Archive for January, 2005



Stop the World! I Want to Get Off!

1:04 am · category: Uncategorized

… or at least, you know, have the opportunity to catch my breath. Too many things are happening at once! Let’s work backwards, shall we?

So, in relation to my new job as youth pastor at a fairly large church, this weekend I had to take a group of teenagers to a statewide retreat for which they registered months before I even showed up. All things considered, it went really well. I had to drive the church bus, and I didn’t run over or destroy anything — despite the fact that the first 100 miles of the trip were impossibly curvy and scary. Also, the adult chaperone who lorded over the cabin in which my girls stayed said they were “the most polite, well-mannered young women” she’d ever met. Thank. God. You can never tell how kids are going to behave on an away trip until you actually take them on one, and I was relieved that I didn’t have to resort to Evil Adult Mode on the bus ride home.

On the other hand, the trip wasn’t without its inconveniences. First off, I registered late (due to coming into the job three weeks before the event) but was nevertheless assured that there was plenty of room for me. Yet when it was time to bed down the first night of the retreat, we discovered that they had assigned twelve females to a ten-bed cabin. After some re-arranging, that still left two girls to double up in a crappy twin bed, so I elected to stay elsewhere for the weekend. Luckily, the retreat was at a center just ten miles from my hometown, so I was able to stay with family. And I was immensely grateful for such amenities as box springs and a real mattress and loving kittens curled between my ankles.

But the most disturbing part of the weekend was that the church doesn’t allow petty cash in any sense. There was, however, a credit card I could use that was accepted at Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart gas stations (Murphy Oil). But the first time we stopped for gas, the credit card was declined. I had taken only $60 in cash because we were stopping for only one meal (“How could I possibly need more disposable cash than that?” I had wondered), and $40 of that was immediately eaten up with the gas charge. (Normally I’d have a debit card to rely on in such emergencies, but I just opened a new bank account last week in my new locale and the debit card hasn’t yet arrived.) I tried the church-issued credit card again at another Wal-Mart gas station, and the second time it wasn’t just declined — I learned that it had been cancelled. Luckily, my parents live only ten miles from the retreat site, so they loaned me $40 so I could get the gas to take us all home. I shudder to think what would have happened if the retreat had been at any other location.

In other news, I have two new kittens. They’re just as precious as they can be — one tabby and one solid-black kitty who adore me. Or not. The tabby lurves me so much that he slept with me the first night without prompting, draping himself around my head with his legs caressing my shoulders. The black cat, on the other hand, is still warming up to me. The kittens are brother and sister, and the girl is obviously in charge. When she yelps (there’s been no meowing yet), he responds. And if she doesn’t want him near me, so be it. That’s loyalty, right?

Incidentally, I named the kittens Rupert and Olivia. I know, I’m terribly uncreative.

In other news, I blew up the computer in my primary office on my third day of work. (In better news, I have TWO offices — although only the one has a computer that’s networked and has internet access, which is pretty much a necessity.) (And in even better news, I blew up the first computer simply because I followed the directions to update the programs and installed Windows Service Pack 2, which crashed the whole damn thing. Not. My. Fault.) I piss off the business manager on a daily basis and take some sort of perverse joy in it. I’ve managed to reign in my excessive eating and eat like a normal person now — and as such have already dropped ten pounds. I don’t have a washer/dryer yet, but I refuse to go to the laudromat and instead have mastered the skill of washing clothes out in the sink. I should have a new car (new to me, at least) by the beginning of February, which is wonderful since I’m in serious danger of throwing a rod every time I start my engine. (That’s way scary, since I live in a very mountainous region. I can’t decide which is worse — incapacitating my current car by throwing a rod or having to walk so far uphill to work.)

That’s it. I think.



I Am So Old

9:03 pm · category: Uncategorized

Feeling my age has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I had a birthday last weekend. It has more to do with the fact that the kids with whom I now work do not recognize or appreciate the pop culture references I spout on a regular basis.

Last Wednesday was my first meeting with the kids in the youth group for which I am responsible. I decided to throw a birthday party for myself, complete with gifts. Of course, I have zero dollars, so all of the “gifts” were actually things I already own. It wasn’t totally cheap, though. I selected things that were important to me or expressed some aspect of my personality. (Off the top of my head, there was a Buffy DVD set, a pack of Star Trek playing cards, my treasured WWE Royal Rumble 2002 chair, and a photo of me at the World’s Biggest Rocking Chair.) I wrapped them up, attached gift tags that said, “To Menley,” and left the “From” field blank. (I can’t believe I just called it a field.) Then I piled the gifts up and let the kids select one and put their names on them. That way, when they presented me with a gift, I could look at the tag and put a name with a face. (Incidentally, that worked pretty well.)

After the gifts were opened, I let the kids ask questions they had that hadn’t otherwise been addressed. That’s where the feeling old thing came in. One kid asked what my favorite color was. I immediately said, “Blue. No! Green!”

Dead. Silence.

Finally, one of the kids asked uncertainly, “So, which is it? Blue or green?”

That is just so very, very sad. Still, I’m not sure if it reflects more poorly on me or on them.