Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Once Again, Here's Your Sign

I usually sport a goatee. But I shave it off every now and then because I get fed up that my kids won't kiss their Daddy - they say I'm too prickly. This morning a guy says to me "So, you shaved your goatee off, huh?" The following is what I wanted to say in response, but due to special circumstances I needed to control myself:

Choice #1. "Nope, it's Rush week at The Stream House and as an act of hazing my family shaved it off after I passed out."

Choice #2. "Nope, I thought it was in remission but it appears my male patterned baldness of the chin is back."

Choice #3. "Nope, just got a little too close cleaning them lawnmower blades."


Perseverate. Although it is one of my favorite words, it unfortunately describes something I do too often. Thankfully my wife mentioned to me this morning that perhaps I've been perseverating on a few things in my life lately.

What does it mean?
  • To manifest or experience perseveration.
  • perseveration then means:
    • Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
    • The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.
Bascially I see it as an act of unecessary perseverance. In the spirit of Burn The Ships it is time to pitch perseveration.

BTW - other words I like: viscosity, pedantic, probe, illuminate.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Training Update

I haven't posted much lately about my training efforts. Eight weeks have past and I am still at it. Strength and endurance have increased dramtically.

I am happy to report that I skated 10.4 miles on Saturday morning. Up until that skate I'd been going no longer than 6 miles. Also, I averaged a decent pace at 11.5 mph. I think I could have gong a little faster if it wasn't for a 1/2 mile stretch of horrible pavement that slowed me down.

Looking at the big picture I have a lot of work to do. I need to enter into a more serious training regime if I want to cut a 1/2 hour of last year's time. I need to skate a few times a week alternating between sprints and long slow skating, and I need to add more stretching and leg strength training.

P.S. I think a particular reader of this blog would be interested in knowing that I skated out to her house during the long skate on Sat. I passed by about 7:10 a.m. It would be nice if next time there could be a little water stand at the end of the driveway. I expect a little more fan fare as I skate by too.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pat Robertson's Stars as The Hulk

Based on his own claim that he has leg-pressed 2000 lbs, it appears Pat Robertson is a weightlifting super hero and should therefore I think star as Hulk in the next remake of The Hulk (if there is one.) Robertson attempts to prove his heroic power claim by showing a video on CBN of him leg pressing 1,000 lbs. He says he can lift so much because of his Age-Defying Shake.

First, I downloaded the sheet that lists the ingredients for his shake. Besides the fact that its not a unique recipe, it actually is not a bad mixture of items readily available at health food stores. Secondly, the video Robertson shows on his website is
not what real leg-press exercises look like. Robertson is cheating! What exactly is he doing? Not sure but he's gotta be flat out lying, or misinformed (I suppose.) Here's the kicker; the all-time Florida State University leg press record is 665 pounds under what Robertson lifted and the capillaries of the man who holds the record burst during his attempt at the lift.

This story is the focus of many bloggers around the sphere. The only observation I can add is it is amazing that in one story Robertson's antics (this time) cultivate the perpetual stereotypes of wacko Christians, freak weightlifting, and zealous nutrition mined folks.

Birds of Prey Have Been Deployed

You can't make this stuff up! I was out for a long skate this morning and on the return leg home a stinking bird flew into my head!!! It was a one of those nasty Killdeer. I know that for sure because my head had spun in the same direction the attack bird made his get away.

What a good case study for everyday multi-use helmet wearing. If I didn't have my helmet on my forehead would have, could have, should have been gashed open by the kamikazy's sharp talons. But I am ok.

For the remaining 4 miles to home I got to drumming up a pretty elaborate conspiracy scheme. In light of some of the comments I received on this blog yesterday, my theories are probably not that far off. Burton, Porter, Nering how do you account for your time this morning at 6:09 am?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Idol Watchers Unite! (Guest Blogger)

It gives me great pleasure to have a blogging guest at Burn The Ships today. My very good friend Ron has this to say about American Idol:

Thank you Captain Pat for allowing me to guest blog on Burn The Ships.

American Idol. Hmmm… Why am I and others so entertained by it? Why do some people mock it? Is it any less valid than other forms of popular entertainment that its detractors may choose to watch? Movies? Sports? I don’t think so.

So why the disdain? Maybe it’s the production of the show. Even the name is a bit too much. It’s over the top, but if you separate that, it’s actually one of the most American shows I’ve watched in a long time - and I don’t mean that as a negative. The fact is there have been very regular people with quite a bit of talent given a platform to display their singing gifts to a national audience. Not only that, there is rigorous competition, and also a sense that these people are pulling for each other (happy to stay in the competition after a vote, but oftentimes legitimately sad for one to leave or to have performed poorly). Seeing people handle pressure well and with grace is in itself worth watching. Plus it’s not sleazy or vulgar. It’s a sort of wonderfully cheesy American show.

