Category Archives: friends

My 48 Hours

Last Thursday, while I was still at work, T– took the kids to Wichita to spend some time with her family there. The plan was to stay through a big birthday party Saturday evening, then drive home late Saturday night.

I intended, as I often do on these occasions, to take advantage of the peace and quiet to get some good work done. Mainly I had some computer stuff I wanted to do — reviewing a blog for a new friend, getting caught up on my own blogging after a busy few weeks, and putting together some notes on a new project I’m working on (the Consortium). I figured I’d do a little lawn and house work, too, since our property got hit pretty hard with last week’s apocalyptic hailstorm.

Anyway, when I got home from work to an empty house Thursday afternoon, the first thing I did was make a To Do list. (I estimated roughly that each item in the “Must Do” list should represent about 90 minutes of work).

  • Must Do
    • Thursday night
      • Write Sun/Mon/Tue blog posts for next week
      • Prepare newsletter for Saturday
    • Friday morning
      • Mow the lawn
      • Clean out the gutters
    • Friday afternoon
      • Write Thu/Fri/Sat blog posts for next week
      • Set up blog review spreadsheet on GDocs
    • Friday night
      • Review Julie’s blog posts
      • Review Julie’s blog posts
    • Saturday morning
      • Chainsaw some trees
      • Paint hall and bathrooms
    • Saturday afternoon
      • Review Julie’s blog posts
      • Review Julie’s blog posts
    • Saturday night
      • Edit and link next week’s blog posts
      • Prepare next Saturday’s newsletter
    • Sunday afternoon
      • Email Julie about the Consortium
      • Complete detailed descriptions of the Consortium in Wave
    • Sunday night
      • Write Sun/Mon/Tues blog posts for next week
      • Outline blog posts for June
  • Remember to Eat!
    • Lunch with D– (discuss Consortium as non-profit)
    • Dinner with K– and N– (discuss Consortium network/software)
    • Lunch with Courtney (recruit her to the Consortium)
    • Dinner with B– (discuss Consortium business plan)
  • Extra Credit (if I have free time)
    • Recruit Carlos to the Consortium
    • Social Writing
    • Help Toby program BookMaker utility
    • Get in touch with Doolin
    • Email Julie about blog review
    • Get Courtney her photos (from a Julie V shoot)
    • Design novel template in GDocs
    • Scan many things
    • Edit/link guest posts for Doolin
    • Make chapters for Carlos’s e-Book
    • Review Carlos’s other support requests
    • Call OU Admissions department
    • Email Shawn about the Consortium
    • Finish Ivanhoe
    • Email Courtney about her blog
    • Contact Schwinn customer support
    • Lowe’s run
    • Fix exterior lights
    • Drop seed, weed killer, and fertilizer on lawn
    • Clean out garage work area
    • Put some stuff in the attic
    • Convert Becca’s and Bryce’s books to e-Book format
    • Read Becca’s and Bryce’s books
    • Check out Courtney’s new WIP on GDocs
    • Write Thursday’s Creative Copy Challenge post
    • Reply to many comments on my blog and Doolin’s

Those were my 48 items in 48 hours (I mentioned them on Facebook). And…well, technically four of those items were scheduled for Sunday, but I’d have my whole family home on Sunday so I figured I’d need to get much of that done in advance.

Of course, I ended up adding to the list before I was done.

  • Added since Thursday afternoon (all extra credit)
    • Email Courtney about new photo policy at my blog
    • Update About Page photos in color
    • Clean up storm detritus on driveway, porch, and sidewalks
    • Replace shattered plastic house numbers over garage
    • Pick up a birthday gift for K–
    • Fix fallen A/C register and attach headboard to bedframe
    • Murder weeds growing in driveway, porch, and sidewalks
    • Patch busted wood trim around bathroom door
    • Caulk floor joints both bathroom
    • Organize tool chest drawers
    • Wash and put away three loads of laundry
    • Paint over garage hail damage
    • Take out the trash
    • Do the dishes
    • Email Cindy about the Consortium as a non-profit

And I made time for my 4.5-mile jog every morning, because with all that cerebral work going on, I needed some physical exertion to balance it out.

The problem, it turned out, was that 45 minutes jogging wasn’t close to enough time to balance it out. I got started working on the lawn Friday morning, and found myself still working outside when it came time to go to dinner Friday night. Woke up Saturday, went for my jog, and figured since I was going to have to shower anyway, I should do a thing or two outside first.

