Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Take time to consider God's blessings in your life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good News

I got the results of my recent bloodwork today when my doctor called. Much to my surprise my cholesterol, he said, was good. And then he told me that the "bad" cholesterol was good and the "good" cholesterol was bad (too low). He called in a prescription for something to bring it up. He also reported that the kidneys are functioning normally. I told him that they often function overtime -- water pills and coffee are a killer combo. LOL. So, tomorrow I will go get the new pills and add them to the two or three others I am taking. Gosh -- now I have to remember what to take when and to do it.

AND - today I took the dog to the groomer (She was a shaggy mess). I anticipated a bill of $29 (a really good price at the local pet store), but then I got the phone call -- she was infested with fleas. Seems I had let the flea preventative run out. This is the first time in the eight years we've been together that fleas have appeared (shame on me). SO -- add a flea bath, and then there's the flea treatment for the dog, the flea treatment for the cats, and the flea foggers for the house. Instead of the $29 bill, it came to nearly five times that. OUCH!
Lemuel's post about pet's being victims of the economy became very real to me in that moment. Between grooming, flea meds, cat butt drugs (for the frequently impacted puss), food (none of it cheap), vet bills, and the host of other expenses that go with pet ownership, is it any wonder that people end up giving up their pets when they can no longer afford them? For most it is a heartbreaking experience and often adds one more dimension to the feeling of failure that comes with economic messes like the one in which this nation and the world find ourselves.

After dealing with the dog grooming and getting the needed meds and such, I headed to work, stopping along the way to pick up the new meds -- of course they weren't ready in time for me to go to work, so it's another trip tomorrow. Ben came home, packed up the animals, set off the flea bombs, and headed out with three animals for a while until it was safe to return home -- hopefully flea free. Then he had some cleanup from the fumigation -- bless him, he's a wonderful soul.

And that's the way it goes on this 25th of November -- only one month til Christmas -- actually the countdown snowman says 29 days, 29 minutes and a few seconds. Ready or not, here it comes. Hug someone

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

Saturday night, Ben and I had the opportunity to go to the local community theatre for their production of "It's a Wonderful Life - the Musical." The movie with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed is one of our favorites (after all, it's a Christmas movie, right?), and I wanted to see how it was adapted for a live musical. It was very well done (It was LONG -- we were there over three hours), but well worth the time and the money. The things that struck me were 1) the children -- they were so talented and having a great time, and 2) the entire cast seemed to really enjoy doing the show. After all, aside from Mr. Potter, what's not to like? Our little foray into local culture was a smashing success.

Halloween Revisited

You may recall that Ben and I went to the Halloween Party at church last month. I finally got a picture of us from one of the church members, so I thought I'd share it with you. In case you don't know, we went as the ECONOMY-BEFORE AND AFTER BUSH. Ben, obviously, represents the relatively healthy economy of eight years ago (note the tux and the money in the breast pocket) and I am the economy of today -- the out of work, homeless bum. We didn't win the costume contest, but we got great reviews and we had a great time doing it -- so it was all worth it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Angst

Well, here we are on Friday afternoon, and I am struggling with trying to pull a sermon together for a congregation who will hear (immediately after worship) my recommendation to close the church. That makes preaching a challenging upbeat sermon an awkward task at best. The sermon plus the stress of the post service announcement is giving me fits. I am also watching the work schedule for the week (It should be finalized by tomorrow afternoon). At this point I am scheduled off on Thanksgiving and the day after (an amazing combination). The Service Team Lead said more than a week ago that no one would be off on Friday (Maybe my name is"no one"). Of course, even if I am off those days, Ben will be working them (that sucks).

On a potentially positive note, I had a call from the temp agency the other day asking if I would be interested in going back to client employer I was with until the end of March. I said, "YES" of course. The potential assignment is set to begin in mid-December. I need to find out how much it's paying and how long it's expected to last. I'm sure it'll pay more than I am making now, but the length of the contract is important. I'd hate to take something for a month or two and then be unemployed again. So I will need some more info on this before making a decision.

Tomorrow I work through the day (Ben is off) and then we go to the Community Theatre to see "It's a Wondeful Life." I just hope we can both stay awake through the performance -- it's terribly rude to snore at the theatre LOL. It should be fun and kind of a change from the pace of life around here.