You know, I find that all just fine in when you consider the other entertainment options TV and Hollywood provide. We Idol watchers know the fun we’re having and will happily watch the season’s last show tonight.

Blog Tools: Posting Polls on Blogger

I've been testing out my skills with blogger and discovered how to post polls last night. Here is another poll but this one is more complex using multiple choice. Would you be so kind as to complete the poll so I can test out my html programming skills? Thank you!

A Man Who Puts An American Idol Poll On His Blog Is? Pick Two.
Authentic and In Touch
Dealing With Low Testosterone Levels
Ready and Able To Take On Any Fight
Free polls from

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hicks v.s. McPhee

Who do you think will win American Idol?

Vote using the poll on the right side bar of Burn The Ships.

UPDATED: Poll is gone because contest is over.

False G-Force

I am not trying to compete with the hilarious family adventures that my wife records at Four By 40. I love to read about her anecdotes of mothering my three sons and one daughter. But, what am I to do when I've personally been witness to the once in a lifetime antics that only children provide? The following is one such account.

Last night I took the kids to the local park. I spent the first ten minutes pushing my 2 1/2 yr old boy Nathan on the swing while my oldest boy Josh watched and made faces at his sibling. We were having a pleasant time along with the other families doing the same "park" thing. Nathan started to make gasping choking-like sounds as he swung back and forth. I do like to push my kids pretty high so I thought perhaps he was fighting some heavy g-force, but I kept pushing harder because he was laughing as well. However, the deathly sound from Nathan got louder and a bit horrific at times. Other parents were watching us too. I moved to the front of Nathan to see his face. I was a little confused because what I observed just seemed to be the massive, but simple, strain pushing against his face from the g-force of swinging so fast (and again he was smiling and laughing.) But why was he straining and breathing so heavily? I asked "You ok buddy, something wrong?" Through a deep strain he was able to mutter "poo...pp.p..yy...ppp...poopppyy." Within seconds it was over, all done, over and out (literally), he stopped straining. Josh dropped to the sand in all out hysterical laughter which in turn started me down the path of deep belly laughing for the next five minutes. I could not get Nathan's facial expression out of my mind. By the looks of it, others around made the connection too and we were all laughing together. I was not at all embarrassed but grateful for the moment.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another Here's Your Sign

This morning I was putting up For Sale signs in the windows of my truck...because I am going to sell it. I also parked the truck in the most noticeable area of the parking lot where I work. An employee of one of the retailers in the building pulled up next to me. The first sentence out of his mouth as he exited his car was "Selling your truck huh?" I was on the ball this time and seized the opportunity and said "Nope, actually I am trying to unload just the windows. Interested?" He didn't know what to say so he gave me one of those "your nuts" grins.

I've had fun this morning coming up with alternative comebacks. What would you have said?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Evolution of Dance

This is a tad long but so worth it:

Product Review: Mentos Microgum

This last weekend I stumbled into purchasing a new offering from Mentos. On my way to worship services I made a quick trip into a local gas/convenience store to pick up some mints. I was in the market for something tiny, fresh, effective and priced under $1.00.

Within my .00245 second scan of the mint items my eyes were pulled to the new Mentos Microgum. I decided to buy even though the price at $1.99 was over my budget.

These beebee size balls of gone-in-a-flash flavored cardboard pseudo-mints don't even measure up to the less than medicore bubblegum from a coin operated dispenser. I would have been better off to have eaten my money instead. Horrible!!

Sprint and Alltel Team Up

This is big news in the wireless world:

Sprint and Alltel Expand, Extend Roaming Pact

(Sprint's Press Release)

Now Sprint's CDMA coverage footprint will be at least as large as Verizon's, and the most exciting aspect of this is that Sprint's EV-DO (high speed data) will be larger than Verizon's.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

God Spoke to Pat Robertson...Once Again

There has just got to be something pathological in they way Pat Robertson shares his understanding of God's involvement in the world.

My good friend Ron passed this article on to me this morning. Robertson has once again heard God tell him something. Robertson insists that tragedy will strike the pacific northwest coastline of the U.S. this time, sometime in 2006.

This kind of stuff makes the news because of how wacked out it is - too bad.

