Friday, January 29, 2016

Our January

(note:  excuse my bad phone pictures)

We came back from Christmas in Indiana around 4:00 on the morning of the 4th.  Mark asked the boys to shovel our driveway and steps to remove the foot or so of snow we had received over the break.  Mark, Joel, and I stumbled into the house just ready to plop into bed.  But there was this terrible sound coming from the bathroom on the main floor.  So, Mark turned off the valve to the toilet thinking it was that, and then went down to the basement.  What he discovered there was a lake covering the entire basement.  We quickly brought up recording equipment and instruments that were not hanging safely on the walls.  The boys stayed out for an hour and a half or so doing the best shoveling job ever in the history of the world which I am pretty sure was a working out of emotions over the mess we had just discovered.  I moved some things around in Ale's room to give Sam a space to sleep and we all crawled into bed around 6:00.  In the morning, Mark called Qualinet, our insurance company, and our landlord.

A pipe had burst.  We don't know how long water spurt out of the day?  10 days? It's anyone's guess.

I can't speak for everyone, but I  know that I believed this to be a tiny hiccup resulting in a couple days dry-out/clean-out.  I am glad that I did not know then what I know now.  Today is the 29th and what we have is this:  almost everything that lived in the basement is presently in our dining room, two walls in Sam's room have been removed, the wood floor between the two rooms has been removed, Sam's bed and a couple other essentials are in the family room where there was less damage, every wall in the basement has 4-inch (from floor up) cut into it for drying-out purposes.  For 2 weeks we had 12 utility fans blowing and making an unimaginable din.  For almost 3 weeks we have had a giant dehumidifier sucking out all the moisture.  And we have just now been "promised" another week of work until it is all finished.  We know enough not to believe that figure.

view of the dining room from the kitchen
We are tired and discombobulated.  But there is a also a lot of good in among all this frustration and upheaval.

I had already arranged (back in December) to not teach for the month of January to give myself some time to reorganize the house, clean, sort, and regroup emotionally and spiritually.  Ha!  So we see how God not only freed me up for such a moment as this, but also made my cleaning and reorganizing goals so much deeper and more serious.  I was pushed into doing way more than I had ever thought I would do.  Seeing all that we owned, now in one spot, made us realize just how much we have!  And how much excess we have.

And so began the Great Purge of 2016!  One that the whole family got into.  This past month has been a total house make-over as we have gone through every closet, every box, every drawer and asked ourselves the questions:  Do we use this?  Do we love this?  If we can't say yes to either question, then out it goes.  This has resulted in ridding ourselves of boxes and boxes of books, bags of clothing, 6 pieces of furniture, and has resulted in a whole lot of peace and space.  What it has not been is easy.  We are emotional, frustrated at times, annoyed with each other, sick of sorting, tired of lifting, ready to have our dining room and basement back in order...

In other news:  Ale came back on Sunday.  We are happy to have her back.  She has a beautiful engagement ring on her finger!

Joel changed his instrument of choice that he worked so hard to collect money for back in the fall. He decided on an electric drum set instead of an accordion.  He finally had enough to buy it.  It was an exciting moment for him when he went with Mark to the bank to exchange his money and then take it in to the music store.  Now, thankfully, we have a place to put it because of our clean-up project.

counting and calculating!
It has not been ALL work around here.  
We had a special family night a couple weeks ago.  We worked together on the house for a couple hours, then we played Pictionary (which lead to one of the funniest moments we have had in a long time..."I thought he said, 'croots'") and then went out late to Tim Hortons to talk about the highlights of 2015 and to think about family goals for the next year.  I will never forget that night!

Basketball is in full swing for Jack.  He is learning how to deal with a difficult coach and how to never give up.  And I guess we are learning how to support and love our kids when they have difficult coaches.  God is giving us another chance with this since Jack's coach is the same yelling, discouraging, favorite-playing coach that Sam had for a couple years.  

Joel finished up his first basketball season.  They lost both games in the final tournament, but he got his basketball feet wet and had a lot of fun.  

We took Joel and Alexis to iSaute one Saturday night.  They enjoyed themselves until Joel hit his back on something near the end.  

We have had some friends join us for church services this last couple months.  One Sunday there were 6 of our unbelieving friends with us on the same day.  And we had not especially invited any of them. They each just asked (ha!).  How delighted we were!

Having the house undone has given us the occasion to change some things that we need to change to make life run more efficiently.  On Tuesday, I, using every tool possible, took apart our coat closet, rearranged the shelving, put up a new support, added a shelf and solved a big space problem.  I can't believe I didn't do this years ago.  

And now the shoe rack that was in the closet (that I almost tossed) serves as my fruit and vegetable storage.  This little thing makes me incredibly happy.  

During our messy month, we have had our small group meet in another home which has been a nice break for me.  And because we decided not to bury our table under all the boxes, but set it up squished between living room and dining room, we have still been able to have friends over for meals here and there.  

reducing the pile:  maybe one can't tell from this photo, but the pile is notably taking up less space

Now that I have caught up with myself here on the blog, I hope to be a little more regular.  A friend recently noticed that I have been doing this thing for almost 10 years.  That is hard to believe.  And it also makes me want to keep slugging through.  

Happy January to us!