Lifetime Achievement Award

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind and it wasn’t a lack of material or even a need for a break which prevented me from publishing a new newsletter, it was simply a lack of time.  The weekend of the 10th I flew down to Charlotte, NC to join a group of men to pray and worship the Father.  I know I have written of this in the past so I won’t go into great detail, but suffice it to say that it was an awesome time of refreshment, passion, and love for the Father and for other brothers in Christ.  Much is often made of the divisions in the church, especially between the various denominations, but when a group of people come together with no other goal or agenda other than to worship God, the sense of unity of love is incredible.

Last weekend involved a number of time constraints, lunch with a couple after church, a scheduled time to play cards with our pastor and his wife, a shorter than normal nap time, and the need to finish preparing a lesson for the youth that evening.  Of course, it did not help that in the course of preparing my lesson I got sidetracked creating an excel spreadsheet that contained a reading plan for my students to get through the gospels over the next couple of months.  The reading plan itself did not take that long to create, the problem that I ran into was the hypotheticals.  What if we did not start this until the following week?  What if I wanted to re-use the reading plan in later years?  What if I wanted to start on a day other than a Monday?  These present problems because I like a spreadsheet where I have to make minimal changes to adapt it to other uses, meaning, I want to change the date in the first cell and have everything else calculate accordingly; I want the dates to always track and I want the Catch Up Days to always fall on a Sunday.  This means that every field now has to be a formula, some of which require a certain level of detail and customization… It would never do to have my students scheduled to read Matthew chapter 29 or to stop reading at John chapter 20.  Those of you familiar with Microsoft Excel know exactly what I am talking about, those of you who are not, all you need to understand is that I am a nerd.

Some of you questioned the veracity of my story concerning Jack walking up to our Christmas tree and sneezing upon our return from vacation.  Thus it is with much pride that I present to you the picture above, proof that my stories are 100% true, verifiable, and unexaggerated. img_5271

I achieved a significant milestone about a week ago, in fact, one might goes as far as to call it a lifetime achievement.  There is likely to be a trophy involved and I will most certainly be keeping a souvenir of my various trials to get to this moment.  Just what exactly is it that I have achieved you might ask.  Well dear readers, I used an entire tube of Chapstick…  That’s right, I used it all the way to the bottom, or the top, depending on how you want to phrase your terminology.  I admit, it was not easy, in fact, there were a number of times throughout the years leading up to this that I simply wanted to call it quits and move on to a different tube.  There was the incident involving a toddler who thought it looked and smelled like candy, then there was the fiasco involving a truck and a warm summer day, nevertheless I img_5275suffered through using only a small corner of the stick until things levelled out.  I want to thank my wife for all her emotional support and I want to give a big shout out to my sponsors, Chapstick and the cold, dry winters of upstate New York.

I don’t know if it was a change that was made at the beginning of 2017 or if I am simply just now starting to notice them, but has anyone else noticed that the signs denoting handicap parking have changed?  Not just the signs but any new placed symbol for a handicap parking space or the placards allowing you to park there.  When I first saw the new sign, I had to chuckle because all I could think was, “Wait, now you can only park here if you are in a wheelchair racing league?”  I mean come on, what else could the new symbol possibly denote but someone involved in a wheelchair race?  The upper torso arched forward in anticipation and for greater leverage granting faster motion, the arms thrown back in an exaggerated motion clearly indicating the velocity which the individual is trying to obtain, and finally the break in the lines of the circle demonstrating the rotational speed of the wheels.  Wheelchair racer, no doubt about it.img_5269