By the end of the day Saturday (my forty-eight hours), I’d spent about fourteen hours sleeping, eight hours at business/social meals, and a hair over an hour (total) sitting at my computer. The other twenty-five hours I spent toiling — repairing my house, cleaning, or working in the yard. And none of that was by choice or priority — it just sort of happened. I was driven.

When everything was said and done, by the time I went to bed Sunday night, I’d completed 34 of the 62 items on my To Do list, including just half of the “Must Do” items. The finished list looked like this:

  • Must Do
    • Thursday night
      • Write Sun/Mon/Tue blog posts for next week
      • Prepare newsletter for Saturday
    • Friday morning
      • Mow the lawn
      • Clean out the gutters
    • Friday afternoon
      • Write Thu/Fri/Sat blog posts for next week
      • Set up blog review spreadsheet on GDocs
    • Friday night
      • Read Julie’s blog posts
      • Read Julie’s blog posts
    • Saturday morning
      • Chainsaw some trees
      • Paint hall and bathrooms
    • Saturday afternoon
      • Read Julie’s blog posts
      • Read Julie’s blog posts
    • Saturday night
      • Edit and link next week’s blog posts
      • Prepare next Saturday’s newsletter
    • Sunday afternoon
      • Email Julie about the Consortium
      • Complete detailed descriptions of the Consortium in Wave
    • Sunday night
      • Write Sun/Mon/Tues blog posts for next week
      • Outline blog posts for June
  • Remember to Eat!
    • Lunch with Dan (discuss Consortium as non-profit)
    • Dinner with Austins (discuss Consortium network/software)
    • Lunch with Courtney (recruit her to the Consortium)
    • Dinner with Bruce (discuss Consortium business plan)
  • Extra Credit (if I have free time)
    • Recruit Carlos to the Consortium
    • Social Writing
    • Help Toby program BookMaker utility
    • Get in touch with Doolin
    • Email Julie about blog review
    • Get Courtney her photos (from a Julie V shoot)
    • Design novel template in GDocs
    • Scan many things
    • Edit/Link guest posts for Doolin
    • Make chapters for Carlos’s e-Book
    • Review Carlos’s other support requests
    • Call OU Admissions department
    • Email Shawn about the Consortium
    • Finish Ivanhoe
    • Email Courtney about her blog
    • Contact Schwinn customer support
    • Lowe’s run
    • Fix exterior lights
    • Drop seed, weed killer, and fertilizer on lawn
    • Clean out garage work area
    • Put some stuff in the attic
    • Convert Becca’s and Bryce’s books to e-Book format
    • Read Becca’s and Bryce’s books
    • Check out Courtney’s new WIP on GDocs
    • Write Thursday’s Creative Copy Challenge post
    • Reply to many comments on my blog and Doolin’s
    • Email Courtney about new photo policy at my blog
    • Update About Page photos in color
    • Clean up storm detritus on driveway, porch, and sidewalks
    • Replace shattered plastic house numbers over garage
    • Pick up a birthday gift for Kris
    • Fix fallen A/C register and attach headboard to bedframe
    • Murder weeds growing in driveway, porch, and sidewalks
    • Patch busted wood trim around bathroom door
    • Caulk floor joints both bathroom
    • Organize tool chest drawers
    • Wash and put away three loads of laundry
    • Paint over garage hail damage
    • Take out the trash
    • Do the dishes
    • Email Cindy about the Consortium as a non-profit

Journal Entry: November 2009

I survived.

I’m tempted to make those two words my whole journal entry, but so much happened in November that I don’t want to forget. And so much happened in November that I’m going to forget it.

Even this post won’t get it all, but I want to grab the highlights.

I started the month with a NaNoWriMo kickoff party at IHOP with my writing group, and that actually is documented already. I’ve also talked a little bit about my NaNoWriMo progress, and my class sessions. I’ll do another post with a post mortem for NaNoWriMo, but here I wanted to talk about what else I did.

I finished a major manuscript for work on the 5th, and that freed up some of my attention and some of my creative energy, so I finally really got started writing on the 6th. I had a birthday lunch at P. F. Chang’s on the 8th, and then a holiday (Veteran’s Day) on the 11th that gave me a pretty easy work week, and a good opportunity to get caught up on my word count again. Then Saturday the 14th I had a great opportunity to get behind again.

