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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Friday, October 21, 2005
A quiver full...
There is real danger after a near sleepless night of dealing with crying children of being less than thankful.

A while back, whimsically mind you, I may have said in the presence of my wife something about going over the border for a weekend.

In Winnipeg, when you talk about the border, you are talking about the Canada/US border, and you usually mean going down to Grand Forks, Fargo, or perhaps, if you are really bent on spending money - even the twin cities.

When I made this comment, I had forgotten that my poor dear wife has just spent the first trimester of our fourth pregnancy being sick more or less all the time. That hasn't helped our homeschooling, nor has it given her much chance to be out of the house. It seems the comment I made - not unlike musing out loud that it would be nice to inherit a billion dollars, was received in my wife's heart with no less surety that Moses received the ten commandments. It became her constant hope, her mental escape from the moment - a gleaming ray of sunshine to look forward to. As she began to overcome the sickness, the possibility of going out and actually enjoying life for a change began to reshape itself in her psyche.

It was sometime around then that my wife began her dark, ... secret, ... plans.

As I mentioned, my remark was whimsical enough that when my wife mentioned it, I had to play smart - that is, I had to play along with her until I knew what she was talking about. I do this for three very good reasons:

1. She is a walking hormone - and anyone who lives with a pregnant woman knows, you don't do anything to rock the boat.
2. I didn't want her to see any chinks in my "caring, loving, husband" persona. I mean those things when I say them - I am sure I do - but the conviction lasts only until I forget about it. Then it seems like it is someone else's bad idea.
3. She is a walking hormone.

There is another factor involved as well. You see, while my memory is generally excellent, it is often a little wishy-washy about commitments. I never forget a commitment that I have made with anyone other than my wife - but it seems when it comes to my wife I am trapped in a "covenantal language" type of commitment - the kind where I make a commitment but don't even understand that I have done so until it is mentioned after months of (apparently settled)silence on the matter.

Okay, so what's with the crying baby pics?

Three of my wife's girlfriend's children came over last night (yes, on a weeknight) for a sleep over. Their ages are two, five, and seven. My own children are ages two, five, and seven as well. The tie in works like this: my wife is planning to have her girlfriend watch our children for a weekend, and in order to satisfy her guilt at leaving our children with her girlfriend, she offered to take her girlfriend's three youngest for the night.

Why on a weeknight you ask?

My wife's girlfriend's children (she has five altogether) have no school these last few days, and so they are having a movie weekend blowout with their two older children as a celebratory thing for something or other.

Now, for humor's sake I do like to flavor my tone so that I sound like the woe begotten and pitiable victim of an all out conspiracy, and I admit, I feel like it sometimes. But these kids are great and my wife and I would offer our home to them for such a sleep over any old time no questions asked. We love to give of our selves in that way, and such is our relationship with that family. So had my wife not offered to watch these children, and I was aware of even the hint of a need, I would not have hesitated to invite them all over no matter what night of the week it was - and I wouldn't be motivated by guilt or by guile either.

Having said that, I was caught unawares yesterday. For those of you who do not know it, I cycle to work. It is about 10 miles one way - and in Canada around this time of year it is close to freezing and rainy most of the time. That makes for messy, cold riding - and I come home drenched on the outside in mud and water, and drenched inside from the sweat of the effort. My routine is pretty simple. Stagger in like a drunk coming off a three day bender - my children tackle me at the door with hugs (I love that part), I try and get all my dirty wet clothes off and take them downstairs and throw them in the washing machine. Then I come up stairs and adjust.

For those of you who don't know that "adjust" means in this context, allow me a tangential moment to explain. When a man leaves the sanctuary of his own abode, he leaves those people in the world whom he loves the most, and enters into a nine or ten hour exile - locked away in the very place he generally likes the least. A place so vile and loathsome that they have to pay him money just to make him go there. In fact, that is why he goes there - trading off bits of his life - the best share of it in fact - so that he can stay alive and perhaps keep his family alive at the same time. Now as Christians we know that it is God who feeds us and not the fridge - but I am talking about a psychological reality and not a spiritual truth here. The happiest moments in a man's life (they say) are when any of his children are born, next in line would be his wedding day - but directly behind this (barring the winning of a lottery or inheriting a large fortune) is the moment the clock tells him he is allowed to leave work.

The time between leaving work and getting home is like an ethereal twilight on the edge of reality. It happens every day, but it is vaporous - it has no meaning. We may flip the page of a book hundreds of times as we read it - but never once give thought to the act of flipping the page - it happens but it is a non-action - it has no value. Such is the commute home. The commute to work is similar, but the fragrance of happiness can cling to a person right up until they get to work only to fall immediately to the ground as one enters the premises. The commute home however is like the no mans land between the borders - you aren't at home and you aren't at work -you are just ... just... moving.

