Recent searches

This is a cheap way for me to continue my recent flurry of posts, but sometimes I think it’s a shame that I’m the only one who regularly sees how random people mistakenly (more or less) fall through this trap door. So here are a few recent searches that caused folks to find this quiet corner of the interwebs…

Where+Can+I+Find+Free+Money+to+help+with+my+taxes led some poor soul to this post. It probably wasn’t what they were looking for since I was actually telling them to give more money away. Hey buddy, let me know if you find actual free money for anything anywhere.

rich+mullins+chain+smoker – a search that led both here and, I suspect, to a dead-end of disappointment for someone who was probably hoping that this is just a nasty rumor about Rich. It isn’t. Jesus, people, and nicotine. He loved ’em.

is always my favorite…proof that I don’t have the most tech savvy friends in the world since there are a few who continually find me by searching rather than using bookmarks or blog readers. Also this might be my wife.

man hair styles – This is a very tame sampling of the weird search hits I started getting when I made this post. They’re all searches through the msn image search page, and they all lead to the archive page for January 2004. Weird. There are some that are far more entertaining, but I am not interested in drawing the traffic I’d draw if I published those words here.

I don’t have a current link for this, but several times a year I still get a hit from someone searching some form of the phrase "my urine smells like butter" leading folks to no scientific help, but some level of empathy from a boy named smanny.

Behind the Music: the Norvell marital dynamic

The following scene unfolded a few minutes ago:

Amy and I were sitting in bed with Amy watching "Idol Gives Back" (the big American Idol charity show) and me doing miscellaneous meaningless stuff online (assuming you categorize working to defend my fantasy baseball championship as meaningless, and I know most of you do).

As the Idol folks drag through various celebrity stump speeches about how we should give more money to people in Africa and New Orleans, I insert assorted smarmy comments (not about people in Africa or New Orleans). I mean, can you blame me? I was exposed to Hannah Montana (playing some other character who uses her real name, apparently) for the first time (along with her achy breaky daddy).

So Amy tolerates my scintillating wit for a bit, then reaches over, puts her hand on my arm, and says "I can’t take it tonight."

I look back at her innocently.

She gestures at the macbook in my lap and says, "Go blog something sarcastic." What?

But speaking of Hannah Montana…really? Is this really still happening? Are people still encouraging their children (she’s 15, I think) to be famous? Are men really allowing their daughters to purport to be a wholesome example for young girls, then get on stage and sing very adult songs in very adult ways with their cleavage exposed? What the hell, Billy Ray?

I mean, here’s a dude who should know better. Don’t tell me Billy Ray Cyrus isn’t intimately acquainted with the dark, fickle side of "rich and famous." Yet he not only allows this; he appears to be rolling Joe Simpson on us. And if there was any doubt about that, it was erased in a video segment of he and his daughter, Hannah Ray Montana, wandering around rural Kentucky teaching kids to read or something. I think I prefer the mulleted Billy Ray to the "desperately trying to look cool weird rock stair haircut fake tan almost 50-year old Billy Ray." Yikes.

And please don’t let my sarcasm obscure this fact – this makes me both angry and sad. This script has played out over and over, and rarely well. I have two daughters. This is why (well, one of the "whys") I don’t want them getting attached to any of the popular teen-idol phenoms, no matter how wholesome or innocuous they seem. Britney played the good girl routine out of the gates. So did Jessica. How is that working out for parents who saw them as harmless?

I know I don’t know what I’m talking about with this girl. I’d never really seen her before this thing, and it obviously wasn’t her main thing. I just know this…it’s way past time we start protecting our kids from both ends of fame — from being famous and from being enamored with famous people, especially famous kids.


1. the
tendency of a system, esp. the physiological system of higher animals,
to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of
its parts to any situation or stimulus tending to disturb its normal
condition or function.
2. Psychology. a state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced or eliminated.

Tonight our family has rediscovered homeostasis. Now if you’re like me (and for as many times as I’ve typed those words here, I have yet to have anyone indicate that they are), you have a hard time seeing or hearing the word homeostasis without thinking about the kid in sixth grade science class who giggled every time the teacher used the word because, well, "he said homo" (even though he didn’t actually say "homo.") That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about equilibrium; an elimination of tension.

I left our church gathering tonight about half-way through the sermon (it wasn’t me preaching, though I’ve been tempted to leave half-way through one of my sermons before) to pick up Amy at the airport. She survived her excursion to the west coast; we survived her excursion to the west coast.

I thought this experience might provide us all with some classic tragic-comic moments…you know, stories about me running around the house with one kid screaming, another bleeding, and the third covered in her own bodily fluids. No such luck. It all went really well. I’m not saying I’m great at being a single parent, but everyone stayedImg_0607_2 fed and clothed (they even had baths Saturday), the house stayed clean, and I can only recall about three total spankings. I’d say the over/under on that was a bit higher.

I had some great help in spots, and I really appreciate that. It probably kept me just north of sane. That said, it was more or less just the four of us for the bulk of the five days. I’m not eager for any more stretches like this, but it was good to have this kind of intense time with the three of them. I love them, and I don’t ever want to complain about time with my kids. They’re a blessing in small and large doses.

