Adult Principles

I had, in the back of my head, an idea for a project I wished to undertake. 

The idea was to compile a list of traits that I (personally) felt were important to…

…Being a man (and a productive member of society at large)
…Being a husband (one that is loving, caring, and mindful of the needs of his wife)
…Being a father / grandfather (loving, nurturing, cognizant of the needs while instilling
                                            a sense of morals and values for his children / grandchildren

I had a couple of key “components” already listed down on paper that I had been adding to / overhauling as ideas came to mind.  My list included such items as Dignity, Understanding, Patience, Forgiveness, Honesty, and Faith.  These are the traits that I have found myself trying to live by, and traits I would want to pass down to my children and grandchildren. 

Then, just recently, I stumbled upon the work of someone I had never heard of before. John Perry Barlow.

According to Wikipedia (link provided above) John Perry Barlow is “an American poet and essayist, a retired Wyoming cattle rancher, and a cyberlibertarian political activist who has been associated with both the Democratic and Republican parties. He is also a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Since May 1998, he has been a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.”

While none of those notable accomplishments listed have any significant meaning or interest to me, or my life specifically, I was quite taken with something he wrote over thirty years ago.  Something I only just recently read myself.

As I understand it, Mr. Barlow - on the eve of his 30th birthday (Oct. 1977) - assembled a list of twenty-five “behavioral goals” that he hoped would help aid him in acquiring an adult sense of responsibility.  What he created that night came to be known as his “Principals of Adult Behavior”.

Despite their “age”, I found that his ideals on what constitutes “Adult Principals” so closely mirrors the ideals I myself was trying to establish, that I felt compelled to share. 

Adult Principle #1: Be patient. No matter what.
Adult Principle #2: Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
Adult Principle #3: Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
Adult Principle #4: Expand your sense of the possible.
Adult Principle #5: Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
Adult Principle #6: Don’t ask more of others than you can deliver yourself.
Adult Principle #7: Tolerate ambiguity.
Adult Principle #8: Laugh at yourself frequently.
Adult Principle #9: Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
Adult Principle #10: Try not to forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
Adult principle #11: Give up blood sports.
Adult principle #12: Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Do not endanger it frivolously, and never
                             endanger the life of another.
Adult principle #13: Never lie to anyone for any reason.
Adult principle #14: Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
Adult principle #15: Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
Adult principle #16: Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
Adult principle #17: Praise at least as often as you disparage.
Adult principle #18: Never let your errors pass without admission.
Adult principle #19: Become less suspicious of joy.
Adult principle #20: Understand humility.
Adult principle #21: Forgive.
Adult principle #22: Foster dignity.
Adult principle #23: Live memorably.
Adult principle #24: Love yourself.
Adult principle #25: Endure.

Mr. Barlow then went on to say (about his list)… “I don’t expect the perfect attainment of these principles.  However, I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult”.

Like Mr. Barlow – I too do not expect to achieve perfection – but I too will post this list publicly as a standard for MY conduct as an adult.

Practicing a Little “Space Management”

View from the streetTo coin a phrase used by local talk radio genius Joe Soucheray in his radio show “Garage Logic” – Today I practiced a little bit (ok, a lot) of “space management”. 

For those of you who are not familiar with “Garage Logic” and it’s lexicons - “Space management” is the practice of not losing any space on the driveway to a snow bank. This generally includes snow blowing to the edges of the driveway and following up by sculpting with a shovel, as well as flaring the snow bank where the driveway meets the street to give you an easier turn out of the driveway. Good space management requires both spatial planning and execution.

Since the beginning of the year – my time has been even View from the garage more a premium than it usually is.  So much so that throughout this time frame and despite several “smaller” snowfalls (between a “dusting” and two inches) instead of shoveling it or snow blowing it (blower is still on the fritz)  - I simply drove over in and packed it down on the driveway.

I do not mind winter in Minnesota, in fact, you could say I love it!  (I love each of the seasons).  Yet one of my winter time pet peeves is a driveway packed with, covered in, and encroached upon with snow.  I love having a clean and clear driveway. 

Today (my last day off before starting back to work) – I spent my day SLOWLY chiseling, chipping, carving and scraping my driveway back Look out Titanic - heavy icebergs ahead!to it’s blacktop surface – all the way out (side to side) back to it’s edges. 

With out the snow blower – it was a lot of lifting and throwing.  I would chisel large “sheets” of Titanic sinking icebergs from the surface of the driveway (large sheets of ice and compacted snow that often were three or more inches thick) and either bend over to pick them up one by hand, or attempt to capture on on my shovel..  

I cleared the surface, opened the “apron” (where the driveway meets the street) and even cleaned up the edges.  Without the show blower to “throw” it way out into the yard, the snow really started piling up along the driveway.  Many places the snow banks are well over four feet tall.

 View from my sidewalk    View from the far corner of the driveway   

Blowing and Drifting

We here in the great state of Minnesota were the lucky recipients of several significant snow storms throughout the month of December.  In fact, December 2010 will go down in the record books as being the snowiest December in 41 years.  The new record of 33.4 inches of snow, broke the previous record set 41 years before in December of 1969 when we had a recorded 33.2 inches of snow.

Having that much snow around poses several unique issues, including removal and drifting.

Snow Drift Snow Drift   Snow Drift Snow Drift

The snow had drifted so “eerily deep” along one of the rural roads between our town and the next town that if a vehicle had broken down and pulled over to the shoulder, it would have been engulfed, and (potentially) entombed in one of these drifts. 

I told myself I HAD to return to get a photo. 

On Christmas Day, on my way (over the river and through the woods) to my in-law’s house I knew I was going to be passing through this same area again.  Armed with our camera (intended for the typical Christmas photos) I took the opportunity to pull over, and take these shots.

I Have Struck it Rich!

The couch that we have in our basement is what I would call “utilitarian quality” – as in, it was built to look nice on a show room floor and for the first couple of months in your house, but the focus in it’s construction was more about  “price point” and aesthetic quality, and less about craftsmanship and durability.

Our basement couch has, over the years, become a “catch all” for all sorts of things.  The lower “build” quality equates to gaps in the framework that objects can slip through (gaps that higher end furniture do not have).  I knew many objects had fallen thorough the gaps in our couch, but it was not until a couple of weeks ago when I went on a cleaning rampage that I discovered just how much had passed through that void to oblivion.

It was during this cleaning rampage that I decided to move our couch and love seat from it’s spot to “detail” clean underneath it.  When I rolled the couch forward, I heard the sounds of “stuff” rolling around inside the couch.  Since I already had the couch upside down, I decided it was high time that I remove the dust cover (the black fabric covering the underside of the couch) and reclaim that what was once mine.  I was nearly shocked by what I found.

In addition to the crayons, pencils, pens, remote control, candy wrappers, unwrapped candy, partially eaten candy, hair barrettes, scrunchies, legos, and other miscellaneous toys – I found money! 


By the time I was done cleaning and vacuuming all the nooks and crannies of the underside of our couch – I walked away with a small fortune!  (At least what could be considered a small fortune for a father of five such as myself!)

Pile of "found in the couch" change   "Found in the couch change" - neatly stacked up!

Twelve quarters, nine dimes, five nickels, and eleven pennies

In all, the grand total I walked away with was $4.26.  Yup, just short of a cool five bucks!

The only thing left to do is to decide how to spend my new windfall!

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