December 2, 1998
Old Tireds and New Tires
The diaconate meeting was... long. It was tiring and it was not so much discouraging as enlightening. The original sin is ignorance and the only redemption is to learn. So I learned. Learned that there were reasons Lee's tendencies were aggravated by this particular congregation and learned that there are certain things that I can't deal with and don't want to deal with anymore. That there are certain tendencies in me that want to respond to the problems with less than constructive actions.
There is a tendency, perhaps for all human beings, to focus or concentrate on what's wrong rather than what they can do about it. Nit-picking, complaining, etc. are all things that focus, exclusively, on what's wrong. It's a habit I've always had and never liked in me, and I really, really, really don't want to be in a situation that accents or highlights that tendency in me.
Work shows me how I can get by without it. We had this meeting yesterday that was just marvelous, eventhough it was long, we went through a lot of constructive brainstorming and figured out a lot of things that needed to be figured out and pinpointed by attention and research. We get things done.
All I learned last night was just how badly ECC allows criticism to guide its path rather than allowing optimism or hope or even faith guide them. I am, and have been, entirely tired of it. And there doesn't seem to be that much hope of it getting better, no matter who the pastor is.
There definitely were things that Lee did that made it imperative that she figure out that she was bad for the congregation. But this extra issue of whether or not I wanted to stay with this congregation was another thing entirely. I can only work with the information I have on each, and I'm getting mildly discouraged. I'll probably give it two months, the transition monthes and give them the fairness of helping out during the hard bits, and I'll see what happens after that.
It didn't help that I didn't have dinner until after the meeting. John took me to Cucina! Cucina! in Issaquah and we split a chopped salad and then a lovely, delicious, astonishing seafood risotto mounded on a plate with three grilled shrimp around the edges, sweet peppers, chunks of halibut and salmon and onions in real saffroned, sweet risotto with plenty of cheese and butter. It had that astonishing deep, mellow-side of bitterness taste of real saffron and the brilliant yellow color. It was really delicious and the portion was perfect to be split between us, way too big for just myself.
Dinner helped calm me down and unhunch my body from my general misery. The meeting was actually pretty useful, as the new pastor got to ask all the questions she wanted to ask about the service and we got to ask our questions on the whole as well. That helped.
The rain was just slanting down, nearly horizontal with the ground, as we ran into the restaurant. The wind was blowing and the water was coming down much faster than even usual. There are rumors that it's going to snow before Friday. And it is definitely getting colder. The sky, this morning, is the white grey of dry concrete.
It was cold enough that four different people at the tire store asked John if he was cold in his shorts and sandals. That was pretty funny. We dropped the Passat off at the tire store and had them put on new tires for all four of the wheels, as the old tires were worn to about the last 10% of their tread. Most tires are 50,000 miles, and since the Passat had over 60k miles on it, it was past time, anyway. I was so glad of the extra thousand we'd taken off the 'excellent condition' price, it will help with the things that we need to fix to make it excellent. The new tires should be good even in the snow, so long as there isn't too much ice.
We got a ride to work from one of the bay mechanics, in this white Chevy with what sounded like a souped up V8 and a sounds system that could blast down a house, and, what was really cool, a stuffed Taz in the back. That was cool and fun to see. Just the sound of that engine made my eyes slit closed from simple pleasure. Yes, I have a weakness for fast cars.
I also managed to call the insurance folks this morning about the brace, finally. Turns out that there's a $250 deductible, but then they'll pay 80% so long as the doctor says that it's medically necessary. I'm not sure if the $250 deductible is something that we've already paid or not, but I imagine we did for the surgery. So it might be 80% covered. That would be sweet. I have to call the doctor's office now, with the information.
John, Bob and I went to Archie McPhee's to pick up fun stuff for before the trip to Albuquerque. John wanted to find something weird for the balloon crew, I wanted to see if I could do a bit of Christmas shopping while I was there, so we drove off after John got back after paying for the tires. Bob was cool and gave him a ride to the tire place.
So we took off for the cityside of Lake Washington and zoomed over the bridge, then missed the exit for Archie McPhee's and John said that he wanted to go somewhere else, first. So I kept quiet and we went on a bit more north, came back towards the University District and John was peering about. Finally I asked him what we were looking for, or was it supposed to be a surprise? John likes surprising me with things, which is cool, in some ways, but it makes it hard for me to look for a place he's looking for. I think I also said it a bit harshly, because he admitted that he was looking for an art store.
At which, I lit up and started bouncing and looking and John found it nearly immediately after that. Yes. The Extrovert had Done It. He'd called art supply places and found one of the field kits by the British company and they had them as well as the water-soluble pencils I'd been looking for, and wah la. The item I've been longing for was in my hot little hands. It was tiny, too. Barely five inches by two and a half all folded up and small enough to require a thumb ring to keep it steady if I were to use it as a tiny palette. Yow. It fits perfectly in my palm. And the colors!!
It was also ten dollars cheaper than from J. Petermans and there was a five dollar rebate included on the package. Which should be good for refill colors when I need them. That should be very keen, indeed.
After the art store, we stopped by Dick's hamburgers and ate on the metal counter in front of the building, watching the guy cut potatos with this huge hand-swing cutter. He went through two 50 pound bags of huge russet potatoes in the time that we stood there eating out burgers. That was impressive.
Everything we thought we'd find at Archie McPhee's was there, and even more. There were also little bottles for raising more African Violets, lots of temporary tattoos and cool anime stuff as well as jewel-colored glass bottles that could be filled with anything! All kinds of cool junk that was fun to shop for. John found the perfect gag gift for the balloon crews, and so we bought it all and then came back to work.
The Passat was really happy on its new tires.
We spent most of the afternoon in meetings, which was good on my hands. They are getting tired and I know I'm pushing them a bit because I know that I'm going to be going on vacation soon. The meetings were a good rest, but not nearly of a scale to get all the tiredness out. Pushed them through a scene of Fiat, but it was fun, so was well worth it.
While I was in the meeting, got a support call from one of the source code folks, so spent a while figuring out what the problem was, what it was that we really could do about it and then what it was that we really couldn't do about it. That was actually the trickier part. So that went by pretty quickly and, in some sense, fairly well.
Probably packing tonight for the Albuquerque trip tomorrow, and Dan called us into his office to say, mostly, not to bother about tomorrow morning, if we didn't want to. That was nice, but probably means this isn't going to get updated for a bit, again. I still have to dictate the Saturday and Sunday accounts from OryCon. Yeesh.