Thanks though Ron.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Two Things That Have Never Happened To Me Before

Ok so this post will probably mean nothing to you and do nothing to enhance your day, but in the last 12 hours I've experienced two things that I've never gone through before:
  1. Last night while in-line skating I think I figured out the double pump technique. The double pump is an advanced form a long slow stride (LSS.) How do I know I did it? Because it felt like it, and my speed increased greatly, I had never gone that fast before during an LSS. I've read before what the double pump feels like and I am sure I nailed it. I look forward to tomorrow to see if I can do it again.
  2. This morning I broke the brush head of my tooth brush my mouth, while I was brushing. I was just going to town and heard a sudden snap. I waited for pain but was distracted by how much lighter my tooth brush felt. Anyways, like I said, never done that before.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fund Raising for Special Olympics Minnesota

The St. Paul Inline Marathon has partnered with Special Olympics Minnesota to generate support for athletes. Special Olympics Minnesota'’s mission is to enhance the human potential and quality of life for children and adults with intellectual disabilities by offering year-round sports training and competitions.

I am getting involved in the fund raising with a goal to raise at least $250 by August 20th.. Please note that Special Olympics Minnesota says that if I raise $250, $200 will go to them and $50 toward my entry fee in the race. I hope this is not a deterrent for people who might otherwise make a donation. I really wanted to participate in the fundraising last year but missed the opportunity because I was a late entry.

If you would like to make a donation please click on the following button:

THANK YOU! I appreciate whatever support comes my way.

Hockey Hall of Fame Needs to Stay in Minnesota

Things come and go in this world on a daily basis but this is really sad news: U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame relocating from Eveleth. It would be an absolute shame if the center never reopened its doors. As the article states I think the Hall of Fame will soon open up in St. Paul. At the very least the center must stay in Minnesota. Can you imagine it being in California, Arizona, or Florida?

Monday, May 15, 2006

2006 St. Paul Inline Marathon

I am all pumped about racing in the St. Paul Inline Marathon again this year. Here is a good photo gallery from last year. I have goals to make huge strides (pun intended) over my results from last year:

Results For:
Patrick Stream


Bib #: 2385
Age: 36
Gender: M
City, State: Hudson, WI
Team Name:
Race Category: Recreation - Men 30 to 39

Inline Marathon Finish Results

Finish Time: 2:26:13.86
Pace: 10.7 MPH
Age Group Place: 44th out of 52 Men 30 to 39 finishers
Overall Place: 407th out of 502 Recreation finishers
Gender Overall Plc: 210th out of 241 Recreation Male finishers

Inline Marathon Splits
Split 1 - Davern St. Turn - 5.25 Miles

Time: 0:29:28.11

Half Marathon - 13.1 Miles

Time: 1:10:49.41
Age Group Place: 45
Overall Place: 423
Gender Overall Plc: 219

Split 3 - Davern St. Turn - 20.5 Miles

Time: 1:55:20.35

Yes, I realize that most people are able to complete a running marathon in better time than I came in at last year. This year however, I will be ready to finish in one hour and thirty minutes. I love to skate!

I haven't actually registered for the race yet. The entry fee is $75 up to June 25, then it goes to $85. I have yet to bring this financial "need" to my wife's attention (but before I type the next period to end this sentence, she'll be aware of it, trust me.)

Is there anybody out there that would like to skate it with me? There is a 10 mile tour available if 26.2 miles is not your thing. There are 98 days left to train.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Soccer Practice and Coach Dad

My daughter Sarah(beara) starts playing youth soccer tonight. I am proud of her. I have a hard time holding back the tears when I watch my youngins work hard and play.

Last night I fitted Sarah(beara) with her shin gaurds and socks. Of course we had to go test them out. With total enthusiasm Sarah said she was amazed at how much faster they made her, how much harder she could kick the ball, and how her ankles bent easier.

I coached her through some drills of the basics - dribbling, passing, kicking, etc. She is a coaches dream because she is so teachable and follows directions exactly. But because of her precise obedience though I had to undo some coaching.

Toward the end of our drills I showed her how when she got really good she'd be able to dribble the ball without having to look directly down on it all the time. I told her she'd become better at sensing where the ball is, and that will help because she will be able to move faster and see defenders coming at her. I told her I think she had the talent to do that really soon if she practiced hard.

As a side note, I never played soccer, I played hockey and in that sport you better keep your head up because you'll get decked if not. I was one of those players who looked for the head hangers and then I'd make a charge. Most of the time I'd win and flatten the guy.

Anyways, Sarah wanted to show Daddy how she could hold her head up already. She started dribbling. I was impressed because she kicked the ball a few times. She kept going for another ten steps, but without the ball. Then she ran back to kick the ball and totally wiffed. The whole time her eyes were on me! Like I said, I am so proud of her, but I told her for now to ignore what Daddy said about all the "keep your head up" stuff.

