Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What a Week!

Feels like a theme.  Seriously.  But I told Warren that I think we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe.  Hopefully.

One week ago today Warren's supervisor called me from work and told me that Warren was ill.
He was dizzy and vomiting.  Jim, a long time friend, sounded very serious and distressed.   I told him that I thought he should call 911 immediately.  He mentioned it to Warren who agreed.  And so I planned to meet them at the hospital.  However, since we had so recently had the stomach virus around here I thought perhaps the EMT's would get there and decide that he just needed to get home to bed and when I could hear them leaving our local ambulance base I knew it would be a while before they evaluated him and got him moved anyway so I headed to his work.

I arrived at Warren's office and when I saw him knew that he was very, very sick.  Mom had left her office and had gotten to Warren before I arrived.  I could see on her face that this was no stomach bug.  The First Responders worked with him.  They felt his heart looked good after checking it twice so the decision was made to just get him to the ER.

They packed him up and off we all went.  Poor Warren had sweated his shirt so bad that I could have wrung it out and so he wasn't wearing it as they went.  He told me later that he nearly froze in the ambulance.

Not having a siren or any way to clear traffic it took me a while to arrive at the hospital.  But after parking and hobbling in...yes, my foot is still a serious issue....I found that he had been given a room in the ER.  This is a big deal as there were many people in the hallways lying in beds.  Apparently this was a busy, busy day for them.  The doctor had already seen him and determined that his most likely diagnosis was vertigo.  Wow.  Not great but surely much better than the other options running through our heads.

The poor man was unable to do anything.  Opening his eyes made him ill.  Moving made him act on the illness.  They took him for a CT Scan.  Those results came back good.  Blood work was fine.  We were dealing with acute sudden onset Vertigo.

I've had vertigo.  Never like this.  Thankfully!  Wow.    My poor hubby and best friend.  This has been a very hard and long week.

He is slowly improving.  Even spending a few hours at work yesterday and today.  But I think it will be a while before he is back to normal.  Of course this troubles him with all of the work to be done downstairs...but that is probably what caused it in the first place.  He really pushed himself way beyond what was even possible.  I could see him wearing out and stressed.  Now he is forced to rest.

We hope to get some help here on Saturday to help move the basement contents to the garage so that the company that will come to put in a drain system in April will be able to work down there without ruining our things or banging into them as they dig and jackhammer the concrete all the way around the inside perimeter.

The rest of this week will be busy, busy with Change of Pace (me), running sound for a banquet (Warren), Home School Choir Rehearsals and Concert (me) and then the big move on Saturday.

There will be some hobbling and wobbling but we will get through it.  Believe me, we have been laughing so much around here.  I have teased the poor man mercilessly and he has ordered me to "stand down" when I get too concerned about him.  There is no one I would rather walk this road with.  He is amazing.

One of these days we will look back on March 2015 and see the Hand of God through every bit of it.

Blessings to you and yours.  Hoping you will remember these days for much more fun reasons.  But if you are also walking through hard times don't lose your sense of humor.  It is a life saver.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

And...There is More

Yesterday we woke up to the sadness that Jonathan 
has the same stomach bug that I just recuperated from.
My heart is so sad for him.
With his upcoming back surgery and the herniated disc involved there
I knew that this sickness would be so hard on him.
You can use your imagination as to why.

Due to my concerns for him and logistical issues
of getting my hair washed, dried and styled
I was late to Change of Pace.
It all worked out in the end but I missed singing with my peeps.
Probably for the best as I sat in the pew and cried through most of the 
music as it was.
Singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness" in the middle of a stormy time
of life has whole new, and very special meaning.

I came home to new inches of water in the basement.
This time from another source.
The back.
I went splashing through the waters looking for the pump we had 
purchased.  I became more frantic as I couldn't find it and got on the phone
with Warren to find out that since he had the entire thing dried out 
before leaving that morning it was all disassembled and not 
set up for what I needed at all.

My only option was to go open the toilet flange again and let 
all of that water run to the septic one more time.
I headed for the bathroom which has been under construction
for quite a while down there.
Still talking to him on the phone I took a step, 
then another, reached for the light switch just out of reach in front of me
when my foot went out from under me and slammed into the dresser holding 
a very heavy and large tv above the water.

The pain was muted by the numbing effect of the water but the blood began 
to flow right away.
I opened the "drain" and got upstairs to inspect the damage to my foot.

One of my middle toes showed a lot of damage.
Trauma to the nail bed, purple color popping up, 
immediate swelling and a funky bulge at the joint mid toe.

And so, here I sit.  
Unable to help with the water until this heals enough to not become infected
from flood water.

I do not understand why.
I wish it weren't like this.

But I still trust.
In His plan.
In His faithfulness.

The pain is under control in that toe even without 
pain meds this morning so I'm going to take some Tylenol
a bit later and figure out something to wear on that foot and 
go teach my choirs.  
Thankfully it is not my right foot so I'll be able to drive just fine.
We are nearing concert date and weren't able to 
have practice last week due to the snow....
which worked out because that was the day the flooding began.

