Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Heaven and Hell

I've always said that having kids has been the worst hell and the best heaven in my entire existence. Right now, it's the former.

That is not to suggest that it's the actual child that's causing the hell, so much as my intense and equally impotent desire to lift any weight, destroy any life, run any distance, do anything to help my wailing 6-month-old feel better.

Mortality sucks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Good Speeches, Questionable Content

Well, I'm sold. I now know for sure who I'm voting for. Not that there was much question. But the decision has finally been made beyond that proverbial shadowy doubt. But that's not to say I don't have my complaints.

Palin was charismatic, sharp and clear. I loved it all. ...except for the jabs. At least her insults were often couched. But Giuliani's I almost turned it off. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

I believe it was Mitt who attempted to once again equate the war in Iraq with al Qaeda and the Taliban. It wasn't said explicitly, but it was implied. Are we still perceived as that stupid?

Then there were all the jabs and pokes at Obama's expense from McCain. I was inspired and attentive with everything he had to say up until he started with the insults. At one point, I had things I needed to do but I was riveted by his speech. I decided to wait to do my chores until McCain's speech turned to the jabs and check back later for some more pertinent conten. Let's just say I got everything done I needed to do.

As with every presidential candidate he made promises that he can't really do much about. As with other candidates he showed he was an advocate for things I disagree with. E.g. too much emphasis was put on drilling for oil and nuclear power--oh, and maybe we'll look into alternative forms of energy. If drilling is an interim solution, say it and put the stress on the "interim" part. And using nuclear energy as an interim? Please. Giving terrorists more opportunity to control us and harm us; giving ourselves more need to endanger our health with nuclear waste; putting up permanent nuclear facilities as an "interim" solution. Who're we kidding? Let's not do the nuclear option (as if McCain or Obama have absolute control over it). But the point is, don't assure us of how things will be just because you're in office. We all know it's total conjecture.

Touching speeches about veterans and armed services personnel were given and received with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye. That and the admission of responsibility for the Republican Party's corruption did it for me. It's about time someone admitted something in politics! Oh, and the intimation that it's about the country and the individual citizen and not about the puppies and bunnies. That was good, too.

Pretty Boy or Old Grouch. Someone's proven his worth and integrity. Maybe Obama will, but now's not the time.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So Many Retractions....

Alright, so I have a few corrections to make regarding previous posts. Most recent--last night's--first: let me be clear that I was making an attempt at being tongue-in-cheek. We all know that we do things to have fun and do things outside our daily grind because they're fun and because they're outside our daily grind. Since everything has a price and because I'm still paying for the fun of the weekend and since it's in our nature to complain about the pain of paying the price for anything, the grumbling nature of the post seems to be more accentuated than intended. I had a good time! I'd do it again! (And please don't let my wife beat me for that post!)

Next retraction is regarding the Pero miracle cure post: I seem to have posted too quickly and without regard to another habit I had formed prior to the posting: placing a pinch of crushed barley under my tongue several times throughout the day. I had stopped that practice a couple weeks before I picked up the Pero habit. Now, given the tiny little tumors popping up on my hands again, it's time to restart the barley-chaw habit again. But don't expect me to give up the Pero. It's not as tasty as coffee, but has fewer side-effects...even the good ones, apparently.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Survivalist Guilt

Everyone knows about that strange psychological affliction survivors of traumatic events get called "Survivor's Guilt." I think I've discovered a new disease: Survivalist Guilt.

This morning at 11:30 I and my family returned home from a most...educational camping trip. First allow me to describe the events of the camping trip in some broad strokes.

Out of curiosity and because I love the convenience of the tools at hand, I decided to check the weather at the location of our annual camping trip. Saturday warm and clear. Sunday rain and cold. Monday more rain and more cold. We were getting up there on Saturday morning and planning on returning Monday.

I informed everyone (my wife's brother and his family) of my weather forecast findings. My wife had a very good point about my not exercising sufficient faith to prevent the weather from turning bad, but that's another post for another time.

Saturday was indeed nice. Kids went swimming in the nearby lake, excellent conversation with good friends, fun kayaking on the lake, some firearm practice (remarkably vindicating!), the scent of campfire and the twinge of mosquito bites. Sunday evening, Sunday night, Monday morning...not so nice. Rain, hail, more rain, and a bit more rain.

Turns out the warning on our tent's instruction manual was correct: under steady barrage of water, tent may leak. We awoke--or rather arose, considering no one slept all that much except the youngest ones--to quite the sodden mess. Wet bedding, soaked clothing, drenched campsite and one water-damaged book on loan from a good friend (the greater tragedy). And the greatest tragedy: my kids are all coming down with various ailments. One's coughing, one's complaining about a headache--which, incidentally, we dismissed yesterday as her fault for having eaten so much junk food and not drinking enough water, and now my head is pounding so hard it feel like my eyeballs are about to be crushed from the inside. Gotta love karma. Or poetic justice. Or the ignorant presuppositions of know-it-all parents dismissing a kid's concerns as childish and beneath notice.

The majority of Monday was spent packing up dripping camp gear in such a way as to minimize water-damaging our family vehicle, setting that same gear back up again, drying it off, tearing it back down and finally putting it away in the garage until the next occasion. The holiday effectively burned away with exhausting, unpleasant activities.

As I washed the stink of 3 days' sweat, campfire and mud off my body a few minutes ago I asked the question of myself again, as I often do after most camping trips. "Why do we do this again?" The trite answer is, "Because it's fun!" Come on. What about the above sounded fun? Well, except for swimming, kayaking and conversing--but even those are proving to have consequences that are difficult to qualify as "pleasant." The answer came unbidden: "Because we like to be reminded of how good we have it."

Of course that was not a satisfactory answer, considering that not many of us go around crushing our thumbs with hammers because it makes us more grateful for when all our digits are operating under factory specifications. That left the only other explanation I could dredge up: we do it because we feel guilty for our easy, mundane, catered, technologically-enhanced lives--lives that our ancestors were not able to enjoy because they lacked the tools and opportunities we have because they were too busy with the day-to-day tasks of surviving.

Given the amount of time we spent in attempts at mitigating the consequences of our communion with a Mother Nature who seems to revel in proving who the boss is, it's a fair wonder we're as advanced as we are. And thank God we are! Now time to go rest up from the rest and nurse everyone back to the health robbed from them by our rest and healing time.