Thursday, March 29, 2007

and the last shall be first

Jesus said we will never enter the kingdom of heaven unless we become like little children.

I've always wondered what that meant. Sometimes I think I know. Maybe like, enjoy the simple things...I don't know.

Theological intellectual types must gloss over that part of The Book. Guess we all gloss over something. I know that "sell all you own and give to the poor" part is easy for me to ignore.

My son, Agent Offspring #1 is two and a half. I really need to come up with a better code name than AO1.

Anyway, like a wise-ass, I always like to ask him real deep questions, as if he can understand what I'm saying. It's fun.

Today while driving I say, "AO1, what's the best part of life being two and a half years old?"

Without a break he snaps, "Light shoes". We almost ran off the road.

I love it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Table (reloaded)

(a detailed response to a recent anonymous comment...I needed to touch on this subject anyway)

One of my big dreams that only seems to be shelved on the back burner these days is The Table.

I still believe that this can and will happen one day in some form or fashion. But right now The Table appears to be a real pipe dream as I scramble to work odd jobs to stay just behind bills that are due. But I’ve seen the CEO use nuttier people than me to create extraordinary things. So what do I know.

The Table: a community from the poverty culture revolving around a high-end café, possibly with a night-club atmosphere (occasional live music, etc).

This is not some idealistic invention from my head. The Table actually existed once upon a time with the izzy group ministry at their former church host’s location. It wasn’t really thought of or planned out ahead of time. The Table just evolved from thin air.

There was a need: hungry poor people hanging around our facility after passing out free groceries and clothing. We met the need: fed them. Then we discovered the deeper need: loneliness. So as best we could, we met that need: sat and ate with everybody and just listened to the plight of the poor from their mouths.

We didn’t solve the world’s problems and poverty wasn’t eliminated forever. But I’m convinced that during those days I experienced the kingdom of god. The one that Jesus talks about.

At The Table, there was no “us vs. them”. Everyone was equal. Everyone owned The Table. Everyone pitched in, helped cook, serve, entertain, clean up, etc. Poor and rich alike. And really, it was no big deal.

Last year (2006) I proactively sought after bringing The Table back to life. I had no money. The izzy group (who I was still loosely associated with at the time) barely had a presence in the fair mother city. But I called and met various landlords and property owners as if there were a purse somewhere ready to make this happen. You can search the various “Table Reports”.

This has all become briefly sidetracked as I scramble to stay afloat. And maybe I’m too idealistic for anyone’s own damn good.

Such as...I refuse to pimp this ministry idea out to local churches. The Table needs no stamp of approval from the religious and elite. As my and the izzy group’s history with the former host church proved, and surprisingly reemphasized in The Second Chance: the religious often squash the kingdom.

Meet the new boss...same as the old boss.

My recent mental pondering in The Table is whether or not to use a storefront. Is there another need for a storefront type ministry? Does The Table need to jump through all the local legal hoops of man just to feed and listen to people?

The very influential book by Shane Claiborne (Irresistible Revolution) posed this scenario to me: why not have The Table in a house? A house that me and my family live in? The city couldn’t tell me how many friends I have over for dinner. I wouldn’t have to sell my soul to the government with the 501c3 mark on my head (or the lesser used 508c1a).

And the religious could shove it. The fair mother city doesn’t need yet another church or non-prof.

Then I got to thinking...maybe my family and I are ALREADY doing The Table. Sometimes neighborhood kids whose moms are at work will come eat dinner with us. Sometimes we have The Table at Obi-Wan’s. Sometimes we have it at The Sanford’s or Valdez’s back yard BBQs.

So really...I don’t know anymore. I guess we are living The Table. But if the opportunity to be in the vicinity of our long lost homeless friends again (via a storefront), I may jump on it.

(And PS - Pastor Hawking keeps trying to make The Table happen. His new church building in located next to an empty restaurant. And Hawking has no desire to stick his thumb in it, just open the door for me.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

testimony #026: storm's over

The CEO provided today with a triple whammy.

1) A good friend and his family shared an abundance of produce and meat from their household.

2) A good friend inconspicuously left a wad of cash in my bathroom. It was indeed a generous gift for my family and not an accident. This gift along with some cash I made building a roof to a new add-on for a friend this weekend gave us exactly what we needed for the late mortgage bill. I paid it over the phone today. Plus I picked up my first paycheck from Son & Dad Tree Service Inc which gave us money in the bank for the rest of the month.