The Batter Is Strong with This One

Well, vacation is officially over, or at least it will be after the federal holiday tomorrow.  We made it back to our house Saturday afternoon after a fairly easy flight back; I say fairly easy because while there were a number of screaming children on this flight, none of them were mine.  It is the simple things in life which drive my pleasure now.  On the same token, it is now the small things that drive me bananas.  When we got home yesterday I noticed three things, the driveway needed to be shoveled, the fridge needed to be emptied, and there was a smoke alarm somewhere in the house that needed a battery replaced.  After spending the better part of an hour trying to track down which smoke alarm needed the battery replacement I finally discovered that it was the one in the basement… the one I had completely forgotten I had installed.  Unfortunately, I did not have any 9V batteries (I’m sure there is an electrical design reason why smoke alarms only accept 9V batteries, but I cannot for the life of me think of one.  Whoever was involved in this design process should be rounded up and executed… It’s the same for toys that use C batteries) so I removed the battery until I could get to the store and pick up a new pack.  Of course, it was about this time that a second smoke alarm somewhere else in the house started beeping at me… and this one I have yet to locate.  Sheesh, it is almost like you should just change the batteries in all your smoke alarms once a year.

The last week of our vacation we stayed with my mom and dad.  One evening while we were there I was discussing the various methods of squirrel elimination.  We discussed the various pros and cons of traps versus the old-fashioned pellet gun.  We then talked about the various aspects of our respective pellet guns.  Later that week I was down in my parents’ unfinished basement where my mom was letting the kids ride their bikes as it had been raining outside.  While down there I noticed a paper target fastened to a thick bundle of newspaper.  Stepping back I realized that my father had created a shooting range in his basement.  I walked it off and quickly determined that he had plenty of space for a real pistol range and asked when he was going to start putting up the sound-proofing panels.img_5236

Before we left I had attempted to rig up a system of buckets and tubes to create a device that would use hydraulic (i.e. water stored at a height) pressure to supply water to our Christmas tree while we were gone.  Based on the rate the tree was consuming water I estimated we had about eight days before the tree stand ran dry, which would be six days before we returned home.  Unfortunately, I could not get it to work.  Oh I got the water to siphon from a bucket ok, the problem is I could not get the pressure to balance just right so that the water would only flow when the water level in the tree stand dropped below a certain level; my setup would start siphoning water into the tree stand and would not stop until the bucket was empty and the tree stand had long since overflowed.  The good news is that it looks like our tree stopped taking water approximately three days after we left so there was still plenty of water in the tree stand when we got back.  The bad news is that Jack sneezed while he was next to the tree and disappeared in a cloud of pine needles, when the cloud settled he was standing in a pile of needles and the tree resembled the one from a Charlie Brown Christmas.

After we got home yesterday I got the kids bundled up and we all went outside while I plowed the snow off the driveway.  It did not take me too long and once I was done we started playing around in the snow that was still left on the ground.  It probably only amounted to a couple of inches, not nearly enough to make a snow man, but plenty to make a few snowballs.  After successfully teaching Jack and Nicolas how to make a snowball and teaching Ayla how to throw handfuls of powder into the air, we proceeded to have the first Filippo snowball fight of the season.  All told I only made one of my kids cry so I consider it a wild success.  What more could a parent hope for?

One of the gifts I received for Christmas had the kids and myself very excited to try out once we got home.  I received a Darth Vader waffle maker, although to be fair what it actually made should be classified as pancakes, not waffles.  I’m still miffed that a product can advertise itself as a waffle maker while cooking a food that is far more light and fluffy than any pancake I have ever made on a skillet.  I know waffles, I think you know that I know waffles.  These weren’t waffles, they were a very passable attempt at a pancake.  That said, we were anxious enough to try it that I wound up making pancakes for lunch today.  I was very pleased with the overall results.  Of course, while we were eating waffles I asked our Amazon Echo to play the Imperial March, because what other music would be appropriate to listen to while eating Darth Vader pancakes on a Sunday afternoon.  Needless to say, the children were thrilled.  It was actually pretty funny, my very last pancake did not have quite enough batter to fill the tray so the top of the pancake wound up looking like this horrendously misshapen Darth Vader helmet, very similar to the one idolized by Kylo Ren in Episode VII.  I was a happy man at lunch today.img_5241


And People Willingly Live in the South, Why?

