Thursday, May 29, 2008

scarcely a tremor

Despite some queasiness (which is new this time around), Agent Wife’s pregnancy seems to be going well. It’s still very early.

But today we learned that she cannot receive Medicaid for this pregnancy. The reason: Agent Wife is not a US citizen.

They say it was a mistake on their part for giving Medicaid to us for the last pregnancy.

OK. Fine. Rules are rules. And honestly, we are making some money somehow. We should have to pay something since medical care is not a free benefit in our country. So it goes.

But I’m excited. Because had this happened two years ago I would have flipped out and worried for months on how it would get paid for.

And instead I casually wondered how the CEO would guide us through this one as I took the kids swimming in the kiddie pool out back.

It may be time for some refresher reading material on Uncle George. I think his facing trials with “scarcely a tremor” are starting to rub off. Thank you CEO.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

agent rants, requests, testimonies and so forth

In case you don’t read Agent Wife’s reports, please pray for her uncle in Jamaica. He was recently gunned down on his front porch. Miraculously he is still alive with four bullets still lodged in his body, three of those in his head.

We ask for your prayers that his life will be spared. Thank you.


I don’t know what is dwelling within me. Unrest? Dissatisfaction?

I am so incredibly unhappy in my part-time employment with Son & Dad Tree Service, Inc.

It’s not a bad job. I don’t mind the work. It’s flexible enough to maintain the agent lifestyle.

But I’ve been there way longer than I would have assumed: one year and three months. It’s not as if I had an exit plan all this time. I’m still living one day at a time. And I probably will live that way until I die.

I’m so incredibly tired of being micromanaged. But that’s The Son’s personality as he’s the ruler of his goofy little universe. So I put up with it. Generally, I have a pretty high tolerance for employment bullshit. I mean, I don’t drop off and quit a job just because I get a little miffed or whatever. I worked at a TV station for three years that I didn’t care for. To this day I hate TV. Maybe I’ll hate trees someday.

My request to you, dear reader, is for your prayer in my behalf to the CEO of the universe. I want passion again. Sometimes I think I’m losing my vision with the poverty culture in the fair mother city. Sometimes it’s like I am so focused on the now (surviving day to day) that I can’t see the big picture (waiting on the lord, walking through the desert).

I want an excuse/reason to leave Son & Dad and do something new.


Speaking of Son and Dad, the Son and I have been on the Orkin Man Edition lately. Yup. Tree spraying. BO-ring.

It’s a painfully easy job that’s very mundane and gives me way too much time to think while I trot through the back yards of some of the wealthier people in town. And I admit, this is where much of my frustration with my job came from: thinking on the tree spraying gig.

I communicate to the CEO a lot during these seasonal gigs. Each seasonal gig I ask that I not be here during the next one. So far, that has yet to be answered my way.

Maybe viewing how much money people have mixed with their trivial whiney-ness I’ve listened to (and from a few neighbors who were upset that our tree spray drifted on their property) has jaded me.

And yes...I realize the irony of me whining about people whining.


On a weird praise-the-CEO note: I wish I knew how many times people gave me something for free. I mean really – I have much to be thankful for and should not take this for granted. I think over 75% of our household items were given to us at one point or another.

Tonight, the offsprings and I visited a store noted for it’s cheap (chinese-made) tools. I was in search for something my father-in-law can’t find in Canada but I came across a great deal on work gloves: six pair for like $6 and some change.

“Is this deal for real?” I yell across the store. Yup, they say. Wow. I'm never an impulse buyer but I couldn't pass up $1 a pair. And I go through them quick being an outdoor laborer and all.

I go up to pay for these and the other item and the cash register girl says “just take them”, as in, the gloves. She rung up my purchase without the gloves on the bill. Then she looked at my kids. “Daddy needs to feed his babies”.

That’s funny because we just finished dinner. But I guess their mouths were a little dirty so maybe we looked poor and pathetic or something.

Wow. I walked out with six pair of free work gloves. I don’t remember praying for free gloves, but every good gift comes from above I guess. Thanks CEO.

Monday, May 26, 2008


The family and I had an impromptu memorial day BBQ in the backyard this evening. A small potpourri from our block joined us.

Obi-Wan was feeling up to getting out tonight. After dinner, he and his electric wheelchair served as an amusement park ride for my kids, each anxiously waiting their turn.

