"Is this thing on?"
Or: What I've Done Over the Past Month.
In no particular order:
1. I was hospitalized [Happy Valentine's Day, honey!], but with treatment, the prognosis looks good. But it was frightening for a while.
2. Related: I've lost twenty pounds. Which is good, but you don't want to try my method. [Sorry, but I don't know most of you well enough to get all global disclosure-ish. Don't take it personally.]
3. I experienced total brake failure (read: master cylinder went kaput) while travelling on a snowy Detroit highway with my eldest. No injuries or vehicle damage, mirabile dictu.
4. I have a new boss whose initial impression of me was that it would take decades to evolve up to the level of Rupprecht The Monkey Boy (1000 points to whoever pegs that reference first). It has improved considerably, but was remarkably unpleasant for a while.
5. I have been invoked as a potential witness in a legal malpractice case. Oh, joy: lawyers.
6. Last Sunday, the Hit Parade grew longer. Yet another problem with the Family Assault Vehicle (after the $630 of cash we don't have to pay for brakes). Three magical little words: Cracked. Head. Gasket.
7. Have you ever had a checking account balance of $0.38 before payday? Now that's entertainment!
On the good side:
My wife is an absolute rock. I don't know what I would do without her. Plus, she has me pegged entertainment-wise: she got me the unrated version of Dodge Ball, and the underrated 13th Warrior. She also tolerated me catching Curling Fever during the Olympics. God's honest truth, it was the only thing I followed closely, and I can't explain why. One further example of her self-sacrificial side: she sat with me throught the director's cut of one of the most historically putrid films I've ever seen: King Arthur. Were MST3K still on, it would be one of the worthiest of targets. Worse than First Kinght, and that's saying something. I can't say enough bad things about it here, so I'll post about it later.
The kids have been a joy, as we have managed to shelter them from the storms. Madeleine is her usual good soldier self, the belle of the preschool, Dale turned three on February 24, and the party was a hoot. A riot of happy cousins, fuelled by sugar and pizza. And our littlest, Rachel--what can I say about her? Two words: Laila Ali. She's pugnacious, the happy warrior of the toddler set.
My immediate family has also risen to the occasion, giving unstinting love and support. Thanks especially to my brother Doug, and my sister-in-law, Maria.
Thanks also to everyone who dropped a note offering prayers, asking how things were going, if they could help, and so forth. You know who you are, but I'll give especial props to the following: Mark Mossa, Zach, Rich, Steve and Mark Shea. Thanks also to the veritable legion of commenters in the last two posts: again, it means more than you know.
And for all who cast votes for me in this--wow. I'll happily take fifth place: it's where Patton placed in the Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics. Thanks for the votes. And anyone who can tell me where I can get the "Finalist" tags for vanity purposes would have my gratitude.
And finally: Even during the worst of the storms, I have had moments where I have experienced the grace of God, the sure presence of Christ. For that, I hope to be eternally grateful. Thanks be to God for carrying us through all this.