Friday, September 16, 2011

of eathquakes and flooding and such

Sometimes I feel a sense of urgency to write a particular post.  The words, sentences come to mind as if Someone else is dictating the thoughts in my head.  Other times I have much I want to share and time passes before I get an opportunity.  I believe both are a part of God's purpose for me.  With a little bit of distance, I can see how several events all worked together and then share a more concise story.  You're welcome.


A few weeks ago on a Tuesday I was sitting on the couch in our family room during nap time and the house started shaking.  Literally.  It lasted only 10 seconds here and nothing fell over.  The kids were peacefully napping and were not even shaken awake.  I thought it was a little weird but then went about my day.  Being from the west coast this was not my first earthquake.  For MANY others in this area it was.  My cell phone service was down or spotty for a couple of hours but every other type of modern convenience was unaffected at our home.

The following day My Love's workplace had downed systems because of the earthquake and they told him not to come in until ten.  He went in anyway so he could move into his new office but was home earlier than normal.  In the evening, they told everyone not to bother coming in at all the next day and that they didn't know when the network would be up and running again. Bonus family days.  Yay!


The very next week brought Hurricane Irene.  Our area did not get a lot of rain, but like everyone else on the east coast, they were preparing us for loss of water and power outages.  Neither happened.

Scene Three: VOMIT Round ONE

A few days later, My Love called and said he was stuck at work sick and would be heading home when he thought he had the strength to make the 1+ hour drive.  The kids and I were at the commissary and realized that he would probably beat us home.  As we were pulling into our neighborhood, Bundle Boy started whining that he was thirsty because he ate a pretzel.  Once in the garage, I took him out of his carseat and BLAH he threw up on the garage floor as he was getting out of the car.  Luckily he was wearing his new solider rain boots or it might have been a messy experience.  Wait.  I suddenly remember writing about this already.  I spent the next couple of days cleaning up vomit and doing laundry.  By Friday afternoon, the boys were healthy again and we were starting a four day weekend for Labor Day.

I was frazzled.

My Love is very productive.  He relaxes on Saturdays by waking up before 5am running 18 miles then mowing the lawn, running errands and working on the car.  Sigh.  He used to tire me out because I felt like I had to be as productive as he was on the weekend.  It can be hard to relax when someone is buzzing about working on projects.  Then I realized that he enjoys doing work and it actually relaxes him to be productive.  Me?  Not so much.

Anyway after a couple days of knocking out every side job needed, he started pacing around wanting us to DO something or GO somewhere with the kids.  Now please understand that on week days, the kids and I have a routine.  It is flexible from day to day but the children have peace in knowing what to expect during the week.  We are not out running around town all day every day.  After a few days of unknown schedules we all started getting a little hairy.  Figuratively.  Bundle Boy was walking back and forth between me and his Dad asking permission for the same scenario and getting different answers.  The kids were whiny and I was counting down the days to when My Love would be going back to work.  By Sunday morning, we were all (and I mean all) stomping around in self-absorbed land not knowing what to do with ourselves.

I know.  I am terrible.  I love my husband very much but this experience showed me that I have to give up ALL the plans I make for God's plans.  Is my peace still found in the predictable, the scheduled?  If I can't be thankful for the gift of extra time with my whole family together then I really have a control problem.  I mean the Creator of heaven and earth sent multiple forces of nature to show me that he is ultimately the one running the show.  Perhaps I need to readjust my priorities.

Scene Four: FLOOD

In a matter of 14 days we had experienced an earthquake, a hurricane, and the stomach bug.  What else could be coming?  A flood?  After the LONG weekend, the rain started coming down and didn't seem to stop for days.  By Thursday it was quite clear that our area was beginning to flood including the property we are currently living on.

In preparation for a baby shower I was throwing for a friend on Saturday, I had been going down to the basement to get some baby gear that people had donated so I could clean it.  During one of my quick stops down there, I saw a waterfall coming from the basement window.  I am talking 12 inches wide and flowing like a fountain.  Cue panic.  My Love usually handles this kind of thing.  I immediately called him at work to get our landlord's number.  My Love was in the middle of some really big important situation at work and all he heard was "WHAT IS MR. W.'S PHONE NUMBER?  I NEED IT NOW!"

sidebar:  Our landlord had just been over to the house that morning in the pouring rain delivering hanging plants and a flower planter for display on the front porch to increase curb appeal.  No comment.  They had just placed a For Rent sign in our front yard the night before and he was dropping off a key for the lock box as well.  The house was now listed (for $300 more a month than we are paying).