Frieda Sanford and her unique assortment of brood-lings attended. The Tiger stayed home and called her cell phone from next door asking for Frieda to bring him a plate back. I should go over there and give him hell for that. Get your fat ass over and join us.

Rodrick and his half sister Lydia were there. I haven't seen Rodrick since the last time I wrote of him.

Both he and Lydia are the cutest, sweetest, and smartest kids I've ever known. They are also the most bizarrely withdrawn children ever. They sometimes look you in the eye, but only when they think you're not looking. And their voice is rarely above a whisper.

I'm sure being raised by your grandmother and being passed around from one far-out relative to another has helped create this shell they are in. But I wonder what else may have put them there.

I wonder what would get them out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

shaman quotables

The Shaman (formerly of Oklahoma, now residing near a remote Colorado mountainside) was in the fair mother city this weekend. He was invited to speak and impart into the remnents of the izzy group. Agent Wife and I joined them for this. It was a reunion of sorts.

He's one of the only prophetic type people I really trust. That's primarily because he's not charismania-like flaky. And he's the only one to have given real specific messages to me from the CEO that had to be legit, as no one could have known the info he was giving to me. Weird.

This weekend he spent a good bit of time speaking on loving others, specifically loving other believers (John 13:34; 15:12-13). Guess it's time to change the tune of my evang-e-droppings gag and let go of the "asshole" labels...

Some random Shaman quotes from this weekend:

"Sarcasm is a tool that insulates us. Sarcasm produces or covers insecurity. Sarcasm gives a false sense of power" (Not so much as in random sarcastic humor, but sarcasm as a weapon against others)

"Pride is the fuel for sarcasm. It gives us an excuse not to love"

"If you wash the feet of Judas, eventually he will hang himself" (in reference to serving those who are against us or who are opposite of the christ in us)

Friday, May 23, 2008

the ironies of christian education

In the following four-part series, I will attempt to question, observe, have fun with, and confess my own ill doings with that which is “Christian Education”.

Being a graduate of a christian college and especially living in a small city with three christian affiliated universities, the juxtapositions of faith combined with education are glaringly obvious.

All are welcome to join in with comments of your own observations, or just blast my opinions. I don't care.

My definition of the term christian education: any general, non-bible specific field of study within a school that contains some form of christian charter. Like getting an ordinary business degree from a christian university or attending 4th grade at a christian private school, etc. What I DO NOT (necessarily) mean by christian education is 1) any blatant study of the christian faith such as seminary, etc and 2) obtaining a degree in order to work in a church-related field (getting a bible degree to become a preacher, etc).

Part I: debt

Would Jesus really endorse your enrollment at a christian university if it meant to graduate with a debt that can’t be repaid with any realistic means or time frame? Who knows. And I’m sure advocates of christian higher education would say who the hell cares, sucker.

We’re talking these days like...$80,000 upon graduation?!? And THAT’S for a flipping UNDERGRAD degree. Damn. Skip school and just buy a house with that money. At least in four to five years, you could come out ahead.

I mean, we claim to follow a guy (Christ) that had little or nothing in the material realm. Or so says every shred of evidence written. Why do you have to be freaking rich (not me) or stupid (yup, that was me) to go to a christian school?

Somehow I don’t see jesus being allowed admission.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

pre-dusk scatter

Summer-like temperatures are among us here in the fair mother city. Locals hunker down as air-conditioned gypsies at noon until 7pm. Then they peek their heads out to see if the coast is clear.

Unless you’re like me and you work outside. I forgot how you get headaches when you’re in the heat for extended periods.

Tonight, after dinner, the offsprings and I went on one of our pre-dusk wagon rides. Several neighbors were out. We talked with some.

When we came back, The Tiger was milling around his front yard.

Long gone are the days when he was a pre-pubescent fat kid who vied so hard for my attention. Now it’s impossible to have a conversation with him of any length or substance. His cell phone interrupts us. Or some pied piper gangster wanna-be drives up in a boomy bassy car that intoxicates The Tiger into walking away from me mid sentence to tend to this queen bee. So it goes.

The Tiger usually works the mesquite fields with Manuel, his immigrant pseudo step-dad. It’s a tough labor job that doesn’t demand a consistent schedule. So he can party with his friends for a few days until the money runs out, go work with Manuel until he gets enough cash to repeat the process ad nauseam.

