Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Your bike is a POS and you're fat."

After eating for five days straight, I attempted a bike ride on Saturday. I made it through my route, but I would have made better time walking it. I'm sure all the cruise ship food was part of the problem, but a bigger problem was the back wheel wobbling all over the place. Tightening it up didn't help at all, so back to the bike shop where my fears were confirmed: new back wheel. I asked the salesperson why a bike ridden as lightly as mine is blowing out bearings. The short version of her answer is the post title. I only paid $350 when I bought it new over ten years ago, and I'm fat, so I really shouldn't expect more than a couple thousand miles from a wheel. My $20 Schwinn I got when I was six lasted for three generations of serious abuse with nothing more than some rare oiling, but my "mountain" bike that has never been ridden on anything rougher than a graded dirt road needs a whole new back wheel once a year. Nice.

And don't even get me started on why I need to buy an entire wheel to replace the hub bearings. Good thing I took it to the "experts".

And you kids get off my lawn!

I'm not sure what's going on with our apartment. The three women that normally work in the office are gone and have been replaced by some clueless dweeb that doesn't seem to know his ass from his elbow. But everyone now has these really cool matching blue polo shirts, so there's that. As Debbie mentioned, the Blue Polo Shirted Dweeb working in the office seems to have forgotten all about scheduling our carpet cleaning while we were on the cruise. And we still don't have any idea who was in our apartment messing with the smoke detector. I cornered a maintenance guy this morning; he just repeated the party line about how they never enter an apartment without leaving a work order stating why they were there. When I pointed out that we were fully aware of what was supposed to happen which is why Debbie called the office raising holy hell because someone had apparently been in our apartment while we were out of town and didn't leave a note as to why, he responded that the people upstairs must have been jumping up and down a lot and knocked it off the ceiling. Yea. I'm sure that's what happened.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love our ghetto apartment?

Anyway. The cruise. We spent most of the time laying around in the sun on the pool deck except the one day we got off the ship to lay in the sun on the beach. The rest of the time we were in line for the buffet. We were generally disappointed in our first NCL cruise; there wasn't any major problems, just a lot of little things that left us sort of let down. Most of it involved the large number of crew standing around looking puzzled and not doing things that clearly needed doing. Things got better towards the end of the cruise making us wonder if there had been a major crew change when we left port. Debbie always tells her clients not to judge a cruise line by a single cruise and maybe we just caught NCL on a bad week. But even if everything had been perfect. I'm not sure I like NCL-style cruising. Being constantly assaulted by loud music and crew members jumping around yelling, "Let's party!" in my face everywhere we went isn't my idea of relaxation. The rarest of commodities on an NCL ship is peace and quiet. At times the intentional audio assault was simply ludicrous: we hit one of the twenty or so bars on the ship (because NCL is the partyingest cruise line so Let's Party!) late one night looking for something different for our second dinner (or maybe it was our 11pm snack), and they had four TV's, all playing a different station with the sound turned up and music playing over the PA. All in a space not much larger than our living room.

And you kids get off my lawn!

Now that vacation is over, it's back to tax code. I finished up the initial pass through the material for the second test. Most of the basic concepts haven't changed since I was doing this stuff in the 1980's, but there is a lot of little details that I've either forgotten or that have been added. One thing in particular has changed; back in the day is was standard practice to have the business on a fiscal year and the taxpayer on a calendar year so you could defer taxes by floating money between the two. Now there is a whole stack of rules specifically intended to prevent that which I have to learn. Woo. hoo.

Cruise pictures are still on the camera; I want to get to that this week. I also want a million dollars. We'll see. And Debbie is going to be home soon, so I should be looking busy when she walks in instead of sitting here blogging.

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