I picked up a pretty serious triathlon habit a couple of years ago. I started taking it seriously, hired a coach, and started caring about racing rather than finishing. Triathlon is a sport that consumes a lot of disposable income; race entry fees are steep and of course, the equipment is expensive. Some people spend $10,000 on a bike to shave off a few minutes on that part of the course. I made a serious tri bike investment myself, but not to that level. I got the advice that it’s not the chassis – it’s the motor. And my motor needed a lot of work.
There are some less expensive cheats though. One of these is no-tie shoelaces on your running shoes. Having them will prevent you wasting precious time in the bike to run transition. They can save 30 seconds and cost $4.
And they would have been great for my father.
No-tie laces fall into the category of “why did I not think of this while he was still alive?” He wore slippers nearly everywhere because tying his shoes was very difficult for him.
Another one that I missed is going to the drugstore and buying cheap reading glasses. His eyes were not the best and his eyeglasses pinched his nose. For $100 I could have solved this problem. There were times when he sat down in his powered recliner (probably the best thing I ever helped him buy) and his reading glasses were across the room. Getting back to them was a lot of work, so he would go without. The same $100 would have solved this problem too.
I have a remote-controlled fan in the bedroom and another next to my basement man-cave bike that lives on the trainer. I love them. If he were alive, I would remote-enable everything.
I bought an $89 Nespresso machine for my ever-expanding basement man-cave. Espresso is my incentive for crawling out of bed for 5:45am workouts. It just works. But now that we have a puppy who sleeps 20 feet from my kitchen espresso maker, I had to supplement it with a unit that would deliver the caffeine I need without waking up Ollie. My dad would have loved one of these things. It’s so easy even he could have used it.
I think I did pretty well with his equipment; enabling him to live as independently as possible as was a good for him, and truth be told, probably just as important for my brother and me. It was sheer self-preservation. For years, keeping my sanity meant avoiding “emergency” phone calls. I get it though. You and I might take performing basic function– tying our shoes, cooling ourselves with a fan, making coffee – for granted. Our elderly parents sometimes cannot. It’s a loss of control and dignity, and when feel like you are running out of days, that’s an emergency.
I don’t watch my phone with that kind of bated breath anymore. Every now and then though, I am reminded of those days, sometimes by something I have for a totally unrelated purpose. It is like that.