Friday, August 28, 2009

Pt. Duex, or...how it kinda gets worse...

Tuesday went downhill.....you can read about Sunday and Monday here.

To continue with the saga of my week, we’ll roll right into Tuesday morning. It was one of the saddest things I’ve had to deal with in a very long time.

Tuesday 9:45 a.m. After arriving back at the stinky sewage building at 7 a.m. for staff meeting, I ran home to grab some breakfast, paperwork and checks. I needed to meet the restoration company back at the building. On the drive back, a dog—a pretty, yellow, playful Labrador-cross dog--dashed out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, but there was nothing I could do. The owner was right there, leash in hand. He’d been running with Bruno in the field and was preparing to put Bruno back on the leash when the dog ran across 4 lanes of fairly busy traffic to greet some women with kids and jogging strollers. Then as Bruno dashed back to his owner and there was an awful, horrible thud. The dog was thrown against the curb, broken and bleeding. The kids were there watching. Terrified. So were their moms. The owner was horrified. I was trembling like a leaf. The owner tried to reassure me that it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could've done to avoid the dog. We bundled him into the back of my new biggerredtruck and drove him home so his owner could take him to the vet. I gave the owner my contact information and asked him to let me know. Just before I pulled away, the owner and I looked intensely into each others eyes. We were both tearing up. We just gave each other a quick, hard hug and I told him I would be praying for them. It was, weirdly, a really holy moment. I don’t think I will ever forget it. It was one of the most intense looks I've ever shared with another person. And there was so much said, without a word being spoken…Bruno died in the back seat of his owner’s car on the way to the vet. So, so sad. The owner wrote me a kind and gracious email, thanking me for my compassion and help. And was “glad to meet another Christian.” I don’t know if I was babbling, or if he picked up on it with about 40 pounds of church bulletins flying around the car since I slammed on the brakes. Heart-wrenching, anyway. And my two younger kids go to school with his kids. I just feel such grief for them.

Wednesday 2 p.m. Black toner out of the copy machine monster. I have a BIG, muy importante' mailer to get out. It should’ve gone out Tuesday. Toner delivery guy is out sick today. Copy leasing place is about 25 miles one way from my house. I picked up 2 black, a magenta and a cyan. Good thing. An hour and a half later, after getting home from rush hour, I ran out of cyan as I was finishing up, around 7 p.m. Stress, stress, stress....and Caleb needed music printed for Youth Band practice. But in the meantime….

Wednesday 4:45 p.m. Tyler calls me…his brand new (to him) car was broken into. They stole his nice backpack, a NintendoDS + games, iPod, work uniform, $$$hure headphones and lots of other stuff…to the tune of about $900. Called insurance. Since it was personal property, we will have to file under our homeowner’s insurance. I’ve been insured with “Province Ranch” since 1975, when I got my first license. According to my agent, we have had 4 claims since 1994. One a shed fire in 1988, one the big dining room roof collapse last year. One lightening strike about 5 years ago…I don’t remember the other one…? If we file for this there is “a 90% chance that they will drop our policy.” Ninety. Percent. They will drop us?!? After almost 35 years. I’ve called another company for a quote to move everything over. I think that loyalty should count for something. And on top of homeowner's, we insure 5...yes, FIVE, vehicles with them and I carry my bond with them as well. We shall see what we shall see….


But, through all this, I’ve been able to see it for what it is: an attack from the enemy. I won’t even dignify enemy with a capital letter. I've seen examples of God's protection and providence. I’ve had amazing prayer support from friends and the opportunity to reach out and show compassion and joy and the love of Jesus to quite a few people. And have even stepped out of my comfort zone to do it. I am a warrior princess, a daughter of the King and MY God will prevail! Even though the devil may have meant this for evil, God is able to take it and turn it to good. God is truly good. All the time. He is good.