I guess that's the news from this suburb of Hell -- hug someone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday Night Musings

Well, here we are -- past another weekend and still standing. Yesterday I recommend to the church board that we look at closing the church for several reasons, and they agreed that this was the best course of action. Now, I have the pleasure of presenting the concept to the congregation and watching for reaction as they prepare for a meeting in a few weeks to vote on this issue. Yesterday's service and meeting wiped me out, but like a good trooper I went to work last night. Today, after a lengthy church related phone call, Ben and I headed out to a mall not too close and not too far and then I was off to work. Tomorrow I have a doctor appointment to renew my BP meds and whatever other things he feels prudent -- after all this old bod isn't getting any younger. It's been a week since I posted my resume on here, and as yet, I have not had any fabulous (or not so fabulous) job offers. Rome wasn't built in a day I guess. Next week it will be Thanksgiving already and I am carefully watching the schedule for work. We were told that many would be working on Tgiving and ALL would be working on "Black Friday." Yet, as I see the preliminary schedule, I am scheduled off both of those days. That is still subject to change between now and Saturday, but I am going with the "less said the better" mindset. Hopefully it won't change and we can do the family thing on Thursday and either shop or hang out on Friday. I guess since it is rapidly approaching 1 AM, I ought to go crawl in the sack and snuggle against a warm, sleeping sweet Ben -- and then drift off to sleep. Much to do in the next few days so I will need all my beauty sleep. Hug someone special!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Saturday Night

Well, here we are again on Saturday night. Ben worked early today and I worked the midshift -- got off work at 530PM. I came home to a home cooked dinner (yummy), and then sat down to do some work for tomorrow's church service. I finished (a relative term) the sermon and then drafted a document evaluating the congregation where I have served as Interim Pastor. In this document, I am recommending that the church decide that it is time to close the doors. This will the major topic of the Board meeting (the one from last Sunday got postponed due to lack of attendance), so it will be a trying day. After church and this lovely meeting, I have to go to work until 11PM or after. Oh, goody! Ben is off on Monday and I don't go to work until 4 or so, so we will have a few hours together -- a rarity in this day. As November zooms by, we are beginning to see some Christmas lights here and there. Of course, we've had Christmas lights on our patio since we moved in in April -- but I imagine we will add some more soon.

Please just keep us both in your thoughts as we deal with church issues, job issues, and an uncertain future -- I guess it that uncertain future that is supposed to build faith. Hmm, is there a sermon in there somewhere? Anyway, hug someone special and stay warm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Looking for Some Help Here

If you check out the bar of links on the left of this page, you will see a new section entitled "Nick's Resume." I have put my current resume (with name, address, phone deleted for obvious reasons) online as part of my ongoing search for gainful employment and life direction. Ben and I are willing to consider relocation to other areas of the US, and I can be available for a new position in a relatively short time. If you are a potential employer, I would appreciate your consideration. If you know of potential employers or would like to offer suggestions or improvements for my resume, I would love your assistance. To some, this kind of "self - selling" might seem like a last ditch effort, but it is not that. Rather, I was inspired to attempt this use of the internet as part of an ongoing and aggressive search for a new position. Any assistance that you, my readers, can offer will be appreciated. I will report on the results of this post at a later date. Thanks, all, for your help.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Night Rants

Well, here it is Saturday night and I am looking at a Sunday service for which I have no real enthusiasm. The sermon prep I've done (or not done as the case may be) shows my lack of desire or drive to be there and minister to these folks. We have reached the point of trying to decide whether or not this is a viable congregation with any potential for growth. We shall see how that process goes. The day will start with Bible Study at 930 (if anyone shows up for it), then service, then a Board meeting, a couple hours of "off"time, and then work for 6 hours and end up getting home about 1130 or midnight. Welcome to my Sunday.

