Category Archives: Family

Update on Half Baked Manor

It’s been quiet here at Half Baked Manor.  There’s not much human activity here except for mine.  Mr. Mouse has not yet made his appearance.  Yesterday, we had our first casualty in this low-intensity war.  Our son stepped out into the garage and tripped one of the traps.  Our son is fine, but his pride may have taken a little hit.  So far, Mr. Mouse 1, Stuart 0.

However, we are now hearing noises up in the attic and perhaps under the eaves of our home.  I don’t know if he has migrated, or if we have some new guests.  I’ll keep you posted.

Half Baked Manor Update

It’s been a beehive of activity the last couple of days here at Half-Baked Manor.  We declared war on our friend Mr. Mouse yesterday.  One of the traps was tripped but no bait was gone and no mouse carcass was found.  So, Mr. Mouse is still at large.

The Missus went to the fabric store today, and unbeknownst to me, picked out some fabric to recover our kitchen table chairs with.  She came home and went right to work on it.  She is full speed ahead in project mode!  I’m amazed at her creativity and blessed by her industry.  The new pattern is a much lighter pattern than we have now, which is great.  We’re always trying to find ways to brighten up the public areas of Half Baked Manor, and it looks like this one will be a great success.

While she did all of this, I was at a seminar on opportunities for the Church to serve disabled people.  I’m blessed to serve in a very loving church family.  We have a number of people in our congregation who are living with disabilities, so this was something that piqued my interest.  I rejoiced to hear someone from outside our church family advocate reaching out, welcoming, and serving people who live with disabilities and their families.  However, it broke my heart to hear of people bringing guests and family members with visible disabilities being asked not to return, because it makes people “uncomfortable.”  I do remember Jesus commanding his disciples to bring in the blind, and the lame, and the halt.  Also, for a faith whose core teaching is that humanity is fundamentally broken and that the only way out of that brokenness is through Divine Redemption, it seems rather contradictory to shun those who are visibly broken.  Maybe the rest of us are just better at hiding our brokenness.

One of these days (and I mean soon!), I’m going to take the WordPress tour and figure out how to add links, pictures, and everything else to flesh out my posts and give a little help to my friends!


Providence In The Form Of A Mouse

I had my day all planned out today.  I got up at 5:30 like I usually do, got a good start on the morning, and it was looking good for getting all my lesson plans done for the upcoming week of classes.  Then, my wife and I discovered that we have a mouse in our garage.

This is a problem.  We have a rather modest house with very little storage space.  So, our “pantry” is out in the garage.

We have not seen the little bugger yet, but little by little, we have found evidence of his existence.  Today, however, we found irrefutable evidence of his presence.  Practically every food item that was packaged in such a way that a mice could bite through had the telltale signs of his foraging.  Beans, sugar, chocolate chips . . . and even coffee!  It appears that our little friend has acquired a taste for coffee.

So, we had to bring what was left untouched of the foodstuffs with plastic packaging inside the house and bring the canned food out into the garage.  This took quite a while, with the result that most scheduled work for the day had to be postponed.

Food with permeable packaging is removed.  Mousetraps are baited and set.  War has been declared.  I’ll keep you posted.

Let’s hope our little friend is not one of my readers!

Anniversary Dinner

The missus and I went out for our aforementioned twenty-fifth anniversary dinner at Ruth’s Chris tonight.  It was quite a nice evening.  The company was second-to-none.  The food and service were both impressive.  There were a couple of nice touches as well.  A line of rose petals was spread across our white tablecloth, and a handwritten note thanking us for celebrating our special occasion with the restaurant greeted us at our table.

I teach high school, so of course, my mind wandered to, “this is where Ruth Chris meets American teen culture!.  The note at our table looked as though it had been written by one of my female students with big bubbly handwriting.  A couple of names came to mind that I shared with my wife.  However, I will not share them here so as not to incrimminate  the innnocent!

