the cheap choice


Every house in this neighborhood was built in the 40’s and 50’s, and using the exact same build for each, with a few variations. 3 different roof shapes, 3 different porch styles, 2 different front window styles, and some have an attached 1 car garage (mine) where others have that space as a master bedroom (moms).

They were designed to be cheap, very basic starter homes aimed at the young working class. But, oddly enough, 50 years later, a surprising number of them are still owned by the original owners, now in their 70s… and a lot of the others have only changed hands once or twice.

But because they were designed so, there are various quirks to be addressed. Don’t get me started about the basement step style.. lol

But one of the quirks is the lack of ventilation in the bathroom. The moisture has nowhere to go. You can install a fan, but that’s hardly a small project. Otherwise, it means you have to deal with the moist environment. 

The two big issues are that the paint has to be paint that is specifically meant for bathrooms and other wet places (or at the very least high gloss), and that the wood used in furnishings has to be treated.

Paint or wood soaks up water, you get decayed wood. If it holds it, you get mold or mildew. My stepdad has battled this over and over. The neighbor between us battles it over and over. It’s a well known issue with the design.

The person we bought this house from was selling it after her parent had to be moved to a nursing home. She’s the age of my parents. She grew up here. Her name is carved into the concrete of one of the sidewalks with a date of 1953.

So she knew this too. She had to have. Her family had to have been dealing with it for about 4 times as long as mine has been.

When she was selling the house, she apparently needed to clean up some issues with it, as although none of the rest of the house had anything done with it, the bathroom had a new cabinet under the sink and was freshly painted. Pretty much par for the course around here.

And yet… 

The cabinet was made of particle board. It now needs replaced again, just 3 years later. The entire bottom base area has nearly fallen apart.

And the paint has decided to start falling off of the walls and the ceiling in large sections. Underneath is the older layer of the correct type of paint, firmly attached, looking like the surface wasn’t prepared at all to be painted over with the non-moisture resistant paint.

While its better than holding the paint and making decay or mold from the water trapped between them, it’s rather annoying, but I find it annoys me more because I know that she knew that it wasn’t the correct choice to minimize the problem, but rather the cheap choice to pass the buck to the new owners.

Somehow, every time I discuss this situation with anyone, it always ends up coming back to a discussion of finance and politics.

Between the trees and the forest

Lately I’ve been in a spell of frustration. 

Yeah, it sort of comes and goes…. but its been back. 

how many rounds is this now? lots… way too many probably.

This one sort of has had three different things provoking it….

1. little results on weight loss when there should have been… followed by a spell of my favorite self defeating strategy of “if i’m not going to make progress anyway, i might as well do things that deserve a lack of progress”

2. a combination of depressing tax numbers from the past year, plus making the mistake of adding my student loan into a financial program that i use… so that it ever so politely informed me i have a net worth of -31k. Gee thanks. 

I suppose thats better than the -34k loan amount originally? But how depressing it it that in 8 years I’ve made a total of 3k in progress overall on them. (Granted, having them deferred for the last year from being unemployed hasn’t helped, nor did having the payment amount based on my income for my last job with the low pay rate… but still.)

3. a job possibility that hadnt occurred to me previously came to mind. and had possibility. but in considering it, i came to realize that while it would have been perfect 2 years ago, good a year ago, and doable 8 months ago… right now, i;m really not in a position to be able to do anything with it. and even if i started aiming towards it now, probably still wouldn’t be possible for at least another 6 months… at which point who knows on if it would still even be on the table.

the theme i’ve finally caught today is that on all three…. i can both the forest and the trees… but the path between the two is seeming rather unpassable from the current tree vantage point. 

I know where i’m at, not a pretty place on any of the three.

I know where I want to be, and that it seems like a reasonable place to be shooting for.

But getting there from here?

Depending on my mood, sometimes there’s hope, optimism, enthusiasm. But then sometimes, I’m not entirely sure its possible…. or even worth the trip.

unfortunately, this morning was one of the latter.

I had a few errands to run after the y this morning… and after the first one ended up in a nice pout, which resulted in a decision towards a chicken meal for lunch that i used to get off and on years ago… which probably has more calories in it than i should have been eating all day.

