Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

March 28, 2009

Hobo Frogs Teaching Kids To Read And Make Decisions….That’s Silly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:16 am

 

Hobo Frogs Teach Kids To Read..That's Silly

Hobo Frogs Teaching Kids To Read..That's Silly

 

 

The conquest did not take place over night. It was a gradual descent into kiddy chaos hell. Buying a baby doll here or a puzzle there for the girls seemed harmless enough. After all, like any good parent we were trying to buy our children’s love. I kid, I kid. We actually shelled out the cash for yet another pretty princess just to get a moment of peace and quiet and avoid a meltdown in the middle of Target. Once again, just joking….well, for the most part.

Slowly over time the kid’s stuff took over control of our house. The exact date of when the changing of the guards occurred is up for debate, but I’m guessing it was shortly after having to rent a U-Haul to bring home all the girl’s spoils from a trip to see Granny and Pop-Pop. You want it, we’ve got it: books, blocks, Barbies, ballerinas, beauty products and Blue’s Clues. Without us any the wiser, our house has become a Toys R’ Us franchise.

On second thought, we are closer in style to castoff stores like Ross, Marshall’s or TJMaxx because very few toys have all their pieces intact or are in good working order. This is the result of random quick cleans that take place when we have company coming over or the doorbell rings unexpectedly. My frantic cleaning gene I received from my mother kicks in and I start tossing everything in the corner of the living room, the place where toys go to get lost, broken or misplaced.

The only thing that brings me joy in the midst of cleaning up toys is putting away the Alphabet Pal Caterpillar. When the toy is in Phonics Mode, it is capable of sounding-out short words like DAD. Even though I know the little worm will giggle and say “that tickles,” I try to get it to say random four letter naughty words. Other dads of toddlers please do not shake your head in disgust. You know when your wife isn’t looking you do the same thing.

The problem with our wealth of toys arises during Paige’s naptime. Instead of sleeping, she tries to be stealth and sneak quietly out of bed. More often than not, Paige eventually tires herself out and falls asleep on the rug in the middle of her room. We thought this was the case the other day until we heard “Oh No! We’re Off The Track!” not once, but over and over again. When Jenn went upstairs to check on the commotion, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Paige was sprawled out across the train tracks of her Leapfrog Phonic Train set. In her slumber, she was blocking the pathway for the alphabet coal car causing the frogs to freak out. On a side note, does anyone else find it odd that a company feels tadpole hobo’s who spend their days riding the rails are the ideal candidates to teach toddlers their ABC’s?

Anyway, with naptime being a precious commodity, we decided to leave Paige alone and let her sleep.  After all, she was not fazed in the least bit by the noise or the toy train tapping her repeatedly on her shoulder. The last thing we wanted to do was press our luck by waking the little giant as we attempted to turn off the toy and place her back in bed.

Ten minutes afterwards we were regretting our decision. There are just so many times you can hear “Oh No! We’re Off The Track!” repeated before you begin to envy Helen Keller for being deaf. The phrase gets stuck in your head and it paralyzes you.  You cannot concentrate on anything else because you are waiting for that silly hobo frog to utter those words again.

I am not 100% sure, but I think another reason the frog’s phrase haunted me is due to my tendency to waver. While trying to cure this nasty habit of mine, I came across a few definitions of the word indecisiveness through my research for the month. Not only does indecisiveness involve having the trait of irresolution, but it also means one has a “lack of firmness of character or purpose.”

Ouch, that’s going to leave a mark, especially when you feel the impact of the word in a sentence like “the king’s incurable indecisiveness caused turmoil in his court.” If this statement is true then the chaos that defines my life from time to time is a result of my own doing. The king of this household is leading his family around in circles leaving everyone confused and disoriented.

Character drives direction. In essences, it serves as a compass for your life. Without character you are lost and the decisions you make are based on feelings and circumstances. Considering feelings are fickle and circumstances can change at a drop of a hat, this leaves you on shaky ground. Regardless of the external factors thrown your way, purpose keeps one on the tracks heading towards a goal. On the other hand, indecisiveness only leads to trying to learn how to pronounce “T-R-A-I-N W-R-E-C-K” from a hobo frog. 

