Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

April 30, 2009

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of Uneventful Endings

Filed under: domesticated — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:43 pm

indiana1It’s hard to describe the pressure you feel as a parent when you are choosing a movie for date night with your spouse. Moments minus the kids are few and far between so a lot is riding on your decision. Pick a cinematic masterpiece then all is right with the world.

On the other hand, if you’re the one who suggests seeing a flick that turns out to be a real stinker than you lose a lot more than the two hours of your life which you can never get back. Let me try to put the cost of a wrong call into perspective: nice dinner ($30), movie tickets ($16), concessions at theater ($12) and the kicker, childcare ($40). While painfully writing out the check to the babysitter, you reason flushing over 100 bucks and watching it swirl down the toilet would be more entertaining then the turd of a film you just watched.

Sadly, my track record recently has been less than stellar. It has reached the point where my movie choosing privileges have been revoked. Power has been peacefully handed over to Jenn, which means I’ll be watching romantic comedies for the rest of my life.

Are you curious as to what finally did me in? It was none other than the film that showed George Lucas might want to consider retirement: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Yes, I’ll concede it was mindless fun that was semi-entertaining, but what was with the final ten minutes? Seriously, aliens, are you kidding me? That is the best you could come up with? The uneventful ending threw us both off. Jenn and I walked out of the theater disoriented as to what just occurred.

Recently, I’ve been feeling that same disorientation. Everything has been a blur and I am trying to get my bearings back. Let’s just say that April ended in a way I wasn’t expecting. For the past thirty days, I have attempted to hone my domesticated skills by sautéing, scrubbing, sorting and swiffering.

My goal was to finish the month on a high note by preparing an elegant meal from scratch for Jenn. I laid the groundwork early by going into ultra stealth mode in an attempt to find out some of her favorite cuisines. After studying a few cookbooks and sifting through the recipes family and friends sent my way, I created a shopping list and was about to head to the grocery store when Jenn began complaining about severe pain in her side. She tried sleeping it off.

Yet, the pain never went away and a day or so later we found out she had gallstones and a seven millimeter kidney stone. Just typing those words make me cringe. Surgery to remove her gallbladder was scheduled for April 30th, the final opportunity to prove I had morphed into a domesticated dude. Looks like the candlelight dinner would be put on hold.

041000014802Instead the last supper consisted of vanilla wafers, saltines and Lipton’s Cup of Soup. For an extra special touch, I garnished her plate with a few slices of strawberries and pineapples from the Edible Arrangements boutique we received from friends. The meal was topped off with a tall glass of grape Gatorade to quench Jenn’s thirst. A feast completely and utterly uneventful compared to what I wanted to prepare. She ate a few bites, but that was about it.

I had little time to wonder if her lack of interest in eating was due to her nausea or a statement on my cooking ability. Other things were demanding my attention: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, scrubbing and actually paying attention to the kids. When I went into check on our recovering mommy, Jenn chuckled and then grimaced in pain because laughing doesn’t feel too well due to the stitches. I asked her what exactly was so funny. She said that I had finally achieved the ‘look.’ You know, the one of complete and utter exhaustion. I glance over at a mirror and realize my look is identical to the one Jenn has on her face on occasion when I come home from work.

nmaimg-ci20051301-074-wm-vs1Thanks to seeing that reflection in the mirror I feel like I finally truly understand all that is asked of Jenn as a stay at home mom. Managing a house while taking care of two wild and crazy girls is extremely difficult especially if you are trying to stay sane as well. A woman performing domesticated duties often goes without notice. Yet, when a man steps up to the plate by actually washing it, a parade is thrown in his honor. He is viewed as a hero while doing the same tasks that are expected from a female. Does anyone else find this mindset odd and a little warped?

Knowing how to sort laundry, iron a shirt, cook a meal or sew on a button is one thing. Being willing to help around the house and make a contribution out of love for your wife is where you are being a man. Maybe the uneventful ending to the month had a greater purpose because as the credits for April are rolling I am realizing that Mr. Mom should be the rule, not the exception.

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March 13, 2009

Yo Dawg, Is That Randy Jackson Doing The Truffle Shuffle Or Me Shaking Off My Indecisiveness?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:21 pm
Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture Chunk...
 

If I had to describe my dancing ability I’d say it’s borderline smooth and graceful. Jenn, on the other hand, uses words like spastic and convulsive to explain the movements that take place once my feet hit the dance floor. Having watched myself moonwalk in my bedroom mirror since I was 10 years old, I dismiss what she says as silly talk. I know there is soul somewhere deep down inside me.

