Sunday, 31 May 2009

It goes to 11 (but actually 860)


So one day and eleven years ago was the event. You wore white and surprised me with a bagpipe player. I think my favorite part of the day though, was when I first saw you. We were given “that moment” together in the sanctuary before pictures and I stood nervous down at the foot of the steps in this church we had grown up in, gotten engaged in, wanting this moment to be motion picture perfect. And then you bebopped into the room. You said,

“Hey babe!

And sauntered down the aisle like we were meeting for coffee or something, totally wrecking my movie moment, but totally making it one of the best memories of my life. That’s you…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I couldn’t survive if it was any other way.

You are the freaking coolest wife ever. The deeper we get into this thing, the more I see how much I need you and how perfect you are for me. How whatever preconceived notions I might have had are ridiculous (and long gone). How God knows…He knows! What I need. He gave me you. I am thankful. I am grateful. I am blessed.

Another favorite memory: Closing on the Pebble Drive house. You turning your charm up to eleven to make the lawyer smile because this was a happy day for you and you weren’t going to let him kill your buzz.

When people I meet find out about the kids I say, “yeah. Shannon and I look at each other just about every day and say ‘we have a lot of kids.” I know we don’t say it so much any more, but I like saying it because it makes us sound like a team. The truth though, is that you do a lot more of the work for our team than I do (as I type this at The Dripolator in Black Mountain, NC!!!). And I want you to know how grateful I am for that. When it comes to our children, I would be lost without you. Yes I know how to change a diaper and I know how Jacob likes his waffles and that Lorelei likes her oatmeal dry and where the good spot on Asher’s Hard Blanket is. But it’s not about the stuff. It’s about how well you love them. Your attitude for them. I know very few moms who would: 1. Set up a four person tent in their living room and 2. Leave it up for a week so the kids could have a camp out in it. That’s a special kind of love. I know there are hard days and days you want to wring their necks, but we both know that’s just frustration with the moment, and has nothing to do with how you feel about them. I tell you this all the time, but I don’t know if you really hear me: I don’t care that the house isn’t spotless all the time. I don’t care that the laundry piles up or that this sink is full dishes. Because I know you’re coloring with Lorelei. You’re playing cars with Asher. You’re clapping with Piper. You’re loving our children—raising our family. That is so much more important than anything else! I can’t thank you enough for loving Jacob and Lorelei, Asher and Piper so well.

And now you’re mortified that OTHER PEOPLE are reading that our laundry isn’t done and our sink is full of dirty dishes. ATTENTION OTHER PEOPLE: LIFE IS HARD. IT IS NOT PERFECT. IT’S NOT A 30 SECOND COMMERCIAL FOR PINE-SOL OR DOWNY. LAUNDRY STACKS UP BECAUSE THERE’S A BASEBALL GAME AND GYMNASTICS AND CUB SCOUTS AND A BIRTHDAY PARTY AND NEIL GOES OUT OF TOWN A LOT. And we have a lot of kids who like to play with their mother.

There’s something to be said for your tolerance of Wagoneers and tattoos and failed businesses and Apple computers. But I’ve come to recognize that it’s more than tolerance. It’s your ferocious desire to protect the dreamer in me, even when it costs you. The beautiful thing is that I already see you doing the same for our kids. I don’t know how to thank you for this. I don’t know how you do it. I only know that your belief in me is the beginning of my confidence.

So all in all it’s been a pretty good eleven years (he says as an understatement with a dramatic lisp). The Student Life Years. The Starbuck’s Years. The 16 months on Lilac Circle. The 06 build. It’s made us stronger. I like to think it’s made us funnier (at least to each other). I love how much we make each other laugh these days. I love that I can’t wait to get home to see you.

I think back to that retreat we went on—the one where Wayne Baldwin told you I was a diamond in the rough and that you should give me a chance. I know I’m still pretty rough. But I know that whatever polishing I’ve been through I have you to thank.

I love you.


Saturday, 9 May 2009

A Compendium of Welding Songs

Hello again,

I know I said I'd see you in June. That's me--unpredictable. I'm an enigma.

