Posts Tagged ‘Mission Bicycle Company’

Down Time

November 4, 2011

What down time?

I popped into Mrs. Fishkin’s office today.  We are located in the same office space in the old New College building on Valencia Street.  I must say it is really nice to have friendly faces, adult faces, to interact with and engage with and get hugs from.  Oh, so very nice.

That and the realization that I did not hear any screaming today.  None.  I got to listen to adults, engage with adults, and people watch–when I had time, which was not very often.  It was pretty much go from the minute I walked in the door.  I had stuff  handed to me the moment I set foot in the shop.

I had to laugh and ask if I could just drop off my stuff in the office upstairs.  I took off my bike shoes, slipped on my nanny clogs, which shall now just be called my work clogs, and stashed my lunch and dinner in the fridge.  I also unloaded some coffee, Sight Glass of course, a box of my favorite tea, Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice, a packet of unbleached coffee filters, my gigantic mug that Wendy bought me in Hallowell, Maine for a Christmas present four years ago (l like a big mug of tea, I do, I do), and a one cup coffee drip filter.

Then I got to work.

It was on.  I was a bit overwhelmed, the computer system, the quick books, the e-mail system, the in voicing, how to build a bike, what to look for in this build box, where to find that.  Say hello to customers, eves drop on conversations, get my bearings.  When I got the chance I brewed up a cup of coffee and dashed down the hall way upstairs to say hello to Mrs. Fishkin.  It was so good.  Makes me happy just thinking about it.

Guess what else makes me happy?

My new job.

I am going to be really good at it.  I can tell.  I am so grateful for that.  I did feel overwhelmed (at one point the General Manager was telling me to do something and I started to ask a question and I completely blanked.  I mean totally, like where am I blanked.  Oh yeah, eat your food!  Brain over load and empty stomach equals blank brain) and there is an ass load of stuff to learn and it will take me some time to get it all down.  But I can already tell that I am going to be good at the job.  And I like the people and I love the space and my friends are just down the hall and I love the location.

Although I will have to get used to a different bike commute.  I had forgotten the perils and delights of riding down Polk Street in the morning hours as well as riding around the Mission at night.  The bicycle traffic is heavy, the bar/restaurant scene was just starting to get going and it is Thursday, the happy hour was a happening.  Then again, fingers crossed, I won’t be commuting from this far away in a month.

I still have made no head way on a new place to live.  Putting in $600 into the search field on craigslist is a depressing activity.  It does not raise a lot of nibbles.  But I am sticking to my plan.  I also put the bonus money in the bank today after work and went to Rainbow for a few groceries.  I stuck one-third of the bonus right into my savings account.  Along with the ten percent that I have been directed to also put in.  I am basically tithing to myself.  It’s not much right now, but I feel better having a little buffer.  And I may very well need it for a damage deposit on whatever room I do move into.

I am fairly certain I will get the full amount back on my deposit for my current apartment, but it never seems to happen that you get back your deposit from your old place in time to put down the deposit for your new place.  I want to have that all settled out without having to negotiate.

The only draw back of the current job is that the space is cold.  Which is a nice change from doing the nanny share as the condo was always, always, always, over heated and stale.  The shop door basically opens out directly to the elements.  And boy, the temperature dropped today!  And it rained!  Fuck.  Hello winter.

Sigh.  I knew it was coming, but I was hoping for one last nice weekend.  Oh well.  I am going to have to update my rain gear.  I have “outgrown” my rain coat.  It’s an extra-large that was tight when I bought it and now it bags off me.  It’s a really nice rain coat, a North Face I dropped about $85 on, so I have been loathe to replace it, but it’s stupid big and since I got that little extra cash I think I will invest in a better fitted raincoat.

And a new sweatshirt.  I was hoping to get a Mission Bicycle Company sweatshirt, but they are out of stock.  The clothing there is a little on the boy centric side of town, hopefully having a lady about the shop will encourage some more feminine gear as well.  Especially as the girls love this bike too.

