Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

September 29, 2007

Wet floors

Filed under: Married Life — theburts @ 8:01 pm

First it was dirty showers, now it’s wet floors. Except this blog’s not nearly as fun as the last one…and instead of being joined by 2 nice homeless guys our guest was about a ton of water from the upstairs water heater. That’s right, our apartment was completely flooded. :) I went home early from SEE yesterday cause I wasn’t busy, and walked in to a shower. Seriously, there was water pouring from the ceiling right in the entry way. I immediately stepped out and called the landlord, but not until I went back did I realize that the ENTIRE apartment was covered in water.

Positives:

  1. I got to meet my neighbor 2 floors above (Nolan) and he was really nice to help me move all our stuff out that was on the ground.
  2. None of said stuff was really damaged, so we had no monetary loss. Not even photographs and stuff. So yay!
  3. We weren’t electrocuted by the thin sheet of water over the floors being combined with our electricity still being on.
  4. We’re renting. If this had been our home, yesterday would’ve been a lot more stressful. And expensive.
  5. We were able to stay there last night, cause we got most of the water out and everything was still functional.
  6. Because of the hours we spent shopvac’ing and emptying water buckets, and because our kitchen wasn’t necessarily functional at that time, we decided it was ok to eat out. So we enjoyed a nice meal at Outback where we still had some delicious grub. :)
  7. Out of all the stuff that was on the floor in our apartment, one of the ONLY things that didn’t get touched at all was my dumpstered floor rocker. That’s just awesome. heheh

Negatives:

  1. Walking into your home and finding water pouring from the ceiling isn’t necessarily anyone’s idea of a great afternoon off.
  2. We will eventually have to move everything out of the apartment and find another place to live temporarily. Gary gave us the option of staying with his family OR said we could break the lease and find a new place to live. We told him we love it there and will wait, but this will be a trying month.
  3. Another negative that I can’t remember right now…I’m trying to leave a little space for the sake of error, cause it seems the positives are kicking the negatives’ butts.

Ok, so the positives win! Gary, our landlord, said to me when I told him how bad I felt for him, (read this with a British accent to be more accurate) “Don’t worry, Daniel, it’s all material…(and later)…If you can remember that in life, it’ll help you tremendously.”

A+ Gary, A+.

September 26, 2007

From the wife..

Filed under: christianity,Religion and Philosophy,wealth — theburts @ 9:52 pm

Daniel gave the story of Monday evening, so I’ll go a little further. As we were going to sleep that night, we had a little “debriefing”, I guess you would call it… to get each others’ thoughts about the evening. We talked about having these people into our homes, if we were comfortable or not, etc. But, the major thing that came to my mind was humiliation / embarrassment / anger that the world / society / my upbringing has ingrained in me the stereotypes of certain types of people….

While I feel like as a Christian, I am to love these people as Jesus does… or even as I love my friends (which I guess seems more attainable), I felt like I was doing a crappy job of it with the things that were floating around in my head. Sure, we had a nice meal, laughed, listen to music, & let Steve take a shower…. But things kept popping up like “Is my couch going to be dirty?” & “What if they steal something?” Awful, I know.

So, how do I get these things out of my head? Maybe more direct exposure to the groups that are stereotyped? I’ve served food to homeless people before – you know – at soup kitchens, etc… but that always seems so safe. Having two into our cute little apartment was a different story. While, I was nervous at first, I eventually settled & it was fine. But, those little judgments that kept creeping into my head were quite disturbing. And even if some of the stereotypes are true – that shouldn’t keep me from accepting them & inviting them to our home. Is it really that big of a deal if something disappears from our house? Or if my couch gets dirty? Of course I might be upset at first – but that would be out of my own materialism…

OK… so any advice on all of this?

On another note… (well, I guess, it’s another stereotype or assumption) – I thought that (because “homeless = hungry”) they would down a ton of food – that since it was available, they would eat to their heart’s content. They didn’t… Allen quit after one plate, and Steve couldn’t even finish his first one because of tooth problems. I was trying to feed them more or make some dessert, but they wouldn’t have it. Then, they did the dishes for us. And they were the most appreciative guests we’ve had over so far.

September 25, 2007

Dirty showers

Filed under: christianity,Homelessness,Religion and Philosophy — theburts @ 4:51 pm

Cussing. Lots of cussing, including the big bombs. Drinking. Just a beer each, though. Good food. Pot roast, broccoli casserole, rolls, sweet tea…mmm. Dirty shower. Filth, smell, and dirt running down our shower drain. Relaxing. Sitting on couches, on our rocker chair, chilling to music, enjoying the a/c.

