A Sprung Mind?

Punctuality is the cornerstone of civilization.

A Recent Movie

In the movie, “Arrival” alien ships come to our world. Nations want to know who they are and where they are from.

An astrophysicist suggested that science, the cornerstone of civilization, would be the bridge. Another suggested that language was the cornerstone of civilization and therefore would be the key. 

They Were Wrong

 Science and communication aren’t the keys to civilization, its punctuality. Without it, civilization weakens and crumbles into chaos.

The Calendar

My daily schedule stays busy with appointments in and out of the office. I keep all appointments on my phone’s calendar, even those occurring weekly. It’s just my way. 

There’s a discipline I strive to maintain:

  1. Never be late.
  2. On time is five minutes early.
  3. Never keep people waiting.
  4. Always keep your appointments.

You can see why punctuality is the cornerstone of civilization. It keeps the madness from descending. It may be the only thing.

Tuesday Morning

I got a call at 7:15 asking if we were still having breakfast. I was mortified, mystified, and embarrassed. In that moment, I felt the earth shake, collapse was imminent. 

man eating breakfast
Not me or my friend, but close, really very close!

I couldn’t figure it out, I knew I had put it in my calendar. Then I realized my mistake, I’d entered it for the wrong day. I wasn’t just not early, or even just late, I was a no show, a total breakdown of society’s punctuality laws.

To Close

He forgave me. We rescheduled, no harm no foul. But still, it irked me. Am I not perfect? Am I not in control? Do I not possess a steel trap mind?

I think my mind has sprung.

Shalom  

Husbands & Wives In Cars

Here are some things that I’m not, and some things that I am.

  • Not a bible scholar, but a bible student.
  • Not a gardener, but always working in the yard.
  • Not a great preacher, but preach with great effort.
  • Not a great thinker, but I do think.

Men Don’t Think

There’s an idea floating about that men don’t think. It’s not, “Men can’t think,” but that they choose not to, for long periods of time.

I can’t speak to the validity of that premise as I lack research and data. Sure, I could Google it and find something, but, I don’t know, I’ll try to think about it.

The Car

The cliché scenario is played out while men are driving with their wives. The dialogue goes something like this:

Wife: “Honey, you seem awfully quiet, something on your mind?”

Husband: “O, nothing really.”

Wife: “Well, feels like you are preoccupied with something.”

Husband: “No, I’m not.”

Wife: “You have to be thinking about something?”

Husband: “Nope.”

Wife: (with growing angst) “That’s crazy, you can’t just think about nothing.”

Husband: “Sure I can, do it all the time.”

fast driver
Not me or my car, but close, really very close.

An Admission

I’ll admit to “zoning out” more than I used to. I’m missing exits on freeways, driving past streets I wanted, and other things. Lately, I’m missing my own street. Not every time, but sometimes. The fun part is seeing how far I’ve gone before realizing that I have. My excuse? I don’t have one. I’ve admitted to not being a great thinker, so, that isn’t it.

In Closing

You may be saying, “Wow, Rick’s getting old.” I can’t debate that. But I don’t have dementia nor am I experiencing black outs, at least none I’m aware of. 

Mostly, I’m just not thinking. I used to think, at least I think I did.

Shalom

Life In The Back

I’m a front seat guy, usually. 

What?

If given the choice, I’ll sit in the front, the front of the classroom or at the head of the table. I want to be close to the stage at a play, musical, or concert.

Exceptions?

Sure. I don’t want the front row in a movie theater or the front table in a restaurant. But otherwise, it’s the front seats for me.

However

There are advantages to life in the back:

  • There’s anonymity.
  • You can see everybody.
  • It’s where kids can get rowdy.
  • You can sleep, use your phone, or talk.

In my church, people come early to get a back seat. They want to be as far away from me as possible and still be in church. Unless there’s a children’s program. Then people come an hour early to get front-row seats. It’s madness. I’ve seen people get snippy about the front seats at a children’s performance. Then Sunday morning, its back to the back.

I think people sit in the back because there aren’t any chairs in the parking lot.

crowded church
Not my church or my members, not even close. But they sure like to sit in the back!

Other Reasons?

  • People don’t like to be noticed.
  • They’re leaving early and don’t want to be a distraction.
  • They don’t feel well and may have to go out.
  • The want to be the last ones in and the first ones out.