Recently, he and his brother The Bulldog got jobs with a local landscaping company. They were soon fired because they didn’t go to work one day.

I’ve tried putting my middle-class pre-sets out of my head when I’m with The Tiger. Being consistent and responsible is not in his mentality. He had no role model to witness while growing up. It’s not his culture.

I miss The Tiger and our quasi big brother/mentor type relationship. Now I don’t even know how to start a decent conversation with him. I feel like I’ve failed. Again.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Garden Files 2008 - #002

Business is booming. It’s still very early (May) and already I’ve collected three buckets of spinach and several summer squash with plenty more on the way.

Agent Wife and I had created kind of a raised bed effect by digging a path around the perimeter for walking stones. The excess dirt was piled on the growing area, raising the entire garden at least 8 inches above ground level. I did this last year to no avail. But in this new location the garden seems to hold water for almost a week, even in our 95F+ temps of late.

This new garden location is making me feel like a gardening bad-ass. This is the year I’ve been praying for fruit in our desert-wandering and waiting-on-the-lord lives. Maybe the garden is symbolic of things to come. Or maybe it’s a sow-in-good-soil parable. Or maybe I’m a freak.


Volunteer Padawan

Call me nuts, but I’m going to be back on the Jedi Padawan gig soon as a volunteer. Since my main goal in this apprenticeship venture is gaining experience over financial gain, I have offered to work for free since my Jedi Master could not afford me at this time. So I will be learning all aspects of the house flipping trade whenever I’m not working with Son & Dad, other odd jobs, agent work, and etc.

I’m looking forward to learning new skills and getting the momentum moving on my master plan.


New four-part series coming soon

Reports on the agent b files of late have been lacking, either in substance or existence. The three-year anniversary of this blog nonsense is approaching, yet my interest in this has not wavered one bit. However, my writing energy level has fallen.

Plus, I fear that redundancy is becoming a common theme in these reports. One can only say “faith exists outside the established church” just so many times.

I may start reiterating old messages and previous reports again soon. But meantime, I’m looking to share some observations on “the ironies of christian education”.

Prepare to launch your stones.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

official news

Agent Wife is pregnant.

Agent Offspring #3 is due to join us around my birthday in January.

Thank you CEO.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

spoke too soon

Well, my Padawan job abruptly ended today. The boss apologized and had to let me go due to lack of upcoming work and business finances. So it goes.

He really seemed to like me and may possibly hire me again in the future.

But great, the cat's out of the bag. My master plan has been announced. I have held off sharing this plan in hopes that I would be neck deep in house flipping before sharing. And although I was just working a temp gig for a guy, I assumed it would last over a month and I'd be referring to it on these reports. Thus, the mass announcement.

So I guess the Pruning Boy series continues. DAMN.

Ehh...what's a plan without a few snags?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the master plan

Several previous posts vaguely mentioned my master plan, for lack of a better name. I think I’m ready to announce this plan to the world, but only because recently the CEO orchestrated steps for me to achieve this plan.

So here goes: unless the CEO directs me otherwise, I want to flip houses for a living.

I’ve been pondering this for over two years. I figure this is a way to self-finance the agent lifestyle (and thus, support my family) while maintaining a flexible schedule to continue agent work. And I’m hoping to alleviate some injustice in the process by creating decent, affordable housing.

And my dream for The Table is still alive. I figure this master plan could pave the way for The Table, should I stumble across a suitable property in the house flipping arena.

Over the most recent Christmas holidays I prayed and pondered this plan. And so far, nothing has showed me that this would be a bad idea.

I have borrowed a small amount of money from a family member to start, as I’ll be starting from scratch: I need to buy tools, a truck, etc. Also, two trusted individuals, one being Corporate Man, have offered to co-finance this venture with me. So, my desire has some financial backing. Thus, it is realistic and not a pipe dream.

Then comes my actual experience know-how. I have worked enough odd-jobs over the past three to four years to gain enough experience to at least TRY flipping a house. But the more I pondered it, there seemed to be too many trade/handy-man avenues I lacked experience in.

So I communicated to the CEO: “it’s make or break. Either send me my first house or give me a mentor to work with.”