So when you do as much welding as I'm having to do, you have a lot of time to think. And you listen to ALOT of music. So you need variety and you need a bunch of it. But there are certain songs you keep coming back to to get you through the night. So here, Neil's top ten songs to weld to (in case you ever find yourself in need of a welding playlist, as opposed to a wedding playlist which lots of people want. This playlist would be entirely innappropriate for that, but maybe humourous...).

10. Matchbox 20 "How Far We've Come"
A little trendy, but I like the apocaplyptic language in it. Also its got a good beat, and I can weld to it.

9. David Bowie & Queen "Under Pressure"
Classic song that keeps me focused on what I'm doing.

8. Coldplay "Twisted Logic"
Cause sometimes you go backwards. And sometimes you go forwards.

7. Jars of Clay "Work"
"I have no fear of drowning. It's the breathing that's taking all this work"

6. Led Zeppelin "Kashmir"
That guitar riff.

5. Beastie Boys "Sabotage"
Just raw. and nasty. and raw.

4. Seal "Come and See What Love Has Done"
The soother, the breath of fresh air, because hope is a good thing.

3. Saul Williams "List of Demands"
I dig this guy. He's my kind of slam poet. And this song makes things happen (also featured in the Nike Sparq commercial).

2. David Crowder Band "You Are My Joy"
When I first heard this song, I knew it was for me. I felt like somebody else finally Got It--the way I feel when an idea sparks and a script comes out. "And He set me on fire//I am burning alive//with His breath in my lungs//I am coming undone//and I cannot hold it in//and remain composed...Actually this song is what sparked the idea for my long-awaited but imminent ink. (plus, you know just goes)

1. Rage Against the Machine "Bulls on Parade"
Always been my welding song. Always will be. When the tank's dry and I've still got hours to go, I'll just put this one on repeat and let it drive me.

Honorable mentions: Saul Williams "Act III Scene 2", Rage "Wake Up", Explosions in the Sky "Remember Me As a Time of Day", Crowder "Do Not Move", The Who "Who Are You"

Happy welding. or wedding, if that's your thing.

sleep now. see you in June.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

it's late & I'm still at the office (but actually 429)

Hello Blog,

It’s me. I used to write on you (to you? At you?).

I just wanted to say the drought is almost over. Camp’s almost done, which means lots of road time. I’ve got a backlog of half-finished thoughts to dust off and bring to you. Plus there’s some other stuff down in the basement that wants out.

So I’ll be back soon. But in the meantime, here’s some random things from my night.

+ I burned my ankle while welding. Yes. My ankle. For those of you who have never welded, it’s possible, and it happens. For those of you who have, you know it happens a lot.

+ some lines from songs I listened to while welding (alone) in the ‘Way basement.
…Sparks fly, and I find you there…
…deliver me…
….And it’s just you and me here now…
…and He set me on fire, I am burning alive…
…Rescue is coming…
which leads me to:

+ I’ve been subsisting on 6 month old playlists on my ipod, as my cpu died with my library on it and I haven’t been able to get it sorted out yet. So yes, that was all Crowder, there was some Jars mixed in, and it made for a pretty good night of meditation.

+ Except for the fact that my left ear bud gave up the ghost tonight. For those of you who have welded, you know what a solitary experience it is. For those of you that haven’t, it’s a solitary experience. And looking at the WGD should tell you how much solitary time I still have to go. So Neil’s got to do something about this ear bud situation. I have a C-note I was saving back in my iphone piggy bank. I guess I’ll have to wait, again, for that baby.

+ In an unrelated note of self-disclosure, I have four different mixes of Jelly Belly’s and a bag of dove dark chocolates in my office. These might be the only things keeping me sane right now. (For all of you who know what I’ve accomplished over the last six months that are about to come UNGLUED and start ranting at me for blowing it…step off. I only hit ‘em 150 or so calories at a time, and never more than once a day…well twice when I’m at the office for 16 hours like I am today.) Yes. Jelly Belly's. I've become a fiend for them in the last few months. They're the junk.

So that’s it. See you when camp’s on the road.