Dearest Rachel –
For all the improvements to the house over the past few months, you would think I would be satisfied with everything, now that the dust has settled. But not necessarily; after getting myself dressed, and heading to the dining room to get myself a bowl of cereal to start the day with, I find myself opening the pantry door in the half-gloom of an overcast October morning – and find myself somehow disappointed that a light doesn’t come on in the pantry, like it does in either of the closest when I open them. What’s wrong with me, honey?
It’s amazing how quickly we become spoiled by all that we have. I may complain, for instance, about having to give up watching sports because you were rarely interested in it, but thanks to YouTube, I can simply call up a compilation of the best bits (which is to say for me, the screw-ups, the bloopers and the miscues that remind me that these guys making millions of dollars a year to put a ball in one goal or another are just a bunch of working stiffs like me and everybody else watching them) of a hundred different games all at once. It’s a regular visit to the Sports Hall of Shame, without ever having to bother getting out of my chair.
And on the subject of YouTube, it’s managed to spoil me in certain other ways as well. I think it’s done a bit of damage to my attention span, always wanting my entertainment in short, tiny bites, rather than in some extended format. Yes, I’ve sat through the Incredibles sequel and several long-form fanscriptions on Channel Awesome, but those are far more the exception rather than the rule they once were. I might be able to do so again, with Megumi (or some candidate to that name) at my side to enjoy it with, but for now, if what I’m watching doesn’t get to the point within a few minutes, I’m likely to either switch the channel, shut it off or fall asleep, depending on the time and my mood.
At least given the new setup in the bedroom, combined with the upgraded laundry room, it’s easier for me to simply sit around, watching short after short, while I wait for each load of laundry to finish. I’m certainly less likely to forget about things when I’m in the room next door, rather than all the way across the house, watching something with Daniel.
Of course, that’s another way I’ve let myself get spoiled; I don’t spend the same amount of time as I used to with Daniel these days. The fact that Logan now lives with us means that he and Daniel are together most of the waking hours when he’s home from work. So that means that old Dad’s got to give the boys some space. I try to rationalize it by reminding myself that, when I was his age, I didn’t even live with my parents, and only spent a few hours a week in their proximate space, so it isn’t as if I’m neglecting him or anything. It’s just that I’m not attending to him as much as I used to – and at his age, should I have to?
Logan’s presence spoils me in other ways, as well. Not only does he keep Daniel entertained (and deflect from those pundits and prophets I so decry all the time), but he will often help out in the kitchen. Since his parents work in a restaurant (I’m not sure if they own it, or just work there, but for Logan’s purposes, it doesn’t make much of a difference), he’d grown up learning to cook – I don’t know if he’d be offended by any comparisons to Marinette of Miraculous Ladybug, but both he and Daniel would undoubtedly get the reference – and occasionally, the cooking bug (if you’ll pardon the expression, especially after that last reference) will bite him, and he’ll prepare something for the three of us. It’s a nice change of pace from my going out and picking something up, and I suspect he enjoys the appreciation, along with the chance to exercise his skills from time to time. But it takes a certain amount of responsibility away from me for such provision, and I worry about getting too used to it, especially since he’s only to be here for a year.
And of course, there is the fact that we have people to keep the house up these days, rather than doing it ourselves (and most likely, either screwing it up – you’ll recall that I’m no handyman – or ourselves – the carpet of leaves was difficult enough to rake up when we worked as a three-person team; my back is so grateful that we’ve hired landscapers to take care of it, rather than it being a task for Daniel and me to take care of). Whether on the outside or the inside of the house, we’re able to have people keep the place maintained where I wouldn’t know what to do. In fact, I need to contact the folks at the heating company yet again, as the bedroom heater seems to have stopped again – once the room got to the mid-70’s I tried to dial back the thermostat, at which point, it seems to have stopped blowing entirely. And as much as I wish I didn’t have to so soon, the fact that I can without worrying too much about cost and inconvenience is really something to be grateful for.
I’ve heard it said somewhere that hard times make tough men, tough men make good times, good times make soft men, and soft men make hard times. It’s meant to describe the cyclical nature of society, and you’re welcome to guess where we are corporately on that continuum. But I suspect that there’s a certain balancing act within each of us as individuals. I wonder sometimes if you weren’t taken away to keep me from getting too soft, and force me toward self-improvement, while at the same time God left me with these other blessings to keep me from getting too hard and bitter as well. It’s not a perfect conjecture – after all, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes things just happen, and not everything is a punishment – but it does explain a few things, and it’s probably advisable that I take what lessons from the situation that I can.
With that in mind, honey, keep an eye on me, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.
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