Saturday, September 24, 2022

I cried over a broken crock pot

 I try valiantly not to get attached to material things. I have seen in life how "stuff" puts us all in bondage. Big houses or small houses with lots of things that have to be organized, cleaned, cared for... it distracts us from the meaningful things in life. I have experienced the burden of moving too many times, I have dusted too many decorative items, I have sorted clutter, I have stacked and re-stacked. So, as we moved for the third time this year back into our one bedroom octagon, I have found myself appreciating the significant lack of material items. I may be short a potato peeler, cheesecake pan, nice dishes, an iron, 3/4 of the clothes in my closet, etc. but the simplicity of it all is actually soothing my soul at this point. I now bake cheesecake in my cast iron pan (with much success!), we eat off metal plates which don't break on the cement counter tops and floor, I never used an iron anyway, and I'm doing just fine with 1/4 of my wardrobe accessible. If you're looking for Christmas dishes over the holidays we will have lovely Christmas-themed paper plates. :-) 

However, I cried over my broken crock pot this morning. My beloved friend, Kathy, gave the crock pot to me when we first moved to the neighborhood 6 years ago. I don't know how she knew I might need one, but I have used that pot constantly since that day. It has been a mainstay in the challenging times because it has allowed me to throw a meal in during the less hectic morning hours, and then after an exhausting day, come back in to find dinner ready. So, though it has been such a treasured gift, I'm not really sure why the tears. They just seem to come more easily these days. I think there's more behind them than the broken gift. I have a lot yet to unpackage from this season of life. I may not ever be able to break down all the components to make sense in my mind, but I'm trying to accept that some of the emotions don't necessarily make logical sense. 

Kathy also gave me this picture 4 years ago... I look at it so many time every day.

When we re-entered the octagon, we were pretty mortified at the condition it was in. One of the windows was broken, several things needed repair, but the worst part was that the garden was soaking wet and filled with mildew. The sump pump which keeps the excess gray water pumped out of the house to water the outside trees had failed and the tank which holds the gray water was split down the side, allowing all the gray water to leach into the garden unchecked. With the incredible help of my dad, I removed the soaking wet dirt, rocks, sand from the smaller garden area near the tank. We also removed the top layer of dirt from the entire garden and sprayed it all with an anti-fungal spray before refilling with fresh dirt. Then, Dad and I removed the original broken tank, pump and pipes. We removed 25 shop vacs full of water. We carefully refitted a new pump, pipes and tank. Then, we put in new gravel, dirt and sand. It took us a couple days, but the house was unbelievably improved for the effort. No more mildew smell! No more humidity! We opened all the windows and let the fresh mountain air restore what had been lost in our absence. The broken window will have to remain broken for the foreseeable future. I will address that when I have the means to do so. 

After a thorough cleaning (we deposited a tremendous amount of gross mud throughout the house in our pump project), we started moving stuff from the A-frame into the octagon. 

We're slowly making progress in the octagon, but it will take time. 

Kaysee and I took the A-frame cabin by force and have gotten it almost ready to Airbnb again. It was a monumental task as it was quite filthy from our flood-filled months living there and all our furniture and belongings for the cabin were transferred to the big house to use as an Airbnb. We're starting with a fresh slate, but also from the ground up. :-) Literally. We have a few more things to do: move dirt, cover sandbags, remove sandbags, improve the driveway to be more water proof, and paint the jersey barriers. But, we have it listed for rental starting October 1st, about 1 month before I predicted I could have it ready. We already have 5 bookings in 24 hours. Here is our listing.

My boys have been incredible through all this transition. Even Lochlan is doing really well. He has taken off, barefoot, at a full gallop down Copeland a few times, had some serious screaming fits that last somewhere between 15 minutes to three hours, but overall he has been cheerful, adaptive and engaged. He is using more words every day and we listen to him talking to himself almost all day long. Some of it makes sense. 

I have not been able to climb my hill in well over a week, and I think that may be contributing to the higher tear reservoir. I hope to visit this place of refuge tonight to refill my heart with hope, determination. It reminds me that mud is temporary, fire necessary and new life promised. 

I know many of you are deeply frustrated that I have been almost completely absent in your lives right now. Please know that this is a season for me. I pray for each of you every day, I think of you almost constantly, I miss you more than words can say, but as I "do the next thing" this day, and probably tomorrow, and the next day, I find myself able to do only that. Please be patient and thank you for your grace and understanding. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Goblin Tetris


Over the past week we have begun to build and put into place gabion walls to replace the thousand of sandbags that we had placed to protect the property. We have gathered rocks from our property as well as Kathy's, trailer load by trailer load. Some rocks have had to be pried out of the dried mud using a pinch bar and a shovel. Then, we bent thick wire fencing in half (length wise), attached two pieces together (using hog rings and/or metal wiring) to create a cage and then we reinforced with rows of wires. We cleared out the sandbags, rocks and excess dirt and put the empty walls into place. Then, we filled them with all the rocks of various sizes and closed them up. It has been a monumental job and I actually do not think I've ever been so physically exhausted in all my life. We decided that filling the walls is very much like a game of Tetris - oversized goblin Tetris. It is rewarding to see the fruit of our labors, though. We are praying that they are effective against the flood water that is predicted for the next few days. 

The boys have been incredibly hard working through the process, helping me every step of the way. Some days they have had stellar attitudes and some days are grumpier. They have persevered and I am amazed at each of them. I think the world could learn a lot from these amazing humans I get to live with. 

At the close of most of these very long days, if I could still move, I would scamper out to my hill to find renewed strength, perspective, hope and courage. 

One evening, as we went to bed, Kelton sleepily put his arm on mine and said, "Mom, please wake me up before the sun tomorrow morning. I want to see the sunrise with you." I told him that if I woke up before the sun I would rouse him from his slumber to join me. :-) 

(I sent the wee man back to bed as soon as the sun had smiled upon us.) 

On the day we finished the last wall (of this set... we still have 16 walls to complete), I headed to Phoenix so that I could make an early morning flight to Oregon the following day for a birthday trip that Krista gave me. Krista met me and we have been spending time with beloved friends, visiting places that hold a plethora of memories for us, and just savoring time with one another. My body is still tired and fairly sore, but my heart is full and my spirit is rejuvenated. 

As we walked along the beach, I watched the waves crash into the rocks along the Bandon shore. I sat down on a sandbank, closed my eyes, smelled the salty air and felt the breath of the Creator through His creation. 

It is good to be out of the flood zone for a few days, to sleep at night and to temporarily feel free from the weight of the responsibilities of so much of life right now. Though we grow weary, we must not resign. I will face every tomorrow that is given to me, and I will keep in forward motion. I will find the strength if it does not belong to me yet and I will not be alone.

And... I will shower periodically too. :-)