Thanks for the comments Dale, Pick, RRTbike, and Jerry!!
((Edited: in an earlier comment, Pick said something about being a good SIL and so I commented "(I'm really not…)" but only that, right after his name, right after thanking him, sorry, it was a clumsy shortcut))
Thanks for the "likes" Skipton, OneWheelSqueal, CMan, Nagant, Luke, RenMan!!
I can't believe it's been over 3 months since the last post. Things have continued on but less time to photo and post them. I talked with my wife about wrapping up the thread and she agrees. It's kinda run it's course.
We will still take FIL out for drives in the winter and continue to ride our bikes in the summer to our favorite DQ. But I'm going to stop subjecting FIL to too much picture taking and just enjoy our time together. If he enjoyed the whole thread thing or really understood it, it might be different.
It's been almost four years and we've had such great response and support from the Rat Rod Bikes community. I wish FIL could understand and thank you personally. I'm very grateful for all your likes, posts, and comments. It's been fantastic sharing our biking connection with you.
So this will be my last (kinda) "scheduled" post. If I get some good "casual" riding shots during the summer, I'll post them but can't exactly say when that will be.
So the last post was the end of November. Things got crazy busy with school but my Wife kept FIL in ice cream and holiday treats. When the smoke finally cleared (from a mountain of school work ) it was a few days before Christmas and then my Wife went to Oregon to see SIL and the Gang for the holidays. I volunteered for weekend meal duties and my Step Son took care with his usual great work for FIL during the week.
The second weekend of dinner duty was a bit less hectic so we got out of the house for a while. There was still bikes still bikes out cruising around. The winter had been relatively mild up to this point and not too tough on the commuters and weekend adventurers.
FIL's Brother had some health issues so we went to visit him at the nursing home. Poor FIL, he patiently waited while FILB and me jibber jabbered on and on for a couple of hours.
(Update) FILB is now home but still having some issues so please keep him in your thoughts, thanks.
On the way back, we saw some neat new very tall public art. FIL had a laugh and it was nice to see some color in the middle of winter.
Decided to just have dinner and treats at the braiser DQ since our favorite place was closed.
He loves cheeseburgers but it was a challenge to keep FIL focused on the "real" food. Big smiles when it ice cream time though.
Most of January was very cold and not exactly a good time to going traispsing around outside for fun. There was lots of birthdays and celebrations which included ice cream and cake so FIL was fine with it.
Late January got warmer so we headed out for some fresh air. Some bikers out and about which is always good to see.
Cheeseburger/fries ("relatively" hot eats) and cold treats!
We took the long way home. We rode around Lake Nokomis to see how many ice houses there were out (about a dozen!). It had been a relatively warm in December and the ice hadn't got thick enough until the mid-January, sub-zero cold snap. Sorry, the ice houses are kinda hard to see out past FIL's window.
More recently we got some a great break from the cold and it got into the 50's in late February. So we headed off to see if our favorite DQ was open. Still a bit too cold to take FIL riding and some slippery spots and snow still around so we took the car.
It must be spring because I caught a drag race going on between a flat black Torino (like the Starksy and Hutch car) and a Bimmer. It was awesome! Didn't see how it played out but the Torino definitely got the jump! Maybe not a "race" so much but at least some excitement, lol.
Our favorite DQ on Lake Street was open, yeah! The owner, Jim, was working and he was happy to see us again and we were happy too. He ended up giving us freebies WOW! And upsized us too! I argued he didn't have to do that and tried to hand him my credit card (in my best "minnesotan" manners) but he refused so I couldn't. Thanks a lot, Jim!!
We went out for a drive. It was odd to have warmer weather and winter sports still mixed together. We saw a biker riding past the hockey rink where people were playing. Not long after this pic, all the snow and ice on the rinks were gone. They are already taking bets on an early "ice out" on the lakes.
So that's that kinda updates things. They haven't changed a lot and will continue on without my commentary. I'll be checking out FIL's bike skills again in the next month or so but he seems fit and good for it and sure we'll be riding again soon.
So this story started out as a way for me to find something in common with my Father-In-Law (FIL). It worked out a lot better than I thought. I went way off on tangents some times so thanks for sticking it out. I think FIL is better off for finding out the joys of bike riding again, even if it took the prize of DQ to do it. Maybe someone else will carry the torch of stories about getting older folks out riding.
