Category Archives: Daily Life

Project 100 – Day 3 – Birch Logs

Birch logs for sale!

Birch logs for sale!

About a week ago, we noticed our water pressure had dropped considerably. I called the City water folks, and they came out to look at it.

“Ah, I see your problem,” the water guy told me. “This tree here has a big root under the water pipe, and it has pushed up and broken your water meter.”

After he managed to get a new meter in place, he warned me that it would break too. “These birch trees love water,” he chuckled as he drove away.

We decided to aggressively prune the tree in preparation for possibly removing it altogether. I was all set to throw away the ‘waste’, until some suggested it has value in the home decoration market. So we’re offering it for sale — who knows if anyone will buy it?

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Car Repairs — Project 100, Day 2

This Spring, David purchased a car from the specials at https//www.nissanofnewbraunfels.com/new-vehicles/new-vehicle-specials/. Such a great deal for David — a running car for a very cheap price. It has been a huge blessing to him, commuting to his job/school/cross-country practice. Unfortunately, one of David’s brothers borrowed the car, and rear-ended another vehicle (first rain in a long time, roads slick). The damage was considerable, and we don’t carry collision on David’s car.
his premier lot holds approximately 50 cars, his specialty is giving antique car value guides and is located on busy Highway 10 just west of hwy 169. Buyer can acquire the inventory or bring their own.

Seller wants to sell the Business along with the Property.

FACILITY: 3,900 SF building located on 3/4 acres of land next to a major Grocery store. State of the art components complement this car wash. The Enduro Class 115 ft. length tunnel system is a versatile system of choice according to the experts at Anago Cleaning Systems, delivering maximum cleaning power in a flexible soft cloth car wash system. The P.O.S. system and E-300 auto sales manager is a great fit for those who wish to add an additional profit center to an existing facility. Minimum maintenance and near zero downtime with the Belanger Wave Car Wash. Property tax is $10,522 for 2012.
Happily, David’s friend and youth leader is knowledgeable about cars and helped him replace the hood by going to a place where they could find parts for classic cars. David replaced the headlights himself! The car is nearly fixed. Hooray for David!

Dave the brave, car mechanic extraordinaire.

Dave the brave, car mechanic extraordinaire.

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Sarah Passed!! Project 100 – Day 1

On Thursday Sarah passed her driver’s ed driving test – the last step of her driver’s education program. Wow! Such joy and relief!! Sarah is an incredibly careful and cautious driver, and she gave great attention and time to the work for her class, spending hours on her homework and logging drive time. Can NOT believe my youngest is 16 and can get her license in 6 months!!! Proud of you, Sarah!!

Beautiful driver-to-be

Beautiful driver-to-be

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That’s Chief Petty Officer, to You!

When I was in elementary school, I suffered greatly from Middle Child Attention Deficit Disorder (MCADD). It was never diagnosed, but in hindsight, it seems clear that I had all the trademark symptoms:

  • A wildly-inflated view of my own importance in my family and in the world
  • A deeply selfish attitude toward my siblings and parents
  • A hair-trigger sensitivity to any perceived injustice
  • An insatiable desire for attention and privilege

A textbook case, as you can see. Of course, it was mostly my brother’s fault. Had he not been such a stalwart firstborn, oozing with virtue and a strong commitment to duty, perhaps my parents would not have been so entirely unprepared for a second-born who shared few (if any) of his brother’s character strengths.

When she could stand it no longer, my poor Mom would resort to sly sarcasm and insults.

Mom: “Have you considered a career in the Navy, Tim?”

This was odd, because our family (steeped in Army traditions) didn’t know much about the Navy except that they had strange-sounding ranks and presumably swabbed the decks a lot.

Me: “Not really, Mom. Why do you ask?”

I knew enough about my Mom’s slyness to be on guard.

Mom: “I was just thinking that some of the ranks might really appeal to you … “

Me: “Oh, really? Which ones? Admiral? Commodore? Commander?”

Mom: “No, I was thinking more in terms of ‘Petty Officer’.”

In our household, the word ‘petty’ was used to describe someone who was mean-spirited, small-minded, physically weak and cowardly, and in every way contemptible. Eustace Scrubb (from C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader) in his pre-Dragon days was the template for this word.