Granted, it has yet to show up when I bust out the Running Man, Funky Chicken or Robot, but I know all of the time I have spent watching and studying Randy Jackson’s Presents America’s Best Dance Crew will eventually pay off. Even after tuning in to numerous episodes, there is one thing that still leaves me puzzled: why is the big guy’s name attached to show anyway? Mr. Dog Pound doesn’t strike me as being someone who is nimble on their feet. I believe the only dance move that wouldn’t cause me to test my gag reflex is if Randy were to ever reenact Chunk doing the “Truffle Shuffle” from the movie Goonies. I am pretty sure I would actually pay to see that take place. I realize those are some pretty harsh words considering they are coming from a man who has two left feet.

Part of me has embraced my lack of rhythm. My skills, or lack thereof, always causes my two little girls to chuckle when we have our weekly family dance party and that is good enough for me. Paige will point to the “I-Poo” and request the “Yeah-Yeah-Yeah” song. Knowing this might cause some of you to question my parenting skills, the tune she is requesting is actually Duffy’s “Mercy.” Considering I just divulged that little nugget of information, I guess I should feel comfortable enough to let you know that some of her other favorites include Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai. Don’t worry neither girl is really listening to lyrics of the songs, they are completely mesmerized by their daddy’s arms and legs thrashing to and fro wondering if he is dancing or having an epileptic seizure.

The moments where I regret not knowing how to two-step or waltz is when Jenn and I go to a wedding. Sitting on the sidelines eating my weight in free filet mignon while others cut a rug on the dance floor is not Jenn’s idea of a fun evening out. On numerous occasions, she has brought up the idea of taking a dance class together. The closest I’ve come to lessons is freshmen year of college when I filled one of my physical education credit requirements through square dancing, but I am pretty sure this doesn’t count.

I could use the excuse that lessons would be another expense for our shoestring budget or yet another activity to fit into our busy schedule, but those are not the source of my hesitation. The reluctance stems from knowing I might misstep, trip over my own feet or cause Jenn to ice her feet after every class due to my clumsiness. One way you can tell a professional dancer from an awkward and uncoordinated novice like myself is where their eyes go when they misstep. It is inevitable to find yourself offbeat at one time or another, no matter how many times you’ve taken to the dance floor. While the pro looks towards their partner to find their rhythm together, the inexperienced dancer tends to look down at his or her feet. When this happens, moves become choppy, forced and the center of the dancer’s attention.

Many of my movements over the last 7 years have been more than choppy. They have felt down right unnatural. I find myself wondering if this is the step I should be taking. Almost every decision I’ve made has been second-guessed and plagued with doubt. The funny thing is there was a time in my life when I was confident in the choices I made regardless if they were wise or completely off course.

However, after the experience I had with my first job after college, everything seemed to change. A little background information for newcomers to this blog to get you caught up to speed. With my college diploma in Christian Ministries in hand, this idealist dreamer was ready to transform a younger generation for God as a youth pastor. I had no doubt in my mind that this is what I was called to do with my life. Yet, no textbook or lecture prepared me for what I encountered at the church. Things that were thrown my way seemed to set me up for automatic failure. I felt hopeless and alone. Coming home almost every evening defeated put a strain on my relationship with my beautiful new bride, Jenn, as we were fulfilling roles no spouse should.

For the sanity of our marriage, and ourselves, we knew I had to hand in my resignation and move on. The problem was neither of us had an answer to the important question of: move on to what? My state of mind at the time was cynical, bitter and confused. I did not know how to rectify the fact that I had told God I would go anywhere for Him and the first place He sent me seemed to be the dark wilderness. It made me doubt if I had completely mistaken God’s calling on my life and if that was the case wondering where that left me. Was it the situation or myself that caused my first experience into ministry to be unsuccessful?

Not wanting to venture into another youth ministry position, have it fail and ultimately realize it was me all along; I gave myself a year to figure things out. Instead of going forward, I decided to remain in neutral. Having no children or responsibilities at the time, Jenn and I decided to move down to Wilmington, NC. I could over spiritualize it and say ‘we felt this was where the Lord was leading us,’ but that would be a bold face lie. We packed our bags and headed south towards the beach based off a survey we filled out on a website called FindYourSpot.com. Jenn got a job working retail while I got my dream job (note the sarcasm) filling out spreadsheets for corporate America.

Sitting in my cubicle filling out TPS reports is where my tendency towards indecisiveness originated. Day after day I wrestled with contentment and questioning every decision that came my way. As odd as it might sound to some, being unsure of my abilities, passion and vision as it related to my job left me paralyzed with the fear of making another wrong decision not only in regards to employment, but in every aspect of my life.  

