Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
I laughed. I cried.
Labels: amuse yourselves
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Salt & A Battery
Is there anything cool that you can do with salt and a battery?
Because "Salt & A Battery" would be a really cool title for a blog post describing said unsaid thing.
Particularly if that thing resulted in injury.
I'm just sayin'.
Labels: totally random
that's the rub
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The checks (and other stuff) are in the mail
I'm wearing a lot of hats these days.
I know, a lot of people wear a lot of hats every day. Mothers, in particular. But those people can get their own blog if they want to wax poetic over their haberdashery. This is my rack, thanks.
For the past twelve years or so, I've pretty much just worn the "breadwinner/husband/father" combo that is so popular with the American Male Patriarch set. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Try to help out. Do it again.
But now I'm branching out. (heading out?) Sure, I still go forth some mornings, lunch pail in hand, to do the job and bring the bacon. But I'm also putting on another cap--or two, or four. Entrepreneurial ones, with a matching salesman's jacket. Student garb (flip flops and pajama pants in the snow, and the obligatory iPod, from what I've seen on campus). And the writers.. whatever.. And the musician's.. whatever, as well. (What kind of hats do writers and musicians wear, anyway? Something with a golden "M" stitched into it, I wouldn't be surprised...)
And others. For example, yesterday I was a clerk. Things surrounding this change in employment had to be done: Government agencies had to be called; forms tracked down, gathered, filled out and mailed; Invoices sent, and schedules made. It was like being back at the old office job, except with a larger sense of purpose. Self preservation, I suppose.
Except... I'm not really convinced that I'm preserving myself.
Not that I didn't do a bang-up job, mind you! I didn't spend better than a decade in the white-collar trenches and not learn how to shuffle some sheets, my friend. Don't kid yourself; I rocked the block. Things are moving! Things are shaking! The checks are in the mail!
It's just that I don't think I'm so much responsible for the checks that are in the mail. Or for preserving myself. Or for.. well, really for any of this.
Don't get me wrong--I'm doing my part. But I don't think it's all this cap-wearing that's getting the job done. There are things floating around out there besides checks that make it possible for me to live with and in my current circumstances. A lot of things.
Exhibit A: God. (okay, so I can't exhibit God, but I think God exhibits himself, pretty much) You're either going to see this one or you aren't. But from my vantage point, there's a lot of God in this. And not just as some puppet-master, pulling the strings of circumstance to bring me to this point. Not that I don't think he was involved, but I think that my actions and choices have had real consequences, so I've had a lot to do with bringing me to where I am today. (and if they don't, then I'd like to ask God a couple questions, because there are some things I take issue with!) No, the real exhibit here is me--I wouldn't be who I am today, with the perspectives and general sense of well-being that I have, if not for God in my life. Stuff happens, and I can either choose to fight with it or learn from it, following the example that I see Jesus putting out there. I've tried to choose the latter as much as possible, and it has changed who I am, at my core. But I find I'm not able to choose it on my own. I'm only able to choose to put myself in his hands, and let the Spirit lead me. When I do that, it works. That's real, it's tangible, and it's not of myself.
Exhibit B: Other people. The folks at Spinlight, who sent me off with not only encouragement and promises of future help, but also some extra pay, a new laptop, rockin' studio monitors and even an iPhone. My incredible wife (and you're right, Doug, I know exactly how lucky I am), who, despite what I know to be her fears, can say something as selfless as "this is your chance to do what you want to do." How much more beautiful can someone be than that? My family, who is always there to lend a hand, whatever that might entail. My friends, who encourage and hold me up, and pray for me, and give me great advice when I ask for it (and usually not when I don't). Even anonymous people--last week we got a card in the mail from someone, and there was a Walmart gift card inside! Wow! Someone thinks we're a worthy cause. Do you know what that means, in a world of causes? Most of them are more worthy than us, but somebody (and apparently somebody we don't even know that well) loves us enough to throw us into the mix, anyway. That's pretty amazing.*
So I'm wearing all these caps. And I'm trying to wear them as jauntily as possible. I'm straightening my brims and smoothing my feathers. And I know it makes a difference.
