Monday, August 12, 2013

I can feel you in my dreams...

Had some vivid dreams over the past weekend. Not sure what from. Strange dreams about exploring places I've never been. Dreams vaguely remembered on awakening in a cold sweat. Drams where I remember just what it felt like watching my son almost drown - which makes me wonder at just how the mind works. What is it that has triggered old memories to come flooding back so real and vibrant?

Maybe it is related to change and stress. Or stress and change. I generally pride myself on being able to handle stress well. And I generally adapt to change quite easily. Though, I'm sure that like most everyone else, there is a bit of adjustment that must take place whenever change occurs.

Change. It is a constant. Lots of things seem to be changing right now. The biggest is the changing of the seasons and all that brings with it. Yesterday I got together many of my rechargeable batteries and got them juiced up for the small flashlight I have mounted on my handle bars to use as a flasher to alert traffic of my presence. I didn't think I would actually need light by which to see yet. Too early in the year for that, right? But given another change, I realized quite quickly that I needed to see as well as be seen, so I hurriedly mounted up my higher-power headlamp on my helmet, prayed that the batteries had enough juice, and headed out the door, into the dark and the rain.

What precipitated the need for headlights of near car-level power? Well, that is due to another change outside of my control. The bus is changing its schedule starting Thursday. See, the Mat-Su school district has an agreement with UAA to provide college-level courses for some students of the district and the Valley Mover is the bus line that carts these students back and forth. Very cool stuff. But, to facilitate this, the schedules have to be adjusted just a smidge.

My normal bus, the 5:55 is moving to 5:30 and will now run five days a week instead of four. So, good and bad. Normally I try to leave the house by 5:30 to get there for the 5:50 bus with plenty of time to cool down and load up. So, after hearing that the 5:10 bus, which isn't changing it's schedule, is usually underutilized (lies!), I decided to try to hop that bus today. This meant leaving the house by 4:55. It's dark at 4:55 in the morning and the Valley isn't too keen on street lights. It was a nice ride, but I'm not sure which way I'll end up going in the end - earlier for the 5:10 bus which was fairly well packed and dark so I couldn't even read on the way in to the office, or the 5:30 once the change is made. I'm not sure what way other folks who usually ride the 5:55 will go. Will they get up earlier or take the more heavily used 6:00 AM bus? Tough to say. There will probably be a 50/50 split. I think I'll probably end up taking the 5:30 bus, which will still put me to work by 6:40.

I guess these are the challenges that make the bus less appealing to some people. It is difficult to have your schedule dictated by others. Though I'd rather deal with that than try to maintain a vehicle and drive myself each day. Then, again, I have a significant incentive to ride rather than drive, one that most don't have. I get to ride the bus for free - one of the few benefits of being an adjunct instructor at UAA. So it costs me nothing but my time, which I can use productively, if I choose. I clearly can't drive for free. Carpooling also would not be free. There is simply no way that I can transport myself between the valley and Anchorage in a more cost effective manner. And as there are so few benefits to be had as an adjunct, I'll take the ones I can get and look at it as a $120 a month raise.

**Update** So, Thursday I broke my pannier bag, as posted here. I decided to give the bags another go, fixing the broken hanger with another set I had. I also decided that maybe part of the issue is that by putting everything into a single bag I was overloading it a bit. I figure that my clothes, coffee, and lunch probably weigh in around 25 pounds or so. This is still shy of the company's suggested weight limit of 35 per bag, but... I've got two bags so I may as well go back to using them both. I'll give it a try anyway. The next step will be to go back to using a backpack and then designing some burly metal hangers of some sort.

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