So whenever my Mom wanted to tease and needle me for my lack of virtue, she would designate me as ‘Petty Officer’ or even (shudder) ‘Chief Petty Officer’. Howls of outrage ensued.

Jump forward with me, across the mists of time, some 40 years. My older two sons both participated in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) program at a local high school, and David has decided to follow in their footsteps, these past 18 months.

David in his standard uniform, participating in a Military Order of the World Wars flag event.

David in his standard uniform, participating in a Military Order of the World Wars flag event.

Although he managed to distinguish himself early-on, receiving several quick promotions, there was a change in leadership in the program, and David found it difficult to gain the attention and favor of the new Commander, who also had no prior experience with David’s older brothers. Higher ranks tend to be awarded in direct proportion to the amount of time a student invests in the program, and David has been unable to spend very many extra hours at the school this year because (a) he doesn’t yet drive, and (b) the difficulty of his online classes through the Potter’s School.

And so he seemed to languish as an E-6, Petty Officer First Class, PO1. He went to the ‘boot camp’ 4-day exercise even though he was sick, and many of his peers were promoted, but not David. He waited for several months, yet each time merit promotions were awarded, David’s name was not on the list. It was a difficult time for him and for those of us who were watching.

Finally, I took David aside for some fatherly counsel. Since David is not a quitter, I felt free to explore some other options.

Me: “David, if the leadership of the program can’t see your obvious merit, maybe it is time for you to spend your time in a more profitable way.”

David: “Yeah, well, maybe you’re right … “

Me: “But … ?”

I could tell he was not yet ready to quit the program.

David: “If I can just get this next promotion, it would mean a lot to me.”

Me: “Why is that?”

David: “Well, if I can just get to the next rank, I can wear the SDBs.”

Suddenly it all became clear. Junior Navy enlisted uniforms are like most military uniforms the world around – they’re designed to be both uncomfortable and unattractive, and they succeed admirably. But the Service Dress Blues (SDBs), now, they are another story altogether. Even high school students look very sharp in SDBs, as we have noticed at previous Navy Balls attended by our older sons.

A couple of weeks ago, David came home with a uniform on a hanger and a wide smirk.

He always WAS a good lookin' kid.

He always WAS a good lookin’ kid.

“What’s that? Did you finally get promoted?”

I peered hopefully (and a little enviously) at the uniform on the hanger.

“Yep. These are my new SDBs,”

David waved the hanger gently in front of me. Light gleamed off the gold buttons, ribbons, medals and the sleek dark blue fabric. David’s patience had paid off in a big way.

I’m sure my Mom will be so proud – there is finally a Chief Petty Officer in the family.

Tim

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Back to the Grind

Today is the last day of my vacation from work — tomorrow I return to my ‘regular life’ of working for a living.

Already, David and Sarah are back at school, and Rachel and Daniel are working.

“But today is a Federal Holiday (Observed),” I complained to Sarah.

“Tell that to my Geometry teacher,” she rejoined, snappishly.

Apparently the Potters School is no respecter of Federal Holidays (Observed).

It has been a lovely vacation. I’ve been off since the 22nd of December, and have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to relax, watch Christmas movies, do some last-minute shopping, read books, and eat my way into a larger size shirt. Now, as I brace myself for my commute and the hurly-burly of a new work year starting, I am grateful for so many things.

  • I’m grateful for a God who loves me and who has saved me from my sin.
  • I’m grateful for a family who love each other and know how to have a lot of fun.
  • I’m grateful for many delightful Christmas presents, given and received.
  • I’m grateful that my employer is so generous with vacation time.
  • I’m grateful for a warm and comfortable home.
  • I’m grateful for a wife who loves me and makes my life fun.
We've had a few snowy days -- not enough to close the roads, but enough to make me grateful for the train.

We’ve had a few snowy days — not enough to close the roads, but enough to make me grateful for the train.

Even my ‘normal’ working life is pretty good, though it can’t compare with vacation-life. My job is not grueling, and I am permitted to work from home several days a week. Still, it is sometimes hard to gather the strength to face a new year, with all its ministry opportunities and difficulties. I guess this is right where God wants me, though — dependent on Him for my strength and joy.

Tim

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