So, that’s it so far. I am trying hard, very hard to remember the words in James 1:2-3. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

In the meantime, please keep me and mine in your prayers. Pray for our protection, pray for our hearts to be guarded and pray for peace, that passes all understanding. I believe sometimes when you are under attack like this, it means that you’re doing something right…something that has captured Satan’s attention. He is subtle and insidious. He may not choose to destroy with a huge catastrophe, but rather throw darts and arrows until we’re so distracted that we take our eyes off Jesus, and falter. Or fall. Or just give up. I will persevere. God will prevail. And the Hee-Haw gang may write another verse to their song.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Perfect Country & Western Song

I think that someone could probably write a country and western song about the things that have been happening in our family’s lives this week.

Example:

Sunday, 3:37 a.m. Claire barks frantically from her crate. Not a typical thing for her to do at all. Ted and I both came down the hall to see what was happening. Ran into a green cloud of smell. At first I thought Claire had been stricken with diarrhea, but no. It was a skunk. In our garage. More than likely drawn by the kitty food there. Just not for THAT kitty. Blessedly, it didn’t spray. Not the bigdogs, not the garage full of musical instruments, nor one of us as we went to investigate. Mr. Stinker just waddled away, content to eat up about $5 worth of cat food...which I was happy to let him have. But…P-U!!!! And there’s just no getting back to sleep after that…

Monday 7 p.m. I was late for a church business meeting to discuss the budget and our recent sewage problem and the restoration that should be happening right now, but kind of isn’t. I was late because I was at a closing for Talkative Timmy and Loquacious Lorraine that should’ve taken 45 minutes, but took an hour and a half. (Was going to say Chatty Kathy, but that’s too close to Chatty Kelly and I like her. I really, really like her. Besides, I sound all smart when I use the word 'loquacious.'). But I digress. Boss Pastor calls me at 6:55 and tersely demands the phone number of the property management company, which I give him. As I’m asking what’s happening, the phone clicks off….not that he would ever hang up on me or anything. Like when he’s stressed or something. Got to the meeting about 7:15. And guess what? We have another sewage backup. Flooded the toddler room, 2 bathrooms, the kitchen and a hallway and resource closet. And isn't it opportune that it's happening as we are in the middle of discussing why the restoration from the flood in July isn't yet complete? Oh, Blackwater, keep on rollin’♫♫....Blessedly, it wasn’t nearly as bad as last time. No standing water. Just really stinky water that has soaked into our brand new carpet. And touched all the floor toys that our toddlers play with. And probably put in their mouths. We probably won’t have to meet in the bar this weekend. There’s always that.

Because this is just a snapshot of my week and already so long, we’ll continue with part 2 tomorrow…and hopefully that will wrap up the week, but we’ll just have to see.

(I don't know how to post a PART of a video...so in the one below, you can click to about 2:47 minutes into it for the part I really wanted.). And, yes, as a matter of fact, I would love to have some cheese to go along with my whine.



Monday, August 17, 2009

It's about more than back to school sales...

Summer time is winding down. Three of my kids go back to school on Thursday. My eldest begins college on August 31. Even though I wait with baited breath in May for school to let out, I’m always ready for it to start again. But this year, it’s a little different. The many rites of passage various family members have achieved this year have overwhelmed me. And I’m struck by the thought that every time we do something, especially something with the family as a whole, it may be one of the last times. I’m treasuring impromptu moments together more. In all honesty, I will be glad to have my living room back, without listening to the Xbox or the tv while I’m working. But it’s coming home to me how quickly this is all going to be gone. The older I get--the more time passes, the quicker it seems to run by…it’s as if someone is turning the stem on my watch and making each hour go by in the space of what used to be 45 minutes….