Ah vacation… or at least what passes for it in my household.  I had a guy call me on Tuesday and when he did so he apologized for calling on my vacation.  Laughing it off I told him that the difference between vacation and work for me was that on vacation I got to wear T-shirts and I only worked six hours a day as opposed to twelve.  The irony of that was that Tuesday I had a site visit to a job in Rome (Georgia, not the Italian one, although, amusing side note: a number of months ago I drove from Florence [SC] to Rome [GA].  It was amusing telling people what my travel plans were.) and I put on a nice shirt and ended up working a total of eleven hours that day.  Oh well, I still consider myself fortunate that I did not wind up flying back to Schenectady for a couple of days.

Tuesday served as my first reminder why I love living where we do in New York.  As I mentioned previously, I had a site visit in Rome which is the far north and west side of Atlanta… ok, to be perfectly accurate, Rome is not anywhere near Atlanta, and neither is Monroe which is east of Atlanta and where my in-laws live.  In all it was about a 2.5 hour drive out there and I intentionally scheduled my meeting so that I would not have to battle traffic getting out there and so that I could at least attempt to get out early and avoid traffic on the way home.  The first part of my plan went off without a hitch, I avoided the heaviest parts of Atlanta traffic, although it would appear that what would have passed as mild traffic when I lived here eight years ago now passes for light to no traffic.  Unfortunately, the gentleman I was meeting hit a bad patch of weather and wound up being an hour and a half late.  He gave me enough notice before I left that I wasn’t sitting there waiting on him the whole time, but he was still later than he was supposed to be.  This meant that I did not get out of Rome until the beginning threads of rush hour and Google politely informed me that my total commute had been increased by an additional hour and a half based on traffic conditions… Awesome.  Traffic in my home town might constitute a 20 min delay if things get real bad, and my 3.1 mile commute in to the office has taken me a grand total of 18 minutes during horrific weather conditions with multiple accidents along the way.

Of course, if I had not made the trip to Rome on Tuesday I would have been robbed of this little gem.  When stopping for fuel and a restroom break I happened to catch sight of the summary block across the top of the Rome News-Tribune.  Personally I don’t know what they will accuse this woman of, most people will willingly give up their Mondays.img_5219

Christmas day provided my second reminder why I love where I currently live.  It was a grand total of 75 degrees on Sunday and as I was playing manhunt outside with the nephews and nieces (including a couple of the neighborhood kids who appear to have adopted me as their awesome uncle) I began to sweat in the extremely humid air.  By the time we were done I reeked of an odor faintly reminiscent of wet dog.  I guess I can’t complain too much about this one since it was 72 degrees on Christmas eve in Schenectady last year, but the difference is that what was an abnormality in NY is what passes for normal around here.

This was the first Christmas in a number of years that we have actually had a big celebration on Christmas Day.  The past few years… most of my married years, in fact, we have actually pushed our Christmas celebration to the week before or after Christmas, so it was actually with a good deal of surprise that when I tried to take my nephew out to the store to pick up some batteries and a spare Nerf gun I discovered that everyone was closed.  What’s up with that?  This is America darn it, my vain consumerism should trump any body’s right to have a day off and enjoy the holidays with their own families, right?  Ah well, at least the authors and editors of certain select newsletters are still filling their civic duties today.  Merry Christmas to all those still enjoying the last few minutes of Christmas Day 2016.

It’s a Wonderful Life

We left NY on Saturday amidst a practical blizzard, at least what has accounted for one over the past year and a half.  In fact, what we received was more than two thirds than the total snow fall for all last winter so, woohoo… too bad it had to happen on the day I left the state.  It was a Saturday and I had cancelled my Saturday morning prayer group since I was planning on using most of the morning to get ready for our trip, thus having a little bit of time to sleep in; which, of course, meant that I woke up just a little bit after 0530.  Go figure.  I knew we were expecting some overnight snow so I peeked outside as soon as I woke up and saw that we had gotten maybe an inch or two at best and it was no longer currently snowing.

