Archive for June, 2011
In preparation for my brother’s Eagle Scout ceremony on Sunday, I went digging through boxes in my basement looking for memorabilia from my scouting days. Eventually I stumbled upon an old metal lock box where I stored most of it.
I found lots of fun stuff, like my merit badge sash, my old pinewood derby cars, and a neckerchief slide given to me by my Uncle Ray. And hidden among all the nerdy trinkets was a 22 year old savings bond given to me by my Grandma. Jackpot!
I’m leaving for a bachelor party weekend in Chicago, and I’m a bit cash strapped as it turns out. An extra $150 was a very welcome surprise. However, I can’t help but feel a little bad about using a savings bond to fund a weekend of partying. I imagine that my grandma had better things in mind for me back in 1989 when she invested $50 towards my future. But thanks all the same. Now bring on the strippers; this lapdance is on grandma!
Five years ago today I moved to Florida. In some ways it doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that long. But when I think about how far I’ve come since then, it actually feels quite a bit more distant.
At the time I was almost overwhelmed with excitement. It had been less than a month since I graduated with my Masters, and here I was being paid to move to Florida for my dream internship. With my new fiancé due to move down in two months, I was looking at a full summer of beach bumming. I remember feeling like I was taking charge of my life, becoming the man I had always envisioned. It was beyond liberating.
My roommate Bill and I packed my car full and pointed it Southeast. Bill couldn’t drive a stick, so I spent 16 hours driving over that Thursday and the following Friday. On Saturday, we sat on the floor of my seventh floor condo drinking beer while we watched the movers unload my belongings. I felt like an insufferable little shit, and I loved it. We spent the rest of that weekend at the beach, acting like a couple of ocean starved Midwesterners. On Sunday, Bill flew back to St. Louis and I spent the evening preparing to start my internship the next day.
This was the first time living outside of Missouri, and I could tell the difference right away. Even the act of moving across the country was relatively pleasant and positive for me. I knew that this was where I was supposed to be and when I was supposed to be there. Florida, thanks so much for embracing me; I still miss you!
This week’s Two For Tuesday is a rare double dose of the same band. While I usually refrain from including two songs by the same band in anything, this week warrants an exception. On Friday, I am heading up to Chicago for the bachelor party of my old neighbor Josh. Friday nite we’re catching the second stop of My Morning Jacket’s 2011 U.S. Tour. Last month the band released their new album, Circuital, and I’ve been listening to it nonstop since. It’s arguably their best album to date in my opinion. With so many good songs to choose from, I figured a good place to start is the album’s lead single, Holdin’ On To Black Metal
As far as songs about Satan go, they don’t get much catchier. Next up is my favorite song on the album, and a virtual lock for Modern Rock 2011. Here’s the wonderful Outta My System
I’ll have much more on My Morning Jacket next week when I’m back from Chicago. So for now enjoy the tunes.
This past weekend my brother Paul was awarded his Eagle Scout.
Boy Scouts has been a longstanding tradition on the Missouri side of my family. Paul’s Eagle Scout ceremony on Sunday was very special for all of us. And seeing our tradition of Scouting was very moving to me. It must have been even more so for my brother, Paul IV.
His grandfather, Paul Jr., was the first to be awarded Eagle Scout, back in 1935.
His father, Paul III, was awarded Eagle Scout in 1973.
And his brother, your ship’s Captain, was awarded Eagle Scout in 1993.1
Awarding Paul IV his Eagle Scout was part of a wonderful institution. And the ceremony was a lot of fun for everyone there. Smiles all around.
No longer being active in Scouting, it was a real treat for me to be surrounded by the familiar sights and sounds of the organization. Boy Scouts was a very big part of my adolescence that did wonders for me personally. I was elated to see it have a similar affect on my brother.
And as is typical for older brothers, I was even able to do some lite ribbing. I’ve teased my brother in the past about taking too long to complete his Eagle Scout project. I finished all of my requirements by the time I was 15, as did his father. Paul pushed it back all the way to a month before the cutoff date of his 18th birthday before he was completed. When I was given a chance to speak during his ceremony, I led with a church-appropriate joke that went as follows.
“Paul was 6 months old when he attended my Eagle Scout ceremony back in 1993. He was in diapers for my ceremony, and I told him recently that if he didn’t hurry up and finish his project then I’m gonna be in diapers for his ceremony too.”
And even though I like teasing him, I could not be more proud of him. Congratulation on your achievement, bro.
1. This is one of the only pictures of me growing my hair out in high school. In 7th-9th grade, I had the bastion of early nineties butt-cuts: the dreaded side-spike. I decided the summer before my sophomore year to grow my hair long and this was taken shortly thereafter. You can actually see the former spike in my horribly uneven bangs. This is the last time I looked semi-respectable for many years.
I’ve been a homeowner now for about a year and a half. For the most part, it’s pretty great. And by buying a new home in a new community, I’ve managed to lessen some of the typical problems associated with owning a home. My home came with a full warranty and lawn care service, so I don’t currently have to do any lawnmowing or home repair.
But in some ways I miss being a renter, as it was certainly much easier than being a homeowner. Let’s Friday 5 up this topic, shall we?
Top 5 Things I Have To Now Deal With As A Homeowner
1. Appliances breaking down
While my home has an extended warranty, most of my appliances do not. I like warranties when they are included, but I never buy one when given the choice. As such, I am leaving work early this afternoon to have an appliance repair man fix my washing machine. Before I could just call my landlord and get it fixed without much thought. Now I have to find a reputable company with a competitive price and hope that the appliance is not a costly fix. Sheesh.
2. Dead grass and trees
As I mentioned, I am lucky enough to enjoy a lawn maintenance program that does most of the work on my yard. And the sprinklers run by the homeowners association do a good enough job for the most part. But despite this I still have a patch of dead grass and a dying tree in my front yard. The grass was a problem that was recently addressed with a new patch of sod. But this past week’s heat wave is killing the sod before it has a chance to grow. And our street tree is dying a slow death. Seeing as I plan to live in this house for a number of years, I don’t want to let my yard look like shit. That’s what renters do.
3. Overly nosey neighbors
This week I lost my reelection bid for my homeowners association, which I’m surprisingly alright with. I honestly didn’t want to put in the work associated with being a board member. I was mostly running due to my fear of what a homeowners board comprised of three bored retirees will do unchecked. The only kind of neighbors that I’ve ever had a problem with are the overly nosey kind, and there are quite a few in my neighborhood. These types of bored busybodies tend to make up problems and create the kind of drama that I find particularly annoying. For example, a few people in my neighborhood seem obsessed with people parking their cars on the street. If they try and pass some kind of no parking on the street rule, then they’re gonna get an earful from me.
4. Housing prices
As a renter, all I cared about was the rent not rising. But as a homeowner, I have to walk the fine line between wanting the value of my home to rise, but not it’s assessed value. A high resale value is good, but a high value base for tax purposes is bad. What to do?
5. Making changes the right way
I have no problem with attempting home improvements myself; the problem is that I’m not very good at it. I’ve painted several previous apartments, but I never worried much about the semi-crappy results. Knowledge of my mediocrity has thus far kept me from attempting any major changes. For big changes, the choice is to do it myself and hope it isn’t too bad, or to hire a professional. And I’m learning that professionals cost a lot of money. So for the time being I’m doing neither.