Thursday, January 29, 2009

legless in the fair mother city

My across the street neighbor, long time confidant, and zen mower mechanic Obi-Wan has returned to the neighborhood. He has been in the hospital since November having his last and only leg removed, recovering, rehab-ing and bitching about hospital food.

I admit, I'm glad he's back. This undisclosed neighborhood we call home is a lonely place without him.

He arrived yesterday with The Acid Queen's help. She arrived a day early to let the medical supply people move in his new hospital bed with the trapeze bar.

I noticed Obi-Wan's real bed, purchased three years ago during the legendary Nurse Gollum scandal of '06, was no longer in the house. I assume it made it's way back with The Acid Queen. I didn't ask.

He's glad to be home. And so are we.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

jail bird

My next door neighbor The Bulldog has finally gone to jail for some crimes he was involved in about a year and a half ago. His mom Frieda says he'll be in for 18 months. I guess that means he'll be transferred to a state run unit since the county jail only holds people a maximum of 12 months.

He's been headed for this life for a long time. His brother The Tiger is not far behind. He will soon begin his jail time for his involvement in the same crimes.

I guess this means I won't have gangster types driving and stopping by next door at all times of the day.

The Bulldog...he really has a sweet heart. But he's a rough dude. He has no direction. He doesn't want to do anything with himself.

Frieda thinks he'll do OK in jail, but The Tiger won't survive well. She knows her kids well, I guess.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

birth announcement

Agent Offspring #3 successfully joined us in this world today.

Agent Wife and baby are well...

Monday, January 19, 2009

jedi padawan #005: completion

Last week the Jedi Master, Chuckie, and myself completed my first ever house flip venture from start to finish.

I really enjoyed this, every aspect of it. The whole transformation process is fun.

This particular project went smoothly from all perceived angles. I'm not holding my breath for this to be the norm from here on out. But we were fairly under budget in every category. We found deals everywhere. Even places we weren't looking for deals.

We even got to incorporate the locals. The guy who lived next door lays flooring for a living. He did a few jobs for us which saved us valuable time. Even his 6 year-old kid helped me plant the flower beds.

Anyway, today we started a remodel job for a customer. I much prefer house flips: no one staring over your shoulder and such.

Kitchen: BEFORE (Nov 14, 2008)

Kitchen: AFTER (Jan 14, 2009)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Secret Agent B!

I, agent wife, have a confession to make. I hired out another secret agent to hijack agent B's blog and publish the following post on agent B's birthday. I had to incorporate another field agent in the event that I am in labor or at the hospital the day I wanted this posted. I wrote this a week in advance, knowing that we could be rushing away to have our third child any day now or a couple of weeks from now- heaven forbid- ha,ha.
Happy Birthday Agent B!

I am so thankful for this man in my life. He really is a gift from the CEO.

I wasn't boy crazy growing up and never dated through high school, but at some point knew that I wanted a husband, so I prayed for one and prayed specifically. Since I am tall, I asked for someone my height or taller. Since I always thought my dad and siblings had far more interesting coloring than I did (I have brown hair, eyes and skin), I asked that my husband would look more multi-colored like them in physical appearance and I asked that the CEO would give me someone who would be a strong Christian- like a preacher or elder or someone of that spiritual depth and maturity.

Agent B is exactly my height (we've measured), his coloring is more similar to my dad's than my own brother's is and he is the strong Christ follower that I asked for, but never imagined.

Being very religious and performance, type A personality that our society and the institutional church loves, I imagined the same in a husband. Agent B is none of those. If anything he is the opposite. This baffled me some and at times still causes friction. Performance christianity and status quo are comfortable, easy and falsely satisfying. I fed on it for many years, but agent B has introduced me to realness, humility, real relationships, listening to others and loving more than my reflection or religiosity.

Where I and so many other church members saw the performing religious man as being the strong Christian, the CEO sees the heart. Where I studied missions and then went into ministry with all my religious garb (that I was taught to ditch), Agent B lived it naturally. I created bible groups called "friends", while Agent B was a friend. I scheduled people in, while he hung out. I most often have an agenda, while he most often has love.

I'm so glad the CEO is smarter than I am and gave me the desires of my heart, even though I didn't really know who that was. I'm so glad I obeyed and married someone I hardly knew because the CEO said to, even though I had an inkling this man did not fit my preconceived notion of a "strong Christian" as we entered our very short engagement and planned our lives together. I'm so glad that agent B has been patient with me, understanding and a sharpening agent in my spiritual life. He has and is helping me to become real, transparent and truly love the CEO, His ways and those He puts in our lives instead of the appearance of religiosity, performance and the cheap thrills that commercialized club members have found so appealing and (falsely) fulfilling. We read blogs and are being exposed to ideas that are "revolutionary" in Christian living and at each point, I have two reactions- the Lover within me cries out- "yes!!! this is true kingdom life" and the other part is "this is the agent life".