That was our house last night. Amanda and me and Steve and Allen. Two guys I found in Hillsboro Village. Homeless. Amanda and I got a roast at Costco that was too big for us and ended up cooking tons of other food too, so we decided to invite people over. Then we decided to be literal on the Luke 14:12 verse. (On searching for this verse, apparently others in Nashville have done the same!)

When I said Hi to Allen, he asked me to help him out with a bus ticket, but was happy to accept an offer for a free meal instead. Then we drove around looking for a couple others who might want to take up the offer too. And found Steve, passed out on a bench beside Pancake Pantry. Cussed out Allen when he woke him up and told him not to pull on his clothes or touch his radio. Made sure there were no dogs under all the stuff in my car, which was entirely possible with all the junk in my backseat, then slouched in and we took off. By the time we got there 10 minutes later, Steve was asking “where in the hell” we were.

Both veterans, now homeless. Yet Steve was still proud enough to show me his veterans ID card. Admitted later that the government has completely failed to give him the help he needs, and that “things will never change” even with a change in the administration. Somewhere in their 40’s or 50’s…hard to tell. I haven’t seen Allen before. But Steve is known to be the Hillsboro Village drunk. He’s passed out in front of stores before and they call the police to remove him so they can open for business. I’ve never said Hi to him before. But tonight he was just our guest for dinner. Steve and Allen were hilarious the way they fought with each other playfully, called each other brothers (may have meant in the military, not sure), and told stories of everything from catching a deer doped up and leaned up against a tree after eating three of his marijuana plants to throwing a 6 foot alligator in a game warden’s boat in the Florida swamps. True? Heheh, don’t care, funny :)

While Amanda was setting dinner out (ok, I usually help with the cooking and serving, so don’t think we’re that type of couple or that I’m that type of male, ha) I sat with Steve and Allen. Asked them if they wanted a Budweiser beer (had a couple I needed to discard), to which Allen replied “Do bears live in the forest?”. Then we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner…a huge pot roast that had been cooking for over 24 hours with carrots, onions, and potatoes. And I mentioned the broccoli casserole. Rolls. Several of those things were dumpstered, by the way. Then after eating we sat back down on the couches to relax some more. Steve especially enjoyed the floor rocking chair with music playing from the speakers that are on either side of your head. He said it was better than sex.

Allen tinkered on the guitar, I played my harmonica to the Piano Man, and Steve still rested on the couch, shoes and socks off. Even before we got to the house, he asked if he could take his shoes off. Evidently he has diabetes and his feet are often asleep. He talked to them a couple of times, quietly and to himself, telling them to wake up. Finally Steve said he’d love to take a shower but he didn’t have any fresh clothes. So he’s now wearing one of my t-shirts I got from a dance weekend, and he feels as fresh and clean as I do. He was mumbling to himself the whole time…things like how much dirt and mud was coming off. I could tell he enjoyed it thoroughly. Said it took 3 times to wash all the dirt out of his hair.

Then we listened to some more music, sat around a little more, they thanked Amanda over and over again for the delicious meal, and I took them back home. Their home. Which is somewhere in Nashville, back to an empty bench, or a spot of grass. Steve, still stumbling slowly around with his dumpstered and duck taped yellow radio, and Allen, saying bye to Steve and taking off in a different direction. Both of them probably going to try and get some money to buy some liquor for the night…a lot cheaper sleep medication than Lunesta.

I hope they slept well. I hope they had a wonderful time and felt welcome in our home. I hope that we didn’t encourage bad behavior by giving each of them a beer and not stopping their cussing. I hope that Steve feels fresh and clean this morning and enjoys my All-Balboa Weekend dance shirt. I hope that someone else will give them a cup of cold water and they will feel loved.

I hope that somehow things WILL change for the chronic homeless in the states.

Until then, maybe Jesus is glad that we entertained strangers and invited those who can’t repay us. Or maybe Jesus was there, as in what he said about the least of these. If so, I hope he enjoyed the shower.

-d

* I realize that I tend to write things in story form, and to write with too much creativity and maybe too much emotions. And I feel like I’m not a good enough writer to attempt “I hope” paragraphs like the one in Shawshank Redemption. :) I just wanted to write down memories of last night and share them. Now, I want to discuss the events. Amanda’s going to blog about how difficult it is not to stereotype, and I want to continue talking about things I wonder about last night. Is it ok to share a beer to someone who has a chronic problem with homelessness or even alcoholism. It might seem obvious, but maybe our goal of having someone over one night wasn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t be to start working on their destructive behaviors. Maybe it’s just to make a friend, to welcome someone into our home as they are, and worry about the problems a little later. I think Amanda was smart in asking me to limit it to one beer each. But I don’t claim to have made the right decision on that. And I want to discuss the logistics of doing this more often. Does it become something we do often? At different houses? Different hosts? Just brainstorming. Please feel free now to add your harsh criticism or comments. ;) Peace.