Black Helicopter Hovering Over American Idol

With righteous rocker Chris Daughtry getting a pink slip last night I wonder now what conspiracy theories will rock American Idol? From day one Daughtry had been predicted to win the whole contest so what could possible add more drama than him getting booted? People will be talking and it will be fun what they muster up.

I like Chris. I picked him to win. Initially my prideful sense of being overly responsible told me I had something to do with him losing, I haven't cast one vote yet. Sorry Chris!

Days 36, 37, 38, and 39

Day 36 - lower body (aka legs)
Day 37 - cardio, biking
Day 38 - upper body
Day 39 - cardio, in-line skating

Today was a great skate. I just did 4 miles in under 22 minutes. The best part was the way back because I had the wind pushing me. The worst part of course then was the way out. Out near the governement center where I live there is a bit more open area and so this morning a north wind was strong against me. There were times where I'd come to an immediate hault if I wasn't pumping the legs. I am sure all the drivers were thinking I was the stupid one. But like I said, as soon as I turned around for the journey home, I knew that would be the reward. I reached some pretty good speeds. There is one short hill that is always a killer for me but today I got pushed up it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

DIY Meal Replacement Shake

Nowadays one of the staples of a well-rounded nutrition and fitness program what is commonly referred to as an MRP shake - Meal Replacement Powder. A common brand name in the MRP marketplace is Myoplex. The idea of an MRP is to provide a "high-performance meal replacement designed to deliver the highest quality protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals."

I used to drink three Myoplex shakes a day (back when I was training to go to state.) I loved the convenience but a key hurdle that I got sick of dealing with every time I went to buy more was the hefty price tag. One packet of myoplex will set you back anywhere from $2.30 to $3.00 depending on where you buy and who you know. Still not a bad price considering the ultimate purpose of an MRP. However, what got me was the $99.00 up front cost I had to shell out for a 42 pack. The large monthly outflow of cash is what killed me.

I've found a far cheaper and just as effective solution. I shake together eight ounces of water, two scoops of chocolate whey protein and one container of lowfat, low sugar fruit flavored yogurt, and I make sure to take good quality mulit-vitamins each day. The shake yields 40 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbs, and the multi's provide the essential vitamins and minerals. The shake is filling, can pass as a smoothie knock off, and delivers about 280 calories, perfect for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. If not as much protein is desired then I use only one scoop.

The yogurt runs $.52 (cents) per container and the protein costs roughly $.67 (cents) per two scoops. Not bad - only $1.19 for the DIY Meal Replacement. As far as the cash outlay, the protein is only $39.99 for a 5 lb jug and lasts a month. I then just buy the yogurt on the weekly grocery run.

BTW - beware of other DIY MPR's that call for any kind of oats to be mixed in. I've tried this approach but would rather just each oatmeal with a spoon.

I Stink More Than You

Here is a really strange story: Personal Foul. Strange because those in the story are trying to understand the phenomenon and they seem to be overlooking one major aspect of the condition. Can you figure out what it is?

While reading the story I was reminded of an old goal I used to strive to attain all throughout youth and high school sports. Funny too because as a matter of fact I just told my wife about it the other day while we were working out. Before getting to the goal, I need to provide some background context so you'll understand.

I played youth and high school hockey. Overtime all the equipment develops a certain smell that can not be washed out, it just must be lived with as part of the whole hockey experience. It is a state of mind. Eventually one begins to love the smell, even miss it.

A cherished piece of a hockey players armor is the t-shirt worn underneath the shoulder pads. The shirt becomes of very good friend, to help protect against rashes, and it sometimes even provides that superstitious edge everybody needs in sports (my favorite shirt was a KISS concert shirt.) A devoted hockey player plays at least five days a week and sweats like a pig. But because of all the playing time, there was no time to wash the undershirt. Early on in my career I picked up on the cultic practice of never washing the shirt. I realized that I was part of a group who competed with each other to see who could go the longest with out washing the shirt. I do not recall exactly but it seems to me that I went at least three seasons without washing my undershirt. I could have gone longer if the darn thing wouldn't have disintegrated to a few strings. Three seasons is pretty good but I do recall, and this is a fact, two buddies I played with that never, ever washed their undershirts from peewees all through high school. I still wonder how they preserved the material.

It is a pretty cool memory. I hear through the grapvine too that the practice still exists. Good deal - a hidden legacy of hockey continues on.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Happy Plastic People

All day I've been signing a song to myself by Casting Crowns called Stained Glass Masquerade. It is a very sad and painful song to listen to. It cuts to the heart of what is wrong Christendom today. I have experienced both sides of the masquerade that the song speaks of. I like listening to it though because it tugs on my heart to cry out to Jesus. Listen to it: Stained Glass Masquerade. Here are the complete lyrics:

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today,
feelin so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away,
like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it,
maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin,
I play the part again
So everyone will see me
the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain

But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Does This Call For "Here's Your Sign"?

