Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings. – Proverbs 31:3

Keep your way far from her
And do not go near the door of her house,
Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one;
And strangers will be filled with your strength
And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien;
And you groan at your final end,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
And you say, “How I have hated instruction!
And my heart spurned reproof!
“I have not listened to the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to my instructors!
“I was almost in utter ruin
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.  – Proverbs 5:8-18

“Chastity is one of the greatest disciplines without which the mind cannot attain requisite firmness. A man who is unchaste loses stamina, becomes emasculated and cowardly. He whose mind is given over to animal passions is not capable of any great effort.” – Ghandi

“But by the early 1900s brahmacharya [a vow of chastity] had taken its place in his understanding of the truly religious life and he felt it had a crucial role in the pursuit of truth. He interpreted it to mean more than sexual restraint. It was control of the senses in thought, word and deed, though aspects of it, such as fasting, were also a buttress to sexual abstinence. On his own admission he found the physical side of the vow difficult to observe; but mastery of thought was even harder, and he wrestled with it to the end of his days. Yet he was convinced that this was the broad high road to the self-purification so vital for the truth-seeker. Without it life was ‘insipid and animal-like,’ whereas man’s true nature could be liberated and revealed only if it was observed.” – from Ghandi: Prisoner of Hope by Judith M. Brown


Thursday, August 27, 2009

It’s 4:34 a.m. I woke up at 3:15 intending to take a jog, but I ended up being too tired. Trying to live healthier — eating right and exercising — has to be a very disciplined lifestyle, but unfortunately I’m the only person in my family who’d like to commit to that sort of thing. I guess maybe it’s like writing: there’s simply no time for it. I think about it all day and I hope and wish upon a star, but in the end I am just an automaton spinning in the wheels of the Great Machine, and there isn’t much time left over to be a person. Fuck.

I can say fuck because this is my own little space, and no one can hear me say it except God, and I don’t think He’s religious enough to care.

I’ve been listening to Galatians on my mp3 player in the mornings. Everything is by faith. Our birth, our life, our death. Faith.

I was throwing product up in a Dollar General store last Monday evening when who should walk in but Scott A hisself. I hadn’t seen him for quite a while. He was walking with a cane and weighed, conservative estimate, maybe 450-500 pounds. We talked a little bit. I asked about the old crowd, the people we used to hang out with before he decided to build a wall of impenetrable flab all around himself. The truth is that when a person is so morbidly obese that he cannot walk, or sit in a restaurant or a movie theater seat, or be invited over to your house because you know his elephantine ass will break your furniture, the truth is that’s the end of your relationship. You cease to have things in common because human fat pervades and permeates all. First it slows you, then it stops you, then it kills you. I told him about the Laurel house and the work that’s been transpiring and he offered to come over and help paint. There he was, leaning on his cane, his legs bowed inward from years of carrying such an immense load, and it struck me that he has no clue how handicapped and crippled he has become. Perhaps I’ll just have to tell him outright: the reason our friendship dwindled and died is because you wanted to do nothing but sit in front of the television, wasting your life and shoveling food in your mouth.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be that vast. The little bit of gut I have makes me very uncomfortable. In bed, at work, everywhere. Looking at him, I couldn’t fathom how he manages to work, drive, even eat.

Jessica bought me some new underwear, Under Armor brand. They work. No chafing, and awesome sweat-wicking abilities. Nothing like the satisfaction of knowing that your ball sweat is being pulled away from your loins to the atmosphere, where it belongs. The sweat is all around you. Breathe deeply and happily.

I’m off to get ready for work. It’s looking to be a gorgeous day and I’ve got 21 stops in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I just passed a very unproductive weekend. I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I have no idea why I did nothing, except that I felt tired and like doing basically nothing. Now it’s Monday morning, five a.m., and I have to do something: go to work.

We had dinner with our neighbors Matt and Julia last week and they floated the idea of visiting a local church together. Matt and Julia seem like a really awesome young couple and I like them. They have a little baby and are expecting a second. So yesterday we went to Harvest Christian Church together. It was so strange: it was exactly like Abundant Life Church (where Jess and I have attended since we were married, basically) except it was in Seaford. The people, the topical sermon, the expectations of the congregation to do nothing during the service, the reading of the announcements in the bulletin — the whole thing was exactly like our primary church. I’m not sure whether it’s funny, pitiful, or something to get angry about. As a general rule though, sameness, conformity, and lack of distinction I find disturbing. (And I will use synonyms to my heart’s content.) I’d say the local Charismatic churches in this area are basically trying to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses live in the only huge building in Gumboro, Delaware, where the most watered-down, glossy, professional, inoffensive, colorless version of the Gospel you ever heard may be sampled at Bayshore Community Church.

So I went to church. Yay me.

