Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Wow. Just realized there were only two posts in the entire month of February... talk about "Blog remission" -- I'm infected! So here's the short version since my last post:

My parents brought my last surviving grandparent down from the cold north for a visit. (The Varmints 3 used to refer to her as "Gate GeeMaw" but recently she graduated to "Gwate Gwamma" instead.) They left Chicago after last month's ice-storm to visit my sister in the mountains of N.E. PA... I'm not sure what the logic was there, but Gramma was sure ready to come see me in south Florida after 2 weeks in that inhospitably-cold climate.

Two humorous remarks from the Varmints 3 lately:
1. (To Gwate Gwamma) "It's OK that you sleep in here (my daughter's room), but you can't play with any of the toys."
2. (Another to Gwate Gwamma) "Are you too old to play with toys?"
3. (To each other) "He (or "she") won't let me share!"

Mom & Dad have decided at least one person needs to stay with Gramma from now on -- in addition to poor hearing (even with the hearing aids) she has frequent memory loss, occasional mood swings, and has trouble walking. This will be difficult for them, but is probably "do-able." (Dad will soon be on his way to Germany for another 2 to 3 month remodeling job for BIMI.) My wife and I enjoy having her here, so they may bring her down more often. She doesn't get around much, but she likes to sit on the couch and fold laundry... something we have an over-abundance of.

After a great two-week visit, we all left sunny south Florida last weekend (7th to the 9th of March) and traveled to Clearwater, FL. My parents and Grandma arrived in Clearwater on Saturday, left the Tampa area Sunday afternoon, and arrived in Chicago this (Monday) evening. They travel fast.

I, my wife, and the Varmints 3 left home early Friday, spent 2 days and a night in Clearwater (for the first-ever CCC ensemble reunion), went to some friends' house in Myakka City Saturday evening (WAAAY better than a motel/hotel stay), attended Sunday morning services in Bradenton, then attended Sunday evening services in Naples, before coming back home late Sunday evening. It was a whirlwind weekend for us. The kids were exhausted... unfortunately for us, their behavior showed it.

I've been working quite a bit to attempt to finish remodeling our church's missionary house into our new assistant Pastor's new home. It's mostly done now: the crown molding is up and painted, the knock-down texture is on the walls and ceilings (and has been painted), the tile and carpet are down. Other than touch-up painting, some of the door trim has yet to be painted and caulked as well. This week I'm attempting to finish wiring in the new outlets, lights, and fans in time for the house to be cleaned on Saturday (church work day).

Actually, I should mention that "assistant" Pastor was to be his title prior to the home-going of our current pastor of 34 years. At 5 minutes to midnight on the first of March, he left us. He was ready to go, but it's been difficult for his wife of 51 years. I'm sure it will be a very long year for her.

I've since been juggling church and work responsibilities while attempting to help her (his widow) as much as possible. We're not sure how well (or not) the transition to the new pastor will go, but we're planning to vote him in as Interim Pastor at the end of the month. We're not sure how long he'll be "Interim-ing" before we either vote again, or he changes his mind (doubtful). Hopefully, everything will go smoothly and with minimal problems... I can hope, right?

On a side note, I finally submitted a short story to a local paper for a writing contest. No surprise: I didn't win, but at least the process got my brain working for a few days. In the coming weeks I'd like to editing... well, maybe re-writing is more like it... it and seeing where else I can send it off.

So that's the current version of life in the Matt lane... never slow... rarely organized... and always changing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Restless" Ramblings

Well I've located everything I couldn't find, and just about figured out everything I need to know to keep track of church funds. It's actually not much work, and pretty easy. That was quite a relief.

An even bigger relief was the email I received this evening from our "almost full-time associate pastor" that lives an hour & a half drive away from here: he WILL be here, and preaching for EVERY SERVICE except next Sunday night (the 17th) for the rest of the month!!!

I would have jumped for joy on reading this email, but I discovered it after waking at "oh-dark-twenty." Which means it's the middle of the night, and I should've been in bed sleeping hours ago. However, sometime around 11.30pm, when I finished updating the Parents of Multiples website, I dozed off in front of the computer. This has happened a few times before... actually... I should probably say: this isn't a rare occurrence... ah... well... I think my wife would roll her eyes at that one too. She would probably say: it happens quite often. (So it's a very good thing I've got an extremely patient wife.)

Between studying for messages (which I know I really don't deliver very well, but I still enjoy them), updating the Parents of Multiples website (which I also enjoy, even though I think the site's inherited look and layout are antiquated and in need of a comprehensive face-lift), attempting to keep up with email (impossible), and all the time I enjoy wasting on FaceBook, I tend to fall asleep at the computer much more than I should.

