Categotry Archives: what I did today

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When Disaster Knocks on the Door–Or Bursts thru the Ceiling

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Categories: what I did today

The first part of today was pretty normal. The second half was nothing short of surreal and traumatic.

While working on a writing assignment this afternoon at the coffee shop, I got a panicked call from The Director. He said that water was pouring through the apartment ceiling and flooding his bedroom–obviously a busted water pipe. I raced home to find he had exaggerated nothing. It was a deluge–a literal waterfall coming from the corner of the ceiling. His bed was soaked through, and his carpet was literally floating on the water that had reached the floor, nearly a foot deep, and already flowing into the rest of the apartment. He and The Wild One had been frantically trying to save whatever they could out of the room. After two (!) desperate phone calls to the apartment manager, they finally got the water turned off.
It turns out it was a broken pipe from the sprinkler system in the apartment, put in for fire safety. Talk about irony.
It was hard to figure out what to do next. We kept sloshing through the soaked carpet trying to figure out what to rescue, while trying to figure out what to pack up to take out of the apartment with us–since obviously we weren’t going to be staying there tonight. The problem was, not only did they cut the water–they cut the power, too, to protect from electrocution. So we’re having to dig through closets with no light trying to figure out what to pack. We got what we needed, and with all our stuff now piled up on the kind-of-dry side of the apartment, we left as the carpet rescue guys were just arriving, to try and find somewhere else to stay for the night.
It was really bad–but it could have been much worse. Some furniture was damaged, some paperwork got soaked. Obviously The Director took the worst hit–his bed is destroyed, his guitar amp was sitting right under the waterfall when it happened, and his desk may be ruined as well. The apartment management is footing the bill for a hotel room while they clear the water, fix the pipe and replace the carpeting, but whatever personal losses we incurred we will have to absorb.
If you are a renter, get renter’s insurance. I have learned this the hard way.
As I said, it could have been much worse. Although it was a very traumatic experience, there were evidences of God’s intervention all over the place. The Wild One was supposed to have gone to art class today, but stayed home due to the bitter cold because she didn’t want to travel home on icy roads. She kept saying, “I knew I was supposed to stay home today.” Had she gone as scheduled, The Director would have been alone when this happened. Our most vital stuff was saved from the water. And this might sound silly, but yesterday I just happened to pick up a pair of new waterproof boots for the weather–which I’d been planning to do, but kept putting off and did it yesterday at the spur of the moment. The Wild One and The Director didn’t have waterproof boots, but I was wearing mine when this all happened. They helped me get into places I needed to go, quickly and without worry. The timing was amazing; it was like we were all ready for it–although you can never feel “ready” for something like that. Lots of things were in place that normally wouldn’t have been in place, which kept it from being more damaging than it was. So while our lives have been turned upside down in the past 10 hours, it’s apparent Someone was protecting us. We lost a few things, but ultimately we could have lost everything. So…I am very grateful.
So I’m sitting in a warm, dry hotel room that I don’t have to pay for, in a comfortable bed, writing this post on the free wi-fi, waiting to get new carpet in our apartment. Not the way I would have planned it, but still.

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Me Do Another Man Thing

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Categories: what I did today, What the heck was THAT?

Remember wwwaaay back when I do post about how me do man thing?

Me do another one! Me do another man thing.

Me replace broken tail light bulb on car, all by self.

Yep. All by self.

I know.

Me shocked, too. Me and car know nothing about each other. Me only know long pedal make car go, wide one make it stop. Different knobs do different things. Me still figuring it all out.

When stranger-friend drove up next to me other day and say, “Brake light is out,” me about panicked. There are lights on back there??? me wondered.

So me go to store where they sell pieces of cars. Me tell greasy man problem. He ask questions about car me don’t know. Then gets me car-piece I need and makes me pay money for it.

Me pull into apartment parking lot, look at book that tell about car. Me open trunk, yank out liner by sheer force and muscle. AAARRRGGHH…

Stop that drooling, ladies. Me happily married.

Me disconnect wires so don’t get killed touching light. Me unscrew three thingys, pull out big red thing from back of car, turn a thingamajjig, pop out old bulb, pop in new one. Do all things over again in reverse to put car back. (Except the AARRRGGH part. Left that out when putting car back. Last time when said AARRRGGH, kid walking by with dog look pretty frightened.)

Me did man thing! And me had dirty hands to prove. Me so proud, went inside to tell Wild-One lady-wife about man thing me do.

