Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tangling and Tinkling

Baby James's due date is now less than three weeks away, and hopefully he'll have the decency to wait at least until January 15th, when his daddy will arrive home from Afghanistan for his mid-deployment leave. Joyce and I (though a poor substitute) are now at Fort Sill to help Amber in whatever way we can, which (since the apartment is on a second floor) means helping her avoid as many trips up and down the steps as possible --- you know: taking the dog out for hydrant visits, making runs to the laundry room in the basement, that sort of thing.

The other day I made a trip to the hardware store to buy hooks with which to install a plaque (the family nameplate) next to the front door. When I returned from the store, I found Joyce outside --- acting as doorman for Amber's bladder-brimming Yorkie, Brody (more formally known as "Brody Watson Johnny Depp Ricardo Montalban"). Anyway, as I was preparing to install the nameplate below the house number, the downstairs neighbor came out of the opposing doorway with his Cocker Spaniel (who coincidentally also shares my name, Bob). The two dogs were thrilled to see each other, but Bob had about a half-gallon of urgent business to attend to before he could join in Brody's ecstatic dance. Unfortunately, Bob's urgency didn't impede Brody's nose-to-butt doe-see-doe --- well, at least not until Brody divined the source of his golden christening.

When Bob completed his priority task, he bolted after Brody (who knew that the proper way to evade capture by a larger faster dog who's on a leash is to run tight circles around his master). When Bob's master had finished untangling himself, Joyce held Brody as he dragged Bob away. While Joyce was holding Brody, she got a good whiff of him and thereupon resolved to straightway inform Amber of Brody's anointing lest he dash in and jump into Amber's lap.

Thus, Joyce (emerging winded from the top landing and stepping through the living room doorway) announced with dripping disgust, "Bob peed on Brody!

Amber stared back blankly, no doubt pondering (not so much why anyone would urinate on a dog) but what possible motive Joyce might have had for marrying a man who'd do such a thing. Fortunately, by the time I'd finished my chore downstairs, the girls had managed to sort out which "Bob" was which. And so my reputation has remained intact -- well, so long as I remain mindful of how seriously everyone around here seems to take that prohibition against urinating on household pets.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Baby Awakes...

This has been a very mild winter -- so mild that the leaves were late in falling and the grass is still growing. So I've found it necessary to keep mowing right up to the week before Christmas, but (since the mower does a really good job of picking up and bagging those last stragglers among our fallen leaves) I've also found it convenient.

And coincidentally, our youngest son is presently home from college on Christmas break. He had minor surgery a week ago, but he's bounced back very nicely. So nicely, in fact, that he's even taken to staying out 'til 3:00 AM. So ... about 10:30 this morning Joyce and I had the following conversation.

Bob: We had heavy dew last night, but I think the grass is dry enough now -- I'm gonna mow.

Joyce: But why?

Bob: Because I don't have a leaf blower.

Joyce: But you'll wake the baby.

Bob: Exactly! The mower's probably more muffled than a leaf blower would be, but it'll do the job.

Off to See the Whizzer

Joyce: That's ridiculous!

Bob: What?

Joyce: This new Sega game has players competing at urination.

Bob: You're right. It's absolutely ridiculous that Sega beat Nintendo to market. How is it possible that the first game system with a pisser app is not the Wii?

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Day of the Lord's Visitation

I'm on vacation this week and have been spending my days lounging around the house. (Note: Adjusting to retirement will be no problem, trust me.) Anyway, this morning Joyce shared this story from "It's Almost Naptime". The story is well worth the time to read it, so (unless you don't mind my spoiling it) go check it out.

So now that you've had your chance to read of Shep's concern for Buxton's eternal fate (and you've no doubt come to recognize the urgency of the Great Commission -- for lo, none of us knows the day or the hour when the Lord [or Maggie] will call us to give account for our fishy lives), I was reminded of a long-ago mealtime adventure with our boys. Exactly why Missy's story brought my story to mind is a bit unclear, even to me. Maybe it's just that Shep's focus on things spiritual reminds me of our son James's spiritual precociousness. James, at an early age, was very interested in Jesus and spoke of Him often.

Now for the story. James hates broccoli. Always has, and apparently always will. He gave voice to his aversion as soon as he could craft coherent sentences: "I don' yike trees." Now understand, James was hardly alone in his opinion of "trees", but (whereas our youngest son Ben thought hiding unfinished "trees" in unfinished milk a workable solution to the problem) James was more spiritual in his approach to the the dilemma of how to obey the command "children obey your parents" while simultaneously avoiding gagging. One day (when he was probably five years old or so), he decided we needed to set a place for Jesus at our table. Thinking to myself: This could be an opportunity to talk to the boys about how Jesus is our unseen guest in even our most private moments, I granted James's request and Joyce laid out the Lord's place setting.

After everyone had been served (except Jesus of course, who -- after all -- came to serve, not to be served), we thanked the Father for our food and began chowing down. It was then that James became alarmed at the utter unfairness of the Provider of our feast being excluded from the actual caloric content of the feast. James tipped his plate over the Lord's and declared, "Here, Jesus can have some of my food." And oddly enough, the Lord's portion seemed spectrally weighted toward green.

So I pointed out: "You do realize, James, that if Jesus eats your broccoli, He also gets your dessert -- right?" Despite my flawless logic, James seemed hesitant to accept such sound reason. But in the end, logic didn't matter -- that old Scriptural imperative on children's duty to parents trumped all objection, and James somehow managed both his and Jesus' share.

There's a sermon in here about how anxious we all are to give the Lord things we'd just as soon do without, but I'm not going there. Rather, the real point is: I now realize that James is a better person than I am, and -- like Jesus -- he won't be inflicting Satan's vegetable on his children.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not a Chinese Fire Drill

James's unit is now approaching the midpoint of its deployment to Afghanistan. And luckily, he's situated where he has pretty good internet connection, so he gets to visit with his bride Amber most days.

Unfortunately, James's sweetheart apparently had a tough time getting to sleep last night, but fortunately (because James wanted to let her sleep in), that means we were blessed with a chance to skype with him.

At one point Joyce noticed that James had something taped to the door of his room, so she asked:

Joyce: What's that taped to your door?

James: What? (Looking behind him.) Oh that. That's just the evacuation plan for the building. If we didn't have that sheet of paper on the inside of every room, we'd never figure out how to walk down the shotgun hall to the closest outside door.

Joyce: So you have fire drills?

James: In a sense.

Joyce: How's that?

James: They're more like "indirect fire" drills.

We laughed, but I thought to myself: Good thing Amber didn't hear that."

(Don't worry, James. It'll just be our little secret.)