Saturday, April 03, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up: House Fire

We got word Thursday night that my brother's house, in East Nowhere, Ohio, burnt to the ground. At the time in happened, my nieces and nephew were staying with their grandma's house during spring break, and my brother was no one was at home and everyone is safe.

I had been looking forward to writing on my blog during the day on Friday. I had a lot of fun things from the week that I wanted to share. But when I first woke up on Friday and thought about writing, I wondered how I could write about things that seemed so trivial now.

We don't know yet if his home was insured at all. Even if it was insured, we aren't sure that the property was in his name, so the insurance money, if there is any, might not go to him. He works in construction, and work has been sparse to non-exixtant for him for many months now. I know this has been a devastating blow for him. Everything he and his family owned is gone and he doesn't have anything left in savings, and he might not get any insurance money to use to get back on his feet. I talked to him briefly on the phone Thursday night. It was so soon after the news had hit him, that he hadn't had time to process any of it yet.

My sister and I have both offered our houses if they need a place to stay. We're both ready to organize shopping expeditions to reoutfit the kids with clothes and such. I want to drive up there and *do* something...  But it's not time for that yet. The Jedi, who is very wise, says my brother needs sometime to try to figure things out himself first. My sister was told the same thing from her husband. That didn't stop me from being awake at 1a.m. thinking about options. My sister was up looking at local house listings. Still, right now we need to sit tight and pray.

In light of all that, is a description of my week appropriate? Yes. Yes, I think it is. Last week, I was flippantly remarking that arson might be easier than spring-cleaning and decluttering. Reality has thrown that jest back in my face.

I am ever so grateful that my brother and his family are safe. And I need to remember to appreciate all that I have and to never take life, my home, my family, the time we have together, for granted.

This is what we did this week, because I need to remember to celebrate each day. This is indeed the day that the Lord has made, and I will always rejoice and be glad in it.

On Monday morning, we visited the new co-op we will be attending next year. We went so that the kids could get a feel for it, not becuase I had any doubts that this is what we would be doing. I just thought the kids needed the help to smooth the transition. The kids were totally fine with the transition; it was the Mommy who was shell-shocked.

On Monday afternoon, I was supposed to meet a friend down at the children's museum. BUT, I was overwhelmed with co-op, and I had a new refridgerator being delivered, and I completely FORGOT and stood my friend up. Instead, we went home and pulled everything out of the freezer to put in coolers. Everything that came out of the fridge went into double bagged paper grocery bags with a third paper bag snugged upside down on top of the bag to help insulate the fridge items. We had a two hour delivery window, and even after the fridge got there, we couldn't put anything back in the fridge or freezer till the Jedi got home and installed and then hooked up a new water line. So, I did what I could to try to keep my perishables cool for several hours. The delivery truck pulled up at the very start of the two hour window, and I still had stuff in the fridge. The kids came in and helped me get the last items out of the fridge while I went down and opened the door.

In short order, the old fridge was pulled out....and I discovered that at least one of the great dust storms of the 1930s had crawled underneath my old fridge to die. Seriously, it was that bad. I honestly needed a mask to clean up with, because the dust kicked up was so fine. I didn't have a mask, but oh I needed one. The delivery guy told me I had two minutes to clean before the new fridge came in. (I might have screamed when I first walked into the kitchen and saw the terrible dust carnage.)

After the new fridge was in, he showed me how to remove the bottom grill so that I could periodically vacuum under the fridge. He said the biggest cause of refridgerator death is dust build-up! I lived in appartments and rental homes all my life, and I had no idea. I'm sharing this, so that others might learn from my near-dust experience.

On Monday evening, after the Jedi had quickly installed a new water-line and got the new fridge situated and then reloaded the freezer for me....and after I had arranged and organized my new fridge....I went back to freaking out over co-op. After a long discussion with the Jedi, I called a friend and had another long discussion. I just didn't feel any peace over attending this new co-op. I went in with one set of expectations, and was completely thrown off kilter when certain aspects weren't at all what I expected. That night, the Jedi and I decided this new co-op wouldn't work for our family.

In the midst of this angst, all the bunnies in the house had to sit together on the couch for a bunny family portrait. Toby Bunny is a new addition to the family, you see, and it was imperitative that he meet all his new bunny brothers and sisters.