February 25, 2009

Lucy When You Say Recalculating In That Adorable British Accent You Only Make Me Laugh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:37 am

 

Lucy Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Kitt

Lucy Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Kitt

 

 

The gender roles get reversed when Jenn and I get behind the wheel. Unlike most men, I need to know the exact route from Point A to Point B and will stop in a second to ask for directions if I am lost. On the other hand, Jenn is bound and determined to figure things out on her own even if that means getting to a dinner party a few minutes late. She is not fazed in the least bit when she notices people sitting on their front porch chuckling over the CRV that has driven back and forth past their house 5 times. Jenn takes the term “joy ride” to a whole other level and likes to go for a ride with no agenda.

Having witnessed firsthand the “direction discussions” on her trip out east, Jenn’s mother decided to give us a GPS for Christmas a few years ago. The device has solved the problem, but not in the way I was expecting.  Jenn and I have joined forces and have built a healthy distrust of Lucy. This is the British tour guide for our Garmin Nuvi. Can you blame us for being a little reluctant to blindly follow her advice?

After all, those Brits drive on the wrong side of the road. This might explain why she always tell us that Starbucks is on the right side of the road when it is clearly in the strip mall on the left. Judging by the paths she takes us on, Jenn has concluded that Lucy loves to toss down a few too many pints before hitting the open road.

On numerous occasions, Lucy has sent us to restaurants that oddly look like dry cleaners as well as  directing us to dead ends and one-way roads. This is probably payback for repeatedly ignoring her advice and calling her a drunk underneath our breath. The first time we went our own way when Lucy attempted to send us on a wild goose chase she snapped back and said “Recalculating!” Having grown tired of her repeated pleas falling on deaf ears, she now screams, “Bollocks! You bugger! I’m really cheesed off. You are so naff, nancy boy!”

Taking a joy ride to enjoy the scenery is one thing when it is a lazy Sunday afternoon and you are in the car, but having no direction in marriage can be dangerous. Yet, how many of us knew our destination before we got behind the wheel as husband and wife.

 Jenn and I got married at a fairly young age, at 22 to be exact. I knew I was marrying my best friend, greatest supporter and a woman who made up for my many weaknesses. As a Christian man who thought something was worth waiting for, having a ring around my finger also held many fun benefits.

I remember sitting down after our honeymoon reading through a ‘Words of Wisdom’ book wedding guests contributed to and how every single person had a different take on marriage. It seems like if you asked 100 people what makes a great marriage you would receive 101 different answers. The discrepancy in numbers comes from the confused person like myself who can never make up their mind.

What is the purpose for marriage? Do you say I do simply so you can ‘do’’ it? Is it to make you happy? Do we get married so we will have someone there to meet all of our romantic and emotional needs? What about creating a family unit where kids are nurtured? Do we get hitched to have another body to get through the day-to-day routine? What about companionship? In this day and age, it might be for simply the benefits of a tax break.

Those responses were not meant to sound cynical or to offend. It was to show how everyone enters marriage with his or her own ideas of what this relationship should look like. From the moment we unpack our bags on our honeymoon, we take out a long list of needs we expect our spouse to meet. Our expectations are what drive our direction.

In a way, we program these expectations into our marriage GPS and head towards that destination. The problem arises when the husband thinks they’re headed this way while the wife is hoping to end up somewhere on the other side of town. There is just so many times you can hear “Recalculating! Recalculating! Recalculating!” till you find yourself way off course. From time to time, I handle my relationship with Jenn as if I was driving in the CRV with Lucy barking directions at me. I ignore the signals and keep on driving hoping that somehow I’ll end up where “I” want to go.

Over these past 30 days, I have tried to take an honest look at the expectations I have of marriage and how this direction has only got me lost behind the wheel. As a Christian, I know ultimately the purpose for my marriage is not to make me happy, but rather holy. My relationship with Jenn should serve as a testimony about God.  I wish I could say this is my normal destination point, but I often find myself recalculating on the fly trying to find the location of that tiny city known as Selfishness Springs. Now, if I had a Mio Knight Rider GPS with the authoritative voice of Kit guiding me to holiness, I would get my act together and begin moving in the right direction. 

