Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A New Feature

I have added a new feature to The Taiwan Adventure. TG Daily a news organization in Taiwan will feed Taiwanese news directly to the site daily. These are selected by them and are current topical news. For example, today December 23, there is a report on our recent earthquake and the talks between Taiwan and China. These are what people are talking about, right now, on the street. I thought it might be of interest to people who are following, I know I said it wasn't a political blog, but I my be forced to comment, occasionally. I want you to know I don't select the stories or have any ability to edit them. Let me know if there is an interest. If not I will discontinue it. If so, we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Random Asianess: Random Thoughts

First of all, I'm sorry it has been so long between posts. It has been somewhat hectic. We moved to a new house. We started a new weekly outreach, "The Coffee House," and we're busy with all the regular stuff. But it's been exciting and I have several posts that I'm writing, so they may be coming fast and furious for a while. Today I want to post some random things that we have encountered along with some insights. I call it Random Asianess. I may do these things once in a while:

Random Thoughts:

1. The Funeral

The day we moved in there was a Buddhist funeral on our street. They erected a tent that covered both lanes of the road, completely blocked off the street. In there, they had the casket and the deceased neighbor. But outside they had these displays of beer cans. Two pyramids of probably 50 cans of beer. Apparently this neighbor was fond of beer and so this beer was for him to drink while he waited to be reincarnated.

This is part of ancestor worship. They buy special “blessed” money from the local temple and burn it, so the dead people will have money to spend.

At the end of the funeral, which can sometimes last 30 days, there was a procession. The hearse was followed by 4 flutists, playing traditional Chinese music, all of the dead neighbor’s friends and family, and a number of the temple’s vehicles. In the first a drummer, In the second were representation of the gods the third was more drummers and finally the last car blared “pop” music and had a pole dancer. This dancer was to entertain the gods and make them more accepting of the dead person. This guy probably had more fun at his funeral then he did in life.

2. Traffic

The traffic sometimes is ridiculous. You stop at a stoplight with maybe 25 scooters and a line of cars. All of the stoplights have a countdown of remaining seconds until the light changes. At 2 seconds before the light changes scooters start to accelerate from the stoplight. It sounds like the start of a motocross race. In So Cal we have to wait for three cars to run the red light before we pull away from the stop. Here, nobody waits. The intersection has cars going in all directions. It’s pretty intense. But everyone seems to know what every other driver is going to do. There are surprisingly few accidents. One of my friends commented, "Driving in Taiwan is complicated, you know, there's a lot of laws but nobody follows them."

3. Vehicle Accidents

The other day Emily and I saw some kid get hit on his scooter. He came through an intersection and some truck driver pulled out and T-boned him. The kid did a backward somersault off his bike. He didn’t seem to be too badly hurt. There’s so much traffic on streets that all accidents seem to be low speed. But it’s still dangerous for motorcycle riders. When the police came, I waited because I saw the whole thing. He was completely uninterested in what I saw. He didn’t even write it down.

I’m a foreigner and the police don’t want to deal with us. Rather than try to talk with us in English they just wave us off. One guy told me that a policeman stopped him on his bike and was angry about something, but when he saw he was a foreigner he just walked away. He still hasn’t figured out why he was stopped.

4. Being a Foreigner

Young people just want to talk to me. Not because I’m cool or they think I’m great, but I’m American and I’m a good chance to practice English. Me, I don’t mind because I like to talk to young people and I can steer the topic to what I want to talk about.

Often, though, they don’t have much to say after “hello.” They just stand and smile, so I start talking to them and they don’t get it. But it’s fun. Occasionally, I meet someone who can speak English well and they will talk to me for 20 minutes.

Teenage girls always want to talk to my daughters. And ask for cell phone numbers and Facebook page information. They always want to have their picture taken with a foreigner. It makes them seem more sophisticated. They also want to be friends, so the kids are tasting popularity.

5. Taiwanese People

Being from Southern California, I am amazed at how many people in Taiwan will go way out of their way to do something for you. There is none of the American reluctance to get involved. My landlord was visiting our house the other day. She got this perplexed look on her face. So when we asked her what she was looking for. She asked where the TV was. We told her we didn’t have one. She got a horrified look an her face and wanted to go immediately and buy a flat screen TV for us. We had to convince her that we didn’t have a TV because we didn’t want one. Another woman spoke to the landlord about some repairs that needed to be made in the house. The repairs were scheduled for the time we had to leave for Chinese class. So this woman offered to stay at the house until the repairs were made.