When I had a moment, and there were not a lot of them, the time really flew by, I off and on daydreamed about what my bike will look like when I get it constructed.  You know I am going to have to have one.  They are just to scrumptious.  I was thinking cream frame with a mossy green crank and soft pink and cream tires, drop bars, 11 speed internal gearing (everybody seems to think all the bikes are one speed or fixies and they’re not!  They have three speed, eight speed, eleven speed, and eighteen!), a brown leather Brooks saddle, and a messenger basket.

Or maybe….

Yeah, I’ll be getting back to that once I secure a room!  And not before.  The bike is total fantasy, I don’t need one, mine is completely fine and a good damn ride.  I also love, love, love, that I can park my bike inside.  I have had to park it outside the condo for the last year, regardless of the weather or the fact that I had various things stolen off the bike all year round.  It’s super nice to have a secure spot to keep it.  I don’t like having my bike on the street for too long, stuff happens to it.  Bicycle parts equal crack.

I do have a full brain and I did not really allot myself any down time, but I can foresee being really happy in my job and that’s exciting.  And the learning is exciting.  I learned more about computers and the internet and how to really get some work done.  I am learning skills that I can take with me everywhere.  I am super grateful for that.  And of course, I am learning about bicycles, which is also very cool.

I am looking forward to going in to work tomorrow instead of having trepidation.  That is a fucking miracle.

I will just remember to wear warmer clothing and bring a scarf!

Tired and Tech’ed Out

October 31, 2011

I have had a technology filled day.  For a gal that does not have the computer skills that I would like to have, today was a full day.

My brain feels overstuffed and I am tired.  Tired I say.  Sort of like my brain needs a nap, like you need a nap after a big Thanksgiving day feast.

First, I had my entry into Mission Bicycle Company.  I had a day of training.  Kai and I sat upstairs in the office and he explained the basic principles behind how a bike is bought and compiled.  Literally we used flash cards.

Fucking brilliant, with these wee little illustrations.  I was pretty impressed by the detailing.  Totally engaged, for about the first 45 minutes.  Then I started to slip, the spokes and the hubs and the wheel frames began to get inter mingled in my brain and the quick books and the google mail calendar and the in voicing and what to do and who to go to and by an hour and a half in I had to just sit back and take in the information in the way that I know my brain can, shut up and listen.

I have felt this over full brain before.  It’s sort of like some one cuts off the top of your head and dumps a lot of information into it, then stuffs the brain matter back in around it and then it takes a while to digest, brain burp, and sort itself out.  Consciously I cannot see how it is all happening, but from an experiential view-point, I know that its working.  I will access information later that I don’t even realize that I have tucked up there and suddenly I know what widget is what and where that bracket fits and how to correctly do something.

However, my brain likes to put on a panic show in the mean time, distract me from the process or something.

You are never going to figure this out, you are stupid, you are in WAY OVER YOUR HEAD, run, run, run.

I am not.  Shush.

I am learning and learning is difficult.  I learn faster than some, slower than others.  But I will tell you this, once I learn it, no matter what the speed, I remember it.  I have a phenomenal memory.  I have nothing to do with this, consciously, I don’t understand how it all works together, but it does.

I have felt this way every time I start a new job.  Too much information, I’ll never do it right, they’ve got the wrong person for the job, etc, etc, etc.  I writhe around in terror that I will be found out for some imposter, the inevitably I am informed by some one above me, that wow, you caught on quick!

My brain, sweet little perfectionist that it is, disagrees.  I should absorb faster, more, better, quicker.

I also get intimidated by technology.  Today was a banner day in the realm for me.  Not only did I do three hours of training at the shop–learning their build process and basics, but also seeing how the computer system works.  Then I also came home after doing the deal and set up my wireless network and my new Iphone.

I had to talk myself into it.  I knew that it needed to be done, especially as I needed to set up the WIFI and I had tried once already and failed.  I needed it set up to get the Iphone going.

It sat there all white and sexy and said, “C’mon Carmen, don’t you want to use me?”


I want to crawl into bed and cry.

Hmmm.  Probably not going to help the situation.  It’s just a phone, it ain’t gonna bite, and I bet once you get used to it, you’ll like it, a lot.  So do it.

And I did.

