You know what the problem is? It's a Ford. You know what Ford stands for? Fix It Again Tony. - Hank Hill

i'm saving a bunch on car insurance. unfortunately i had to spend that money on getting my truck towed off of the freeway last friday.
so this past weekend was our big 'blank page' retreat with the youth group. we were all stoked to get up to big bear, see some snow, and hammer out a mission statement and name for our ministry. i was pretty stressed out, it's my first retreat to plan and i was already over budget with food alone. so we head out and get as far as azusa when the truck makes this unhealthy noise. so i pull over and the truck dies on the side off the freeway. i've got four kids and all of the food for the weekend with me, so i'm not exactly excited about having to turn the hazards on in the middle of rush hour. ) sidenote to pasadena commuters: when you see a car with it's hazard lights on try and get off of the freeway, let them go. the alternative is that the vehicle will die right in front of you causing a traffic jam. jerks.) so a couple of the other cars in our caravan stop and pull over to see what's going on. we're already running 90 minutes late because it started to snow despite every news report that stated it wasn't going to, and we had to buy chains for three of our vehicles, that i find out later are not returnable even though we haven't busted the plastic. sidenote: jim's tire co. in simi valley is a rip-off and thier staff is not courteous. so back to me on the shoulder of the freeway. i call up one of the parents back in simi to see if he can ditch his weekend plans and take me and the kids+stuff up the mtn. for the weekend. mr clutch comes through and meets us on the freeway. in the meantime, two of the cars are already on their way up the mtn, and the other two are at a grocery store parking lot, patiently waiting to see what's going to happen to the youth minister's crappy car. also, another one of my parent's who is mr. clutch with cars has called a tow truck friend of his to pick up my ride and haul it back to simi valley for relatively cheap. so three hours later we're back on the road, tired, packed in like madmen, and ready to get to big bear.
other sidenotes about the truck situation: the kids were completely awesome about the whole thing. not single complaint or negative comment. one of my sixth graders even bought me a new car (think postcard) which was an awesome gesture, totally putting me in a good mood. that, and the group hug i got when we finally got going again. the big thing... it looks like i have a case against the geniuses at jiffy lube who apparently didn't tighten the oil plug enough when i had my oil changed last week. if the repairs for the truck are more than the value i can declare it totaled and get a check from jiffy lube. that'd be nice.
on to the good stuff. the retreat went awesome. better than planned. one of those 'God is def here moments'. we got started late but the kids were high energy.... surprise surprise. we had a quick little session, some snacks, but mostly relaxed and hung out. the morning session went as planned, and then we went sledding. this part was nuts. one of the other youth ministers had told me about a spot they found in a little residential area. i'm expecting a backyard with a little slope to it, and what we got was what used to be a green diamond ski run. it was awesome. one of those things where the kids were already charging up the hill pretending not be be intimidated while the parents looked at me like i was nuts. i told them that's what the medical releases were for and hiked up the hill myself. it was pretty insane. the best part was that we had the whole hill to ourselves for a few hours. not a soul in sight till past noon. gotta love being able to have an eight man sledding race. so we wrecked ourselves pretty good, but the crash of the day had to go to one of my chaperones that had never been been in the snow before and went tandem from the top of the hill. the girl in front could have jumped over me, and the girl on the back crashed so hard and fast that her jacket left a blue streak down the hill. i've seen some wicked cool sledding before but nothing that left a streak in the ice.
and on to the main reason we went up there: the whole point of the retreat was to come up with a name and a mission statement for the youth ministry. the kiddos came up with ignite, which i really like. there's an element of not being in control that i like to the name. considering this is what i did in college for four and a half years i didn't think i'd be able to remember how to pull off getting the group into this, but they seemed pretty stoked. despite all of the peripheral stuff that went down, watching the kiddos have fun together makes my day. that, and they seemed pretty driven which def makes my job easier. we'll see how this carries over into other stuff, but i'm pretty excited for the next few months.
other stuff....
monday wasn't exactly a day off because the cuz had his mom in town and we went up to visit santa barbara. it was cool for several reason. 1. it's always good to go visit a beach town for the day. b. i found a vinyl copy of johnny cash-live at folsom prison at this thrift store. that's been a bit of a white whale in my vinyl collection for the past 8 years or so. 3. since we were up in santa barbara, home of ucsb, home of jack johnson, we declared it jack johnson day and listened to nothing but his mellow tunes all day.
not so cool things about spending the day in santa barbara 1. all we did was go shopping. sorry, but shopping as a tourist should be confined to picking up local stuff for non-locals. b. all we did was go shopping, which meant we walked all day between overpriced stores (which exist all over the us) and not a step on the sand that separates the land from the sea ( i like to call that area the beach). 3. lastly, we had to drive to go shopping. there's a mall ten minutes in either direction of where i live, and we drove an hour and a half to find one that was more expensive.
all in all it was a good day. chillin with an ocean view and jack johnson songs stuck in your head is pretty hard to beat, no matter how many 'specialty shops' you have to wade through to see it. did i mention i found some johnny cash on vinyl too?
more other stuff...
the girl from palapa has called me a few times, which is somewhat surprising. unfortunately she makes jessica simpson sound like a genius. that, and i'll be the first to say that there's a big difference between being a ditz and being just plain dumb. all good though, at least i can say i've given my phone number to a girl that i've met at a mexican restaurant. is that a good thing?

