Friday, July 4, 2008

Prankfest Vol. I: Cunning & Craigslist

I am the Kung-Fu Master of practical jokes. With stealth like accuracy I hone in on my victim. When they are least suspecting it, Hiiiiiii YAH! I strike, leaving devastation in my wake. It is important that you know this about me because it is one of my spiritual gifts. It is not too much to say that I am the stuff of legends. One day in the nursing home, when all I have left are floral nightgowns and jello salad, I will still be pranking people. So when your time comes, choose a facility carefully or you might wake up to find your support hose are filled with Preparation H. That's just how I roll.

So welcome to my first recurring post, Prankfest. Much like the masked magician who gives away other magicians' secrets, I will let you in on some of my more delinquent trickery. I do this as a public service, really. Sadly, there are some among us who are, to put it delicately, prankagely challenged. They want to prank, they do! They long to soar on the wings of deception, racing skyward as mocking laughter carries them up, up, up to the heights of bright and shiny sarcasm. But alas, they are wearing leaded loafers. These are the prankless, the children that hijinks left behind.

Well fear not my orphaned friends! My hoaxes are not copy written. Steal them, I say! And because you are a virginal pranker, no one will ever suspect you. It is in this vein that I submit to you one of my more recent pranks.

Cunning & Craigslist

My husband loves me and knows how I am. Mind you, he's got a few tricks up his sleeve, too. But I digress. He is a straight laced CPA. He works in a sterile hovel of an office with a 10 key calculator and a stack of tax forms. He is analytical with a dry sense of humor. When he's at work, though, he's so focused on the task at hand that he has time for little else, including my shenanigans. And this is what makes him a perfect target.

One day, whilst paroozing Craigslist I stumbled upon the following ad:

Tailgate, Party Bus, Travel Bus, Camper $7000 Louisville, KY

This was just too easy. Here's the written response:

"This perfect for me. I do travil carnival family business, wuld like so very much your bus so my wives and childrens not have to ride with peting animal zoo no more. Have cash from recunt selling of ostrich and churros machine. Please you write back soon to this uhdress (insert husband's work e-mail). I am Dan. I pay you for bus soon as I look, must be sure it can be gutted and have rume for travel beds. Does bus have working toilet with seat? My wives be so very happy. So much thanking to you, Daniel"

It was a thing of glory.

They contacted him. What I wasn't counting on was that they were one of his clients. No, I'm not joking. Luckily his e-mail address is a bit obscure, so that saved my sweet patoot.

I signed him up for other stuff, too. But this, by far, was the best.

So, now it's your turn. Craigslist is still out there. Would I endorse such renegade revelry? Of course not, that would be naughty of me. But if by chance you do decide to exercise your spiritual gifts in this area, as long as no one gets hurt, you have my blessing. And Dan's. But he's at work right now so he's too busy to tell you that himself.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Welcome Home

I never planned on living in Kentucky. Ever. Originally I'm from Indiana. People from Indiana have an unfounded superiority complex about The Bluegrass State. The average Hoosier has their mind made up: Kentucky is backwoods, bare feet, and grits, served up in a dirty ashtray. So, like I said I never planned on living in Kentucky.

About 7 years ago husband had just been laid off. We had a 5 month old. And we left sunny Arizona in December to meet cold, rainy Louisville in winter. As I walked off the plane to my new home I had little more than my stereotypes and a cantankerous heart as secret companions. This was not going to turn out well.

We moved into an outdated apartment roughly the size of a walnut. Our downstairs neighbor was named Pig. I don't think he had a last name. (I'm not naming him "Pig" to protect his identity. His name was Pig.) He had a muddy, sag-faced blood hound chained to his porch, who howled all hours of the night. Pig had a rusted out red pick up, complete with Confederate flag and gun rack. Now Pig was a busy guy with two hobbies: balancing beer bottles on the curb and partying. Amazingly enough he was never available to baby sit for us.

As months passed, the seasons changed, but I didn't change along with them. I held onto my bitterness and loved it like an adulteress. I was not open to what God wanted or needed from me. Most of my free time was spent focusing on what I didn't have. If misery was what I wanted then God was going to let me marinate. No, God was not going to force me out of the hole I dug for myself. But for reasons beyond what I can understand, no matter how deep my hole became, He always held out a rope for me. Finally it dawned on me that in order to grab that rope I had to take both hands off my shovel.

It took me about 3 years to stop digging. The climb out of the hole wasn't quick or pleasant, then again, doctoring the wounds of self-destruction never is. But the journey out of the hole made me strong because I had to face my demons head on. (In the months to come you'll hear more about this process.) I had to stop lying to myself.

This is what I now know to be true: Louisville is a beautiful city. Flowering pear trees and Dogwoods make for a vibrant Spring. In the summer I could lose myself watching heaping barges float down the Ohio river, delivering coal and lumber. In the fall, the trees are spectacular. In the winter, if it snows enough, I find the people I love the most delighted by the red-cheeked, brisk wonder of it all. Louisville is my home. This is where I want to be. Any place can be home if God puts you there.

You see, I had a choice to accept my circumstances and grow into them, or reject them and watch everyone I loved outgrow me. I chose to walk both roads, one right after another. The journey was longer and harder than it needed to be. I've still got the scars to prove it.

Maybe you'll never move to Louisville, but sooner or later you'll face a crossroads, too. You can be like me and do it the hard way. Or you can decide now that you will never get your shovel out and never start digging. Instead, you can do the smart thing and trust God. That's when you'll look around and realized you've arrived. I hope you get to hear Him say, "Welcome Home."