How Do You Know?

I apologize for the lack of posting lately. I’ve had a lot on my mind.

The Lady Friend and I have been together for a little over a year now. A few months ago we had a conversation that was a little shocking. Pretty much out of the blue she said something to the effect of “You’re the man I want to marry.”

Once she made up her mind, she saw no reason to delay. She swears the biological clock didn’t have any effect on her decision that I’m the man for her, but willingly admits that it’s partly why she wants to get married quickly. Unfortunately for her, my baggage is a lot heavier than hers. I’ve had a relationship or two go off the rails with very little warning, so I told her she was going to have to wait a little while before I was ready to pick out rings and guest towels.

Ever since then I’ve been pondering it. How do you know when the time is right to get married? It’s not just a question of love. I’ve known that I love her for a long time now. My heart is ready to go, but my head insists on being practical. Some of the things to consider……

  • Do I want to become a father soon? (I can’t say my biological clock is ticking, but I don’t want to be paying college tuition in my golden years. So if there are kids to be had, it’s going to be soon.)

  • Can I handle being broke again? (Kids are expensive, and it’s a package deal for her. She also doesn’t want to work while they’re babies, so no more Xbox or nice vacations.)

  • Do I want to become a dog owner? (Usually fun, but makes vacations tricky and I don’t have the stomach for picking up dog poo.)

  • Do I want to move to Old Hickory? (Her house has a fenced yard for the aforementioned dog but the commute is painful and selling my condo this soon is going to cost me.)

  • Can I get along with her family and her with mine? (That question has been answered now that Thanksgiving is past. Definite trial by fire for both of us.)

  • Can a practical engineer and a free thinking artist get along in the long term? (I think so. Mostly because her father was an engineer, and enough of his practicality rubbed off on her for us to understand each other.)

  • Am I okay with marrying a teacher? (It sucks getting up at 530 AM all summer and watching her sleep in. Not to mention going to bed at 10 PM when she’s just getting started. And I worry about her when she’s at work. Her school isn’t one of the better ones in Metro.)

In the end, I’m sure I’m going to get married. But in the mean time I feel a little dizzy. I think at some point you just have to go for it. Any of you married or divorced folk have helpful insight? I won’t turn away helpful insight from single people either.


Hunting in Public

I was visiting the family for Thanksgiving last week, and I found myself on a busy rural highway on a busy Saturday morning. I noticed two guys in orange vests just off the road at the intersection with a small county road ahead of me. At first I thought they were highway maintenance workers, but then I noticed they both had rifles, and one of them had a tree stand on his back. I was traveling by at 60 mph so it took me a few more seconds to notice the deer carcass lieing on the ground between them.

I don’t hunt and really don’t see the pleasure in it, but I have no fight with hunters. At least not most hunters. But these guys on the other hand…. there was no truck handy and it wasn’t anyone’s yard, so they apparently just shot that deer right there on the side of the road with a highway 20 ft away and someone’s house not more than 50 ft from them. That gives me the chills. It wouldn’t take much of a hand tremor for them to end up shooting some poor guy on his way to visit grandma.


Don't Make A Federal Case Out Of It

In the course of my early voting I downloaded the sample ballot from the Davidson County Election Commission. Unless you've been out preparing for the zombie apocolypse you've been hearing about Constitution Amendment 1 and how it defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

It's a really bad idea for any number of reasons. But morality issues aside, I'd never read the actual wording before and when I looked at the sample ballot, one particular sentence jumped out at me:

If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.

I disagree with this amendment, and voted against it. But I could probably live with it if it wasn't for that particular sentence. It's incredibley stupid. It potentially put a thumb in the eye of all 49 other states since we're not willing to recognize their judgement. I wouldn't go as far as Short and Fat's worry about them not recognizing TN driver's licenses, but this is not a good step for Tennessee to take. Not only does it bring us into conflict with other states, but it also forces the issue up to the federal level. New Jersey has already had a court ruling forcing them to recognize gay marriage in some version. New Jersey may end up calling them civil unions instead, but it's only a matter of time before some state starts performing gay marriages and isn't considerate enough to ban out of state couples like New Hampshire. As soon as that happens you can bet some enterprising gay couple will be off to exchange rings. And the minute the ceremony is over they'll be back in Nashville filing court papers.

With this type of conflict between states, any action would have to be in a federal court. The second that lawsuit enters federal court the homegrown supporters of Amendment 1 lose all control of the situation. I can't really imagine a federal court upholding this, and I have no idea what a conflict between the state constitution and a federal court would result in. But I can't imagine Tennessee coming out on top. They're essentially taking this from a states rights issue and making it a federal issue because there's no way the federal government can allow states to not recognize marriages performed in other states.

To me it looks like some people are getting greedy. Gay marriage is already against the law, but they want to get it into the Constitution so we can't change our mind. In the process I think they're going to make it more likely to change, not less. And it's liable to force a national policy on the topic.


