Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Too long gone

January 18th

Wow, it's been a terribly long time since I've updated this. It's been so long that I even put off updating it on one or two of the few opportunities that I've had to work on it, just because I didn't know where to start. But now I have started. And so I must continue.

Since the last post, we took a few days and visited my family in Farmville, VA. Always exciting to have that many people and collie dogs crammed into a small house. Although two of the brothers missed each other, we were there long enough to catch all five of my siblings (along with John's wife, three kids, and the fiance (one "e" or two? I can never remember) of one of his daughters; also my sister's fiance (again with the "e" question). Once you add in my mom and dad, my wife, and my daughter, that made for one packed out little ex-trailor-house. All seemed to be doing pretty well, really. My next younger brother showed us some truly terrifying video footage (of the psychological terror variety, of course). He had the video from his training in the MS national guard, complete with footage of him throwing hand grenades and using an M16. The very thought of my younger brother with an assault rifle and grenades fills me with trembling, quivering, and several other manifestations of terror. Eek. Those of you who know him know what I mean. Those who don't, well, I guess you just don't. And might be rather less trembly than if you did.

Things really picked up last week. We started the week with revival services with Chris Miller, a Bill Rice Ranch evangelist and an old acquaintance of mine and Paul Funchess. The services went wonderfully on Sunday, with solid turnout. Monday night I had to work. Tuesday, we had a baptismal service, and four people were baptized. There are some great stories involved, but because they are all personal to the people involved, I'll forego passing them along. Sadly, I missed the baptismal service. I was terribly ill, but trying to play the piano anyhow. Didn't make it. I had to leave just before the start of the service. I suppose people found it preferable to the possibilities had I stayed around. After laying around rather miserably for most of Wednesday, I was healthy enough to make the conclusion to a great set of services.

In the meantime, the water cooling assembly for my computer arrived, on Monday, I think. I skimmed through the directions before pulling my computer apart, and decided that it didn't look too bad. Not quite as simple as the customer reviews of the product had led me to believe, but not too bad. Aside from the fact that the directions had obviously been written by someone for whom English was a third language, taken only for two years in high school. Many moons ago. But I digress. Over the course of Monday, I got the cooling gear assembled, and started to install it in the computer. Then I realized that I had missed one very important phrase in the directions when I skimmed through. That phrase was "on the back of" -- as in, "on the back of the motherboard." There was a clip that had to attach to the back of the motherboard to hold the processor cooler in place. Joy. This meant unplugging all sorts of things I had hoped not to need to unplug, and pulling the motherboard out of the computer. Then, in the middle of open heart surgery on my computer (being performed, by the way, on the dining room table), I got terribly ill. I had to leave the guts of my computer laying all over the dining room for a couple of days. Upon my return to relatively functional health, I found that I couldn't attach the new clip to the back of the motherboard because the old one was "integrated." Meaning that they clearly never meant for it to come off. At least insofar as I could tell. And of course the detailed product information is all online now (no phone customer service for us technologically advanced people -- no sir!) -- the booklet Intell provides with the motherboard very helpfully gives you the internet address for the help pages. But strangely, I found that I could not read the online material WITH MY COMPUTER IN TWO HUNDRED PIECES SPREAD ACROSS THE DINING ROOM. I don't think they would have helped anyhow. In absence of any proper tool, I ended up using nail clippers to cut the old clip off the motherboard. That was a terrifying hour spent struggling not to scratch the motherboard while hacking indestructible plastic from it with a blunt, curved clicking thing (the video card required much the same process). From there, it was just a matter of reassembling everything. That sounds easy. But it was rather like installing intestines and a carburetor into Frankenstein. While they are attached to his ear. By tubes too short to reach his belly. Most fun I'd had all year. (Note the length of the year at that point.)

Anyhow, my computer recovered from the operation on Friday night, just before we took off on Saturday to visit a church in southern New Jersey that asked me to come preach. The visit there Saturday and Sunday went very well.

And now we're back here. Dr. Stagno called in sick tonight about 45 minutes before the service, so I taught the Bible study tonight. Tomorrow I'll work, then Friday and Saturday I'll be with the teenage guys at a snow camp winter retreat. Then back here for Sunday morning, where Stagno will be out of town, and I'll preach. Whew.

I'm sure I've missed something. In fact, I'm sure I've missed any number of things. But this entry is far too long as it is, so I'm going to stop now.


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