Ya know, that whole mental conditioning thing with weight loss of stopping to think how much you really want the food in question over how much you want the end goal really fails when you get into this sort of a spot. its one of those bird in the hand vs two in the bush things. right now, yes, i want the chicken more than i want the hope of reaching the end goal.

this thought process goes downhill quick.

because then comes the dose of reality… if i’d really, really truly wanted the end goal enough, i’d be working out with every free minute, and having no doubts about the wrong foods, and be putting my absolute everything into it.

reading from my actions overall, my level of wanting it ranks about a “meh…”. 

and the same with the other areas. if i really really truly wanted to be where i think i want to be, i’d have taken more drastic measures. even if it meant stuffing everything into storage and pitching a tent till it worked out where i wanted to be.

but then, we get back to the weight loss self defeating strategy. if i’m going nowhere, and what im doing apparently isnt enough, then i might as well do things to deserve to be going nowhere. 

you really dont wanna know what my shopping cart looked like at the end of the next errand!

so by the errand after that, i’d decided i was forgetting the budget for right now, and getting something i wanted. wasnt sure what, but something.

so i ended up on the seasonal row…. candy central. at the end, was the valentines leftovers. but then, beyond those, were the new years leftovers… now on extreme clearance.

there was this watch i’ve been looking at since roughly december. does heart rate monitor, pedometer, calorie burn estimates, etc etc etc… but it was originally 50, way out of justifiable range. when it went on clearance, it had still been 25… enough to make me stop and consider it, but still decide it was more than i should be doing right now.

but today? today it was 10 bucks. into the cart it went.

and the neat little salad lunchbox thing that matches my work lunchbox, with different areas and special ice pack that was originally 10? now 2.50, it was next to be tossed in.

And the third was one of those things that i’ve had passing wants for, but never even considered buying. one of the water filtration things that sits on a fridge shelf and has a thing to fill glasses from it. i have one of the little pitchers… but it always annoys me how little it holds, about 1 of my water bottles. i’d considered buying the next bigger pitcher, but decided against it from price.

but here was the biggest one, the setup i’d wanted but never would have gotten… and for only 3 bucks above what i’d paid for the littlest pitcher.

so three items i’d wanted… under $25 for all three, vs close to 100 regularly. 

but at this point, id realized that my self-defeating had just been self-defeated. on both the budget and the health.

gotta love random nice planted things to get your mind back into a better place… vs the harsh slap you probably deserved at the time.

sigh. but pouting is so much easier than just trusting it all works out eventually!

Would, could, what, and why?

“Is there any difference in your mind between a higher power who ‘could’ restore you to sanity and who ‘would’ restore you to sanity? In other words, what do you think is necessary on your part for God to actually carry out the work of restoring you to sanity?”

Ok, this is one of those workbook style questions that make me like workbooks over just checkboxes. 

Believed a higher power can restore sanity (aka saneness, my prefered word change) to the insanity and issues in my life is an easy check.. I mean, belief in an all powerful God easily transfers down to power to do smaller things, next step… leave that one to be a stumbling block to the atheists.

But breaking it down a bit…. becomes not nearly as easy to blow past things without really digging into them.

Do I believe there is a difference between “would” and “could” involving God in general? Yes. 

He can do all things…. he won’t do all of them… a difference between “can” and “will” then turns into a difference between “could” and “would”. 

This usually comes into mind involving healings and such in general. Do I believe he can raise the dead? Yes. Do I believe he has raised the dead? Yes. Do I believe he is going to raise the dead person in question in a circumstance… or even in the vast vast majority of recent claims of dead-raising in his name? Honestly… No.

Why? A question of will and plans. It’s not that he can’t, it’s that he chooses not to do so. When the healing is a critical ingredient in someone’s faith or the path of the plan for their life’s purpose, weaknesses of the human body are trivial things to overcome. When it’s not, there is usually a much greater purpose in their overcoming the obstacle than there would have been in the dramatic nature of a healing.

Which, to be technical, it often a healing of a slower, gradual sort… he heals much more often through the hands of a doctor than through the laying on of praying hands.

So, getting back to the specific point of the question, I believe he “could” very easily bring about healing over wounds, scars, emotional and practical issues in my life. But what is my answer if I change the word to “would”?

And I’m not sure I like my answer much.

I’d like to give the “right” Christian answer of yes, no reluctancy, move on. 

