, so what gives?
“I ride almost every day to work,” he said.
“Yabbut,” I said, “it’s beautiful out! Let’s go explore! This will be a fun adventure!”
Despite his reluctance, he did go on the ride with me, and we discovered a hidden bike and pedestrian underpass just a few blocks from our home, connected to a bike and pedestrian bridge over the freeway, neither of which we’d known about.
They led through one of the Google campuses, and wound around to the back side of a man-made lake at the park by the Bay where we often go walking.
Wow! We had no idea! A secret bike route to our favorite walking spot that almost completely avoids car traffic, and got us there in nineteen minutes!
It was an adventure. With lots of bridges (which I love), and wild, outdoor spaces, and the wind in our faces.
“I could ride this route to work!” he said. “It would take longer, but there’d be less car traffic, less fumes, and it would be safer and more pleasant.”
He seemed excited. I was pleased.
Wasn’t he glad he went? I asked when we got home, as we were folding up our bikes.
“Meh,” he said.
“I got sweaty.”
This might explain why my man no longer has the flat belly he had when we met ten years ago. Apparently he has an aversion to sweat.
Though with a bit more probing, it turns out it isn’t sweating, per se, that’s the problem. He doesn’t mind sweating when that’s the point.
But he hates sweating when it’s not the point, especially when he doesn’t have a way to change clothes.
See, my guy, as with a lot of guys, has Niagara Falls sweat glands. So engaging in physical activity means really wet clothes, and hey, that’s annoying.
So here’s what was also going on underneath his not wanting to go on a bike ride with me:
• Because he (sometimes) now bikes to work, biking is (sadly) now associated with work, not fun and recreation.
• My man does not like to sweat if he cannot easily change clothes.
And there’s another piece of context that you should know. Due to wear and tear and
our me keeping a tight hand on the purse strings, he’d gotten down to three pairs of paints and three shirts.
The underwear situation was almost as bad, but I’d just bought him an infusion of underwear, so at least that situation had improved, but what all of this meant was that what to me seemed like a lovely pleasure ride, to him seemed like another load of laundry to be done on the other end.
When you only have three shirts and three pairs of pants, what to your wife seems like a free and easy pleasure ride, to you seems like yet one more reason to do yet one more load of what seems like an endless load of laundry.
No wonder he wasn’t so keen on going on a bike ride!
It suddenly became clear to me that if I wanted my man to be willing to do something that made him sweat, I was going to need to let us buy him some new clothes.
So that’s what we did on Sunday.
We went to REI’s big sale, took advantage of both of our 20% off member coupons to get him some new shirts and pants, plus some new boots to replace his pair with the soles that are wearing out.
And since they were having a 25% off sale, and I hadn’t gotten new walking/hiking shoes since our trip to Istanbul five years ago (!), we got me a new pair, too (Oboz Women’s Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking Shoes — the first pair of lace-up / hiking / running-type shoes I have ever gotten that don’t require my orthotics, because the arch support is so good, and my heels don’t slip! They’re amazing!)
It pained me to spend so much money — we had to pull it out of our reserves (I usually buy my clothes at Thrift Town, and come home with a whole wardrobe for $100, but I can’t expect MM to do that) — but hey, if it helps MM to be more willing to go on pleasure rides with me (and do anything to move his body more), it’s worth it!
So what does all this have to do with living a full-color creative life?
Well, here’s the thing: when something’s in your way, often what seems like it’s in your way is not really the thing that’s in your way. It’s just the symptom.
Often there’s something underneath that thing that’s really the obstacle, and if you can solve that problem, if you can figure out how to get around that, then you automatically fix the thing that was really holding you back in the first place.
Honestly, I don’t know if getting MM a new wardrobe is really going to make him more game to ride his bike with me. The sad truth is, I think I married a man who just likes to live in his head, and would be happy to just ditch his body altogether.
He may never be as interested in going biking with me, or dancing with me, or climbing in a climbing gym with me, as I’d like him to be.
Opposites attract and all that.
BUT, he does like going on walks with me, and once a year we go kayaking for a 90 minutes or so on our anniversamoon in Monterey, and for that I’m grateful.
And the fact remains, if you’ve got a sticky situation that you just can’t seem to get any movement around, try to dig into it.
Keep asking “why?”
When you answer the first “why?”, ask “why?” again.
If you keep at it, often you’ll find that there’s a keystone issue at the root. If you can solve that keystone issue, everything else will fall into place.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
This week’s Something Cool is the Instant Pot, which is an electronic pressure cooker.
It kinda looks like a big rice cooker, and you can cook rice in it, but you can do so much more.
It also looks a little like a slow cooker, and you can actually cook stuff and then leave it hot for up to ten hours or something, plus it does have a “slow cook” setting (though from what I’ve read it doesn’t do slow cooking as well as an actual dedicated slow cooker, like a Crock Pot), but it does so much more.
I first heard about the Instant Pot back in November, when people were raving about it on Facebook, and we ended up buying two during Black Friday sales.
The reason I’m making it this week’s Something Cool is that we are still in the depths of our kitchen renovation, and last Friday, after five weeks with no running water in the kitchen, we finally got a temporary sink installed.
And I swear to god the heavens opened and I heard angels singing, it was that miraculous to have running water in our kitchen again!
Actually, it’s our real-life, brand-new sink, and our real-life faucet, but our countertop slab is in a container on a container ship floating in the middle of the ocean somewhere, and probably won’t be installed for another month, so our wonderful plumber McGyver‘ed a temporary sink set-up for us, and I taped plastic all over our plywood counter subtops, so we have a sort of almost functional kitchen.
We have no stove or oven — the range is still sitting out in the middle of the dining room — and we have no dishwasher (which is out in the back yard), but we have a kitchen sink, so we can finally wash up!
Believe me, washing a big pot in a bathroom sink is a total non-starter.
But now that we have a ten-inch deep kitchen sink, and we can actually wash big pots again, we can use our Instant Pot, so we can cook!
Houston, we have lift off!
Because here’s the great thing about the Instant Pot: you can cook so many different things with it!
The other night, for the first time in over five weeks, we cooked in our kitchen!
We made Gluten-Free Pasta Florentine. And it was fast and easy and yummy.
Which describes just about everything we’ve tried in the Instant Pot.
Partly this is because there are a zillion Instant Pot communities over on Facebook, and a zillion Instant Pot recipes all over the interwebs, so it’s fairly easy to find tried and tested recipes with a quick Google search.
We love our Instant Pots! We’ll cook coconut red lentil soup from Crazy, Sexy Kitchen in one Instant Pot, and quinoa in another, then make baked apples for dessert.
We love our Instant Pots!
So that’s today’s Something Cool.
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