That kind of day is piled on the crappy evening I had tonight. I am less than thrilled with my current position. I am getting so tired of demanding and ignorant consumers. They want sale prices on items NOT included in the sale, they are all in a dreadful hurry, they want something for nothing, and they bitch when they don't get their way -- which usually leads to management caving in and kissing their asses. Our question is not whether or not to bend over, but rather -- how far and for how long. I could see a future in this kind of work if the pay were better. I am just above minimum wage, which is far too little to put with the bullshit that comes my way in a day. Besides the customers, the pace of work is often nuts. I have to call and get permission to take the breaks and lunch periods that are mine under the laws and the contract, and am often made to feel guilty for asking. All too often I end up at the desk alone while co-workers are either pulled to other tasks (because they won't hire the help needed to do the jobs) or are goofing off doing nothing somewhere else in the store. I don't claim to be perfect -- I like some down time and fun time on the job as well, but still the job and the customers come first. It pisses me off when co-workers are standing around chatting and laughing and generally screwing off when there are customers to be dealt with. Am I wrong?

Well, as you can tell from the tone of this post, I am not a very positive frame of mind at the moment. I will go to church tomorrow and be wonderful and I will go to work and deal with more of the same. The sun will come up and I will live the day.

As I was talking with a co-worker about his future plans, I came to the realization that the only things holding me in Michigan (the unemployment capital of the nation) are my family and my partner (and he's as ready to move as I am). I am facing additional loss of income at years end and beyond as the church gig ends and unemployment runs out. That will leave me with this lovely part time job that will in no possible way cover the expenses.

The frustration level for us is almost insurmountable. I thank God for Ben and his patience with me as I rant and rave and as we look at an uncertain future -- where will we be? How will we live? Is there a future in the church? Am I destined to minimum wage level jobs with crabby customers? In the words of Doris Day, What will be will be. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's A New Day

This post will be a collection of rambling thoughts about the election and the future. Yesterday was an amazing day for the US and for the world. Not only did we elect the first African American President, but there have been some major changes as a result of yesterday's elections. For the first time since 1952 there will be no one named Bush or Dole in national elected office. The excitement in the air last night when the election was called was incredible. Less than 50 years after the birth of the civil rights movement, we elected a person of color to the highest office in the nation and to what many see as the most powerful position in the world. I was sitting here wondering this morning about the future; I wondered whether in another 20 or 30 years this country will elect an openly gay or lesbian president. We skirted the possible election of a woman as president (before the conventions) and a woman as vice president (following the convention). The election is over -- Where do we go from here? I was impressed by the acceptance speech of President elect Obama and by the concession speech of Senator McCain. I thought as I listened to McCain, "If he had spoken like this during the campaign, this race might have gone differently." Obama supporters -- we need to be good and gracious winners and not crow about the outcome. McCain supporters -- you need to be good and gracious losers and not boo the results or strive to impede the work that MUST be done over the next four years. The economy is in the toilet; the wars in the Middle East drag on; the image of the presidency and congress is badly tarnished; the overall image of the US is in a shambles around the globe. The only way if we can change the course is to work together and put the country first -- ahead of personal agendas, personal hurts or wrongs. We are the United States, not a bunch of separate groups identified by red or blue, old or young, rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight. Let us all work together from this day forward to bring this nation and this people into the new future that awaits us. And that, my friends, is the way it is this 5th of November.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did You??

Ben and I went and voted this morning. It only took a few minutes and was painless. If you haven't done it yet, get busy -- it is a right and a responsibility, and with the way things are in this country right now it is ESSENTIAL!! GO VOTE. (unless you are a Republican! -- LOL)

Monday, November 03, 2008


Tomorrow is Election Day and EVERY American of voting age and legal standing needs to be out supporting his or her choice for the numerous races across the country. In addition to the Presidential race, there are Senate and House races, local races, numerous ballot initiatives and more. Some of the proposals have merit, others are just plain wrong! I am not afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed to tell you that my choice for President is Barack Obama. For those in Michigan, I am voting YES on Propositions One and Two (Medical marijuana and stem cell research). If I lived in California, I would vote NO on Proposition Eight and if I lived in Florida, it would be a NO vote on 2! I will be so glad when the political season is OVER -- I am sick of all the commercials and especially of the negativity. I wish candidates would state THEIR positions and stand on that rather than slogging mud on their opponent. Everyone who is running for office from Obama and McCain to the guy running for Drain Commissioner or School Board is putting him or her self out there to serve their communities or the nation. Regardless of your position, take the time to exercise your right (and your responsibility) as a citizen of this nation -- VOTE!!