Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 16

There are lots of huge houses that are 100+ years old in Elmira, NY-  it's hard to imagine what the architects were thinking- in many cases, they all seem to have an average 1:5 bathroom to bedroom ratio.  I guess they were built before Maybelline and Vanity Fair.  Any-who. . . all of the gi-normous houses end up being split into 4 to 6 apartments and rented out cheaply until they implode on themselves, turned into a business office/residence, or maintained by someone with too much time and money on their hands.  The businesses run out of houses range from churches to retail to shrink parlors.  I've even seen dentist offices, which seems just a little creepy.

My wife and I were on a long walk with Daisy when we passed by one of the many house/businesses- this one was a men's clothing store, sort of like a Joseph A. Bank crammed into a living room.  A middle-aged gentleman was working in the yard and saw us heading toward him down the sidewalk.  He jumped out from between a gap in the hedge and seemed quite excited to see us.  After about 30 seconds, it became clear that Bruce Charmer didn't realize this was the first time he'd met us.  He seemed slightly embarassed when the fact that we didn't know each other finally clicked in his head.  At least next time, if there is one, he won't be wrong.

On Saturday the up and coming Elmira Rugby Football Club joined forces with the Alfred State Alumni and took on the current college team.  The younger, faster team (who've been playing together for some time, mind you) blew past the motley assortment of alumni and rookies, but we all had a great time and no one got parylized from the neck down.  I met a lot of people over the course of the day, including two Dans and Robyn, the lovely wife of a teammate.

Oh. . . and I almost forgot- remember what I said last week about how tough it is to meet a Shawn/Shaun/Schawun and get the name right?  Well he's part of my inner circle on Face book now, turns out he was a SEAN all along- go figure.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 15

Two random people in week 15,  we'll start with Shawn.  Shawns are always hard because I never know if they are really Shauns.  For all I know they could even be Schawuns. . . . anyway, one showed up at rugby practice last week.  He seemed like a nice guy, a tall and somewhat reserved history teacher. We joked with him about how his profession must get harder every year. . . har har.  He seemed eager to learn the rules and get familiar with the rough and tumble sport, hopefully he won't flake out like a lot of hopefuls.

I think I've mentioned the 100+ year old house that we're living in right now.  We have half of the upstairs and that makes for a nice sized one-bedroom with an office and spacious living room.  The only thing that makes it not worth the rent is the fact that we don't have a range or dishwasher in the makeshift kitchen.  We're going gourmet with just an electric skillet and a toaster oven.

Up until last weekend I was free to tip-toe down a very tight spiral staircase that leads from our apartment to the first floor and use the oven in the full-fledged kitchen down there to bake bread.  I can't remember the last time we bought a pre-sliced loaf from the store, but it looks like my rougue baking days are over, we now have a full house. 

The owners of the estate didn't give us notice.  On Wednesday night, while moving back and forth between our apartment and the backyard in preparation for some steak-grilling with our upstairs neighbors, we ran into a lady walking through the back yard  with a leashed pekanese, and assumed she was a next-door neighbor. . . . until she continued all the way up to the house.  We struck up a conversation, and met Sam (the lady) and Gizmo (the mini-chow chow from hell.)

Sam was really nice.  She and her husband, who I still haven't even seen, moved here for work from Indiana, but they also lived in Mt. Pleasant, TX, Garland, TX, and Arkansas.  I initially thought they might be stalking me, but will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the small-world theory.

Our downstairs neighbors leave the house at 3:00 a.m.on weekday mornings- it turns out they work together as DJ's for a morning show on the radio somewhere around here.  Gizmo must have a bad case of separation anxiety, because he loves to vocalize his discontent in yaps, whines, and howls when his humans aren't in the house.  He's already brought an early end to my peaceful dreaming twice.  I can live without an oven, but a good night's sleep is imperative.  I've thought about sneaking down the spiral staircase with a roll of duct tape and giving him a silver muzzle. . . . .*sigh* Don't worry, I won't.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 14

Week 14 consisted of mainly people from a church we visited in Corning.  A really neat one, actually, with a lot of genuinely nice people.  It seemed gospel-centered, yet down-to-earth- always a good combination.  The only thing that made it seem slightly cultish were the number of people who told us that they moved to the city for for the sole purpose of attending that particular church, rather than for work, family, or other things.  That initially made me think- ooooOOO! that church must have something special. . . my precious. . . . then I thought about the fact that God doesn't just live in Corning, NY.  Why didn't people use their spiritual enthusiasm to benefit the community they were already plugged into?  Nothing against them, but I think it's a valid question.

Among the really nice people we met were Chatrice, the greeter at the door.  PJ, a friendly young father who lead worship and played guitar- the gentleman on bass looked like his twin brother, but I didn't get a chance to ask him.

On our way out we were first snagged by a couple- a rolly-polly and super tall guy with a white beard, named Michael, and his lovely other quarter, JoAnn.  They were very welcoming, and told us about how they had moved to the town just because of the church.

A little further down the hall we were intercepted by a friendly guy named Steve- he was one of the most interesting characters, being originally from Texas and having relatives in some of the small towns where I've lived.

The friendly congregation did everything they could to get us plugged in immediately- inviting us to a pic-nic after the service, to a weekly young-couples get together at someone's house, and Steve said he had too many kids to count, but would still like to cram us into his minivan and take us out to lunch sometime to exchange "Texas stories."

I've got to admit, if we lived in Corning our church search would be over.  It was a tough battle, resisting all of the open arms and extended invitations there. . . . Maybe we should just quit our jobs and move to- Wait! No! Stop it!
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If there's not a body of believers we can join for meaningful fellowship and service to the local community that we'll be living in,  within a reasonable commute to my job, which brought us here in the first place, then maybe we are meant to help initiate something of the sort.  Somehow, to me, it seems more Christian to keep ourselves open to serve where we can do it most effectively (locally) and where it is most needed, than to stretch ourselves thin in an effort to make ourselves comfortable within an already established nest of like-minded people thirty plus minutes from where we live.

If I quit my job and moved to a town, solely for the sake of a particular church, I would feel more like a spiritual sojourner or, worse yet, a leech than a champion for the Gospel.  Besides, isn't that the opposite of what missionaries do?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week 13

Sooooo, I'm a bit behind- not that I haven't been meeting folks!  I've been busy writing other things, doing other things, etc. . . . But here is a rundown of some of the latest news and names for week 13 and previous that didn't make it to a post . . .

So I lived in Arkansas for two years and just moved to New York with just as many teeth as I left Texas with.  Within two weeks of migrating north I've joined a rugby football club- ironic, huh?  It's a great band of brothers that includes Jeff, who you've already met (he actually invited me to a practice,) and then there's Rodney, Bob, EJ, Logan, Kyle, Matt aka Shrek, Brian, Ralph . . . . and I should actually remember more, but don't at the moment.  I'll blame it on my sleep deficit.

That's all for now. . . ZZZZzzzzz