It's official

I have sprained my ankle and torn the ligaments. The bruising is horrible, but it looks worse than it feels. It only hurts when I walk. Too bad walking is a part of my job duties. Hmmm.

Well, that's what I get for walking backwards down steps.

Why are drunk people so stupid?

Our kick of party for Remnant Found was highly successful. We had far fewer guys than we had hoped for, but that's what we get for starting our guys group the same weekend as Creation Festival.

The dozen guys that did show up burned through two and a half bags of lays, a large salad bowl filled with M&Ms, two 24 packs and three packages of hot dogs. There was Halo, Guitar Hero, and Burnout Revenge playing almost all night. I woke up about 6 this morning and stumbled out of my bedroom and saw video games going on both TVs. I asked the guys in the dining room if they'd been up all night. Indeed, they had. There were five guys who managed to fall asleep on the floor in the living room. One of the guys who did not sleep thought it'd be hilarious if he wrote all over those that slept. Twiggz got the worst of it; he managed to sleep through some one writing all over his chest, arms, face, and the inside of his ears.

The only hiccup came about 9:15 last night when my usually nice neighbor came over demanding to talk to the owner. He told me that parties were not allowed in the neighborhood and they kicked out the last group that lived here for the same reason. Now I knew we were not that loud. All we were doing was playing video games. No loud music. No alcohol involved. A few periodic shouts inside (reaction to something cool happening in Halo), but no shouting outside of the house. I said I was planning on shutting down the noise level at 10:00pm, but he interrupted me and said it didn't matter what my plans were. By that point in time I could smell the alcohol on his breath.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26:4-6

Realizing there was no sense arguing with a drunk fool, I told him "Fine call the cops." He got this bewildered look on his face and threw the Jesus card at me: What kind of example are you - your supposed to be setting an example of Christ - you're an idiot - aren't you supposed to be some kind of counselor or something - what are you teaching these kids... Yada, yada, yada.

"Or should I call the cops? I have their number." I proposed. He said he had their number too, but I had my cell phone on me; he did not. So with my drunk neighbor standing in my drive way, I dialed Cd'A blue dispatch and requested an officer to call me back. My drunk neighbor mumbled some threats at me, drew a finger in a slicing motion across his neck, and stomped back to his house.

My understanding of city ordinances were that 10:00pm was the noise cutoff time for private citizens. The Sargent that called me back let me know that no such ordinance existed in Coeur d'Alene and that your peace can be disturbed at any time of the day. He said that noise levels were more or less a judgement call, one that defaulted to the police if an officer is dispatched to a noise complaint.

I described the nature of our party to the officer and he responded in bewilderment - You're just playing video games! It was as if that was the most ridiculous noise complaint that he had ever heard. I explained my encounter with my neighbor to the officer - he came over, drunk and belligerent, and made some threats. I let the officer know that I told my neighbor to call the cops. The officer said no one had called in a complaint yet, and by the sounds of things, we were doing nothing wrong.

Ahhhh, the validation. So our nice neighbor is no long the nice neighbor. That kinda sucks because we really enjoyed having nice neighbors. And to answer his question, not that he deserves an answer but.. What kind of example was I showing these kids? You can still have fun with out getting drunk - diversity is a good thing - that a bunch of guys can find common ground and that unity is possible despite our differences. Sometimes, it takes a bit of noise to accomplish that.


Happiness is...

My wife is determined to help me find my happy place. She insists that Christian does something incredibly cute or laughably ridiculous at least once a day. That is her happy place. So, when Christian is throwing the toddler tantrum, she remembers that the kids lying on the floor - screaming and limbs flailing - is the same kid who smeared Crisco all over the kitchen.

I found my happy place for the day much earlier than I anticipated. Bekah was up when my alarm went off this morning, so I figured I had the bedroom and bathroom to myself while I got ready for work. While shaving, I heard a strange rustling sound followed by a short exhalation of breath. I thought the dog might have been curled up at the foot of the bed with out my noticing. But, no. Nothing but rumpled blankets tossed and falling off the bed. Psuchen must have been out with Bekah, and I was imagining things.

The sound of short breaths and movement began again as I finished shaving, so I thought that Psuchen might have curled up in one of his other favorite places to sleep: our pile of dirty laundry. I poked my head out of the bathroom, but no dog. I looked around the room. No dog within sight.

By then I was thoroughly confused. It was before 5am (earliest I've been up in a long time), but I knew that sound was not a product of my imagination. A little exploration revealed the sources of the noise. On the far side of the bed, next to the door to the living room, I discovered a little arm and leg protruding from under the bed. Limbs belonging not to the dog, but of my sleeping son.

How Christian ended up asleep under my bed, I will never know. Regardless, that is my happy place for the day.


Koocanusa skies

We have returned from houseboat camp, equally exhausted and revived. The first half of the week was beautiful and undeniably hot. I was lucky to snap this picture Tuesday evening.

Unfortunately, that is a storm cloud invading our previously blue skies. We went from bright & sunny to wet & wind swept in less than an hour. Shortly after this picture was taken, we were scrambling to clear the beach and secure the boats. The storm tore three of our seven boats away from our anchors and created four foot waves that rocked all of the boats enough to make us feel like drunken pirates.


Off the Grid

As of tomorrow morning, I am off the grid for a week: out of cell phone range - no internet access.

"Why is that?" you ask.

Because I am spending the next week in Canada, on a houseboat, beached on the sandy shores of Lake Koocanusa.

"Sounds great," you say, "I wish I could go!"