It was a total down pour as I left work yesterday. The rain drops had to be the size of golf balls. I only had about five feet from the door to my truck but there was no way to avoid just getting soaked.

As I was driving away I saw someone I work with coming out the building door. I could tell he was processing through the best course of action similar to what I just completed. Within a minute my cell phone rang and the Caller ID said it was this same person I just watched get soaked. I took the call according to protocal "Hello", without him saying a greeting he said "Boy, it sure is a warm wet rain isn't it?" I just wasn't quick enough with a comeback, all I could say was "yep."

Ever since I've been thinking of everything I could'a, should'a said but I am thinking to hard. What could I have said that would have been a great "Here's is your sign" type come back?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Weightlifting Is Having An Affect

I managed to break the white gem (aka toilet) into five pieces today. Before I had a chance to react to the churps from the porcelain grinding together, the white gem shattered! I cranked down on the bolts that attached the bowl to the tank a little too hard a few too many times. Because it was free I didn't feel so bad, but I was still pretty upset. Fortunately we had white gem #2 for back up. I installed white gem #2 without a hitch. Sometimes I just can't believe what I put myself through. It is what it is.

Days 30, 31 ,32, 33, 34, 35

Day 30 - Cardio. Quick Bike Ride.
Day 31 - Lower Body. New exercises again.
Day 32 - Cardio. Quick Skate.
Day 33 - Upper Body. Awesome workout!
Day 34 - Long Bike Ride. 54 minutes. Avg heart rate 128. 776 calories burned,
Day 35 - Freeday. I will not eat today like I did last week. I was sick on Monday.

"Just keep plugging away!"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Black Gem Has Been Installed

I just finished installing the black gem. I took my time. Turned off both the water and electricity and double checked that I did. Except for the puncture wound to my right index finger the whole ordeal was rather uneventful and everything worked right off the bat. I'm content.

I will admit though, I hate working with a "regular" screwdriver (the flat head type.) Why does the "regular" screwdriver even exist? It is worthless in my opinion. Among other potential damage the tool causes, puncture wounds occur for too much when using the regular screwdriver.

Stay tuned for future home maintenance stories. Next time I will report on how installing the white gem went (what else do you call a toilet?)

Friday, May 05, 2006

How To Skin A Cat

Today I took the day off and attended a simulcast of Maximum Impact. Although overall it was an effective event and worth the time I took off, the whole day was full of typical motivational type oneliners.

The best line of the day wasn't tooled to motivate and it came from Kathy Ireland when she shared a critique she once received. Someone once told her she had a voice that could skin a cat. I laughed out loud harder and longer than anyone else in the audience. The constructive criticism was absolutely dead on! I love my stout Tomcat Griffen but he would have lost some weight today listening to her. She also displayed the annoying habit of pausing too long and smiling when she thought she just said something funny and witty - she was waiting for everyone to get it.

The second best line of the day is when Dave Ramsey, financial guru, revealed "there is a reason why Mastercard is called Mastercard."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Working With Phrases Like "It Works"

I believe in absolutes. I believe in truth. Therefore, I believe in absolute truth. I do not subscribe to postmodern notions of relative truth. Truth is what it is. Truth is not subjective, it is truth.

However, I've learned something about the way I choose words, listen and communicate that may perhaps be pretty darn postmodern. I am not sure what to make of it.

Take for example the phrase "It works." Typically this phrase, "It works", means the "it" being referred to is operating the way it is suppose to. In other words, the meaning of "It works" should tell the listener that "it" is functioning properly. However, I've learned that even a simple phrase like "It works" needs to be followed up with "What do you mean by 'It Works'?" I've learned "It works" is a relative statement, and so therefore the phrase cannot be trusted to be an accurate picture of reality. There needs to be more defining of what the real meaning is. Make sense?

I've learned that when someone makes what is seemingly an objective truthful statement, it is not (really.) Phrases that appear to be objective must always be followed up with "What do you me by [fill in the blank with the word that needs definition.]?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Gem Above All Gems

I've posted a couple of times about the Almond Gem (I, II) that our family acquired this last weekend. I just now returned from the peaceful adventure of picking up another appliance that is now affectionately called the black gem, it is a dishwasher. I have yet to install it but I plan to remember what I learned from the mistakes I made in the Almond Gem saga.