Wednesday Night

We sat in the back this past Wednesday. There was noise and distraction. People arriving late want to sit in the back. It’s funny on Sunday mornings when the only available seats are on the front rows. People who normally populate the back are forced to fill the front. They seem uncomfortable, like they are with foreigners. 

In Closing

Life in the back is different. I guess life in the front is different too. At the end of the day, I’m just glad everyone shows up.

It’s a biased statement, and I have no theology for it, but I think Jesus was a front row person. It’s just a thought.

Shalom

The New Steam Mop

Some assembly required. That’s what it said on the box.

The Steam Mop

My wife loves her steam mop. It’s her primary cleaning device and her go to machine.

What Happened?

It died. From the dirt it came and to the dirt it returned. Actually, it returned to the land fill. She mourned. She grieved She waited an appropriate amount of time then ordered a new one. Way to go Amazon!

The Arrival

It arrived in a big box that was inside an even bigger box. Eventually, it got unboxed. She said, “Honey, I got it out of the box. But I don’t feel like putting it together tonight. I’ll do it in the morning.”

In my marriage, that’s code for, “Would you help me or just do it for me?” I did.

steam-mop-wood-floor
Not my wife’s new steam mop or her feet, slippers or floor but close, really very close

The Assembly

Some assembly was required. I went to get tools. “The right tool for the right job,” that’s what Dad always said. I got pliers and a hammer. What do I know about the right tools?

However, in no time at all it was assembled. Maybe a little time. Maybe more.

And Then…

Then she said, “Hey, what’s this for?” She held up a piece of hardware. I had no idea. I reread the directions and reexamined the diagrams that illustrated the directions. I stared and glared. I imagined where I would go and what I would do if I were it. Nope.

I went to bed.  

To Close

The leftover piece of hardware wasn’t for assembly, but for its use. My wife figured it out by reading the operating manual, which I had chosen to ignore due to my being male. She shouted, “I figured it out!” Uh huh, some assembly indeed.

My wife loves her new steam mop.

Being A Power-Tasker

This blog is about multi-tasking.

Not True

I’m recovering the claim that women are better multi-taskers. Not true. I myself can multi-task very well. In fact, I’ve been described as a Power-Tasker.

Just In Case

If you don’t know what it is to multi-task:

  • It’s doing more than one thing at a time.
  • Mental flexibility for simultaneously processing multiple ideas.
  • The appearance of having more than two hands.
  • Ability to give birth to a human child.

Giving Birth?

Sure, it has to do with being a Mother. You’ve seen Moms in public. They carry a child in one arm, push a baby stroller with the other arm, have a diaper bag over one shoulder, a purse on the other,  manage a satchel from work, packages from shopping, and then talk with a cell phone between their cheek and shoulder.

Mom_carrying_everything_while_dad_takes_a_phone_call
Now That’s Multi-Tasking, Good Thing She Has A Supportive Husband

Impressive?

Sure, it’s impressive. They are to be commended, even rewarded. Maybe a ceremony! It would make the local paper and the 6:00 news.

“Local Woman Wins Multi-Tasker of the Year”

And Men?

Well, men are less adept. First, they’re incapable of giving birth. They rarely carry a purse. And couldn’t keep a cell phone between their face and shoulder if their lives depended on it. However, when necessary, men can multi-task, it’s uncommon, but it does happen, it’s been seen. 

Examples?

Men don’t like making more than one trip for anything. If they’re carrying groceries, they’ll grab three, four, or five plastic bags in each hand. Blood circulation will cease, their hands will cramp, and the plastic will start cutting. But it’ll get done in one trip. They aren’t going back.

It’s true for taking out the trash, unloading the car after a trip, and other things.

To Close

It’s true. I have been referred to as Power-Tasker. So far, I’m the only one saying it, but still, I can multi-task with the best of them.

My secret? I think through the multiple tasks needing to be done, make a list, and then approach each task in order, one at a time, I’m a Power-Tasker. 

Yep.

Kids and Summer

Across America children are celebrating.

The Children  

  1. Laughing hysterically
  2. Jumping for joy
  3. Smiling ear to ear
  4. Trashing their school stuff
  5. Excited about the summer

The Parents

  1. NOT

Last-Day-of-School

No Doubt

Not to oversell it, because there’s likely some parents who are glad to have their kids home for the summer. On the other hand, there are parents who have not been idle. They have been scheduling activities, events, and trips for their kids.