I Think He Does It On Purpose

I’m not sure if it’s generally true, or just reflects my choices of reading, but in my experience the Nashville blogosphere tends to lean more to the left than the right. But Channel 2 did manage to hire one of the more intelligent conservative bloggers for their political blog.

Kleinheider strikes me as a pretty sharp fellow but every couple of weeks, like clockwork, he says something totally inflammatory. Personally, I think it’s a plan on his part. For professional bloggers, readers put food on the table. So if the numbers start to get a little low, Kleinheider knows how to bring them back up. If this week’s double whammy is any indication, he must be planning ahead for his Christmas bonus. That’s the only motivation I can see for him to agree with John Kerry.

I’m not going to try and do any sort of thorough refutation of what he has said, that’s been done by people better than I at it. But I do have a couple of points that he may have overlooked when calling the U.S. Army a catchall for the stupids of the country.

A friend of mine who serves in the Army as an officer mentoring young enlisted men also has a brother who coaches football at a community college. The brother is constantly complaining about having to deal with the uncoachable wild young men of limited intelligence in his charge.

My friend could only respond to his brother that he was lucky because he was charged with leading and shaping young boys who couldn't even get in to community college. It was said jokingly, but it was funny because it was true.

You’re sort of selecting the sample that proves your point. The ‘young enlisted men’ who are well put together and staying out of trouble don’t actually need your friend as a mentor. The pool of men your friend mentors may be useful to your point in a deceptive sort of way, but they don’t necessarily represent the army as a whole.

The elite does not enlist in the military. They don't go to war. They avoid service. If they do enlist, they serve as officers.

What kind of elite are we talking about here? I assume we’re talking about the intellectual elite due to the context with Senator Kerry’s comment and all. So what makes someone intellectually elite? A college education? Native intelligence? If it’s a college education that makes you elite, then I suppose at least that sentence is mostly correct, while doing nothing to prove your overall point about stupid soldiers. I’ve known a lot of very intelligent people who could get into college but couldn’t pay for it. The U.S. military provides one of the best ways to fund college in the form of the G. I. Bill. So the ‘elite’ that can afford college don’t have to sign up, but the smarter folk from lower class families have to go get shot at before they can pay for college.

Kleinheider in the comment section:
The composition of the military in total is not what we are talking about we are talking about the people on the ground, the people who actually die.
I guess now we’re talking about infantry instead of the radar tech or mechanic or translater. That’s a finer distinction than was made by Senator Kerry or Kleinheider's original post. It sounds a little like back pedaling to get out of trouble.

Feel free to point out the gaping holes in my arguments. Any of you.

This post was pretty cynical of me, so rather than question the man's integrity I want to clarify myself. Kleinheider probably really is sincere. It's just that the incendiary posts come with such regularity it's hard to not come to the point of thinking "Oh, it's been two weeks since Kleinheider said something mean. It's about time for a new controversy."

I Found Halloween

When I was a kid we lived in a fairly rural area. The houses were a good distance apart, and the road was windy, narrow, and hilly. It’s not really the kind of place you want your kids walking around after dark, so the only trick or treaters that we had were people we knew. And we always had to go into town where the neighborhoods were lit and the houses were close together for our own trick or treating.

When I moved out of the parents’ house I moved into apartments. When I was a youngster I always thought apartment complexes would be the best place for trick or treating. I had day dreams about all those doors to knock on with only a few steps between. Maximum candy for minimum effort. (Even then I had a little engineer in me.) But sadly, most apartment dwellers get surly if you knock on their door and expect something.

So I’ve never experienced Halloween from the other side of the door before. Until last night. I spent Halloween at the Lady Friend’s house. She lives in a nice quiet neighborhood in the Old Hickory area. It’s a prime trick-or-treat location. Our first costumed youngster showed up at 5:30 and we had a constant stream of them until 7:30 when we gave it up and turned off the light. The crowd was so bad I gave up trying to sit down in between knocks on the door. We ended up outside, sitting at the bottom of the stairs.

The highlights of the evening:

-While we were still inside one 10 year old came to the door. When he saw a Ford for Senate commercial playing on the television behind he gave a cynical sigh and said “I see Ford is on TV again.” At that point we had an entire conversation about politics. This ten year old was at least as cynical as me. The conversation ended with his comment, “Well, at least the battle for Washington will be over soon.” Best kid all night.

-This one guy had to be at least 15. He came to the door dressed as a gift box. When we opened the door he showed us the tag that said To: Women, From: God. Fortunately for him, I was in charge of candy, so he got extra. If the Lady Friend had been in charge he might have gotten the hose turned on him.

-A gang of 14-15 year old boys came to the door dressed as characters from Napoleon Dynamite. It was pretty surreal to see the cast of the movie coming up the sidewalk.

- Watching the Lady Friend's giant dog eat a sucker. He's part golden retriever and part husky. The husky part is only in his build. So he looks like a double size golden retreiver. Watching him try to eat a sucker was comedy gold.