Now I am very happy to proclaim that my family has updated appliances (at least to our good enough standard level.) But ya'know, I am incredibly pleased to boast about a family gem that is more esteemed than any one acquired in the past, present or future. My wife, the golden gem and prized woman that she is orchestrated our latest acquisitions. She did all the leg work to make things happen and provided me with the influence I needed to meet her needs. Yes, at one point I almost died, but looking back, I' it again(?), right? Well, you know what I mean. I love my wife Carla!

Carla is a stay-at-home mother of three sons and one daughter. She has not had training from her own mother on how to do the mother thing. She is learning as she goes. She is doing a good job. Stay-at-home mothers, like Carla, deserve much more credit than what is given to them. Financially speaking the services they provide to a family are worth much much more than most realize as well. According to

"Stay-at-home mothers wear many hats. They're the family CEO, the day care provider, housekeeper, laundry machine operator, psychologist, and van driver. Based on a 91.6-hour work week, has estimated that a fair wage for the typical stay-at-home mom would be $134,121 for executing all of her daily tasks."

The Stay-at-Home Mom's Salary

Mom Job Title
Mom's Work Week (hours)
Mom's Salary

Day Care Center Teacher
Computer Operator
Laundry Machine Operator
Facilities manager
Van Driver
Total Hours

Mom Base Pay
Mom Overtime Hours

Total Mom Salary
Average Hours of Sleep


"Even if these mothers were getting paid what they'd be worth on the market, Bottos added that they still wouldn't be adequately compensated. "When you take into account that it represents a 92-hour work-week, and doesn't even begin to factor in that they are on call 24 hours a day, it's not so large. Plus, stay-at-home moms get no benefits in terms of pension or 401(k)."

A BIG, BIG HT to stay at home mothers, especially my Golden Gem!

The Call That Needs A Response

Today I am reponding to the divine calling of husbandry by going to Minneapolis to pick up a free dishwasher. My adorable wife (aka the freebie-finding-freak) found our family's latest appliance gem via this wonderful resource: Twin Cities Free Market. Turns out the Marriot is parting with nearly 85 dishwashers, and they are only six years old. This one sounds like a good score that will not lead to a dreadful Home Without A Range experience. Be praying for me.

Cultural Contributions To Depression

The mystery of depression is looked at today as purely biochemical suggesting that it is a result of serotonin deficiencies in the brain. Medication is the answer. But why doesn't medication always work? Why are there no blood tests that confirm the chemical imbalance?

I do believe there is a chemical component to depression, but to date, science has not yet squared the hypothesis with the fact that depression is on the rise and medications are not working.

Dr. Edward T. Welch, counselor, and director of the School of Biblical Counseling at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, and Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary has written a book called Depression, A Stubborn Darkness, Light for the Path. In this outstanding book there is great insight into the mystery of depression.

Dr. Welch says that depression must be listened to, it must be understood from many perspectives because it is such a complex, dynamic malady. One size does not fit all. Dr. Welch offers a list of reasons why people get depressed. One often overlooked aspect is Culture.

Ways Culture Contributes to Depression

1. Too Many Decisions
Everything is up for grabs. Nothing in the future seems to be fixed. Life is a smoorgasboard of decisions. It is not the abundance of decisions that depress but the pressure to always make the best decision. A poor choice could affect the course of one's life. It is easy to lose the focus of life before a sovereign God who assures us that He is in control of all the decisions and outcomes. In His loving control over all of life, God is accomplishing his good plans despite poor choices.

2. Driven To Be Individuals
A top cultural value is individual self expression. Life is about "me" and "How do I feel." The individual seeks to satisfy personal needs. If something is not working out, cut bait and move on to whatever will. Today's pseudo-relationships are a great example. The affects of the individualistic "me" lifestyle are aloneness, isolation, and powerlessness. Furthermore, because of technology, everybody is mobile and there isn't much real face-to-face loving and reconcilling going on. However, standing before the throne of God, reflecting on His beauty and holiness, troubles become much smaller in contrast. How can one not be more in awe of God than themself? When the King of Kings is desired above all, listening and obeying Him will be of first order. He calls his creation to love (as He has loved) and that is what breaks the prison of individualism. New and better relationships are formed.

3. Self-Indulgence
Naturally, the culture of the individual leads to an increased drive toward self-indulgence of personal lusts and psychological needs. A primary belief here is that something exists outside of ourselves (in culture) that can satisfy or fufill us. Reality though proves this wrong (e.g. one of something is never enough, two is ok for a while, but then three of something is needed.) The cycle of craving and indulgence manifests itself usually in how long a person lives in it. Some people can go on for years stuck in it. Others see its folly and see through the false promises, and give up the rat race - interestingly, these are the people most prone to depression because of the hopelessness. Self-esteem is a majorly sought after psychological need that must always be affirmed in a culture of self-indulgence. Culture breeds the myth that everybody must feels good about themselves, if you don't then you are unhealthy. Depression devours a person (and culture) when self-esteem is feed. Depression and denial hit hard (and are the only options) when one realizes that they are not great, they can't do everything, they are not the best, and they can't get want they want.