As My Love was apparently looking for the phone number quietly, I shouted something like, "Call me when you find it.  I have got to go do something about this!"  I started frantically moving boxes yet again (some storage of which includes church Christmas decorations) and then realized I had to go out and stop the flow before I dealt with the clean up.  I propped both kids in front of Veggie Tales, put on some old tennis shoes and headed out in the pounding rain to do something but I had no idea what.  To shorten this up a bit... I ended up calling our friends down the street to come check on our kids because they were being unattended.  I got out our six foot ladder and cleaned out the gutters all the while praying that the earth shattering lightening that had just echoed across our sky an hour before was now long gone.  I trudged through 5 inches of water that was COVERING our back yard and lied down in the mud to see what was going on in the window well at the basement.  The entire well of the window was full of water.  The clogged gutters were causing the water to back up near the house and pour into the well.  I am talking enough to fill a five gallon bucket.  I got bowls and pitchers and dust pans to try and get the water out of the well while on my stomach in the mud and pouring rain under bushes.  Next thing I know our landlord was standing behind me (My Love had called him) wearing a rain jacket (lucky guy) and pretty much turned around and said there was nothing he could do while the rain was still coming down.  I said, "Well it is your house," and then returned to scooping out water after he left.  Eventually I got enough water out of the well so the top was below where the water fall was pouring into our basement.  I took off my clothes and shoes and then rinsed off in my muddy undergarments before dressing to go figure out what to do with the basement.  At that time our friends from down the street came over to check on me once they figured out who it was that left a strange message on their voicemail.  I am going to miss them.

The rain let up.  The sun peaked out and once again I was reminded that there is always calm after a storm.  The pad of the basement carpet was soaked yet again and less than 12 hours after the house was listed for rent, it was taken off the rental website.  He knows what he is doing.  The kids were clueless to the drama going on outside.

The whole time I was out there having no idea what to do and hoping my kids didn't badly hurt themselves while I was completely neglecting them for a time (correction: I did toss an open bag of Cheerios at Brother and told him to give his sister a snack after I traipsed across the kitchen floor in muddy shoes so I could get some bowls because he acted like he didn't know what I wanted as he stood at an open cabinet.  That really freaked him out.) I was thinking how My Love usually deals with this kind of stuff and I totally take him for granted.  Sigh.

Scene Five: VOMIT Round TWO

The day after the flood of 2011, our landlord was busy bringing workers in to dry the carpet and replace the pad so they could get it ready to rent.  The scheduled appraiser visit for their refinance approval on Wednesday kind of kicked them into high gear as well.  I was preparing for said baby shower.  I was rearranging furniture, bringing up extra folding chairs and decluttering the playroom (read: taking everything up to Brother's room).  By lunch time I had a funny feeling.  I could feel myself slowing down.  I had no appetite but was hungry.  It is hard to explain.  I was making the most of the time in my day to knock out my to do list for the shower.  Luckily I was only responsible for making the dessert (cupcakes) and the chicken salad sandwiches as far as the menu goes.  Lots of other people were bringing sides.  No big deal.  It was such a gift to get a text from a friend Friday morning saying she was going to make it to the shower and asking if I needed help with  anything.  I tasked her with bringing the caesar salad that I still had to buy the ingredients for and all was stress free.  I had the decorations out and ready to be put up that night as well as the donated baby gear cleaned and ready to go.  By evening I knew something was wrong.  My Love was still working on some really big important situation at work and didn't even make it home until 10pm.  At 9 o'clock I knew I was sick.  My stomach was killing me.  KB had been off all day because the school she works at had flooded and schools were closed countywide.  I told her I was worried we might have to cancel the shower.  That wasn't an option for her.