Thank the Lord for music!
I'm looking forward to this piece of normal in a very, 
very long week.

Oh!  Yesterday was our 26th Anniversary.
I made a fantastic dinner for us which was so simple
and required little walking or standing.

Prosciutto wrapped chicken breasts
Creamed Green Beans
Sauteed Mushrooms

We looked at each other and just laughed as we ate in the 
living room with my foot propped up and throbbing.
But we were together and have always loved 
working on projects together.
Boy, do we have a big one ahead of us!!
I guess we'll just have to "suffer through".

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What We Did Not Know...

Rain was coming.   
Lots and Lots of Rain.

I'm thinking that we shall just 
call our home
"The River Runs Through It".

We are bailing water again tonight.
In a very, very big way.

Prayers appreciated as we are
admittedly kind of weary.

We are making the most of it
and even enjoying the challenge 
as much as possible.

But it can stop

March....Keep on Marching Right OUT the Door!

March 2015 will not go down as our favorite.
It has been a back biting, nasty month from the very start.
From throwing bad weather on Sundays to it's most recent insults
and injuries of the stomach bug and a flooded lower level.

This post may sound like a lot of whining and complaining
but I hope not because it is more my intent to document this time
for our family history while clearing the air so that better things can come!

We live on the lowest road in our development.
There is a lot of drainage which normally works wonderfully.
We have this really cool grading in the back yard which funnels the water away from the house and down to a collection grate at the bottom of Georgia's driveway which then whisks it under the road to some unseen drainage under the field across the street.
Under normal circumstances this is perfectly wonderful and we don't think about it at all.
Haven't - since our first winter in the house when we thought that flat area on the hill would be just fine for the kids to build snowmen and forts.  
That was the year we understood first how the whole water excavating worked around here.
That led to a whole host of wall sealing and instructions to the kids that 
apparently that part of the yard was "at work" and should be quite left alone.
That was approximately 12 years ago.

Flash forward to Thursday morning.
Chelsea loves to do her devotions in front of the fireplace downstairs.
First thing in the morning she heads down for the heat, peace and quiet.
This past Thursday morning I heard a squishy noise and a curious
exclamation from her.
Turns out she had stepped off the stair and into about 2 inches of cold
water on and in the carpet.
It was all the way through the lower level.

One of the bad things about living somewhere for a while is the accumulation
of stuff that seems to happen. 
I know few people who are good at keeping this at bay, 
Georgia, Warren's mom, being one of them.
However, we are not that way.
We like to keep things.
Not to hoard them...just, well, they become a part of the landscape.
Part of us.

And so after a quick call to Warren, who was headed out to grab a 
quick breakfast before picking up my mom to take her to work in the biggest
snowstorm we have had yet, we got to work.
Splish. Splash.
It was ugly and messy.
But we got a lot of water out.
It is amazing what a commercial carpet cleaner can do.

(Oh, and were we ever grateful for the four wheel drive vehicle that we purchased for Jonathan to drive while his is being repaired after his accident!  This made it possible for Warren to get back and forth to the rental company for equipment as the snow piled on that day.)

I do feel a bit cheated out of this beautiful storm.  Sigh.

However, it was obvious that we were losing the battle 
as the smell began.
If you have any doubts that water can stink?
Doubt no more.
If you have ever happened to leave laundry in your washing machine
too long and come to find it you'll have a smidge of an idea of which I speak.
Now multiply that by roughly 1,000 square feet.
That's about how much carpet was down there.

Thursday night after working all day we ate at Georgia's.
A sadder version of our usual family dinners.
The food was great...we were beat!
I felt perfectly fine.
Until we walked back into the house and my stomach blew up!
I mean I thought I was going to literally explode.
I'll spare you any more details than that but it is now 
Tuesday and I am finally regaining my energy and as of yesterday
could hold food and fluid.
Seven pounds down in 2 days.
Don't worry, I am a realist. 
I expect to see it again as soon as I re-hydrate.

I really don't understand why in the midst of our flood
I was placed smack in bed.
For days!

But I can tell you, for sure, that there is a reason.
God is like that.

The smell from the carpet kept building and by Saturday morning
Jonathan and I had a heart to heart with my beloved husband who
wanted so desperately to deal with this on his own.
Concerns about the expense and pressures of calling for commercial help
kept him from wanting to get professionals in here.
But it had to happen.
For him.
For the house.
For all of us.

And so I attempted to call the biggest name in residential clean up.
My phone shut itself down after two rings.
I stared at it and wondered.
Perhaps that wasn't who I was supposed to call.
I decided to do a search for a local water cleanup company in the area.
Up popped a photo of a bunch of Orange and White trucks.
For whatever reason I decided to call them.
I got Gina on the line.
She said that the owner of the company was just headed out of town
but that they had a "neighbor" who might be able to help us.
I just went along with it.
Remember, I'm super sick at this point and not getting better.
I didn't want to do anything to make our situation worse but I was 
literally throwing myself on God's mercy.
We were at our end.