I got up and took a shower and my puttering around the house was enough to wake Leslie up so we played a game of cards while waiting for the kids to get up.  By the time the kids got up the snow had started to fall again and at a rate that was mildly concerning considering that we had a plane to catch in a few hours.  As we put the finishing touches on our packing I nervously began to check my phone for airport delays and flight cancellations.  All down the screen I saw serious flight delays and numerous cancellations for many flights after 0800, which was about when the snow had started again.  I took hope in that all of the flights going out of Albany at this time of morning were to other places in the northeast so it was highly possible that these flights were being delayed or cancelled because of the receiving airports.  As we approached the time to leave I went out and blew the snow off our driveway and moved our luggage to the garage.  There was one flight that I had my eye on for an on-time departure, it was a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, I figured if that flight departed on time our flight to Atlanta was probably safe.  15 minutes before I decided we needed to leave based on a combination of poor driving conditions, the need to make one minor stop on the way, and concerns about weather related congestion in the airport itself, the flight to Florida departed after having been delayed only a few minutes.

The normally 15-minute drive to the airport took us a little over 45 as it appeared that the Schenectady County plows had yet to run on any of the streets.  We got to the airport about an hour and 40 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart, early enough that I felt we had left too early and late enough that my wife was starting to get nervous.  Clearly she is a rookie when it comes to flying out of the Albany International Airport, we made it through baggage check and security in about 20 minutes; ah the joys of priority status and TSA pre-check.  The snow had stopped falling by the time our plane took off leaving us with a total accumulation of about 7-9 inches… and I was not there to fully enjoy it.  Oh well, at least I got to dust off the snow blower before we left.

We finally arrived at my in-laws house a little before 1900 (a combination of an hour and a half drive and nearly as much time spent trying to jam 5 people, 3 car seats, 3 smaller bags, 2 large suitcases, and a partridge in a pear tree into a Jeep Patriot will significantly impact your total travel time, we ended up having to leave the pear tree at the airport).  We ate dinner with most of the extended family and I reminded my nieces and nephews why I am the awesome uncle, by playing manhunt with them once it got dark.  It was during this process that I was involved in possibly one of the most hilarious pranks I have ever been involved in, but was not the instigator (or provoker… should I say provocateur?) of.  Let’s just say that during the process of choosing teams one of the members of our group discovered a dead chipmunk in the garage, it was then decided by group consensus that it would be hilarious if we placed said chipmunk (for whom rigor mortis had long since set in such a position that said chipmunk was now stiff as a board in a spread-eagle position) on the windshield of my father-in-law’s vehicle.  I wish I had snagged a picture of this prior to its discovery later that evening because it truly was hilarious.  The view from inside the vehicle made it appear as if the chipmunk had been flying along before meeting an untimely demise upon the surface of the vehicle’s windshield, much as a rather large insect would have appeared minus the associated splatter of internal (and external) organs.  And this, my friends, is what being an uncle is all about, or at least it should be.

36,000 Words a Day with a 350 Word Vocabulary

One of the things I love about my current job is the number of different things I may end up doing over the course of a week, this past week for instance I have acted in the capacity of an electrician, an iron worker, an equipment operator, a field surveyor, and a general construction hand… all of this on top of my normal duties as a project manager.  One of the things I hate about my current job is how many different things there are that require my attention yet distract me from the things I am actually supposed to be doing, this past week for instance I have acted in the capacity of an electrician, an iron worker, an equipment operator, a field surveyor, and a general construction hand.  It’s amazing that I can find time to do my other job anymore.  Funny how things turn out like that.

I was praying with a guy on Saturday and he asked me how things were going, I told him that things were going much better than the previous few months, things weren’t any less busy (or stressful) but there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel and that was enough to make all the difference in the world.  That’s all it takes anymore to improve my quality of life, things don’t have to actually get better, they just have to look like they are going to get better soon.  It seems like there should be a sermon illustration in there somewhere.