That is when God showed up.  I really did not want to cancel but I knew people would not want to come hang out in my house knowing a sick person was upstairs.  The bug had already been going around our church.  I text my friend who I was cohosting the shower with and she did not even hesitate.  The three of us (mostly KB and NH) figured it all out.  "Why don't you call someone and ask them to host it for you?' KB asked.  If you know me at all, you know I would pretty much never call someone the 10 hours before a shower and ask them to allow 20 people to come have a party at their place.  I would NEVER!  But KB and NH would.  And they did.  KB stood in the doorway of my bedroom as I texted NH back and forth for two hours.  In that amount of time, NH had found a new venue and had called all but three of the RSVPed guests to tell them about the change.  Are you kidding me Lord?  The whole time I was lying there thinking just barf already.  My stomach is killing me.  But I was also thinking how perfectly planned this vomit round two was.  Over a week after the boys had it.  In a strange way I was actually thankful it turned out the way it did.  God knew CS (the girl I was throwing the shower for) NEEDED to know the love of her church family and the best way for that to happen was for me to be out of the picture.  I am her closest friend here, her husband is away for work a lot and my family is moving out of town.  The way these women came alongside of her and blessed her socks off was perfectly orchestrated by the One who loves CS even more than I do. 

KB took all the decorations to the other house on Saturday morning and NH's husband came by a little later to pick up the donated baby gear to surprise CS with.  She is having baby #3.  #1 and #2 are 8 and 6 years old.  Had the shower been here, I would have made every effort to tell the ladies how much I love my friend and what a blessing she has been in my life this past year.  I so wanted them to love her as I do.  But God had a better plan.  The other ladies already did love her even if they didn't know her well and CS needed to see God's love through them.  She said she didn't have a shower that nice for either of her other kids.  To God be the glory.

And while I was thanking God for the ladies who took the lead while I was down and out...I was up puking ALL.NIGHT.LONG.  Cheers.

Scene Six: SOLO

I had Saturday to get my strength back because My Love was heading out to Japan for work on Sunday morning.  Luckily the barf only lasted Friday night and Saturday was spent napping off fever and aches.  The kids and I took My Love to the airport Sunday morning and just came home afterward.  I was feeling mostly better but really didn't want to expose people to any lingering germs.  We needed a down day.  

Then started the LONGEST WEEK EVER.  Note:  Today is Friday and My Love is in route home now.  Bundle Brother has really taken a turn.  Lets just say his behavior requires CONSTANT CONSTANT CONSTANT correction and discipline.  I am exhausted and grumbly (note: It doesn't seem to matter how many times I type that word, spell check doesn't like it.).  Since I have written a book already, I'll just spare you the details.  Well maybe I will include some of them for fun... 

Peeing in the dry bath tub and leaving it there for me to find puddled at the bottom.  Peeing on a carpeted stair for no reason at all.  Flushing socks down the toilet.  Wiping poop on the wall and toilet while trying to get it off his hand.  Ripping out pages of the Bible for no reason.  Whining.  Arguing.  Defying.  Terrorizing.


Once again, I am really appreciating my husband right now.  He does a lot and I can't wait for him to get back so we can regroup on parenting.  Going solo is not all its cracked up to be.

Hey.  I just realized what the earthquake, hurricane, flood, and vomit rounds were all about.  None of it is about me.  When I demand my own way and freak out over changes in routine and schedule, I am making it all about me.  The earth can shake rattle and roll but I have a solid rock to stand on and a godly man by my side.  Perhaps this has just been a reminder that God gave me a partner in this world and it is time I take the time to say thanks.  To God and to My Love.

I miss you My Love.  Hurry home. So much.

How was that for concise?


Chelsea said...

Wow! I feel like I need to comment cause I made it to the end of your book.

Praying for you Lex. God is in control and we all know chaos. It's hard to see the beauty in the mess but He's holding your hand.

Love you!

AML said...

Oh. Was that post long? Thanks for reading. Love you.

Chanel said...

I am so thankful for this blog. :)
Sort of speechless right now. But like Chels, I feel like I should respond to all that.
I read Romans 8 today. I feel like your post is echoing some of the things God's been saying to me all week;

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (35).."

...or earthquake, or hurricane, or illness, or flood ;)

He is on the road with us. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead (8:11) gives us what we need to lay in the mud in the rain and to clean pee out of the carpet.
Thank you for sharing the ugly beautiful of your past few weeks.
Praying for your weekend <3

tommysmommy said...

you. are. a. STUD!

AML said...

Chanel- I have been reading Romans this week. ;)
Katharine- Thanks for reading.

amanda said...

Love this post. Having a three and a half year old boy as well, I can relate to the behaviors. I think they wake up some days as completely different people.
Praying for you and so proud of all you do and your obedience to God.