Eventually, I grew tired of living life staring at my feet and not focusing on what was ahead of me. This shift in perspective took place only when I became willing to take the diffciult, yet necessary steps, in examining my time at Ashton as a youth pastor. It wasn’t until I could see how my character was shaped and formed during the process that I realized there was a purpose for going through what I did. In the midst of everything I perceived as a failure, God still moved in the lives of young people I influenced. While journaling all my thoughts down on paper, something else interesting happened. I began to fall in love with writing all over again. I guess it wasn’t Randy Jackson doing the Truffle Shuffle after all, but me who found a way to shake off my indecisiveness. Hopefully, once these 30 days are over I’ll samba my way out of second-guessing for good.

December 31, 2008

Dr. John Dorian – A Real Man Nicknamed Nancy

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

 

Nancy Is A Real Man

Nancy Is A Real Man

 

 

Queue the montage music from one of the most underrated comedies of all times: Scrubs. This soundtrack seems fitting for my reflections considering I learn the majority of my life lesson from the final few minutes of Scrubs episodes. It’s scary when 95% of the MP3’s found on your iPod can be traced back to this show.  In my eyes, John Dorian is a Buddha like figure dispensing nuggets of truth in bite size portions all while having amazing hair. I guess with that last statement the cat is now officially out of the bag. I have a bit of a man crush on Zach Braff. Luckily, this month has proven I am manly enough to admit to my affection.

As I look back on these past thirty days of manliness much of what I have learned has been shaped around J.D.’s character. If you know how random my brain works, you would understand the logic behind a guy nicknamed ‘Bambi’ being my point of reference for masculinity.

 

It’s Guy Love – From the moment they met at William & Mary College, J.D. and Turk’s relationship has been closer to codependency than friendship.  They can barely stand to be apart. Their bond is so strong that they are able to call one another out when the other has blown it, dropped the ball or has a wrong perspective on a certain situation. If we are ever to make any headway on what it means to be a man, a ‘Band of Brothers’ is a pre-requisite. I’ve learned I cannot do this whole process alone – not just when it comes to being more of a man, but whatever these next 11 months might hold.  Luckily, I have guys who care more about my character than they do my friendship. This is when a man knows he is in good company.

 

Sleeping Around In The On-Call Room Gets You A Son Named Gilligan – I guess it is true that chicks really love doctors because J.D. was quite the ladies man. It seemed like every episode he was having a different romantic liaison with a female. He never learned those fleeting moments of pleasure were not worth the eventual aggravation they caused. All they got him were headaches and a son named Gilligan. One of man’s greatest downfalls is our tendency to act before thinking. In our eyes, men were not born with a funnel to process their thoughts. We see what we want and we go after it without contemplating the impact of our decision. Unfortunately, our lives do not resemble a sitcom where everything gets neatly solved in 30 minutes or less. Our excuse is we are just being a man by acting on our impulses. It is a pretty sad statement when our standard for manliness is set so low even ‘The Todd’ could reach it. Over these past 30 days I’ve begun to realize that a true man is one who walks with integrity.

 

We All Have Our Elliot –For the first 3 seasons of Scrubs, we watched J.D. wrestle with the emotions he feels for Elliot Reed. They tore him up inside because he had no clue what to do with them. It shouldn’t be a surprise because emotions (not just dealing with the opposite sex) are a tricky thing to work through for us guys. I don’t know if I’ve really figured out what the proper way is to process my emotions. Are you manly when you bottle them up inside until you finally blow your top and punch a hole through a wall? Or what about the other extreme where every time you hear the song Cats in the Cradle that you ball like a baby? I’m guessing it is somewhere in between. Where that line is I am not quite sure.

 

Secretly We Enjoy Being Called Nancy and Newbie – Dr. Cox is J.D.’s hero. He is the type of doctor he wants to be one day. Whether it is divorce, a dad who is always at the office or an absent father, we have lost many of our heroes. One of the reasons for our confusion as men is that more and more of us are growing up without a father figure who exemplifies these qualities. We are left to make up our own target so we can take our shot in the dark. Once again, I count myself as fortunate to have a father who took me under his wing and gave me something to shoot for becoming.

 

There will be more reflections to come on 30 Days To Becoming A Man. Unfortunately; I have to cut this one short for a very important reason.  WGN is playing my favorite Scrubs episodes – “My Porcelain God.” It’s the one where the Janitor installs a john on the roof, which gets dubbed ‘the epiphany toilet’ due to its’ special power of reflection. Perhaps I should see how much this type of toilet costs at Home Depot. After all, most men do their best thinking on the pot.  

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