3. Happiness Is The Greatest Good
"I want to be happy" is the mantra of culture. Hardship is not good, happiness is. If hardships in a relationship exist, end it. If an emotion is uncomfortable, medicate it. Growing through trials is not pursued as a skill to develop. It is not that hardships should be the norm, it is that happiness is idolized above all other pursuits in life. The chief end of man is not happiness.

4. Entertained and Bored To Death
Only new and exciting pursuits will dull the sense of boredom in life. Everything in culture these days screams "Amuse me." People do not know what to do with the quiet. But the overabundance of excitement and entertainment just leads to more boredom. The appetite is never met. Joy is the antidote - Christian joy that is. Delighting in the ultimate, supreme goodness of God, worshiping Him in His glory is where try joy is. But this pursuit takes work and does not come easy. Joy must be pursued, it must be practiced.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It Is What It Is

It is what it is. This is what I tell others when they ask me how things are going, with me, with work, with life. It is what it is. Although I sometimes forget, there is a reason I say it. The phrase is packed with really good theology (I think.)

By saying "It is what it is" one reveals submission to the providence and sovereignty of God. I say "It is what it is" because I then immediately remind myself that God is ultimately in control and most of life's unpleasant circumstances are for training in righteousness and to teach perseverance.

Living through situations that require an "It is what it is" attitude are painful. Part of the growth process is coming to terms with the fact of the theology behind another statement that is packed full: When the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of change, then lasting change will occur.

It is what it is but I feel the need to make some changes.

Home Without A Range (Continued)

Well my mother has requested that I get to the rest of the story. She never comments on my blog so I guess when she is a sign. I suppose too, her motherly instincts are prompting her mind to process all possible worst case scenarios, she probably thinks I ended up in the hospital. I need to put an end to her suffering.

I managed to make it through the day without having to go to the emergency room. In fact, the tingling in my right forearm ended late afternoon on Saturday and after that I never thought about getting electrocuted early that day. I was on to the next phase of my overall goal of replacing the harvest gold range. The whole arching through my arm incident was probably a good thing because after that the harvest gold range was declared dead (absolutely) and the decision was made, I needed to find a new range.

But first, I went grocery shopping as it is part of my normal routine on Saturdays. I stopped at Home Depot and Menards just to see what they had for ranges, nothing below $499. My good friend Porter suggested the local classifieds and so I followed his advice. The classifieds only had two listings and no ranges. However, one listing was for a refurb appliance shop in a town north of where I live. I filed the info in my mind and continued on to grocery shopping.

Upon returning home from the grocery store Carla handed me a note with all the info of the refurb appliance guy, she got the lead from a family friend. I considered it another sign (since I was electrocuted early in the day, I figured I was qualified to some special leftover powers.) So on up to Somerset I headed with orders to come home with a range.

The refrub guys place was immaculate with all parts and tools in plastic bins with detailed labels. Another sign. Getting a range from this guy would be a safe buy. In addition, he offered a 6-month warranty on a used range. I took all the time I needed to have this guy prove to me why I should buy a refurb appliance, from his shop.

We pretty much took the whole range apart so I could examine its interiors. I wanted to especially see the wiring since I was already familiar with old, brittle, and stiff connections from the harvest gold. I also looked for any indication of flames just in case the previous owner was a stupid as I was. After feeling the heat from all four burners and the oven for a full five minutes, I let the refurb guy move into his closing (the sale) sequence. I wrote him a check for $159.00 and looked forward to my wife’s adoration.

I got home from the refurb place just in time to scarf down a hamburger and headed off to worship services. Since it had been raining all day the new range stayed under the tarp and Carla and I made plans to bring it in the house after the kids went down for the night, about 8:30 or so.

While Carla was reading to the kids and prepping them for bedtime I dragged out the harvest gold piece of junk and made ready to bring in the new almond gem. My biggest concern was how Carla and I would get this gem into the house without damaging it all the while it rained pretty hard outside. I came up with a plan to make a rope harness similar to the straps the appliance mover guys use. I tied the rope into a loop and slide it under the new range. There was enough slack on both ends where Carla and I could each sling the rope around our necks and then lift with our legs and guide with our hands. Something was not right though because neither of us had more than an inch between our heads and the top (burner area) of the range – and our legs were already fully extended. Basically I could stick out my tongue and lick the big burner if I wanted to. We decided to work through the pain in our necks and pray that our backs would not go out. This harness method was still the best option we had to work with because of the rain. It took us several grunts to finally get the almond gem inside.