I also love how agent B and I are enjoying growing older. I know it sounds weird in our youth centered society, but we are finding great delight in growing in experience and maturity and building up a wealth of memories and relationships together. It's really pretty awesome!

Happy Birthday Agent B! from your greatest fans-- agent wife and kids

May our adventure continue with the grace, direction and love of the CEO. May He bless your socks off this year and bring us into greater depth in Him and in all that He has for us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

new library

Something really positive happened within blocks of our neighborhood. The fair mother city opened a new library.

This is beyond amazing for several reasons. 1) A local non-prof (“Friends of the fair mother city library”) did their own funding to make everything it happen including the payroll for new employees, etc. So unbelievably, Tax payers won’t be billed for this, not that I would mind doing so. 2) The city counsel and hoopla gallery created little if any red tape for this library to exist. It literally was OKed and built within months. 3) They put this branch on the city’s north side (traditionally the old side of town thus, “poor” side). And finally 4) the new library is in the run-down vacant shopping center two blocks from my house.

That in and of itself is amazing. This shopping center has eleven store fronts, but only three are occupied: two dollar stores and a bingo hall. There’s also a discount pizza chain and our bank. But the bank is closing that branch in March. I’m not pleased with that at all.

But now there is something positive and possibly life giving: a brand new library.

My entire family and I were present for the grand opening complete with 500 others, a circus hoopla, shucking and jiving city politicians, a clown looking like Minnie Pearl, and a juggler who dropped an egg on the new carpet.

I love jugglers. I can juggle, a little.

I raise my mug of hot mint tea to all those who made this library possible. Thank you for bringing something excellent to our forgotten corner of the fair mother city.

Monday, January 05, 2009

the temple of mammon

During the brief three and a half year history of the agent b files, we’ve been very militant about posting reports strictly on the happenings of and around agent b. No frills or fluff. Except for that one time Christmas greeting of the Star Wars Holiday Special in just five minutes. Oh man, I am so funny.

But generally, we try to stick to the mission here and not follow whatever is fab in blogland.

Yet for the last few years, my disdain for consumerism and stuff has grown as rapid as my interest in social justice. Why should I have the vast availability of cheep shit to buy if it means raping the world? Or something like that.

And for crying out loud. The texts I read about my god claimed he had little or nothing when he walked the earth with us.

Admittedly, I use to mildly defend Wal-Mart and similar places. I figured if you are going to boycott Wal-Mart, then you’ll have to boycott everyone. Because they all carry the same slave labored crap made in China and Bangladesh. Just because Wally is the biggest target doesn’t mean the little guys should get off the hook.

I admire brother Shane and co since they go the extreme to make their own clothes and such. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. But all last year I bought clothes from Goodwill. And it was fun. I figured second hand is second best to making your own.

Also – as a field agent embedded within the poverty culture, I figured since the local poor folks go to Wal-Mart, then so should I. Why should I act more uppity than my friends?

But the poor drink sodas like no tomorrow. And I’ve barely drank sodas since 1994. So there blows that logic. And if the poor were going to jump off a cliff I probably shouldn’t follow. Or something like that.

Bottom line: I am not a fan of our nation’s consumer culture. I’m quite vocal against our fat-ass whiney babyness. I refuse to bow to the god of convenience and the god of entitlement.

After September 11, 2001, our president addressed the nation and suggested we all go shopping as a means to help the country. Like people who hide their deep seated issues with spending money or eating or drug doing.


I try to buy as little as possible. And when I do spend, I prefer local business owners who offer various services and give back to the locals. Blah blah blah.

I’m not militant or preachy about all this. But I am more serious than before. Since I was born and raised in a consumer society, I figure this anti-consumerism lifestyle seems the best way to subversively live the gospel within this culture.

But my primary reason for sharing all of this...

Since about 2006 or so Agent Wife and I have received dozens of Wal-Mart gift cards. Christmas gifts, random thank yous, whatever. $25, $50, $100. Even a $150 once

We are thankful and don’t want to complain. I’d REALLY like to avoid Wal-Mart all together. Forever. But we can’t. Because we keep getting this damn currency for the temple of mammon.

I don't know what to make of this. Lord god, help me.

* If you have 20 minutes and can stomach the peppy narrator and her mentions of global warming and toxic breast milk, the story of stuff makes a good classroom-type lesson of our consumeristic godlessness.