KWAT: Kids, Work, Acting, and Trees

So it doesn’t spell a real word.  Sue me 😛 (no, please don’t- who can afford an attorney these days?)  Anyway, it is time for my bimonthly update it would seem.  Let’s try bullet points since much has gone on- not so dull after all.

  • AWANA- ended several weeks ago.  First year of round 3 complete.  In my previous round, the Sparkies I had the first year were K-2.  This year they finished 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.  Hard to believe there was a round even before that, but I have been serving in kid’s ministry since fall ’98, and started that first AWANA round fall ’99.
  • My AWANA team had a *lot* of 3rd-graders.  Where are they now?  Why, many of them have shown up in my weekend classroom.  That’s right, 3rd grade through high school officially moved up at the beginning of this month.  Younger kids don’t move up until the end of summer.  I can hear the sing-song voices of the older kids: “I’m now in 4th grade, but you’re still in fir-irst.  Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!”
  • 5th graders moving out at the end of last month was as usual sad.  Some didn’t even bother showing up (not their fault I’m sure) which was even more sad because I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to them.  Especially since the week before I missed.
  • What?  I missed a week of church?  Blasphemy!  Okay, I have an excuse- I was in southern Illinois for my nephew’s graduation.  From college.  Yes, I am officially old…  I never want to repeat that weekend again, by the way.  We stayed at my nephew’s house (take that, h/motel industry with your doubled prices for graduation weekend!) which was in and of itself not a problem, but he had parties going on Friday and Saturday night.  Think me and parties, those that know me- college parties.  Kegs, beer pong, hip-hop (non)music…  Yeah, I appreciated going home at the end of it.  Oh yes, I watched my pastor’s sermon on the web, so I only missed the fellowship, not the message.
  • The boy’s TnT director had a mini-golf outing two weeks ago for kids who finished a book that year.  Does anyone recall the mini-golf outings my church experimented with a couple years ago for 4th and 5th grade small groups?  I’m sure I wrote up something as back then I was still making semi-regular posts here…  Yeah, it went like those.  28 book-finishers.  Two showed up.  Two.  Out of 28…  Sigh.  Still, for the few of us it was an enjoyable afternoon.
  • Two new employees for my company.  One person had moved to sales, so really just one new for all intents and purposes.  It does free me up a little for camp in August since I gave her two of my stores.  Yeah, August- two months later than prior years.  Well, six weeks anyway.  And minus a day too.  The church decided to change things for this summer to add two extra camp sessions, which actually gave them three because they are consolidating the two 4th and 5th grade weeks into just one for all campuses.  It is going to be crowded I think.  But it will still be fun.
  • The book store is closing at my church so I used the gift card that one of my AWANA kids gave me for Christmas (sweet of him) and added $20 of my own to get four books at 40% off.  Books by John MacArthur, Greg Laurie, David Jeremiah and John Piper- the former three who can be heard on Moody radio on a regular basis.  I also have a book from Erwin Lutzer and others books as well, so I really had better start reading them.  The only fiction book I am waiting to read is the final Wheel of Time book due out sometime this year.  No, scratch that.  It *was* due out in March of this year after having been pushed back.  Now it has been pushed back until next January.  Oh, well.  Plenty of time to read the more inspiring books of my collection first.
  • What of the musical I tried out for?  Didn’t make it.  Oh, well.  I wonder if God wants me to use my gifts elsewhere?  I sent an email to CYT Chicago, now apparently called Spotlight Youth  Theater to see if they had volunteer opportunities for non-parents.  Apparently not since they never bothered to email me back, even with a reply of “no.”
  • Today there was a short period of wind and a thunderstorm.  Sometime during it I heard a funny sound from outside.  I looked and saw that one of the trees in the front yard had assumed a mostly horizontal position.  Yikes!  I expected to see a scorch mark on what remained of the trunk, but apparently it was rotting and all it took was this wind storm to finish it off.  Praise God though- it fell on the ground and driveway and not on the house or one of the cars *on* the driveway.  In fact, there was at least a foot between the butt of my car and the nearest branch (which would have done little more than scratch the car- there was even greater distance from the thicker branches and trunk which could potentially have caused catastrophic damage.  Again, Praise God.

Saved the best for last, right?  Okay, maybe not, but at least it comes with pictures!  I have AWANA award ceremony pictures too, but I probably shouldn’t post them.

