I’ve been facing some conundrums of late. None of these dilemmas are critical. None are earth-shattering. Yet, they do pose difficult questions that leave me in a quandary.
The first involves my daughter Kelly. The puzzle she presents is balancing the fact I am her father and in some ways her career consultant as she continues to pursue career-building political jobs. I admit I blew this one recently. Laura Kelly’s announcement that she was dropping her pursuit of the 2nd District Congressional seat was a major body blow for Kelly. (There are too many Kelly’s here. Laura Kelly here forward will be refered to as LK.) Kelly had been working for LK only two weeks when she was informed of the decision two days before the formal announcement.
The phone call came from Kelly at a difficult time. I was trying to get a bike ride in before the second round of heavy snows hit. I was pushing the limits of temperatures, since when leaving the house it was only 19 degrees. When Kelly called I pulled out my phone to tell her I would call her back after ride. Instead, she just spewed forth with all the disappointment she was feeling at that moment.
Here is where I blew it. First, I made the mistake of asking her what she would do now that LK had withdrawn. Not good. I was immediately blasted by Kelly for not being compassionate enough. As she said, “Can’t you just be a Dad right now?” Second, I was beginning to freeze. I had pulled over when I realized this call was serious. As the call went on, the sweat inside my layers began to get icy. I was starting to freeze and had to get going. Telling her that was not met with understanding. After hanging up, I turned back for home and rode with a chill in my body, but more importantely, a very cold heart.
It is very hard to always make the right decisions when it comes to Kelly’s career. She has done things I never thought possible at her age. She thoughtfully plots her every career move. It becomes too easy at times to forget how young she is and how her heart has not been scarred and calloused enough to withstand such bad news. I need to trust in her and let her work through this, but the father in me wishes I could make it all happen for her now.
Another conundrum is somehow making all this snow and brutal cold work for me, for Laura and for Rocket. I have never been good riding indoors with my bike on a wind trainer. The lack of visual stimulation kills me. I worry about ruining my bike. I just don’t think a carbon fiber frame was meant to be clamped into a wind trainer. Fortunately, I can ride a spinning bike at KU, but no rocking iPod music can make up for the fact it is not the road. Kilometers click off at a rapid pace that years ago might have fooled me into believing this kind of riding will translate well to real road riding. Darn it that it won’t.
We can’t really run right now. Neither of us want to run on streets and our trails are all covered deep in snow with no signs of it changing soon. That leaves us plodding along through deep snow so that Rocket can get exercise. However, the snow is getting deep enough that even Rocket struggles with the drifts. What we need are snow shoes. But, from the moment the credit card is swiped, the snow would stop, temperatures would soar and we’d back in business. Now, that really is a conundrum. For warmer temps, the cost sacrifice might be worth it.
KU almost got knocked off last night. Sherron Colllins had a huge career day. I was very proud of the photograph I made of Collins leaping to high five fans as he left the court with the scoreboard in the picture. I have received some kind comments on it. It actually took some thought to make that image. So, what’s the dilemma? It’s taking full credit for the photo. Laura actually mentioned to me some games ago that fans lean over that scoreboard after games and thought it might make a good photograph. I filed that away in my mind for a future tighter conference game. After Collins came to the rescue to preserve KU’s national leading 51-game homecourt winning streak, it was time to make that image. Thanks, Laura.
Speaking of Laura. When it comes to driving, Laura’s confidence verges on arrogance She has reason to be so confident. When we were dating, she showed off her skills with a controlled power slide into a parking lot off 21st Street on a snowy night. That confidence also makes her one of the worst side-seat drivers ever. I am a good driver too, but I don’t mind riding shotgun. The difficult problem last night was who was driving home from Lawrence after the game. I decided it better to let Laura drive. The Subaru is her main car, and I could ride along more at ease than she could sitting next to me. She is very good at the wheel as she proved last night.
Outside of the snow plows creating whiteouts three times and big rigs blazing along at speeds beyond sanity, the trip home was much better than expected. That leads to the final question we are often asked. Is driving as much as we do worth price we pay? Oh, yeah. Turnpike crews never cease to amaze me how quickly they clean off the road. As soon as the K-Tag gate goes up, the roads are always well paved and quickly cleaned. We cruise the back roads as often as time permits, but in times like this, nothing beats KTA for the sweet black top.
Finally, there is no conundrum on this one. There is absolutely no possible health benefit that is not compromised by the dangers of shoveling snow. Ridiculous. Never will the sanity of someone buying a snow plow be questioned. I can’t afford one, but I don’t care if someone buys one to clean only a small strip of sidewalk. Shoveling snow is absolutely no fun.
My big worry is that after shoveling our area today, I used a chipper to dig down through three inches of rock hard, packed snow in our alley and never touched pavement. I only found the ice that had built up after the first big snow fall began to thaw and freeze over and over again. Boy, this is going to be one long, cold winter and a very messy spring.