I really shouldn’t

I really shouldn’t spend so much time with you. Other parts of my life suffer.

I really should exercise more. Or at least a little bit. Who am I kidding? My exercise routine consists of rolling out of bed and descending the one flight of stairs in my house on my way to you. Once there, I plant myself for hours with minimal movement.

Headphones make the experience better. They help block out the sounds of the house and allow greater immersion. The faintest background sounds can easily be drowned out by raising the volume in my ears. Chinchillas running in their cages, guinea pigs squeaking and scrabbling in their pen are blissfully ignored.

Family members come and go. Some pause long enough to shake their heads at me before moving on. They know I’ll be wrapped up in my pointless activity and will not be torn away without a struggle.

Hours spent gazing at the flickering screen can never be reclaimed.

My private murmurings form in response to simple stimuli like the Daily Post prompt.

I am a blogger.

Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure.

What is Zero?

My wife is  a teacher’s assistant in the public school system. She works in a pre-kindergarten program that focuses on children with special needs. Her students are ages 2-5 and have varying special conditions ranging from physical, emotional, and developmental with some on the autism spectrum.

She was working with one child on his numbers. Counting from 0-5 and connecting the count to tangible values.

“There are three blocks here. 1, 2, 3. If we take one away, how many blocks do we have?”

When they got to zero, the boy always answered, “A little bit.”

“We had two blocks and took them away. 2, 1, 0. How many do we have?”

“Zero.” he said.

“And how much is zero?” she asked.

“A little bit,” he kept answering.

“Why?” she insisted.

“My mom tells me when we’re shopping and I want something, she has zero money for that. But she always has a little money for the things she wants.” he stated.

The Hum of my Life

Na, na, na, na, na. Na, na, na, na, na.

Comedian Bill Cosby once said that if you had your music, the monsters couldn’t get you.

The music of my life is a wide compilation. Country, western, classical, techno, top 40, and classic rock, are all in the mix.

My younger years were placed against the backdrop of the Superman theme (in my mind).

If you ask my wife, shed probably suggest it was the Benny Hill theme. Complete with fruitless running about and no real purpose or anything to show for it.

If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album?

Today is such a day off

How opportune that this prompt arrives on my day off. My schedule has left me drained as the final delivery of a major project approached. Long hours over the past two weeks and interrupted sleep patterns have me in a stupor. It is the first real full day without a pressing deadline in more than seven weeks. How shall I spend it?

  1. I had originally planned to sleep late. My wife has other plans. She has to go to work and I get to do the morning medical treatments for my daughter.
  2. There are the list of errands that have lagged recently.
  3. #1 Son says we’re out of cold cuts for his sandwiches again. He goes through several pounds of sliced turkey breast every week. We could shop every two days and still not keep up. The more we buy, the bigger the sandwiches seem to get.
  4. Car maintenance appointments to be made.
  5. Internet shopping. Unfortunately, not the fun kind. Ordering necessary medical items.
  6. Schedule a nap on the couch.
  7. Take a walk if it’s not too cold outside.

But first, I’ll start by participating in today’s prompt. Sip my morning coffee, ramble for a bit, then post and have a full breakfast. Then, sit back and see what others have to say. Perhaps shuffle my list and begin with #6.

What’s your idea of a perfect day off: one during which you can quietly relax, doing nothing, or one with one fun activity lined up after the other? Tell us how you’d spend your time.

Mountains, Valleys – Persevere

Mountaintops are meaningless without the contrasting valleys.

There are times in your life where you must travel the deep, dark valleys for long stretches before emerging at the summit. Or even getting a glimpse of the summit. Or hearing the promise of a refreshing waterfall on the way to the summit.

In those difficult times, we often cry out for immediate relief. An utterance for rescue or deliverance from the dark place. We rarely get whisked out of the trial into a place of safety and joy. If we were to skip the dark walk, the light would be less sweet.

If we transported easily from the depths to the heights, the heights become dull too quickly. “Oh. Another breathtaking panoramic view. Looks like a hundred others. Ho hum.” Without the experience of the journey, the destination is diminished.

Persevere. Wait for the ultimate prize. Work for it. Sacrifice along the way. The reward magnifies in contrast to the pain.

“Good things come to those who wait.” Do you agree? How long is it reasonable to wait for something you really want?

Wait for it. It’s worth it.

“It’s very shiny.” she said, “Sparkly. Like it has a light of its own.”

“It does.” he replied. “Push the switch.”

“Ooooh. It flashes too?” she gushed.

“Yes and it has a short hose and a strong compressor.” he added.

“I’ve always wanted one of these.” she said.

“You’re lying. I know you don’t care now, but I’ll feel better if you have this emergency 5-in-1 item in your car.” he said. “I know it’s something you never would have bought for yourself. You shouldn’t have to wait any longer for it.”

“Good things come to those who wait.” Do you agree? How long is it reasonable to wait for something you really want?

In spite of it all, you’re going to make it.

Ten years have passed. I went to have coffee with my younger self. In preparation, I gathered my thoughts to summarize what I’d face.

My kids were 13, 11, and 8. My wife and I had celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. Amazing how much a family can go through in ten years.

A few job changes for Mom and Dad occurred. No breaks in employment. Thank God for continued grace in this area.

#1 son played soccer a lot. Joined a mid-level team, then a travel team. Dad drove, a lot. Started as a team parent, then a team manager, joined the soccer club board, served as treasurer, and drove, a lot. He made it through high school. Graduated. Got a car. Got a speeding ticket. Got a job. Got on with his life.

Daughter went through physical changes and her health status changed. She went 14 years without a significant respiratory event. After that, we experienced nine hospitalizations followed by extended intravenous antibiotic therapies at home. Visiting home nurse care. Visiting home-bound teachers to support school progress. Conflicts with doctors. Conflicts with insurance. Conflicts with parents. Stress anyone? She graduated high school early. Scored high marks too. We’re thankful for all the miracles in her life.

Youngest made it through grade school, middle school, and high school without too much drama. He kept his head down and stayed in the background. We’re grateful for all his help over the years. He willingly cares for his sister and quietly supports family activities.

Pets, pets, and more pets. Daughter loves the furry critters. We’re not dog or cat people. Wife likes pets contained. Fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, more rabbits, more rabbits, (Stop the rabbits!), and now chinchillas. Started with normal pet store varieties, then moved into competitive critters. Discovered rabbit shows and drove. Discovered chinchilla shows and drove a lot more.

Advice for my younger self, keep your vehicles maintained. You’re going to do a lot of driving. Buy cars that get good gas mileage.

Coffee? Switch to decaffeinated. Don’t grow dependent upon the stimulant qualities.

Get more sleep.

Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.