December 13, 2008

Free At Last: One Man’s Battle With Contentment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:41 pm

 

 

5 Years, 4 Months, and 1 Day...All In One Banker's Box

5 Years, 4 Months, and 1 Day...All In One Banker's Box

Timing is a strange fellow. It’s funny how a one-year endeavor can quickly turn into a half a decade residence. Not that I have been counting or anything, but over the past 5 years, 4 months and 1 day I have faced an ongoing battle over this idea of contentment. The location of the war zone was a tiny cubicle where a once idealist dreamer could be found filling in meaningless spreadsheets after tedious expense reports over and over again. The battle raged from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday with a short 30-minute reprieve when the weekend warrior grabbed a turkey sandwich at Subway.

Maybe it is just me, but the purpose of life can become very confusing when you spend the majority of your waking hours living inside a square box doing busy work. How is one supposed to think outside the box when they are stuck in a cube all day? There is a prank I regret never pulling off. The trick involved moving the walls of my co-workers cube one-inch closer everyday. Over time, panic and paranoia would be sure to ensue as he tried to convince himself that his cube wasn’t slow shrinking and tightening its’ grip on him.  

Discontentment consuming your thoughts is something I know all to well. Like most men, I’ve always taken great pride in my work and used my job title as a major marker in the foundation of my identity. Yet, when your answer to the question of “what do you do?” causes you to feel uneasy you become restless. Leave a man restless and you are just asking for trouble. He’ll look far and wide for anything to fill the emptiness caused by his discontentment.

The movie Groundhog Day is hilarious when it stars Bill Murray. The laughs instantly stop though if a guy’s life comes anywhere close to resembling the premise of the flick. Sadly most of my days had a wash, rinse, repeat feel to it where I could perform my tasks blindfold due to them being so mundane and repetitive. I’ve lost track of how many times I uttered the phrase “is this really all there is for me…. life wasn’t suppose to turn out this way” while sitting in my cube.

Those days of being a bright-eyed college grad with this crazy idea of changing the world for God has long since faded. When my first ministry position left me burned out, hurt and bitter, I retreated down to Wilmington like a confused puppy with their tail between their legs. My time on the southeast coast was suppose to a blip on the radar screen where I got my bearings back and figured out what God “wanted me to do with the rest of my life.” Since I was attempting to be a responsible adult and pay the bills, I decided to take an administrative desk job during this stretch.  You probably have already put two and two together and realize that temporary quickly became permanent. 

While I was trying to get some answers I ended up with just more questions.  Spend anytime in the church and you hear that God has a plan for your life. I kept praying that he would consider a re-write or Plan B. Heck, I was willing to step in and be the ghostwriter for my own life. Unfortunately or so I thought, I found out God never writes your story with a red pen.

I had to come to grips with Jesus saying he came to give me a “more and better life than I could every dream of” (John 10:10) and the piles of TPS reports I was experiencing. There were days when I thought Jesus’ words were hollow and other times when I clinged to them in hopes that they were true.

Even though I was able to leave my work at the office, the baggage of my discontentment always seemed to follow me home. Luckily, I have a loving wife who knocked some sense into me. Tired of always having to console her downcast little puppy, she finally spoke up by saying “Tony, have you ever considered God might me more concerned about who you are rather than what you do?” Being a thoughtful husband, I rolled over and promptly went to sleep because that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.

Yet, a strange thing happened. Jenn’s words proved to be true. She is now looking over my shoulder as I type saying why did I ever doubt her in the first place. I’ll blame it on being a typical hardheaded male. It’s either that or caused by inhaling way too much White Out. The walls in my cube stopped closing in on me, but began to open up so I could see that there were others in cubicle land that God had placed in my life. Maybe I wasn’t there for the spreadsheets in the first place after all. Contentment is something you learn over time when you understand that your place of employment never defined you in the first place. You could be a doctor, garbage man, athlete, stay at home mom, or janitor. The title is irrelevant. When you allow your masculinity to be defined by God rather than in what you do from 9 to 5, it provides freedom. You no longer find yourself chasing after things to fill the emptiness because there is no emptiness to begin with. A content man is a satisfied man.

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