I think this is the way America used to be: A place where people were concerned for their neighbors. It’s one of the things that makes Taiwan such a great place to live. I hear a lot of ex-pats here who are critical of Taiwan for certain things; fist fights in the congress, the Asian way of doing things, the inefficiency of the police. All of that stuff exists. This definitely isn’t America. But for me it’s all about people.

6. The gods of hell

Today there was a politcical rally near the church. And they are like many political rallies, in that, they try to draw a big crowd and then convince the people to vote for their candidate. But this was different, because this politician, pulled out the big guns. No, not free beer or food. This guy took the three "gods of Hell" for a walk to his rally. The local Buddhist temple marched three 9 foot representations of the gods of hell right to the rally. Drums beating, dragons dancing, traditional music, fireworks and the gods of hell. Makes Obama rallies look tame by comparison. This guy will probably be elected

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can a Movie Outreach Still Work?

Tried and True Method

Ever since the days of the prophecy “Big 3” men have tried to reach their cities through movie outreaches. It would be easy to look at what we’ve done here this week and say, “When’s that boy gonna get creative.” It’s such a simple thing. Find a movie you can preach on, and show it. Could anything be less complicated? In America, I could do a movie outreach in my sleep.

First of all there’s flyers. In California, no problem, a quick moment on the excellent and efficient So Cal Fellowship Graphics website. ( And flyers will be tastefully and artistically rendered with all pertinent information and delivered directly to your door. Note: No payment was made for this shameless plug, at least not YET!

Secondly, A few calls to pioneer pastors, who owe you one, and an announcement or two over the pulpit and a fully equipped ARMY, eagerly descends on your city to do battle with the principalities and powers of darkness; to snatch the souls of men from the very gates of hell. Sometimes they even pass out flyers, too.

Third, bright, shiny, newly purchased equipment is lovingly and gently set up and carefully prepared in pristine conditions for the comfort the visitors who come to your church to see the epic drama you will present.

Then finally it’s “Game Time.” Hundreds of open, hungry people show up, standing in line for hours to see the movie that holds the secret of salvation for them. They are literally making every effort to keep from throwing themselves on the altar and crying out, “What must I do to be saved,” before the movie is even over.

The words of your Altar Call drip from your lips. The response is overwhelming. The City is turned upside down. Okay maybe it’s not quite that easy.

But here, in Taiwan, it is only that simple for the men who have been here for years. I had a few struggles to overcome.

The first was flyers: Finding a printer was a little difficult. There is no phone book. You can’t just grab the yellow pages and look it up. And even if you could, I don’t read enough Chinese to recognize the Chinese word for printer. It does no good to drive around because I can’t read the signs, either. But, resourceful guy that I am, I called up Pastor Robert in Zhongli and he talked to his printer.

The second was the design: It takes special software and a special font to type in Chinese. I don’t have it. So each character has to be created by hand in a graphics program. But…you have to know the character to be able to do that; because of that a strategy was born. Aim for young people that are interested in learning English. So I made the flyers in English. Then I took a flyer that had the church name, address and phone number in Chinese and “cut and pasted” it onto my design. That way they could give it to cab driver and he could read it.

The Third was the language barrier with the printer: He had no idea what I was saying and I got about every 4th word of what he was saying. I understood marginally, he just smiled. So I had to ask Pastor Robert’s wife, Nicole, to communicate with him. Then I found out that I couldn’t design on 8 1/2 “ by 11” paper I had to use A4. A4 is a bit larger, so I had to fix it. Because of all this the flyers were received Saturday morning…the day of the event. I felt pretty stupid.

But my family and I, and a friend from the Zhongli church, Eugene, made it to the outreach. In two hours we passed out 700 flyers, and had an opportunity to witness to a number of groups of young (Middle School, High School and University) students. Three people made it to the event. We showed "Facing the Giants" and served popcorn and Coke. We got to know some people and contacts were made. One visitor, a teacher, wants to bring her entire class to see the movie. Maybe it will result in an inroad into the English School where she teaches. No one got saved at this event but we made some contacts and met a couple of people we can follow up on. Sunday morning we had two more visitors who did get saved.

Now I’ve got it figured out…Next month we are gonna TEAR IT UP!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vision Beyond the Horizon

The Vision

In light of the incredible investment that has been made to send us to this country, there is in our minds a sense that we must be fruitful, that’s the calling placed on all Christians, fruitfulness is an expectation. But I look at that calling in terms of what others have done to facilitate fruitfulness in my ministry.

