Monday, January 16, 2006

No Free Lunch

There is a parable about a king who ordered his wise men to condense all human wisdom into a small, manageable amount of print.

The men returned after twelve years with twelve volumes. "It is too large," protested the king. "Condense it further." So the wise man went out again and returned in a year with one large volume. "It's still too large," objected the king.

They went out again, only to return the following day with a single statement written on a slip of paper – all the great wisdom of the world in one line: "There is no free lunch."

While this greatly oversimplifies all human wisdom, there does seem to be an unfailing law of sowing and reaping in life. We get out of anything just about what we put into it. There is no free lunch. This is the now age old adage. Everything of quality costs something. It is just a question of how the price is paid, at what time the money changes hands, and who pays the costs of the service.

This is especially true in the Christian life. "Seek and ye shall Find," we are told.

And this is true at my new job. I have had to pay for lunch....everyday since I got here.

While the wise men of the story and the wise of the world are right, in general, for me, there was a time when I received free lunch each day at work. One could argue that is was not free, because if I didn't work on the case of the client providing the lunch, I was not invited. But I know I would have worked on the case anyway, and so, for me, it was free. I enjoyed a free lunch, and many of them at that.

There are many free lunches. They arise every time a person doubles his productivity. If you work for three hours in the morning to produce lunch, and then double your efficiency to produce two lunches for the same amount of work, you have got a free lunch.

It really happens a lot. You receive a gift. A bonus. That something extra or something special that someone does for you that you know and they know they did not have to do or was not expected.

Today, living in a world where everyone is always trying to get our money away from us, always wanting to charge more than the service or product is really worth, it is so special and satisfying and refreshing, when someone wants to go that extra mile, completely out of their way, to extend to us, a free lunch.

There are those who do not recognize a free lunch when it comes their way. It reminds me of the idea of whether the glass is half empty or half full. Some just always see the cost of something.

But each time someone offers to me their love, their friendship, their support, their encouragement, or even just a place at their table, I recognize it, appreciate it, and count it as a blessing.

Be well....Ric

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Stuff breaks. And when it does someone has to fix it.

The word "Handyman" dates back to 1872 and is defined as a person who is competent in a variety of small skills or inventive or ingenious in repair or maintenance work - also called a "handyperson". I have never been very handy, mostly because I have never been around anyone who really was. I never had a good teacher.

I enjoy doing it when I know how. I like doing it myself. And if I think I can figure it out, I am willing to try. This week the faucet over our kitchen sink broke. It had to be replaced. So I spent Friday night, installing a new one. And I was successful. It really feels good when I am able to figure it out and get it done.

And then earlier in the week, our main line to the alley got stopped up. And I
figured out how to un-stop it without having to call a plumber.

So mark up a couple wins for the un-handy man.

Yall be careful out there....Ric

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Custody battle

We had a guest visiting this past weekend. Our friend Jill was visiting. She now lives in Seattle. She is a long time friend of Michelle's, was one of the bridesmaids at our wedding and a really cool person...we like her. She was here to attend court for the final decree of divorce hearing, in Collin county. She left her husband a year ago. He first moved out, and then after he had been out for some time, she moved to Seattle. They had each taken their own stuff, and each were happy with the way things were divided up. But then, all of a sudden out of nowhere, he decided to contest custody of the dog. So, they had this big hearing before the judge about who should get the dog. When he moved out he did not take the dog. And it was her dog anyway. She picked it out, she bought it with money given as a gift from her Aunt, and she took care of it. She couldn't believe she had to fly in to fight this. The husband had a lawyer, and she did not. She represented herself. Michelle went with her to court Monday morning. She had prepared all these questions to ask him on the stand, she was well prepared, and did a great job of pointing out to the court how she had bought the dog and cared for the dog, and loved the dog...while also pointing out what a loser he was, with no job, and a recent DWI resulting in loss of this driver's license. The judge awarded the dog to her.

Who gets the family pet following a divorce? In most cases, pets are treated just like all other marital property because pets are considered personal property under state property laws. However, this traditional view is beginning to be challenged. Lawsuits are being filed challenging the longstanding view of the treatment of pets in divorce proceedings. Often, the spouse who did not receive the family pet as part of the divorce settlement, is seeking "visitation" or "custody" rights.

There is essentially no difference between a piece of furniture and a dog. It's really up to a judge's discretion to determine how the dog situation will be handled. Some judges refuse to hear animal custody cases, leaving it to the couple to work out an agreement. However, more states are adopting language that refers to people as dogs' "guardians" rather than "owners" elevating the status of dog. The guardianship idea will probably change the law considerably when it comes to determining who gets custody of the dog. I expect to see the law change in the next few years to regard dogs less as property.

Take care...Ric