First November Weekend

It’s the first weekend of November, and we will remember not to rake before this time next year! Any earlier work is undone by wind and rain. With that said, we made a lot of headway on the backyard and front yard around the house. It looks great. Here is a picture of our progress early in the day.

Amidst the yard work, we did have some fun. We ran errands Saturday afternoon, and then went over to the Rogers Basecamp for pot roast, potatoes, and carrots. We brought a variety of pie flavors from the G.T. Pie Co. After dinner, we played Scrabble, which moved surprisingly quickly. Perhaps, now that we’re all adults, the words come more quickly! I was especially proud of my use of the word, “FARTED.”

As a general observation, I am starting to enjoy the chores I disliked as a child. I was not a big fan of raking or running errands, but look forward to doing both now. Weird.

Sunday morning, Lindsey and I had a hearty eggs and sausage breakfast and then made it to the Well (the early church service). Apparently, it is All Saints Day. Remembering the deceased made for a heavy, but rewarding service. The music was excellent, and the service finished with “When the Saints Come Marching In.”

We’re off to the Chicken Coop for a fried turkey (the whole thing!) dinner and fixings. We’re tasked with bringing a healthy dessert, as if there is such a thing.

Have a great week ahead and enjoy being in the present with the experiences and people that surround you each day. That will be my focus. And, by the way, it is okay to start listening to Christmas music!

New House

We bought a two-point-six acre wooded lot with a house and detached garage on it. It’s got everything we want – good school district, room to run, and shared waterfront. We are very thankful that this worked out, and will be working very hard to spruce up the new digs.

Today, I spent six hours raking the lawn areas and removed some overgrown ivy-like plants from the front corner of the house. The grounds are already looking far better. Just in time for snowfall.

I was less successful in selecting the correct garage door remote. I chose grey. Should have picked purple. No biggie.

Yogi Bear the dog has no idea what is going on. He’s like a lawyer on vacation. He stays by my side and can’t seem to relax for fear of being left behind. Once he settles in, he should have a much improved life, as he’s not meant for a condo.

Our stuff is still in boxes and spread all over, but the house – the feel of being home – is taking shape. It won’t be long and we’ll be in order and have a house warming party for ourselves.

The Holiday Season

I’m finding that time flies when you’re engaged. It seems like just yesterday that I was waiting impatiently for the engagement ring to be finished so that I could pop the question to Lindsey. Now, it has been nearly two months since and we’re heading into our first holiday season together. Together-together.

Not only is fun to share the excitement of the onset of winter, the construction of Christmas charm, and the last-minute shopping, but we’re also blessed to have loving families nearby with whom we both enjoy spending time. Rarely does a week pass that we don’t play cards or have dinner with one or the other. That’s pretty cool, to me, and what I hoped for when we started dating.

A few of the things I’m most looking forward to during the next couple months:

  • Getting to wear my Christmas pants again (Link to photo),
  • Sharing my “I’m Thankful For” napkin tradition with Lindsey over Thanksgiving,
  • Learning about her traditions and
  • Making new traditions of our own for years to come!

Lindsey, we’ve got to find you a matching skirt!

Being in a Wedding

Being the best man in my cousin Tim’s wedding was one of the most stressful moments in my life. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I accepted his invitation. However, I was excited as well. My wedding experience was picking up. Age of 14: attend first wedding. Age of 26: attend first friend’s wedding. Age of 27: be in a wedding.

WAIT! Be IN a wedding? I played it cool, mainly because I was busy with school. But, then, suddenly, I was boarding a plan to Minnesota and I hadn’t thought much about what being the best man required of me. I began Googling “best man duties,” which returned a variety of lists that turned out, looking back, to be wholly inadequate. The listed duties focused on ensuring the groom had packed his bags for the honeymoon. Well, there was no immediate honeymoon planned.

So, what do I do? My two big responsibilities were down to: (1) holding the rings at the wedding and (2) giving a toast prior to the reception dinner. That sounds easy enough, unless you know how bad I am at giving coherent toasts.

