Do You Live For The Moment, or Plan for the Outcome?

When I bought my condo in 2000, I can remember my realtor telling me something: "Whenever buying a house, you should always ask yourself ‘How can I get out of this if I need to?’" It was wise advice that we should have better followed during our last refinance.

My wife and I often repeat the same argument when we go to the store. When she parks the car, like many people, she wants to park as close to the entrance as possible. When I park the car, I’m thinking about the other end; how the heck am I going to get back out of this parking lot? This isn’t an issue everywhere, but in New Jersey, roads and parking lots seem to be built in very bad places. Everything seems to be made harder than it has to be, just like our taxes and regulations. Most drivers in New Jersey seem to think that wherever they have to get is more important than your life, and they seem to think nothing of running over a new dad and his 1 year old just to get that parking spot close to Wal-mart so they don’t have to walk. God forbid you should have to walk, people! I apologize, but I’ve been wanting to say that to those people for years, and this is the only real platform I have.

When I pull up at the Voorhees, NJ Target, I like to park on the side so I can get out the back. I know that if I can find a spot right in front of the store, I’m going to have to sit there forever, boxed in by people who want a close parking spot. I also have to cross in front of the store, where I have to dodge cars driven by people who have no intention of stopping. At least if I park on the side, I don’t think it’s that far of a walk, but I can drive out the back where I don’t have to deal with a lot of traffic. I do a lot of things that way. I’m always trying to figure out, before I go in, how I can get back out.

(Also, when I was growing up, my dad would deliberately park as far as he could from a store, weather permitting of course, and we would enjoy the walk. That stayed with me, but doesn’t fly with my wife.)

I obviously don’t live my entire life by this philosophy; nobody could. In general, however, do you think this way? Do you make decisions based on what’s easier going in, or coming out?

I’m not even saying this is the best way to look at things; it’s just the way I tend to do them. Sometimes I won’t agree or willingly follow along based on my assessment of the outcome. This is silly, but I don’t like hotel pools. It’s not that I don’t like swimming, but when I’m done, I’m done and I want to get out. When I go to a pool with my wife, I have to wait for her to be done. Now that we have kids, I can’t even enjoy the swimming. I can’t splash Joshua because it gets him upset. Caleb can’t swim yet, and if I ask my wife to watch the kids while I swim to the end of the pool and back, I’ll be accused of not helping with the kids "enough." I have no idea what that means and I have been asking for years to have it quantified in a way that I can understand. The nearest definition I can come up with for "you’re not helping me with the kids enough", from other dads, blogs, and James Dobson books (OK, not Dobson in particular, but books in general) is that when a woman says "You’re not helping me with the kids enough", it is an arbitrary and capricious definition that men can sort of understand by thinking of it in the context of "you’re not having sex with me enough." In other words, dads, no matter what you do, it will never be enough. Of course, this could add in to Proverbs 30. As Agur wrote, (Pro 30:15ff-16) "There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say "Enough!": The grave, the barren womb, the earth that is not satisfied with water, and the fire never says "Enough!" (NKJV). Perhaps we could add husbands and wives to that verse.

In any case, because I know I won’t have fun, and we’ll have to stay in the pool long after I’m done, often when we travel, I will resist the suggestion to go to the hotel pool. I try to fight trips to the grocery store for the same reasons, plus we have to go through the darn parking argument again. I don’t understand why it’s considered quality time for me to take her to the grocery store, but it’s a waste of time for her to go to Best Buy with me. (It’s actually a waste of time to go to Best Buy for any reason unless our router breaks according to my wife.)

This blog entry just keeps on growing. I’m very tired, which explains the rambling. We’re traveling. I’m on a business trip, but my wife and kids came with me. I haven’t slept much in the last two nights. I’m really enjoying the meetings though, and I’m finding this trip to be enjoyable and productive, work-wise. Today after work, we rented one of those car-bikes, with two seats side by side with pedals, and a bench in front for the kids. It turned out that the seat was too low for me, too high for my wife, and I had to do all the work pedaling. It wore me out. Then we walked up the boardwalk a while, then back down the beach. I’m worn out, so I’m babbling. I may want to delete this later, but nobody reads my blog anyway.

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