September 21, 2007

OK, OK, a report from the wife…

Filed under: dumpster diving,Just for fun,Married Life — theburts @ 7:07 pm
OK, first I’ll give my lame excuses for not blogging yet. One, I can’t (ok, shouldn’t) blog from work (as I am doing now – on my lunch break) unlike the husband. Two, when I am at home, I am usually 1) cooking, 2) cleaning / settling into the apartment, 3) spending time with Daniel or 4) not getting any internet connection So, get off my back. :)
Since Daniel has given many of the updates so far, I’ll just add and/or comment further. I’m extremely pround of our TV-hider & side table. I love that I got to help convert the armoir into the TV-thing & that we didn’t waste too much time searching thrift stores for one when we thought of the idea to use the armoir. Also, Daniel was ingenius when he saved the fronts of the drawers.. because that dumpstered end table was obviously made for them.
The main thing that we’re trying to get adjusted in our married life is our work schedules. It quickly became apparent that with our schedules that we wouldn’t have enough time to spend together since I was working 7-3:30, and he was working 9:30 – 5 or 6, and on Saturdays. So, after his decision to quit SEE and mine to change my schedule to 8-4:30, it’ll be a little better. At least I won’t feel like I need to go to sleep at 9:00!
Speaking of work, I was assigned my first real project. It’s excited, yet also scary since I don’t really know what I’m doing. I wasn’t trained for this, so it’s a little daunting! However, I get to go to California in November for some training, so that will be nice. It’s always at least nice to travel on someone else’s dime.
Onto food…. we decided that we both need to eat better. We’re not sure how to go about this or how to resist temptation for junk food (or fast food), so any suggestions would help. Daniel’s been dumpstering some veggies, so that’ll help, I’m sure. We discovered that boiled cabbage is pretty good – good thing, cause we have two more heads in the fridge, along with loads of broccoli.
Alright, I think this is getting long. Back to eating my food.
~Amanda

September 20, 2007

Some joys in my life…

Filed under: Just for fun,Work — theburts @ 10:42 pm
  • My talented, giving, intelligent, and beautiful wife of one month and 9 days.
  • My new fish tank that I got for free to go in my office. Especially the funny clown fish…they make me smile quite often at the quirky things they do.
  • Our new end table made for the cost of under a dollar (for the spray paint). From a dumpstered table and scrap wood from torn apart drawers. It’s perfect.

end-table.jpg

  • Having the guts to take back control of my working life by letting go of one of my leases…and still knowing that, even though it means a financial cut, my wife is proud of me for it.
  • Thinking about having more time with said wife because of said job change. :)
  • Dumpstered Hostess Cinnamon Strudels…especially warmed with butter. Oh, and lots of them. Mmm.
  • Getting to march with protesters for the Jena 6 this morning when I didn’t even know about it…just drove by and saw it, parked illegally, and ran to catch up.
  • Tooth pain subsiding.
  • Catching up with a friend from years ago and remembering old times.
  • Reading the Bible with Amanda by lamp light.
  • Showing my little bro Jon how to get free popcorn and a drink at the theater. oops!
  • Meeting a patient who bikes 10 miles each way to work every day, and hearing him encourage me in my riding. (since Ariah’s not here to do that anymore!)

That’s it for now. I’m very pleased with my decision to go full time to Costco. It will allow me to grow the practice faster at Costco, concentrate more on improving the way things are done there (insurance, appointments, recalls, patient letters, contact ordering, hiring assistant, etc), but most importantly work 5 days a week again and spend more time with Amanda. Can’t freakin wait.

SEE is taking it pretty well, although they’re sad to see me go. I hope to keep great relationships with both John and Michelle and hope not to burn any bridges…wouldn’t want the first bridge burned in my optometric career. But I am working my last half Saturday at SEE on October 13, and hopefully soon after will find someone to take Wednesdays and Fridays. At the most, I’ll work Wednesdays through the end of the year to help them out, but I don’t think it will be THAT difficult to find another doctor to take the lease.

That’s all for now…ok, baby, it’s your turn!!!! :)

D

September 18, 2007

How to work less…

Filed under: Work — theburts @ 4:48 am

I figured it out today. Are you ready? Quit your job. Well, to be specific, if you’re working 2 jobs quit one of them. :) So I finally decided that I couldn’t keep up with two leases anymore and let SEE know (both Michelle, the store manager, and the corporate folks) that it’s time they start looking for another doc. So I’ll keep working there for another couple of months for at least a day or two a week, helping them find another doc to take my place, but at least the end is coming now…I will finally be able to stop working 6 days a week again. Forget the money, I want my life back. heh

I’ve already been dumpstering and cleaned up all the spoils, and I have a headache. So it’s time for bed. I’ll write more when I’m more awake on the job thing.