And all that said, we aren’t really us without Amy around. She’s the glue and the motor and the heart of all that happens at 201 Augsburg Court. My kids are so deeply connected to her and the subtle changes in them when she’s not around aren’t so subtle to me. She centers them and steadies them, and she also has an almost supernatural ability to locate and enliven their unique personalities and energies. I’m pretty good at wrestling and tickling and wiping butts and reading stories and spanking and giving hugs and discussing the logical progression of the series of events that led to your spanking, but she does all the heavy lifting. The real kicker is that all those things she does for Aiden, Ella Grace, and Ainsley – she does them for me too.

So our system needs her coordinated responses to all the disturbances in our normal condition to maintain our internal stability. She’s the keeper of homeostasis around here, and we’re all thrilled she’s back.

Also I’m going to sleep late Monday morning, which will rule.

What I meant to say…

Let me clarify that hilarious joke in my previous post where, depending on how you read it, I might have insinuated that some blogging moms are terrible mothers. Once upon a time I knew exactly who was reading my words. Now I never know who’s hanging around here, which means not everyone knows how to process my razor sharp wit. What I was doing there, of course, was noting that being the primary (and especially sole) caregiver to multiple kids is very hard work…very time consuming, exhausting, and so forth. And I was confessing that this is a lifestyle to which I am not particularly accustomed. I meant no offense to anyone except, of course, anyone who is actually neglecting their children. That’s bad. Don’t do that.

Still alive

The fact that I’ve gone dark here should not be interpreted in any ominous way. It just turns out the time/energy necessary for chronicling this journey is spent on the kids (leading me to conclude, of course, than any moms who blog every day multiple times a day are terrible mothers). That part inside the parenthesis is a joke, of course. More or less.

Amy lands in less than five hours. We’re all way beyond ready to have her home.

First injury of note – Friday, 9:20 a.m.

I think I can be cleared of parental negligence on this one, but Aiden just shut Ella Grace’s hand in the back door. She’s fine – just some red fingers. It’s only worth mentioning for two reasons.

First, I’m paranoid about doors. I’m regularly over-disciplining my kids about playing with doors because I have weird visions of severed fingers from a slamming door. I have no idea whether any child has ever lost an appendage this way. I’ve never shaken the three-fingered hand of a grown-up and been told they were maimed in a tragic door-slamming incident as a child. Facts are irrelevant to my neurosis.

The more interesting part of the story, though, is that within about 15 seconds of Ella starting to cry, Aiden started crying because he closed the door on her hand. Within 90 seconds of that, Ella (who was not really crying anymore) was asking Aiden (who was still crying), "Are you otay Aiden?"

Mark it

I’m going to bed before midnight. Barely, but it counts. This may seem a confusing and pointless post to most, but to the extent that this blog serves any biographical purpose, this is a significant event. I can’t remember the last time it happened when I wasn’t two time zones away from home.

Also on a very related note, I’m a single dad for five days as Amy is two time zones away from home in LA. I’ll try to document this adventure in some way over the next couple of days. So far everyone is still alive and free of physical or emotional scars, but it’s early. We still have three days to make some memories.


In a month or two some machine in the bowels of the IRS headquarters* will start churning out pieces of paper which will be mailed to most tax-paying Americans with numbers in multiples of $600 printed on them which, for reasons I still don’t understand despite making a solid C in honors economics my sophomore year at A&M, will be accepted by banks as real money. Now we could get into a whole thing here about whose money this is in the first place and whether or not the government has a right to employ an agency
not particularly shielded by the Constitution to take money from us. But we won’t. I mLeskomatthewean, who has the energy for IRS fights? Well, someone does, but not me. I’m just rolling with Jesus who said that Caesar can have the coins he prints his face on; the rest of my time and energy and loyalty is pledged elsewhere, and that enterprise sufficiently occupies me.

But that’s not why you came. Why did you come, by the way? I’m sure you’re asking yourself that question now. Well, whether you realize it or not, you came to let me make you uncomfortable about your plans for the money you’ll be getting back from the gub’ment. The President and his money counters are "giving" you this money, not as benevolent philanthropists, but in hopes that you’ll stroll down to the Piggly Wiggly and stock up on SPAM and bottled water for Y2K. Wait…crap, wrong major crisis that’s going to change our lives. Let’s try that again. They’re "giving" you this money in hopes that you’ll pour it into new SUVs and couches and Guess Jeans and Swatches (again, sorry, my brain keeps jumping eras). If you’d pour it into something that costs more than they "give" you so that you have to borrow some of that money at the new low, low interest rates that the Fed has also "given" you, that would be even better. Nothing stimulates the US economy like people spending more money than they have.

I’m running out of steam, but I would like to politely request that you stick it to Uncle Sam, who is "giving" you money so that you can promptly spend it on something you probably don’t need and bail him out of having to deal with the political fallout of a potential recession. Instead, use the money to get out of debt. Use it to buy something for someone who actually needs something but can’t afford it. Use it to help a college kid you know pay off some of his debt. Use it to help an unwed pregnant mother pay for medical care and food and housing (incidentally, a far better way to promote a life-ethic than picket signs and political donations).

Some guys I know from our days in PA have gotten a little nuts with this idea and started
a beautiful movementLogo01 called Pentecost Project. They are encouraging us to take our stimulus money and invest, share, and reduce. I think this idea is brilliant, and I encourage you to get on board. Those not cooperating will not receive their 2008 Home Anywhere Stimulus Package Rebate. Sorry. I’m drunk on power.

* I know the checks aren’t printed in the IRS basement, but it makes for a better story. We all know they’re being printed on Cheney’s inkjet.