Probably the big event of November (for me), T– threw a big birthday party for my 30th, inviting my mom and dad, and all my friends. D–, of course, B– and E–, K– and N–, my little sister and her family, as well as Courtney and Ed (who were a real hit). T– had everyone bring a bottle of wine, which was quite a treat, and she grilled up ribs for us as the main dish in a pretty extensive (and delicious) spread. We chatted and played Rock Band, and had a great time. Shawn and Liz showed up after most of the other guests had left, but stuck around to watch UHF with the Cantrells and me. That was fun. The whole night was incredible.

In WoW news, I got my Hunter to 80 (which marks the first time I’ve had a Hunter at the level cap). I also started a pair of Horde characters on Shawn’s server, so I can chat with him from time to time. He’s popped in on Dark Iron a time or two, too, and that’s been fun.

I had a conversation with T–, and a conversation with my writing group, and a conversation with my dad over the phone on a drive home from work, and the end result of all that is that I’m finally going to try to get some treatment for my social anxiety. That’s not really something I want to talk about in detail in this post, but it happened in November. So there you go.

Then last week was Thanksgiving week (which is always drama, and NaNoWriMo brings its own demons). T– headed up to Wichita early, on Tuesday afternoon, and I had dinner with D– at a new Mexican place downtown (Iguana Grill, and it’s awesome), then went by Bruce’s to borrow his ladder and ended up spending an hour and a half chatting with him, then went home and got started on Christmas preparations instead of going to bed.

I wanted to have the tree up (and ready for decoration) by the time T– came home from Wichita. I decided to get all the decorations down from the attic, too, and somewhere in there I decided I should hang Christmas lights outside. Wal-Mart had LED lights at a reasonable price, so I picked up 8 strings and spent Wednesday afternoon crawling around on the roof of the house, getting everything set up. It proved to be more work than I anticipated, but the end result is stunning. (I’m sure T– will have a photo up on her blog eventually.)

I’d barely gotten off the roof when D– showed up to take me down to Chicasha to pick up his grandma, and then we all headed to Wichita. With that extra trip, a two-and-a-half-hour drive became something perilously close to five, but I spent most of it sleeping in the back seat, so who’s complaining.

Then Thanksgiving was four straight days of Charboneaus. That’s an amazing family, and they really know how to have a good time when they get together. T– brought my XBox and Rock Band, and that was incredibly popular. The food was incredible. The Cowboys won convincingly, and then a disappointing Sooners team showed up on Saturday and totally shut out OSU in the Bedlam game, so that was pretty satisfying.

We got home Sunday afternoon, and as we turned the corner onto our street, AB called from the back seat, “Ooh, the house is ready for Christmas!” T–, of course, was thrilled. After watching her parents get all their Christmas decorations done Friday morning, she’d been left wondering when we could even get around to it, and here it was all ready for her.

AB couldn’t wait to get started, and she and her mom got the tree all decorated before bedtime.

Then yesterday was the 30th, the end of my wonderful, grueling November, and I capped it with a write-in at Courtney’s. We both made our official submissions to the NaNoWriMo website around 11:00, validated our winning word counts, and then stayed up far too late talking. All too often, in the midst of a conversation about this or that, one or the other of us would trail off, staring away into space, and then just say quietly, “I can’t believe it’s over.”

It’s over. And I survived.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Vanity Plate

I talked about it a lot back when it happened, but I don’t think I ever posted any of the photos Julie took when she came up to do the maternity shoot for Trish.

I asked her to get a couple of me for profile pics, and this is the one I’m using now.


Thanks again to Julie for her great work. She’s said she wants to take another run at it, and that sounds like a blast. Until then, though, I’m perfectly happy with the work she did.

The Golden Age (a poem)

“She’s got a rule. She never dates her friends.”
“I know,” he said. “I really hate that rule….”

She keeps it, though, and she is all alone.
Alone at home, at work when it gets bad.
There’s trouble in the air, has been for years,
Then something breaks one quiet afternoon
At a presidential speech.
A kid is killed, and soon it’s on the news
And riots follow, cities start to burn.
There’s soldiers in the streets, and all too soon
There’s bombs.
And she is all alone.