3) And finally, our good friends at the US postal service delivered our IRS rebate check late today.

Your timing is perfect CEO. Thank you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

peace, be still

(Reflections of a day laborer)

I’ve been employed as a laborer for almost a whole month. It’s been good.

In addition to the semi-steady pruning boy gig with Son & Dad Tree Service Inc, the CEO has brought me a host of various provisions via small labor jobs.

My friend Jackie Carr in Jones County is adding on to his house and he hires me every so often when a third set of hands are needed. My neighbor Mr. Buckley has hired me to take a mesquite tree down in his yard among other spring-related odd jobs that he no longer has the ability to do (I took this gig on pro-bono status, but he wouldn’t have it). And last but not least, last week I reprised my role as Handy-Boy with an out-of-the blue call from Bill, a guy I worked for last September. We built a fence, my first time to do so. I think I could possibly build my own now. My backyard fence is in desperate need of replacing.

I say the CEO brought me these jobs because I did not seek out any of them. These jobs all came to me via random phone calls and/or random visits. Part of this testimony was mentioned a few weeks back. I credit the CEO instead of coincidence.

And now, the rest of the story.

Currently, we’re about 22 days behind on our mortgage. This is not my norm. I always pay bills early. I have no other debts and I don’t borrow money. But creditors love me because that “credit score” thing of mine (which has got to be kin to the mark of the beast) is ridiculously high. So, I have a good record.

But for the third time in a year we are falling behind on this large monthly bill. The CEO guided us through the storm the first two times and we came out unscratched. I’m sure he’ll do it again. If anything, we're convinced he placed us here in this house, in this neighborhood, at this appointed time. Why would our time be invested here for four years all to throw it away?

We prayed in late February for the means to pay it. The CEO has answered with a plethora of odd jobs. So far we’ve managed to keep up with utilities and other expenses like food. But we never have enough to pay the mortgage.

Here’s the clincher: We are due an extremely large tax rebate from the IRS at any moment. And it couldn’t come soon enough. Funny how if you owe the IRS, they’re threatening to cut off your nut and steal your first born. But when the IRS owes YOU it’s like “we’ll send it when we damn well feel like.”

According to it should be here by April 10. But that date seems to magically move back a week every time I check. Plus, the IRS owed me something like $45 two years ago. And I never got it. I don’t trust them.

If the universe worked according to my plan, that tax rebate would be in my hands now. We could catch up on mortgage for several months. We could FIX the dozens of little things around our house that keep breaking for the last several months. On top of all of that plus the pruning gig, we could easily get though mid summer financially, maybe beyond.

But perhaps there’s a different way the CEO will deliver us this time. Which wouldn’t surprise me as he has always used methods beyond my predictions.

Then again, if the universe operated to my liking, I’d be rich as hell, yet living as I do now. Maybe with an old beater pick-up so I could actually take on odd jobs more consistently. Then use the rest of the money to secretly bless the needs of neighbors and fund The Table.

But that would be way too predictable for he CEO. Perhaps a better life than this will occur.

CEO: please deliver us from the storm that is brewing around the delinquency of our mortgage payment. Please bring the tax rebate now, or perhaps some better unknown provision. Thank you.

Monday, March 19, 2007

pruning boy #003: checklist

(note: the tree service company I work for does a variety of lawn care work in addition to trees. On slow days, my boss has me maintain four properties on one street. His, the Dad's, and two rental properties. This street is located in a high crime area within the fair mother city)

Preparing to mow the large back yard on one of the rental properties.

Located next door to an infamous multiple homicide several years back.

Clear the ground for mowing:

-rocks (check)

-sticks (check)

-pine cones (check)

-gun (check)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

full weekend

Saturday: I suffered through another Valdez family BBQ. This time the occasion was that there was no occasion. It happened to be St. Patrick's Day, but I heard no mention of the holiday.

Well, Scott was wearing a Guinness shirt with a green clover. Guess that counts.

Food, fun, beer, more beer, and beer. Oh, And I finally remembered the name of those jalepeno things: Ratone' (rah-TONE-ay). I don't know if that's spelled right. And sometimes they're just called chiles (CHEE-lays). Basically, gutted jalepeno's stuffed with cream cheese, and wrapped with bacon held together with a tooth pick.

