Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Photos

I'm a little concerned that these pictures are going to cause you all ot overlook my last post. That wouldn't be so bad, but I really need your participation in my "Pantastic" experiment. So please, look at the pictures, get your fill of Adian, and move on.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Pantastic (A Public Service Announcement)

Author's note: Yes, this post is long. As I've noted before,
brevity is not my strong suit. But even if you choose not to read it all
(thats your choice), please catch the last full paragraph and participate in my
little experiment.

I hate shopping. Especially for clothing.

Of course nearly every guy says that. It's one of the requirements for getting your man card.* In fact,I'm told they'll take it away if you don't scratch yourself, spit a lot, and say things like this: Oh, the wife wants to go down to the mall again. You know those broads, always spendin' the money on shoes and fancy purses. Not me. I'd rather hang out in front of the big screen with my Buddy Weiser. I'm just a fine wearin' my blue jeans and an old Metallica t-shirt. That's all I need to work on the truck anyway. At least that's what I've been told (so I do say something like this, at least quarterly.)

So yes, my Y chromosome compels me to declare my disdain for shopping. But it's not just that. I really hate shopping. And not for all the regular reasons (what are the regular reasons?). I hate shopping because I'm tall. As a tall person living in a ground-huggers' world, I can't walk into a store and expect to find, say, a pair of pants that will fit me. Inevitably, I'll end up standing under the florescent dressing room lights in something that resemble Capri's, wondering if I can pull it off in the name of faux Euro styling. (I can't.) Or I'll stand in front of the mirror tugging down some other extra baggy pair as low as I can around my waist to get an extra inch or two (or three or four) of length, all the while wondering what the old ladies will say about this young buck they now have for a pastor.

All that is to say that I don't shop much. At least not in stores. Shopping for me usually involves a half hour in front of the computer (give or take an hour) , clicking through the sale pages of a few select stores that I know stock tall sizes, guessing what I think will fit. It's still not my favorite--but it's a lot better than going through the mall and striking out for three hours.

That's my regular routine. But a couple of weeks ago I decided to depart from it and risk a trip to the mall. A local store was advertising a 40% of sale and I figured it was worth a shot. I wasn't optimistic, but I needed a new pair of jeans and I'll do most anything to save a few bucks.

Upon arrival at said store, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was elated. I found not one, not two, not three, but four pairs of pants (jeans, actually) in my regular size. Giddy as a school girl, a loaded them into my arms and headed to the dressing rooms. I figured the only question for me that day was How many will I take home?

Well, it took about two minutes for it all to come crashing down. Not one, not two, not three, but four pairs of jeans failed to fit correctly. And this time, they weren't too small. They were too big. I nearly crumpled into a ball in the dressing room with a wail. The humanity of it all! How could it possibly be!

As a shuffled back to the shelves cursing the cruelty of it all and wondering, once again, about size inflation** in the U.S, I was caught by a sales guy in an argyle sweater. Clearly, he read my emotions well. I hate trying on pants, he confided in a hushed tone. But I've found a secret. You don't need to try them on. You simply take a pair of pants and you wrap them around your neck like this. If the two sides meet at the back of your neck with little or no overlap, they'll fit just right. Trust me on this. I never try on pants in the store. And they always fit.

I couldn't help but stare at the sales guy. Then I couldn't help but check out his pants. They did look good. But I was pretty sure he was just screwing with me--that he had some bet with his buddies in the back room about how many people the could get to perform this ridiculous stunt. But nevertheless, I grabbed another pair of the shelf (things were looking up again--they had some a size smaller) and headed back to the dressing room. And, of course, I didn't try them on right away. Instead, I ducked my head low (to make sure no body could see me over the dressing room door--another problem tall folks run into in this short world), held the jeans to my neck, and tested them out. Things looked good (and I felt like a fool). So I whipped off the jeans I was wearing and tugged them on. One leg, then the other. Perfection!***

This is where I need some audience participation. Was the sales guy putting me on? Was this just a fluke? Please, go find your best fitting pair of jeans or pants, wrap them around your neck (see photo), and report back in the comments section. What is the correlation between how they fit around your waist and how they fit around your neck? Please do it! This could be a pants-fitting revolution!

*Along with having propane and propane accessories in your garage

**This is my theory that retailers are catering to the fattening up of America by making their sizes bigger (so a XL today is more like an XXL of fifteen years ago).

*** Or near perfection. They were actually a little long, but since they were only twenty bucks, I figured I could put up with it. Of course, there was a time when I'd have been thrilled to find jeans that were too long (the sheer novelty of it all!). But now I'm not so sure. As I noted to an old friend, while the extra length is clearly deemed fashionable right now, people in my position aren't supposed to be fashionable. We're supposed to sport what I've heard referred to as "Pastor's Pants"--best seen in people in my profession who cross their legs and have their pants pulled up to about mid-calf, exposing their milky white legs and grey socks. With the right length pant, I can pull this off with astounding flare.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Sitter

It was a Friday night back in the fall of 1993. I was slumped awkwardly in the front seat of an old Buick Century that belonged to a man name Mike. Mike drummed his fingers on the steering wheel as he explained bedtime routines and emergency contact information. He rolled through a stop sign and added, "There's pizza in the fridge."