I have to give a big THANKS to Steve, "Mr. Rat Rod Bikes" himself, for having such a great forum in which this kind of story can be shared and discussed in such a friendly and supportive way. I'd like to thank everybody who tuned in and just read and/or commented through the years. It's been helpful and enjoyable to be able to share your stories and comments too.
If I get a few good pics or some funny story that FIL shares, I'll post it but for now I'll just try to enjoy our rides…
It's been a true pleasure to keep up with this thread over the last few years. I, for one, appreciate the work you've taken in documenting the journey. All my best to you and yours as you continue forward, even without thread updates. That's completely understandable.
Steve, this is the first time I have run across your thread about adventures with FIL. It is heartwarming, sincere, and has a way of opening our eyes to see life in a new way. But it is not surprising. Those are the very characteristics I have felt about you in the few times we have shared. We are due for a bike ride soon my friend! Let's hit the Lakes in your hood when the 'ice melts'....!
Steve, I might get the prize for longest time to check back on this thread (a few years!). I was driving to work and suddenly thought 'I wonder how FIL is getting on...'. Like everyone has said - thanks for the thread, and all the best
Sorry I’ve been gone so long.
Thank you for the nice comments while I've been gone.
Recently looked at the view count and realized people were still looking.
So wanted to give you an update on FIL.
FIL is doing okay.
He has less functionality but is still a “bratty bear”, as my wife says.
Here he is enjoying pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.
(With his hearing issues, I couldn’t get his attention)
Do you like his beard? My Step Son is now living with him in his house. He keeps FIL trimmed up and FIL likes it. My Step Son being with FIL is a huge help for my wife and FIL seems less anxious.
So backing up a bit, it was summer 2016,
and I was working hard to finish-up my Masters of Electrical Engineering. Sundays (and most days) were many hours of studying and class work (its harder in your mid 50s) and I couldn’t find the time or energy to keep taking him out. It was also getting more difficult with his hearing and balance so we didn’t want him to risk any kind of injury. Even taking him out to eat was not really possible anymore.
I didn’t publish our last bike ride, so here are a few of those pics.
During the two years of my degree (2015-2017),
I was able to four-seasons bike commute (about 7 miles round trip. Mostly on the “Winter Aluminum” bike (occasionally needed some gearing with deep snow and a full backpack).
After I graduated in 2017,
FIL wasn’t really able to start riding again. His coordination, and dementia had gotten a somewhat worse. His hearing, and correspondingly understanding, got significantly worse. We had made a good run of it when we were able which I think he enjoyed, and I was very busy trying to find a job.
In summer 2017,
found an Electrical/Mechanical Hardware Engineer in the Aerospace industry and preceded to work like a mad man with little to no time or energy left for much of anything.
I learned a lot about commercial navigators (think of location equipment for UAVs doing mobile mapping, for one example) and worked with some very smart people. I was also helping with every aspect to get aerospace products designed, developed, tested, and assembled (so many rules and regulations).
One great aspect of the job is that I could continue my four-seasons commuting but had to upgrade to a multi speed bike (10 miles round trip, 3x per week). I broke my gravel bike (too many times), so had to upgrade to carbon hardtail mtb-with 29x2.3 knobby studded tires). Not too much Mpls coasting any more (but occasionally).
Then came 2020
And things got really crazy (like you didn’t already know that)
My Wife was still helping my Step Son daily to take care of FIL. My Step Son as you might remember has a compromised immune system. FIL being now 88 years old was very venerable. And I was trying stay to Covid free to keep our family safe. With a large and steady increase of new cases all around me at work (too many close calls) and in general not the work focus I wanted moving forward, I recently resigned. Decided to live off what I made and recharge my brain and body (one month out, I feel much healthier and my family is more easily safer in our “bubble”)
So now, at 88, FIL is still doing okay.
He has had many (take out) DQs over the years. He is still doing his word finds and still tries to steal ice cream out of the fridge (now locked) at 2 AM. He is home and safe and being well taken care of!
Our Thanksgiving Bubble-with FIL quite focused on his food, as normal.
Hope you all have Happy and Safe Holidays!!
Thanks for Looking,
Steve, I have thought of you every build (and there have been quite a few!) since we hung out a few years back. It was good to catch up on your past couple years, and hear about your current status with family and all. I echo the inimitable Dr T in wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.