Our concept of time is defined more by new experiences than by the actual progression of minutes and hours that pass by. This is why summer vacation lasts for 3.2 eternities in elementary school and why small talk with anyone over the age of 25 involves some form of “it’s X already? I can’t believe X just passed by!”
Aging Tip: When you get older, you become less interesting. This continues until you either reach Critical Boringness or die of Oldness. There is no cure, but there are ways to hide this reality.
Obviously, as young newlyweds and new parents my Schnooberwongles and I have our work cut out for us, but it appears that God had special plans for the two of us specifically regarding how hard life can get.
For the past months, we have been renting out a room. For those of you that don’t know, rooms are great devices for shelter and storing things. If you combine enough rooms together you’ll have a house!
Unfortunately, when we consulted our bank account, budget and cash flow statement (I was bored) we discovered that the cost of living in Southern California is only marginally cheaper than the alternative to it if we choose to stay in Southern California.
Decoration Tip: Spice up your next festive funeral with a lovely wreath of gardenias, or go bold with red drapes across the threshold! Make sure to color-match the interior with the main event!
The two of us are not partial toward California, but that impartiality provokes a bold and audacious ambivalence. Since we know people here, and most of the ones we’re talking to are awesome people, there’s really no reason to roll out to the middle of nowhere unless God says for us to go.
Well, God didn’t tell us “go” as much as “get going” recently, starting with last Sunday:
My Stumpy Dumpers and I visited my friend’s RV that he had promised to give us. He had indicated the work that needed doing on it, so our instinct was that the RV was a terrifyingly unstable hoop-tie with ghetto fixes, redneck improvisations and college student repairs filled to the top with others’ abandoned personal hygiene supplies and stains from things that would change the content rating of this website.
To our surprise, the RV is a beautiful 36-footer from the long-gone era of 1981, complete with a tape player and TV antenna cables. Our friends Chris and Chloe were loving and generous enough to have given it to us, simply because they saw our need and were being blessed with a nice home of their own to where they didn’t need it anymore. It needed work, but we could turn it into a home for us.
Coincidentally, I happened to have some temp work as a metal polisher the next day. The RV’s roof needed some massive repair, but we were determined to make the house into a home.
Boeing 737’s have two aluminum rings near the front of each engine that need to be replaced every 6 months. I was given this job as a contract-to-hire position, and was imagining it would hold together until I started working for the electrical union.
However, the ping-pong ball of fate wasn’t meant to bounce across the paddle of this job. Metal polishing work isn’t as challenging as I envisioned, and I learned everything to do the job on the first day. Though I was supposed to be oriented and report to a manager, I never actually did either of those things, and nobody really knew how that was supposed to work.
One of the benefits of the work is that it cured of Butt-sittingitis from two years of office work and gave me the chance to learn about a new trade I’ll never use.
Success Tip: The road to success isn’t straight; it was carved by a bitter drunken trailblazer intent on proving his surveyor ex-wife wrong about what direction the compass was pointing.
In the evening, we discovered that a major rain warning was coming in for the weekend, so we decided to change our tune. Planning and thinking with the brains ensued, the result of which haunts us to this day…
I started work at the aluminum crap polishing factory dim and early at 5 a.m., oblivious to the cascading avalanche of stupid that was primed to collide with the ski lodge of crazy at the base of Life Mountain.
My wife has this funny habit of praying in ways that God listens. This time, she asked Him for clarity about what I should do. I had been growing frustrated at how I needed the time more than the money to repair the RV, but I didn’t want to disrespect my responsibilities.
Money Tip: Your relationship with God is worth more than money or self-respect, so listen to Him when He tells you to do something that your little mind thinks is a really stupid idea.
Around noon, I realized that the money wasn’t worth my time, that the work was simple enough that a well-trained monkey could do it, and that most monkeys were more well-treated than this company treated its temps. Though they expected 10-12 hours a day, I left after 8 to take care of what I needed to do.
I informed my career recruiter about my need to take two days off, and she wasn’t happy with the idea. Her response was that cute passively-voiced vagueness that says “come around again on Thursday and only take one day off if it’s convenient” but is really trying to say “take only one day off or you’re toast”.
Office Tip: Umm, yeeeeeaaaaaahhh, if you could do what I tell you to do without question, that’d be greaaaaaat, thaaaaaanks…
Whatever healthy relationship boundaries I hadn’t learned from my well-intentioned and poorly parented parents, I picked up when I was compiling the Philosopher Accountant and discovering a lot of truths the hard way, so I knew a thing or two about personal rights.
Apparently, this lady didn’t, and it’s apparently offensive to put down good boundaries when your priorities aren’t the same as the hiring company’s (which they never are).
However, the good news is that I got a chance to share the Gospel to that young lady! My priorities work as follows:
- God (the only one, really, though I’ve discovered recently that it’s likely we don’t really have his actual name and YHWH is more of a nickname)
- Immediate family (my Slippy Dimples and any small people we claim or she excretes)
- Extended family that are God’s people (my parents, my brother [I think], some of my uncles [maybe?])
- All the rest of God’s people (every friggin’ church that believes the Gospel)
- Extended family (most of them anyway, jury’s still out about what to do with the apostates right now)
- All the rest of the people (this includes my workplace)
The problem with this worldview is that it leaves a lot of room for other obstructions to interfere with work. Also, it puts God as the first priority. If the world likes money worship more than God worship, then God worshiping is a major hiring liability.