gotta give props to mi madre as well. the constant thing going through my head, (and i think through the cuz's too) was how stressful it is entertaining parents who visit. got me to thinking about mi madre and how easy she is to be around. it's cool to be able to do anything or noting and still have a good time. that, and i don't think she'd let me take her all day to go shopping on a trip out to socal. we'd prob end up mexican dive hopping instead, and run across something no tourist would ever see.

gotta give props to me padre as well. we always did the typical national lampoon type vacations, but they were always fun. no reason why, except that my parents weren't that bad to hang out with. my parents will prob debate this, but i can't really recall a whole lot of times that i absolutely refused to be around them. i may have blocked some of that out of my memory, or something like that, but i can't remember mi madre or padre ever contributing to a vacation being lame.

then there's my sister... hehe. she's trying to spend the summer out here with me and the cuz. i wasn't too keen on her staying at our place, but she said she wouldn't come otherwise. the more i think about it, i think it's gonna be fun having her around for a while. i know me and the cuz could use someone else to make fun of. actually, shar is pretty cool and we've always got along really well. despite her being a dork, and me being the best brother ever, we get along famously. enough that i wouldn't mind having her sleep in our dining area on an inflated mattress for ten weeks or so.

while i'm handing out props, i keep going back to my kids and how cool they were with everything that happened on friday night. we were stuck on the freeway, they had to pile into other cars, we ended up being 4 hours late, and not a single complaint or negative comment was said all weekend. one of my sixth graders even bought me a new car (picture). man, if i were in the youth group i'd be all over the smart alec comments. not one all weekend from the kiddos, or the parents for that matter.

tax season is creepy. supposedly ministers are supposed to get off pretty easy, but i have a sinking feeling about this. i even went out and bought some turbotax program at bestbuy. fingers are crossed as of right now.

underrated hottie of the week goes to lacey chabert.
overrated hottie of the week goes to halle berry.

oprah and martha stewart have a plan to take over america. they may act like they have nothing to do with each other, but i think we've got evil plans on the bond-villain scale in the works. call it a gut feeling, but i think martha is more dangerous now that she's been in prison.

wal-mart is a front for their plan.

walking around barefoot is one of the joys of not working in an actual office.

i had breakfast today with the sr. saints of our church and didn't hear one mention of any health issues. call gennis.

the last thing i need to hear is another uk band that sounds like the strokes. are we ready for the 4th wave of ska yet?

after our weekend at big bear, i ended up with a lost and found pile that was made up almost entirely of wet socks., yeah, i think it's safe to say those are okay to throw away.

well, thats all for now. i gotta go pick up some pizzas for the kiddos for small group tonite.
one love, one heart.

1 comment:

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