D is for Dull

A dull life that is.  There has really been nothing exciting to write about.  Working, eating, browsing the web.  And the few days during the week I trek to my church for small group, AWANA, and service.  Easter service a few weeks ago topped last year’s.  An award-winning gospel artist returned to sing with us again, there were boatloads of confetti, and the addition of a balloon drop.  Just normal life at a large church. 😉

This week the first year of my third stint at AWANA came to a close with Sparks and TnT awards night.  Two of my kids gifted me with a card & bookmark, and some homemade pretzel/chocolate treats which were snarfed down the next day.  Yum.  It was a nice night with some worship from the AWANA worship leader, handouts of well over a hundred awards (some kids received more than one when they finished a book from the previous year plus the current one).  I was surprised to see several awards to older kids who did not have an official AWANA time to meet- at our church it only goes through 5th grade.  At least one winner was in high school.  AWANA does have clubs for junior high and high school so these were legitimate awards, it’s just that our church doesn’t support them on more than an individual basis.  It was nice to see several of my team (red) as well as ones on other teams I lead on the weekends earning awards.  One of my Sunday regulars won a gift card from the director too for earning the most points over the year for verses memorized, uniform, Bible, and bringing friends.  Our next meeting is a special fun night for book-finishers in June.  How many will actually be there I don’t know.  A couple of years ago when 4th and 5th grade ministry sponsored small group outings I had exactly one show up for each one.

Speaking of 4th and 5th grade ministry, this is an off weekend.  Next month is the final month for 5th-graders meaning there are only three meetings left for them before they graduate out of children’s ministry and into student ministry.  Three more times to make a difference in their lives before they, like their predecessors before them, leave me behind.

Well, that’s it for now.  Almost three months since my last post about my life (though I suppose reading that book mentioned in another post was a part as well, so less than three months then) and not much to write about.  Maybe the title is accurate after all…

Yes I did enjoy the trip to visit my lifelong (seen teen years anyway) friends last month, but they already know the details, so not much to say there, right? 🙂

New addition to family

Silver 2009 Elantra GLS
note: representative photo only


What?? Hey, I’m not married- if I want to call this a family addition then… 😛

It’s too dark out to take a real photo, but this it what it looks like.  Finally a car- a 2009 Hyundai Elantra.  The bad news?  Insurance is about 50% more for this than for my Metro.  Oh, well.

Coming soon: last weekend’s event when I am not so tired.  Have to be up early tomorrow too…

Look, Another Post! aka Lake Water Main

Two posts this month so far!  Okay, that’s the last I’ll say about my lack of posting over the last couple of months.  No essay here like other bloggers, just a news flash.  Last week, less than a week after snowmageddon ’11 (hey, that almost rhymes!), a village employee came a-knocking and informed us that a water main had burst under our driveway.  Yikes.  I knew there was water there, but I thought some of the snow had melted under the beating sun.  In the past, when snow started melting a low point on our sidewalk would become a pond.  The night before I saw this and tried to push the water to the driveway, thinking of letting it have somewhere to go.  Later, I noticed the entire sidewalk in front of our house had become drenched- an obvious sign of something worse than melting, but I didn’t think much of it.  Good thing the neighbors to one side never shoveled their walk, so no one would be walking on our sidewalk anyway.  So back to the village informant, within a few hours they had called several trucks over, waited for the gas company to mark their territory with yellow (paint my friends, what were you thinking? 😆 ), and then dug away with a backhoe and other equipment, a good four feet or so underground.  I was gone for much of this- by the time I returned the hole was nicely dug and they were fixing the pipe.  My guess it was to the fire hydrant by the driveway, so good thing they fixed it quickly- just in case.  Well, they filled it in once finished and satisfied, and went on their merry way.  Wait- what about the driveway?  Well, cold as it was, all they could do was flatten it out and put on a thin layer of asphalt.  Personally, I wish they did away with the asphalt altogether for the time being.  It is really uneven and very rough.  They said they would make a permanent fix in the spring.  Hopefully I will still have tires left come spring…

Oh, one unrelated thing- some might say a certain musical group at a certain annual Sunday event gave a “solid” performance, but I am with the bloggers/twitts (what do you call twitterers anyway?  Not the name I just gave them for sure!) who are, shall we say, in disagreement with this.  I say if the performance was solid, it certainly had cracks or chips in it due to one song.  Let me just say to Fergie of the BEPs, you tried (I’m sure), but you have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are no Axl Rose.  Never try to sing a GnR song publicly again please.  Ever.  Thank you, that is all.  I think my ears are still bleeding… 😮

And I won’t even mention another not-quite solid performance by another singer at that same event that same evening…

Two Months

A new record- yeah, you can figure out what for…  So, what to write about.  The show whose opening weekend I wrote about closed over a month ago with a record number of seats sold causing them to add a performance when no one objected to it.  How about how I am in between shows, and the question of whether or not to try out for the godless JC Superstar was answered for me when I couldn’t sing due to a cold audition weekend?  How my right arm hurts from all the shoveling, including some this morning to free the dryer vent so I can take care of some clothes?  There was the Tron movie I had a countdown to that I still haven’t seen- is it still in the theaters I wonder?  There was our 4th and 5th grade lock-in/retreat two weeks ago.  My team came in last place and I didn’t get sick this year.  There’s work- nah.  Nothing to talk about there.  I think one of the owners may still be snowed in.  The person who normally does her long driveway took one look at it Wednesday and drove away.  She lives in Antioch, an hour north of me.  Gaming and my new DSi XL?  Dunno.  Yes, there’s that first vacation I took in years, outside of the annual summer camp week- the now infamous injurious one for a fellow tangenteer.  It was great to get away.  Someone mentioned to me how he would just stretch out on a beach over there,but I’m just not that type of person.  I enjoy the activity offered at theme parks, talking with friends as we walk from ride to ride.  Of course, I still did not like the one extreme go-kart track at Old Town and am not so into activity that I will waste money on the extreme thrill rides there.  But what I did do was a nice break, and I did miss an extremely cold work day.  Unfortunately I didn’t get out of all those days- this Thursday was pretty bad, and next Tuesday also promises to be brutal.

