Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Warm Day

Having grown up in Southern California, I sometimes find myself lamenting long, gray days. Today was no different, at first.

The sky was it's usual January shade of charcoal. The wind was pruning the trees of it's weaker members and I was wishing I were under that California sun and watching the white whispy clouds do their Sunday dance. I called my good friend Steph who lives under that sun in California and talked for awhile and, sure enough, the sun was out and the clouds were white. When I hung up the phone I realized that the real warmth shared had more to do with relationship and laughter and depth and love than the condition of the sky. I smiled.

I decided today was going to be a good day.

My boys and I came home from church, started a fire in the woodstove, got out 'Monopoly' and sat around the kitchen table and laughed, argued, and played like the 3 boys that we are. Every once in awhile one of us would make a mad dash outside, braving the elements, to get another chunk of wood for the fire. We made dinner together. We ate and talked and laughed some more. The fire never went out. While watching 'The Princess Bride' I looked over and noticed my 14 year old hardly able to contain himself in laughter. I realized that the warmth we shared had more to do with relationship and laughter and depth and love than the condition of the fire. I'm still smiling.

The warmth of 'together' is more powerful than the warmth of weather...always.

Thanks Steph!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I wonder

This past week I went snowboarding with my youngest son and a couple of my friends. My friends are skiers and my son and I, boarders. (du-u-de!) When we got to the mountain they went their way and we went ours. Since my son is relatively new at this 'sport', we decided to stay on some of the less challenging runs and take it slow. Every trip back up the slope on the lift, my son, who is twelve, would offer up a different question. "Dad, what would happen if my board fell?, Dad, if you saw somebody bif it hard into that tree down there would you jump off the lift to help him?, Dad, does the lift actually slow down between poles or does it just seem like it because it gets so quiet? Dad, if we're up so high why don't the stars feel any closer?" ...great questions from a mind that never quits wondering. It got me to thinking. Thinking about this thing we call 'wonder'.

All of my life, or at least the part that my mind lets me remember, I've had a sort of wanderlust. A want to go. A want to see the world. To see what other people live like. To hear the wind through different trees. To see waves roll in on a foreign shore. To realize that laughter sounds the same in any language. What I didn't realize until that night with my boy, was that it was fueled by the same thing that fuels his questions. Wonderlust. From silly things like why we call one thing tunafish and yet we don't call another chickenbird, to slightly more profound things like what does it really mean to love? I love to wonder. It never gets old because there's rarely a definitive answer to most 'I wonder' questions. Wonder produces more wonder. Life is short and I may never afford to wander like I want to, but I know for certain that I'll never afford not to wonder. Do you think it's possible? Hmmm, I wonder!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ya don't say!

Here are a few things I won't be saying anytime soon...

-"Oh how I love it when it rains 27 straight days!"

-"Yum! I'll have another bowl of that pigeon gumbo."

-"Duh officer! Just cuz I can speak English doesn't mean I can read it!"

-"I sure wish I was old and crusty."

-"Hello Postmaster? Yeah, can you put a stop to that B. Gates character? He's sending me checks in the mail completely unsolicited."

-"I pay far too little in taxes! Isn't there something we can do??"

-"Are you sure doc? Grab another glove and check again. You never know about that dang prostate!"

-"Hey kids! Grab your sleeping bags, we're getting in line. 'Rocky 16' is hittin' the theater tomorrow."

-"Not me, I've always been a Seahawks fan!"

-"Yeah, it's a travesty. I don't know how those professional athletes can make both ends meet."

-"What do mean, you don't take green stamps anymore!?"

-"I totally agree with President."


-"Oh sweetie, I think your nose ring gives you character, I think you should get another one."

-"If it weren't for my readers I'd have gone totally insane."

...and since I can't think of a fitting ending let me say one more thing you'll never, ever hear me say again "Toodles!"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Confessions of a delivery man

While most of you know (at least those two or three of you that actually read this blog) I deliver packages for a living, you don't neccesarily know the details and intricacies of the job. I mean, how could you? It's a big, bad world out there in deliveryville, let me tell ya.

Every once in awhile when one of us poor delivery-type souls is going to be out later than the bartenders, we get help from another driver that feels momentarily sympathetic, or maybe we know something about said driver that we shouldn't, (sorta like black mail, or in this case, brown parcel). Well, last night was one of those nights. My friend Matt called me and said "where you at? I'm coming to help you." So, I told him and he found me and hopped on my truck to be my runner.
Now, when you get help from a driver it's a rare occurrence, so you take the opportunity to share your wealth of useful knowledge while you can. "This guy get's Victoria Secret packages every other week, and he lives alone!" or "These people just bought this house, cash on the spot...Californicaters!" or "There's a dog at this next place but he's never bitten me" and then when Matt's almost to the porch I yell "sickem' Satan! sickem boy!!" Fun times.

Anyway, Matt and I got to swapping stories about the funny things like, what we do to keep our jobs interesting, and some of the embarrassing things we've done. Here are a sampling of just mine and Matt's.