She goes back to a place she once called home,
To friends who all among them made her world
And quietly they watch this world burn down.
All huddled up, squeezed tight on that sad couch
In his tiny apartment, second floor,
And wonder what the future holds in store.

For days it’s dazed and frightened disbelief.
At night their only light is CNN.
Then Dave hears that his boss has got a plan
The governor needs him to craft a speech
A bold address to set the city right
And bring back hope and reason, end the fight.
They go — these four, these friends, these college buds.
They’re kids, but they’ve been called to save the world
And only one has doubts — in that, she’s all alone.

More bombs in store, more death than they could guess
But through it all, he holds them to the course.
He’s brave for her — he saves the day for her —
But in the end they all are heroes true.
Here in the quiet Heartland, they wake up.
They face a dragon, slay a villain dark,
And live storybook lives in too-real life.

But then it’s done. It’s done, and they’re all safe,
But her mother back home is so afraid.
Her dad is, too, and asks her to come back.
To leave her friends, and come back to her home.
And hero though he is, her friend, she’s got a rule.
So she goes home, to grander stories yet….

And she is all alone.

Journal Entry: October 30, 2009

I’m not going to pretend any of you are surprised at the lack of updates. I’m also not going to pretend there will be any rectification of that issue in the next thirty-one days. NaNoWriMo is here, and it gets my words. What I have to spare will end up in emails and FaceBook Discussion Board posts encouraging my other writers to stick with it.

That’s what I’ve been busy with in the recent bloggish doldrums. Two years ago when I decided to bully Dad and Heather into writing their books, I put together a prewriting curriculum for them, and I’ve used some of those exercises with a couple other people since, but I never really nailed them down.

I’ve spent much of the last two weeks getting them sorted out, cleaned up, and properly annotated (the exercises are now two-parters: lessons on topics in story design, paired with specific assignments).

I also went through all the exercises and did them for my own NaNoWriMo project, to set a good example, but I ended up having to switch projects right in the middle of all that, so it was a real mess. As of yesterday I’m all done, though, and ready to get to work.

Of course, I’ve been playing a lot of WoW, and we’ve had several opportunities to get a whole group together, whether it was D– and me and the brothers-in-law, or Mom and Dad and a nephew, we’ve had a lot of fun.

The kids are doing well, and T– (as always) is a phenomenal wife and mother. It’s amazing how much she gets accomplished, on so little sleep….

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 19, 2009

Last Saturday was the big Charboneau family birthdays party for everyone with a birthday in October, and T– felt the itch to be a part of that, so she ended up packing up the kids Friday morning and heading to Wichita. That left me with a weekend of bachelor freedom. I mostly spent it practicing poor sleeping and eating habits.

I did get my lesson plan for next week done on Friday, and yesterday I took care of some stuff around the house, but apart from that it was movies, football, and lots of WoW. Amazingly relaxing, but before it was over I was really missing my family.

Friday night I was home alone, Saturday I went over to K– and N–‘s for lunch and the OU/Texas game. Lunch was some incredible cheeseburgers K– grilled. Then while I was there K– offered to help me track down an electrical problem I’d been having with my car, but that sort of tracked itself down as soon as I popped the hood and we saw the mountain of corrosion sitting on my battery’s positive terminal. So we cleaned that off, and I haven’t had any problems since.

I got home from Edmond in time for D– to pick me up for dinner at Belle Isle, then we went back to the house and played WoW until 3:30. We also watched a bunch of unwholesome movies, which was pretty fun.

Sunday D– and I went to lunch with my sister’s family up in Edmond, then came back to the house for more WoW (although, as I said, I also got some stuff accomplished). I had to call it a night a little bit earlier, so as to make it in to work this morning, but it was still a pretty similar night to the one before.

And now my family’s home safe, and I’m looking forward to seeing them tonight.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 14, 2009

No, there is too much. Let me sum up….

It’s terribly frustrating to me that, as times get more and more interesting, I write less and less about it on my blog. That’s been true of every NaNoWriMo I’ve been through (and how many birthday parties and Thanksgivings have been lost because of it?), and it’s been true of both of my babies.

Admittedly, XP isn’t doing anything terribly newsworthy. He’s adorable, but that doesn’t make for great plain-text updates. It’s a shame, though, that when I look back at now three years from now, I won’t have a very detailed record of the semester I decided to work full time and teach a college course while participating in two different writer’s groups, having a new baby, and maintaining a 30-hour-per-week WoW habit. Oh, and writing. A little bit.