One of the reasons that I took a hiatus from writing this newsletter was the fact that I was really struggling to come up with source material.  That problem, in large part, stemmed from the fact that this job has really done a number on my short-term memory.  So much of my job as of late has been fighting one fire after another, it is rare that I can start a task and then get that task completed before something else comes up that demands my attention.  Whether it was drafting a simple email, preparing a building permit, or updating a project financials, I simply could not summon enough time to finish the tasks before receiving a phone call calling me out to the field, or being approached by a coworker and asked for some piece of information.  It started to affect my memory as I could no longer keep track of the things I had been working on.  It has gotten bad enough that on more than one occasion I have called someone and in the time it took for the person to answer (or for me to get their voicemail) I had already forgotten who I was calling not to mention why I had even called in the first place!

It was not that funny or amusing stuff had stopped happening to me, it was that I simply could not recall what that stuff was when it came to write my newsletter.  In truth, my memory has not really much improved in the intervening months, I’ve simply decided that cherry picking only the funniest moments was a requirement to write… that and my note-taking has moderately improved.  Thus, all you get from me now are fragmented recollections of my previous week, something that is probably not nearly as funny as it once was.  I’m beyond apologizing though so you will simply have to suffer through with me.

I just realized that I have not devoted any time this year to my annual “I hate leaves” blog post.  Well, I just finished raking my leaves this year, probably about a month and a half past when I should have and an easy three weeks past when the last of my neighbors raked theirs.  Truthfully, I didn’t even really rake my leaves all that much, I just gathered the few piles I had scattered around the yard for the kids and hauled them back behind my fence, the rest I just left layered over the yard (mostly the back yard), I’ll mulch them when next spring rolls around and I have to start mowing my lawn.  At least, that is what I keep telling myself; for now I’ve just become that one guy with the hideous looking lawn.  I also learned a valuable lesson yesterday during the 3 hours I spent raking and hauling leaves, wet leaves are heavy, like really, really, heavy.  Anyway, have I mentioned how much I hate leaves?

I had one of those moments this morning when I saw the stark contrast between men and women.  When my children came into my bedroom I asked each of them, in turn, how they slept.  Jack and Nicolas both responded “Good,” and “fine” respectively.  When it came time for my not-quite-two-year-old daughter to respond, she looked me in the eye and said, “I had a good nap, daddy.”  She will turn two this month and while she doesn’t have the vocabulary of a fully functioning adult (though compared to a typical two-year-old she far exceeds expectations) she still probably uses more words in a day than I do.

There’s Pine Needles All Over My Floor

It was an interesting week for us, one that was filled with spontaneity, emotionalism, and change… you know, all those things that make me feel uncomfortable.  Nicolas turned six today and we celebrated his birthday yesterday with a number of people from church, including the adoptive family of his biological cousin (and if that doesn’t sound like something out of Jerry Springer, I don’t know what does).  The party went well and we managed to keep the church where we hosted it in mostly good condition… minus the hole in the wall at the base of the stairs positioned in a location where a plastic teeter totter encountered the wall after having been pushed down the stairs; an idea that, while it was not instigated by my children, I did find out originated by my oldest.  Sorry Josh, at least I didn’t nearly burn the church down this time.img_0822

Ever since we got back from Thanksgiving I have been wrestling with the idea of whether I wanted to get a Christmas tree.  On one hand we are travelling to Atlanta for a good two weeks in the month of December and it does not make sense to go through all the setup work when we will only be able to enjoy it for a couple of weeks.  On top of that, for various reasons (whether it was living in a small apartment, living in a camper, travelling for most of the holidays, or just moving into a new house) we have gone nearly 11 years without ever having decorated for Christmas, why break a perfectly good streak.  On the other hand, my children are now getting old enough that they are forming memories that will stick with them for a lifetime, I don’t want a Christmas tree to be something you have to go somewhere else to see, I want my children to be able to experience that joy.  Monday I decided I wanted to go after work and get everything I needed for a tree, lights, ornaments, a tree stand, and finally a tree.  Monday, I ended up working late.  Tuesday I decided the same, much with the same results.  By Wednesday the decision to wait was getting easier, I had two fewer days to enjoy the tree before we left, and besides, I could pick up all the important tree related stuff on sale after Christmas was over.  Thursday night I sprained my back (yes, apparently, that is a real thing), and with the pain I was in and the time I spent visiting a chiropractor in the morning the odds that I would have time to leave early that day were increasingly slim.  Nevertheless, I optimistically blocked time off on my calendar so I could try to get out early.