I've attempted to make it very difficult for myself, but I think I'm just too good of a sleeper. If my eyes close, I have about 3 to 5 seconds to get them open, or I'm out. This is a skill I was born with, but it was well-honed as a security guard in college. College also improved my skill of sleeping through almost anything.

Prior to college, nothing woke me unless someone entered my room (somehow my sleeping brain could tell the difference when the dog wandered in and out). When someone did walk in my room, I'd immediately sit up in bed; by the time I was sitting up, I'd be almost fully awake and quite coherent (although I did tend to forget whatever anyone would tell me). Unfortunately for me, that skill is no longer mine. Perhaps too many years of needing naps during the day (to work 4-8 hours every night or 2) took my edge off. Although, I'd almost be willing to put money on the main reason I lost this skill being the large number of times I would sit up from a sound sleep and slam my forehead into the hard metal rail that supported the bunk above mine. (For some odd reason, my roommates always thought that was extremely funny.)

Of necessity, my reflexes eventually toned down to the point that I wouldn't wake up unless someone sat on my bed, but that too passed. Several of my roommates enjoyed seeing my forehead slam that bar so much, that they'd invite guys in from other rooms just to get them to sit on my bed.

My body coped by not waking unless physically disturbed (being physically touched, hit by spit wads, flatulence by my head, etc.). That too passed: many weeks I would work well over 40 hours per week, and desperately needed much more sleep than I could get. (Ah, you may say, there was a limit of hours you could work for the college and still be enrolled full time. But there was a loophole, and I discovered it. I didn't realize how many hours I was working back then, but while culling tax records last summer, I discovered old pay stubs. Security, maintenance, and the computer lab all submitted my hours, and I received separate checks that, had they been totaled together, would have shown my "low weeks" totaled 40 hours. I found a few weeks totaling over 80 hours.)

Needless to say, by the time college was over, I'd gotten to the point that I'm still at now -- for me to wake up, I need to be continuously shaken very hard (30 - 120 seconds), or keep a very loud alarm clock across the room (because I can turn it off in my sleep), or hear a phone ring. I'm not sure how the phone ring wasn't discovered by my ever-resourceful roommates, but I'm glad it wasn't. It's nice to have one "normal" thing that wakes me up.

Which brings me back to my current situation. Although I like a comfortable chair, I know having one is not conducive to keeping me awake, so I replaced it with a round, backless stool on 5 wheels. It rolls very well, so I usually can't sleep long (30 minutes to an hour) before I fall to the floor. I've discovered my sleeping carcass moves very little and has decent balance, so on occasion, I have been known to last most of the night on the rolling stool.

Tonight, thankfully, I did not. The problem tonight was the way in which I dozed off cut off the blood flow to both arms, both legs, and my derrière. So when I began typing this letter I could only move 2 fingers on my left hand (ring and pinky) -- every other appendage (beside my head) was a nearly lifeless club. I've now regained most of the use of the rest of my limbs, and will be trundling off to bed shortly... as soon as I figure out what labels I should put on this post. Too bad it's almost time to get up; at least I know I'll be asleep within a few seconds of my head hitting the pillow...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

In Pursuit of "Busyness"

Up until last week I thought I was busy. Now, I know I'm busy (i.e. don't expect an inundation of blog posts in the near future).

Two of us were splitting the preaching while our Pastor's been sick with lymphoma. Since I already taught the kids' Sunday School, Junior Church (Sunday morning), and King's Kids (Wednesday night), I only preach one service: Sunday Night. Prior to the Pastor getting sick, the other guy was only teaching during Sunday School (teens), so he's been preaching for the Sunday morning and Wednesday night services.

Last Friday afternoon I got a call informing me he had resigned from all church duties (evidently, it was too much work for him). The timing could have been better, but thankfully (after talking with the Pastor) he agreed to continue preaching and teaching until our new assistant Pastor gets here (hopefully later this month, or early in March). However, that still leaves me with my **regular duties**, as well as his duties as treasurer. I have yet to find any deposit slips from 2008, or any record of them, or even any offerings; there's one more place they may be (which I'll check tomorrow). At least I finally did get all of last year's church envelopes and a sample of a yearly giving record (not until Thursday, the 7th of February, though). These were supposed to be completed, mailed, and received on or before January 31st.

Needless to say, I haven't been sleeping much in the last few days, but I think I'll have them all finished by Sunday morning. Just hoping I don't run out of ink in the printer tonight...

And now... back to my irregularly scheduled workload...

**In addition to teaching 3 classes every week, my "regular duties" include running the church van route (before and after all services), keeping the church's 13 cows (long story) fed daily, remodeling the house for the new assistant and his family (+/-40 hrs/week), singing (or playing) a minimum of one "special" every Sunday morning (sometimes Sunday night too)... and trying to help my wife with our own 3 kids. As you can imagine, the "too much for him" explanation of his resignation didn't sit well with me.**