I have a confession to make. I’ve started another blog. Well, sorta. I’ve actually started a tumblr, which I don’t consider a “blog”, per se. But I guess technically it is. Anyway, you get the idea. It’s called (as you can probably guess by now) no coffee for squirrels. Which would also probably make a good band name come to think of it. If there any bands out there willing to pay me six figures for the naming rights, give me a call, I’m sure we can work something out.

What does that mean for this thing? Absolutely nothing. I plan on continuing to post here, although as you can see I don’t do it very often. But that’s OK. I see this site as being better suited for longer, text-driven posts that are more personal or introspective. Those kinds of posts aren’t well-suited for Tumblr or Google+ or other social networks. This will always be my refuge, my home base so to speak, where I can write with relative freedom and complete independence. Those moments don’t come along very often unfortunately, but when they do, I need a place to embrace them. This is that place, and it always will be.

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Well, it’s a new school year, just like last year except completely different. The past two years, I’ve had one daughter in middle school, one daughter in elementary, and one wife in nursing school. Now both kiddos are in middle school and the wife is working full time. Things should be a lot easier, right? Well, yes and no.

Yes, having both kids in the same school on the same schedule is a lot easier. Before, there there was about an hour and a half difference between the two schools’ schedules, which basically ate up half your day just dropping them off and picking them up. And with Christy in school and me at work, we were constantly scrambling to find help getting them to and from school every day. It confused the kids and it confused us. As a wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time fo that!”

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We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

— Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”

Fences, in my experience, do not make good neighbors. In fact, it seems to be just the opposite. Fences — and the property boundaries they represent — make for horrible neighbors. What’s mine, what’s yours, who’s responsible for this, who’s responsible for that. On our tiny plot of carefully manicured suburbia, we’ve become so territorial and defensive that we’ve forgotten how to be neighbors. How to be respectful of each other. How to be (dare I say it) nice to one another.

You might recall that I haven’t exactly had a great history with my neighbors. I’ve yelled at them and called the cops on them. More than once. And more than one set of neighbors. Mister Rogers would be so disappointed in me.

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Everybody drinks the water from the murky pool
Surely as you think you’re well
You know your belly aches
Everybody learns religion at the blind man’s school
Will you reach for heaven
When the preacher charms the snake?

Is your faith so right?
Are you so blessed?
Everybody wanders in the forest
Is your heart so true?
Are you that good?
Everybody wanders in the woods
Everybody wanders in the forest
Everybody wanders in the wilderness

— The Choir, “Wilderness”

Today is my 40th birthday. Do I feel older? No. Do I feel old? Yeah, and I have for a long time. When your 13-year-old daughter is thisclose to being taller than you are, it sorta changes your perspective on the world. Some people like to make 40 sound like it’s no big deal. “Forty is the new thirty.” No. No, it is not. Forty is the old forty, and it always will be.

One of the cool things about turning 40, though, is that it is a pretty significant number biblically-speaking. In the Bible, the number 40 represents a generation. It also symbolizes a period of testing or trial. God flooded the earth for 40 days. Moses lived in Egypt for 40 years and then in the desert for another 40 years before leading his people out of slavery. He then spent 40 days with God on the mountain. Jonah warned Ninevah that it had 40 days before its impending destruction. Ezekial lay on his right side for 40 days at Mount Horeb. David and Solomon each ruled for 40 years. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus fasted and was tempted for 40 days, and he remained on earth for 40 days after his resurrection before ascending to heaven.

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