It’s Like the Gospel

Last Friday, I lost my wedding ring (as well as a watch I’ve been very fond of since T-bird gave it to me before we were married), at the park where I play ultimate (frisbee). Instead of showering and changing afterwards, I worked sweaty for a little bit before picking up the boys from school, and heading home. Through the weekend, as I couldn’t find my ring in any of the usual or potential places, I began to worry. On Monday, I called the security office at work, and nobody had turned it in.The community center at the park was closed (President’s Day), but I went to the park, searched my path, and posted some signs. Tuesday, the community center was open, but the office was empty.  I saw a bulletin board in the office with other Lost&Found notices, but nothing about my ring.

By Wednesday, I had given up hope. I had used Google Maps Street View to find the jeweler who had made the ring (based on my memory of its proximity to Edinburgh Castle, from T’s & my vacation Easter 2000), gotten from there to the jeweler’s website, and resigned myself to paying around £500-1000 for a perfect replacement. Wednesday I didn’t even try to call the park, because I was busy, and I had given up.

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Dare to be a Nathan

Last Sunday, I came into possession of a note with the distinctively good penmanship of my #1. Upon opening it, I found a clever little poem that ended with a sentiment something like “…you are sick in bed/the world would be better without your big fat head”.

Turns out he had written that note for a girl in his Sunday School class (actually, one of Pooka‘s daughters). Strangely, this was a mere hour after an excellent sermon from visiting preacher John Fesko on Psalm 41, in particular verse 5:

My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”

So when we are home for lunch on Sunday afternoons, we try to remember to take some time to go over the boys’ copywork or notes. #3 read his verse, #2 read his verses, and then it was #1’s turn to review his notes. He demonstrated a solid understanding of the sermon, especially when I asked him at the end, “What about this verse 5, where he is on his sickbed and his enemies are wishing he would just die?” He responded, “if those were my enemies and they were wishing I was dead, I would probably just despair and die.”

And so the timing is perfect to spring the trap, 2 Sam 12-style. “Why don’t you tell us about this note?” I pulled it out of my shirt pocket and handed it over. With just a glance at it, he turned ashen, “Where did you get this?”

And so we dealt with it, including reinforcing Fesko’s great point that we tend to want to read ourselves into passages like Psalm 41 as the beleaguered victims, those who deserve to be upheld because of our integrity (Ps 41:12), but it is more appropriate to cast ourselves as the enemies, those who betray Christ like Judas (see John 13:18 for the fulfillment of Ps 41:9).

Light the Night

So the event we’ve been training for all fall has finally come and gone. All of our bodies traveled a distance of 5k (3.12 miles); can you guess who was not transported under his own power?

Father’s Day

The Cambridge School has really fun crafts and programs for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This year for father’s day I got handmade portfolios with art and father-themed writing exercises, and I thought I’d share them with you. From #1, a wonderful illuminated cover, and two essays:

I love the sunset “F” and Alligator-eating-a-frog “A”. Note how the “PP” is an illustration of the beach essay. And note also the impeccable handwriting (and logic: “To be a dad, first you must have a child”)!

From #2, an 8-page booklet with a portrait on the cover:

As you can tell from the portrait, I love chocolate (a fact which is not reflected in my weight). #2 realizes that, even if he could give me 10,000 books, I’d only have time to listen to them on .mp3. And I love the distress-lines around the eyes, as he remembers me on the couch with my foot propped up on a pillow after I got 8 stitches in my sole. The word-bubble is hard to read, but it says “Oh, I hope dad’s foot gets better.”

Depravity

#1 is keeping up with the 1-year bible-reading plan, and lately he’s been in Exodus. Which caused him to ask me the other day, “Why would anybody want to have sexual relations with an animal?” A braver parent might have tried to answer the question, or at least find out what concept a 9-year old might have of sexual relations. I punted, “Why would anybody want to pass their children through fire and sacrifice them to idols? There’s a lot of depraved things people do.”

What would you have said?

CA State Spice Certification Board

Some families lie to their kids about Santa Claus (we have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy), but we have our own elaborate fiction about the California State Spice Certification Board. T-bird and I really like spicy food: Mexican, Thai, hot wings, tabasco, cholula, etc. This makes it tough to cook for a family that includes small boys that have not yet manned up to the good stuff. So we’re always “encouraging” the boys to step up to the plate and try some spicy food, with a glass of milk on standby.

One day, on a whim, I told #1 (who was lagging behind his younger brothers in bravery) that he needed to gradually build up his ability to eat spicy foods, because there’s a requirement for continued residency in the state of California. At age 18, all citizens of California must report to the Spice Board and eat a jalapeno pepper. Generally, #1 is a pretty smart kid, so I have no idea why he bought this line of horsefeathers I was slinging, but buy it he did, and that gradually led to a slew of questions that built my original fib into an intricate fabrication that rivals any family’s attempts to prop up the reality of Santa.

So by this point, here is what we know: The Spice Board has a special room for eaters, with tables and chairs, and monitored by security cameras (so nobody can fake it and not eat the pepper). You have to eat one whole pepper (but not the stem), it can be fresh or pickled (your choice), the pepper will be of “average” size (to within Spice Board specifications), you have 24 hours to complete the task, you can’t drink milk, or bring extra foods like bread or chips, but they supply as much water as you need. If you have some kind of medical condition that precludes you eating spicy food, you can be exempted from the requirement with a doctor’s note. The  requirement is in place because of our proximity to Mexico (for similar reasons we have signs and forms in Spanish all over the place).Without the certificate, you cannot be a California resident, which means higher tuition at State schools, as well as difficulty getting license plates and such. If you can’t get Spice Certified, you should probably consider moving to Michigan.

Subtraction

So the other day, #2 was doing a math worksheet for fun (yeah, for fun! I wonder where he gets it)! He asked me, “Hey Daddy, what’s 6 minus 5?” I asked him,

“If you had six candies, and then I took five of them away, how many would you have left?”

“Six?”

“No, six is what you had in the beginning, before I took five away! Go get six coins from my coin cup”

“OK, so now you have six coins, and I take away one, two, three,…”

“Oh, it’s one!”

The next day, in the car after school, I hear #2 from the back,

“What’s 8 minus 6?”

“Why don’t you figure it out?”

A little time goes by, and then I hear him say,

“I need six more pencils.”

“Why, how many do you have?”

“Two.”