It’s not going to get any better, either, because in the midst of all that, a NaNoWriMo is looming. All I’ll have to look back on are these occasional complaints, and a word count ticker. I guess that’s something….

Anyway, I’ve spent the last two weeks with “blog journal” as the longstanding not-marked-out item on my rolling Post-It Note To Do list, and I decided to shed the guilt and stress of that unwritten post getting longer and longer, and just write a quick post about yesterday.

I made that decision three days ago. And here we are.

There’s been lots worth mentioning in the recent past, but the most exciting among them is probably B–‘s new job and the party that went with it. That’s more than a week ago, though, so it’s lost to history. Last Friday night AB spent the evening with Diana, so T– and I could have a date night. We went to Texas Roadhouse and then watched some TV. It was awesome.

On Saturday D– and I went over to B– and E–‘s, because he had missed the previous weekend’s party with some vile disease. Conversation and martinis, and about seven minutes of The Empire Strikes Back with RiffTrax.

Sunday the Cowboys barely beat the miserable Chiefs, and that gave us our first winning weekend of the season — or at least the first one where I got to watch both games. It was exhilarating.

Monday was Columbus Day, which is actually a holiday for people like me, so I went to the Science Museum with T– and the kids, then spent the afternoon preparing materials for my class.

Yesterday I woke up sick, but I went to work anyway. I did end up canceling my class, though, which gives the students a full week off because Thursday is Fall Break. Wasn’t the flu, though — I was better by bedtime. And today I’m back at work.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Sad Little Cloud (a poem)

In perfect honesty there have been times
When I wanted to say, “That’s it! I’m done.”
Too tired, too exhausted by your grief,
And suffering in the shadow of your pain.
You’ve hurt, and yes I know that hurt was real
(And no, my happy life cannot compare)
But all your misery is wasted time —
A gift to grief, withheld from those you love.
You’re so much more than tragedy.

You’ve never known a perfect life at home —
No gentle father-man to wrap you up,
No shining beacon Mom, so pure and true,
No happy Christmas photo family.
And then, your spirit’s been betrayed by flesh —
When your own mind became the enemy,
When reason could not conquer cruel thoughts,
When friends and lovers could not understand.
You’re so much more than tragedy.

I’ve seen you try and try to prove that true —
To live a normal life, to make it work
When whispered voices swear it’s wasted time.
“You’ll never live the picture postcard life.”
They’re right. But don’t believe the worst of it.
You’re destined to far more than normal gives.
I’ve seen you shine, seen miracles firsthand
But you lament the things you cannot do.
You’re so much more than tragedy.

I know you want perfection and no less.
I know you’ve tasted bitter, cruel fate.
I know you’ve lost more dearly than you’ve made.
I know how hard you work so you won’t cry.
But people fall in love with this sad cloud.
They gather to your dark like moths to flame.
Not for the shade, but for the light you hide —
Deprive to those who’d give their lives to you.
You’re so much more than tragedy.

Be more. Be more. And every day be more.
Find paths that bring you out into the light,
Find dreams that make you smile, that make you hope,
Find friends who cheer, and tales that tell you truth.
And look for truth — for happy truth no less.
Look for the shinning light that draws them in,
Look for the you that made me write this verse,
And get to know that person like I do.
You’re so much more than tragedy.
Believe.

Journal Entry: September 28, 2009

Wednesday
Wednesday after work we met K– and N– at Johnny’s Charcoal Broiler — carrying on a tradition started the first time T– took AB to church, and we ate there for lunch. The food was delicious, of course, and it was a fun time getting together with friends.

Afterward, everybody but K– and me walked over to church for Wednesday night classes. K– came over to my place to help me with T–‘s broken computer. He had a hard drive caddy handy, with connections for all manner of hard drive, and in no time at all he had the data from T–‘s laptop copied over to mine. That solved the biggest of T–‘s fears (lost photos and work documents), but of course the laptop was still broken.

After church the family came back home, and we spent the evening watching TV while I played WoW.

Thursday
Thursday I had to prepare a tutorial/lecture for my students, and I spent a significant chunk of time after work reviewing it and getting it posted to the website. I also spent much of the day (and evening) reviewing the students’ submissions for the first document packet, and fielding questions from them (by email, of course).

