Adi and I were out by the chicken coop burning trash in the burn barrel and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to teach Adi some fire safety tips.
“OK Adi. It’s very important that when you start a fire with gas that you do so by making a trail of gas long enough that you don’t get caught in the thermonuclear mushroom cloud.” I set her down on 100 paces away and then ran to the burn barrel and showed her exactly what I meant. “Watch carefully.” Kapoof! The trash fire was burning in no time and I used only a single match. A Boy Scout would be proud. I walked back to Adi. “Never, never dump gas into a burn barrel and then light it while leaning into the barrel. Trust me on that one.”
We sauntered back into the house, overflowing with the confidence that comes with learning something new. I pulled out the honey wheat pretzels and promptly got accosted by Janice. “Hey, don’t eat all Adi’s snacks!”
I put the pretzels back and pulled out the Goldfish crackers. Janice snorted indignantly. “Those are for Adi too!”
I mentally rolled my eyes. If I change her diapers, I deserve her snacks. “Is there anything I can eat?”
“Yea, there’s a head of lettuce in the fridge that’s getting a little slimy. Someone should eat it.”
“Slimy lettuce?!” I roll my eyes so hard they almost didn’t recover. For a second I was scared that they would permanently stay pointed towards the back of my head.
Janice reasoned with me. “Hey, you’re the one who bought Iceburg lettuce. No one else likes Iceburg lettuce so just eat it.”
“Lettuce is lettuce. Plus, that’s not the point. Lettuce isn’t a snack!”
The Iceburg lettuce was my fault. I had went along grocery shopping and I volunteered to run inside and grab the fifteen or so items on Janice’s shopping list. This is because I’m scared that she’ll be tempted to start using grocery pickup at Wal-Mart or other extravagant, high dollar grocery stores where you buy your groceries on your phone and then they bring your groceries out to your car. They don’t charge anything extra for the service but that just means they’re ripping you off on the prices. At Aldi’s they’re charging me for grocery bags because their margins are so tight, they can’t give $0.03 bags to their customers. That’s the kind of grocery store I like. So, as often as I can, I become the errand boy for my wife so the temptation of convenience doesn’t beckon her to the land of higher grocery bills.
Maybe I could lower the grocery bill by going hunting for deer and other animals. I do like shooting things. But that’s the problem, I never get to shoot anything when I go hunting. Of course, considering I can’t even find a bottle of ranch dressing that’s just sitting still on a shelf in Wal-Mart, I’ll never be able to find some crafty animal lurking in the woods and actively avoiding me.
Hitting Things With Cars
Besides, my mother-in-law seems to be a better hunter than I am. I admire her methods since they seem to be very successful. Instead of shooting deer, she has a habit of running them over with her minivan. This is genius since you can hit a deer any day of the year and yet they won’t lock you up for poaching. Plus, you get to sit on a soft seat in a heated car instead of sitting on a stump in the woods for hours getting frostbite on your nose, waiting for an ignorant deer to stumble in front of your gun.
Janice seems to think of vehicles as weapons as well. Maybe it’s hereditary. We were driving down the road the other night when suddenly an 800 pound raccoon appeared in the middle of the road. I gasped so hard I sucked all the dust off of the dashboard, then expertly cranked the steering wheel back and forth in a panicked fashion, building up enough momentum to lift half the van into the air so it narrowly missed the back of the raccoon. No sooner had the right side of the van slammed back down on the pavement than Janice was letting me have it. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”
“There was an 800 pound raccoon!” I explained.
“I KNOW! YOU TOTALLY MISSED IT!” Janice was hopping mad.
“WHAT? I mean, um… yea. That was kind of the point to all that tire screeching and screaming, wasn’t it?”
“I hate raccoons. You should’ve hit it!” Janice pounded a fist into an open palm, making a smacking sound.
“It was 800 pounds! It could’ve destroyed the van!”
“But it’ll reproduce!”
“It was 800 pounds!”
Janice does hate raccoons. In fact, her hatred for raccoons is what got us in a relationship in the first place.
Janice Catches My Interest
A long time ago in a land far away, both Janice and I attended the WATER program at SMBI (Sharon Mennonite Bible School). It’s a six week mission awareness program where you have a week of classes and team building exercises and then you travel to mission outposts around the world for the remaining five weeks to practice what you’ve learned. I don’t actually remember her from that but since we were in the same class, and as fate would have it, we became friends on Facebook.
Sometime later I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I noticed a picture of three dead raccoons lined up in a row. Janice had been jogging and came across a tree full of raccoons (I hear raccoon trees are native to Michigan). She ran back to the house, slammed some shells into her 20 gauge shotgun, then went and massacred an entire raccoon family. Then, naturally, she bragged about it by posting a picture on Facebook. I was caught by surprise! I don’t know any girl who would ever do that, I thought to myself. I bet I’d get along with this girl.
I sarcastically posted a comment about the tragedy of such poor creatures being killed before they lived a full life. Soon she posted a reply which was even more sarcastic than mine. I was hooked!
Now I have her shotgun in the closet and I’m surprised it even worked on that fateful day. Keeping a gun oiled apparently was not a Detweiler family priority. My dad would clean his guns religiously and occasionally try to sneak a new gun into the house without my mom noticing. The Detweiler’s would wipe the cobwebs off the shotguns a day before hunting season, take a pot shot at the burn barrel to make sure the gun still worked, then wander outside to find a deer or two. My wife shot more deer than I ever have, though, so maybe the Detweiler’s are on to something.
Speaking of the Detweilers, we have some chickens on loan from Janice’s parents. Since they are living in Janice’s brother’s basement right now (they sold the farm and haven’t found another one yet) they didn’t have room for their chickens. We had an empty chicken coop in the backyard so we agreed to babysit a few Silkies and a couple Easter Eggers; about 20 – 23 chickens. The number of chickens in the flock fluctuates from day to day. I’m not sure why but I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation. Maybe it has something to do with humidity. Anyway, the problem with the chicken coop was that it’s roof was falling in. If your coop has no roof, you might as well throw your chickens into a bush since it has about the same amount of protection. Chickens tend to get eaten if they aren’t in a coop and so, regrettably, I had to fix the coop roof.
I came up with all kinds of elaborate plans to cut out the rotten parts of the roof, reinforce some joists, replace the plywood, and then find some cheap shingles to weatherproof it once I was done. But, being a skilled practitioner of budget engineering, instead I chose to buy a heavy duty tarp for $20. Then I spent $6 on nails with plastic washers and nailed the tarp over the chicken coop. I was so impressed with the result that I thought of starting my own roofing company. Why, I heard some roofers charge thousands to put a new roof on a house! Sounds to me like roofers are shysters.
Thank You, Supporters!
We are officially at 40.64% supported (as of 1/11/19) although I know someone else has signed up so it’ll be higher than that shortly. We were specifically praying for a 15% increase from month to month and God has helped us exceed that goal this month! We are so grateful to the generous people who have invested in our ministry so far. It’s such a large mountain but your investment means so much. It’s humbling to have people believe in what we’re doing. Pray with us that we could raise 100% of our support by May 28 so we can begin giving you a good return on your investment – fixing missionary airplanes!