On Tuesday, we spent four hours at the park.  Toby Bunny had to sit on the dashboard of the van so he could have a commanding view out the front wind shield. The weather is warm and sunny. Its beautiful enough out to make me almost want to go out and sunbathe in a string bikini. I won't, partly because I don't have a string bikini and partly because no one but the Jedi wants to see my forty-year old body in a string bikini. My neighborhood doesn't have many zoning ordinances, but I gaurantee you that the day I venture outside in a string bikini would be the day a petition drive would be launched.

On our way home from the park, we stopped at the library to drop off and check out books. We headed home for dinner, and then the Jedi and Sweetling had Tae Kwon Do.  Toa and I were going back to the library for Tales for Tails, a program where kids can read stories to certified therapy dogs from Touch of Healing. Toa was pumped about this program.

At dinner, Toa was telling the Jedi about our plans. Said Toa, "Daddy, I'm going to read a book to a real dog."

"A real dog, Toa?" asks Daddy.

"Yeah, a real dog. I'm not talking about some fake dog, here. I'm talking about a real dog."

"So," teases Daddy, "not a unicorn then?"

"Daddy!" protests Toa, "Unicorns are not dogs!"

It turns out that reading books to dogs was every bit as wonderful as Toa of Boy imagined it would be. Toa read a total of six books to the dogs, and would have read more, had time permitted.

Also on Tuesday night, after more emails back and forth to a friend and another discussion with the Jedi, co-op was back on.
By Wednesday, I really needed to go grocery shopping. Yet, once again, I let myself get terribly behind in my couponing. It turns out I had seven weeks worth of coupon inserts from the Sunday papers. Luckily, I did have the foresight to mark the date I pulled from which I had pulled each circular. (I use a site called The Grocery Game to help me match up specific coupons with the sale items for my local stores.) Still, seven weeks worth of coupons lined up across my kitchen counter. Seven weeks worth of coupons, and a three page printout of my grocery list. This was going to take me hours. Hours....unless I recruited some child assistants. We made a scavenger hunt game out of looking for the specific coupons we needed. Using my grocery game list, I told each child what coupon they were looking for and which date of circular they could find it in. For every coupon they found, they got to mark an extra point on their chore list. Coupons got done in about half an hour, and we had a good time finding them.

Thursday was April Fools Day of course. Sweetling woke up wary of me. Around ten am, she said, "I can't believe you haven't tried anything for April Fools Day." I don't know where she would get the notion that her loving mother would try to pull something on April Fools Day. By lunch time, she seemed to have relaxed and let down her guard....which of course meant that the timing was perfect for me to pull a prank. While the children we're playing a game together, I went downstairs to "fold laundry". With me I smuggled a bowl, my kitchen scissors, and a bag of Starburst candy purchased just for this occasion. Behind closed doors I unwrapped orange Starbursts and snipped each piece into four cubes. I made a single layer of these small orange cubes in a bowl, and brought it back upstairs and took it into the kitchen with me, where I began preparing lunch.

Lunch that day was grilled cheese and ham sandwiches, strawberries, and cubed "carrots". After handwashing, the kids came into the kitchen asking what was for lunch. I told them. Toa of Boy poked at his "carrots".

"These are hard," he said.

"Of course," I said. "You don't like your carrots cooked."

Nothing else was said about the vegetables on the plates. Sweetling took her plate and dissappeared to her computer. Toa said his grace and began to eat his sandwich. I was fixing myself a salad to go with my sandwich and hadn't sat down at the table yet. Eventually, Toa tried a carrot. After chewing it doubiously, he observed, "Mommy, this is sweet." A moment later, "Mommy, is this candy?"

"April Fools!" I whispered, putting my finger to my lips. "Don't let Sweetling hear us. We don't want to spoil the surprise."

Toa ate the rest of his lunch while giggling almost silently. Score one for Mommy.

Some time later, Sweetling came out of her room. "Mommy, did you give us candy instead of vegetables?"

"April Fools!"

Sweetling cracked up. Score two for Mommy.

That night was when we received word about my brother's house. The latest news I've recieved was that my brother was meeting with a Red Cross worker yesterday (Friday.)

Photos from the last time we were up to see my brother at Christmas:

Me and My Bro
All the cousins together

And Toa of Boy outside with his cousin, about to unwittingly terrify a young cow in an attempt to pet it.

Please keep my brother's family in your prayers.

1 comment:

Holly@aiminghigh said...

Oh, dear. So sorry. Will keep your brother and his family in my prayers.