Happy New Year’s Resolution!

From the Sherri’s Turn files:

1972 Steen Hodaka Restoration. Click on the photo to see more on this project.

The guy-in-the-garage has a lot of good qualities that I don’t have.

Punctuality, neatness, self-discipline. Perfectionism, which can be seen in the vintage bikes he restores.

But one thing he doesn’t have that I have (admittedly not a personal characteristic) is his own magazine column.

I’ve had people (men mostly) accuse me of being too hard on the guy-in-the-garage when I write about him. However, they’re usually laughing when they say it, and the guy-in-the-garage is chuckling too.

“But it’s all true,”I say, “every word!” And they refuse to believe it, while secretly knowing they’re all guilty of the things I’ve written about.

1972 Champion framed RT2 MX Yamaha project. Click for more views.
1972 Champion framed RT2 MX Yamaha project. Click for more views.

But to be fair, I decided to refrain from talking about the guy-in-the-garage’s annoying little habits this month, and admit that I may have one or two that bother him.

“What time are you getting up in the morning?” I asked a few nights ago.

The guy-in-the-garage looked at me like I was an idiot.

“What?!” I said.

He still looked that way.

“A person can change, can’t they?”

Now he was laughing.

I admit that just about every night of my adult life I have imagined that I can get up really early the next morning. But it is amazing what can happen in the night time hours that changes my whole belief system.

1969 Kawasaki 238 Green Streak Restoration. More views when you click the photo!
1969 Kawasaki 238 Green Streak Restoration. More views when you click the photo!

Late at night, just crawling into bed, I really believe I can get up at dawn or even before and get going on my day, so I can have so much accomplished before it is even 8 a.m.

But something happens during the night, I’m not sure what, and I find that my whole way of thinking changes. The only thing I believe by the time those early morning hours roll around is that I desperately need more sleep.

The guy-in-the-garage seems to wake up with no problem. He’s usually up two hours before I am and well into his day by the time I’m just getting started.

Over the years I have tried different ways to get going earlier, sometimes  imagining that I could get up even earlier than the guy-in-the-garage.

There was one phase I went through where I had this tiny little alarm clock about three inches long (decades ago before the electronic gadgets we have now). I would set this little alarm and put it under my pillow. The plan was that only I would hear it and I could reach under my pillow and turn it off just before getting up. But the reality was most times I just turned it off and fell back asleep.

That wasn’t really a problem if I got the beeping turned off before the guy-in-the-garage could hear it. And turning the alarm off was fairly easy, unless my hands had fallen asleep. I don’t know what it was about that phase of my life, but I had taken to sleeping with my hands in some strange position that caused them both to fall asleep almost every night. Have you ever tried pressing a tiny little button on a three inch alarm clock in the pitch black of night with your hands numb? Let me tell you, it doesn’t work very well. I would be fumbling around under the pillow for what seemed like forever. Sometimes I could get it turned off before he heard the beeping, but quite often it would disturb his sleep. You better believe on those mornings, I got out of bed immediately, because I’m sure I couldn’t have fallen back to sleep with him glaring at me.

However, the day came, that the little alarm clock would beep for the last time.

1985 RZ350 Yamaha Restoration - More images when you click!
1985 RZ350 Yamaha Restoration – More images when you click!

Once again, the alarm is going off, the hands are asleep, but as I was fumbling around for the little device, I knocked it into that little teeny-tiny space between the mattress and headboard. A space only large enough for a tiny alarm to fit through, definitely not large enough for a hand to fit through. So it falls down on the floor and is beeping-beeping-beeping-beeping. You can imagine who else woke up and he is yelling at me to turn the alarm off. I have to get down on the floor and try to reach under the bed in the dark, feeling around to see where the beeping alarm clock is with hands that have no sense of feeling in them at all because they’re still asleep.

Well I’m not sure how long it took to finally find that alarm but I am sure of two things. Neither one of us went back to sleep in those pre-dawn hours and I never used that alarm again. In fact, somehow it mysteriously disappeared

Years later we went through a phase of me asking him to set the alarm earlier, and he did. But unfortunately for both of us the majority of the time I still didn’t get up. So that didn’t last too long. But my most recent phase seems to be that just about every night I tell him I’m going to get up the next morning when he does.  Which is where we started here with him laughing at my request.

Testing the newly restored 1985 Yamaha RZ350 project
Testing the newly restored 1985 Yamaha RZ350 project – Click on the image and ride along!

Of course, now that I’m reviewing 40 years of good intentions I can see how ridiculous the thought is that I am going to change, but on this particular evening last week I sincerely believed what I said to him.

“Make me get up when you get up tomorrow morning!”
He kept laughing. “You know you’re not going to get up,” he said.

“Please wake me up when you get up,” I insisted.

“Okay,” he finally said and turned out the light.

And we both knew he would get up the next morning, completely ignore my request and we’d repeat the whole scenario the following night.

There’s something to be said for a familiar routine.


By Sherri Kukla

Co-Founder, S&S Off Road Magazine

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