Thursday, August 11, 2011

These are the good old days. (Part 1)

At the beginning of May this year, we were looking forward to the Summer, just amazed at how wide open the days looked.  We had two greatly anticipated trips on the calendar.  Otherwise, it looked like a long lazy Summer was in store for our family.  We dreamed of family bike rides, coffee on the deck, reading outside on the big swing, painting sheds, and building a chicken coop, or perhaps a tree house, with all that extra time.

Turns out, the days the LORD had planned for us were not exactly what we had in mind.

Just after returning home from our first whirlwind trip (a wonderful family wedding weekend) we discovered our basement contained a lake.  Yes, with all the rain this year, our basement was now sitting IN the water table.  Eighteen inches of water surprised me when I went down to get something out of storage.  All of our plastic bins containing off season and hand me down clothes had floated and turned over and leaked (requiring drying outside on the old fashioned laundry lines while waiting for a wash and dry inside, fifteen extra loads of laundry in our big machines) and the bottom of our furnace, a dehumidifier, and a fan were underwater. Lots of shoes, old toys, and miscellaneous stuff (junk) ruined. That same day, our main breaker went out (as we turned it off to be safe in the water) and it needed to be replaced.  Without electricity, our well pump doesn't work, so no running water.  The hot water was out anyway, and we had visions of propane bubbling up through the water. Better women than myself could have cleaned up from this in a few days.  It took me, even with everyone helping, the better part of three weeks.

I was officially done with flood clean-up the day before we left for a two week road trip. That trip, too, was full of the unexpected.  A break-down on the Great Plains on a 100 degree day on a Sunday morning with no repairs in sight. A limping, unsteady 70 mile drive that (thankfully!) returned us safely to Grandmom's welcoming, air conditioned home. A drive in a borrowed car, five hours round trip, to get the only rental van available in the state of Kansas.  A nice beautiful new rental van that wouldn't haul our trailer. A four hour re-packing job to pare down our carefully selected originally packed items (plenty of room in that trailer) down to an amount that would fit inside the rental van with us (a sight to behold).  We left at least half our stuff in our trailer in Grandmom's driveway, ready to pick up, along with our repaired van, on our way back home.

Hearing the details of 'the-day-we-drove-eight-hours-and-went-nowhere' my mother (on the phone, waiting for us at our destination in beautiful Colorado) cheerfully commented "I hear a blog entry in all this!" It was hard to laugh along in the crabby, sweaty, tired atmosphere of that evening while we repacked in the hot and humid evening air.

We did have a great vacation. Interspersed with the beauty and excitement of that Mountain trip (which was given to us as a gift, including that rental van, by generous grandparents) were a few more misadventures.  We lost track of a child in Vail, CO, who was found by the nice local police before we even knew he had left the big Pirate Ship playground.  He, just six-years-old, mistakenly thought we had left him behind and had run for the car (far away in a parking garage) while the rest of us (five adults, two teens, eleven younger kids ) continued to enjoy the playground full of children and a stream nearby.

By the time we were packing up and commenting "Hey, where is Sam . . . has anyone seen Sam?" the above-mentioned nice police man came up and asked me, "Are you looking for a boy in a red shirt."

Me, cheerfully, "Why, Yes!"

His serious response, "We've had him for ten minutes."

Oh no!

Though they told us he'd been so upset he was unable to talk much, once they brought him back to us, right where we'd been all along, he settled down after a few minutes of being strongly held by Dad.  It turns out for this particular boy, believing you've been forgotten is quite traumatic, but finding out you just made a mistake about that and thus discovered you have an uncanny ability to make your way back through the winding streets of a village to the place where your parents parked the van, meeting nice people who help you out, and policemen who take you right back where you started is just an adventure. Of course, we are extremely thankful things turned out so well and I did have several panic attacks about the whole thing later that night.  And I'm giving up my nomination for Mother of the Year.

Did I mention I got thrown from a horse?  Yep, about a minute after I was taking deep breaths of cool mountain air, praising God for the truly awesome view, and thinking how peaceful and quiet it is to travel on horseback.  I didn't even have that moment where you think 'Oh, no! I'm falling!" Nope. One second I see the horse getting kicked by one of his horsey friends and without any time passing . . . my face is resting in dust and my only thought, "I'm on the ground," was accompanied by small explosions of pain in my shoulder, hip and knee. I didn't notice the cuts on my hands or broken fingernails at first. But, with 18 anxious members of my family watching and calling out in concern, and not wanting to miss or ruin that ride and campfire dinner adventure, I did get back up on that horse, and thankfully there were no serious injuries.  I was rewarded with one particularly impressive bruise on my hip, and a limp which eventually required crutches . . . the week we had four extra great kids stay with us for a much anticipated "Camp" week at our own house, beginning two days after we got home from vacation.

Fast forward a few more days through 4th of July back at Grandmom's (her basement flooded, too!) and past County Fair week (I guess I didn't have that on the calendar way back in May) which brings us to...

 . . . the BIG unexpected, impossible, and nearly overwhelming task that we did not once think we'd have to face this Summer–which we discovered we would have to accomplish one way or another before the end of August . . .  and my point for bringing up all this in the first place.

The part that makes me remember that these ARE the good old days.

But it's getting late, so I think I'd better leave that for a second entry.  I'll try to write it soon.


(Part 2 can be found here)

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