  1. Church camp
  2. Maybe a 2nd camp with another church
  3. A week with grandparents
  4. A week with the other grandparents
  5. Scouting events
  6. Cheer leading camps
  7. Band camps
  8. Sports camps
  9. Day trips

With careful planning, parents can reduce the number of weeks the kids are home from 13 to about 6. Who knows, the grandparents might be up for two weeks each! That would  bring it down to 4 weeks. You’ll take them on vacation for a week or two, so really, if you handle it right, you could get it down to just 2 weeks of kids as home.

Suddenly

Then BAM! It’s suddenly time for new back packs, school supplies, and clothes. And once again, they’re off for the next step towards becoming reasonably adjusted adults. Society will welcome them gladly. 

To Close

To all the parents I say, “Good luck and be careful and try to hang in there.” To all the kids I say, “Its summer! Go have fun. Be kids, be cool, and be smart. Adult life with its gut wrenching responsibilities will come soon enough.”

Right? 

A Bear Sighting

This really happened.

The Trip

I go to Colorado every summer to enjoy the mountains, the rivers and to fly fish. It restores my soul, feeds my spirit, and heightens my connection with God.

IMG_0572

The Picture

So, a friend said to me regarding my upcoming trip, “I’d really like to get a picture of a bear. Could you get a selfie with you and a bear in the background?”

I said, “A bear in the back ground?”

My friend, “Yes, just far enough in front of the bear so you’re out of danger.”

Then me “Out of danger? Seriously? How far would that need to be?”

My friend, “I don’t know, I guess enough so if the bear charges then you would have time to get in the car, or something.”

Then me, “Or something?”

Friend, “Sure.”

Uh Huh

I’m not sure about this and have some questions:

  1. How do you get a bear to stop and face the camera?
  2. What’s a safe distance and how do I measure it?
  3. What if the bear attacks and I can’t find my keys?
  4. Does anyone know how to Photoshop a bear?
  5. What’s exactly is a selfie?
  6. Do bears like eating old slow guys?

I Can Imagine

I can imagine being out in the forest, among the trees, with a river behind me, and a bear a half mile away. Sure, picture that. Snap that one. It’ll be one for the books.

It’s not that I’m afraid or anything. After all, I’m an outdoorsy guy, mostly. I’m a naturalist and an avid fly fisherman, I relish the outdoor life with the high mountain air. That’s where I thrive and long to be. All I need is my trusty fly rod, a good pair of wading boots, and a lovely, comfortable, well stocked cabin that’s never out of eyesight.

IMG_0066

To Close

I’ve been in the Colorado mountains many times. I’ve seen rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, deer, elk, antelope and a wolf or two. I’ve never seen a bear.

I wonder, would this do?

IMG_0187

Call Me Ishmael

 “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

A Problem

My back yard had a flower bed between the garage and the pool deck. It had roses, a box hedge, and gobs of weeds and grasses. It was overgrown and ugly so I took out the box hedge, removed the rose bushes, and dug out all the grass. I was careful to get the roots.

It was a tough job but I’m a tough guy.

Except that it hurt my back, gave me blisters, and the thorns scratched my arms. I also got a sun burn and a headache. And I emerged with mosquito bites that looked like the measles. And my good sneakers got muddy.

muddy sneakers
Not my actual sneakers, but close, really very close. 

However, I leveled the soil, laid down a weed guard, and finished with pavers and pea gravel. It looks terrific.

Except, I can’t stop the grass from springing up. It’s not Bermuda, it’s a demon grass. It’s hardy and vigorous. It’s also ugly and unwelcome. Be gone demon grass.

Me Against The Grass

  • I’ve tried weed/grass killer.
  • Then I tried a different weed/grass killer.
  • I’ve tried pulling it up by the roots.
  • I’ve attacked it with the string edger.
  • I’ve stood and glared at it while saying hateful things.

And still it grows. It mocks me. Call me Ishmael, for the grass is my white whale and Moby is winning.

Other Considerations

  • Pull up the pavers, pea gravel, and weed guard.
  • Pour cement.
  • Build something on it.
  • Extend the pool deck.
  • Widen the garage.

Some of these may be a bit extreme.

