Remedial Christianity

Leave a comment


“So I saw this Jimmy Fallon clip and thought it would be a great activity for us”  When my sister-in-law said this, I had a sense that this would take us down an interesting road, but I was game.  Next thing you know the family is laughing hysterically and engaged in an epic game of Egg Russian Roulette.  Yes, another exciting weekend with my in-laws had begun…


Last weekend my dear wife turned 40 and some of her family descended upon Columbus to properly celebrate.  We had four fun-filled days with her parents (Allen and Sharon), her sister (Sarah), and her boyfriend (Scott).  Now, one of the realities of life is that when two people get married, their two families become connected….whether they like it or not.

It is inescapable.

And that new family has a dynamic and culture all of its own.  One that the new member has to LEARN.  How well you do that can determine whether you view this new family as a tremendous blessing or a lifelong burden.

Luckily for me, in my 18+ years as an honorary ‘Tans’ it has been an adventure.  A fabulous one.  I couldn’t possibly articulate all the blessings that this family has been to my life, but this last weekend I realized one part of the culture that I love.

The Tans Family is committed to living life to the FULL.

In a world where most of us spend our days sitting in front of a box….or staring at our device…. the Tans family likes to actually DO things.  Leave the house.  Enjoy God’s creation.  Learn new things.  Share meals and conversation.

Over the span of four days we filled our days with activity.  We rode our bikes.  We played badminton and other games. The kids learned string figures.  We explored a cemetery.  Scott and Sarah made videos…check this one out….


We watched a film of Kirk (Heather’s brother) singing & playing the ukulele.  We smashed eggs on our faces.  (To our shame we even included our dog Daisy May in the roulette game.  She lost)

We talked and we ate. We ate a lot.  We ate entirely too much.  We tried to burn some of the calories off, but it was too little too late….


But it was worth it.  Because we had 4 days of fun, refreshment and encouragement.  Not because we were busy, but because we were enjoying life with a bunch of people who love the Lord, love adventure and love one another.   It even made me forget the World Cup was on.

Well, except the US game….I did make them all watch 20 minutes of that one…

I love the Tans family.

1 Comment


garage sale

As I inch towards old age, I have had to get busier checking things off my bucket list.  Fortunately I have been lucky enough to knock off a lot of the typical adventures when I was younger…..(I’ll share those some other time)….so I am using my forties to tackle the second tier goals.  Honestly, 2014 has been a slow year.  Sure, I have gotten my first metal body part & caught my first foul ball (Go Clippers!), but it wasn’t until last weekend that things went to another level.  I had my first ever garage sale.

This may seem like a mundane event to you, but I have wanted to have a garage sale for approximately 43 YEARS & have never had the opportunity.

My lovely wife Heather is a big believer in getting rid of things from our house that we aren’t using, but she always wants us to GIVE them away.  Find families that we can bless, or people that would enjoy our hand-me-downs.  The idea of putting all of this junk on our driveway in the hopes that people might come by and pay us for them in increments of 50 cents …well, she has never seen the point.

But this year she finally gave in.

Last Saturday we had a neighborhood garage sale, and since I’m sure most of you missed my live-tweeting of the event….here is what happened…..

8:19am….early birds are driving around. They slow down and stare as they drive by. No one has stopped. I feel judged.

I never knew what to do when I made eye contact with the people in the car.  Wave?  Smile?  Look away?  There is just something inherently menacing about a car driving slowly by your house.  Maybe I watched too many gang movies back in the 80s and 90s

8:25am…1st couple stop and look around. Seem saddened by our lack of quality products. Awkwardly leave. Feel urge to slash all prices

it was so ironic.  The driveway was filled with only things THAT I DIDN’T EVEN WANT, and yet I felt deeply insecure when people showed disdain for them.  I bet a counselor would have a field day with that.

8:34am…Boom!! First sale. Here we go….

first buy

She was very sweet about posing for a picture with us.

8:53am…getting unsolicited advice about our pricing. Apparently I have made some rookie mistakes.

