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Archive for September, 2012

Sep 27 2012

Three Young Men’s Guide to Driving Their Mother Crazy

Posted by Mugs @ 10:15 am in Family

Step One: Refuse to get out of bed.

Step Two: When your mother hangs up four clean towels on the towel rack in the bathroom, do not hang your towel back up. Leave the towel on the floor or the sink so when she walks into the bathroom the following day there will be only one towel hanging up and it will be pink.

Step Three: Be very particular about pants you are willing to wear. Next, when your mother finally finds acceptable pants and your grandmother flies from Minnesota to hem them, put an ink pen without a cap in the front pocket of those new pants and walk around all day. Disappear while your mother spends an hour trying to remove the ink with a can of hairspray and a wet paper towel.

Step Four: Walk around the house in your underwear and a blanket.

Step Five: Forget your lunch pail in the car. Forget your test that needs to be signed. Forget to turn in a paper that you have written.

Step Six: Get very motivated about learning to play the recorder in third grade. Play it before breakfast, in the car, after school, in the evening, before bed, while in bed, and while your mother is trying to watch a Bears football game. Play only Hot Cross Buns during all these times. Next, tell your Mother you want to play the saxophone in fourth grade band so she has something to look forward to.

Step Seven: Take a shower and afterwards, put all you dirty clothes back on.

Step Eight: Be within three points of failing Bible Class.

Step Nine: Leave crumpled up, sweaty, dirty socks on the table, under the chair, in the corner, down the hallway, and behind the bed.

Step Ten: Dry your hands on the cat.

Sep 20 2012

Josh Laz’s Dad

Posted by Mugs @ 10:34 am in Church,Family

The Manry Clan has a lot of Josh’s in our lives, and it is easy to get confused as to which particular Josh we are referring to while conversing.

Zeke has two Joshuas in his class and each is distinguished by saying Joshua and adding on the first letter of his last name. (Joshua M, Joshua B)

Gabe has a friend Josh who has a simple last name and therefore we use it when distinguishing him.

Josh, who is on the worship team with  Josiah, Abby, and Gabe is referred to as Josh from church.

However, he is not the only Josh around church events. Mike and Joanne’s son-in-law is named Josh as well. Even though we see him only sporadically, his name is the name most often invoked by my children.

When I get confused about which Josh one of them is talking about, one child will inevitably ask, “Josh, Laz’s dad?”

As with much family humor, why this question is funny is unexplainable.

It is similar to a McKinney suddenly yelling out in conversation, “Did you just call me a big fat cow?”

Really, I can’t explain it.

During the campout, Laz and Gabe spend a lot of time together. They are the same age and like a lot of the same things and one time bought the very same swim shorts in two different locations. This was quite odd.

Josh is a young looking dad. He looks young, acts young, is young. His parenting philosophy is similar to Crush’s philosophy in Finding Nemo.

“Well, you never really know, but when they know, you know, y’know.”

Upon meeting, Josh and seeing his daughter Flower as well, Mom remarked, “I cannot believe he is her father. He is not old enough to be her father.”

“If you think he is not old enough to be her father, you should see his daughter Kayla, she’s in college,” I replied.

While sitting nearby, Josiah overheard a conversation between Josh and Flower.

Josh: “Flower, put away the homework and have some fun.”

Flower: “I only have 30 pages left to read in this book.”

Josh: “Finish it in the  car on the way home.”

Flower: “I have other homework I have to do in the car on the way home.”

Josh: “Flower, put away the homework!”

My children dream about what a wonderful life they’d have if only they had Josh, Laz’s dad for a parent.

Sep 18 2012

The Swing of Death and Other Oddities

Posted by Dale @ 11:54 am in Church

1. Recklessness Holds Sway.

Some attenders fiercely cling to traditional campout events, and being able to do them each year is vital to them.

The swing of death queries from Zeke started while we were driving.

“Can I go on the swing of death?”

“When are we going on the swing of death?”

“Josh, Laz’s Dad took us last year. Are you going to bring us this year?”

“Mr. Katsarelis has the key. An adult has to be present. When are we going on the swing of death?” He asked and asked and asked.

He asked relentlessly throughout the drive, throughout Friday night, and all day Saturday. He was most likely asking during my 4 hours of sleep, but the noise of the cicadas drowned him out.

Long ago, the death swing was more perilous with less straps and more ways to fall off to your demise. Now, unless your afraid of heights or it breaks under your weight, you are not likely to die at the end of it.

Zeke had worn me out with his asking by Saturday afternoon. Finally, I took him to the swing of death along with all the Manry children and other people’s children and fearless leader Mary.

They all had a go, even fearless leader Mary. Up until her swing, I was able to decline a turn, but where the fearless leader goes, I am compelled to follow.

However, Dylan, who is in Kindergarten, could not be convinced.

“Dylan, don’t you want to go on the swing of death?” I asked.

“No,” He replied.

“Maybe, you’ll go on it next year,” I said.

“No,” He replied.

“When do you think you’ll go on it?” I asked.

“Never!” He said.

2. Children Play With Fire.

Dylan may be afraid of the Swing of Death, but he has no fear of fire. He, his sister Shelby, and Zeke’s favorite activity during the campout was finding a stick in the woods, placing one end into the campfire until it lit, and swinging it around. This activity is most fun when it is very dark.