This time she not cooking. This time she impressed. 🙂

So now what me doing after big man thing?

Me cooking dinner. 🙂

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We Have Done Made It to Denver-ly (A Short Story in Three Chapters, or Maybe Four)

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Categories: My Story, Rantings, what I did today

Cyberspace is once again available to me, and I’m enjoying my first morning as a Denver resident at a nearby coffee shop before hitting my looong list of things to do to get settled. But here, for your amazement amusement, is the story of our trip.

CHAPTER 1: The Turbulent Take-off

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Day, Interrupted

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Categories: Rantings, what I did today

“Hijacked” is more like it.

Getting ready to leave to do my normal morning stuff (i.e., BLOG, get stuff at the store)…I walked into the garage to find water pouring out of the water heater closet, through the garage and halfway down the driveway. Figured out quickly the water was backing up through the water heater drain (not the water heater), apparently caused by a clog deep down in the pipes.

So I went to call the plumber. Opened my cell phone…my display is busted. Colors are going nuts on it, the picture is warped…I can’t even read the numbers. Oh, great.

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Dinner and a Show (or "Thanks For Your Patience")

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Categories: what I did today, What the heck was THAT?

So today we went to see Slumdog Millionaire (great movie), and got a bite to eat afterwards. And apparently, that’s when the *real* show started.
After waiting a long time before someone even approached our table, this sweet girl with a stuffy nose came and took our order. But it turns out she was just the warm-up act. Our real waiter was this super-animated guy who kind of danced around as he talked. He came up to our table and told us how wonderful the Stuffy-Nose Girl was for stepping in to help; he couldn’t get to us right away because he got triple-seated or something, so he’d asked Stuffy-Nose Girl to fill in until he got caught up. He told us, “Thanks for your patience.” I noted the name on his apron was “Stacy”.

Then he was off and running. Or dancing, rather. He danced and ran this way and that, busy as could be. He’d rush back and forth with trays and drinks and plates, still somehow find the time to stop and talk to us about what some guy at the other table did. Oh, and he hooted. Every time he came up to the table with something, he’d go, “Woo hoo!” like it was a celebration.

He came with our drinks, and slid them across the table like a bartender. “Woo hoo!”

He’d come with a Coke refill. “Woo hoo!”

He’d bring a big plate of biscuits to the other table. “Woo hoo!” And then he’d swing by and tell us how he’d just brought that big plate of biscuits to that other table. “Woo hoo!”

It wasn’t that he was the best waiter in the world. It was just so dang entertaining to watch him work, you didn’t really mind that he was so distracted that he didn’t bring the water pitcher when he brought everyone drink refills but you. He’d just apologize, say, “Thanks for your patience,” hoot, and dance away. And a few minutes later, there he would be with the water pitcher. “Woo hoo!”

Stacy the Hooting Waiter juggled his tables like so many balls in the air, dancing and chatting and hooting as he went. Even though your food took a long time, you felt privileged to be part of the act. He had so much energy it felt like you could burn the calories you were eating just by watching him.

When the food did come, he brought it with a hoot. Oh, but he forgot the extra biscuits and gravy. No matter. Off he danced like a shot, and brought it a few minutes later. “Woo hoo! Thanks again for your patience. Oh, and here’s some maple syrup. Try mixing it in the grits–you’ll love it.” And off he went.

Shortly after we began eating, he brought our check by the table. “Woo hoo!” he said excitedly.

Then…I don’t know what happened, but Stacy the Hooting Waiter disappeared for awhile. The Director’s Coca-Cola ran dry, and he became parched, almost to the point of panic. Just when we were thinking we might need to call a doctor or something–“Woo hoo!” Out of nowhere came Stacy the Hooting Waiter. “Sorry about that, guy. I’ll make a special trip for your Coke refill–no distractions.” And this time he didn’t dance away; he sprinted to the back, and came back moments later with the Coke. “Here ya go. Let me get those plates.” Then he said to me, “Thanks again for your patience. Woo hoo!” And before I could say, “No problem, Mr. Hooting Waiter,” he was gone again.

Simply amazing.

At the end of our meal, we were just sitting there chatting…and suddenly behind us we heard a “CRASH!” Uh-oh. Apparently Stacy the Hooting Waiter had lost control of the balls he’d been juggling at another table, and some plates crashed to the floor. “Sorry about that. I’ll get that cleaned up. Woo hoo!” And moments later, it was like it never happened. Just an encore performance to end the show.

