This wasn’t quite how I’d expected my day to go. Ideally, I’d have been outside in the cool of the morning, washing my bicycle. That my bicycle is better cared for than my pickup is a well-known fact. During the heat of summer, when gas prices skyrocket, those two wheels carry me nearly everywhere. I can ride from one side of the town to the other and back again without wincing. (It’s an odd reality given my lack of stamina with nearly every other form of exercise.) A 25 mile ride can take place quite by accident.
Instead, I was indoors, on the phone, trying to resolve what I’m considering dubbing “The Great Tax Saga of 2014”. I don’t usually have any difficulties with my taxes. I fill out the 1040 EZ and I’m done. This year, however, presented a few difficulties including a misunderstanding as to whether my employer was to pay the employer’s part of my taxes or I was. It took several 8 hour work days to get the situation sorted out, but I was set to go and mailed my return, payment enclosed, two full weeks before the deadline.
It wasn’t until later that I discovered there was another problem. While the IRS had signed for the return and processed my payment, they hadn’t processed the return, itself. After another hour and an half on the phone with two separate, but extremely helpful employees, it was determined that I needed to refile. (I still firmly hold to a belief formed in my days as a Staff Assistant to a U.S. Senator that the IRS is the easiest Federal agency to work with.) Still, it was lunch time now and my bike was still in the garage.
I ran off several photocopies and dashed off a letter with precise names and dates (just in case the IRS wanted to double check my story), and stuffed them in an envelope for later mailing. (I hadn’t sent anything to the IRS via registered mail in years, but was glad I had done so this year!) Back to my bike.
I’d spent a small portion of my morning (before discovering the tax problem) reading a copy of “The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair: For Road & Mountain Bikes” – a volume which I had determined to read cover-to-cover. Unlike my automotive endeavors, my interest in how my bicycle works is more than academic. I’ve ridden several thousand miles on this particular bike and, to date, the worst it’s done is drop a chain. I’d like that to be the worst that ever happens to my baby.
The morning’s topic was “suspension” and I was eager to discover what type of front-wheel suspension my bike possessed. (And to discover whether it needed adjustment… which I was sure it did if only because I wanted the experience of fiddling with the settings, myself.) But washing the bike was to come first.
It was nearly 80 degrees outside when I opened up the garage. I grabbed some de-greaser for my chain and derailleurs and a bit of polish for the frame. Then I turned on the hose and began the meticulous work of removing the grime from all those hard-to-reach places between the pedals and spokes. Yes, it was work. But I’ll take tires over taxes any day!