Breaking Hard is Up to Do 2: Break Harder

on the bright side, I have new shoes for travel

on the bright side, I have new shoes for travel

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”–Will Rogers

I’m starting to lose myself in this transition…I don’t think this move is going to kill me, but I doubt it’s making me stronger…don’t worry, Mr. Nietzsche, everybody says stupid stuff to make themselves feel better in times of despair; your optimism is a comfort to us all.  Though the house is on the market and people are showing interest, there is still much to be done.  I spend my days thinking about small things around the house that might not be putting the house’s best foot forward.  Then I clean and or fix those things.  I need to be thorough…I don’t want to let my family down on account of my laziness.  All these projects are slowly making my hands and back strong, and my mind weak.  Merle Travis, and later, Tennessee Ernie Ford were very clear about their views on manual labor.  I’m starting to think they were right.  We all owe our souls to the company store in one way or another.

Small projects, like the ones I have left to accomplish, are kryptonite to obsessives.  Yesterday I worked until around 10 in the evening detailing a stove that will probably be exchanged for a nicer unit within the year.  The little dishes underneath the burners (it’s an electric burner style stove) were caked with shit, remnants of nearly a decade of life.  I had to scrape them with a razor blade to get them clean.  Why?  I really couldn’t tell you.  The job was frustrating, the results: disappointing.  But that’s the nut of the problem with obsessive people, isn’t it?  My wife thought my neurotic fixation on this project was both funny and maddening.  When the job isn’t going smoothly everyone in the house pays a price.  When I am frustrated I should just walk away rather than cuss and scream the thing into submission.  She knows this and it’s painful for her to watch me make an ass of myself in front of God and man.  I know she’s right.

The thing about people who are obsessive or compulsive…or both is that there is no right answer once our minds have locked on to something.  I’m one of the lucky ones as I don’t lock onto much.  But when it happens, the cycle is nearly impossible to break.  When I’m fixed on a thought or project it is natural for the people around me to see that as being unhealthy and the loving thing for those folks to do is to tell me to stop…to walk away and come back to it.  The problem is walking away makes me feel just as bad as pushing through.  It’s not as though I’m thinking: “This sucks and I need a rest, but if I push through the reward will be great.”  My inner dialogue is more like: “This job sucks, rest sucks, nothing is working fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, fuck!”  That’s the rub, I can’t rest while a project is unfinished.  I just think about finishing it the whole time.  When my hands stop hurting, I go right back to it.  My hands generally stop hurting long before my brain is emotionally ready to reengage the challenge. 

Before the stove project I got locked into pressure-washing all of the concrete and the cedar fence around my house.  It took me the better part of 40hrs to get it all done.  40 miserably cold and wet hours holding on to a wand that was hell-bent on causing permanent nerve damage in my hands and wrists.  Three days after the project feeling returned to the tips of 9 of my fingers.  One of them, the one I smashed between to ductile-iron pipes when I was a kid, has yet to relay sensation to my brain.  During the entire project my wife was encouraging me to take a rest.  She was probably right; the project would’ve gotten done just as surely with breaks in between as it did with none.  In retrospect I can see the value in what she said…I can see the truth.  Right and wrong and truth and lies are all so damned esoteric in the throes of a good obsession.  It becomes the comedy of reasoning with an ant.  Everything becomes impenetrable save the task at hand.   

Cry much, diaper-baby?  It’s not all bad news…actually none of it is bad news per-se.  It just is what it is, and I’ve found that it rarely is what it isn’t…so there’s that.  The house is looking better and better, and I’m confident it’ll will be someone’s dream-house realized in short order.  On an unrelated topic, if you know anyone looking for a nice house in the west Bremerton area here is one.

 I learned how to blog from watching television’s Doogie Howser, M.D. when I was a kid.  Most of us did.  Doogie always ended the show by journaling on his computer…he would type out a paragraph and then stare of into the distance while the sickly green cursor would blink at us stupidly and impatiently waiting, like a reasonless ant, for its next group of letters to drag–from God knows where–onto the screen.  Doogie would come up with one beautifully succinct sentence to conclude his thoughts…it was always so perfect.  I’ve found that those lines are more abundant on television…

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An Excuse or Something Close

Getting the house prepared to sell...

Getting the house prepared to sell…

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”–LouisPasteur

  Nothing major this week…the house is on the market and now things are probably going to start moving quickly.  If chance favors the prepared mind then I’ll have to trust in something more than chance to get through the coming months…My mind has its own type of preparedness that is not favored by chance…I’m okay with that.

