Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Grandpa Vern

My grandpa Vern died just before Christmas this year. Really, it was as if he passed a few years ago, his mind wrecked with dimentia. Near the end, he thought the whole family was out to get him. He had some violent episodes. Once he stole the dump truck out back and drove to the neighbors saying he needed to borrow $20,000 to skip town. This was long after my grandma gave all the guns in the house to my brother-in law. Another time he tried boxing my dad. When the episodes started coming more frequently, we had him live with a caretaker family. The veteran's home had kicked him out becuase he was soon labled "a runner" and they weren't equipped for residents hell bent on getting out. Not that he could get too far. He was tough, but his body was pretty broken. Walking a few hundred feet left him wheezing.

The caretakers brought him to church on Saturdays and he'd stay for lunch. One day last summer, my dad and I took him on a drive, the back way up to Pullman, WA. He wanted to visit the fraternity he stayed at when he was a student in the 1940s at WSU. After a lot of looking and stopping to ask pedestrians, we found it. The original building had burned down so the exterior looked completely different. I accompanied him inside and we found a couple of guys in the dinning hall. They were curtious and welcoming to my old-timer grandfather as he reminisced a few stories from his college days. He told them about his boxing days, and how he whuped anybody in the house who wanted to challenge him. As soon as he said it he was quick to point out the folly's of fighting. He said he wouldn't have boxed if he'd done it over.

Vern came from a fighter family. His dad and older brothers used to beat him until his body was covered in bruises. One day the neighbor came over and told Vern's mother they needed to get things figured out or she was gonig to call the sheriff. Grandpa vern turned the tables as a young teenager when his dad was prepping to give him a whipping. He told his dad he wasn't going to take it anymore. His dad said something like, "you sure as hell will" and that's when grandpa fought back. He beat the shit out of his dad, and told him to never come back to the house. After about a week, Vern's mother convinced him to let dad come home.

He put his boxing gloves up after college, and they're still hanging in my grandma's basement. But even though he put up the gloves he took his fighting spirit to almost everything he did, family, religion, business. Emily and I found him fighting for breath the Sunday before he passed away. We were in Clarkston for the weekend and heard that he was in the hospital with some fluid build up on his heart and lungs. We stopped by and found him in good spirits. He greeted us with his typical cowboy-sized grin. His lips were dry, and his voice was parched. They had him on a fluid restriction because of his symptoms. We showed him some pictures from our travels. He smiled and asked a few pictures, but talking was straining on his dry voice. The sun was shining and we had a view of the Clearwater River from his fourth story window. Before we left we prayed with him. He couldn't really hear. He smiled and said, "Bye, bye now."

The next morning they turned off his pacemaker and his heart beat less and less until it stopped beating all-together.


I've been listening to more Johnny Cash lately. Something about Vern is connected to Johnny Cash in my mind. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Real Life In Real Life

I've been enjoying Tommy and Emily's #reallifeinreallifeseries. The pictures of Tommy cutting his toenails and Emily delivering letters helps me feel better about doing chores and reading the tax code. Lindsay has been reading a book about mistakes people make in their twenties and she informs me that this is the time I should be doing boring things like laying a foundation for success later on in life. She's not wrong.

Speaking of Lindsay and real life - Lindsay has a head cold. There are a lot of things I don't know about girls. Probably even some things I don't even know I don't know. Let that sink in. BUT, what to do when your girlfriend is sick, is not one of those things.

1. Bring your A game. This means showing up with soup, tea, and fun girl activities. A Disney princess coloring book and a few crayons usually does the trick.
2. Whatever your girlfriend wants to complain about is, "literally the worst thing ever."
3. This one is important. No matter how cute your girlfriend looks in pajamas and a blanket, under no circumstances are you allowed to try and "bust a move." Zero. Forget it. Pretend she's your sister.

