Where Has My Summer Gone?

I can’t believe how quickly this year is moving by.  Summer is nearly over, Fall is just around the corner, or has arrived if you live in Maine and are experiencing the nightly temps in the upper 30s like we have for the past 3 days here.

It has been far too long since I wrote in here.  I would like to post more, but I can’t believe how hard I find it after getting out of the habit of it.  Part of it is due to sheer neglect on my part, but part of it I think has to do with the fact that posting short messages on Facebook and Twitter are more convenient and require far less time and commitment.  But here are a few highlights of my summer.

One of the most discouraging things happened to me this past July.  My apartment got zapped by lightning.  It came in through the DirectTv satellite apparently and fried my DirectTV box, my Playstation 3 and damaged my TV.  The DirectTV box was replaced.  I just recently got the PS3 back and it is fully repaired.  But the damaged TV is something I am going to have to live with for a while until I can either afford to fix it or replace it.  The HDMI slots are completely useless on it, the picture has some purple and green lines slowly moving up the screen continually, and the audio is noticeably worse.  But it still functions and is serviceable.

A few days before this happened, I got my first smartphone: the HTC Droid Incredible 2!  And it really is quite incredible.  The battery it came with was decidedly unincredible, and I recently upgraded that to the longer life battery.  But I am very fond of my smartphone.  I send and receive e-mails, twitter and facebook updates.  I can manage my fantasy teams on the go.  I just discovered that I can watch NFL’s Red Zone on it every Sunday.  There are some really great apps for the phone, particularly Gas Buddy, Bank of America, and MovieTicket.com, and the ringtone maker.  No more purchasing ringtones from the Verizon store.  I can have any part of any song I have set as the ringtone for any of my contacts.  And I’ve made some that I really like, a guitar solo from “Ball & Biscuit” by The White Stripes being one of them.  It really is amazing to have so much available right at your fingertips wherever you are.

Of course, I saw my fair share of movies this summer.  The Hangover II was a slight disappointment, though still pretty funny.  The Pirates franchise needs to end.  I avoided Transformers 3 and didn’t regret it at all.  I don’t know that there was a single movie I flat out loved, but I did enjoy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (the books sort of ruined the movies for me on a certain level, but this was a great conclusion), Horrible Bosses, Bridesmaids were the most enjoyable.  X-Men: First Class was excellent because of the casting and did such a good job of returning that franchise to form.  Thor and Captain America both surprised me and were a lot better than I expected and perhaps better than they had any right to be, especially Thor.  I enjoyed the childhood nostalgia of Super 8, but my expectations were higher for that movie, and I thought the monster at the end was a letdown.

However, I have to say that thinking over all of the movies of the summer, one of the things that stands out in my mind is the performance of Elle Fanning.  That young girl can flat out act.  I think she is a legitimate star in the making and will surpass her sister Dakota sooner rather than later.  In fact, I’m very intrigued by the future potential of Fanning, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Abigail Breslin.  I hope there are great female roles for all three when they grow up.  And I hope they all make it and don’t become another child star cautionary tale.

Also in the realm of entertainment, I devoured the majority of the series Curb Your Enthusiasm.  What a funny show.  Larry David is a great curmudgeon.  And a lot of the payoffs for the shows are great.  And nothing is off limits because it is an HBO series.  I saw Season 1 probably about a year ago and thought it was pretty good, but not great.  I decided to get back to it and found Season 2 to be far funnier than I remembered Season 1 being.  And I was hooked.  Seasons 2 & 3 were probably the best of the series, though I’m currently in Season 7(the Seinfeld season) and that is pretty good too.  Prettyyyyyyyyyyy, pretttttttty, preeeeetty, pretty good.

At the beginning of this month, I had a really good friend of mine, Jeremy, move away to take a job opportunity in San Diego.  I’ve known Jeremy for about 5 1/2 years now.  We became pretty fast friends after he joined the small group Bible study I also attended.  He’s a really strong Christian and we found out that we had quite a lot of similar outlooks on the Bible, the Church, and Christian life.  We also found out we have very similar personalities, particularly in the passive-aggressive way of dealing with conflict.  We even got to be roommates for a year, sharing an apartment together before he got married to his lovely wife, Hannah a little over 2 years ago.  I was pretty upset at first about them leaving and everything, because I genuinely consider him a Christian brother, and because I’m very possessive and selfish when it comes to my friends.  Needless to say, I look forward to them coming home to visit eventually, and I really look forward to dropping little tidbits here and there to try and bribe, guilt, shame, prod, and coax them into eventually moving back here.

Having said all of this though, I have burried the lede.  That is because the biggest adventure of my summer involved me stepping waaaaaaaaaay beyond my comfort zone.  I babysat a child for pretty much the first time ever.  My friends Ben and Sarah were in a bind and needed someone to watch the 2 year old boy, Toby.  Now, Toby is one of the most adorable little kids ever.  Seriously, look at this picture and try not to say “Aww!”  Back with me now?  So, for whatever reason, this kid loves me, which makes me feel so cool about myself.  In fact, one time this summer I stopped in at their house briefly on my way to small group, and he started crying because I was there for only a few minutes and was already leaving (this is the stuff that causes things like the Grinch’s heart to swell three times beyond it’s capacity).  He also doesn’t completely have his “K” down yet (cut him some slack, the kid just turned 2 last week), so everytime he says something to me, I get something that sounds a little closer to “Ten” than “Ken,” which is awesome.

So I volunteer my services on Thursday to babysit Toby for that Friday night.  And so for the next 24-ish hours I’m a little terrified, nervous, anxious, etc.  I’ve never really done anything like this before.  For the vast majority of my life, I’ve never been responsible for anyone but myself.  And I’ve managed to make it 30 years in this world without having to change a diaper to this point, which I look at a bit like Joe DiMaggio’s streak.  And my friends are entrusting their child to my care for a few hours.  It’s a little sobering to say the least.  I prepare myself and partly to keep myself from getting too nervous by saying to myself, “The goal is to make sure he still has 10 fingers and 10 toes when I’m done with him.”

Of course, the actualy experience was far easier than I had built it up in my mind, which I repeatedly reminded myself of beforehand too.  Toby was ridiculously easy on me.  Really, he treated me with kid gloves.  He was watching Toy Story 3 when I got there a bit before 6.  Sarah gave me a quick tutorial on changing diapers.  He was finishing dinner when I got there.  And it only ended up being about an hour and a half of supervision on my part, because his bedtime came at 7:30.  This was the part I was not prepared for.  No kid ever really wants to go to bed.  So while I took him upstairs @ a little after 7:30, it took me over half an hour longer to build up the nerve to ignore his delay tactics of stories and toys and actually put him in his crib, turn out the lights and walk out the room.  And of course, during that time he did indeed poop, which ended my DiMaggio-like streak.

When I left the room was the longest few minutes of my life, as he cried, “No, Ten.  Why?”  To him, it was as if I had violated the established parameters of our established relationship by putting him to bed; like I had betrayed his trust or something.  At least this is how it sounded to me.  In reality, of course, I had done no such thing.  He was simply testing me to see if I would go up there and get him; to see if he would get his way.  After 10 minutes, he had stopped and was asleep.  But those 10 minutes felt like an hour.

So those were some of the highlights of my summer.  I will try to post more often on here in the future.  I really would like to get into the habit again of writing and expressing my thoughts in an ordered way in a format like this.


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