My first job in Portland was pretty crappy - I was the office manager of a carpet store! But I'd moved cross-country without a job (or that much money in the bank) so I had no reason to be choosy. And it filled the bill, in terms of paying me money, and I stayed there for a whole year. My wakeup call was one of the sales guys, this guy, actually walking up to me one day and saying "Beth, WHAT are you doing here?" Within a couple of weeks I'd found a new job at a software company - a job that still is good fodder for my current career path.
Anyway, my boss at the store was a super nice guy who was crazy generous with his car. He had a Mercedes sedan and would give me the keys to keep it for the weekend whenever he was going to be out of town (which was often, as his real home was in Seattle). I vowed to always be open-handed with my possessions, following his example.
With one exception, and that is my bike. I had a friend doing a triathlon, and she kind of hinted that it might be nice to borrow my bike, and I said no. I had another friend who was going out of town, and thought it might be fun to have a bike to ride, and I said no. It's the one, only thing that is not replaceable. Absolutely everything in life is just Stuff - and okay, the bike DOES count, when push comes to shove. I wouldn't go back into a burning building for it, that's for damn sure.
I finished grad school in 2004, and resolved to do ... something. Something that cost money. (yep, could've paid that money toward the loans, I know) I thought about going to Europe for a couple of weeks, but my friend Jimmy (my genius artistic creative talented friend Jimmy, of whom I'm quite proud) suggested I get a cutom-made bike.
This seemed preposterous to me. First of all, I had a bike. Secondly, I'm not a BIKER-biker. I'd have to lose 50-plus pounds to even pretend to that status. Thirdly, that seemed so very serious. He convinced me though by pointing out how badly my current bike fit me (super long extension on the seat pole, yet the handlebars were as close to me as I could get them), and by telling me he'd help me get deals on the components, and would assemble the bike for me, thereby saving a lot on labor (he was a bike mechanic at that time).
So, I did it. I ordered a custom-made bike from Co-Motion Cycles, in Eugene, Oregon. Jimmy's friend Bob worked there, and he knew I was getting this as a gift to myself for finishing my master's degree in Library Science. So he put a little book on the frame...