Oh, I also got to have some exciting dumpster diving tossed in there to break up the monotony of delving into the tech pools.  That’s right, I threw away the Iphone box with the registration number on it that my phone company needed to change over from my craptastic Sanyo replacement phone that bonked out about thirty seconds after I replaced my old phone, to my Iphone.


Thank God the garbage collectors had not come.  Further, thank god it was in the recycling and not in the garbage.  After five frustrating minutes of digging through the recycling bin I found it.

Aside–I drink a lot of almond milk!

Back to the house, back to the computer, back to the technological no mans land I have found myself journeying into.  And what do you know, I did it.  I got the WIFI up.  I got the phone registered. I got it going.

Then I sort of stared at the Iphone and said, “Hi, let’s be friends, okay?”

Followed by a whisper of, “be gentle with me”.

I will probably spend all day tomorrow monkeying around with it.  Well, I’ll monkey with it during nap time, if there’s a nap time tomorrow, considering K’s M.O. all of last week.  Because there won’t be a nap time when I start on Thursday at the shop.

And I’m excited.  I am.  My brain just got full and it hurt a bit to digest all of it.

I know, pretty emphatically that I can and will handle this.  I just need to make sure that I am also doing my good self-care.  Getting sleep, eating well, making sure my laundry is done, and I get to my commitments.

It’s also sort of exciting to find that I am not the old dog that can’t learn new tricks.  I am learning.  That’s the other awesome thing about this job that was pointed out to me when I was complaining to a friend about brain freeze, I get to learn something new.  I have not really learned a lot of new stuff as a nanny in the last two years.

Oh, maybe a trick or two has emerged, and I have become very efficient at juggling two toddlers and their predilections, but aside from maybe a new version of Wheels on the Bus, I am pretty tapped out in the new nanny skills that can be learned.  At the shop there is a world, a universe really, of things to learn.

I must just remember to be patient with myself and kind.  I was hired for a very good reason, I am good at organization and I get the job done.  Plus I’m good with customers, (kids and animals too) and I will be able to really provide some stream lining and efficiency to their systems.



Techied out.



That too.

Oh yeah, and guess what?


Of being a nanny.


PS.  In case you were wondering, I still haven’t figured out my Twitter account.  Although I have a cute name for it.  And it took me, oh, I don’t know, six months of daily blogging before I figured out how to tag my blogs.  Sometimes quickly….


Nice Shoes

October 29, 2011

He said to me, eyeing up my legs with a smile, “you a messenger?”




“How long you live in SF”?

Nine years.  It’s the only way to fly.

He stuck out his hand and shook mine as I leaned up from u-locking my bike to the bicycle parking on the side-walk at Church and Market.  He had also said, “nice bike” when I was locking it up.  I replied that his was a nicer ride, hipper I should add, much hipper, a ridiculously beautiful one gear with racing wheels and clipless pedals.  I don’t remember the brand off-hand, but I knew without a doubt it was easily a $3,000 bike.

He raised his eyebrow and said, “yeah, pretty nice, but you’ve got a good one too, just different style”.

That’s when he looked down, smiled and said, “nice shoes”.

I always laugh when I get that, they are clipless shoes that I was wearing, SiDi’s to be exact.  I had never used clipless before doing the AIDS LifeCycle ride.  It was heavily suggested that I do so once I began serious training, and after the first time climbing Camino Alto I was a convert.

I was scared at first, clipping in and out of the pedals, being that connected to the bike just seemed dangerous.  But I have since discarded that theory, if anything I feel safer on my bike, more secure and faster, for sure.  I also know that my stroke is extraordinarily efficient now and it certainly makes getting up the hills in my neighborhood a lot easier.  A human being clipped onto a bike is considered one of the fastest, most aerodynamic things on the road, I have gotten up to 56 mph down hill on my bike, it is not something that I do often or in the city, but my god is it thrilling (although the bitch of it is, climbing the hill to go down the hill).

I had cages on a one speed before, a gorgeous 1980 steel framed Italian racer,  and although I loved the look, I actually had a harder time with the cages on the pedals than I do with my clipless.  Getting in and out of the clips is totally second nature now and I don’t think about it, except that occasion when I am going down hill from my house to work and as I begin the first part of the descent I like to be fully clipped in by the first revolution of the wheel.  If I am not, I feel off-balance and that is an uncomfortable feeling going down the grade of hill that I live on; extremely uncomfortable.

