Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ten Things I Think I Think (Thursday Edition)

1. My life is completely out of whack right now and I have no daily or weekly schedule. As we near the end of this Beeson experience, and look toward a move home, the kids being in school after Memorial Day has pretty much just put us into the Twilight Zone. So we're moving into our house Saturday, but we aren't coming home until June 1st. Just a strange, strange time. Couple that with Joseph and Marty having cleared out today, our Beeson friends moving out one-by-one, and a growing list of things to do in a church office in Lima and you get this weird mix of sadness mixed with excitement. That's where we are right now... in a limbo of sadness and excitement surrounded by cardboard boxes.

2. Last year in the NBA playoffs, every time Dwayne Wade touched the ball he got a foul call. Now, this year, LeBron is getting hammered virtually every time he touches the ball. So, how many times do you think he got to line tonight? 7 The officiating in the NBA, which has been horribly erratic all year, is now devolving into letting teams slug it out so that the teams that do the most mugging and commit the most felonies get to go to the finals. The result? In the end, you end up with basketball that's ugly to watch, while blog readers everywhere go "You mean, they're still playing basketball?" Very upsetting.

3. Spent three days this week in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with the Lairs, who used some passes they had (as season ticket holders) to treat us to a day at Dollywood. Now, right now, I know a lot of you out there are thinking, "How can a day at an amusement park named after a country singer who hasn't really been all that popular for twenty years be a treat?" Well, I must admit that I too was a skeptic, making snide comments at every opportunity leading up to our little excursion regarding Dolly Parton's prowess as an amusement park baron.

Well, let me say, publicly, that ol' Dolly, just like virtually every other business decision she's made, hit a home run by pairing up with whatever business partners came forward with the Dollywood idea. The place was clean, the workers friendly, and the opportunities for the kids numerous. Of course it was too crowded and the food was way overpriced (could have bought a case and half of coke for the price I paid for two large cups of that glorified sugar water), but overall, the Buchers agreed that we'd go to Dollywood again even if this time we had to pay to get in. And we're pretty cheap, so that's saying something.

Way to go Dolly... you knows what the people like.

4. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Lairs, and that's really saying something when you consider that between the two families we had eight kids (ages 10 months to 10 years) and we stayed at The Family Inn (Twin Malls location in Pigeon Forge). On a side note, if you like being lied to about the features of your room, an elevator that smells like an outhouse for a family of weasels, people at the front desk whose mantra is "I would love to help but I need to ask my manager first and she's not here", and a breakfast buffet that features Little Debbie cakes and chocolate milk, then by all means, call The Family Inn. They'll leave the light on for you (but it'll only be a 40 watt bulb, so bring a flashlight).

Anyhow, we could have stayed anywhere, really, and the kids couldn't have cared less. As long as they were together, that's all that mattered. They are going to miss one another very much come mid-June. And for all the Family Inn's faults, they did give us a rooms with lots of space... not very clean space, but space none-the-less. All-in-all, it was a nice time with good friends.

5. Immediately upon returning home Tuesday, I had to hop on the bike and head for Columbus for our annual clergy session (which is fancy talk for a "big meeting of all the pastors in our conference'). I'm not much for interstates, so Aimee chose a route for me - US 68 from Lexington to Maysville, and then US62 from Maysville to Columbus. On a sunny day in the high seventies, on roads that wove through the hills, along the Ohio River and up through a beautiful part of Ohio, I could not have asked for more. I even stopped in Aberdeen, Ohio at the Dairy Yum Yum and got a Boston Shake (chocolate shake in the bottom half of the glass, and a hot fudge Sundae on the top). I discovered this little known delicacy nine years ago upon taking a rather large, rambunctious group of middle school students to that part of the world to so some mission work. The church we stayed in was right down the street from the Dairy Yum Yum, and upon my discovery of Boston Shakes, my ranting and raving convinced one and all to make a daily Boston Shake apart of their ritual. Now, years later, after dreaming about one more Boston Shake but convinced I'd never be in Aberdeen again, I got one more shot (and about 11,000 calories) of glory.

Just goes to show, that as a child of the interstate, that I'm realizing that the whole two-lane highway thing has a charm all of its own. Particular on two-wheels (which are averaging 50 mpg), the experience of travel off the beaten path soothes the soul in a way very few other things can.

7. Upon arriving in Columbus I hooked up with a couple friends from college I hadn't seen in (I'm told) over ten years. Wayne Kintz, Steph Mills, and I caught up on what's been happening the last decade, laughed about old times, and talked about the need to get together with more of our old gang again soon. Our group of friends kind of found one another first semester of our freshman year, and never lost touch. As a matter of fact, Stephanie still sends out an updated "Gang List" where we get to see who had a kid, or who moved, or whatever over the last year. It's one of the things I look forward to seeing each Christmas. A great night catching up with old friends. I am a blessed man, indeed.

8. Our clergy session lasted all day Wednesday... I mean "all day". We had to be there early, and since apparently its time to do some sexual ethics training, we had to sit in a seminar on the subject for six hours, across the afternoon and into the evening. I understand the need for such things (for practical and legal reasons), but let me say this... I think if you attended a state university in the late 80's or early 90's, when Political Correctness rose up in full force on campuses across the country, you ought get some consideration for having received training in the past. I mean, back in the day, you could end up in front of the J-board at Miami is you were speaking disparaging of a member of the opposite gender in a private conversation overheard by someone else. You could get reprimanded as a guy if you held open a door for a woman. Papers not written in gender-inclusive language were immediately failed on the spot. To condone any sexist behavior was unthinkable, and frankly, the lessons have stuck with me. I was doing background checks on adults working with minors long before insurance companies required it as a part of a church's liability coverage. Thus, much (I'd say about 98%) of what was presented was just review. The two percent I'd never heard before related to brain imaging and neuro-pathway study that's been done on people while they were engaged in sexual activity (which was in and of itself, worth the price of admission). But if they had given us an exam before the presentation of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual misconduct, I'm sure I'd have passed. Such is the case thanks to Miami University. It seemed like a pain then, but to be honest, despite some of the stupidity that comes with PC thought and practice, it's probably saved me quite a bit more pain in the long run.

9. Today, my father-in-law donated the big metal butterfly sculpture that was in my late mother-in-law's "Butterfly Garden", to the Master Gardners of Allen County. The sculpture, as per Carol's wishes, will now become part of the "Children's Garden" located behind the Allen County Museum on West Market Street. She put hundreds and hundreds of hours into the children's garden, and I sense this sculpture will be a lasting testament to her efforts. Just another sad milestone that has had to have been made in our family since she passed away in January. I take comfort though, in knowing that every time now we go to the Children's Garden (which our boys love to visit), we can point out the butterfly, and in the midst of all those beautiful flowers, remember Carol's home garden, and her love.

10. And finally, if you are available Saturday morning from about 8:30am to Noon, we could use your help moving our stuff out of storage. I large and growing crowd will be assembling that morning, and we plan on feeding everyone before they go home. So if you don't have anything better to do, it'll be about as much fun as moving can be.... and, we promise, we'll hire someone to go get the grand piano so you don't have to. Just email me at if you can help, or would just like to come hang out with us. We'd love to have you.

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