After twelve years of living in Jacksonville and serving the Lord at Providence Extension Program and Ortega Presbyterian Church, Amy and I are starting on a new adventure.We are moving to Houston, where I have been called as an Associate Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church. So far, they have already lined up many preaching and teaching opportunities for me. We are excited about beginning this new chapter in our lives, but we have made many dear friends here, and have had the privilege of being involved in the lives of many students, parents, teachers, and church members. We’re looking forward to serving the congregation at Covenant. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write and post on a more regular basis while serving in this next calling.
I vaguely remember receiving an email telling me that my domain was about to expire. Thinking that I had already broken numerous agreements with myself to work on writing, revision, and publishing, I agreed to renew the domain. Of course, those unfulfilled commitments continued to haunt me. However, a few things have changed over the last couple of months that have spurred me on to at least publish a couple of entries.
The first was that my sister passed away. On May 16, my sister, Cathy Walker, entered her heavenly reward. My family and I cared for her for the last year-and-a-half of her life while she suffered from end stage cancer. Much of this time she was in our home. She was positive, upbeat, encouraging, and faithful to her Lord right up until the end, and was an inspiration to all of us who knew her. Even with all of these gifts that she provided, it’s still physically, mentally, and emotionally draining to care for a terminally ill patient, and this labor of love took its toll on all of us.
The second was that I was carrying an enormous teaching load, even by my standards. Four tenth grade humanities sections, two eleventh grade composition and literature sections, two Latin I sections, two Latin II sections, one Latin III sections, and one night grade US History section. This coming school year, I’ll have a similar number of sections, but only four preps.
The third was that my wife and I, along with my mother-in-law, were in a devastating car accident on June 26. Seeing the photos, it would be difficult to believe that all of us came away with no permanent impairments. However, I have some broken ribs and am generally pretty sore.
The sheer boredom of sitting around rekindled my desire to write more. I’m faced with looking around my house and my innumerable books on writing. Paraphrasing the words of Roxanne Gay, author of Bad Feminist, it’s like being “beyond Lane Bryant fat” and having a closet full of size 2 clothes; a monument to ambition and shame. While I realize that such feelings don’t generally produce motivation to persevere in any long-term behavior, I must acknowledge them, even it it’s to rechannel them into both a realization that I get paid for teaching rather than writing, and that there is no shame in using my verbal capacity on my feet instead of on the page.
We woke up to a morning of relative quiet on the front. The varmints are under siege. Their days are numbered. They will either die in our attic from poison or being caught in a trap, or they will die after breaking out.
We found out yesterday that we really dodged a bullet here. It turns out that squirrels will try to chew through PVC water pipes in search of water, gnaw through electric wires, and chew up your insulation. We have gotten to them before any of these things happened. This could have been quite an ordeal, not to mention a serious financial setback. If we manage to come out of this war relatively unscathed, we will consider ourselves greatly blessed as we consider what might have been.
We have implemented a new strategy in the defense of Half Baked Manor. We called in the cavalry to kill the enemy and destroy him. Jeff from Absolute Animal Control (sounds like music to my ears!) set traps up in the attic to capture the enemy. He sighted two large squirrels — perhaps a male and a female who had moved in to start a family. So far, defense appropriations have hit the $50 mark. However, there’s more to come. We will need to seal up the eaves of our roof to secure the perimeter so we don’t have a repeat engagement. I’ll keep you posted.
We had an enemy sighting yesterday. We spotted a large squirrel foraging for food where the tortilla chips used to be in the garage. Once sighted, he immediately scampered back up into the attic through the space that used to be covered by drywall.
Yesterday, the Missus spoke to one of our co-workers to gain intelligence on our enemy. Our co-worker reported that she once had a similar problem and resorted to a critter getter. At the cost of $100, she said it was “worth every penny.”
Not only does it appear that we may need to bring in the reinforcements, but we may need to do some infrastructure repairs in putting new drywall on the ceiling in our garage. Defense appropriations will be increased at Half Baked Manor, as we must keep the manor safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic, man and beast.
A couple of days ago, I posted about the “Early To Rise” Challenge. I did not rise early today, unless you call between 7:30 and 8:00 am “rising early.” So now, I can tell you what not to do:
1. The night before you will attempt to rise early, sit in positions that bad for your posture so that your back is sore when you lie down to go to sleep.
2. Stay up late. Make sure you don’t get to bed until at least 11:30 or 12:00
3. Waste the extra hours that you stayed up. Go through your RSS feeds . . . slowly. Alternate between checking Facebook, ESPN, ESPN soccernet, and EPL transfer rumors (note: EPL transfer rumors generally have no factual basis whatsoever). Check your Amazon seller account every five minutes for new sales. Wash rinse, repeat for two hours. Don’t read a book or do anything that may even be slightly construed as productive.
4. Eat. Ignore the fact that your body is 99 percent lard already and that today’s calorie expenditure has been roughly 50 calories more than if you had slept for the past 24 hours. Eat lots of snacks. You can even eat “healthy snacks” like I did — black bean chips, peanut butter bars. These “healthy snacks” will still give you the same caloric intake as a bag of potato chips and a couple of candy bars. Just make sure you add another 600-800 calories to an already bloated diet.
5. Tell yourself, “I deserve to sleep in for all of this!”
The war against Mr. Mouse is escalating. He has gone on another food raid. Casualties today were two bags of tortilla chips. So far, the tally is Mr. Mouse 3, Half Baked Manor 0. We are in the “bend but don’t break” mode right now. We will come out of this victorious, but right now, he has the upper hand.
We may have miscalculated the makeup of our enemy. We are hearing sounds in the attic of being larger than mice. It could be that we have a family of squirrels as boarders. In this case, the mouse traps will be completely insufficient. We will need to devise another approach. It’s time to do some research before we given in to the temptation to call “Critter Gitter.” However, one way or another, we will conquer our enemy!
The war against Mr. Mouse is status quo. It looks like we may have a protracted standoff. similar to the “phony war” following the beginning of hostilities in the First World War. However, we’re dug in and ready to fight! It’s also possible that our foe has relocated. The residents of Half Baked Manor would view this as a favorable outcome, although it lacks the thrill of victory!
Today was a full day of teaching. I went from postmodern philosophy (seniors) to America’s founding documents (juniors) to the Gettysburg Address as the classic ceremonial speech (rhetoric) to Plato’s theory of knowledge (sophomores) to fourth conjugation Latin verbs (first year Latin) to the present passive subjunctive (second year Latin). You can say that there’s alot of variety in my teaching day! This is pretty typical and it keeps me sharp. This was followed by watching the 1-1 draw of our Tottenham Hotspur vs. the Norwich City Canaries with my son. Canaries, huh? Anyway, I gotta hand it to them. They did play a tough game and Spurs were fortunate to earn the draw. The goal by Gareth Bale was something to behold. Lewis Holtby is already looking like an excellent addition.
Tonight, I’m adding books to my Amazon inventory. Check out “Amy’s Bookshop” on Amazon if you want to browse the shelves. It’s very difficult for me to part with books. However, my shelf space has been greatly reduced since we moved south six years ago, I’m not getting any younger, and I’m looking to free myself from bondage to “stuff” and restart this microbusiness again. My family and I have committed to going to Colorado this summer and I will need to raise the cash in order to continue to meet our financial goal of staying out of debt.