We have entered into a sacred trust. While those others have never pressed an obligation on me to succeed: To reach certain numbers of people, or to bring about a financial return on investment. There is in me a desire to honor that investment, to honor the sacrifice that others have made.

I understand that none of us think that this is about nickels, numbers and noise, but about the winning of souls to the kingdom of God. It is my desire to diligently pursue my calling in God and honor the vision of Jesus Christ, which is clearly spoken to Paul.

Acts 26: 17 & 18

Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

I want to be able to give the same account for my ministry that he did in testifying to King Agrippa. “Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” I want to be able to stand before God and say the same thing. I want my vision to be His vision.

In the early days of oceanic exploration, it was believed that if a boat sailed out beyond the horizon that it would fall off of the edge of the earth. It took men with vision to pay for ships and equipment that could, in all possibility, result in a crushing financial defeat. It is difficult to imagine the trust that Ferdinand and Isabella had in Columbus. They, like Columbus, were ignited by the possibilities of Columbus’ vision. They can only be called people of vision. I’m thankful to partner with people who have that same kind of vision. I’m grateful for the investment and support of the Colton and Tucson Congregations, Pastor Strutz and Pastor Warner.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Typhoon Revival

The Rains of Revival

As Typhoon Parma was blowing up the Pacific Ocean past the Philippines with winds of 129 mph, another wind began to blow in Taoyuan: The wind of Revival. Arriving just days before the revival, Trevor Fong from Perth, Australia blew into town to preach for us. This is the first revival at the church since our arrival on the island.

Trevor comes well qualified to preach in Taiwan. He pastored the church in Zhong Li for seven years and understands the Taiwanese mindset. He spoke three powerful sermons, dealing with issues that are important to people’s lives. The first was on our response to God. In the audience were 2 university students who heard the message and responded.

The second sermon was on dealing with torment in our lives. This was powerful as a man in the church suffers with anxiety and insomnia. Last night, he told me that as a result of this ministry. He has slept 5 nights in a row without the use of sleeping medication. This is a record for him. Praise God for powerful preaching.

The third sermon dealt with reaching the lost and was an encouragement to the Nieds and to us. I believe that this revival is the beginning of breakthrough for our church.

Typhoon Parma

On my Facebook page, I gave a brief word about the typhoon. It traveled close to Taiwan but did not actually come up on the island. It veered off to the west and seems to be heading away from us now. We have received two solid days of rain but no winds. It is still close enough to turn and make landfall on the southern tip of the Island. This is the same area that was battered so badly in September.

This shows the track of the typhoon. You can see how close it came to Taiwan. Taoyuan is in the northwest corner.

Hualien Earthquake

On the day before the typhoon, a typhoon is a hurricane on the Pacific Ocean, (they’re hurricanes on the Atlantic and typhoons on the Pacific), there was an earthquake in the city of Hualien. At Hualien the earthquake was a magnitude 6.3 quake. For those of you in So Cal who have experienced many of these you can understand the size of the quake. We felt the quake in Taoyuan but it was a minor quake here.

On Facebook, I commented that Taiwan’s shaking. One of the comments that I got back was from one of my closest friends in High School. She said, “What does it take to get people over there to pray?” What indeed? Taiwan needs Jesus. As long as I’m here I’m going to be praying,

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Singing Trash Trucks of Taoyuan

In the distance you hear the melodious strains of Beethoven’s Fur Elise. It grows louder and louder as the source of the sound draws nearer. You begin to hear the neighbors in the street, talking and laughing, doors slamming throughout the neighborhood, finally there are flashing lights and voices. The trash truck has arrived.

The song is used to call the people out to bring their trash to the truck. In Taiwan, the truck slowly drives down the street and people bring their trash out. This happens every night. First the trash truck goes by and right behind it is the recycling truck. All trash must be sorted to be recycled.

You didn’t think I could do a blog without at least one reference to the trash business did you?

I wonder why they use Fur Elise. It seems to be a popular tune here. I have a friend whose car also plays that tune when the doors are open. Why not some Asian tune? Why Beethoven and not Yo Yo Ma? (I may have spelled his name wrong, but you get the point he’s an Asian Cellist.)