Karla made us some incredible quesadillas for dinner. D– came over for that, and to play some WoW with me, but mostly to pick up T–‘s dead computer and take it home with him. He spent the evening getting it resurrected (with the help of a spare hard drive he had sitting around, which probably saved me a hundred bucks), and getting the OS back on it.

Apart from that, Thursday night was more TV, and more WoW. We chilled, and caught our breath.

Friday
Friday I met Toby for lunch, and we discussed (among other things) a document conversion project I’ve got to get done for work. He had volunteered to help with that when they came to visit at the hospital, and this was my first opportunity to provide him with more detailed information. He sounded optimistic that he could get it done, and we made arrangements to meet at his place Sunday evening.

Then in the afternoon I got home from work a little bit early, so I was there when D– brought T–‘s laptop by, and I installed a few more programs for her, and now it’s better than new.

D– had to go back to work, but he agreed to meet us for dinner. Half an hours after he left, Mom and Dad got in from Little Rock. We introduced them to Alexander (or XP, as he’ll be known hereabouts in the future), then spent some time socializing while we waited for my sister and her family to come over. A little after five we piled into a bunch of vehicles, and headed over to Mama Roja for dinner.

As we were waiting for our table, T– turned to me and said with some surprise, “Can you believe it’s been nine days since we’ve been here?” Her Mom rocked our world by pointing out it had actually been two whole weeks. Craziness.

Anyway, it was a crowded, busy table, but we all had delicious food and enjoyed the opportunity to talk. Afterward, T–‘s parents left from the restaurant to head home, and everyone else came over to our place.

I took Mom up to Homeland to pick up the necessary supplies, then when we got back to the house I mixed up a pitcher of rum margaritas. They went over pretty well, but T– and I had a hankering for the real thing, so as soon as the pitcher was empty I filled it up again, with tequila this time, and we had a grand ol’ time.

Saturday
Saturday morning T– and Mom headed up to Edmond (with XP in tow) for pedicures with my sister, and Dad headed to Edmond for a conference at Memorial Road Church of Christ on an educational framework called Journeylands. That left me at home with AB. We played in her room, we spent half an hour or so on my laptop playing the Memory game, we read from her books, and we practiced telling each other stories.

Then T– called to tell me we were all supposed to meet Dad for lunch at Jason’s Deli, so I had AB watch some TV while I got ready, and then we rapidly got her dressed (and I made a humorous attempt at putting her hair in a ponytail), and headed north.

Lunch was awesome, and afterward T– and Mom took AB with them to go shopping for baby stuff. Dad headed back to his conference, so that left me alone. I ran home, took care of some stuff on my laptop, and then headed back out again for our monthly writer’s group at Courtney’s.

That probably deserves its own post (as it’s gotten in the past), but I’m feeling lazy now and I was sleepy and distracted then, so I couldn’t do it justice anyway. Shawn was missing, so it was just the three of us. We started out talking about dreams (and nightmares), and I told the story of my first nightmare (the killer shark in the apartment swimming pool), and my most recent (last week, when T– walked away from our marriage because I left her to fend for herself when we found ourselves caught in a swamp surrounded by killer snakes and spiders).

Then from there we talked more about our creative influences, how we come up with titles, and how we cope with the constant temptation to jump to new projects — leaving old ones unfinished. We also talked about another OKC writer’s group we might try to crash sometime, and a potential addition to our group, and traditional versus non-traditional publishers. I also dragged the conversation toward magic in the real world for a bit, and we each seized that opportunity to feel a little bit foolish.

Then it was 4:30, and time to split up. I got home just after Dad, and Mom was still there with AB (who was taking a nap). T– was already up at the church, getting ready for a crop, and she had XP with her.

So it was just me and Mom and Dad, and I took the opportunity to ask them for some advice and analysis on parenting. Specifically, I wanted to know how much change I should expect in AB in the coming years. I feel like we’ve weathered the differentiation called “the terrible twos” at this point — we’ve seen it, we’ve found ways to address it, and at this point, though her rebellion can be frustrating at times, it isn’t baffling. It’s predictable, and addressable, and I feel like we both know who she is.

So my question was, how many more major change events are there, in early childhood development? I was relieved when Mom and Dad both agreed there really aren’t any. We can reasonably expect AB to be pretty much the person she is now for most of the next nine years. I’m happy with that answer. I like the person she is.