For those of you who wish they could have been at this non occasion, I leave you these photos:

Beer can chickens with various pork steaks...

Ratone's on the grill. You can't tell, but the metal holder in the back is in the shape of Texas.


Sunday: Agent X (aka Street Agent) was in town from Lubbock. He was in the fair mother city setting me up a contact for a possible agent assignment involving the local country jail.

It was also a pleasure meeting his friend Ella, an older woman living in the rougher part of Lubbock who has roots here in the fair mother city.

I had opportunity to interview Ella and ask a little of her story, how she came to know the CEO, etc. I was so glad to learn that church of christ newspaper ads that advertise free bible studies can actually work. Who knows how many times I've judged those things.

X and I met up with Jack (aka Miller) to pick up some mesquite contraband for delivery in Lubbock. It's said there might be a brisket or two smoking on the streets soon.

It was good to meet up with X again (our second meeting in a year). Thanks for bringing Ella too.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

addendum to "fingers"

This just in.

I found out that a third elderly neighbor is no longer on our street.

To the best of my knowledge, Martha was the only charter member left on this block built in 1955. She and her family were the third household to move here, and she can remember when my side of the street was still a vacant field.

Her husband died in a tragic accident a year later, leaving her to raise their four kids alone. She's lived here ever since and several of her kids live in a nearby bedroom community.

The neighbor that told me of Martha's absence said that she got real sick and was moved to some care facility in the Dallas area.

This sucks because Agent Wife got to know Martha fairly well, but not well enough to know how to get in touch with her now. They began visiting each other on occasion. Martha even brought by a card when Agent Offspring #2 was born last summer.

Thanks for the comments on the previous report. I don't believe we feel like failures, or that we fell down on the job or anything. Or maybe we do. Just that...this kind of sucks I guess. Change happens.

In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, 'so it goes'.

Friday, March 16, 2007

through our fingers

Hopefully I am not portraying my wife and I as having achieved “perfection” within a neighborhood type secret agent ministry. Sometimes, our thumb is slightly off the pulse of this undisclosed location we call home.

It hurt our hearts deeply to learn recently of life changing news within the lives of two neighbors on our street.

First we learned that an elderly neighbor way down the street, JB, died...back in September!

September? December, maybe. But September?
Come on CEO. Where were we?! Agent Wife developed a mild relationship with the elderly, wheelchair bound JB on and off for about a year or so. We must have talked to him right before he died. I remember it being a Sunday morning in late August or early September on the sidewalk in front of his house.

We just assumed we haven’t seen JB in months because of the winter. The elderly don’t leave their houses much in the winter and you won’t see them unless you knock on their door.

Second, Agent Wife learned that Mrs. Smith, from three doors down, fell and broke her hip last November. Her children have since put her in a care home.

Again, we just assumed she was hiding from the cold.

Admittedly, we never had any real deep relationship with these two neighbors, unlike the friendship we have with Obi-Wan and others. JB lived with his wife, son, and grandson. Mrs. Smith lived alone, but several of her children live nearby. So both of these neighbors were not lonely like Obi-Wan.

But how can someone on our street die and we not even know it?!? Or how could someone’s living situation change drastically and we not know? She was only three houses down!

Man. It kind of makes us feel like we’ve been sleeping on the job or something.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

based on a true story

I don't usually make movie recommendations. Especially ones from the christian/CCM/Nash-Vegas subculture. Especially ones where Michael W Smith is the lead role.

But based on the organic guy's recommendation, we watched "The Second Chance".

I won't bother with a review. His review is good enough.

If you can stomach the previews for "Left Behind #43: She Rides the Beast" and some inspirational football movie, this one is OK.

Basic gist: The board of a big white mega-mother church in the suburbs holds the fate of the down-in-dirty inner-city outreach.

And the fate is never good.

There is no happy ending in this movie, which makes it likable if not believable.

This basic story has happened over and over throughout the globe. The religious squashes the CEO's work.

This movie could have been subtitled: Loosely based on a true story of the izzy group ministry.

Monday, March 12, 2007

every good and perfect gift

I try to be careful with criticism on these reports. There can be some good and/or truth in everything I suppose. Even the bad or goofy stuff.