One day at Universal, I decided I did not want to go on the water ride.  Instead, I sat with the two youngest and watched several people take photos at a photo-op spot.  Having recently seen the movie starring this certain dog, when Phyllis came back after one ride, I had her take this picture (slightly retouched):


Oh, about comics, I mentioned a particular comic strip while I was in Florida- here is a link to it.  It is about a lower middle-class suburban self-important family.  Read on by clicking this link. Now I will think about maybe breaking the two month record following this post… 😛

The updated life of Mr. D

I have now closed comments on the one post that was getting a bunch of spam.  I’m not sure what I would do if one of those spambots latched onto a more recent post.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it I suppose.  Moving on now…

Musical:  Going well.  I went from using two canes as per script to just one.  A couple weeks ago I brought up the point of cane usage to the choreographer and almost got taken out of Facade for it as it would change how I move.  The only dance number I’m in.  As for the other big one at the start of act II, let’s just say there is a good reason I am not in it except for a short scene.  Tonight is a full run-through of act I, and given the rehearsal is four hours we will probably run through it more then once.  We’re supposed to be off book, but I think it will be reasonable to use my music for any off-stage singing, such as the background vocals in Alive.  I’ll soon find out if they feel the same.

Work:  The one I have been training is now out of training, so time to move on to other things.  What?  Another trainee?  Two trainees??  Sigh.   Just throw my quality control manager title out the window as it has been weeks since I have done any of that and seemingly weeks more before I can.  Well, as long as the company doesn’t mind then neither do I.  At least some pressure has been removed with the one former trainee taking over three stores I was training him at- no more trips to Naperville or St. Charles! Well, after tomorrow at any rate when I just have to watch over him at one of the stores in case of problems.  I still have the huge Elgin store for the time being and I can finally give it better attention, but then there are the new trainees.  Well, I’ll see how it goes.

Church:  Still working away serving two services for 4th and 5th grades.  A couple that started this year have sort of unofficially taken over one of the services with their ideas they are implementing.  While they don’t see themselves as the volunteer heads of the 4th/5th grade ministry, I am trying to take it in stride by thinking of them as such as the one we last had went and got himself married and so he has, shall we say, a new focus.  Interestingly enough, the one before him went and did the same thing, but it wasn’t his reason for moving on- he was graduating from Moody and got a (paid) position elsewhere if I recall correctly.

Books:  After reading a the Wheel of Time series for about five months straight, I am now on break from it for a short time.  I was all set to check out the next book which showed as one copy available last night only to be on the hold shelf this afternoon.  It’s just as well since rehearsal really picks up for the next few weeks so I won’t have enough time to read it anyway- I can hardly finish one of these 700-page tomes in a month as it is.  I am not even a third of the way through the series, and not yet where I left off way back when.  Mr. Jordan, you certainly wrote a good series.  I certainly hope you accepted Christ in your life so I can meet you one day on the other side.  Hopefully Brandon Sanderson completes the epic in a way that would please Robert Jordan.

Gaming: Nothing really to say at this time.  For a future post.

Getting behind

Ugh.  I ended up working late the last two days, no interest in blogging.  I guess I do need to write something though considering my last post was from before camp.  That turned out to be an enjoyable experience which I’ll write about shortly.  We left the morning of Sunday the 20th and returned last Friday.  I could have stayed another week had it been a two-week experience, but then again the possibility exists for a trip with my OH friends next winter so I wouldn’t have wanted to get in the way of it.  So this week we started work on two new stores.  There are actually four, but someone else is doing the other two.  In fact, I won’t be doing these stores for more than a couple months because I’m training someone to hopefully take them over if the two who have been training don’t snatch them up first.  In addition, I am now in charge of the equipment and so had to order some yesterday.  They attempted delivery today- that’s quite the service but too bad nobody was home.  I’ll have to call them tomorrow to find out how to proceed, whether they will try again or I’ll have to pick the packages up- I know nothing about this delivery company.  Today’s training went s-l-o-w by the way.  I started the morning with a technical glitch that cost me almost three hours to fix, and then was only able to do one store afterward.  Hopefully the other store won’t be too upset.  I wanted to call them but it seems that I have misplaced the business cards they gave me.  Sigh.


Sorry- more positive ramblings next post I hope!