He introduced himself to me and I to him and of course I can’t remember his name, other than that the smile was nice, I loved his comment on my shoes, I love getting guy props for wearing clipless.  I hear  a lot of female riders who are nervous about it and don’t usually bother.  And  was the same way for sure, totally fear based.  In fact, the first bike that I rode that had clipless was my friend Robb’s.  He loaned his old road bike to me to do my beginning training on for the AIDS ride and I was so nervous about doing it that I went out and had the pedals taken off and put normal pedals on it instead.

It was four months later that I became convinced and have never looked back.

Oh sure, there are plenty of times when I think, gosh she is so cute riding around in platform heels (and I have been that girl as well) or even in Converse.  It can be a little pain in the ass to wear the shoes.  I have to carry my walking shoes with me if I want to get about on foot.  Although, I have to admit I will clickety clack around in them if I’m out for a short trip or doing grocery shopping, there is just no point in taking up space in my messenger bag for an extra pair of shoes.

And I feel like Mister Rogers stopping at the curbside to pop my shoes on and off.  But once I’m in the saddle and on the road, there is no regret for the shoes.  And it’s always nice to get the messenger boy flirt up.  I quite like that I get props from some of the toughest boys out there.  It is some serious business being a messenger in this city.  I don’t envy the job or the lifestyle.

I could play one on tv, though, that’s for sure, and I do often get mistaken for one.  I wear a lot of the gear, the aforementioned shoes, a key fob on a carabiner clipped to my belt loop, a Chrome oversized messenger bag with the phone connected to the top left shoulder pad, and an attitude.  Where I differ is that I will stop for red lights, I have been hit too often, and I always wear a helmet.  Always, see the previous sentence, I have been in too many accidents to now to not wear a helmet.

In fact, if I did not wear one, I would probably be a “donor”.  That’s what a friend of mine who is a resident at General told me they call kids who ride without a helmet in the city, “donors”.  I hit the pavement so hard the last accident I had, going down a hill, that when my head hit the road, and it hit hard, my helmet cracked in half.  I would have been a total donor.  Ah, no thanks.  I’ll keep all my organs today, really, I like them right where they are.

Plus, I have the ultimate accessory,  if you look at my legs, you know these are biker legs.  Beth, my new transplanted Hawaiian friend was lamenting the figure that happens to occur with just a few weeks of bicycling in this city–winnowed waist, big thighs–and how it’s become difficult to find pants that fit her physique well.  She’s right, but it’s such a damn sexy look (she look good tonight!), and I know that I look good as well, that if that’s the price I pay, so be it.  Although, I do get self-conscious about pulling up my pants at every stop I make on my bike.

I don’t mind playing the role of the city girl biker, but I hate flashing my thong, hate it (remember, lads and ladies, to never say you are never going to do something–ie wear a thong, or bicycle shorts–because you’ll end up doing or being just that), I  see too much ass cleavage from all riders on the road and  aspire to not be showing the floss on the ride.

Total sidebar on that note, I have become a convert, I just got my new Iphone in the mail tonight!

And on the bicycle note, I will be going in for training at Mission Bicycle Company on Sunday to get a few hours in before the official start date of next Thursday.  Today was my last Friday with the girls and it went well, despite the dad calling and meddling with the nap schedule.  I said, sure what ever you want, and did not give a good god-damn, it’s almost done!

Now, with my bike legs, my bike job, my new Iphone, my Bianchi mint colored Chrome messenger bag, and my sexy clipless shoes, I am ready to make the ultimate hipster move–move back to the Mission–where it all began some nine years ago with a sublet at 20th and York.

Wonder where I’ll end up this time?

Regardless, I’ll be getting there quickly in my “nice shoes”.


Taking the Weekend “Off”

October 22, 2011

I am officially giving myself the weekend off.  I am not going to worry about work or where I am going to live.  I am not going to worry about money.  I am not going to worry about how hard it is to find a living situation with cats.  I am not going to think about the fact that I am about to make next to nothing to get by on.