Jessica was irritated that I did nothing this weekend. She wants me to work on floors and put walls on places there are no walls. I don’t blame her, really, except she has no idea what it’s like to work like a bastard all week long, sopping wet with sweat, groaning, all joints aching, a permanent jock rash in your crotch, feet and stomach bruised from numerous impacts, twelve to fourteen hours a day. This week is probably going to be murder because Labor Day is next Monday. But that heralds the swift end of summer.

I haven’t talked to anyone in two weeks. I need to call some people this week and stop being such a hermit. I’m lonely.

Five Months Later…

I have no idea why I haven’t written anything for months, except that we’ve been pretty busy. We bought the house and moved to Laurel. The first major problems in the old girl were plumbing issues, things leaking which shouldn’t leak and things plugged which should drain–all of which consumed a couple weekends. With little repose we’ve been steady working on the other renovations we financed in the mortgage: electric upgrade, central air and heat, some foundation issues. Jess and I stripped and gutted two upstairs rooms. One is going to be a bedroom and one is going to be my writing room/study. We call that one “the cave” and I’m pretty excited about having my own little space to write and think. We tore out all the old plaster and her brother helped run new electrical wiring to those spaces. We’re basically ready for new windows and drywall up there. My friend Daniel B replaced the porch decking; he still has a lot of work to do. I need to get on him because he’s a procrastinator and everything’s supposed to be finished by the end of September. The utilities so far haven’t cost much more than what we were paying while living in the doublewide in Millsboro, but obviously it still costs much more to live here. We paid $550 in rent in the other place and the mortgage ended up being about $925 in Laurel. It sure is a big, beautiful house.

There was a flare-up of drama several weeks ago when Dinelle followed me into a Moose Lodge while I was delivering product, and then I called her the next day. That relationship is over, really, and I think both of us know it. It just has some nervous writhing in its death, like a chicken with its head cut off. Sometimes it might look alive, but don’t worry.

Summer at Pepsi has been tiring, but not nearly so exhausting as last year. Some days I even make it home for dinner.

We haven’t been to church since moving to the new place in June. That situation’s up in the air, and I don’t have time to explore it here right now. More later, perhaps. For now I’m off to work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I’ve almost got my trainee trained. He’s good help when we’re out pitching sodas but I think he fell asleep at the wheel briefly yesterday; people don’t get enough rest these days. He also veers the rig to the right when he’s making a left turn, which isn’t a good thing. You’re supposed to basically stay in your lane in case other drivers try to pass you on the right when you’re making a turn. Yesterday he almost took out a sign in a left turn and a tree in a right. He’s okay, I guess, but he isn’t too safety-conscious.

Sikki met a foundation guy at the prospective house yesterday afternoon and found out it’ll take around 9-12 grand to fix the problem with the floor joist and the house’s settling. I’m not sure the sellers are going to be willing to fix a problem that costly, but they won’t be able to sell the house to anyone who needs financing if they don’t repair it. I hope things will work out somehow, because the whole family likes the idea of moving into that spacious old place. It’d be so nice to have a study or den, a place to put my books and a desk, a place to think and pray and write. But we’ll see. I was telling a guy yesterday that buying a house is really dramatic. You don’t want to get your hopes up about anything because every day you learn something new, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and you don’t really know anything until you’re signing by the X’s at closing.

I had the idea last year for a family camping trip with my sister and brother’s families and all our kids. It looks like that might happen in June. We’re looking at Killens Pond State Park. It’d be nice to have an annual family gathering of that kind, just to make memories and reconnect with family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another blog, because I miss writing about day-to-day stuff.

We are trying to buy a house. Our current landlords have been unable or unwilling to fix the roof on the doublewide we’ve lived in for the past six-plus years. The roof’s been leaking the entire time we’ve lived here, and ceilings are falling out under the weight of moist, moldy insulation throughout the length of the dwelling. Our landlords are people we go to church with and live next door to, so it’s been a mysterious thing watching them make business ventures and update their large cape cod with various upgrades while our roof is collapsing. I’ve been so frustrated by it that I’ve even called the landlords and suggested they raise the rent, just to keep the place liveable. Ha ha, that’s desperation, boy. But I’m not interested in making a big stink about their neglect or insisting that Christian people shouldn’t have a reputation as slum landlords: I just want to move. We have four kids now and we need more space, anyway.

We have a large Victorian house in Laurel under contract, but I’m not sure how that’s going to go. The inspection revealed three major issues: 1. the need for an electrical upgrade, 2. an outmoded heating system in need of total replacement, and 3. a central foundational joist that is missing and needs replacement. All of these are pretty expensive repairs and I’m not sure we’ll be able to get the seller to fix them so we can get the financing we need. The house was built in 1940 and a host of lesser ills were also disclosed during the inspection, but most of those could be rectified by Jess and I on evenings and weekends during the first year or two we lived there, if we’re able to get the major stuff resolved.

In other news, I’m still working for Pepsi and I’m just grateful to have a job right now. The economy is pretty bad by all accounts — I know a lot of people who are out of work.

I’m still frustrated with church and a lot of my fellow believers. I’m still frustrated with myself.