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One Hell of a Summer

By Eveningmeadows ~

(I haven’t been on the site for a while, this is kind of an explanation, and just a few of my thoughts.)

It’s been one hell of a summer. It all started with “The Tornado” in June.

SummerImage by aeFusion via Flickr

We don’t get tornados here in the Northeast, and yet we did. The last one was back in ’53. That was 60 years ago. That was a generation ago. Another generation, and another tornado.

I didn’t take the warnings or watches seriously. Now I do. These things seem to hide in severe thunderstorms, so now I dread hearing about upcoming storms. The storm went through a part of our town, and missed our neighborhood by only a couple of miles, if even that. Back in the day, I would have praised the blessings of the lord for sparing us from the path of the tornado. But what about all those who were in the path of it? Did they not deserve sparing also? Four people lost their lives that day. They woke up and thought this day would be like any other, only to have it be their last. What about their family members? Did they not deserve to be spared the loss of their loved ones?

Now I know that thinking is just stupid. Our getting spared had nothing to do with divine intervention, but the nature of the weather, of wind. Hearing and seeing newscasts of neighborhoods being decimated by a tornado, really can’t describe the utter shock of seeing familiar areas looking like a war zone. The tornado was an F2 or 3 I believe. It skimmed the tops of trees, twisted them, and ripped the tops right off. Roofs were torn off leaving huge holes in houses, broken windows, siding on houses peeling off, big red X’s on houses meaning they weren’t safe for habitation. The beauty of New England is the shady tree lined roads and yards shaded by huge trees. These huge, leafy shade trees were simply up rooted and smashed into houses. Yards void of all standing trees, or the tops ripped off. It was unbelievable. I felt sick. Sick for these people whose homes and neighborhoods were forever changed, that wind could cause so much damage. What was it like to be in your house and hear and feel these winds ripping into your home?

And this wasn’t even the hardest hit area. The western part of the state received the brunt of the storm. The path of the storm was even visible on Google Earth. It looked a huge stick had been scrapped through the green of the trees.

A few weeks after that, our water heater died with a cloud of steam. An alarm was going off, steam rushing up the cellar steps. My husband decided that was a good time to move the water heater to a new area, built a cement platform to put it on, and waterproof that part of our rock foundation. Six weeks without hot water. You can live without hot water, but just barely. Well, that’s what my teenage daughters thought. They had no problem asking guy friends if they could take a shower at their house. The guys were so excited at that prospect, that they had no problem picking them up and even bringing them home! There must be something about naked girls in your shower that made these guys week in the knees!

My weeks were spent boiling water to wash dishes, to wash my hair, my kids used the hose after it was sitting in the sun for a day. What ingenuity. You can wash clothes in cold water, but they just didn’t seem to be as clean. And we had the pool. I figured pool water kept pure and clear with chlorine should be as good as a shower on hot days, so I was in the pool a lot. Pool water isn’t good for washing hair though, I did try.

A week or so after the water heater died, I noticed that things just weren’t cold in the refrigerator. So when hubby got back from Home Depot buying supplies to fix damage to the house from the buildup of ice because of the storms this winter, did I mention the ice storms?, I broke it to him as gently as I could that the food in the fridge seemed a tad bit warm. Gee, could there possible be something wrong with the refrigerator? Yeah, that was dead in the water too. After a bit of research, we headed out to the store to pick up a new refrigerator. Yup, we’ll take that one. We even had borrowed a truck to make quick work of bringing the new one home. No, we don’t have any in stock, snicker, we have to order it and have it come from the warehouse. Well, where’s the warehouse, we’ll just drive down there and pick it up. That’s how desperate we were. No, can’t do that, it has to come from another warehouse. How long will that take……five days or so. So we lived out of coolers, three to be exact, for a week, as well as no hot water.

Around this time, my husband decides now would be the time to also start getting rid of some of his hoard around the house. He has twenty years of hoard. So he started taking piles of metals to the metal place. I thought he was joking when he said that his junk was worth money. It actually was, enough for a new water heater, fridge, and washer and dryer.

So between working on his “water heater” project, “junk” project, he was also digging new post holes to shore up parts of the roof, actually he used some of his junk money to hire a teenager to do it for him. And of course add into this mess the ever present old car problems, the car needed to be inspected, teenage girls threatening to call the board of health because we didn’t have hot water, one getting increasingly witchy because she was going away to college. Did I mention the fleas? Yes, all seven cats came down with fleas, because I was too preoccupied to get the flea stuff. That meant vacuuming and spraying all the furniture, weekly. Lucky we don’t have carpets, and the one going away to college insisting she wasn’t going to wash her clothes until we had hot water to make sure the fleas were dead. I guess they live through washing and drying.