Thankfully, I made the right (and worldly unwise) decision and politely expressed to her how my pregnant wife’s home is more important than a few hundred bucks. The lady told me to either concede or go pound salt in the most lawsuit-evading way possible.
Fun Fact: You can say anything you want as long as you can legally prove you didn’t imply the thing you were actually implying. Only a complete idiot would notice the mispelling here.
The rest of the day went leisurely, with a huge trip to Home Depot and a ride up to the mountains where the RV is parked.
I started tackling the work immediately in the morning. The big repair job was the roof. If we could get the roof repaired, we would be able to live in the RV even while it was raining. The project only needed buying ten 80-pound chipboard boards, several 5-gallon buckets of paint and hauling them by myself onto the roof.
As I prepped for the day, my foresight really paid for itself. Apparently, 15/32″ boards with 1″ nails isn’t long enough to penetrate the wood. I drove back down the mountains thinking about how smart I am with my Gummy Submarine and picked up a ton more supplies.
Around noon I was finally able to start working and got 1/3 of the boards up. I had to tear out an AC unit and skylight while I was working, but it was coming along.
The next day was going to be better, and my hopes were higher for it. My dad volunteered to help, and I imagined the work would go smoothly.
The work went rapidly with my dad. He had power tools, which I hadn’t had, and it made the work go like cutting a knife with warm butter, especially as we carved around the fixtures.
Handyman Tip: Power tools are a lot like normal tools, but with more power behind them. They make life easier, but people forget that trade unions used to protest against their application in industry. People also forget the Mafia uses unions to extort, but nobody told you that either.
By late afternoon the wood had been cut and set, and my dad left me to hammer and tar the rest with the recommendation I revisit Home Depot again.
After hammering, I visited Home Depot again to confirm what I already knew about how roofing tar goes on a roof and how it doesn’t really matter how I apply it.
Repair Tip: Sealer/dampproofer tar is like really thick paint, and applying it is a combination of playing in the mud and finger painting. Some careers are built for Toys ‘R’ Us kids.
I was able to make quick work of the tar on the roof, and then proceeded to help my Wifer Knifer inside with cleaning in preparation for one of our awesome friends to visit. My logistical calculations were so precise that I only needed to use 1 of the 4 120-pound tar buckets, so I was able to return 3 of them!
Unfortunately, the work may have been too quick…
Water is an amazing product, and I give my hats off to the guy who invented it. One of its more unique properties is surface tension. It allows water to trickle down surfaces and defy gravity. Another remarkable invention is wood. It uses water’s surface tension properties and other voodoo magic to leech water upwards through it’s grain.
Wood is also a stupid awesome building material. It’s cheap, very sturdy and renewable. In fact, you’ve probably seen it before in your day-to-day life!
Fun Science Fact: Most “fun facts” have been scientifically proven to not be that fun, and their factual state can lead to controversy when political agendas like cosmology, creationism and gravity’s existence muddy the waters.
Chemically, though, wood is annoying to work with when faced with water. It acts like a big sponge. We got a chance to see nature firsthand when the mountain sky turned our home into a sieve.
This wasn’t the worst rain, but it was raining buckets. Thankfully, we used all 12 of our buckets to catch it, meaning the cycle technically completed itself.
This was a very depressing day. The first rain we saw implied that I had done a good job, but 5-10 minutes of sponge-wood proved that my little victory was short-lived when water dripped into our champagne.
Rain Tip: It really sucks to be caught in the rain. It’s even worse to be caught in the rain when your bed is where you’re getting wet.
Chris was kind enough to open up the neighboring room he had, and we had a miserable and restful night, mostly dry and partly shaken up.
Remember those 3 120-pound buckets? I bought another one to hit all the small spots I figured didn’t matter (they did). After descending the mountain and coming back to the roof with it, I forged ahead and slathered that business over the wet surface in all the nooks and crannies.
Cleaning Tip: Tar on clothing is impossible to get off without more intensive cleaners, but it makes for good costumes, especially blackface.
The good thing is that you can apply tar in the rain. The bad thing is that it’s not as good of a job and you get soaked. Overall a just payment for my minutes upon minutes of roofing experience I’ve had over the years.
That friend canceled on us from the unsavory weather conditions, but it freed us up to do more work. We were able to move more of our crap from our room to the RV, since the roof wasn’t completely drenching everything, and so we were motivated to at least accomplish something.
At the same time, it was getting discouraging. As much as God reigns, we were getting frustrated with how much that cloud rained. Our morale started dripping away as the fog started rolling in.
It was a cloudy day for the both of us, and our spirits sank as we worked tenaciously to clean the inside of the trailer. We blasted away at it like a tribe at an elephant rotisserie, and were able to put away about 60% of what we own.
However, the length of the week had us fatigued, exhausted and in a protracted state of unrest.
We finally took a day of rest today. God made the Sabbath for man, and not the other way around, and 6 days of working like a rented dog leaves a person either as a frazzled workaholic or an exhausted pile of organs strung together with limb-tape.
The true opportunities for life were here, though. The rest of the week is simply survival, and though there is dignity in it there is no moral greatness. Our wealth and blessing comes from the relationships and spiritual opportunities that come in our interactions with our spiritual siblings.
Christian Tip: Following God is actually pretty simple. Just do life stuff and trust He’ll provide everything for it, then shut up and stop bothering with how it’ll happen.