They also had some good information about how to handle the challenges of her differentiation events in her teenage years, but I really didn’t enjoy thinking about that. Not that I’m worried about the rebellion or family drama or anything…I just don’t like thinking about her being a teenager. It feels far too close, and that’s only a handful of years before she’s gone. Miserable thought, that.

Anyway, that took up most of an hour, and then I went and woke AB up so she could go to the church with Mom. A few minutes later K– came over, having dropped his baby off there, too. We ordered a couple pizzas and loaded up Beatles: Rock Band. An hour or so later, my brother-in-law called to ask if he could come join us, and we rocked out for two hours before he and K– had to go pick up their little ones.

Right around then Mom and my older sister came home with AB, and after she went down to bed the rest of us played some more Rock Band. I mixed up a pitcher of strawberry daiquiris for us, too, and we all had a good time. By the time T– got home my sister was gone (to stay at my little sister’s place), and Mom and Dad were in bed, so it was just me still awake, playing WoW.

I didn’t stay up too late, though. I was tired, so I went to bed around 11:30 with no regrets.

Sunday
Sunday morning we had a full house getting ready for church, and all of us running a little bit late, but we managed to get ourselves together somehow and showed up no more than five minutes later for service.

The sermon was on the various social values of hymns in a congregation, and before Rob was done Dad leaned over and said, “I want you to introduce me to your preach after church.” Turned out that was a sermon Dad had been wanting to preach for years, and while he’d heard lots of sermons on the topic, he’d never heard anyone express the real benefits and perspective that Rob gave in his sermon.

So we caught Rob after church (after waiting through an impressive line), and Dad got to compliment and thanks Rob for his sermon, and Rob got invite Dad to come give a marriage and family seminar to Britton Road sometime — something he’s been wanting to talk with Dad about for a while. So that’s pretty cool.

Then afterward we all went over my sister’s place for an Italian-themed lunch of salad, chicken pasta, and cheesecake for dessert. Everyone agreed the food was incredibly good. AB and her older cousin weren’t getting along terribly well, though — probably because they were both in severe need of a nap — so we split up and went back home to put AB to bed. Mom and Dad decided to head home around the same time, too, so we got them packed up and said our goodbyes.

And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, the house was quiet. For the first time in ten days.

T– watched some Law and Order, I played some WoW, and then AB woke up from her nap and the spell was broken. We grabbed some McDonalds for dinner, and then all too soon it was time for me to head down to Norman for my meeting with Toby.

I didn’t want to go. I was tired and worn out, and it’s not a short drive, but I had made a commitment. And, after all, Toby was doing a favor for me. I showed up, and found out he had, in fact, finished it. He walked me through the code, teaching me what it did (so I could make little modifications on my own), and it’s one of those things where it’s fascinating in its simplicity. He did a really fantastic job. And after a quick test run (and double-checking how the output looked in Word), I was able to put the work stuff aside and we had some time to just talk. That was fun. He’s in the same boat I am — having to work with a new baby at home — but in spite of all the chaos, and petty problems at work, and weird happenings with rent houses in Tulsa…in spite of all that, we’re both doing pretty well. It was fun to get to hear that, and say that, and just to talk programming with my programming teacher for an hour or so.

Then I drove back home, in the weary dark, and crawled into bed and said good night to my weekend.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

September Seventeen (a poem)

You’re Alexander, son.
You’re born, you’re named, you’re blessed to be a king.
It’s up to you to choose where you end up,
But already you’ve conquered hearts, and bent some lives to you–
At two weeks old.

You’re Alexander, son.
You’re stronger than you ought to be, but only just begun.
There’s power in your name and mighty destiny bestowed,
And world enough for you to shape your dreams
And make them real.

You’re Alexander, son.
I’ve known your name for decades. Since I was a boy myself
I’ve known I’d shake your hand, and look you in the eye
And teach you how to cope, or hope — to break or make the world,
And trust in God.

You’re Alexander, son.
With riches already in store, the wealth of nations at your hand
In all the loving wisdom of your friends — a hundred friends
All waiting, all breathless, on that first day when you were born.
Yours to the end.

You’re Alexander, son.
And you could conquer states, or you could light unrighteous dark,
Could tame some scary wilderness we don’t yet know exists,
Or live a quiet, happy life at home. It matters not.
We will love you.