Why thank you. It should be a blast. This is the only real vacation Bekah and I get during the summer. The two of us, a small hand full of other adult leaders, and seventy some odd high school kids...

"What?!?!? You're spending your vacation with high school kids."

Of course. I am a part of my church's youth staff, and every year we do our high school camp up in the Great White North. (Although, this time of year, it is warm and green.) I'll be sharing my boat with a couple other leaders and 17 high school guys.

"Are you CRAZY????"

Quite possibly, yes. But it is one of the only times during the year that I get to relax.

"How can you relax with all those kids running around?" you ask.

Easy. There' no babies waking me up at seven o'clock in the morning.

"But the high school kids might wake you up that early."

True, but they can feed themselves.


The most hypocritical unprecedented event ever!

Live Earth has come and gone. The concerts are over and the people have all gone home or shut off the live streaming video on MSN. Only problem now is that MSN can’t get over their smug selves enough to admit that Live Earth really wasn’t that cool.

Don’t get me wrong, it was cool. There were several phenomenal performances and the list of performing artists was stellar. I enjoyed watching the live broadcasts on A&E, and TiVo’d whatever I couldn’t watch live. (Although, my DVR went wacko and cut out half of AFI’s set.) Yet, there were a couple of minor details in the broadcast that disturbed me.

First, the commentary was provided by a bunch of eighties era MTV washouts. Not that their presence was a bad thing; after all, they still need to make a living. But the girl in the brown dress (no idea who she was) that was providing studio commentary on A&E was a complete moron. She seemed star-struck and acted like she was every band's biggest fan. Yet, her remarks about artists’ performances truly revealed how little she really knew about (or payed attention to) each of the bands she pretended to like so much. This observation showed itself clearest after the set from Black Eyed Peas, who opened with a rocking version of ‘Let’s Get Retarded.’ When that song was released as a single the word retarded was not politically correct enough for American airways, so BEP re-did the lyrics for the radio and changed the song to ‘Let’s Get It Started.’ For the Live Earth performance, BEP retained the original lyrics in the chorus, “Everybody, let's get into it, get stupid. Get retarded, get retarded, get retarded. Let's get retarded, let’s get retarded in here.” Between the BEP set and the band that followed, the girl in brown proceeded to express how awesome their show was by singing her favorite song… Let’s Get It Started.

The next thing to bother me about Live Earth was their self-proclaimed title of “unprecedented” early in the broadcasts. According to Merriam-Webster, unprecedented means having no precedent - novel, or unexampled. So, according to concert promoters, Live Earth had no precedent; it was a novel idea with no prior examples. Hmm. That must mean that nothing like Live Earth has ever happened be for, right Bob Geldof? Ten concerts in ten different cities, all across the globe, on a single day, televised, to raise awareness, and asking people to make pledges. Yup… That’s never happened before. I will give Live Earth some credit though. They managed to have a concert in Antarctica, something that Bob Geldof would not have been able to accomplish with Live 8. But who are we kidding. Several artists performed for both Live 8 and Live Earth. In fact, one could easily argue that Live Earth is Live 8 with a different mission; but more people watched Live 8. (And in my opinion, Live 8 had a cooler logo.) ATTENTION MSN: LIVE EARTH WAS NOT AN UNPRECEDENTED EVENT. Quit pretending like it was.

The final thing that bothered me was the hypocritical nature of such a massive event. To pretend that such a show is going to make a difference in our environment is asinine. Live Earth was NOT an eco-friendly event. Points to ponder: how much fuel was spent jetting these artists to the events (many of them traveled overseas to get to their venue); how much electricity was consumed by the massive sound systems, reader boards, lighting, and projection screens; how much energy was spent preparing food for concessions; how much trash (waste) was generated from those concessions. Now, I realize that event organizers are going to try and recycle as much trash as possible, but every shot of the crowd included several plastic cups filled with beers raised to the sky. I can guarantee that most drunken idiots can not tell the difference between a trash can and a recycle bin after a day-long concert under the hot summer sun. Yes, they do recycle, but there was still probably as much (if not more) trash collected at each of the Live Earth events as you would typically see at a major sporting event. Furthermore, I fail to see what Madonna’s f-bomb, Shakira’s contortionistic dancing, and Ludacris' rapping about booty has to do with the environment. Yes, Live Earth is looking at a worthy cause. We all know our environment is fragile and we should take care of our planet, but the fate of planet earth is in debate. Environmentalists can not agree if the impending doom of climate change is leading to a new ice age, or if it will cause all glaciers to melt and raise existing sea levels to unlivable heights. Some scientists say global warming will cause the next ice age, and some scientists say global warming is nothing more than pseudoscience. At least Live 8 had a theme that no one could dispute: poverty in Africa.


Chara {R.I.P.}

Today was a sad day in our house. Chara is the first pet that I've lost (except for a hermit crab I had in 5th grade) and she's the first pet that Bekah's lost suddenly.
The hardest question to answer is Christian's: "Where's Chara?"
How do you answer that? How do you explain to a two year old that a family pet has died? My first thought was that she's gone away. But what two year old is really going to grasp that concept? We could say that Chara is no longer with us, but that's what we tell him when Bekah's daycare kids finish daycare. And we don't want Christian thinking that all of Bekah's daycare kids are dead.
So, each of us are mourning in our own ways. Bekah is blaming herself. Psuchen is wandering around, lonely. Christian is doing what toddlers do. And I am wrestling with how to answer Christian's big question. Where's Chara?