Thursday, August 12, 2010

West Wing, Chaos Theory and Life

Here's a little known fact about me.  I think West Wing is the best thing ever broadcast on television.  In fact, if there were a West Wing Channel that showed nothing but all seven seasons of West Wing in an endless loop, I wouldn't need the other 150 channels we receive.  Fortunately, until I can talk myself into spending $200 to buy the complete set on DVD, I have the next best thing - DVR.  (My infatuation with DVR is a whole other post for another time!)  I record two episodes on Bravo every morning and watch them at my leisure - sometimes repeatedly. 

The magnet that draws me back to this show is the dialogue.  Lines are fast paced, well researched, full of subtle humor and references to past episodes.  Because of my West Wing dialogue obsession, my thoughts and conversations are frequently peppered with quotes, which leads us to the point of this post (and you thought I didn't have one, didn't you?). 

In the first episode of season four, "20 Hours In America", Sam Seaborn comments on Chaos Theory:  "It has to do with there being order, and even great beauty, in what looks like total chaos."  That line has been running through my head lately in reference to our life.  We leave Sunday morning to take Amanda to Kansas State University (Go Cats!) to begin the next phase of her life.  On Monday, Mitch will return to Fort Hays State University to continue nursing school...and fraternity life...which means that on Tuesday we begin the empty nest chapter of our life. 

That in itself is not particularly noteworthy.  It's the natural progression of things and I think we're coping very well.  However, we have thrown in some more change.  In early July, once wheat harvest was complete, Dave resigned from his job.  We decided that with our families - and now our kids - all in the central and eastern part of the state, there is nothing holding us way out west.  So we're off on a new adventure.  Or at least we will be as soon as we figure out which adventure to choose. 

Our first thought was to sell the house and travel the country as professional gamblers.  Monday night we visited the new Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City.  We tried our luck at video poker, slots and craps.  We ended the evening down $12 plus the cost of a nice meal, so maybe we shouldn't depend on gambling as our only income.  Our next thought was to buy an 18-wheeler and become over-the-road truckers, specializing in hauls to Vegas, Reno and other locations with casinos, thus providing some income to fund our lousy gambling skills.  However, after some discussion, we agreed that we weren't cut out to live in a space 1/3 the size of the average RV, and we can't count on being comped the high roller suite at Caesar's Palace, so that plan was put on hold also.

Seriously, we are investigating several options for jobs and/or business opportunities, and in the mean time our life resembles Chaos Theory.  Although having two children in college, cutting our income by two-thirds, and setting off to parts unknown may "look like total chaos", if you look closely there is "great beauty" in there, too.  There are endless possibilities and potential benefits - being closer to family, being able to attend K-State football and basketball games, meeting new people, learning about new parts of the state - or even new states.  Maybe we'll run our own business, maybe we'll take up a new hobby, maybe we'll have our own tv reality series (or maybe not!), but whatever comes up, we are trusting in God and we're doing it together.  Now isn't that beautiful?


  1. I am also obsessed with West Wing. We are quite lucky in that our kids gave us the whole set, one at a time. I can watch them over and over again. Everybody there is so clever and I agree about the dialogue. I wish Jeb Bartlett would run for president. I'd vote for him.

    Your options for the next phase of your life are very interesting. It will be fun watching your changes.

    I like the new backdrop for your blog. Very colorful.

  2. While the uncertainty of your future might be a little unsettling for me, I sure do envy all the possibilities that you both are facing!

    If you are ever in the Kansas City area you should look us up. We'd love to go out for Bar BQ with you guys :)

  3. You can't have fun without a little stress. Go get 'em!