Monthly Archives: October 2007

8 Trick or Treaters, a Horse, a Pony, and a New Record

We had eight trick or treaters come to our home tonight for Halloween! This is a fantastic record that smashes the previous tally of three at our in-law-style apartment in Doylestown, PA.

Even with our dark dirt road located ten minutes out of town with houses spread along a two mile stretch before they are concentrated in any kind of way, eight brave souls literally traveled over the river, through the fields, and along the woods to our door step.

We rewarded them with cheap candy.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I should add that we had 7 actual children who received candy. One of those kids in costume was held by his father (who was not in costume). But his mother gladly put forward a bag in place of the boy who clung to his dad. The mother was decked out in a  little leopard outfit complete with high heels and kitty cat ears. So the official tally is 7 candy eaters and 8 dressed up in costume.

The highlight of our evening was the lady who brought her two daughters down the two-mile stretch of road with one on a horse and the other on a pony. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen for Halloween. They also brought along their teenage exchange student from India who was really enjoying the spoils of her first Halloween.

I saw them working their way up someone’s driveway on my way home, but I didn’t notice which way they were going after their stop. While tapping away at the computer, Julie heard them coming up our driveway and walked out to meet them. After passing along the candy Julie got to pet the horses.

But alas, that was both the climax and end of our low-key Halloween. I spent the rest of the evening working on one of the study guides for my theology book, while Julie laid on the couch trying to read in the midst of Baxter launching herself from the floor onto Julie’s chest. Judging by Julie’s yelps, Baxter also bit her a few times … we need to work on that.

links for 2007-10-29

When Rabbit Training Falls Apart

Baxter is the fourth rabbit to enter our home and the youngest one yet. After having 3 rabbits indifferent to human contact, we were determined that things would be different with her. She was going to learn how to be a “lap bunny.”

A lap bunny is a rabbit who calmly sits on you lap and lets you pet her or just sits serenely. It’s really all we’ve ever wanted from our rabbits. None of them have done very good in the serene department.

Therefore, Baxter has been held on a regular basis and brought up on the couch. We sort of pinne her down a little and pet her before she scampered off. After a few weeks of this, bunny magic happened. She actually sat with Julie.

And then she became insanely attached to me. I could not walk in the house without her scuttling about my feet. It feels like cowboys and indians as she runs around my feet, zig zagging in between my feet. I sometimes have to shuffle around the house.

All of this has been well and good. In fact, I thought we had a major breakthrough yesterday, as I laid down for a little nap and she laid right next to me for a long time letting me pat her head.

And then there was today.

After spending a good bit of my afternoon writing, I just wanted to sit and read the latest Rick Atkinson book. Baxter would not permit this. She hopped onto the couch, nipped at my knee, and climbed all over me. I could briefly pacify her with a little petting, but for the most part she wanted to either chew on me and climb on me. The couch also sustained some damage.

I can only hope this is a passing phase.  

The Luxury of Boundaries

You know who these people are. They’re the ones you sort of know, as in their name and a few details of their miserable lives. They see you coming and use that same line every time to strike up a conversation.

And the conversation is pointless, meandering, and happens to be all about them. There is nothing you can do for these people, so why bother listening. You have much better things to do. Escape, all  you can think about is your escape. And so you learn to avoid them, look down at the right moment, or pick up your pace to avoid being trapped.

I do this sometimes. And then I think about Jesus and Paul. Paul talks about God using the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, but I don’t think that applies to this situation because these people are just dull and annoying, somewhere in between the wise and foolish which leaves me in the clear. OK, so maybe not, but that’s how I think about it.

But what can I do for these people? I really don’t want to be a friend. Really. I want boundaries. I want distance. I want to do my own thing and to be left alone.

Driving home today I had the thought: I’m a follower of Jesus, and so I don’t have the luxury of boundaries. I didn’t realize that when I prayed the “salvation” prayer. Yet another example of the bait and switch tactics of our contemporary gospel presentations that leave that whole bit about God’s Kingdom out.

Agh. So I need to rethink my policy toward certain people. I asked God where I can start, and I immediately thought of Anne Lamott’s rule for life, “Don’t be an asshole.” Well, OK, I can handle that because I’m not an asshole …

Oh right, everything I just confessed seems to say otherwise.

I suppose one place I need to begin is just slowing down, stopping to let these people catch up and say their bit. I could actually listen. I could pray for the right words to say back to them. That’s a start.

Of course I have a writing deadline tomorrow, so being nice is out. How’s Wednesday?