They did this morning, noon, and night and it was great fun until Dylan swung a little too enthusiastically and smacked his lip with the burning end.

I highly recommend bringing first aid kits with burn cream.

3. Stylish Clothing Not Required.

Prior to campout departure, we were all watching the remnants of Hurricane Isaac approach our location on the radar.

At 5am, on Saturday and Sunday morning, I lay in the tent counting the seconds after the lightening flash and before the thunderclap, praying God would send the storm elsewhere. Dale slept peacefully on. Having had 23 years of experience sleeping in a tent for the Army, he only wakes if there is an explosion.

At 6am, I got up and drank a cup of tea with Mac, who was wearing a Redskins poncho. James joined us shortly afterwards. He was wearing a shirt that hurts the eyes at any time of the day or night.

4. Outside Communication.

There is spotty cell phone service for some atop the mountain, but for most, they are cut off from communication.

Denise, who always has an ingenious solution, sent smoke signals to Bob back home to tell him what to bring with him on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, Fearless Leader Mary and I drove down the mountain road until my phone got a signal. We pulled off at a parking lot in the middle of nowhere.

“What is this place?” I asked.

“It’s a commuter lot,” she replied.

“A commuter lot? In the middle of nowhere? No way! That’s absurd,” I said.

There was one old pickup truck parked next to us. As we sat there receiving our messages, a car pulled up and dropped off a man who got into the truck and drove away.

“You were right,” I said, “How bizarre.” (Never doubt the fearless leader.)

We dubbed the lot the underlook, because it was below the beautiful misty hills.

We were so inspired by the view, we sent our partner in crime, The Robyn, an inspiring poem via text. Robyn had yet to arrive for her surprise visit. (Someone has to stay back and take care of the dogs.)

5. An Odd Church.

Not everyone was enthusiastic about going to church on Saturday Night. Dylan, for one, was not on board.

“Dylan, don’t you want to go to church?” They asked.

“No,” He replied.

“Why not?” They said.

“Mr. Dale is speaking,” He said.

I suppose Dylan figured he heard all Dale had to say in Children’s Church each month over the last three years. That was enough. Last year, his course of action was to sleep through campout church. This year, he arrived on his bike prepared for a quick escape.

From the picture I took, it appears Pastor Ted was objecting to the service a little more vehemently than Dylan.

The service was on a Saturday night, the preacher was wearing shorts, and we sang a song containing the lyrics “Scooby-dooby-doo-loo-yah.”

Still, I can’t imagine what was so objectionable.

Ask him when you see him. Especially if he comes to your house for Pastoral Visitation.

Sep 17 2012

A View of Campout Life

Posted by Dale @ 10:32 am in Church

Sep 14 2012

A Scenic Drive for Some

Posted by Dale @ 9:27 am in Church

Thankfully this year, our preparation and departure for the campout was NOT accompanied by toxic dust. Unfortunately, others in the church were not so lucky.

Dale, Gabe, Zeke, and I were the Manry Clan advanced party. We drove up on Friday afternoon with all the gear and most of the food.

Abby drove up on Saturday with Grandma in the passenger seat and Josiah in the backseat after Josiah’s race on Saturday. Driving to and from the campout completed Abby’s day time driving hours. (She still needs 10 driving hours in the dark.)

Prior to departure, Abby was notified via text message of forgotten items and brought those items and the remaining food.

On Friday, when Dale and I were an hour into the three hour drive, I received a text from Joanne.

“Pray the tow truck arrives soon.”

Mike and Joanne were hauling a camping trailer with Mike’s truck. As you all may recall, Mike can come up with fixes for most everything: cut the flapping bits off, beat it with a tire iron, have your grandson jump on the hood, etc.

If Mike calls a tow truck, it’s bad. Making matters worse, the tow truck driver could not find the location of “somewhere off of I66 headed for the mountains.”

The closer one gets to West Virginia, the more vague directions become.

The first tow truck driver ended up at a location an hour from where they had broken down, and the roadside assistance was refusing to haul the trailer anywhere.

So, Mike and Joanne sat on the side of the road in the blazing sun, sweating in the 90 degree heat, texting people to pray.

The Manry Clan prayed, and Denise called Joanne.

Here’s a bit of advice: In life, always have a friend like Denise. Denise is the kind of friend you call and say, “My water heater is leaking!”

(She is the office manager for a plumbing company so she gets this kind of call every day.)

Denise asked Joanne, “Where you at?” and was soon there to give her truck to Mike to haul the trailer.

The second tow truck requested also arrived on the scene to haul Mike’s truck back to his house.

Joanne and Mike praised God for Denise and for the enjoyment of a ride in a truck with buttons to press to raise and lower the windows, a sound system, trouble free gear shifting, and (most amazingly) air conditioning.

As they drove, Joanne breached the subject that maybe, just maybe, it was time to let the truck go.

Mike asked, “But what will Mugs do if she needs to take a load of trash to the dump?”

After they arrived at the campout, I talked to Mike about this concern.

He said, “I just don’t know whether I should fix it or cash it in.”

In disbelief I replied, “Mike, exactly how much cash do you think you are going to get for that old truck?”

“Well,” he said, “The belt’s worth at least 30 dollars.”