This seems like such a distinctly Chinese concept to have musical trash trucks. It’s a part of the Chinese mindset that beauty and function be combined. That same mindset is found in Chinese Characters, my Chinese teacher would always say, “But it’s not beautiful,” when describing my penmanship. When she saw my penmanship in English she would say, “It’s not legible.” So she began to accept my sloppy Chinese characters. This is how easily standards can be eroded. But I’ve gotten off track. The point is that Chinese people try to put an element of beauty into everything…even collecting trash.

I remember as a young route driver that I would sing opera arias on my truck, such as “La Dona Mobile”.

My version:

La Dona Mobile, I shot my dog today
The thieving little hound lies six feet in the ground

The actual version was a lot of Italian words that would have been too hard to learn. Obviously I had no need to include an element of beauty in everything.

The other interesting thing is that there is a social component to trash collection. The neighbors stop and talk and laugh with each other and the trash collectors. When was the last time you stood and talked with your garbage-man as he collected your trash. Most of us don’t even see the garbage-man and their trucks never make any noise more musical than “whirrrr crunch bang bang bang.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're not in Kansas Anymore

Arriving in Taiwan

We’ve arrived in Taiwan. We blew in, like thieves in the dead of the night. For us this was a momentous thing. We’re Americans but as of this moment we are Americans living on foreign soil. I hope Taiwan is ready for us. We’ve tried to prepare ourselves for this moment. But even with the preparation, I think Asia has some surprises in store for us. In fact I’m sure of it.

But for now we’re here. We arrived at 5:25 am Monday morning after 13 hours on the plane. Fortunately, we slept through a lot of the flight. But it felt really good to get up and stretch a little as we went through customs.

One of the meal choices on the plane was a food called Congee. This is a type of rice soup. Only Emily was adventurous enough to try it. I have eaten it before and kind of liked it until I talked to Scott, who described it as “That rice that old Taiwanese women chewed and spit back into the bowl.” I was grossed out enough to never be willing to try it again. It’s really just rice, cooked until it is very soft, with some other ingredients added. But Scott ruined it for me. I’ll have to pay him back sometime.


We spent our first afternoon in Taipei, first at MOS Burgers, where I had an Octopus Burger. It was delicious and the tenderest Octopus I’ve ever eaten. Then we went to Costco.

Costco in Taiwan is the same as in the US. Even the layout of the store is the same. They have the same types and quality of items as in the store at home. But then they have some typically Chinese things as well. For example, look at these interesting Pizza Choices available at the Costco Kitchen:

Hawaiian Pizza – Pastrami with Pineapple (Pastrami…on Pizza?)
Seafood Pizza
And that old Italian favorite – Peking Duck Pizza

I like Pizza well enough and I like Peking Duck as much as the next guy. But I have a real issue with Peking Duck Pizza. It just seems so wrong. (I didn’t see anyone eating it either, which might say something.) I can’t imagine Don Corleone ordering a Peking Duck Pizza. It just wouldn’t fly in the old neighborhood.

All the signage at Costco was in English and Chinese. The shoppers were friendly and seemed eager to talk to foreigners. As I hung out, waiting for Brenda and Melissa, a number of people smiled and spoke to me in English. That never happens in So Cal, probably because hardly anyone speaks English in So Cal anymore.

I think the next thing on the agenda is to get my driver’s license and a scooter. I need to be able to get around and get some things done. Scott is working so I need to work it out to get around on my own. I need to be able to hop on my “bad motor scooter and ride.” So I’ll close on that reference to an old Rock ‘n’ Roll song. Who can name the band that sang that song?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taking the First Few Steps

Moving On

It was quite an ordeal to get it all sorted, sold and packed. We even wound up calling a guy in to just haul a bunch of it away. I think it’s interesting how people develop an attachment to stuff. I am guilty of this a bit myself. I sold my truck at the "Sale of Sales." I had to do it. At the very least, if I shipped it to Taiwan I would have to drive it around and around because there’s no way I would be able to park it anywhere. It had to go. But as the guy who bought it backed it out of our driveway I stood there thinking, "That dude’s driving my truck." I was even kind of sad. "I know, I couldn’t believe it myself."

But by the time we were ready to leave…It was all gone. Brenda was heroic, in that she let me say at the end, "It all goes. All of it. No junk left behind." And not only did she let me say it. She even let me do it. We didn’t realize how stressful it is to live with a lot of STUFF. Every book you read about de-stressing your life has a chapter about getting rid of stuff you don’t need or use. So I’m proud of her, she did it and I believe that she will maintain our new "clutter-free" way of life, although I think moving halfway around the world, is a tough way to determine what you need.