This happened right after I sold our dog crate for $15.  Lady told me that we priced it too low, and could have gotten $25-30.  This hit on all my deep-seated insecurities regarding “getting a deal”.  See, I am half-Indian &  my dad is the best haggler I have ever met.  He knows ALL the strategies.  My childhood is filled with stories of him getting deals in random places through audacity and relentlessness.  Often it was in places where haggling was usually deemed socially unacceptable….department stores, pizza joints, girl scout cookies….but he was a pro.  (ok, i may have made the girl scout cookie one up)  As for me.  Well, I am THE WORST.   He would have priced the dog crate at $100, sold it for $75 and acted like he got robbed.  I got $15.  

9:08am….regretting this whole idea of selling used merchandise from my garage. I am intolerably bored.

For some reason I had in my head that this would be more like an episode of pawn stars.  Which in retrospect seems silly now, because what makes that show vaguely interesting is the cool stuff they haggle over.  A quick glance around my driveway revealed nothing remotely cool.  Maybe if I forged some signatures?…

10:09am….realizing I am the worst negotiator of all time. (Customer): How about half price for this?’ (Me): ‘uh, ok’

For some reason it seems silly to me to argue over 50 cents or $1.  I have a really strong competitive nature but I think there must be some minimum threshold for it to kick in.

10:36am….A philosopher came by: ‘One does not sell things they do not need, without first buying things they do not need’ Thanks buddy.

When he said this I couldn’t tell if he was referring to me or him.  He didn’t buy anything, so I have to assume he meant me.

10:49am….realizing I am not great at making sales, but love mtg all these new people. Maybe garage sales are just social events.

It was actually too social for Meghan. Multiple times she invited people in the house to show them OTHER things they could buy.  Very awkward.

11:05am…..had someone come through and touch almost every item. They left shaking head and looking sour. We clearly failed that person.

I have no idea why this person touched everything.  It was unnerving.

12:06pm…just sold a puzzle by telling the customer, ‘I don’t know about that one, it was too hard for me’. She took it as a challenge.

I’m starting to get the hang of this.

12:17pm….optimism slowly being replaced by growing concern that I am going to continue to own 90% of this junk when this ends at 3:30pm

This was the FIRST time I realized that I needed a backup plan.  

12:49pm….spent last 4 minutes staring at this talking Optimus Prime helmet wondering why it hasn’t sold yet.


 My son got this from Kyle & Meghan Winters for being in their wedding.  It has a voice track and a microphone.  Such a great gift.

1:19pm… we seem too desperate?


1:24pm…..I am watching kid plead with mom for Pikachu doll & getting emotionally involved. Come on it’s only 50 cents!

I almost just gave the kid the doll, but I couldn’t decide if that would undermine his mom’s authority/decision.  Maybe I overthought that one.

1:34pm….My neighbor has mowed his lawn, planted flowers and mulched his property during this sale. Better get my kids to do ours later…

This began a 10 minute daydream about the things I could have accomplished in the 5 hours I had invested…

1:55pm….the people can smell my weakness. No longer offering money…’how about I just take this off your hands?’

Someone offered me 25 cents for something that was 50 cents.  She then handed me a dime and two nickels.  I looked her in the eye and and held my hand out.  She paused and then reached into her bag for another nickel.  I think maybe she was banking on me not being able to count.

2:07pm….just met a couple with gorgeous adopted son named Corbin. Swapped adoption stories/joys. Very refreshing.

Loved meeting people in the neighborhood, but realized that I had to pick my spots.  Some people wanted to chat and others thought it was some ploy to squeeze extra quarters out of them.  Can’t ever resist talking to someone about adoption though

2:15pm….couple having a domestic squabble over him wanting to buy our broken aero garden. Resisting the urge to counsel since I am biased

I found this fairly comical.  In fact it happened a number of times….a couple would come and one would be interested in an item that the other thought was useless.  They usually took one of four approaches to dissuade their spouse,

1. Direct Approach: “we don’t need that”

2. Shame-Based Approach:  “you have 7 of those you don’t use already”

3. Sarcastic Approach: “Oh yeah, we HAVE to HAVE that!!  We NEED one of those!”

4. Redirect Approach: “That’s nice, but look at THIS!” (this approach was typically reserved for small children)

*Side note – one mom unsuccessfully tried redirect approach on her daughter who wanted a stuffed tiger.  kid kept responding, “why can’t i have this?”  Eventually mom looked at her and said, “we have no idea where that has been, it might have bedbugs!”  Then she looked up at me and realized I was 2 feet away.  I smiled and then scratched my head like I had lice.  I thought it was funny, but she was not amused.  No sale.*

2:19pm….he buys the aero garden at such a low price he uses change found in his car. His wife is displeased.