I spent all of Friday running errands with Tim, who appeared far calmer than I felt. He had his few things to do – pick up tuxes and the wedding rings, get a haircut, buy lighters, and buy new car tires. Here, I had thought that the day prior to one’s big day was to be spent in chaos, meticulously preparing for more chaos. But no, he had time to give me a tour of the city and make a decision between touring and mid-level summer tires. (He had driven over on winter tires, which, when used in warmer months, sounds like the car is unzipping the road.)

The rehearsal dinner was fine. I met my equal – the maid of honor who was the bride-to-be’s younger sister. The families chatted over pizza until we were shipped off to the church. I’m told this is all routine.

It wasn’t until three hours prior to the wedding that I began to stress. I didn’t – couldn’t – do much to change how things would play out, but I learned a lot in the process. Thanks to another of Tim’s groomsman, who possessed far more wedding experience than me, things went smoothly. I’m not talking about big things. I’m focusing on the minutia of the whole wedding day. I’m referring to guy stuff that smooths the edges. What I’m talking about is stuff not listed on’s list of best man duties – mainly, cigars and cars. Gabe came through on the cigars and we arranged some cars.

Actually standing in the wedding was exhausting. All sorts of things were racing through my head: smile, don’t look at the bride’s maids for fear of crying myself, don’t annoy the bride, do I have the rings?, stand still, don’t fart, wow it’s hot, wow the pastor is talking forever, etc. I had my shoulders locked in such a way that they would be sore for three days. I’ve lifted weights and been less sore.

The DJ, who upon our arrival at the reception, was dressed in a leather vest, had disappeared along with the know-how of how to operate his microphone. Once that was smoothed out, I kept my toast short and not-too-awkward. The bride and groom are great people. It was easy to toast them. Plus, they had made the excellent decision of serving breakfast food complete with an omelet bar for dinner, so I wasn’t about to delay getting to that.

The experience was fun and it was an honor to be Tim’s best man. Perhaps from seeing too many movies, I expected a groom to have some jitters. But there was none of that. He was a rock because he knew he was making the right decision in marrying Olivia. That was cool to see.

Proximity to Family

Paraphrasing The View’s Joy Behar:

Wealthy families and poor families tend to stick together, while middle class families tend to disperse geographically.

There are a few ways to take this. Rich and poor children tend to be more dependent on their families than middle class children. Although I don’t have data, it would make sense that poor children would work with their parents to support a larger family unit, while children of wealthy parents are likely to remain under the family “umbrella” for a longer period of time. Conversely, middle class children seem to strive for more financial independence from their families.

I moved away from my family for college, but I stayed in-state. After college, I moved further away from home because I was eager to work and prove my independence. I think as many 20 to 25 year olds will agree, proving your independence is easier said than done. After working for a couple of years, I opted to return to school and chose a law school further, rather than closer, to home.

My motivation has been necessity, independence, and a desire to explore. I have not strived to be away from my parents, but rather followed what I thought to be the most enriching opportunity available.

From being away from home, I’ve learned to appreciate my home town. My attitude has evolved from thinking there wasn’t much going on there to recognizing it is as busy and fulfilling as anywhere else I have lived or traveled.

Back Porch

The back deck was fun. We were sitting under the pines standing tall above the roof of the house. I liked to look up and try to see the sky. The table was gooey in places and I had to watch what I touched. Sticky fingers – like someone rubbed marshmallows all over.”Chris, say grace so we can get started,” mom said.

For a little bit I looked around to make sure that everyone had their hands together and heads down. “God is good, God is great. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we must be fed. Thank you, dear Lord for our daily bread.”

And when I finished, we all said, “Amen.”

I looked up fast – before everyone else, as if to check that we were all still there. Mom and dad were by the grill. My little sister sat still, dwarfed by the ugly yellow deck chair.

“Grandpa, how’s the baseball on TV?” I asked. He was sitting at the end of the table with his wooden cane hooked on his chair. I looked his way and my dark head of hair followed.

He muttered for a moment then said, “Who’s so tall they couldn’t see?”

“No. How’s the baseball on TV?” “Oh,” he said, still not answering. He was playing. But I guess he didn’t watch the baseball either. It was static in the background during his nap. My mind moved on. The grill smelled good, but I really just wanted to make s’mores.