  Whirlwind weeks are the vig on loans made for free-time not earned…these last couple of weeks have been and will be whirl-windy.  I suspect it’ll be this way for another four or so…

  Sorry for the short post…busy, busy.  I’m sure to be back on track in no time…

Of Mice and Tyrants )

I thought I’d take a moment and re-share this post from a few months ago. Since I wrote this piece, the erosion of the 1st and 4th amendments has become big news. Not every one was pleased with this opinion of mine. Some folks took a considerable amount of time to explain long fetishized strategies about how they could ward off a U.S. gov’t turned tyrannical. It was clear they had thought about it for some time. My apologies, I never wanted to destroy a dream. Yes, Virginia there are well regulated militias. Speaking of, some folks took issue with the claim I made pertaining to the lack of militias in the U.S. I didn’t mean that there were no militias, merely that they lacked significance. Prove me wrong militias, prove me wrong. Also, there were some who felt I went too easy on guns. I have always been honest about the fact that I like guns. I know that this enjoyment is not borne of the more evolved parts of my brain. I enjoy guns the same way a reptile might, had they the opposable digits. That being said, I owned a gun for 10 or so years, I only used it at a range for target practice (that’s when you go to a huge dusty lot with ply-wood cut-outs and shoot a bunch of bullets at inanimate objects so that you and your gun become better at doing the only thing a gun is is designed to do: killing stuff) then I sold it…I didn’t need it. If guns were banned tomorrow I couldn’t bring myself to care…I really couldn’t

bulls on parade

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”–Thomas Jefferson

The issue of gun control is rife with stupid arguments on both sides of the isle, and I guess in some ways that’s why I love it so much…I can just float through Facebook and glean the battle-memes.  And there be many.  But no argument for the private ownership of firearms is quite as misguided as the use of the 2nd Amendment.  For those of you unfamiliar with said amendment (I can’t imagine there are many of you) it goes thusly: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as ratified by Congress).  It is the only amendment with a stated purpose and, as of late, that purpose has been most…

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Breaking Hard is Up to Do part 1: Breaking Hard

The Garden Island...like the New Jersey of the archipelago...

The Garden Island…like the New Jersey of the archipelago…

I wouldn’t mind the rat race – if the rats would lose once in a while.” –Tom Wilson (creator of Ziggy)

My house is short for time.  We are two weeks from putting our house on the market (a month later than I anticipated).  This mark seemed like an eternity two months ago.  But it was no eternity…in the midst of erosion-paced days and lightning-quick years the two months passed in no time.  And now shit has gotten very very real around here.  It is quite likely that my family and I are about two months from moving to Kaua’i.  Two months?  That’s like an eternity from now. 

The house has been a whirlwind of activity lately.  I haven’t been writing a lot of new content; I’ve been dealing with the to-do list around the house.  I plan to journal here a bit about the days leading up to the big move.  I know I have only tread lightly on the topic of this move here, but what do you say concerning something you’re trying to avoid thinking about.  Not that I haven’t thought about it.  It’s more that I’m always thinking about it but never acknowledging it.  The whole thing is so over-whelming.  Change is something for which I–simultaneously–clamor and fear, a paradox that a young Alanis would call ironic…and maybe it is, in Canada. 

The nut of it is: my family and I are selling our house and a large chunk of our earthly possessions (hopefully a large chunk), and moving down to The Garden Island to help start a church community with our longtime friends Jeff and Kim Adams.  We are doing this with some of our other longtime friends (I think nine-ish families in all); several of whom have already relocated to the island.  While it is exciting to be a part of something to which I believe God has called us, it is also stressful and scary.  Maybe it sounds arrogant that I believe God is calling me to something.  I don’t mean to be arrogant.  I believe the call of God has more to do with His story than the qualities of those called.  My greatest qualification in this endeavor is mere willingness.  Were willingness a virtue, I’d be sainted.  You know…if I were into that sort of thing.  My willingness is not really very pure.  It is, in large part, born of my own lack of imagination, or an insatiable appetite there for. 

On top of the move, this week has its own excitement.  My wife and I are celebrating our 19th year of marriage today, June the 4th.  Saturday, up-coming, I’ll be celebrating 40 years of being alive.  My 4 year old daughter will be starting in her first pre-school class, set to last the duration of June.  And my 5 year old daughter will be participating in her first “Field Day” at school.  This Field Day thing has given me reason for anxiety.  I hated Field Day.  I have the physique and natural athletic ability of a person who hates Field Day.  Maychance my daughter will do better in these sorts of endeavors…it would be impossible to do worse.  I don’t know how they do the whole rewarding superior athleticism thing these days.  In my day, it seemed humiliating.  Just a lot of other kids with ribbons.  I hope that if this is the case for Lu she at least has a better perspective about it than I did as a kid. 

I’ve turned into one of those annoying parents that enjoys kids sports where-in no one pays much attention to the score.  Not because I think the presence of winners has the potential to hurt the feelings of the losers (of which I generally was one), but because it sends the message that Field Day or Little League or Jr. Soccer actually matters.  When I was a kid, I thought that a red or a(maychance to dream)blue ribbon was an identifiable achievement about which I could brag through the summer.  I found out that it was much ado about nothing.  But I digress…we are a society who places a high importance upon victory even when it is symbolic.  And who knows, maybe Field Day is one of those things that teaches us a skill-set uniquely tuned to the pitch of the rat-race.  I learned much about the rat-race from my Field Day experience.  Chiefly: Fuck the rat-race.  It would be a proud moment in my life should my daughter learn a similar lesson.  But I digress even further…

So here it is post number one in a series documenting my break-up with the most enduring love of my life…The Olympic Peninsula.  I never imagined I would actually leave this place.  Now I can’t imagine staying.  Not because I don’t like it here, but because I don’t think I’m supposed to stay.  Great stories thrive on tension…