As I sit here I've managed to consume four cups of fine Aldi Breakfast Blend coffee. Because I'm eating breakfast at 10:00pm? Haha, no. Because I need to stay awake for the next few hours to complete a project? No, no, remember that my MLHR project is done now. Because Aldi Breakfast Blend is actually slang for an illegally smuggled substance that I need to eliminate all trace of before the Feds bust down the door? Nope. Because I want to attain a new level of spiritual enlightenment? Why yes, that's correct.
You see, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which represents the start of Lent in some Christian traditions. I've never been part of a Christian tradition that observed Lent, but I do have an affinity for challenges of a certain nature. Therefore, the decision was made to participate this year. Not in Lent, but rather in The 2011 Lenten Challenge! (BOOM!! Oh look! Confetti!)
|Come Jesus, if not a loaf of bread, then surely a cup o' joe...|
One key to staying strong in Lent surely is the avoidance of temptation. Nobody says that you have to actively seek out temptation to make your Lenten sacrifice "legitimate," right? No doubt plenty of temptation will come along naturally to test you in the course of the day. So, one way I will avoid temptation is by not walking past the little cafe at my office. I typically don't buy anything from the cafe, but I will occasionally get a cup of coffee if a) I really need to wake up, and need something stronger than the free coffee available inside our office or b) I just can't stomach the free coffee available inside our office. Regardless of which scenario it is, I exclusively go for the Columbian Supremo. It's quite delicious, and really is a nice treat occasionally. There shouldn't be any need to go to the cafe with any frequency (and subject myself to temptation), because aside from coffee, the only reason I go to the cafe is if I want to get a packet of salad dressing for my lunch.
|Lassoing cattle down on the poppyseed vinaigrette|
Then again, for Lent I may need to add a few syllables and make it "Ranch, no coffee."
Getting back on track, another key consideration when staying strong during Lent is finding things to occupy your mind and your time in lieu of the thing you're giving up. The Lenten season really lines up very well with other happenings in my life in this respect, as I was anticipating getting back into the exercise routine again now that classes are concluding, and getting some physical activity in place of the usual evening cup of coffee will be a good tradeoff. I'd fallen off a bit over the past few weeks with the final project and papers and all that, not running or lifting, and the duct tape on the back of my Rocky poster even failed, causing Rocky to fall to the floor in an appropriately symbolic way. But I went for a run this past Sunday, causing my ankles and calf muscles to become nicely inflamed and achy, and I'm ready to get back to it. In fact, the upstairs bedroom is almost complete now, so I'll even be able to stick Rocky back up on the wall, as I'm sure that push-pins in the drywall will be much more effective than duct tape on plaster. This will allow Rocky to stay on the wall with much more endurance and longevity, again in an appropriately symbolic way.
As noted in my previous post, the floors upstairs were being redone, and this has now been completed. They look pretty good, and we actually learned that the staircase is made of Red Heart Pine, an extinct species of tree. This revelation was both cool (Our house has a rare material!) and disheartening (Our house contributed to the extinction of a species!). We learned about the Red Heart Pine from the guy who refinished the floors, as he had an eye for hardwoods, which is not surprising at all given his line of business.
In addition to presenting us with a fact about our staircase, the floor refinishing guy also presented us with a key that he had vacuumed up from one of the heat vents. Whenever they refinish the floors, they take out the grates and do a thorough vacuuming to make sure there isn't any dust floating around while the varnish is being applied. In addition to the fact and the key, the guy also shared with us that he had found a metal box under the floor in the bedroom. When Nate and I were pulling up the vinyl tiles we had uncovered a hole in one of the floorboards in the bedroom, and so prior to repairing the hole the guy had vacuumed down in it, as was his practice.
Well, the finding of a metal box under the floorboards would typically cause eyes to enlarge, pulses to quicken, and greed to be fueled. But in this case, shoulders sagged, rueful smiles appeared, and great plans were reluctantly discarded. The reason for this atypical reaction is the following: Upon finding the hole in the floor, and not finding any age-old treasure, the idea came to us to leave a time capsule for some future generation to find 100 years down the road, just as we had found a few objects from around the turn of the century (the 1900 turn, that is) upon moving into the house and starting to clean it out. What a great idea, right? Leaving behind a few objects for some future owner way down the line to unearth when he or she decided to remodel and take up the floor. The objects were chosen with no little consideration, and included my most recent Columbus Marathon finisher's medal, a picture from middle school cross country, my MLHR acceptance letter, and a pearl from Jen's necklace. These items were placed in a nice metal box (labeled Fossil for the wallet it used to contain - appropriately symbolic, eh?) which was then securely taped shut and inserted into the hole in the floor.
|An MLHR acceptance letter? Surely a moron use to inhabit this place!|
A vision brought on, no doubt, as my spirit is being enlightened through coffee withdrawal.