This was a long time ago, and strangely enough, I do not remember the exact date. I think that it was Tuesday, October 2, however. I’ll go with it, and if it is wrong, then it is wrong. The event of the day definitely happened, however.
Why do I recall this day significantly? Parent-teacher-student conferences were scheduled for this day at Pound Middle School. However, as a ninth-grader, I was also taking my Algebra II class at Southeast High School. After school, Dad picked me up from Southeast to return me to Pound for conferences with my teachers, as well as my sisters’ teachers. Mom was unavailable for a reason that I will describe later–it’s part of the story!
After conferences had ended, Dad was about to drive Casey to gymnastics and stay out running errands. I had no enthusiasm with doing that–I just wanted to get home!
I had known about this plan this morning, and Dad had an alternative plan for how I could get home. At that point, I was on a learner’s permit for driving (I was only 14 at the time, but because my house was outside of the city limits, I was eligible for a school permit at the age of 14). However, my experience of driving was still woefully insufficient for Mom or Dad to trust me driving back home.
Instead, Dad had packed my bike and CamelBak into the van, since he knew that I didn’t want to stay out on errands. (Lest I suffer a meltdown of some sort, a-la some of the parties that I attended in the previous). I hadn’t done a lot of riding, but was still confident in my ability to ride home. In addition, he had a question for me: “Do you want to be a millionaire?”
I was obsessed with game shows at the time, and one of my favorites was Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Naturally, I answered affirmative.
Dad then said, “Here’s your first installment,” and presented me with a 100 Grand bar. This was his first time of being clever with that candy… since another time I blogged about on Good Buddy Day. This was a good snack, and then I saddled up on the bike and rode back toward my house.
In the neighborhood of Pound, I took a small snaking path heading south, east, south, and east again to get to 48th Street. A short stint led to the Highway 2 Trail, of which I took to 56th Street.
Here, it got scary for a few reasons. This was the first time that I had ever ridden my bike outside of a neighborhood without supervision. The temperature was in the upper 80s (very warm in Lincoln for early October), and the wind was harshly blowing from the south (i.e. directly into my face!). On 56th Street, just after the Adventure Golf Center, I had to climb a steep hill. In retrospect, this hill isn’t that bad, but it must have been the principle for me.
After I huffed and puffed up this hill and eventually got a slight downhill toward Pine Lake Road, the next part of the ride was difficult. From Pine Lake to Yankee Hill, the road was entirely uphill, but in the Silent-But-Deadly version. I was slowly pedaling on the far right side of the road, as semis and other cars passed me at 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). Not far past Red Rock, I ran out of energy and had to walk my bike up to Bridle Lane before being able to go downhill again.
And then when I got to my neighborhood, I was contending with a gravel road, as it had not yet been paved!
When I finally got home, I headed to Mom’s bedroom, where she was in bed with her eyes covered. The reason that she was out of commission on this day: she had LASIK surgery and was of course unable to see anything.
However, she suggested that we hang out in the family room. So, I guided her there, turned on the TV, and turned it to Game Show Network. We watched Let’s Make A Deal, and I enjoyed some Code Red Mountain Dew as well as some peanut butter crackers. It was a good end to the day, despite the trials that I struggled with. (I had no homework that day, and in fact, was so efficient during my ninth-grade year that I NEVER brought home any daily assignments.)
This was one of the last times that I rode my bike until the summer of 2003, when our family did Trail Trek. Though this was a difficult experience for me, I am glad that I got home without incident.
Today is the three-hundred and twenty-fourth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty-six weeks and two days.