-last winter it was about 20 degrees out and it was late at night so I tried to gingerly tiptoe up the steps at the side of this house. When I got there I knelt down to lay the package at the door, just outside the dogdoor, when suddenly and frenetically out jumped a little 'kick dog'! Scared the pee outta me!!! Well, lucky for me, the package I was about to deliver was just a skosh larger than peewee-the-kick-dog's door....Yep! That's right you little son of a bitch (hey, c'mon you know it's true!), looks like your sleepin' outside tonight!!
-just a couple of weeks ago, as Matt would tell it, he was out after dark (duh!) and it was damp and dewy weather. He launched himself up a set of deck stairs that counted maybe five or six feet high, dropped the package, knocked the requisite 7 times and turned and ran. Well, he lost his footing on the first step and snowballed, elbows and legs a flailing, all the way to the ground. By this time a small boy had come to answer the door, heard the ruckus, and ran to see what could make such a clatter. He darted back to the house yelling "Mommy, I think we caught Santa Claus!!!!"
-almost always I make my deliveries out of the passenger side door. It's what we're trained to do and quite frankly, just makes the most sense since there's nothing impeding your progress, like a seat. I'm not sure why, maybe because I was tired, I don't know, but the other night I decided to slither over my seat and out the driver side door and circle around the front of my truck. Not a big deal. I ran the package maybe a hundred yards to the house and the same hundred back. Now, here's an important side note: it's completely and utterly pitch black dark. Yeah. That dark. I'm running back toward the passenger side of my truck like I always do, which means full-speed ahead, can you see where this is headed? I couldn't either. I leaped up toward the inside step of the truck, only to abruptly remember....I hadn't opened the door. I was like a big brown fly splattered on the side of my truck. OUCH!!
-there's a woman on my route that's a QVC junkie. I mean, 2 or 3 packages a DAY! (and that's since her New Year's resolution to 'quit this nasty habit') I really don't get it. She lives in a trailer at the end of the world's worst driveway. Or, it might just be the best driveway. I swear it's been scientifically engineered so that when you're concentrating on missing that 3 foot deep pothole on the left, you snag your mirror on the tree on the right. And if you veer slightly toward the middle you're fighting salmon swimming up the stream running down the center!! No really! I think I once spotted Robert Redford here during the filming of ' a river runs through it'. I digress. About a month ago she received a rare package( rare in the fact that it wasn't from QVC) from Barnes and Noble. As I handed her the package I said, "here's that book you ordered on how to stop your shopping compulsion." She's down to one package a day.
Who says work can't be fun??

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

If I could, I'd tell you... thoughts get into my head. difficult it is to portray an emotion in words.
...why there's a heaven at all.
...why some things are only funny once.
...that tomorrow's going to be alright.
...that I have no idea what pain is.
...why coffee smells so much better than it tastes.
...what you're thinking.
...I've given my heart away completely.
...there's something green on your front tooth.
...that I've actually heard God speak. to erase the mistakes you've made.
...why I'm still up at this ungodly hour. much I miss those three little j's.
...what I know for sure about love.
...why you never see birds crash.
...there's an easier way than God's way.
...I've never failed you.
...why I was so blessed as to be born in this country. much I love my friends
...why we complicate things so terribly much...

...but, I can't, so maybe you can help me.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

So here we go!

As promised, here's the skinny. The ball fell, the calendar changed, and the cows finally came home. I don't think I'm any kind of prophet, but yesterday I mentioned the word 'rednecks', and wouldn't you know it, the hotel where we stayed was full of them. True to life, dyed in the flannel, "I got more teeth than you do" truckloads of them.

One of the reasons we really wanted to go to a hotel was to swim in the pool and sit in the jacuzzi. You know, things we can't do everyday. So we made our merry way down to the pool only to find that the whole Hatfield clan had beat us to the punch. Thing is, the pool was evidently too dang cold, so some of the boys went back up to them there rooms and got their garbage pails and commenced to bailing all that warm water out the jacuzzi into the big pool. Great idea Clem!! Only problem is, when that there jacuzzi starts to empty some sort of new fangled sensor must've kicked to high gear and started pumping new, colder water into the jacuzzi and wouldn't shut off. It wasn't long until both pools were overflowing with freezing cold water. But shucks, the Hatfields didn't even notice. See, they were too busy chuckin' frozen-water-soaked nerf balls at anything that moved. Even us city folk. We eventually just played along, figuring telling them to stop would have been as easy as hitting one of them in the tooth with a nerf ball. Let's just say there weren't a lot of toothy grins.

After that we decided to go back to our room to play games and watch all the festivities on TV for awhile. That didn't last long so we went to the lobby to ask, in typical tourist fashion, "what's there to do in this podunk town?" At which point we were oh so pleasantly pointed to the rack of 3 million pamphlets that had nothing to do with anything remotely possible to do at eight o'clock on New Year's eve. So we went to see 'Chronicles of Narnia'...again. We made it back just in time to watch the Hatfields circling the 3rd floor walkway banging on pots and pans! It was wacko!

Great start to 'just another year'.