That last week was the most stressful week I’ve spent this side of JIMCO. (A train re-railing company where I used to work.) Nothing worked out simply. We had to pay the shipping company in cash. But our bank wanted to put a hold on the money until after we left. The bank the check was drawn on wouldn’t help us, because we weren’t customers of that bank. I spent 2 days trying to make that work out. It finally worked out thanks to Rosa and Guillermo.

When we got to the train station, they wouldn’t let us check luggage or take our computer. If I can’t take luggage, it makes train riding difficult. They wonder why no one wants to ride the train. Finally, we drove Joseph’s truck to Modesto and they flew up to collect it. But we got here thanks to Rosa and Guillermo.

The final step is to get on a plane and just go. We will do that on Sunday at 1:40 am. We’ll just sleep our way to Taiwan. We’re working things out to make that happen. There’s a few flies in that ointment as well. But it will happen and we will get there.

Don’t think it’s all been hard and difficult. Some things have happened that have blown my mind. For instance:

1. My brother-in-law Ron got us tickets to fly Rosa and Guillermo to Modesto for $37.50 Business Class. Those are $300.00 tickets.

2. The shipping company made it possible for us to take things we didn’t think we had room for without it costing us any more money.

3. The cleanup guy was able to respond on 1 hours notice, and did the whole job.

And this: Aldein met this woman at work who is from Taiwan. That girl came to the US and got saved. Her pastor is also from Taiwan and his sister-in-law owns a private English School in Tao Yuan City. He arranged for me to be an English Teacher at that school in the afternoons. I’m going to meet the woman and determine if it will happen when I get there, but he seemed like it was a pretty definite thing. What an amazing thing to have happen. It sounds like God to me.


Thank you to the people who showed up to help us pack. Rosa, Guillermo and Joseph Rodriguez, Olivia Duran, Andy Duran, Betsy Herrera, Rebecca Sanchez, Paul Work, Brian Sundstrom, and Anthony Sanchez. (Olivia thank you for all that you did above and beyond the call of duty.)

Thank you to the English Class the English class, Yan, Zhimin, Sammi and Bingjing for their help and the Jiao zi. (Dumplings)

Thank you to the neighbors Greg and Zorrie White who came and brought food, prayers and good cheer the last night we were in Riverside.

Thank you to Rosa and Guillermo Rodriguez for all they have done for us throughout the years. They were an incredible blessing to us in the last weeks helping to make it happen. They helped us to handle things that looked impossible. Their willingness to do whatever it took, made those impossible things possible. (Thank you to Joseph for letting us use his truck.)

Thank you to Duane and Barbara Thompson for their thoughtful gift. We are blessed to have friends like you.

Thank you to the Colton Church for their commitment to this Missionary endeavor. Without their commitment this wouldn’t be possible. We go representing you.

Thank you to Pastor and Brenda for their trust and their willingness to believe in us. Their faith is inspiring.

Thank you to Pastor Warner and the Tucson Congregation for their help in the relocation.

Finally, thank you to all who have encouraged us with their friendship during these last weeks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Deconstructing Life in Riverside

Getting “Visa’d”

We have received visas from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. By treaty with the US, Taiwan has no official embassy. The US has no official embassy in Taiwan either. Those duties are contracted to private organizations. The Taiwanese organization in the US is called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. In Taiwan the American organization is called the American Institute Taiwan. These organizations handle all consular type operations in their respective countries.

We had to make a couple of trips to LA to secure visas. In preparation for the first trip, I filled out the visa applications, took the visa photographs, and gathered paperwork, like an introduction letter and set off to the Office. I had gone on the internet and looked at what was required and thought that I had put it all together in a nice package. But bureaucrats are the same in any country: Even when they’re working for a private organization. In addition to the things I had included I also needed:

My Children’s Birth Certificates (I had to prove they were mine)
My Marriage Certificate (I had to prove she was my wife)
A Certificate of Ordination (I had to prove I was legitimate)
A Statement of Qualifications (I had to prove I was qualified)
A Letter of Invitation from Taiwan (I had to prove I was invited)

The lady that was working with me wanted to make it easy for me to know what was needed so she gave me a nice list to follow – Written in Chinese. But when I told her I couldn’t read it she very patiently explained each thing necessary. Now you might be thinking, “That’s the way it should be.” But these people were incredibly busy. They were working very quickly. I’m used to America…I go to the store and ask for something and they tell me we’re out of that…just because they don’t want to take any time helping you. After I turned in all the paperwork that was needed it only took 24 hours to receive the visa. Maybe it’s better that the government isn’t involved.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deconstructing Life in Riverside

Turning Over the Church

Sunday, we turned over the church. It has taken me a couple of days to figure out what I wanted to say about that. Being overly emotional isn’t my style. But on the other hand I don’t want to seem cold and unemotional. I was really surprised at my own reaction…there was even a moment I had to stop and compose myself, as I preached my final sermon there.