The Final Solution

  • Sell the house
  • Okay, we aren’t selling the house. We just bought it nine months ago.

The Ultimate Final Solution

  • Learn to love the unwanted grass.
  • But I can’t. I’ve tried. Really, I have. 

To Close

If the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, then my neighbors must envy me. I have some of  the greenest and most fertile grass on the block.

Yep.

Houston’s Except Clause

They say happiness is a state of mind. Okay.

Which State?

Our great republic has fifty states; some are sparsely populated while others feel crowded. My state is booming, it’s Texas.

Good Living

Houston has a strong economy, lots of new growth and lots of new people. Business is good, housing is exploding, and we are proud to once again be hosting the Super Bowl.

Most of the attention is given to what’s happening above: the tall buildings and soaring spires of commerce. But the key element, the thing that gets overlooked, are the roads.

i-45-traffic

Constant Longing

What Houstonians want most are roads. We don’t have enough, or at least they aren’t big enough. And, for some reason, our roads end up requiring a lot repair.

920x920

The Except Clause

Here’s the except clause: All Houstonians want nice, big roads, and they want the bad roads to get repaired, they just want it done somewhere else. They want the roads they use for commuting to already be big and good to go. The motto is: “Let them build and expand somewhere else.”

Basically, all of Houston is closed for road work.

Me?

Well, we moved to the southwest suburbs. For two years a major Blvd was under construction and caused constant conflict. Then the Beltway 8 Toll Road, a mainstay of my commute, underwent a three-year overhaul. Then I-45 began its massive, larger than life, “your children will live to see it finished,” project. And I fought that mess for three or four years. Then we said enough. We moved.  

And Now?

We are so happy. No more freeways, no toll roads, no traffic jams, no anything. Except for this. The church I preach for is on Bay Area Blvd. The city has decided that Bay Area BLVD needs resurfacing, a major, high volume, four lane road. Traffic will be redirected from four lanes to two, so they can work on one side, the reroute the traffic so they can work on the other side. It’s going to be a big mess.

So I asked. They said it would take about six months. That sounds suspiciously like ten or eleven months to me. 

To Close

Yep, happiness is a state of mind. And the state I live in is driving me crazy.

Shalom

Fall Classic: College Football!

As the summer wears on, it becomes more and more difficult to contain my excitement. Not that my excitement is so big that if it lost containment it would threaten the world.

I’m just excited.

About To Start

In just a couple of weeks the NCAA College Football Season launches. College Football. It doesn’t get any better.

However

Evidently, all humanity falls into two categories: those who are die-hard, hard-core, fanatical college football fans, and everyone else.

Here are some thoughts regarding our two global groups of humanity.

The College Football Enthusiast

  1. Is better equipped to handle life’s problems.
  2. Has a greater capacity for strategic thinking.
  3. Can recognize the quality of great snacks.
  4. Is usually more successful and climbs the ladder faster.
  5. Generally, is a nicer person and a better neighbor.

The Non-College Football Enthusiast

  1. Lacks vision.
  2. Prefers to watch reruns of Lawrence Welk.
  3. Goes to bed early and would miss the big games anyway.
  4. Prefers a rousing game of Scrabble.
  5. Is often less successful and doesn’t know about the ladder.

Perhaps I’m a little biased, maybe. But it’s okay; it’s good to be on the side of truth, freedom, and the American way.

Who Else Would Be A Huge Fan?

  1. Simon Peter: he would be big for Texas A&M.
  2. King David, the most victorious King in Israel’s history: Florida Gators.
  3. Judas Iscariot: Alabama, LSU, or maybe Notre Dame.
  4. Apostle John: Longhorn fan, he always sided with deep tradition.
  5. Jesus: he would root for everyone, but down deep: Texas Tech (I know, I just threw that in to score points with a Red Raider friend.)

Texas A&M Seating Lawsuit 4  471_Texas_Longhorns_DKR_Texas_Memorial_Stadium_1

texas-tech-football-stadium-1024x575

I Love It

The pageantry and traditions, the crisp autumn afternoons, the packed stadiums with raucous enthusiasm, it all works for me. College football can never start soon enough and its always ends way to soon.

800px-Ben_Hill_Griffin_Stadium

Okay, I Get It

I know, it’s not for everyone. There are people in the world who exist in the other group. And you are good people; I love you, and I want you to have a good life.

Bless your hearts.