A question arose as to the specifics of an item on the menu, lyonnais potatoes.  Our waiter informed us that these are “hash browns.”  I refrained from asking if I could get them “scattered, smothered, and covered.” The filet compared favorably with the Waffle House T-bone.  The spring salad, sweet potato casserole, and spinach au gratin were excellent.  We even received a dessert platter with raspberry sorbet, chocolate bark, and a cheesecake round.

Speaking of which, I saw that Waffle House is retiring the T-bone.  It’s a sad day when even Waffle House is trying to make us healthy!  Are fat free, sugar free, organic doughnuts coming next?  Free range hot dogs?  Emissions control at NASCAR?  Who would have thunk it?

Update On Half Baked Manor

I’ve allowed the demands of paid work to keep me from blogging.  Silly me!

The grounds of Half Baked Manor have recovered from the drought of a couple of weeks ago.  Since I wrote of my obsession with watering the lawn, the Lord Himself has watered our lawn just about every day.  We have green grass in abundance.  Now, I just need to get my son to keep it cut.

Prospects for our 25th anniversary have brigthened as well.  One of my readers passed along to my mother-in-law that my wife and I bought grass for our anniversary.  She thought that was so unromantic that she took it upon herself to get us a gift card to go to Ruth Chris Steak House.  Thanks Mom!  You’re the best!

Ruth Chris is so out of my league I’m not even sure if I spelled it right!  I do know that it will be a new experience for us.  The small amount of intelligence that I have gathered so far has led me to believe that it will be a cut or two above Ronald McDonald’s Steak House.

Vicissitudes of Life at Half Baked Manor

The grass at Half Baked Manor has begun to turn brown.  A predictable outcome of high temperatures in the mid-nineties with little rain.  But you must understand, this is no ordinary grass!  This is hearty, thick, St. Augustine grass created in the greenhouse to withstand the sandy soil, sea breezes, salt air, northeasters, high heat, and high humidity of North Florida.  And this is no ordinary St. Augustine grass, either!

In a couple of weeks, our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary will arrive.  For some couples, their twenty-fifth anniversary means going on a cruise, or taking an extended second honeymoon, a splurge of a night or two away, or at least a dinner out.  But what did we do?  We bought grass! (boring!)  And it’s not even the kind you smoke!  We bought grass not created by God, but made by man to withstand the inhospitable conditions of the subtropics.  And it started turning brown.

So, like any fool who wants to protect the investment in the lawn, I started watering it.  But all it did was make the unwatered part brown.  Just like when you only paint part of your house — all it does is show how much the rest needs it!

Unfortunately, this capital outlay and this “mobile brown spot” have resulted in my becoming obsessed with making sure our yard gets enough water.  Now, if I can manage to keep this from taking on the significance of being a metaphor for our marriage, I might be able to salvage what little sanity I have left.

Family Matters

I got a call from my mother-in-law during lunchtime asking if I had any crutches in my garage.  One of her brothers hurt his ankle and she’s trying to help him out.  Mom says, “with all the broken bones we’ve had in this family, there’s got to be a few pairs of crutches in someone’s garage!”

After I got off the phone with her, I reflected on this and saw some humor there.  When people get off crutches, do they really think, “I’m probably going to fall down the stairs in the next three months so I better hang on to these”?  Or, “my other kid is going to sprain his ankle so I ought to keep these.”

Every time I’ve been on crutches, I’ve wanted to get off them as fast as possible and find the nearest dumpster to throw them into.  Just in thinking about the injuries in our immediate family in the last twenty years, we’ve had a high ankle sprain, a ruptured achilles tendon, five broken arms, a couple of concussions, and a few other injuries that required medical attention.  My guess is that this is probably a higher than average frequency of injury, and yet, not once did we think, “we better hold on to those crutches — we’re going to need them again.”  Think about it — the odds of needing them again in the next six to twelve months are darn near astronomical!

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