Tag Archives: family

Growing Up with the Cubs

The most challenging thing about suddenly taking in a 10-year-old who doesn’t start school for three weeks is figuring out what to actually do with them on a day to day basis. There are a lot of hours in a day, and every one of those hours needs filling. It is hard to whip up a busy routine from scratch, and it is doubly important to do so when that 10-year-old has just gone through what is likely the most traumatic thing she will ever endure.

One immediately fun activity involved the Cubs. I found a sports bar that would turn the Cubs games on while we were there, so we began going out to eat chicken fingers and watch the Cubs games. Early on, this meant weekends or the odd afternoon game so she could watch the whole thing. But even that changed, and the baseball became less important.

. . .  Baseball season ended, but Thursday night chicken fingers did not.

Wasting Away

My family has been spending many hours in the hospital lately, because my dad was admitted for what they thought was lymphoma at the time. Now it appears to be a different and more severe form of cancer. He’s had some other complications over the last two weeks, but they all seem fairly minor compared to the main threat. I’ve teetered back and forth on the likelihood of his overcoming it. Right now, I’m hopeful we will make it to the end of this blind alley and back into the sunlight without getting mugged.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;

he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;

. . .

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:4 –5, 22–24 ESV)

I wholeheartedly endorse my Lord’s steadfast love and unceasing mercy, but I feel the wasting away more closely than ever.

Update: My dad passed away in the afternoon of May 14. Half of my family was there when his heart began to beat irregularly. My sister called me to say I should come to the hospital, which was the second such call this week, the first for breathing irregularities on Thursday. Ten minutes later, she called again to say he’s gone. Thank you for your prayers. He left an admirable legacy as a servant to his church, family, and community.

P. D. James on Modern Society

P.D. James discusses life in today’s world:

Our society is now more fractured than I, in my long life, have ever known it.”

The isolation, she argued, flows from a fear of difference and is fed by the sense, common in our disparate communities, that engagement is not worth the risk.

“Increasingly,” she said, “there is a risk that we will live in ghettoes with our own kind.” Behind the disintegration was a spread of “pernicious” political correctness that made attempts at understanding harder.

“If, in speaking to minorities,” she added, “we have to weigh every word in advance in case, inadvertently, we give offence, how can we be at ease with each other, how celebrate our common humanity?”

“Look at those,” she says, pointing to the heavy bars on her windows. “This is how we live now. Behind bars in our own homes. I find it intimidating but I understand that it is sensible. Several of my friends have been mugged. Some of them quite horribly.”

The problem, she says, starts with the breakdown of the family and refusal of men to act like men. (via Books, Inq.)

Ignore this post

The post that follows is, as far as I can figure out, entirely pointless.

It has nothing to do with books, and it involves no stories of any detectable drama. I inform you only because I promised to, yesterday (Walker: a synonym for useless, unwanted integrity).

I live on a hillside, and a number of my neighbors have retaining walls running along their neighbors’ driveways, as I do. The difference between my retaining wall and any of my neighbors’ is that mine is much larger, and potentially more expensive to repair.

So I was distressed when a toolbox-sized chunk cracked itself out of the concrete this spring. I told my brothers, Moloch and Baal, and they offered to come up (and down, respectively) and see if we could repair it ourselves.

Since that time I’ve also noticed a tendency for rainwater to run into my basement, along the side that has not, for some reason, been equipped with rain gutters. Someone (and you know who you are) told me that putting up gutters, especially on a straight shot along one side of a house, is an easy afternoon job for a couple guys. So I asked M. and B. if they’d care to help me with that too.

They agreed. I bought supplies, borrowed a ladder at work to supplement the extension ladder I already own, and they came yesterday for the big work day.

Here’s where the story gets (even more) dull: Everything went great. We used patching cement to repair the wall, and the final result appears acceptable (at least as a temporary repair). We overcame some problems with awkward angles (since my ladders weren’t the ideal sizes or shapes), and the gutters went up handsomely. I don’t think professionals could have done that any better.

We did it all in a day. I provided the meals and basically hewed wood and drew water, leaving M. and B. to do the manly work.

They went home this morning, to resume their various duties.

And that’s it. It was a good day.