September 17, 2007

Sunday

Filed under: Just for fun — theburts @ 1:46 am

Amanda and I enjoyed a really nice day together. We got some things done…the usual Sunday grocery shopping, recycling, preparing food, etc…but also had a chance to hang out with some old friends of mine, help get my new (free!) 55 gallon aquarium set up in my Costco office, get some thrift store purchased picture frames painted and ready to assemble, and enjoy worship together. I’m very excited about the aquarium at work, it looks great and was 100% free…including the stand, accessories like filters and stuff, and even the fish! Next step is to finally get around to hanging my Hawaiian pictures of fishes and stuff on the walls, then my office cosmetics will be done. For now.

We didn’t really feel like being part of megachurch today, so we stayed in and read in Acts and Luke (so we like Luke, I guess), sang a couple songs, and took communion together. For that, we used a leftover cookie we had (yum) and 100% grape juice (with a little sugar). Let me explain that one…we actually took about 20 grapes, washed them, and squished them in a colander to make juice…then strained the juice again. Then added sugar. Not bad, I tell ya, not bad. :) It was a nice time together, and we ended up having some discussion about why the current system of churches leaves people needy and unfed. See the end of Acts chapters 2 and 4…excellent stuff. That was the last part of our worship…we made a “mindy fine sign” to go up on our wall. Those of you who know her know what i mean…it’s Bible verses or quotes written in different colors creatively on poster boards or what not. So that’s on our kitchen wall now…parts from the end of chapters 2 and 4 of Acts.

Good day, though unfortunately it’s back to work tomorrow. Sigh. But a week of huge decisions…pray.

September 16, 2007

In Appreciation…

Filed under: Married Life — theburts @ 5:08 am

September 16th…my wife recently informed me that this day is “National Wife Appreciation Day.” What do you know, it actually checks out. :)

Just thought I’d take a few moments to let you know how very much you mean to me, Amanda. Right now you’re asleep beside me after a long and busy Saturday, cozily nestled in your pillow and softly breathing. As always, when you sleep, your muscles occasionally twitch and jerk…another quirk I can’t help loving about you. I can’t wait to cuddle you, knowing that you won’t mind being awakened…cause you too will love having me hold you as we fall asleep together.

Today you used your day off to come help me at work. You know I don’t like working on Saturdays, especially cause it means being away from you. I love every Saturday you’re there. Thank you so much for being so generous and unselfish with your free time, your time off, to help me. You’re a really good assistant, too. I love hearing you talk to the patients’ families or friends as they wait.

You’ve got some pain in your side today, like a bruised rib or something. I haven’t done much, but thank you for letting me take care of you when you need it. You’re a tough one, that’s for sure. And so cute. Tonight you kept cracking yourself up with funny things that you did or said and then almost cried cause it hurts to laugh…it made me want to go squeeze you to death. But that probably would not have helped your side problem. :)

I also appreciate you taking time to stop what we’re doing and listening to me. You know I’m going through some tough decisions relating to work, and you’ll always lend an ear and a hug when I’m stressed about it. Thanks for your support in whatever I choose, and for letting me know I don’t have to make tons of money…that you just want me to be happy in what I do and that you want more time to be with me. I’m workin’ on it. ;)

For your love, your devotion, your time, and for all the other things that you are and that you do to make me a truly lucky, happy, and loved man…thank you, my dear Amanda. I love you.

September 3, 2007

My confirmation in Blogging

Filed under: Just for fun — theburts @ 4:22 pm

So Amanda and I are going to start having conversation about blogging. I told her I think it might be a good way to ensure that we’re thinking about things. It’s so easy to be a zombie and just live each day without really spending time in productive thinking, especially when you have stuff to do like move into an apartment, work 5-6 days a week, etc. Sort of an emotionless existence, but I’m guessing a lot of people live this way. And we don’t want to be zombies.

The thought is partially derived from my former housemates (none of which, I might add, are zombies). Read a book, read the Bible, or just talk together…but write about it. It would get quite old just writing about simply what you did today. So eventually one of us might say something worthwhile.

I know there are other ways than blogging to ensure continued thoughtful existences. I know plenty of non-bloggers who are incredibly passionate people. Hi Chris. But for now, I think we’re going to try blogging as one way to ensure thoughtful existences.

Ok, one last thing. I realize that all of this is totally old hat. I’ve even heard others say basically the same thing, but probably better. But even though it’s nothing new, sometimes it’s good for someone to develop the thought within their own head and have some sense of ownership to it. Kinda like someone coming to faith in Christ…nothing new, but when that person is able to explain why they believe, it’s suddenly THEIR faith. So that’s what this is about. I believe in blogging! :)

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