Normally, that news alone would be enough to make me ecstatic. But I hardly heard. I was too busy worrying about what the night would bring.

I was to be the babysitter for the evening. I liked kids, but I had never done any babysitting before (at least not officially). So as we drove down Sioux Center's Main Street--past the recently erected Centre Mall--questions raced through my mind. How was I going to entertain a ten month old child for more than, say, four minutes? And when was the last time I'd ever changed a diaper (if ever)? More importantly, did I really know how to do it?

I was pretty sure I didn't. But I figured I'd try almost anything for a $1.75 an hour.

Things ended up going just fine that night. I put the diaper on frontwards (At leas I assume that I did. The Pooh Bears go in front, right?). I got little Justin to bed on time and without too much crying. And I was extra vigilant. I made sure to stay awake until Mike and Michelle returned home--even if it meant fighting off sleep all the way through Letterman and halfway through O'Brien. Then, sometime before midnight, my eyes heavy with sleep, the couple returned and Mike drove me back home. As I prepared to leave the car, he shook my hand, thanked me, and gave me my paycheck for the night. Seven dollars and fifty cents.

I thought about Mike and Michelle last night while we were doing our last minute search for a babysitter. At first I thought, "Wow, I wish I could find a babysitter for that cheap!" Then I thought, "Wow, what kind of parents were they?! I can't believe they actually allowed me--at the ripe old age of thirteen--to assume responsibility for their child?! Someone should have called social services!"

Needless to say, we have yet to enlist the services of the local jr. high students. And it's not only because they charge much more than $1.75 an hour--though that probably has a little to do with it (we're far too cheap to go out for dinner and pay someone 8+ dollars an hour to watch our child). It has more to do with our own fears and paranoia. Jill's doesn't make a habit of saying things like: "Over my dead body." But I expect she would if I suggested we leave Adrian under the watchful (or not so watchful eye) of a seventh grader.

But that does leave us in something of a bind. Lots of folks from church offer to babysit, of course. But it's one thing for them to offer on a Sunday morning. It's another for us to ask for a Saturday night. If they were family--or family family--we wouldn't hesitate. But they're not. So we do.

Thus far, Jill and I have come up with a fairly simple solution: we don't get out much. At least not together. When we do, it tends to be some church event that we really can't avoid (such was the case last night). But most nights, we end up sitting quietly in our living room. Maybe watching Law and Order (or The Office if it's a good night). Maybe reading a book or writing blog posts. It's a far cry from the wild night life we once new and loved.

Okay, it's really not that at all. But still, it would be nice to have the option from time to time. So--anybody (preferably anybody related) want to move to Denver and be on standby Adrian duty? The pay is not great--but I'm sure the rewards are.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Role Model

Sunday morning, a couple of little boys from church were riding home with their Mom. They were chatting away in the back seat of the minivan when she heard one say to the other: "My dad is really tall, but when I grow up I want to be tall like Pastor Joel, because did you know he is the tallest guy in the world."

You heard it here first.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


When I was in the fourth grade, I wrote a fourteen page book report on George Washington Carver. Title page not included.

I'm not sure what I wrote about for all those fourteen pages (Any chance you still have this Mom? I'm sure it's gold.) Maybe I pontificated a bit about what it would be like to share a name with a president. Or what I would have done with the money Mr. Carver could have made. But I expect it was mostly about peanuts.

I recall thinking that my teacher, Mrs. Andringa, would be delighted to read those fourteen pages--all written out in my careful but cramped cursive. In retrospect, I was probably wrong about that. And wrong abut the teachers who followed in her footsteps--those poor souls who were forced to endure the pages and pages (and pages) of my rambling. Somehow, I doubt my 1.5 spacing, 10.5 font, and .8" margins succeeded in convincing them that my papers were within their assigned page limits.

All that is to say: brevity is not my strong suit. Of course, if you regularly read this blog, or if you took Comm 110 with me in college, or if you've ever heard me preach, you probably know that already. So I was rather impressed with myself for condensing our latest collection of Adrian videos down to a mere five and a half minutes (one minute of which is him sleeping--and I'll understand if you skip that part). I know it's still a little long--unless you are one of his grandparents or a parents--and some of you might want to skip to one of the high point at 4.15 (I won't blame you). But it's the best I could do.*

Adrian, Late Sept 08 from Joel Schreurs on Vimeo.

*I really don't feel that bad because (a) It's my blog and I'll post what I want to (b) my last Adrian video had twice as many hits as the moose video--which was short, and not about Adrian.