You know you have a good waiter when you almost don’t even notice how mediocre the service was, how long it took him to get to you, or how many things he forgot because he was so busy dancing and juggling. If he entertains you while he does it, and thanks you for your patience, that sort of makes up for the mistakes, because when a guy is that happy when he’s working, you feel happy, too. He earned every dollar of his tip, because he burned every calorie I ate. I think I’ll always remember his parting words to me:

“Thanks again for your patience, guy. Woo hoo!”

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What Totally Made My Day Earlier Today at the Off the Map Conference

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Categories: off the map, what I did today

So I walk into the lobby for the Saturday morning sessions of the Off the Map Conference, and I see Matt Casper (the atheist co-author of Jim and Casper Go to Church) standing by the book table.

So I went up to him to shake his hand and tell him how I loved the book. (I had already told Jim Henderson, the Christian co-author of said book, the same thing earlier.) I introduced myself simply as “Jeff.”

Before I could get another word out, Matt shook my hand, grinned widely and said, “Yes, Jeff! I’ve read your blog many times!”

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Hidden Treasure

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Categories: fun, what I did today

Anyone heard of Charlie Peacock?

If you have listened to Christian music in the past 20 years, you may not have heard of him, but you’ve felt his influence. He is a true musical veteran–an artist, singer, songwriter, and producer in Nashville.

Ever hear the dcTalk song “In the Light?” Charlie wrote it. In fact, he recorded it first, several years earlier; dcTalk only covered it. And Charlie’s produced numerous artists that you probably have heard of.

I’m MySpace friends with Charlie, and the other day I got a message that he was doing an impromptu gig in Oklahoma City. So The Director and I got in the car and drove there.

Turns out Charlie was teaching a class at a local college the following day, and he decided he’d rather play some music than sit around bored in his hotel room. So his hosts arranged to have him set up and play…in Starbucks.

To me, it was one of those rare and almost magical moments that most people miss. There, sitting five feet in front of me, was one of the most seasoned veterans in the music industry, sitting at a keyboard, no band behind him…playing his songs for the sheer fun of it. For free. In Starbucks.

So I listened while the guy who wrote “In the Light” played it, down-tempo, on a solo keyboard, with a little bit of improv thrown in. He actually played it again at the end, by request, and it sounded totally different than the first time. I was like, “Coooooool.” 🙂

Man, I figured the place would be packed. It wasn’t. Only a handful of people gathered around. Nobody knew about it because it hadn’t been scheduled. There were people sitting outside studying the Bible, not even aware of who was performing inside. I was sitting there looking at them thinking, Don’t you know who’s playing inside this Starbucks?? It’s CHARLIE PEACOCK!!

(Okay…so maybe studying the Bible is more important.)

This wasn’t like a Charlie Peacock: The Starbucks Tour or anything. This was impromptu, happenstance. I felt like I’d been given a rare privilege in just happening to get the information in time. He didn’t “rock the house”; it was a regular coffee house type gig, except you could tell he knew what he was doing on that thing. It was good music, performed by a guy who obviously hasn’t let the music industry crap rob him of his love for playing and performing–and a guy who obviously still isn’t above playing anywhere he has a chance. I knew, even if no one else in the room did…someone with those credentials doesn’t spend an evening playing in Starbucks unless he loves what he does. And that’s what made it such a hidden treasure.

Oh…and I also shook his hand, introduced myself and The Director, thanked him for playing, got an autographed CD…and handed him a demo.

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Chasing Gustav

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Categories: fun, what I did today

Earlier this week, millions of Americans got into vehicles and fled from Hurricane Gustav.

Today…three wackos got in their car and drove into Gustav.
Okay, so Gustav is no longer a hurricane, and I’m so thankful it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (though people are still suffering from it). Today, it is just a big mass of “itty-bitty stinging rain” (a-la Forrest Gump) with some annoying wind behind it, now spinning in our neighborhood.
The Wild One has been wanting “rain pictures”, and what better rain event than a former hurricane? So she had been planning for Gustav for days. And last night, Gustav came to our doorstep…and kind of stayed there. By noon today, we still weren’t getting any “real” rain…while just a couple dozen miles or so to the southeast, they were getting soaked.
What would you do? (If you reeaally wanted “rain pictures”, that is?) Since Gustav wasn’t quite coming to us…we went to Gustav.
We drove to a nearby town, stood in the rain with ponchos and an umbrella, and took pictures like these…
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And then…Gustav followed us home. (It’s pouring outside this evening.)