But having walked (or still traveling) through “the desert”, and having so few (if any) resources at my disposal, and rarely having more than a couple of bucks in my pocket at any given time...

...and having been kicked out of a church system that openly preaches some form of health/wealth type message (you are royalty, children of the king, he wants the best for you, etc)...

...I actively have to hold back my turrets syndrome whenever I hear anything vaguely resembling a “god wants you to be rich” gospel.

There are so many opposing angles to take on this. Like...

1) What is “rich”? Spiritually rich? Financially rich? And what’s the definition on financially rich?

(currently, a family of four living on less than $20k a year is considered poor by the US government. I estimated that we ended up with around $6-$8K last year. The US thinks I’m poor. But I’m ranked in the top 13% of the wealthiest people worldwide. Guess I’m rich.)

2) And where does it say god wants me to be financially wealthy? Especially in light of the poor widow and her two coins, that camel through the needle thing, and “the son of man has no place to lay his head”?

3) And how does this all add up to Jesus’ wandering vagabond life?

However, I am not ready to throw in the towel on this completely. I’m a big believer in the source of “every good and perfect gift” (see James 1:17).

I credit “good things” to the CEO. Even insignificant-looking ones. The party last week: a good thing. My family’s three-week all-expense paid vacation to Canada last Christmas: a good thing. The guy on the west coast who sent me a free pound of coffee beans: a very good thing. I credit the CEO for these good things.

A few months ago, I had an hour to kill in Little Dallas (south side of the fair mother city) with our infant Agent Offspring #2. The weather was nasty for being outside. I hate window shopping as it’s pointless. And I had no money to spend on myself. So I went to, of all places, Starbucks. I had an old gift card in my wallet with less than $2 on it. So I went in with AO2 and a book, bought their cheapest coffee (plain black coffee in a mug) and sat down.

It was good. But for some dumb-ass reason I longed for the days of yesteryear when I could plop down almost $4 for some froo-froo nonsense drink, and it be no big deal. As selfish as it sounds, I’m tired of being broke all the time and wish for once I had money again.

I didn’t think of it as praying, but right there I muttered to the CEO, “when can I have money for one of those $4 gay drinks again?”

And I swear, ten minutes later some chick in a green apron walks up holding a tray with some drinks on it and says, “hi sir, would you like a free iced mocha frappa crappa blah blah whatever??”

“Yes. Yes I would.”

“OK. Let me get you a straw. We accidentally made too many”.

I don’t know if that was the CEO being cute & funny, or if I was just in the right place at the right time. But a free $4 coffee is a good thing, none the less. Thank you CEO.

The cynics would ask why the CEO would give me a $4 coffee drink while 2000 people starve daily and tsunami’s wipe out hoards of innocent people. That can be theologically bantered back and forth. I assume the answer lies within “good things come from the lord above”. Since people dying is not a good thing, I guess he’s not the direct cause. I don’t know.

But I think it’s important to thank him for good things. And not blame him for bad things.

But I don’t think the good things should ever be our reason for being.

And the televangelists who claim that the CEO wants you to be rich have gone after one such by-product of the CEO’s goodness.

I think.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daze of Our Lives: episode #429

Obi-Wan is putting me in some difficult situations. I’m trying to weigh everything out in my head. And I’m seeking special instruction from the CEO himself.

It has become clear and evident that his son Lamont doesn’t care for my presence one bit. I’m OK with that. I can’t ever remember trying to be popular with anybody.

Long before Lamont showed up in the fair mother city, I have been the trusted friend and assistant to Obi-Wan. I do all the things Obi-Wan can’t do anymore: household chores and labor, errands, filling out his checks and paying his bills, etc.

When Lamont arrived (along with Obi-Wan’s niece Emma Mae’s brief stay) it has been somewhat unclear as to who should continue with these necessary duties. I was not instructed one way or the other. But that is partially blamed on Obi-Wan’s extended/current hospital stay and accompanying surgery.

Being that Lamont and Emma Mae are Obi-Wan’s blood related family, I assumed they would naturally pick up where I politely left off. Not necessarily so. During a visit last night, Obi-Wan made it clear that I am to continue checking his mail and paying his bills, etc (note: he pays the bills himself and signs the checks. I just fill the checks out and keep up with his system of doing things). Obi-Wan states that he hardly knows his son, doesn’t fully trust him and thinks Lamont isn’t smart enough to do this job.