So when you do get home there is a short period of mental adjustment - a time when your stressed out body - still cramped and clenching from the stress of a day at work, has to catch up with your mind that knows you are home.

Depending on the man, this may be the best, or the worst time to ask for something. The man has a focus, and the moment he gets into the house he wants to do his little routine (whatever it is) and stepping in at that moment and interrupting that can be like stepping between a mamma bear and her cubs, or like knocking a man out of a stupor - it can go either way.

Anyway, so I am in adjust mode - I go through my routine (put clothes in washing machine, wander around house (seemingly) aimlessly - in fact I am re-establishing my presence in my own mind (I am actually home!), then sitting down or laying down for five. It varies with each guy - except for the seemingly aimless wandering - we all do that. Like a man who has stumbled out of a train wreck undamaged - wandering around trying to wrap his mind around the thought of what he has come through unscathed...

That is when I notice the telltale carnival atmosphere of my house. Kids running around giggling - more kids than ought to be there - and consequently far more shrill and energetic. This particular day isn't so bad, and I roll with it.

See, my wife, after a day with the children is looking forward to the moment I get home because that is the moment she can relax her grip a little. She has been playing defense all day, and is looking forward to some bench time. Sometimes when I come home from work it is like the defenseman is skating for the bench oblivious to the forward who is likewise skating for the bench equally oblivious - both have been oo the ice too long, both want that bench - and when they collide it becomes a contest to see who deserves it most. As we have grown in the Lord this little game is less frequent, and less formidable - but still go through the motions once in a while.
I think I might have hip checked her on my way to the bench, but she slashed a bit, and really, neither of us had enough energy to really push it anyway. The result in real terms was that I said something like, "Hmmmm. lots of kids... I see a sleep over bag... how many we got?" to which she replied, "three more, all of them are sleeping over." There was a moments silence as each of us sized up the weariness of the other. Not unlike a spaghetti western where they do the close up of the one gunfighter's eyes, then the other's etc. After a pregnant silence, it seemed I won the mental weariness contest - and was allowed to continue with my adjustment.

That day while I was at work my wife took our youngest to the walk in clinic. She was crying last night saying "ow-ee on my eye!" though she was pointing at her ear. My wife suffered substantial and permanent hearing loss as a child due to a viral infection in her ear, and so she is proactive when it comes to our children and ear infections.

I mention this because by the time I got home we had a prescription for our youngest, and my wife hadn't got around to getting it filled. I was hungry as I hadn't eaten anything all day yet (I skip breakfast, and often skip lunch), so I was quite peckish. My wife was making spaghetti sauce, and supper would not be on the table for another fifteen minutes. I looked in the fridge and there was just nothing to chew on to bide the time, so I decided to go and get the prescription filled.

Okay - that is just background stuff. Supper was underway when I got home, and after supper all the kids all went simultaneously bonkers. Running around and playing as kids do - and of course accidentally hurting one another every few minutes. My wife wanted to plug them into a movie - but I really don't like doing that (redeem the time!). So we let them play, and put them to bed at 9:00.

Here is where all the crying photo's come into the picture. The moment our littlest one lays down - the crying starts. Her ear hurts her, and even with tylenol she is inconsolable. Her crying starts a chain reaction -and soon the other two year old, and one of the five year old's decide to get in on the action.

By 2:00 a.m. I still hadn't fallen asleep. The kids were doing a round robin - as one would settle down, you had enough time to feel that blissful grogginess that precedes sleep, only to have the sandman's legs kicked out from under him by the next round of crying.

My poor wife was really taking the brunt of it - she is pregnant after all, and the kids never want the "daddy" to comfort them - they always prefer the mommy. So she was run pretty ragged too. Yet by 2:00 we both took another run at the bench, and this time I won.

To be sure, when our ear infection girl began to cry again, I told my wife that I had already missed enough sleep to more or less make no difference if I stayed up all night. So I said I would stay up with her, and bid my wife get some sleep. My tone however said, "I have to get ready for work in a couple of hours and you get to stay home - and maybe even catch a snooze" so she refused to allow me to stay up. So I grabbed my pillow and went to sleep in the basement with the door closed. I didn't get much sleep though - all I could think about was this trip to the states that I had volunteered to take my wife on...
posted by Daniel @ 8:51 AM  
3 Comments:
  • At 11:27 PM, October 27, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey bro, it seems you may be an
    anomoly on this one. Don't worry, I feel your pain and understand completely.

    Maybe your just not hitting the 30 something fathers?

    Jim

     
  • At 4:24 PM, November 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    a wonderful description of the adjustment, thank you.

    not sure what the "30 something fathers" comment meant.

    be encouraged! children are an inheritance from the Lord.

    ~mark

     
  • At 4:37 PM, November 18, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    We still haven't gone to the states by the way... :-D

     
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