It is fascinating to me how in the span of five hours I went from expecting to make large sums of money, to now gladly accepting whatever some guy could find on the floor of his car.  Was I just completely deluded at the start of this thing, or just fed up?

2:40pm….Reflecting on how ambitious it was to try & sell an air mattress with a leak in it. Still flabbergasted Optimus Prime is unsold.

Actually had to explain that the mattress had a leak in it to 3 different people.  Each had the same reaction….a look of disbelief that I would try and sell a leaky mattress.  One person even said, “I was going to buy it for a friend who is without a real bed….but even she would want something that doesn’t leak”  Full disclosure: It wasn’t even my mattress, the Winters gave it to me to sell.  Pretty sure Meghan (Winters) could have talked someone into buying it

3:19pm….Final verdict: junk from my house + 1000 hrs of labor + an ulcer = $185.20. Toss in the character development & I got a great deal

All in all, as far as bucket list goals go, this was less painful than the metal hip, but not by as wide a margin as I would have imagined.  Kind of reminded me of my one attempt at skydiving.  Seemed like a fabulous idea, but in the end it was just me experiencing the worst wedgie of my life.

I suppose that I should have a grand moral to extract from this story, but it really was just the lesson I’ve been learning over and over for the last 18 years,

Heather was right after all.

Leave a comment


So this week Isaac got his first taste of Ohio State Football Camp.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, he has played football for the last two years, and it is his favorite sport of all-time.  I have been trying to lobby him towards basketball, but he is standing firm.  He knows he is not a star but he still wants to play football.  The last time I mentioned the slim possibilities of ever playing in college or the pros, he turned serious and said, “Dad, you have to let your kids dream!”

And so here we are at camp.  Dreaming.

He has joined 500+ other 5th-8th graders for three days of football instruction, fun and systematic brainwashing. What do I mean by that?  Well, when we first arrived here in Columbus, Isaac was truly conflicted about his identity.  Was he a Wolverine or Buckeye?

conflicted isaac

Those questions are gone.  By the end of this camp I’m pretty sure he will have completely forgotten that he was born at the University of Michigan hospital.

The camp is held at the OSU football complex.  It’s pretty impressive.  After registration the kids were assigned teams, each “coached” by a current OSU player.  Isaac has coach Josh Perry (might start at linebacker this year).  Then they each had a picture taken with Urban Meyer, along with an inspirational speech.


Then began 3 days of activities all oriented around giving the kids the ultimate OSU experience.  They had drills with OSU football players.  My son caught a ball from Cardale Jones and got instruction from Warren Ball. Inspirational speeches from coaches and former players…..assorted messages from “Start each day with a win, make your own bed!” to “Separate in order to elevate!”

ENDLESS chanting of O-H-I-O & Go Bucks!  All washed in a sea of scarlet and gray.

Today it ends with them watching a highlight video in Ohio Stadium and then getting to play “Buckeye Ball” on the field.

I have to admit, it has been fun to watch Isaac run around and play some football.  He is not that big and not that fast, and honestly there have been moments that confirmed my biggest fears about his football career.  Namely, that he is going to be destroyed by large children.

Look at this kid….he was in front of us at the registration line.  At first I thought he was a parent. He was my height (6’0″) and I’m guessing in the ballpark of 220-230 lbs.  AND HE JUST FINISHED 6TH GRADE!!! (by comparison, Isaac just finished the 4th grade, but the look on Isaac’s face says it all)

isaac and large kid
But when Isaac got to his team (all his age) he seemed to fit in.  So that was encouraging.  And he wasn’t quite the slowest kid out there.  Look at him torching these kids….

{Ok, so maybe he got matched up with some slow ones, but he had his moments}

It is kind of funny because I am a Wolverine who is literally watching them groom the next generation of football fanatics here at OSU.  Including my son.  And I don’t really mind.

Because Isaac is LOVING every minute of it.

As I watch him run around I realize that there he probably has very little future in this sport.  He is (Lord willing) going to be a doctor someday or a circus clown or a pastor….but this week he is having fun.  He is being a kid.  He is making memories that he will have for the rest of his life.

And that’s good enough for me.

Now I have to go…..he’s due to play his game in Ohio Stadium any minute now….