Last night I went with oranges and Mario Kart. For anyone who spent any amount of time at the West Whitman Estate, you know that Mario Kart was and is an important part of the experience. Lindsay was a bit shaky at first but what she might lack in driving prowess she makes up for in attitude. I feel a unique mix of affection and fear when she yells, "DIE PEACH DIE!!!" at the screen. To be fair, she was driving under the influence. Of NyQuil.

It's important to use protection at all times.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Tickle Closet Lives!

I just went to the gym.

I've been going to the same gym for a couple years now. I've sweated though many a 49ers game and I once saw Conan O'Brien through the window. Tonight, I watched a few minutes of the film Pearl Harbor. This movie isn't on any of my personal top ten lists, but I'll watch almost anything with Kate Beckinsale in it. I even sat through Underworld: Evolution. Let that sink in.

The story line I find most compelling is the friendship between the two pilots. Up until the point that one of them 'dies' and the other one puts the moves on his girl. Uncool bro. If I died and Alban moved in on my girl,  I'd haunt the holy hell out of him - that being said, this movie did force me to consider which one of the estate members I would be the least upset about replacing me. However, that is not a conversation for the blog because I have a feeling Lindsay would replace me, dead or alive. But probably dead.

I guess It's been awhile since anyone posted on the blog. Notable accomplishments since my last post: I passed the Bar, went on a road trip, and finished my first quarter of tax school. I figure that the relative scarcity of blog posts is probably a good thing. I know for myself that it means I talk to Lindsay about things I would otherwise hash out here. Tommy probably talks to Em and Alban to his cats.

Life must evolve - unless you're a creationist. Science burn!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jesus Loves the Little Dinosaurs

I went to church today. 10 points for me! Right? Isn't that how this works?

A friend texted me and let me know it was communion. Usually that's enough encouragement for me to find something else to do, but I was already on my way. Soooooo...

The Pastor spoke about Matthew and the Kingdom of God. He talked about the last supper and the fact that Jesus invited Judas and Peter - even though he already knew they were going to blow it - big time.  He also told the story of when Mary used expensive perfume to wash the feet of Jesus. He made the point that when the men started talking about what a poor choice it was to spend money on "wasted" perfume, Jesus says,  "Why are you guys bugging her? Calm down."* And then, when the men self-righteously point out that the money could have gone to help the poor, Jesus says, "The poor are still there. You're free to go help them whenever you'd like..."*

BOOM! Total Jesus smack down! His overall point was that the kingdom of God is an inclusive place. Everyone is welcome.

I left church pretty pumped. Maybe even "stoked." It was the same kind of feeling I had when I finished Shane Claiborne's book. It also made me wonder why churches don't preach on how inclusive and service oriented the kingdom of God is more often.

Jesus being inclusive

*New Living David Translation - for ages 18 and up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wasted Hours

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. Last week was eventful.

I graduated from law school, got a girlfriend, and Vampire Weekend released a new album. I guess you could say a couple different projects culminated all at once. (Also, for anyone tempted to ask me to rank the aforementioned events... no.)

I'm currently living in a small gap in the time space continuum that exists between the end of law school and the beginning of bar prep. Yesterday I dropped my bike off at a shop near the waterfront to have some cosmetic work done and then walked home. I wandered into a store dedicated to "The Sea Sheperd," which is a ship/organization that goes around the world fighting against whaling, inhumane fishing, and such. The lady working there asked me to sign up to set sail for Antarctica to save whales. I once saw a documentary about penguins on Antarctica. They all died. So I didn't sign up.

Later in the day I played ultimate frisbee with some UW dental students and then helped Lindsay study for a quiz. "Helped" is probably a little generous. Mostly I laid in the grass and identified things that flew over my head.

David: Bird.
D: Plane.
D: Cloud.
L: Very good David.

Today I played soccer and made gnocchi with a tomato broth. Yes, you read that correctly.  I've been reduced to perusing food blogs*. I also realized I have no idea what to do with free time.

I think it's easy to start feeling like every second of life needs to be epically adventurous or productive. I need to work on being content with just being. It's a problem I won't have to deal with for long...

