That’s how I would rank my recent 27th anniversary of being alive if there were such a ranking system. It’s true, I’m now one step closer to spiritual enlightenment and one step farther from gold.

If nature’s first green is in fact gold, then our backyard jungle is sweeping the podium. We can’t just sit around and wait for leaf to subside to leaf, so a few weeks back Michelle and I started cutting shit down. We get in little spurts where whole afternoons fly by in an instant and we’re left with piles of brush in the back and four contractor bags of ivy out at the curb. The yard and surrounding landscaping gets a little bit better every time we go at it, so there’s progress to be seen.

The weird part is that I literally have to drag Michelle back in the house to get her to stop for the day. It will be dark out, and as I start putting the tools away I’ll see her grab another trash bag and start ripping up more ivy. She would have made a great Cheek Gardener.

The second weird thing lately is that we’ve actually found a loop in Valley Forge WITH hills (hills not pictured), that she genuinely enjoys riding.

For my birthday weekend I was treated to a weekend at best man Kris’s bachelor paradise. This kid is living the life with his fancy pants job in NYC and posh apartment with it’s own freaking Five Guys. Yes, there is a real life Five Guys restaurant in his apartment building.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

First things first though, we had to fix his broken car. My brother can spit out detailed investment analysis of global trade in mixed markets just as easily as I can order a bacon cheeseburger with lettuce and bbq sauce, but beyond turning the key and pressing the go fast pedal, he’s pretty lost when Lakeisha (his Lexus) breaks down. No worries, armed with a spare battery and multi-meter I set to work analyzing what had caused his car to suddenly cut out and completely die.

Turns out his battery terminals and wires were overly corroded and were preventing the battery from charging properly. The alternator in these cars is dreadfully underpowered from the factory and couldn’t support the motor without a fully charged battery. After a couple quick tests we determined it’d be a safe bet to replace the dead battery. After the longest walk ever to the auto parts store, we cleaned his terminals and checked that everything was getting plenty of juice. With as much time as I spend working on cars, I don’t often end up fixing things so miraculously. I think we were both a little surprised with our success, so we celebrated with more Five Guys.

The next day was the real main event, the home opener for the NY Red Bulls. Kris lives about a block from Red Bull Arena and picked up season tickets this year. We had never been to an MLS game and couldn’t believe the energy in and around the arena on game day. There was all kinds of cool stuff going on, but we quickly found ourselves in the beer tent. Now I don’t mean to brag, but this beer tent happened to have fooseball tables and we happened to strike up a quick match against two other fans. Well one game lead to two, and before we knew it we had ran the table and defeated a long line of eager challengers. Content with our self appointed world championship of fooseball, we bid the Coors Light girls farewell and made our way to the seats.

90 minutes flew by and the Red Bulls had murderized the Colorado Rapids. We then made our way down to the store so Kris could load up on Red Bull gear for the season. His custom jersey was a hit among the NY crowd.

My birthday celebration rounded off last weekend with a four day team training camp held in Lost River, WV. Trip was a ton of fun and consisted of some of the hardest riding I’ve ever done offset by beautiful scenery and the usual team shenanigans. The full recap can be found here:

Home safely, I took Monday off to catch up and get some rest. On the agenda was a quick trip into Philly to visit Cast & Salvage Workshop so they could clean and inspect my motorcycle carbs.

While in town I also stopped by Tony Luke’s to welcome in Phillies baseball.

But as the poem goes, nothing gold can stay, and I’m back to work. At least I’m well prepared for upset customers and annoying co-workers with one of my birthday presents from Michelle.