Obi-Wan is very harsh on his son, and he knows of my disapproval of this harshness. Also, Obi-Wan has a history of pitting me against others. He enjoys bragging about me to all the people in his life who should have been doing the things that I do. That makes me really uncomfortable and I hate that he does this. But he thinks it’s necessary to do this, like it’s going to teach his son and others a “lesson” or something.

Because of all of this, Lamont doesn’t receive me well at all. He despises the fact that I have a key to Obi-Wan’s house and storage shed.

I try to put myself in Lamont’s shoes. What would it be like if my dad gave all this trust and friendship to someone other than me? Especially some young guy he’s only known four years?

And unfortunately, there is an underlying racial issue here as well. Obi-Wan’s friends and family are all African-American (ie: black) and I’m not. Like it or not, racism is alive and well and I deal with all its subtleties in relation to Obi-Wan’s friends & family. But I fear exploring that issue in a blog report at this time.

I counseled Obi-Wan to let Lamont take over as his “hand’s & feet”, but he won’t have of it.

If I had some disposable cash, I’d gladly take Lamont out to the jedi counsel room for a cigar and maybe we could talk freely, man to man. Right now, Lamont won’t even accept my offers for a ride to the hospital (he has no car and walks to the hospital daily to see his dad).

Maybe I shouldn’t bother trying to defend or explain myself to Lamont. I’m a big believer in what Mike (the construction worker) refers as bumper sticker mentality. If you have to explain yourself to the world (via stickers, t-shirts, or even your own consistent babble) than you’re really trying to convince yourself of who you are, not just the world around you.

I’m confident in who I am and my friendship with Obi-Wan. Maybe I should continue to let my life and actions speak for themselves. If my life is misinterpreted by others, so be it. What do I care.

But I hate having to sneak in and out of Obi-Wan’s house when Lamont is gone, just to take care of his bills, etc.

Any advice or input on this will greatly be considered...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

the legend of...Cherokee

(note: It’s been a while since I’ve written one of the “legend of” series. This series of reports usually spotlights a friend from the days of yesteryear with the izzy group ministry.)

Today the family and I went on an agent outing to a local nursing home. At his request, DJ, the uncle of Princess (Agent Wife’s young friend) asked us to come by to visit and pray with him.

Recently, DJ was struck by a car one night while stumbling around drunk on a busy street on the north side of town. Both of his legs are messed up. He had an operation and is currently wheelchair bound in a local nursing home.

When we got to the place, we were told that DJ could be found outside in the smoking section. There, fate would have it (or the CEO) that I would run into a legend of the fair mother city: Cherokee.

Cherokee is the first homeless person I had close relations with back in my junior agent days, just prior to joining the izzy group full time. The Bossman and his wife along with Agent Wife and myself use to bring hot food over to his camp once a week and eat with him and whoever else lived there at the moment.

That was the summer of 1999. Something about eating with guys in their shanty-ville encampment amongst the mesquite scrub brush on the outskirts of town really slapped some reality in me. A huge barrier was taken down in my own heart and mind. These guys were real people to me, for the first time. I’ve never despised homeless guys before. But I saw that there wasn’t much separating their life circumstances from mine.

Cherokee is the patriarch of the streets. He’s quite old: 60 or so. That’s ancient for the short-lived lifestyle of homelessness. Most homeless guys barely make it to 40.

I can’t remember where he got the name Cherokee, because he’s not a native. He’s a skinny, wrinkled leather-faced white guy with a real Texas accent.

For the last ten years or so, Cherokee could be seen flying a sign at a major traffic intersection in the fair mother city. He’s tough as nails and won’t go down easy. Cherokee’s lived outside for years in all sorts of weather, spends half his life drunk, been beat up, stitched up, hit by a car, had his leg rebuilt, and so forth. Currently he’s recovering from being beat up by a guy with a club.

I hadn’t seen him in months. I never saw an obit for him so I figured he hit the highway and moved.

I asked Cherokee his story once. You know, like what made him want to live on the streets, etc.