Miracle of all miracles (which actually sounds kind of blasphemous considering the season we are entering) I found myself only blowing past my self-imposed deadline by 30 minutes and I fled the office praying that my back would hold out long enough to make it through the store lugging around a Christmas tree.  It was a good choice; you would have thought I was a crazy person the looks my kids were giving me as I tried to stuff a real tree through the front door of the house.  And for those of you that know my father well enough, no, I did not have to trim the top 6.5’ off of the tree to get it to stand upright in the living room.

Anyway, all of this culminated with a conversation Leslie had with Nicolas in the car earlier this evening.  During this conversation Leslie asked if Nicolas had had a good birthday, to which he replied that he did; and after a few moments of thinking said, “I don’t have to move homes any more, right?”  Leslie then said, “No, you get to stay with us forever.”  “Good, I’m glad,” he responded.  Our lives have changed a significant amount because of this addition to our family and he has caused me to face a number of realities in my life, personality traits of which I am not proud of.  I have really struggled with the type of parent I see in myself when I deal with him, things which have been downright ugly at times.  But somehow, through all of this, God has used Leslie and I to provide a place of sanctuary and stability for this little boy, a place that he can truly call home forever.

I don’t know why God chose us to provide a home for him; all I know is that He did.  We’ve laughed and cried, sometimes both at the same time (like when we discovered he had taken scissors to a large chunk of his hair in the middle of his forehead and then proceeded to lie about it), but it has been a journey that has been remarkably easy, at least in terms of the transition, for our little boy, and we are continually amazed at how smoothly things have gone.  It is times like today that remind us that despite all of our failings God is still using us to make an impact in the life of this little boy.

For those of you interested, here is the link to the audio for the sermon I gave last week about contentment.


Thanksgiving by Any Other Name

Well, it is that time of year when everyone should be enjoying deep fried turkey, sweet potato pie, and good football.  Our Thanksgiving was a little different this year and as a result I only experienced one of those things, and truthfully, the sweet potato pie was mediocre at best.  As we approached this week Leslie and I did not have a clear idea of what we wanted to do this year, typically we have invited some friends over and had a large meal and enjoyed good company; this year we had trouble identifying any friends who were going to be in town that did not already have other plans.  As we rounded the corner of the week on Sunday Leslie told me she really was not looking forward to cooking a big meal and seeing as it was going to only be our family (and that nobody in our family is really big on leftovers) we decided to make other plans.

I had needed to visit a site up in New Hampshire for a couple of weeks now but could not really afford the time for the overnight trip it would cost me so we decided to combine our problems into one solution.  I booked a hotel for a couple of nights and we decided to just spend Thanksgiving in New Hampshire at the hotel, enjoying the complimentary breakfasts and letting the kids watch movies (as special treat) and swim in the pool.  This was our first Thanksgiving where we were planning on going out to eat and I was not 100% certain what we would be able to find open on Thanksgiving Day so I told Leslie to plan for the worst and pack a box full of snacks and the makings of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

As it turns out, people going out to eat for a Thanksgiving meal is not altogether that unusual and after our initially foiled attempt to find a Golden Corral, we settled on Cracker Barrel.  As a side note, I found it amusing that the closest Golden Corral was back in Albany, nearly four hours away.  How is it that there is not a Golden Corral in the entire state of New Hampshire?  Nevertheless, we settled on Cracker Barrel and loaded up the kids for a late afternoon lunch/early evening dinner.  When we first arrived, we were initially a little intimidated by a parking lot that was overflowing with people, but understanding how limited our options were we persevered, and fortunately for us, the wait was not nearly as long as the parking lot would have indicated.