So last week, through a friend of a friend, I began working for a house flipper. And so far it’s proving to be very valuable training. And thus, I realized that I am the Jedi Padawan in much need of training.

I probably won’t quit Son and Dad Tree Service, Inc. just yet, as my Padawan training job is currently a temporary gig. But it has the potential to turn into a more permanent position, should more work (very likely) become available to my Jedi Master boss and I prove myself over time (also very likely).

So there you have it. My master plan is announced. And I have a new job.

It could easily be a good year or two before I’m trained enough to branch out into this dream.

Hopefully, the Pruning Boy series will fade away and Jedi Padawan Training series will begin soon...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


The other day I met Jackson. He is a brawny/husky built middle-aged guy who I had seen several days earlier down my street pushing a lawn mower with a dangling gas can.

It’s obvious he’s hustling for a buck, looking for yards to mow. Cool. I’ve always thought that the best way to make quick money in the warm months was to have a mower and knock on the doors of houses with tall grass, offering a fair price. Who would turn you down?

Last week I was hanging out at Obi-Wan’s house when Jackson knocked and asked if he could mow. I told him sorry, but I took care of it so thanks for asking. I commented on his killer mower. He has a slightly older version of the one I recently bought a few months ago. I heart my Honda with the quad cut system. No, I am not a nerd.

After a few gabs and heroic tales of small engine repair, he went on his way. Obi-Wan and I noticed Jackson mowing across the street less than two minutes later.

Today I was mowing Obi-Wan’s back yard when I saw Jackson pushing his mower down the ally. We waved and he motioned to me so I killed the engine. Immediately I got an earful of his woes.

Jackson is madder than hell. Something about some medical problems that he can’t afford to do anything about, lost his job over it somehow, is owed $5200 over some work-related settlement, a lawyer is working him out of most of that cash by taking this case, and somehow can’t get surgery for a real long time because of the BS system.

And somewhere in the process he lost his car or something. He needed someone to vent to and I was the only human nearby.

All I could do was listen. I’m no fan of the system. Especially the US health system and it’s accompanying insurance nightmare industry. But I’m not a fan of embracing a victim identity either.

One of his needed surgeries is over a hernia. He showed me the egg-sized protrusion on top of his stomach. I’ve never seen one so obvious and bad. I asked permission to pray. So we prayed for a miracle, whether that be healing related or some kind of financial ordeal.

Jackson seemed to enjoy bitching about the jacked up system. I can relate. Complaining about things gives us some kind of release. Like maybe we have a mere ounce of control over our desperation. We can go down fighting.

I hate that desperate feeling. CEO – answer our prayer from today.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

the garden files 2008

The future of gardening at my household barely survived the harsh judgment of Agent Wife. That was, "Why continue? Its output is always pathetic," or something like that.

For some time I wanted to move our gardening spot from the sun-scorched north side of our backyard to the more shaded and fruitful-looking south side.

I did the necessary work transferring the fence and tilling back in March. So far, this move appears to be paying off.

After six seasons of trial and error, this is the best start to a gardening season I've had yet. Even the seedlings that Agent Wife and the kids planted in egg containers transferred very well.

For two to three seasons, I have maintained both mine and Obi-Wan's garden simultaneously. Often they were both planted within a day from each other, maintained on the exact same schedule, and even planted with seeds and plants from the exact same source. But Obi-Wan's land always fared better than mine.

So, this new gardening location of mine is modeled after Obi-Wan's: shaded throughout the day by a pecan tree and protected from the brutal western sun by a building. The only thing different now is the actual soil. But so far, my garden seems to have a better start than his...

Maybe this is all symbolic. Obi-Wan has taught me everything I know about gardening. I am the young padawan learner that is slowly starting to outperform his aging master.

Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

the park

I love my next-door neighbors The Sanfords. I love them even after my suppressed middle-class upbringing questions their ways in life.

Despite all of their quirks, fighting, and poverty-ridden ways, Frieda Sanford still has a heart for kids, including mine.

She recently found a great deal on outdoor play equipment from a garage sale, including a very used but functional swing set. Frieda and her daughter Jessie baby sit often (many times they don’t even know the kids’ names). This playground was set up for them in her front yard. She invited my kids to use it anytime.

So now every night after dinner my kids beg me to take them to “the park”. I kind of like that this park is less than ten feet away from my driveway.