Benedict Arnold Appliances, Adopted Chickens, Romantic Dinners


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Adopting Chickens

I mentioned in my previous blog post that the number of chickens in our coop will fluctuate with the humidity. Readers with even a hint of intelligence may have been questioning that scientific hypothesis. Even I was questioning if it was plausible, but indeed, chickens seem to appear out of nowhere at times. Today I figured it out.

It all started early one morning when I noticed a small gaggle of hens gathering outside the closed door of the coop as if they were waiting to get back in. This made me worry that I had not counted my chickens the night before and had shut them out of the coop, forcing them to shiver through the night while clinging to some low hanging tree branches. A tree full of chickens is like a vending machine for traveling foxes or raccoons so, naturally, I resolved to not lock any more chickens outside for the night. We’re babysitting the chickens for my mother-in-law, after all, and I’m afraid she would start weeping if all her chickens died. Weeping women make me uncomfortable so I resolved to keep the chickens alive.

The next night I double checked the coop before I locked it up. All the chickens were in, without a doubt. I threw a cement block in front of the door to make sure that even if a crafty hen picked the locks, she still couldn’t get out. Yet the next morning dawned and, again, there was a small contingent of hens loitering just outside the coop door! Where were these chickens coming from? Clearly I was being outsmarted by the dumbest fowl on the planet.

I put on forty layers of clothing and trudged through the Michigan cold so I could let the chickens back in the coop when I noticed something. Wait a minute. One of the chickens was a Barred Rock. Another was a Buff Orpington. I started thinking. I don’t even have any of those breeds! These were imposter chickens pretending to be mine. In fact, I remember seeing these chickens in the neighbor’s yard. These were my neighbor’s chickens! Apparently they abandoned their coop and had given themselves up for adoption. This would explain why we had more eggs than normal the last couple days; they were using our egg boxes as well!

Talk about a good business model. I gather eggs from the neighbor’s chickens and then sell the eggs to my landlord.

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Adi’s first gravity powered sled ride.

A post shared by Josh, Janice & Family (@snaderfamily) on

Benedict Arnold Appliances

My brother Matt refers to stuff that breaks as “that stupid Benedict Arnold boat” or “that dumb Benedict Arnold van.” Benedict Arnold was a famous traitor during the Revolutionary War and so I think it sums a lot of feelings and emotions into one simple phrase rather nicely. We had to rat out some Benedict Arnold appliances lately.

The other day I was walking past the oven. Janice had something sizzling on the stove top. Suddenly a loud bang echoed through the house which caused Janice to scream. I calmly jumped four feet in the air and assumed a defensive karate position. I started breathing again and did a quick scan of the house. Nothing seemed amiss.

Soon Janice reported that the burners were no longer working. The oven seemed to be lifeless as well. I was delighted! Now I could learn how to fix stoves. Yay! I disguised my enthusiasm by laying my head on the counter and moaning loudly.

Of course, maybe I shouldn’t fix it. That stove was like an overbearing recess supervisor who wouldn’t let you climb to the top of the jungle gym. You would crank the burner up to 5 and the stove would ask you, “Are you sure? That’s really hot. Let’s think about this for awhile.” Then you’d get frustrated and crank the dial up to 10. In a stern but calm voice the stove would say something like, “Oh boy, now you’re letting your temper get the best of you. Go sit down on the couch while we decide what to do with you.” At which point I’d start listing off a reasonable list of complaints I had with the stove in a restrained, calm manner.

“Why are you yelling at the stove and hitting it with a spatula?” Janice would ask, “You’re going to wake up Adi.”

Our Maytag dryer had just quit working as well. The dryer was made as recently as 1970 and so, naturally, I was shocked that it quit working already. Piece of junk! It worked fine for forty eight years but quit two months after I purchased it for $50. They just don’t make things like they used to. I won’t really miss it though. The top of the dryer got so hot that it would produce volcanic ash. Sometimes I’d find lava in the laundry. I suspect it wasn’t using electricity very efficiently.

I picked up several used appliances online that were built in this decade so I’m expecting much better results. Janice seemed happy with the new appliances but she did refer to the stove as “basic.” Basic means simple. Simple means there are fewer fancy doodads that can break. Airplanes use this same design philosophy and airplanes are considered expensive and high class.

Romantic Dinner

The other day Janice and I were fasting. What better way to end a fast than to go to Applebees and eat a bunch of unhealthy food? It worked out so that Adi was fast asleep when we got to the restaurant. Even though we unbuckled her and carried her inside, Adi kept sleeping. Janice and I didn’t know what to do. It was so long since we held an adult conversation without any interruptions that we found we forgot how to do it.

“So, I found some diapers on Amazon. We could save up to $0.07 per diaper.” I started the conversation, then realized how mundane the subject was.

“So… Um…” Janice and I stared at each other.

“How’s your stove working?” I asked.

“It’s pretty basic but it works.”

“Airplanes are basic too, but they are pretty neat.”

“Yea. Um… I don’t think that’s the same thing.”

I’m getting bored just writing about it. Typically we have our deep theological debates on the way home from church while yelling over the kid’s songs thumping through the minivan’s speakers. When we were dating, our favorite thing was to go out to eat and have deep, romantic, inspiring, and vision filled conversations. Now we discuss how the trade embargo with China will affect our diaper prices. No, actually I made that China embargo thing up. We only discuss diapers. Huggies vs Loves. Amazon versus WalMart.

The funny thing is I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. I prefer my problems over other people’s! I’m excited about where God is leading us, even if there are mundane times along the way. Hey, maybe if you want to read more interesting stories, help us get fully funded so we can get on the mission field. Surely I’ll have some better stories to tell. Or is that a bad reason to go on the mission field? Probably. Still, rarely when you submit yourself completely to God’s plans does your life become more boring.