Could've posted this to mechanics, but it's not a question.
I have been awed and humbled by the apparent ease with which so many posters maintain their bikes. The talk of swapping out forks, stems and headsets, converting to single speed and back, repacking bearings, replacing the cranks, the cassettes, the bottom brackets, putting in new cables, installing hydraulic disc brakes, and it all sounds as easy as making toast. I wonder if I'll ever true a wheel or successfully adjust my derailleur.
So today, after an hour and a half, with grease under my fingernails and on my pants, I am inordinately proud to say that I have replaced the brake pads on my bike. The bike stops. The tension in the levers is right. They do not squeal. Last week, I switched my tires from plain knobby tires to studded ones for winter. I didn't make the tires, mind you. I just swapped 'em and put 'em on.
I know it's not much. I know it would have taken a real mechanic 10 minutes, at most. I gotta say, though--right here, right now, it feels like a win.