How I almost failed P.E. class

Years ago when I was a student in a small Christian school, our physical education teacher (who happened to live less than a block away from campus), decided to put a gym in his garage so that the 7th-12th grade boys could work out. He filled the small space with donated weight-lifting equipment and exercise machines, and most of the guys were delighted to get to show off their machismo during the last hour of school a couple of days each week.

Me and my two best friends weren’t nearly so excited about the situation. We were the skinny and awkward outsiders who were more concerned with how our hair looked than whether our muscles bulged, and we typically dreaded P.E. class. Not only was the teacher a jerk most of the time, years of being called gay slurs by the older boys hadn’t helped our self-esteem or our desire to hang around and watch them show off for each other.

During our first class at this garage/gym, most of the guys went straight for the weight-lifting equipment and ignored the stationary bikes that were sitting in a row along the back wall. That made it perfectly convenient for the three of us to leave the others to their revelry, and do something that was out of the way and, frankly, not too physically-exhausting. So, we hopped on the bikes and began our usual back-and-forth banter about popular culture.

It wasn’t long before the teacher abruptly appeared in front of us and proclaimed loudly, “When you girls are done with the bikes, some of the guys would like to use them.”

The words stung.

After experiencing years of taunts like fag, queer, homo, and sissy, we were now being humiliated in front of some of those same perpetrators by the very person who was supposed to be our protector. And at a Christian school, no less.

After that incident, I began skipping P.E. class. I would either go to another teacher and claim to not feel good (which was true, in a way), or I would simply disappear into the school library until the day ended. I wound up with a D for what should have been an easy class – which stood out significantly against all of the A’s and B’s on the remainder of my report card.

We moved on from the incident. Two of us came out after high school; one still seems to be in the closet. I can’t remember if we ever even discussed what happened, but I suspect it scarred all of us in some way.

I sometimes see Mr. Teacher around town. He works at a local home improvement store, and he even speaks when I run into him. He probably has no recollection of what he said or how he acted, and he most certainly has no idea how his words can still bother me all these years later.

All men are created equal

The intelligent and good man holds in his affections the good and true of every land – the boundaries of countries are not the limitations of his sympathies. Caring nothing for race, or color, he loves those who speak other languages and worship other gods. Between him and those who suffer, there is no impassable gulf. He salutes the world, and extends the hand of friendship to the human race. He does not bow before a provincial and patriotic god – one who protects his tribe or nation, and abhors the rest of mankind.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Cozy Craftsman

It took Honey and me about 10 minutes to decide on a house plan. We knew we wanted a Craftsman home, so we entered some parameters on a home plan site and we both loved the way this one looked in the render. The floor plan is also perfect for us; nice and open, not too big or too small.

I can’t decide whether I want a gray or green exterior, but it will be a while before we have to make that decision. I love the tapered columns, the stonework, and the front steps. It looks very cozy, and I know it will look great perched on the hill overlooking our pond.

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Game plan

We closed on our new property loan Tuesday, and I am anxious to begin the next phase of our transition. Our path forward may be building a garage on the new property to live in while we sell our current home, as that will allow us to free up some money before we begin building a new house.

So, basically, we might be kind of “roughing” it for awhile, which I am completely fine with. In fact, there is a part of me that is looking forward to stripping down to the bare essentials by getting rid of things we no longer need. A big garage sale will probably be in our near future.

Our home needs some updates before we list it, so we are shooting for putting it on the market this coming spring. I figure the blooming trees and shrubs will add some excellent curb appeal.

So, for now, we are getting quotes on repairs and new construction projects. I expect this process to take longer than expected, since it seems that’s just the way these things work, but hopefully we will be at the new place before too much time goes by.

I am currently about to die to get started on whipping the new place into shape. There are a few trees that need to come down, limbs to pick up, and mowing/trimming to be done. There are also some plants that I want to move with me, and autumn is the perfect time to transplant things. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating as it has rained every day for a week.

They say good things come to those who wait, so I am doing my best to be patient.

I choose you

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose looming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

– from “The Wild Rose” by Wendell Berry