I mean, if we’re going to a question of God’s plan to determine his will, obviously a healed follower who has their issues as things they have overcome in the past is going to be a lot more helpful in achieving that plan than once that’s getting trampled by things on any regular basis.

But when it really comes down to a yes or no, I find myself leaning much more heavily towards the “eventually overcome through lots of pain, effort, and hard work” belief. Yes, I believe he will. Right now? Umm…. maybe not so much.

Which starts getting into the second part of the question. What do I believe God wants on my part? 

My answer sort of splits in half here.

Part of me wants to go with the answer of simply believing and asking. As with grace. He knows my total lack of capability on really most everything. He knows I can’t do this in my own power… that’s the point. Even this question is phrased from the assumption that God will be the one carrying out the work.

And yet… really? I still feel like it requires a lot more work than that on my part. That my pain, effort, attempts at doing the best I can…. will somehow earn the mercy of filling in the giant gaps of the areas that my efforts haven’t been able to come close to fixing. 


And this is where things have started to get stuck.

When you make it a bit more general, honestly, it’s a question that has sort of been needing answered for a while. From everything including this, to general everyday issues, to relationships, to job search stuff. What do I believe he expects on my part, to have him do what only he is capable of doing?

Given that I believe he is a loving God, who freely forgives upon just my asking, and is capable of all things…. why do I believe that I must exhaust all of my possible efforts and make every possible fruitless attempt before he will help?

Intellectually, and when I really search my heart, I know better. While he does want my growth through challenges, banging my head against the wall on pointless wasted efforts is hardly growth producing beyond what it teaches me that I’m not capable of doing by myself. 

So then is growth my answer? That he expects me to learn from the given situation and apply the lessons before he’s willing to help resolve it?


I think the answer of growth is probably the answer I’m feeling right now.

Effort to exhaustion is the answer I’m practicing right now.

But while I’m sure the latter isn’t the correct answer now that I’ve really thought about it enough to confront it…. I’m not entirely positive the first answer is all that correct either. 

I’ve played with various tangents of it… where exactly is the point of “enough” growth? is it the fullest amount of possible learning from a situation, or just enough to fulfill future needs until i’ve forgotten enough to need the next reminder lesson, or ideally enough to get through life but unfortunately we still have that whole failing human things going, or does it vary according to each round… and then how do i know when that point has been reached and the rest is just banging my head on the wall and my efforts should change from wall banging to pleading? or should they even change from wall banging to pleading?

Which opened up a whole new can of worms. Should pleading have been included in the consideration for the earlier answer of what I feel is required?

Yup. Actually, I think I’d sort of overlooked that as a bit of a given.  

Yes, I know… there are verses with Jesus teaching specifically saying that it’s not about the number of repetitions… but then, it seems to be a given of prayer that discussion on my part leads pretty naturally into it. and there are psalms and probably proverbs and other spots leaning towards the squeaky wheel that make me feel validated in doing it anyway.

But even excluding the pleading… the “efforts” pile usually is going to involve expanded prayer time and in bigger issues fasting in the more useful feeling of the efforts. Which may really need to be seperated into their own category for consideration.

But then, maybe not… if again, that’s falling into “human efforts made to attempt to solve a non-human-solveable problem”. 

But then, again, the point of both is more developing the relationship with God further. Which, very much falls into the growth category.

(Plus… a bit of cheating…. I know one of the further steps involves more extended prayer seeking only to know his will and the strength to carry it out…. which falls into the prayer and fasting, but not into the pleading… thus making a nice clue that I’m at least somewhat on the expected track of thought here…)

So. Boiling all that down. 

I believe that he can and will restore saneness, though it’s not likily to happen until there has been growth, in spiritual areas in particular. 

Still not sure that’s my final answer. And it probably won’t be in the long term. But it’s my working answer for the moment.

Pretending to be insane?

such a relatable psalm… and yet, that its regarding his time pretending to be insane throws me off a bit. lol!

Psalm 34

A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.

 1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
      I will constantly speak his praises.
 2 I will boast only in the Lord;
      let all who are helpless take heart.
 3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
      let us exalt his name together.

 4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
      He freed me from all my fears.
 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
      no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
      he saved me from all my troubles.
 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
      he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
      Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
      for those who fear him will have all they need.
 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
      but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

a stepish direction

So I suppose I should probably post some sort of really good excuse and explanation on the lack of posting around here lately.

