Category Archives: Daily Grind

Being Neighborly with your Neighbors

Shaun Groves has a great blog post about getting along with your neighbors, though it can really apply to getting along with anyone. Sometimes it’s too easy for relationships to go sour and it’s so hard to make things right. We’ve all got our pride to protect and we easily forget that getting along with someone means making compromises and sacrifices. It happens on all sides and when you least expect it.

But as Shaun points out, we all have masks, and behind those masks are real people with real problems and real hurts. It doesn’t make everything OK, but a little understanding goes a long way.

Restless Sleep and Mundane Dreams

I woke up with a sore throat yesterday morning (on the most beautiful day of the year) and ended up going to bed early. A fitful sleep resulted in bizarre, weird dreams. Or rather, mundane dreams. At one point I was dreaming about nailing planks on to the backyard fence we’ve talked about but haven’t started building yet (currently we have a chicken wire concoction that’s holding up surprisingly well—I’m tempted to leave it, but always feel self-conscious when neighbors walk by).

In the dream I was planning exactly how to build the fence: how many nails to use, how to space the planks (two pencil widths), how far off the ground they should be, etc. And it was then I literally dreamed the thought, “Seriously, I’m dreaming this? My dream is building a fence? My dream sucks.”

Stolen Purse

My wife’s purse was stolen today. What a pain. We spent the afternoon and evening canceling credit cards and getting her a new driver’s license (the ID is crucial since we have to get fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland Security in a week or two as part of our adoption process–and they require photo ID).

Everything is canceled and I don’t think we’ll have to pay any fraudulent charges, but it is a pain and we are out whatever cash was in Abby’s purse (maybe $50) and the fee for a new license. Doh. Thankfully her cell phone and her car keys (with the expensive key fob) were not in her purse.

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Dreaming About Being Back in High School

I have recurring dreams (nightmares?) about being back in high school. I can’t find my classes, I’m in the wrong classes and I’m always late. Last night I had another one. I have these dreams so often that in last night’s dream I made an off-hand comment that I always have dreams like this.

But this time it was different. Instead of growing more and more panicked when I couldn’t find my classes and realized I was signed up for the wrong classes, I went straight to the office and calmly asked them to straighten it out. I shrugged when I handed them my schedule, as if to say this always happens.

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This is How Smart I Am

Last Thursday I decided to start waking up early and taking Mazie for a walk. She’s hyper and needs the energy release and as a sedentary mouse-jockey any amount of exercise is good for me.

Last Thursday also happened to be the beginning of below zero weather in Minnesota. “Arctic” is the new favorite word among weather people and newcasters.

Today I finally put on long underwear before my sub-zero walk with Mazie. So I’m either that immune to Minnesota cold or I’m stupid.

But I’m not stupid enough to go outside in my pajamas in sub-zero weather to smoke a cigarette, like my neighbor did this morning. That’s quite a habit.

Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

Apparently the answer to the age old question is yes, and not just in Europe. While walking into church this morning some friends were walking out and I stopped briefly to say hi.

One of them commented that I looked a little whelmed.

And I suppose I am. Putting your house on the market is stressful. Trying to find a new house–while fun–is also stressful. Spending all day with a baby and then trying to work in the evenings is also stressful. It’s kind of a crazy time right now. While I’m not the kind of person to make New Year’s resolutions, I think I am actively on guard against having too much to do.

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Self Employed=Isolation

The only thing I’ve ever missed about working the so-called real job, which fewer and fewer people have these days, is the cameraderie that comes with working with a cohesive group. As much as I love being my own boss and commuting ten feet down the hall and setting my own schedule and hours, I do miss interacting with other people. Not that much, since I am an introvert, but I do miss it.

The past two days I’ve worked full days in small a windowless room with three other people in a desperate attempt to finish a web project. It actually sounds more desperate that it really was. We were able to get the bulk of the work done and it wasn’t as stressful as anticipated.

What I really enjoyed was the banter. We’d joke back and forth, ask questions and collaborate, someone would make a coffee run, and the work got done. The laughter was great. I miss that. I probably came across as a hyper spaz because I kept making comments and jokes and just thrived on the atmosphere. I don’t get enough of that.

I don’t miss it enough to start looking for an office job, but it does make me think I should consider expanding the Monkey Outta Nowhere empire. Maybe get a real office, a staff of unpaid monkey interns. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Developing Good Habits

I have pretty poor habits. Good intentions, but poor habits.

I used to read 50 books a year. So far this year I’ve read seven. Three were in the last week. So I haven’t been doing well with the reading fix, but I’m trying to get back on the horse. This past week has reminded me that I can read and I do still like it and I do have time for it, even with a baby.

I’ll be honest and admit I’m not a very active guy. My lifestyle got the “sedentary” label in a college health class, and it pretty much still does. But about every year or six months I get the exercise kick and decide I’m going to be healthy. It lasts for a week, maybe two. I hate exercising. I’d rather just play a game to stay active, but that never seems to happen either.

Last week I picked up one of those stationary bike trainers, where you can ride your bike indoors. I’ve always wanted one because I get the bike habit going but eventually it gets cold or it rains or it gets too hot or too something and I just give up. I only bought the trainer because it was at the youth group’s missions dinner auction, so it went to a good cause. So twice this week I’ve been exercising, riding my bike on the front porch. I know, it’s May. It’s beautiful in Minnesota and riding your bike indoors in this weather has to be the stupidest thing ever.

With one exception–I discovered I can read while riding a stationary bike, and this doubles my productivity.

So I’m returning to two good habits, reading and exercising. At least for this week.

Baby Countdown: T-minus 18 Days

18 days until the baby is due. Which really doesn’t mean much since baby’s rarely come on their due dates. But in terms of practicality that’s what we go by–and pray she comes early. On my calendar I have “Baby Due” entered on January 22, though thanks to the speediness with which I entered the info it’s set for 8:00 a.m. I think I meant to check “all day event,” but we’ll see if the kid sticks to my calendar. Not likely.

So the final days before birth are kind of insane. I’m in an especially odd spot because I finished a massive project for work last week, so I’m much more relaxed this week and beginning to return to normal. But rather than starting the next big project, I feel like the day before a vacation where I’m scrambling to get every last thing done, continually adding to my to do list both so I can remember everything and so I can check them off in triumph (I actually added “refill dog food containers” to my list today).

Things on my to do list yesterday included dropping off books at Goodwill that have been sitting on the basement landing for over a year, making a run to the dump with our old storm door and various bits of crap from the corner of the garage and recycling the printer cartridge that’s been sitting in my office for two months.

Two days ago we rearranged the living room, our semi-annual tradition that we apparently needed to get in before the baby came. I even cleaned and reorganized my office on New Year’s so when the baby comes the inevitable piles that come will be new piles, as opposed to piles on top of piles (my standard method of organization).

It’s all so very odd, like preparing for a trip, except there’s no exact departure date. So I just carry on, trying my best to keep things clean and organized and kept up so we’re not caught with a pile of moldy dishes or almost-due bills when the baby comes and we rush to the hospital and drop off the face of the earth for days or more likely weeks.