I opted for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner which, while it did include turkey, was not of the deep-fried variety.  Regardless, the food was good and, with the exception of Ayla only eating a handful of French fries, everyone chowed down.  I really don’t understand my daughter’s eating habits as of late, we had chicken tacos the other night which she stubbornly refused to eat, electing to go to bed early with nothing to eat instead.  Then, Wednesday night we ate at Chickfila in Springfield, MA where she chowed down on a box of nuggets.  Thursday she said she wanted chicken again and then promptly refused to even try one of the chicken fingers.  Friday, we again stopped at Chickfila, where she again refused to even try one of the nuggets, even though it meant she had to sit in her seat the entire time the boys played on the playground.  It is not that she does not like chicken because the episode on Wednesday clearly indicates that she enjoys it just fine, but nearly every other time she absolutely refuses to even try a little bite, almost willingly accepting whatever alternative we offer as a discipline for not eating.

Wednesday night we arrived at the hotel around 2030 and let the kids run around the room while Leslie and I got everything set up; the boys sharing the pull out sofa and Ayla in the pack ‘n’ play tucked in an alcove by the door.  We finally got everyone to bed but none of the kids were used to all of us sleeping in the same room together so it took a little while to get settled down and get to sleep.  Thursday we must have really put the kids through the ringer between the pool, running around the hotel, a movie, and dinner, because it was not five minutes after we had turned the lights out then I was able to distinguish the light snores from three little kids all fast asleep.  I on the other hand, took advantage of the fact that I did not have to be up early the next morning and chose to live life a little on the edge, I stayed up until nearly midnight reading my book… Crazy, I know.

Overall, we actually had a pretty relaxing holiday, which was exactly what we were aiming for.  No I did not get all the things I wanted to experience over Thanksgiving, but I just preached a sermon this morning talking about how we should not be seeking contentment out of material things so I don’t think I have too much room to complain.  In fact, with where we currently stand in the pace of life, the busyness of church right now, the stress of a soon to arrive baby, and the workload of all my projects, this restful and relaxing weekend was exactly what we needed.

I will end on this story though.  Yesterday I went in to the office/jobsite to get a little bit of work done, I’m moonlighting as an electrician of sorts for one of my projects since I am working through some difficulties getting an electrician hired and I’ve got work that needs to be done now.  Anyway, I went in to the office to get some work done and when I came home I started experiencing some pretty severe abdominal cramps.  I ended up splitting time the rest of the day between lying in bed/on the bean bag/on the couch trying desperately not to move, and sitting on that porcelain throne with which I am so well acquainted.   More than a little concerned as I knew I had to preach the following morning, I decided to go to bed early.  Much to my dismay, when I woke up this morning, I was not feeling a whole lot better.  Nevertheless, I got up, got a shower, and headed to the church early to practice my sermon.  On the way over I stopped by the grocery store to get some Pepto Bismal.  When I got to the medicine aisle I was greeted with two choices of Pepto in the size that I wanted, one was just the regular stuff and one was labeled “Extra Strength.”  I started thinking to myself, what are the odds that they would actually dilute their formula just so they can sell an “extra strength” option for a couple dollars more?  I mean, it’s probably the exact same stuff, right?  Then I realized, the type of person who is likely to be purchasing Pepto Bismal is likely not in a frame of mind to be making rational choices like this so it totally makes since…  If you feel like a bottle rocket that could go off at any moment, would you really want to play the odds and not spring for the “extra strength” option?  Of course not; that is a brilliant marketing ploy right there.  Even having considered all of this I still went for the extra strength Pepto Bismal, so who’s the moron in that situation?