Around this time, I was starting having flu symptoms. I thought it’s either the flu, or hot flashes. It was very confusing. Well, I went to the doctor thinking it was something else. He tested me for different things, including Lyme disease. Guess what, I had Lyme disease. I never had that before, and I’m always outside. Six weeks of antibiotics, and the inevitable female problems that six weeks of antibiotics bring about. Oh, and the poison ivy. Never had THAT before either, but pool water with ample amounts of chlorine works wonders for the itch, as long as you’re in the pool, and let’s not forget the recurrent monthly depression.

So now the fleas are gone, so is the Lyme disease, the inevitable female problems that six weeks of antibiotics bring about, the poison ivy is history, the hole digging is coming along, metals are racing to the scrap place, we have a refrigerator. And we finally have hot water! Hallelujah!

College girl can finally wash her clothes in “real water” right? Nope, we decide since hubby has made a “bundle” from his junk, now’s the time to get another washer and dryer. With our luck, why these could go at any time! So we get another washer and dryer, and he scraps the old ones. Then he decides since everything is out of the laundry room, why not replace the wiring and sheetrock it right, it should take no longer than a week. Right. This is a hundred year old house. EVERYTHING that could go wrong did. On top of that poor hubby has arthritis in his hands. So things go REALLY slow.

But I’m starting to enjoy my down time at the laundry mat. If I go on a Tuesday, in the afternoon, I have the place to myself. I can turn off the TV and read or whatever. I’ve also learned that we go through a lot of towels. I think we have too many. I think everyone should only have two, more than enough. You’re clean when you use them, so why throw them in the wash? When I have the place to myself, I can also stuff the machines. I think it’s a learning curve. How much can I stuff, and still have the clothes come out clean? I can also put a lot more soap in. The attendant chastised me the first time, so I know she watches. If it wasn’t for the expense, I would consider doing this all the time. Five loads done in less than two hours!

Hubby’s gone on a light crusade. I didn’t even know you could have a light in the shower! I’ll also be having lights above the washer and dryer, why that’s heaven. We’ve crested the hill; fingers crossed, and on the down side now. He’s finishing up the lights, and I’m taping and mudding the new sheetrock. I’ve picked out a nice color for the laundry room, a purple color that matches the flowers that are blooming around my house this time of year. But the bathroom…….well, that’s a problem. Green didn’t work, blue is too cold. Do you know how many shades of yellow Behr paint makes? Toooo many. I’m sticking with Glidden.

Some thoughts brought about from The Tornado.

Driving down the main road that passes through the track of the tornado, there is a Jehovah’s Witness church (?). Its yards away from the devastation the tornado left. And it’s untouched. I’ll guarantee that the JW’s are praising their brand of god for his mercy at leaving his house of worship untouched. Why would their god allow homes that families live in be destroyed, but a building that is empty ninety percent of the time untouched? Did they open their doors to the families that are within walking distance to their church? Every time I drove by, the building was unused. But, to be fair, that’s the typical response of most middle class churches. Letting who knows who use a multimillion building, well, who knows what can happen. Stuff will get like, used.

The other thing I thought of when I passed by the Jehovah’s Hall of Witnesses. When I was a born againer, they were considered a cult, deceived by the devil, bound for hell, pedaling their satanic brand of religion. Wouldn’t it have been good publicity for god to show other religions that aren’t the “one true church” what happens when they mess with god and his holy word? Shouldn’t the lord have allowed the tornado to level that one building, and spare all the others in the area? Heck, why not spare all those lives, and all those homes and business that were affected by the tornado, and just wipe out all those churches that aren’t part of the “one true church”? Wouldn’t that have sent a message to anyone who’s confused as to what is actually the “one true church” that the ones left standing must be god’s true religion? No question about it. All I can say is, perhaps god’s confused too.

I was thinking if I was still in my church, what would we have done for those in the path of the tornado? Open the church doors to whoever might need a shower, suburban churches seem to have these, cook in the HUGE new kitchen, lets the kids run around the gym? Maybe let some sleep in some of the classrooms until they can get settled. There are surely enough of them. Have a collection, everyone can always use money, or gift cards. No, we would have the always useful and helpful moment of prayer on the following Sunday morning, right after coffee and donuts. And before the boring message about how you were blessed if you didn’t lose anything in the tornado, and if you did, well, it was still a blessing. Or a punishment. You’d have to figure that out yourself.

And we can’t just let ANYONE use the church. It’s an expensive building. There’s the wear and tear to take into effect. The extra cost of utilities. The messiness of having strangers take over your building. And……we’re just too busy. Busy and overwhelmed with our own lives and problems. Like my story shows. We’re only human. We’re limited as to how much energy we can expend on others that aren’t part of our own families. We get tired. As Christians, we were no different than anyone else. We weren’t given special strength and fortitude to reach out to those less fortunate. We were just as weak and selfish as anyone else.

Missed you guys!


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