These are people that I have labored with, struggled through issues with, laughed with, cried with and even fought with. In short, it was as close to a family as you can get without sharing DNA. There is an emotional connection; a feeling of camaraderie. There is an emotional transaction that takes place when you have gone through those things together. It’s not that gooey, trembly, “I can’t eat anything,” kind of emotion you that feel for your first girlfriend (or boyfriend as the case may be.) It’s the kind of emotion you feel for your little brother, the one who embarrassed you to death in a million different ways as a kid. The real thing, you know…Love.

As a person I love every one of those people, but speaking as a pastor, people can be sort of hard to work with, just like climbing Mount Everest is kind of a difficult hike. There were times of great frustration. I would counsel people, only to see them fall into the trap I was trying to help them avoid and that they couldn’t see. I always wanted the best for them but sometimes they saw my preaching or counsel as a criticism. Sometimes they thought I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about. They treated me just like I treated my dad. One person said, “I thought you’d always be there, if I knew you’d be leaving this soon, I’d have been nicer, or whatever.” How many of us have ever had that thought?

It feels strange to say this but now they’re Pastor Jason’s family. He’ll go through some tough things with them. But, I can tell you from experience it’s worth every minute of it.

At the end of the evening service, there was this spontaneous outpouring of testimonies about the impact we had on their lives. I thought to myself, they can see the impact that we’ve had on them, but they couldn’t possibly understand the profound impact they have had on me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Deconstructing Life in Riverside

I want to use this blog to chronicle, what I consider to be the biggest adventure of our lives: Packing it all up and moving to another country, specifically, the "nation" of Taiwan. I say "nation" with quotation marks because there is debate in some circles as to the independence of Taiwan. But this isn't going to be a political blog, at least not all the time: Some things can't be avoided, you know how I am. Well some of you do anyway. I want this to be about my family and life in Taiwan. I also will share all that happens as we labor to build the church in Taiwan. That's going to be an adventure.

They say a journey begins with the first step. But I don't think that's right, the journey really begins with the making of the "To Do" list. The first entry on that list is the beginning of the journey because that's when the dream begins to be a reality. The list is done and the journey has begun, so I want to begin here at the first tasks on the list: Deconstructing life in Riverside.

So let's start with getting ready to leave...The first step on the Taiwan Adventure:


There are a million things that need to be done in order to set us up to move there. One doesn’t realize the enormity of the task. Over the years we have accumulated an enormous amount of what I would classify as junk, but what my family insists on calling treasures. What do you do with all this stuff? How much can you really sell? How much would anyone but you want?

My plan included calling up the local Waste Hauler and renting a 40’ debris box and tipping the house over and allowing it all to spill out into the box. This, I feel is the most efficient method of packing, however, when I ran that past the committee, they were not impressed with my zeal for efficiency. So my life is full of boxes. Boxes that are packed and unpacked, repacked and stacked, and set aside until someone remembers that wonderful treasure that is hidden in a particular box.

Then there are the yard sales, people trampling on the lawn, buying stuff that should have, by all rights, been thrown away, leaving the good stuff, so I have to do this again. We sold old dishes; we sold little knick-knack stuff: Dust collectors, if you will. But we couldn’t sell the antique accordion, the powerful dissecting microscope; the stuff that really might be treasure. I know what you’re thinking right at this moment, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” You couldn’t help yourself; I must have heard that expression 4,000,000 times at the “Sale of Sales.” But I think it’s still junk, and that’s all right, as long as it’s now somebody else’s junk.

The packing continues and it’s going to take a while, I think. My wife is an excellent and competent woman, and I often marvel at the things she manages to get done. But this process can seem overwhelming. She looks at the garage and says, “I have to go through that and find what I can get rid of.” She really wants to do it right, I know she does, but it takes so long and there is stuff in there that I haven’t seen since we got married. Then there’s the stuff in the house and it all has to go somewhere, so the process will continue until it’s done. Meanwhile I think I’ll keep the waste hauler’s number handy. You never know…hell could freeze over.