I am just not.

I give myself the weekend.  Oh, don’t worry, I have shit to get done, the work of daily living will take up its proper amount of time.  I will have to go grocery shopping.  I will have to do laundry.  I will have to do the deal.  Actually, let’s change that up, I get to do all these things.  I also need to take the bike into the shop and have my wheel taken care of.

Aside–don’t think I didn’t have a moment or two of absolute glee thinking about how well taken care of my bike will soon be.  I will have access to a beautiful mechanics station.  Not that I know shit about the maintenance of my bike, but I am about to learn.  I am excited to get the opportunity to learn some bike maintenance, it has certainly been suggested to me before.

But aside from those things, and doing my morning pages and writing my blogs, I have “nothing” to do this weekend.  I am not meeting with Cass tomorrow as she is visiting San Diego this weekend, so I will be sleeping in.  Hopefully, I have a tough time letting myself lay about in bed, although it always sounds really dreamy and lovely.  My bladder or my grumbly belly usually wake me up and poke at my consciousness until I’m too awake to wallow around in bed.

I am not setting the alarm and I am letting myself get up when ever I want to.  The bike shop opens at eleven am.  The repair should not take too long.  I may meet up with Beth in the Mission after I get it taken care of and go for a bike ride.  I was thinking earlier, now that I’m writing about it, that it would be nice to ride out to the ocean and head out to Java Beach for a cup of coffee and then take as stroll down by the ocean, it’s been a minute or two since I’ve ridden out to Ocean Beach.

I also want to go out to a movie and I want some sushi sometime this weekend.  I am allowing myself to eat out and to get some entertainment in my diet, I have been neglecting that and I don’t intend to do that any longer.  I have also been debating a massage.  I haven’t had a massage in years, literally years, and it’s time.

My brain would like to do some fretting and some craigslist stalking and some apartment porn looking, but the fact is, my rent is paid for the rest of the month and I will have money to pay for next months rent.  I don’t have to go further than that.  I won’t be dropped on my ass.  I have said it once and I will say it again, if God wanted me to get the job at Mission Bicycle Company God was going to take care of getting me a place to live that I could afford so that I could afford to work there.

My ego has been trying to pipe up all day and really, I am just not that interested.  Yeah, what ever, not making enough.  I am making exactly what I am supposed to be making, it’s what is happening.  I need the experience of being a worker amongst workers.  I need to go small to go big, I feel it.  And I know I am really going to like working there.  Fuck, I am already coveting a bike.  I wonder what the employee discount is?

I am extraordinarily grateful that I will be working 9-5 in the Mission.  That is a huge perk.  I will be back where I feel most comfortable in the city, I will go back to being a Mission girl.  I have loved being in Nob Hill, but let’s be honest, it’s a fucking challenge living up here without a car.  It will be nice to not have to haul groceries up California Street on my bike.  Really nice.  It will be nice to not have to cross a lot of cable car tracks on my bike and feel that haunting moment of free-floating wheels when the tracks are slightly damp.

God, 9-5.  I have not heard anything sexier this week.  A regular joe 9-5 job.  I am truly liking it.

There’s a lot I am liking.  Not being isolated in China Basin, getting back into the fellowship I have missed these last two years, running into friends on the street, all my favorite coffee shops, all my favorite book stores, ah hell, I even miss the hipsters.  Shhh…don’t tell them, I can’t handle their disdain.

I will have one week of full employment with the girls then a half week following.  Then that’s it.  I’m through.  I will nanny no more.  I feel adventures in the wind.  I also have an idea I may meet the One soon.  Some thing about recognizing how unhappy I have been in my job and taking the actions to rectify that, well, that just screams grown up who would make a good partner to be romantic with.  I don’t know maybe it’s just me.  But I certainly caught  a few curious eyes and a smile or two when I was walking down Valencia after my interview.  I think the dating pool in the Mission may do me a fair bit better than it has up here in Nob Hill.

I don’t know, but I smell something interesting this way comes.

Until then, I repeat, more to remind myself than anything else, I am on a work and rent worry free weekend.




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