Rule #9

I’m really hoping not to invoke Rule #9. I’ve got a training ride with a friend next weekend and then a two-day ride on the weekend after that, and Nana tells me it’s forecast to rain from now through the start of November.

We had made plans to go shopping today for a light jacket for me to wear to the office. Nana wasn’t happy that I’ve been wearing my Nike windbreaker, which is not only neon yellow and reflective but is also mud-spattered from previous invocations of Rule #9 — notably on the second day of the ride around Lake Biwa.

(She’s been able to get the food stains out of it, and most of the mud stains, but there are still a few spots.)

So today rolls around and I look at Nana, and she looks up from the television program she’s watching and says, “Do we have to go today? It’s raining.”

I said, “Do you want me to go without you?”

“No.” Very quickly, very finally. She knows I’ll come home with something that she doesn’t like. She tried another tack. “We can go on Tuesday.”

“When I get home from work? It will still be raining.”

After some hesitation, she agreed to go. Sure enough, it was raining.

We tried a men’s fashion store that we both like. They had a couple of nice overcoats but they didn’t really fit me well enough. OK, on to the big and tall men’s store. (I’ll leave it to the reader to work out which of those adjectives applies to me.)

At the big and tall men’s shop, I was told to go to their floor for regular sizes. There I tried on a number of overcoats before Nana finally said, “You’re really looking for something more casual, right?”

She was right. I’d been feeling it all along, but I hadn’t thought about it clearly. I wasn’t looking for an overcoat. I was looking for a jacket that was just a bit heavier than a windbreaker, and a bit more professional.

Back to the big and tall floors, but this time to the casual wear. I quickly found some jackets I liked — basically, windbreakers. Things I would wear hiking. Not fluorescent yellow, at least. Meanwhile, Nana found something with a collar and in her preferred color: black. We spent some time looking at all the offerings and I tried on a number of jackets. We slowly narrowed it down to three: one that Nana said made me look like an oji-san (“uncle”; i.e., a middle-aged man), and I said it did remind me of a jacket my father used to wear (when he was younger than I am now); one in a nice shade of forest green that would be right at home hanging around the campfire with its hands in its pockets; and the black one she had found.

I looked at her. She looked at me. Here’s the result:

new jacket for the office
New jacket for the office

To be fair, it is much more professional than either of the other jackets I had picked out.

Took Ol’ Paint in for service

Ol' Paint
Ol’ Paint

I really like my bike mechanic. I’m going to miss him when I get a new bike. (I’ll most likely be buying it from a different shop, probably one closer to home.)

I’ve been meaning to go in for a couple of months because the headset is a bit loose. But I didn’t want to go in with just that because I know it’s 30 seconds of labor and he’s going to feel awkward charging for that (it’s the shop where I bought Ol’ Paint), and I’m going to feel bad if he doesn’t charge me for his time.

So on Sunday’s ride with the Halfakid, I started noticing some noise from the crankset/bottom bracket. And I thought this is the time, before we ride to Okutama at the end of this month. And today is the last day of sunshine in the forecast for more than a week, so I thought this is the perfect time.

I took Ol’ Paint in to the shop at lunchtime and said the headset is a bit loose. And he confirmed it, and said he should be able to adjust that, no problem.

And then I mentioned the noise in the bottom bracket (“BB” in the local parlance), and he gave one crank a yank and said he’d disassemble the BB and repack it with grease, and of course when he reassembles it he’ll make sure the cranks are on tight.

And then I said recently it’s been blowing some shifts on the front. The chain will lock between the shifter and gears, and then it’ll either get in gear or it will derail. And he said, “チェーンが伸びちゃった” (the chain has stretched).

And I am still laughing. I’m sure we would say, “The chain is worn.” The idea that I have thighs that can stretch a steel chain! (Or maybe it’s my weight … ) But he got out a tool which is essentially a steel ruler with a couple of little nibs on opposite ends, and he put the nibs between chain links and sure enough the chain’s been stretched.

So the damages, including a replacement chain: less than ¥9,000. The lion’s share of that is for the BB maintenance. The new chain itself is less than ¥2,000.

And the headset adjustment was サービス (“service” = free).