In other news, I have expanded my independent contractor gig. I began doing property inspections last week. Hey, I can justify replacing my digital camera that got broken at VBS this way. The first inspection I did involved confirming some completed repair work in a small apartment complex that had been damaged in a fire. The second was supposed to have been a quickie—just verifying the existence of a vacant lot, taking some photos and notes on its condition. I was emailed an aerial photo with a nearby major intersection indicated and the lot circled. Unfortunately, ‘north’ was not labeled on the photo. I finally figured it out. It’s directly behind the brand new, shiny headquarters of our local Federal Bureau of Investigation. Just a shout out to you: it makes the FBI guys nervous when you park your big, red Suburban behind their building and walk away from it to take photos of the vacant lot across the street. Imagine that. The curb wasn’t red and there was no signage posted that prohibited parking and/or stopping. It’s even a little bit more dicey if you have forgotten your purse at home and have no photo id. The gentleman was quite nice (after he removed his hand from his holster) as I approached and explained to him what I was doing. Thankfully, my inspection orders and a business card were adequate. Otherwise, I might be writing this missive from some Federal holding facility. He did ask me to move my truck and park it across the way….I'm absolutely sure I'm on all kinds of watchlists now.

Our facility hosted a Tea Party Health Care Forum last week. I'm not much of a political animal. This reform, however, is chilling. It is absolutely NOT about healthcare. It's about socialism, about government control and about the beginning of the end of democracy and life in the U.S. as we know it. Please don't get involved in dissecting and defining the bill. They (you know, the big "they" that are trying to pass this) want you to do that. They want you to get so caught up in arguing the minutae of this that you end up validating it as a possibility. Urge your congressmen and senators to DEFEAT THIS BILL. Don't even try to examine the parts of it. Just chuck the whole thing out.

Finally, I’m gearing up for our annual Fall Retreat again. This year I am going to be careful of myself and not go on any adventures that may prevent me from being less than my best.

Please continue to pray for our facility after our flood damage and that insurance, property owners and managers will do the right thing.

For now, I’m out…

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How can you not smile at this?

I braved not only the Mall (the new Mall-Mall, even tho' it's like 10 years old) and Marshall's on tax-free day, but Wal-Mart. I know. I am insane...but I heard just the cutest thing ever at Marshall's. All to save probably 5 bucks....

There were wall-to-wall people there, with lots of cranky kids and crankier moms. One little boy of about 8 was trying to soothe his little sister, about 4: (my comments that I said in my head are in parentheses)

Him: I know she's angry. And she will probably raise her voice at you. But you don't have to be scared (talking about his mom, I'm assuming)
Her: Really?
Him: She will raise her voice, but don't be scared (Raise her voice, really? Scream and have her head spin around backwards and pea soup come out of her mouth, maybe? I don't know--I didn't see mom, but in that situation, she'd have been justified. And what 8-year-old says 'raise her voice' anyway?)
(Pause)
Her: Well, okay. But I'm going to pray a little bit anyway.


That's what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

All I can think of when I see this picture is how much I spent at the orthodontist...

Having learned my lesson, and having spent about 487 hours of my precious off time in July at the MVD, today I took Caleb, age 16, to the MVD EXpress (15 Minutes or LESS! Toot-toot!) and coughed up the extra $20 for the priviledge of not waiting in line at a privately owned store and officially became the mother of not one, but TWO, teenage boy drivers. Interestingly enough, even though’ the price was considerably higher than the state-run version, there were still people with prison tattoos there. And one or two of them looked as if they might be craving a bit of the hair of the canine that nipped at them….or something like that. However, everyone did seem to have a full set of teeth, and there was nary a child there under the age of 12. And the 12-year-old there was fully dressed and not in pj’s.**

But that’s not the point. The point is, I just signed over permission and accepted responsibility for obtaining a driver’s license for someone who does things like this:

yeah..high for Jesus XD...and my own personal entertainment haha

On a regular basis. No impulse control. None whatsoever.

but why?...its fun!
So strike that first sentence. I don’t think I learned a blasted thing.

**I have this sense of wonderment while at the MVD and have made these observations: Each time I go, there is at least one child in pajamas, regardless of the time of day. Every 4th person will be either a) missing one or more permanent teeth—usually front teeth at that or b) sporting a prison tattoo of a teardrop on their face or an obscene word across their knuckles. I’m just sayin’.