Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What a Joy It Is, What a Privilege

I felt like I was “leaning on Jesus” this morning as we sat in the inspection line at 6:40. I felt pretty good about things until I started the car and all I could see was white clouds coming out of the tailpipe. Finally, it came to my turn and I drove in the garage part of the inspection station, and the clouds ceased. No smoke was coming out and the finally passed inspection! There was great rejoicing in the car, and I now live to drive my truck another year.

I would like to thank Monica for coming with me and bringing good fortune; my mechanic for giving me good advice; K-red for his advice and support; American Muffler on Lamar and Knight Arnold (If it has “American” in the title, it must be good); and Autozone for their help in tracking down a part for me. It’s funny, but this really feels like one of the bigger accomplishments of the year. Graduating and passing my licensure exam are a close second and third.

I feel lighter now. It may in part be to all the exhaust fumes I took in while in the inspection line, but I think it is from not having this car thing hanging over my head. I probably made it a bigger deal than it was, but I do feel better now.

Here’s a quick quote for your day (I will try to track down the source soon, because a co-worker relayed this to me after reading it):

“The definition of anxiety is imagining the future without God in it.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Satisfying Experience

I am on a quest this month to get my car through inspection. The problem is that my car smokes just a little bit, but they refuse to pass it if there is any smoke. The other problem is that there are only 3 inspection stations for a hundred thousand cars that go through each month. Every year so far, I fail the first time and have to scramble to get it fixed.

So, I failed earlier this month due to smoke. Then, Friday, my car could not exceed 45 mph on the interstate. I now have a new catalytic converter, and also found out my EGR valve was not working. So, I bought the valve and spent Sunday afternoon trying to get the old one off. After succeeding at taking it off, I noticed it was completely clogged and so was the tube coming into it. I decided not to put a $100 part on a bad tube, and I put the old part back on. Monday morning, I called my mechanic and he told me it would be okay to put the new one on, as long as I unclogged everything.

I promised Monica we would get our Halloween pumpkin Monday night, and I told her I could put the car part on in under 30 minutes. She set the kitchen timer and I went to work with my pride on the line. Twenty-five minutes later it was done AND it worked. The timer is still going on when I will actually put all my tools away. All this to say that I am not sure there are many satisfying experiences for me greater than the experience of successfully performing a car repair. I was going to say this is a man thing, but women experience the same thing.

I will tell you one type of repair that is rarely successful or satisfying: spouse repair. I don’t suggest anybody try to “repair” or “fix” a spouse. The real fulfillment for me has come when I made repairs in myself that changed my relationship with Monica—like learning how to like myself better. I sound like a 12-step meeting, I know, but I think that’s why it is important for me to have something I can fix, like a car repair every once in awhile.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thompson Update

Here’s a quick update on us. For Ben, it is work as usual—been at my current job for just over one year as a full-time employee. I’m beginning to do some more speaking on mental health issues, which is nice because I get out of the office. I am hoping to qualify for licensure by January 2010, and once I do that, we will have more options as far as moving goes.

Monica continues to look for a job. She is interested in not settling for a job just so she can work, and is doing a lot of work on finding out what a good job would look like for her. She is up to date on the latest news everyday, and is having lunch with friends when she can. The good thing about her not working is that we have three-day weekends every week and over the holidays we will only have to work around one schedule.

We feel like we are in this weird stage where we could go a lot of directions. We try to stay open to different things that come our way and make the best of being in Memphis. We have many dreams and ideas, and we hope to be ready for whatever comes our way when we finish the Memphis stage of our lives.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where Were You?

Where were you when I stole 15 cents from my dad’s work drawer to buy candy, got caught, and had to pay him back?

Where were you when I got that speeding ticket at 16 and didn’t have much money to pay the ticket and court fees?

Where were you when we decided to buy a dog, had car trouble, and had trouble paying bills? (The credit companies were there for sure!)

Where were you when we wanted to by a 47-inch TV, but could only afford a 42-inch?

Where’s my bailout, rescue, buy in, or whatever you want to call it?

Honestly, I am on the fence about what to think about the “plan” to save our economy, and I wanted to make fun of it (that’s what a past therapist observed I do when I am not sure of something). Someone owes me for my misfortunes and I want some answers, and I’m only asking for $300 billion.