Month: June 2014


Moose Moose

From December 2005. “Moose-Moose” is a fun group game involving silly faces, odd noises, and hierarchy. Back when we were kid-less, we threw a “White Moose-Moose Party” to play Moose-Moose, followed up by a white elephant gift exchange. Over a dozen people crammed into our little apartment. Fun times!

Tim, Megan, Andrea, Enkee (standing), Janelle, Steve
Mary, Lisa, Corrie, Amanda (behind), Bronwyn, Jeremy, Rich, Liz, and Onol

The Family Meeting, Part 4

Family Meeting Part 4

At our family meetings, Matthew will often copy Steven by saying “you’re so snuggly” to everyone. But once in a while, he lets his comic creativity shine.

All Family Meeting comics: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Snapping Turtle

Snapping turtle

From October 14, 2006

Corrie’s Point of View

Steve had been working 12 hour shifts for the past three days, and would be getting home at about 8:30 on Saturday night. The house was pretty messy, but friends were going to come over also at 8:30 to hang out. After a fairly relaxing day by herself, Corrie sprung into action at 6 pm, baking pound cake, cooking white bean and garlic soup for her dinner, biking to the store for a loaf of bread, and cleaning up the house. There was quite a bit of “Steve’s clutter” in the living room, which she efficiently scooped up and distributed back to their homes.

At 8:20, Steve walked in through the door. Corrie jumped up, excited that he was home a few minutes early. They hugged and exchanged welcome-home kisses. “How are you?” they both asked each other. Hug, hug, kiss, kiss.

Steve looked around and his eyes narrowed. “How come you didn’t take out the recycling?”

A moment of silence went by. The tension built. Corrie said, carefully, “Because I didn’t want to.”

Steve said, “You cleaned the rest of the house… how come you didn’t just take out the recycling, too?”

Many thoughts flew through Corrie’s head. Because Your Stuff was all over the living room and I had to clean it up! Because yes, I cleaned the whole rest of the house, and I didn’t feel like walking back outside to throw out the recycling!

The words flew out: “Well, WHY DON’T YOU HELP OUT AROUND THE HOUSE MORE?!”

Stunned silence.

Steve’s Point of View

The past three days had been crazy. Leaving for work, working 10-12 painful long hours, coming home really late, barely having time to hang out with Corrie before falling asleep. Steve was really excited to be able to just be home for a few days, get to hang out with Corrie and friends.

Walking through the front door, Steve could smell fresh-baked pound cake and other good food smells. He noted approvingly that the living room was spotless. Corrie had obviously found the time to clean the house. He would have helped… if he hadn’t been working so much.

Corrie was all smiles. They hugged and kissed. Steve looked around again. The counters were sparkling clean, the sink was shining, the dishes were put away…

In fact, the house looked awesome, but it was odd that the pile of recycling was still sitting in the kitchen, where it had been since last weekend’s party. Weird, he thought, why would she have gone to the trouble of cleaning everything up except for that?

“How come you didn’t take out the recycling?” Steve asked curiously.

Corrie stiffened. “Because I didn’t want to.”

Whoa, Steve thought, why not just answer the question? “You cleaned the rest of the house… how come you didn’t just take out the recycling, too?”

Steve was stunned when his loving wife just about took his head off: “Well, WHY DON’T YOU HELP OUT AROUND THE HOUSE MORE?!”


Steve couldn’t help laughing at my sudden outburst. After a bit of tense dialog, where we explained ourselves more clearly to each other, Steve teased me for being a “snapping turtle” (that’s what that creature is in the comic above). He also wanted to know if I had deep-seated resentments that I needed to talk about, since that overreaction must have been based in something.

Maybe I am out of touch with my feelings, but I sincerely believed that things would have been fine if he hadn’t said what seemed to me an unappreciative and critical remark. I think I’ve accepted that I generally like things cleaner than Steve does, and that my cleaning schedule is generally more accelerated than Steve’s. Usually I’ll either just clean things up and don’t have angst about it, or I’ll leave it for Steve to clean up a few days later than I personally would have, and it’s fine.

But that night was a combination of “his” friends coming over to visit and me cleaning up “his” mess, so I already had an attitude of feeling like I was doing him a favor. When he responded with what he thought was a simple question, I reacted as if he were criticizing what I had done “for him.” My attitude definitely could have used some adjustment — I don’t think healthy marriages involve keeping some sort of tally of “favors” — so that’s something I can be aware of in the future!

The Family Meeting

Family meeting

Once a week, on Friday afternoons while Benjamin naps, we try to have a family business meeting. We open with prayer, give compliments to each other, talk about the upcoming week, democratically decide on family issues (ranging from behavioral problems to what to do for family fun time), and give out allowance. We have a Field Notes notebook for our agenda and minutes, which Steve or I will fill out as the secretary, and we all take turns being the chairperson (since Matthew can’t read, one of us assists him by whispering in his ear). Overall, this has worked out well for our family, but sometimes it’s challenging even getting the meeting to begin!

All Family Meeting comics: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Steve at work

Steve at work

From September 2006.

Steve used to work as an EMT, which involved 24 hour shifts. At the station, there was a big room with six beds. One night, Steve ended up with the bed that was closest to the phone. The following is what he and his coworkers pieced together the next day:

3:30 am: The phone rings.

Steve reaches over, picks up the phone, and drops it on his pile of clothes, next to the bed.

Steve wakes up to the annoying beeping sound that phones make when they are off the hook, and the “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again” voice. He picks up the phone and puts it back on the hook. (He vaguely remembers this.)

3:33 am: The phone rings again. Steve picks it up and puts it to his ear. It is dispatch, calling to say that one of the units has a “Code 3,” which is an emergency (lights and sirens) call.

Steve hangs up the phone. A few seconds pass.

One of his coworkers asks, “So do we have a call?”

Steve lifts his head and says, “Yeah, you guys have a Code 3.”

Minor cursing as the two workers in that unit clamber out of bed to go run the call.

Steve goes back to sleep.

6:00 am: The phone rings. Steve picks it up. It is dispatch again. “This is the wake-up call for unit 707.” (Unit 707’s shift ends at 7 am, so the dispatch center gives a wake-up call so that they can be ready when the next shift comes on. In reality, though, they sleep as long as they possibly can, so they don’t actually get up when the wake-up call comes.)

Steve hangs up and says to the room, “707.” (He doesn’t remember this at all.)

The two employees think that this means that they have to run a call. They are both cursing up a storm because their shift ends in an hour, and running a call would put them past the end of their shift. As one of them is pulling on her jacket, she asks, “Hey, Steve, are we running a call?”

Steve wakes up briefly to say, “No, that was the wake-up call.”

Steve gets soundly cursed up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side, while he peacefully goes back to sleep.

His coworkers learned not to let Steve sleep near the phone anymore.

Mysterious thud

When a tree falls

From September 22, 2006

It was a very blustery night and day. In the middle of the day, I was startled by a large thump upstairs. I froze, listening, but didn’t hear anything else and kept working. Not too long after that, the internet and our phones went dead. They came back on several hours later.

Steve was working a 24-hour shift and didn’t come back until the next morning. He walked in and said, “Hey, you never told me about the building!” I walked outside and saw that a huge tree had fallen down and knocked part of the roof off of the apartment building right across from us!!

(The oval marks our apartment. The circle represents the tree that fell.)