"If I could have it back,
All the time that we wasted,
I'd only waste it again...
You know I'd love to waste it again,
Waste it again, and again, and again..."
- The Suburbs (continued), Arcade Fire

*Actually, now that I think about it, a majority of the readership of The Tickle Closet probably enjoys perusing food blogs. So, let me apologize for besmirching the practice. I appreciate the food you occasionally share with me.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Avocados and Water-Boarding

I just ate an avocado and hummus sandwich. Delicious. Why are the pits in avocados so large? There could be so much more avocado in there if the pit would stop hogging all that space. Are you listening science? This is a job for you! 

On a related note, I've been listening to a lot of hip-hop and R&B lately - well, mostly just Frank Ocean and Justin Timberlake. I can't always relate to what they are singing about, drug use and spaceship sex, but I like to move my shoulders and tap my foot to the beat. One lyrical theme I can relate to is frustration with the police. (This isn't really true at all, I just needed a transition)

Last weekend I took a group out to my grandparents' property in Sequim, Washington. There are perfectly good cabins to sleep in, but I spearheaded an effort to sleep outside on the perfectly good ground. It was cold. Like, "only poke your nose out of the sleeping bag to breath" cold. A couple of us tried to sleep on the ground, a couple more in the trees. Just as we were starting to freeze to death, drift off to sleep, people started yelling at us and pointing lights in our faces. Like a terrible 'Hunger Games' nightmare come true.

At first we thought it was some kind of joke, but then one of the helpful officers yelled, "This is not a joke!" Thanks for clearing that up new friend! They loudly insisted that we take our hands out of our sleeping bags, which we all did, except Tristinn, who was trying to fulfill her dream of being water-boarded. 

As it turns out, someone in the area had mistaken us for burglars and called the local sheriff. An honest mistake I guess.

My hip-hop album drops next month.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bikes, Ice Cream, and Anime

Let's play doctor. I'll tell you what my symptoms are and you tell me what the affliction is. 

1. The amount of soccer I played last week doubled. 
2. My coffee/espresso consumption tripled, at least. 
3. The amount of cute girls I got phone numbers from stayed the same (zero). 
4. The amount of thai food and ice cream I consumed increased by an amount that cannot be measured without using unreliable, cutting edge metric techniques. 

If you guessed that Alban came to visit, you're pretty smart. Or you read my previous post. I won't make a big deal about "who used which method." You're all winners. Right? 

Saturday we decided to take bikes and ride Bainbridge Island. Like bosses. Horrible bosses. 

After riding the ferry (one of my favorite things) and enjoying a delicious meal of bread and cheese, Alban rented a bike and we left. Bainbridge Island is a little more curvy than we had anticipated. But as Tommy always says, "Ain't nothin' wrong with a little extra curve." A few miles into our tour we ran into a hill that got the better of us. We dismounted and sheepishly pushed our bikes the rest of the way. When we reached the top, we saw her. The most beautiful road-biker-babe either of us had ever seen. On a scale of 1-10, she was forget your name cute. She added to our misery as she rode past by giving us a semi-flirty - "good try boys..." 

Later, we caught the ferry back to Seattle and started the walk back to my apartment. I wasn't really paying attention... and what should have been an easy walk back to Capitol Hill turned into an experience. We ended up in a weird concrete park surrounded by hundreds of what we later learned were attendees of Sakura-Con. Wikipedia describes Sakura-Con as an "annual three-day anime convention." These people were dressed head to toe in costumes that go way beyond anything most people can imagine. They spoke alien languages and placed spells on one another. It was amazing. The irony is that Alban and I were the misfits in our jeans, t-shirts, and matching shoes. 

Our accidental visit to Sakura-Con reaffirmed the idea that people need community. I'm sure the anime enthusiasts were experiencing the same warm feelings I had when my brother and I attended an Arsenal game in London. It's a good feeling to be in the company of like-minded people.