But for all my wearing and straightening, I still can't deliver. Not ultimately. I'm not the one signing on the line. I'm not the bank, or the notary, or the accountant. I'm not even the postman. I absolutely believe that the checks (and other stuff) are in the mail. I'm seeing that come together on a daily basis. I'm just not fooling myself into thinking that I'm the one responsible for it.
And I'm immensely thankful.
* The gift card actually said "Congratulations!" on it. How funny is it to get a congratulatory gift for losing your job--and how much funnier that it could actually seem appropriate?
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Time to take out the trash
I know. I know. I'm terribly sorry.
Both of my readers (my wife + whoever you are) are probably really disappointed in my lack of blogging lately.
"It's not like you have a job or anything taking up all your free time. Loser."
They say. In my head.*
Well, it turns out that being unemployed keeps you pretty busy.
I had no idea. I had assumed that the primary occupations of the de-occupied were as follows:
a.) willing self to get out of bed
b.) deciding which pair of mismatched socks and ratty boxer shorts to don and shuffle around in
c.) eating ice cream from the box while slumped on the couch watching "Days of Our Lives"
d.) saving money on shaving cream and razors
But, instead, I'm finding that my newfound freedom from the shackles of gainful employment brings along with it a whopping dose of new tasks and responsibilities.
Errands to run. Messes to clean. Broken things to fix. People's needs to meet. Surgeries to have. Old job skills to brush up on. New networking to be done. Plans to make. A future to secure.
Oh. Yeah. And also, I'm supposed to be taking this opportunity to write and play music.
Like I've always wanted to do.
My whole life.
Really, that's not an "and also." That was--according to this very loose plan-ish thing that Deb and I had--sort of supposed to be "The Main Thing." But I'm finding I have other things to do.
Like taking out the trash.
Not literally. We're not so trashy around here that we generate enough refuse to keep one man busy full time. But figuratively, I fall prey to what I call a "taking out the trash" tendency.
My gorgeous, loving and inexplicably supportive wife points out that this is really an opportunity for me to pursue "the rock and roll lifestyle"** I so richly deserve. We're generally okay, financially, and optimistic about what the next year will bring. God is in His Heaven, and things are taken care of as best they can be without me running out and snatching the first job that comes available. So all I've got to do is take some time each day for writing and playing, and we'll see what we can make out of that, living-wise.
But I'm having a really hard time actually. doing. it. Because, you know, there are so many more important things to do. So many things that a "normal," "rational" person would do. Things that conceivably have some kind of payoff--be it financial or just pleasing-to-others. Things that are "serious," "realistic," and "contributing something." Things that are, essentially, not considered "fooling around."
So.. the good news? There's pudding! The bad news? You can't have it if you don't eat your meat. And, more bad news, there is a LOT of meat, my friend. We're way up past our ears in it.
And while I don't feel it in my conscious mind, I'm sure there's a big dose of, "If you don't try you can't fail" swimming around down in there. Set the bar low, right? It's a heck of a lot safer. People would probably still respect you (maybe) if you managed to make a living as a house painter, or half a living as a commercial producer.. but they're certainly not going to respect you (and you probably shouldn't either) if you spend every day holed up in the basement writing and playing guitars. Less so if it turns out you kinda suck at it.
The direct result of all this trash-taking is that I haven't been writing here. Or anywhere, really. Or giving you any new music to chew on. So I'm sorry about that. And I promise I'm going to do better. Really. I know that we're being taken care of. I know that I should be taking this opportunity to Rock the Block. I know that I need to stuff my stupid tendencies right down to the bottom of the receptacle. And I know that if I don't I'll regret it forever.
But don't let that promise, or this demonstration of my fantastic perspective, keep you from encouraging me to keep at it. Or praying for God to encourage me. Or sending me emails that say, "It's not like you have a job or anything taking up all your free time. Loser." Whatever you think will work best.
And I'll make the kids take out the trash.
*Not my wife. She never says that, even in my head. But I'm pretty sure you do.
**Although she did ask me when I thought the rock and roll lifestyle would start paying off. I said "about 12 months," but this recent study is less promising.