He said he once lived a regular life. Worked various blue-collar jobs in the Dallas area. He was married. Twice. His first wife died somehow. I think it was a car accident. He remarried. One weekend he returned home from some work related trip to discover his new wife gone. Then he opened the newspaper to read her name in the obituary. She too was in an accident. There’s probably more to these stories but that’s all he told me.

After the news of his second wife’s death, Cherokee hit the streets with the bottle and has been there ever since. He’s been sobered up with nursing home stays like the one right now. But he can’t stand being cooped up for long after all these years on the streets. It’s all he knows now.

I realized that could be me. I have no idea what I’d do if I learned my family died via a newspaper obit.

I would hope that there’d be enough friends around to prevent me from hitting the streets with a jack daniels.

But they might have to fight me from trying.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

let me reemphasize...

In a report stated here over a year ago, Hispanic kid’s birthday parties rock.

I wouldn’t miss them for the world. I plan my whole life around them.

Last Saturday was another classic example. Our neighbors across the street (and next door to Obi-Wan) are the Valdezes. Juan Valdez’s sister Miriam and her husband Scott live out in the country past the airport. They threw a party for their baby girl who turned one.

She’s ONE, mind you. So...sounds like a good excuse to rent a jumpy castle for the kids, beat a piñata, fire up the space shuttle booster-sized grill, and drink a lot of beer.

I love it man. The beer never ends. Usually it’s Bud Light, Tecate, and Corona. But since Scott is a white guy who married into a Hispanic family, there was also Guinness. It’s fun to have a mix of white-boy beer and Mexican beer in the cooler.

The food is not worthy of my poorly constructed words of praise. Besides all the great meats (which are a given) my favorite are these jalepeno’s stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. These are placed vertical in some metal device and set on the grill. They’re soooooo good.

I stuff half of one in my mouth. It tastes great for about two seconds. Then the fire begins. Then I wonder “why the hell was I eating one in the first place?” Then I remember, “oh yeah, it’s good. Gimme another”.

Sometimes I pay for it for the next few days.

Meanwhile, kids are screaming and going nuts. They're jumping in the castle until someone gets killed. Then they beat the hell out of a piñata and anyone that’s in the
piñata path.

This was kind of a landmark party for me. Usually, having conversations with the various relatives is awkward for me because, inevitably, the subject of “work” comes up. Not wanting to expose my agent agenda or my weird unemployment status, I would usually say either 1) I do odd jobs, 2) I'm a musician or 3) I work undercover and I can't talk about it.

This time around, I’m a “tree pruner”. Walla, I fit right in since everyone else is some kind of day laborer. For the first time in about three years worth of Valdez family parties, I actually got in some deep conversations with various guys.

Being a tree pruner is more undercover than I had realized.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

adventures of pruning boy #002

Subtitled: Do the chickens have large talons?

This job is getting funnier by the second. It’s just great comedy. These two guys I work with and myself would make excellent sitcom material.

Featuring me, Agent B (mid 30’s). The Son/boss (58-60). The Dad (88). And a revolving door of guest celebrities as our well-to-do customers. A typical scene:

Female Customer (in an exclusive neighborhood, wearing a silky casual jogging-type outfit and a lot of jewelry): “I think I want...THAT limb removed.” (points up over 2 stories).

The Son: “Sounds good to me. B! Get in that tree with the chain saw!

Agent B: “Yes sir!” (climbs extension ladder with chain saw. Sits up on a limb. Performs death defying acts with deadly power tools at tree heights not common in the fair mother city.)

(Limb falls. The Dad slowly scuttles over to drag it to the trailer while murmuring some unintelligible old-man banter).

Female Customer: “Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked that one. How about...THAT one.” (points to a lower limb).

Then, like every new job, there’s tons of little details to remember. No, I’m not talking about the obvious like safety with chain saws and ladders, etc. However, guarding my ass is MY first priority, regardless of whatever else I’m suppose to remember.

More like...don’t leave the ropes for the ladder dangling off the trailer because they will have to be moved a few inches when you tie up the ladder later on. Don’t leave the van door open, even if you’re taking out equipment in multiple trips because we might pick up a stray cat. Don’t leave the rake vertical against the trailer because we might not see it when packing up then run over it.

And on and on.

I really like my new employers. This is fun. I just wish a camera crew could follow us for a day. There’s great material here.