We positioned it rightly and proudly turned all the dials to on. Nothing. The stinking thing did not heat up. You want to know what crushed feels like, imagine our predicament at that moment. Although there were a few lights that came on and the clock did appear to be ticking away, but yet there was no heat. Carla and I lamented greatly almost in complete despair. I was looking forward to eggs and hash browns and pizza on Sunday Free Day. Not to mention the money I just spent, the effort we just expended. Nothing. The proud prize I brought home did not work. I went to bed feeling like the ultimate punch line to a cruel joke.

All through the night, whenever I woke up to reposition myself in bed, I prayed about the stove, that God would intervene. When I woke up in the morning the first thing I did was to go lay my hands on the stove and pray over it.

After drinking a cup of coffee I decided to get right to work. Perhaps I could figure it out. Perhaps it was the wiring. Perhaps things got a little too wet. But wait; first I decided to go turn off the breaker to the range. Ya’know, if you are going to work with electricity you must always remember safety comes first. So then while standing at the circuit breaker box I noticed two breakers for the range. I thought, what if only one was working? That would explain perhaps why only the lights worked and not the heat. I reasoned, if one breaker delivered 110, then two breakers puts out 220 and that is what the range needed. Niether breaker appeard blown, but I reset them anyway. I then went up stairs to check for heat. I was first clued in that something was different because the oven light went on which didn’t before. Bingo, I immediately started to feel the heat. It worked!

I went over to rub out the kink in Carla’s neck and figure out what to do about our rope burns, but I was just too excited! I instead told her to come and check out her new stove and asked her if she wanted an omelet for breakfast. It is all good!

Home Without A Range

Here is a little story about hunting down a range/stove/oven for my family. The whole ordeal literally almost killed me.

The harvest gold colored range that used to be part of the Stream family (up until this last Saturday) had to have been at least twenty-five years old. Like I said, it was harvest gold, and only two burners worked, the bottom element inside the oven did not work as well. Reminiscing a bit about the old range I get a little sentimental only because of the memories of learning to be a creative, think out of the box, family cook. Pizza at the Stream house always had that super soft, almost not done, crust. The oven yielded the best gooey center crust with completely crisp toppings. There was always the fine line to watch for between burnt toppings and cooked enough to eat crust.

Resources for a brand new range are slim to none, cash flow just does not permit it. But thank God for my wife and mother who are always on the lookout for free "things." My mother is always on the lookout for things she knows we need. She once tried to hook me up with an "opportunity" as she called it, a potentially free vascetomy. But this time she had marching orders from my wife to find a range and a dishwasher.

Leave it up to the two resourceful (and beautiful) women, next thing I know I am driving up to northern Wisconsin, a good 80 miles from where I live, to pick up a free range and dishwasher. My mother got a line on the two appliances from someone she works with. The story this women told my mom had something to do with the items being "very nice and in good shape." Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Thankfully I had a witness to the fact that even though the two appliances may have "worked" they certainly were far older than the ones I already had. I politely passed on these two free things. My witness helped corroborate the decision as I called my wife to tell her we were starting the trek home.

Feeling like an incredibly worthless husband when I got home I felt the man-need to "do something" to prove to my wife that I will always provide for her and the kids. I went to work inspecting the old harvest gold stove, I "knew" (another relative term in this context) the problem had something to do with the wiring. The very first thing I did, opening the oven and entering in with a screwdriver, should have been the second thing I did. With in seconds I learned what I should have done first. I realize now I was so focused on the goal of fixing the range that I didn't think of protecting my life.

Somehow as I was pulling the screw driver away from connection point of the bottom heating element a high powered electrical arch was created followed by a crushingly loud boom and several puffs of smoke. I was completely amazed how fast my entire arm flung from the front side of my body to the back side. I also couldn't believe how far the screwdriver flew across the kitchen, nearly missing my two year old's head. It was precisely at this point I realized what I should have done first before touching a live appliance that was connected to a 220 source outlet. I checked for opened wounds and didn't find any. I felt ok other than the slight sensation of a charlie horse in my right shoulder, but that was no big deal. I thought to myself, "Crap, I just took 220 to my body and I am still alive, wow!" Now I needed to go to the basement and reset the breakers that were blown. Turns out I blew the whole house out and so I needed to reset the main breaker. I still can't believe all I felt was like a punch in the arm.

I need to go workout now and so I will post the rest of the days events later.

Day 29

Upper Body. Changed all exercises today. It is good to change every four weeks or so to keep the body guessing. Because of the change this workout was a little light.