The "neighbor" called and set up to be at our home within the hour.
He wasn't.  
Two plus hours later I called his phone and with some lack of 
gentility asked him if he had changed his mind about coming.
There was no energy for spare words.
He assured me that he had simply stopped for a quick bite
to eat at our local Burger King before coming to start the work.
Oh.  o.k.
That made sense.
Actually as the whole thing played out it all made a lot more sense.
The guy wasn't a physical neighbor, he was a neighboring franchise owner
for the company.  He was coming from nearly an hour away
and he was just the right person for God to send to us.
John was calm, laid back, humble and a delight to work with.
Pretty soon we had agreed on a plan of attack, 
which matched the one I would have been working on if my body would 
have been able to bear it.
He called in his two assistants and they got to work.
In about four hours they had the carpets cut and out of all but Warren's workshop.
That is a whole other story...but its coming.
They had fans and dehumidifiers blowing creating a wind tunnel 
that literally vibrated the floor.
The house began to become less toxic right away.

Records and games filled the dining room table to dry.

When John arrived the humidity level was a mere 6 points off of
the start of a major mold problem.
When they removed their equipment yesterday it was down by 20 points,
very well under what we needed to be safe.
Amazing, considering that we still have wet carpet in Warren's shop.

Not only did they arrive just in time but God sent just the right people for the job.

The amount spent was available in my candle account
being saved for our taxes but I know, just know, that God is going to 
provide it again.
In fact orders had dried up for the two weeks prior to this event
and then two days ago they began coming in again.
I have come to recognize that God is my scheduler when it comes to 
my candle business.
You can ask my family, I've said it many times....
He just works like that.
And so the uptick in inquiries and orders brightened my day 
way more than the monetary value...it meant, to me, 
that I was on my way to feeling well again and we were going
to be o.k.

This is a forever long post and doesn't even really scratch the surface
but I'll know when I read back.
I'll fill in the gaps and remember.
What feels like a very, very hard time is also a blessing.
Because His hand is in it.

I'll remember how much our Moms felt our pain
and came and cared even when they didn't know if they 
might end up as sick as I was.
I'll remember our Pastor Mike and Jenny coming and caring.
Helping...bringing me soup and pizza for the guys working so hard.
I'll remember.

 Yesterday the water began again.
I felt panic.
Real panic and despair.
But people prayed and for the moment it is drying again down there.
Now that most of the snow has melted from our roof
we don't think we will see much more come in...it seems that 
there is a complication with frozen ground and our 
gutter drainage system.
A weird set of circumstances that probably couldn't be 
duplicated in another year.

The water off the hill is doing exactly as it should.
A serious praise because that is a LOT of water.

Today we are scheduled to take Jonathan for a pre-surgical 
appointment for his herniated disc.
We'll see how that goes.

I'm so relieved to feel "up to the journey".
Chelsea and I are becoming a bit excited about the prospect 
of refinishing the family room again....
at some point after the drywall is replaced.
But for now, we are going to plan and dream.
Why not?

This is a journey of hope, joy, love of family and 
the tender love of our Heavenly Father who lifts us up 
out of deep despair and provides us just who and what we need.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Making The Best of It!

I know we are all so weary of this insane weather.
Not your regular snowstorms that come and get cleaned up.
This is the winter of  snow, ice, rain....
 rinse and repeat.

However, yesterday our neighbor Ellen sent out an SOS on Facebook.
Their driveway was so bad that she couldn't get down to get salt to 
melt it.  That had both she and her mother-in-law stranded on their big hill.
The men of the house had taken big trucks out early that morning to go to work
and wouldn't be getting back up that hill unless something changed.
She wondered if anyone would be able to get some salt
that she and the kids could put down to try to help the situation.

There was at least a half an inch of ice the entire length of the 
very steep driveway.

Chelsea and I had just been preparing to walk out of our door to 
get some groceries.  Our driveway is also one big sheet of ice 
but it is rather short and flat so we can carefully negotiate it.
I messaged that I would get the salt and be right there.

So I quickly headed to the Agway where Mikey used to work
and found them completely out of the five skids they had started with that morning.
However, after some thought Fred came up with Solar Salt.
Not ideal, but affordable and better than nothing.

It was loaded into the trunk and back I came to let Ellen know to come down 
and get it.
She had promised to find a way down the hill.

Well....here she came!
With her boys to help her deal with the heavy bags.

Would you just look at that great smile on Ellen's face???

She is amazing.

We have been neighbors for 12 years now and I so appreciate her
great attitude through hardships.
We have made parties out of power outages, 
shared Easter egg hunts when the kids were younger, 
Grieved together at lost family members and neighbors, 
cared about each other's kids,
celebrated neighborhood picnics,
laughed together at Fourth of July antics by Mikey
so many other things that come with being friends and neighbors.
I'm sure there are lots more to come.
This is not a boring place to be.

High Five, Friend!
You are a blessing to me....