 As it happens, I’ve got three of them I can give ya!

1. A lot of stuff that’s been taking up brain time lately hasn’t really been blog worthy material. Lots of stuff related to some of the past passworded entries… lots of frustrations with job search stuff I’ve already whined about on here a billion times before.. various other stuff that’s just really not good material for having open for whoever to wade through. Just stuff that takes some brain time, but doesn’t make the conversion to blog very well.

2. Various things keeping me offline more. Trying to re-sort and reorganize things around here. Reading more books than usual. New Y membership. Not really bad things for the most part… just less connected ones.

3. Divided writing interests.

Most of you know, or could look in back entries and know, that I come from a dysfunctional family. So in various spells, I tend to wander in and out of working with stuff with groups of (now) adult children of dysfunctional families and/or alcoholics (which is a separate from but associated with alanon, which is separated but derived from aa… but still keeps some aspects. confused yet?)

I have a sort of love/hate thing with it. Sometimes it helps to have some sense of belonging, and some sort of vague sense of direction, and some hope of people in worse places than you getting things together. And others, it seems more towards misery loving company, blind leading the blind, questions that can reopen wounds but not a lot of healing them or answers, and going around in circles of steps and being in the exact same place again none the wiser for the trip.

And various aspects of the step portion of things annoy me a bit. But, it’s hard to dismiss them as nuts when it has the record it does for having helped people… especially people who’ve failed everything else and been written off as hopeless.


So this round in hopping around to various places, I’ve downloaded various workbooks and such involving the steps portions of things… essentially, tools to help you actually do something working towards reaching them vs just thinking about them.

Some have been helpful, some not so much. As with everything aa-ish, you take what helps, leave what doesn’t.

But sometimes involves a bit of writing. Which probably helps reduce writing here.  

And I don’t really like having things entirely offline, so I’d probably rather have them here, but some are definitely over the bounds of blog comfort lines. At least right now.

But some aren’t. So I’m going to work on putting more thoughts here when they aren’t particularly sensitive areas.

So it may get a bit steppish at times for a bit. (If I haven’t chased everyone away from not posting, I guess that oughta do it? LOL)

Or I suppose I could just post pics of me attempting an underwater kickboxing class! LOL Trust me, you’d rather put up with steps for a while!

the deadly visitor

The town where I live has been in the news somewhat recently, as the trial had been happening for a guy who shot someone while their victim was serving as an usher at a church.

There’s a whole lot more to the story of course, it was related to the deceased person’s job going against the values of the shooter, but I’m not even going to open that one on a google-able post. It wasn’t directly related to the church or the location chosen from the religious angle, it was just the least guarded location they could reliably find the person. 

But some of the details that have been in the local news reports have sort of stuck in my head.

One in particular… the shooter had attended the church several times previously.

Now I suppose it makes sense. I mean, you aren’t going to go into somewhere blindly if you can help it. And one of the times he had a gun with him and was going to do it, but the person wasn’t at church that day.

But still. It’s enough to make my mind wander a bit.

I wonder what sermons those were. 

I wonder if they messed with his resolve any.

I wonder how the church treated their visitor. I mean, he obviously wasn’t a regular… a short discussion would have probably quickly revealed he wasn’t from the area… did anyone get that far with him that he would at least have to give a story?

And I guess the obvious leap next is to my church. 

Knowing the radar screen on visitors is high enough that people I don’t know occasionally still, after 2 1/2 years,  come up to me with the greeting that you know they are trying to feel out if i’m new….  if someone came into our church with plans to shoot one of our members, would they get thrown off?

Or what would have happened if our pastor and lay leaders, who regularly seek out people to pray for and tend to go more for the ones they know the least… and also tend to be rather specific on hearing words for those they pray for… had gotten with him.

In all reality… when someone is far enough in left field that they’ve decided the will of God is for them to shoot someone, probably nothing would have mattered much.

But then…. God does seem to love situations like that. Impossible odds of change. The most hardened hearts. 

Sin is sin… sinner is sinner…. if there’s one place someone ready to shoot someone  needs to be and stands a chance for hope, i’d say a church would be it.

Can you imagine how interesting that testimony would have been?