Monday, August 16th, 2010

Road Trip: Out of the Door, We Went…Finally!

For a while, it did not look like we would ever get away for this two week long vacation. Our last time taking such a vacation was two years ago when we visited Whistler, British Columbia in Canada. The fond memories lasted us for a long time — Erik was telling anyone who cares, or does not care, to listen how awesome Whistler was as there were people who got paid to build mountain biking stunts in the city! But eventually, the memories faded, stories got old, and we needed a vacation. And, Erik's niece is getting married and the wedding is in Washington. We have blocked out two weeks on our calendar, but as it got closer and closer, it became more uncertain that the trip would happen.

Erik got a kidney stone… two weeks before the trip. The ER doctor told him after a CT scan that it was a 4mm stone, and there was a 95% chance that it would pass on its own within the next 24 hours. So, we both stayed at home the next day. I felt like a husband waiting for the wife to go in labor. There were cramps and spasms, but they all turned out to be false alarms, and we didn't get our Rocky by the end of the 24 hour period. Next day (we went back to work)? No sign. Finally, we went online to consult with Dr. Google and learned that it may take people anywhere from a couple of days to three weeks for a kidney stone to pass. Three weeks would mean no road trip for us then… But after nine days since the first onset, Rocky came out. From what I heard, the process was actually fairly quick and unexpected. Erik only got one glance and Rocky disappeared down the pipe. Still left with some discomfort, he was not cleared until the Friday right before our vacation by the urologist to go ahead with road trip.

While he battled with the stone, I battled with my computer. I have been working on a project at my new job. It was supposed to be wrapped up earlier, but just as how anything in life usually goes, there were some last minute changes that had to be made. I worked long hours everyday in the week. On Friday, I went home at 10pm and worked until 2am. If you have ever been a developer, you'll understand — so, this is not working, but let me try just one more thing and it might just solve it, and of course, it never does! Anyway, when finally it became clear that my brain had been completely fried so I should really just go to bed, I realized that I left my iPhone sitting right on my desk at work! So somewhere around 3am, Erik drove me to work and back (40 minutes each way). Now you may ask, why was he up then? Well, I had always asked the same question, "why can't you just go to bed without me?" (I'm a night owl, and he is not.) He always said he could not fall asleep without me. "Yeah right! Then how did you ever sleep before you met me?" "I never slept!!!" After that, I stopped asking. Oh, on that note, I must compliment him — despite being dead tired, when he heard that I had to go back to work at 2am in order to get my phone (I couldn't wait until the next morning because I would be expecting an appraiser for our mortgate refi), he simply said, "well, life happens," and insisted on driving me.

It took me only two more days to got all the kinks out for my project, due to our extremely complex product, convoluted process, discrete build system, incorrect documentations, inaccurate debugging information, and…last as well as the least, my own stupidity. In other words, I worked all the way through Sunday afternoon and got everything under control… But we were supposed to get on the road on Saturday! Oh well, both Erik and I agreed that we would not stress about it. We'll get out when we are ready to get out.

Not that Erik was just sitting on his hands doing nothing. He'd got a problem of his own. Ever since he discovered that his bottom bracket bearings as well as shock bearings were shot after our Coe 10k ride in June, he had wanted or needed to replace them. Always busy with work, he did all these replacements slowly. His bike has been stripped down to bear frame and sitting there for quite a while. Finally on Friday evening, he started putting the pieces together. While I worked, he ran errands on Saturday. And in the evening, he found that he couldn't get the shifting right no matter what (like after hours of trying). On Sunday, he took it to two shops and neither could figure it out. I couldn't tell who was more frustrated (me with my project or he with the bike) by that point. I think we both have said something to the effect of "I don't want to go on the trip any more; I just want to spend the next two weeks at home to figure out the problem." Finally, while surfing bike pictures, it suddenly dawned on him that he put his rockers upside down. Doh! After that correciont, it was piece of cake for the shifting to work flawlessly.

Okay, now that we both have dealt with our own issues, maybe the trip will happen after all! On Sunday night, I went through the big bag full of books on CDs and suddenly got very excited about the road trip — wow, we'll get to listen to so many great books!

Now on Monday afternoon, Erik is driving on Hwy 5 somewhere north of Sacramento, and I am typing away on my newly purchased netbook. He asked me, "what are you typing?" I told him, "my trip report." "What??? Our trip has not even started yet!!!" "Yeah, I know, my report is only three pages long so far."

P.S. I typed this report on the road and am publishing it at the Black Sheep Pub in Ashland.

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