Virtually real- Virtuellement vraie

Micheline Harvey: Virtual Assistant, real person/Adjointe Virtuelle, mais tout à fait vraie

I am woman, I am waterproof October 1, 2012

This could also be entitled “motorcycling in the rain”. I have always said that most women are tougher, stronger, can handle more discomfort, pain with less complaining than most men. I mean, face it, if this weren’t the case, the human race would probably die off if we had to rely on men to go through pregnancy and delivery.

But I digress. This past weekend, I had a meeting in the Gatineau/Ottawa area. The weather forecast seemed nice, although this can change quite suddenly (as we learned), so I decided to be a trooper and offered that we ride the motorcycle to our destination where hubby has a good biker buddy, so they could ride all day Saturday during my meeting, hang out in the evening and we’d ride back on Sunday.

It’s a good 5 hour ride + because you have to stop to get gas, stretch your legs, eat, etc.

The first challenge was to manage to get everything I needed in terms of clothing, shoes, makeup, and a dressier jacket and so on, for my meeting to fit into the small top case. But I managed. Go me! Second challenge was to get over the embarrassment of removing the helmet with the dreaded helmet hair to enter restaurants and other public places during the ride (as in anywhere anybody can actually see me). I eventually got over the urge to hide under a rock and just ran my fingers through my crazy flat hair or put my sunglasses in my head like a headband. Go me again! The ride to get there went quite well. The weather was nice, not too cold, very sunny and dry.

The ride back was much different. After about 75 km of cloudy conditions, the rain came down for the entire rest of the ride. Over 400 km of soaking, wet, cold rain and high winds. Thank goodness for waterproof clothing, but my gloves were not waterproof, nor were my boots. Also, you don’t exactly have windshield wipers on a motorcycle helmet. Not to mention the noise of that wind. It’s similar to having two cheap kitchen fans on HIGH on either side of your head for hours. Not to mention the water coming up off the other cars and trucks on the road and splashing us. Because, face it, there were not very many motorcycles on the road. I think we saw about four, and only one in the rainy conditions. The other three we met right out of Gatineau, when it was just cloudy.

Inside my helmet, I kept thinking “I want to be home. I want to be dry. I want to get off this damn thing and take a hot bath and for everything to be quiet.” But I sat there, on the back, and kept saying that I was ok because, hey, I had wet hands and feet and too much noise in my ears, but I’ve been through worse. Also, at least I didn’t have to drive the damn thing in those conditions. Go hubby!

When we arrived home, I turned my gloves upside down and at least one full glass of water poured out. My boots are still drying.

Hubby complained more than I did.

Women are superheroes.

Hubby told me that many women would have insisted that he drop them off at a bus terminal to ride home warm and dry.

Riding on a motorcycle for almost 500 km in the pouring rain. Check.

I know, I must sound like I have a very weird bucket list. But I don’t, situations just turn out that way.


In which my husband drops his bike September 4, 2012

This Labour Day holiday, I went on a motorcycle ride with my husband and a couple we know. The plan was to ride for a little over an hour, stop for lunch in a pretty village, hang out and then ride back.

First stop for gas, I get off the bike. Hubby and I have a routine. He puts his bike stand down and tells me when he’s ready for me to climb back on to the bike. Why? I’m not sure, because I’m fairly small and lightweight, and I’ve seen riders remain in control of their bikes while large passengers got on and off. But I digress…

So, he fills the bike up, gets back on and I wait for his signal to embark. Then he kicks the stand up. I don’t move, waiting for his signal. Perhaps he wants to move out of the way and for me to get on a bit further past the gas tanks?

Then I watch, almost as if things are in slow motion, as he bends his bike sideways. I don’t understand why he’s doing this. I’m about to ask him what he’s doing when I realize that his bike is falling and he can’t hold it up. He hops off, and wedges his foot between the ground and the bike, his leg against it. This bike weighs several hundreds of pounds. This is not what you’re supposed to do to keep a bike from falling.

You can tell that he’s freaking out. He holds the bike to keep it from hitting the ground and manages to let it down softly, still with his leg wedged between the ground and the bike. The guy on the other bike yells at him that this is not the way to do it and to get his leg out from under there.

I ask if I should help. No response from hubby, so I make sure my legs and feet are clear if he lets go, but I grab onto the back part of the bike, plant myself squarely and put my 120 pounds into pushing it back up.

The bike, of course, does not budge. Hubby is just frozen there. Finally, the other biker gets off his ride, slides between hubby and me, signals me to let go once he has a good grip and they both push the bike back up and put the stand on.

Hubby promptly backs right into me as he inspects his precious bike for any ding, scratch, chip or possible dent. There is nothing wrong with his bike, it did not hit the ground at all, it was supported by his leg, my weight and no doubt his crazy adrenalin rush, as well as by his friend who arrived just in time.

Everyone tells him that his bike is fine. And still, he stands there, panicked, dazed, inspecting every inch of the bike.

He never once asks me if I’m okay, did the bike fall on me, did I hurt myself trying to hold it up. He doesn’t apologize for backing into me.

The other girl tells him that he’s an idiot and she would have let the stupid bike drop to the ground. He could have broken his leg doing what he did!

And she’s right. It’s a bike, dude. Not a living, breathing, human being. And not your wife.

Men. Ugh.


My Vacation/His Vacation August 5, 2012

Long before summer, he decided that he was taking one third of our entire vacation time, always chosen so that we’re together, by me, in function of his restrictive period, the only time he can take his vacation, late July-early August, to go on a week-long motorcycle trip with three of his buddies.

So we had to make our plans around this. Make our reservations outside their chosen week. I went along with it, and did not complain.

His days would consist in riding in the 30 + degree Celcius summer heat, wearing full gear that vaguely resembles a snowsuit, a black snowsuit. And doing this for hours and hours, and miles and miles, only stopping to eat, pee, gas up and sleep. No visiting, no touristy activities, no days at the beach, just riding.

My days during this same time period would consist in a day trip with a girlfriend in her convertible to discover a quaint waterfront village on the South shore, eat fresh bakery prepared sandwiches on a picturesque front street lined with pretty, well preserved, colourful Victorian homes, a couples of hours at an outdoor spa, cold beer and nachos on a trendy terrace.

My days would start with sleeping in until 9:30, having my coffee on my little bistro table in the yard, writing for a half hour or so and getting the latest news and gossip from friends and family on my social media sites, swimming in my pool, lounging on my patio in the sun, getting tan, listening to Latin music and reading a good book. Taking long walks, spending days with my daughter, going to the movies, watching movies at home, seeing friends who stop by on their way to family vacations, eating whenever I feel like it, enjoying a tidy house (that stays that way!), taking funny pictures and putting them up on Facebook.

He would text me around 9 pm, exhausted, overheated from a roadside motel with no AC, and fall asleep mid-sentence, only to start the same riding, riding, riding in the heat the next day. I’d stay up late and watch The Devil Wears Prada on dvd, or another classic chick flick and drink a glass of chilled red wine with my feet up on the ottoman.

Who had the better week?