, , , , , , ,

I almost never drink coffee. I get my caffeine from Diet Pepsi. There are worse vices in life – drugs, gambling, liking Donald Trump, being a Habs fan. Mine is DP.

And lately there’s a crisis.

For most of this week, 500ml bottles of DP have been sold out across downtown Toronto. I have no idea why. Two large Shoppers Drug Marts have been sold out since Monday. Rexall in Commerce Court? Sold out. I’m stuck with Coke Zero.

I’m not happy about drinking Coke Zero. Not happy at all. And the body of the Shoppers clerk who shrugged when I asked today when the country’s largest pharmaceutical chain might deign to restock its Diet Pepsi cooler will stand as cold testament to my patience.

I need DP. And when I need DP, I REALLY need DP. Don’t test me on this one.

– – –

I have been talking about getting a new bike. Some people who live in our house will tell you that drives some people crazy — when I start talking about things. I won’t name names.

But I like being outside and on the road and while I love my old Bianchi road bike, it’s better suited for the person I was more than 25 years ago when I bought it: someone less creaky and less interested in comfort.

Now the bad news – the budget for this “want” including a pair of shoes that lock into the pedals, is about $2,000. Or, as I like to say, $7 a month for 25 years, which is how long I have had the current bike.

In our world, that’s not an insubstantial amount of money, lump sum, what with two kids in university and both them living at home for the summer starting in a very few days. (The managers of the local Sobeys and Metro grocery stories have sent fruit baskets to welcome them back.)

Months ago, I started putting aside a little here, a little there. Laura has consistently said, “Just shut up and get a bike and make sure the insurance premiums are up to date.”

So, I added to my little bike fund. Every night after work, any loonies and twoonies in my pockets go in a jar. Meagre lotto winnings – $5 here, $20 once or twice — into the bike fund. I got a small honorarium for helping convene peewee hockey (which I didn’t even know I was getting). Bike fund. It all adds up, yes. But $2000, was a long way off. I was at about $400.

But there’s another source of untapped revenue in the house – unrolled coins. While lately I skim the ones and twos off the coin pile for my bike fund, for years and years everything has been just tossed in a bin at the end of the day. Bins, actually.

Thousands and thousands of coins.

And so, out of morbid curiosity I opened the cupboards on the blustery weekend just past, and wondered, what if? I know what you’re thinking – what kind of a loser rolls coins on a weekend?

Me, that’s who.

I sat in front of the TV and watched the Masters, and sorted and rolled coins. We have a cheap set of trays that sift the coins by denomination and then you just dump them in the paper cylinders.

In about three and a half hours I rolled almost $1,000 worth on Sunday afternoon, which added with the “bike fund jar” put me at about $1300, which is nuts. (Not to mention that as an hourly rate goes, it’s pretty good.)

And I’m nowhere close to done rolling coins, which is just … I don’t know. Who knew there was tuition money in unrolled coin? A loser like me, I guess.

I have found money for a very nice bike without doing anything stupid or depriving the boys of a year of school or pillaging the household red wine fund.

The temperature will hit 20 this weekend. Bike comparison shopping continues and Laura may be looking for new shoes. I’m happy to share the coin windfall.

Regardless of whether I get a bike this weekend or she finds new shoes, both boys will be at the dining room table Saturday night (assuming I move all the coin off the table in time.)

And that will be a great thing.

I’m doing the CN Tower stair climb for the World Wildlife Fund on Saturday – or at least, I’m going to attempt it – and if I survive I will very much enjoy dinner with my whole family.

And at the very least, if the weather cooperates and my legs are able, the old bike(s) will be broken out and cleaned up for the season ahead. The much-rumoured arrival of spring is at hand.